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

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    Ann Arbor police are investigating a report of a stabbing early Monday morning on Hikone Drive, police officials said.

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    Investigators responded at 1:30 a.m. Monday to the 2700 block of Hikone Drive for a report of a felonious assault involving a weapon, CrimeMapping.com shows. Police said Monday the incident was a stabbing.

    When contacted Monday, police officials confirmed they’d been dispatched to the area for a report of a stabbing and a person was treated later at a local hospital for injuries. However, police declined to release specifics on the incident when contacted on Monday and Tuesday.

    No suspect description has been released and the severity of the injuries suffered by the victim is unknown. The person was taken to the hospital by a third party and not Huron Valley Ambulance, officials said Monday.

    More information will be posted on this story when details become available.

    Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939, Detective Katie Nucci at 734-794-6930 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


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    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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    Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information from the Road Commission.

    About 26 miles of township roads throughout western Washtenaw County will be under construction throughout this week and next week as the pavement is repaired.

    The Washtenaw County Road Commission will be imposing lane restrictions on 10 roads throughout Freedom, Sharon, Sylvan, Lima, Lyndon, Dexter and Scio townships.

    The work was scheduled to start Tuesday but rainy weather has pushed the start date to Thursday, said Jim Harmon, director of operations for the Road Commission. Construction is expected to last about a week long.

    The road commission will be chip sealing the roads — a process in which a layer of hot asphalt is distributed on the surface of the road followed by a layer of fine aggregate material that is rolled into smooth pavement.

    At least one lane of traffic will be maintained in both directions under flag control.

    The work is weather-dependent and officials ask that drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists avoid the areas as delays are likely. Property owners in the construction zone will be able to maintain access.

    Part of the project is being funded through the Road Commission's chip sealing budget, while the work on several roads in northwest Washtenaw County has been paid for through the $1.3 million deal the Road Commission struck with Enbridge Pipelines Toledo Inc. this spring.

    The following areas will be affected:

    Dexter Township:

    • Island Lake Road from Lima Center to Dancer
    • Stofer Road from North Territorial Road to Island Lake Road
    • North Territorial Road from M-52 to Madden Road
    • Fairway Drive from Stofer Road to Hayrake Hollow
    • Hayrake Hollow Road from Riker Road to about 1,932 feet south of the

    Sharon and Freedom townships:

    • Pleasant Lake Road from M-52 to Schneider Road

    Sylvan and Lima townships:

    • Scio Church Road from M-52 to Parker Road

    Lyndon Township:

    • Island Lake Road from Werkner Road to Stofer Road
    • Werkner Road from Island Lake Road to about .95 miles south of the intersection

    Lima and Scio townships:

    • Jackson Road from Fletcher Road to Dino Drive


    View Washtenaw County chip seal projects, June 25 - July 3 in a larger map

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


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    Former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick during his trial. He could spend up to 30 years in prison.

    Tanya Moutzalias | MLive

    Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is complaining the federal prison in Milan where he is incarcerated while awaiting sentencing doesn't have ice or proper exercise equipment to rehabilitate an injured knee, according to a Detroit News report.

    The complaint was included in a bond motion filed by Kilpatrick's attorneys Monday that requests a release until sentencing, according to the report.

    Kilpatrick alleges he injured his knee after slipping on the step of a U.S. Marshals van during a transport and that the prison isn't properly meeting his physical therapy needs.

    Read the full Detroit News story.

    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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    Often the mere thought of building your own unique custom home can be intimidating, especially if the sum total of your construction knowledge consists of being able to tell the difference between a hammer and a nail.

    The Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor hopes to demystify the whole home-building shebang at a BRAG Ann Arbor Design Build Workshop 2013 Saturday. Besides focusing on pre-construction preparations and budgeting, the event will cover essentials like setting priorities, how to interview and select the right design-build team and deciding on a floor plan and an interior design. Finally, the workshop will offer a step-by-step guide to custom home building.

    There will also be chances to talk with experienced homebuilders, and you can learn what to expect if you decide to go the custom home route. Yes, it does sound kind of complicated, but the Builders and Remodelers Association folks are there to help.

    What color you paint your new home is up to you.

    BRAG Ann Arbor Design Build Workshop 2013, at Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor, 179 Little Lake Drive, Saturday, June 29, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Advance registration at designbuildworkshop.blogspot.com/ is required.


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    The Rendez Vous Cafe on South University Street was closed and its windows were covered on Monday afternoon.

    Ben Freed | AnnArbor.com

    The Rendez Vous Cafe on South University Street has been closed for a number of days, with papered-over windows hiding the restaurant’s interior.

    The cafe’s owner Nizar El Awar also owns the upstairs hooka bar, Smoka Hookah Lounge, next-door South U. Pizza, as well as the Oasis Grill. A tobacco shop across the street, also called Smoka Hookah, was closed as of Monday afternoon.

    El Awar could not be reached for this article, but an employee at one of his restaurants and another local business owner both said as far as they know, El Awar’s plan is to expand the existing hookah bar into the former Rendez Vous space.

    Rendez Vous previously had been a hookah bar both upstairs and downstairs before Michigan’s indoor smoking ban took effect in 2010. The law required hookah bars to be registered as “tobacco specialty shops” and did not allow the businesses to have any food or beverage service.

    When the law came into effect, Rendez Vous and Smoka Hookah were able to split into two separate legal entities, with a separate entrance leading to the upstairs hookah bar.

    The distinct separation allowed Smoka Hookah to claim one of approximately 200 available tobacco specialty shop permits issued by the state when the law took effect.

    Those initial permits are the only ones available in Michigan and can be transferred from one business to another in a process similar to the transfer of a liquor license, Michigan Department of Community Health spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said. If a business fails or shuts down and does not transfer their exemption, that exemption ceases to exist, further limiting the amount of hookah bars legally able to operate in the state.

    Minicuci said if Rendez Vous stops serving food, the expansion of the hookah bar to cover more of the space would not require an additional exemption.

    “If they already have an exemption and they are just expanding their business, that wouldn’t be an issue,” she said.

    “The exemption would still apply. However, if the expansion included food service it would jeopardize the exemption.”

    An employee at one of El Awar’s other stores said Smoka Hookah would continue to operate upstairs during renovations to the Rendez Vous Cafe. The lounge opens daily at 5 p.m.

    The Smoka Hookah Lounge is the only hookah bar in downtown Ann Arbor, but Hail Hookah Lounge will join later this summer, opening in the former Firefly Club space on North Main Street. The only other hookah lounge in Ann Arbor is the Smoke Station on Packard Road.

    Another planned hookah lounge, the Blue Lotus, had its lease terminated before it opened in its intended storefront on South Fourth Avenue.

    Health advocates have long been skeptical of hookahs and organizations such as the American Lung Association and World Health Organization have both warned of the dangers of smoking hookahs.

    According to a 2005 WHO study, a person who spends an hour smoking in a hookah bar can inhale between 100 and 200 times as much smoke as they would with a single cigarette.

    Ahmad Almusawi, an assistant manger of the Smoka Hookah Lounge, told AnnArbor.com in a previous interview hookah smoking is a cultural activity and he believed it was “definitely not worse than cigarettes.”

    “A lot of people are taking these attacks offensively,” Almusawi said.

    “Hookah smoking is a cultural thing. This is what they do all over the Middle East. Plus, it’s a social activity. People don’t want to sit at home and smoke hookah, they want to get out and see people.”

    There were no permits available on the city website that would indicate future plans for the Rendez Vous Cafe space.

    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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    Pyments.com reports that Amazon.com has released a list of "Cities that Rock"—based on per-capita music purchases from the online retailer—and Ann Arbor comes in at No. 8.

    Earlier this year, Ann Arbor ranked sixth on Amazon's list of most well-read cities.

    Read the article on Pyments.com


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    The 51-year-old Ann Arbor man hit by a car on Washtenaw Avenue Sunday night remains in serious but stable condition, police said Tuesday.

    Investigators also released more information about the incident.

    The incident occurred just before 11 p.m. in the 2200 block of Washtenaw Avenue between the East Stadium Boulevard split and Brockman Boulevard. The 51-year-old was inbound when he was hit by a 24-year-old Ypsilanti man driving a Honda Accord in the same direction, said Ann Arbor police Officer Steven Dye.

    Dye said the bicyclist was riding in the left travel lane and his bike did not have lights on it.

    “The driver just didn’t see him and struck him from behind,” Dye added.

    The 51-year-old man suffered head lacerations and broken bones and was transported to University of Michigan Hospital where he remains, officials said.

    The 24-year-old did pull over and was on scene when responders arrived, Dye said.

    Investigators don't believe speed was a factor, however they are still looking into whether alcohol played a part.

    Dye said along that stretch of the road, a bicyclist should be as far to the right as possible. At night, the bike should have a white light in front and a red light in back.

    Neither the driver of the car nor the bicyclist have been issued any citations. Dye said that would be up to the prosecutor's office once police submit their findings.

    The investigation into the incident continues.


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    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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    WEMU public radio is facing a budget shortfall as its fiscal year comes to a close Tuesday.

    A final appeal sent out via email said the station—the public-radio outlet at Eastern Michigan University—was $20,000 short as of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. It's trying to close the gap by 4:00. At the start of the day Tuesday, the gap was about $35,000.

    Following Eastern Michigan University receiving a 15 percent higher education cut from the state, WEMU promised in January 2011 to cut $250,000 out of its budget over the next three years.

    Due to donations from listeners, the station was able to run without cuts to programming last year, even with the $50,000 loss in funding from the university.

    This year WEMU was responsible for raising an additional $100,000 to sustain its programming, according to appeals from the station. The station held pledge drives in the fall and spring, which brought in donations from listeners, but not enough to cover the cut. The station's overall fundraising goal for the year was $750,000.

    The station has until the end of Tuesday to come up with the money necessary to maintain daily operations. Without the money, WEMU will be forced to make some cuts.

    What compromises the station will be forced to make if they can’t raise the necessary funds is unclear. General Manager Mary Motherwell said in a post to the WEMU website the station may be forced to go to syndicated programming, cut out some specialty music programs, and broadcasting live on weekday evenings may not be sustainable.

    WEMU is asking listeners to support local radio by making a donation or joining the sustainer program, which offers a monthly donation plan.

    WEMU broadcasts at 89.1-FM and online at www.wemu.org.

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


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    Previous coverage:

    The Ann Arbor Administrators Association has ratified a tentative agreement with the school district that states its 48 members will take a 3 percent pay cut.

    The union follows suit behind Ann Arbor's teachers and central office personnel, who agreed to salary concessions in March and May, respectively.

    fitzgibbon.JPG

    Joan Fitzgibbon of Allen Elementary chats with students who were rehearsing for an upcoming performance in this file photo. Fitzgibbon served on the Ann Arbor Administrators Association's collective bargaining negotiation team. The union recently reached an agreement that calls for principals to take a 3 percent pay cut.

    File photo | The Ann Arbor News

    The Board of Education will meet in executive session Wednesday at around 2 p.m. at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library to review the status of the negotiations and the terms of the tentative agreement.

    The executive session previously was scheduled for the purpose of analyzing applications received for the open superintendent's position. So the board will convene a regular meeting in open session and vote almost immediately to go into executive session with the added purpose of discussing collective bargaining to satisfy its legal requirements under the Open Meetings Act, said board President Deb Mexicotte. The board's normal regular meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the library.

    AAAA President Michael Madison confirmed Tuesday that the principals union voted on June 18 to ratify the agreement, which the union did unanimously with 100 percent of the membership in favor of approving the contract, he said.

    Madison said he could not speak to the details of the tentative agreement, but confirmed the union "did do what everyone expected us to do, which was to give 3 percent."

    The AAAA negotiations have been ongoing since late January/early February. Madison did not serve on the negotiations team, according to a January correspondence between Superintendent Patricia Green and the Board of Education. The principals representing the union during collective bargaining with the district were: Gary Court, Joan Fitzgibbon and Kathy Scarnecchia representing elementary; Chris Curtis and Janet Schwamb representing middle schools; and Lis Anglin and Ben Edmondson representing the high schools. Curtis was the chief negotiator, according to Green's Jan. 18 weekly capsule report.

    The 3 percent salary concession from the principals union is expected to save the district around $270,000. The school board already banked on that money on June 13, when it approved the district's general fund operating budget and budget cuts for the 2013-14 academic year.

    Vice President Christine Stead said if the board votes Wednesday to ratify the agreement with the AAAA during its 7 p.m. meeting, then the board may need to make some amendments to the budget.

    Mexicotte said last week, she anticipates the board will need to talk about the budget again anyway because of a possible arithmetic error that occurred when adding up the anticipated $100,000 in savings the board hopes to generate by charging students at Huron and Pioneer for a seventh class period.

    Stead also plans to bring forward some additional items and hopes the board will consider some changes, she said. Much of what she plans to discuss will be to ensure the numbers and the math are accurate — "because my calculations are a little bit different," Stead said.

    She also plans to again bring up her concerns about the board using $1.18 million of its fund equity to balance the 2013-14 budget, bringing the district's total savings account to less than $6 million.

    Additionally, she would like the board to discuss again the total number of teachers it has agreed to cut because, she said, the total number is greater than the 27 undesignated FTEs. She said that number is closer to 40 FTE by the time the district adds in the 4 FTE from cutting the extra physical education credit.

    Stead was the lone trustee to vote "no" on the budget June 13.

    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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    Following four weeks of demolition work, most of Ann Arbor's former Georgetown Mall has been reduced to rubble — much to the delight of nearby residents.

    "I saw it this morning and it's fully demolished except for the ATM that used to be in front of the Rite Aid," Jennifer Nguyen, a representative of the Georgetown neighborhood, said on Tuesday.

    06252013_BIZ_GeorgetownMallDemo_DJB_0068.jpg

    Demolition work Tuesday, June 25 at the former Georgetown Mall site on Packard Road in Ann Arbor.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    "Everyone is thrilled to have it gone. There's a lot of excitement in the neighborhood."

    Nathan Voght, Washtenaw County's brownfield redevelopment coordinator, said the demolition work being partially funded by a $1 million state grant is on schedule to wrap up by the end of July.

    With the demolition of the buildings finished, crews will turn their attention to other remaining work, including ripping out old light poles, the asphalt parking lot, curbing and other features.

    They'll then level the site and prepare it for vertical development — an already approved, mixed-use project called Packard Square.

    Bloomfield Hills-based developer Craig Schubiner of Harbor Georgetown LLC has plans to redevelop the 2502 Packard Road site and build a four-story building containing 230 apartment units and 23,790 square feet of retail space. Schubiner could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

    City records show a company called PSAA LLC, working with architect Built Form, already applied for a building permit for Packard Square back on Nov. 13. The permit remains under review.

    Bruce Measom, an attorney for the project, told City Council members on June 17 the plan is to start construction as soon as possible once the demolition is done.

    "The demolition dragged on, so I'll believe it when I actually see it," said City Council Member Margie Teall, D-4th Ward.

    Teall said she's "extremely happy" to see the blighted mall finally taken down because it was dangerous and attracted vandals and squatters.

    Council Member Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward, said she's taking the developer at his word that he'll be able to finish lining up the financing.

    "I'm excited," she said. "We worked very hard to get it this far and I'm very hopeful the developer will be able to move forward with the project as quickly as possible.

    "I hope it turns out to be as a good of a project as they presented to us," she added. "I think that will be great for that neighborhood — a great addition to that neighborhood — and the neighborhood has been extremely patient as this process has gone through."

    Higgins raised questions about delinquent taxes on the property at the City Council's last meeting. She said the property is current on its city taxes, otherwise the project couldn't move forward, but there's still roughly $98,000 in other taxes owed for 2012.

    "I do know that for their 2012 taxes, in March when they became delinquent, the county paid the city for them so they were clear with us," she said.

    County Treasurer Catherine McClary confirmed PSAA LLC owes roughly $98,000 in 2012 taxes, plus about $72,000 for the summer 2013 bill that just went out.

    Voght said more than 3,500 tons of contaminated soils were removed from the property as part of the demolition and related cleanup work being done. That's all being replaced with clean soils.

    He said officials working on the project still are assessing the need for a vapor barrier for future redevelopment of the site, but that would be done as part of construction.

    A significant amount of grading work also is expected to be done so there's more of a gradual decline in elevation from the sidewalk into the site — instead of the steep slope there is now.

    As for the financing for Packard Square, Voght said he can't speak to that directly, but he knows funding for projects like that can be very complicated.

    "And usually the financing doesn't get fully committed until very close to when vertical construction begins," he said. "It's not like months in advance of the project they can say, 'Oh, we've got our money.' That's just not how financing works."

    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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    In honor of the NAACP turning 104 this year, the the Ypsilanti Willow Run Branch is hosting the first annual Miss/Ms./Mrs. Washtenaw County Pageant on July 20.

    The event will feature the Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band and will begin at 5 p.m. in the Ypsilanti Marriott Hotel, 1275 S. Huron St.

    “The community needs something enlightening — something that’s happening,” NAACP Ypsilanti Willow Run Branch President Shoshana DeMaria said. “We decided we wanted to do something broad that would include families and youth and we wanted to do something entertaining.”

    Women on the education as well as labor & industry committees for the NAACP came together to create an event that would act as a celebration of the organization and get the whole community involved, DeMaria said.

    “We want to bring awareness to the NAACP,” DeMaria said. “We want everyone in the community to be involved, whether it is in a serious event or a joyful event. We opened the pageant to different age groups to get everyone involved.”

    Contestants will be judged on personality, attitude, intelligence, talent and congeniality, DeMaria said.

    The application deadline to participate in the pageant is 5 p.m. Tuesday. There will be a contestants meeting on Friday and all participants will debut in a Fourth of July Parade.

    Contestants of all ages are welcome as long as they attend school, live or work in Washtenaw County. Participants will be divided in to age groups, which will determine the cost of registration.

    • Ages 12 to 15: $20
    • Ages 16 to 19: $25
    • Ages 20 to 24: $30
    • Ages 25 and up: $35

    For registration and ticket information visit the NAACP Ypsilanti Willow Run website.

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


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    A rendering of a proposed $12 million recreation center on eight to 10 acres in the northwest corner of the City of Ypsilanti's 38-acre parcel that it has amassed on Water Street.

    Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department

    A market survey commissioned by the Ann Arbor YMCA shows the public supports siting a proposed $12 million Eastside Recreation Center on a piece of property the city owns on Water Street, officials said Tuesday.

    “The basic questions that were being asked for the study in the first place: Is Water Street the best location for it? How big should it be? What type of people would be attracted to it? The study addressed all of those things,” Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said in an interview with AnnArbor.com.

    Schreiber declined to discuss the details of the survey results after listening to a presentation of the draft report Tuesday in Ypsilanti.

    The private briefing for staff and board members from the Ann Arbor YMCA, several Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department staff and Ypsilanti city officials was held in the SPARK East offices. The YMCA’s private consultant, FourSquare Research from Atlanta, Ga., presented a draft report of the survey results to stakeholders.

    County Parks and Recreation paid for half of the study, said Bob Tetens, department director. Tetens said the results of the survey will be presented at a public meeting - likely before the Parks Commission - at a later date.

    The consultant surveyed local households on the east side of Washtenaw County and generated a population profile to help stakeholders understand interest in the proposed recreation center.

    “I think the interest is high in the rec center; I think it continues to be high and I don’t think this market study has done anything to … indicate anything otherwise,” Schreiber said. “To me, I think we’re still moving ahead … Nothing’s been derailed; let’s put it that way.”

    Tetens said the Washtenaw County Parks Commission received the preliminary results from the marketing study at its June 11 meeting, which indicated most people supported the location of the project.

    “All indicators were favorable,” Tetens said.

    In April, Schreiber said he had yet to decide what site would best suit the proposed recreation center.

    On Tuesday, Schreiber spoke more definitively about his opinion:

    “The Eastside Recreation Center - having it on the Water Street property - is going to be good for the city and also for the east side of the county.”

    Schreiber said the survey will help city and county leaders to have baseline data to present to taxpayers and potential investors.

    It also helps officials answer a critical question of “How do you maximize the number of memberships and the need?” Schreiber said.

    The proposed project is jointly being pursued by the YMCA, the city of Ypsilanti and the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department.

    The parks department is considering about eight to 10 acres on the northwest corner of the city’s 38-acre Water Street property off of Michigan Avenue. The parks department is planning on leasing the property from the city and the YMCA is planning to staff the facility.

    Similar to the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center that the county opened in 1991, the proposed Eastside Recreation Center would be equipped with a swimming pool, various aquatics facilities, locker rooms, a gym, a fitness facility and other amenities.

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


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    Shawn Loveto Cameron

    Courtesy of Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office

    Police are looking for a 26-year-old man accused of domestic assault.

    The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office issued a "Wanted" poster Monday for Shawn Loveto Cameron in connection with a domestic incident that occurred June 21 in Ypsilanti Township.

    Investigators could not be reached for further comment about the incident Tuesday.

    Cameron is wanted on a five-count felony warrant including charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, assault by strangulation and other domestic-related offenses.

    Anyone with information about Cameron’s location should call Detective Robbins at (734) 973-4884, the W.C.S.O. Confidential Tip line at (734) 973-7711 or 1-800-SPEAK UP.

    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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    Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating the theft of a utility trailer stolen from Lodi Township sometime during the weekend.

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    According to deputies, the 5-by-10-foot utility trailer was stolen sometime between 5 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Monday from the 7000 block of Scio Church Road.

    There was no suspect description available Tuesday from police. The investigation into the theft is ongoing.

    Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at 734-973-7711 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


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    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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    Former Team USA National Team Development Program player Seth Jones, far right, is projected by many as the No. 1 overall pick in Sunday's 2013 NHL Draft.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com file photo

    The NHL Draft ranks somewhere above Major League Baseball’s annual 40-round marathon and below the NBA’s two-round sprint as far as fan interest in professional sports leagues' drafts goes.

    Everyone's playing catch-up with the NFL, which is in a category all on its own.

    Like the NFL, the NHL has seven rounds, but unlike the NFL and NBA, hockey fans don’t get to see these players suit up in the big leagues right away, so interest in the draft is relatively low. Save for a few freaks of nature like Sidney Crosby, players develop in college hockey or minor-league oblivion (much like baseball prospects), sometimes never to be seen or heard from again.

    But with the Michigan hockey team and the United States National Team Development Program within miles of each other, hockey fans in Ann Arbor have several reasons to actually be interested in Sunday’s 2013 NHL Draft (NBC Sports Network, 3-8 p.m.).

    Here are five of them:

    1. Seth Jones

    Jones called Ann Arbor home for two years as a member of the National Team Development Program and there is a general consensus among most pundits that he will be the top pick in Sunday’s draft. If selected first overall, Jones will be the first-ever black player with that distinction in the 50-year history of the draft.

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    Seth Jones

    Photo courtesy of Tom Sorensen

    Jones is the son of former NBA journeyman Ronald Jerome “Popeye” Jones. According to Sports Illustrated, Popeye first sought advice on getting his sons involved in hockey during the 1999-2000 NBA season when he played with the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche shared a weight room at the Pepsi Center, so Jones asked former all-star Joe Sakic for advice on getting his sons involved in skating and hockey to which Sakic kindly obliged.

    Jones’ story could come full circle on Sunday as the Avalanche hold the No. 1 overall pick and recently hired Sakic as the executive vice president of hockey operations with final say on who the team drafts.

    Jones would be the third No. 1 overall pick produced by the NTDP after Erik Johnson and Patrick Kane were selected No. 1 in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007.

    2. Andrew Copp

    The former Skyline High School quarterback, NTDP player and current Michigan Wolverine was passed over in his first year of draft eligibility. Though that’s usually not a good sign, much has happened since that year that has Copp’s name floating around as a potential third-seventh round pick.

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    Andrew Copp, above, may have played himself into be an NHL prospect during the second half of his freshman year at Michigan.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Copp had just one goal and one assist through Michigan’s first 18 games this season, but had 19 points in the final 22 games of the season. He was Michigan’s second most productive player after Christmas, leapfrogged from the fourth to first line, and over the summer was invited to USA Hockey's 2013 National Junior Evaluation Camp. NHL teams usually don’t like late-developing prospects, but Copp’s case is unique in that this year was his first-ever as a full-time hockey player having split his time between the ice and gridiron in high school.

    His production in one year as a full-time hockey player may outweigh previous years with the NTDP when he didn’t catch the eye of NHL scouts while he was splitting his time.

    “(Copp’s) been a part-time football player and a part-time hockey player, so I think he’s going to be a late bloomer and he’s just starting to go,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said in March.

    3. Steven Santini

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    Steven Santini, far right, is expected to be one of the top defenseman taken in Sunday's draft.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Santini has been a member of the NTDP for the past two years and will play college hockey at Boston College. Santini is now being projected as a potential late first round or second round pick.

    Santini told AnnArbor.com earlier in the year that he intends to attend college regardless of whether or not he is drafted high, but at the end of the day his goals revolve around his future as an NHL player.

    “At the end of the day, I want to be a hockey player and that is very important to me," Santini said earlier this year.

    4. J.T. Compher

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    J.T. Compher, center, will join the Michigan hockey team in the fall and may be drafted on Sunday.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Compher has been with the NTDP for the past two years. He is expected to play for Michigan in the fall regardless of where he is selected, which has been projected as somewhere between the late first round and third round.

    Compher had 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 55 games played with Team USA last season including a pair of assists in an exhibition game against Michigan in january. Compher led Team USA at the Under-18 World Junior Championships with seven points (three goals, four assists) in a silver medal winning performance.

    5. Tyler Motte

    tyler-motte-usa.jpg

    Tyler Motte, left, will play for Michigan in the fall and may be drafted in Sunday's 2013 NHL Draft.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com file photo

    A St. Clair native, Motte is expected to join the Michigan hockey team in the fall and projected as anywhere from a late second round to fifth round pick. Another product of the NTDP, Motte has spent the last two years in Ann Arbor and is expected to spend many more as a member of the Wolverines as his size (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) leaves him in need of physical development no matter where his skill set is.

    Motte had 44 points (26 goals, 18 assists) in 63 games played with Team USA and two goals in a 5-3 exhibition win over Michigan in January.

    ***Bonus: Evan Allen

    Allen is a Sterling Heights native, two-year NTDP player and will join the Michigan hockey team in the fall along with Compher and Motte. He was one of four 20-goal scorers with Team USA last year and according to TheHockeyWriters.com could be picked in the fourth-sixth round range.

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


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    Courtesy photo

    Police are pursuing a felonious assault charge against a 24-year-old Belleville man who they say intentionally rammed his SUV into a pickup truck because someone made off with his lunchbox in Saline last week.

    The man had just left the Faurecia plant and was headed eastbound on East Michigan Avenue just before 3 p.m. June 19 when his lunchbox, which he'd forgotten he had placed on top of his SUV, fell off the roof and into roadway, said Saline police Sgt. Jay Basso.

    A pickup truck driven by a 21-year-old Onsted man headed in the opposite direction stopped when the occupants saw the lunch pail fall off the SUV, police said. The passenger, a 19-year-old Brooklyn man, hopped out and snatched it up. The pickup truck continued westbound while the 24-year-old in the SUV quickly gave chase, Basso said.

    “He thought they were stealing it and did a U-turn and tried to catch up with the other vehicle,” he said.

    The pickup truck turned into the driveway at the nearby Briarwood Ford car dealership, located at 750 E. Michigan Ave. The 24-year-old in the SUV followed and intentionally slammed his SUV into the pickup on the driver's side between the door and the fender, totaling both vehicles, Basso said.

    The 24-year-old needed to be taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, where he was treated and released. The Brooklyn man had some minor injuries and was treated on the scene.

    The lunchbox contained between $50 to $60 and green tea caffeine pills.


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    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 National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch until midnight for Washtenaw County, according to the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety.

    The safety department sent out a Nixle alert just before 7 p.m. Tuesday to alert people the watch was being put into effect.

    The low for Tuesday night is predicted to be 70 degrees and Wednesday will more than likely follow suit with thunderstorms possible during the day and a high of 84 degrees.

    It is expected to stay cloudy with chances of rain and in the low-80s for the remainder of the week.

    Check back to the AnnArbor.com weather page for updates as the storm unfolds.


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    The Ann Arbor Summer Festival has canceled the rest of tonight's Top of the Park activities due to inclement weather.

    Top of the Park resumes Wednesday with a wine tasting, live music, "Moonrise Kingdom" on the big screen, and more.

    For a full schedule, see the Summer Festival website.


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    Michigan is leading the way in a resurgent American manufacturing sector, according to a report from CNBC.

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    Robert Chase | Ann Arbor News

    An Information Technology & Innovation Foundation report released last year found United States manufacturing declined more in the last 10 years than it did during the Great Depression, losing a approximately 5.7 million jobs. In January 2012, fewer than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.

    Michigan was hit with a 46.7 percent manufacturing job loss rate between 2000 and 2010, the highest in the country. But CNBC reported the state has since lead the way in American manufacturing job creation, followed by Texas, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The United States has added 520,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010.

    According to the Washtenaw County economic forecast prepared by University of Michigan economists Donald Grimes and George Fulton, the county is expected to add approximately 712 manufacturing jobs through 2015. Most of those jobs are expected to come outside the motor vehicle manufacturing sector.

    Many of manufacturing jobs are being created in the U.S. or coming back to America as a result of increasing labor, production and energy costs oversees, CNBC reported.

    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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    The Ann Arbor Public Schools released the names of three new elementary school principals recently hired to fill vacancies in the district.

    One of the principals is brand new to the Ann Arbor schools, another is returning to the district after a brief hiatus and the third has been a teacher and instructional leader in the district for more than 20 years, district officials announced Wednesday in a statement.

    Former Logan Elementary School teacher Hyeuo Park was named the new principal of Bach Elementary School. Current Bach principal, Shelley Bruder, chose to retire this month after 37 years working in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

    Park has been serving in Dexter as principal of Creekside Intermediate School, which houses grades 5-6, since August 2010, but he is eager to return to AAPS, school officials said.

    He has a master's degree from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor's degree from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Md. In addition to teaching in Ann Arbor, he also previously taught in Seoul, Korea, and the Montgomery County Public Schools in Bethesda, Md.

    Taking over the helm at Burns Park Elementary School, following the retirement of Principal Virginia Bell, is longtime AAPS teacher Chuck Hatt. Hatt is the literacy and social studies coordinator for the district. He also previously was a teacher at Bryant, Pattengill, Allen and Mitchell elementaries and Scarlett Middle School.

    Hatt received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Houston and his master's degree in English and elementary education from EMU.

    The incoming Pattengill Elementary School principal is new to the Ann Arbor district. School officials said she brings many years of experience with her to AAPS.

    Melita Alston will fill the vacancy left open by Che Carter, who was appointed to serve as the principal of Clague Middle School.

    Alston most recently served as principal of Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse in Detroit. She also has been an assistant principal in the Detroit Public Schools and the Chicago Public Schools. She has a master's degree in educational leadership from Wayne State University and attended the University of Michigan for her bachelor's degree.

    Ann Arbor schools officials said the public will have an opportunity to meet and greet these three individuals at events later in August before the school year is back in session.

    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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