Candy Cane or Coal?

Santa and his helpers are always on the lookout for who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Here’s our annual list of those who have had an impact on metro Detroit.



• The Detroit Tigers, and the retiring (but not shy) Jim Leyland, for three straight Central Division championships — their first three consecutive playoffs since 1909.
• U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, for her quote: “Kwame Kilpatrick didn’t lead the city. He looted the city.”
• Stephen Polk and his family, for pledging $10 million to the Detroit Zoo’s efforts to build a $21 million penguin aquarium. The Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center is slated to open in 2015.
• Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant, for producing its 1 millionth Mustang.
• Detroit food shoppers, for receiving more choices — from Whole Foods and Meijer to Ye Olde Butcher Shop and the upcoming Papa Joe’s.
• Detroit Kitchen Connect, a joint project of Eastern Market Corp. and FoodLab Detroit, for helping food entrepreneurs launch their businesses and strengthen the local food economy.
• The Cheesecake Factory, for finally opening a Michigan location, even though the founder’s mother originally had a cheesecake bakery in Detroit in the 1940s. The California-based restaurant chain began in the Los Angeles area in the 1970s.
• Chevrolet, for unveiling its 2014 Corvette Stingray at the Russell Industrial Center.
• The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, for their 10-year effort to spruce up the shoreline.
• Dan Gilbert, for his downtown shopping spree, the “Opportunity Detroit” initiative, and overall efforts to boost city life.
• Cobo Center, and everyone involved in keeping the remodeling project on track during the fiscal emergency.
• Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian officials, for getting a U.S. presidential permit for the $2.1 billion New International Trade Crossing bridge between Detroit and Windsor.
• Metallica’s Orion Music + More festival, for providing Detroit a rocking good time on Belle Isle in June.
• The North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center, for putting on its best-attended event since 2004 (nearly 800,000 visitors in 2013).
• Belle Isle, no matter what happens or who runs you, you’re still a jewel.
• The General Motors Foundation, for providing a $1 million grant to Habitat for Humanity International to help with neighborhood revitalization efforts in 12 U.S. cities, including Detroit and Lansing.
• Rodriguez, for getting a career-reviving boost through the Oscar-winning film Searching for Sugar Man.
• Detroit Institute of Arts, for its redesigned Kresge Court with a coffeehouse feel.
• The Kresge Foundation, for a pledge of $150 million over the next five years for projects outlined in the document called Detroit Future City.
• Oakaloosa Music Festival, for boosting the fortunes of Detroit’s Historic Fort Wayne.
• Ryan Gosling, for giving all those metro Detroit women a reason to smile while he was in town for the filming of How to Catch a Monster.
• Kid Rock, for his bargain $20 ticket “Rebel Soul” tour.
• The U.S. Department of Transportation, for helping Detroit get a bit closer to actually having mass transit through a grant to push the M-1 Rail project.
• Stephen M. Ross, a New York real estate developer, Miami Dolphins’ owner, and University of Michigan alumnus, for his $200 million gift to U-M.
• Peter Karmanos Jr., and his wife, Danialle, for donating $1 million to establish graphic design studios in their names at the College for Creative Studies.
• Shinola, for putting Detroit manufacturing — with bikes, watches, and more — back on the map.
• Paul McCartney, for helping raise funds to repair a damaged 1877 Steinway grand piano used by Motown artists during the record label’s glory days. It’s now back at the Motown Museum.
• Tender, for 20 years of bringing high fashion to customers of its Birmingham boutique.
• Neumann/Smith Architecture, for opening a design studio in downtown Detroit’s Wright Kay Building. The firm has been involved in renovation projects, such as the M@dison Building. They’re also transforming the J.L. Hudson Warehouse at Ford Field into the headquarters of Campbell Ewald — the advertising firm that is moving its 600 employees to Detroit.
• Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush, for tweaking the team’s offensive game.
• Roger Penske, for spearheading the donation of $8 million to provide ambulance and police vehicles for Detroit.
• The Palace of Auburn Hills, for hosting the second and third rounds of NCAA Tournament games.
• Tom Celani and Joe Vicari, for the “new” Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights. It reopened after more than $2 million in upgrades.
• Transformers 4 set designers, who turned a portion of downtown Detroit into a mini Hong Kong. The film is scheduled for a June 27, 2014 release.
• Little League baseball team Grosse Pointe Woods-Shores, for representing the Great Lakes Region in Williamsport, Pa., in the Little League World Series.
• Jack White, for an impressive performance at the Grammy Awards, as well as paying $142,000 in back taxes to help save the Masonic Temple.
• Jhonny Peralta, for winning Tigers fans’ hearts back after serving a 50-game suspension (see A Lump of Coal).



• Jhonny Peralta, for being suspended for 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy and forcing the Detroit Tigers to trade top prospects for a new shortstop (see Candy Canes, for Jhonny’s redemption!).
• Kwame Kilpatrick may not live here anymore. But he’s continued to put Detroit in unflattering national and local headlines. At his sentencing to 28 years in prison this October, he apologized with the understatement of the year: “I’ve been a tremendous problem.” Um. Yeah.
• Mike Dugeon, for joining an already confusing Detroit primary against “write-in” candidate, Mike Duggan (who defeated Dugeon and others).
• The Detroit City Council, for … where do we begin? Belle Isle votes? The revolving door after the emergency manager was appointed? Charles Pugh’s disappearing act?
• Pultegroup, for moving its headquarters to Atlanta.
• Joseph Gentz, who pleaded guilty in the killing of Jane Bashara, for ever listening to Bob Bashara.
• Tony Zerilli, for sending authorities on yet another dig for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa.
• Tom Barrow, for initiating lawsuits that made the recent Detroit mayoral primary election an unnecessary cliffhanger.
• ESPN for picking Austin, Texas, over Detroit as host of the X Games.
• Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, for telling the New York Times Magazine he would go to Detroit and “blow up the place and start all over.”
• Bedbugs, for invading Detroit and pushing it to No. 2 on pest control company Orkin’s annual list of the 50 most bedbug-ridden cities (at least we’re behind Chicago?).
• Sportservice, the Detroit Tigers concession vendor, for firing Charley Marcuse, the singing — and mustard-but-apparently-not-ketchup-loving — hot dog salesman.
• Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, for so many reasons. It’s been blamed for everything from not getting the X Games to forcing Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to decline to bid on the chance to host the 2024 Olympics.
• The Land Bank Fast Track Authority, for mistakenly demolishing a dozen homes in Detroit. One of the residences had been purchased by a pair of artists who bought it for $500 at a tax auction.
• Caribou Coffee, for decaffeinating their local presence by closing nine company-owned coffee shops in Michigan — all located in metro Detroit.
• Diane Hathaway, Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, for her bank fraud that led to a guilty plea and prison term. She concealed assets while trying to persuade a bank that she needed a short sale to get rid of a home that carried a mortgage of more than $1 million.
• Charlie LeDuff, Fox2 reporter, for bad behavior after the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Detroit. He was accused of peeing in the street and biting the finger of a security guard.
• The thieves who stole the more than 100-year-old brass bell from the Sweetest Heart of Mary parish in Detroit.
• The NHL and NHL Players Association, for dragging out their lockout to force the cancellation of last New Year’s Day’s Winter Classic game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium. (Good news: It’s back on for 2014.)
• Rev. Jesse Jackson, for his overzealous rhetoric about the appointment of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. “You’ll have a ‘plantation-ocracy’ replacing democracy,” Jackson said.