Thursday, February 26, 2015

Exported From Michigan: The Fall and Rise of the Great Lakes State

Exported From Michigan at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids
"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still." -Franklin Roosevelt

Over a period of a few decades, Michigan's economy went from one of the country's strongest to one its most depressed. Michigan became complacent, stood still, and lost its innovative edge. After years of its industries drying up or moving jobs out of state, many people looked around and thought, "What happened and what do we do to fix this?"

Grand Rapids native Jon Vander Pol's documentary Exported From Michigan explores the many Michiganders who are answering these questions and creating new and innovative ways for Michigan's economy to move forward. The film does not cast blame but instead preaches hope through the stories of Michiganders from varied backgrounds who believe in the state's future.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Paczki Day!

Window display at Dutch Girl Donuts in Detroit
When I was living in the D.C. area last year, I had to go out of my way to find paczki for Paczki Day (aka Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras). Now that I'm back home in Metro Detroit, it's a lot easier to find paczki, but I wanted to try some of the best. It had been more than a decade since I had Michigan paczki, so I had to read paczki reviews online to decide where to go. I found five or six places that seemed to make every best paczki list, and I settled on two: 1) New Palace Bakery in Hamtramck, and 2) Dutch Girl Donuts in Detroit.

To avoid the crowds, I went to each bakery the day before Paczki Day. First, I stopped at Dutch Girl Donuts. I have driven by this bakery many times and noticed that it always seemed to have a good crowd, even before dawn. The first thing I noticed upon entering was the intoxicating smell of donuts. The sweet aroma was overpowering, as if the building were made out of donuts.