It was good while it lasted...

Within a span of a few days, Detroit sports fans were stunned by two very big loses - Tiger Stadium and the Wings' subpar performance against the Penguins in the cup finals. Granted that Tiger Stadium has become yet another eyesore in the city, its mere presence (what was left of it anyway) was alone enough to keep hope alive in fans of the possibilities of the restoration of the old ballpark on Michigan and Trumbull. However, a final vote was taken to ensure its complete demolition. As far as the Red Wings are concerned, their performance can be subbed up in three words: lack of heart. Pittsburgh showed they wanted it more by pulling off a must-win in Game 6 and then stunning the Wings and their sea of red fans in their own backyard in a Game 7 that did not live up to the hype. (Does hockey even really get hyped up anymore though?) Regardless, Detroit fans are left to ponder what's next as we endure a long summer of Tigers Baseball and yet another high-blood-pressure causing Lions season until the Wings hit the Joe again.

DEMF - Movement 2009

Whether you call it Movement 2009, DEMF, or Techno Fest, the one thing that remains the same is its impact on the city of Detroit. Since its inception, DEMF has not only provided a very eventful holiday weekend for Metro Detroiters, it has also made a name for itself as being one of the most elite music festivals in the world. Techno heads flock to Downtown Detroit from across the world to lose themselves in the music for a few days. Does it sound cliche? Of course it does, but it's pretty easy to lose yourself when you're part of a mass stoned-tripping balls-type crowd that's only concern is having a good time. Sounds like something the D desperately needs more of if you ask me.

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© MoTray - GM Eliminating about 1,100 Jobs

Cuts Part Of Larger Plan To Cut 2,600

POSTED: Friday, May 15, 2009

UPDATED: 5:17 pm EDT May 15, 2009

General Motors Corp. on Friday told about 1,100 dealers, or nearly 20 percent of its U.S. network, that they will be fired by the automaker late next year because their sales are weak.

GM's announcement is more bad economic news for dealers, communities and businesses still reeling from Chrysler's similar nationwide dealer cuts a day earlier. Both automakers are scrambling to reorganize and stay alive in a severe recession that has devastated sales of cars and trucks.

While GM doesn't own the dealers, its network is too big, causing dealers to compete with each other and giving shoppers too much leverage to talk down prices and hurt the company's future sales.

"Too many dealers, in actuality, are a problem," Mark LaNeve, GM's vice president of North American sales and marketing, said in a conference call with reporters.

GM declined to reveal which dealers will be eliminated and left it up to franchise owners to report the decision to customers.

The cuts are part of a larger GM plan to drop 2,600, or nearly 42 percent of its 6,200 dealerships as the automaker tries to restructure outside of bankruptcy court and become profitable again. Thousands of jobs will likely be lost and governments will lose untold dollars in tax revenue as dealerships are forced to close.

Besides the 1,100 dealership cuts, the company will provide updates to about 470 Saturn, Hummer and Saab dealerships on the status of those brands, which it plans to sell.

Friday's cuts will not be the last. GM said it expects to lose more dealers through attrition. Ultimately, about 90 percent of the remaining dealerships will stay with GM, the company said.

FedEx letters bearing the bad news began arriving Friday morning at GM franchises around the country. The letter states that dealers were judged on sales, customer service scores, location, condition of facilities and other criteria.

"Based on our review and current foreseeable market conditions and your dealership's historical performance, we do not see that GM have a productive business relationship with (your dealership) over the long term," according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

However, the letter left open the possibility that the decision could be reversed.

"Please understand that our planning in this regard is not finalized, and we are prepared to give you until the end of the month to submit any information you would like us to see," the letter said.

"I would like to have the call that everything is OK because our people are on edge," said Bob Mechigian, owner of Bob Saks Pontiac Buick GMC.

Holiday Chevrolet Dealer President Colleen McDonald told Local she is angry that GM implied it is the under performing dealerships, because her dealership has top rated sales people and great numbers, but still got a termination letter.

"I don't want to have sour grapes because it is what it is. But I am just concerned for my employees," said McDonald.

Both Chrysler and GM say they are cutting the number of dealers because they have too many outlets that are too close to each other, and the competition drives down prices. But as the ranks of dealers thin and competition decreases, that likely will mean higher prices for car and truck buyers.

As GM and Chrysler lost market share to Japanese and other overseas brands, the automakers, as well as Ford Motor Co., ended up with too many dealerships. Many are barely getting by and can't afford to upgrade their facilities or hire the best personnel to compete with the Japanese, who have far fewer dealerships.

With fewer dealers, consumers won't see as much competition, said Aaron Bragman, an automotive industry analyst with the consulting firm IHS Global Insight.

"No longer will people be able to shop between three or four dealers within 15 minutes of each other for the best cutthroat price," he said.

GM knows it will lose sales in the short-term, but over the long haul, fewer dealers will mean higher per-vehicle profits, Bragman said.

"As the dealers go, so goes the company in terms of financial health," he said.

In the 1980s, GM, Chrysler and Ford controlled more than 75 percent of U.S. sales, but that dropped to 48 percent last year. GM alone held nearly 51 percent of the market in 1962, but only 22 percent last year.

Bragman said GM likely will go into bankruptcy protection on June 1, but it's starting to negotiate deals ahead of the filing to speed up the Chapter 11 process.

"GM has been ... acting as if they are negotiating a prepackaged bankruptcy," he said.

DPS School Closing List

Can be found at - 33 Detroit School Principles Fired

POSTED: Friday, May 15, 2009

UPDATED: 8:05 pm EDT May 15, 2009

DETROIT -- The troubled Detroit Public School district is going to have a new look come September.

The emergency financial manager for Detroit's public schools Robert Bobb announced a major shake-up among principals at schools across the district.

Under Bobb's new plan, 33 principals will effectively be fired when their contracts are not renewed. Another 37 principals will get new assignments and 11 others will retire.

A nationwide search will be conducted to fill 10 of those principal positions at some of the city's most troubled schools.

Under his appointment by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Bobb has the power to hire and fire employees and manage all expenditures in the Detroit Public School system.

Bobb continues to work in restructuring the district. "We will look at all of the options available to us under the law to achieve dramatically different achievement outcomes, not for one child, but for every child in this school system," Bobb said.

Robert Bobb announced earlier this week that 29 schools in the district would close at the end of the current academic year.

Calling the city's troubled public schools "ground zero" for education in the United States, Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday promised federal help if leaders are willing to make necessary changes to improve the system.

The appointee of President Barack Obama was blunt in his criticisms of the Detroit Public Schools, which for years has been rife with mismanagement and few budget controls.

Duncan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, newly elected Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Bobb spoke with students at Cody High School about improving education.

The city was Duncan's second stop on his national "Listening and Learning Tour."

"I think Detroit is ground zero education in this country," he later told reporters. "Detroit is New Orleans two years ago without Hurricane Katrina, and I feel a tremendous sense of both urgency and outrage when you have two-thirds of your students dropping out… and dramatically more freshmen than seniors "

He said the district's chronically poor graduation and high dropout rates were unacceptable.

"The children deserve something dramatically better," Duncan said.

Duncan has asked that Detroit look to other cities, such as Chicago, whose educational models have worked.

If that is done and Detroit applies for federal funds, Granholm said she believes Duncan will be "very supportive" of helping the city's schools.

"He's got billions of dollars in Race to the Top Recovery Act money that they are willing to invest in the cities that are willing to make the changes necessary to get the results we want," Granholm said.