Ypsilanti Notables To Go On Fundraising Bratwurst-bender

Mar 10, 2014
Mark Maynard / markmaynard.com

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - A fundraising event in Michigan plans to pit participants with big appetites against 20-foot-long bratwursts that weigh close to six pounds. The Ann Arbor News reports the Wurst  Challenge to benefit the FLY Children's Art Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on March 20.  Nine participants are registered so far, including Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber.  The event is hosted by Ypsilanti's Wurst Bar, the New Holland Brewing Co., blogger Mark Maynard and others.

Andrew Cluley

Debbie Dingell formally announced today she's running for the 12th Congressional seat her husband has held for nearly 60 years.  Dingell had kick-off events in Dearborn, Ann Arbor, and Ypsilanti.

Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU

If Ypsilanti city staff had hoped to convince Sandy Ellinger that the proposed Water Street Flats affordable housing proposal is a good idea, they were not successful.

Ellinger wasn't for or against the proposal when she came to Tuesday night's City Council workshop on the project, but at the end of the meeting she said if it were up to a vote of the people, she'd vote "no".

Ellinger said she had concerns that the city was going to be "left holding the bag" if the proposal doesn't work out, and she said the appearance of the building was also worrisome. 

The city plans to sell a 3.14 acre parcel of land on the southern edge of the Water Street Redevelopment Area to a developer who would build a four-story, 90-unit apartment building there. 

Everyone who spoke on the subject during the public comment period last night had concerns, which you can listen to below. 

City Council is expected to consider a purchase agreement for the project at its March 4th meeting.

Equality Michigan

People across Michigan are closely following the trial of a lesbian couple challenging Michigan's ban on marriage and adoption by same sex couples.  The trial began Tuesday with April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse seeking the ability to marry and adopt each other's children.  

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti Community Schools officials continue to develop plans for year round schools.  The District plans on piloting a balanced calendar in one or two buildings starting in the fall.  

Herman and Kittle Properties

Ypsilanti residents tonight will have an opportunity to learn more about a proposed housing complex  in the Water Street re-development area tonight.  City Planner Teresa Gillotti says the developer is expanding the Water Street Flats project from its initial plan offering. Originally, the 12-million dollar development was to have 76-units of affordable housing. That figure is now 90-units. 

Facebook/The Ride

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township are expected to decide in May on a proposed public transit tax to raise nearly $4.4 million in annual funding.  The Ann Arbor News reports campaigns with competing messages are taking place after the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority voted last week to place a 0.7-mill transit tax on the May 6 ballot in the three Washtenaw County communities

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority officials hope to begin making service upgrades in August.  That’s if voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township pass a .7 mill tax that will be on the May ballot. 

Erica Hamilton

Efforts to boost the minimum wage are underway at all levels of government, and now you can add Ypsilanti to the list.  MLive.com reported this morning City Councilman Peter Murdock is planning to introduce a resolution to boost the minimum wage from the current  $7.40 to $10.10 per hour. 

Washtenaw County’s approximately 60,000 residents on Medicaid or without any dental insurance will have a source for dental work starting next year.  The Washtenaw County Commissioners Wednesday night approved plans for a Public Health Department owned dental clinic. 


A recent survey finds area voters would support a tax hike to help fund the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's five year transit plan.  

63 percent of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township voters polled would probably or definitely vote for a new tax of less than one mill for additional service.  The survey was conducted in October through December for the AAATA.

Ypsilanti Hikes Fines for Illegal Dumping

Feb 7, 2014

Fines for illegal dumping are going way up in Ypsilanti, in the hopes that it'll help curb a problem that's been costing the Downtown Development Authority money to clean up after.   Mayor Paul Schreiber says one spot in particular has become a haven for illegal dumping. He says people have been leaving things like sofas at the Dumpsters behind businesses along Michigan Avenue. Fines that used to start at $50 for illegal dumping will now start at $2,500 and could go as high as $5,000.

Low Income Housing
Images_of_Money / Foter / CC BY

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night approved the second and final reading of legislation to sell the city's remaining public housing stock to a private owner.  

The Ypsilanti Housing Commission will be a partner with the new owner.  

Zachary Fosler is the Housing Commission's Executive Director. He says having the public housing facilities under private ownership will make it easier for the properties to get the renovations and maintenance they need, since federal money for public housing improvements is no longer available.  

Ypsilanti Community High School Chamber Singers
YCS Courtesy photo

The Ypsilanti Community High School Chamber Singers sang for the Board of Education Monday night.

Washtenaw County has been listed as one of the top five counties in Michigan for creative industries. ArtServe Michigan released the findings in their Creative State Michigan 2014, Creative Industries Report.  Deb Polich is the Director of the Arts Alliance in Ann Arbor and a Board Member of ArtServe Michigan.  She says Washtenaw County being in the top five is no surprise: Polich says Washtenaw County attracts people because of the two large universities, and cities like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that offer arts and culture experiences and education.

the ride / facebook

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber says he looks forward to residents of his city enjoying the benefits of enhanced transit options outlined in the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's transit improvement plan. 

Schreiber says improved public transportation will benefit both Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

The Mayor says better bus service will help those who live in Ypsilanti and work in Ann Arbor, and will help the economies of both cities.

Schreiber says the local business infrastructure will also be a beneficiary of better transit.

There weren't many people interested in what the President had to say in his State of the Union speech in Downtown Ypsilanti Tuesday night.  

Most were more interested in watching the Michigan State-Iowa basketball game.  

Some said they were DVR-ing the speech and planned to watch it later.  

Ypsilanti Community Utilitites Authority

When temperatures dip this low, frozen pipes are a frequent problem for homeowners.   

Jeff Castro is Director of the Ypsilanti Community Utilitites Authority.  He says it's good for homeowners to be aware of the danger.

 Castro says the pipes most likely to freeze are those running along an exterior wall, or near a window. In cold weather, water meters can freeze, too.     

The American Red Cross suggests taking preventative steps, such as keeping garage doors closed if there are water supply lines there, opening kitchen and bathroom doors to allow heat to circulate around the plumbing, and letting cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes.     

If you need to thaw pipes, the Red Cross suggests wrapping them with an electric heating pad, or apply heat using a hair dryer or portable space heater - so long as its kept away from flammable material.  Never use an open flame to attempt to thaw frozen water pipes.

OfficerGreg/CC BY-ND/ Flickr

The ranks of Ypsilanti fire fighters are growing, thanks to an $800,000 federal grant.

City Manager Ralph Lange says the money will allow the city to hire five fire fighters this year and next.  He says the first five must be on board by April 8th.

Ypsilanti officials say they have received a substantial number of applications to be the next deputy police chief. 

Applications for the position will be accepted through the end of the week. 

City Manager Ralph Lange says while chief Tony DeGiusti will be the face of the department in the community, the deputy chief has a big role as well.  He says the deputy police chief is responsible for the operations of the department and putting in place the policies and procedures the chief develops with the community.

DeGiusti was hired as deputy chief about a year ago but has now become Ypsilanti's police chief.  Lange says he and DeGiusti will review the applications and conduct one or two rounds of interviews, with a hire expected within 60 days.

Courtesy / Facebook / Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley

This week the discussion centers around dispelling the myths of affordable housing. New affordable housing is often equated with being "cheaply built."  We didn't have a definitive answer on the subject, so we went looking. We found that quite opposite is true.  

Our guest this week builds affordable homes in the Metro Detroit Region; quality and efficiency is what makes them affordable. 

Rob Nissly, Housing Director for Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley will discuss the connection between reigning in energy costs and homeownership for lower income residents of Washtenaw County.

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council has approved a letter of intent to sell a parcel of land in the Water Street Re-Development Area to a company that wants to build a 76-unit affordable housing project there. 

Michael Rodriguez is Development Director for Herman and Kittle Properties.  He says the  3.13 acre parcel on the southern edge of the re-development area is attractive for several reasons, including proximity to the Huron River and Michigan Avenue.

The housing development wasn't welcomed by everyone. 

Downtown businessman Dave Heikkinen expressed concerns that the city needs more market-rate housing rather than housing that caters to low-income residents. 

The city would sell the land for $157,000, with the developer performing about $750,000 worth of infrastructure improvements.  The plan is to have a purchase agreement back before city council in March.

Matt Sayles/Associated Press

Educator and Activist Geoffrey Canada says the US has a national problem with educational issues which is clear through the high percentage of high school graduates that can't qualify to enter the military. Canada gave the keynote address for Eastern Michigan University's Martin Luther King Junior Celebration on Monday.

A new Washtenaw County study says a local investment of $4.4 million in non-profit agencies has an economic impact of over $90 million.  The non-profits provide assistance to the community well beyond the direct help individuals receive. 

SEE ALSO: Washtenaw County Looking At Adding Program to Help Businesses

Director of the Office of Community and Economic Development, Mary Jo Callan says unfortunately non-profits as a sector are underfunded and it will take more than government action to solve the funding problems.

“This report provides a clear justification for the continued investment in our local nonprofit sector – in addition to providing critical services to vulnerable residents, these small businesses save taxpayers money by preventing the need for costlier government services and impact our local economy through their direct employment and purchasing power.” -Mary Jo Callan, Director of the Office of Community & Economic Development for Washtenaw County

Callan adds that benefits non-profits provide the community include bringing in 10 dollars of outside funding for every 1 dollar of local funds, stabilizing the local work force, jobs, and spending money at local businesses.  She says this assistance is needed as the economic recovery continues to not reach lower income residents.

Read the full 2013 Nonprofit Economic Impact Report.

— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.

Weather Delays Washtenaw Avenue Repairs

Jan 17, 2014

It's going to take a little longer to get the center turn lane and eastbound lanes of Washtenaw Avenue open again in Ypsilanti. 

Crews working to repair damage caused by last weekend's broken water main were hoping to have the road completely re-opened by today, but the weather is pushing that back to Saturday afternoon. 

The Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority has been working to fill in voids below the pavement caused by water that gushed from the main.