Old Media Watch Section

A2: Michael Ford

The Detroit News profiles Michael Ford, CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, who might become the first chief executive of the southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority (RTA). From the report: “Ford, 52, has the reputation at the AAATA of being meticulous, relentless and customer friendly as he oversaw improved services and the agency’s first millage. He is contemplating taking on what could be an even bigger challenge to help grow mass transit in Metro Detroit that has for years resisted implementing transit options beyond the ubiquitous car.” [Source]

A2: Teen Depression

The New York Times published an essay by two Ann Arbor high school students – Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld – about their experiences with depression and their efforts to write about it for their school newspaper. They report that the school principal wouldn’t allow their articles to be published: “We were surprised that the administration and the adults who advocated for mental health awareness were the ones standing in the way of it. By telling us that students could not talk openly about their struggles, they reinforced the very stigma we were trying to eliminate.” [Source]

A2: Drink Delivery

The Detroit News reports on a new online and mobile service – called DrinkDrivers – that delivers beer, wine, liquor and mixers to customers’ homes. The business recently expanded into the Ann Arbor market. The article quotes CEO Jeff Nadel: “Ann Arbor so far has absolutely and unequivocally exceeded our expectations.” [Source]


A2: “Weekend Escape”

New York Magazine’s “Weekend Escape Plan” features Ann Arbor, in an article titled “Discover the Arty Side of Ann Arbor.” The piece includes unusual suggestions for lodging, such as the Baxter House Bed & Breakfast and a couple of homes posted on airbnb. Tips for an “Oddball Day” will sound familiar to locals – stops include the farmers market, a picnic at The Arb, and a post-dinner drink at Kerrytown’s 327 Braun Court, described as having “a dimly lit atmosphere that’s somewhere between too cool for school and just right.” [Source]

WCC: No Confidence Vote

The Washtenaw Voice reports that the Washtenaw Community College Education Association will hold a no-confidence vote against WCC president Rose Bellanca on May 1, the date of the union’s next general meeting. According to the report, WCCEA President Maryam Barrie addressed WCC trustees at their April meeting to describe the faculty’s concerns, which include “tactics of intimidation and isolation,” an increase in administrators while cutting departmental budgets, and a lack of transparency. Any decision regarding Bellanca’s employment would come from the WCC board of trustees, which hired her in 2011. [Source]

UM: Salaries

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a letter that University of Michigan faculty sent to UM regents on April 20, questioning the high salaries of university administrators. From the letter: “The University is in desperate and urgent need of fiscal reform. Arresting the steep increases in salaries to top administrators, reforming the secretive bonus culture of the Fleming administration building, terminating the toxic AST project, and refocusing the attention of the University on its core mission of teaching, research, and service should save the University many tens of millions of dollars per year. We urge you to work with incoming President-Elect Schlissel to introduce and implement these necessary reforms as soon as practically possible.” The 40-page document includes a … [Full Story]

A2: Transit Tax

WEMU reports on the April 7 public forum, hosted but the League of Women Voters, that focused on the proposed 0.7 mill tax for expanded public transportation. Voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will vote on the issue on May 6. Panelists at the forum included state Rep. Jeff Irwin, who supports the expansion; Gillian Ream Gainsley, a board member of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority; and former AATA board member Ted Annis and LuAnne Bullington, both of Better Transit Now, which opposes the tax. [Source]

Ann Arbor: Obama

Several media outlets reported on President Barack Obama’s speech in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, where he focused on efforts to raise the federal minimum wage $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2016. From CNN: “Speaking to a rowdy crowd at the University of Michigan, Obama used much of his remarks to lambast Republicans who oppose such a hike, saying it amounted to giving working-class Americans ‘the shaft.’” [Source] The Detroit Free Press quotes UM freshman Greg Lobel: “He’s been a great president for college kids. He’s a huge basketball fan. He’s hilarious. He relates to the kids.” [Source] Detroit’s NBC affiliate provides video of Obama’s lunch at Zingerman’s Deli – he ordered a Reuben. [Source]


A2: Library

An article in Fortune magazine highlights a digital music licensing deal between the Ann Arbor District Library and Ghostly International. From the report: “As far as anyone involved is aware, this is the first deal of its kind between a record label and a library … and it highlights some of the fundamental ways that some forward-looking labels and libraries have started to adapt to our modern digital climate.” [Source]

Washtenaw: Media

Jim O’Rourke, publisher of Digital First Media’s Michigan Group – which owns Heritage Media – announced that the local weeklies owned by Heritage in Washtenaw County will be consolidated into a new weekly print publication called “Washtenaw Now.” Those publications include the Ypsilanti Courier, Saline Reporter, Chelsea Standard, Dexter Leader, Manchester Enterprise and Milan News-Leader. The change will begin on April 10. [Source]

Washtenaw: Marriage

Several media outlets report on marriage licenses issued in Michigan, including Washtenaw County, on Saturday, March 22 – following a federal court ruling the previous day that struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. WEMU reports from the Washtenaw County administration building in downtown Ann Arbor, where more than a dozen wedding officiants were performing ceremonies. [Source] The Detroit News quotes Martin Contreras, who married Keith Orr, his partner of 27 years – they own and run the \aut\ bar in Ann Arbor: “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime. It’s indescribable. I never expected we could get this far.” [Source] Heritage Media published a series of photos from the crowd. [Source]

Washtenaw: Marriage

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Washtenaw County clerk’s office will open on Saturday, March 22, to issue 60 same-sex marriage licenses, in the wake of Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman that struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. County clerk Larry Kestenbaum: “We’re not typically open, but basically the Board of Commissioners strongly urged me to be open tomorrow.” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an emergency motion requesting a stay on Friedman’s ruling. [Source]

A2: Homeless

Channel 7 Action News, Detroit’s NBC ABC affiliate, reports on concerns voiced by homeless people, living on public land near the Fuller Bridge in Ann Arbor, about being evicted from that spot, which they call “Troll Village.” The reporter interviews a man named John about the possible eviction: “You can move us. There will still be homeless people. It doesn’t solve a problem. I just want to live where I have my freedom.” [Source]

UM: New President

Mark Schlissel has been named the new president of the University of Michigan, after a vote by the board of regents at a special meeting on Jan. 24. He’s currently the provost at Brown University. Mary Sue Coleman’s contract runs through July 31. [Source] [Source]

A2: Nicola’s Books

Nicola Rooney tells Publishers Weekly that she’s looking for a buyer for her Ann Arbor bookstore, Nicola’s Books. “I have a long-term continuation plan in mind. It’s really a gentle process. My ideal scenario is a gentle transition.” The independent bookstore opened in 1991 and is located in the Westgate Shopping Center, on Ann Arbor’s west side. [Source]

A2: Layoffs

The Detroit Free Press reports that Teleperformance USA is laying of 430 workers at its Ann Arbor call center and closing its operation at 2300 Traverwood Drive on Jan. 19. A company executive told the Free Press that Teleperformance was not able to renew its contract with a client that the call center served. [Source]

UM: Presidential Search

The Detroit Free Press interviews former University of Michigan president James Duderstadt and former interim president Joseph White about the qualifications and skills needed to lead the university, as regents search for the next president to replace Mary Sue Coleman. The article quotes Duderstadt: “I’ll be very surprised if the person selected isn’t well-known to people in higher education. It’s like selecting a pope. We’re just waiting for the white smoke.” [Source]

A2: Bookstores

In an article about independent bookstores, the Detroit News features Bookbound, a new Ann Arbor shop that Peter and Megan Blackshear opened in 2013. The report quotes Peter Blackshear: “Business is better than I thought it would be, but Ann Arbor is pretty special.” [Source]

WCC: State Street CIA

At their Nov. 26 meeting, the Washtenaw Community College board of trustees has unanimously voted to opt out of Pittsfield Township’s State Street corridor improvement authority (CIA). The Washtenaw Voice, WCC’s student newspaper, posted the outcome of the vote on its website, as part of a live blog from the meeting. At stake was nearly $3 million in taxes that would have been diverted to fund road improvements along State Street over a 20-year period, if WCC had not opted out. [Source]

A2: Anti-war License Plate

Michigan Radio is reporting that Ann Arbor resident Dave DeVarti has joined a lawsuit against the Secretary of State of the state of Michigan – for rejecting his choice of personalized license plate: “WAR SUX” [Source] DeVarti was a long-time member of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board and served briefly in the mid-1980s on the Ann Arbor city council.

UM: Madonna

People magazine reports on the rock star Madonna and her daughter Lourdes Leon coming to the University of Michigan this week as part of a college tour. The magazine quotes UM senior Lindsey Meekhof: “Someone announced to my choir class Madonna was in the building, and choir wasn’t productive anymore after that.” [Source]

UM: Google

U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan has ruled in favor of Google’s massive book digitization project that involves library systems at several universities, including the University of Michigan through its Michigan Digitization Project. The ruling dismisses a copyright infringement case brought by the Authors Guild, which sued Google on behalf of authors and publishers. The ruling is expected to be appealed. [Source]

A2: Ann Arbor SPARK

In a post on the Forbes website, Kai Petainen writes about the difficulty in securing financial statements from Ann Arbor SPARK, an economic development agency that receives significant state and local funding. He writes: “Finally, I got the financial documents. But, how did I do it? SPARK didn’t give me the documents. My local government didn’t give me the documents – they told me that they didn’t have them. I had to go to the Attorney General in Michigan for the documents. The Attorney General’s office gave them to me immediately.” [Source]

UM: Fundraising

The University of Michigan has set a $4 billion goal for its current fundraising campaign, called Victors for Michigan. The Nov. 7 kickoff event in Ann Arbor included news that $1 billion of that total would be raised for student financial aid and scholarships. If successful, it would be the most ever raised by a public university, and would exceed UM’s previous campaign of $3.2 billion. [Source] [Source]

A2: Lynn Rivers

Roll Call has published a feature on former Congresswoman Lynn Rivers, who lives in Ann Arbor and teaches at Washtenaw Community College. From the article: ”Rivers said that maybe she could help a campaign someday, but she doesn’t see herself ever running for anything again. She liked her former lifestyle, but she likes her new one, too. ‘There’s a certain appeal to eating dinner at a table, sleeping in your own bed, having pets,’ Rivers said.” [Source]

UM: Federal Funding

In a guest column published by the Detroit Free Press, Ora Pescovitz – CEO of the University of Michigan Health System and UM’s executive vice president for medical affairs – describes how the federal sequestration and recent shutdown are affecting medical research. From the column: “When we stop investing in research, we’re saying that we are no longer committed to leading the world in discovery and being on the cutting edge of medical science. We’re saying that we are okay with the fact that our nation — a nation built on pioneering innovation — will no longer be in the lead or even competitive.”[Source]

A2: Business

In his Forbes leadership column, Bruce Rogers profiles Lauren Bigelow, an Ann Arbor resident and CEO of the Growth Capital Network, which manages the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The column quotes Bigelow describing the Accelerate Michigan program: “With the competition, we’re trying to be a shot of nitrous to get the companies to the next step. We introduce additional capital flow to Michigan and it’s a great way to get ex-pats back to the state.” [Source]

UM: Minority Enrollment

Bloomberg reports on declining minority enrollment at the University of Michigan, following the state’s 2006 voter referendum that prohibited raced-based admissions policies. The report states that black student enrollment is down about 30% at UM’s undergraduate and law schools. The article quotes UM regent Mark Bernstein: “I don’t think anybody accepts the numbers. We are, as a campus, as a university, committed to diversity, and we’ll just have to soldier on using less-effective tools.” [Source]

A2: “Thrive-able” Wages

In an opinion piece published by the Detroit News, Zingerman’s co-founder Paul Saginaw describes his company’s efforts to pay its food-service workers more than the federally mandated living wage. He writes: ”We would be irresponsible employers if the jobs we provided could not support housing stability and health security. So we are motivated to gradually raise wages to a ‘thrive-able level’ for all of our lowest-paid employees across the board. A living wage is the path to a living economy and the antidote to the current suicide economy trajectory we find ourselves on.” [Source]

UM: Gershwins

The New York Times reports on an agreement between the estates of George and Ira Gershwin and the University of Michigan that will result in at least 35 volumes of scores and analysis – the first in-depth research on the Gershwins’ entire combined body of work. [Source] As a tribute to the collaboration, the university has posted a YouTube video of a performance by faculty and students of UM’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, titled “Rhapsody in Maize and Blue.” [Source]