Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thought for the Day

Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thought for the Day

Some people create their own storms, then get upset when it rains.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thought for the Day

The climb upward will be easier if you take others along with you.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thought for the Day

Wisdom comes from taking the time to study yourself, to know why you are the person you are. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thought for the Day

Decide where you are going and how to get there. Then make a start from where you now stand. 

Taylor Home Near All of the New Movie Screens

13650 Pardee Rd, Taylor, MI 48180
See update at end.

With all of the discussion last week about new movie theaters coming to Taylor (see here and here), we thought maybe one of our intrepid readers may be interested in buying a home close to all of the cinema excitement.  So here is a listing for that person.

13650 Pardee, Taylor, MI  48180
1 bedroom, 1 bath, 3 car garage

This listing is instructional in how NOT to use photos to promote your listing.  See below after the jump.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thought for the Day

Losers quit when they're tired. Winners quit when they've won.

New Emergency Manager Doesn't Understand Municipal Finance

I hate to say someone making $150,000/year in taxpayer money does not understand a key part of his job, especially when Lincoln Park residents are affected by his decisions, but it's true here.

New Emergency Manager Alan Coulter gave an interview to the News Herald on his second day on the job.   Among his observations was that he did not know how much more cost-cutting could be done, but that he thought a key was to bring crime under control and grow property values.  He reasons that the increased property values will raise the tax base and catch up to costs as time goes on.

The problem with that reasoning is the peculiar (in Michigan) cross-effects of Proposal A and the Headlee Amendment, both products of the 1990s.  Regular readers of this blog will remember this discussion from previous posts.  The point is, property tax revenues can go up by inflation or five per cent, whichever is less.  And, as property values go up, the overall tax rate goes down a fraction.  So, while property values can go up and up, tax revenues from them in Lincoln Park (and everywhere else in Michigan) are going to creep slightly higher falling further and further behind inflation each year.  This is only counteracted if you have a lot of undeveloped land, which Lincoln Park does not.

But Coulter does not understand this.  Or at least he did not on his second day on the job.  You can't blame the guy, but it is an issue that other qualified people who were not appointed would know.  Betcha this was not in his EM orientation packet from the Governor's office.  He's probably a smart guy and will learn it soon, though.  Then it will be on to Plan B.

On the other hand, Coulter should be commended for saying he was going to work with the elected mayor and council rather than just make all of the decisions himself (which he is allowed to do under the law).  Even if the advisory-committee training wheels (like in Ecorse today) are put on Lincoln Park when he leaves in 18 months or so, these are the people who will eventually have to assume responsibility for keeping the city out of further trouble down the road.

BTW, he is an appointee of the state who are paying his salary.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fix That Leaking Toilet!

Cross-section of toilet

I'm not going to go into a lot of details, but toilets are one thing you overlook until they aren't working right.  If they're leaking or running too much, you should try to fix it.  The Family Handyman offers some solutions to the usual problems.

Photo 7: Prep for the extender ring

I have seen too many instances of unrepaired leaking toilets that have rotted the floor they sat on.  It would be so much easier to address the issue before that kind of damage is done.


Kenny Rogers Mansion Not For Gamblers

House, Celebrity house for sale:

Kenny Rogers, successful country singer, is putting his Atlanta-area ranch up for sale.  Apparently he has decided it's time to fold 'em.

As the picture from Bankrate says below, he is asking $4.8 million.  For that, you get a great place, from the looks of it.  Six bedrooms, twelve baths (8 full), and almost 12,000 square feet.  Sounds like a great place for entertaining, with a pool  that has a swim-up bar (no need to walk away unless the dealing is done).

Celebrity house for sale:, Kenny Rogers: © PR Photos.

There is also a home theater and a basketball court.  Yep, this is not a place where you keep to yourself.

We are kind of liking the style of this place.  It is so inviting and warm.  Like this hallway, for example:

Foyer, Celebrity house for sale:

Thought for the Day

You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

North Branch Tudor has Russian Flair

A curving staircase goes to a second-level balcony where there's room for a library or an orchestra.
Even the floors are awesome in this room.

Ed May, a businessman who spent time each year in Russia on business, bought this 7,000 square foot house in 1973 and has constantly been changing and upgrading it.  The result is a house filled with detailed workmanship with a Russian accent.

Some listing-type details: 38 acres of land in North Branch, Michigan.  Heated five-car garage plus two other garages.  Guesthouse with six bedrooms.  Outdoor pool with a cabana.  Sauna in a separate building. Fishing pond on the property.  All-glass atrium.  Asking price a shade below $3 million.

The home is full of special touches like classic Burberry wallpaper, stunning greatroom or ballroom with large balcony.
But this house requires a specific buyer, one who is willing to accept someone else's decorating, because there are so many details in the design of this house.

Take the Brazilian cherry floors in the living room, for example.  That's not too unusual, but it is in a herringbone pattern, which is spectacular.  The ceiling has hand-painted highlights.  There are painted and wood details all over the house.

The room has 11 alcoves, which May filled with paintings of the 12 apostles. (Peter and Paul had to double up.) The owner commissioned these from a Russian priest who is a famous iconographer.
This kind of extreme detailing is common here.
May and his wife are pictured in a painting on one wall in a sleigh with St. Peter nearby.  It's going to be tough for the next buyer to paint over that, so you're probably looking at the old owners while you live there.

Thought for the Day

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. -Abraham Lincoln

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thought for the Day

Opportunity will not interest itself in the person who isn’t interested in it.

Tenant Red Flags

If their current place looks like this, they will live like that in your place later.

If you're a tenant, don't do these things.  If you are a landlord, watch out for these things; it will not end well.

Dave Van Horn has managed rental properties for over 25 years, and has developed some sure signs of trouble to come.  I have seen some of these signs in tenants I approved when I did not know better.  Those were the bad tenants that I later had to file eviction proceedings on.  Had I known then, I could have avoided them and saved myself a lot of money.

Easiest one: if they don't have the security deposit up front, they will have trouble paying the rent later.  I learned that one the hard way.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thought for the Day

If you don’t know why you failed, you are no wiser than when you began.

Update: Coulter is Lincoln Park Emergency Manager

Brad Coulter
Brad Coulter has been named by Governor Rick Snyder as the Emergency Manager in Lincoln Park.  He comes from a background in the private sector and is known as a corporate turnaround expert.

We posted earlier this week that this move was rumored to be imminent.  As it turned out, the announcement came out later that same day.

We must confess some curiosity as to why Lincoln Park's City Council took the unusual step of asking for an Emergency Manager from the state when they probably could have operated under a consent decree and retained local control.  Instead, the local elected leaders voted to just abdicate their authority and give up.  For most of them, they were there and voting when the deficit budgets were approved in prior years, and now they will not be making the tough choices to fix the fiscal carnage.

We don't approve of that sort of action, and hope they will not continue to draw a paycheck for what is now a symbolic role in their local community that they served so poorly.

In any case, good luck to Mr. Coulter and the citizens of Lincoln Park.


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Radon: Silent Odorless Killer

Safety Siren Pro Series 3 digital continuous radon meter.

A silent, colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can cause cancer.

You might have got a radon test when you bought your current house, and that was the last time you thought about this dangerous gas and the cancer it can cause.  Think now.  Get a detector (they're cheap!) and educate yourself here.

Don't just brush by this and not act.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Robbie Krieger's House and Treehouse

Studio: Robby Krieger’s California Home

Robbie Krieger, amazing guitarist from The Doors, gave HGTV a peek inside his southern California home.  Since I am a huge Doors fan going back to my youth, I have to share it with you here.

In his Doors days, Krieger was a popular fan choice for favorite guitar player.  Keep in mind that this was during the same time as Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton were all playing.  Pretty distinguished company.

Guitars: Robby Krieger’s California Home

Thought for the Day

Don't compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to the person from yesterday.

Friday, July 4, 2014

State Road Projects Ignore Downriver

The Michigan Department of Transportation list of road repairs, all $114,942,610 of it, has been released.  And, except for a small project in Allen Park and one in Riverview, it virtually ignores Downriver.  

Yes, there is a $3 million appropriation for Allen Road in Woodhaven, to fix the railroad crossing that every day ties up trafffic and causes ambulance and police nightmares.  But that money is nowhere near enough to complete the project and will possibly never be accessed.  It's like me promising my 15-year old $5,000 towards a new Escalade, but he needs to find the rest.  If he's driving a Cadillac, it won't be because of me.

By the way, the original request was for $5 million to rework utilities at the crossing when they widened it.  I guess they have enough to move half a pipe.

The Michigan legislature came up with this list, which oddly enough allocates virtually all of the money to districts represented by Republican legislators who control both houses of that legislature.  So they spent it on their own districts in high-traffic locales as Clyde Township and Gogebic County, both of which get projects more expensive that the two Downriver improvements.  

The potential Allen Road grant has only come after continuous protests from leaders and citizens over the problems caused by the train crossing, including petitions, signs, and an active Facebook campaign.  Although Rep. Somerville is taking credit for it, the real credit should go to Woodhaven Mayor Pat Odette who has been a leader in the fight for a new train crossing.

Shame on the Republicans for putting politics over good government.


Thought for the Day

Our Independence has been won and kept with blood.  Our imperfect but best form of government has proven itself resilient.  Let us celebrate.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Breaking: Lincoln Park Gets Emergency Manager Today

Rumor has it that Governor Snyder will appoint an Emergency Manager for Lincoln Park today.  No details to share, yet.  This move has been expected.

Movie theater Coming Across Street From Another Theater Not Far From Another Theater (Update)

Rendering of the Cinemark NextGen theater, planned for the former Mervyns space at Southland Center in Taylor.The owners of Southland Mall announced that they will be tearing down the vacant Mervyn's (which I never went to and did not know had closed) and will be building a cineplex movie theater with leather recliners and digital sound and stuff like that.  It will be operated by Cinemark.

That would be great, except for the announcement the day before (discussed in this blog) that MJR would be putting a cineplex movie theater with leather recliners and digital sound and stuff like that at the former Star Taylor/Spotlight location, which is on the other side of Eurkea Road from Southland.

Anybody think the two can operate virtually identical operations across from each other?  I don't.  I'm not even sure that both of them will actually happen, now.

MJR also operates at their Southgate location, a mile or two away.  And I already had my doubts about MJR keeping two places so close together in the long run.


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Freep article:

Thought for the Day

Don’t be afraid to aim high when choosing your life’s goal, for no matter how high you aim, your achievements may fall below it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thought for the Day

The person who works harder when the boss isn’t around is headed straight for a better job.

Have We Found Batman and Superman in Detroit?

Construction near Howard and Sixth Streets in Detroit on June 26, 2014 could be a signal 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice' will be filming in the Motor City this summer. The movie is already being made in metro Detroit, but filming thus far has largely been out of the public view inside Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac.

A parcel downtown with construction sprouting of an apparent temporary nature?  Shipping crates nearby? Could it be a movie set in the making?  Considering this was the same piece of property that was used filming the latest "Transformers" movie, it should not be shocking that Sixth and Howard (near the old State of Michigan building) in Detroit will be used for the upcoming "Batman vs. Superman" blockbuster.

We know star Ben Affleck is in town, so work must have already begun.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

But Will it be More Fun?

MJR Taylor will take over the old Star Theater location in Taylor, right across from Southland mall.  I will warn you that details are kind of sketchy at this point.

Speaking as someone who lives in Brownstown, it will be nice to have a shorter drive to an MJR theater, but the drive is only a little bit shorter.  Besides, there is is still an Emagine in Woodhaven.

My first thought was to wonder how this would affect MJR Southgate.  Apparently, MJR feels the two locations can thrive together.  At least that is what I would like to think.  An alternate thought would be that the Southgate location lease may be coming due and the Taylor location is cheaper.  I guess only time will tell.


Thought for the Day

Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is.