Local

6:12 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

‘The Puck Drops Here’ FAQs

Lead in text: 
Q. What roads will be closed on New Year's Eve? A. Main Street between Huron and William, Washington between Ashley and Fourth, and Liberty between Ashley and Fourth. Access to the Washington and Fourth Parking Structure will remain available. Read more...
In the Ann Arbor area, people are doing life different. Discover things to do in Ann Arbor, hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, events, attractions and more.
Capitol News
6:39 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Federal Government Holds Key To Whether State Pharmacies Can Sell Medical Marijuana

Credit “Caveman Chuck” Coker / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Michigan pharmacies will be able to sell medical marijuana if feds reschedule

By Jake Neher

Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill into law Monday that clears the way for pharmacies to sell medical marijuana in Michigan. But that’s only if the federal government reclassifies cannabis as a legal prescription drug.

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Education
1:29 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Ann Arbor Schools Looking at New Federal Guidelines on Food Sales in Schools

Credit USDAgov / Foter.com / CC BY

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Ann Arbor School Board looking at what they need to do to prepare the district for new federal guidelines on food sold in schools.

Ann Arbor Public Schools next month will be looking at what changes are necessary to prepare the district for new federal guidelines on what food can be sold during the school day. 

The new rules begin July 1st. 

They require the first ingredient of any food sold in schools be a whole grain, fruit, vegetable, or protein. 

SEE ALSO: Ann Arbor Schools To Roll Out Enhanced Security Measures

 

School Board President Deb Mexicotte says the new rules will put some limits on what is available, but doesn't eliminate all snacks. Mexicotte adds, that it doesn't affect food brought to school by students or parents.  The new rules also end 30 minutes after the school day so concession stands at evening events don't have to adhere to the guidelines.

Mexicotte believes the school stores, vending machines and fundraising efforts will face the biggest challenge from the new rules.  She says Chartwells has been planning for the new requirements for some time so the food available in cafeterias should be able to meet the new rules.

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Education
8:43 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Ann Arbor Schools Superintendent Developing Report from Listen and Learn Tour

Credit AAPS

While students are out of the classroom for the winter break, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift is working on a report from her  four months long Listen and Learn Tour. 

Swift attended about 90 meetings including one in every school in the district to get feedback on the common themes and patterns that are concerning the district.  Swift says her report should serve as a good outline of issues that the district needs to tackle.

Swift says she expects about a half dozen issues the district will be able to tackle immediately, while many others may take years to fully address. 

Swift says the Listen and Learn tour also served as a valuable way for her to get to know about the unique story behind each neighborhood school.

 — Andrew Cluley is a reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him aCluley@emich.edu.

 

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Capitol News
6:42 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Governor Snyder Signs Bills into Law

Devices that can be used to steal someone’s personal information when they use a credit card are now illegal in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation Thursday banning the sale, purchase, or use of so-called “skimmer” devices.

Proponents of the measure say skimmers can be installed relatively easily on ATMs and other credit card readers. Under the new law, offenders will face felony charges that could come with up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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Cinema Chat
8:29 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Cinema Chat: Golden Globes, Oscars, Nebraska, Philomena and More

Credit The Michigan Theater

In this day-after Christmas installment of Cinema Chat, Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins begins his conversation with WEMU's David Fair discussing the upcoming awards season.

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Eastern Michigan University
2:22 am
Thu December 26, 2013

EMU Endowment Grows to Largest In School History

Eastern Michigan University's Endowment has grown from about $36 million in 2009 to about $64 million  currently, the largest endowment in the school's history. 

Last year's return on investment was over 15-percent and they have averaged annual returns of over eight percent over the last 20 years. 

Laura Wilbanks is the Chief Financial Officer of the EMU foundation.  Wilbanks says in the last few years they've limited the costs and percentage of endowment spent annually on scholarships and other gifts.  She says the actual dollars spent from the endowment however can increase as the endowment grows. 

Wilbanks says the strong investment return is a result of aggressive investments in the stock market, limited exposure to alternative investments and being dilligent on rebalancing the portfolio.

EMU also successfully completed the Invest, Inspire Fundraising campaign a few years ago.

 — Andrew Cluley is a reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him aCluley@emich.edu.

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Arts
1:27 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Detroit Needs Money. Can A 'Grand Bargain' Save The City's Art?

Philanthropist Paul Schaap says selling the Detroit Institute of Arts' masterpieces would devastate the city's morale. Christie's has appraised some works in the collection; the auction house estimates that this piece could bring in $20 million.
Detroit Institute of Arts

  Can wealthy art lovers help save Detroit's pension funds — and one of its museums?

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7:06 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Jazz icon Yusef Lateef dies at 93

Lead in text: 
Legendary Detroit jazz musician and composer Yusef Abdul Lateef, who came of age in the 1940s and ’50s, moved to New York and helped shape modern jazz, died Monday in his home in Massachusetts.
He considered Detroit his home an incubator for wonderful musicians, his wife, Ayesha Lateef, said.
Community
2:44 am
Tue December 24, 2013

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

Credit Ann Arbor Downtown Development Athority

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the success of Ann Arbor's Bike House that opened in the Maynard Street Parking Structure earlier this year.

The success of Ann Arbor's bike house inside the Maynard Street Parking Structure has officials with the Downtown Development Authority and the Get Downtown Program considering putting another one in other parking structures. 

The enclosed and covered bike house opened in May with space for 30 bikes in what had been two parking spaces. 

GetDowntown Program Director, Nancy Shore says the feedback they've gotten from users of the bike house is that it's another valuable option to get to work.  She adds that they've also heard that some people that occasionally used a bike to get to work are doing so more frequently now that they have a safe place to store their bike out of the elements. 

Shore says the bike house gets the most use from nine-to-five, primarily from people who work in the State Street area.

Community
1:48 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Ann Arbor Police Making Staffing Assignment Changes to Improve Efficiency

The Ann Arbor Police department won't be getting any new officers in January. But, a couple of assignments are changing.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on changes coming for the Ann Arbor Police Department based in part on data collected through electronic patrol activity logs.

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Capitol News
7:03 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Michigan Has Failed to Make Sure Veterans Get Maximum Benefits

Michigan has done a poor job over the last decade making sure veterans collect all the benefits they’re entitled to. That’s according to a new report from the state Auditor General’s office.

The audit shows the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs (DMVA) has failed to adequately track the performance and spending of veterans’ agencies across the state. That includes organization such as Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion.

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Local News
3:58 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Christopher Taylor Running to be Ann Arbor's Next Mayor

Another Ann Arbor City Council member is seeking outgoing Mayor John Hieftje's job.
Third Ward Democrat Christopher Taylor today announced he's running for mayor in 2014.

Stephen Kunselman who also represents the third ward on council has already announced he's running, while Hieftje has said he won't seek re-election.

Capitol News
11:32 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Governor Snyder Wants More Renewables, Less Coal in Michigan

Governor Rick Snyder says it’s time for state lawmakers to set new energy goals for Michigan. He says those goals should include burning less coal and increasing renewable energy production over the next decade.

Snyder outlined a broad set of goals for energy policy between now and 2025 during a roundtable Thursday in Detroit.

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Community
11:27 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

AAATA Announces Holiday Service Reductions

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority will have reduced service for much of the next two weeks.  

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Arts
11:31 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Cinema Chat: Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, It’s A Wonderful Life, and more!

Credit Michtheater.org

 In this week's installment of Cinema Chat,WEMU's Bob Eccles and Michigan Theater Director Russ Collins look into what's playing downtown and around town.

 

Cinema Chat is a regular feature heard each Thursday during Morning Edition on 89.1 WEMU.

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Local News
11:06 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Corner Brewery now Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

Ypsilanti's Corner Brewery is now Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery. 

Arbor Brewing Company co-owner Renee Greff says the name change came about out of concerns raised by the former Corner Brewery's general manager that the business wasn't getting the benefit of  the Arbor Brewing Company brand.

Greff says not everyone knows that Arbor Brewing Company's beer is made at the Ypsilanti location.

She says new logos were designed, and word of the name change was spread through the Arbor Brewing Company blog and Facebook page. 

Education
1:03 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Ann Arbor School Board Hears Preliminary Report On Additional High School Options

Credit AAPS

The Ann Arbor School Board hopes to find alternative options to make the district's high schools even better for a broader range of students.  A group of high school leaders have studied more than a half dozen programs including magnet schools, blended classes, new technology programs, and others.  They plan on presenting the school board with two or three concrete program ideas in January or February. 

School Board president Deb Mexicotte says they hope the upcoming election year could help make some additional high school options possible thanks to additional funding.

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says there are some common themes of more personalized learning approaches and choices in all of the programs reviewed.  She says the goal will be to find options that balance increased costs with attracting additional students.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on programs being studied for increased options for high school students in Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Environment
8:41 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Issues of the Environment: Downtown Development in Ann Arbor

In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Susan Pollay about development in downtown Ann Arbor and how it fits into a more sustainable future for the city. Susan Pollay is Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. 

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Ypsilanti
7:54 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Plans Revised For East Side Rec Center In Ypsilanti

A rendering of what the proposed $12 million Eastside Recreation Center could look like.
Credit courtesy of Washtenaw County.

Ypsilanti City Council will likely have a purchase or development agreement for the East Side Recreation Center in January.  Council Tuesday night received an update on Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation's plans for the facility in the Water Street re-development area.  Park Planning Supervisor Coy Vaughn says the latest design features a smaller parcel of land and a smaller building. 

The new plans call for a 45-to-55-thousand square foot facility on four acres in the Water Street area. Originally, it was going to be a 55-to-65-thousand sqaure foot building set on 12-acres. Vaughn says, despite the smaller scale, no amenities or programs will have to be cut.

The proposed rec center would have 230 feet of frontage along Michigan Avenue, and would leave a 100-foot easement between the facility and the river for a linear park.  The purchase price is to be one dollar, with the county providing $900,000 worth of infrastructure improvements to the site and surrounding area.

Listen to WEMU's Bob Eccles full report.

Ypsilanti City Council report from it's 12/17/13 meeting

How do the exchanges work?
7:16 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Your Questions About The American Health Care Act

There are many questions about the new health care law. Here are some answers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 8:37 am

In recent months, NPR staff has published a series of questions-and-answer stories related to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Now we've compiled them into an interactive so you can explore answers that are most relevant to you.

There are nearly 80 questions, ranging from who's eligible to how much insurance might cost, among two dozen topics. Filter the list by selecting categories or asking questions.

Did we miss an important question? Let us know.

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Capitol News
6:40 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

State Workers Await Board Decision on Benefits

Dozens of public employee union members protest Tuesday outside Governor Rick Snyder’s office, across from the state Capitol in Lansing.
Credit MPRN

State worker unions rally on eve of contract decision

By Jake Neher

Thousands of state employees could see their health benefits reduced Wednesday. That’s if a state board votes to approve a new contract.

Public employee unions couldn’t reach a contract agreement with the state this year, so the Michigan Civil Service Commission will vote on a compromise plan drawn up by an independent panel. 

Unions say it includes too many concessions while, at the same time, state officials are expecting a budget surplus.

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Community
4:55 am
Tue December 17, 2013

A2 Council Approves Overtime for Police to Step Up Traffic Enforcement

Motorists around Ann Arbor can expect to see more police cars focused on traffic enforcement in January. 

City Council Monday night voted ten to one to provide $125,000 to the police department to fund overtime for officers specifically focused on traffic enforcement. 

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Community
4:50 am
Tue December 17, 2013

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

The City of Ann Arbor lost 100 units of low-income housing when they had to close the former YMCA building.  Now that the property at 350 South Fifth Avenue is about to be sold the city’s affordable housing will get almost $1.4 million. 

City Council Monday night voted to put all of the revenue from the sale of the property to affordable housing after covering the initial purchase price, closing and broker fees. 

Mayor John Hieftje explains that some of the funds could be used to provide some important services to help keep tenants in Miller Manor.  Hieftje adds that the city has made real progress in finding funds for affordable housing in the last year. 

The sale of the Y-Lot to Dennis Dahlmann is expected to close by the end of March.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor City Council opting to put funds from the sale of the old YMCA property in the Affordable Housing Fund.

Community
4:42 am
Tue December 17, 2013

A2 Council Again Delays Decision on Parking Meter Removal Policy

Ann Arbor City Council has once more postponed a decision on a policy to charge developers for the removal of on-street parking meters.   Some fine tuning is expected before council votes on a policy to charge developers $45,000 if their project leads to the removal of on-street parking meters.
The proposed policy was developed by the Downtown Development Authority in response to a growing number of parking meters being removed.

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