Bak’s story on Detroit’s killer heat wave (page 38) stirred up a few childhood memories from the ’60s. “I can remember hot, sticky summer nights when my brothers and I would practically suffocate in our upstairs bedroom. Nobody we knew had central air conditioning then. The best we could hope for was a little relief from the window fan, but because we were a large family and had to watch every penny, my dad always set the timer for just one hour. Hey, it was a different era. What was nocturnal comfort when you could save a few cents on the electric bill?” Writing about the recent discovery of a fallout shelter (page 21) produced another flashback, this one of Civil Defense drills and Bert the Turtle’s “duck and cover” films. “I’m a typical kid of the era,” Bak says.
“I managed to survive both hot nights and the Cold War.”
James has interviewed her share of high-profile metro Detroiters during her 25-plus years as a journalist, especially while working for the Detroit Free Press and, later, Hour Detroit, as a senior writer. She added to her roster of impressive subjects when she spoke with nearly 20 of this area’s most visible and/or generous philanthropists about their favorite topic: helping Detroit’s cultural treasures and traditions (page 30). It was among her most pleasant assignments, she says. James, a Brighton-based freelance journalist, won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing while at the St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times in 1991.
A television critic in Detroit beginning in the 1980s and now a frequent Hour Detroit contributor and media observer, McFarlin was excited to report on the dizzying technological advances that are changing the way local TV newscasts are delivered (page 26). “We tend to focus so much on what the networks are doing, that local stations often get overlooked,” McFarlin says. “But just as Henry Ford’s assembly line transformed manufacturing, new technologies are revolutionizing the conventions of Detroit TV news. [Fox 2 business editor] Murray Feldman says he thinks it’s a major business story. But I can’t imagine it’s one he’s likely to be reporting.” A Michigan native and longtime media columnist for the Metro Times, McFarlin writes for numerous Midwest publications from his home base outside Chicago.
“Watching my mom on my shoot for Judge Damon Keith,” was the best part of photographing the portraits in this issue (page 30), says Lewinski, a frequent contributor. “She works in the courthouse, knows Judge Keith, and was super excited I was taking his portrait.” This month, Lewinski had the task of scheduling and shooting several “generous and industrious” high-profile people. “Everyone was extremely friendly and cooperative,” he says. When not shooting for Hour Detroit, Lewinski freelances for other clients, including The Smithsonian, the Michigan Municipal League, and the University Musical Society. He was recently named managing photographer for concentratemedia.com.