New Media Watch Section

A2: Downtown Zoning

An online survey about downtown zoning has been posted on A2 Open City Hall, as part of the current review of A2D2 (Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown) zoning. The survey closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2. Survey results will be part of the input considered by the city’s planning commission as it makes recommendations to city council about possible zoning revisions. Public forums, focus groups and coffee hours are other strategies that the city is using to solicit feedback – more details on that are on the A2D2 website. [Link to A2 Open City Hall]

A2: Dog Park

The city of Ann Arbor is seeking input on a potential new dog park in Ann Arbor, via an online survey and two public meetings. The dog park subcommittee of the city’s park advisory commission will hold public meetings on Tuesday, Aug. 27 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the basement conference room of city hall at 301 E. Huron, and on Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Cobblestone Farm Barn at 2781 Packard Road. The online survey will be open through Aug. 12. [Source]

Washtenaw: Pam Byrnes

The Ballot Box blog for The Hill reports on Democrat Pam Byrnes’ decision to challenge Republican incumbent Tim Wahlberg in 2014 for the 7th District U.S. Congressional seat, which includes portions of western Washtenaw County. From The Hill: “The seat leans slightly Republican, giving Mitt Romney 51 percent of its vote in 2012, and is the type Democrats need to win to have a shot at taking back control of the House next year.” Byrnes, who lives in the Chelsea area, was a former Michigan state representative who served as speaker of the House. She lost a 2010 primary election for state senate to Rebekah Warren. [Source]

A2: Business

A post on Herman Miller’s Lifework blog features a Q&A with Lisa Waud of Ann Arbor-based Pot & Box, focused on her playlist at work. Here’s how Waud responds when asked what her work would be if it were a song or musician: “Wow. I guess I’d say my work would be the band Little Dragon: a strong female lead, can’t sit still when it’s underway, and like they describe their music, my work is very much a dreamy, rhythmical, shifting, moody rainbow.” [Source]

Ypsi: Shadow Art Fair

Mark Maynard has announced that this year’s July 20 Shadow Art Fair in Ypsilanti will be the last. He writes: “Yes, after discussing this eventuality for the past several years, my fellow organizers and I have finally come to a consensus and decided to invoke the nuclear option. It’s been a hell of a run, but, like old Ben Kenobi, we’ve decided that the time is right for us to step aside so that others might flourish in our absence, experiencing the full intensity of the force, which has motivated us these past several years, for themselves.” The fair runs from noon to midnight at the Corner Brewery. [Source]

A2: Art Fair – Volunteers Needed

The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is sending out a clarion call for volunteers to help out at the fair this year – 2013. It runs from July 17-20. The need for volunteers includes the Townie Street Party on July 15. [Source]

A2: Venture Capital

In a guest commentary for The Bridge, Chris Rizik – CEO of Renaissance Venture Capital Fund in Ann Arbor – describes the entrepreneurial and venture funding landscape in Michigan, giving an optimistic outlook. He writes: “Of course, Michigan hasn’t completely turned the corner; it will take years to establish sustained, diversified growth. But it is important to take stock of where we are in the process, and a look at the last five years shows Michigan has come a long way. Young people are flocking to downtown Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Entrepreneurship is no longer a rarity but something for which hundreds of thousands of us are striving.” [Source]

A2: Restaurants

Writing on The Celebrity Cafe, Francis Vachon reviews restaurants in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Hamtramck after a recent trip to Michigan. Ann Arbor eateries included in the report are Seva, the Blue Nile, Amadeus, Frita Batidos, Mark’s Carts, Café Zola and Zingerman’s Deli. Vachon writes: “Walking downtown, I did not see any ‘big chain’ fast food restaurants and only one Starbucks. This is usually a good thing when you are a foodie.” [Source]

A2: Russ Collins

Russ Collins, executive director of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, has been named to Indiewire’s 2013 inaugural list of “influencers” in the independent film industry. Collins has led Art House Convergence, an annual conference of art house owners, for six years. From an Indiewire interview with Collins: “Coming together for movies in a social context happens because we’re social creatures. It’s a profound psychological experience, and just like there’s a different impact listening to a musician in real life, so it is with film.” [Source]

A2: Summer Festival

In advance of this year’s Ann Arbor Summer Festival – which starts on Friday, June 14 – local photographer Myra Klarman reflects on what she and her son Max love about it. She writes: “My batteries – the ones in me and the ones in my camera – are fully charged and ready for this milestone season. Festival executive director Robb Woulfe and Amy Nesbitt have truly outdone themselves this year. The lineup, which seems to be even meatier than usual, makes me feel like a kid in an exotic candy store. I’m looking forward to experiencing totally new (to me) artists, and getting reacquainted with longstanding favorites.” [Source]

A2: Skatepark

In a post on the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark site titled “Where’s the @#$%! Skatepark?!” FAAS president Trevor Staples describes the project’s progress. He writes: “We’ll be building this summer. Would we have liked to have started in May? Yes. The fact is, we’ve done the work that it takes to get a 30,000 square foot skatepark built in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There’s still a ton of work to do, and the handful of volunteers who have busted their butts to get us this far are continuing to work their fingers to the bone to do what’s needed to make it happen.” [Source]

A2: Marriage Equality

In an essay published on The DOMA Project’s website, Patricia Davenport of Ann Arbor argues against U.S. immigration laws that discriminate against the foreign spouses of U.S. citizens. Her son is engaged to a Turkish man, and the couple currently live in Istanbul. Davenport writes: “Any law that discriminates in this way against my son, also harms our entire family. This is not a gay issue, this is about American families. And it is time for this to come to an end, so my son and his partner can come home to us.” [Source]

UM: Peregrine Falcons

The University of Michigan Hospital is holding a contest to name the four peregrine falcon chicks that were born recently on the hospital’s roof. A similar contest for last year’s brood yielded these names: Lloyd, Bo, Fritz and Yost. [Source]

UM: Bryan Rogers

Bryan Rogers, who served as dean of the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design from 2000 to 2012, died on May 28 after a lengthy illness. A post on the school’s website quotes current dean Guna Nadarajan: “For those who worked closely with Bryan, he is remembered most for his wry and often wicked sense of humor, his grace and devoted friendship, his love of music and reading, and the many acts of kindness that he performed without an expectation of thanks or recognition.” [Source]

A2: School Budget

On her blog, Ann Arbor Public Schools trustee Christine Stead posts a list of budget questions that she has sent to the AAPS administration in preparation for an upcoming study session. Many of the questions focus on finding ways to make budget cuts without impacting the classroom and programs. [Source]

A2: Superintendent Search

Writing on Ann Arbor Schools Musings, Ruth Kraut takes an in-depth look at the Broad Foundation and its influence on school systems nationwide, including in Ann Arbor. The current Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent, Patricia Green, attended a training center funded by the foundation, and the search firm that’s helping to find Green’s replacement has ties to the center. Kraut writes: “It’s not just that I don’t agree with the Broad Center’s agenda; it’s that I don’t think that most Ann Arborites do either. Further, and even worse, I don’t think that the Broad Foundation is honest about their agenda. I believe that their agenda is to privatize, and profit-ize, public schools.” [Source]

UM: Commencement

Forbes and Mashable are among the many media sites that have posted a video of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s speech at the May 4 University of Michigan commencement. Mashable notes: “Costolo, a graduate of UM who pursued comedy after earning his bachelor’s degree for computer science in 1985, started his speech by tweeting a photo of the crowd and ended it saying, ‘hashtag go blue!’” [Source] [Source]

Washtenaw: Health

Bridge Magazine reports on disparities in health between neighboring Washtenaw and Wayne counties: “The health gap is best summed up in one piece of data: The average Wayne County resident dies at a younger age than residents of any other county in the state. Washtenaw men live an entire U.S. Senate term – six years — longer than Wayne men; the average Washtenaw woman lives 2.7 years longer than her counterpart to the east.” [Source]

UM: New Grad Housing

A $110 million donation by Charles Munger will fund a 600-occupant, 8-story graduate student dorm and academic complex at the University of Michigan. The donation is the largest ever received by UM. The dorm will be located on the north side of East Madison Street between South Division and Thompson. As a point of reference, the area covers the location of the current Blimpy Burger building on the west. [Source]

A2: Bill’s Beer Garden

A post on Discover Michigan features Bill’s Beer Garden, located in the courtyard of Downtown Home & Garden in Ann Arbor: “This is the type of beer place parents can bring their kids to and not feel weird about it. This is a place to simply bring one’s child, hang out with your friends, take in the sunshine, and people watch.” The beer garden opens for the season on May 2. [Source]

A2: Millennials

In a column published by Bridge Magazine, Natalie Burg writes about her reasons for living in Michigan – despite the belief by many that “the well-educated, career-driven, creative-class Millennial like myself is not found in the wild here in Michigan.” She continues: “Living in Ann Arbor, I’m a quick drive from four major media markets. And lucky me, I write about growth in the state with the most growth potential. As she writes in her book, ‘Lean In,’ Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg believes in choosing employers by their growth potential. Being self-employed, the market in which I work is my employer of sorts, and there couldn’t be a better one than Michigan.” [Source]

A2: Eden Foods

An article on Salon reports that Eden Foods, an organic company headquartered south of Ann Arbor, has filed a lawsuit seeking exemption from the federal mandate to cover contraception for its employees under the Affordable Care Act. The company is represented by Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center. From the report: “Eden Foods, which did not respond to a request for comment, says in its filing that the company believes of birth control that ‘these procedures almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.’” [Source]

A2: AAPS Superintendent

The Ann Arbor Schools Musings blog is asking readers to weigh in with their thoughts on Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent Patricia Green, who announced her resignation this week. One of the open-ended questions asks about qualities that are important for the next superintendent. [Source]

A2: “One Shining Moment”

A column on BuzzFeed Sports tells the story of how David Barrett’s “One Shining Moment” – written 27 years ago – became the signature song for the NCAA basketball finals. “From the snare drum and piano that opens the segment to a few seconds later, when that familiar 11-note synth-trumpet kicks in, the interplay between words and harmony never veer from Barrett’s original architecture. In fact, despite all the iterations through the years, many of the same musical elements remain from that fall day in 1986, when a handful of men came together in an Ann Arbor studio to record the first song for the first time.” [Source]

A2: FoolMoon

Photographer Myra Klarman has posted some gorgeous images taken at the April 5 FoolMoon festivities in downtown Ann Arbor, including luminaries that fit this year’s theme of “Foo[L]d” (Foolish Food) – a futomaki roll, Moon Pops, cupcakes, bananas, fish and more. As she writes, “a veritable smorgasbord of divine delectables.” [Source]

A2: Nachos

The latest post on Nacho Frenzy – a blog focused on “nacho ratings from in-and-around the city of Ann Arbor” – reviews the nachos at Ashley’s: “There’s nothing outright bad about the plate, it’s just very average. I usually enjoy it more than I should because of the above mentioned atmosphere and because I’m usually two beers in by the time I get them.” Other recent posts review nachos at Isalita and the Wurst Bar in Ypsilanti. [Source]

UM: Parking

The University of Michigan is exploring a possible public-private partnership to run the parking system for its Ann Arbor campus and the UM Health System. The University Record reports that UM has hired Greenhill & Co. to study possible options. [Source]

A2: Jim Cook

The Ann Arbor Rotary Club‘s blog highlights the service of Jim Cook, one of the club’s past presidents who recently received the group’s distinguished service award. His accomplishments include service on Rotary’s International Humanitarian Projects Committee, where he led major projects in the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Africa, and South and Central America. Cook has also served as a board member and chair of the Ann Arbor Art Center and Washtenaw Chapter of the Red Cross, and on the board of the Michigan Diabetes Association. [Source]

Washtenaw: Marriage Equality

Damn Arbor highlights the fact that Washtenaw County showed the largest increase in Facebook profile photo changes this week, using the red and pink “equal” sign to support marriage equality. The changes were analyzed by Eytan Bakshy on the Facebook Data Science Team. The Human Rights Campaign had urged Facebook users to change their profile photos on Monday, March 25, as the U.S. Supreme Court began debating two same-sex marriage cases. [Source]