Detroit 2017: Our Picks for Who’s Been Naughty or Nice

We made our list and checked it twice

A lump of coal to…

• The Corktown arsonist, who set fire in mid-February to the then-named Katoi (now, Takoi) restaurant. But in true Detroit style, the James Beard Awards semifinalist has risen from the ashes and is up and running again.

Jason Lamar Hogan, for shooting a transgender woman after paying her for sex in the back of his car. He was sentenced to more than six years in prison in May.

• The Macomb Interceptor (aka Fraser Sinkhole), for displacing people from their homes and causing huge traffic hassles. Gov. Rick Snyder had to officially declare a state of emergency. There were two previous sinkholes over the interceptor, one in 1979 and another in 2004.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, for their “he said …” “… no I didn’t” battle over what were allegedly leaked recordings of Fouts making racist statements. The Macomb Election Commission has since rejected the wording of six potential recall petitions to remove Fouts from office.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, for claiming that God alone could fix climate change — not humans. The Republican represents Michigan’s 7th District and made the comment weeks before President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of the global Paris Agreement.

• The State of Michigan, for really letting stuff fall apart. The American Society of Civil Engineers 2017 report card says drinking water needs in Michigan are an estimated $13.8 billion; wastewater needs total $2.07 billion; 88 dams are considered to be high-hazard potential; and, of course, 21 percent of public roads are in poor condition, and 11.1 percent of bridges are “structurally deficient.”

John Custer Woodfill of Flint, for returning more than $10,000 worth of non-returnable bottles and cans acquired out of state. The idea behind the nickel-and-dime operation was basically stolen from a Seinfeld episode.

Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who, among other things during her confirmation hearings, defended keeping guns in schools because they could be used to fend off grizzly bears. Say what?

Anonymous hatemongers, for anti-black graffiti and racism at Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University, anti-Semitic emails at the University of Michigan, and anti-Semitic Valentines at Central Michigan University. And then there were those swastikas and racial slurs spray-painted in a Royal Oak neighborhood.

State Sen. Rick Jones from mid-Michigan’s 24th State Senate District, for his Facebook “joke” that he was headed to a Detroit meeting, but added: “Before anyone asks: Yes, I have a CPL (concealed pistol license).” Ha. Ha.

Enbridge and its controversial Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, for showing exposed gaps in the protective enamel coating. After all, it’s not like we’re sitting on some of the planet’s largest bodies of fresh water or anything.

• Former Dakota High School teacher Lydia Johnson, for allegedly stealing money that was raised for the school’s homecoming dance and field trip.

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, the Michigan State Police director who shared a Facebook posting calling athletes  kneeling during the national anthem “anti-American degenerates.” Umm. She got to stick to her day job. But without pay for five days.

Mashiyat Rashid, the West Bloomfield Township businessman accused of masterminding a $132 million health care fraud scheme.  He used the ill-gotten gains on a $7 million mansion in Franklin, a Lamborghini and more. He faces up to life in federal prison if convicted.

A candy cane to…

• The University of Michigan, for its Go Blue Guarantee program for families with annual income under $65,000. Starting in January 2018, the university will cover the full cost of tuition for up to four years of full-time undergraduate study at its Ann Arbor campus.

• The staff of 8 Degrees Plato, for pooling their tips for a cause. Employees at the craft beer store used the money to develop a collaborative beer with Batch Brewing, and donated the profits to Enough SAID, a program that helps pay to test neglected rape kits in Wayne County. Enough funds were raised to test some 25 kits.

• The Michigan Opera Theatre, for a stunning tribute to founder and artistic director David DiChiera. Renaming the building the “Detroit Opera House at the David DiChiera Center for the Performing Arts” was a nice touch!

Bob Seger, for closing out The Palace of Auburn Hills’ 29-year career as a concert venue with a series of sold-out shows. Seger tied Neil Diamond for the record of sold-out shows at 17. The last song? “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”

• Matthew and Matty Moroun, for sprucing up the Michigan Central Station to host Crain’s Detroit Homecoming dinner in September. Hey, it’s a start. Now if someone (hey, Amazon?) could only take on a total rehab.

• The Joe Louis Arena, for all the memories, from Stanley Cups and concerts to their hosting the 2017 Hour Detroit “Best of Detroit” party as one of its last events. We won’t miss the stairs, though.

Mike Ilitch and Olympia Entertainment, for launching The District Detroit. It’s been 30 long and sometimes controversial years since they staked a claim on Woodward Avenue. That 1987 purchase of The Fox seems like a pretty good deal now, right? RIP, Mr. I.

• The Detroit Historical Society and the Detroit 67 Project, for a thoughtful, comprehensive presentation of the 50th anniversary of Detroit’s summer 1967.

• U-M grads Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, for composition “Trifecta.” They won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for their work on La La Land, then topped it off with a Tony for “Dear Evan Hansen.”

• Longtime Hour Detroit contributor Jenny Risher, for making it to the walls of the DIA with her D-Cyphered photography exhibit in August.

• The stars of Comedy Central’s Detroiters show, for buying a beer for patrons at several dozen bars that hosted the February premier. Sam Richardson (who grew up in the Motor City) and Tim Robinson (who’s from Clarkston) are the co-stars.

Dan Gilbert and Team Amazon, for their efforts to at least get us in the game for the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes. That video was sweet, but we would look a lot better with a mass transit plan. Maybe before the next big lotto?

Justin Verlander, for getting a World Series (and a wedding) ring. He went 9-1 after the Tigers traded him to the Houston Astros.