Garden Ridge Ready To Move Into Kmart Building

Apr 9, 2014

The Kmart store on Washtenaw Avenue in Ypsilanti Township may be closing, but the building won't be empty for long. 

Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo says Plano, Texas-based home decor chain Garden Ridge is ready to move in.

"The fact that someone came in and asked for a sign permit is a good sign, no pun intended," Stumbo says. "We look forward to this new company coming in, hopefully it will be very successful and will hire the people from Kmart to work there."

Towsley Apartments Fire Damage
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

One-third of the units in an Ypsilanti Township apartment building are considered a total loss after an early morning fire. Six of the 18-units at Towsley Apartments in the 400-block of North Harris Road were destroyed.  A building inspector will have to determine whether the rest of the units are still habitable, but for the time being those residents have also been required to leave.

Resident Mark Whitaker says the future for the complex is uncertain but all residents are looking for housing in the short term.  

Courtesy Image / Ypsilanti Township

One-third of the units in an Ypsilanti Township apartment building are considered a total loss after an early morning fire. Six of the 18-units at Towsley Apartments in the 400-block of North Harris Road were destroyed.  A building inspector will have to determine whether the rest of the units are still habitable. 

Patrick Holubick

The Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools says his district is working in the face of challenges such as charter schools and Schools of Choice to become a top option for cradle to career education.

Scott Menzel says Ann Arbor Public Schools' Schools of Choice push poses a challenge, as does the legislature's removing the cap on the number of charter schools in Michigan. 

Menzel says choice is good - to a point.

AAATA Transit Millage Community Forum
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

About 150 people packed the downtown Ann Arbor Library’s multi-purpose room to find out more about the proposed point-seven mill transit tax last night.  Supporters of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority millage appeared to outnumber critics at the League of Women Voters forum. 


Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti Community Schools tonight holds a town hall-style meeting to discuss plans for reconfiguring the district's elementary schools.

The district is considering three options for next school year, and public input will be taken into consideration in making a recommendation to the Board of Education later this month.

The town hall meeting is scheduled from 6-7 p.m. at Perry Early Learning Center, 550 Perry, in Ypsilanti.

Bob Eccles

Thursday morning presented third and fourth graders from Ypsilanti's Holmes Elementary School with a chance to compare what they learned in a project-based unit on economics to what happens in real-world businesses. 

89-1 WEMU's Bob Eccles tagged along with the kids and their teachers on a visit to Depot Town.

Ypsilanti Community Schools

Three students from Ypsilanti New Tech High School have been chosen as winners in a writing contest that focused on African American History Month.

The contest sponsored by Kroger asked students in 4th through 12th grades to write about how they can make a difference in their communities, or how they were inspired by an African American.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department is looking for information related to an assault at Ypsilanti Township's Roundtree Apartments linked to recent same-sex marriages.  The attack took place Monday at around 6 PM.

The vicitim is in her late 20's and says she was punched in the face, knocked unconscious, then woke to being kicked in the torso.  She believes three males were involved in the attack.  The woman says the incident began with one of the men questioning if she was on the news because of her recent marriage.

One of the suspects is described as a white male, mid 20’s, 5’10 to 5'11 tall, heavy set, with a low or husky voice. The other suspects couldn't be identified.

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Ypsilanti School Board Trustees
Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education is considering three options for re-configuring district elementary schools, a move tied to plans to offer a balanced calendar at one school building next school year.

 The board Monday night was briefed on the options, which include three options.

778 Rosie the Riveter lookalikes came together Saturday to smash the Guinness World Record requirement and make it into the history books. The Yankee Air Museum, Michigan Aerospace Foundation and Save the Bomber Plant campaign attempted to set a Guinness World Record for the "most Rosie the Riveters in one place" in October 2013.


The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber is throwing its support behind the Ann Arobr Transportation Authority transit millage.

AAATA is asking voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township to approve a .7 mil issue in May to expand service.

In a statement supporting the millage, the A2Y Chamber said it has been its policy for many years to support increased regional mass transit.

Patrik Holubik

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education holds a special meeting Monday evening to consider a preliminary balanced calendar recommendation and three proposals for re-configuring district elementary schools.

The district wants to institute a balanced calendar - basically year-round school - in select buildings next school year.  The Balanced Calendar Study Team will present its preliminary recommendation to the board Monday evening.


Ypsilanti Community Schools is getting a $1,000,000 grant to help prepare students for careers in science, technology, enginnering and math.     Superintendent Scott Menzel said the money from the U.S.

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

A proposed point-seven mill tax to increase Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority service is the only issue on the May 6th ballot in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township.  To save the A-A-A-T-A some money Ypsilanti Township officials will be combining several precincts to limit the number of poll workers needed.

Patrik Holubik

Ypsilanti Community Schools has several buildings it isn't using, and the district is considering its options on what to do with them.

Superintendent Scott Menzel says a lot depends on enrollment.

"We know that 3,000 students for Schools of Choice made other options in prior years," Menzel said.  "Our hope is that we truly become a first choice for exceptional cradle to career education and that perhaps some of these buildings will be brought back on line."


The state of Michigan is getting $16.7 million in U.S. Education Department School Improvement Grant funds, and Ypsilanti Community Schools hopes to be able to put some of that money to good use.

Superintendent Scott Menzel said a grant would be used for teacher professional development to improve achievement and outcomes for students at Holmes Elementary School.

Creative Commons

Students at the Ypsilanti Community Schools' Ford Early Learning Center this week will put what they've learned about the importance of developing good sleep habits to work.

Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc. will be at Ford Early Learning Center Wednesday morning in a visit that coincides with National Sleep Awareness Week ®.

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.  

Students enrolled in the ACTech small learning community at Ypsilanti Community Middle School will be receiving free books in conjunction with World Book Night next month.

The 7th and 8th grad students will get copies of “Zora and Me” by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon.

Debbie Swanson is Teacher Leader for ACTech.  She says the work done in the small learning community so far this school year has been so productive and positive that “the opportunity to place a book in each student’s hands will feel like a reward for their  focus and hard work.”

The Ride Bussing
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

Bob Eccles

The public is invited to an open forum Saturday on Ypsilanti Community Schools' plan to move to a balanced calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

The district had planned to go to year-round school this year, but didn't have enough time to make the necessary adjustments.

Saturday's forum is being held in the Ypsilanti Community High School auditorium, at 2095 Packard Road, starting at 9 a.m.

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. 

As the state debates how best to have school district make up snow days, there's no question how the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District would prefer to address the issue.  

Bob Eccles

Student count day appears to have shown a substantial rise in the number of students in Ypsilanti Community Schools.  

Superintendent Scott Menzel says unaudited numbers from Wednesday's count showed 4547 students in class - 55 more than in the fall.  

It's possible some students who may have been out sick or not in school for another legitimate reason could be added to the total.  

Similarly, not all the students counted Wednesday may be the "full-time equivalent" students the state uses to determine funding for school districts.  

It'll be several weeks before the official numbers are known.  

Wednesday's count represents 10 percent of the funding equation, while the fall count represents 90 percent.