Axios Detroit

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Monday already — but this is no regular Monday. After today's solar eclipse, the next one won't reach the lower 48 until 2044.

Today's weather: Clouds early, then mostly sunny, with a high near 69.

  • Not ideal for eclipse watching, but forecasters say there's a chance for clear skies this afternoon. We've got more details below.

Today's newsletter is 908 words — a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Joe Guillen and copy edited by Cindy Orosco-Wright.

1 big thing: TikTok's PR push

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

TikTok is touting its economic impact in Michigan and elsewhere through a newly commissioned report, amid increased scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers.

Why it matters: The report, which the platform is actively pitching to various media and posting across its channels, has the potential to tap into a key bipartisan issue — the economy, Axios' Eleanor Hawkins reports.

Catch up quick: In March, the U.S. House quickly passed legislation that could lead to a TikTok ban, and President Biden has promised to sign it if it passes the Senate.

By the numbers: The report based on surveys says that in Michigan, 165,000 businesses and 3.7 million people — roughly a third of the population — are active TikTok users.

  • 87% of small and midsize businesses said sales increased after promoting on TikTok and 63% said the platform helps them connect with more audiences, the survey showed.
  • 67% of Michigan users spent money on local events or businesses after seeing content on TikTok.
  • It also claims Michigan businesses' use for advertising and marketing contributed $690 million to the gross domestic product.

Zoom in: Alice Nguyen, owner of 88 Banh Mi & Bowl in Warren, told CBS News Detroit using TikTok increased her income.

  • "At first, I thought it was for fun, I never thought I'd put my business into it. And then I really put my business into it and now it's important to my business," Nguyen said.

What they're saying: TikTok insists the report has been in the works for more than a year and its release is not timed to ongoing regulatory battles, a spokesperson said.

The big picture: Coincidence or not, TikTok has proved it can mobilize young constituents — many of whom flooded congressional phone lines ahead of last month's TikTok House vote.

What to watch: By promoting its economic impact and contributions, TikTok — whether intentionally or not — sets up a strong counterpoint that could appeal to legislators and voters ahead of the 2024 election cycle.

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2. A journey in textiles

Mandisa Smith's works on display at Wayne County Community College District's Northwest campus. Photos: Courtesy of Mandisa Smith

A nationally known Detroit textile artist has work on display at Wayne County Community College District that uses an ancient, laborious technique.

The big picture: Mandisa Smith's "The Art of Felting" is on display through April 26 at the college's Northwest campus.

  • Her work ranges from wearable items to abstract pieces using the in-depth, multistep process of wet felting, alongside found objects, bringing a "sense of history and emotion," per a news release.
Mandisa Smith portrait
Mandisa Smith. Photo: Jamie Feldman, courtesy of Wayne County Community College District

Flashback: Smith learned from expert felters from the Netherlands, Ireland, Japan and elsewhere, the release says. Before transitioning to full-time art, she spent time in the automotive industry, Metro Times wrote about Smith back in November. She also made her own jewelry.

  • Smith became interested in felting because of its fluidity — she didn't like rigidity or precise work, like weaving, per Metro Times.
  • "I don't have to count anything. I don't have to put anything in some particular place," she told the publication. "When I'm doing abstract work, that's not really what I'm focused on. I'm focused on the feeling, and the color, and the movement in the piece. It's usually just something that's in my head."

If you go: The free exhibition is open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday at 8200 W. Outer Drive, at the college's Brown and Juanita C. Ford Art Gallery.

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3. The Grapevine: You heard it here

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's upcoming book, "True Gretch." Photo: Simon & Schuster

📘 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's book "True Gretch," about her life and rise in politics, comes out July 9. It will include how the Democratic Party star dealt with the pandemic, the kidnapping plot and battles with former President Trump. (Detroit News)

🐶 A dog missing from California since the summer was discovered in Harper Woods, leading to a reunion with its owner that was fit for Hollywood. (AP)

👮 Attorney General Dana Nessel is supporting a Metro Times lawsuit to release the names of all certified police officers in Michigan. (Metro Times)

4. Ford delays new EVs

A Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle charging. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon /AFP via Getty Images

Ford is delaying new electric vehicles as consumer adoption trails expectations.

Between the lines: Ford said it will push back the launch of an electric pickup from 2025 to 2026 and three-row electric SUVs from 2025 to 2027, Axios' Nathan Bomey reports.

  • "The additional time will allow for the consumer market for three-row EVs to further develop and enable Ford to take advantage of emerging battery technology, with the goal to provide customers increased durability and better value," the company said in a statement Thursday.

The big picture: The announcement comes two days after Tesla reported a surprisingly steep slump in first-quarter sales, underscoring the broader challenges for the EV market.

  • Smaller companies are also running into a wall, as EV startup Fisker is reportedly weighing a bankruptcy filing.

Yes, but: Ford said it's continuing construction on several new facilities that will build or design future EVs and components.

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We're grateful for your trust and continued readership.

5. When to watch today's eclipse

<span style="display: block;text-align: center;">Path of the April 8, 2024 eclipse</span>
Data: NASA; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Eclipse watchers will have to travel to Monroe County for this afternoon's total solar eclipse, but those who stay in town can join the fun, too.

Yes, but: Potential cloud cover could obscure the view.

What to expect: Detroit will see a partial eclipse between 2:41pm and 3:46pm, per NASA, with max coverage of 99.2% at 3:14pm.

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Our picks:

🛒 Joe is a new Costco member, but he didn't see any gold bars on his first visit.

🙉 Annalise still gets Ke$ha's song "Tik Tok" stuck in her head every time she talks about the TikTok app too long despite being a regular user for years.

🗓️ Sam is off.