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

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    Willie Nile

    The music career of Willie Nile has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster at Cedar Point. Ever since his self-titled debut came out in 1980, the singer-songwriter has gotten great praise from critics and fellow musicians but has never found the mass audience he so richly deserves.

    Lucinda Williams has this quote on Willie Nile’s website: “If there was any justice in this world, I’d be opening up for him instead of him for me.” And Robert Palmer of the New York Times once called him ‘an artist who is at once an iconoclast and (a) near-perfect expression of contemporary currents.’ But after bad experiences with major labels Arista and Columbia, the Buffalo, New York native has gone the fan-funded route on his independently released new album, “American Ride,” a bracing set of rock and roll tunes in the tradition of Springsteen and Seger.

    Warm and friendly during a recent phone conversation, Nile has an upbeat attitude that is hard to resist. The longtime Manhattan-based artist brings his band to Ann Arbor for a show at The Ark Friday night, while his new album comes out next Tuesday.

    Q: How did you go about financing the release of “American Ride?”

    W.N.: I went to PledgeMusic.com to raise money for the project. The plan was for me to put it out on my own label, and one of my managers wanted me to go the fan-funded route. In four days we reached our goal, which amazed me and was very encouraging. We got 300 percent more than we were looking to get.

    Q: Do you feel that the whole major-label world is disappearing, perhaps happily so in your case?

    W.N.: It’s totally changed. There still are major labels, but the old system where a label would ride with an artist for a few albums is gone. The Internet has made it a completely different ballgame. Fans get something back of value and get to be a part of the project. It feels to me like a family and the response was strong, so it means I’m doing the right thing. I’m not trying to be "American Idol" with my music; this is about real music for real people, reflecting real life.

    Q: We rarely see you touring the U.S., even though you’ve been releasing albums since 1980. Do you spend much time overseas?

    W.N.: The European fan base is very, very strong, but I’ve never toured a lot. In the '80s I toured with the Who, and then I left the business; I walked away from it. I got into it so that it would be fun, to make music and try to make a living. But there ended up being more business than music, and this was not what I came for. So I walked away and moved back to Buffalo to raise a family. But things are better now. I started going to Europe in the early '90s, and now I play there four months out of the year. We’re starting to play more in the U.S. as well. The shows are great fun and I believe in it; I’m looking forward to playing in Ann Arbor for the first time. I love playing college towns.

    Q: What led you to do Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died” on your new album? It’s the only cover version on “American Ride.”

    W.N.: It’s one of my favorite old songs; it’s a hidden classic of rock and roll. I knew Jim Carroll; we were acquaintances. Years ago I played a Saint Patrick’s Day event and was asked to sing it in honor of Jim. It’s got some redemption in it, some salvation in it. My dear brother John passed away six years ago, so I dedicate it to him. I love the song and wanted to bring it back to life for those who might have missed it.

    Q: I love the title track from “American Ride,” it’s one of those great travelling songs which namedrops a lot of cities along the way, just like “Back in the USA” and “I’ve Been Everywhere.” What led you to write that one?

    W.N.: I love this country; I love the dream and the idea of this country, a place where you can come and make a better life for yourself and your family. I sat with my guitar and it just came to me. I knocked it off pretty quick, about 45 minutes. I’m optimistic. I believe that people can make a difference, however much that is. What this country was founded on, the notions of freedom and fair play, I still believe in that. I was on tour recently with Alejandro Escovedo and he called the song a cross between “This Land is Your Land” and “Route 66,” which I love.

    Willie Nile plays The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, at 8 p.m. Friday, June 21. Tickets are $15, available from the box office.


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    Football is king at the University of Michigan.

    Proof?

    The Ann Arbor school has named four peregrine falcon chicks that recently hatched in a nesting box atop University Hospital. The names include: Maize; Blue; Howard, after famous Wolverine wide receiver.

    Woodson and Howard are the latest two Heisman Trophy winners at U-M. Desmond Howard; and Woodson, after the former U-M player Charles Woodson.

    2013falconchickumich.jpg

    One of the four falcon chicks that recently hatched atop the U-M hospital.

    U-M Photo

    It's the second year in a row falcon chicks hatched at U-M have been given football-related names.

    The chicks hatched around April 29. This is the third straight year a pair of peregrine falcons has successfully nested on the roof of University Hospital.

    To name the birds, U-M launched a contest on its Facebook page. Ann, Angell and Mary Sue were all contenders for the names of the two female birds, but Maize and Blue ended up winning. The names Brady and Denard 'Shoelace' Robinson were runners up for the two male falcons.

    It's been a bit of a bumpy ride for the birds. Late last week, three of the young falcons attempted to fly and were unable to get back up to the nest. They have been taken to a rehabilitator, who will work with the chicks to strengthen their flight muscles before being released back to the nest site.

    The chicks join a growing family of peregrine falcons hatched in Ann Arbor.

    Last year the four chicks that hatched atop the hospital were named Bo, Fritz, Lloyd and Yost, the names referencing former head football coaches Bo Schembechler, Herbert "Fritz" Crisler, Lloyd Carr and Fielding Yost.

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    The mother falcon, which nests atop U-M's hospital and one of the school's dormitories.

    U-M photo

    Peregrine falcons are endangered in Michigan. U-M's campus has been home to two grown peregrines since 2006. In spring 2010 the falcons successfully hatched a trio of chicks. Another nesting box has been installed on North Quad.

    In urban areas, Falcons tend to nest on tall buildings or bridges because of their similarity to high cliffs and ledges. When officials realized the pair wasn't successfully nesting on U-M's 192-foot tall Burton Memorial Tower, their nesting place of choice, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources helped set up a nesting box atop University Hospital.

    Peregrine falcons often use the same nest site for many years, so it's possible that U-M's campus could be the birth spot for more chicks in future years.

    The chicks are banded so they can be tracked by the Department of Natural Resources.

    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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    Ann Arbor is an artistic town, no doubt about that. Take it in at the ArtWalk Ann Arbor.

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    ArtWalk Ann Arbor is a self-guided walking tour of 10 area art galleries, studios and shops spanning from Kerrytown to Main Street. Many of the venues will offer special promotions, sales, refreshments and entertainment to art walkers.

    At Kerrytown Market & Shops, Everyday Wines will host a wine tasting and food pairing from 5-6:30 p.m. Artist Paul Hickman of Urban Ashes will give an art talk at 6:30 p.m. in Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars. There will be live music upstairs and chalk artist David Zinn will create one of his sidewalk chalk drawings live on site from 5-6:30 p.m.

    Zinn will complete another chalk drawing outside Lena Restaurant from 7-9 p.m. Bill’s Beer Garden, located in the parking lot of Downtown Home & Garden, will offer a $1-off-one-beer coupon that can be found on ArtWalk Ann Arbor’s official event map.

    ArtWalk maps were printed in the Summer Fairs & Festivals issue of Art Showcase Magazine, which is available now at nearly 100 shops, galleries and coffee houses throughout Ann Arbor.

    Friday, June 21, 2013. 5-9 p.m. Free. Some participating locations offer special deals on art/products. See www.artshowcasemagazine.com for a list of venues.


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    The American Rosie the Riveter Association organized a trip during the weekend to the former Willow Run Bomber Plant, more recently a General Motors power train plant, for 27 “Rosies” who worked in war production at various factories during World War II.

    According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, some of the women who worked at the plant during the war returned Saturday for the first time since it had ended.

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    The former General Motors facility in Willow run covers over 5 million square feet.

    Daniel Brenner I AnnArbor.com

    The visit came just months before the plant — which built B-24 bombers during the war — likely will be demolished. General Motors built transmissions at the plant until its closing in 2010. The company’s bankruptcy trust is looking to tear down the factory to make the property more marketable for future development, according to the Free Press.

    The Yankee Air Museum has launched a $5 million fundraising drive to save a small piece of the plant and convert it into a future home for the museum’s exhibits.

    According to the Free Press story, the women recalled difficult but fair working conditions in the massive plant that at one point, employed 42,000 people.

    Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at benfreed@annarbor.com. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


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    There were three home invasions reported Sunday in Ypsilanti, including one incident where items were stolen from a home, bringing the weekend total to five break-ins.

    Thumbnail image for Ypsilanti_police.jpg

    At 7 p.m. Sunday, police responded to the 0 block of South Summit Street for a report of a break-in. Police said someone entered the home but nothing was stolen.

    Police responded at 8:53 p.m. to the 900 block of West Michigan Avenue for a similar report. A person entered the home but nothing was reported stolen.

    The final break-in came at 10:32 p.m. Sunday in the 400 block of South Huron Street. Someone broke into the home while the residents were away and stole miscellaneous property, police said.

    Police responded to two break-ins on Saturday, including one where multiple items were stolen from the residence and then recovered from a pawn shop.

    All of the cases still are under investigation. Anyone with information on these incidents is encouraged to call the Ypsilanti police at 734-483-9510 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


    View 700 Grassland Dr in a 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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    University of Michigan's campus is pictured above. The school's governing board will vote on tuition this week.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com

    It's time of year again: Tuition increase season.

    In the midst of a national college affordability debate as Congress discusses federal student loan rates — which are scheduled to double in two weeks — local university leaders are deliberating on the affordability of the institutions they lead.

    How much should they raise tuition? Is a freeze possible? Should out-of-state students receive more substantial tuition hikes than Michiganders?

    The elected leaders of University of Michigan and appointed leaders of Eastern Michigan University are discussing these exact questions this week— and their answers will impact the pocketbooks of tens of thousands of college students and their families.

    The eight-member governing boards of Washtenaw County universities will decide on tuition rates and fiscal 2014 budgets during public meetings this week.

    Both boards generally are mum about budget and tuition votes before they take place —all eight members of the U-M Board of Regents did not respond to requests for comment — so details on changes are unclear.

    One thing is likely: both schools most likely will keep tuition increases at or under 3.75 percent, otherwise their state funding will be affected. For EMU, which heavily relies on state funding, the added revenue of a large tuition hike likely wouldn't be worth a loss in state funds.

    The chair of EMU's board also did not respond to requests for comment.

    At U-M, the form of a tuition increase —if one happens at all— is likely to be heavily debated by board members.

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    Andrea Fischer Newman

    Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com

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    U-M regents Denise Ilitch and Julia Donovan Darlow.

    Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com

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    Mark Bernstein

    Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com

    Last year a 2.8 percent increase passed in a 5 -3 vote during a June meeting. The three regents who voted against the increase —Andrea Fischer Newman, Denise Ilitch and Larry Dietch— remain on the board.

    During the June 2012 meeting, Ilitch criticized skyrocketing tuition, a term she borrowed from President Barack Obama, who railed against rising college costs during an affordability speech at the Ann Arbor campus in January 2012.

    “I won’t ask students to pay more if I think we can do more," she said.

    Meanwhile, two of the regents who supported the increase have since retired from the board. They've been replaced by Mark Bernstein and Shauna Ryder Diggs, both Democrats elected in November.

    Bernstein, of Ann Arbor, said during the election he would have voted against the 2012 tuition increase. Diggs, in an October interview, did not say whether she would have voted against the increase.

    "2.8 percent is not huge but I really think they need hold costs or decrease costs," she said at the time.

    Resident tuition at U-M has increased 63 percent in 10 years. In 2003-04, tuition and fees were $7,975 for lower-division residents. Today it is $12,994. In the past decade, the lowest tuition increase was 1.5 percent and the largest was 12.34 percent.

    In a March interview Newman said she could envision a tuition freeze but was unsure if the board could agree to one.

    "I think it is expensive to go to college, whether you're in state or out of state. You can't price yourself out of the middle class. You just can at do that. That's not what we're about," Newman said. "There are plenty of studies that show people will pay more to come here, but is that what we are about?"

    U-M officials have been reluctant to embrace tuition freezes. In 2012 former provost Phil Hanlon, now leader of Dartmouth College, said tuition increases are integral to a balanced budget because "every year our costs are going up."

    Yet some question shifting cost increases onto students through tuition hikes.

    "I will continue to vote against tuition increases if I believe that the university is not thinking about this in a thoughtful, creative way to control skyrocketing tuition and crushing student debt," Bernstein said prior to being elected regent. "This is a model that is unsustainable and it's going to require everybody taking a stand against it."

    Tuition this year was $39,122 for out-of-state undergraduates. In past years tuition increases for out-of-state students have been larger than increases for in-state students. Despite the increase in non-resident tuition, applications from out-of-state continue to grow.

    U-M administrators have said net cost for low-income students actually has decreased in recent years because of increases in centrally-awarded financial aid. Last year the school's general fund awarded $144.8 million in scholarships and aid.

    EMU's board increased tuition 3.95 percent last year, just under the 4 percent cap imposed by the state legislature that year. Full-time resident undergraduates at EMU pay $9,026 per year in tuition and fees.

    EMU's public Board of Regents meeting takes place Tuesday and U-M's takes place Thursday.

    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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    photo by Sean Carter Photography | courtesy of the Purple Rose Theatre Co.

    Don Zolidis’ “Miles and Ellie,” now having its world premiere at the Purple Rose Theatre, tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love, break up, and see each other again 20 years later.

    But the fateful way that love blooms between two people is similar to the way that artists sometimes come together; chance and timing play a significant role.

    In the case of Dallas-based Zolidis and the Rose, the story goes like this: Zolidis’ play “White Buffalo” (which had its world premiere at the Rose in 2012) won a playwriting award in 2003; after it was published, a theater in Seattle planned to do a reading in 2006 - but due to budget constraints, the reading didn’t happen until 2007, when Michigan-based actress Barb Coven was in the audience. She suggested to Zolidis that he send the script to the Rose - which he did, and it languished in a script pile for a time. But then-apprentice Matt Gwynn plucked it from the pile, read it, and insisted that Rose artistic director Guy Sanville should take it home - where Sanville’s wife read it and made the same demand.

    “She said, ‘Stop what you’re doing now, get in the tub and read this play,’” said Sanville. “If I stay in the tub and read the whole thing, it’s a really good script.”

    Thus, a partnership was born.

    PREVIEW

    ”Miles and Ellie”

    • Who: Purple Rose Theatre Company.
    • What: A world premiere play by Don Zolidis about two in-love teenagers who break up over a misunderstanding. 20 years later, Ellie comes home for Thanksgiving and learns that Miles is still in town and carrying a torch for her.
    • Where: Purple Rose Theatre, 137 Park St. in Chelsea.
    • When: Wednesday at 3 and 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m., June 20-August 31. Discount preview performances run June 20-27, with opening night June 28.
    • How much: $27-$42, with two Ford Friday performances, July 5 and August 2, for which tickets cost $18.50. Preview performances cost $22-$32. 734-433-7673 or www.purplerosetheatre.org.
    “White Buffalo” focused on a Wisconsin family in flux after the birth of a legendary, sacred animal on a struggling farm. The story was inspired by a real event in Zolidis’ hometown. “Miles and Ellie,” however, began as “a way to have a fun time with heartache, which I always kind of enjoy,” said Zolidis. “I find that there’s a lot of humor in heartache, and there’s a lot of joy in the first experience of it, so I wanted to write about first love. That’s where it started. But then I thought, ‘What if they met up again 20 years later?’”

    The same actors (Rusty Mewha and Rhiannon Ragland) play the title characters as teenagers and thirtysomethings, and Zolidis likely drew on his experiences as a former high school teacher while writing the script.

    “How (Miles and Ellie) get together is this horrible health class exercise, wherein the boys are assigned incomes, and the one with the highest has first pick of a bride, and they go down from there,” said Zolidis. “Ellie is the 9th one picked. … I like to satirize the sexist institutions of high school, like, having to raise a flour baby in health class, which always seemed ridiculous to me. So I skewered that a bit.”

    Zolidis also has a little fun at the romantic comedy genre’s expense.

    “In a way, (the play) lampoons the love story, and its unabashedly unafraid to do that,” said Sanville. “ … Undernearth every comedy, there’s danger and heartache and pain. The more there is, the funnier it is. But just think about the first time you take your clothes off in front of another person - there’s a lot of comedy there.”

    Ellie tells the play’s story from her point of view, which can be unreliable. The first part takes place in 1991, while the rest happens in 2011, when Ellie returns to her family’s home for Thanksgiving.

    “It deals with memory,” said Sanville, who directs the show. “Stuff you think happened a certain way 20 years ago, and that you convinced yourself had a huge effect on your life … is that what you really saw? What really happened?”

    In this age of social media, when finding out what happened to our first love is often as easy as typing a name into a Google search (though Ellie refused Miles’ Facebook friend request), Sanville believes “Miles and Ellie” will strike a cord with everyone who’s ever been smitten.

    “A woman friended me on Facebook recently - I was involved with her for 3 years or so in the early '70s,” Sanville said. “I have no desire to see her. But still, when the name popped up in front of me, there was a little pang. Some residual something there. … When you’re young, you’re just so vulnerable.”

    Jenn McKee is an entertainment reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at jennmckee@annarbor.com or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


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    Ann Arbor Pioneer High School band director David Leach addresses a small crowd Monday at the First United Methodist Church at Green Wood. Leach; Steven Norton; behind him to the left; and State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor; participated in a panel discussion on education funding.

    Danielle Arndt | AnnArbor.com

    Editor's note: A comment by Jeff Irwin near the end of this article has been edited for clarity.

    The message of an Ann Arbor forum on K-12 education funding in the state of Michigan Monday was clear: Education must be reverted to a non-partisan issue.

    A group of about 40 people gathered from 7 to 9 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church at Green Wood in Ann Arbor to learn more about proposed statewide education reforms, the financial challenges threatening school districts and what community members can do to help.

    There were three panelists involved in the discussion at the church: Michigan Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor; Pioneer High School teacher and band director David Leach; and Steven Norton, a local schools advocate and the executive director of Michigan Parents for Schools, a nonprofit organization.

    The panel was spurred on by a dinner chat FUMC Pastor Doug Paterson had with a former superintendent and by his continuous reading in the news about school districts struggling to stay open and enacting massive cuts to programs and services they provide to their students.

    Although each panelist shared his personal perspective and experience with K-12 education funding in the state, they all stressed the most important component to changing the trajectory of public schools is changing the conversation — and doing so through frequent, perseverant and passionate community activism and engagement.

    The panelists talked about Gov. Rick Snyder's lifting of the cap on charter schools and "cyber" charter schools and how that has hurt traditional public school districts. They talked about how the current Republican administration seems to be trying to replace human-delivered classroom instruction with technology-driven and online-based learning that will create a generation of adults who are good test-takers, but lack the ability to think, react, problem solve on the fly and work as part of a team out in the workforce or in everyday life.

    "The vision of education that is coming out of an awful lot of this (legislation) is that transferring information and knowledge and facts into kids' heads is what we should be doing ... and machines can do more, cheaper than humans," Norton said.

    Additionally, the panelists talked about how funding for schools has not kept up with inflation and that while Snyder and the Republicans are touting the increase they gave to districts in the budget that recently was approved, Irwin said the Ann Arbor Public Schools will receive just $5 more per pupil in this budget, when two years ago the district took a $470 per-pupil cut.

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    State Rep. Jeff Irwin, left, talks at a panel Monday evening while Steven Norton listens.

    Danielle Arndt | AnnArbor.com

    "We are going in the right direction, sure, but they are patting themselves on the back and doing a victory lap (for the $5 increase) and it's inappropriate," Irwin said.

    But despite talk criticism of the current administration's policies, the panelists said ultimately, the focus cannot be on who is in office and how to get them out. Irwin and Norton both agreed education was not always as partisan of an issue as it is now, referencing the early John Engler era.

    "We need to ... remind people of the values that cause them to care about education — the community, investing in the future," Norton said. "To be honest, we can't let the fate of our schools be controlled by partisan back and forth."

    Irwin concurred. He said the state needs to invest in the fundamentals of prosperity, which education and high quality schools is one of the biggest contributing factors to an area's economic success and viability, he said.

    Irwin explained there can be a benefit to being a Democrat during conversations with constituents about education because, generally, people tend to associate Democrats as believing government can work and being more willing to spend money on education. However, he said when there are problems in government and problems in school districts, both political parties are consumed with talking about the problems — Republicans about the problems with the governing bodies themselves and Republicans "go about trying to prove just how bad government can fail."

    "That's where all the discussion goes. ... We don't talk about how our school system does work, how it is tremendous for our students," he said, adding that free-for-all, constitutionally-guaranteed, community-governed schools "are a tremendous American success story.

    "It's a good investment. ... It's a solution that wins."

    Norton said parents also cannot be "partisan" or biased toward only the cuts and reform policies that impact them directly. For example, he said people with a seventh- or eighth-grader can't only care about what is going to happen with middle school cuts or rally just for saving athletics because those people want their sons or daughters to be able to play high school sports to compete for scholarships.

    "We need to come together to talk about it as a community. ... In the long run, the only way to present any permanent change is to push for measures in the best interest of all children in Michigan."

    One audience member asked about Proposal A and whether it was a fallacy that the 1994 legislation was something voters and public schools advocates should try to repeal.

    Irwin said eliminating Proposal A "is not a silver bullet" because the question then becomes what does the state replace it with? He said the legislation has done some of the things it was intended to do, such as establish more equity in funding throughout the state, despite disparities in income levels, property tax bases and a district's ability to pass increased taxes and raise revenue on its own.

    "It's not that Proposal A itself is broken," Norton added in agreement. "But it has then laid control on the Legislature to answer the question of how and when to raise funds for education."

    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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    Residents who live in areas policed by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office were slightly more likely to have their homes burgled in 2012 compared with 2011, according to crime statistics in a recently released community report.

    Complaints involving animals and juveniles rose more dramatically.

    Animal complaints were up by 22 percent, juvenile issues by 10 percent and burglaries by 1 percent, according to the report.

    The report went into detail about how many home invasions and suspects arrested for home invasions in the past several years.

    In 2012, there were 884 home invasions with 62 arrests; in 2011, 872 home invasions with 81 arrests; in 2010, 941 home invasions with 78 arrests; and in 2009, there were 1,038 home invasions with 55 arrests.

    The report also included numbers of calls for service through the county. Washtenaw Metro Dispatch took 151,590 calls for service, while Pittsfield Township dispatch had 14,804; EMU, 2,461; Chelsea, 696; Saline, 680; and Milan, 439.

    The city of Ann Arbor began contracting with metro dispatch in July. Before that, between January and July, Ann Arbor dispatch handled 23,177 calls.

    There were downward trends in 2012, with significantly fewer car thefts and robberies, according to the report.

    Vehicle thefts were down by 24 percent, robberies by 14 percent, drug violations by 4 percent, larcenies by 1 percent and assaults by 1 percent.

    Traffic accidents also were highlighted in the report.

    The sheriff’s office investigated 2,703 crashes in 2012. Of those, there were 2,110 property damage crashes and 586 injury crashes. Seven of the accidents involved a fatality, according to the report.

    The report states that the top ten crash intersections were: East Ellsworth and South Hewitt; Jackson and South Zeeb; Huron Street and South Huron River Drive; Grove Street and Rawsonville; Golfside and Washtenaw; North Hewitt and Washtenaw; South Hewitt and West Michigan Avenue; Geddes and North Dixboro; Textile and Whittaker and East Michigan Avenue and Harris Court.

    The sheriff’s office covers Ann Arbor Township, Dexter Township, Dexter Village, Lodi Township, Salem Township, Scio Township, Superior Township, Webster Township, Manchester Village, York Township and Ypsilanti Township.

    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    American Broach has seen growth amid the economic downturn and the company is now seeking an abatement to assist its $1.4 million expansion project.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    The Ypsilanti-based manufacturer American Broach is requesting a six-year tax abatement to assist in its ongoing $1.4 million expansion project, that will add 20 new jobs by 2015.

    The Ypsilanti City Council will hold a public hearing and consider the abatement request at its Tuesday meeting at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

    American Broach manufactures machines that create parts for the automotive, defense, train, aircraft and other industries. The company produces intricate cutting machines and was founded by Francis Lapointe in 1919 in Ann Arbor at the suggestion of Henry Ford.

    Company president Ken Nemec previously told AnnArbor.com in addition to the $1.4 million to be invested at the new 42,800-square-foot facility at 535 S. Mansfield St., $200,000 will be spent to cover the cost of moving and buying new appliances.

    The business is based at 575 S. Mansfield, but the company has outgrown the 22,580-square-foot facility. The company will still use the old facility, which it purchased in 2007 for $1.2 million from the Marsh Plating Corporation.

    In 2011, the company requested a tax exemption to expand their building at 575 S. Mansfield with a 45,000-square-foot addition, but decided to purchase another location in the industrial park rather than build an addition.

    In November of 2012, the company purchased 535 S. Mansfield to expand their manufacturing into this location, keeping the research and development and office area (as well as some production) at the 575 Mansfield address.

    City staff estimates the total value of the exemption for six years is about $236,000. The amount of city taxes is estimated at $93,000.

    If approved, this would not be the first time the company has received and applied an exemption. American Broach has received and applied for the following exemptions from Ypsilanti:

    • In 2008, the company received an approval for an Industrial Facilities exemption for four years that provided a 50 percent exemption from personal property taxes related to the purchase of new equipment to expand the business. The expected savings to the company were about $450,000 over the four year period. The exemption has since expired.
    • In 2011, the company received another approval of Industrial Facilities exemption for real property for a 45,000-square-foot addition to house the expansion of American Broach manufacturing as well as a research and development facility. This project was not pursued.
    • In 2011, American Broach received approval for a PA 328 Personal Property Exemption for new personal property at 575 Mansfield as part of the expansion project. This exemption was approved for six years, and went into effect in 2012. The original estimate of the exemption was approximately $430,000.

    Between 2011 and 2012, 14 full-time and two part-time positions were created. The company informed the city that additional jobs have been added since that time and an update will be provided at the June 18 council meeting.

    Nemec told AnnArbor.com the average wages at American Broach are $20 per hour and $22 per hour for skilled trades. Employees receive full benefits.

    "Today, we are a thriving corporation with a supportive board of directors and motivated employees with a sense of urgency driven by the excitement of our growth in the U.S. machine tool market," Nemec wrote in a letter to the Ypsilanti City Council.

    According to Nemec, only 30 percent of the company's sales are outside of the U.S. and the auto industry accounts for nearly 65 percent of the company's sales. As the industry continues to post gains, the company does as well, Nemec previously said.

    "That's why we bought the building," he said. "We're on an upward trend and the economy is going to build and people are going to be able to buy cars. I think over the next six or seven years, we're going to continue to see growth."

    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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    Two University of Michigan classroom buildings will receive $10.1 million in renovations this year, pending Board of Regents approval.

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    The cupola of University of Michigan's West Hall.

    Mark Bialek

    The school is renovating 12,500 square feet of East Hall, retrofitting offices into a research laboratory and support spaces for the psychology department's biopsychology and neuroscience efforts. The $4.6 million renovation is expected to finish in the summer of 2014.

    Another project will relocate U-M's astronomy department from the Dennison Building to the third and fourth floors of West Hall. The relocation will facilitate collaboration with the school's Center for the Study of Complex Systems and physics department, already located in West Hall.

    To accommodate the department, crews will renovate 21,800 square feet of West Hall. The renovation of the two floors and moving expenses are expected to cost $5.5 million. The project also is expected to be completed in the summer 2014.

    Both renovations are anticipated to provide 25 jobs.

    The university's eight-member governing board is expected to approve the renovations during a 3 p.m. Thursday meeting at the Michigan Union.

    U-M's Department of Architecture, Engineering and Construction will design the physiology department's new space, while Quinn Evans Architects will design the astronomy department's new area.

    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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    Ypsilanti police say they used a stun gun Monday evening to subdue a 50-year-old Ypsilanti man who was swinging a knife at a group of 13-year-olds at Riverside Park.

    Police responded to the park, off of Cross Street near Depot Town, around 7:45 p.m. for a report of a felonious assault that involved a knife, according to a news release.

    Officers arrived on scene to witness the suspect swinging a pocket knife at the victims - an Ypsilanti boy, an Ypsilanti Township boy, an Ann Arbor boy and an Ypsilanti girl - all age 13.

    Police said they used a stun gun and the man was taken into custody after a short struggle. The suspect was then taken to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor for treatment of stun gun probe punctures and later lodged at the Washtenaw County Jail. Police said he was in good condition.

    The 13-year-olds were not injured and did not know the suspect, according to the release.

    Further information was not immediately available.


    View Larger Map

    Julie Baker can be reached at juliebaker@annarbor.com or at 734-623-2576.


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    The two structures seen off in the distance on the 721 N. Main property owned by the city of Ann Arbor are slated for demolition. The city's North Main task force is expected to issue a formal recommendation next month regarding whether to try to reuse the larger garage facility on the property.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a contract to demolish two buildings at 721 N. Main St., and separately committed $750,000 for a greenway park there.

    The city has been talking for years about transforming the old maintenance yard behind the Ann Arbor Community Center into a green open space with trails.

    "Tonight's resolution is the next step in our community's realization of a greenway," said Bob Galardi, president of the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy. "It serves as a transition from the city supporting the concept of a greenway to committing to breaking ground."

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    The concept for a greenway anchor park at 721 N. Main.

    City of Ann Arbor

    The council approved a $31,618 contract with E.T. MacKenzie Co. for demolition of two structures that stand in the way of the greenway vision.

    With a contingency built in, the demolition could cost up to $34,779.

    The city received grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for 75 percent of the cost to demolish two city-owned storage structures.

    The city is still seeking grant funding to help cover the larger $1.2 million project to create a greenway park at 721 N. Main. Stormwater features, native plantings and interpretive signage are proposed.

    The city has applied for grants from the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission ($150,000), the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund ($300,000), and the Transportation Alternatives Program through the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments/Michigan Department of Transportation ($600,000). Another $150,000 would come from the city's stormwater fund.

    To date, the city has been able to secure the Washtenaw County parks grant for $150,000, contingent upon successful receipt of the $300,000 state grant. The city is expected to know later this fall whether it will get the other grants.

    The state trust fund grant requires a council-approved resolution indicating the city will fund the project if other grants do not materialize, and so the City Council voted Monday night to appropriate general fund reserves up to $750,000 to meet that requirement.

    "For years people have talked about this," said Council Member Mike Anglin, D-5th Ward. "This is the first time the city is willing to commit a good sum of money. Before it was only resolutions."

    The two structures being demolished are located in the floodway of the Allen Creek. One measures 50 feet by 116 feet and was once used by the city for road salt storage. The second measures 36 feet by 200.5 feet and was once used for large vehicle storage.

    The larger maintenance garage at 721 N. Main is located outside the floodway (but still in the floodplain) and is not part of the demolition work, so it will remain in place.

    According to a description provided by Jerry Hancock, the city's stormwater and floodplain programs coordinator, the demolition work includes the removal of the two structures and their foundations and the asphalt surface between them, and removal and disconnection of two stormwater inlets and stormwater piping that was intentionally connected to the sanitary system.

    Site restoration work will follow. All disturbed areas will be graded out with topsoil applied and then seeded and mulched to establish native prairie vegetation.

    Galardi said the 721 N. Main project will benefit the community in many ways. He said it begins to address downtown green space issues, serves as an important component of the North Main entrance to the city and enables the first elements to the Allen Creek Greenway.

    "The overall implementation of the Allen Creek Greenway will help address safety issues by separating bicyclists, walkers, joggers and inline skaters from vehicular traffic," he said.

    "The greenway will also provide safe connection to the Border-to-Border Trail and access to the Cascades and Argo Pond."

    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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    As video surveillance technology becomes more sophisticated and prevalent, Ann Arbor City Council Members Mike Anglin and Chuck Warpehoski argue there's a need to establish a regulatory framework that balances privacy protections and law enforcement needs.

    The two 5th Ward council members put forward a new video privacy ordinance for consideration Monday night, but it ultimately was postponed by council until early July.

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    Ann Arbor City Council Member Chuck Warpehoski, D-5th Ward, tried to convince his colleagues to support a proposed video privacy ordinance Monday night, but others weren't comfortable moving it to second reading.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com file photo

    The proposed ordinance would regulate the city's use of video cameras that monitor human activity without an operator present.

    Under the ordinance, public surveillance cameras that would be in place more than 15 days in residential areas could be installed only if two-thirds of nearby residents give written permission.

    The cameras could be used for up to six months with an option for renewal. If there are no residents within 300 feet, the camera could be installed for up to a year with an option for renewal.

    Public surveillance cameras that would be in place for 15 days or less could be installed at the discretion of the city administrator to address a specific criminal problem.

    "The ordinance as presented is a rigorous effort to strike a balance between the needs and desires of city's law enforcement community and the privacy needs of our citizens," Warpehoski said, adding he's been hearing some people ask for a complete ban on municipal video surveillance and other people arguing the city shouldn't be tying the hands of the police department.

    "When you pass ordinances to tie your own hands, it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense, especially when there isn't a problem," said Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward.

    "We know all too well these surveillance cameras — when they're addressing real problems — do work," he added. "You only have to listen to the issues over in West Willow where the neighborhood is asking for this, and it is working when they want surveillance cameras to deter crime."

    Council Members Sumi Kailasapathy, D-1st Ward, and Jane Lumm, an Independent from the 2nd Ward, also said they weren't entirely comfortable with what's being proposed.

    Lumm said too many fundamental questions remain unanswered. She said she's not going to support the ordinance until she hears from Police Chief John Seto that he has no objections and that it does not compromise the police department's ability to do its job.

    "While I understand that protecting public privacy is important, I also understand that surveillance is an essential and critical tool in police work, solving and preventing crimes, and we only have to look at the recent events in Boston to see confirmation of that," Lumm said.

    "And most importantly, I trust the Ann Arbor Police Department and Chief Seto to judiciously and appropriately use surveillance cameras, balancing their need to optimize law enforcement while protecting privacy, and I'm not entirely convinced that this ordinance is necessary at all. No other municipalities in Michigan have an ordinance similar to this."

    The ordinance would provide notice requirements for short-term and long-term installations of surveillance cameras, including onsite notice.

    If a private residence is in a public surveillance camera's visual range, the ordinance states residents of the property must give written permission before a camera is installed.

    Public surveillance cameras could not be used for live-monitoring, except in well-defined emergencies. Audio recording also would not be permitted.

    Access to surveillance recordings would be limited to employees of the police department and attorneys involved in criminal proceedings. After 90 days, surveillance recordings would be deleted unless they were part of an ongoing investigation.

    When a public surveillance camera is removed, a report on its effectiveness would be published on a public website.

    The ordinance wouldn't regulate cameras that monitor city buildings and storage areas, cameras used for entertainment events or traffic studies, or private use of video surveillance cameras.

    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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    Ypsilanti_police_badge.jpg

    There were four reports of windows being cracked or smashed Monday in Ypsilanti , according to police.

    The first report came at 9 a.m. in the 10 block of Ecorse Road. A large window in a building was broken overnight, according to a crime summary from the Ypsilanti police.

    At 11 a.m., police took a similar report in the 10 block of South Prospect Street where the window of a business was smashed with a rock sometime the night before.

    Car windows also were targeted.

    A vehicle in the 500 block of Emmet Street had its windshield broken out. The incident was reported at 12:20 p.m.

    At 11 p.m., a similar incident was reported in the 900 block of West Michigan Avenue. According to the crime summary, an unknown object was thrown at a car window causing it to crack.

    There are no suspects in any of the incidents. It's not clear whether they're related. Police continue to investigate.


    View Broken windows June 18 in a larger map

    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Thumbnail image for aabflogo.jpg
    Whether your passion is writing or reading (or both), the 2013 Ann Arbor Book Festival is likely to have something of interest to you.

    This year, AABF will feature a pre-festival workshop for cartoonists, educators and librarians to discuss the growing role comics and graphic novels play in library collections and the classroom; Moonlight Book Crawls, made up of evening readings at local bookstores (Nicola’s Books and Literati) and restaurants (Quarter Bistro, Sava’s, Bill’s Beer Garden, and soon-to-be-opened Aventura); a keynote address by National Book Award finalist Patricia Smith and her husband, Edgar Award winning mystery writer Bruce DeSilva, followed by Leader in Literary Arts (LILA) Award presentations to longtime AABF board chairman Evans Young and Ann Arbor’s mystery bookstore Aunt Agatha’s; and an all-day writer’s conference (with a lunchtime talk by Smith and DeSilva).

    “We’ve moved away from street festival version (of AABF), since the community wasn’t really into that,” said longtime AABF board member Jeff Kass, who teaches creative writing at Pioneer High and EMU. “What we decided to do, for a second year, is have the Book Fest centered around book crawls, so people can experience … literature in live, communal way in different places around Ann Arbor.”

    One thing about AABF’s schedule that sets it apart from a typical writer’s conference is the fact that attendees will have three different opportunities to hear from, or interact with, keynote speakers Smith and DeSilva: the keynote address; the conference lunch; and the conference itself (each will offer a session).

    PREVIEW

    Ann Arbor Book Festival

    • What: Annual, 3 day celebration of the written word, which consists of a pre-festival workshop that brings together cartoonists, librarians and educators; Moonlight Book Crawls (featuring readings in different Ann Arbor locations); keynote speakers Patricia Smith and Bruce DeSilva; and an all-day writers’ conference.
    • Where: Various locations around Ann Arbor.
    • When: June 20-22.
    • How much: Most events have no admission cost. The writer’s conference, happening on Saturday, June 22 from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at U-M’s Hatcher Graduate Library, costs $100 to register, or $25 to just attend the lunch (at which Smith and DeSilva will speak on “The Practice of the Working Writer’s Life”). Student scholarships are available. Write to aabookfestival@umich.edu for more information, or visit www.aabookfestival.org.
    “It’s a great opportunity for people to know these writers better - it humanizes them, and people will get to hear them talk about their craft,” said Kass. “ … (AABF) is informal but fun. And this is a conference about generating work, so we pick instructors carefully. … We emphasize that they’re there not just to talk about writing. People should walk out of a workshop having written something, even if it’s just the germ of a new project.”

    The Book Crawls will feature readings by the 2013 Ann Arbor Youth Poetry Slam Team; Susan Hutton, Keith Taylor and Ellen Stone; Kevin Coval, Shira Erlichman and Brittany Floyd; Red Beard Press (Neutral Zone’s new publishing company) writers; jessica Care moore and Kass; and Scott Beal, Alex Pan and Jon Sands.

    The comics-oriented event, meanwhile, will coincide with the Ann Arbor District Library’s Kids Love Comics program.

    “I’m a big fan of (graphic novels),” said Kass. “It can be an exciting reading experience. For people who aren’t aware of what’s out there right now, it’s amazing. These are not Archie comics. This is challenging, provocative work, and it seems like a great, new opportunity for educators to engage students in the classroom, … and connect to more students.”

    Jenn McKee is an entertainment reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at jennmckee@annarbor.com or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


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    After a nearly 40-minute debate Monday night, the Ann Arbor City Council has decided to move forward with the next phase of a wind energy project at Pioneer High School.

    The council voted 8-3 to approve a $49,883 contract with CDM Smith for engineering services as the project heads into the environmental analysis phase, which includes further study and public outreach before an actual contract to construct a wind turbine comes back to council for approval.

    Marcia_Higgins_022513_RJS.jpg

    "This finally gets it out to the community to let the community have the dialogue that we've kind of been hoping we would have," said Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com file photo

    "I think this is going to be a lively debate in the community about whether this should be there or shouldn't be there, and there are pros and cons on both sides," said Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward, adding she wasn't going to stand in the way of letting that debate happen.

    "This finally gets it out to the community to let the community have the dialogue that we've kind of been hoping we would have," she said.

    The three council members in favor of killing the project before it advances any further were Sumi Kailasapathy, Sally Hart Petersen and Jane Lumm.

    Lumm and Kailasapathy both relied heavily on an email they received from Gregory Tarle, a physics professor at the University of Michigan who questions the $1.4 million project. The city received a federal grant for the project and isn't planning to spend any of its own cash.

    Kailasapathy, D-1st Ward, said it's still taxpayer money, though, and she's not convinced — based on the data Tarle has presented — that the turbine will even move. She said she now regrets her vote from earlier this year to accept the federal grant money for the project.

    "We do want to spend it, but we want to spend taxpayer dollars wisely — not to show if you put the project on the wrong place, it's not going to work," she said.

    "It's not too late. We really need to rethink this," she added. "I know it's federal dollars coming in, but it's not free dollars — it's taxpayer money. And it's our duty to be good stewards of that money."

    Tarle emailed council members in April, saying he was concerned about spending such a large amount of taxpayer dollars for a project he doesn't think will produce good results. He said he teaches a class called "Energy for our Future" at U-M and effective wind turbines must be sited in places where the wind velocity is high and steady or where there are frequent high velocity gusts.

    He argued wind resources are marginal at best in Ann Arbor, and a better place for a turbine would be near the shores of Lake Michigan — or better yet, offshore.

    Lumm said given Tarle's expertise in the field, she found his arguments against the wind energy project to be "quite compelling."

    Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, called city staff up to the lectern Monday night to reiterate why they thought it was a good project.

    Brian Steglitz, a senior utilities engineer for the city and project manager, reminded council members that funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Energy, and the project is intended as an educational demonstration of wind energy.

    He said New York-based Wind Products Inc., the developer the city is partnering with, is willing to guarantee the turbine will produce a minimum of 66,000 kWh of electricity per year. Pioneer High School would be the beneficiary of that arrangement with reduced electricity costs.

    "The data we've received from the developer indicates that it will produce power," Steglitz said. "It's not a tremendous amount of power. We're talking about a 60-kilowatt turbine. It will offset a portion of the power of the high school. It won't be all the power, just a portion of the power."

    Even if the turbine doesn't produce power, Steglitz said, the developer is willing to guarantee a certain level of production and will offset the cost to the school. He went on to indicate the school might save a few thousand dollars a year in electricity costs.

    John_Hieftje_headshot_July_12_2011.jpg

    John Hieftje

    The school's only responsibility is providing the space for the turbine. The developer would be responsible for operation and maintenance.

    Though there has been talk in the past of potentially two turbines going in at Pioneer High, city staff indicated it's now just a single turbine standing 120 feet high with 60-foot diameter blades.

    City officials said part of the challenge has been that the turbine has to be located on the site of whatever it's powering. City Administrator Steve Powers said the city searched as far as East Lansing for a place to install a turbine and Pioneer High School is "really our last location."

    "I think it's a same that East Lansing isn't going to put up a maize and blue windmill for us, and I mean that," Briere responded.

    Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, said he was willing to support the project based on the fact that it's intended to be educational.

    "This is just going straight into the school. It's going to run a couple outlets basically," he said, adding it looks like the turbine would be running about 30 percent of the time.

    "Some of that time, there will be students in a class, as part of this educational effort, who will have the opportunity to look at a data center that shows its output, shows the wind speed, shows the generation, shows temperature, shows all the environmental factors of what's going on, and how much power is going into the school," he said.

    Mayor John Hieftje said he hears the concern that Ann Arbor isn't the best location for wind energy, but he said it's also not the most ideal place for solar.

    "And we see probably the largest utility in our state wanting to install solar here, and it seems to work fairly well" he said. "We have people who are putting solar on their homes."

    Hieftje said he did a quick calculation and determined the turbine could offset the carbon emissions of about 16 houses the size of his own.

    "I've never expected that this wind generator would generate a lot," he said. "I'm actually happy with 66,000 kWh, and I'm guessing that's probably a conservative number … so I think it is worth exploring this to the next stage and getting the public input and doing the environmental study."

    Hieftje said he doesn't disagree with the professor's email, but it's worth pointing out the U.S. Department of Energy is interested in seeing the project move forward.

    "I don't know nearly as much about this as they do, and I don't think anyone here at the table does, so I'm happy to follow the lead of the U.S. Department of Energy," he said.

    "I think they're very well aware that it's not going to produce much energy, and it's always been about the educational component," he added. "It might be a real bonus for our high school kids."

    Kailasapathy raised concerns about the potential for noise pollution and wondered if the turbine would cause headaches or other side effects.

    Steglitz said those kinds of concerns could be examined as part of the upcoming environmental assessment. He said project officials will be visiting a college in Indiana with a similar turbine to figure out everything they can about its operation and its impacts.

    The City Council voted in January to accept a $951,500 federal grant for the project. The $484,390 local match for the grant is made up of $18,590 in city staff and $465,800 worth of work provided by Wind Products Inc. for the equipment and installation.

    As for the costs to own and operate the turbine, city officials said, those will be handled in the agreements among the parties, but there will be no net cost to 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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    Crews dig through boxes of gardening books scattered on U.S. 23 after a semi overturned Monday afternoon.

    Courtesy of Michigan State Police

    A picture released Tuesday morning by state police reveals the type of thorny challenges cleanup crews faced Monday evening when a semi truck filled with gardening books overturned on southbound U.S. 23 near Brighton.

    The picture shows hundreds of boxes spilled on the freeway. Police said the boxes contained a book by New Hudson-based gardening author Jerry Baker, also know as "America's Master Gardener."

    The crash occurred at 2:15 p.m. and wasn't cleared until 6:30 p.m., according to Sgt. Mark Thompson of the Michigan State Police. The shipment originated in New Hudson, where Baker's business operation is based, according to his website.

    Police did not know where the shipment was headed when the semi rolled over Monday. A spokeswoman for Baker said the company did not have a comment when reached by phone Wednesday morning.

    Thompson said preliminary investigation indicates the semi truck was traveling westbound on Interstate 96 and entered the on-ramp to southbound U.S. 23 when the accident happened.

    "(The driver) was going too fast for the ramp curve, lost control and tipped the truck over," Thompson said.

    The driver was treated at a local hospital for a minor laceration to the head and released, according to police.

    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    More than 40 cartoonists and writers will gather at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library on Saturday and Sunday for Kids Read Comics.

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    This is the fifth annual KRC, an event that promotes comics as a part of lifelong reading and as a means of creative expression for kids and teens. Offering several programs within the event, the KRC is a great way for kids to meet artists and writers, learn about the industry and get some great tips. The times and programs are listed at mlatcomics.com/krc/programming.

    Ben Hatke, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman and Rafael Rosado will be just some of the special guests in attendance.

    Top Shelf Productions, Archie Comics and DC Comics will provide free comic books for the celebration.

    On Saturday at the Neutral Zone, there will be a Cosplay Party/Concert for teens. Dress as your favorite character and enjoy a free live show by The O>Matics . 6 p.m.

    Saturday, June 22, 2013. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, June 23, 2013. Noon-6 p.m. Free. For grades 4 and up. The AADL is at 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-327-4200.


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    Bob Seger performs at EMU in 2011.

    Jeff Sainlar | AnnArbor.com

    Several sources, including the Detroit Free Press, have reported that rock star Bob Seger - who grew up in Ann Arbor - will appear on Tuesday night's season finale episode of NBC's singing competition show, "The Voice."

    Seger will perform with one of the 3 finalists, the Swon Brothers, who performed Seger's "Turn the Page" on the show last week; and former Ann Arborite and My Dear Disco/Ella Riot front woman Michelle Chamuel is one of the finalists who will be awaiting the announcement of the competition's winner on Tuesday night. She's expected to perform with special guest One Republic. (16 year old Danielle Bradbery, who will likely sing with Hunter Hayes, is the third finalist.)

    Others slated to perform on Tuesday night's season finale are Bruno Mars, Pitbull, Cher, Florida Georgia Line and Christina Aguilera, who previously appeared as a judge on "The Voice."

    Jenn McKee is an entertainment reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at jennmckee@annarbor.com or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


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