July 01, 2022
Finally Friday. We hope you get a little peace this weekend.
🎇 If loud, sparkly sky explosions give you peace, go for it (safely).
⛈️ Today's weather: Expect mixed weather, with showers, potential thunderstorms and a little sun. High near 88.
Today's newsletter is 892 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big FOIA Friday: Olympia parking maze
👋 We're back with our regularly scheduled public records feature.
- This week, we're seeking city emails to shed light on mysterious parking tickets issued by one of Detroit's biggest developers.
How it started: Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer wrote in March about a theatergoer who paid $20 for a spot in Olympia Development's parking lot, only to find a $50 ticket on his truck after the show.
Why it matters: The report raised two crucial questions about parking in the city:
- Does a private company — in this case, the Ilitch real estate arm — have authority to issue parking tickets and collect fees?
- And did any government official grant that authority to Olympia?
Driving the news: To find answers, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request on May 13 for six weeks' worth of emails including keywords such as "parking" and "Olympia" for four city officials.
- The city responded by saying it would take a whopping $17,664 and two years to get the records.
How it works: The city is required to either grant or deny requests in up to 15 business days with the required fees, which are reduced if the response is late.
- The response on June 16 was eight days past due, which means we got a 40% discount — 5% for each day late up to 50%.
- Without the discount, it would have cost $29,440 for 52,000 pages of emails and attachments.
What's next: We amended our FOIA request and asked for more narrow information about the parking department to reduce cost.
- These are now being treated as two new requests, so it could take several more weeks before we hear back.
Of note: An Olympia spokesperson tells Axios the company has "paused" the ticketing practice while it evaluates discouraging unauthorized parking at its lots.
2. Food Fight: Your favorite coneys
We recently shared our go-to coney spots and asked for your favorites.
- After reading the responses, a clear favorite emerged.
David Little: "Favorite coney island: Lafayette Coney Island."
Cheryl McCarron: "How is it possible that none of you picked Lafayette Coney as the best? I’m flabbergasted, dismayed and ready to start a literal food fight! There's no better way to start Opening Day or close out a long night than with a coney from Lafayette."
Ken Droz: "When I worked downtown, I wasn't a season ticket holder at Lafayette for nothing, once eating there three times in a 24 hour period — lunch, dinner, and post-bar relief."
💭 Our thought bubble: We tried to stay away from the American/Lafayette debate, but you just wouldn't let us.
- Our favorite between the coney neighbors — located next door to each other on West Lafayette Boulevard — is pictured above. Reply to guess where they're from.
3. The Grapevine: You heard it here
💉 Michigan doesn't have doses of the vaccine used to treat monkeypox. The state announced its first presumed case Wednesday. (Free Press)
Former Michigan State basketball player Miles Bridges was arrested for felony domestic violence in Los Angeles. (TMZ)
🌿 The marijuana economy is booming. The proliferation of nearly 1,000 weed shops across Michigan is driving down prices and sending sales to historic levels. (Bridge Michigan)
4. Inaugural developer class graduates
The Detroit Apple Developer Academy celebrated 100 area residents who graduated from its inaugural cohort yesterday.
Why it matters: The free program aims to turn interested individuals into entrepreneurs and app developers by having experienced developers and industry professionals teach the fundamentals of coding, design, marketing and project management.
- "This is a city with a vibrant legacy of Black and Brown entrepreneurialism and innovation, you can feel the energy here," Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, said at a press conference.
Details: The 2022 graduates range in age from 18 to 64 and come from diverse educational backgrounds.
- The 10 month academy is supported by Michigan State University and the Dan Gilbert Family Foundation.
- Some of the new apps they worked on are now available on the App Store.
What they're saying: "We started in October during the school year, so, I'd go to four classes at Renaissance in the morning, and then at noon I'd leave to work on our apps," Paul Campbell, a recent Renaissance High School graduate, tells Axios.
- "Too many Detroiters have not had — no matter how talented — the equity, the mentorships, the internships and jobs, so for (Apple) to come here and take advantage of that talent was hard for me to believe," Mayor Mike Duggan said at the event.
What's next: Applications are now open for the 2023 class, which is doubling in size to 200 students.
New jobs to check out
5. Holiday weekend things to do
The Fourth of July weekend is perfect for boats and beaches. But we've got you covered even if you're staying in town and looking for something to do.
🎤 Detroit Music Weekend features music, dance and theater performances on multiple stages. This year's event focuses on women playing the blues.
- Tomorrow, noon - 10pm at the Music Hall Amphitheater downtown. Free!
🎨 The Light up Livernois street festival highlights distinctive cultural elements that make the "Avenue of Fashion" special — art, fashion and entrepreneurship.
- Tomorrow, noon - 10pm on Livernois Avenue between 8 Mile and McNichols Road. Free.
🎥 New Center Park screens outdoor movies every Friday night — this week is "Shaun the Sheep."
- The show starts at dusk tonight. Free!
🔊 The annual Prince vs. Michael holiday party is at Boogie Fever in Ferndale.
- Sunday, 9pm. Tickets start at $15.
🍻 Joe is reminiscing about many, many college nights at East Lansing's Peanut Barrel, which just sold to new owners.
🏊 Annalise is getting some goggles in hopes of accomplishing a big swim this weekend.
🚣🏽♂️ Sam is finally planning to drive his kayak down from Midland.
📖 Everett is reading "The Alice Network."