Local

Community
4:28 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Art Funding Clawback Closes In, Administrator Contract Rejected

The battle over the future of public art in Ann Arbor continues, with City Council approving the first reading of an ordinance amendment to allow them to return up to $840,000 to other departments.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on cuts to Ann Arbor's Public Art program.

A six month extension of Public Art Administrator Aaron Seagraves contract was then rejected.

Council member Jack Eaton expects to bring the contract back up for a vote after final approval of the amendment to the public art ordinance to allow old "Percent for Art" funds to be returned.  Eaton says he's sorry for Seagraves but democracy is sometimes messy.

Council member Jane Lumm wants proposed Art Projects at Argo Cascades, the Stadium Bridges, and the Kingsley Rain Garden completed.  However she thinks a clean break needs to be made between the old program and one where the city partners with a non-profit organization.

Chair of the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission Bob Miller says a change would be good but it appears city council is holding public art administrator Aaron Seagraves hostage over the funding debate.

Mayor John Hieftje is disappointed with council's vote on the administrator, and fears they may lose him even if the contract extension is approved in two weeks.

Earlier WEMU coverage of the Public Art Funding issues can be found here:

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Community
4:19 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council Delays Decision on Buying Edwards Brothers Property

Credit Courtesy photo

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on City Council opting to wait to decide if they will buy the Edwards Brothers property.

Ann Arbor City Council will take another two weeks before deciding if they want to purchase the Edwards Brothers property on State Street. 

The city is considering exercising a right of first refusal to stop the University of Michigan from buying the land. 

Mayor John Hieftje doesn't think the recent experience with the former YMCA property will have much influence on this State Street parcel.  He says that's because downtown property is in great demand while Edwards Brothers is well south of downtown.
  
Ann Arbor would have to match U-M's $12.8 million purchase price for the property. 

Map of the Edwards Brothers property is here:

City Council last night also postponed action on a first reading of a proposed smoking ban for city parks, bus stops, and entrances to city buildings.   The delay is so council members can get feedback from some of the organizations that would be impacted by the proposal.

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Environment
4:10 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Ann Arbor Groups Protest Proposed Keystone X-L Pipeline

Operational and proposed route of the Keystone Pipeline System

Environmentalists across the country are urging President Barack Obama to reject the proposed Keystone X-L pipeline linking Canada with Texas. Rallies were held Monday night, including in front of Ann Arbor's federal building.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on protests in Ann Arbor over the proposed Keystone X-L Pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Robert Gordon says adding 30 to 50 jobs isn't worth the environmental risk.  He says the pipeline runs to refineries but also ports where he believes much of the oil will be shipped across the globe.  He says this will do nothing to help domestic energy independence. 

Rita Mitchell says promoting the use of tar sands oil is an issue beyond the pipeline.  She and other Ann Arbor protestors highlight the Enbridge leak in the Kalamazoo River as an example of what can happen.  They also fear proposals to pump tar sand oil under the straits of Mackinac or ship it on the Great Lakes.

The rallies across the country were in response to the State Department releasing a new environmental assessment on the project. 

See NPR's coverage of the State Department report here 

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Education
10:33 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Under-performing Schools Report to Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education last night received quarterly reports from two under-performing schools that have caught the state's eye. 

The Principals of Holmes and Estabrook Elementary schools outlined steps they're taking to improve student achievement.

At Holmes Elementary, things like having breakfast in classrooms and staggering dismissal times have helped cut fighting and expulsions by half. 

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Ypsilanti
10:30 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Listen to the Ypsilanti Community High School Chamber Singers Serenade School Board

Credit YCS Courtesy photo

The Ypsilanti Community High School Chamber Singers sang for the Board of Education Monday night.

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2:48 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

EMU to host more than 600 video gamers to compete in 24-hour charity gaming events

Lead in text: 
Gamers for Giving features tournaments with cash prizes for the hardcore enthusiast as well as casual activities for those who enjoy the light-spirited side of gaming, said founder Zach Wigal, 23, of Saline. Wigal is a senior in marketing at Eastern Michigan University. Several professional competitive gamers will also be on hand to assist with the weekend’s activities.
  • Source: Emich
  • | Via: Pamela Young
Eastern Michigan to host more than 600 video gamers Feb. 8-9 as they compete in 24-hour premier charity gaming events Goal is to raise $20,000 to construct portable video game kiosks for use in children's hospitals by Pamela Young, Published February 03, 2014 YPSILANTI - More than 600 video gaming enthusiasts will come to Eastern Michigan University February 8-9 to compete in one of the Midwest's premier charity gaming events, Gamers for Giving.
Black History
7:35 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Moments of the Movement: Matthew Perry

WEMU News
7:54 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Washtenaw County Road Commission ready to Do Battle with Mother Nature

The Washtenaw County Road Commission stands ready to handle the heavy snow and wintry mix of sleet and ice forecast for Saturday and Saturday night. Road commission Director of Operations Jim Harmon says crews will be ready to clear snow and salt roads beginning at 4:00am Saturday. Harmon says crews are prepared to work an 18-hour day Saturday, and to come back for more Sunday, if necessary. Harmon advises anyone who doesn't absolutely have to be on the road Saturday to stay home.

WEMU News
7:50 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Washtenaw County among Michigan's Best for Creative Industries

Washtenaw County has been listed as one of the top five counties in Michigan for creative industries. ArtServe Michigan released the findings in their Creative State Michigan 2014, Creative Industries Report.  Deb Polich is the Director of the Arts Alliance in Ann Arbor and a Board Member of ArtServe Michigan.  She says Washtenaw County being in the top five is no surprise: Polich says Washtenaw County attracts people because of the two large universities, and cities like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that offer arts and culture experiences and education.

Community
6:36 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council to Consider Public Art, Edwards Brothers Property Monday

Credit courtesy photo

Ann Arbor may spend nearly $13 million in the hopes of ultimately keeping a State Street property on the tax rolls.  City Council Monday will consider a resolution to use their right of first refusal to purchase the Edwards Brothers property instead of it being sold to the University of Michigan. 

Another pair of items on the agenda will have a big impact on the future of public art in the city.  Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance amendment to allow uncommitted percent for art funds return to their source.    Several council members have pushed for this move in the past, but others say the money is needed as the Public Art Commission looks to move to a new funding model relying on donations.

A six month contract extension for Public Art Administrator Aaron Seagraves was postponed two weeks ago and will be considered again.  The delay was designed to have his contract considered at the same time the funding issue would be debated.

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5:44 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Rick Snyder reappoints EMU professor Ted Ligibel to State Historic Preservation Review Board

Lead in text: 
Ligibel is director of Eastern Michigan’s award-winning Historic Preservation Program, which is the largest such program in the nation, with 90 graduate students and 15 undergraduates currently enrolled.
  • Source: Emich
  • | Via: Pamela Young
Mich. governor reappoints EMU professor Ted Ligibel to State Historic Preservation Review Board. Ligibel directs the university's award-winning Historic Preservation Program by Pamela Young, Published January 29, 2014 YPSILANTI - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has reappointed Ted Ligibel, a professor at Eastern Michigan University, to the State Historic Preservation Review Board.
Education
1:32 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools Parents and Teachers Praise Superintendent for Listen and Learn Report

Ann Arbor Superintendent Jeanice Swift's Listen and Learn report did a good job of capturing community thoughts on the district according to Parents and Teachers at a meeting at Forysthe Middle School Thursday night. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the first follow-up meeting to Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift's Listen and Learn Tour.

As Ann Arbor Public Schools look to quickly move forward with improvements Superintendent Jeanice Swift is checking that she heard the community correctly during the Listen and Learn tour. 

Swift says the community has a hunger for action steps to follow.

Kim Carver has had students in the district previously and a son coming to Forsythe Middle School next fall.  Carver likes the positive vibe and the lack of defensiveness.

Forsythe teacher, Dan Ezekiel is extremely impressed with the report that he believes does a good job boiling down the input of 2,000 people that participated in the fall.

Swift will hold Listen and Learn follow-up meetings at Ann Arbor's four other middle schools next week.

For more, view the video summary of the Listen and Learn report

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WEMU News
7:14 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Minimum Wage Increase: Pros and Cons

Michigan's Small Business Administration and a local organization dedicated to the success of locally-owned independent businesses are weighing in on the idea of raising the minimum wage. 

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2:12 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Michigan’s Creative Economy

Lead in text: 
The 2014 ArtServe Michigan Creative State Michigan reports that Washtenaw County rates in the top five creative counties in Michigan.
Creative State Michigan is the source for information on how the arts, culture, arts education and creative industries contribute to Michigan and its economy.
1:36 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

One exceptional teacher

Lead in text: 
A mother meets with her son's teacher only to discover the incredible story of one woman's fight to prevent school tragedies from occurring.
  • Source: Momastery
  • | Via: Glennon Doyle Melton
A few weeks ago, I went into Chase's class for tutoring. I'd emailed Chase's teacher one evening and said, "Chase keeps telling me that this stuff you're sending home is math - but I'm not sure I believe him. Help, please." She emailed right back and said, "No problem!
The Two Way
12:59 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

This Photo Of Lake Michigan Will Make You Shiver

Lake Michigan, now partially frozen, as snow and clouds blow over.
NOAA

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 1:35 pm

A photo posted by our friends at Michigan's Interlochen Public Radio is so cool we just had to know more about it and about what's going on with the Great Lakes during this extra-frigid winter.

As you'll see, the satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows clouds and snow blowing across the now partially ice-covered Lake Michigan.

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Education
3:50 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Ann Arbor School Board Approves New Programs for the Fall

Credit AAPS

The Ann Arbor School Board has approved a package of program enhancements designed to attract more students particularly to underutilized schools. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Ann Arbor School Board approving a variety of new programs for next school year.

The changes include co-locating Roberto Clemente and Ann Arbor Tech High; a K-8 science, technology, engineering, arts, and math program at Northside Elementary; and new pre-k programs at Allen and Thurston Elementary. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says the next step is creating committees of staff, students, and community members to develop the detailed action plans for each new program. 

School board president Deb Mexicotte says the programs are designed to keep costs down but it's still a calculated risk that the new options will attract more students. 

The programs are designed to respond to some of the most common concerns raised by community members during the Listen and Learn tour.

There has been positive community feedback about the Pre-K programs at Allen and Thurston and the STEAM program for Northside Elementary.  Several Roberto Clemente supporters however told the board they have concerns about what will happen when they move into the same building as Ann Arbor Tech.

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Education
3:43 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools Wants Information on Millage Possibilities

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Ann Arbor School Board collecting information on possibilities and limitations of various revenue enhancements.

The Ann Arbor School Board continues to do preliminary work on studying increasing revenues through some type of a millage.

An Ann Arbor School Board Ad-hoc committee says a rec and ed millage would provide the district the ability to offer additional non-credit programs, but not shift much money from the general fund.   School board member Glenn Nelson says the rec and ed millage would be valuable in terms of offering non-credit programs that compliment other programs.  He says it would be particularly valuable for early-childhood education where a four day program could become a five day program with a recreation program on the extra day.

The board also created a new ad-hoc committee to do a similar analysis of a county-wide enhancement millage and an increase in the special education millage.  Both of these efforts would require county-wide support while the rec and ed millage would likely raise less money but only require support from district voters.

The report on an enhancement millage and an increase to the special education millage are due in mid-March when the board will discuss what if any millage question they might want to put on the ballot.

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Community
8:01 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

OyamO to Receive 2014 Shirley Verrett Award

Playwright and University of Michigan professor OyamO is being honored tonight by the Women of Color in the Academy Project with the 2014 Shirley Verrett Award. 

The award celebrates faculty members who support the success of female students and faculty in the arts.

Gloria Thomas is Director of U-M's Center for the Education of Women. She says OyamO was nominated by the School of Music, Theater and Dance.

Thomas says OyamO is being recognized for his commitment to students, along with his ability to look past racial and ethnic differences to understand human life. 

The award is being presented to OyamO tonight at Stamps Auditorium on Michigan's north campus.

Transit
7:59 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Ypsilanti Mayor Touts Benefits of AAATA Transit Improvement Plan

Credit the ride / facebook

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber says he looks forward to residents of his city enjoying the benefits of enhanced transit options outlined in the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's transit improvement plan. 

Schreiber says improved public transportation will benefit both Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

The Mayor says better bus service will help those who live in Ypsilanti and work in Ann Arbor, and will help the economies of both cities.

Schreiber says the local business infrastructure will also be a beneficiary of better transit.

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4:51 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Mouthwatering Big Game recipes, from loaded potatoes to cheesy dips and more

Lead in text: 
To help you put together the best Bowl spread ever, 89.1 Jazz Host and Mlive Foodie, Jessica Webster gathered a few of her favorite recipes from years past, including soup, dips, guacamole, chili and the best grilled cheese sandwich ever.
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Jessica Webster
What's the best thing about the Super Bowl? Ok, other than the commercials and griping about the halftime show. The food, of course! Super Bowl Sunday is the best time to get together with friends, a good beer, and a collection of your favorite comfort foods.
3:08 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Jazz Speaks for Life

Lead in text: 
The music of the Jason Moran Trio and vocals of Alberto Mizrahi and other soloists combine to bring to life Dave Brubeck’s musical exploration of civil rights, the “Gates of Justice” composition. Woven throughout this historic piece, are vocal performances of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and biblical scripture, against the backdrop of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Bill. This unique evening will also feature the Jason Moran Trio performing their own music.
Date: Sunday, Feb 16, 2014Location: The Fillmore DetroitTime: 2:30p doors open- 3:30p concert beginsTickets: $25
Community
2:48 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, MISSION Assists Homeless living in Tents

Credit missiona2.org/

The city of Ann Arbor is now working with local non-profit organization MISSION as well as Washtenaw County's Project Outreach Team to assist a group of homeless individuals living in tents along the Huron River and under the Maiden Lane bridge. 

Ann Arbor Police had previously visited the site and posted notices on two tents, warning their owners they had 48 hours to vacate the area. MISSION's Vice President, Greg Pratt says public outcry helped reverse the decision.  Pratt adds they are assisting the homeless living in the camp with trash removal, and are also providing them with necessary supplies such as propane, batteries and foodstuffs.

19 warming centers have been established throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to provide assistance to those that need it, including a newly opened warming center hosted by St. Mary's Student Parish on Williams Street in Ann Arbor.

Pratt says some individuals are unable or unwilling  to go to such places either due to mental illness or the desire to remain autonomous.

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Environment
2:35 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Issues of the Environment: Expect More Snow And Frigid Temperatures To Come

A view of Michigan from space
Credit Space Science And Engineering Center- University of Wisconsin - Madison

Had enough of the cold and snow already? It has been the snowiest January in this area in history. Add in the polar vortex and frigid temperatures, and it's been a somewhat trying winter. Why is it happening, and will it continue to happen in winters to come? 

 This week on Issues of the Environment our guest is  Dr. Tom Kovacs, Associate Professor of Meteorology at Eastern Michigan University.  Kovaks teaches courses on the effects of climate change on weather and will discuss the consequences for our county.

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Community
1:59 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Mostly Positive Reaction to State of Union at Clean Water Action Viewing Party

People concerned about climate change watching the State of the Union address at Arbor Brewing Company Tuesday night gave President Barack Obama generally positive reviews. 

Clean Water Action hosted about 25 people at a viewing party. 

Eric Keller is an campaign organizer for the group.  Keller says he likes the fact Obama outlined ways he will bypass congressional gridlock.  He gave Obama high marks for re-affirming that the climate change debate is over and calling on reduction in carbon.

Eric Harrington however says he was disappointed.  Of particular concern to him was Obama promoting natural gas.  Harrington says overall Obama could have done a lot more to get us to the place we need to be going.

Veteran Jordan Paul Redwine missed the beginning of the speech but says he was particularly touched by Cory Remsburg being recognized at the end of the address.

Obama also received applause for comments regarding unemployment insurance, a hike in minimum wage, health care, and supporting veterans.

— 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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