Local

11:44 am
Wed November 13, 2013

EMU students take first and third places in Kohl's Marketing Challenge at regional American Marketing Association conference

Lead in text: 
Teams of Eastern Michigan University students recently earned top honors in responding to that challenge in a marketing competition at a conference attended by about 300 students.
  • Source: Emich
  • | Via: Eastern Michigan University
Two teams from the EMU College of Business won first and third at the Kohl’s Marketing Challenge at the 6th annual American Marketing Association regional conference, held at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Oct. 24-25. The conference involved registrants from 20 universities, and an additional 10-12 schools viewed the presentations via a live video feed.
Environment
10:34 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Issues of the Environment: Global Helium Shortage

Helium tanks at the Large Hadron Collider, one of the places that relies upon the inert gas.
Credit Wikimedia Commons / Leo Koivulehto

In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair looks into the global helium shortage. 

To help us better understand helium gas, it's uses and the potential ramifications of running out of this non-renewable resource, David spoke with Eastern Michigan University Chemistry Professor Dr. Gregg Wilmes.

IOE 11/13/2013

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Local News
6:46 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

MDOT Grants to Help Make Dexter More Walkable

Grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation will help improve the "walkability" of the Dexter area. 

A partnership including the village, Dexter Community Schools and the Chelsea-area Wellness Foundation is receiving about $225,000 to help close gaps in the community's sidewalks. 

Village Manager Donna Dettling says there are good routes from most sub-divisions to Dexter Schools, but a few problem areas were identified in developing the safe routes to school planning document.  Dettling says they hope to finalize designs and identify a contractor this winter, so construction on sidewalks and other projects can begin in the spring.  She says the community is thrilled with the M-DOT funding and the planning work done through a great collaboration gave Dexter an enormous benefit.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Michigan Department of Transportation grants leading to a more walkable Dexter.

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Local News
6:20 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Last Week's Election Results to be Certified Soon

It won't be long before we have the official results of last week's elections. 

Ed Golembiewski is Washtenaw County's Elections Director. He says the results will be certified first thing Wednesday morning.

Golembiewski says one provisional ballot was added in Ann Arbor elections, and Ann Arbor city council 5th Ward write-in candidate Chip Smith got an additional 100 votes - not enough to change the results.

Click to hear WEMU's Bob Eccles' report.

Community
6:16 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

The Ride's Transit Improvement Plan Public Meetings Winding Down

Credit Facebook/TheRide

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

If you want to have your opinion heard on the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's five-year transit improvement plan, you're running out of time. 

Spokesperson Don Kline says a series of public meetings on the subject hosted by The Ride is drawing to a close.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday from 11:30am to 1pm at the University of Michigan's Towsley Center Sheldon Auditorium. There's also a meeting Thursday from 10am to noon at the Ypsilanti Senior Center.

Comments gathered during the process will be summarized for a report to the AAATA board. 

If you can't make any of the meetings, you can review The Ride's plan online at MovingYouForward.org and email your thoughts by Friday to TellUs@TheRide.org.

Local News
1:17 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Eat the Street Bringing Food Carts to Ann Arbor's South U

People looking for something to eat in Ann Arbor's South University Area are getting some more options thanks to a new food truck program.  Eat the Street is the new program that's a partnership between the South University Area Association and Eat the Hub. 

Alex Perlman is with Eat the Hub and owns two food carts.  Perlman says they hope the former Pinball Pete's site at 1215 South University will be a successful location for food carts.  He says they have done some basic landscaping and worked with the Health Department on prepping the site for food carts.  He says hopefully the mix of food will attract both students and some Ann Arbor residents that don't typically come to the South U area. 

The carts are expected to last in this location until April when the site will be used for something else.  A mix of food carts including Indian, Grilled Cheese, Healthy California inspired, and other options are coming to Ann Arbor's South University area.

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Transit
5:54 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Get Downtown Launches 'Conquer the Cold' Commuter Challenge

Credit Getdowntown

Just because the weather's turning cold doesn't mean it's time to give up on your alternative method of commuting. 

The Get Downtown Program is encouraging people to register to participate in this year's "Conquer the Cold" winter commuting challenge. 

Get Downtown Program director Nancy Shore says "Conquer the Cold" aims to keep alternative commutes going.

Downtown Ann Arbor employees can sign up for winter bike commuting classes and register for the commuting challenge, which offers a $500 Bivouac gift card as its top prize. 

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports on the Getdowntown program's Conquer the Cold Commuter Challenge

Community
3:39 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Ann Arbor City Council Requests U-of-M toTake Billboard Down

Marquee rendering
Credit University of Michigan Athletics

Ann Arbor City Council has adopted a resolution asking the University of Michigan to decommission its electronic billboard outside Michigan Stadium. 

The sign is the largest billboard in Ann Arbor and city officials say it's too large, too close to the road, and is distracting to motorists.

3rd Ward council member Christopher Taylor acknowledges he and his colleagues can't actually influence U-of-M's decision on this matter. The most they can do is ask the university to take the sign down.

Taylor doesn't expect council to spend much more time discussing the issue, instead focusing on other issues of mutual interest with U-of-M.

WEMU's Bob Eccles' report can be heard here.

Music
12:06 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

An Interview with Jeff Haas: The New Jazz Archive, Building Bridges with Music, and more!

Jeff Haas of the New Jazz Archive stops by the WEMU studios ahead of the 100th anniversary of  his father, broadcasting legend,  Karl Haas' birth.  And to talk about a few new programs spearheaded by Jeff to advance the legacy of jazz to new generations. 

Listen to the full interview here: 

Linda Yohn interviews Jeff Haas 11/11/13

  

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Community
6:14 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Ypsilanti Mayor Will Not Seek Re-election

Credit Courtesy photo / Photo by Erica Hamilton

A year from now, the City of Ypsilanti will have a new Mayor. Paul Schreiber announced over the weekend he will not seek re-election in 2014. Schreiber was first elected mayor in 2006, and will have completed eight years in office when next November's election rolls around. In his written announcement Sunday, Schreiber said he has enjoyed his seven years as Mayor, but now it's time to step aside to allow the next Mayor to lead the city.

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Local News
6:12 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Veterans Day Activities

Today is Veterans Day. We take occasion to remember those who have served to ensure our freedom and liberty. Locally, there are a couple of events scheduled today.

The V-A Ann Arbor Healthcare System on Fuller road will host its annual Veterans Day Event today. It gets underway at 9:30 this morning and is free and open to the public.

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Community
2:24 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Consultants to Develop Framework Plan for Downtown Ann Arbor Streets

A pair of consulting firms are working with Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority to create a framework to be used to make more active streetscapes.  The DDA approved a $150,000 contract for the downtown street framework plan. 

DDA board Member John Mouat says the framework will be designed so streets that face different challenges and issues can be tailored to meet their particular needs.  He says the DDA, the city, or private developers should all be able to use the framework.  Mouat says some additional civil engineering work may be done for the city to look at infrastructure under the streets.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on efforts to create a downtown streets framework plan for Ann Arbor.

Community
3:24 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Growing Hope Executive Director Announces Ypsilanti Mayoral Bid

Growing Hope's Amanda Edmonds

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber hasn't said whether he'll run for re-election in 2014, but if he does, he'll face a challenge from Amanda Edmonds. 

The Growing Hope Executive Director is also vice-chair of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority. She's vice-chair of the Washtenaw Food Policy Council, and was appointed by the Governor to a similar organization at the state level.

The 36 year-old is running as a Democrat.

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Sports
2:59 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

EMU Football Coach Ron English Fired

Former Eagles head coach, Ron English
Credit Eastern Michigan University Athletics

Eastern Michigan University has relieved head football coach Ron English of his duties. 

"At this time, I have decided that a change in the leadership of our football team is necessary", EMU Athletic Director Heather Lyke said in a statement.

English's record in 57 games at the helm of the Eagles football program was 11-46.  The team is 1-8 this season.

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Community
4:08 am
Fri November 8, 2013

New Ordinance to Limit Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority TIF Capture Passes First Reading

Starting in 2016 Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority will likely have their ability to capture tax increment financing capped at a growth rate of 3.5% . 

City Council last night voted nine to two in favor of the first reading of a new ordinance amendment limiting the DDA's TIF capture. 

Chair of the DDA board Sandi Smith says this is a better plan than council originally considered but she thinks it will still hurt the city in the long run.
  
City Council member Stephen Kunselman says the amendment will allow the DDA to continue to do great work downtown, but force the authority to be more responsive to the city and other taxing authorities. 

The amendment also caps DDA board members to three consecutive terms and requires annual contributions to the DDA's housing fund.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on a revised effort to limit tax increment financing captures by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.

Community
4:04 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Ann Arbor to Begin Negotiations on Sale of YMCA Lot

If a sale of the former YMCA site in Ann Arbor is completed with the owner of the Campus Inn and Bell Tower Hotel, the development will include retail, two floors of large plate office space, and residential space for the upper floors. 

City Council last night unanimously passed a resolution for city staff to negotiate with Dennis Dahlmann who bid $5.25 million for the property. 

CA Ventures increased their bid after the deadline, but council member Stephen Kunselman says it's important that city negotiates with the original high bidder.

Kunselman says it's been a decade that the city has been trying to decide what to do with this property so he's glad to see progress finally being made.  After expenses are covered the city will commit proceeds from the sale to affordable housing.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor City Council passing a resolution to negotiate the sale of the former YMCA property.

Community
3:59 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Ann Arbor City Council Says Goodbye to Long-time Member Higgins

Marcia Higgins
Credit Courtesy hvote4higgins.com

Long-time Ann Arbor City Council member Marcia Higgins said goodbye to the board last night at her final meeting.  Higgins never imagined she would serve so long when she was first elected in 1999.  

Higgins says she's most proud of something not very glamorous, work to clean up contradictions in the city's zoning language, adding that there is now more transparency in the city's budget and the labor contracts are better than they used to be.

Higgins says she was blessed to work with many great city council members, and it's important for council to listen to each other and work together.  She explained that she was initially sad when she lost in the August primary but is now excited to have time to do things she's put off for years.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Marcia Higgins final Ann Arbor City Council meeting.

Community
5:43 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Arrests Made In This Summer's U-of-M Medical Student Homicide Case

Paul DeWolf
Credit Associated Press

Ann Arbor Police have made three arrests connected to this summer's death of a University of Michigan Medical student.  A press release says no other suspects are believed to be outstanding, and there does not appear to be any previous affiliation between the suspects and Paul DeWolf.  The suspects also don't have any known connection with the University of Michigan or the U.S. Air Force. DeWolf was an Air Force Second Lieutenant.  He was found dead in his apartment in July.

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Local News
1:46 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

U-of-M Launches $4 Billion 'Victors for Michigan' Fundraising Campaign

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman announces the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign
Credit Bob Eccles

The University of Michigan has launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of public higher education. 

President Mary Sue Coleman announced the Victors for Michigan campaign, which aims to raise $4 billion.  Coleman says she’s confident the university’s alumni and friends will come through.

The Victors for Michigan campaign will focus on three priorities, the highest of which is student support.  It will also raise money for areas described as engaged learning and bold ideas. 

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Arts
10:43 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Cinema Chat: Sing-A-Long White Christmas, All Is Lost, Muscle Shoals, Thor and More

Credit Michtheater.org

It's a busy weekend in Washtenaw County. Among other things, both Eastern Michigan and Michigan have home football games. And, of course, there are new and returning movies available to you. 

In this week's installment of WEMU's "Cinema Chat", David Fair and Russ Collins cover your options. First, the conversation begins with the possibility the State Theater will soon morph into a different kind of business. For details, listen below, and say "good morning" to Russ Collins!
 

Cinema Chat 11/7/13

Community
3:53 am
Thu November 7, 2013

County Budget Approved by Ways and Means Committee

Credit Tax Credits / Foter.com / CC BY

The Washtenaw County Sheriff says if the proposed four year county budget is approved he will likely be unable to maintain current service levels if he hits budget targets.  

The County Commissioners Ways and Means Committee voted 7  to 2  for the budget last night that ranges from $103 million in 2014 to $106.5 million in 2017. 

Sheriff Jerry Clayton says he hopes his warning on possible service reductions starts a community conversation because he won't be running up overtime.  Clayton says he proposed a gradual reduction in the sheriff department returning a half-million dollars to the county annually. 

The county commissioners will have a public hearing on the budget proposal in two weeks.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Washtenaw County Commissioners Ways and Means Committee giving a four year budget proposal initial approval, despite concerns from Sheriff Jerry Clayton.

Community
3:49 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Washtenaw County Economic Development Millage Increased, Faces Potential Challenge

Washtenaw County is increasing a tax for economic development and agriculture, but is likely also facing a lawsuit over the tax. 

The County Commissioners voted seven to one last night to levy a .07 mill public act 88 tax. 

Bill McMaster is the chair of Taxpayers United and served as director for the Headlee Amendment campaign in 1978.  McMaster says the tax is unconstitutional because it wasn't approved by voters.

County officials however say voter approval isn't needed because the act is from 1913, well before the Headlee Amendment was approved.  They say the state legislature recently reviewed Act 88 and didn't change it.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Washtenaw County's Economic Development tax increase and the likely lawsuit over the issue.

Education
3:34 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

U-of-M Merges Human Resources and Financial Services Departments

The University of Michigan is condensing its human resources and financial services departments into a Shared Services Center.  

University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald says the new center will improve efficiency and cut costs. The center is expected to save U-of-M $5 to $6 million in its first three years of operation.

It should be operating at full capacity by October of 2014.

Fitzgerald says employees currently working in the affected departments will be considered first for employment in the new center, but are not guaranteed a job.

For more information: http://ast.umich.edu/

Community
3:16 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Washtenaw County Trying 'Peacemaking Court'

Credit Morgue File

The Washtenaw County Circuit Court is getting some state funding to try a new - or actually very old - brand of justice.  

State grants will help create a "peacemaking court", which uses Native American principles to help resolve disputes. 

Circuit Court Judge Tim Connors says it gives the court more options, with an emphasis on the importance of admitting wrongdoing and apologizing for it.

"Peacemaking courts" will find everyone involved in the process working together to make things right and re-integrate offenders into the community. 

They'll follow what they call the three R's: respect, responsibility, relationships and re-direction. 

If successful, "peacemaking courts" could be expanded to other jurisdictions.

Environment
9:54 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Issues of the Environment: Water and Sewer Issues in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County

The Barton Dam on the Huron River
Credit Credit James Marvin Phelps / Foter / CC BY-NC

In this week's edition of WEMU's "Issues of the Environment", David Fair talks with Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner, Evan Pratt. 

This interview is a follow-up to an earlier conversation with Jennifer Lawson, Water Quality Manager for Ann Arbor, that followed the large sewage spill into the Huron River in June or 2013. Evan will address the fact that several spills have occurred since then and talk about projects that Washtenaw County is working on to update the water treatment system.

Overview

  • There have been at least four breaches of the water treatment system in Ann Arbor since this summer.
  • These spill have prompted concerns that Washtenaw County’s aging water treatment network and sewage system may not be robust enough to handle the demands of today’s residents.

Listen to "Issues of the Environment" with David Fair and Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt below.

Issues of the Environment for 11/06/2013

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