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Gardening: From the Paleolithic to the Neolithic

Over the 4th of July weekend, I enjoyed a visit from Michelle Lin, landscape architect and former Detroiter who now lives in NYC and builds rooftop gardens. As we talked, I thought about how new societies evolve from gardening, and about how ingenious human beings have been over the millennia in finding new spaces for gardening when space on the ground becomes unavailable. Two-and-a-half million years ago, ...

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WATER: City officials quiet on shut-offs; DWSD dysfunction victimizes many

Although Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr promised citizens that emergency management would mean improved city services, their program of water shut offs has left thousands of residents without the most essential service: water. Citizens who lined up outside the west side DWSD payment center, July 8, told stories revealing DWSD’s dysfunction more than the customers’ delinquency. DWSD reports ...

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What’s going on at Eastern Market?

If you have been down to Eastern Market lately you may have noticed a number of road and bridge construction projects. They are part of a project called Link Detroit that is comprised of four major elements: - Extension and connections of greenways Phase 2 of the Dequindre Cut and Phase 4 of the Midtown Loop will soon be completed. When they are connected at the northeast corner of Wilkins and Orleans you w ...

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At 99: Thoughts. Thanks. Questions.

To begin with, my thoughts this week are with my friend, Micah Fialka-Feldman, who will be undergoing open heart surgery in Ann Arbor. Next, I want to thank the folks who called, sent cards or came to wish me a Happy 99, last weekend. Special thanks to filmmaker Grace Lee and her team for producing “The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs,” and to PBS/POV for showing it nationally. ...

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Water choices

The pursuit of profits is endangering the health and wellbeing of everyone in Detroit. What Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Jones Day and the corporate powers they serve termed a business necessity is being revealed to the world as a violation of the most basic human right to water. This crisis was orchestrated to make the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department more attractive to buyers. Claiming they are not “ ...

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Can they cook?

Many people are familiar with the concept of biodiversity leading to a stronger food system, but this concept needs to be expanded to include diversity in the kitchen. Living in what some consider the most segregated major city in the U.S., Detroiters are also experiencing the ill-effects of a lack of integration of minorities and women into foodservice positions other than pastry chefs and line cooks. ...

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Welcome to the Boggs School

Stepping in, larger-than-life portraits of young faces greet me — red, orange, blue, green — smiling as if they have a secret that they are ready to share. Looking up, I see whimsical cloud kites adorning the ceiling. Welcome to the James and Grace Lee Boggs School! My first impression as a prospective parent was that this school is pretty cool. I had no idea the amount of awesomeness in store for our famil ...

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How did you get that name?

Deciding which ancestral line you want to research can be difficult. One of the greatest challenges my genealogy students at Wayne County Community College District have in researching their ancestors is finding them using a surname (last name). Researching the spelling of surnames in how they sound, as opposed to how we spell them today, can be a painstaking challenge like trying to find a needle in a hays ...

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National PBS premieres Grace Lee Boggs film

“Grace Lee is like the John Smith of Asian America,” says Missouri-born filmmaker Grace Lee of her very common name. As a post-graduate film student at UCLA, Lee embarked on a journey to simultaneously document the lives of women with her same name and challenge stereotypes about Asian American women prevalent in mainstream media. The resulting film, “The Grace Lee Project,” was released in 2005. ...

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Future time

Time is slippery in Detroit. Sometimes you turn a corner and step into the future. It happens in early summer walking through the Cass Corridor, coming upon an unexpected iris garden, determined to provide wild beauty in the face of encroachment. It happens in the fall in the countless celebrations by urban gardeners who have made it through another year to harvest. It happens in the gatherings across the c ...

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