This Week on One Detroit:

One Detroit contributors discuss ripple effects following alleged embezzlement from the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

Nearly $40 million has allegedly been stolen from the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. The nonprofit’s former chief financial officer, William Smith, has been accused of stealing nearly $40 million from the organization and faces charges of bank fraud and wire fraud.  

The 20-year transformation of the Detroit Riverfront has been one of the largest public and civic engagement projects the city has seen in recent years. Annually, it serves approximately 300,000 visitors and has been named the best riverfront in America for the last three years by USA TODAY.  

One Detroit contributors Stephen Henderson of “American Black Journal,” Nolan Finley of The Detroit News, and Zoe Clark of Michigan Public examine the fallout from an embezzlement investigation surrounding the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Henderson, Finley and Clark discuss what’s at stake for the community and the conservancy in wake of this scandal. They talk about Detroit’s history with financial corruption and mismanagement, the ripple effect it may have on future projects, and whether the conservancy may be able to recoup any of the money.  

Detroit’s oldest gay bar, Gigi’s, celebrates 50 years as haven for city’s LGBTQ+ community

As the oldest gay-owned bar in Detroit, Gigi’s celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, commemorating a long history as a cultural staple and haven for Detroit’s LGBTQ+ community. 

Gay bars have historically played a crucial role as safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, providing a sanctuary where individuals can gather, socialize and express their identities freely. That place in Detroit is Gigi’s, which opened in 1973, just four years after the Stonewall uprising that ignited the modern gay rights movement.  

Gigi’s has played a pivotal role in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and has fostered a vibrant queer culture that continues to thrive today. It’s also home to the nation’s oldest drag pageant, and the oldest gay bar drag competition title in the country, the annual Miss Gigi’s contest.  

One Detroit’s Chris Jordan sat down with Gigi’s co-owner and general manager Luis Mandujano, who bought the bar in 2020 after being a regular there for more than twenty years, Gigi’s Cabaret show director Nickki Stevens, and bar manager Randy Markoz Santiago to discuss the bar’s history, legacy, and place within the Detroit LGBTQ+ community.

Newlab at Michigan Central helps shift technology, entrepreneurial landscape in Detroit

Located next to the iconic Ford train station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, Newlab at Michigan Central opened its doors in April 2023 and embodies the story of revitalization and transformation in Detroit.  

Newlab was built from the skeleton of a crumbling book depository and is now home to 90 startups in a range of industries from EV off-road vehicles to smart wheels built to streamline warehouse logistics.  

The facility helps entrepreneurs cut time off the development cycle of their products, Newlab CEO Cameron Lawrence said. One Detroit Producer Will Glover talks with Lawrence about efforts to make Detroit a destination for technology and innovation.

One Detroit Weekend: June 21, 2024 

It’s the first official weekend of summer. Kick it off by watching the sunset at the Detroit Zoo, checking out some handmade glass at the Michigan Glass Project Art, Glass and Music Festival in Detroit, or heading to Log Cabin Day at Palmer Park in Detroit.  

Plus, Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill hosts its annual Strawberry Festival and the Ford Fireworks return ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. See what else is coming up around town on “One Detroit Weekend” with contributor Peter Whorf of 90.9 WRCJ.

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