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Environment
4:10 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Ann Arbor Groups Protest Proposed Keystone X-L Pipeline

Operational and proposed route of the Keystone Pipeline System

Environmentalists across the country are urging President Barack Obama to reject the proposed Keystone X-L pipeline linking Canada with Texas. Rallies were held Monday night, including in front of Ann Arbor's federal building.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on protests in Ann Arbor over the proposed Keystone X-L Pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Robert Gordon says adding 30 to 50 jobs isn't worth the environmental risk.  He says the pipeline runs to refineries but also ports where he believes much of the oil will be shipped across the globe.  He says this will do nothing to help domestic energy independence. 

Rita Mitchell says promoting the use of tar sands oil is an issue beyond the pipeline.  She and other Ann Arbor protestors highlight the Enbridge leak in the Kalamazoo River as an example of what can happen.  They also fear proposals to pump tar sand oil under the straits of Mackinac or ship it on the Great Lakes.

The rallies across the country were in response to the State Department releasing a new environmental assessment on the project. 

See NPR's coverage of the State Department report here 

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Live In-Studio
1:39 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

89.1 WEMU Presents: Seth Walker on The Roots Music Project

Credit Robbie Bolog

    

The Ark's Marketing Director,  Barb Chaffer Authier joined The Roots Music Project's Jeremy Baldwin to talk about the success and a brief history of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival.

Barb also brought a very special guest, this year's Folk Festival MC and musician, Seth Walker.

Seth Walker tops off the conversation with a live performance in the WEMU studios ahead of his solo performance in the spring at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

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WEMU News
7:50 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Washtenaw County among Michigan's Best for Creative Industries

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.

Community
6:36 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council to Consider Public Art, Edwards Brothers Property Monday

Credit courtesy photo

Ann Arbor may spend nearly $13 million in the hopes of ultimately keeping a State Street property on the tax rolls.  City Council Monday will consider a resolution to use their right of first refusal to purchase the Edwards Brothers property instead of it being sold to the University of Michigan. 

Another pair of items on the agenda will have a big impact on the future of public art in the city.  Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance amendment to allow uncommitted percent for art funds return to their source.    Several council members have pushed for this move in the past, but others say the money is needed as the Public Art Commission looks to move to a new funding model relying on donations.

A six month contract extension for Public Art Administrator Aaron Seagraves was postponed two weeks ago and will be considered again.  The delay was designed to have his contract considered at the same time the funding issue would be debated.

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Education
1:32 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools Parents and Teachers Praise Superintendent for Listen and Learn Report

Ann Arbor Superintendent Jeanice Swift's Listen and Learn report did a good job of capturing community thoughts on the district according to Parents and Teachers at a meeting at Forysthe Middle School Thursday night. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the first follow-up meeting to Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift's Listen and Learn Tour.

As Ann Arbor Public Schools look to quickly move forward with improvements Superintendent Jeanice Swift is checking that she heard the community correctly during the Listen and Learn tour. 

Swift says the community has a hunger for action steps to follow.

Kim Carver has had students in the district previously and a son coming to Forsythe Middle School next fall.  Carver likes the positive vibe and the lack of defensiveness.

Forsythe teacher, Dan Ezekiel is extremely impressed with the report that he believes does a good job boiling down the input of 2,000 people that participated in the fall.

Swift will hold Listen and Learn follow-up meetings at Ann Arbor's four other middle schools next week.

For more, view the video summary of the Listen and Learn report

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Arts
10:15 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Cinema Chat: Sundance, Hitchcock, Oscar Nominated Shorts, and more!

Credit Michtheater.org

In this week's edition of Cinema Chat, Michigan Theater Program Director, Amanda Bynum sits down to talk with 89.1 WEMU's David Fair about the latest upcoming movies downtown and around town.

The conversation first covers some news out of The Sundance Film Festival and in Ann Arbor. 

Cinema Chat is a regular feature heard each Thursday during Morning Edition on 89.1 WEMU.

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Education
3:50 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Ann Arbor School Board Approves New Programs for the Fall

Credit AAPS

The Ann Arbor School Board has approved a package of program enhancements designed to attract more students particularly to underutilized schools. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Ann Arbor School Board approving a variety of new programs for next school year.

The changes include co-locating Roberto Clemente and Ann Arbor Tech High; a K-8 science, technology, engineering, arts, and math program at Northside Elementary; and new pre-k programs at Allen and Thurston Elementary. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says the next step is creating committees of staff, students, and community members to develop the detailed action plans for each new program. 

School board president Deb Mexicotte says the programs are designed to keep costs down but it's still a calculated risk that the new options will attract more students. 

The programs are designed to respond to some of the most common concerns raised by community members during the Listen and Learn tour.

There has been positive community feedback about the Pre-K programs at Allen and Thurston and the STEAM program for Northside Elementary.  Several Roberto Clemente supporters however told the board they have concerns about what will happen when they move into the same building as Ann Arbor Tech.

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Education
3:43 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools Wants Information on Millage Possibilities

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Ann Arbor School Board collecting information on possibilities and limitations of various revenue enhancements.

The Ann Arbor School Board continues to do preliminary work on studying increasing revenues through some type of a millage.

An Ann Arbor School Board Ad-hoc committee says a rec and ed millage would provide the district the ability to offer additional non-credit programs, but not shift much money from the general fund.   School board member Glenn Nelson says the rec and ed millage would be valuable in terms of offering non-credit programs that compliment other programs.  He says it would be particularly valuable for early-childhood education where a four day program could become a five day program with a recreation program on the extra day.

The board also created a new ad-hoc committee to do a similar analysis of a county-wide enhancement millage and an increase in the special education millage.  Both of these efforts would require county-wide support while the rec and ed millage would likely raise less money but only require support from district voters.

The report on an enhancement millage and an increase to the special education millage are due in mid-March when the board will discuss what if any millage question they might want to put on the ballot.

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Transit
7:59 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Ypsilanti Mayor Touts Benefits of AAATA Transit Improvement Plan

Credit 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.

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Community
2:48 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, MISSION Assists Homeless living in Tents

Credit missiona2.org/

The city of Ann Arbor is now working with local non-profit organization MISSION as well as Washtenaw County's Project Outreach Team to assist a group of homeless individuals living in tents along the Huron River and under the Maiden Lane bridge. 

Ann Arbor Police had previously visited the site and posted notices on two tents, warning their owners they had 48 hours to vacate the area. MISSION's Vice President, Greg Pratt says public outcry helped reverse the decision.  Pratt adds they are assisting the homeless living in the camp with trash removal, and are also providing them with necessary supplies such as propane, batteries and foodstuffs.

19 warming centers have been established throughout Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to provide assistance to those that need it, including a newly opened warming center hosted by St. Mary's Student Parish on Williams Street in Ann Arbor.

Pratt says some individuals are unable or unwilling  to go to such places either due to mental illness or the desire to remain autonomous.

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Community
1:59 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Mostly Positive Reaction to State of Union at Clean Water Action Viewing Party

People concerned about climate change watching the State of the Union address at Arbor Brewing Company Tuesday night gave President Barack Obama generally positive reviews. 

Clean Water Action hosted about 25 people at a viewing party. 

Eric Keller is an campaign organizer for the group.  Keller says he likes the fact Obama outlined ways he will bypass congressional gridlock.  He gave Obama high marks for re-affirming that the climate change debate is over and calling on reduction in carbon.

Eric Harrington however says he was disappointed.  Of particular concern to him was Obama promoting natural gas.  Harrington says overall Obama could have done a lot more to get us to the place we need to be going.

Veteran Jordan Paul Redwine missed the beginning of the speech but says he was particularly touched by Cory Remsburg being recognized at the end of the address.

Obama also received applause for comments regarding unemployment insurance, a hike in minimum wage, health care, and supporting veterans.

— 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.

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Ann Arbor
7:18 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

University of MIchigan Cancels Classes for first time since 1978

Credit University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Tuesday canceled classes for the first time in 36 years.  School officials based the decision on the extremely low temperatures forecast, and the danger they pose to students traveling across campus to attend classes.     University of  Michigan spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald says other parts of the university, such as the Health System, remained open. The cancelation of classes was a departure from Michigans's controversial decision earlier this month to remain open during a similar cold spell.

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Community
2:08 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

U-M Program Receives Award for International Education

Credit umji.sjtu.edu.cn/ / University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute

A University of Michigan program that sends engineering students to China has picked up one of the highest honors in international higher education. 

The University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute has won an Andrew Heiskell Award from the Institute of International Education. 

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News
6:54 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Washtenaw County and Surrounding Counties - Tuesday, January 28th

Credit WEMU-FM

Sub-zero temperatures and  frigid wind chills have once again forced school districts throughout the region to cancel classes on Tuesday, January 28th.

A complete listing for Washtenaw, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Oakland and Wayne Counties is available to you here.

Listen to 89.1 WEMU for latest developments throughout the evening.

SEE ALSO:

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Ann Arbor
11:27 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Ann Arbor Non-Profit gets $25,000 from Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan

Credit Girls Group.org

  A local non-profit that helps young women in middle and high school become first-generation college students has received a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. 

Girls Group provides assistance such as help with homework, ACT preparation and filling out college applications. 

Executive Director Sue Schooner says a pilot program in Pioneer High School has Girls Group visiting every week to offer help.

Girls Group is based in Ann Arbor, and since it's creation in 2003, all of it's high school seniors - 51 of them - have graduated from high school and gone on to college.

— Bob Eccles is a reporter and the host of 89.1 WEMU's All Things Considered. Contact him at 734.487.3363, email him reccles@emich.edu, or follow him on Twitter @BobEcclesWEMU

 

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Community
12:18 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council Likely Revisiting Crosswalk Ordinance

Credit matthileo / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Ann Arbor City Council soon may be once more looking at revisions to the city's crosswalk ordinance. 

Council member Stephen Kunselman says another proposed amendment is likely.  He adds that the new proposal will be based on language used by Mayor John Hieftje in his veto of the amendment council passed late last year.  Kunselman says the mayor mentioning motorists need to stop if they can do so safely is a change.

Hiefjte says the comment about motorists stopping if they can safely do so is nothing new.  He says pedestrians remain safer if they don't have to step into the road to get motorists to stop. 

The city also has a new task force looking at a wide variety of pedestrian safety issues including the crosswalk ordinance.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor City Council likely taking yet another look at the city's crosswalk ordinance.

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University of Michigan
12:52 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

U-M's New President Mark Schlissel on the Role of the University Beyond Campus [AUDIO]

Mark Schlissel address the audience at the University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting Friday
Credit Screenshot/ University of Michigan live stream

The University of Michigan has named Dr. Mark Schlissel as the school's 14th  President.

On a unanimous vote this morning the University of Michigan Board of Regents, chose to hire Brown University Provost, Dr. Mark Schlissel to serve as Mary Sue Coleman's successor. 

RELATED STORY: U of M Names Schlissel as 14th President - Full speech here

 Schlissel comes to the U of M from Brown University where he has been provost since July of 2011. Prior to working at Brown, he served as Dean of Biological Sciences in the College of Letters and Science at the University of California–Berkeley. Schlissel says the health of the university is connected to the community and the entire state of Michigan.  He says the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign will be important to maintain the university's high quality programs.

Schlissel says the breadth of academic excellence and the openness and accessibility of a public university made U of M one of the tiny handful of places that would make him consider leaving Brown University.  He says academic excellence and diversity are linked.  Schlissel says that's because students can learn from other students that look at the world differently.

 Schlissel will begin serving on July first, following the official retirement of current president Mary Sue Coleman.  He says he will make frequent trips to Ann Arbor over the next several months to learn more about the challenges and opportunities he will face when starting work at Michigan.

 Coleman says she's thrilled the regents have chosen another biochemist to serve as president.  She says Schlissel will soon see being the President of the University of Michigan is the best job in the world. — 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.

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Safety
7:15 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Extreme Cold Weather Safety Tips for Washtenaw County

Credit Flickr/ Creative Commons/Brixton

Sub-zero temperatures and  frigid wind chills have once again forced many schools to close throughout the region. The record cold temperatures may cause many in the WEMU listening area to develop cold-weather injuries like frostbite and hypothermia.

For road conditions and frequent weather updates, stay tuned to 89.1 WEMU for the latest developments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted its tips on how to be "prepared to stay safe and healthy in winter." For instance, if you have to go outside be sure to do what mom always said:

 

"Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots."

We simply suggest: Stay inside if you can.

Cold weather safety tips include: 

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Education
7:47 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools Prepare for New Federal Food Guidelines

Credit Cali4beach / Foter.com / CC BY

Ann Arbor Public Schools officials continue to work with principals, PTO councils, and others to prepare schools for new federal food guidelines.  Starting in July all food sold in schools during the school day need their first ingredient be a whole grain, fruit, vegetable, or protein.  The new guidelines are designed to promote healthy eating habits for all kids across the country. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on steps Ann Arbor Public Schools are taking to be prepared for new federal guidelines on food sold in schools that go into effect July 1st.

SEE ALSO: Ann Arbor Public Schools Avoid Borrowing to Meet Cash Flow Concerns in December

Jenna Bacolor, chair of the district's Wellness Committee says they hope discussions now will help avoid headaches at the start of next school year.

Bacolor adds that unfortunately, the federal government and state haven't announced all of the final rules so some questions remain, particularly around exemptions for food sold through fundraisers. 

The new guidelines don't apply to food brought to schools by students.

SEE ALSO: Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health

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