Local

Education
9:55 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Ypsilanti School Board of Education Adopts 'Solutions not Suspensions' Pledge

Solutions Not Suspensions calls for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions.
Credit stopsuspensions.org/

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education has adopted the "Solutions not Suspensions" pledge and a Student Code of Conduct. 

Bob Eccles reports on a new pledge to provide "solutions not suspensions" for its students.

The pledge urges district to use suspensions and expulsions as a last resort, and while that philosophy isn't really a part of the Code of Conduct, staff felt it was important to have the code in place for the rest of the school year. 

Changes in the language of the code are expected before next school year to better reflect the district's desire to focus on restorative rather than punitive practices.

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Education
9:37 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

All But One Ypsilanti Community Schools Building to Open Friday

Credit Patrik Holubik / WEMU

Problems that have forced the closure of Ypsilanti Community Schools the past couple of days have for the most part been resolved. 

Associate Superintendent Laura Lisiscki says only Ypsilanti Community Middle School - Willow Run Campus remains closed Friday as they wait for heating system parts to arrive. 

Lisiscki says district staff has been working around the clock to get buildings ready to re-open, with some staffers so focused on their work that they had to be ordered to go home and get some rest. 

Again, only Ypsilanti Community Middle School - Willow Run Campus is closed Friday in the Ypsilanti Community Schools district.

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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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12:47 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Herbie Hancock Appointed 2014 Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard

Lead in text: 
Congratulations to Herbie Hancock on this new honor. He'll be giving a series of lectures on "The Ethics of Jazz". Herbie Hancock has been named the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. “Hancock will give his six Norton Lectures, ‘The Ethics Of Jazz,’ in February and March.” The series follows Hancock’s receipt of a Kennedy Center Honor in December.
Herbie Hancock has been named the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. According to a press release, "Hancock will give his six Norton Lectures, 'The Ethics Of Jazz,' in February and March." The series follows Hancock's receipt of a Kennedy Center Honor in December.
Cinema Chat
11:02 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Cinema Chat: 'August: Osage County,' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' and more at the movies

Credit Michtheater.org

In this week's edition of Cinema Chat, Michigan Theater Program Director, Amanda Bynum sits down to talk with 89.1 WEMU's David Fair about the latest upcoming movies downtown and around town.

The conversation first covers some news out of Hollywood and Ann Arbor. Cinema Chat is a regular feature heard each Thursday during Morning Edition on 89.1 WEMU.

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Community
2:21 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Yousef Rabhi Re-Elected Chair of the Washtenaw County Commissioners

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Washtenaw County Commissioners again choosing Yousef Rabhi to serve as their board chair.

The Washtenaw County Commissioners have re-elected the same officers that led the board in 2013. 

Yousef Rabhi was unanimously voted chair of the county commissioners again Wednesday night.  Rabhi says passing a four year budget was a big accomplishment in 2013 and he expects it will give the commissioners time to work on other issues this year.

Rabhi says some of the things he wants to work on this year are efforts to make the county's procurement process more environmentally friendly and better for the local economy, and to work on improving the board and committee structure. 

Alicia Ping was re-elected as vice chair, and Felicia Brabec will again serve as chair of the ways and means committee.

The commissioners also approved their rules and regulations.  One change in board rules is resolutions that are at the regular meeting the same night they are introduced at the ways and means committee will no longer require a two-thirds majority for final approval.  County officials determined this long standing super majority requirement didn't comply with state law.

*Listen to Rabhi's comments in the audio above.

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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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Local News
2:42 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

U of M Cleaning Up after Pipes Burst, Flooding Dorms

A clean-up contractor is working to repair flooding damage at a couple of University of Michigan dorms where pipes burst during the extreme cold weather. 

Peter Logan is Director of Communication for University Housing.  He says most students had not yet returned from winter break when the pipes bust in the Oxford and East Quad dorms. 

Affected students were contacted, and arrangements made for those who need temporary housing.

Ypsilanti
12:40 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Infrastructure Plan for Water Street

Ypsilanti City Council has approved a plan for key infrastructure needs such as streets, water, and sewer lines in the Water Street area. 

Council voted five to nothing Tuesday night to accept the infrastructure plan. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber says the city has now completed a couple of important steps to attract redevelopment to Water Street.  Schreiber says originally the plan was to leave Water Street open for any proposal but he says the city has seen this approach left developers concerned about what could be built next to their project.   He says being able to better define the parcels of land in Water Street should lead to more interest from developers.

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Ypsilanti
12:35 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Thompson Block Planned Unit Development Agreement

Maintenance efforts on the Thompson Block in July 2013
Courtesy Photo

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ypsilanti City Council approving a planned unit development agreement for the Thompson Block.

Ypsilanti City Council has rezoned the long vacant Thompson Block property in Depot Town and approved the planned unit development agreement for the site. 

Council voted five to nothing on the issue Tuesday night. 

 SEE ALSO: Corner Brewery now Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says the current plan for the Thompson Block is a bigger and better project than the earlier proposal so it needed to be a planned unit development.  Gillotti adds that the changes include adding residential parking behind the building and streetscape improvements along River Street for cafe seating.

Gillotti explained that the actual building permits will likely be similar however to the previous designs, adding the fire has eliminated a bay window from the front of the building and the entrance for the residential portion of the building has moved from the north side to the east side with the addition of the parking lot.

Gillotti maintains developers have two years to complete a PUD, however the Thompson Block faces a deadline in about 15 months for a finished building under the city's dangerous building ordinance.

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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
1:41 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Other Weather-Related Closings, Cancellations and Announcements For January 7

In additional to the long list of school closings, there are other institutions and business closings their doors today.

The Ann Arbor Hands on Museum

The University of Michigan Credit Union

Eastern Michigan University Financial

Recycle Ann Arbor's Drop-Off Station on Ellsworth Road

Recycle Ann Arbor's Re-Use Center will be open but will not be accepting donations.

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10:50 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Eastern Michigan University cancels all classes Tuesday, January 7

Lead in text: 
Due to the continuing extreme weather conditions, Eastern Michigan University has canceled all classes Tuesday, Jan. 7. This includes all planned campus activities, lectures and events. The National Weather Service continues to report hazardous weather conditions and the coldest temperatures in 20 years in Michigan, including a wind chill warning and winter weather advisory for the Washtenaw County region. Wind chill temperatures in the region are forecast to reach 39 below on Tuesday. The University plans to be open on Wednesday, Jan. 8 for regular business and classes.
  • Source: Emich
  • | Via: Walter Kraft
Eastern Michigan University Education First
First Listen
11:49 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

First Listen: Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings, 'Give The People What They Want'

Give the People What They Want, Sharon Jones' new album with The Dap-Kings, comes out Jan. 14.
Paul McGeiver Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:33 am

For veteran soul singer Sharon Jones, 2013 was a year of frustration, fear and false starts: She'd just announced the summer release of her fifth album, Give the People What They Want, when she was diagnosed with cancer and had to put her career on hold. Tours were canceled, while the finished record had to be shelved until she'd recovered to where she was in a position to promote it. Anyone who's seen Jones live knows how much she pours into performing, so fans appeared to be in for a long wait.

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5:44 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Eastern Michigan University cancels classes for Monday, Jan. 6, due to severe weather conditions

Lead in text: 
Due to the extreme snowfall and cold temperatures for our region, Eastern Michigan University has announced the cancellation of all classes at Eastern Michigan University on Monday, Jan. 6. This includes all planned campus activities, lectures and events. Residence halls will remain open this evening and tomorrow to accommodate students who are still moving in and who have already arrived. The University plans to be open on Tuesday, Jan. 7 for regular business and classes.
  • Source: Emich
  • | Via: Walter Kraft
Eastern Michigan University Education First
The Two-Way
8:22 am
Sun January 5, 2014

'Polar Vortex' Brings Bitter Cold, Heavy Snow To U.S.

A woman cross-country skis in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday. The National Weather Service is warning of "life-threatening wind chill" amid a record-breaking cold spell that has enveloped much of the nation.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 12:08 pm

When the National Weather Service warns of "life-threatening wind chill" affecting the Northern and Central parts of the country, you'd better pay attention.

Here's what it says:

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Education
2:02 am
Fri January 3, 2014

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

Credit AAPS

As a cost cutting measure Ann Arbor Public Schools closed tuition based pre-school programs at Allen and Thurston Elementary for the current school year. 

A group of parents however have been working with district officials to create a new pre-school program and hope the school board will begin considering the options later this month. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on talks for a new tuition based pre-school program from Ann Arbor Public Schools.

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Community
1:55 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Eastern Michigan University Adding Police Officers

Credit Eastern Michigan University Police

Eastern Michigan University continues to increase efforts to promote safety on campus and off.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Eastern Michigan University adding police officers.

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Community
1:52 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Had A Big Year in 2013, More Growth Expected in 2014

Credit the ride / facebook

With two new member communities and a name change, 2013 was a big year for the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority.   

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's big changes in 2013, and what could be in store this year.

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Arts
12:41 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Cinema Chat: Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?' 'Spinning Plates' and more

Host David Fair sits down with Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins for a most entertaining conversation on movies, culture and live events to be experienced in the Ypsi-Ann Arbor area each week.   Russ calls in for this edition of 89.1 WEMU's Cinema Chat due to the wintry road conditions. 

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Local News
6:27 am
Thu January 2, 2014

School Closings in Southeast Michigan

Most schools in Washtenaw County remain on Winter Break. Classes were scheduled to resume in many southeast Michigan districts today, but weather has forced closures. For a complete listing of school closings, go to the WEMU web page at www.wemu.org. Or, click through here: http://wemu.org/school-closings.

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