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iMetro Magazines mission is to explore and deliver information that shapes the modern lifestyles of Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, and St. Clair county families. Join us as we discover the local people, places, and trends that shape this area of southeast Michigan.
The opinions expressed by our contributors are their own, and other professionals in their field may express different views. We have sought to ensure accuracy and completeness of the information provided by advertisers or editorial contributors. iMetro Magazine has no responsibility or liability for any inaccurate information or placement.
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Welcome to i MetroMagazine
Editor In Chief Rose Mocerirose@imetromagazine.com Editor Cathy PlumCathy@imetromagazine.com
Contributing WritersCathy Plum
Contributing PhotographersTodd Schaffer
Creative DirectorTodd Schaffertodd@excaliburcreativestudios.com
Sales OfficerRose Mocerirose@imacombmedia.com
iMetro Magazine, LLC50490 Central Industrial Dr
Shelby Twp, MI 48315www.imetromagazine.com
iMetro MagazineMarch 2013Volume 1 Issue 1
2013 i Metro Magazine, LLCis a regisered trademark of iMacomb Media
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c o n t e n t s
8from Inmates to InfantsAn Entrepreneur Finds His Niches
iHealth & Science
12Paying It forward!Companies giving back to their communities
alternative MedicineAn Entrepreneur Finds His Niches
technology2013 Best New Gadgets
Recipes GuideGrown up Mac & Cheese and Italian Chicken Soup
18 Dodge Ram 15002013 Truck of the year
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ic o n t e n t s
iHistory & Culture
acting RandomlySpotlight on local volunteers
The adverse EffectLife when adversity stikes at home
20Looking BackA blast from the past
Who KnewFacts not commonly known
from Our NeighborsWhats happening
iDestinationsYour travel guide to favorite desinations.
Seasonal SportsSpring sports and events 60
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from Inmates to Infants: an Entrepreneur finds His Niches
Although the phrase find your niche is thrown around ad nauseam these days, Sterling Heights entrepreneur Ryan Santangelo says its no joke. Hes found three niches of his own. I know thats a cliche, but its really true, Santangelo explains. Theres a market that was being missed, and we came in and filled that hole. For the last two businesses they started, Santangelo and his brother Pete found similar niches for two very disparate sets of clients: business owners and prisoners. Dynamic Media, which they started in 2004, provides SiriusXM programming to businesses; Secure Media Systems, founded in 2008, provides prison-safe MP3 devices and media download kiosks to inmates.
For their latest endeavor, the Santangelos have tapped into an entirely different market: new parents. The new project, a high-tech baby monitor called SafeToSleep, was inspired by Santangelos own frustrations as a parent of two. My brother and I both have kids, Santangelo says. We were shocked at how terrible baby monitors were.
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Theres been way more innovation in toys than there has been in infant safety, and we dont understand
When you go to buy a monitor, its really kind of junk, these little walkie-talkie kind of things. And the new monitors are designed around features that are really for the parents, you know: take a high-definition picture of your baby and post it to Facebook. So, using a combination of licensed technology and original developments, the Santangelos wirelessly linked a fiber-optic sleeping mat to a smartphone app. The mat monitors each breath the baby takes, and parents can set the app to alarm if breathing stops or slows. The product debuts this month with a MSRP of $329, but its been in development for two years. Santangelo says the testing process, conducted at a hospital in Singapore, took six months.
There were 65 babies involved, all the way from preemies up to about 20 pounds, he says. The babies would lay on the mats and the nurses would manually count the breath rate of the child, then theyd look at the wired cardiorespiratory monitor, then theyd look at the number our technology was reading. Once SafeToSleep was refined to match the accuracy of the hospitals monitors, Santangelo says it was time to announce it to the baby world. The product debuted in October at the ABC Kids Expo, a major trade show for the childrens products industry. The Santangelos
set up a booth with fake babies to demonstrate the technology (We bought these babies that were designed by this artist, and we basically cut them open and put a device inside that would breathe and make the chest thump, Santangelo says). Santangelo says the booth drew heavy traffic, which he credits to presenting a high-tech product in a surprisingly low-tech market. There were a lot of bibs and cribs and stuff like that, but we were one of the few exhibitors to have anything that was technological in nature, he says. Theres been way more innovation in toys than there has been in infant safety, and we dont understand why. That spirit of common-sense innovation has pervaded Santangelos business endeavors. With Dynamic Media, it meant selling business owners on licensed and legal satellite radio programming. With Secure Media Systems (which the Santangelos sold last spring), it meant creating a specialized clear-plastic MP3 player that would display a prisoners identification and couldnt be weaponized. Both businesses have seen smashing success: Dynamic Media is the nations largest provider of SiriusXM to businesses, and Secure Media Systems equipment is in hundreds of prisons nationwide. Santangelo says his businesses are in Sterling Heights to stay, though.
Between Dynamic Media and SafeToSleep, the Santangelos employ 13, three of whom were hired last year. And theyre anticipating hiring an additional 20 for a SafeToSleep call center. We always joke that Sterling Heights is the Silicon Valley of Michigan, because theres a great deal of innovation, Santangelo says. The automotive base pulls in a lot of really talented people, and for companies like us, thats a windfall of a talent pool to pull from. You go to Washington or California, youre competing with Google or Microsoft for talent. And having lived in Sterling Heights since he was six and his brother was three, it only makes sense for Santangelo to stick around. Were born and raised here, he says. This is home for us.
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Jennifer Nicholson isnt a casual observer of the ongoing renovations at a home on Nicke Street in Clinton Township.
Nicholson has gotten her elbows dirty putting up new wood trim and painting the 900-square-foot Macomb County Habitat for Humanity house and hopes it will be her home.
Habitat was my beacon of light in the darkness, said the single mother of four children ages 3 to 13.
On Wednesday, Habitat for Humanity officials and volunteers got a big helping hand from Ford employees who are members of the United Auto Workers, the organizations first corporate partner this year.
UAW-Ford recently contacted the non-profit housing agency and promised it would provide a minimum of five of its members to volunteer at various home construction and housing renovation projects three days a week through 2013.
Without the support of UAW-Ford and other companies, we couldnt continue or mission, said Terri Benson, events manager for Macomb County Habitat for Humanity.
At the three-bedroom bungalow near 14 Mile Road and Beaconsfield, the autoworkers installed kitchen cabinets and molding on Wednesday. Last week, they installed a new kitchen floor. The house, built in the 1950s, also has new lighting fixtures, plumbing, furnace, electrical wiring plus vinyl siding on the house and detached garage. The bathroom was gutted for new ceramic tile on the floor and shower walls, and a new vanity. A new concrete driveway and sidewalk were poured last year, and landscaping is expected to be planted in March.
Ford worker Angelo Sacino said it feels good assisting the organization with housing improvements for qualified, low-income families. Its been a real honor working with them, he said. Were happy to help.
Using federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding earmarked by county government officials, Macomb County Habitat for Humanity purchased the house and other foreclosed dwellings in 2010. Benson and Habitat marketing manager Michael Terenzi Jr. said they didnt know how long the house on Nicke Street had been vacant, but neighbors notice when dark and unoccupied houses suddenly bustle with activity.
To purchase a Habitat house, applicants must be employed, deemed low-income, and meet other eligibility guidelines.
But the rules dont stop there. Before purchasing one of the houses through zero-interest financing, prospective buyers must successfully complete home maintenance classes, a money management course through Michigan State University Extension, and perform 250 hours of sweat equity to become habitat partners.