Stories indexed with the term ‘awards’

Public Art Group Weighs Revamping Awards

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (June 26, 2013): Much of the discussion at AAPAC’s most recent meeting focused on the themes of outreach and public engagement.

John Kotarski, Ashlee Arder, Ann Arbor public art commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Ann Arbor public art commissioners John Kotarski and Ashlee Arder at AAPAC’s June 26, 2013 meeting. Arder was shooting B-roll for a video she’s making about the commission. (Photos by the writer.)

As part of that, a proposal to overhaul the Golden Paintbrush awards – the city’s annual recognition of individuals and organizations who support public art in Ann Arbor – received the most attention. Commissioners John Kotarski and Connie Brown had recommended four categories of public recognition to replace the Golden Paintbrush, including a lifetime achievement award, a “Random Acts of Art” award, and public art awards to be presented at a formal social event that was described as an “Academy Awards-type” ceremony.

Although there was general consensus that the Golden Paintbrush needs to be improved, some commissioners felt that the proposed public recognition program was overreaching at this point. Malverne Winborne worried about “scope creep” – going too far afield of AAPAC’s role. Marsha Chamberlin thought that making some changes to the Golden Paintbrush, including a new name, could serve the same purpose. Ultimately, commissioners decided to give the proposal more thought before acting on it.

Also related to public engagement, Kotarski and AAPAC chair Bob Miller reported on efforts to get input on proposals by four finalists for artwork at the East Stadium bridges. The two men have been making presentations to a variety of groups, and are seeking feedback via two online surveys – one on Survey Monkey, another on A2 Open City Hall. Commissioners also talked about having a regular table at the Sunday artisan market and increasing their use of social media, including the commission’s Facebook page and Twitter account – @AAPublicArt. AAPAC also will have a table at the July 15 Townie Street Party.

In other action, commissioners voted to create exploratory task forces for possible projects at Arbor Oaks Park in southeast Ann Arbor, and at the wastewater treatment plant on Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor Township. Craig Hupy, the city’s public services area administrator, had approached AAPAC about the possibility of incorporating public art into the wastewater treatment project. He noted that of the remaining amount in the Percent for Art funds, much of it came from wastewater-related projects, and must be spent on public art with a “nexus” to wastewater. [Full Story]

Washtenaw County Gives Environmental Awards

Four environmental excellence awards were given out by the Washtenaw County commissioners at their Oct. 3, 2012 board meeting. The awards ”honor local businesses and non-profit organizations who provide exceptional leadership in environmental protection during National Pollution Prevention Week.” The winners were chosen by the county’s environmental health division and the office of the water resources commissioner.

The University of Michigan’s Radrick Farms Golf Course received the 2012 Excellence in Water Quality Protection Award for its “innovative water and energy conservation measures, environmental stewardship programs, and stormwater management systems.” The 2012 Excellence in Waste Reduction and Recycling Award was given to Wylie Elementary School of Dexter, for its “extensive recycling program, purchasing of recycled products, and educating their students in waste reduction and conservation … [Full Story]

Local Historic District Awards Announced

As part of National Preservation Month, 20 awards will be presented for local historic preservation efforts at the June 4, 2012 Ann Arbor city council meeting. The Historic District Awards cover several categories, according to a press release issued by the city. [.pdf of press release with complete list of winners]

Owners of five properties – including the University of Michigan’s Burton Memorial Tower and The Relax Station at 300 W. Huron – will be honored for rehabilitating those properties “in accordance with good preservation practice as established by the U.S. Department of the Interior.”  Owners of another 10 properties will be recognized for having preserved their property for over 10 years of continuous ownership. People in that category include councilmember Mike … [Full Story]

County Postpones Action on Road Millage

Washenaw County board of commissioners meeting (Oct. 5, 2011): The main discussion at Wednesday’s board meeting focused on a proposal for countywide road repair – and the possible mechanism to fund it.

Steve Powers, Verna McDaniel

Ann Arbor city administrator Steve Powers talks with Washtenaw County administrator Verna McDaniel before the Oct. 5 meeting of the county board of commissioners. Powers, who started his job in mid-September and was formerly a Marquette County administrator, told the board he looked forward to building more collaborative efforts between the city and county. (Photos by the writer.)

The proposal debated by the board came from the Washtenaw County road commission. Rob Turner (R-District 1) recommended indefinite postponement. He objected to the idea of levying a millage without voter approval – an action that road commissioners believe is possible under a 1909 law. It’s still on the books but that hasn’t been used in decades.

Ultimately, the board voted to postpone action until their Dec. 7 meeting. The next evening – on Thursday, Oct. 6 – they held a working session on the issue.

In other business, the board gave initial approval to a contract with Sylvan Township, related to its bond repayment schedule, which the township is struggling to meet. The county will be tapping its reserves to help the township cover the bond payments, but the deal is contingent on township voters passing a 4.75 mill, 20-year tax that’s on the November 2011 ballot.

The board also took an initial vote to create a new management position and hire Greg Dill into that job – as county infrastructure management director. The job is part of a broader reorganization of county administration, which hasn’t yet been approved by the board.

Accolades were threaded throughout the meeting, as the county handed out its annual Environmental Excellence Awards to several local organizations. Praise was also served up to Lansing lobbyist Kirk Profit for his work on the county’s behalf. That praise included initial approval of a two-year contract renewal for Governmental Consultant Services Inc. – Profit is a director of the Lansing-based firm.

The board also said an official farewell to Kristin Judge, a Democrat from District 7 who resigned her seat, and was attending her last board meeting. [Full Story]

Local Firms, Nonprofit Get Environment Awards

At its Oct. 5, 2011 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners passed a resolution honoring winners of the county’s 2011 Environmental Excellence awards. The county gave its overall Environmental Excellence Award to the Chrysler Group LLC for the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, commending the firm for its waste reduction and recycling program, its model stormwater and erosion control system involving native plants, and its efforts to keep toxic materials out of the waste stream.

The Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission was given the Excellence in Water Quality Protection Award for its innovative stormwater management, use of native plants in landscaping, and pollution prevention. An honorable mention in this category was awarded to Horiba Instruments Inc.

The Leslie Science and Nature Center of … [Full Story]

Column: Desmond Howard’s Unlikely Legacy

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Desmond Howard stands about 5-foot-8 – I don’t care what the program said. When Bo Schembechler moved the Cleveland native from tailback to receiver, it virtually eliminated any chance Howard had to win the Heisman Trophy. In its first 55 years, only one receiver had ever taken it home.

But then, just playing at Michigan practically knocked Howard out of the running in the first place. Only one Wolverine, Tom Harmon, had ever won the award – and that was back in 1940.

Schembechler never promoted any player for any award – Heisman or otherwise. Because, as he often said, “Nothing comes before The Team, The Team, The Team.” When Bo stepped down in 1990, Gary Moeller took over, and followed the exact same policy.

In the modern era – when Notre Dame’s Joe Theismann started pronouncing his name as Theismann to rhyme with Heisman, and Oregon paid big money to put a huge poster of Joey Harrington on the side of a Manhattan building – Michigan’s policy was positively anachronistic.

Bo didn’t care. “That is not how a Michigan man earns his hardware.” After all, he promised, “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions,” not, “Those Who Stay Will Get Their Faces Painted On New York City Skyscrapers.” [Full Story]

Column: Book Fare

It hasn’t been easy for people devoted to books in this community to keep the annual Ann Arbor Book Festival and Writer’s Conference going.

Inner courtyard at North Quad

The inner courtyard at the University of Michigan's North Quad. This year's Ann Arbor Book Festival and Writer's Conference, which takes place on June 25, will be held at North Quad, located at State and Huron.

The publishing industry as we knew it is all but gone, as is the bookselling industry. (A visit to the almost ghostly downtown Borders store on a recent Friday night grimly reminded us of this.) The Great Recession all but dried up sponsorship and grant money for the arts in general and the literary arts in particular.

So how did organizers manage to bring back the book festival for another year?

Like most of us, by deciding what expenses weren’t essential, by figuring out how to stretch a buck and by some simple community cooperation.

Check out the schedule and you’ll see that this year’s festival – set for Saturday, June 25 – is being presented essentially in conjunction with the Neutral Zone’s Volume Summer Institute and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

Jeff Kass, Neutral Zone’s creative arts director who is heading up the book festival this year, says organizers were faced with “trying to move forward with the book festival under difficult economic circumstances, and we really didn’t have the resources to go it alone anymore.” [Full Story]

Ann Arbor NAACP Honors Academic Success


Fatou Ndaw, left, and Chinyere Onimo are two of the 81 students from Ann Arbor public high schools who were honored at Saturday's NAACP Freedom Fund dinner. Ndaw and Onimo attend Huron High School. (Photo by the writer.)

William Hampton came up to the podium and smiled, looking out at the crowd of several hundred people gathered at the Four Points Sheraton ballroom. “Isn’t this great?” he said.

Hampton, president of the Ann Arbor branch of the NAACP, had just finished handing out certificates of achievement to several dozen high school students at Saturday night’s Freedom Fund dinner. They were honored for maintaining at least a 3.20 grade point average in the spring term of 2009.

In his keynote speech, Washtenaw County sheriff Jerry Clayton told students they had a responsibility to be leaders in their schools and community, and to push their peers to excel. “There should be double the number of students in this room next year,” he said. [Full Story]

A Tearful, Tiara Farewell

Shary Brown, with gifts from her staff and artists of the Street Art Fair, at an awards breakfast on Thursday.

Shary Brown, with gifts from her staff and artists of the Street Art Fair, at an awards breakfast on Thursday. (Photo by the writer.)

“We live with your art every day of our lives,” Shary Brown told a group of artists from the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, “and that’s a tremendous gift you bring to us.”

There was lots of mutual affection at an awards breakfast on Thursday morning for artists and staff – a breakfast which included possibly the largest bowls of hard-boiled eggs in town. Brown praised the people who sweat the details for this four-day cultural marathon, but this year the awards event also included an emotional send-off for Brown herself, who is stepping down from the role of executive director this year.

“Not only in this show, but in our industry as a whole, Shary’s been a big influence,” said artist Dale Rayburn, as he presented Brown with a bouquet of fresh flowers, an album of cards and a “wad of cash” collected from artists. [Full Story]

Red Cross Honors Volunteers

Red Cross volunteer Steve Luedders, left, shakes hands with Bill McGill after receiving the Dan Kivel Blackbird award at Wednesday evenings awards ceremony

Red Cross volunteer Steve Luedders, left, shakes hands with board member Bill McGill after receiving the Dan Kivel Blackbird award at Wednesday evening's awards ceremony at Washtenaw Community College. (Photo by Rebecca Friedman.)

When the Washtenaw County chapter of the American Red Cross issued a press release on Thursday stating that its volunteers had responded to a 2 a.m. house fire that morning in Saline, we took special note – just hours before, the chapter had feted volunteers at an annual meeting that The Chronicle attended, where they talked about just this kind of work.

About 150 people came to the event, which for the first time combined the nonprofit’s  awards ceremony with its annual membership meeting – usually the two events are held separately. Though the evening focused on recognizing local Red Cross volunteers, leaders of the organization also spoke of the challenges they face to provide services in the current economy. [Full Story]

Health Media CEO: “Don’t Ever Give Up!”

Ted Dacko

Ted Dacko, CEO of HealthMedia, was named the 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year at the New Enterprise Forum's annual awards event Thursday night.

HealthMedia, says Ted Dacko, is “a company that shouldn’t be here.”

Just a few years ago, the Ann Arbor firm was left for dead. They had 85 employees, a burn rate of $685,000 a month, and very little revenue. Venture capital funding had dried up. Dacko was working there as vice president of sales and marketing when the previous CEO quit – two weeks before the firm would literally run out of money.

The board asked Dacko if he wanted the job. If he took it, he had two choices: Make a go of it, or lock the doors.

If you know the rest of the story, you know why Dacko was honored Thursday night with the New Enterprise Forum‘s Entrepreneur of the Year award. [Full Story]