Business owners offer incentives to address worker shortage

George Mugianis is the owner of Luxury Loud, a small marijuana dispensary in Detroit, who said that offering a livable wage is the bare minimum he can do for his employees. 

“We are not offering a hiring bonus, what we always talk about is quality of life,” said Mugianis. “We expect people to take vacations, we expect people to not be concerned about their healthcare, we expect people to be able to take sick days.” 

Mugianis starts all his employees at $16 per hour, then moves them to a salary after their first 90 days. Mugianis said that thanks to this method and his quality-of-life philosophy, he has only lost three employees since he first opened his store. “I will never talk about what kind of car I drive to work; I want to see what kind of car my people who work for me drive to work,” said Mugianis. 

Mugianis said his goal is to make money off his customers, not his employees. He said that underpaying workers and not allowing them to get overtime creates abject poverty, and he wants to see his employees be able to give back one day if they choose to do so. 

The labor shortage has been a continuous conversation among employees and employers alike.

Child tax credit payments help Detroit parents

Mayor Mike Duggan announces the expansion of the Child Tax Credit. Credit: City of Detroit’s YouTube channel

Stephanie Perry from Detroit said she is grateful to receive the Child Tax Credit due to her circumstances during the pandemic and said that while the money will be helpful to her, but she’s doubtful that it will adequately aid people in less fortunate positions. 

“Due to coronavirus, I have not worked because I have an autoimmune disease and asthma,” said Perry, who has two children. “It is going to give me some relief to help with some of the household bills.” 

The Child Tax Credit will be distributed to parents or legal guardians of dependents who are under the age of 17 as of Dec. 31. The first half of the credit will be broken up into six monthly payments from July to December.

Detroit housing market sees surge

The demand for houses has been on a steady rise since in-person activities have returned, however, the number of houses hasn’t increased, making it a seller’s market in Detroit. Home sellers are ready to welcome buyers to browse and sell to the highest bidder. 

“We had a week of open houses, but we got an offer on like the third day,” said Leah Yankee, a resident of North Rosedale Park. “Several people told me it would go fast but it went very quickly.” 

Yankee sold her home in July and said buying her current home was just as competitive as selling her previous home. 

“I do know that home prices are high right now, and our home was considered a ‘hot home’,” said Yankee. “My understanding seems to be North Rosedale Park is maybe getting a little hip, but there was somebody else that looked at it before us and we were very anxious.” 

United States housing market patterns by the National Association of Realtors

Byron Suggs, a realtor and mortgage specialist at Paramount Mortgage Group, said the housing shortage is due to a buildup of demand without distributing any supply for about a year. 

“It’s a seller’s market like never seen before,” said Suggs. “I think the main thing is it’s taken a long time to catch up from the lack of inventory started last year.” 

Suggs said for the past year sellers haven’t been comfortable allowing buyers into their homes and buyers haven’t been comfortable purchasing without seeing the house in person. 

“The thing is, with the way the market is, you got a nice home and put it on the market, you’re going to get several offers over the weekend,” said Suggs.

The Festival of Books returns to Detroit

Every year hundreds of people travel to Detroit’s Eastern Market in search of the latest and greatest in literature. The Detroit Festival of Books provides authors, illustrators, and readers alike the chance to browse and buy varying genres of literature. This event, hosted in Shed 5 at Detroit’s Eastern Market, is the largest book festival in Michigan according to the Detroit Festival of Books website. The festival is a nonprofit that is “dedicated to promoting the joy of reading and the rich culture surrounding it”. Author Rochelle Riley poses at her table presenting her new book “That They Lived” at Detroit’s Festival of Books.

Folkfest returns to Manistique

Manistique resident Jena Osterhout performs pop classics at Manistique Folkfest. Jena Osterhout has always dreamed of being a singer despite her stage fright. However, growing up in the southern part of Michigan’s upper peninsula, there are not many opportunities to perform publicly. 

“Folkfest is a festival is a festival that goes on every summer in Manistique, and it just means a lot to me because I’ve been coming here every year because I grew up in Manistique and I have a passion for music and I’ve always wanted to sing,” said Osterhout. 

The annual two-day festival hosts “Yoopers Got Talent”, a local talent display that presents Osterhout with the opportunity to perform. Yooper is slang for someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula. “So, when I got old enough and worked out of my stage fright, and I finally, when I was 12 years old, got to sing at Folkfest, and I’ve been doing it every year since,” said Osterhout.

Detroit bookstore struggles to survive COVID-19

Pages, a small locally-owned bookshop in Detroit. Susan Murphy is the owner of Pages, a small bookstore in Detroit. Pages, its publishers, and its property management came to a halt with the hold placed on in person operations. “March 16, I will never forget that day, that’s when I closed the store,” said Murphy. Inside of Pages, you can find tons of books and a cat named Pip.

Record-breaking rainfall causes flooding in Wayne County

Wayne County has been taken by storm, literally. One stormy day caused power outages, flooding, and property damage throughout the county. Bianca Stokes had experienced flooding in her Detroit home before, but it never gets easier. “As far as the flooding, our basement hasn’t flooded since 2014, when we had the last big flood,” said Stokes, a resident of the west side of Detroit. Stokes’s basement took the brunt of the damage.