Tag Archives: Detroit River

Kayaks on the Rouge River

An inside look at the Rouge River

Ever wonder what happens to your water after it goes down the drain or runs off into the sewers? If you answered, “It makes its way to the river,” you’d be correct. But do you know which river or watershed your area drains into? I bet you do, but it’s something most of us don’t think about very often and we should because everything we do – from fertilizing to laundry to washing your car – has an impact on our watershed. I live in the Rouge River watershed and through our work to support the 30th anniversary of Friends of the Rouge and its annual Rouge Rescue event, I recently got an education about the Rouge, its history, its challenges and Friends of the Rouge’s vision for its future.

History of the Rouge River

Boblo boat

First, the Rouge River is Michigan’s most urbanized watershed – and it’s bigger than you might think. It drains 466 square miles of land in three counties – Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw – and contains more than 400 lakes, impoundments and ponds and 570 miles of river, streams and creeks.

According to Friends of the Rouge, the Rouge River once was the most polluted river in the country. It was so poorly treated and neglected that it even caught fire twice. But Friends of the Rouge has been working hard for 30 years to improve its health, and in my opinion, they’ve done a great job.

Each spring Friends of the Rouge partners with volunteers from across the Rouge watershed to improve the Rouge River. Here Cyndi Ross, river restoration program manager for Friends of the Rouge, explains how Friends of the Rouge manages wood for the health of the stream.

Opportunities on the river

Kayaks near the Rouge River

I’ll admit, my perception of the Rouge was a very dirty, polluted river that shouldn’t be recreated in, but after seeing it first hand, I was wrong. As an outdoorsman and river fisherman, I’ve seen a lot of rivers; when I visited the Rouge River in Southfield, it looked as healthy as the Clinton River or any other river in southeast Michigan. It even holds sensitive fish species like brown trout, which is amazing to me considering that a fish survey in 1991 didn’t find any fish at all.

As it turns out, there are a lot of recreational opportunities along the Rouge, and Friends of the Rouge is working toward more public access to the river. Fishing opportunities can be found in many Rouge lakes and parks along the Johnson Creek, Main Rouge, Upper Rouge, Middle Rouge, Lower Rouge and many other tributaries. (A fishing guide, species list and fish consumption guidelines can be downloaded at www.therouge.org.)

In addition, Friends of the Rouge is working on a Rouge River Water Trail that will eventually include 25 miles of river from Canton to the Detroit River. There are also plans to create a park along the Rouge that would serve as a stopping point along the Iron Belle Trail and be the home of a future kayak launch.

There are currently four areas that can be paddled: Newburgh Lake – Westland, Commerce Court to Goudy Park-Wayne, Ford Field – Dearborn, Melvindale to River Rouge. We had a chance to paddle the lower stretches where we saw some great wildlife including ducks, geese, blue heron, nesting gulls, turtles and fishing jumping.

Challenges

We also saw some of the river’s challenges, including a combined sewer overflow location at the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant, which is one of the watershed’s largest challenges. The plant can treat more than 1.3 trillion gallons of sewage per day, but heavy rain events force untreated water into the river, which can include anything from raw sewage to excess lawn fertilizer that ran off into the drains which can make its way downstream and contribute to algae blooms in Lake Erie.

Problems aside, the paddling tour was a fantastic experience. We learned a lot about Rouge River past including a paddle into the original Rouge River channel, one of the only downstream areas of the Rouge remaining after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers redirected the river and developed a concrete encased river bottom in the lower Rouge, and had a chance to marvel at the former Boblo Boat, the SS Ste Claire, which now resides in the Rouge River awaiting restoration, before finishing our tour at Belanger Park along the Detroit River.

We had a great time and would encourage anyone who likes paddling to try it out. Friends of the Rouge partners with Riverside Kayak Connection for an annual kayak paddle of the lower Rouge each fall.

Joe Ferlito is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.

50 Reasons why we love the D

The D. Motown. Detroit Rock City. The Motor City. D-Town. The 313.

Untitled design

No matter what you call it, Detroit is my city. When I was growing up, my parents would drive my sister and I downtown to experience the arts, culture and sports thriving in our city. From Red Wings and Tigers games to The Marriage of Figaro and meals at the New Parthenon in Greektown, we were always in the D. I made a ton of Detroit memories long before I dreamt of working in the Ren Cen.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I wanted to share why I love the city:

1.  We’re a comeback city. An understanding of your roots is the first step to a brighter tomorrow. Detroit was founded on industry, and today we not only acknowledge our past, we continue to grow and evolve it, shaping our city’s future.
2. Arts and culture are thriving. From the Detroit Historical Society and Detroit Institute of Arts to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and MOCAD, no matter where you look the city’s community of urban artists, hipsters, residents and business professionals, can be found celebrating Detroit’s rebirth through creativity.
3. Opening Day Tigers baseball is practically a citywide holiday. All Detroiters LOVE Tigers baseball. Come downtown on opening day and you’ll see the city at its finest. People of all walks of life can be found eating, drinking and being merry throughout the day. It’s like Christmas.
4. There ain’t no eats, like Detroit eats. All you need to know about the food scene is always get your coneys at Lafayette and eat your pizza square. Just kidding – Detroit’s dining scene is way more complex than that, but definitely choose Lafayette Coney Island and Buddy’s Pizza when in doubt.
5. Detroiters are genuine. There’s no sugar coating it. Detroiters have been through a lot. From the country’s largest municipal bankruptcy and economic recessions, Detroiters have learned how to cope with difficult situations with maturity and a matter of fact attitude. Ask us what we think – we’ll tell you the truth.

That just barely scratches the surface of why I love Detroit, but I thought it’d be fun to find out some of reasons my colleagues love the D too. Here’s a glimpse of what some of them had to say:

Patricia Adanti-Joy, vice president
6. The view of the Detroit River from my 400 tower, 10th floor, Renaissance Center office.
7. The excitement of driving onto and around Belle Isle Park in my work with the Belle Isle Conservancy.
8. Detroit dining and entertainment staples – like Greektown, Cobo Center, London Chop House – continuing to thrive.
9. Visionaries, like Dan Gilbert and the Ilitch Family, who are doing amazing things to revitalize Detroit.
10. All the great professionals I have the privilege to work with here at Franco.

Stephanie Casola, account manager
11. The sunrise over an international riverfront every morning.
12. The ever-growing and impressive Detroit food scene. We’re so spoiled by it.
13. Detroit’s access to amazing Michigan-made craft beer.
14. It’s tenacious, creative, talented and hard-working people.
15. That it’s a city big enough to have and attract an array of culture but still small enough so you don’t feel lost in the shuffle of it all.

Elizabeth Robbins – Sabourin, account manager
16. Pewabic Pottery – My first PR job out of college was at Pewabic Pottery and it provided my Detroit education. I love taking a piece of it with me everywhere I go.
17. DeVries Cheese Shop in Eastern Market.
18. Santorini in Greektown.
19. The Sports.
20. The Old Shillelagh in Greektown.

Lauren Connor, assistant account executive
21. Our sports teams
22. Campus Martius
23. Restaurants
24. Mercury Burger Bar
25. Proximity to the riverfront

Sarah Kornacki, PR coordinator
26. There are so many pockets of culture and interest in unexpected places.
27. Wanting to improve Detroit/being proud to be a Detroiter is a well-accepted stance to take. Getting to be a part of it is really cool.
28. Graffiti art, like in Eastern Market.
29. Events like the Detroit Design Festival and the Downtown Hoedown.
30. Architecture. There’s some pretty stuff ’round here!

Joe Ferlito, account manager
31. Great Restaurants
32. Building Architecture
33. The Riverwalk/Riverfront
34. Revitalization
35. Positive News

Andrea Kenski, senior account executive
36. Detroit Tigers baseball.
37. The energy of those who live, work and play in the city of Detroit.
38. New restaurant/bar openings (almost daily, it seems).
39. Feeling like I’m playing a small part in Detroit’s comeback.
40. The awesome fact that I work in Detroit….makes me feel like a badass.

Daniel Stocking, account executive
41. Culture
42. Entertainment
43. Food
44. Architecture
45. History

Daniel Horn, account executive
46. The Innovation – The community is very supportive of local businesses with new ideas. There is such a wide variety of creative companies constantly popping up, some of which can only be found here.
47. The Music – There’s so much of it! And such a great variety. From jazz, blues and Motown to punk, electronic and rock, there are venues, artists and record stores for anyone.
48. The Food – Again, there’s a little of something for everyone. From coneys to classic Detroit pizza like Buddy’s to fine dining options, there’s enough to try something new and awesome all the time.
49. The Cars – Being a car guy, I love the automotive history of Detroit and being so close to all of the innovations in the industry.
50. The Opportunity – The city is growing, and I love seeing people stepping up to bring new people, businesses and opportunities to the area.

Why do you love Detroit? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Marie Stawasz is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at (313) 567-5201 or stawasz@franco.com. Follow her on Twitter @MarieStawasz.

 

 

Outtakes: Think it’s easy to make a video blog? Think again.

Yesterday, Dan Stocking posted a video blog about what he loves about his job. It turned out great, but he didn’t exactly nail it on his first take. The truth is, it is extremely hard to speak into a camera and hit all of your key messages seamlessly in one take without editing. Dan worked on this after hours, and this hilarious outtake reel shows you what went into producing the 90-second post.

I’ll warn you ahead of time, Dan got a little crazy as it got later into the night. We hope you enjoy it.

Joe Ferlito is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.

 

What we love about our jobs – Daniel Stocking

At Franco, our culture is based on a company-wide commitment to excellence. Excellence is more than providing a quality product; it’s much deeper than that. It’s the Franco team working in unison to achieve the best results for our clients.

To attain excellence, each team member must believe in this philosophy. I believe that to truly be successful, you must love what you do and do what you love. So, I decided to ask my fellow Franconians:  ‘What do you love about your job?’

Let us know what you do, and why you love it.

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com.  Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.

Joe Ferlito’s series of unusual PR experiences: Part 4

Taking PR to new heights

We’ve established that there is no such thing as a typical day in PR, but Jim Miller’s unusual experiences take unusual to a new level, literally.

At his previous agency, Jim worked with the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters & Millwrights. One of the projects they were promoting was work on a silo in Detroit.

Public Relations professionals take their work to great heights, as this scaffolding implies. Photo courtesy of DetroitBuildingTrades.org

“The construction work was being done on the top of a 100-foot-tall silo along the Detroit River,” he said. “I had to climb scaffolding to the top to capture photos of the workers. The view was so amazing that I took advantage of it and took some other fun photos while I had the opportunity.”

Jim also had the chance to visit the Book Cadillac renovation project as it was just getting started to photograph the construction members working on the job.

“I rode the construction elevator on the exterior of the Book Cadillac. It went from street level to the rooftop.  It was a long way up. I toured through the entire building from the roof back down to street level taking photos of the construction members. I had to watch where I stepped because there were holes that went down through multiple floors.”

At Franco, we all try to go “above and beyond” for our clients, but Jim literally did. He put his client’s first, even if it involved dangerous situations. Okay, maybe that’s going too far, but he says he’d do it all over again if he had the chance.

What unusual experiences have you had in your career? Share them in our comments section.

Joe Ferlito is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5031 or ferlito@franco.com.

What we love about our jobs – Daniel Stocking

At Franco, our culture is based on a company-wide commitment to excellence. Excellence is more than providing a quality product; it’s much deeper than that. It’s the Franco team working in unison to achieve the best results for our clients.

To attain excellence, each team member must believe in this philosophy. I believe that to truly be successful, you must love what you do and do what you love. So, I decided to ask my fellow Franconians:  ‘What do you love about your job?’

Let us know what you do, and why you love it.

Dan Stocking is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5094 or stocking@franco.com.  Follow him on Twitter @danielstocking.