washtenaw county

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Life is difficult enough for Washtenaw County's roughly 4,500 homeless residents, but as WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, when overnight temperatures start to drop, things can get downright dangerous.  


AAPS

The Ann Arbor School Board will likely eventually renew their contract to participate in a consortium of three county-wide high school options, but have frustrations on the agreement.  The board discussion last night took place after a large number of Washtenaw International High School and the Early College Alliance spoke in favor of their programs. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more:


Washtenaw County could soon have two communities certified as Redevelopment Ready.  The Michigan Economic Development Corporation took over the program two years ago and is in the middle of re-certifying Ypsilanti, while Ann Arbor joins the list of  eight new communities to be evaluated.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more.
 

 

Local Boards and Commissions need Volunteers

Oct 9, 2013

If you've been itching to do your civic duty, this may be the chance you've been waiting for.  As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, more than a dozen Washtenaw County boards and commissions are seeking volunteers who'd like to serve.


Safehouse Center in Washtenaw County provides shelter to women and children in need of protection. It serves those impacted by domestic violence and sexual abuse. There is rarely a time in any given year that the shelter isn't full to capacity. As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, WEMU's David Fair took occasion to talk with the Executive Director of Safehouse Center. Barbara Neiss-May has made it her life's work to serve those in need.

Listen to the full interview:

AJC1 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Michigan Department of Community Health has confirmed two cases of measles in Michigan this year with one more possible case they are currently investigating. Michigan is one of 16 states with confirmed cases of the highly contagious, viral disease.  

Washtenaw County Public Health Epidemiologist Laura Bauman says there have been no reported cases of measles in Washtenaw County so far. She says the two infants who came down with the disease were not vaccinated:
 

Vlastula / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Washtenaw Housing Alliance was awarded special recognition by the Michigan Social Security Disability Outreach, Access, and Recovery, or SOAR, State Planning Group last week for its efforts to fight homelessness.  

The SOAR program is a streamlined process aimed at getting eligible adults suffering from homelessness and mental illness or substance abuse access to disability income benefit programs much quicker than they otherwise could.

Julie Steiner is the Executive Director of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance. She says Homelessness in Washtenaw County is a growing problem:
 

Steiner adds homelessness is a growing problem in Washtenaw County, which has been made even worse in recent years by a bad economy and cuts to government programs.

To date, the WHA has helped file more SOAR applications than any other group in Michigan.
More than 4,300 people reported being homeless in Washtenaw County at some point during 2012.

EMU Students Say They Don't Text and Drive

Sep 23, 2013
ItCanWait.com

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office wants drivers to pledge not to text and drive.  As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, students attending Eastern Michigan University's Homecoming football game this past weekend seem to already be on board.

The Medicaid expansion bill signed into law by Gov. Snyder earlier this week will have a major impact on health care in Washtenaw County. 

Both it and the upcoming state health insurance marketplace will affect many of the people already receiving coverage through the Washtenaw Health Plan. Many people currently receiving health coverage through the Washtenaw Health Plan will lose that coverage and be required to get it instead through either the newly expanded Medicaid or the upcoming health insurance marketplace.


Krista Nordberg is the Director of Enrollment and Advocacy at Washtenaw Health Plan. She says there will likely be timing issues with these changes.
 

The Washtenaw Health Plan helps people get the health care services they need, like doctor and clinic visits, outpatient lab and X-ray tests, prescriptions, hospitalization and mental health services.


You can learn more at their website: www.ewashtenaw.org

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners is taking applications to fill a recently vacated seat on the Road Commission. The selected applicant will represent the general public for the remainder of a six year term that ends in 2018.
 

Resumes must be submitted by September 25. The commissioners will choose an applicant during their October 2 meeting, and the appointment will take effect on January 1, 2014.

More information at http://www.ewashtenaw.org/

The Washtenaw County Commissioners have approve the purchase of a new case management system for the County's Trial Court. The commissioners voted eight to one last night to purchase the system for $2.3 million. 

WEMU's Andrew Clulely reports:

Barbara Lucas

Open natural areas such as meadows, prairies, and "oak openings" are declining habitats, which spells trouble for the species that depend on them.

Barbara Lucas reports:

emich.edu / Eastern Michigan University

Charles Eugene Beatty is being honored by the Washtenaw County Intermediate School District for his contributions to education in Michigan. The district will renames its Head Start building  in Ypsilanti after the late educator.

Ronnie Peterson is a Washtenaw County Commissioner. He says Beatty is a historic figure and worthy of praise for his contributions to education. Beatty played a role in early childhood study programs that eventually lead to the creation of Head Start, and was inducted into the Michigan Education Hall of Fame in 1985.

audio pending:

Parkridge Summer Festival is Saturday

Aug 23, 2013

The Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development will be hosting a community day in conjunction with the Parkridge Summer Festival this weekend.

Those who attend the festival will also be able to get information on free or low-cost services offered in the county.

Community and Economic Development Director, Mary Jo Callan says there will be around forty tables and booths with information on programs and services that range from youth services, to senior services, veteran's services, health services, eviction prevention, job training programs, and many more.

The Parkridge Summer Festival and Community Day happens Saturday, August 24th, from 11:00 am to 8:30 pm at Parkridge Park.

For nearly a decade, Washtenaw County trial Court has relied on an outdated case management system. In fact it's a system that, since 2005,  has lacked support from any existing software firm. 

As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, a new system has been identified, but debate continues on how to pay for upgrade among the members of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. 

The Washtenaw County budget is in much better shape through the second fiscal quarter than originally projected.

As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the question now under debate is how best to use the additional money.


As far as elections go, today is going to be a light day in Washtenaw County.

Ypsilanti Township has four tax questions on the ballot.

  1. Proposition "A" would generate revenues to replace some of the fire service revenues lost due to decrease in property values.
  2. Proposition "B" would generate revenues to replace some of the police services revenue lost due to decrease in property values.
  3. Proposition "C" would raise money for the purpose of providing revenues for recreation and park facilities, bike paths, the repair of sidewalks and roads and general operating purposes.
  4. Proposal "D" Would provide money for waste collection and environmental protection.

In Ann Arbor, there are two contested, Democratic primary races for city council.

  • In the 3rd Ward Julie Grand is looking to unseat Incumbent Stephen Kunselman.
  • In the 4th Ward. Marcia Higgins seeks to fend off a challenge from Jack Eaton. The winners today will be unopposed in November, barring a write-in campaign.


 Voters in the Whitmore Lake School District will decide a $12.3 million dollar bond issue. If passed, the district would sell bonds to raise money to remodel and update school facilities.
   

WEMU's Andrew Cluley has a look at anticipated voter turnout today.


Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County today launches the annual "Stuff the Bus" campaign.  The effort aims to collect school supplies for needy children in kindergarten  through fifth grade in Washtenaw County's public schools.     

A school bus will be parked in front of the Target store on Carpenter Road. Kari Dorr is heading up the campaign for the  county.  Shes says all types of supplies are needed, including: 

  • Pencils
  • Backpacks
  • Three-ring binders
  • Composition books
  • Erasers
  • Colored pencils, Crayons
  • Pens, Mechanical pencils
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Folders
  • Hi-lighters
  • Index cards
  • Calculators
  • Display boards
  • Protractors, Rulers

Supplies can be given to volunteers on site or donations can be placed directly into boxes on the school bus. Dorr says the amount of  donated supplies has increased every year,  and this year the hope is to exceed $10,000 worth. The drive is being held everyday this week from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.


 

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The Washtenaw County Commissioners have passed a resolution setting the priorities they want used in the development of future budgets.  As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, County Commissioners contend it's part of a new approach to better connect budgeting with desired outcomes. 


The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners last week decided to shelve a proposal to sell hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds. the money generated for the bond sale would have been used to cover the county's long-term pension costs and retiree health care. Commissioners decided to wait until such time the state of Michigan spells out its rules for a bond sale of this kind. Still, the issue is far from dead. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the Board of Commissioners last night went forward with a public hearing on the issue, gathering more input from the community.

Barbara Lucas

 

Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are increasingly becoming bicycle-friendly.  As residents throughout Washtenaw County look long and hard at how to better live sustainably in the future, this form of alternative transportation will only continue to grow. In this month's installment of WEMU's "The Green Room", Barbara Lucas explores where we are locally, and how we stack up against a city like Copenhagen, Denmark where 55-percent of the population commutes by bike.

google maps

The conditions of one road in northern Washtenaw County has gotten so bad that hundreds of motorists have signed a petition asking for improvements.  WEMU's Andrew Cluley has the details. 

A proposal for a 345-million dollar bond sale to pay for Washtenaw County's unfunded liabilities will move forward more deliberately than originally intended. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, The Board of Commissioners Ways and Means Committee last night pulled the item from it's agenda to allow more time for public input. 

Washtenaw County officials report better than expected financial results in the first quarter of the year, but still need to make millions of dollars worth of structural changes next year. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, County Administrator Verna McDaniel last night gave the Board of Commissioners  an update on the fiscal state of the county. 

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) are collecting public feedback on short and long term transportation plans. The proposals are billed as the "2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Plan" and the "2040 Regional Transportation Plan." The first public hearing on the comprehensive measures took place Wednesday at Washtenaw Community College. WEMU's Andrew Cluley was there.

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