The Detroit Zoo to Transfer Two Polar Bear Cubs, Afro Nation Detroit Music Festival, & More

Read big headlines in metro Detroit from last week including upgrades on Detroit’s Masonic Temple, a new comic book on Lizzo’s life, and much more.
Photograph by Patti Truesdell, courtesy of the Detroit Zoo

Detroit Zoo rehomes two polar bear cubs

The twin cubs, Astra and Laerke, were born at the zoo in November of 2020. Now that they are at the age they’d be living alone in their wild, the zoo will transfer them to Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington, the weekend of May 20-21. The move comes after a recommendation from experts with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums because it is “natural and necessary for the cubs’ continued development and sustainability.”

Get ready for ‘Afro Nation Detroit’ music festival this summer

The biggest names in Afrobeats are performing in downtown Detroit this summer, along with hip-hop, reggae and dancehall acts. The festival is a joint effort from local developer Bedrock and international festival organizer Afro Nation. It’s happening Aug. 19-20 at Bedrock’s Douglass site. The ticket prices and lineup will be announced in coming weeks.

Detroit’s Masonic Temple unveils $2 million upgrades

Thanks to a partnership with AEG Presents, the 100-year-old temple received new flooring and lighting, moved audio and lighting consoles to improve sound quality, renovated the bars, and installed a new womens’ restroom. Plus, the long-forgotten fountain is working again! A goal of the project was to make the venue more attractive for events, such as weddings and corporate parties.

New comic book depicts Lizzo’s life

TidalWave Comics an independent comic and graphic novel publisher based in Portland, Oregon, has added a comic book about popular singer-songwriter, Lizzo, to its Female Force series. Female Force: Lizzo depicts Lizzo’s story and was released the week of April 24, 2023, in honor of her 35th birthday.

Michigan high school students win prizes in C-SPAN documentary competition

C-SPAN’s StudentCam documentary competition encourages students across the country to explore topics that are currently in the national spotlight and engage in critical thinking on issues that impact American communities. In 2023, four students from two local high schools took home the second and third-place prizes for their documentaries.

Gov. Whitmer signs abortion anti-discrimination protections into law

Michigan employers can’t fire or discriminate against employees for getting an abortion, under a new state law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed on May 18. It expands the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which previously had a clause that excluded “a nontherapeutic abortion not intended to save the life of the mother” as a medical condition protected from discrimination.

Michigan teen to perform in “The Voice” finals

Grace West, a 19-year-old from Canton, earned her spot in the finale of the hit singing competition show with her rendition of Tammy Wynette’s “Til I Can Make It On My Own” during the semifinals on May 15. The two-part finale airs at 8 p.m. Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23.

Gilbert Family Foundation and CHN Housing partner on Detroit Home HelpLine

Together with the city of Detroit, the two non-profits have teamed up on the new service, which will connect renters, homeowners, and buyers with property tax foreclosure counseling, home service providers, homebuyer preparation counseling, legal assistance for evictions, and more. The line is staffed 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 866-313-2520.

Chef and co-founder of Breadless to open his own restaurant

Ryan Eli Salter, a Harlem-native and co-founder of the leafy green sandwich shop on Detroit’s eastside, will open his new restaurant on the ground level of the Radisson Hotel in Southfield. Salt & Ko. will be a gastropub-style eatery that serves American fare made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. It will also offer a full bar, live entertainment, a line of non-alcoholic tonics, and monthly brunch parties.

Flint boxer sends 1,000 kids to free fight night at Little Caesars Arena

Claressa Shields is working with 14 different southeast Michigan youth programs to send 1,000 kids from Flint and Detroit to a fight for free. The initiative, “Night of a Thousand Stars,” is an opportunity kids from low-income areas seldom get and Shields hopes it will “give the kids a chance to experience greatness.”

Lawmakers propose changes to Michigan’s deer hunting regulations

The proposed changes include the expansion of opportunities for youth and disabled hunters, changing the limit of one deer per hunter to one deer for every license type a hunter has, reducing penalties for hunters who fail to report a kill, and more.

Doctors at Henry Ford Health perform first novel heart procedure in the world

The operation, which was originally developed in the 1950s, makes it possible to perform non-surgical heart procedures on patients who cannot withstand open-heart surgery or stent placement. Drs. William O’Neill and Khaldoon Alaswad reengineered the procedure and performed it on Traverse City resident Fred Casciano, 60, on April 12.

The Census shows that Michigan cities lost population last year

According to the U.S. Census, Detroit lost almost 7,791 people, or about 1 percent of its population, in 2022. Warren and Dearborn lost more than 1,000 people from 2021-22 and Grand Rapids lost approximately 843 people. Experts point to “years of stagnation” as the reason for the dip. The estimates did show some growth in college towns like East Lansing and Ann Arbor.

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