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Detroit’s Own: Joe Crawford has jersey retired at Renaissance

MICHIGAN CHRONICLE — No one will ever wear the No. 32 jersey for Detroit Renaissance basketball again.

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By Branden Hunter

No one will ever wear the No. 32 jersey for Detroit Renaissance basketball again.

It was raised to the rafters Friday afternoon at the high school during a game against Cody, in honor of Phoenix great Joseph Crawford Jr. He played at the west side of Detroit high school from 2000-2004, leading them to the program’s first ever state title as a senior and a perfect 27-0 season. Crawford also won two Detroit Public School League (PSL) city titles in 2003 and 2004, with running mate Malik Hairston.

PSL basketball in the early 2000s was as good as it gets, and Crawford was one of the best from that era.

“This moment means everything to me,” said Crawford, who accepted the honor along with his family, former coaches and teammates. “This is what you dream about once you pick up a basketball, to have your jersey retired at every level. This is very special for people to remember and honor those from that era.”

Crawford, 32, said he found out his jersey would be getting retired from new Renaissance head coach John D. White. They were both taking in a Detroit-Mercy game, when White informed him.

“Joe is very special to this school and in the hearts of all of those who have ever come through this basketball program,” said White, who took over the Renaissance program last summer. “When I first took this job, I always wanted to give back to those who gave before us. Joe Crawford was the first person we put on the list and he’s why we are here tonight.”

Crawford anchored one of the best Michigan high school basketball teams of all-time, along with Hairston. They were both ranked in the top-10 nationally in 2004, a class that featured Dwight Howard, Shaun Livingston, Josh Smith, Rudy Gay, J.R. Smith, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rajon Rondo, Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford, among others.

He made all the All-City and All-State teams that season and played in the 2004 McDonald’s All-American Game with Hairston. They both were originally committed to Michigan for college, but Hairston took his talents west to Oregon and Crawford committed to Kentucky January 26, 2004.

For Big Blue Nation (2004-2008), Crawford averaged 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game and was named to the All-SEC Second Team as a senior. In the 2008 NBA Draft, Crawford was drafted 58th overall in the 2nd round by the Los Angeles Lakers. He was waived by the team and played in two NBA games for the Knicks and had a short stint with the Sacramento Kings. He also played professionally in the NBA D-League (now G-League) and overseas.

“I picked the basketball back up about a month and a half ago to stay in shape,” said Crawford. “Every time I pick the basketball up, people start calling. So, I’m going to play in this league in New York to stay active and keep my heart in it.”

Crawford comes from a rich basketball tradition. His two younger brothers both played college basketball, Jordan at Indiana and Xavier and Jalen at Bradley and Valdosta State. Joe and Jordan both played in the NBA and Jalen has launched a rap career under the name, “Willie Mac”, performing his song “Detroit’s Own” at his brother’s special ceremony. Sylvia Crawford said her two younger boys followed in the footsteps of their older brother.

“Joe was the leader of the bunch,” she said. “He taught his brothers everything and he was obedient to the process. He learned from other people and taught us all at home. I saw his talent very early on and his brothers amazed me with their talents. I always had high expectations for them.”

But Mrs. Crawford did not want her oldest son to go to Renaissance. She wanted him to go to Cass Tech. They had won a city title in 1998 and was the top academic school in the city. Her husband suggested Renaissance, who had just won its first PSL city basketball title in 2000 under Mark White, and the rest is history.

“Academically, it (Renaissance) was a good school and coach White was the best recruiter and the best young coach in the city,” Joe Crawford Sr. said. “Having Joe at Renaissance was like watching the Beatles or the Jackson 5. It was a traveling show and if you got to the game late, you weren’t going to get in.”

A few members of the 2004 state title team were in attendance for the jersey retirement, including head coach Mark White and Renaissance legends Adam Sabree and Tajuan Porter. Hairston is still playing basketball overseas, but the Renaissance administration does plan on retiring his No.1 jersey and others at a later date.

“They definitely deserve to have their jerseys retired too,” Crawford said of his high school teammates. “And they have to retire a guy’s jersey that I looked up to, Rickey Paulding (2000). But I got bragging rights now.”

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle

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Community

Rouge Park will host Quicken Loans’ inaugural ‘Detroit Out Loud’ festival

MICHIGAN CHRONICLE — When is the last time a festival within Detroit city limits occurred outside of downtown and midtown? The Quicken Loans Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans, is bringing its ‘Detroit Out Loud’ free one-day festival to Rouge Park on the city’s west side July 20. The inaugural festival will celebrate Detroit, its neighborhoods, and its communities, in an environment that is family-friendly.

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When is the last time a festival within Detroit city limits occurred outside of downtown and midtown?

The Quicken Loans Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans, is bringing its ‘Detroit Out Loud’ free one-day festival to Rouge Park on the city’s west side July 20. The inaugural festival will celebrate Detroit, its neighborhoods, and its communities, in an environment that is family-friendly.

“We really wanted to do something that showed our love for Detroit, its neighborhoods, and its residents,” said Jasmin DeForrest, Director of Community Sponsorships for the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “We have been working on this for a year and we wanted to do something in the neighborhood that honors Detroit, its energy, and the sense of pride it has.”

“We did an extensive search, looking at parks on the east and west side, and Rouge Park seemed to have the best footprint for us. There are so many great areas that can be activated there and the City of Detroit and the communities surrounding Rouge Park made it a win-win situation for us.”

Detroit Out Loud will have activities for all ages, including pony rides from Buffalo Soldiers Detroit, archery by Elite Archery Academy, and camping at the Sierra Club’s Detroit Outdoors at Rouge Park – the city’s largest park and its only active campground. Food trucks will also be available with Detroit-centric cuisine and additional food and drink options will be available for purchase throughout the site, including the Lobster Food Truck, Jackson’s Five Star Motown Bistro, Good Cakes and Bakes, Lush Yummies Pie Company, and Milk and Froth.

Other activities and activations include a 90’s airbrush photo station, arts and crafts, hula hoops, giant games, StockX sneaker origami station, and a free yoga class led by Citizen Yoga.

KC and DJ Dinero of 105.1 The Bounce will perform at the festival, as well as numerous other local and nationally-acclaimed performers, including SWV, Flint Eastwood, and Larry Lee and the Back in the Day Band.

For those that like to dance, a number of Detroit dance styles will be showcased, including traditional dances in Mexican culture with Ballet Folklorico De Detroit, Hustle lessons with Reveal Detroit, and the city’s signature dance, JIT, with Nick Speed and Hardcore Detroit. There will also be an African Dance and Drum Performance by P.A.T.H African Drum and Dance Collective.

“JIT is our dance, that’s what we do, and we put that on the map,” said DeForrest, who is from Detroit’s west side. “I’m really excited about that portion of the festival and I think Detroiters will be as well.”

Detroit Out Loud will also be the site of the sixth and final mural in the Quicken Loans Community Fund’s third annual Small Business Murals Project. This partnership with 1xRun connects local artists and small business owners who collaborate to create six murals annually throughout Detroit. More than just paintings, the murals created through the Small Business Murals Project both beautify the city and attract attention for the city’s small business community. Internationally renowned artist and Detroit native Sheefy McFly was commissioned to paint the final mural.

“It’s a dope event and I like the curators,” said Sheefy McFly, who has painted murals all over the City of Detroit. “I’m planning on doing a Detroit-themed mural similar to my “Detroit Never Left” mural, highlighting the things that we love in Detroit.”

Neighbor to Neighbor is a program organized by Quicken Loans to fight tax foreclosure through the city, and educates local homeowners in danger of losing their home to tax foreclosure by providing resources, knowledge, and workshops about property tax exemptions. A booth will be on-site to educate Detroit residents about the program.

Rouge Park is Detroit’s largest maintained green space at 1,181 acres and is larger than Belle Isle, Hart Plaza, Campus Martius, Grand Circus and Capitol Park combined. In the 1920s, the City of Detroit paid $1.3 million to purchase land from six farmers at the western edge of the city. Rouge Park now has more than a dozen amenities that are completely unique to Detroit, yet many of the facilities in Rouge Park are underutilized and are in need of funding. At the end of Detroit Out Loud, the Quicken Loans Community Fund will make an investment to Rouge Park to assist in making it enjoyable for the community in serves.

“We are grateful to the Quicken Loans Community Fund for bringing this celebration of Detroit to Rouge Park,” said Sally Petrella, President of Friends of Rouge Park, an organization of stakeholders who advocate for, and promote, programming and future development of the park. “Detroit Out Loud will showcase Rouge Park to the rest of the city, and attendees will see why Detroit’s largest park is also one of its greatest and most historic.”

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle.

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Business

Palace of Auburn Hills sold, set to be demolished fall 2019

MICHIGAN CHRONICLE — The Palace of Auburn Hills opened in 1988. This fall, it is scheduled for demolishment. Detroit Pistons Owner Tom Gores and Livonia-based Schostak Brothers & Company announced the formation of a joint venture to redevelop the Palace of Auburn Hills and its surrounding land. Schostak Brothers will serve as the lead partner and manage the future mixed-use development, which is expected to include corporate office, research & development and technology companies.

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The Palace of Auburn Hills opened in 1988. This fall, it is scheduled for demolishment.

Detroit Pistons Owner Tom Gores and Livonia-based Schostak Brothers & Company announced the formation of a joint venture to redevelop the Palace of Auburn Hills and its surrounding land. Schostak Brothers will serve as the lead partner and manage the future mixed-use development, which is expected to include corporate office, research & development and technology companies.

In 2016, when Gores announced the Pistons’ return to the City of Detroit, he emphasized the importance of transitioning The Palace in a way that would benefit the region long term.

“We promised the people of Auburn Hills and Oakland County that we would find a solution that would be good for the community and make a positive economic impact,” said Gores. “Partnering with a proven, well-respected developer like Schostak Brothers is an important step in delivering on that promise.”

Gores said he retained a vested interest in the project because he believes strongly in the potential of the site and the future of the region.

“Auburn Hills has been a great home to our franchise for a long time,” he added. “This investment will allow us to stay connected in a way that will create new opportunities for people who live and work in the area.”

Schostak Development President Jeffrey Schostak said he views The Palace property as one of the premier parcels of real estate in me

Detroit based on its location in a growing area of northern Oakland County and its excellent accessibility on and off I-75.

“Schostak Brothers is ready to take the lead and use our expertise in complex redevelopments to create a new and exciting next chapter for The Palace and its surrounding property,” said Schostak. “We are looking forward to working with Tom Gores’ organization and our partners at the City of Auburn Hills, Oakland County and the State of Michigan on this project, and we’re excited about the prospects for this site.”

Schostak Brothers & Company, a fourth-generation family business, has held a development footprint in Michigan for nearly 100 years.  Since 1920 and throughout the company’s long history, the firm has executed development, acquisitions and leasing of retail, office, industrial, residential and mixed-use projects in both urban and suburban settings.  The company’s current activities include joint ventures, build-to-suit projects, mixed-use developments and necessity-based retail in 30 states.

Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem said finding a partner with strong local community presence was a priority.

“We want to work with people who are truly invested in the community and are committed to maximizing the potential of the site,” said Tellem. “Schostak Brothers is a strong, recognized name in the local real estate landscape. They also have national reach and a strong track record of delivering results, which makes them the ideal partner.”

A specific timeline for the development has not been announced. The Pistons organization is preparing to move its remaining team and business operations from The Palace to the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Detroit, which is on schedule to be completed this fall.

Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel lauded the sale and subsequent partnership between Schostak Brothers & Company and PS&E as a ‘win-win-win’ for the City of Auburn Hills, its business community, and its residents.

“There has been great cooperation and collaboration with the Pistons organization since the team announced it was moving to Detroit,” said Mayor McDaniel. “Recognizing the probability that the property would not continue as an arena, an internal planning activity took place within the City to establish the highest and best use for the land.  News of this joint venture with Schostak Brothers aligns with a future for the property that is beneficial to the city while fostering innovation and job creation.  We are enthusiastic about the redevelopment potential and what is expected to be an outcome that provides for future expansion of the city’s corporate business community.”

The Pistons played their final game at the Palace in April 2017, before moving into Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit for the 2017-2018 season.

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle

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Black History

Three special events headline Motown 60 Weekend

MICHIGAN CHRONICLE — Motown Records was founded in Detroit in 1969 by Berry Gordy Jr. To commemorate its 60th year, the Motown Museum announced plans for its highly anticipated Motown 60 Weekend set for September 21-23. The three-day event is packed full of music and star power converging on Detroit in true Motown style for an incredible not-to-be-missed celebration benefiting Motown Museum.

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By Branden Hunter
Motown Records was founded in Detroit in 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr. To commemorate its 60th year, the Motown Museum announced plans for its highly anticipated Motown 60 Weekend set for September 21-23. The three-day event is packed full of music and star power converging on Detroit in true Motown style for an incredible not-to-be-missed celebration benefiting Motown Museum.

“It’s been such an important year for us to share Motown history and celebrate this milestone in a big way,” said Motown Museum Chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry. “Our Motown 60 Weekend is the culmination of a year-long celebration all happening right here in Detroit. We’ve created three special and unique events for Motown fans. Most importantly, we will honor and celebrate Motown’s iconic visionary founder Berry Gordy in Detroit where this story was born. We invite all Motown fans to join us as we celebrate the musical and cultural impact of this incredible legacy.”

The weekend’s festivities include a “Motown Gospel Concert” Saturday, September 21 at Detroit World Outreach. The concert will feature artists performing traditional gospel music along with spiritually enhanced Motown favorites. Artists include Grammy Award-winning artist Regina Belle, Stellar Award-winning and current Motown gospel label group Tye Tribbet & G.A., Tasha Page-Lockhart, winner of the gospel singing competition Sunday Best that airs on BET, and Detroit gospel royalty Kierra “Kiki” Sheard. A 125-person choir from more than 70 local faith-based groups will perform. With a capacity of 3,000 people, this is an open-to-the public, free community concert. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis beginning August 28. For more information, please visit motownmuseum.org.

During “Hitsville Honors: Celebrating Berry Gordy & 60 Years of Motown” Sunday, September 22 at Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Marjorie J. Fisher Music Center, the city that started it all will soon play host to an unforgettable evening of extraordinary entertainment. Hitsville Honors is a powerful musical tribute to Motown’s legacy and a celebration of the Motown family. Highlights will include a tribute to Motown founder Berry Gordy and a celebration of his incredible life and transformative musical and entrepreneurial vision. The evening will be a star-studded event, with planned appearances by celebrities, local dignitaries and special guests. The Temptations, Four Tops, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, and Mary Wilson will perform Motown favorites. That legendary lineup is just the beginning. Award-winning Motown artists Ne-Yo and Kem will be joined by Detroit’s own Big Sean with other artists and performances to be announced. The result is sure to be a moment unlike any other, where legendary meets contemporary, and where Motown favorites come together with some of today’s most innovative talents to showcase the generational impact and lasting legacy of Motown. Tickets range from $50-$1,000 and include various opportunities, including pre- and post-event receptions. Tickets for Hitsville Honors go on sale Thursday, Aug. 1 and can be purchased at www.motownmuseum.org.

The ”Soul In One Celebrity Golf Classic” will take place Monday, September 23 at Tam-O-Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield Township. Guests will join Motown alumni and celebrities for an afternoon tee time and a gourmet lunch and dinner. Pricing ranges from $350 for an individual golfer with groups packages available. To register golf event and for information about sponsorship opportunities and tickets packages for all events, contact Motown Museum Director of Development and Community Activation, Paul Barker, at (313) 875-2264, Ext. 226, or email motown60@motownmuseum.org.

In addition to the Motown Museum hosted weekend of events, the Friends of Fuller Gordy Strikefest event, an L.A.-based annual affair led by his daughter Iris Gordy and granddaughter Karla Gordy Bristol, will honor Motown VP, humanitarian and pro bowler Fuller Gordy. The event will serve as a casual ‘warm up’ for Motown alumni, family, friends and fans to connect and support Motown Museum prior to the weekend’s festivities. Featuring bowling, karaoke, dinner and Motown music, Strikefest will take place on Friday, Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park. To inquire about tickets and for more information, visit http://friendsoffuller.org.

The Motown Museum was founded in 1985 by Esther Gordy Edwards and is committed to preserving, protecting, and presenting the Motown story through authentic, inspirational and educational experiences.

Announced in late 2016, the Motown Museum expansion will grow the museum to a 50,000-square-foot world-class entertainment and education tourist destination featuring dynamic, interactive exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, an expanded retail experience and meeting spaces designed by reknown architects and exhibit designers. When completed, the new museum campus will have a transformative impact on the surrounding Detroit neighborhoods, providing employment, sustainability and community pride by serving as an important catalyst for new investment and tourism in the historic area.

This article originally appeared in the Michigan Chronicle

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