Archive for February, 2009

A2: Food

Slow Food Huron Valley’s March newsletter gives a report on the January Local Food Summit, has an article about work at Food Gatherers, provides a list of upcoming food-related activities and events in the Ann Arbor area – including the Coops All in 4 Charity poker night benefiting Growing Hope – and more. [Source (PDF file)]

A2: Ann Arbor Observer

The Ann Arbor Observer has laid off five staff members, according to an article posted on the publication’s website. Says publisher Patricia Garcia: “They’re all good people who have contributed tremendously to the Observer’s publications. By sharing in a staff-wide pay freeze, they helped us adjust to a 10 percent decline in advertising sales last year. Just in the last two months, however, sales for the monthly Ann Arbor Observer have dropped another 20 percent.” [Source]

Washtenaw: Food

The Adrian Daily Telegram has a feature on the Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP), which involves Lenawee, Monroe, Jackson, Wayne and Washtenaw counties. The article reports that Karleen and Jonathan Goetz, who have a farm in Monroe County, sell their produce to UM’s East Quad cafeteria. Says Karleen Goetz: “It’s been very helpful to us. It’s been a good way for us to increase our sales.” [Source]

Ypsi: Poetry

On the Pathologos blog, you can read a poem titled, “Things to do in Ypsilanti.” Here are the final lines: “I begin to put parts of Britain in my mouth. I hammer at a molar with a/Texas colloquialism. Now (this is part of the training), I try to speak/perfect Ypsilanti, still with Britain in there, and a dangling molar.” [Source]

Wiki Wednesday: Name Lists

ArborWiki Edit Button

Today is Wednesday. Wiki Wednesday.

What’s a Wiki? It’s like an online encyclopedia – to which anyone can make a contribution. The phrase “Wiki Wednesday” is not original with us. It’s used commonly throughout the world as a day for Wiki-philes in a specific community to work together on a Wiki.

Alert: The key word here is work. By the end of the article, you’ll be invited to do some work.

Our Wiki Wednesdays will focus on an online encyclopedia for the greater Ann Arbor area called ArborWiki, which currently comprises 2,771 entries. Those articles  have accumulated over the course of the last three years since its launch in fall of 2005. [Full Story]

UM: Environment

The L.A. Times reports on the start of a trial in which the W.R. Grace company and five former executives are accused of knowingly exposing Libby, Mont., residents to asbestos. The article quotes David Uhlmann, an UM law professor and former Justice Department environmental-crimes prosecutor: ”There’s never been a prosecution in the United States where so many people have been sickened or killed as a result of environmental crime.” [Source]

Washtenaw: Auction

Montrie Auction & Estate Services is holding a “super auction” of collectible autographs on Feb. 28 at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds: “Included is a signed Tyson/Hollyfield photo (the ‘ear’ fight) and others. A particularly interesting set of signatures are from the 1939 Grand Metropolitan Opera. The opera lot consists of a program, book and autograph book that includes a detailed list of all the operas its owner attended and many signatures.” [Source]

Ypsi: American Idol

The Detroit News runs a profile on Matt Giraud, an American Idol contestant who grew up in Ypsilanti. The article quotes Karen Nevins, his music teacher at Lincoln High School: ”I haven’t had another student who was like him. He came into my classroom every day for lunch, and he was frustrated having to leave to go to class. The music was, ultimately, the most important thing to him.” [Source]

A2: Business

Bruce V. Bigelow, editor of  Xconomy San Diego, reports that the Ann Arbor startup Torrey Path plans to move to the San Diego area, where it now has its software development office. The firm’s CEO, Peter Dresslar, recently won the “best business model” award from the local New Enterprise Forum. Bigelow writes: “If he gets funding, Dresslar plans to expand the business, which will presumably include someone to handle payroll, benefits, and other pesky HR issues, at his soon-to-be corporate headquarters in La Jolla. Either way, he plans to relocate his family to San Diego after his kids finish school in Ann Arbor.” [Source]

Ypsi: Chili

The SOS Community Services event blog announces their Chili Challenge fundraiser for Sat.  March 7 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. The Challenge features chili from several restaurants competing for votes to determine the best chili Depot Town. Tickets tickets can be purchased at the event’s start location, Cafe Luwak. Judges for the event include Paul Schreiber (Ypsilanti’s mayor) Jessica Webster  (WEMU 89.1 FM), and others. [Source]

South Main Market

1:30 p.m. The staff at Copernicus European Deli reported they’ve sold about 6,000 paczkis so far today, brought in from Hamtramck. They sold out of plum, raspberry and rose flavors. Still have some custard and strawberry left.

UM: Spring Break

On the WCBN Sports blog, Matt Boyer writes about staying behind in Ann Arbor while many of his friends/fellow students are elsewhere: “Most people don’t like Michigan’s early Spring Break. I actually enjoy it. It gives kids a chance to work on applications for internships that are due in late February, as well allow kids the unique opportunity to enjoy New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Whether you are at home in front of the computer entering your name, address, and past work experience OR out on an RV headed to the French Quarter, this break comes early enough for students to get away from Ann Arbor right before the weather breaks.” [Source]

The Shelves Are Getting Bare

PTO sign

Though the arrow points up, donations are actually down at the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop.

When The Chronicle came across a notice that the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop was facing some challenges, we caught AATA bus No. 6 to South Industrial’s Resale Row to get the details.

Susan Soth, the store’s manager, said that donations of clothes, housewares and other items are down 50% since early December, compared to a year ago. And though sales had been going gangbusters earlier in 2008, since early December they’ve been flat or slightly down. On Sundays, for example, they’d generally bring in more than $1,000 – recently sales have been closer to $800. The winter season is typically a slower time of year, Soth said, but “it’s never been this slow, and we’re not alone.” [Full Story]

Ypsi: “Shovelgate”

Mark Maynard reports that many residents in Ypsilanti are angry after getting snow-removal bills from a business that the city has contracted with to enforce its snow-removal ordinance. One resident writes:  “We weren’t notified, for one thing, and there’s absolutely no evidence that anyone cleared our walk except for us. Plus, there was never a need for someone else to clear our sidewalks. My husband and neighbor went to City Hall first thing this morning, and they reported that the phones were ringing off the hook there, so presumably a lot of others also received an invoice and are mad.” [Source]

Chelsea: Auditions

Auditions for Sing! Sing! Sing! The Michigan Pops Choir will be held at the group’s next rehearsal on Feb.25, according to a post on the BroadwayWorld blog. The choir is a program of the Chelsea Center for the Arts, performing popular music from the jazz age through today: “A pops emphasis should not be taken to mean we approach music with casualness or lack of seriousness; on the contrary, we strive hard for excellence. Mediocrity is dull. Within a framework of frequent but relaxed and flexible rehearsal scheduling, choristers are asked to do it again – and again – and again – and again – until it’s perfect. In excellence, we fulfill our mission: to create joy.” [Source]

A2: Observations

Liza, writing on the blog Another Pragmatic Visionary, tells of her day of adventure in Ann Arbor, with visits to the People’s Food Co-op and Café Verde, and sightings of Duck & Swallow graffiti, among other things. Here’s what she says about the co-op: “I don’t think I’ve seen so many organic products in my entire life. After making it past all the locally-grown fruit and vegetables, organic pasta, and trail mix I stumbled upon the hygiene section. Did you know that there are ORGANIC FEMININE PRODUCTS!? I was astounded.” [Source]

UM: Worker Rights

The New York Times reports that UM has ended its sports licensing deal with Russell Corp. after the apparel maker decided to close a Honduras plant that had unionized: Says Leigh Wedenoja, a student who’s on the UM president’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights: “This is a toxic company. We feel that if the university is serious about encouraging human rights, then we could not keep Russell as a licensee.” [Source]

A2: Paczki

The Kitchen Chick reminds everyone that tomorrow (Feb. 24) is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Paczki Day. Noting that she’ll be picking up hers at Copernicus on South Main, which brings them in from Hamtramck, she adds: “Amadeus makes their own fabulous paczki, but it may be too late to order from them. They haven’t been answering their phone all day today. (They’re probaby crazy-busy making those paczki!)” [Source]

Fifth Street & W. Jefferson

5:30 p.m. Traffic approaching from the East, North and South may be surprised that drivers coming from the West aren’t stopping for the 4 way stop. The sign is on the sidewalk, so they are sailing right through.

Saline: Auto Industry

Reuters reports that workers at an auto parts plant in Saline will be laid off following a deal recently struck between Ford and the UAW. The automaker plans to transfer Ford workers to Saline as the Jobs Bank is phased out. ”The transferred Ford workers will displace workers at the ACH plant in Saline, Michigan, starting Monday and those displaced will permanently be laid off in April, according a memo posted on the website of UAW local 892. The plant was one of the facilities that was taken back by Ford from Visteon as part of the automaker’s bailout of its former parts subsidiary.” [Source]

Paparazzi: What, No Paczkis?!

Food For Betty Anne Waters

Todd Hill, proud Pittsburgh Steelers fan, grills ribeye steaks for the cast and crew of "Betty Anne Waters."

With a heads up from a Stopped.Watched. item filed by Juliew this morning, we made a  detour through the State Street area while out on assignment for a different story, to see how things were going with the filming of the movie “Betty Anne Waters.” It stars Hilary Swank, Minnie Driver and Sam Rockwell. [Full Story]

A2: Pizza

In an analysis of the U.S. pizza market, the Wall Street Journal reports that chains were struggling even before the economic downturn. The article quotes David Brandon, CEO of Ann Arbor-based Domino’s. Speaking at a recent investors’ conference in New York, Brandon said: ”The burger guys have their 99-cent offerings…We feel like we have to be in that space and in that game.” [Source]

A2: Radio

Audio clips of the Feb. 21 Lucy Ann Lance show on WLBY AM-1290 are online. Among her guests are Ypsilanti mayor Paul Schreiber, Nancy Steinhauer, owner  of the Dexter Cider Mill, Perry Seibert, movie reviewer for, and John Zajac, publisher of  [Source]

Column: On the Road

Rob Cleveland

Rob Cleveland

In the continuing saga that is the U.S. automobile industry, we got introduced to a new character in the Chrysler soap opera. Just 15 months after Chrysler’s bitter divorce from Teutonic spouse Daimler AG, it has taken on a new partner: the tall, dark and very Italian automaker Fiat SpA.

Fresh with $4 billion in federal loans and in line to receive another $3 billion, Chrysler has the critics wagging their fingers at this new union like a group of English church ladies passing judgment on the town widow dating just after her spouse expired and her life insurance kicked in. (For a picture of what an English church lady looks like, Google U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.) [Full Story]

S. State & S. University

Movie trucks to support filming of “Betty Anne Waters” lined up outside the Museum of Art and Tisch Hall.

UM Exec Outlines Benefits of Health System

Doug Strong

Nancy Asin, assistant secretary of the University of Michigan, places a phone call to UM Regent Andrea Fischer Newman, who participated in Thursday's meeting by speaker phone. Looking on is Doug Strong, CEO of UM Hospitals and Health Systems, who was at the podium to make a presentation to the regents.

University of Michigan Board of Regents (Feb. 19, 2009): At their most recent monthly meeting, UM regents got a detailed report about the community benefits provided by its health system, and heard from several students lobbying the university to establish a sustainability office.

Most items on the agenda – including approval of over $13 million in construction projects – received little or no discussion among regents or UM’s executive officers. [Full Story]

A2: Beer

A post on the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild blog (with photos and a recipe) describes a Valentine’s Day gathering of the guild that included brewing a Bizzaro ale: “The first Bizarro was brewed in 2001, and was inspired by Larry Bell’s Eccentric Day ale. Members bring adjuncts and specialty grains, and these are all tossed into the kettles creating…well, A VERY unusual ale indeed.” [Source]

Maryfield-Wildwood Park

7:15 a.m. Saw what looked like a coyote trotting west across Maryfield-Wildwood Park. Followed its tracks back through 3 of the Allen Creek ravines.

UM: Entrepreneurs

In a “Cool College Start-ups” feature, Inc. magazine profiles several young entrepreneurs, including Caroline Rooney, a UM sophomore who started a T-shirt venture called The Bearon. Says Rooney: “It’s getting to the point where I don’t recognize some of the people who are sending in orders, calling in questions, or walking around campus wearing the shirts. That’s when you know the word of mouth has gone to the next level, and that’s really exciting.” [Source]