Archive for January, 2009

A2: Coming Out

The Queerty blog posts a Q&A with Jerry DeGrieck – both he and Nancy Wechsler came out while serving on Ann Arbor City Council in 1973 as members of the Human Rights Party. When asked how other councilmembers responded, DeGrieck says: “I honestly think some people thought we were doing it for political reasons… I think at least one or two of them were certainly less friendly with us. Even though we had opposing political views, I actually worked very hard when I was on the city council to work on many different issues because I had the belief that if I wanted people to pay attention to me when we were talking about the war in Vietnam or the … [Full Story]

Main & Kingsley

Snow banks transformed into ramparts of a giant snow castle; temperature forecast says it’ll be there a few more days at least;

A2: Auto Industry

The New York Times reports on the reaction of Detroit automakers to President Obama’s order to reconsider whether California and other states can regulate vehicle emissions. The article quotes David Cole of the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, who says that the California regulations ”would basically kill the industry. It would have a devastating effect on everybody, and not just the domestics.” [Source]

Ayers and Dohrn at Hatcher Library

Bill Ayers Ann Arbor

Right to left (counterclockwise) Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, Julie Herrada, Scott Westerman.

On Monday evening at the University of Michigan’s Hatcher Graduate Library, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn addressed the 300-400 people who had packed into the space, answered written questions and signed copies of their new book, “Race Course: Against White Supremacy.”

Ayers had gained renewed notoriety during the presidential campaign, through the speculation about a connection between Ayers and then presidential hopeful Barack Obama. When Republican candidate for vice-president Sarah Palin spoke of Obama “palling around with terrorists,” Ayers was the guy she meant – Ayers was a member of the radical 1960s group the Weather Underground. (Ayers rejected the label “terrorist” on Monday.)

Although it was Ayers and Dohrn who headlined the event, the story that The Chronicle found was in the people who attended, many of whom were linked in somewhat unpredictable ways. [Full Story]

State & Packard

Dude on a bike, wearing a hoodie with helmet jauntily perched on the hood. Helmet looks darling, but not safe.

West Stadium

Uncle Sam looks cold as he brandishes a sign advertising tax help across from Comerica.  Maybe he should have worn his beard.

Liberty & Ashley

6:30 p.m. Seen through the storefront window, several people using spinning wheels at the Ann Arbor Art Center. Looks cozy.

A2: Radio

The first broadcast of the new Lucy Ann Lance Show, which debuted Jan. 24 on 1290-AM WLBY, is now available online. The three-hour talk radio show includes interviews with James Steward of the UM Museum of Art, city administrator Roger Fraser, Shary Brown of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair and several other Ann Arborites. [Source]

Fifth & William

DTE worker with a spraycan of bright orange paint and a handheld device that looks like a dustbuster, marking the location of buried electrical lines in front of the library. Orange paint on snow looks especially vibrant.

Packard & Iroquois

The community standards citation for an un-shoveled walk taped to the door of the clearly abandoned aquarium shop on Packard seems quixotic.

UM: Residency

The Detroit News reports that UM regents are reviewing the university’s residency requirements. Says regent Martin Taylor: “My concerns were based on the fact that several cases had come to my attention over a number of years and I thought there were questionable decisions made. It is highly subjective.” [Source]

A2: Bill Ayers

On his blog There Is No Gap, Karl Pohrt writes about an email exchange he had with someone upset that Shaman Drum Bookshop was hosting Monday night’s reading by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn at UM’s Hatcher Graduate Library. Pohrt, who owns Shaman Drum, writes: “The current downturn in the economy has increased feelings of vulnerability, uncertainty and fear for all of us. Despite the ecstatic celebrations for our new President earlier this week, perhaps there has been an actual decline in social tolerance. I hope I’m wrong.” [Source]

A2: Golf

The Ann Arbor Golf Association is organizing a trip to see a matinee performance of August Wilson’s play, “Radio Golf,” at the Detroit Repertory Theatre on Feb. 28. [Source]

Making Alfajores, and a Business

The final step in making an alfajor, a traditional South American cookie, is dipping it in chocolate.

The final step in making an alfajor, a traditional South American cookie, is dipping it in chocolate.

Maite Zubia lifts a cookie with her fork, a cookie she’s just dipped in slippery melted chocolate. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” she asks. “It’s simple, but it’s beautiful.”

She’s in the basement of an Eighth Avenue home on Ann Arbor’s Old West Side, which is also set up as a commercial kitchen, showing The Chronicle how she makes these traditional South American cookies, called alfajores. She’s also telling the story of how she’s growing her business, Maitelates: “It’s been a story of support.” [Full Story]

Column: Limited Edition

The popular political and media rallying cry is “we need bold new ideas to move Michigan’s future forward.” Such visionary statements make for good politics and good press. Well, what about going back to the old ideas that worked. Work, provide, save, and be conscious of the needs of others.

Hey, the party is over. We don’t save much anymore. We spend what we earn, borrow some more from other governments, to buy all of the latest plasma electronics at low prices at Wal-mart. America’s largest retailer then ships the $10 billion we borrowed in merchandise payments back to China each year and we start the cycle all over again. [Full Story]

A2: Food

On the What I Ate This Week blog, the author writes about several meals he had in Ann Arbor – three at Zingerman’s and one at Pizza House. Regarding corned beef hash at the deli: “Zingerman’s is known for tremendous corned beef (as their reuben is legendary), so the meat plays more of a starring role than in most hashes. This, expectedly, has positive and negative results. On the plus side is an interesting flavor profile and some of tha amazing corned beef. On the minus side, it tastes just a little bit less like breakfast. The potatoes are fine, but they really don’t stand up strongly to the corned beef, making it more of a meat dish than a … [Full Story]

A2: Chickens

The Freep publishes an article about Ann Arbor’s backyard chicken ordinance, which passed this summer – it’s not clear why they’re doing a story on it now. Rick Richter says the chickens he keeps are spoiled: ”We’re the laughingstock in 4-H because our birds have it so well.” [Source]

A Little Syrup with Your FestiFools?

Max Klarman paints a papier-mache mask at Saturdays FestiFools open house.

Max Klarman paints a papier-mâché mask at Saturday's FestiFools open house.

It could be a little unnerving being watched by a few dozen over-sized papier-mâché creatures, but luckily The Chronicle was not alone: Saturday’s FestiFools open house drew more than 100 people to its studio across from Crisler Arena, a cavernous room scented with the odd yet not unpleasant mixture of glue and pancake batter.

The two-hour pancake breakfast event was a thank you to volunteers, and a preview of work being done for the third annual FestiFools parade, held this year on Sunday, April 5.

A bewigged Mark Tucker, who partnered with Shoshana Hurand in 2006 for the first FestiFools parade, said the group had recently been told by the University of Michigan that they could have the room as a permanent site – good news, since their first location was a garage on Felch Street, and they’d previously been told by UM that this space in the Campus Security Services Building was temporary [Full Story]

Ypsi: Economy

The New York Times looks at how people are flocking to jobs viewed as “safe” – if you can find them. The article quotes Susan Houseman, a senior economist and labor expert at the Upjohn Institute, an Ypsilanti-based research group: ”The companies doing the least hiring right now are very often the companies that offer the safest jobs.” [Source]

South State Street

Cars parked on State Street in front of UM sport’s facilities totally blocking the west bike lane for blocks. 

The Huron River at the Broadway Bridge

3:00 p.m. The ice along the shore and bridge abutments are like shelf fungus – left delicately sticking out above the water as the river level dropped about a foot below where the ice formed.

A2: Schools

The blog Ann Arbor Schools Musings notes that it’s the time of year for school open houses and lotteries – choices to be made: “In any case – it is good to shop around. Remember, as Sy Syms used to say, ‘An educated consumer is our best customer.’ (You don’t remember that ad? I guess I’m dated.)” [Source]

UM: Medical School

The Freep publishes an op/ed essay by Edward J. (Lev) Linkner, an Ann Arbor doctor and assistant clinical professor at the UM Medical School, who chastises the university for using animals in its medical training: “When I was in medical school at U-M, I declined to participate in the dog lab that was part of the curriculum. I know I did not miss anything by refusing to participate. Even then, it was clear that using live dogs to practice critical procedures meant for human patients is unnecessary and inhumane – and it does not give participants an accurate understanding of human anatomy.” [Source]

UM: Pfizer

The New York Times reports that Pfizer is close to reaching a deal to buy the drugmaker Wyeth. The article quotes Erik Gordon, a professor at UM’s Ross School of Business: ”If Pfizer and Wyeth combine sales forces and other operations, they will have a sleeker cost structure. Most other large companies have cut just everything they can. The only way to come up with new cuts without endangering their future is to merge in a way that creates redundancies that give the companies new job-cutting opportunities.” [Source]

Liberty btw Main and Ashley

This block continues to display high density of vanity license plates.  Today: ANRBRRR and GROOVE.

State Street

UM men’s tennis just beat WMU at Varsity Tennis Center on State Street; To be clear, doubles is finished not the whole match. Singles is next.

Inauguration: Pics and Poetry

We round out our local coverage of the inauguration of Barack Obama with some poetry and pictures. The pictures come from Sabra Briere, who phoned in two phone reports [inauguration report 1, inauguration report 2] from Washington D.C. The poetry is provided by local attorney David Cahill, Briere’s husband, who made the trip as well, and who left some verse in a comment on another article. We  include it here for readers who don’t follow comments left on articles. Poetry and pics after the jump. [Full Story]

Column: On The Road

Rob Cleveland

Rob Cleveland

If you’re one of the many Prius owners in Ann Arbor and enjoy lording your environmental sensitivity over other drivers on the road, look in the rear-view mirror. The Big Three are unveiling new concepts and new plans to put some of the most environmentally sensitive vehicles out to market, meaning Prius owners may have to trade in for a Chevy, Ford or a Chrysler if they want to continue to hold the automotive moral high ground.

New model announcements made at this year’s Detroit Auto Show (also known as the North American International Auto Show in deference no doubt to the NAFTA agreement so loved by the UAW) were prolific, despite a pall created in the wake of December’s brutal and sometimes embarrassing executive testimony in Washington D.C. Most of the green news generated came out of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, who all tried their best to put on a positive face as U.S. auto sales continue their free-fall. [Full Story]