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News@noon: Racism or not; looking for life

The Detroit News

Today is Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, and the owner of a Grosse Pointe restaurant embroiled in controversy after three African-American women said they were asked to leave Saturday night has spoken out, denying claims of racism or unfair treatment.

Blufin Sushi owner Joel Radu and his lawyer showed a roughly 30 minute surveillance video to the media that showed all 10 tables full, with at least four customers waiting to be seated. Draper said more customers were waiting on the app Waitlist Me. The video also shows several African-Americans dining at the restaurant.

Protesters outside Blufin in Grosse Pointe Farms on Wednesday after three African-American women say their faced racial discrimination Saturday at the restaurant.

The footage disputes the women’s claims that there were open tables when they were allegedly asked to leave and that they were the only African-Americans in the establishment at the time.

Here's what else we're following today:

Life in space?

  • For the first time, astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star — and these new worlds could hold life. This cluster of planets is less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA and the Belgian-led research team who announced the discovery Wednesday. Three of these planets are in the so-called "habitat zone."

Scraping the sky

  • Downtown's skyline might be changing drastically in the next few years. At least if Bedrock Detroit's plans for the old Hudson Department Store site are approved.

The two-acre, mixed-use development would have 1.2 million square feet of space, with 250 residential units and more than 700 underground parking spaces.

  • Proposed: A shimmering, futuristic 734-foot tower that aims to be a centerpiece for the city and state, officials for Bedrock said as they rolled out the proposed project to the board of the Downtown Development Authority on Wednesday. 

The Shack is open

  • Shake Shack is officially open. It's first Michigan location is located near Campus Martius downtown. Melody Baetens got a sneak peek, and a taste test, of the food. Here's what she thought

Other beginnings

Helping refugees

  • A dozen Michigan organizations that serve refugees are meeting this morning to show their support for exiles and discuss developing a plan to help them. The Arab-American Civil Rights League, Samaritas, Michigan’s largest resettler of refugees, and the Syrian American Rescue Network, a nonprofit that helps refugees adjust to life in Michigan, are among the groups expected to attend the meeting.

Car lovers, unite!

Patricia Matichak’s El Camino boasts 35-plus major modifications, including the white vinyl interior.

  • Patricia Matichak's uber-modified El Camino will be among the more than 800 hot rods, customs, trucks and bikes at Autorama, the three-day show at Cobo. This weekend, the show returns for its 65th anniversary with more than ever to enjoy

The original selfie master

  • Long before they were called selfies, Karl Baden snapped a simple black and white photo of himself. Then he repeated it, every day, for the next three decades. Baden’s “Every Day” project officially turns 30 today and he says he has no intention of stopping. The stark contemplation on mortality and aging has prompted some to dub the Boston College professor the unwitting “father of the selfie.”

Detroit News at noon is a daily roundup of the most talked-about stories on detroitnews.com. For more anytime, like us on Facebook and follow us on TwitterInstagram (@detroitnews), Snapchat (Search for "Detroitnews") and LinkedIn.