Ann Arbor

University of Michigan
12:52 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

U-M's New President Mark Schlissel on the Role of the University Beyond Campus [AUDIO]

Mark Schlissel address the audience at the University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting Friday
Credit Screenshot/ University of Michigan live stream

The University of Michigan has named Dr. Mark Schlissel as the school's 14th  President.

On a unanimous vote this morning the University of Michigan Board of Regents, chose to hire Brown University Provost, Dr. Mark Schlissel to serve as Mary Sue Coleman's successor. 

RELATED STORY: U of M Names Schlissel as 14th President - Full speech here

 Schlissel comes to the U of M from Brown University where he has been provost since July of 2011. Prior to working at Brown, he served as Dean of Biological Sciences in the College of Letters and Science at the University of California–Berkeley. Schlissel says the health of the university is connected to the community and the entire state of Michigan.  He says the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign will be important to maintain the university's high quality programs.

Schlissel says the breadth of academic excellence and the openness and accessibility of a public university made U of M one of the tiny handful of places that would make him consider leaving Brown University.  He says academic excellence and diversity are linked.  Schlissel says that's because students can learn from other students that look at the world differently.

 Schlissel will begin serving on July first, following the official retirement of current president Mary Sue Coleman.  He says he will make frequent trips to Ann Arbor over the next several months to learn more about the challenges and opportunities he will face when starting work at Michigan.

 Coleman says she's thrilled the regents have chosen another biochemist to serve as president.  She says Schlissel will soon see being the President of the University of Michigan is the best job in the world. — Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.

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Safety
7:15 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Extreme Cold Weather Safety Tips for Washtenaw County

Credit Flickr/ Creative Commons/Brixton

Sub-zero temperatures and  frigid wind chills have once again forced many schools to close throughout the region. The record cold temperatures may cause many in the WEMU listening area to develop cold-weather injuries like frostbite and hypothermia.

For road conditions and frequent weather updates, stay tuned to 89.1 WEMU for the latest developments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted its tips on how to be "prepared to stay safe and healthy in winter." For instance, if you have to go outside be sure to do what mom always said:

 

"Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots."

We simply suggest: Stay inside if you can.

Cold weather safety tips include: 

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Education
7:47 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools Prepare for New Federal Food Guidelines

Credit Cali4beach / Foter.com / CC BY

Ann Arbor Public Schools officials continue to work with principals, PTO councils, and others to prepare schools for new federal food guidelines.  Starting in July all food sold in schools during the school day need their first ingredient be a whole grain, fruit, vegetable, or protein.  The new guidelines are designed to promote healthy eating habits for all kids across the country. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on steps Ann Arbor Public Schools are taking to be prepared for new federal guidelines on food sold in schools that go into effect July 1st.

SEE ALSO: Ann Arbor Public Schools Avoid Borrowing to Meet Cash Flow Concerns in December

Jenna Bacolor, chair of the district's Wellness Committee says they hope discussions now will help avoid headaches at the start of next school year.

Bacolor adds that unfortunately, the federal government and state haven't announced all of the final rules so some questions remain, particularly around exemptions for food sold through fundraisers. 

The new guidelines don't apply to food brought to schools by students.

SEE ALSO: Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health

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Community
3:14 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council Gives Approval to Move Forward With Downtown Zoning Changes

Ann Arbor City Council has passed a resolution asking the planning commission to move forward with some zoning changes on the edge of downtown. 

Council unanimously passed the resolution Tuesday night after asking the planning commission to also make suggestions on possible zoning changes for other downtown areas. 

Council member Sabra Briere says a lot of hard work remains on what core design guidelines should be considered for developers to be eligible to build larger projects.

Briere says the request for planning commission to review areas such as South University, Thayer, and Ann is in response to concerns raised by the community that the initial review was too limited.
She says the consultant that worked on the project and the planning commission noted this desire by the community to expand the scope of the project, but the planning commission's final recommendation was limited to the original council request.

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Community
11:53 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

14 Story Apartment Project for Church Street Approved by Ann Arbor City Council

Ann Arbor City Council has approved the site plan and development agreement for an apartment building at 624 Church Street.  The proposal is for a 14 story apartment building built partially over the Pizza House Restaurant.  The plan calls for 232 bedrooms in 123 units. 

The project has been given positive reviews from the city’s Design Review Board but parking issues led to a lengthy conversation at the council table.  The concerns centered around having spaces reserved in the Forest Avenue parking structure for the next 15 years, and three five year extensions to have spaces somewhere in the city’s parking system. 

Council members say the city’s payment in lieu of parking program needs to be reviewed, as well as the requirement for parking at downtown developments. 

The developers of the project hope to begin work in the spring with a targeted occupancy date in August of 2015.

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Ann Arbor
2:13 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Michigan's Black Student Union says Lack of Contact from the University is Unacceptable

Credit @THEBSU/Twitter

The University of Michigan's Black Student Union says it's unacceptable that it has not yet been contacted by the university regarding seven demands presented Monday by the Union and the group Being Black at U-of-M. 

Geralyn Gaines is Secretary of the Black Student Union, which has threatened "physical actions" if its demands are not met in seven days. She says the actions will be non-violent, but declined to be more specific.

The demands made Monday include making affordable housing for low-income students available on the main campus, giving black students experiencing financial difficulty emergency scholarships, improving the university's multicultural center, and giving black students an equal chance to effect change. 

The group’s full demand:

  • We demand that the university give us an equal opportunity to implement change, the change that complete restoration of the BSU purchasing power through an increased budget would obtain.
  • We demand available housing on central campus for those of lower socio-economic status at a rate that students can afford, to be a part of university life, and not just on the periphery.
  • We demand an opportunity to congregate and share our experiences in a new Trotter [Multicultural Center] located on central campus.
  • We demand an opportunity to be educated and to educate about America’s historical treatment and marginalization of colored groups through race and ethnicity requirements throughout all schools and colleges within the university.
  • We demand the equal opportunity to succeed with emergency scholarships for black students in need of financial support, without the mental anxiety of not being able to focus on and afford the university's academic life.
  • We demand increased exposure of all documents within the Bentley (Historical) Library. There should be transparency about the university and its past dealings with race relations.
  • We demand an increase in black representation on this campus equal to 10 percent.

University Provost Martha Pollack said Monday the school is focusing on three areas: Improving the Trotter Multicultural Center, improving the climate on campus, and increasing enrollment of under-represented minorities as allowed by law. 

Gaines says the Provost's comments were "comforting," but fall short of what the Black Student Union expects from the university.

— Bob Eccles is a reporter and the host of 89.1 WEMU's All Things Considered. Contact him at 734.487.3363, email him reccles@emich.edu, or follow him on Twitter @BobEcclesWEMU

12:14 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Answer This! Screening

Lead in text: 
Sunday, January 26 at 7 PM. A special fundraising screening with proceeds to benefit Food Gatherers and the Michigan Theater. Brothers and Ann Arbor natives Chris and Mike Farah shot Answer This! in Ann Arbor in 2009 and the film had its world premiere in 2010; this special screening will also include a Q&A about the Farahs’ new Discovery Channel TV project, currently filming in Detroit.
Advance tickets at ticketweb.com.
Schools
12:09 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools Avoid Borrowing to Meet Cash Flow Concerns in December

Credit Jesse f/2.8 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Ann Arbor Public Schools planned to borrow money up to three times during the school year to address cash flow issues caused by a smaller fund balance than in previous years.  The district has now made it through two of the three months that were most likely to require borrowing without needing to seek outside cash. 

SEE ALSO: Ann Arbor Public Schools Parents Hopeful for Return of Tuition Based Pre-School

Chief Financial Officer Nancy Hoover says the planned use of $1.7 million in fund balance this school year, means they may still need to borrow money in June.
 
Hoover adds, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District helped the district avoid the need to borrow money in December by making a bill for transportation services not due until this month. The city of Ann Arbor also helped the district avoid the need for borrowing in December by quickly remitting some of the taxes they collect for the district. 

Hoover says the district's budget included spending $200,000 in interest payments which most of these have now been avoided.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor Public Schools not needing to borrow money last month despite concerns about cash flow issues caused by a smaller fund balance than in recent years.

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Community
12:04 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Report Shows Impact of $90 Million from Washtenaw County Non-Profits

NONPROFIT ECONOMIC IMPACT REPORT 2013

A new Washtenaw County study says a local investment of $4.4 million in non-profit agencies has an economic impact of over $90 million.  The non-profits provide assistance to the community well beyond the direct help individuals receive. 

SEE ALSO: Washtenaw County Looking At Adding Program to Help Businesses

Director of the Office of Community and Economic Development, Mary Jo Callan says unfortunately non-profits as a sector are underfunded and it will take more than government action to solve the funding problems.

“This report provides a clear justification for the continued investment in our local nonprofit sector – in addition to providing critical services to vulnerable residents, these small businesses save taxpayers money by preventing the need for costlier government services and impact our local economy through their direct employment and purchasing power.” -Mary Jo Callan, Director of the Office of Community & Economic Development for Washtenaw County

Callan adds that benefits non-profits provide the community include bringing in 10 dollars of outside funding for every 1 dollar of local funds, stabilizing the local work force, jobs, and spending money at local businesses.  She says this assistance is needed as the economic recovery continues to not reach lower income residents.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on a new study of the economic impact from an investment in Washtenaw County non-profit agencies.

Read the full 2013 Nonprofit Economic Impact Report.

— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.

Community
11:42 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council Receives Update on Economic Health

College educated millennials have changed the key to economic development by choosing the location they want to live and then finding a job rather than going where they find a job.  That's the message the President of Michigan Future shared with Ann Arbor City Council Monday night at a work session on the community's economic health. 

Lou Glazer says to attract a larger number of these talented young workers that will then attract businesses the city needs to focus on several issues.  He says this includes high density downtown neighborhoods that are active 24 hours a day and are connected to more public transit options.

Glazer says the number of college educated 25 to 34 year olds has grown by 17 percent across the country since 2005, but has remained constant in Ann Arbor at 16-thousand.   He says Ann Arbor's economic development efforts should match Chicago in being focused on attracting every graduate of all the Big Ten Universities.

He says state policies that have lowered taxes and focused on businesses have hurt efforts to improve the quality of place and fund education which are the keys to attracting young talented people.

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11:29 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Ann Arbor's Main St. Named as one of America's Best

Lead in text: 
A quintessential college town, Ann Arbor, and its South Main Street reflect a vibrant culture. The city offers something for visitors of all ages, from hands-on museums with interactive exhibits, to colorful bars and restaurants. Enjoy acoustic music at The Ark, a nonprofit venue that features performances from renowned folk performers. Choosing just one of South Main Street’s restaurants might seem like a herculean task, but a good option is The Ravens Club. The kitchen and bar offers seasonal farm-to-table cuisine and a cocktail menu with an impressive collection of whiskey.
Friendly neighbors, family-run businesses, and quaint restaurants serving comforting diner fare--these are the images conjured up by the phrase "Main Street USA." Even in this fast-paced era, many small towns have held onto their historic roots and preserved their central thoroughfares.
Breaking
3:14 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Sabra Briere announces intent to run for mayor of Ann Arbor

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on First Ward City Council member Sabra Briere announcing she will run for mayor of Ann Arbor

First Ward Ann Arbor City Council representative Sabra Briere is running to be the next mayor of Ann Arbor. Briere announced she's running in a letter today.

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Music
1:24 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Paul Keller Orchestra celebrates 25 years of Jazz in Michigan

Credit Courtesy photo

This evening marks an Ann Arbor music milestone. Bassist Paul Keller celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Paul Keller Orchestra. 

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Community
7:23 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority Looking at Making Improvements to Parking Structure

Ann Arbor skyline viewed from atop the northeast corner of the Fourth & William Parking structure, facing east.
Credit Wikimedia Commons/ Creative Commons

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on efforts to improve Ann Arbor's Fourth and William parking structure.

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority officials say users frequently complain about the slow elevator in the city's largest parking structure. 

SEE ALSO: A2 Bike House Getting Good Usage, Program May Expand to Other Parking Structures

The DDA has now hired Carl Walker for preliminary design, schedule, budget and phasing plan for replacing the southwest tower of the Fourth and William Parking Structure. 

DDA Executive Director, Susan Pollay says the goal will be to have a more efficient and attractive elevator and stairs tower.  She says the challenge will be to ensure two elevators and stairs remain open throughout the construction project. 

Pollay says the tower improvements are expected to be only the first upgrades to the structure.  Others may include incubator space on the ground floor, adding electric vehicle charging stations, and a new facade for the structure.

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Community
1:08 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Chair of County Commissioners Yousef Rabhi Not Running for Ann Arbor Mayor

Credit Courtesy photo

The race to be Ann Arbor’s next mayor won’t include the chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. 

Yousef Rabhi today announced he won’t run for mayor this year.  Rabhi says he expects it to be an interesting race, but likely won’t be endorsing any candidate.

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Local News
6:40 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Ann Arbor Schools Employees Prepared for Return to School

Credit AAPS

All signs point to a return to classes Thursday for most if not all schools in the area. 

Ann Arbor Public Schools Director of Communications Liz Margolis says district staff have been working since before the snowstorm to make sure buildings will be ready to re-open. 

That includes custodians checking on the heating systems.

Margolis says district staff have been working to shovel snow since it started falling in preparation for classes resuming.

Some area schools are cancelling classes for Thursday.  

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Fire
8:15 am
Tue January 7, 2014

A Fire in Downtown Ann Arbor Closes a Portion of Main Street

Update 12:05 pm:  10 hours and counting. That's how long firefighters have been combating the downtown blaze at Happy's Pizza, starting shortly before 2 am this morning. The fire is still burning at this hour. As a result, Main Street from Packard to Hoover in Ann Arbor is closed due to the fire. The building is said to be a a total loss. So far, no injuries have been reported.

An eye witness view of the scene is available here:

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Community
4:01 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council Wants More Information As Considering Purchase of Edwards Brothers Property

Edwards Brothers facility on State Street in Ann Arbor
Credit Courtesy photo

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor City Council seeking more information as they consider spending nearly 13 million dollars to buy a South State Street property.

Ann Arbor City Council wants some more information as they consider using their right of first refusal to purchase the Edward Brothers property on South State Street. 

Council Monday night voted unanimously to have the city administrator and city attorney study the issue and identify options to make buying the property financially feasible. 

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Community
3:55 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Ann Arbor Responds to Severe Winter Storm

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the local response to the severe winter weather.

A number of shelter and warming centers are open across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to help the homeless community deal with the frigid temperatures. 

Ann Arbor City Council Monday night received an update on the community's response to the winter storm. 

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Community
3:49 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Ann Arbor will Charge Developers to Permanently Remove Parking Meters

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor's new policy to charge developers if their project results in parking meters being permanently removed.

With over 100 on-street parking meters removed in Ann Arbor since 2006 and an additional 12 meters pending, city council has approved a new policy dealing with the issue. Council Monday night approved the policy that would charge developers $45,000 per meter permanently removed plus the projected ten year value for the meter. 

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Community
3:44 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Ann Arbor Officially Ends Agreement on Fuller Road Station with University of Michigan

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor City Council terminating a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Michigan regarding the proposed Fuller Road Station.

Work hasn't progressed on the proposed Fuller Road Station in over a year and the University of Michigan is instead building a parking structure between Maiden Lane and Wall Street. 

City Council Monday night passed a resolution formally terminating the Memorandum of Understanding with U of M regarding the proposed project. 

City Council member Stephen Kunselman says it's good to tie up the loose ends.

U of M and the city first agreed to the Memorandum of Understanding in 2010.  The proposal however had many critics that say parkland shouldn't be used for a transit center.

— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.

Weather
10:52 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Cancellations and Announcements for January 6th

Credit WEMU-FM

All Non-Essential Washtenaw County Government Operations and Buildings are closed.

Pittsfield Township Government offices are closed.

Ypsilanti Township government offices and the 14-B District court are closed. People with scheduled court appearances should contact the court on Tuesday.

The 15th District Court in Ann Arbor is closed and those scheduled to appear at Court today will be contacted by Court representatives to reschedule.

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education meeting scheduled for tonight has been canceled.

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission is closed

The Ann Arbor and the Monroe Social Security Administration offices are closed 

The Ann Arbor Hands on Museum is closed.

Garbage and recycling will be delayed by a day for Pittsfield Township residents.

The Ann Arbor District Library will open at noon today.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is urging all patients who have non-urgent appointments at any of our hospitals and outpatient care centers to stay home. Contact your care provider to cancel your appointment and reschedule for a later date. The Michigan Heart offices are closed through noon today. Radiation Oncology for outpatient services are closed for the day. Most other offices as well as St. Joe's emergency departments will remain open.

The U of M Health System says it will keep all of its hospitals and outpatient care centers open.

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Winter Classic
6:46 am
Wed January 1, 2014

The Weather Hits as Ann Arbor Welcomes The Winter Classic

Credit Courtesy photo

More than 105,000 tickets were pre-sold to this afternoon's outdoor hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium.  It's billed as the Winter Classic. Ironically, winter weather may keep a number of fans at home today.

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Community
4:31 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Parking Plans for Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on efforts to find parking for over 100,000 hockey fans attending the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

New Year's Day will be more than just recovering from the party the night before for much of Ann Arbor, as over 100,000 hockey fans are expected for the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium. 

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Arts & Culture
1:33 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Ann Arbor Events Planned for New Year's Eve and Prior to Winter Classic

 Over 100,000 hockey fans are expected for the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year's Day when the Detroit Red Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Plenty of excitement is also scheduled in Ann Arbor leading up to the New Year and the big game. 

SEE ALSO: Ann Arbor to Put Proceeds from Sale of Y Lot In Affordable Housing Fund

 

While Ann Arbor is often a sleepy town New Year's Day, the Winter Classic game at Michigan Stadium is bringing thousands to the city.  This has many restaurants and businesses that would typically remain closed planning to be open January 1st.

There also are some extra events scheduled on New Year's Eve.

Main Street will be closed all day December 31st, from Huron to William in preparation for the Puck Drops Here event.  The event starts at 8pm  when a 10 foot wide metal Hockey puck that will be dropped at midnight is lit.  There will also be live music from eight until two, including former Ann Arbor resident, Michelle Chamuel who appeared on The Voice.

Earlier in the day Noon Year's Eve events are planned at the Farmers Market and Briarwood Mall so kids can celebrate the New Year's without staying up until midnight.

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