Best Of 2016

You might know him from his weekly "Parting Glances" column in Between the Lines and his LGBT advocacy; from exhibitions at the Detroit Institute of Arts and The Scarab Club; for cover stories he's written for Metro Times; or for his frequent position at the bar at Cass Cafe, perusing the tea chest. In recent years, lifelong artist and Cass Corridor resident Charles Alexander has created an average of one piece of his exquisite abstract art everyday and posted it on Facebook.

"I work intuitively and rather quickly," Alexander told Artwear Detroit of his line drawings and mixed media pieces. "I start with a geometric shape, a humorous or serious doodle, a fluid symbol fished from my subconscious, a newly minted hieroglyph or alphabet, sometimes a line expressive of energy and movement, and I proceed from there."

Alexander's work brings color and culture to our Facebook feed everyday, and a smile to our face.

Blogger Paul Sewick wrote the fascinating Corktown History blog while he lived in Corktown from 2005 to 2015, showing off his knack for turning questions about Corktown's history into satisfying and readable accounts of what happened when. When Sewick moved to Farmington Hills last year, he wanted to expand the scope of his writing, hence Detroit Urbanism, a blog he says is "just a broader view of the same things that happened in Corktown, how Detroit set its shape, basically: anything that had to do with shaping the map of the region." His scholarship has already produced blogs about lost Native American trails, burial mounds, and Judge Woodward's fanciful plan for Detroit.

If you relied on public radio for all your news about the Flint water crisis, you'd be well-informed: In the media dogpile touched off late last year, radio journalists were at the forefront of inquiry. But if you only had to hear one voice, that of Lindsey Smith at Michigan Radio would be the most important. The story highlighted Smith's talent for taking a big story and cooking it down into something the average listener could understand. She also showed a great deal of skill dealing with the flacks for state government who disputed her coverage along the way. It just goes to show why we need plenty of inquiring, courageous journalists uncovering local issues for our public radio station.