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.

A Candy Cane to:

The Hockeytown Winter Festival and NHL Winter Classic, for icing down Comerica Park and for the Red Wings/Maple Leafs New Year’s Day matchup at Michigan Stadium.

The Detroit Red Wings, for their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.

Chevrolet, for the sweep at the auto show. The Corvette was named 2014 Car of the Year and the Silverado was named 2014 Truck of the Year.

Chase Bank’s Mission Main Streets Grants, for giving $250,000 checks to The Robot Garage in Birmingham and Edibles Rex in Detroit.

The Michigan legislature, for toughening laws against scrap metal theft.

Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press, for winning a Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

The Detroit Tigers, for their fourth straight Central Division title.

The MSU Spartans, for starting the new year with a Rose Bowl win — and No. 3 national ranking.

The NAACP’s 59th Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, for honoring retiring politicians U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, with lifetime achievement awards.

Cabaret 313, for successfully launching a unique art form in Detroit.

Mike and Marian Ilitch, for throwing a cool hockey arena/District Detroit groundbreaking party.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White, for gliding to ice-dancing Olympic gold.

Dan Gilbert, for nabbing the Urban Land Institute of Michigan’s 2014 Placemaker Award.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, for sprucing up Belle Isle. No matter your stand on the park’s takeover by the state, the results are visible.

Ben Affleck, for saying nice things and hanging around town to film Batman v Superman.

Slow Roll, for bringing people of all ages and races together for a fun, safe bike ride.

Ford Motor Co., for donating a 2015 Mustang 50 Years Limited Edition to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, for opening Mt. Elliott Park and the West RiverWalk.

St. Josaphat Roman Catholic Church, for reopening 10 months after a storm damaged its iconic steeple.

Ingham County (and other clerk’s offices), for opening on a Saturday to issue Michigan’s first gay marriage licenses (halted later that day by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals).

Detroit’s Chrysler Elementary School chess teams, for winning two titles at the 2014 United States Chess Federation National Elementary Championship in Dallas.

The M1 Rail, for actually breaking ground.

Ikea, for announcing a “living wage” for U.S. retail workers — including Canton employees.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, for holding two conventions that drew nearly 90,000 people to downtown Detroit.

The Life Remodeled nonprofit, for its $5.6 million project to revamp the Cody High campus and community — including field renovations so the football team could play its first home game in six years.

Sister Pie, for winning $50,000 in the 2014 Comerica Hatch Detroit retail contest.

The Detroit Zoo, for breaking ground on the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

Detroit Medical Center, for opening the new DMC Heart Hospital.

Devita Davison, for receiving a $25,000 grant from Oprah Winfrey and Toyota for helping create the Detroit Kitchen Connect network to aid food entrepreneurs.


A lump of coal to:

General Motors (Part 1), for recalls. Announcing one on the eve of the North American International Auto Show was bad. The rest of 2014 (75 recalls at press time) was worse.

Mother Nature (Part 1), for January’s deep freeze and snow. It also signaled an exceptionally early pothole season.

The Baseball Writers’ Association, for not voting ex-Tiger Jack Morris into the Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility. Ditto for past disses of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.

Trigger-happy residents, for jump-starting the crime rate. Detroit’s first shooting of 2014 was reported 10 minutes after midnight. The year’s first homicide followed at 12:22 a.m.

Dave Agema, Republican national committeeman for Michigan, for derogatory comments about homosexuals and Muslim-Americans, prompting state and national officials to call for his resignation.

Ex-Lions coach Jim Schwartz, for his “carried off the field” exit after Buffalo beat Detroit in October. Classy.

Windsor’s Kai Xu, for allegedly hiding 51 turtles in his pants during a failed border crossing/smuggling attempt.

Aramark Correctional Services workers, for arrests in March and September for allegedly smuggling drugs into state prison facilities.

Mother Nature (Part 2), for record-setting late snow, delaying baseball games and wrecking golf courses.

Arsonists, for targeting homes in Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project.

Thieves, for using a truck as a battering ram to loot historic dive bar Tom’s Tavern on Seven Mile.

A crime syndicate, for getting busted with 10 trailers’ worth of nearly $3 million in Victoria’s Secret lingerie and other stolen goods at a Hazel Park warehouse.

Detroit Lion Stephen Tulloch, for an overzealous, season-ending sack celebration. Before the injury, he led NFL defensive players with 131 straight games played.

Bassel Saad, for punching soccer referee John Bieniewicz during a game. He’s facing a second-degree murder charge after Bieniewicz died from the injuries.

Vandals, for defacing a Shinola-donated clock with graffiti mere hours after it was installed.

A mob, for attacking a 20-year-old Detroit hairdresser during the 2014 Motor City Pride festival held downtown.

Mother Nature (Part 3), for … enough already! The historic August floods wrecked basements and roads.

GM (Part 2), for deciding to move the Cadillac brand to the more trendy SoHo in New York. Sort of ironic, since Detroit was founded by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

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