This summer has seen a significant number of devastating weather disasters affect much of our world. Many areas are popular vacation destinations for many of us in the colder climes. Our hearts go out to all those who suffer or have loved ones who have been affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires that are still causing destruction. I have received several questions from clients and others about the impact of the recent hurricanes on travel and tourism to the southern United States and the Caribbean. So many want to help but aren’t sure how. So, instead of using this month’s space to talk about how to travel, I thought we could discuss how to help.
Now, there are many, many great organizations which provide emergency assistance to those in need. You know some of them: the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org/Disaster-Relief); the Salvation Army (www.give.salvationarmyusa.org/); UNICEF (https://www.unicefusa.org/); the United Way (https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/flood/flood-donation/); and, Habitat For Humanity (https://www.habitat.org/impact/our-work/disaster-response/hurricanes/2017). . These agencies have existed for decades, and are well known for the great service they provide to the nation and the world.
There are also other organizations, some of which aren’t so well known for humanitarian aid, or which were only recently established to support relief efforts in a particular emergency. They are still very reputable and provide additional opportunities for people everywhere to get involved and lend a hand. They include:: The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (www.tourismcares.org); United For Puerto created by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, in collaboration with the private sector (http://unidosporpuertorico.com/en/); Convoy of Hope, a faith-based initiative that provides food, water, and other supplies (https://www.convoyofhope.org/donate/hurricane-maria-response-2017/); the SPCA which organizes pet evacuation and more (https://spca.org/give); and, Hand In Hand, the entertainment industry’s hurricane relief telethon that aired on September 12, 2017, is still accepting donations (https://handinhand2017.com/). Then there are crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe which maintains a list of verified aid campaigns (https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/hurricanemaria); and, GlobalGiving which connects donors to non-profit organizations around the world (https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-maria-caribbean-relief-fund/).
Now, I’m no expert, and cannot say that I have personally vetted each organization listed. So, I suggest doing your research and check for yourself. But, I can say that each organization has (or is linked to a larger one that has) a notable and reputable presence in our business, entertainment, educational, and philanthropic communities. Regardless of how you choose to be of service, we at Star 1 Vacations encourage you to do whatever you can to provide support. No matter the amount you give, the benefits will be priceless to those in need, wherever they are.
~ The Travel Diva loves helping others experience world travel that engages, empowers, enlightens, and entertains. Contact her at (313)808-8018 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s no “trick” the “D” has been growing by leaps and bounds, but the “treat” would be if the senior population was growing with it. I live near the new Micro Apartments on Griswold. They look great from the outside, but living in one room 24/7 is not for everyone unless you happen to be a short-term tenant or a traveling salesman. There is a lot going on, and I heard they were going to start work on the old Hudson’s site in December this year — something huge with a very tall skyscraper built in the middle. I wonder if there will be room for a grocery store. With all this hustle and bustle, the seniors continue to be at a stand still. Jobs for them are zero to none. There are some, like myself, who are still able and very much want to go back to work. The problem is they are now considered as “non-productive”. It would be great if they looked at their experience rather than their age.
On Saturday morning, September 9, 2017 the people in Florida were hit with a catastrophic category 5 hurricane named Irma. It continued until September 11, 2017. The same storm had previously hit the Caribbean Islands. There was national news coverage at that time. Since then there has not been many other reports of what is going on. I clicked on Facebook and found a website called Science Insider. Their video was on “Where Do Hurricanes Come From”. I was amazed at the information and decided to check the website on Google. There is so much more to hurricanes than high winds and torrential rain. Most hurricanes that hit the United States come from the exact same spot in the world and they all seem to follow a similar course. In fact, Irma, Harvey, and Jose were born on the other side of the Atlantic; Cape Verde a point off the west coast of Africa. The Sahara desert is also to blame. According to the Science Insider video there are two clashing climates with high altitude winds that come together – dry hot air from the Sahara Desert and moist cool air from the south. This is known as the African Easterly Jet. In the United States weather moves from West to East. The African Easterly Jet moves from East to West. Over the year the Jet builds strength. The strongest storms usually occur in September. A category 5 is the most catastrophic. Irma had winds over 185mph. One of the worst storms in history, some scientists considered it a category 6. If you want to read more on hurricanes such as how they are named and other information check out the Science Insider website.
The flooding we had in the state of Texas was the forerunner of Irma. Since Irma we have had two earthquakes in Mexico. The devastation to all of these people and where they live is beyond comprehension. All of us here in Detroit and the state of Michigan really need to count our blessings. Next month is Thanksgiving. Lets remember all of these people and pray that next year they may be celebrating too.
The Detroit Blues Society has their roots deep in some of the best music that’s ever come out of Detroit. The group has been around in some capacity since 1985, and informally before that, with an effort to bring something big to the city of Detroit. This fall, they’re hosting a tribute show as part of their Detroit Blues Heritage Series. The series is in its 20th season.
Ed Schenk, the current president of the Detroit Blues Society, found himself taken by the blues as a college student in Texas. He discovered juke joints and a kind of musical community he hadn’t yet been introduced to. He had really stumbled on something big.
He moved back to where he was originally from, the east coast, and met an individual who hosted house parties in New York City. Grammy winners would play on the house stage sometimes, and parties seemed like they’d last forever. The blues was a type of music that almost created a party just with its sound. Schenk remembers fondly that Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown played one of the parties.
Schenk met his wife, got married, and moved to Detroit, which is close to where his wife is from. While in the city, he was working and wasn’t really feeling fulfilled, so he changed something for the better. He got involved with the local cable station and decided he was going to produce a show on the blues in Detroit. “They gave me a camera and off I went,” Schenk said.
That life change sparked Schenk’s involvement in the Detroit Blues Society. He met more artists and key players in Detroit, and he saw the Blues Society as a way to get more involved in the world of music that changed his life.
One of the projects of the Detroit Blues Society included Eddie James "Son" House, Jr., who Schenk refers to as a more contemporary Robert Leroy Johnson. Schenk kept getting involved in shows that would tell stories about blues players’ lives and he loved bringing that educational element to the stage. After all of his involvement in the Blues Society, someone suggested he become more officially involved. Schenk held the role of vice president first and then became an influential president of the Detroit Blues Society. In 1997, Schenk made a commitment to a series of events with the Detroit Blues Society, called the Detroit Blues Heritage Series, in partnership with the Scarab Club in Detroit.
“By the second show, people had really latched on to the idea of this event that was free to the public, anyone could come in and you got to see incredible music,” Schenk said. “You never knew who you were going to see and you never knew what to expect.”
At the time of Schenk's starting efforts with the Detroit Blues Heritage Series, people weren’t coming to Detroit for entertainment at all, he said. The first couple shows really started putting the Detroit Blues Society on the map, though, and Schenk decided there really was no stopping something like this.
“At that point, we just started building,” he said. “We were able to bring bigger and more important artists in.”
The Detroit Blues Society and their Heritage Series have hosted Detroit Blues Guitar shows, Detroit Blues Piano shows and much more as an effort to educate the community on a type of music that is one of the richest in sound in the history of music.
In 2002/2003, the Blues Heritage Series was named as part of Martin Scorsese’s Year Of the Blues. In 2016, the Detroit Blues Heritage Series received a Testimonial resolution from Detroit City Council. This is the 20th season of the Detroit Blues Heritage Series. “I have a show that is just going to kill,” Schenk said.
The show he’s putting on for the city is a tribute to Howard Armstrong. The show will feature Ralphe Armstrong, Howard’s son, on bass, with Ray Kamalay on guitar and John Reynolds on violin. This tribute is scheduled at 2:00 p.m. on Oct. 21 at the Scarab Club at Farnsworth.
Ralphe is a nationally known bass player who has played with artists across the country, like John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, and Carlos Santana. He also played with his father Howard on the W.C. Handy award winning record “Louie Bluie.” Howard was declared a National Treasure by the National Endowment for the Arts, and he began performing in the 1920s. Howard even played the 1933 World Fair and backed blues musicians Big Bill Broonzy and Memphis Minnie. “His son was just so happy that we wanted to do this,” Schenk said.
Schenk said that this show is special because it’s going back to their roots in the Detroit Blues Society. In the beginning, their shows were all acoustic, and people really took to the rawness of the performances. Schenk wants to bring that back and make this as big as it was when it all started.
For more information on the Detroit Blues Society, the Heritage Series and more, visit www.detroitbluessociety.org.
~Erica N. Rakowicz