Ypsilanti, MI – Ypsilanti City Manager Ed Koryzno says preliminary demolition work will begin this week on four buildings in the Water Street re-development area. This week's preliminary work will include asbestos abatement, and Koryzno says building demolition will begin no later than next Monday. He says that work should take about a month, with new building construction beginning next fall.
Ann Arbor, MI – The Ann Arbor service office of the state's Family Independence Agency will close later this month. F-I-A director Nanette Bowler says staff will begin moving to the Ypsilanti office by May 23rd, in a move Bowler says will save the state over 300-thousand dollars next year. She says about 40 percent of Washtenaw County's F-I-A clients use the Ann Arbor office,but half the county's clients live closer to the Ypsilanti office.
Ypsilanti, MI – Ypsilanti's city council has approved first reading of a tax increment financing and development plan for expanding West Cross Street. The 25-year plan calls for nearly three-point-two million dollars in improvements. The first goal in the plan is to add on-street parking, and make the historic area more pedestrian friendly. The city hopes to have approval by summer from the Michigan Department of Transportation for the on-street parking phase of the project.
Ypsilanti, MI – Ypsilanti's city council has approved the sale of 10-million dollars in bonds for continued infrastructure improvements throughout the city in general, and for the Water Street development project. City Manager Ed Koryzno says over six million dollars will be used to continue the city's water main replacement projects. An additional one-point-five million will go to replace old and failing sewer connections, and two-million will be used for land acquisition, demolition, and soil improvements in the Water Street area.
Ann Arbor – A reduced spending plan for the City of Ann Arbor has been proposed for the upcoming fiscal year. City Manager Roger Fraser, Monday night, presented the 82-and-a-quarter million dollar budget. That represents of cut of one-point-75 million dollars from the current year's spending plan. Much of the savings are realized through the elimnation of empty positions that are equivalent to 80 full-time jobs. Fraser says city services will be maintained through better cooperation and efficiencies between departments. The plan does not call for tax increases or lay-offs.
Ann Arbor – A measure creating new regulations for the drilling of monitoring-wells in Ann Arbor will be revisited in June. City Council Monday night postponed action on the measure after citizens and the Department of Environmental Quality expressed concern over language in the proposal. Councilman Chris Easthope says the fear is that the language is too vague and may be open to unintended interpretations. Attorney's will review the language over the next month and a revised proposal will be submitted to council for consideration at a June meeting.
Ypsilanti, MI – Software that's already on Ypsilanti School District computers now can be used legally. The school board last night approved spending 120-thousand dollars for software rights. The decision follows an audit of district software following complaints by the district's former computer services director that unlicensed software was being used. The district has a process to ensure licensing. Officials say they need to a better job of following their own guidelines in the future.
Ypsilanti, MI – About 60 Ypsilanti public school teachers picketed outside the high school, then filed in to last night's school board meeting to tell district leaders they want a new contract. Mediation efforts on a new agreement ended unsuccessfully last week, and teachers are asking school board members to get more involved in negotiations. The district's teachers have been working eight months without a new contract.
Ann Arbor, MI – Ann Arbor school district voters will decide in June if school board members should serve longer terms, and if there should be fewer board members. The Board of Education voted last night to put the issue on the regular school board election ballot in June. If approved, the school board would be reduced from nine to seven members, but each member would serve four-year terms instead of the current three years.
Ann Arbor, MI – After a lengthy public hearing, Ann Arbor's city council has tabled a proposal to expand the Washtenaw-Hill historic district. Council tabled the motion last night based on concerns raised by many homeowners in the proposed expansion area. Members of non-profit groups in the area, including churches and co-ops, plus fraternity and sorority groups in the area say maintenance costs will be too high if the district expands to include them. Some said they would face bankruptcy if forced to comply with historic district rules covering building maintenance.
Ypsilanti, MI – WEMU-FM, Eastern Michigan University's public radio station, fired radio host Terry Hughes, also known as Thayrone, April 2 for violating station policy and refusing to follow the station manager's directions.
Hughes, host of the Bone Conduction Music Show (BCMS), refused to air segments of National Public Radio news during his show and repeatedly voiced political opinions despite management's warnings that by doing so he was directly violating station policy.
Ann Arbor, MI – It looks like the third time may be the charm for the city of Ann Arbor's quest to hire a new Fire Chief. City administrator Roger Fraser told city council last night that Joseph Gorman has accepted the job. Back in January, Rick Tye never showed up to take the post after accepting it. The second candidate for the job also turned it down. Fraser says Gorman will start sometime in May, depending on when he can get moved here from Saudi Arabia, where he currently directs a fire department.
Ypsilanti, MI – The Ypsilanti Board of Education has opted to allow Superintendent David Zuhlke's contract to automatically be extended. Zuhlke's contract with the district remains at four years as the board voted four to two last night against a motion aimed at not extending his contract. Trustee Diane Kerr called the vote a good decision, based on Zuhlke's performance. Trustee Floyd Brumfield said he preferred a three-year contract, saying it would make better business sense.
Ann Arbor, MI – More than three-thousand people participated in a peace march and candle-light vigil in Ann Arbor Thursday night. The Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace organized the demonstration. City police say there were no arrests and the demonstrators were peaceful. Committee spokesperson Phillis Engelbert says the protests are specifically modeled to show what a non-aggressive society could, and should, look like.
Ann Arbor, MI – A student anti-war protest on the University of Michigan campus yesterday brought out more than 500-people. While students made their case for peace, a much smaller group of those supporting the u-s led effort in Iraq arrived. While there was heated debate between the two groups, the rally on the central campus diag in Ann Arbor remained peaceful. There were no arrests reported.
Ann Arbor, MI – A civil disobedience action in downtown Ann Arbor Thursday led to several arrests. The anti-war demonstrators blocked entrance into the Federal Building in downtown Ann Arbor Thursday afternoon. 19-arrests were made. Law enforcement officials say the arrest were made without incident.
Ypsilanti – The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents have approved revisions to the Code of Conduct created back in 2000. Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Karen Simpkins, says there are few major changes, and students had plenty of input on the review of the 2000 code. The revisions include making sure there are enough students to hold regular conduct code hearings in the summer.
Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor City Council has held off on renewing the near 100-thousand dollar consulting contract for services in aiding with departmental reorganization. D. Kerry Laycock has assisted the city in it's streamlining efforts, and may continue the work in six more city departments. Council last night voted to postpone a vote on the new contract until it's next regularly scheduled meeting. City Administrator Roger Fraser says getting the contract in place will help the city and the savings already realized through the consultants work more than cover the cost of the contract.
Ann Arbor – The expansion of Ann Arbor's Washtenaw-Hill Historic District is a step closer to reality. City Council last night voted in favor of the expansion plan last night, despite some objection from homeowners in the district. Mayor Pro-Tem Jean Carlberg says further protecting the expanded district will benefit the entire city. Councilman Mike Reid voted against the plan saying it goes against the wishes of the majority of homeowners in the district. He contends city council is trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist.
Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor officials say they will work with Pall Corporation in an effort to fully discover the extent of one-four dioxane contamination in groundwater. City Council last night gave premilinary approval to a measure requiring a permit to drill a monitoring well anywhere in the city. The former Gelman Sciences company recently drilled such a well to try and determine the extent of the contamination plume. It did so without city knowledge.