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

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    Two incidents of larceny were reported Tuesday in Ypsilanti, according to a crime summary.

    An assortment of power tools were stolen from a vehicle in the 900 block of Madison Street. The vehicle was broken into by an unknown suspect around 12 p.m.

    In the second incident, a bike was stolen by an unknown suspect in the 200 block of West Cross Street. The theft was reported around 7 p.m., but a crime report indicates the bike was stolen sometime during the night.

    Further information was not immediately available.


    View crime 6-18 in a larger map

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


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    hampton_inn_rendering_jackson_avenue.jpg

    A rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn & Suites on Jackson Avenue in Ann Arbor.

    Giffels Webster

    The Ann Arbor Planning Commission has postponed action on a proposed hotel on Jackson Avenue, asking the developer to come up with a more pedestrian-friendly plan.

    Akram Namou of A&M Hospitality and Executive Hospitality wants to build a 100-room Hampton Inn at 2910 Jackson Ave., adjacent to his 163-room Clarion Hotel.

    hampton_inn_site_plan.jpg

    The site plan for the proposed Hampton Inn.

    Giffels Webster

    Planning commissioners Tuesday night said they want to see better alternatives for sidewalks, and they're asking Namou to come back in July with a revised strategy.

    "The building seems to be fine — I think most people don't have a problem with that," said Commissioner Diane Giannola. "But if there's a way to improve the walkability of the area, at least attempt to show us if there's another way — show us another alternative."

    Commissioner Eric Mahler said it poses "an interesting challenge" to see if the developer can make the plan pedestrian-oriented rather than car-oriented, but he wouldn't mind seeing that.

    As he was leaving city hall Tuesday night, Namou said the planning commissioners' comments were well taken and he'll see what he can do.

    "They are fair comments," he said. "We definitely will make, as much as possible, some modifications to accommodate their concerns. It is a little expensive, but we will accommodate them — definitely we'll do anything for the safety of the pedestrians."

    He added, "We have a big investment already in the project, and this project was approved and permits were taken out, so we are hoping to move forward very quickly."

    The Ann Arbor City Council previously approved Namou's plans for the Hampton Inn in 2008, and some site work was completed before financing issues stalled the project. The site plan expired in 2012, and Namou is now back asking for approval of essentially the same project.

    "It's the same project that was previously approved — it expired and now we reapplied," he said. "The city asked us for certain modifications, which we complied with, like additional landscaping and additional sidewalks, etc., so we complied with everything, and the staff approved the plans."

    City documents show the four-story, 72,000-square-foot Hampton Inn would include a workout facility and an indoor pool. The building would be located on a previously constructed foundation.

    Namou is requesting a planned project modification to increase the maximum front setback requirement of 50 feet to allow a 72.4-foot setback from the north property line fronting Interstate 94. When the foundation was poured in 2008, there was no maximum front setback requirement.

    A landscape modification also is requested to provide required bio-retention in one large area south of the building.

    Commissioner Bonnie Bona she wasn't ready to support the hotel project as presented Tuesday night. She offered some constructive feedback to the developer.

    "While the pedestrian and bicycle use may be minimal today, it's only going to get greater," she said. "And in order for your building to be viable as a location, I believe it needs to be more pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly than it is."

    Bona suggested the project engineer should draw up new plans starting with a focus on pedestrian access, and then fill in the parking afterward.

    Between the two hotels, there would be 337 parking spaces, according to the proposed plan. The 8.8-acre site is located along the north side of Jackson next to I-94.

    Bona said she knows sidewalks are expensive, but she suggested at the very least the developer could put a loop around the property so someone could walk or jog around it.

    "It could be a nice path — that idea of an amenity for your patrons, even if they drive here in a car," she said. "Especially I think the conference people are the ones who are kind of stuck there for the day, and it would be a shame if all they had to do was walk through your parking lot."

    A pedestrian crossing is proposed on Jackson Avenue from the Hampton Inn site to Hilltop Drive. The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority plans to relocate a bus stop on eastbound Jackson to take advantage of the crossing, according to the plans.

    Bona wanted to know how a pedestrian would get from either the property next door or from the bus stop into the main entrance of the hotel. She noted when she goes to a hotels, she often arrives by car, but then she wants to walk around on foot once she's there.

    "I would even get out and go for a run — head across Jackson, and that neighborhood is really nice, would be very pleasant to run in," she said.

    Following action by the Planning Commission, possibly in July, the project heads to the Ann Arbor City Council for final approval.

    Namou told commissioners having a Hampton Inn next door to a Clarion Hotel will work — he believes the two hotels would complement each other perfectly.

    "The Clarion is a full-service hotel, which has meeting space, banquets and restaurant, while the Hampton is what we call a limited-service hotel, strictly transient and corporate business," he said.

    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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    Recent studies suggest peer pressure isn't the enemy it's made out to be, but actually an important step in development, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

    While teens are more easily susceptible to being influenced, it's not because they are unable to make rational decisions, but because they derive more pleasure from social acceptance than adult brains.

    In the past, teens giving into peer pressure was contributed mainly to their continuing development of the frontal lobe, which is a key part of the brain in decision-making.

    But according to the Journal, new research suggests teens brain-function makes them as capable of decision-making as adults, so long as they are not emotionally "worked-up."

    Developing research also suggests "reward centers" in the brain are activated more in teens than adults and researchers believe acceptance from peers works as an activator, so the rush of neurotransmitters from gives teens greater satisfaction.

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


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    1010744_10201060394612893_1518815836_n.jpeg

    Sid Hodges helped revive a man on a New Buffalo golf course last week.

    Courtesy of Gwen Hodges

    In his 31 years as a dental lab technician at Milan Dental Associates, Sid Hodges has had to take CPR training courses every few years.

    But it wasn’t until he was on a golf course across the state from the office that all those hours of training would become so vital.

    While Hodges and his group waited to tee off at the 15th hole of Whitaker Woods Golf Club in New Buffalo last Wednesday, the 55-year-old Ypsilanti resident looked down the par 3 and saw the last member of the group in front of him retrieve his ball from the hole and replace the flagstick.

    As he walked off the green, the man hunched over, then stood up and staggered.

    Then he fell.

    “Flat on his face,” Hodges said.

    In about 30 seconds, Hodges was at Bill Pruitt’s side. He found him unconscious, not breathing and with no pulse.

    But in the moment, his training took over and Hodges said he began chest compressions just as if Pruitt were the dummy from CPR classes.

    “I was more calm than I thought I would be,” Hodges said.

    Pruitt soon began breathing again, and for 20 minutes Hodges and other members of the group took turns giving chest compressions until EMTs arrived. He was shocked out of cardiac arrest and rushed to the hospital.

    The 59-year-old Griffith, Ind. resident woke up a few hours later in a hospital room, where his playing partners informed him of the stranger who had brought him back to life.

    “I was dead.” Pruitt said Tuesday afternoon as he was getting ready to be discharged from the hospital, where doctors reopened a fully-blocked coronary artery. “They had to zap me four times, but he said that if it wasn’t for the CPR that I would be dead for sure.”

    While Pruitt made a quick recovery, Hodges and his group had left the golf course not knowing what became of him. But when he ran into a few policemen at a coffee shop the next day, and thought one of them had been at the scene, he asked for an update.

    “I’m sure he died,” Hodges recalled the policeman saying. “They usually don’t make it.”

    But when they went to play Whitaker Woods again the following day, the group got the good news from a golf course employee — Hodges had returned to Milan following the weekend and said earlier this week, he planned on speaking with Pruitt about what happened.

    Last week marked Pruitt’s second heart attack on a golf course in just more than a year. Last May, he stayed conscious until he got to the hospital.

    On Wednesday, he needed far more help. But he had the right group behind him.

    “They took the time and the effort to save my life,” Pruitt said. “And I could never thank them enough.”

    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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    A Portage man will have to pay back the more than $125,000 he embezzled from his former employer after pleading guilty to criminal charges Tuesday.

    markhartmann.jpg

    Mark Hartmann

    Courtesy of WCSO

    Mark Hartmann, 36, pleaded guilty to one charge of embezzlement between $50,000 and $100,000 in exchange for one count of embezzlement of more than $100,000 being dropped. Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton accepted his plea and a sentencing agreement that allows Hartmann to avoid incarceration.

    Hartmann admitted to taking rent money from the Huron Towers apartment complex in Ann Arbor for personal use.

    “Yes, I did,” Hartmann said when Shelton asked him if he had embezzled $125,113.85 from the apartment complex.

    Hartmann was charged on April 22 with the original count of embezzling more than $100,000. The embezzlement took place between January 2009 and October 2010, according to the Ann Arbor police report.

    Hartmann worked as a leasing manager and an assistant manager from August 2007 until October 2010 at the complex. He was fired after the embezzlement was discovered.

    According to the police report, Hartmann would forge the complex manager’s signature on checks he made out to himself and then deposit them in his account. Hartmann was responsible for paying bills and had access to the Huron Towers’ petty cash account.

    There were at least 75 unauthorized withdrawals from a bank account belonging to Huron Towers discovered by police. Many of the payments went to DTE Energy, Sam’s Club or Hartmann himself. Purchases were also made at the Pittsfield Township Lowe’s location and the Ypsilanti Township Walmart.

    Hartmann is free on a 10 percent of $10,000 bond. He’s scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. July 3.

    The charge of embezzlement between $50,000 and $100,000 carries a maximum penalty of 15 years, but Hartmann will avoid prison time, per the sentencing agreement with prosecutors.

    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 police are investigating the death of a 51-year-old woman in a locker room at University Hospital Tuesday.

    According to a police summary, investigators were dispatched at 10:34 p.m. Tuesday to the University of Michigan Hospital, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive. The woman, a staff member, was found collapsed in a locker room.

    Medical personnel who responded to the scene were not able to revive the woman.

    Police are investigating the woman’s death and said there are no initial signs of foul play.


    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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    06172013_BIZ_DogPatios_DJB_.JPG

    Three-year-old Mo, a Shih Tzu, on a downtown Ann Arbor patio with his owners on Monday.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    Nearly everyone would agree that eating a meal or enjoying a drink on a patio outside of a restaurant is an integral experience during Ann Arbor’s warmer months.

    But what if man's best friend wants to tag along?

    “Animals can be very polarizing,” Washtenaw County environmental health supervisor Kristen Schweighoefer said. “There are a lot of people that feel very strongly about the topic on both sides of the situation.”

    Michigan’s food code is in line with the federal food code, which does not allow pets — aside from service animals — to be present in locations where food is served. However, a bill working its way through the Michigan House of Representatives could change that.

    “It’s currently not allowed, and there’s typically good reason behind that,” Schweighoefer said.

    “That being said, if you’re already in an outdoor environment there are a number of other possible contaminations that you’re not going to be able to control very well.”

    The legislation, House Bill No. 4335, was introduced by Representative Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) in February and is co-sponsored by four other Republican members of the state house. O’Brien has said she introduced the bill to help increase restaurant and other tourism related revenue in Michigan.

    Restaurant owners and managers in downtown Ann Arbor said they don’t foresee the new law drastically affecting business. Mac Herbert, a manager at Pacific Rim, and Bill Fall, a manager at Vinology, both said they don't envision their clientele bringing dogs to eat with them very often.

    However, if the law does change, many restaurants seemed open to the idea of allowing dogs on their patios.

    06172013_BIZ_DogPatios_DJB_-1.JPG

    Bella, a three-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog, on a downtown patio on Monday.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    “Ann Arbor does seem like a dog-friendly town,” Cafe Felix chef Joe VanWagner said.

    “Our main concerns are food safety and guest satisfaction, so if it would enhance a guest’s experience to bring their dog and the other guests don’t mind then we’d be happy to try to accommodate.”

    The legislation received some criticism during initial testimony in front of the house tourism committee and is now undergoing revisions to address some of the issues raised.

    “There were some concerns when the bill was first introduced from organizations like the Michigan Restaurant Association and the Department of Agriculture,” Stephanie Bogema, O’Brien’s legislative director, said.

    “We are working with some of those groups now to change the language a bit to make it more acceptable for them.”

    Bogema said Rep. O’Brien is working with the organizations and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop a rules framework to accompany the new law.

    “We need to make sure that it is clear what the restaurant, the local municipality, and the customers’ responsibilities are in terms of watching the pet and the pet’s actions,” she said.

    Having a live animal in the presence of food service is a “priority foundation item” that requires immediate correction or correction upon a follow-up if it is noticed by a food safety inspector.

    Patrons also can call the county to report violations, but Schweighoefer said pet-related complaints are few and far between.

    “We get maybe two or three complaints in a year about pets on patios,” she said. “… I can’t remember a time that we’ve ever had to address this particular violation through our enforcement procedures.”

    At some cafes and coffee shops, such as Starbucks on Main Street or Sweetwaters on Washington Street, it is legal for the pets to be outdoors because all food service occurs inside. Code violations occur when pets join their owners on patios offering full-service dining.

    Despite the risk for restaurants, dogs can often be seen eating and drinking alongside their owners on a number of Ann Arbor sidewalks. When an animal is sighted at a restaurant, Schweighoefer said it is important to remember any pet could be a service animal.

    “Not all service animals are identified by a collar, and you can’t necessarily tell just by looking at them,” she said.

    “It’s not just golden retrievers with the little jackets, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and breeds.”

    The bill is unlikely to change anything for restaurants this summer as the house already is out of session, but Bogema said it likely will be taken up again by the tourism committee in the fall.

    If the bill passes the house and the senate, it would be an “opt-in” legislation, meaning restaurants would not be required to allow pets on their patios, but would be allowed to if they saw fit. Local municipalities also could pass ordinances to make the bill’s language more restrictive.

    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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    Ann Arbor school board President Deb Mexicotte, right, attended several community forums Wednesday to hear people's input on the next superintendent. Current Superintendent Patricia Green, left, retires July 9.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Previous coverage:

    The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education is preparing to sift through applications to find the district's next superintendent.

    To prepare, the board took extra measures—compared with its previous search—to seek public opinion on qualities and characteristics the community would like to see in a new leader by scheduling four public forums on the topic.

    This is the Ann Arbor schools' fourth superintendent search since 2002. Superintendent Patricia Green submitted a letter of resignation to the board on April 11. She will retire effective July 9 after 43 years in public education.

    Green's tenure in Ann Arbor was contentious at times, with the community criticizing her $245,000 salary; her Maryland second residence; and what some saw as her lack of approachability, accessibility and transparency. Overall, the public has appeared largely unsatisfied with her leadership, leading to the board wanting additional feedback from community members going into this next search.

    Pioneer High School math teacher Michele Macke said at one of Wednesday's public meetings that Green started off at a disadvantage when she was hired because of her salary, and she also had tough shoes to fill.

    "It'd be hard to follow (former superintendent) Todd Roberts," Macke said. Roberts left in 2010 to accept a job in North Carolina. "… He was well liked, he went into the buildings, people knew him and felt like he was part of the community. … I've never got the sense that the current superintendent, that people saw her as having a stake in the community."

    Ann Arbor Superintendent Resigns

    Previous Coverage:

    In addition to the four public forums, the school board collected data and comments via an online survey. President Deb Mexicotte said nearly 50 pages of comments have come back to the board through that survey.

    Macke asked Wednesday whether board members did site visits to candidates' districts during the last superintendent search, because she felt that was a critical piece that would allow the board to speak with employees at the various schools to learn about staff morale and how active the superintendent hopeful was in his or her buildings.

    Mexicotte said the board seriously debated the benefits of site visits during the previous search. Some trustees felt there was value in the visits, while others felt strongly that the expense outweighed the benefits, she said. Trustee Glenn Nelson told Macke it is good to hear from the community their thoughts on this topic because it helps the board know what its constituents deem appropriate and necessary.

    The board actually did not end up making the site visits last search because of a snow storm, Mexicotte explained. Trustees got as far as the Detroit Metro Airport when their flights were canceled due to weather. Mexicotte said the rebooking fees and extra expense of canceling the visits and rescheduling caused the board not to go.

    Trustees did follow up with all of the people they were scheduled to meet at the candidates' school districts, however, she said.

    Bryant Elementary School teacher Jeanne Kitzman, who is retiring from the district after 23 years, asked board members Wednesday about the idea of not having a superintendent.

    "We've got a nice, strong cabinet right now. Do we really need a superintendent?" she asked.

    Mexicotte said by law, school districts in the state of Michigan must have a superintendent. Macke said a superintendent is somewhat of a figurehead, but it is an important and powerful position, in that the superintendent is the public spokesperson "and can get the community to back the schools and support the schools."

    Kitzman and Macke encouraged the board to ask other questions of candidates about their plans and goals to avoid another situation where the district is seeking a new superintendent within 2 to 4 years. Green is the fifth leader Ann Arbor has had in a little more than a decade.

    jeanne-kitzman.jpg

    Bryant second-grade teacher Jeanne Kitzman is honored at the June 12 Board of Education meeting with a Celebration of Excellence Award. She is retiring this summer but attended a public forum on the next superintendent Wednesday at Pioneer High School.

    Danielle Arndt | AnnArbor.com

    Macke said Ann Arbor is a high-achieving, intellectual and demanding community and being the superintendent here is different than it may be someplace else.

    "Ann Arbor is a town full of experts who are going to nitpick any person to death," she said.

    She encouraged the board to seriously consider internal candidates and candidates with similar experiences of working in a university town, the latter of which the board did do when it was hiring Green.

    Kitzman added that, in a way, Ann Arbor is run by special interest groups. She said all one had to do was attend a school board meeting during budget cuts to see how various groups rallied for their programs and how the loudest groups often won.

    She said that in itself is a challenge for any leader to manage. But Macke said students and parents always are going to support the programs they or their children are involved in, no matter what. Macke said she believes this exists in other districts outside of Ann Arbor, too.

    Kitzman emphasized hiring an in-state superintendent or someone with ties to the state.

    "They need to have a heart with Michigan … to stick it out for the really hard times," she said, adding she believes the current state governor does not support public education and the legislative reforms being explored are going to drastically change the face of public schools here. She said the next superintendent is going to have to deal with redistricting, closing elementary buildings, continued decreased funding, more teacher layoffs and probably many more unforeseen challenges.

    Experience in closing the achievement and discipline gaps between black, Hispanic, low-income and special needs student populations and their Caucasian counterparts is not as important of a superintendent quality to the public, Macke said, adding the board needs to get rid of this as a focal point when hiring someone.

    But Mexicotte said it is important to the board — although, based on the feedback trustees have received from the community, perhaps it should not be as great of a driving force in this superintendent search as it was last time, she said.

    The board hopes to have a new leader in place in time for the start of the 2013-14 academic year this fall.

    A representative from Ray & Associates, the consulting firm AAPS hired to aid in the search, is expected to be in Ann Arbor June 26 to meet with the school board in executive session to discuss the applications that make it past the initial screening. Following the 2 p.m. executive session meeting, the board will convene a regular meeting, beginning at 7 p.m., at which the board will announce the semifinalists for the position.

    The board is planning to schedule visits to the district and onsite interviews with each of the semifinalists the week of July 7, with finalists being announced at the end of the week and finalists' interviews taking place the week of July 14.

    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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    Editor's note: The name of the Knight-Drain Foundation has been corrected, in addition to the type of contribution made by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.

    The three-year effort to raise more than $1 million to rebuild Ypsilanti’s Rutherford Pool took another step forward at Tuesday night’s Ypsilanti City Council meeting.

    The council unanimously approved the construction agreement between the city and a contractor for the rebuild.

    With the signature of Mayor Paul Schreiber and City Clerk Frances McMullan on the contract, construction can begin immediately.

    An exact date on a groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be determined Thursday during a pre-construction meeting with the contractor, city and the Friends.

    The contract with Brighton-based Baruzzini Construction is for $844,000. In addition to the construction fees, other expenses include a $50,000 contingency fund, architectural services, fencing and site mapping -- all totaling $1,021,000.

    Rutehrford_Pool.jpg

    A sign outside the closed Rutherford Pool promises a new pool in 2013.

    Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com

    “It’s just a terrific item,” City Manager Ralph Lange said. “It’s just a fabulous job, and a small miracle (the Friends) can raise that much money and get that much support.”

    The 40-year-old community pool at 975 N. Congress St. saw around 17,000 visits annually, and 150 families held passes before it closed. Daily visits during the summer ranged between 200 and 500.

    Council Member Pete Murdock noted that Baruzzini is certified union. He and several other officials commended the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission for its $150,000 contribution to the Friends.

    Council Member Dan Vogt said he wanted to repeat his praise for the Friends for their “unbelievable” fundraising effort.

    "I’m tickled pink that we were able to get this pool going,” he said.

    Schreiber said he was skeptical at first that the effort could be completed because of the amount of work involved, but said it turned into a “great project.”

    City Attorney John Barr expressed similar thoughts about the roller-coaster fundraising effort.

    ‘It’s kind of like a phoenix - it would appear to die, then it would be resurrected,” he said. “I had my doubts as to whether it would be fulfilled, but the project got a lot of help from a lot of different people. They’re still raising money and there are bricks still available for purchase.”

    At one point the Friends group found it needed to raise more money than anticipated because construction costs had increased during the fundraising effort. At another point a $300,000 grant awarded to the city on behalf of the friends from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund was delayed.

    The list of donors who have helped make the project possible is extensive. It includes $75,000 from individual donors who wish to remain anonymous. The Knight-Drain Foundation donated an additional $25,000 after previously donating $45,000, and the Buhr Family Foundation contributed another $15,000.

    Ypsilanti Township, the Ypsilanti Area Community Fund, Bank of Ann Arbor, Eastern Michigan University Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Gene Butman Ford all donated $5,000 each. The Rocket donated $1,000, and University Bank and Awesome Foundation each contribute. The Minister’s Alliance of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor raised more than $2,000 through collections from their congregations.

    The city of Ypsilanti also is contributing $25,000.

    The Friends group also has been selling engraved bricks displaying the names of those who donate either $125 or $250 to the cause, and so far raised more than $13,000.

    Anyone else who wants to contribute can do so through the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, or by contacting John Weiss at weissjk@umich.edu.

    Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the AnnArbor.com news desk at news@annarbor.com.


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    worldwarz.jpg
    Opening at the Multiplex

    “Monsters University” shows the origins of the friendship of Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan, the inseparable duo from “Monsters Inc.” From the moment these two mismatched monsters met, they couldn't stand each other. "Monsters University" unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends. Richard Corliss of TIME Magazine says, “This minor film with major charms still deserves to have kids dragging their parents to the multiplex for one more peek at the monsters in the closet. With Pixar, familiarity breeds content.” “Monsters University” opens Friday.

    “World War Z” follows United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) as he traverses the world in a race against time to stop the zombie pandemic that is threatening to destroy humanity. William Goss of FILM.com says, “As I understand it, fidelity to Max Brooks' novel has been scant at best, but neither that nor countless post-production woes prevent Paramount's adaptation from serving as an efficient and effectively exciting globe-spanning zombie thriller.” “World War Z” opens Friday.

    Opening Downtown

    In "The East,” an operative for an elite private intelligence firm (Brit Marling) goes into deep cover to infiltrate a mysterious eco-terrorist organization attacking major corporations. Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says, “A fast-rising newcomer to film, the willowy Marling is maturing fast, and encouragingly unwilling to dumb herself down for stock girlfriend roles. This is her strongest work yet and I hope a harbinger of much more to come.” Also starring Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Patricia Clarkson and Julia Ormond, “The East” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

    Filmed with the startling immediacy of unfolding history, Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney’s “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” is a riveting, multi-layered tale about transparency in the information age and our ever-elusive search for the truth. Detailing the creation of Julian Assange’s controversial website, which facilitated the largest security breach in U.S. history, the film charts the enigmatic Assange’s rise and fall in parallel with that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the brilliant, troubled young soldier who downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from classified U.S. military and diplomatic servers. “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

    Special Screenings Downtown

    In “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar” Patrick Swayze plays Vida Boheme, a classy and long-reigning drag queen. With his understudy Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes), Vida wins a New York drag contest and an all-expenses-paid trip to Hollywood. But when Miss Chi Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo) cries at having lost the contest, the film becomes a strange buddy road movie, with the 3 cross-dressers traveling across the American heartland in a shiny yellow Cadillac. “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar” plays Saturday, June 22 at 11:59 p.m. at the State Theatre.

    In 2012, the unthinkable happened. “Citizen Kane” finally lost its #1 place in the Sight and Sound critics’ poll as the best film of all time. Its replacement was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film “Vertigo.” One of three great midcentury films by this famous director, critics originally questioned the casting of a fifty year old Jimmy Stewart with a much younger Kim Novak and also disliked the film’s length and slow pace. Yet over the years, “Vertigo” has come to be viewed as perhaps Hitchcock’s masterpiece and certainly one of the outstanding American films of the era. “Vertigo” plays as part of the Michigan Theater’s Summer Classic Film Series on Sunday, June 23 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, June 25 at 7 p.m.

    Presented in partnership with UMS, “National Theatre Live: This House” picks up in 1974 as the corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backbiting as Britain’s political parties battle to change the future of the nation. “National Theatre Live: This House” plays Sunday, June 23, 7 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.

    The Summer Classics After Dark film series kicks off with “Django,” the story of a mysterious man dragging a mud-stained coffin behind him. Franco Nero stars as Django, a man who finds himself in the middle of a war between Mexican revolutionaries and a band of sadistic racists led by the fanatical Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo). In the face of overwhelming odds, Django has a plan: to exact revenge while pitting enemy against enemy. Featuring the addictively catchy title song performed by Rocky Roberts, “Django” made an international star of Franco Nero, and along with Sergio Leone‘s Man With No Name trilogy, established the Spaghetti Western as an internationally popular genre. “Django” plays Thursday, June 27 at 10 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.

    See you at the movies!


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    Main Street between Liberty and William streets is closed all day Thursday for an event on Main called ... The Event on Main.

    Sponsored by the University of Michigan and Mainstreet Ventures restaurants, the event is an annual charity fundraiser. This year's beneficiary is the Food Allergy Center in C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

    Although the event runs 5:30-11 p.m., Main Street is closed all day for setup and cleanup. The event involves hors d'oeuvres, drinks and desserts in a tent on Main Street, as well as dinner inside at Gratzi, the Chop House and Real Seafood.

    For more information, see the Event on Main website.


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    A Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputy riding a horse broke her arm when a small bridge collapsed late Wednesday afternoon.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office deputy who fell into a creek with her horse Wednesday evening is recovering with a broken arm, police said.

    The deputy was scheduled to undergo a surgery related to the break Thursday morning, said Sgt. Geoff Fox of the sheriff's office.

    The deputy and her horse were attempting to cross a small walkway over a creek in Superior Township around 5 p.m. Wednesday when the bridge collapsed beneath them, according to officials.

    The deputy and horse fell into the creek. The horse was not injured, but the woman was taken to the hospital at 5:32 p.m. for the broken arm, officials said.

    The creek is near the MacArthur Boulevard area where "The Ballin' Series" basketball tournament takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. The mounted patrol was in the area for the tournament, sheriff officials said.

    Ballin’ on the Boulevard is a free eight-week 3-on-3 basketball tournament put on by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office in the tennis courts near MacArthur Boulevard.

    Fox said the sheriff's office increasingly uses mounted patrols when the weather gets nice. They were used recently at Ypsilanti and Willow Run schools when the school year was ending in an attempt to prevent any high jinks.

    Fox pointed out that the horses don't cost tax payers any additional money.

    "The horses are owned, paid for, cared for and fed by the officers personally," he said. "The officers house the horses and transport them to locations with their personal trailers. The (sheriff's office) does not spend any money on the horses and does not own them. This all comes out of the officer's pocket."

    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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    It seems thieves are targeting peanuts and Cracker Jacks this summer.

    Police took a report Wednesday for a Little League concession stand in Manchester that had been broken into and pilfered of snacks. It's the second report of the week, the first coming from an Ypsilanti Township ballpark.

    Deputies were called Wednesday to Kirk Park, located at 301 South Clinton Road, for the report of a burglary to a concession stand that had occurred sometime during the prior week, according to police.

    The suspect or suspects forced open an access door to the building and stole pop, Gatorade, food and candy.

    "It's odd," said Sgt. Geoff Fox of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office said about someone stealing from Little League concession stands. "It's something that's pretty rare."

    Despite the incidents being reported so close together in time, given the geographical space between Ypsilanti Township and the Village of Manchester, investigators do not think the incidents are related at this time, Fox said.

    On Tuesday, deputies were called to an Ypsilanti Township park in the first block of South Harris Road after receiving a report of a concession stand break-in that took place sometime during the weekend. Food and an undisclosed amount of cash taken, police said.

    There are no suspects at this time in either incident.

    If you have any information please contact the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office at (734) 994-2911 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.


    View 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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    The proposed site of the new downtown Detroit arena.

    Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com

    A proposed new hockey arena in downtown Detroit could reshape the sports and entertainment landscape in Southeast Michigan.

    Plans for an 18,000-seat hockey arena as part of a $650 million downtown development were unveiled at a Downtown Development Authority ,eeting Wednesday, according to Mlive.

    The arena would serve as the home of the Detroit Red Wings, who currently play at Joe Louis Arena. The project is being led by Olympia Development and Mike Ilitch, who owns the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.

    Plans call for the 650,000-square-foot arena to be built on Woodward Avenue from Sproat to Henry Street. The entire entertainment district, which includes office and retail development, would span 45 blocks downtown.

    According to the Free Press, Ilitch hopes a new arena will draw people from around the region and state to downtown Detroit.

    "It's always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit," Ilitch said in a statement, according to the Free Press. "From the time we bought the Fox Theatre, I could envision a downtown where the streets were bustling and people were energized. It's been a slow process at times, but we're getting there now, and a lot of great people are coming together to make it happen. It's going to happen, and I want to keep us moving toward that vision."

    A potential new downtown hockey arena could mean changes for the University of Michigan’s hockey team. The Wolverines have played at least one game at Joe Louis Arena every year since 1974 in the Great Lakes Invitational tournament in late December.

    Michigan has also played the CCHA tournament at Joe Louis Arena since the early 1980’s, and often played regular-season games against Michigan State downtown. Michigan will join the Big Ten conference for hockey next season, and the conference tournament is scheduled to rotate between Detroit and Saint Paul, Minn., through at least 2017.


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    One Hollywood movie studio just couldn't resist the opportunity to get "Dumb and Dumber" again.

    Yes, USA Today confirmed that although Warner Bros. recently passed on an in-the-works "Dumb and Dumber" sequel - the original film, of course, was a 1994 comedy hit starring Jim Carrey and Chelsea's resident movie star, Jeff Daniels - Universal Studios has acquired the rights to the project.

    Daniels even mentioned the sequel on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday night, at the tail end of his interview segment (which was otherwise focused on Michigan—the U.P. and Mackinac Island, specifically—and parenting and youth sports).

    Though they didn't discuss it at all, the ostensible reason for Daniels' appearance on "Letterman" was the July 14 second season premiere of Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" on HBO, in which Daniels stars as thorny anchorman Will McAvoy. Here's a trailer for season 2.

    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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    Summer brings with it lots of parades, including the Parade of Homes.

    2013-Parade-of-Homes-Slides.gif

    Tour 13 destinations, including new homes and land in Washtenaw and Livingston counties. Experts will be available to discuss plans and ideas.

    Preview the homes and map out your route at www.bragannarbor.com/se_showcase.cfm.

    The event is sponsored by the Builder and Remodelers Association of Ann Arbor.

    June 23, 2013. Noon-7 p.m. Adult admission is $10 each and ages 16 and under are free.Tickets will be sold at each home and are valid for all homes for all days of the event.


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    An equipment problem caused about 2,000 residents in southeast Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township to lose power around 9 a.m. Thursday.

    The center of the outage area is located at East Ellsworth Road and Stone School Road.

    According to DTE Energy spokesperson Alejandro Bodipo-Memba, as of 10:30 a.m. two-thirds of those who had lost power were back up. He said DTE expects everyone in the area to have restored power within the next 45 minutes.

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


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    Police arrested an 18-year-old man wanted on drug charges after he was caught breaking into a car in Ypsilanti Township Monday night.

    Deputies were called to the 200 block of South Ford Boulevard around 10:30 p.m. after receiving a report of someone breaking into a vehicle, according to a release from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

    "When they arrived on scene they observed a subject matching the description given by the 911 caller standing next to the vehicle allegedly being broken into," the release said.

    Police said the vehicle's tailgate was left open.

    Deputies arrested the 18-year-old Ypsilanti Township man without incident and determined he had broken into the car and stolen numerous items like small electronic equipment and cellphones, all of which were recovered, according to the release.

    The also man had an outstanding warrant for possession of marijuana.

    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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    Yasamina Kabisch and one of her teammates, Mike Slater, on the TNT reality show "72 Hours."

    Photo provided by TNT

    Ann Arbor native Yasamina Kabisch - who will appear on the Friday, June 21, 10:15 p.m. episode of the new TNT adventure reality show “72 Hours” - loved the idea of being dropped off in an unknown location in the wilderness with two strangers for teammates; one bottle of water to share; and a GPS.

    Together, the three would compete against 2 other teams to find a briefcase packed with $100,000 within, you guessed it, 72 hours.

    “I think the question to ask is, ‘Why wouldn’t that appeal to me?’” said Kabisch, 26. “ … I don’t know that everyone would be interested in having that experience, but in my mind, I thought, ‘My God, this would be an incredible experience - to be put into who knows what environment with two other random people, and have teams of people that you’re competing against, and to have to survive and have to coexist - it seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime to me. One of those things that, of course I’m going to do it.”

    Kabisch - now a personal trainer, personal chef and Muay Thai fighter living in North Hollywood - lived in Ann Arbor from the time she was 7 to 20 years old; she attended Pioneer High for a year, as well as other area schools, but ended up in a home schooling program while she pursuing, and dealing with knee injuries related to, competitive running.

    “I had been approached about participating in (’72 Hours’) when they were looking to make the show happen, and at first, it wasn’t necessarily going to be for TNT,” said Kabisch. “It was just up in the air. A pilot. … I had gone in for an audition about a year earlier, and out of blue, they called me and said, ‘Hey, are you still interested in participating, and I said ‘Of course.’ Actually, I probably said ‘Hell, yes,’ and I went in for another audition, and they cast me for the show.”

    Kabisch’s episode, which was the first one to be filmed (though it’s the third episode that’s being aired in the series), was shot in late March.

    “I didn’t really put a lot of thought into, ‘How can I be prepared?’” Kabisch said. “I was just ready to go for it. … They really don’t tell you a lot. … So you don’t know much of anything. I was sitting there for probably about a month once I heard everything was still moving forward, not having any clue what would happen next with my life, and just trying to make it so I’d be able to participate in terms of my job.”

    Kabisch ended up traveling to the Hawaiian island of Lana’I, and she had to negotiate abandoned beaches, dense brush, steep canyons and scorching flat lands with her teammates Andrew, a 22 year old waiter from St. Louis, and Mike, a 27 year old conservative radio host from Syracuse.

    “We had a really great team,” said Kabisch. “ … We really worked well together. There were difficult times, but there was an interesting dynamic between us, and we were the least dramatic team, out of all the people that participated. … We got along really well.”

    How did sharing a single water bottle go?

    “I am a really competitive person,” said Kabisch. “I know that’s one reason why they chose me for the show, and really, in my mind, I probably wasn’t always so interested in taking care of myself, because I wanted to make sure my teammates were OK, and I would put myself on the backburner, because in my head, I’m built so strong that nothing’s going to break me down. So whether or not I’m a little dehydrated, I’m fine. So yes, we had this water, but I remember very clearly allowing my teammates to drink a little bit more, or with whatever food we had, to eat a little bit more, and I was just determined to get through it. So at the end, I definitely started to feel it, started to feel the dehydration, started to feel things kick in.”

    Kabisch had such a positive experience overall, though, that she felt empowered when it was over - perhaps a little too empowered.

    “I participated in a (Muay Thai) competition as soon as I was done (with the show),” said Kabisch. “Literally 3 days after I got back from Hawaii, I participated in a fight, which was insane, because my body was just depleted in every way. … But I’d really felt like, after my experience (with ’72 Hours’), I was on top of the world, so I was like, ‘Hell, yeah. Bring it on. I’m going to do it.’”

    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.

    PREVIEW

    ”72 Hours”

    • What: On this new TNT adventure reality show, personal trainer Yasamina Kabisch - who grew up in Ann Arbor and now lives in North Hollywood, California - is dropped off with two teammates she’s just met, one bottle of water, and a GPS on the Hawaiian island of Lana’i. Together, the three must navigate abandoned beaches, dense brush, steep canyons and scorching flat lands to locate a briefcase full of cash ($100,000) before two other teams of 3 find it, all within 72 hours.
    • When: Friday, June 21 at 10:15 p.m. on TNT

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    The summer tourism season definitely is underway, and if you don't believe me, take a look at the gas prices. What a crazy coincidence that there always seems to be some oil industry-crippling crisis during peak travel times.

    rest-stop.jpg

    Rich Kinsey offers some tips to keep yourself safe during the summer travel season, including safety at rest stops.

    via MLive

    Whether it's a problem involving a refinery, a pipeline or some oil industry executive’s polo pony throwing a shoe, there always is a reason to drive gas prices up right when we all want to travel. But don't worry — in spite of the industry-crippling crisis there will be profits for the oil companies at the end of the year.

    That being said, Michiganders should make sure to take time to travel around this great state. It helps our economy and the smiles as well as memories of some Pure Michigan summer adventures will get you through the cold January days when you're just plain sick of shoveling the snow.

    When you hit the open road in search of those memories, be careful to make sure the inevitable call of nature does not cause you an unfortunate misadventure at a rest area. Rest areas can be some pretty creepy places.

    When you must stop — and I suggest a short break every hour for drivers — I suggest you do so at a well-lit and busy, public gas station or fast food restaurant. There is safety in numbers and a busy place with plenty of lighting and activity is your safest bet. Deserted, dimly-lit rest areas with woods and dark corners all around them are the worst places to stop, because it is just the sort of place criminal predators like to lurk.

    If you must use a rest area, Semper Cop’s crime prevention mantra should be in the back of your mind as you prepare to make your pit stop.

    Lock it up. When you get out of your vehicle make sure you lock it. Take your cellphone with you and know where you are in case you need to call for help. Make a note of the mile marker or the name of the rest area you are entering when you pull off the expressway. Additionally, make sure all of your valuables are hidden or locked away as you head into the restroom area.

    Don’t leave it unattended. If that "it" is an item of value, it should be locked and hidden as I stated above. If that "it" is a child, keep them close and under no circumstances should you leave them alone and unattended in your vehicle.

    Hold the hand of little ones and try to locate a family-style restroom. If a family restroom is not available for you and kid, take them in the bathroom with you. Block their view, shield their eyes, do what you have to do, but keep them close and do not let them wander.

    For older children, have an appropriately-gendered adult family member or sibling go with them into the bathroom. If none are available, stand guard outside the bathroom door and strike your most menacing mama or papa bear pose. If your mommy or daddy clock is sounding an alarm outside the door, call inside for your child and make sure you get some sort of verbal response. If you don't, announce yourself, your gender and that you are coming in to retrieve or check on your child — NOW!

    If the "it" is a pet, leave a window cracked and do not dilly-dally, as it gets hot inside cars at an alarming rate in the summer sun. Do not forget to walk your pets in appropriate areas and be considerate and pick up after your best friend. Do not leave organic piles or “landmines” in your animal's wake, but instead pick them up and place them in the trash or pet excrement receptacle.

    Be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are alone. This probably is the most important tip and starts with knowing where you are in case you need to call for help. Park your vehicle in brightly-lit areas in hours of darkness and always out in the open. Avoid parking sandwiched between larger vehicles or close to wooded areas.

    Before you get out of your vehicle, simply take a look around. Are there people just hanging around? If so, that spells trouble and potential danger.

    Are there lights out and darkened corners around this rest area? Are your instincts, "spider senses," or goosebumps on the back of your neck telling you you are about to enter into a situation befitting a Stephen King tale of terror? If so, you are experiencing what Gavin DeBecker describes in his excellent personal safety guide of the same name, "The Gift of Fear." My advice is to trust what he calls nature's gift and find another place if at all possible.

    If this is not possible because of the less subtle urgencies nature demands of us all, get prepared. Turn your cellphone on, keep your keys in your hand and get out the pepper spray that goofy cop uncle of yours gave you and hold on to it.

    Most important, when you get out of your car, square your shoulders, squint your eyes like Clint Eastwood and take a look around. Walk with purpose or amble like “the Duke ”— John Wayne. Get determined, keep your head up and walk like you are the baddest hombre in the valley, or if not the baddest, walk like you have a secret would-be criminals do not want to know. Do your duty, wash your hands and repeat the walk on your way out. Get in your vehicle, drop it in drive and “Get out of Dodge!”

    Watch out for your neighbors. If it looks like someone is scared, being threatened, hassled or assaulted by another, then make your presence known. If you can't physically assist, lay on your horn so all parties know you see what is going on and call 911.

    If you see anyone begging or asking for money “for gas” while holding a gas can tell them you would like to help and gladly will call the police so they can get the help they need. Do not give these people money and do not give strangers rides. Call the police who will respond to assist in any way they can.

    Finally, have you ever noticed how busy the Baker Road truck stop and the rest area east of Chelsea is? The reason for this is these are the last two big stops on Interstate 94 before Detroit, where most eastbound loads are heading. The truckers will rest there overnight because they know they cannot get into many Detroit loading docks until 7 or 8 a.m.

    Drive carefully and always buckle up … it’s the law.

    Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for AnnArbor.com.


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