Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti Police Chief Finalists Identified

Dec 5, 2013

After a flurry of concerned emails from city council members, Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange has released the names of the two finalists to be Ypsilanti's next Chief of Police. 

Ypsilanti Deputy Chief Tony Digiusti is a finalist.  He's served as interim Chief since Amy Walker's retirement in October

Also a finalist is former East Lansing Police Captain Kim P. Johnson, whose resume indicates he was with that department until June of last year but lists no more recent work experience. 

Ypsi Heritage Festival asks City to Cap Fees

Dec 4, 2013
Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Heritage Festival made a plea to City Council Tuesday night to put a cap on the special event fees the city charges it. 

David Nickerson is Chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Board of Trustees.  He told council those fees represent 18 percent of festival expenses.

Nickerson requested that the city cap fees charged the festival at between $18,000 and $20,000.  Nickerson estimates next year's fees at between $25,000 and $28,000 otherwise. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he'd like to see the city make a contribution to the festival as a sponsor rather than just cap fees.

Council member Daniel Vogt said the city can't afford to subisidise the Heritage Festival unless the city can break even, perhaps by helping the festival find other areas in which to make cuts.

City staff will study the issue and come back to council with a recommendation at a later date.

Police are looking for a car observed leaving the scene of a shooting early this morning that left an Eastern Michigan University student with a non-life threatening bullet wound to the arm. 

Investigators say a blue Ford Mustang was seen speeding away from Peninsular Place Apartments after the incident around 1:40 this morning.

Destinee Leapheart was wounded when an apparent random gunshot sent a bullet through the wall and into her apartment. 

Leapheart's roommate, Tammy Flowers, says Leapheart seems to be doing OK now.

Tax Credits / Foter.com / CC BY

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Monday night approved collecting school taxes in the summer rather than in the winter. 

Board President David Bates says summer tax collection is nothing new for district residents. The Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts had been collecting taxes in the summer prior to the consolidation.

Bates says summer tax collection means the district has to borrow less from the state while awaiting state aid payments, which in turn saves taxpayers money because the district is paying less in interest on money borrowed.

The second suspect in the killing of EMU student athlete Demarius Reed has appeared in court. 

Kristopher Pratt is charged with murder and robbery, and like co-defendant Ed Jemeal Thomas, is being held without bond. 

Reed was found dead at his off-campus apartment complex October 18th, and investigators turned almost immediately to robbery as a motive for his killing. 

Reed had been shot several times.

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. 


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.


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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.

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.


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. 


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.

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.

Police offer Halloween Safety Tips

Oct 30, 2013

Local police want you and your kids to be safe if you'll be out trick-or-treating Thursday night.

With low visibility, awareness of your surroundings is key.  Choosing a costume that doesn't inhibit your vision, and using a flashlight are two tips from Ann Arbor police.

Officer Candace Dorsey of the Eastern Michigan University police department says being visible to drivers is important.

And officer Dorsey says monitoring your intake of alcohol is critical to having a safe Halloween.

Solar Ypsi

Ypsilanti continues to push forward with a goal of becoming a solar destination. 

What began as a grassroots effort in 2005, has progressed to the point where the Ypsilanti City Council has passed a resolution establishing a goal of having one-thousand solar roofs in the city by the year 2020. 
Our guest this week is Dave Strenski.

He launched Solar Ypsi back in 2005, and you can see the grassroots efforts successes at a variety of locations around the city.

The Michigan Senate has restored funding to implement the Common Core educational standards. WEMU's Bob Eccles has reaction from one local school district.


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The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's Blake Transit Center is being torn down soon, so riders will be directed to a new temporary location. 

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.


Ypsilanti Community High School can thank graduates of the former Ypsilanti and Willow Run high schools for a new electronic sign.

   

WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.


EMU March For Peace, Vigil for Demarius Reed

Oct 24, 2013
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Eastern Michigan University students and others remembered 20 year old student athlete Demarius Reed with a march, rally, and candlelight vigil.  Among those participating were Reed's mother and the family of Julia Niswender who was killed less than a year ago. 
 


Eastern Michigan University Police

Eastern Michigan University and area police agencies will immediately begin collaborating on patrols of the LeForge Road area north of EMU's campus.  

One week after the death of 20 year-old Demarius Reed, an Eastern Michigan University student athlete found dead in the University Green apartment complex, law enforcement is collaborating to step up patrols in the area.  EMU's Department of Public Safety will work with officers from the Ypsilanti Police department and Washtenaw County Sheriff's Deputies to patrol the LeForge Road area.

Eastern Michigan University Police

Eastern Michigan University and area police agencies will immediately begin collaborating on patrols of the LaForge Road area north of the EMU campus. 

The university says the EMU Department of Public Safety will work with Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township police and the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, with each dedicating officers specifically to patrol the area. 

EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes says each evening, assigned officers will meet at the university's Public Safety headquarters to coordinate their efforts. 

Steve Rhodes / flickr

About 250 people are taking part in a "Increase the Peace" march across the Eastern Michigan University campus this afternoon. 

Among those in attendance - the mother of 20 year-old EMU student athlete Demarius Reed and several other family members.  Reed was found dead in his apartment complex suffering from several gunshot wounds, the victim of what investigators say may have been a robbery. 

Also marching today are family members of Julia Niswender, an EMU student who was found dead in her off-campus apartment almost one year ago. 

EMU President Addresses Safety with Students

Oct 23, 2013
Taylor Pinson

Eastern Michigan University officials continue to meet with representatives from the city of Ypsilanti and others to discuss ways to improve safety in response to a string of off-campus attacks on students, including the death of Wide Receiver Demarius Reed. 

To reach out to a wider group of students a public safety meeting was held in the middle of the food court at lunch time at the Student Center Wednesday. 

EMU President Susan Martin says they're working quickly to improve security off campus. She says a meeting with campus police and department leadership was taking place today. 

Martin says a meeting with Ypsilanti officials took place yesterday, with another planned for Friday.  She says they're "moving as quickly as we can".

EMU Police chief Bob Heighes says students are safe on campus, but they need to get involved by calling the police when they see things.  He says they are working with the city to improve safety off-campus as well. 

Students are leading a Stop the Violence march, rally, and vigil Thursday.

Ypsilanti Downtown Development

The Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority is adjusting to its new location in City Hall.

WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

Work on a proposed Washtenaw County recreation facility on Ypsilanti's Water Street property is rolling along. WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story. 


Ypsilanti's interim Chief of Police says at least six people heard gunshots the night Demarius Reed was killed, but didn't call police. 

Tony DiGiusti's comments came at a community forum in the Eastern Michigan University Student Center ballroom Tuesday afternoon. 

Chief DiGiusti says at least one person walked by Reed lying on the ground and did nothing, thinking he was drunk. 

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