Stories indexed with the term ‘memorial’

Column: Remembering an Unsung Hero

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

An important tenth year anniversary is coming up, but it’s not one I’ve been looking forward to.

I first met Mike Lapprich when I was an assistant hockey coach at Ann Arbor Huron High School, and he was just a ninth grader. He was a big defenseman with a baby face, a shy guy with an easy smile – an oversized puppy.

I came back five years later as the head coach, when Lapper, as we all called him, had just finished his first year as an assistant coach, at the ripe age of 18. The team we inherited had not won a game in over a year.

When I met the returning captain, Mike Henry, over lunch that summer, he brought a list of things he wanted to discuss. The first: “You have no idea what you’re getting into.” The second: “Lapper’s our man. He’s the guy we trust. Keep him, and treat him right.”

It was not a suggestion. [Full Story]

Public Art Projects Move Forward

Ann Arbor public art commission special meeting (March 7, 2013): Because attendance was low at AAPAC’s regular meeting in late February, commissioners held a special meeting the following week to wrap up items that hadn’t been addressed.

Deb Polich, Bob Miller, Ann Arbor public art commission, Arts Alliance, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Bob Miller, right, is the new chair of the Ann Arbor public art commission. To the left is Deb Polich, executive director of the nonprofit Arts Alliance. They were attending the March 15 meeting of the city council’s public art committee, which is developing revisions to the city’s public art ordinance. (Photos by the writer.)

Commissioners voted to accept a memorial for Coleman Jewett as an official AAPAC project and to approve Sarah Gay as a volunteer project manager. Her duties would be to lead efforts for city council approval, donor relations and fundraising. John Kotarski advocated for less involvement from AAPAC, saying he hoped to streamline the project.

However, other commissioners felt it should be handled like other projects, with oversight by AAPAC. The proposal is for a bronze Adirondack chair at the Ann Arbor farmers market. The city’s market manager, Sarah DeWitt, attended the March 7 meeting and will help coordinate the project.

Commissioners also voted to increase the honorariums for artists who have been selected as finalists for a $400,000 project at the East Stadium bridge. The overall project amount remains unchanged, but honorariums were raised from $2,000 to $3,000 for each of the four finalists: Volkan Alkanoglu, based in Atlanta, Georgia; Sheila Klein of Bow, Washington; Rebar Group of San Francisco; and Catherine Widgery of Cambridge, Mass. They will be in town on April 1 for a site visit and public open house.

Another effort that’s in the early phases got a vote of support from commissioners, but no financial commitment at this point. The project will use old aluminum canoes from the city of Ann Arbor’s Argo canoe livery, which artists and community groups will turn into artwork that will be displayed throughout the downtown in 2014. Partners in the project include the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Main Street Area Association (MSAA), the Arts Alliance, and the Huron River Watershed Council. AAPAC is involved only in a supportive role, to help with public engagement.

The role of public engagement was part of a discussion regarding AAPAC’s annual public art plan, which is due to the city council on April 1. Some commissioners expressed frustration at the process, given the uncertainty of the public art program’s future. Ultimately, they gave guidance to Aaron Seagraves, the city’s public art administrator, to draft a plan that includes projects in highly-visible, highly-used locations, currently underserved in terms of public art.

The March 7 meeting also included the election of officers. Bob Miller was elected the new chair, replacing Marsha Chamberlin. Kotarski abstained from voting. He noted that the commission will soon be at only 40% capacity – a reference to the fact that there are three vacancies on the nine-member commission, with an additional resignation expected by Wiltrud Simbuerger in the near future.

Two of those vacancies will likely be filled shortly. Nominations are on the city council’s March 18 agenda for confirmation: Nick Zagar, an artist and commercial real estate agent who serves on the Ann Arbor Art Center board; and Ashlee Arder, programs coordinator at ArtServe Michigan.

All of these actions come in the context of the city council’s ongoing review of the city’s public art program, which began in early December of 2012. This article begins with a report on the most recent meeting of the council’s public art committee on Friday, March 15. An update of their work will be attached to the council’s March 18 agenda as an item of communication. Their next committee meeting is scheduled for March 28. [Full Story]

Column: Pausing to Listen on 9/11

Chronicle readers will no doubt have their own memories of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 – how it affected their own lives and the lives of others they know or knew.

9/11 memorial services Ann Arbor

On Sunday morning, Sept. 11, 2011, Ann Arbor firefighters and police officers paused to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 ten years ago.

I remember hearing the news while working the receiving dock at Busch’s Main Street grocery store – smatterings of information relayed from various delivery drivers.

My job as a receiving clerk was to be generally skeptical of this group. I was trained to ask basic questions. Where are the stale loaves of bread you say you pulled off the shelf and put on the outgoing racks? Where are the five cases of olive oil that your invoice says are supposed to be on this incoming pallet?

And through the day, the stories of news reports they’d heard or seen were just inconsistent enough that I felt certain that when I arrived home after my shift, I would learn that it was something else that had actually happened, instead of airliners crashing into the World Trade Center towers, causing them to collapse.

Of course, it was not something else.

So now, 10 years later, we owe it to those who lost their lives, to those who saved some of those lives, and to ourselves, to pause briefly … before we continue going about our business, doing those things that make us who we are.

Part of what makes songwriters who they are is to write songs. So Kitty Donohoe wrote a song on that day: “There are No Words.” And she was invited to perform it at the Pentagon memorial dedication three years ago on Sept. 11, 2008. [Full Story]

Column: God Bless You, Mr. Harwell

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Editor’s note: Ernie Harwell died on Tuesday after fighting cancer for nearly a year. He was 92. Portions of this column were published in John U. Bacon’s September 2009 tribute to Harwell.

This past September, the Detroit Tigers’ beloved broadcaster, Ernie Harwell, announced that he had contracted an incurable form of cancer, and would not seek treatment.

For everybody who knew him, or felt like they did – which, really, is just about all of us – it hit hard. We were losing our baseball buddy, our grandfather, our friend.

The only person who didn’t seem shaken by the news was Ernie Harwell. He said, “Whatever’s in store, I’m ready for a new adventure. That’s the way I look at it.”

Harwell was a deeply religious man, but he never wore it on his sleeve. He simply lived it. He was, truly, at peace.

But I was not. Like just about every sports writer who knew him, I felt compelled to write about him. [Full Story]

Ex-Radicals Remember Robben Fleming

President Fleming at a press conference during the Black Action Movement strike in March of 1970.

UM President Robben Fleming at a press conference during the Black Action Movement strike in March 1970. (Photo courtesy of Jay Cassidy.)

On March 12, 1968, Robben Wright Fleming was inaugurated as the ninth president of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It was a time of great turmoil on college campuses across the country, especially at Michigan, which was in the vanguard of the radical student movement. Fleming had been hired to replace the retiring Harlan Hatcher largely because of the reputation he had built for controlling student unrest while chancellor at the University of Wisconsin.

Fleming’s background was as a labor negotiator, and he preferred to engage students in reasoned discussion and debate rather than send in the riot squad. As he related in his autobiography, “Tempests into Rainbows,” after learning of his interest in taking the top post at Michigan, the regents of the university invited him to the Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit, where for two hours they talked mainly about how he would deal with student disruptions.

Fleming explained to the regents that he “thought force must be avoided insofar as humanly possible, that indignities and insults could be endured if they averted violence, and that … these problems would last for some unspecified time, but that they would eventually end.” The next day he was offered the presidency. [Full Story]