In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair looks into the global helium shortage.
To help us better understand helium gas, it's uses and the potential ramifications of running out of this non-renewable resource, David spoke with Eastern Michigan University Chemistry Professor Dr. Gregg Wilmes.
Grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation will help improve the "walkability" of the Dexter area.
A partnership including the village, Dexter Community Schools and the Chelsea-area Wellness Foundation is receiving about $225,000 to help close gaps in the community's sidewalks.
Village Manager Donna Dettling says there are good routes from most sub-divisions to Dexter Schools, but a few problem areas were identified in developing the safe routes to school planning document. Dettling says they hope to finalize designs and identify a contractor this winter, so construction on sidewalks and other projects can begin in the spring. She says the community is thrilled with the M-DOT funding and the planning work done through a great collaboration gave Dexter an enormous benefit.
It won't be long before we have the official results of last week's elections.
Ed Golembiewski is Washtenaw County's Elections Director. He says the results will be certified first thing Wednesday morning.
Golembiewski says one provisional ballot was added in Ann Arbor elections, and Ann Arbor city council 5th Ward write-in candidate Chip Smith got an additional 100 votes - not enough to change the results.
If you want to have your opinion heard on the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's five-year transit improvement plan, you're running out of time.
Spokesperson Don Kline says a series of public meetings on the subject hosted by The Ride is drawing to a close.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday from 11:30am to 1pm at the University of Michigan's Towsley Center Sheldon Auditorium. There's also a meeting Thursday from 10am to noon at the Ypsilanti Senior Center.
Comments gathered during the process will be summarized for a report to the AAATA board.
People looking for something to eat in Ann Arbor's South University Area are getting some more options thanks to a new food truck program. Eat the Street is the new program that's a partnership between the South University Area Association and Eat the Hub.
Alex Perlman is with Eat the Hub and owns two food carts. Perlman says they hope the former Pinball Pete's site at 1215 South University will be a successful location for food carts. He says they have done some basic landscaping and worked with the Health Department on prepping the site for food carts. He says hopefully the mix of food will attract both students and some Ann Arbor residents that don't typically come to the South U area.
The carts are expected to last in this location until April when the site will be used for something else. A mix of food carts including Indian, Grilled Cheese, Healthy California inspired, and other options are coming to Ann Arbor's South University area.
Ann Arbor City Council has adopted a resolution asking the University of Michigan to decommission its electronic billboard outside Michigan Stadium.
The sign is the largest billboard in Ann Arbor and city officials say it's too large, too close to the road, and is distracting to motorists.
3rd Ward council member Christopher Taylor acknowledges he and his colleagues can't actually influence U-of-M's decision on this matter. The most they can do is ask the university to take the sign down.
Taylor doesn't expect council to spend much more time discussing the issue, instead focusing on other issues of mutual interest with U-of-M.
Jeff Haas of the New Jazz Archive stops by the WEMU studios ahead of the 100th anniversary of his father, broadcasting legend, Karl Haas' birth. And to talk about a few new programs spearheaded by Jeff to advance the legacy of jazz to new generations.
A year from now, the City of Ypsilanti will have a new Mayor. Paul Schreiber announced over the weekend he will not seek re-election in 2014. Schreiber was first elected mayor in 2006, and will have completed eight years in office when next November's election rolls around. In his written announcement Sunday, Schreiber said he has enjoyed his seven years as Mayor, but now it's time to step aside to allow the next Mayor to lead the city.
A pair of consulting firms are working with Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority to create a framework to be used to make more active streetscapes. The DDA approved a $150,000 contract for the downtown street framework plan.
DDA board Member John Mouat says the framework will be designed so streets that face different challenges and issues can be tailored to meet their particular needs. He says the DDA, the city, or private developers should all be able to use the framework. Mouat says some additional civil engineering work may be done for the city to look at infrastructure under the streets.
Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber hasn't said whether he'll run for re-election in 2014, but if he does, he'll face a challenge from Amanda Edmonds.
The Growing Hope Executive Director is also vice-chair of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority. She's vice-chair of the Washtenaw Food Policy Council, and was appointed by the Governor to a similar organization at the state level.
City Council last night voted nine to two in favor of the first reading of a new ordinance amendment limiting the DDA's TIF capture.
Chair of the DDA board Sandi Smith says this is a better plan than council originally considered but she thinks it will still hurt the city in the long run.
City Council member Stephen Kunselman says the amendment will allow the DDA to continue to do great work downtown, but force the authority to be more responsive to the city and other taxing authorities.
The amendment also caps DDA board members to three consecutive terms and requires annual contributions to the DDA's housing fund.
If a sale of the former YMCA site in Ann Arbor is completed with the owner of the Campus Inn and Bell Tower Hotel, the development will include retail, two floors of large plate office space, and residential space for the upper floors.
City Council last night unanimously passed a resolution for city staff to negotiate with Dennis Dahlmann who bid $5.25 million for the property.
CA Ventures increased their bid after the deadline, but council member Stephen Kunselman says it's important that city negotiates with the original high bidder.
Kunselman says it's been a decade that the city has been trying to decide what to do with this property so he's glad to see progress finally being made. After expenses are covered the city will commit proceeds from the sale to affordable housing.
Long-time Ann Arbor City Council member Marcia Higgins said goodbye to the board last night at her final meeting. Higgins never imagined she would serve so long when she was first elected in 1999.
Higgins says she's most proud of something not very glamorous, work to clean up contradictions in the city's zoning language, adding that there is now more transparency in the city's budget and the labor contracts are better than they used to be.
Higgins says she was blessed to work with many great city council members, and it's important for council to listen to each other and work together. She explained that she was initially sad when she lost in the August primary but is now excited to have time to do things she's put off for years.
Ann Arbor Police have made three arrests connected to this summer's death of a University of Michigan Medical student. A press release says no other suspects are believed to be outstanding, and there does not appear to be any previous affiliation between the suspects and Paul DeWolf. The suspects also don't have any known connection with the University of Michigan or the U.S. Air Force. DeWolf was an Air Force Second Lieutenant. He was found dead in his apartment in July.
It's a busy weekend in Washtenaw County. Among other things, both Eastern Michigan and Michigan have home football games. And, of course, there are new and returning movies available to you.
In this week's installment of WEMU's "Cinema Chat", David Fair and Russ Collins cover your options. First, the conversation begins with the possibility the State Theater will soon morph into a different kind of business. For details, listen below, and say "good morning" to Russ Collins!
Sheriff Jerry Clayton says he hopes his warning on possible service reductions starts a community conversation because he won't be running up overtime. Clayton says he proposed a gradual reduction in the sheriff department returning a half-million dollars to the county annually.
The county commissioners will have a public hearing on the budget proposal in two weeks.
Washtenaw County is increasing a tax for economic development and agriculture, but is likely also facing a lawsuit over the tax.
The County Commissioners voted seven to one last night to levy a .07 mill public act 88 tax.
Bill McMaster is the chair of Taxpayers United and served as director for the Headlee Amendment campaign in 1978. McMaster says the tax is unconstitutional because it wasn't approved by voters.
County officials however say voter approval isn't needed because the act is from 1913, well before the Headlee Amendment was approved. They say the state legislature recently reviewed Act 88 and didn't change it.
Mayor Jason Lindauer has won re-election. There will be a couple of new faces on City Council. Jim Myles will join council after winning a four year term, unseating Incumbent Dustin Suntheimer. Myles joins Incumbents Melissa Johnson and Mayor Pro-Tem Cheri Albertson in winning full terms. There were also two partial, two-year terms seats available on Chelsea City Council. Incumbent Frank Hammer and newcomer Jane Pacheco won those seats.