Local

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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Education
8:58 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Ypsilanti Community School Board Approves Graduation Requirements

Ypsilanti Community Schools Trustees (l-r) Dan Raglin, Celeste Hawkins and Tony VanDerworp study a presentation at Monday night's meeting.
Credit Bob Eccles

Click here for a report from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Monday night approved graduation requirements that include senior projects designed to pique students' interest in  what they might like to do after graduation. 

Board President David Bates says senior projects are a lot of work, both for the student and for the staff who assist them, but the effort is worthwhile.

Bates says it's a chance for seniors to show what they can do with an Ypsilanti Community Schools education.

Ypsilanti Community Schools graduation requirements also dictate that students earn 23 credits, including 4 Math and English credits and 3 Science and Social Studies credits. 

Staff who put the requirements together worked to find a "happy medium" that will allow seniors from the former Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts graduate.  Their previous requirements didn't match up perfectly.

Local News
6:02 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Ann Arbor Teachers Union Joins Boycott of EMU Student Teachers

The Ann Arbor teachers union is refusing to hire any student teachers from Eastern Michigan University due to the college's involvement with with Michigan's Education Achievement Authority. 

The EAA is a state school system tasked with improving consistently under-performing school districts. It currently runs 15 schools in Detroit and receives student teachers from EMU. 

EAA opponents say it removes too much control from local government. 

EMU's Head of Media Relations, Geoff Larcom  says EMU has no intention of terminating its contract with the EAA.

Local News
5:57 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Friends of the Freighthouse Continue Rehabilitation of Historic Facility

Friends of Freighthouse is well on its way to transforming Depot Town's historic structure into a community hub. 

The organization recently secured $40,000 in funding from a variety of sources, including the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority.

The plan is to turn the Freighthouse into a venue where people can host local events, with long-term plans to have a small cafe.

Friends of the Frighthouse chair Corrine Sikorski says along with basic maintenance, the building needs some major renovations, including ADA-compliant restrooms.

Local News
5:54 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Bike Ypsi Annual Holiday Lights Ride Tuesday

Bike Ypsi holds its annual Holiday Lights Ride Tuesday night. 

Bike Ypsi's Bob Krzewinski says they scout the area for nice light displays beforehand, then take a fairly liesurely eight to 10 mile ride around Ypsilanti to check them out.

The Bike Ypsi Holiday Lights Ride starts at seven Tuesday night at the Corner Brewery. 

For more information visit bike,ypsi.org

12:03 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

RIP, Jimmy Amadie, Philadelphia jazz pianist and educator

Lead in text: 
Linda Yohn played tribute to Jimmie last Friday. Playlist found here: http://n.pr/18v8Flh
Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013, 2:17 PM Jimmy Amadie, the Philadelphia jazz pianist and teacher who battled through severe tendinitis to return to the stage after a 44 year absence in 2011, died on Tuesday. There will be a full obit for Amadie, who grew up in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia and lived in Bala Cynwyd, in Saturday's Inquirer.
11:08 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Eastern Michigan University undertakes broad effort to improve student retention and graduation rates

Lead in text: 
Effort includes special initiatives to improve outcomes for single parents and men of color
The program, overseen by the office of the provost, is an extensive, campus-wide effort that seeks not only to improve student outcomes at Eastern but contribute nationally to understanding what support strategies work for two specialized groups: men of color and single parents.The plan, which was presented to the EMU Board of Regents Tuesday, focuses on five areas that research has shown to have significant impact on degree completion and retention.
Capitol News
4:48 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Michigan Lawmakers New Year's Resolution: Find Money To Fix Roads

State lawmakers have left Lansing for the holidays and won’t return until January 8th. But they already have a long list of things to do heading into 2014.  One of the big jobs they’ll face will be finding money to improve the state’s roads and infrastructure. 

  

Early this year, Governor Rick Snyder urged lawmakers to boost funding for roads by more than a billion dollars. But Snyder’s idea to raise the state’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees never won enough support in the Legislature – and neither did any other proposal.

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Arts
6:03 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole, A Life Even Larger Than 'Lawrence'

Peter O'Toole was nominated for an Academy Award for his title role in Lawrence of Arabia.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Peter O'Toole, the Hollywood legend who was made famous in his title role in Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday in a London hospital. The 81-year old Irishman was nominated for eight Oscars in his distinguished career, and was known as a bit of a hellraiser.

To those who hadn't seen the actor perform on the London stage, O'Toole was seemingly catapulted into fame. But it may be more accurate to say he charged into it. As T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia, O'Toole was tall, handsome and sensitive.

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Community
2:41 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

U-of-M Institute for Social Research Continues Giving Tradition

U-of-M ISR staffers (l-r) Bridgitte Wyche McGee, Donnalee Grey-Farquharson, Jeannie Baker, Robert Choate, Wendi Fornoff and Becky Bahlibi.
Credit Emma Jackson, WISD

Homeless students in the Washtenaw Intermediate School District will have something to smile about this Christmas thanks to a generous donation from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research's ISR Feeds group. 

The group dropped off about 150 gift bags Friday. 

WISD Communication Specialist Emma Jackson says this is the fifth year the ISR has helped out.

The donation will benefit kids in the Education Project for Homeless Youth, a non-profit organization that provides supprot to students who are homeless.

Environment
1:42 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Issues of the Environment: Mayor Hieftje Talks Public Transit in SE Michigan

Issues of the Environment 12/10/13
Among the most debated issues in Ann Arbor and the Southeast Michigan region, is the matter of public transportation. What should we be working towards, what should public transit of the future look like, what elements should it contain….and of course: how do we pay for it all?  These are questions debated on a regular basis at Ann Arbor City Council, and our guest this morning is in the middle of all of it. John Hieftje is the Mayor of Ann Arbor.
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EMU
11:30 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

EMU Welcomes New Football Coach Chris Creighton [photos]

Eastern Michigan University's new football coach says he's excited to be here and passionate to work with the players.  

Chris Creighton was introduced to the EMU community at a press conference Thursday that included a pep talk by the new coach. Creighton says his goal at EMU is to win a MAC championship as soon as possible, but also to make sure they are getting everything out of the program's potential, adding that he will work his offense around what the players are most capable of doing, but wants to have a balanced attack.

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Politics
10:03 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Medical Marijuana Bills Approved by Michigan House

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

State House approves a trio of medical marijuana bills

Medical marijuana patients in Michigan would have more ways to legally obtain and consume cannabis under three bills that cleared the state House on Thursday.

House Bill 4271 would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate again in Michigan.

State Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) introduced the legislation. He says it’s critical for many patients to have safe access to marijuana right away.

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Capitol News
10:01 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Issues Ads Legislation headed for Governor's Desk

Bill doubling campaign contributions, shielding issue ad donors goes to Gov. Snyder

By Jake Neher

People who pay for so-called “issue ads” would be able to stay anonymous under a bill that has cleared the state Legislature. It would also double the amount of money people can give to campaigns and political action committees (PACs).

The state Senate gave SB661 final legislative approval Thursday.

It would also block Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s proposal that would require issue ads to disclose their donors.

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Local News
9:57 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Ypsilanti Police Chief Finalists Meet the Public

Deputy Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony DiGiusti
Credit Bob Eccles

About 50 people turned out last night for a public forum introducing the two finalists to be Ypsilanti's next Chief of Police. 

Deputy Chief Tony DiGiusti is one of the finalists.  He said his 13 years of experience as a deputy chief and administrator have prepared him for the job.

DiGiusti's been interim Chief since Amy Walker left to take a job in the private sector in October. 

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Local News
4:38 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Thunderbirds to Headline 2014 Thunder over Michigan Air Show

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will headline next year's Thunder over Michigan air show at Willow Run Airport. 

Yankee Air Museum Public Relations Director Bob Hynes says the show is scheduled for August 9th and 10th.

Hynes says if you have an aviation buff on your holiday gift list, there's a special code you can enter to save big on tickets to next year's Thunder over Michigan show. 

Go to YankeeAirMuseum.org, click on Thunder over Michigan Air Show and enter the code TOMINSIDER to get a discount on tickets.

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Arts
9:00 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Cinema Chat: Sundance Film Festival, Nebraska, Kill Your Darlings and More

View of the Michigan Theater from this week
Patrik Holubik WEMU-FM

There are some great movies  opening up this week! In this week's installment of Cinema Chat, WEMU's David Fair and Michigan Theater Director Russ Collins look into those. 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.

Cinema Chat: 12/12/2013

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Education
2:57 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Plante Moran to Audit Ann Arbor Schools Management Processes

Early next year Ann Arbor Public Schools will have a better idea on how effective and efficient their behind the scenes business practices are. 

The School Board last night unanimously approved a contract for up to $45,000 with Plante Moran for the audit. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says since the board originally budgeted up to $80,000 for the audit they will be able to dig deeper into issues raised from the review or other sources.  Swift says the audit, her Listen and Learn report, and a benchmark study comparing the district to six similar districts should all be completed in late January or early February.  She says this will give the district a good 360 degree look at the health and overall function of the district.

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Education
2:53 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Ann Arbor Schools Ask State Not to Schedule Mandatory Exams on Religious Holidays

The Ann Arbor School Board has unanimously passed a resolution asking the state Department of Education to make sure mandatory tests aren't given on major religious holidays.  The resolution has also been supported by Superintendent Jeanice Swift and the Ann Arbor Arab American Parent Support Group. 

Ann Arbor Schools already have a policy prohibiting major exams and other events on three star holidays but the resolution is a response to the Michigan Educational Assessment Program exams taking place in October during Eid-al-Adha. 

School Board Member Glenn Nelson says it was more than just students that had to choose between the required test and an important holiday.  He says all of the teachers he knows that were impacted chose to stay with their students.

Nelson says they hope to speak with the State Board of Education, the state superintendent and others to ensure testing doesn't conflict with important holidays.  He says culture diversity needs to be considered for Michigan to attract people from across the globe.

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Community
8:51 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

ReImagine Washtenaw Right-of-Way Plan Presented

Meeting attendees check out the plan and ask questions.
Credit Bob Eccles

ReImagine Washtenaw presented its right-of-way plan to the public at a meeting Tuesday night. 

The plan covers the corridor from the water tower in Ypsilanti to the Washtenaw-Stadium split in Ann Arbor.

Ypsilanti city council member Pete Murdock says the city is dealing with a lot of traffic issues as part of its master plan revision, and those will have to be coordinated with ReImagine Washtenaw.

The ReImagine Washtenaw right-of-way plan includes improvements such as refuge islands to help pedestrians safely cross the street, buffered bike lanes, and eight "super stops" for Ann Arbor Area Transportation busses along the corridor. 

The next step in the implementation process is to have municipalities along the corridor adopt the plan.

Click here for a report from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

EMU Eagles
8:30 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Eastern Michigan University Names Creighton as Head Football Coach

Chris Creighton
Credit Drake.edu

Eastern Michigan University has named Chris Creighton as its head football coach. Creighton comes from Des Moines, Iowa's Drake University, where he led the Bulldogs as their head coach for the past six years. He becomes the 37th full-time head coach in EMU's 122-year history.

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A Blog Supreme
5:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:10 am

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

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Local News
6:12 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Report Suggests Lawmakers Consider Economic Impact of Colleges and Universities

A new report suggests Michigan lawmakers would be wise to consider the economic impact of colleges and universities in the state. WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

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Education
5:56 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Concerns About EMU's Link to EAA Grow

Hundreds of educators and others have signed a petition asking Eastern Michigan University to sever ties with the Education Achievement Authority.  Some of these people spoke against the partnership at Tuesday's board of regents meeting.  

Chair of the board of regents Francine Parker says administration needs to listen to the concerns and work to ensure all E-M-U students can find student teaching positions.

Steve Camron is a special education professor and chair of the College of Education Council.  Camron says the E-A-A connection is hurting E-M-U education students beyond the student teacher boycott.  He says the E-A-A's use of Teach for America Candidates with less training makes EMU grads unable to compete for teaching positions.

President Susan Martin says she is closely listening to faculty and student concerns and trying to get more information.  She says it's unfortunate E-M-U students are being punished and great educators are struggling to find student teaching positions.  Martin says the E-A-A however is one of many creative efforts to address under performing schools and it makes sense for E-M-U to be part of the effort.

The regents approved Provost Kim Schatzel's appointment to the E-A-A board.

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Education
5:49 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

EMU Approves In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students from Michigan High Schools

Undocumented immigrants that have attended a Michigan High School for at least three years will soon be able to pay in-state tuition rates at Eastern Michigan University.  The board of regents Tuesday unanimously approved the policy change that will take affect in the fall.  

President Susan Martin says hopefully more of these students that are part of our community will come to E-M-U, but it may be difficult to put a specific number on the increase.

The new policy was originally pushed by the E-M-U student government who researched options and voted in favor of this change last month.  Student Body President Desmond Miller says they estimate less than 20 undocumented students are currently studying at E-M-U and is confident that number will climb.

E-M-U now joins the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Washtenaw Community College to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students from Michigan high schools.

The regents also approved a policy change to give all honorably discharged or medically separated U-S Military veterans with one-year of active duty service in-state tuition.

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