Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mount Clemens shoe shiner's party, advice go national. But he keeps his humble roots

There's nothing The Insider likes more than a heartwearming tale, and this, my friends, is truly heartwarming:
Otis Hopson's birthday has become a holiday of sorts in the Macomb County Court Building in downtown Clem. But this year's celebration may have topped them all for the courthouse's shoe shine man.
Hopson, who this year marks his 20th buffing footwear in the courthouse lobby, turned 93 on Tuesday. As custom, he was feted by courthouse employees who posted more than a dozen colorful balloons and signs on his work-area wall, and serenaded him with "Happy Birthday To You." Clerk Carmella Sabaugh presented him with a birthday cake, and he returned the gift of music by playing a tune on his handy harmonica.
As an added bonus this year, Otis appeared as a guest on Channel 4's morning show with Steve Garagiola and Rhonda Walker. Hopson related his long-touted philosophy, "JOY," an acronym for "Jesus first," "Others next" and "Yourself last." He also treated the hosts with the sounds of his harmonica.
The story was picked up by MSNBC-TV.
When asked about his experience, Hopson responded in his typical modesty. “I was overwhelmed,” he said. “They were so nice.”
Otis may have gone national, but the man who has called Mount Clemens his home for 88 years was back shining shoes Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A lady never tells and neither does Jim Fouts

The Insider is closely following the case of Jim Fouts vs. Truth in Age Advertising. For the uninitiated, Fouts is  refusing to disclose his date of birth on documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act. Now, we've had our scuffles with the honorable Fouts, but in this case we say, "you go, Mr. Mayor."  The Insider hasn't disclosed his age since 1974 -- oh wait, The Insider wasn't yet a gleam in his daddy's eye in 1974, and anyone who says anything different is a dirty liar. In fact if you said it, you shouldn't be reading this, you should be running to the pump house to hose down your flaming pants. Anyway, if Jim Fouts was in the vicinity right now, we would offer him a fist pump, a very light one, so as not to knock him down. The mayor isn't a robust man. And he may be a senior citizen. Or he may not be.

Friday, March 18, 2011

If you can't handle the heat...stay out of commission chambers

The prospect of political heat may have kept two longtime community leaders in Warren out of the kitchen, metaphorically speaking.
And The Insider loves to speak in metaphors.
Joan Flynn, who served on the county Board of Commissioners for 16 years, and Larry Kutella, a 40-year Fitzgerald Schools board member, recently attended their first meeting as members of the Warren Redistricting Commission.
Their March 8 appointment to the boundary board had been bottled up for several weeks by the Warren City Council. A few local activists took Flynn and Kutella to task for not attending previous meetings, instead watching silently from afar.
Why? "The council dragged its feet," said Flynn, insisting she did her homework after three previous boundary board sessions.
Kutella felt he and Flynn were in a no-win situation had they attended in an unofficial capacity.
“If we would have showed up, someone would say, ‘What are you guys trying to do?’” he said.
A potential argument scaring off seasoned officials -- in Warren, no less?  Did the Insider hear this correctly -- or are his ears still ringing from the latest Warren City Commission meeting?

Detective brings creepy element into trial

A Sterling Heights police detective’s chilling testimony brought a dark undercurrent into a Macomb County trial.
Detective Paul Reno noted that a man convicted of assaulting and exposing himself to multiple women didn’t flinch when a detective seemed to suggest he possessed a “dark passenger,” a person’s alter ego which cannot be controlled.
When Reno interviewed then-suspect Christian Margosian, he and another detective talked about the dark passenger part of the personality of “Dexter Morgan,” the lead character in the Showtime TV show, “Dexter,” starring Michael C. Hall, and in several novels that inspired the show, and of “Earl Brooks,” in the 2007 movie, “Mr. Brooks.” Dexter’s alter ego is called the dark passenger while in the case of Brooks, played by Kevin Costner, the imaginary friend is “Marshall,” played by William Hurt.
During the interview with Margosian, the detectives also referred to fetishes and “the desire for the obscure,” as recounted in the circuit courtroom by assistant Macomb prosecutor Steven Fox.
“He didn’t seem to react to it,” Reno said.
“Did he seem appalled or back away from it?” Fox said.
“No,” Reno replied.
Reno compared Margosian – who continued trying to attack women despite being stopped by police at least once – to a “psychopath.”
Margosian was found guilty of five charges related to three incidents, and was accused of two other incidents that are uncharged.
It is unknown to The Insider whether a passenger has joined Margosian at the county jail.