Detroit BikeBlog

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        March 29th, Spring Returns to the River

We may have a little more snow to come but we're just about into the spring biking season. Gone are the weeks of double gloves, double socks and severe wind chills. The Wheelhouse has reopened on the riverfront and is once again hiring bikes and doing spring maintenance (spring hours are I think mainly weekends until May). On the lakes, the Soo locks and Welland canal are open and the freighters are starting to make a return along the river.

2009 Detroit Wheelhouse
Wheelhouse now open again at Rivard & Atwater

2009 Detroit river Canadian Olympic
Canadian Olympic heads upstream aided by a strong tailwind

        March 14th, Ghetto Takedown: Jefferson Court & Jefferson

A ghetto house was taken out by fire this afternoon. The usual stories and rumors abound, that someone was once killed in the house, that the fire was started in the roof to ensure destruction, that there was a 10 minute delay before the DFD arrived. While I doubt the last point as the DFD were on site pretty quickly, I've no reason to doubt the rest. I guess this goes on almost every hour of every day, but equally it's hard to forget the toll this kind of malicious arson reaps on the fire, police and ambulance services.

More DFD blog entries:Masonic Temple area abandoned building fire, Near West Side house fire, Forest Arms fire on 2nd, Abandoned building on J Camau.

2009 Detroit fire DFS
DPD/DFD etc making the scene

2009 Detroit fire DFS
Kind of alight at this point

2009 Detroit fire DFS
The overheads target the roof

2009 Detroit fire DFS

2009 Detroit fire DFS

2009 Detroit fire DFS
I guess the warm hat means fire chief.

2009 Detroit fire DFS
At the end of the day ... burnout ... vacant lot.

        March 13th, Weighty Ghost

Tom Allen and Rich Terfry over on CBC R2 continue to find stuff to play that just impresses the hell. Ok, I liked the winnipeg song, really liked Go Places, but Wintersleep's Weighty Ghost ... does it for me.

        February 28th, Eastern Market Shed 5

Through Summer and Spring Eastern Market heaves with activity, flower stalls and roasting meets. But aside from the farmers' market that ends each day around 7am, the place seems deserted in the winter months. But Eastern Market's Shed 5 does stay open through the winter weekends - even while several nearby sheds are being renovated. When the temperatures are well below freezing there's still a crowd, pineapples, bananas and good value fresh produce.

A Channel Windsor

On an unrelated note it's sad news that Windsor's A Channel is due to close down before the end of August for lack of advertising income. Along the river the signal from Detroit TV stations mostly broadcasting from Southfield and the suburbs is almost 100% static. Even with serial amplification it can be little more than a grainy fuzz. Once the digital transition takes place this will be cut to nothing since digital signals don't have the redundancy to tolerate more than a small amount of noise. Hence for us A Channel Windsor has been the nearest thing to a local TV Channel, covering both sides of the river as well as international issues. Jim Chrichton grins daily through births, deaths, marriages (and jury duty), the weather is reported with sartorial flair and a dwindling number of local reporters return stories to A channels base on Ouellette overlooking the river. If the station is shut down it will be a loss, there's a petition here to save the channel.

2009 Detroit Easter Market Shed 5
Eastern Market Shed 5
I'll tell you something about these eggs...

2009 Detroit Easter Market Shed 5
The price is not a guideline...

2009 Detroit Easter Market Shed 5

        February 22nd, Search & Rescue on the River

It appears that a truck went into the water off of the downriver end of Belle Isle this afternoon. We were just coming back from a ride at about 2.30pm when the Detroit Coast Guard Helicopter started circling. We headed down to take a look and found a large number of rescue vehicles gathered on the point of Belle isle. As we watched the helicopter dropped a marker into the river locating a submerged vehicle in the channel about 100 yards downstream of where it had entered. Shortly after a barge was dispatched with two divers to secure lines and drag the truck back onto land. No news yet of the cause of this or whether anyone was in the vehicle at the time.

[Update 4.40] Sadly it appears that a single occupant of the truck perished.

2009 Detroit coast guard rescue DFD DPD
DPD, DFD, Coast guard and dive teams assemble on the Windsor Shore of Belle Isle

2009 Detroit coast guard rescue DFD DPD
The Detroit CG helicopter drops a marker into the river locating the submerged vehicle

2009 Detroit coast guard rescue DFD DPD
CG Rescue helicopter 6532 repeatedly searches downriver for anyone who may have been swept away

2009 Detroit coast guard rescue DFD DPD
A CG barge ties lines to the submerged vehicle

        February 17th, GM

From our small place by the river we can see a little bit of GM. We look out onto the HR building that they share with the UAW. When things get bad their lights tend to be on late into the night.

Over this past week the lights have rarely been off. In previous times of trouble there have been a few offices that regularly burned the midnight oil. But over the past week the whole building has been awake 24/7. Through day and night, weekday and weekend. At one point we felt so bad for the folks we almost ordered them pizza. I'll say this for GM, whatever trouble they're in, they're fighting 110% to come through it!

2009 Detroit GM Renaissance center riverwalk
We headed to the RenCen to see how Rick Wagoner's
presentation was going down. And found a stunning evening

        February 15th, Fox Theatre

Places set for dinner at the Fox Theatre. Came across this view while wandering aimlessly around Downtown this morning. Not going anywhere, just biking the apocalyptically empty streets. Passed more than a few foreclosed properties including a swanky bar in Greektown and then hit this, the contrast of the Fox with it's grand '20s feel. I could see Holly Golightly standing outside here with a coffee and a pastry.

2009 Detroit Fox theatre restaurant

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  Detroit Books (Winter)

      [1] The Guardian Building:
            Cathedral of Finance

      [2] American City

      [3] Motoons

Short reviews on the book page.

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