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Heya! You’re getting this week’s Detour a little late today after we experienced some technical difficulties — sorry about that, but there’s plenty of time to read up and plan your weekend!

Hope you’re surviving the grab-bag of weather being thrown at us this week. Today, we’re looking at an ongoing lack of living wages in Detroit, a new towering structure on the skyline, efforts to prevent sexual assault at local venues and the terrible scourge of late-summer yellow jackets. Get up to speed before another jam-packed festival weekend, and see you at Dally. <3 Team Detour

P.S. Thanks for the shoutout, @Quemini! We love when you tell your friends about us.

Post that says, “I just subscribed to this newsletter so fast. It has everything Detroit in it for the week.”
Via @Quemini on X (formerly Twitter)

Detroit in Five

Barely getting by: A recent University of Michigan report found that wages are expected to continue to rise in Detroit over the next few years, and the unemployment rate is expected to fall under 6% on a “sustained basis.” However, the majority of Detroit’s workers aren’t earning enough to live. Although wages grew in 2022, inflation consumed those earnings, according to the report. Only about 36% of working Detroiters are making a living wage, which is $16.43 an hour for an adult worker without any children in Detroit. For a worker with one child, it jumps to $38.69 an hour. In comparison, the report detailed that 48% of workers in Cleveland and 60% in Chicago are earning a living wage. The report considers education levels as a factor for why Detroit’s wages are lower than other nearby cities but also notes that the researchers hope to study this gap more. (Michigan Radio, University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

➡️ Payday math: To check if you’re making a living wage, try the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator. 

‘We better get our shit together’: These hundred-year rainstorms are starting to seem like a regular occurrence in Detroit. A little help is on the way for Jefferson Chalmers and Hamtramck, which will respectively receive $11.3 million for new sewer mains and $9.4 million for new relief combined sewers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Floods are one symptom of a warming climate in our region, and while every dollar helps, the region is facing billions more in spending to prepare for 21st-century weather. Aside from quitting fossil fuels, stormwater improvements, tree maintenance and utility upgrades are among the region’s most pressing needs. (Michigan Advance, Outlier Media)

Because a gardened lot isn’t a vacant lot: Mayor Mike Duggan announced that urban farms and community gardens would be exempt from tax increases as part of the property tax reform he’s been pursuing. If implemented, the proposed land value tax plan would raise property taxes on vacant land and cut bills for almost all homeowners. The legislation is expected to head to the state legislature this week. (Metro Times, City of Detroit, Detroit Free Press)

YouTube video
Infrastructure, but give it a blockbuster soundtrack

Catch up, Canada: Detroit is one tower closer to getting its new bridge to Canada. The Gordie Howe International Bridge (because nothing connects Detroit and Windsor quite like hockey) is anticipated to open in late 2024 and will connect the two cities via I-75. The U.S. tower is now complete at a staggering 722 feet, taller than the largest pyramid in Egypt. The Canadian tower is expected to be finished this month. (CBC)

Best of the rest: 

(Outlier, Detroit News, Associated Press, Freep, WXYZ)

Black infant with pink headband and striped shirt stares while being held in a woman’s arms
Photo credit: Jeremiah Brown for W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Birth Detroit addresses Black infant mortality rate

Nearly 1,000 women die each year in the United States while in childbirth or during their pregnancies, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of this group, Black mothers are four and a half times more likely to die than their white counterparts, and Detroit’s maternal death rate is three times the national average. It is with these tragic realizations that the mission of Detroit-based doula-based company, Birth Detroit, has successfully started to build the state’s first birthing center. ➡️ Keep reading

Content produced in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. #ad


‘Intolerant, aggressive jerks’: We’ve had it up to here with end-of-season yellow jackets

By Koby Levin
Lifecycle of a yellow jacket Winter: Queens hibernate in a protected area such as a hollow log or dead tree. Spring and summer: Queens emerge in the warm days of April and May. They find a new place to begin building a nest and lay eggs. The first children are workers: daughters who take over food collection, nest construction, and caring for larvae while the queen focuses on laying eggs. Late summer: Nests reach their largest populations. The queen lays one more generation of eggs — including stingless males and new queens — which leave the nest to mate. Late fall: With the exception of the new queens, which seek shelter outside the nest after mating, yellow jackets die off as temperatures drop.
Image credit: Outlier Media

Warren McAlpine knew exactly what to do when he bumped a yellow jacket nest with his lawn mower a few weeks ago at his home in Lathrup Village.

“I ran,” the local attorney recalled. “I knew what was about to happen. When you disturb them, they don’t just go somewhere else. They go to the source… They were using me like a pincushion.”

Culture & Community

This summer, the Instagram account TimesUpDetroit landed on our radar. The anonymous account was short-lived, but whoever was posting these stories was trying to address something people have talked about for decades: Detroit’s entertainment spaces are not always safe from sexual violence.

Victim advocates and venue owners say this issue has gone on too long, and music venues need help fixing it now. Read our story for more on what venues are doing to prevent assaults, as well as a roundup of national and local resources for victims of sexual violence. 


As 910 AM Superstation (WFDF) goes the way of Glenn Beck, we’re doubling down on and dialing into local radio shows. Check out the “Rhythm and Soul Patrol Show,” 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday on 1460 AM (WPON) — crate-digging host Lindsey Renee Sims may only be 21, but she knows her history. For even more of that Motor City sound, you’ll want to tune into “Memories of Motown,” Thursdays and Saturdays on 96.7 FM (WNUC) — Morris “Mo Master” Porter weaves together Motown hits and his interviews with the musicians who made them. Have a favorite local radio station or show? Email and let us know! 

More culture:

There’s plenty more of that “something old and something new” vibe on the culture landscape, including mural and dance fests this weekend. We’re also digging into Chaldean Cultural Center Executive Director Weam Namou’s story and her journey to make the award-winning Iraqi-American film “Pomegranate.” On the retro side, we were delighted to learn this week that the woman who designed and crafted Yoda and other puppet creatures seen in ’80s movies is a Detroit native and College for Creative Studies grad. Read more in an interview with Wendy Froud touching on her time working with Jim Henson and a long creative career.


If you love a good map as much as we do, practice your cartography or data analysis skills and submit a Detroit data storytelling piece for a chance to be featured in “Visualizing Detroit: The Art of Data.” The exhibit is hosted by the Detroit Data Coalition, and an online gallery will open during Digital Inclusion Week, Oct. 2-6. Apply by Sept. 18.

Know a budding young dancer or musician? You’ll want to check out Compás, a music and performing arts center in Southwest Detroit. The community center offers classes in drums, violin, ballet and much more, with an emphasis on Latinx culture and heritage — get the deets and sign up at an open house on Sept. 13

Place matters:

Avalon Village’s community garden will be saved after Highland Park City Council votes against selling the land to a developer… Detroit plans to hire for a new director of urban agriculture role… Food entrepreneur Ping Ho talks about the city’s expanding food scene (paywalled)… Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan is moving its headquarters into the city onto the Michigan Central campus… Find culturally relevant care for children with autism at B.E.L.I.E.F Eclectic Learning in Eastpointe… Order extra “yum yum” sauce at the Hoodbachi Grille food truck on the westside. 

(Outlier, Freep, WPON, BridgeDetroit, WNUC, BLKOUT Walls, Detroit Dance City Festival, WDET, El País, City of Detroit, WXYZ, Compás, Crain’s Detroit Business, Model D, Axios Detroit)

Hang out with Outlier! RSVP and join us for coffee on Sept. 14. And join The Outlier Collective, our new membership program, to build deeper connections with your community!

Get Busy

Orange and green poster that says, “44th Annual Dally in the Alley, Saturday Sept. 9, 2023, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Music, art, beer, food, kids fair, free admission. Sponsored by NCCU.” The poster has illustrations of cat-shaped clouds, a cat with “Cass Corridor” spelled out in its stripes and a possum holding beer next to a guitar and a “Detroit” pennant flag.
Dally in the Alley poster by Haley Stone. Image credit: Via Dally in the Alley

🎨 Street artists will paint 25 murals across the city during the BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival, starting today. Locals including Bakpak Durden, Cailyn Dawson, Ijania Cortez and Sheefy McFly will work alongside international artists, and you can watch them turn blank walls into works of art. Free. 

😋 Transport your taste buds to the 16th century at Frame’s Feast of the Renaissance with Chef Petr Balcarovsky on Friday or Saturday. Each meal is a journey through time and culture through vibrant, Renaissance art-inspired dishes of culinary enlightenment. $75.

💃 Come celebrate the art of choreography at the Detroit Dance City Festival, Friday through Sunday. Hosted at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Opera House, it’ll feature performances by local and international dancers, a dance party and classes for styles including ballet, jazz and West African. Ticket prices vary but some events are free. 

🎉 Also Friday through Sunday, several local creatives will be taking over Core City Park for an arty weekend. Hilu + Roni Amitai and Detroit techno originator Juan Atkins will headline the Origins party on Friday. Saturday brings the opening reception for two shows at a new Core City outpost for art gallery Matéria (formerly Simone DeSousa Gallery). And Vesper, a soon-to-open bookstore and wine bar, closes out the weekend on Sunday with Big Feelings, a BYOB food, book and artist market. Free. 

🎸 It’s the season for Dally in the Alley. On Saturday in the Cass Corridor, the volunteer-run festival will boast more than 50 music acts and a dozen food vendors, along with art and activities for children. Free.

🥩 Gather with the Detroit Sound Conservancy on Sunday for a groundbreaking ceremony and BBQ celebrating the rehabilitation of the Blue Bird Inn. The Cardinal Foundation will serve up healthy grub, while local artists Jon Dixon Live and Sabetye will perform at the party of food, fun and community spirit. Free.

🎓 Join a discussion this Sunday with Detroiters creating after-school opportunities, featuring Downtown Boxing Gym’s Khali Sweeney, hip-hop math educator Mr. E in the D and SheTooSTEM’s Alanna Tremble. $6-$10. 

🪷 Celebrate the end of summer with Detroit Abloom on Sunday at the eastside farm’s annual Dahlia Fest and fundraiser. You’ll be able to enjoy wood-fired pizza, watch some “food magic” with Ador Cuisine and buy some of those big, beautiful blooms. $5.

🚗 The auto show is back during its new fair-weather calendar slot. From Sept. 13-24, experience all things vehicles and the shiny new technology underneath the hood. This year’s show features EV ride-alongs on an indoor track. $10 and up.

Written by Aaron, Alex, Dan, Koby, Malak, SaMya and Kate, who’s coveting one of those Dally posters.

It’s never the wrong time for a dream hampton profile

Kate (she/her) is passionate about journalism that involves Detroiters from the start and helps readers solve problems and find joy in their daily lives. Her favorite Detroit spot to watch the sunset, play soccer, watch the freighters go by and feel a little haunted is Historic Fort Wayne.