Local

Local News
1:07 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Suspects Arraigned in Demarius Reed Death

Ypsilanti Police have two suspects in custody in the death of Demarius Reed, the Eastern Michigan University student athlete found dead at his off-campus apartment complex October 18th.

The 21 year-old Reed had suffered several gunshot wounds, and investigators believe he may have been shot during a robbery attempt.

Interim Ypsilanti police Chief Tony DiGiusti says Ed Jameal Thomas and a second suspect are facing murder and robbery charges 

Thomas was arraigned Sunday, while the second suspect had not yet appeared in court.  Both men are in custody. 

Read more
Recreation Millage
1:41 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Ann Arbor Schools Committee Investigating Possibilities From Recreation Millage

As Ann Arbor Public Schools officials look to again address a projected budget shortfall for next school year they are also gathering information on a possible new revenue source.  An ad-hoc committee is collecting information on a possible recreation millage. 

School Board member Glenn Nelson says determining what this type of millage can be used for will be a first step.  He says checking with some area districts on how they use a recreation millage will be a valuable resource.  Nelson says the committee should have a report ready for the full school board by the middle of January.  He says they would then have the background details needed to consider a recreation millage compared to other options such as trying again on a county-wide enhancement millage.

The committee should have a report by the middle of January so a recreation millage request could be considered among other options when the budget discussions really get going in earnest.  Nelson  says a recreation millage wouldn't be able to directly fund core academic programs, but it could free up money that's currently funding other programs.

Read more
Enter to Win
10:53 am
Sun November 24, 2013

Harrison Kennedy and Harmonica Shah - Real Detroit Blues Through and Through

Harrison Kennedy
Credit Courtesy photo / Electro-Fi

While Chicago may be America’s blues mecca, Detroiters are making a significant international impact in blues today, especially Seward Shah, better known as "Harmonica Shah”.  Now on the illustrious Electro-Fi label from Toronto, Detroiter Harmonica Shah has not changed his gritty, earthy, raw and rocking urban blues style one iota.  His songs reflect the deep heartbreak of living in present day Detroit while his classic harmonica licks reflects the birth of urban blues by Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Jr. Lockwood and Otis Spann.  If you were ever tempted to think that real blues is a thing of the past, Havin’ Nothin Don’t Bother Me by Harmonica Shah will banish that thought.

MORE: Enter to Win this Electro-Fi CD set from WEMU-FM

Harrison Kennedy’s new Electro-Fi CD, Soulscape is another masterpiece of basic blues with Detroit connections.  Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Harrison Kennedy gained national fame as a member of the Detroit R&B group, The Chairmen Of The Board. They recorded for the Holland-Dozier-Holland Invictus label with hits such as Give Me Just A Little More Time and Skin I’m In. Edward Holland gave Kennedy 75 dollars to buy a guitar which he used to write many hits for the group.  

Harrison Kennedy is still a prolific songwriter but has added a variety of acoustic instruments to his blues arsenal.  On Soulscape you will hear his proficiency on banjo, mandolin, harmonica, spoons, fife, percussion and bread pan!  But, what will really touch you is his pliant voice and the poetry of his heartfelt lyrics.  His songs examine the eternal human condition and our modern miseries.  As with Havin’ Nothin Don’t Bother Me, by Harmonica Shah, Soulscape by Harrison Kennedy will satisfy your soul’s craving for serious blues and roots music.

Read more
Transit
2:31 am
Fri November 22, 2013

AAATA Beats Peers on Cost per Passenger Trip, Higher on Cost per Service Hour

Credit Facebook/TheRide

A comparison to peer public transit organizations finds the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's cost per passenger trip is about 17 percent below the median cost of similar organizations.  The lower cost is thanks to The Ride having about 50% more passenger trips per service hour, and despite a higher cost per service hour than the median of their peers. 

The study looked at 20 transit authorities selected through a methodology developed for the National Transit Cooperative Research Program.  It included Lansing and Kalamazoo.

Chair of the AAATA board Charles Griffith says the study is done every few years and the information will be useful as service expansion is contemplated.  Griffith says the board is now asking staff to dig deeper into the report and find areas The Ride can do better.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on a peer comparison report done by the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority.

Local News
4:25 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

EMU Settles with Students for Life, the Alliance Defending Freedom

Eastern Michigan University has settled a lawsuit brought by an organization upset that EMU Student Government hadn't helped pay for it to bring its "Genocide Awareness Project" exhibit to campus. 

University spokesperson Geoff Larcom says student government originally said "no" to a request for funding from Students for Life, which had asked for about $5,000 for the exhibit that was on campus April 11th and 12th. 

Student Government declined, but later approved funding and changed its fund allocation policy. 

Local News
3:56 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

New Contract for A2SO, Musicians

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has reached a five-year agreement with Local 625 of the American Federation of Musicians. 

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Board President Bob Gates said the new contract shows that everyone at the bargaining table shared the goals of "artistic excellence, commitment to financial sustainability, and service to our community." 

Musicians spokesperson and Principal Oboist Tim Michling said the increased compensation levels included in the contract will help the symphony "attract and retain the highest caliber performers."

-Cinema Chat
9:53 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Cinema Chat: Pilot Error on EMU Campus, Dallas Buyers Club, Philomena, The Hunger Games and More

Credit Michtheater.org

Every Thursday is movie day on WEMU's Morning Edition. David Fair is typically joined by Michigan Theater Executive Director Russ Collins for the weekly feature, Cinema Chat. Russ is away this week, so instead, David spoke with Michigan Theater Program Director Amanda Bynum! 

David and Amanda cover a lot of ground, including a movie shooting on the Eastern Michigan University Campus, the political ramifications of screening movies in the White House, and of course, discussion of the movies available to you over the coming weekend.  You can listen to the entire conversation below.

Cinema Chat for 11/21/2013

Read more
Education
9:41 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Ann Arbor Schools Ready To Meet Mandated Online Class Requirements

Ann Arbor Schools officials say eight years of providing quality, on-line classes have the the district well positioned to meet new state regulations mandating more online offerings. Starting in January, all public districts in Michigan are required to allow students from fifth grade through high school to take up to two online classes, per academic term.  Anthony Lauer is the Online and Options Coordinator in Ann Arbor, and says the district is working with the state to finalize details on its online options.

Some school board members expressed concern the new law lacks assurance of quality of education and is more focused on driving down educational costs. Some also questioned whether expanding online options to elementary and middle schools students serves the nest interests of the students.

For a complete report, listen below to the full report from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

Read more
Education
9:28 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Ann Arbor Schools To Continue in Alternative Programs

Ann Arbor Public Schools will continue to participate in three county-wide, alternative programs for high school students.   The Board of Education Thursday night voted to maintain it's relationship with the consortium that includes the Early College Alliance (ECA), Washtenaw International High School (WI-High) and Widening Achievement for Youth (WAY) program.  The resolution calls on Superintendent Jeanice Swift to target no more than 10 spots in the WAY program, 35 new slots in the E-C-A, and 40 new slots for Wi-High.  District officials had called into question whether Ann Arbor should continue in the consortium, citing a lack of transparency and communication with Washtenaw Intermediate School District officials that op[erate the program. WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel apologized for communication issues and says they will do better in the future. Ann Arbor school board members also accepted some of the blame in the communication break-down and for missing consortium meetings.  For a full report, listen below.

Read more
Live Music
4:48 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Sesi Motors 5:01 Jazz - Ron Brooks Trio at Rush Street

Ron Brooks plays @ Rush Street, Friday, December 7th - 5:01 pm to 7 pm.

89.1 WEMU-FM and Sesi Motors present the 5:01 First Friday Series dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Jan Winkelman.

 Join us for a 5:01 celebration of music with Sunny Wilkinson, Sven Anderson on keys, and George Davidson on the drums, and Ron Brooks on bass.

Read more
Education
4:03 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

U of M to Research Effects of Video Games and Technology on Mobility

The University of Michigan Medical Center will be conducting research on the effectiveness of video games and technology in creating more independence for young people with spinal cord dysfunction and neuro-developmental disabilities. 

The U of M Medical Center just got a $4.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research. It will be given over a five-year period, and will help launch U of M's Rehabilitation and Research Center. 

Technology
4:00 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Ransomware a Threat on EMU Campus and Beyond

A computer attack that's been observed on the Eastern Michigan University campus may also pose a threat to your computer.  

The university is warning of so-called "ransomware" called CryptoLocker, which EMU spokesperson Geoff Larcom says poses a serious threat.

Lacom says the attackers can grab your files, encrypt them and lock them away. The owner is then forced to pay a ransom to have their files unencrypted and returned.

Read more
Environment
9:00 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Issues of the Environment: Ypsilanti's Water Street Property

WEMU's Issues of the Environment is a weekly feature and is heard each Wednesday at 8:20am, as part of Morning Edition.

In this week's installment,  WEMU's David Fair is joined by Ypsilanti City Planner Teresa Gillotti. The city has been looking to re-purpose the 38-acre water Street property since 199, and now there is it looks as though there will be development in 2014. 

The land has required some environmental remediation, and any new development will have to meet Ypsilanti's Master Plan goals. And, of course, it must ensure the health of the Huron River. Listen below as David and Teresa look at the environmental issues surrounding Ypsilanti's Water Street property. 

Issues of the Environment for 11/20/2013

Local News
12:42 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Ypsi City Council approves First Reading of Snow Removal Changes

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange (l) and Mayor Paul Schreiber
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti property owners would have 24 hours instead of 48 to clear snow from their sidewalks under an ordinance approved on first reading Tuesday night by city council. 

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says with Ypsilanti trying to be a walkable city, snow on sidewalks can be a problem.

Gillotti says she checked with a number of surrounding communities, and found that most give property owners 12 to 24 hours to clear snow. 

The ordinance approved by city council also calls for giving violators one warning per season, rather than one warning each time there’s an inch or more of snow, as the law is currently written.

The ordinance is expected back for a second reading an final approval at council's next meeting.

Click here to hear WEMU's Bob Eccles' report.

Community
5:12 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

SOS Community Services Seeks Help Feeding Families this Thanksgiving

SOS Community Services is asking the community to consider helping feed 20 needy families this holiday season by donating food items Wednesday.

Development Director Chelsea Brown says SOS Community Services holds holiday food distribution for families in need every year.

Brown says anyone interested in donating food items can drop them off at the SOS Communitiy Services offices at 114 North River Street in Ypsilanti.

Monetary donations can be made online via the link below.

http://soscs.org/

Read more
Ann Arbor
4:58 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Sale of Former YMCA Lot in Ann Arbor Moves Forward

The City of Ann Arbor and the owner of the Campus Inn and Bell Tower Hotel have reached an agreement for the sale of the former YMCA  property. 

Dennis Dahlmann agreed to all of the conditions required by City Council in addition to his purchase price of $5.25 million  for the property at 350 South Fifth Avenue. 

Mayor John Hieftje says he's excited to have the sale moving forward and have the land providing income to the city and bring more vitality than a surface parking lot.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the year to meet the city's deadline to payoff an interest only loan on the property.  Dahlmann will be required to build a project including ground floor retail, large plate office space, and residential units.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the sale of Ann Arbor's former YMCA site moving forward.

Transportation
2:42 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Ypsilanti Township Approved to Join Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority

Credit Facebook/TheRide

Efforts to increase public transportation in Washtenaw County's urban core took another step forward last night.  Ann Arbor City Council has approved a plan for Ypsilanti Township to join the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority.  Council voted 11 to nothing in favor of the resolution last night.  

WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more.
 

Last month Ann Arbor City Council held off a vote on a resolution to approve adding Ypsilanti Township to the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority.

Read more
Ann Arbor
2:12 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Ann Arbor City Council Takes First Measure to Repeal Crosswalk Ordinance

Credit morguefile.com

Ann Arbor is creating a task force to look at pedestrian safety and access, but even before the group meets a change in the city's crosswalk law is expected. 

Ann Arbor City Council took a pair of actions at their meeting last night with an eye towards pedestrian safety, but concerns remain about if they will do anything positive. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more:

       

Andrew Cluley reports on A2 City Council's new pedestrian safety measures.

Read more
City Council
1:52 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Ann Arbor Council Limits Downtown Development Authority Financing by 2016

Starting in 2016 Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority will have new limitations on the tax increment financing revenue they can capture. After nearly a year of discussions Ann Arbor City Council has given final approval to an ordinance amendment that limits the tax increment financing revenue the Downtown Development Authority can collect.  Last night, City Council voted 9 -  2 in favor of the change. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more:
 

Andrew Cluley reports a a measure to chance the way the DDA is financed

Read more
Education
9:30 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Ypsilanti School Board Considers Summer Tax Collection

Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education President David Bates (l) and Superintendent Scott Menzel
Credit Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Monday night approved placing the question of whether to collect taxes in the summer rather than the winter on the agenda for its first meeting in December. 

Superintendent Scott Menzel says a summer collection is something the board approved seperately last year for the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts.

Menzel says there are benefits to a summer tax collection, including needing to borrow less money from the state to keep things going until the district's state aid payment is received.

The board also approved a one-month extension to interim Technology Director Matthew McCarty's contract. 

McCarty is leaving the district, and the extension will cover the period from November 1st through his last day with Ypsilanti Community Schools - December 6th. 

And the board had a budget presentation from CFO Scott Johnson, who pegged the district's estimated 2013-14 year-end fund balance at $7.3 million - about $300,000 less than budgeted.

Bob Eccles Reports

Education
5:01 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Michigan Grad Students win Dow Distinguished Awards

Winners of the Dow Awards to Pursue Sustainability Solutions in Southeast Michigan & India
Credit Sustainability.umich.edu/ / University of Michigan

Four Teams of graduate students at the University of Michigan have won Dow Distinguished Awards to pursue projects dealing with sustainability solutions. 

Three of the winning teams will work on projects in Southeast Michigan, and the fourth is heading up a water management project in India. 

Drew Horning is Deputy Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute.  He says one of the winning proposals is the retrofitting of a 112-year-old house in Ann Arbor to be self-sustaining.

Horning says other winning projects include a pilot project aimed at enabling energy efficiency in rental properties in Ann Arbor, a greenhouse gas inventory for the City of Detroit, and water demand management for improved adaptation by small farmers in India.

He says these projects have the ability to impact how we address and implement sustainability solutions in the future.

For more information about the Dow Distinguished Awards in Sustainability, visit the U-M Planet Blue website at http://sustainability.umich.edu/education/dow.

Community
4:56 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

U of M Cancer Center Director to Step Down

The director of the University of Michigan's Cancer Center is stepping down. 

Dr. Max Wicha has served as the center's director for 27 years.  He says it's time for him to pass the torch to a new leader, but adds he will remain at the center to continue his stem cell research. 

Wicha says he will stay on as the center's director until a replacement can be hired.  The university expects to fill the position by mid-2014.

Read more
Parks and Recreation
4:57 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Ann Arbor City Council to Consider Ordinance Change to Help Charitable Events in Parks

Credit The DLC / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Supporters of Pizza in the Park say an ordinance change Ann Arbor City Council will consider Monday is important in keeping the event going year round.  

The City Council will consider second reading of the amendment that will waive the rental fee at all parks for events that are primarily designed for the charitable distribution of goods for basic human needs. 

Seth Best is with Camp Take Notice and a volunteer with Vineyard Church.  Best says the amendment is needed because they can't always hold Pizza in the Park at Liberty Plaza where council has already waived the fee. 

Best says as a former homeless person, Pizza in the Park is an important chance for homeless people to see a smiling face and meet kind people.  He says the Pizza in the Park volunteers work to clean up after the event and often leave Liberty Plaza cleaner than they find it.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor City Council considering final approval of an ordinance amendment to waive park rental fees for events that are primarily designed to share goods to meet basic human needs.

Community
4:52 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Humane Society of Huron Valley Investigating Ann Arbor Dog Stabbing

file photo from HSHV
Credit Courtesy photo / Human Society of Huron Valley

Cruelty investigators with the Humane Society of Huron Valley expect to file a report with the county prosecutor's office next week on the stabbing of a dog during a heated domestic dispute in Ann Arbor. 

The incident happened Wednesday night in a home where a family consisting of two adults and two teens live. 

Read more
Health Notes
4:13 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Nasty Things Could be Growing in the Bottom of your Toothbrush Holder

Newly discovered germ Klebsiella michiganensis magnified 25,000 times.
Credit Accugenix

A brand new bacterium in the same family as E. Coli and Klebsiella Pneumonia has been identified by the NSF International's Applied Research Center in Ann Arbor, and you're not going to like where it can be found.

The bacteria is called Klebsiella michiganensis, and it grows in the bottom of your toothbrush holder.

Dr. Robert Donofrio is the Director of the Applied Research Center at the NSF.

He says more research is necessary to identify the exact source of the bacterium, but what is known is that saliva and toothpaste mixed with fecal matter can fester, creating a sludge that could potentially cause a drug-resistant infection.

Dr. Donofrio also says that the bacterium is unique because it is in capsule from, and is hard to break down due to a slimy surface that helps it attach to mucus membranes and evade immune system responses.

He suggests closing the lid of your toilet before flushing as a way to help prevent cross-contamination.

Read more

Pages