Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Charles Gilles, R.I.P.

Charles Edward Gilles
August 14, 1917 — November 23, 2010

Charles Gilles, a longtime resident of Delaware Avenue on Flint's East Side died on Tuesday at the age of 93. He was a WWII veteran who logged 38 years at Chevrolet. He will be missed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Enjoying the Safety of Portland

Folks who spend most of their time on one of the coasts often express unnecessary concern over my trips to Flint and Detroit. In fact, people from Grand Blanc sometimes look at me like I'm crazy when I describe my visits to Welch Boulevard or Kearsley Park. I used to get mildly insulted, but now I just figure that they mean well.

So what happens when I spend the night in Portland — considered one of the safest, best-run cities in the country — on a road trip?

The New York Times reports:

Federal agents in a sting operation arrested a Somali-born teenager just as he tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, authorities said.

The bomb was an elaborate fake supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested at 5:40 p.m. Friday just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would set off the blast but instead brought federal agents and police swooping down on him.

Yelling "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great!" — Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors.

This happened two blocks from our hotel. We considered going to the ceremony, but like any good Flint Expatriate I lobbied for a trip to the bar instead.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Here's something you don't hear every day, or year, or decade...

G.M. to rehire Flint workers.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Renting the American Dream

The American Dream used to be alive and well in Flint. Now it appears you have to head to Anacortes, Washington to rent it out.

TAM: Living Not So Quitely in Kansas

The recent post on the oddities of the Sloan Museum prompted several email inquiries about the beloved TAM. So I'm re-posting an item on everybody's favorite transparent woman. Here's the original item from November 9, 2008:

Flintoids, I may have found the Sloan Museum's TAM. She's apparently living under a bizarre alias — Valeda — at the Kansas Learning Center for Health after skipping bail in Flint for obscenity charges. And she's German!

"Valeda stands on a revolving pedestal in a small auditorium at the Kansas Learning Center for Health where thousands of visitors have heard her describe the human body as various organs light up. Valeda was assembled bit by intricate bit. The original mold was made by completely coating the body of a living, 28-year-old German woman with a rubber composition. This was allowed to harden, then peeled off to form the mold for Valeda’s plastic skin. Her aluminum skeleton is situated exactly as it is in the normal human body."
TAM, please come back to The Vehicle City.

Oh, wait, TAM has also been spotted hanging out with Nirvana...

In fact, according to Roadside America, TAM and her extended family have been showing up — and lighting up — all over the place.

"... A new generation of transparent women were created as public health education tools; some toured in mobile exhibits until finally settling down as the centerpieces of health museums. Transparent men, on the other hand, are hard to find (the Mayo Clinic Museum displayed one before it closed down, an original, sun-worshipping German model). This is probably because pregnancy makes for a more interesting story, and American educators, as always, are reluctant to expose kids to transparent glowing male genitalia.
"The greatest profusion of transparent women appeared on the health education scene when designer Richard Rush developed the first Transparent Anatomical Mannikin (TAM) in 1968. The see-through woman was 5' 8" of vacuum-formed, plastic organ goodness. TAMs were wired so specific areas and body systems would light up on command, as part of a pre-recorded presentation. Rush eventually produced 42 TAMs, many which are still in service."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sloan Museum of Oddities

These dudes really knew how to party.

Is it just me or is the Alfred P. Sloan Museum one of the most fantastically weird treasure troves of historical bric-a-brac in the country? I'd forgotten how great this place really is until I visited it this summer after a 33 year hiatus. They were testing the sound system during my visit, so I took it all in with "Smile Like You Mean It" by The Killers inexplicably blaring away in the background, which somehow seemed appropriate. Maybe that could be Flint's unofficial theme song.

The Sloan is one of the few museums in the country that honors America's Revolutionary War zombies.

If you own a tank manufactured by G.M., you can park it wherever the hell you want.

The Sloan's rare, extremely elusive Chevy Chevette without rust!

The Sloan's excellent diorama of Adam and the Ants' 1982 performance at the London Palladium.
The Sloan's wax dummy collection is strangely lifelike.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Solution to Flint's Budget Woes

Mt. Clemens, looking suspiciously like Flint, in a photo by John Cruz.

With Mayor Dayne Walling locked in an ongoing battle with police and fire unions over concessions that will help balance the city budget, Mt. Clemens offers a novel approach to fiscal solvency:
A Michigan city is pleading with churches, schools and a hospital for donations to help cover its staggering budget deficit, reports Nick Bunkley of The New York Times.

The mayor of Mount Clemens, Barb Dempsey, sent a letter this week to 35 tax-exempt organizations asking them to voluntarily contribute to the city’s general fund, which pays for services like fire protection, streetlights and roads. Ms. Dempsey said the city has already drastically cut its expenses, having disbanded the police department six years ago, but still faces a $960,000 deficit that is projected to reach $1.5 million next year.

“Those are all services that they utilize at no cost to them,” Ms. Dempsey said. “We figured it can’t hurt to send out letters. If you don’t ask, you never know.”

Lordd Virgil's Ode to Flint

I present the dulcet tones of Lordd Virgil. (They probably need to update the Durant Hotel material on the video.) I found this via the Flint Talk Forums.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Powertrain North Ends Production

When production at Powertrain Flint North ended yesterday — the same day the "new" G.M. went public — the last operating element of the old Buick City complex disappeared. At its peak, Buick City employed close to 30,000.

Ron Fonger of The Flint Journal reports:
The property has been owned by Motors Liquidation Company since GM emerged from bankruptcy protection last year, leaving its "bad assets" with MLC. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing a planned environmental cleanup of the site.

The White House on G.M.

Regardless of your politics, this is worth watching.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

G.M., Jobs and the Bailout

With G.M. stock climbing eight percent in early trading today, it's easy to forget that the main purpose of the government bailout was to preserve jobs in the midst of the Great Recession.

Michael J. de la Merced and Bill Vlasic of The New York Times report:
On Wednesday, the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research released a study saying that government aid to G.M. and Chrysler saved more than 1.1 million jobs in 2009 and 314,000 jobs this year — the highest figure yet reported.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

General Motors' High Powered I.P.O.

With common shares priced at $33 each, G.M. will set a record for the largest initial public offering in American corporate history.

Michael J. de la Merced of The New York Times reports:

G.M. will return to the stock markets on Thursday, a year and a half after it filed for a quick government-sponsored bankruptcy to shed billions of dollars in debt and reshape its business.

The stock sale will also halve the Treasury Department’s stake to about 26 percent, speeding up the Obama administration’s effort to remove itself from G.M. That has also been a important goal for the company, which has long wanted to regain private ownership and shed the “Government Motors” label.

G.M. will sell 549.7 million common shares at $33 apiece, raising $18.1 billion by taking advantage of an overallotment option to cash in on bigger-than-expected demand. It will also sell 92 million preferred shares at $50 each, raising $4.6 billion.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flint: The Biggest Southern City in the North?

Dan Coburn, the lead singer of the Hill Country Revue, preserved his Southern mindset despite growing up in Flint.

Stewart Oksenhorn of The Aspen Times reports:
Coburn, though, is a northerner, and an urbanite to boot, a native of Flint, Mich., home of unions and the birthplace of General Motors.

Still, Coburn claims to have the South in his blood, and not only because he has lived for the last four of his 34 years in Hill Country Revue's home base of Memphis. On the dirt road where he grew up, Coburn would watch his grandfather barbecue chicken in his own mustard-based barbecue sauce, with the country songs of Merle Haggard and Del Reeves playing in the background. Coburn's father had different tastes in music, but they were equally Southern: ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot. Coburn and his friends would sometimes talk about the roots of their respective families — in Kentucky, Georgia or Mississippi.

About the only thing about the upbringing that wasn't Southern, in fact, was the address. Flint might seem a part of the South only if you were standing in, say, Green Bay or Duluth. But Coburn says Flint was a destination for the mass migration of Southerners — including his paternal grandfather, from the southern Missouri town of Hornersville — who landed in Michigan's urban centers in the mid-20th century, lured by jobs in the auto industry. So in Flint, Coburn was surrounded by neighborhoods like Little Missouri, kids who had family back in Tennessee or Florida, and neighborhoods, like the one he grew up in, that were built to resemble the rural towns the people had left behind.

“It was the auto rush,” said the 34-year-old Coburn from a tour stop in Santa Fe, following a 10-hour drive from Dallas and a noon-ish wake-up cup of coffee. “He went north to work for Buick, and the whole family went. But my grandpa was so Southern, a Southern gentleman, and that resonated through the family. I call Flint, Mich. the biggest Southern city in the North.”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homedale School: Past and Present

Homedale School on the East Side as it looked in its early days.

The school fell victim to arson in September. A post-fire photo by John Ehlke of The Flint Journal.

A series of shots taken on Sunday by Duane Gilles, who grew up nearby on Delaware Avenue.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flint Photos: Halloween in the Sixties

I'm obviously a little late on this one, but the photo is just too good to wait for next year. These are the Kalush kids of Beard Street in the sixties getting ready to hit the streets of Flint for Halloween. Note the anti-vandalism message on the bags...Ahh, Flint. Click photo to enlarge. Thanks to Michael Kalush for the wonderful photo.

Sinkholes: Just What We Need

If there's one thing Flint doesn't need to deal with at the moment, it's a sinkhole. (Actually, there are dozens of things Flint doesn't need to deal with, but a sinkhole is one of them.)

David Harris of The Flint Journal reports:

Flint firefighters said the man was walking down the street when he walked over some asphalt and the street cracked. The man's entire right leg was submerged in the hole. It took six people to get him out of the hole, officials said.

Michigan School for the Deaf and Powers High Plan Moves Forward

A bill authorizing the sale and renovation of the Michigan School for the Deaf — the next step in creating a new home for Flint Powers and improving facilities for deaf students — has reached state lawmakers.

What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Rational Approach to G.M. Profits

After a post on General Motors' encouraging third quarter profits, my old pal Jim — who swam in the Haskell Community Center pool many times and lived to talk about it — cautioned about getting too carried away by G.M.'s recent good fortune. It's good advice. He recommended reading a story by Megan McArdle in The Atlantic that points out the company born in Flint still has a lot of problems.

To start with, GM hasn’t shed all its legacy costs. The pension plan, which is underfunded by $26 billion, was not terminated in the bankruptcy, as such plans often are, with their assets turned over to the government’s pension insurer, and the beneficiaries frequently forced to accept a reduced payout. Instead, GM’s earnings will face a drag from that underfunding for years to come.

More worrying still is the possibility that GM’s labor woes are not over. Though the bankruptcy brought the firm’s hourly-compensation cost down to within spitting distance of what foreign-owned manufacturers pay their U.S. employees, Bob King, the new president of the UAW, already faces intense pressure to roll back some of the concessions.

Dealing with any new wage demands will be particularly sticky because starting in the middle of this decade, the automakers must comply with new CAFE standards, which raise the required fuel efficiency of cars from 27.5 miles per gallon to 39 mpg, with similar increases for trucks. The administration says the new rules will raise the cost of a car by $1,300, but data from the National Research Council suggest that the real cost could be at least twice that. With those higher costs, GM—which still has a major brand handicap—may have trouble making inroads into the small-car market.

These factors will weigh on investors’ minds as they decide what price they are willing to pay for the initial public offering of shares that GM has scheduled for this winter. For the taxpayers to get their money back, the company needs to end up valued at about $70 billion. This is theoretically possible—but doesn’t seem very likely.
Still, McArdle admits that the bailout wasn't the nightmare scenario she and many others envisioned.
The bailout wasn’t a good idea, and it will probably cost billions. But the government wastes billions of dollars every year, because for the United States, $1 billion adds up to the equivalent of less than one venti latte per American. At least in this case, we got something in return: a functional car company, resurrected from the ashes of the old GM’s bloated carcass. Americans probably won’t notice the few extra dollars they spent on the bailout. But they may eventually be glad when another shiny new Buick Enclave rolls off the Lansing assembly line, and into their driveway.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it was enough for Mickey Kaus to call her a "cheap date" on newsweek.com because she showed even a small level of enthusiasm for G.M.'s prospects after visiting a plant.
If libertarian Atlantic writer McArdle wants to take a trip to Lansing, Michigan, and suddenly be impressed with GM's industrial vigor, deciding that maybe the bailout wasn't such a bad idea after all--well, OK! I once visited a GM plant as a journalist and was impressed with its vigor, and the innovative new car they were about to manufacture. The name of that car? Pontiac Fiero.
That prompted McArdle to clarify that she thought the bailout was still really, really stupid.
But that is not an endorsement of the bailouts, which remain an expensive boondoggle. We could have given every autoworker $100,000, offered retraining and relocation assistance to tens of thousands of employees at their suppliers, and still come out ahead on this deal. Had we done this, we would have helped eliminate some of the overcapacity in the global auto industry, and sent a clear signal to CEOs that they should not emulate Rick Wagoner's pigheaded refusal to prepare for a possible reorganization.
The moral of this story? If you say something positive about G.M. or the concept of protecting U.S. jobs — no matter how tepid — you better be prepared to back it up. Or start back tracking.

Flint Photos: Joel Rash's Room With a View

Joel Rash, a longtime advocate for downtown Flint, has an office with an impressive view of Saginaw Street and a great collection of Flint memorabilia. (What's more valuable: A Rick Leach highball glass or an AutoWorld tumbler?)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Unscientific Study of Flint

I've drawn some very unscientific conclusions after three years of blogging about Flint:

1. Inexplicably, readers just don't get as excited as I do about urban planning issues. (Yes, my feelings are hurt.)

2. Posts on drinking, party stores and fake I.D.'s really seem to resonate with the target audience.

3. People love any items related to Angelo's Coney Island, Halo Burger/Kewpee's, or Slim Chipley, sometimes referred to as "The Flavor Deputy."

Can we come up with any grand conclusions about our beloved hometown based on these findings?

G.M. Posts Profit Ahead of Initial Public Offering

General Motors will post $2 billion in profits for the 3rd quarter and expects to end the year in the black for the first time since 2004.

Nick Bunkley of The New York Times reports:

New models, including redesigned versions of the Buick Lacrosse sedan and Chevrolet EquinoxChevrolet Cruze, have been brisk, and G.M. is about a month away from introducing the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid car that it says represents the company’s future direction. crossover vehicle, have been well-received by critics and consumers, to the point that G.M. has struggled to keep up with demand. Early sales of a critical new small car, the

G.M.’s public stock offering, expected to occur Nov. 18 and be worth at least $10.6 billion, will allow the federal government to begin recouping the bulk of its $49.5 billion investment in the automaker. The government plans to initially sell about a third of its 61 percent stake in G.M., in the hope that it can divest the remaining portion as the shares’ value increase.

No comment yet from Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, who opposed helping the Big Three, saying "This is a dead end. It's a road to nowhere and it's a big burden on the American taxpayer."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Village Corner in Ann Arbor: Purveyor of Fine Wines and Fake I.D.'s

The much-loved Village Corner party store in Ann Arbor, along with its impressive wall of confiscated fake I.D.'s with the eyes X'd out, is gone, the victim of a development project that includes a high-rise student apartment building. Many Flintoids will remember this place. Mike Wilkinson of The Detroit News reports:

Dick Scheer and his wife, Sally, have run the store for 40 years, enjoying a remarkable run fueled by students' thirst for beer and liquor and older adults' growing love of wine. They tapped into a wine craze that started in the 1960s and has grown for generations. "We hitched our wagon to that," said Scheer, 67, a graduate of U-M.

A few things have changed. Today's students are also interested in microbrews as well as wine. Years ago, students walked right past the wine and headed for the coolers. "A lot of the students today are really savvy," he said.

While the beer accounted for the most sales, the wine helped the owners weather the ebbs and flows of the school year and made them famous; the store is known around the country for its selection of smaller vintners from Europe.

Don't worry. Scheer plans to reopen at another location.

Coming Home to Michigan

MichAGAIN is working to get expatriates to return home to the Great Lake State.

Genesee Towers: It Won't Go Down Without a Very Expensive Fight

Genesee Towers is Flint's tallest and arguably its ugliest building. But the abandoned eyesore at 120 E. First Street near the venerable Mott Foundation Building is also the biggest example Flint's fall from prosperity. Here's a timeline of the ongoing saga based on the excellent coverage by The Flint Journal's Kristen Longley:

1968: Genesee Towers built to house the former Genesee Merchants Bank.

2001: Owner V. Kumar Vemulapalli is first cited by the city for code violations.

2002: Building is vacant.

2004: City condemns the 19-story building. "The building has to come down, or someone's going to get killed," says former Mayor Don Williamson.

2004: Kumar Vemulapalli sues the city for condemning the building.

2006: City and Vemulapalli agree to enter arbitration to determine the value of the property. "By agreeing to that process, [Williamson] effectively agreed to pay whatever the arbitrator said was the fair market value," current City Attorney Pete Bade told the Journal this fall.

2007: City closes traffic lanes surrounding the building to prevent injuries from falling debris.

2007: Arbitrator awards Vemulapalli more than $6 million, including legal fees, plus interest.

2007 - 2009: The case is appealed multiple times with the city arguing the arbitrator exceeded his scope of authority in reaching the decision.

2009: In December, the Court of Appeals upholds the arbitration award.

2010: In June, the Michigan Supreme Court refuses to hear city's final appeal of the Court of Appeals decision.

2010: In October, City Assessor William Fowler announces that state law requires the city to put a millage on the property tax rolls to pay for the judgment, which has now climbed to more than $8 million. While the exact amount is yet to be determined, it is estimated that the tax will cost the average Flint homeowner $150.

2010: In November, the Genesee Landlords Association sues the city over the plan to tax property owners in December to pay for the judgment. "We want to make sure before they spread this $8 million to the taxpayers that the city truly does not have any cash to pay it with," says Terry Hanson, executive director of the landlords association.

To be continued...

The G.M. Bailout: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Rick Wagoner and Steven Rattner. Which one really saved G.M.?

The New Yorker
's Malcolm Gladwell has an excellent review of Overhaul, the chronicle of the G.M. and Chrysler bailouts by former Auto Czar Steven Rattner. But while Rattner views the bailout as a personal triumph, Gladwell finds an unlikely hero in G.M.'s resurgence — the oft-maligned Rick Wagoner. Gladwell writes:
Wagoner was not a perfect manager, by any means. Unlike Alan Mulally, the C.E.O. at Ford, he failed to build up cash reserves in anticipation of the economic downturn, which might have kept his company out of bankruptcy. He can be faulted for riding the S.U.V. wave too long, and for being too slow to develop a credible small-car alternative. But, especially given the mess that Wagoner inherited when he took over, in 2000—and the inherent difficulty of running a company that had to pay pension and medical benefits to half a million retirees—he accomplished a tremendous amount during his eight-year tenure. He cut the workforce from three hundred and ninety thousand to two hundred and seventeen thousand. He built a hugely profitable business in China almost from scratch: a G.M. joint venture is the leading automaker in what is now the world’s largest automobile market. In 1995, it took forty-six man-hours to build the typical G.M. car, versus twenty-nine hours for the typical Toyota. Under Wagoner’s watch, the productivity gap closed almost entirely.

The Housing Crisis: Mark Guerette and the Realities of Home Ownership

The New York Times continues to examine the nuances of the housing meltdown with a story on Mark Guerette, a Floridian who is claiming blighted, abandoned homes, fixing them up, and renting them to needy families at low rates.

Catharine Skipp and Damien Cave report:
In a sign of the odd ingenuity that has grown from the real estate collapse, he is banking on an 1869 Florida statute that says the bundle of properties he has seized will be his if the owners do not claim them within seven years.

A version of the same law was used in the 1850s to claim possession of runaway slaves, though Mr. Guerette, 47, a clean-cut mortgage broker, sees his efforts as heroic. “There are all these properties out there that could be used for good,” he said.

Given Flint's abandoned housing problem, the story certainly resonated with me. The only problem? Guerette could end up in jail, and his tenants could end up on the street.

Read the full article here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halo Burger: Past, Present and Future by Bernard Rosenberg

Flint Expatriate Bernard Rosenberg reports on Halo Burger after a recent trip to the Vehicle City:

“Hamburg, pickle on top! Makes your heart go flippity-flop!” “Seven days without a Halo Burger makes one weak!” Make no mistake about it. If you do not recognize these expressions, you should. They have been wrapped around Michigan’s #1 hamburger for years. They come from Bill Thomas, the founder of the most tasty and most remembered two-handed prize to ever wind up in the hands of its Flint aficionados for darn near 80 years. Nothing ever rivaled a Kewpee Burger and nothing ever will.

Brought to the Vehicle City by Samuel Blair in 1923, this burger had its origins on Harrison Street during the early 19th Century. Factories boomed and employees flocked. Production lines grew as fast as appetites and Thomas started as an onion peeler working for Blair in 1938. On April fool’s Day in 1944, Thomas moved into management, and by 1958 he bought up the entire chain. In those early days the burgers were called Kewpees, a name held since inception, but was changed due to a conflict in royalty rights and on May 12th of 1967, the Halo Burger was born.

As Flint ex-pats we remember this burger. We grew up with it. There wasn’t a game on a Friday or a movie on a Saturday whereby this sandwich never failed to compliment our passions. This burger was a part of us, all the way down to its deluxe version with olives and the standard version delivered ”heavy on the roses” with extra onions all during our high school days. Forget McDonalds and let Wendy and Burger King dance to oblivion. The Halo Burger was our burger!

We all remember the South Saginaw Street restaurant location and it is still there. That 1929 Mediterranean style building was constructed by Vernor’s Ginger Ale and the adjoining parking lot mural of the gnomes painted on the Sharp Hardware/Peerless Mattress & Furniture Company building is still preserved. It’s all part of Flint history and every single one of us enjoyed it. Some things are destined to remain the same and never change. Yet others are destined to change. I visited Halo Burgers in October of 2010. After all those years the aroma of that sandwich is now drifting in the wind. Halo Burgers has been sold and it is being franchised for ownership opportunity. Will our burger remain the same?

I do not know, and that question was shared with me by Bill Thomas’s son and last owner, Terry Thomas. Terry offered up the sale of the business because his son had no interest in third generation management. After a lifetime of flippity flop and onions on top the Thomas family had enough. They sold it to another Flint entrepreneur and now life goes on. I actually knew Terry. My family had done business with him and his father for over 40 years. I cannot begin to tell you how many tons of Spanish onions were slung by my family shoulders onto theirs, and that business association forever lingers just as surely as the memory of the hamburgers we all enjoyed.

The future of our favorite hamburger remains to be seen and tasted. I won’t go into details but I will tell you that after my reunion with Terry I told him that he had more than done his share for Flint and to reap the rewards his family had so deservedly earned. We actually hugged one another and embraced in a farewell of arms, so to speak. His went for another cup of coffee, and mine went for another heavy on the roses to go. Though the flavor of either may change, the memory of the taste of both will forever last.

Bernard R. Rosenberg is a graduate of Flint Southwestern, class of 1967. His family business distributed fresh produce to Flint and surrounding communities for over a half century. Bernard had a career in public education and retired in 2008. He currently is an author, publisher, and destination travel consultant. Visit his website at www.alaskanauthor.com or e-mail at alaskanauthor@comcast.net.

Flint Artifacts: Genesee County American Cancer Society Bike-a-thon (Late '70s)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Memories of Sparky Anderson

A reader remembers Sparky Anderson:
God bless you Sparky. I’ll remember you jumping over the chalk on the way to the mound; Talking to fans at the 1988 Fenway opener and throwing your arm around journeyman Paul Gibson making his debut before the player introductions and an epic Clemens/Morris matchup. There was your trademark half-wave and grin offered to Tigers fans after a sweep at Comiskey in the eighties. And were those tears in your eyes as you waved to the fans on your last visit to Fenway?
Here's more Sparky at the 25th anniversary of Detroit's 1984 World Series win.

Sparky Anderson, R.I.P.

Tiger legend and Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson has died.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Auto Sales Up for Almost Everyone in October

Who was the only major automaker to report a decline in sales last month?

Hint: It's not G.M.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Liberal Bastions of Flint, Detroit and Gogebic?

According to The New York Times election map, only three counties in Michigan went for Democrat Virg Bernero over Republican Rick Snyder in the governor's race — Genesee (Flint), Wayne (Detroit), and Gogebic (no idea), way up in da U.P., eh.

UPDATE: Gogebic County = Ironwood. Thanks, Jan.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Washtenaw (Ann Arbor) and Ingham (Lansing) also went Democratic in the end. Whew, I was thinking I'd really lost touch with old Michigan. Thanks, Will.

Kildee in Close Race

Rep. Dale Kildee leads his Republican challenger John Kupiec by less than 3,000 votes with 53 percent of precincts reporting. No idea where those precincts are located, so if the Flint votes haven't been tallied, this contest may not be as close as it appears now.

UPDATE: Kildee maintains a lead of over 3,000 votes with 69 percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 2: Kildee still holding lead of more than 4,000 votes with 77 percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 3: Kildee up by more than 7,000 now with 90 percent reporting.

UPDATE 4: Kildee wins 53% to 44.4%