Dr. Abe Nemeth, Designer Of Pioneering Braille Math Code Dies At 94

Nemeth-166DETROIT — Abraham Nemeth, the blind designer of the internationally recognized Nemeth Braille Math Code that simplified symbols for easier use in advanced math and science, has died at his home in suburban Detroit, relatives said Thursday. He was 94.

Nemeth, who was originally discouraged from pursuing his passion for math because of his blindness, died of congestive heart failure on Wednesday at his home in Southfield, said his niece, Dianne Bekritsky. She said her “uncle Abe” had passions ranging from science to music — he even worked his way through college by playing the piano in bars — and was long devoted to the blind community.

Nemeth started working on the code in the 1940s, seeking a simpler system to what was being used at the time. The New York native, who also spent 30 years as a mathematics professor at the University of Detroit Mercy, continued to develop the math code until the end of his life and has been lauded for his work by the blind community and advocates.

Read more at Free Press Designer of pioneering Braille math code from dies in Southfield | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.

Crumbling Wurlitzer Building Finds Israeli Buyer, Fuels Hopes For Renovation

WurlitzerDetroit— The Wurlitzer Building, a downtown site labeled “dangerous” by a judge two years ago, is under contract to a developer who intends to renovate the crumbling historical structure.

The pending sale of the 14-story building at 1509 Broadway, across the street from the Detroit Opera House, is to an unidentified “Israeli developer with major plans,” said Michael Muller, a lawyer for the city of Detroit.

The city has pursued the current owner over the declining condition of the building in Wayne County Circuit Court since 2011 because it caused a public risk. Three years ago, a 40-pound chunk of terracotta fell from Wurlitzer’s exterior and crashed through the roof of a neighboring building. “We’re clearing the way for (the sale),” so the deal can go through without any outstanding issues from the court case, Muller said. “It should close in 30 days.”

Read more at Detroit News Crumbling Wurlitzer Building finds a buyer, fuels hopes for renovation | The Detroit News.

UPDATE: Novi Pediatrician Jeffrey Dembs Sentenced To Six Years In Prison

Dr. Jeffrey Dembs

Jeffrey Dembs

West Bloomfield resident Jeffrey Dembs, who initially faced charges of criminal sexual conduct with a person under age 13, will spend time in prison and the rest of his life on an electronic tether.

Dembs, 61, formerly a pediatrician at My Kids Doc in Novi, was initially charged in December of 2012 with one count of first degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct, all with a person younger than 13.

Those counts were dismissed in early September, after Dembs pleaded guilty to three lesser charges.

According to court records posted at oakgov.com, Dembs was sentenced Tuesday to at least 76 months and no more than 10 years in prison on three charges of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration.

He was credited with 24 days served. His sentence includes payment of attorney, court and victim rights fees, compliance with HIV and DNA testing, no contact with victims and compliance with sex offender registry requirements.

via Novi Pediatrician to Spend Life on Electronic Tether – Police & Fire – West Bloomfield, MI Patch.

Custom Golf Club Maker Shoots For Growth With Michigan Move

By Sherri Welch

technerEntrepreneur Ari Techner has moved back to metro Detroit from Tennessee, bringing with him a custom golf club business that’s gaining a name among professional players.

Scratch Golf Clubs LLC and its fitting location/showroom and headquarters moved into 3,000 square feet of leased space in the former Residential Design Center location at 27723 Woodward Ave. in Berkley in August.

The company is now making plans to move its golf club grinding and finishing operations from Chattanooga, Tenn., to 2,000 square feet of space in Warren in October, investing about $1 million total for the moves.

By next spring, Scratch Golf expects to open its second fitting/retail location at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs.

It’s investing about $200,000 to set up the northern location, which will consist of separate locations at Boyne for summer and winter, said Techner, president and CEO. But summers will largely find Scratch Golf associates using the outdoor range and putting green as they work with clients.

Techner, the great-grandson of Ira Kaufman, founder of Ira Kaufman Chapel in Southfield, said he and his wife initially thought to come back to metro Detroit to raise their family. And he and his business partners increasingly saw the advantages of locating the company here, too.

Read more at Crain’s Detroit Business Custom golf club maker shoots for growth with Michigan move | Crain’s Detroit Business.

Author Steve Luxenberg Explores Family Secrets In The New Autobiographical Memoir: Annie’s Ghosts

steve_luxenbergThis year’s Great Michigan Read selection is Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret, by Steve Luxenberg.

The autobiographical memoir tells the story of one man’s surprising discovery of his aunt, Annie, who he only learns of after his mother’s death. This is a fascinating read: its part mystery story, part family history and part exploration, as the author relearns who his mother and aunt really were.

This week, Host Jennifer White talks with the author, Steve Luxenberg about why it was important for him to write such an intimate story about his family.

“My mother had a secret, which she kept her entire life. She didn’t tell her children that she had a sister who was institutionalized for 31 years at a Michigan Hospital called Eloise. When we found out about this, I needed to re-imagine my mother and my entire family story because when my mom was growing up she told elaborate stories about how she was an only child. Those stories turned out not to be true,” Luxenberg said.

Listen at Michigan Radio Author explores family secrets in the new autobiographical memoir: Annie’s Ghosts | Michigan Radio.

New Anne Frank Exhibit Dedicated At Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus

A blue ribbon is ready to be cut at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, one of only 11 sites in the U.S. to receive a sapling from the tree that grew outside Anne Frank's hiding place. / Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press

A blue ribbon is ready to be cut at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, one of only 11 sites in the U.S. to receive a sapling from the tree that grew outside Anne Frank’s hiding place. / Kathleen Galligan/Detroit Free Press

When Anne Frank looked out a window left uncovered in the attic of her secret hiding place in Amsterdam, she saw a chestnut tree that brought her solace.

Now, more than six decades later, people visiting the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus in Farmington Hills will be able to see a sapling from the same tree that the Jewish teenager wrote about in her diary during World War II as her family hid from the Nazis.

The sapling was planted several weeks ago, and on Sunday, the Viola and Garry Kappy Anne Frank Tree Exhibit and Garden was dedicated.

Read more at Free Press New Anne Frank exhibit dedicated at Holocaust center in Farmington Hills | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.

Schostak Bros. Plans $111 Million, 16-Story Detroit Office Tower In Gilbertland

By Kirk Pinho

schostakLivonia-based Schostak Bros. & Co. plans to build a $111-million, 16-story office building on Monroe Street downtown, the first new major office building construction in Detroit’s central business district since construction on One Kennedy Square began in 2005.

The Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority’s nine-member board has reviewed a $27-million brownfield tax incentive plan for site preparation and infrastructure improvements for the building, which is expected to include first-floor retail space and a parking deck wrapping around Cadillac Tower facing Campus Martius.

Questions about the proposed building’s size were not immediately answered late Monday. Its parking deck would house 1,000 cars.

The two-parcel development site at 32 Monroe and 825 Bates St. is bounded by Monroe, Farmer Street, Bates, Woodward Avenue and Cadillac Square.

Read more at Crain’s Detroit Business Schostak Bros. plans $111 million, 16-story Detroit office tower | Crain’s Detroit Business.

BREAKING NEWS: Former Republican Ryan Fishman Runs As DEMOCRAT For Michigan 13th Senate District

LANSING, MI- (via Gongwer News Servicefishman) Three months ago, Ryan Fishman penned an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press urging his fellow Republicans to return to an emphasis on national security and fiscal conservatism, stop fighting the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and drop the party plank opposing same-sex marriage. Friday, he filed paperwork with the Department of State to set up a campaign committee as a Democratic candidate for the 13th Senate District.

Mr. Fishman, 25, is awaiting his Bar exam results, is an executive with West Bloomfield-based Steward Media and is coming off a stint as the campaign manager for now-Troy Mayor Dane Slater, who upset former Rep. Marty Knollenberg earlier this year.

About a month ago, Mr. Fishman said he was approached about running for office and lamented that he thought with his positions supporting abortion rights and gay marriage, he had no shot of winning a Republican primary. He was asked about running as a Democrat, he said, and the idea made “a lot of sense” because there is more room in the Democratic Party for a moderate voice.

After he began writing columns for the Free Press criticizing the direction of the Republican Party, some people began denigrating him as a RINO, a Republican in name only.

What Lansing and Washington need, Mr. Fishman said, is more people willing to step up to solve problems, reach out to both sides and not be rigidly tied to ideology.

“I’m running as a Democrat, but I’m not going out there to rah-rah either side,” he said.

Mr. Fishman said he plans to formally announce his candidacy and beginning campaigning in earnest after the November election. He is helping out Detroit mayoral candidate Mike Duggan’s campaign.

The 13th District is not an iron lock for Republicans, but it leans pretty strongly in their direction. Rochester Hills, Rochester, Bloomfield Hills, Troy and Birmingham provide a dominant Republican base for the seat with Clawson in the middle and Royal Oak and Berkley where Democrats are strongest.

Mr. Fishman resides in Birmingham, having grown up in Bloomfield Hills, and thinks his background, combined with the changes occurring in Troy and the Rochesters, where Democrats have performed much better in recent elections, gives him a good opportunity. Democrats like what they see in Mr. Fishman and think he has a shot.

Sen. John Pappageorge (R-Troy) cannot seek re-election because of term limits. Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) and former Rep. Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham) are squaring off in what should be a spirited battle for the Republican nomination.

Democratic and Republican strategists have said, privately, that if Mr. McMillin wins the nomination, it will give Democrats more of an opening because he takes more of a liberty conservative approach as opposed to Mr. Moss’ business conservative style. Mr. McMillin also is known for emphasizing social issues, especially when he was on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.

Mr. Fishman said there are many Republicans in the district who think the same way he does.

“It is right-leaning, but it’s a margin district,” he said. “The Republicans, whoever the candidate may be, may ultimately look at this as an easy district. I don’t think that it is.”

Jack Lessenberry: Saving Detroit’s Last Synagogue To Help Rebuild Detroit

downtown-synagogueYom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, begins this evening. Half a century ago, that would have meant thousands of Detroit’s Jews streaming into temples and synagogues in the city, but then the modern exodus began.

Most Jews, like most other whites, fled the city. The last home of Temple Beth El, the city’s oldest congregation, is now the site of an African-American church. Other former synagogues have long since been converted to other uses or torn down.

There are few Jews left in the city itself. But one house of worship remains: The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue on Griswold, which once had hundreds of members and catered to Jewish businessmen who might end up in the city on Shabbat or during the High Holidays.

Read more and listen at Michigan Radio Saving Detroit’s last Synagogue to help rebuild Detroit | Michigan Radio.

Harvard Business School Club of Michigan Names Dan Gilbert Top Business Leader Of The Year

gilbertBLOOMFIELD HILLS — The Harvard Business School Club of Michigan announces that Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Detroit-based Quicken Loans, Inc., has been selected as the Club’s annual Business Leader of the Year. A dinner to honor Gilbert will take place on Oct. 10, at Qzine at the Chase Building in Detroit. The announcement was made by Harvard Business School Club of Michigan board chair, Richard Shapack.

“The Harvard Business School Club of Michigan supports the Harvard Business School mission to train business leaders to make a difference in their communities. Dan Gilbert is the standout recipient for this year’s award. His business success is internationally recognized as is his unwavering commitment to support Detroit in its comeback efforts,” said Shapack. “Gilbert is harnessing the energy and potential of Detroit and the region, particularly among young adults, and reflects the benefits of private/public partnerships and the good that can be accomplished in business and the community when outstanding leaders are in charge.”

Read more at DBusiness  DBusiness Magazine, Michigan, Dan Gilbert.