Old Media Watch Section

A2: Marijuana

As activists seek decriminalization of marijuana in Michigan, Metro Times looks at the city of Ann Arbor, where voters in 1974 passed a revision to the city charter that decriminalized marijuana by making possession of less than 2 ounces a civil infraction. The article quotes state Rep. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor, who has introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana statewide: “The decriminalization that the community enacted decades ago, I think is a good example of how a local community can address these issues in a more reasonable and successful way. Marijuana is in communities all over Michigan and governments are completely impotent in addressing that.” [Source]

A2: Business

Crain’s Detroit Business reports on the expansion of Ann Arbor-based Pot & Box, which is opening a “pop-up” version in the D:hive space on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. According to the report, owner Lisa Waud “is the first entrepreneur signed to Pilot, a new program offered by D:hive that will give a rotating cadre of small businesses two months of free rent as well as marketing and design support.” Waud plans to open a permanent location in Detroit later this year. [Source]

A2: Marijuana

State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-District 53) participated in a recent segment of the Fox 2 News talk show “Let It Rip,” focused on decriminalizing marijuana. Irwin, an Ann Arbor Democrat, has proposed legislation – House Bill 4623 – to significantly reduce the penalties for recreational use of the drug. [Source]

A2: Recycling

On Recycle Ann Arbor‘s 35th anniversary, Barbara Lucas of WEMU looks at the history of the city’s curbside recycling, and interviews several of the people who helped start the program. Among those are Dan Ezekiel, who’s now a science teacher at Forsythe Middle School and chair of the city’s greenbelt advisory commission. [Source]

A2: Lawsuit

The Detroit Free Press reports that Paul Dobrowolski has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Ann Arbor and police chief John Seto, alleging that his Constitutional rights have been violated. Dobrowolski, an anti-abortion activist, has been ticketed for violating city code that prohibits parking a vehicle on a street with the purpose of displaying advertising. Dobrowolski was ticketed for parking outside of Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor with a sign in his car that included information about a facility that provides free ultrasounds. [Source]

UM: Mary Sue Coleman

James David Dickson, op-ed editor of The Detroit News, reflects on how a University of Michigan degree became more financially inaccessible during president Mary Sue Coleman’s tenure: “There are serious blemishes on Mary Sue Coleman’s record at Michigan. That she tried to eliminate racial disparities in access to higher education, disparities that were consciously created and studiously maintained in Metro Detroit for decades, is not one of them. That the University of Michigan has only become tougher to afford for the broke family of a smart kid during Coleman’s tenure is.” [Source]

Ypsilanti: Master Plan

WEMU reports on a clash between an update to Ypsilanti’s master plan regarding the long-vacant Water Street site, and a possible Washtenaw County recreation center, which has been proposed for the northwest corner of the property. From the report: “The design team that’s taking public input and converting it into recommendations for council recommends locating the proposed recreation center further south on the parcel, mostly due to the building’s large size and parking requirements.” [Source]

Washtenaw: Regional Transit

Several media outlets report on the first board meeting of the new Southeast Michigan Region Transit Authority (RTA), held April 10 in downtown Detroit. One of the two Washtenaw County board members – Liz Gerber – was appointed vice chair of the board. Richard Murphy is the other Washtenaw board member, although the board’s chair – Paul Hillegonds, a DTE Energy executive who was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder – also is a Washtenaw County resident. The RTA is charged with coordinating public transit in Detroit and four counties: Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw. [Source] [Source] [Source]

UM: Basketball

As the University of Michigan prepares for the NCAA basketball championship game, New York Times columnist William Rhoden argues that it’s time for UM to reconcile with former Fab Five star Chris Webber: “… Michigan is the parent who took Webber and the Fab Five into the world of big-time college athletics. Indeed, [former UM basketball coach Bill] Frieder said he began recruiting Webber for Michigan when Webber was in seventh grade. The university owes Webber an apology as well.” [Source]

A2: Hash Bash

The Detroit Free Press reports on the annual Hash Bash, held Saturday on the University of Michigan Diag. The article quotes state Rep. Jeff Irwin, a Democrat from Ann Arbor: “… I believe we need to legalize marijuana. The amount of blood and treasure we’ve spilled in this drug war is an embarrassment to our country.” [Source]

A2: Pure Michigan

Writing for Crain’s Detroit Business, Chris Gautz notes the coincidental timing of Ann Arbor-focused Pure Michigan ads running on cable TV at the same time as the University of Michigan men’s basketball team advances to the NCAA tournament’s Final Four. He quotes Michelle Begnoche, public relations manager for Travel Michigan: “This was planned before Michigan made the Final Four. But it’s a great story for us.” [Source]

UM: Basketball

Jonathan Chait’s column in New York Magazine – ”How Did the Michigan Basketball Team Get Good?” – credits coach John Beilein, freshman Mitch McGary, and the fact that the team “stopped playing Big Ten games.” About McGary, Chait writes: “The six-foot-ten, 255-pound freshman spent most of the season coming off the bench and alternating brilliant plays with cringe-inducing, giant-puppy-furniture-crashing mistakes. McGary figured out how to control his spastic tendencies, perhaps induced by his ADHD, and transformed himself into a superstar.” [Source]

UM: North Quad Flooding

The Michigan Daily provides an update and photos from the extensive flooding at North Quad, caused by a broken joint pipe in the building’s fire suppression system. The flooding affected student residences and classrooms – about 100 students were moved to other quarters. [Source]

UM: Tuition Equality

An editorial in the Detroit News advocates for the University of Michigan to allow undocumented students who graduate from Michigan high schools to pay in-state tuition. “Michigan’s cause would be greatly assisted by legislation in Lansing. But because the state does not have the power to set tuition rates, universities also have autonomy to make the decision themselves. For a reinvented Michigan, it’s a no brainer.” [Source]

A2: Silicon Valley?

Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh interviews venture capitalist Scott Chou about comparing Ann Arbor and Silicon Valley. Walsh reports that Chou, co-founder of Michigan eLab, spoke to University of Michigan business students about the attraction of this area: “Everything is cheaper here. It’s a source of disruptive innovations. It’s a core center for research innovations – one of the top-funded universities in the country. There’s a lot of groundbreaking ideas and few venture capitalists here.” [Source]

UM: Anne Carson

In connection with the publication of her new book – “Red Doc >” – the New York Times profiles the poet and author Anne Carson through a series of email exchanges and personal interviews. “She moved to Ann Arbor, years ago, to teach at the university. Although she no longer teaches there, she has remained, because she’s in love with her house: a 1957 Frank Lloyd Wright-ish building with, she says, windows that make her feel as if she’s simultaneously inside and outside. [Her husband Robert] Currie, who grew up in Michigan, doesn’t love living there — he wants to be in New York — but Carson can’t bring herself to leave.” [Source]

WCC: Faculty Discontent

The Washtenaw Voice reports on reactions to the firing of Stuart Blacklaw, former vice president of instruction at Washtenaw Community College who was dismissed by WCC president Rose Bellanca. The article states that “members of the Washtenaw Community College Education Association were angered by what they called a ‘cowardly move.’” [Source] A separate article reports on concerns raised by the faculty union at a recent WCC board of trustees meeting over “communication breakdowns” with Bellanca. [Source]

UM: Research Funding

Reuters reports on how federal spending cuts under sequestration are affecting university research. The report quotes Steve Forrest, vice president of research at the University of Michigan: “There (are) going to be a lot of research jobs at risk. That will hit young researchers disproportionately hard.” [Source]

UM: Donation

Helen Zell, a University of Michigan graduate and wife of real estate magnate Sam Zell, is donating $50 million to UM’s graduate creative writing program. The gift comes via the Zell Family Foundation, which Helen Zell leads as executive director. The two-year program is being renamed the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. [Associated Press report] [UM press release]

A2: Unplugged

The Detroit Free Press reports on local participants in the National Day of Unplugging, which begins at sundown on Friday, March 1. The article quotes Davy Rothbart of Ann Arbor: “For me, unplugging for the day is a way to remember how I interacted with the world before I had my smartphone stapled to my jawbone.” [Source]

EMU: Latipha Cross

An ESPN report profiles Latipha Cross, a student at Eastern Michigan University who struggled with family and health issues in middle school and high school while becoming a track-and-field standout. The video includes an interview with Zach Glavash, EMU’s assistant coach for women’s track and field. [Source]

A2: State Taxes

The Detroit Free Press reports on how major state income tax changes enacted nearly two years ago by a Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder are now taking effect. The article quotes state Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-District 18) of Ann Arbor: “It’s devastating to our most low-income folks. This is the one time per year they often had a significant enough pot of resources to play with to be able to do a big investment. Those at the very bottom of the socioeconomic ladder are really struggling more than ever right now.” [Source]

UM: Catfishing

Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Bill Shea writes that officials with the University of Michigan athletics department are saying they did not “catfish” their athletes, contrary to recent media reports. The column quotes UM associate athletic director David Ablauf: “It was the media jumping to the use of the word cat fishing … not Dave [Brandon] or Brady [Hoke]. They did not use the term and that is not what we were doing with our teaching session for student-athletes.” [Source]

A2: Courts

The Detroit Free Press reports that former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway pleaded guilty to felony bank fraud during a Jan. 29 hearing at the U.S District Court in downtown Ann Arbor. Eastern District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara is handling the case. From the report: “Hathaway was charged Jan. 18 with one count of bank fraud after investigators said she moved ownership of property in Florida to relatives so she could qualify for the short sale. Hathaway allegedly told financial institution ING Direct she could no longer afford the house payments on the Michigan home.” [Source]

A2: Entre-SLAM

Writing for Fortune magazine, Vickie Elmer describes the genesis of Entre-SLAM, a monthly Ann Arbor-based storytelling competition for entrepreneurs that was founded last year by Jeannie Ballew and Christa Chambers-Price. Ballew is quoted on plans for expanding the concept: ”The stories that evolve from these gatherings are meant to be told again and again. We envision building a thriving, online community of entrepreneurs but also we plan on releasing a series of books….I keep visualizing Entre-Slam in Japan. We have every reason to believe it can be international.” [Source]

UM: Ben Bernanke

The Wall Street Journal is among several national news organizations that reported on Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s lecture and Q&A on Jan. 14 at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. From the report: “The Fed chairman cited bright spots for the economy, including the energy boom that is lifting output in some states, an improving housing market and resilient consumer confidence. He defended the effect of Fed policies on the economy. The programs helped drive down long-term interest rates to support growth, he said, as evident from ‘incredibly low’ mortgage rates. That, he added, was a factor making housing more affordable and helping the sector recover.” [Source]

A2: Pall 1,4 Dioxane

In a column posted on the Forbes magazine website, Kai Petainen highlights ongoing problems related to the 1-4 dioxane  plume in the Ann Arbor area underground aquifers, caused by contamination at the former Gelman Sciences facility in Scio Township that’s now owned by Pall Corp. Because Pall is a publicly traded company, Petainen looks at the issue in part from the perspective of socially responsible investing: “But perhaps one of the most insulting ways that Pall could insult those who are concerned about the dioxane problem in Ann Arbor, is best illustrated by what it doesn’t say in the annual 10-K report. What word does the annual report neglect to mention? What word is missing from the section that talks … [Full Story]