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AnnArbor.com's News section covers government, crime, education, health and the environment across Washtenaw County.

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    Ypsilanti's portion of the Washtenaw County Border to Border walking and bicycling trail will be highlighted as part of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 1.

    Guided walks and information will be on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and events will take place at the Water Street trail parking area on Michigan Avenue, immediately east of the Michigan Avenue bridge across the Huron River.

    waterst5.jpg

    The border to border trail will run through a portion of the Water Street property pictured here on Friday, May 3.

    Daniel Brenner I AnnArbor.com

    National Trails Day is a project of the American Hiking Society, an organization dedicated to preserving trails and the areas that surround them. This event is now in its 21st year of and celebrates the trail system, both urban and wilderness.

    Locally, the guided walks will be given by staff of the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Friends Of The Border To Border Trail.

    The Border To Border Water Street Trail segment is an urban trail in Ypsilanti that follows the Huron River.

    This segment, while currently having a surface of wood chips and stone, is expected to be paved by 2014 using Michigan Land Trust Fund and Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission grants.

    Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on March 27 awarding a $300,000 grant to Ypsilanti from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant program to go toward the Border to Border Trail project that will run through the city's Water Street property.

    Ypsilanti's funding will be used to construct a multi-use trail, plaza, fishing pier, Huron River overlook, signage and site amenities. The city believes the enhancements will attract bikers, walkers, strollers and joggers to the area.

    The entire project is estimated to cost about $592,000. The city already received a $289,400 trust grant that also will go toward the Border to Border Trail project.

    The pedestrian bridge will cross from Riverside Park to a corner of the Fischer Honda dealership parcel on the east side of the Huron River. The city recently approved a $31,500 purchase of access easement with the Fischer Honda dealership, allowing them access to a piece of property.

    Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for AnnArbor.com.Reach her at katreasestafford@annarbor.com or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


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    A Superior Township firefighter and a homeowner were taken to the hospital after a lightning strike set a home ablaze in Salem Township Thursday evening before restarting Friday morning, fire officials said.

    salemtownshipFD.jpg

    Courtesy of PatchGallery.com

    Salem Township Fire Department Chief James Rachwal said firefighters went at 6 p.m. Thursday to the 8200 block of North Territorial Road after the homeowner returned to his house and found the residence burning. Rachwal said the home was smoldering and on fire when the man called.

    The man was injured while trying to get his dog out of the home and tried to put the fire out with a garden hose, Rachwal said.

    Rachwal pointed to the high temperatures from the flames and the heat of the afternoon as causes for concern for firefighters who worked the blaze.He wasn’t sure about the nature of the Superior Township firefighter’s injury.

    “It was a big enough issue that he had to be transported (to a hospital),” Rachwal said.

    Rachwal said firefighters from Salem Township, Lyon Township and Superior Township fought the blaze Thursday evening while Northfield Township provided coverage for Salem Township for other calls.

    Firefighters believe the fire began after a lightning strike during the line of storms that rolled through Thursday. The home had a double ceiling and it was difficult to get to the point of origin of the fire, Rachwal said. The home suffered extensive damage.

    “It was pretty tough. We had to do a lot of making access through the ceiling and cutting through the roof to get to the seat of the fire,” he said.

    The difficulty in getting to the seat of the fire led to the blaze restarting Friday morning, Rachwal said. As of 9 a.m. Friday, firefighters were still on scene fighting the fire and Rachwal said the flames were contained.

    Rachwal said the homeowner was released from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital on Friday morning. There was no update on the condition of the Superior Township firefighter immediately available Friday.

    The three residents of the home were assisted with food and clothing after the blaze, according to a statement from the American Red Cross.

    Rachwal said the investigation into the fire continues and a full damage estimate was not available Friday morning. He thanked the supporting fire departments and Huron Valley Ambulance for their assistance, along with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

    “We wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff we’re able to do without those guys,” he said.


    View Larger Map

    Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Did you know that Stanley Kubrick, who is Jewish, was married to the niece of Veit Harlan, one of Nazi Germany's biggest propaganda filmmakers? It's one of the many reasons that people think Kubrick's film "The Shining" nods at the Holocaust. Many have also seen connections to the genocide of Native Americans, the Holocaust and the Apollo 11 moon landing.

    Room237still6.jpg

    Is this a clue that Kubrick helped fake the moon landing?

    Learn more about the supposed symbols and nods at the exclusive Ann Arbor screening of “Room 237,” the new documentary about the horror classic “The Shining” at the Ann Arbor District Library main branch.

    The film will be introduced by "Shining" expert Geoffrey Cocks, who is also prominently featured in in the documentary.

    You'll be surprised at some of the minor layers you have missed, especially if you were watching the movie between your fingers.

    6 p.m. June 6 at the Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave. Free admission.


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    A 72-year-old man charged with having sexual contact with two minors is being held in the Washtenaw County Jail on a $500,000 bond, according to jail records.

    johncaddell.jpg

    John Caddell

    Courtesy of WCSO

    John Caddell faces three charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct on a person under 13 years old and a charge each of second-degree criminal sexual conduct on a person under 13 years old and accosting a child for immoral purposes, according to court records.

    Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox said Caddell is accused of “inappropriate sexual contact” with two children between October and April. The children are 8 and 10 years old, Fox said.

    Court records show Caddell's address is listed on Andrea Drive in Ypsilanti Township. Fox said the alleged incidents occurred in the township.

    The criminal charges came to light during the investigation of a separate crime, Fox said. AnnArbor.com is not reporting details of the incident to protect the identity of the children. AnnArbor.com does not identify the victims of sexual assault cases or underage victims of crime, unless given specific permission by those victims or their families.

    According to jail records, Caddell will return to court for a preliminary exam in the case at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

    If convicted, Caddell faces a maximum punishment of life in prison on each first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge, 15 years in prison on the second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge and four years in prison on the accosting a child for immoral purposes charge.

    Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    SnyderInChina.jpg

    Gov. Rick Snyder participates in a roundtable discussion with business executives from China's Sichuan Province, Michigan's sister-state, in this September 2012 photo.

    As the Who's-Who of Michigan's top business professionals, government leaders, corporate CEO's, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions gather this week on Mackinac Island for the annual Detroit Regional Chamber- Mackinac Policy Conference - they ought to be looking over their shoulders.

    What happens in China, does not stay in China. Global happenings impact us right here in "Pure Michigan."

    We need to pay attention as China returns economically and militarily to a historical position of strength. It must be noted, China had the world's largest economy, 18 out of the past 20 centuries.

    More than 170 years ago, the military genius and ruthless dictator Napoleon said "Let China sleep; when she wakes she will shake the world.” Well clearly during the last 30 years, China has shaken off the century of humiliation, the hardship of the Great Leap Forward and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution and are wide-awake and on a roll today.

    The China-United States Exchange Foundation, a non-government and non-profit organization based in Hong Kong seeks to foster a strengthened and improved relationship between China and the United States under the leadership of Tung CheeHwa, vice chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and founder and chairman of the foundation recently released a report: "U.S.-China Economic Relations in the next Ten Years."

    It should be mandatory reading for government and business leaders.

    The report concludes that Beijing and Washington share the desire to “establish a pattern of secure, high-quality sustainable growth and employment for their people.”

    It could be argued in the early days of the normalization of the relations between China and the U.S. that the China bridge was more of a one-way span in China's favor, which certainly is not true today.

    Chinese investment in the U.S. is at an all-time high. According to the Heritage Foundation, total Chinese investment in the U.S. since 2005 stands at $54 billion, and is expected to significantly grow throughout the next decade.

    According to the Asia Society the Chinese will be seeking overseas investment opportunities between $1 to $2 trillion dollars during the next decade, and Michigan and America need to be aggressive about securing a chunk of this Chinese investment.

    Gov. Rick Snyder has set the table for attracting foreign direct investment that creates both wealth and jobs here at home.

    "Michigan’s business community now includes more than 50 major Chinese companies that have invested more than $1 billion in our state and growing," recounted Michael A. Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

    As our new immigrant and business friendly governor, Snyder — who has traveled to China twice as governor, with a third trip planned for later this year to build the win-win relationships that grow jobs — likes to say: "Michigan is open for business and warmly welcomes you."

    Snyder is seeking foreign direct investment in our state and wants to export our agricultural products, technology know-how and other goods and services around the globe. He understands Michigan is two beautiful peninsulas and we are not an island in this global, knowledge economy where ideas and jobs can and do effortlessly move around the globe.

    As the report "U.S.-China Economic Relations in the next 10 Years," spells out, during the course of next decade this important economic relationship has the potential to globally create enormous economic opportunities and millions of jobs, as well as public good.

    The report was released at the headquarters of the Asia Society with such luminaries and old China hands as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, on hand to discuss potential areas for increased cooperation between the two powers.

    Clearly, China and the United States hold the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century. Moving forward, all major issues impacting the world will intersect at the corner of Beijing and Washington, D.C. How these issues are managed will impact not only the people of China and The U.S., but all of humanity.

    Understanding the importance of building mutual trust, our respective leaders — President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama are scheduled to meet June 8 and 9 at Sunnylands in California, a famous retreat southeast of Los Angeles.

    With thoughtful leadership at the local, state and national level, China's continual rise need not come at our demise.

    Tom Watkins served the citizens of Michigan as state mental health director and state superintendent of schools. He is a US/China business and educational consultant. He can be reached at tdwatkins88@gmail.com.


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    Skyline High School hired four security guards this week to help in case of incidents due to seniors leaving.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    It's the final week of school for seniors at Skyline High School — and outgoing Principal Sulura Jackson hired additional security to deter students from engaging in senior pranks.

    The principal, who will be leaving at the end of the month to take a job in North Carolina, hired four security guards to monitor school entrances and stairwells, said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis. She said the security guards have been at the school since Monday. Friday will be their last day of duty — it also is the last day of school for seniors.

    Margolis said the security guards cost $1,000, and the bill was paid from Skyline's "trust and agency fund," part of the building discretionary fund that the principal maintains.

    sulura-jackson.jpg

    Principal Sulura Jackson

    "One administrator is out this week, so they felt they needed to have extra bodies," Margolis said. "There has not been any damage or any sign of a nefarious senior prank. ... Ms. Jackson just felt she needed more presence in the building. She did notify parents about it."

    Last year, the seniors staged a food fight in the cafeteria and other pranks, such as fire alarms being pulled and stink bombs set in the hallways.

    Students did pull a fire alarm on Tuesday this week and dropped a number of "Class of 2013" balloons over the upper-level railings of the school into the common area below. There also was an attempted flash mob during second-period lunch Thursday, but the dance-off was quickly squelched.

    Tuesday's incidents prompted Jackson to send an email to parents stating: "As a result of today's 'pranks' and misbehavior, additional security measures will be taken to ensure the safety and security of the Skyline learning community."

    "Deliberately pulling a fire alarm endangering the lives of others is a crime and students who are apprehended will be both charged and disciplined," Jackson wrote. "To date, no senior 'pranks' have been approved, as they disrupt the learning environment and will not be tolerated. ... I am asking all Skyline parents to assist us with securing our learning environment by discussing the 'Code of Conduct and Consequences' pages in the Rights & Responsibilities Handbook with their student."

    Margolis said there were no reported senior prank incidents at Huron or Pioneer high schools, which both dismissed last week.

    Principals at all of Ann Arbor's 9-12 buildings send out emails annually to families in early May, informing them about end-of-the-school-year festivities for seniors. The emails encompass prom, graduation and safe practices to keep all students safe, Margolis said, adding the district did not do anything different this year from what it does every year.

    "That's normal practice. They also hold senior meetings to discuss expectations of behavior," she said.

    AnnArbor.com requested information on senior pranks from schools across Washtenaw County and how they handle such incidents. Skyline and Lincoln High School both had pranks in 2012 that resulted in a need for cleanup, although Lincoln's involved significant property damage.

    senior-walk.jpeg

    2013 seniors at Lincoln High School partake in a new last day tradition.

    An unknown number of students at LHS spray painted vulgar terms and the hashtag #LHS12 on the school, as well as smashed the windshields of a Chrysler PT Cruiser used for driver's education training. The vandalism and graffiti cost the district about $9,000 in cleaning and restoration.

    But rather than drawing attention to last year's event and warning seniors against participating in pranks and other misbehaviors, Lincoln started a new tradition of honoring its senior class on their last day with a "senior walk."

    LHS Principal Mandy Stewart said before the final bell on May 21, the seniors gathered and walked in procession through the school, as teachers and underclassmen clapped, cheered, hugged, cried with and congratulated the graduating seniors. She said the school played touching music that meant something to the students during the processional, and the seniors could make song requests.

    "We really wanted to set a different tone in the building as the seniors were exiting. The feedback was amazing. Everyone said it was really cool and it actually made them feel special, and they liked getting to say good-bye," Stewart said. "Who wants to come back and (do something destructive) after they've been honored for what they accomplished?"

    Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at daniellearndt@annarbor.com.


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    The University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center has joined other Big Ten universities in collaborating efforts in cancer research.

    The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium launches Saturday in Chicago.

    The effort will allow researchers at Big Ten institutions to develop clinical trials in tandem on topics including molecular diagnostics.

    053113_BIG-TEN-CANCER.jpg
    The regional approach to advance cancer research will allow the universities to be more efficient in the use of their research funding, and to link leaders in the field together with students.

    "Collaborating with other institutions gives us another opportunity for a broader and deeper brain trust while allowing implementation of novel ideas in a more representative patient population. The synergy, the collaboration, the implementation all are aimed at one ultimate goal — making a real difference for patients,” according to a statement by Dr. Maha Hussain, associate director of clinical research at U-M's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    U-M will be joining the following institutions in the consortium, which will be based at the Hoosier Oncology Group in Indianapolis:

    • Indiana University (Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center)
    • Northwestern University (Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center)
    • Pennsylvania State University (Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute)
    • Purdue University (Purdue University Center for Cancer Research)
    • Rutgers University (The Cancer Institute of New Jersey becomes part of Rutgers on July 1)
    • University of Illinois (University of Illinois Cancer Center)
    • University of Iowa (Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center)
    • University of Minnesota (Masonic Cancer Center)
    • University of Nebraska (Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center)
    • University of Wisconsin (Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center)

    Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at (734) 623-2552, amybiolchini@annarbor.com or on Twitter.


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    The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Friday that the Pittsfield Township fire department will receive $167,228 as part of its Assistance to Firefighters program.

    050913_NEWS_Pittsfield_Fire_Training.jpg

    Firefighters watch as a small structure is engulfed in flames during a training exercise and controlled burn in 6700 block of Warner Rd. in Pittsfield Township on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

    Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com

    The grant will help fund professional training programs, update equipment and facilities and provide new supplies to help the department handle hazards efficiently.

    The grant is for the fiscal year 2012 round. The grant program began in 2001. FEMA announced several awards Friday morning that will go to departments all over the country.

    "Across Michigan, our firefighters provide courageous service to communities...," said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in a statement. "This grant makes sure they have the resources they need to perform their duties safely and protect the public."

    Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for AnnArbor.com.Reach her at katreasestafford@annarbor.com or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


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    The exit ramp from eastbound Interstate 94 to eastbound M-14 on the western edge of Ann Arbor will be closed for about six hours early Saturday morning.

    The Michigan Department of Transportation will be installing a sign directly overhead the exit ramp from 1 to 7 a.m. Saturday. The closure is dependent on the weather, and may not last the entire six hours.

    Drivers traveling on eastbound I-94 who wish to go north on U.S. 23 will be directed to follow a detour around Ann Arbor as a result of the ramp closure.

    The detour is eastbound I-94 to northbound U.S. 23 to westbound M-14 and back to northbound U.S. 23.

    The sign replacement project has been ongoing construction by MDOT along the I-94 corridor.


    View Ramp closure from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday in a larger map

    Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at (734) 623-2552, amybiolchini@annarbor.com or on Twitter.


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    Ann Arbor is among dozens of cities across the country gearing up to celebrate the first National Day of Civic Hacking, a call to action for those who proudly call themselves hackers.

    No, these hackers won't be trying to circumvent computer security systems to unleash catastrophe or crash financial markets. Rather, using publicly available data sets, they'll be working collaboratively to develop new applications that help improve society in some way.

    "We're actively getting cooperation from city hall and the county, so the fond hope is that no one gets unpleasantly surprised by the results," said co-organizer Ed Vielmetti.

    The A2 Hack for Change is scheduled to last from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

    The_Forge_053013_RJS_003.jpg

    Eric Polerecky and Steve Koller, both software developers at Pillar, work inside The Forge on Thursday afternoon.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Over the course of two days in the lower level of the Tech Brewery at 1327 Jones Drive — a creative work space known as The Forge — software developers, technologists, entrepreneurs and other interested citizens are expected to put their minds together to harness public data and code to create innovative solutions for challenges facing neighborhoods and communities.

    That could be anything from a mobile app drivers can use to report potholes to platforms that address food and housing distribution for those in need.

    "I really want people to come with a fresh and open mind," said co-organizer Hans Kokx. "There'll be plenty of caffeine, food and great beer, and it'll be a good time."

    Vielmetti said there will be a civic applications contest sponsored by A2Geeks, a nonprofit educational foundation that celebrates geek culture throughout the Ann Arbor area.

    The contest aims to bring together government, citizens and software developers to build innovative systems based on public data.

    "It should be a pretty good crowd," Vielmetti said. "I'm expecting people will show up with ideas of their own for building civic applications."

    And if they don't have ideas of their own, Vielmetti said, that's no problem — there are more ideas being kicked around than organizers know what to do with.

    "There's a bunch of municipal data that the city has already published — everything from the tree inventory database of every tree in the city to assessment data about people's houses and solar energy information," Vielmetti said, adding those kinds of data sets will be put to good use.

    Kokx is predicting good results.

    "If I had to guess, I would say we would have some sort of really phenomenal web app," he said, adding one idea already being kicked around is a map where people can punch in their own personal utility data, including how much they pay per month for utilities.

    "And you can put in stuff about what you've done to improve the energy efficiency of your home, and you can zoom in and see where other people are at," he said. "And if you're two or three times the carbon footprint of them, you can go and see what they've done to lower their bill."

    The_Forge_053013_RJS_001.jpg

    This will be the setting for this weekend's civic hackathon in Ann Arbor.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Another civic-oriented idea, Kokx said, is a mobile app that collects data about popular bicycle routes in Ann Arbor, and that could be matched against pothole location data to find out where the city should be focusing its resources to improve conditions for bicyclists.

    A number of federal agencies, including NASA, the Census Bureau, and the Department of Labor, are participating in the national event by offering specific challenges for hackers to tackle.

    A showcase of projects that emerge from Civic Hacking Day will be featured at an event at the White House at the end of July, in tandem with President Obama's focus on STEM education.

    "I suspect people are going to want to spend most of their time focusing on local issues," Kokx said of the Ann Arbor hackathon. "It's hard to say what people will do, though. I'm just here to bring them together and give them the tools. Lead a horse to water, so to speak."

    Local sponsors for the Ann Arbor event include Pillar, Barracuda Networks, Zinio, A2 Hosting and A2Geeks.

    Vielmetti, a staunch advocate for transparency in government, said anyone who wants to get involved is invited to become part of the civic hacker community, regardless of skill level or experience.

    Those interested in joining in and doing some hacking are encouraged to bring their laptops, ideas about civic government and some data.

    The_Forge_053013_RJS_004.jpg

    This poster will serve as inspiration for hackers this weekend.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Vielmetti said he's gotten cooperation from city and county officials, including Matt Naud, Ann Arbor's environmental coordinator, and Andy Brush, Washtenaw County's information technology manager.

    Using data provided by the city and the county, he said, they just might come up with some solutions that could help, for example, with local sustainability initiatives.

    "I don't know exactly what to expect," he said. "I'm very hopeful people with bright ideas will meet up with people with good coding skills and we'll get something done that's more interesting than what either one of them could have done by themselves."

    Kokx said organizers of the A2 Hack for Change have a list of challenges they're going to suggest people consider this weekend. A curated list of challenges from federal government agencies and other national partners is posted at www.hackforchange.org/challenges.

    Eric Polerecky and Steve Koller, both software developers at Pillar, were working inside The Forge on Thursday afternoon. They're both curious what might unfold over the weekend.

    "They came in and did a presentation, which gave us an overview of what civic hacking is," Polerecky said. "I don't think many of us have a lot of experience in it, so it's really going to be an introduction to the type of data that's out there. I don't think we have a specific project yet that we're focused on, so it'll be pretty much a learning experience for all of us."

    Koller said he saw from an internship he had a couple years back in Grand Rapids how public data sets can be leveraged to solve social challenges.

    "It was a branch of a philanthropic organization, but they actually had access to U.S. census data and they would map the city out according to different factors," he said. "And that would help inform other nonprofits of where they could best serve the city."

    Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at ryanstanton@annarbor.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.


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    Has everyone enjoyed their taste of summer this week? The high temperatures, the sometimes-suffocating humidity, the quick rains that make it all better?

    weather-ann-arbor-rain.jpg

    A rainy start to the weekend will lead to a cool down in temperatures, according to forecasters.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Good, because it’s all going to be gone on Monday.

    That might be a slight overstatement, but a rainy weekend promises to give way to much lower temperatures — but sunnier skies! — next week.

    According to Weather Underground, the recent trend of sunny skies quickly turning into a thunderstorm and then turning back into sun will continue for the rest of Friday. Temperatures will reach a high of 82 and there’s a 50 percent chance of rain.

    Weather Underground says a fifth of an inch of rain is possible Friday night, should the “chance of thunderstorms” become “a reality of thunderstorms.”

    However, the times will be a’changin' on Saturday. The rain is expected to pick up and the clouds will block the sun, leaving us with an 80 percent chance of rain here in Ann Arbor. Approximately one-third of an inch of rain is possible on Saturday, when the high will be about 79 degrees.

    The rain will fade away by Sunday, and the high temperatures are likely to go with it. After a week in the 80s, the high of 70 degrees on Sunday will probably feel like a nice dip in a cool lake. Or something like that.

    Come Monday, it’ll be all right for fans of more moderate temperatures. The high is expected to reach around 63 degrees with a low temperature of a nearly-bone-chilling 43 degrees. But, on the bright side, the forecast calls for perfect sunny skies.

    Don’t pack away all those fancy sweatshirts and jackets just yet, Ann Arbor.

    For updated forecasts and conditions anytime, check AnnArbor.com's weather page.

    Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Sidetrack's "Billy Burton Mac Attack Burger" starts with a handcrafted burger topped with mac & cheese, Boars Head bacon and a dab of BBQ sauce.

    Courtney Sacco I AnnArbor.com

    We asked, and you answered. We're on the hunt for the best burger in Washtenaw County, and the nominations have come in fast and furious. It appears that you like burgers, you really, really like burgers — and you're fiercely loyal to your favorites.

    Your nominations for the best burger came in via comment, emails, Facebook posts and tweets. We've compiled them all in a poll, and now it's time to put it to a vote.

    Here's your chance to help your favorite hamburger purveyor earn the title of Best Burger in Washtenaw County. You can vote for up to 3 of your favorites once per day, so make sure to check back, and tell your friends! Voting closes at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5.

    Once we've determined the favorite burgers in the Ann Arbor area, we'll welcome Mlive statewide entertainment reporter John Gonzalez for a taste test as he travels the state looking for Michigan's Best Burger.

    You can vote for your three favorites once per day until 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 5.

    Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for AnnArbor.com, a part of the MLive Media Group, and will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today Reach her at JessicaWebster@annarbor.com. You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.


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    Earlier this year a snarky op-ed about the expectations of elite universities sparked a national conversation about the college application process.

    SuzyLeeWeiss.jpg

    Suzy Lee Weiss has paid an enrollment deposit at the University of Michigan.

    It turns out that Suzy Lee Weiss, the Pennsylvanian high schooler who wrote the opinion piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, has paid an enrollment deposit at the University of Michigan.

    According to U-M admissions director Ted Spencer, Weiss plans to enroll in the Ann Arbor school in fall 2014. She graduates from high school this summer and plans to take a year off from school and travel abroad.

    "I thought she was one of the more delightful files that I've ever read. She poked fun of herself as well as making some wonderful statements about who she is," Spencer said of her application. "The kinds of comments that her counselors and teachers made were just wonderful."

    In her March 29 Journal piece entitled 'To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me,' Weiss said she had dreamed of going to Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, but the Pittsburgh high school senior was rejected despite a reported 4.5 GPA.

    "Colleges tell you, 'Just be yourself.' That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself!" She wrote. "If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere."

    For more than a week after it was published, the op-ed was the most-read article on the Journal's website. On the Today Show in early April, Weiss said her op-ed was satire, using jokes to illustrate the seeming absurdity of the college application process.

    "Everyone my age, whether they wanted to get into Penn State their whole lives or Harvard, is agreeing with me that it's just a rat race nowadays and it's such a business model as opposed to who's most qualified should get in," she said. "It's a crapshoot and I understand that."

    While she was rejected from the Ivy League colleges she dreamt of during her youth, she did get into several Big Ten schools— including U-M. When asked by a Today Show host where Weiss was going to college, she coughed 'Go Blue.'

    Weiss is one of 6,450 of the 15,430 applicants U-M admitted to pay his or her enrollment deposit. The school had a 33 percent acceptance rate this year, its lowest in recent history.

    Spencer called Weiss' op-ed humorous.

    "She took a risk in writing that article," he said. "A lot of times we ask kids to take a risk but we also tell them when you take a risk it may not be received by the people who are reading it the same way that you intended."

    Some students who pay their nonrefundable enrollment deposit end up not going to the school. For example, of the 6,450 students who paid their enrollment deposit for entry into the fall 2013 class, Spencer expects a few hundred to attend schools elsewhere.

    "I think she'll be a great addition to the University of Michigan," Spencer said of Weiss.

    Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at kelliewoodhouse@annarbor.com or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


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    The number of DTE Energy customers without power in the area near North Maple and Dexter Road in Ann Arbor is down to 89, 700 fewer than earlier Friday.

    According to the DTE Outage Map, power should be restored to those customers by 11:30 p.m. Friday. The map states the area has been without power since 7:39 p.m. Thursday.

    The power outages are caused by downed wires, which fell due to the winds from storms that whipped through Washtenaw County on Thursday. The power outages canceled class at Abbot Elementary School and a downed wire closed roads in the area Friday morning.

    An ice cream social scheduled for Friday evening at Abbot Elementary also had to be rescheduled due to the outage. It now will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday.

    There were small pockets of customers without power scattered throughout Washtenaw County as of 2 p.m. However, none of the outages were major and mostly consisted of single houses without power, according to the map.

    Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    For the entire month of May, the Pioneer girls soccer team has showed just how much a team can improve in a half season. That journey came full circle on Friday.

    The Pioneers scored three second-half goals and clinched a district title with a 3-0 win over Skyline Friday night at Huron High School.

    More Coverage: Boxscore | Bracket

    The Pioneer win came 31 days after Skyline won the regular-season matchup between the two teams, 3-0, back on April 30. Since then, the Pioneers have gone 11-0-1. The last three of those wins in the district tournament came by a combined 13 goals.

    “That was, I think, a turning point,” Pioneer coach Chris Coleman said of the first Skyline game.

    Pioneer (13-3-3) now advances to play either East Kentwood or Caledonia next Tuesday in a regional semifinal Tuesday at Caledonia.

    Following a scoreless first half, Pioneer forward Jennifer Fichera sent a free kick from 30-yards out just around a wall of Skyline players and into the top corner of the net.

    The kick came courtesy of a hand ball call on Skyline deep in its own end that even Coleman didn't agree with.

    “It was an unfortunate call,” Coleman said. “If I was an official, I wouldn’t have called it, but we were the beneficiaries of getting a call by the official.”

    Right or wrong, the call allowed Pioneer to jump out to a lead in what had been a closely played game to that point.

    “That was huge, I think that kind of changed the whole momentum of the game,” Fichera said. “Also, we knew that it was going to be a pretty back-and-forth, even game throughout, so the fact that we could get ahead before they did was really big.”

    But the goal that put Skyline (17-3-1) on its heels came just 17 seconds later, when a routine ball on the outer part of the goalie box slipped through the legs of Skyline goalie Tori Norris on a wet night. Pioneer’s Mackenzie Sapp was able to run behind Norris and score on an empty net.

    “I think she’s the best goalie in the state, in my opinion,” Coleman said of Norris. “Best high school goalie I’ve seen in a long time. So that second goal, it’s unfortunate. It slipped right through her hands.”

    Pioneer's Lena Katterman scored on another free kick with three minutes left to put her team up three. Pioneer goalkeeper Sofia Gambini made six saves, including one on a breakaway from point-blank range late in the second half, to earn the shutout.

    Friday’s game marked the culmination of a long three days for Skyline. The team’s district opener against Howell was delayed from Tuesday to Wednesday due to tornado warnings, and went to overtime before the Eagles pulled out the win. Thursday night against Huron, it took more than two hours of rain delays before Skyline took a 3-0 victory.

    “It was unfortunate that the game was played today,” Skyline coach Chris Morgan said.

    On a night when little went right for the Eagles, Skyline was hit by the injury bug early when its top forward, senior Margo Apostoleris, went down with a leg injury three minutes into the game and didn’t return.

    “Three days of wear and tear, I think that played into it,” Morgan said of the injury.

    But Skyline’s poor fortune was Pioneer’s good fortune, as a team that had the right pieces all along came together at the right time.

    “I think just patient and trust with one another, and listening,” Coleman said. "And not necessarily to me but to each other. I think they’ve learned to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to be compatible with them. It’s not so much a soccer thing as much as it is a chemistry thing. They’ve done a good job of really listening to each other and playing with each other.”

    Kyle Austin covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kyleaustin@annarbor.com or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.


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    For many, Willow Run High School’s commencement ceremony Friday evening was bittersweet. Emotions ran high as the school’s last graduating class walked across the stage.

    Due to the Ypsilanti-Willow Run school district merger set to launch July 1, resulting in the creation of a new district (Ypsilanti Community Schools), Willow Run High School will be used as a middle school next year.

    While speakers focused on the accomplishments made by students and the journey they are about to embark on, each also had something to say about the long history of the school and the legacy it will leave behind.

    05312013_ENT_WillowRunGrad_DJB_0344.jpg

    A Willow Run graduate walks across the stage on Friday, May 31.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    “Willow Run is not just the story of a school district or a bomber plant," David Bates, president of the Willow Run Board of Education, said. "It's a spirit that permeates this community. You bring to a close a very important and exciting chapter in the community’s history.”

    Superintendent of Willow Run Community Schools Laura Lisiscki encouraged the class of 2013 to represent Willow Run as the last group to walk its halls.

    “Know that you are part of the legacy of Willow Run. We expect you to share the rich history and traditions that have been a part of Willow Run for the past 70 years,” Lisiscki said.

    The ceremony, held in the school's auditorium, celebrated the accomplishments of the school, the students and the community. Pride in the past and the future of Willow Run, speakers echoed the sentiment ‘Once a Flyer, always a Flyer’.

    Awards were presented to outstanding students. Quentin Carter received the principal’s award and Dustin McCurdy was given the ‘most distinguished student’ award. The Van Gilder Scholarship of $2,500 was awarded to Darian Smith and Destiny Washington.

    As family and friends cheered for graduating students, many felt a sense of sadness for the loss of a district rich with 70 years of history.

    Paris Dodds, sister of graduating student Robert Montgomery, said that she is sad to see the school go. Dodds graduated from Willow Run High School in 2009.

    “This is a happy day for my family, but still there is something sad about it,” Dodds said. “I loved my time at Willow Run. It was a great experience and to think that I won’t be able to come back and visit is sad. I can’t even imagine the predicament that the teachers are in either.”

    Shonda Williams, mother of senior Yestiny Williams, said she is so proud of her daughter, but she’s disappointed to lose a district that has brought such good things to the community.

    “I’ve been in the Willow Run school district for 20 years now,” Williams said. “It’s sad that it’s dissolving because there is so much history here.”

    Mother of four, Williams has a 13-year-old daughter who will attended the new Ypsilanti Community Schools district. Williams said she has mixed feelings about the transition, but she is confident that her daughter will receive a good education.

    Vice President of the Willow Run Board of Education Don Garrett said change is inevitable. He was referring to the change students will face after graduation and the change the community will face as Willow Run merges with Ypsilanti school district.

    Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at choedl@mlive.com.


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    hutch-team-undergorund.jpg

    Michigan softball coach Carol "Hutch" Hutchins addresses her team while gathered in an underground parking garage in Oklahoma City during a tornado on Friday, May 31.

    Courtesy of Michigan Athletics

    The Women’s College World Series took a backseat for the Michigan softball team on Friday as a tornadoes ripped through the Oklahoma City area. Team members, their families and several fans who traveled for the tournament took refuge in an underground parking garage beneath the team hotel in downtown Oklahoma City after tornado sirens began to go off around 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard time according, to a team spokesman.

    2013 NCAA WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES

    softball-stock.jpg

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Thursday

    Game 1 - Washington 4, Nebraska 3 (8 innings)
    Game 2 - Tennessee 9, Florida 2
    Game 3 - Texas 6, Arizona State 3
    Game 4 - Oklahoma 7, Michigan 1

    Friday

    Games 5 & 6 postponed

    Saturday

    Game 5 - Washington vs. Tennessee, noon, ESPN2
    Game 6 - Texas vs. Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
    Game 7 - Nebraska vs. Florida, 7 p.m., ESPN
    Game 8 - Arizona State vs. Michigan, 9:30 p.m., ESPN

    Sunday

    Game 9 - Game 5 loser vs. Game 7 winner, TBA
    Game 10 - Game 6 loser vs. Game 8 winner, TBA
    Game 11 — Game 5 winner vs. Game 9 winner, TBA
    Game 12 — Game 6 winner vs. Game 10 winner, TBA
    Game 13 — Game 11 winner vs. Game 11 loser, TBA (if necessary)
    Game 14 — Game 12 winner vs. Game 12 loser, TBA (if necessary)

    Championship Series

    Monday: Teams TBD, 8 p.m., ESPN
    Tuesday: Teams TBD, 8 p.m., ESPN
    Wednesday: Teams TBD, 8 p.m., ESPN (if necessary)

    All team members and their families were accounted for shortly after the team sought shelter according to team sports information director Michael Kasiborski. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado emergency for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and the severe storm is already responsible for at least five deaths.

    Michigan players were eating dinner at their hotel when sirens first went off and hotel officials instructed all guests to file into the parking garage beneath the hotel. Athletic director Dave Brandon and his wife, Jan, helped to corral families, friends and fans nearby as well.

    After an hour underground, guests were brought to ground level, but were instructed to go back about 45 minutes later as storms persisted in the area.

    "We are grateful to our hotel staff and the Oklahoma City police for acting swiftly to safeguard our team and the others staying in the area. We spent about two hours below ground in an underground garage and were able to stay together with the student-athletes' families and many of our fans, which gave us peace of mind,” Michigan softball coach Carol “Hutch” Hutchins said in a statement. Michigan is staying at a downtown location along with the Washington, Tennessee, Florida, Nebraska and Texas teams. Several storm touchdowns were reported on Friday night along Interstate-40 including in the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno, 25 miles west of the city.

    Several Michigan players took to Twitter to confirm their safety and offer support to victims in the area.

    The team is safe and out of shelter but continued prayers for the people still being hit by this storm. #prayers," tweeted senior captain Amy Knapp.

    "Everyone in our hotel is okay for now, but pray for all those in the path of the storms #prayforoklahoma #staysafe," tweeted Michigan's first baseman Caitlin Blanchard.

    Friday night’s games between Washington and Tennessee, and Texas and Oklahoma were postponed until Saturday because of the weather. After losing to Oklahoma on Thursday night, Michigan did not have a Friday game and was scheduled to play Arizona State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The game has been pushed back until 9:30 p.m.

    “Tonight softball talks a backseat because we know so many were not as fortunate to have the shelter that we did. Please keep the people of Oklahoma in your thoughts," Hutchins said.

    -- The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

    Pete Cunningham covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at petercunningham@annarbor.com. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


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    The annual Ya'ssoo Greek Festival returns to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church this weekend, offering food and celebrations of Greek culture.

    Photographer Daniel Brenner captured these images on Friday. The festival continues Saturday and Sunday. For more information, see the preview article.


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    Several road closures and bus detours are scheduled Sunday throughout Ann Arbor during the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run.

    The road race event will include a half-marathon, 10K, 5K, and a fun run for kids. Roads will be closed and open throughout the day as follows:

    From 7:45 a.m. to noon on Sunday, the following streets will be closed:

    • Catherine Street from North Main Street to North Fourth Avenue
    • Miller Avenue from North Ashley Street to North Main Street
    • Beakes Street from North Main Street to North Fourth Avenue
    • Felch Street from North Ashley Street to North Main Street
    • Summit Street from Wildt Street to North Fourth Avenue
    • All of Huron View Boulevard

    The following sections of Main Street will be closed on Sunday:

    • North Main Street from Miller/Catherine to Huron Street form 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • North Main Street from Kingsley Street to Miller from 7 a.m. to noon
    • Southbound lanes of North Main Street from Kingsley to Huron River Drive from 7 a.m. to noon (one northbound lane will be converted to southbound travel and vehicles exiting driveways will be able to back out when the road is clear)
    • M-14 off-ramp to southbound Main Street 7:30 a.m. to noon

    Additional road closures include:

    • Ann Street from North Ashley Street to North Fourth Avenue from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Huron River Drive from 7:45 to 11:30 a.m.
    • Newport Road from Sunset Road to Bird Road from 8:45 to 9:15 a.m.
    • Bird Road from 9 to 9:25 a.m.

    The surface parking lot at Ann Street and North Main Street will be closed from 4 p.m. on Saturday through 2 p.m. on Sunday.

    Also on Sunday, AATA bus routes 2, 4, 9, and 12A will experience detours between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Those planning to utilize those routes should plan for the following:

    • Route 2 from downtown will miss the Washington Street stop east of Fifth Avenue. The nearest stop will be Washington Street east of Division Street.
    • Route 4 to Ypsilanti will miss the Huron Street stop east of Fourth Avenue. The nearest stop will be Huron Street west of State Street. Route 4 also will miss the Huron Street stop west of Main Street. The nearest stop will be Huron Street west of First Street.
    • Route 9 from Blake Transit Center will miss the Huron Street stop west of Fourth Avenue. The nearest stop will be Huron Street west of First Street or the Blake Transit Center. Route 4 also will miss the Huron Street stop west of Main Street. The nearest stop will be Huron Street west of First Street.
    • Route 12A from Blake Transit Center will miss the Fourth Avenue stop north of Huron Street. The nearest stop will be the transit center. The Catherine Street stop also will be missed. The nearest stop is Miller Avenue west of Ashley Street.

    Online registration for the 40th Anniversary of the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run closes at 8:00 P.M on Friday, May 31st. If races are still open, registration can be completed at the Race Expo from noon to 6:00 P.M. on Saturday, June 1st.

    The kid’s run will take place at 4:00 P.M. on Saturday. On Sunday the 5K Run and Walk will be held at 9:00 A.M., the 10K Run and Walk at 8:00 A.M., and the Dexter Ann Arbor Half Marathon at 8:30 A.M. The course runs eastward from Dexter along the Huron River and ends in downtown Ann Arbor.

    Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at choedl@mlive.com.


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    The Ypsilanti Township Fire Department with help from the Ypsilanti Fire Department put out a bedroom fire at 5 a.m. Saturday morning at a single-family home in the 2300 block of Cedarcliff Drive.

    A passerby reported the fire when he saw flames and smoke coming from the front bedroom window of the home. There was no one at the house when firefighters arrived, and an eviction notice was posted on the door.

    According to Ypsilanti Township Fire Department Captain Brad Johnson, the fire was confined to a front bedroom and started on the mattress of a bed when an item ignited.

    "it is under investigation as a suspicious fire," said Johnson, who said firefighters were able to bring the fire under control within 15 minutes of their arrival.

    Property damage to the home is estimated at $10,000.


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