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Metro Retro 

25 years ago in Metro Times: Beginning with a passage from 1984 by George Orwell, MT takes a look at the large number of closed-circuit security cameras that have been cropping up around metro Detroit, especially the freeways. City officials, the police department and even the ACLU all agree that the presence of these cameras have helped to cut down crime in the city, though they aren't perfect. The Surveillance Control and Driver Information (SCANTI) system that monitors the highways is unable to read license plates, for example. Technology is always advancing though, says Michael Thomson, associate editor of Security World magazine. "Cameras are getting smaller, lighter and more sophisticated. Sony came out with one that will fit in the palm of your hand." MT still thinks that we should be wary of accepting widespread surveillance though: "Crime — more importantly, the fear of crime — has pushed George Orwell's 1984, then Ronald Reagan's 1985." Today, Detroit is still putting up more cameras, many of which probably fit in the palm of your hand, most recently in public schools. What was happening: Crosby, Stills and Nash at Pine Knob, and Stevie Ray Vaughan at Meadowbrook.

12 years ago in Metro Times: A lesbian couple from Ferndale faces a health-care catch-22; they cannot share health benefits with a partner unless they are married, but since they are both women, they cannot legally marry. Dee, who works for Trader Publishing Company, has been trying to convince her employer to extend her health benefits to Karen, her partner of two years, with no luck. Barry Lawrence, a spokesperson for the Society for Human Resource Management, says not all employers withhold benefits from gay and lesbian couples out of bigotry. He says, "Many companies have probably never encountered questions about same-sex domestic partners" and they simply do not know how to deal with it yet. But, as time passed, many companies and governmental units did begin to extend benefits to "domestic partners" — at least until the Michigan Marriage Amendment in 2004, prompting a long court battle.  What was happening: Air Supply at Meadowbrook, Janet Jackson (pre-Super Bowl) at Joe Louis Arena, and the B-52s at Pine Knob.

6 years ago in Metro Times: Trouble is brewing in Hamtramck's school district, as a clique of three school board members endures an attempted recall. The trio, led by Camille Colatosti, has been accused of being "heavy-handed, secretive and unethical" by Hamtramck teachers, with regard to their school policies, financial decisions and general conduct — especially when the board asked that the teachers forgo a raise. According to Colatosti, her alliance within the school board has been working for the good of the district by changing the curriculum to better fit the changing ethnic composition of the student body, and by attempting to rescue the schools from the failings of the No Child Left Behind Act. Today, problems persist for metro area schools, with 32 planned closures this summer in Detroit alone. What was happening: Disable Lover at the Magic Stick, Fifth Period Fever at the Majestic Theatre.

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October 21, 2020

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