Posted by Dale Buss on July 19, 2013 01:09 PM
The City of Detroit, its leaders and workers and residents in tow, opened a door to their future as emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the Motor City on Thursday.
Michigan's largest city became the biggest US municipality to file for bankruptcy after decades of population loss, endemic infrastructure decline, inept management, struggles with its suburbs, national image problems and other woes that left Detroit too poor to pay its billions of dollars in debts to bondholders, retired cops, current city workers and other creditors.
Despite more recent investments by national retailers and a hopeful "comeback" campaign—not to mention Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" civic pride-filled campaign—the city's fate was written in stone.
The filing "is an emotional and cultural nadir that is tear-inducing and gut-wrenching," wrote Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, in a typical sentiment. "Bankruptcy is the bottom of a tremendous, Roman-empire-like slide for one of the world's most significant locales."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 6, 2013 04:33 PM
It's just another day in the rehabilitation efforts of Detroit. The city has launched its first business-to-business image campaign in five years, and Al Jazeera America has revealed that it'll place one of its dozen US news bureaus in Detroit, which has one of America's largest populations of people of Arab descent.
The last several months have continued to be rough on the image of the Motor City despite the fact that the Detroit Three automakers have been coming back smartly, manufacturing in metro Detroit is re-expanding, the Red Wings qualified for this month's playoffs for an NHL-record 22 years, Motown: The Musical has debuted on Broadway, and there's a genuine and substantial influx of workers and denizens back in the battered downtown of Detroit.
Still, the city has struggled to find its footing as Michigan instated an emergency financial manager on a resistant Detroit city government, and residents and tourists alike have struggled to "Say Nice Things About Detroit."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 5, 2013 01:37 PM
Spring is springing in Detroit, and the poster child for urban decay is beginning to sing a new song about hope, renewal and pride.
Consider what's going on in the Motor City just today: The Detroit Tigers are playing their home opener of the 2013 season as the favorite to win the American League and the pick of many to win the World Series after last year's flop against the San Francisco Giants. Demand is surging for Tigers licensed merchandise as fans at home and abroad sense this might just be the team's year, with superstar pitcher Justin Verlander signed to a mammoth new contract.
The nearby University of Michigan takes on Syracuse this weekend in its first Final Four appearance in March Madness since the Fab Five team 20 years ago.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on March 30, 2012 01:01 PM
High gasoline prices be damned. America's tourism operators smell not only spring but also summer in the air, and they're gearing up for a business season that seems to hold the most promise of any in several years.
Rising auto sales and other indicators suggest Americans will be more active travelers this year than last year even if they have to pay $4 a gallon or more for the gasoline to get there. And among other locales, tourism operators in economically struggling Michigan, as well as the many small towns and dusty little museums along Route 66, want you to know they're open for business.
In Michigan, a state-sponsored study just found that last summer's Pure Michigan national-advertising campaign, featuring voiceovers by Tim Allen, attracted a record number of out-of-state visitors to the "beautiful peninsula" last year. The $14-million campaign motivated more than 3 million trips to the state and a projected $1 billion in spending at state businesses, the study found.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2012 06:26 PM
Today is, unofficially at least, "Love Detroit" Day.
The robust Detroit Lions are about to enter the NFL playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Chrysler just announced the addition of 1,100 new auto-assembly jobs in the city, great news following the ebullient 2011 U.S. car sales reports this week. And Motown is spiffing up for an influx of thousands of foreign journalists and auto-industry executives attending the 2012 North American International Auto Show next week — not to mention the other thousands of Michiganders who will attend the public part of the Detroit Auto Show the following week.
So if Detroit lovers could take a snapshot of any particular day and just live in it for a while, without the clock moving forward, January 6th, 2012 might be that day. Nothing has been ideal in fiscally strapped and infrastructure-challenged Detroit for a long time and might never be again, but today's news has presented a trifecta of developments that the city will certainly embrace for a while.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 14, 2011 11:59 AM
At least one geopolitical struggle has eased this holiday season, and a temporary peace reigns — around the Great Lakes, that is. This is because Wisconsin and Michigan appear to have buried the hatchet in their epic struggle over which state has the most legitimate claim to the mitten metaphor to describe the shape of their homeland.
Sounds like big stakes, eh? Well, despite the thorniness of the issue, Michigan and Wisconsin tourism officials today managed to declare a truce in the mitten war and even their joint establishment of a philanthropic effort they're calling The Great Lakes Mitten Campaign.
"We encourage everyone in both states to 'shake hands' and donate mittens to help make this winter a bit warmer for those in need," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a press statement announcing a handful of mitten-dropoff sites around the state.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 8, 2011 05:31 PM
It's a border battle fit for the season. And with this new Michigan-Wisconsin dispute comes all the underlying tensions from a long and tenuous adjacency that include zebra mussels, Asian carp, rights to the Upper Peninsula, Packers-Lions, Badgers-Spartans, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, beach envy, Lake Michigan mineral rights, and which state really has the fattest people.
Yes, Wisconsin's tourism department has appropriated mitten imagery for new web-based winter promotion of its mitten-shaped state. And that has made mavens of mitten-shaped Michigan — well, mightily miffed. The result is a frosty contretemps between pillars of the Upper Midwest that is only likely to get more icy.
You see, Michiganders clearly own the historical and traditional use of their right hands — with fingers straight up and together, they form a perfect mitten shape —when pointing out, usually with their left index fingers, where something is located in the state's Lower Peninsula.Continue reading...
Posted by Michael Waltzer on May 27, 2011 04:30 PM
Trending on YouTube today is one of the most impressive, and even world record-breaking lip dub videos to date. A lip dub, in case you were wondering, is a type of video that combines lip synching and audio dubbing to make a music video. The song of choice? Don McLean's American Pie.
Despite the length of the song, at almost ten minutes, the duration is not what broke the record, but rather the size and scope of the project. This involved about 5,000 people and a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, bridges on fire, and helicopter take-offs.
It was a feat of place branding and local pride that could become a case study for municipal and civic officials looking to elevate their own local branding.Continue reading...