Media Watch Section

Oxford: Pipeline Protest

MICATS (Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands) is reporting that two of its protesters have been arrested for locking their necks with bicycle U-locks to pipeline construction trucks being used for the Enbridge Line 6B pipeline expansion. [Source]

Ford Reaches Agreement with RTA

The Detroit News has reported that Ann Arbor Transportation Authority CEO Michael Ford has reached an agreement to serve as CEO of the Regional Transit Authority. The contract, which will pay Ford $200,000 annually, is pending approval of the RTA board, which next meets on Aug. 20. Ford would start in mid-October at the earliest. The next meeting of the AAATA board is Aug. 21. [Source]

A2: The Vegan Roadie

The pilot episode of The Vegan Roadie features Ann Arbor’s The Lunch Room. The show’s host, Dustin Harder, interviews the restaurant’s owners, Joel Panozzo and Phillis Engelbert, and samples dishes from their menu. [Source]

A2: Candidates

The Jim Toy Community Center has released the results of its first municipal candidate questionnaire for the 2014 primary elections. The center received responses from 25 candidates, answering questions that were designed to gauge and elicit commitments to LGBTQ issues and equality. Candidates’ responses were then coded and rated on a five-point scale. All but two of the candidates received 4, 4.5 or 5 points. [Source]

A2: Local History

A post in the Local in Ann Arbor blog reflects on the importance of historic buildings in creating a city’s sense of place. It includes a review of “Historic Ann Arbor,” a new book by local authors Susan Wineberg and Patrick McCauley: ”This book should be on the bookshelf of everyone who lives in Ann Arbor and values any sense of our history and architectural diversity. As Grace Shackman says in her introduction to the book, ‘Susan and Patrick’s love of Ann Arbor shines through every page.’” [Source]

A2: Michael Ford

The Detroit News profiles Michael Ford, CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, who might become the first chief executive of the southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority (RTA). From the report: “Ford, 52, has the reputation at the AAATA of being meticulous, relentless and customer friendly as he oversaw improved services and the agency’s first millage. He is contemplating taking on what could be an even bigger challenge to help grow mass transit in Metro Detroit that has for years resisted implementing transit options beyond the ubiquitous car.” [Source]

A2: Teen Depression

The New York Times published an essay by two Ann Arbor high school students – Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld – about their experiences with depression and their efforts to write about it for their school newspaper. They report that the school principal wouldn’t allow their articles to be published: “We were surprised that the administration and the adults who advocated for mental health awareness were the ones standing in the way of it. By telling us that students could not talk openly about their struggles, they reinforced the very stigma we were trying to eliminate.” [Source]

SE Michigan: RTA

Regional Transit Authority Citizens Advisory Committee member Prashanth Gururaja has announced on Twitter the news that the RTA board has voted 7-0 to offer the job of CEO of the RTA to current Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority CEO Michael Ford. Some additional background here: [link] And Crain’s Detroit has now published a longer piece: [link]

A2: Drink Delivery

The Detroit News reports on a new online and mobile service – called DrinkDrivers – that delivers beer, wine, liquor and mixers to customers’ homes. The business recently expanded into the Ann Arbor market. The article quotes CEO Jeff Nadel: “Ann Arbor so far has absolutely and unequivocally exceeded our expectations.” [Source]


A2: “Weekend Escape”

New York Magazine’s “Weekend Escape Plan” features Ann Arbor, in an article titled “Discover the Arty Side of Ann Arbor.” The piece includes unusual suggestions for lodging, such as the Baxter House Bed & Breakfast and a couple of homes posted on airbnb. Tips for an “Oddball Day” will sound familiar to locals – stops include the farmers market, a picnic at The Arb, and a post-dinner drink at Kerrytown’s 327 Braun Court, described as having “a dimly lit atmosphere that’s somewhere between too cool for school and just right.” [Source]

A2: Voting Open for Local Student in Google Contest

Hannah Hu, a local Ann Arbor elementary student at Logan Elementary School, has been selected as a finalist in a Google contest that could earn $30,000 for her and $50,000 for her school. The prize also includes the use by Google of her doodle: “Ocean Cleaner.” The winner is being determined by online voting. Vote here for Hannah Hu’s drawing: [link]

WCC: No Confidence Vote

The Washtenaw Voice reports that the Washtenaw Community College Education Association will hold a no-confidence vote against WCC president Rose Bellanca on May 1, the date of the union’s next general meeting. According to the report, WCCEA President Maryam Barrie addressed WCC trustees at their April meeting to describe the faculty’s concerns, which include “tactics of intimidation and isolation,” an increase in administrators while cutting departmental budgets, and a lack of transparency. Any decision regarding Bellanca’s employment would come from the WCC board of trustees, which hired her in 2011. [Source]

UM: Salaries

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a letter that University of Michigan faculty sent to UM regents on April 20, questioning the high salaries of university administrators. From the letter: “The University is in desperate and urgent need of fiscal reform. Arresting the steep increases in salaries to top administrators, reforming the secretive bonus culture of the Fleming administration building, terminating the toxic AST project, and refocusing the attention of the University on its core mission of teaching, research, and service should save the University many tens of millions of dollars per year. We urge you to work with incoming President-Elect Schlissel to introduce and implement these necessary reforms as soon as practically possible.” The 40-page document includes a … [Full Story]

A2: Transit Tax Forum

A video of a recent panel discussion on the May 6 transit millage has been posted on the Ann Arbor District Library’s website. Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will weigh in on a proposed 0.7 mill tax for expanded public transportation. Panelists at the April 7 forum included state Rep. Jeff Irwin, who supports the expansion; Gillian Ream Gainsley, a board member of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, which put the measure on the ballot; and former AATA board member Ted Annis and LuAnne Bullington, both of Better Transit Now, which opposes the tax. The event was moderated by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, and held at the downtown library. [Source]

A2: Transit Tax

WEMU reports on the April 7 public forum, hosted but the League of Women Voters, that focused on the proposed 0.7 mill tax for expanded public transportation. Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will vote on the issue on May 6. Panelists at the forum included state Rep. Jeff Irwin, who supports the expansion; Gillian Ream Gainsley, a board member of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority; and former AATA board member Ted Annis and LuAnne Bullington, both of Better Transit Now, which opposes the tax. [Source]

Ann Arbor: Obama

Several media outlets reported on President Barack Obama’s speech in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, where he focused on efforts to raise the federal minimum wage $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2016. From CNN: “Speaking to a rowdy crowd at the University of Michigan, Obama used much of his remarks to lambast Republicans who oppose such a hike, saying it amounted to giving working-class Americans ‘the shaft.’” [Source] The Detroit Free Press quotes UM freshman Greg Lobel: “He’s been a great president for college kids. He’s a huge basketball fan. He’s hilarious. He relates to the kids.” [Source] Detroit’s NBC affiliate provides video of Obama’s lunch at Zingerman’s Deli – he ordered a Reuben. [Source]


Region: Chamber Supports Transit Millage

On its website, the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber has endorsed the 0.7 transit millage that will appear on the May 6, 2014 ballot for voters in the city of Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township. The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board voted to place the millage on the ballot at its Feb. 20, 2014 meeting. From the statement of support: “AAATA’s plan is also sound because it offers a specific set of services for a specific amount of tax increase; a pay for what you get equation.” [Source]

A2: Library

An article in Fortune magazine highlights a digital music licensing deal between the Ann Arbor District Library and Ghostly International. From the report: “As far as anyone involved is aware, this is the first deal of its kind between a record label and a library … and it highlights some of the fundamental ways that some forward-looking labels and libraries have started to adapt to our modern digital climate.” [Source]

Washtenaw: Media

Jim O’Rourke, publisher of Digital First Media’s Michigan Group – which owns Heritage Media – announced that the local weeklies owned by Heritage in Washtenaw County will be consolidated into a new weekly print publication called “Washtenaw Now.” Those publications include the Ypsilanti Courier, Saline Reporter, Chelsea Standard, Dexter Leader, Manchester Enterprise and Milan News-Leader. The change will begin on April 10. [Source]

Washtenaw: Marriage

Several media outlets report on marriage licenses issued in Michigan, including Washtenaw County, on Saturday, March 22 – following a federal court ruling the previous day that struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. WEMU reports from the Washtenaw County administration building in downtown Ann Arbor, where more than a dozen wedding officiants were performing ceremonies. [Source] The Detroit News quotes Martin Contreras, who married Keith Orr, his partner of 27 years – they own and run the \aut\ bar in Ann Arbor: “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime. It’s indescribable. I never expected we could get this far.” [Source] Heritage Media published a series of photos from the crowd. [Source]

Washtenaw: Marriage

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Washtenaw County clerk’s office will open on Saturday, March 22, to issue 60 same-sex marriage licenses, in the wake of Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman that struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. County clerk Larry Kestenbaum: “We’re not typically open, but basically the Board of Commissioners strongly urged me to be open tomorrow.” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an emergency motion requesting a stay on Friedman’s ruling. [Source]

A2: Rebekah Warren

On the website for her Congressional exploratory committee, Democrat Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor has announced that she does not plan to run for the 12th District seat held by Rep. John Dingell, who is not seeking re-election. Dingell’s wife, Debbie Dingell, announced in late February that she is running for that position. Warren writes: “I want you to know I was not bullied out of this race. I was never afraid of the fight. And I did not take a deal to walk away. That is simply not my style.” Warren plans to run for re-election to the District 18 seat in the Michigan Senate. [Source]

A2: TEDxYouth

Students from seven Ann Arbor high schools have organized the first local TEDxYouth event, on Saturday, March 22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Skyline High. According to the event’s website, all speakers will be high school students, talking about their future: ”We believe in the efficacy of Youth Voice for powerful growth and change in Ann Arbor.” [Source]

A2: Library

Celeste Choate, an associate director at the Ann Arbor District Library, has been hired as executive director of the Urbana Free Library in Urbana, Illinois. She’ll start that position on April 1. From a press release issued by UFL: “When asked if she is ready to switch her allegiance from the University of Michigan Wolverines to the Illini, Choate laughed and said she is really looking forward to performances at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.” [Source]

A2: Community Foundation

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has announced that its CEO and president, Cheryl Elliott, will be retiring at the end of 2014. She has served in that position since 2001, and has worked for AAACF since 1992. According to a press release, the AAACF’s chair and vice chair – Bhushan Kulkarni and Michelle Crumm – will oversee the search for a new CEO, working with a search committee and search firm. The goal is to hire a replacement by this fall. [Source]

A2: Homeless

Channel 7 Action News, Detroit’s NBC ABC affiliate, reports on concerns voiced by homeless people, living on public land near the Fuller Bridge in Ann Arbor, about being evicted from that spot, which they call “Troll Village.” The reporter interviews a man named John about the possible eviction: “You can move us. There will still be homeless people. It doesn’t solve a problem. I just want to live where I have my freedom.” [Source]

UM: New President

Mark Schlissel has been named the new president of the University of Michigan, after a vote by the board of regents at a special meeting on Jan. 24. He’s currently the provost at Brown University. Mary Sue Coleman’s contract runs through July 31. [Source] [Source]

A2: Nicola’s Books

Nicola Rooney tells Publishers Weekly that she’s looking for a buyer for her Ann Arbor bookstore, Nicola’s Books. “I have a long-term continuation plan in mind. It’s really a gentle process. My ideal scenario is a gentle transition.” The independent bookstore opened in 1991 and is located in the Westgate Shopping Center, on Ann Arbor’s west side. [Source]

A2: Layoffs

The Detroit Free Press reports that Teleperformance USA is laying of 430 workers at its Ann Arbor call center and closing its operation at 2300 Traverwood Drive on Jan. 19. A company executive told the Free Press that Teleperformance was not able to renew its contract with a client that the call center served. [Source]