A new public safety collaboration – the Eastern Washtenaw Safety Alliance – was announced on July 8, bringing together the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office, Eastern Michigan University, and the city of Ypsilanti to increase security efforts on the eastern side of the county. The alliance will work on several initiatives, including increased police officers, expanded patrols, installing new streetlights and shared jurisdictional authority, according to a press release. EMU is hiring 10 additional police officers this year, which will increase its police staff to 43 deputized officers by the fall. The city of Ypsilanti has hired eight new police officers since last fall, bringing the city’s total to 29. [Source] [Alliance FAQ] [Street light FAQ] [List of ...
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]
Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (April 6, 2011): An initiative that’s providing refurbished computers to low-income residents won praise from county commissioners at their most recent meeting.
The board heard a report on the Digital Inclusion project, which was launched in 2008 to help address the county’s “digital divide” – the gap between people with computers and Internet access, and residents who lack those resources. Run by B.Side: The Business Side of Youth at Eastern Michigan University, the program uses old computers donated by the county government, and trains youth to refurbish them for re-use. To date, the program has distributed over 200 computers to low-income residents.
Also at their April 6 meeting, commissioners gave initial approval to a new fee structure for the county’s soil erosion control program. Proposed by the office of the water resources commissioner, the new fees – part of a broader ordinance overhaul – aim to recoup staff expenses associated with administering the program.
Commissioners also honored the county’s dispatch operators during Wednesday’s meeting. And as one of two appointments to county committees and boards, former county commissioner Ken Schwartz was re-appointed to a four-year term on the veterans affairs committee, which advises the county’s department of veteran services.
Several people spoke during public commentary – topics included criticism of the cost of public health inspections for small businesses, concerns over the results of an autopsy for a man who died after being Tasered last year, and denunciation of the University of Michigan’s relationship with China.
In the late ’90s, Eastern Michigan University assembled some its best basketball teams. The Eagles were so good they stunned the Duke Blue Devils in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament, 75-60. They were led by the nation’s second-leading scorer in 1998 – a guy named Earl Boykins – who the program said stood just 5-foot-8-inches tall. This, I had to see.
I watched Boykins torch Western, Central and Ball State. He could handle the ball, shoot it and pass it better than anyone on the court – even though he was shorter than everyone on the court. Yep, this was a story.
When I interviewed him, the story just got better. He told me he was so small growing up that he learned to dribble by using a tennis ball. When he was three, his dad could sneak him into games by stuffing him in a gym bag – but, Boykins told me, “Man, that’s back when I was small.”
Then he stood up, and I quickly realized the program listing was very generous. 5-foot-8? I’m 5-foot-8 – and I towered over him. I said, “Duuuuuude! You ain’t 5-8!”
Editor’s note: The new University of Michigan North Quad residential hall, which is opening this fall at the corner of State and Huron, will house the Global Scholars Program among various other initiatives. The goal of the program is reflected in a quote from a participant: “I learned to understand differences as diversity, not strangeness.” Historically, that attitude did not always serve as this country’s educational approach to other cultures – as this edition of Laura Bien’s bi-weekly history column shows.
Eighteen-year-old George Moore boarded the eastbound train on a chill November day in 1898. Several of his schoolmates climbed on. The boys sat near Mrs. Lizzie McDonald, their guardian.
It would be a long journey.
Four days and three nights over the clacketing steel rails lay between his Idaho birthplace and a Pennsylvania boarding school.
Built in 1879, the Carlisle school was led by its founder Richard Henry Pratt, a former Civil War volunteer who after the war served as an officer in the 10th Cavalry. Its members included Buffalo Soldiers and Native American scouts. In western Indian Territory, Pratt’s group was in charge of enforcing reservation borders to protect settlers’ lands; Indians left the reservation to seek food.
Pratt was also put in charge of a group of Native American prisoners whom he treated humanely, comparatively speaking, even giving them sketch pads in which to draw their experiences. Years later in his book “Battlefield and Classroom,” Pratt wrote, “Talking with the Indians, I learned that most had received English education in home schools conducted by their tribal government. Their intelligence, civilization, and common sense was a revelation because I had concluded that as an Army officer I was there to deal with atrocious aborigines.”
However, in his later role as schoolmaster, he also said, “In Indian civilization I am a Baptist, because I believe in immersing the Indians in our civilization and when we get them under holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked.” Pratt had firm beliefs about how and why to educate his Carlisle students. In his era, Pratt’s assimilationist ideas were progressive.
George Moore, who had taken the train and attended the Carlisle School, eventually returned part-way back west – to Ypsilanti.
Mascots are supposed to inspire those who play for the team, but just as often they provide amusement for those who don’t.
On college campuses nationwide there are no fewer than 107 teams named for Lions, Tigers and Bears – oh my – but only the University of Idaho dares calls its teams the Vandals. I only wish the Vandals of Idaho could engage in macho combat with, say, the Ne’er Do Wells of Nevada.
With some teams, it’s hard to tell just whom they’re trying to scare. Take the Centenary College Ladies and Gentleman – the actual mascots. Are they intended to intimidate the ill-mannered? Or, how about the Brandeis University Judges, named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Who’s afraid of the big bad Judges – the Parolees of Penn State?
And what are we to make of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons? What are they, Demons or Deacons? I think they should pick one, and stick to it. Their oxymoronic mascot reminds me of a chant I once heard at a Friends School in Pennsylvania, where the seemingly oblivious cheerleaders broke into the classic mantra: “Fight, Quakers, Fight!”
This otherwise silly subject takes a serious turn when we start talking about Native American nicknames. Some 600 high school and college teams have dropped such names, but over 2,400 still use them.
It turns out that at least two high-profile women in this area got their educational start in a one-room schoolhouse – both were at Tuesday’s Washtenaw Community College Foundation Women’s Council Lunch. One we’ve written about before, and one – Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University – gave the luncheon’s keynote speech.
As we summarize below, that speech ranged from slaughtering chickens to kicking down doors.
But before that, three women – Lisa Hesse, Ann Mattson and Ellie Serras – were honored for their leadership roles in the community. Hesse is founder of the nonprofit Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan, which works with preteen girls to develop healthy lifestyles through running. Mattson recently retired as 15th District Court Judge, a position she held for 15 years. Serras serves on several nonprofit boards, and was the longtime executive director of the Main Street Area Association.