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General Interest

Giant tire on Interstate 94 outside Detroit turning 50

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Written by FRANCIS X. DONNELLY, The Detroit News   
Friday, 27 March 2015 14:33
The US Royal Giant Tire Ferris Wheel at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) – It was a home, Ferris wheel, marriage proposal site, target for arrows and an object ogled by Paul McCartney.

But mainly, it's the biggest dang tire you've ever seen.

It's the giant Uniroyal tire on Interstate 94 in Allen Park, and it's turning 50 next month.

No formal celebration is planned, but the city is proud of the 80-foot behemoth, which is one of the largest and most famous roadside landmarks in Michigan.

“A lot of people have a soft spot for it,” longtime Allen Park resident Sharon Broglin told The Detroit News.

The tire is such an icon that an 11-foot nail plucked from it became famous in its own right, getting its own handler, vehicle and email address.

The hulking sphere means different things to different folks.

For visitors, it's an auto-themed welcome to the Motor City. For residents, it means they're halfway between Detroit and Metro Airport.

The tire isn't a tourist attraction. It's basically an eight-story billboard telling people to buy Uniroyal tires.

Still, it's a billboard that's listed on Google Maps.

It weighs 12 tons, but not a single ounce is rubber. It's steel and polyester resin with a fiberglass surface.

It's immune to potholes unless said potholes are the size of the Detroit River.

Allen Park Mayor Bill Matakas first noticed it when returning home from the University of Michigan Law School one weekend in 1966.

“You cannot not notice it,” he said.

It was created as a tire-like Ferris wheel for the 1964 World's Fair in New York, providing rides to more than 2 million fairgoers.

Afterward, it was disassembled and transported by 21 railroad flat cars to Allen Park, where it was reconstructed, sans gondolas, near a Uniroyal Tire Co. corporate building in 1966, according to the book Images of America: Allen Park.

Uniroyal plants in Detroit once employed 10,000 workers who produced 60,000 tires a day.

The plants and corporate building are gone. The tire endures.

“It lets travelers know that automobiles are our thing,” said Renee Monforton, spokeswoman for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The tire has been featured on Christmas ornaments, cartoon illustrations, and music videos from Wings' Silly Love Songs in 1976 to Kid Rock's Roll On in 2008.

A 2001 postcard by the Allen Park Historical Museum promotes the city as the “Home of the Giant Tire.”

One reason the museum put out the card was to counter a Detroit postcard claiming the landmark was in that city, said Broglin, who has been museum director for 28 years.

Visitors have lots of questions about the tire, she said. Among them: How big is it, why is it there, how did it get there, who owns it and what is under it?

Because Uniroyal was bought by Michelin in 1990, the tire, supported by a concrete base, is owned by a French company, which now makes us even for the Statue of Liberty.

Many charities and other groups have sought to use the tire as an advertisement, apparently not realizing it's already an advertisement.

Maintenance workers have had to pull arrows from the tire, patch up spots where people tried to break into it, and remove beer bottles from overnight parties around its base.

Someone was able to squeeze into the structure in the 1990s, using it as shelter until the hole was discovered by workers, who discarded the interloper's mattress.

More famous visitors were McCartney during the Wings' world tour in 1976, and several members of the Seattle Seahawks when they played in the Super Bowl at Ford Field in 2006.

Uniroyal  stuck a gigantic nail into the tire in 1998 to promote its self-repairing tires.

Allen Park is tickled by its link to the tire.

Resident Bill Carnarvon is doubly proud because of his occupation. The Fiat Chrysler engineer loves the fact that the auto-related landmark sits in his hometown.

“It put Allen Park on the map,” he said. “It's just the pride of the city.”

Carnarvon, 57, who has lived here his entire life, was one of the kids who traipsed through the woods and hopped the fence surrounding the tire.

One of 11 children, he sometimes joined his siblings on the jaunt.

But they never vandalized the icon, he said. They were too proud of it.


Information from: The Detroit News,

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-26-15 1444GMT




Last Updated on Friday, 27 March 2015 15:36

Universities urge Obama to put presidential library in Chicago

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Written by DON BABWIN, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 08:27
CHICAGO (AP) - The two Chicago universities in the competition for President Barack Obama's library came together Monday to send a message to the White House: Choose either one of us, just don't pick New York.

Officials from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others gathered in a crowded hotel ballroom for what was billed a "Unity Breakfast.'' Speakers took turns reminding the president and the first lady where their roots are and implored them to "bring it on home,'' as Carol Adams, a member of the University of Chicago's Obama library community advisory board, put it.

"Chicago is the only place with the historic political trajectory of President Barack Obama, and his presidential library should be erected here,'' said Adams, a former president of the DuSable Museum of African American History. '''For indeed, he did get there from here.''

The effort to convince Obama to build his library in the city and not at the University of Hawaii or New York's Columbia University has been a major story in Chicago -- and has even made its way into next month's mayoral election between Emanuel and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy'' Garcia.

Emanuel, Obama's former White House chief of staff, has pushed hard for the library and was dealt what was widely seen as a blow to his campaign when it was reported earlier this month that the Obamas would delay announcing their decision until after the April 7 runoff election.

The mayor did not receive nearly as much support among black voters in last month's primary as he did when he was elected in 2011, after a campaign in which he made no secret of his access to the president.

Now, those same voters Emanuel is trying to win back have overwhelmingly supported a project that would bring thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars to one of two predominantly black communities that are in desperate need of some good financial news.

"It can be on the South Side, it can be on the West Side, but it cannot be on the Upper West Side of Manhattan,'' Emanuel said.

The mayor also alluded to Garcia without saying his name during a later press briefing, drawing a contrast between himself and his challenger, who initially opposed the transfer of park land on the South Side.

Emanuel even seemed to suggest that the library foundation wanted to make sure he was re-elected before awarding the library to Chicago _ though individuals with knowledge of the delay told the AP last month that the foundation decided to delay because it did not want to inject itself into a campaign or be seen as giving Emanuel an unfair advantage.

"I do think the foundation made a decision because they believe leadership counts, and having strong leadership that can make sure you not only have a plan but that you can see it through will help us secure the library,'' he said.

Garcia's campaign did not immediately return a call for comment.

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Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 March 2015 08:40

Mich. seeks ideas to revive Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 12 March 2015 12:02

The original early 19th century barracks at Fort Wayne in Detroit. Image by Taubuch. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

DETROIT (AP) – Michigan has hired a New York City firm to look at ways to revive Historic Fort Wayne, a long underused 96-acre site along the Detroit River.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. in January hired HR&A Advisors Inc. for $235,000 with the goal of coming up with a realistic plan that would maintain the fort's historic nature while incorporating other uses for the property, The Detroit News reported.

“We hope a vision plan will be delivered by the end of the year, hopefully, well before the end of the year,” said Andrew Doctoroff, a special projects adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder

Housing, office or industrial uses are possibilities for the site. Workers with HR&A Advisors visited Historic Fort Wayne last week, the newspaper said. A 2003 study of Historic Fort Wayne estimated that it would cost at least $58 million to restore the site.

The military fort in southwest Detroit was built between 1842 and 1851. The grounds also contain a Native American burial site dating back more than 1,000 years. The Historic Fort Wayne site is on the federal National Register of Historic Places.

Detroit controls 83 acres, including the original fort and a number of buildings. The remaining area is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a boatyard. The site is near a planned new bridge across the Detroit River to connect the city with Windsor, Ontario.

The fort has gradually fallen into disrepair, with some buildings decaying while grass grows on the roofs of others. Upkeep is largely entrusted to volunteers with the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition who spend their time painting, repairing and cleaning the site.

“Right now, we only use a handful of the buildings,” said James Conway, a city of Detroit employee, who is Fort Wayne's project manager and historian.


Information from: The Detroit News,

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-11-15 1543GMT


 The original early 19th century barracks at Fort Wayne in Detroit. Image by Taubuch. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2015 12:14

Senza hotel captures essence of Napa Valley through arts

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Written by Outside news source   
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 10:45
Zad Roumaya, 'Kegger,' 2003. Senza image NAPA, Calif. – Guests at a newly rebranded luxury hotel can now enjoy an outstanding art collection on the property.

At Senza, a Napa boutique hotel, guests will encounter an assortment of elegant modern art pieces. With artists from all over the world, no one piece of art is the same, and each has been carefully chosen to cater to the sophisticated traveler, offering luxury in a relaxed atmosphere that enables a one-of-a-kind wine country experience.

Artist Zad Roumaya’s work, Baccus, is described as a whimsical human figure abstraction, which exhibits a sense of humor as well as the human condition. Going forward with a similar imaginative feel, guests encounter a bed of tar roses in front of Senza's historic Parker Mansion. The artist of the piece titled Tar Roses, Dennis Oppenheim (American, 1938-2011), was an American conceptual artist, performance artist, earth artist, sculptor and photographer.

Wanting to truly encapsulate and showcase various pieces of art, the proprietors have spread artworks throughout the property, from just outside 41 guest rooms and suites to the outdoor pool with cabanas and spectacular vineyard views.

To inspire guests, Senza boasts an impressive collection curated by Virginia Shore of Shore Art Advisory and Patricia Meadows. Senza is owned by Craig and Kathryn Hall, who also own Hall Napa Valley. Kathryn is a former U.S. ambassador to Austria during the Clinton Administration.

When the Halls purchased Senza, formerly known as La Residence in 2006, they aspired to extend the wine experience beyond the tasting rooms of Hall and Walt wineries, and to give each guest a fuller slice of Napa living. Over the last decade, the Halls helped grow Senza from a country bed and breakfast to a luxury hotel – all while maintaining its deep connection to the wine country and its understated luxury.

Kathryn Hall and her family have been grape growers in Mendocino Country since 1972, growing for area wineries including Fetzer, Parducci and Beringer. Kathryn managed the family vineyard from 1982 to 1992. In 1995 she and her husband bought their first vineyard in the Napa Valley and have since been producing premium cabernet sauvignon under their Hall label. In 2012 the Halls introduced their Walt brand, producing pinot noirs from the great vineyards along the West Coast from Santa Barbara to Oregon.

This rich history is reflected in Senza, from the natural light and the indoor / outdoor flow of each room to suites set at the footsteps of the vines and the spaces throughout the grounds, which are perfect for a glass of wine and conversation.

Zad Roumaya, 'Kegger,' 2003. Senza image Dennis Oppenheim, 'Tar Roses,' 1999. Senza image.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 11:02

Bidding in an auction on Sunday? Don’t forget Daylight Saving Time

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Written by ACNI Staff   
Friday, 06 March 2015 12:23
NEW YORK – If you’re planning to bid in an auction this Sunday through LiveAuctioneers, don’t forget that US Daylight Saving Time will begin at 2 a.m. that same day.

Before you go to bed on Saturday night, don’t forget to move your clocks forward by one hour. That way you’ll be sure not to miss out on bidding and buying in any of the auctions scheduled for this Sunday.

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Last Updated on Friday, 06 March 2015 12:34
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