Abandoned cardboard sign on the sidewalk, apparently left by someone who needed money to travel to Texas. [photo]
Remaining contingent from regular Friday “Pizza in the Park” food distribution to the homeless report that a candlelight vigil held for “Shorty,” who died out in the elements last year, was well attended. Tomorrow, Dec. 21, is National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.
Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting (March 3, 2010): A light agenda, coupled with virtually no discussion on any of the items under consideration, resulted in a brief meeting for county commissioners on Wednesday.
Agenda items that were discussed in more detail at last week’s administrative briefing – including health screenings for refugees, funding for services to low-income families, and a bond refunding for Sylvan Township – were approved with no comment on Wednesday.
Also during the meeting, commissioners got an update on Census 2010 efforts from two representatives who are helping oversee the local count. Commissioner Conan Smith issued a statement of disclosure related to a potential conflict of interest, an advocate for the homeless urged the county to support a rotating outdoor shelter, and commissioners went into executive session to discuss a lawsuit settlement – possibly related to a recent Supreme Court action in the legal battle with the townships of Augusta, Salem and Ypsilanti.
And ending several months of speculation, board chair Rolland Sizemore Jr. told The Chronicle that he plans to run for re-election as a commissioner – not as a candidate for state representative.
On Sunday, Jim and Connie Johnston drove from Hanover, just south of Jackson, Mich., to Ann Arbor.
They’d come specifically to hear Bill Bynum & Co. play the Old Town Tavern – a neighborhood bar offering free live music every Sunday night. Yes, the Johnstons are fans – they buy a CD every time they see Bill play, says Jim, so they’ll have one to give away to another friend as an introduction to Bynum’s songs.
What kind of songs are those? Bynum announced his Old Town set by saying, “Howdy, folks, we’re here to play some hillbilly music!” And that’s what they did for two 45-minute sets, with a break in between.
The Chronicle didn’t have to drive nearly an hour to get to the Old Town like the Johnstons did – the Old Town is right down the street from us.
But we were there to see Bynum, too, because we wanted to check out one of the acts playing BreakFest 2010 at The Ark on Feb. 26. That’s when Bynum will be joined by Bonnie Rideout, Rev. Robert Jones, Sr. and Duck Baker in a benefit concert at The Ark for The Breakfast at St. Andrew’s, a nonprofit that provides a hot breakfast every day of the year to anyone who shows up at the doorstep of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on North Division.
Every school child learns that Newton “discovered” gravity when an apple fell out of a tree and bonked him on the head.
Near the park-and-ride lot at I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road stands an apple tree. Most, but not all, of the tree’s fruit this season has already succumbed to Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.
About 50 yards northwest of that apple tree is the new – and likely very temporary – location of “Camp Take Notice” – a tent camp where maybe a dozen homeless people spent the first night in September. Standing under the apple tree Tuesday afternoon, The Chronicle spoke by phone to Ellen Schulmeister, executive director of the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County.
Schulmeister characterized the “bottom line” for the homeless: “It’s simple physics,” she said. “People have to be some place, and if people don’t have a place to be, they will find a place to be.”
If it’s a matter of physics, then it’s perhaps perfectly natural that the guy who drove the U-Haul truck to move the camp from its previous location – behind Toys R Us at Arborland – is a University of Michigan doctoral student in physics, Brian Nord.
This is a story that does not yet have an end, nor will it likely ever have one. But we can write down the part we know so far, which began with a Chronicle visit to the camp behind Arborland earlier this summer, and goes through a visit from a Michigan State Trooper to the new camp location early Tuesday evening.