Archive for November, 2008

Washtenaw: Autos

The We Love Fords Past, Present and Future blog tells about how the Ann Arbor Make-A-Wish chapter helped coordinate the painting and detail work for Justin Lilly’s 1951 Ford F-1 pickup: “The group came through and he and a crew of Washtenaw Community College instructors, students and community volunteers spent the past 18 months raising funds and tracking down parts for the truck, which will be on display at Autorama at Cobo Center in Detroit this weekend.” The post includes several photos of the work being done, including before and after photos of the truck. [Source]

Frontier Ruckus Wraps 10 Years of Tuesdays


"I know your blurry winter roads like the back of the hand that is Michigan."

Matthew Milia of Frontier Ruckus led off Tuesday night’s set at The Ark just the way he started the band – with David Jones sitting by his side. With Jones’ gentle plucking of the banjo and Milia on guitar, Milia eased into Driving Home, Christmas Eve: “The churchyard is frozen, the Salvation Army is closin’, your child is dozin’ asleep …” But the repeated rhyme stopped there and did not become a caricature of itself in the way that a Dylan lyric sometimes does.

As the evening progressed, the pair … [Full Story]

Washington, btw Main & Ashley

A pre-Thanksgiving breakfast crush at Cafe Zola – among the crowd is Mike Garfield of the Ecology Center, Mike Finney of A2 Spark, and county commissioners Mark Ouimet & Conan Smith.

A2: Pfizer

Columnist David Collins of The Day, a newspaper in New London, Connecticut, interviews Stephen Rapundalo for a look at Ann Arbor following Pfizer’s departure. Says Rapundalo, a former Pfizer researcher and current city council member: “We have developed a real strength here largely as the result of the downsizing of Pfizer. The skill set has stayed.” [Source]

A2: Labor Law

A article on the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, known as WARN, quotes local attorney Rick McHugh with the National Employment Law Project: ”As the experience of job loss and economic insecurity spreads more in our society, there should be more political support for broadening WARN.” [Source]

Stadium & Liberty

car with license plate BADGRLS; but only one occupant;

A2: Food

The blogger of There’s Always Something to Talk About comes up with a list of five Ann Arbor restaurants (and six runners-up) as dining options for an upcoming visit to town. [Source]

UM: Crash Tests

The Kansas City affiliate of NBC, owned by the Scripps TV Station Group, posts a report about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration using donated cadavers as test-crash dummies, including bodies from UM: ”This year, NHTSA funded testing using whole-corpse or individual body parts cut from cadavers at Duke, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Washington and University of Virginia. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t require schools to get special consent from donors or their families for impact tests.” [Source]

UM: Stem Cells

The Lansing State Journal talks to researchers in the wake of voters passing Proposal 2, which lifted a statewide ban on embryonic stem cell research. Says Sean Morrison, director of UM’s Center for Stem Cell Biology: ”The day after the election, the university started getting phone calls from patients who wanted to donate embryos that could no longer be used…I hope that, in a year’s time, we’ll have some research programs in place that will have a chance of changing the way people think about the embryonic stem cell program.” [Source]

Who’s Open for Dinner on Thanksgiving?


A reader, Betty, of the website for “those who live to eat” wonders what Ann Arbor area restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving. She’ll be in town for a brief visit, and the alternative to going out to eat a Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant doesn’t sound attractive: “[T]hree people eating takeout in a dorm room doesn’t sound very appetizing!”

The readers at provide some ‘usual suspects’ suggestions, but as of Nov. 19, Betty said she’s starting fresh with the search. Part of that effort included contacting The Chronicle with her query. She adds parenthetically: “Other cities list such things on their CVB sites or in the paper.”

Oh, boy. Betty knows how to get Ann … [Full Story]

Citing Economy, Board Halts Library Project

Josie Parker, Rebecca Head and Jan Barney Newman listen as other library board members discuss the decision to put the downtown building project on hold.

Josie Parker, Rebecca Head and Jan Barney Newman at Monday morning's special library board meeting.

A somber Ann Arbor District Library board voted unanimously this morning to suspend its ambitious project to build a new downtown library, though they held out the possibility of resuming the plan if and when the economy improves.

“I think we’re talking about a detour – at least I’m talking about a detour,” said board chair Rebecca Head.

The board called a special meeting for this morning which began in a closed session with the library’s real estate attorney, Jim Adams of Butzel Long. They reconvened for a public meeting at 10:15 a.m., and Head announced that Adams had delivered disturbing news about the bond market that was “very sobering.” [Full Story]

A2: Business

The Ann Arbor Biscuit Co. blog announces plans to participate in Midnight Madness, which runs from noon to midnight on Friday, Dec. 5: “Just mention the secret code LUCKYDOG to receive your discount and cross your four-legged friends off your shopping list. Please bring any gently used pet items you have at home. We even accept towels, blankets and other items that will help the less fortunate pets this holiday season. All donations will be distributed to area animal rescues.” [Source]

Liberty Street

Robots ice-skating and playing in the snow at 826Michigan’s Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair store.

Downtown Library: Building Project Suspended

I’m at the meeting now. The Library’s lawyer told the board in session that the bond market is not conducive to the needs of the new building project. The board just voted unanimously to suspend all work on the project.

Editor’s note: Jim Rees left the above text in a comment on the preview article, and we’ve elevated it to be a bit more prominent.  We have a reporter at the meeting this morning as well and will follow up with more details.

A2: Business

The Wall Street Journal reports that shares of Borders Group fell in anticipation of Tuesday’s earnings report, when the Ann Arbor firm is expected to post a loss. “Borders in March surprised publishers and investors by disclosing a possible cash crunch and putting itself up for sale. Borders has since sold off most of its foreign assets and reduced its debt, which totaled $465.7 million at the end of the second quarter ended Aug. 2, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.” [Source]

UM: Economy

Bloomberg News takes a look at Obama’s economic advisors, and talks to sources who have insight into how they’ll approach the job. The article quotes Michael Barr, a UM law professor who in the 1990s worked with Timothy Geithner, said to be Obama’s pick for Treasury secretary, and Lawrence Summers, the choice for White House economic director: ”It’s certainly not going to be Nirvana, but policy making never is….A strong president is best served by a strong series of team members and that’s what Obama is getting.” [Source]

Dining out: Seven Stops for SOS

Datestamp of our adventure, which started aboard the 446 AATA bus on Route 4. No smoking, no hot dogs, or other buses (?) allowed on board.

As we reported last week, SOS Community Services was to embark on a fundraising effort on Nov. 21-22: Dine Out to Help the Homeless. Seven different area bars and restaurants participated. On Saturday, we visited them all.

Transportation to Ypsilanti and back was provided by the AATA bus system. We observed a lot along the way to make some donations for the cause, including a guy we pegged as a graduate student in some liberal arts field who … [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: County Board (19 Nov 08)

The Nov. 19 meeting for the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners covered a lot of ground, including a proposed tax hike for local hotel/motel rooms, the appointment of a road commissioner, three public hearings on brownfield plans for local developments and a proposed one-year extension for the controversial police services contract. It was also the final meeting for two commissioners who were recently elected to offices in Ypsilanti and Pittsfield townships. [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: UM Regents (20 Nov 2008)

Within the first few minutes of the Nov. 20 University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting, President Mary Sue Coleman led the group through three rounds of applause: Congratulating Larry Deitch on his recent reelection to the board, applauding vice president for development Jerry May and his staff for their work on the $3.1 billion Michigan Difference fundraising campaign, and wishing a happy birthday to Bill Best, who has led the Department of Public Safety for 10 years and is taking another job within the university. The remainder of the meeting was somewhat less festive. [Full Story]

Ypsi: Farewell

The Ypsi City Desk blogger bids farewell to the town: “To my fellow Ypsi residents, there may be times for whatever reason you say ‘I hate this stupid town’ or ‘This place sucks’, I understand that, we all feel that way about our towns at some point. Just understand the next time you do say it, there’s somebody out there who misses this great community.” [Source]

Washtenaw: Business

Several local firms are among the winners and finalists of Crain’s Small Business Awards. Winners include Accent Reduction Institute and Velcura Theraputics, both of Ann Arbor. Finalists include Bearclaw Coffee Co. of Chelsea and Enlighten Inc. of Ann Arbor. The companies will be profiled in the Nov. 24 edition of Crain’s Detroit Business. [Source]

Chelsea: Auto Industry

An Associated Press report, published in the Chicago Tribune, lists several of Chrysler’s non-auto activities: “Chrysler has planted 44 acres of soybeans at its proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich., to use in research for alternative fuels.” [Source]

A2: Competition

Bike Boy shares his thoughts about Michigan’s losing season and how that relates to his cycling competitions: “Remember the first race you won. You were probably happy about your victory for the rest of week, but eventually, you realize that you need to win ANOTHER race to keep yourself happy. Let’s say the next cycling season goes poorly for you. Don’t you wish that you could go back to the time you won. You now know what it truly (means) to lose, but by knowing what it truly means to lose, you learn what it truly means to win. Be content.” [Source]

A2: Palmer House

The asking price for the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Palmer House in Ann Arbor has been cut from $1.5 million to $1.25 million, according to a report in the Freep. [Source]

A2: Auto Industry

The Freep profiles the local team behind the Toyota Venza, which is available to car buyers next month. It was designed at the Toyota Calty Design Research facility and engineered at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor Township, which employs about 300 people. Says Benjamin Jimenez, project chief designer: “The concept phase is really where we define the vehicle – it’s the upfront decision-making part. We’ve gained a lot of trust, and we learned a lot in doing it. It’s really helped us, and it shows the value of localization.” [Source]

Ypsi Choir Preps for Holiday Concert

Ypsilanti Community Choir members rehearse at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on River Street in Ypsilanti.

“Sing piano, but breathe like you’re going to sing fortissimo – draw the audience into you,” came the direction to Ypsilanti Community Choir members from Ariel Toews-Ricotta. They were rehearsing Thursday night at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on River Street in Ypsilanti for the next-to-last time before their Dec. 11 holiday concert. The concert, to be performed jointly with the Ypsilanti Community Band, is free to the public, with free parking for Pease Auditorium available on the Eastern Michigan University campus.

Joint performances by the choir and the band have been a tradition for a quarter century, dating back to the choir’s debut in April of 1983. The band-choir connection was noticed almost instantly by The Chronicle on entering the church fellowship hall area, when we were chatted up by a guy who looked familiar, but who we couldn’t quite place. [Full Story]

Column: Taking a Seat at Michigan Stadium

It is always nice to have a place to sit – and thanks to advocates for persons with disabilities, there are more seats for people with disabilities at the University of Michigan’s “Big House.”

Throughout history, people in America have had to stand up for their rights. It was no different in this case. Discrimination about adequate seating arrangements for persons with disabilities at UM goes back decades.

Prior to the recent major renovation of Michigan Stadium, there were only 88 out of 107,000 seats that accommodated someone in a wheelchair – and they were lousy seats in the end zone. UM signed a consent agreement to more than double the “handicapped” seating to 188 after a lawsuit was filed by the … [Full Story]


Corner Brewery, check; Side Track, check; The Arena, check; Blue Tractor, check; Arbor Brewing, check; Grizzly Peak, check; Old Town Tavern, check;  SOS Community Services donations in place;