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

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    A swimmer participates in a race during the Washtenaw Interclub Swim Conference championships at Skyline High School on Thursday, July 25, 2013.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    Diving results and final points standings will be added when they become available

    WISC Coverage

    After shepherding more than 300 of his swimmers through four days of competition at the Washtenaw Interclub Swim Conference championships, it was finally time for Huron Valley head coach Pete Loveland to change into his suit and take his turn.

    Loveland, swimming against a heat of largely college swimmers in the coach's relay, turned in a 50 breastroke for the Huron Valley ‘A’ team as part of his annual tradition — one that he admits he sometimes needs to be talked into.

    And for the 19th consecutive year, he finishes the meet as the head coach of the winning team.

    Huron Valley held a lead of more than 1,000 points after the fourth and final swimming session Thursday morning at Skyline High School, meaning it will easily take the 2013 meet title after the afternoon diving session finishes. Huron Valley had 2816 points following swimming, with Travis Pointe in second place with 1677.5 points.

    There are several reasons HVSC has been able to stay large and successful, foremost the fact that success attracts some of the best athletes from around the area, Loveland said.

    “We’re into second- and third-generation families, so the kids that swam in the early 60s, 70s are now returning with their kids and grandkids,” Loveland said. “So that’s part of it, we get a lot of quality swimmers that have background experience from there.”

    This year’s team had 351 swimmers on it, up from 140 the first year Loveland took over. And while plenty join Huron Valley to be part of the swimming program, several are also recruited from within the club by Loveland and his staff of 10 coaches.

    That was the case this year with 16-year-old Timothy Dickey; Loveland coaxed the Skyline student of a four-year swimming hiatus and watched Monday as he scored points in four different events.

    “Just having a familiarity with the kids and the members, being able to talk to them and just say ‘We’d love to have you come out if you’re interested in swimming this summer,’” Loveland said. “We’ve been able to do that, maintain it and build on it.”

    Lance Freiman of the Ann Arbor Country Club stole the show on the boys side Thursday, winning the 200 freestyle, 100 IM and 50 backstroke. His 200 freestyle win came by nearly eight seconds. Anthony DeKraker of Travis Pointe also recorded a pair of wins, in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

    Emily Lock had a similar performance on the girls side with a three-win day, including a four-second win in the 100 freestyle and top honors and wins in the 100 IM and 50 freestyle. Madison Luther of Milan recorded two individual wins in the 50 breastroke and 100 freestyle, and helped Milan win both girls relays for the day.

    THURSDAY'S RESULTS
    Complete Swimming Results (PDF)

    Boys 11-12 Swimming
    200 Medley Relay
    1. Travis Pointe (Josh Crews, Davis Klein, Lucas Schultz, Anthony DeKraker), 2:09.00
    2. Chelsea (Drew Golin, Tom Oates, Wes Wickens, Collin Bross), 2:09.19
    3. Ann Arbor CC (Grisha Griffiths, Lance Freiman, Casey Dolen, Jack LeFevre), 2:13.67

    200 Freestyle
    1. Lance Freiman, Ann Arbor CC, 2:09.46
    2. Spencer Jyawook, Huron Valley, 2:17.13
    3. Drew Golin, Chelsea, 2:19.09

    100 IM
    1. Lance Freiman, Ann Arbor CC, 1:06.71
    2. Wes Wickens, Chelsea, 1:08.28
    3. Casey Dolen, Ann Arbor CC, 1:10.32

    50 Freestyle
    1. Anthony DeKraker, Travis Pointe, 25.37
    2. Wes Wickens, Chelsea, 26.41
    3. Henry Taylor, Racquet Club, 26.72

    50 Butterfly
    1. Wes Wickens, Chelsea, 28.79
    2. Casey Dolen, Ann Arbor CC, 30.51
    3. Drew Sachs, Huron Valley, 31.38

    100 Freestyle
    1. Anthony DeKraker, Travis Pointe, 57.28
    2. Casey Dolen, Ann Arbor CC, 59.95
    3. Spencer Jyawook, Huron Valley, 1:02.73

    50 Backstroke
    1. Lance Freiman, Ann Arbor CC, 30.21
    2. Alex Shehab, Dexter, 30.49
    3. Drew Sachs, Huron Valley, 32.84

    50 Breastroke
    1. Henry Taylor, Racquet Club, 35.52
    2. Davis Klein, Travis Pointe, 36.30
    3. Niklas Ford, Racquet Club, 36.45

    200 Freestyle Relay
    1. Travis Pointe (Davis Klein, Lucas Schultz, Josh Crews, Anthony DeKraker), 1:52.10
    2. Huron Valley (Spencer Jyawook, Ben Keith, Riley Noble, Drew Sachs), 1:54.35
    3. Racquet Club (Henry Taylor, Erik Anderson, Jacob Simon, Biruk Twodros), 2:03.70

    Girls 11-12 Swimming
    200 Medley Relay
    1. Milan (Sophia Morelock, Madison Luther, Emma Frame, Haylie Ritchie), 2:04.40
    2. Travis Pointe (Sarah Burchart, Lauryn Kruse, Kelsey Robinson, Annika Olsen), 2:05.53
    3. Ann Arbor CC (Jordan Maisch, Sarah Zofchak, Elizabeth Merz, Hannah Quist), 2:09.53

    200 Freestyle
    1. Madison Luther, Milan, 2:06.78
    2. Sarah Burchart, Travis Pointe, 2:11.60
    3. Molly Riggs, Huron Valley, 2:13.68

    100 IM
    1. Emily Lock, Barton Hills, 1:07.48
    2. Kelsey Robinson, Travis Pointe, 1:08.58
    3. Casey Chung, Huron Valley, 1:10.18

    50 Freestyle
    1. Emily Lock, Barton Hills, 26.54
    2. Casey Chung, Huron Valley, 26.70
    3. Hannah Quist, Ann Arbor CC, 26.95

    50 Butterfly
    1. Kelsey Robinson, Travis Pointe, 28.98
    2. Casey Chung, Huron Valley, 29.59
    3. Elizabeth Conatser, Forestbrooke, 31.30

    100 Freestyle
    1. Emily Lock, Barton Hills, 57.73
    2. Molly Riggs, Huron Valley, 1:02.12
    3. Hannah Quist, Ann Arbor CC, 1:02.45

    50 Backstroke
    1. Jordan Maisch, Ann Arbor CC, 31.38
    2. Sophia Morelock, Milan, 31.57
    3. Elaina Baker, Orchard Hills, 32.04

    50 Breastroke
    1. Madison Luther, Milan, 34.11
    2. Lauryn Kruse, Travis Pointe, 34.49
    3. Sarah Burchart, Travis Pointe, 35.05

    200 Freestyle Relay
    1. Milan (Haylie Ritchie, Emma Frame, Sophia Morelock, Madison Luther), 1:49.11
    2. Travis Pointe (Lauryn Kruse, Sarah Burchart, Annika Olsen, Kelsey Robinson), 1:51.61
    3. Ann Arbor CC (Elizabeth Merz, Brielle Chalou, Jordan Maisch, Hannah Quist), 1:56.07

    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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    Ann Arbor police detectives continue to investigate the death of Paul DeWolf, a 25-year-old medical student found Wednesday in his apartment on North Ingalls Street.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    The death of 25-year-old Paul DeWolf is being investigated as a homicide, Ann Arbor police said Thursday.

    pauldewolf2.jpg

    Paul DeWolf

    Facebook photo

    Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes released a statement just after 5 p.m. Thursday that said DeWolf’s death is being “investigated as a homicide at this time.” That determination was made after a police and Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office investigation, he said.

    “The Ann Arbor Police Department has met with Mr. DeWolf’s family members, the University community and is coordinating efforts with them,” Pfannes said in the statement. “The Ann Arbor Police Department offers its deepest condolences to the DeWolf family.”

    DeWolf was found dead in his apartment Wednesday in the Phi Rho Sigma fraternity in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street. A police investigation began about noon and University of Michigan police released a crime alert just before 11 p.m. Wednesday.

    Police said DeWolf failed to arrive for a scheduled assignment at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Wednesday morning. The hospital sent a colleague to the home to check on him, and that person discovered DeWolf had died. Police were immediately called following that discovery.

    An autopsy was performed Thursday. Police have not released an official cause of death, and Pfannes said more information on the case would be released Friday morning.

    DeWolf was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a Schoolcraft, Mich., native. He was set to graduate from the medical school in May 2014.

    DeWolf was an active duty Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, Pfannes said.

    Neighbors reacted with fearful surprise after learning DeWolf's death was being investigated as a homicide.

    "That's so scary," said Taylor Paquette, a U-M student who lives down the block from DeWolf's residence. She added that the incident was "so out of character" for the usually-quiet street.

    On Thursday, friends remembered DeWolf as a driven student who was incredibly smart and expected to accomplish great things in the future.

    Jen Hemberg, who had known DeWolf since the fall of 2010 when they both began medical school at U-M, said he got along with everyone and loved making others laugh.

    “Paul was one of those people that knew everybody and knew everything about everybody, because he liked being around people,” she said.

    DeWolf aspired to be a surgeon, Hemberg said. She described him as one of the most intelligent students in her class, going so far as to say he was a “genius.”

    In an MLive report, Dave Sanders — DeWolf’s former track coach at Schoolcraft High School — said he was heartbroken DeWolf wouldn’t accomplish his destiny.

    "I feel a real sense of loss, but not just for me personally," Sanders said. "Even more so for the people in his life that would have benefited from him achieving his dream and the contribution he was going to make to society and those around him.”

    A message was left with DeWolf's family Thursday.

    Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).

    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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    dennys_reopening_renovations.jpg

    Denny's is reopening Friday after a renovation project.

    Angela Smith | For AnnArbor.com

    The Denny's restaurant at 3310 Washtenaw Ave. in Ann Arbor is reopening its doors Friday following nearly a week of renovations.

    “We are extremely excited to reopen our doors to the residents and visitors of Ann Arbor, and we couldn’t think of a better way to mark this occasion than with a Grand Slam of a celebration,” said Denny’s franchisee Jackelyn Miller. “Denny’s is so appreciative of the support this community has shown us throughout the years, and we hope our guests will come celebrate with us in our beautifully remodeled diner.”

    On Friday, July 26, beginning at 9 a.m., the first 100 diners will receive a free Grand Slam Breakfast. Beginning at noon, the first 25 lunch guests will receive a free burger and fries. Additional freebies and prizes will also be offered throughout the day.

    Construction work began at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 21. The construction will end later today. General manager Gwen Robinson calls it a complete remodel to Denny's "heritage design."

    Denny's was also updated back in 2005. So this update included just the dining area and restrooms. "They gutted everything out, gave us new booths, light fixtures, tables and are putting a mural up on the wall."

    The new Denny’s has more than 30 employees and is open 24-7.

    Robinson is expecting big crowds all weekend. "We're very excited about it."

    Angela Smith is a freelance reporter. Contact the AnnArbor.com business desk at business@annarbor.com.


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    Sesi_Dmeolition.jpg

    Demolition is underway on the former Sesi dealership in Ypsilanti Township.

    Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com

    Sesi Motors is tearing down its half-century-old dealership on East Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township.

    But the Scio Township-based auto dealer isn’t planning to sell the property.

    Instead, Joe Sesi, Sesi’s president, said he plans to hold onto it and redevelop it at some point in the future.

    “I think (the East Michigan Avenue corridor) will turn around eventually, it just takes time. These things don’t happen overnight,” Sesi said. “But I think it’s very viable. My preference is to redevelop it, but not necessarily for an auto dealership.”

    Sesi said the 30,000-square-foot building that sits on nine acres of land near the intersection of East Michigan Avenue and Ecorse Road was a single-use property and he didn’t want to sell it to another dealership.

    Sesi_Dmeolition_2.jpg

    Demolition of the former Sesi Dealership is underway.

    Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com

    “There are not a whole lot of uses for it. It’s just better to bring the building down and at some future date we’ll develop it,” Sesi said.

    The family-owned dealership consolidated its Ypsilanti Township operation into its Scio Township location at 3990 Jackson Road in August of 2011. Sesi said auto companies are trying to rearrange their footprint, the building was 50 years old and it made business sense to move to the Scio Township location.

    Ypsilanti Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo called the dealership “an icon” of the community.

    “They had to make a business decision to relocate, but it’s sad to see the building come down,” she said. “Hopefully with the economy coming back and with our redevelopment plans for the Michigan Avenue corridor we will have the land redeveloped."

    Ypsilanti Township recently purchased the property directly across the street from Sesi from tax foreclosure with the aim of being able to choose what type of development goes into the former trailer park.

    The township has made redeveloping East Michigan Avenue a priority. Several new businesses have opened up and the township has worked to clear blight and prostitution that once plagued the area.

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


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    Both eastbound lanes of Interstate 94 along the south side of Ann Arbor will be completely closed to traffic this weekend beginning 10 p.m. Friday.

    The eastbound I-94 closure extends from the junction at M-14 on the west side of Ann Arbor to the Carpenter Road overpass on the east side. Access to eastbound I-94 from north and southbound U.S. 23 will be maintained during the construction.

    MLive_highway_photo_062013.jpg

    MLive file photo

    The nine-mile-long closure is a part of an ongoing resurfacing project by the Michigan Department of Transportation on the roadway.

    The posted detour route is along M-14 and U.S. 23.

    Eastbound I-94 will re-open to traffic 5 a.m. Monday.

    It's the second closure of eastbound I-94 this summer for the resurfacing project. MDOT officials said they chose to close the road for the work in order to complete it in a faster time frame.

    The resurfacing project was designed to close each direction of I-94 separately for a total of four weekends. In the contract for the work, MDOT outlined a number of weekends when the highway cannot be closed due to major events happening in the Ann Arbor area.

    From 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, MDOT is also planning to close the exit ramp from westbound I-94 to southbound U.S. 23. A posted detour will advise drivers to take U.S. 12, also known as Michigan Avenue.


    View MDOT I-94 construction 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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    Julie_Grand_Stephen_Kunselman_060713_RJS_a.jpg

    Julie Grand, left, is hoping to unseat incumbent Stephen Kunselman, right, in the 3rd Ward race for the Ann Arbor City Council. The two, shown here at a candidate forum in June, will face off in the Democratic primary on Aug. 6.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Two challengers hoping to oust two incumbent Ann Arbor City Council members on Aug. 6 have raised large sums of money for their campaigns this year.

    New finance reports show Julie Grand has raised more than $11,600 in her bid to oust Stephen Kunselman from his 3rd Ward seat.

    Grand took in $10,825 in cash contributions plus another $826 worth of in-kind donations. She spent nearly $6,700 for the period from April 29 through July 21 and had $4,131 cash on hand.

    Kunselman raised $5,855 in cash contributions plus $160 worth of in-kind donations this cycle. He spent $2,526, leaving him with $3,454 cash on hand.

    election2013square.jpg
    Meanwhile, Jack Eaton has raised more than $9,200 in his bid to oust Marcia Higgins from her 4th Ward seat.

    Eaton took in $7,959 in cash contributions plus another $1,263 worth of in-kind donations.

    His report shows $2,445 worth of itemized expenses, $1,788 in debt owed and $5,508 cash on hand.

    Higgins filed a report showing she raised $4,592 in cash contributions and spent $2,751. Counting previous money raised, she had $2,623 cash on hand.

    The county clerk's office sent Eaton a notice on Thursday saying his campaign finance statement had six different errors or omissions.

    That included two anonymous contributions totaling $25. The clerk's office informed Eaton that anonymous contributions are prohibited and the money must be donated to a charity.

    Eaton also failed to report the occupation, employer name and business address of Kathy Griswold, who donated more than $100 to his campaign.

    Jack_Eaton_Marcia_Higgins_071013_RJS_002.jpg

    Marcia Higgins, left, is defending her 4th Ward seat against Jack Eaton, right.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Eaton also was cited for accepting $508.61 in cash and in-kind contributions from Council Member Mike Anglin, D-5th Ward, when $500 is the maximum allowed.

    Other contributors to Eaton's campaign include Council Members Jane Lumm and Sumi Kailasapathy; local hotelier and real estate developer Dennis Dahlmann; and Irv Mermelstein, an attorney who is at odds with the city on flooding issues and the city's footing drain disconnection program.

    Eaton also received contributions from David Cahill, who is the husband of City Council Member Sabra Briere; and Vivienne Armentrout, a former county commissioner who has run for City Council in the 5th Ward; as well as Alan Goldsmith, a frequent critic of city hall and the mayor.

    Grand received contributions from Leah Gunn, who was chairwoman of the Downtown Development Authority until recently; and John Splitt, another DDA board member. She also received donations from Higgins and Margie Teall, who represent the 4th Ward on the City Council.

    She also received money from local developer Ed Shaffran of Ann Arbor-based Shaffran Companies and Jeff Hauptman, president of The Oxford Companies.

    Higgins received contributions from some of the same people who gave to Grand's campaign, including Gunn, Hauptman and Teall.

    She also received donations from Mayor John Hieftje; DDA board members Roger Hewitt and Joan Lowenstein; Pizza House owners Dennis Tice and Matthew Tice; and Ray Detter, who is chairman of the Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council.

    Kunselman received donations from many people who donated to other campaigns, including Anglin, Dahlmann, Detter, Goldsmith, Armentrout, Griswold, Eaton and Lumm.

    Kunselman also received a letter from the county clerk's office on Friday saying it appears he made an error by accepting a $100 contribution from Anglin's campaign committee.

    "Candidate committee to candidate committee contributions are prohibited except for the purchase of a fundraiser ticket not to exceed $100 from the candidate committee in a calendar year," the clerk's office stated, noting no indication is made if the contribution was for a fundraiser ticket.

    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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    072413_NEWS_BodyFound_MRM_05.jpg

    Ann Arbor police detectives are investigating the death of Paul DeWolf, who was found dead on Wednesday. Police are investigating his death a homicide, shocking neighbors in the predominantly student-filled area.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    UPDATE: Autopsy: University of Michigan medical student student died from single gunshot wound

    The 200 block of North Ingalls Street is a leafy neighborhood, just outside the hustle and bustle of Ann Arbor’s State Street district.

    The porches of the large homes make for good study and relaxation spots for the students who live in the large rental homes and apartments that line the street.

    “Nothing ever happens here, really,” said Gabriela Granados.

    But, now that a police car is posted near a home at the corner of North Ingalls and Catherine Street, that quiet has a sort of eerie edge.

    On Wednesday, 25-year-old Paul DeWolf, a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force and a University of Michigan medical student who was set to graduate in May, was found dead in his room. DeWolf was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a Schoolcraft, Mich., native.

    After more than 24 hours of investigation, police said Thursday they are investigating his death as a homicide.

    pauldewolf2.jpg

    Paul DeWolf

    Facebook photo

    Taylor Paquette and Katie Pavelich, Flint-area natives who attend U-M, were sitting on their porch just after 6 p.m. Thursday, books and pages of notes open in front of them. They reacted with shock when told police are investigating DeWolf’s death as a homicide.

    “That’s so scary,” Paquette said repeatedly.

    Pavelich said she’s lived in her house down the block from the Phi Rho Sigma fraternity where DeWolf lived for three years, but doesn’t know any of the students who live there. The residents are all medical students, who rarely have time to do the sort of things that make neighbors notice them, she said.

    “We don’t really know them,” Pavelich said.

    As with most neighborhoods close to the university’s campus, students occupy most of the housing on North Ingalls. Pavelich said there’s a mix of undergraduate and graduate students on the block — more undergrads on the south end and more graduates as the street goes north.

    The quiet street hasn’t been so quiet since DeWolf was reported dead at noon on Wednesday. Ann Arbor police detectives were around the area much of Wednesday afternoon and patrol vehicles were stationed on the street on two different occasions when AnnArbor.com reporters went to the area Thursday.

    Satellite trucks from TV news stations have been parked in the area as well, Paquette and Pavelich said.

    Granados, a recent graduate, has lived on the street for nearly a full year. She said the residents in Phi Rho Sigma usually keep to themselves and she was shocked to learn there had been a homicide near her house.

    “We’re absolutely stunned,” she said when asked about how she and her roommates had reacted to seeing investigators in their neighborhood Wednesday.

    The investigation into DeWolf’s death continues and police expect to release more information on Friday, according to a statement released Thursday evening.

    A police investigation began about noon Wednesday and University of Michigan police released a crime alert just before 11 that night.

    Police said DeWolf failed to arrive for a scheduled assignment at the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital Wednesday morning. The hospital sent a colleague to the home to check on him, and that person discovered DeWolf had died. Police were immediately called following that discovery.

    The residents who spoke to AnnArbor.com had far more questions about what happened on Wednesday than answers. Pavelich and Paquette said they didn’t notice anything unusual Wednesday morning or hear anything during the nighttime hours.

    “It’s just so quiet here,” Paquette said.

    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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    Thumbnail image for gretchenpuppy.jpg

    Gretchen, around 8-10 weeks of age. Training had by that time already started.

    Ideas in dog training and understanding canine behavior have certainly come a long way in the past 15 years or so.

    My Gretchen is almost as old, and I have to say that I wasn't comfortable with every aspect of some of the popular methods that were around back then when she was a puppy. No, let me rephrase that: I wasn't comfortable with most of them.

    Those were the days before puppy classes and hiring the expertise of a professional dog trainer were the norm, I should note. But being totally engaged with the prospect of unfolding what would become an adult dog who was able to think independently and control herself with a fair amount of finesse in our very-human world was paramount.

    "Doing the hard work now will pay off for a lifetime," was my mantra.

    But the lack of what I felt were good resources in dog training back then did get me thinking about what I knew in my gut: forging good communication, trust and a solid relationship with her was the only way.

    The former was really the only way for me to attain and keep that solid relationship and trust with Gretchen.

    The problem? We didn't share a language yet. But it was my mission to make that happen. And punishment or aversive-based methods weren't going to enable that to come to fruition — they were only going to make her fear me, cause her to retreat and tune out.

    Bringing the chubby mass of fur home at five weeks was already a challenge — that was much too young to have been weaned and not have much contact with her mother — so I knew that I had a lot of diligence to put forth. So I followed my gut: I set about establishing a strong bond through daily interaction/positive touch and play, kept a routine and "listened" to what she most favorably responded to.

    What I quickly learned is that she not only loved yummy treats, but praise and interaction (including but not limited to games, a walk to her favorite haunts). I knew that the latter two were exceptionally important to cultivate with care, as they were going to be the foundation for great communication in our daily life for many years to come.

    Depending on the skill I was teaching, I would use praise, interaction/positive touch, games/play and sometimes food rewards.

    Admittedly, I did not use food rewards for everything, and certainly not every time that I wanted to convey that she had gotten something right. I did find that food rewards were especially useful for difficult training like "stay," since the skill is graduated into different distances apart as a dog gains ability to control herself over time.

    Gretchen was a eager learner, and did so quickly.

    Fast forward so many years later, and Gretchen is a settled, happy dog whom has been able to enjoy her life — and has been a pleasure to be around.

    There seems to be considerable dissent between those in the canine training and behavior community with regard to which methods and approaches yield the best results.

    Typically, you'll hear discussion in these circles with regard to aversive or punishment-based methods vs. those that employ positive reinforcement only. But as Stanley Coren, Ph.D. discusses in a recent article on PsychologyToday.com, positive reinforcement trainers may not always be in agreement, either.

    The question of whether food rewards, verbal praise or positive physical touch is most effective in training can be a sticking point amongst professionals, but hasn't really been formally tested until recently.

    Coren talks about results of a study recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior which reported research by co-authors Megumi Fukuzawa and Naomi Hayashi in the Department of Animal Resource and Sciences of the College of Bioresource Sciences at Nihon University in Japan.

    The study, Comparison of three different reinforcements of learning in dogs, divided 15 dogs into three sets, and in each set, a different reward was used: praise, stroking/petting and food.

    As part of the study, observing the dogs while they were learning the "sit-stay" and the "recall" (or "come") command seemed to make the most sense, since those are core commands. All three groups were trained identically.

    Overall, the trainings that employed food rewards were more effective than the other two methods used. Interestingly, early in training for the recall command, there seemed to be a slight advantage in food reward.

    Used in tandem with the right timing to reward the dog, as well as keeping training sessions short and fun, food rewards can make all of the difference, especially when introducing a new skill.

    There are some out there who dismiss the notion of using food rewards at all in training, but hopefully this study will broaden the conversation with regard to how useful the practice can be, and prompt more studies like it in the future.

    Click here to read the article published on PsychologyToday.com.

    Lorrie Shaw leads the pets section for AnnArbor.com and is owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.


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    A well-known Michigan brewer has pulled out of the Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti because of planned political fundraising at the event.

    Bells_sign.jpg

    MLive file photo

    Bell's Brewery Inc. won't participate in this weekend's 16th annual festival after the brewer's founder and president Larry Bell learned about the Protect Michigan Craft Beer Political Action Committee's plans, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.

    "I don't want to be part of it," Bell said this week. "I find it distasteful that they are bringing politics into the fest. I have no idea where that money will go. I don't want to be part of trying to raise political money from drunk or slightly intoxicated people."

    Protect Michigan Craft Beer is an independent political action committee formed two years ago by Brett VanderKamp, of New Holland Brewing Co., and Tim Suprise, of Arcadia Brewing Co. Suprise said brewers in the state including Bell's will benefit from the PAC.

    "The committee intends to raise resources for advocacy so we can have a voice and a seat at the table. I think it's a fairly well-understood part of our state regulatory environment and on the federal level," said Suprise, whose brewery is located in Battle Creek.

    Scott Newman-Bale, treasurer of the Michigan Beer Guild and chief financial officer of Short's Brewing Co., said the PAC attended the event last year and Bell received a refund after voicing concerns. The missions of the guild and the PAC are similar but separate, he said.

    "The guild's mission is to introduce people to Michigan beer and the PAC is on that direction on the legislative side," Newman-Bale said.

    The guild said it is disappointed Bell's is skipping the Ypsilanti event, which is sold out. The festival runs Friday and Saturday. Officials plan to resolve issues before the guild's annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival in Marquette in September, Newman-Bale said.


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    jigs-and-charlotte

    Ruth Ehman | Contributor

    The farm has three pastures and six pens/corrals through which the livestock is rotated as needed. Weather, the animals' biological profiles, and my convenience dictate the rotations, with my convenience running a poor third to the first two parameters. But my convenience is at least in the race, and every year I find some way to improve its standing in the contest without compromising the deserved supremacy of the front runners.

    Which animals end up where, why, and for how long amounts to a waltz with logic as the leading dancer. Maybe a better analogy would be a square dance, a waltz being perhaps too decorous and predictable for this comparison. Yes, a lively, raucous square dance with room for self expression but with logic calling the steps is a better parallel.

    Here's the what and why of the current situation:

    Fancy, my horse, is alone in the north east pasture with access to the barn's east end overhang. This gives her plenty of grass plus a shaded, relatively bug-free shelter area.

    She's alone because this pasture is not (yet) perimeter fenced adequately to contain smaller animals like sheep and goats. I could put cattle with her but then I'd have quantities of cow poop under the overhang.

    My water hydrant is there, plus the corral connecting the back of the barn with this particular pasture must be crossed to access the pig pen, so between showing guests around and doing chores this area sees a lot of traffic. Cows like to lounge up by the barn and are both prone to frequent fecal expulsions and indiscriminate in their choice of expulsion location.

    Horses, on the other hand, designate a toilet area and concentrate their output accordingly. Plus the tidy, dry nature of horse poop makes it much easier to clean up than the soupy consistency of cow splats. And I like to keep that area clean. If it was cooler and the flies weren't an issue, I could put cattle here too and keep them all shut out in the pasture itself but giving Fancy access to the barn shade would mean cows up under there too.

    Most of the cattle are in the big south west pasture. Miss Jigs, who is being milked twice a day, is the only resident bovine not out there. This time of year that works dandy because it provides plenty of grass and shade plus keeps their poop out where I don't have to address its disposal.

    The "but" here is their water trough is a long stretch from the hydrant, so once a week I'm dragging hose; of course this would be a real problem in winter. I could have Fancy out there too but the biting flies of mid-summer drive her nuts while hardly bothering the cattle. One of those mysteries of nature. This pasture is also fenced only to contain large animals, and its size and my budget is likely to keep it that way in the foreseeable future, so no sheep or goats out there.

    The lambs and doe (mama) goats are currently in the southeast pasture. They too have access to a section of the barn's east overhang through another adjoining pen. I don't much care who poops in this pen since it's rarely traversed; I scrape it clean with the tractor a few times a year and call it good. But this immediate access to the barn makes it convenient to bring the does in for milking twice a day; Miss Jigs is in this pasture for the same reason instead of being out with all the other cows.

    And as of last night she has the company of Miss Charlotte. Miss Charlotte has been playing nursemaid to Miss Annabelle (Jigs' calf) for the past six weeks. Dairy cows are especially complacent about allowing any calf to nurse, and Annabelle was actually using Charlotte more than she was her own mother. By separating Miss Jigs, I could concentrate on just milking one cow while Charlotte fed the calf.

    Logic and convenience held hands in this decision; Charlotte's production was already diminishing due to her lactation cycle yet was plenty to supply Annabelle until she was old enough to be weaned. Annabelle's weaning could coincide with the need to dry Charlotte off right about now in preparation for her freshening in September. It is important to give a cow a break from lactating prior to giving birth and Miss Charlotte is due Sept. 24.

    Continued logic says leave Annabelle with the steers and move Charlotte to enact the separation. Putting Annabelle back with Jigs would find her again nursing her momma. Leaving her out with the beef steers and bringing Charlotte in enables the separation while leaving Annabelle in familiar environs with friendly company.

    I can also now offer Charlotte some oats and additional mineral to meet these last trimester nutritional demands plus start re-establishing the come-in-and-get-milked routine. Plus having another cow with her will obviate Miss Jigs' heat cycles. I want to have her bred back next month for a spring calf, and I'll need to be able to pinpoint ovulation. That's info for another post! Do si do, allemande left and swing your partner...

    Ruth Ehman has been farming her 53 acres north of Dexter for 25 years. Recently retired from a "real job" she now makes her living producing "real food" including operating a dairy, and teaching others skills conducive to a small, diverse family farm lifestyle. Contact her at firesignfamilyfarm.com or ruthehman@live.com


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    Ann Arbor police are investigating two robberies reported Thursday, including one near the University of Michigan’s campus in which an armed man demanded drugs.

    In addition, the University of Michigan Police Department is also investigating a robbery near the West Hall Arch early Friday morning.

    Ann Arbor police Lt. Renee Bush said that incident was reported at 10 p.m. Thursday in the 900 block of Church Street. Bush said two men knocked on the door of an apartment and one pulled out a black handgun and told the resident to give him drugs, Bush said.

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    The Ann Arbor Police Department’s detective bureau is investigating the incident. No suspect description was released Friday.

    The other incident was a strong-arm robbery that took place between 3 p.m. and 3:25 p.m. Thursday in the 2500 block of Jackson Avenue. Bush said a man walked up to a woman sitting outside and grabbed her iPad off a table.

    The man ran toward the Westgate Shopping Plaza and police continue to search for him. The man is described as black, in his 20s and was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and shorts.

    Police did not immediately release information on injuries in either robbery.

    At 3:15 a.m. Friday, U-M Police were notified of an armed robbery that took place near the West Hall Arch.

    According to police, two men approached a person walking in the area and brandished a handgun. The men demanded money and the victim fled the area, police reported.

    The first suspect is described as Middle Eastern or black, 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, curly hair, wearing a gray tank top and shorts and had tattoos on both arms. The second suspect is described as Middle Eastern or black, between 5-feet-7 inches and 5-feet-8 inches tall, 160 pounds, muscular and wearing red clothing.

    "We're in communication with Ann Arbor to see if there's any connection between the two incidents," Brown said about the Church Street and West Hall Arch robberies.

    The man who fled the area was with two friends, Brown said. They've not cooperated with police thus far, she said.

    The UM Police sent out a crime alert for the Church Street incident and the West Hall ARCH attempted robbery Friday.

    Anyone with information on these incidents is encouraged to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939, U-M police at 734-763-1131 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


    View 900 Church St in a larger map

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


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    Note: contains some adult content.

    I picked a bad night to spend dusk till dawn-ish at the Fleetwood Diner. The Ann Arbor Rolling Car Sculpture Show is revving 50 feet away with hungry ZZ Top families casting sideways glances at the Fleetwood, full of burgers, Greek salads and hippie hash. I feel like a mouse in a cage waiting to be fed to the pet snake in a much bigger cage.

    The Fleetwood Diner is an Ann Arbor institution — home to poets, philosophers, punks and psychos. It never closes. It has the worst bathroom in Ann Arbor. It gets really good around 2 a.m. Who better to deliver you a report from the mouth of heck itself?

    Adorable punk rock couple and horn tattoo forehead man

    At 8:30 p.m., the sun is still fairly high in the sky and former roller derby girl (now derby coach) Betty Beretta is near the end of her shift when I’m just starting mine.

    The Fleetwood has indoor and outdoor seating for somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 people. Sturdy plastic chairs inside and out along with black and white square tile on the interior that runs all the way up the side of the kitchen counter top. Little plastic cups of mayo. Little plastic cups of Thousand Island dressing. Red plastic Coca-Cola cups and brown coffee mugs full of steaming drip coffee, of which I end up drinking 13.

    A table outside fills up with a mosh of teenage punks. I don’t use that term in some sort of old-man-shaking-my-fist-on-the-porch way. These kids have mohawks, leather, chains — it’s a compliment to them to call them punks. Included in the collection is the most adorable little punk couple, lightly holding hands and sitting next to each other at the table, his mohawk rising high and proud despite the humidity.

    “You gotta go to Above Ground now to get your mohawk done,” the cook says.

    “We used to use egg and Elmer’s glue,” Betty joins in. “You know they’re just gonna order chili fries.”

    The don’t. They order coffee. Anarchy in the USA.

    Things get a little weirder just after 9 p.m. when a man with horns tattooed on his forehead takes a alone seat outside. He is an enigma. Lots of bad, scary tattoos (unfinished clowns, indecipherable symbols I can only assume are Cthulhu related), chains around his neck and bracelets with swear words on them. But he’s also got a Samsung smartphone with a hip holster, prescription eye glasses and a Joe’s Crab Shack tank top. He’s a cross between someone who would be accused of robbing a liquor store with a kayak and that guy in the office who won’t stop saying, “It’s five o’clock somewhere!”

    He yells some version of “I used to own one of those!” at any passing muscle car unfortunate enough to get stuck at the light. This is especially torturous because a car show is disbanding, and the streets are full of rolling thunder.

    “He’s writing down what we say for the Ann Arbor News,” Betty Beretta says to the cook.

    “Knock it off, you ass,” the cook yells. I assume they’re kidding?

    A cute couple takes a seat outside, orders, chats, eats. They’re recent law school grads studying for the bar. He's a clean-cut, handsome fellow from Miami, and she's a clean-cut, beautiful girl from Pittsburgh. They’re modest, nice to me and after I bus their table and eat some of her leftover fries, I truly start to miss them. That’s when my photographer shows up.

    My very own Ralph Steadman. Or something

    I need to pull back the curtain of my creative process for a second. When on assignment for these up-close observational pieces, I lay low and mind my own business. I’m almost always alone and, until this story, never had a photographer assigned to capture the action.

    Daniel Brenner seems like a good guy and he’s a great photographer, but I feel awkward enough with myself. It’s hard to work with someone new. I always think I want a Ralph Steadman to accompany me on stories (and it worked pretty well the one time I did it) but it’s hard to remain semi-conspicuous when the guy sitting across from you has a giant expensive camera.

    Two tables of folks sit next to us and other than jotting in my notebook (“Why do people keep jogging past the Fleetwood? They have to be showing off, right?”) I’m not perceptibly working on this story. I sense Daniel getting a bit bored but my choice of interview subjects is a table of young professionals and a table of American Apparel models.

    I don’t know either group. I know I’ll get along better with the young professionals than the American Apparel models, but I can see Dan drawn to their vertically integrated fashion. That was officially my first American Apparel joke ever.

    Maybe it’s the Apparel group’s constant use of swearing for emphasis: “We (expletive deleted) watched Battle Royale last night. Holy (expletive deleted)! It’s kids (expletive deleted) killing kids.” Or maybe it’s the fact that they all seem so blown away to talk about Battle Royale, like it’s 2003 or something. See, now who’s the hipster. Maybe I hate in them what I can’t have myself, but their table confirms something I’ve known for a long time: You can get away with saying anything if you have good hair and nice clothes. Battle Royale? Do go on! Garden parties last summer? Tell me more!

    Dan takes their picture. I don’t blame him, they’ll probably look amazing. When he asks them for their names, they do that terribly stupid annoying thing and waffle.

    “Do we need to give our real names?” guy number one asks. Dan shrugs.

    “Then my name is Cooper,” and somehow this is hilarious. “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and friends.” This is a second, better joke somehow. I contemplate how to tell Dan that I’ve written a page and a half of terrible things about these people in my notebook.

    I swivel and talk to the young professionals—Steve and Linda Lai with friends Vincent Giang and Pang Truong. This is their first time at the Fleetwood after spending most of their munchie money on North Campus or South University.

    “Everyone talks about it but we’ve never been.” They mention Bill’s Beer Garden, which seems to be either the source or the eventually destination for quite a few of their patrons this night.

    “Foursquare says to come here after 2 a.m.,” Steve says. I look at my cell phone, which reads 10:52 p.m. And I die a little inside.

    I drink my sixth cup of coffee and watch the first patron wearing sunglasses bump into the front door and plop down inside at 11:04 p.m. The shift change begins, and I tip out Betty and the cook and meet Bell, who’ll be with me for the night. I’ve already been here for three hours after a full day at my real job, and I need to use not the worst bathroom in Ann Arbor. I grab my bag and head five blocks away to my apartment to freshen up.

    Glassy eyes, full stomachs, can't lose

    At some point following my one-hour sabbatical, the Fleetwood adds a second cook and a second server named Melissa. Right away, I sense that Melissa doesn’t like me. Maybe she just takes some time to warm to people, but even wearing my PRESS hat, I’m warned that once the late-night rush starts, I’m going to have to get the heck out of the way.

    A number of glassy-eyed patrons have also appeared in my absence. One wears a crisp blue polo shirt, a classy gold watch and a look that tells me he’s seen things. A man sitting outside with a cast from elbow all the way up to his thumb is at first a little perturbed when I ask him how he shattered his wing, then gets increasingly upset at my mere presence.

    Two girls out for a late-night breakfast following a Hawaiian-themed birthday party wear leis and go down the steps to the worst bathroom in Ann Arbor holding hands. When they emerge, I ask them about their experience.

    “I’ve seen worse,” says the girl in the glasses. “Have you ever been to a frat party bathroom?” I have not.

    The late-night, low-level drunk patrons are a lot warier than the clean-cut law school grads, young professionals and American Apparel models of a few hours earlier. They distrust a man with a Moleskine. They cast squinty glances my way, which could be hostility or just trouble focusing on fixed objects. Maybe it’s the tuxedo I’m wearing.

    A 1:14 a.m. someone complains about his eggs. I swear Melissa is going to flip the guy’s plate and hit him with something solid. She doesn’t. He sucks it up and eats his semi-overeasy eggs.

    I see Melissa eyeing me and my valuable two-top real estate, so I order a club sandwich and sip my ninth cup of coffee. I can stay if I pay, right?

    The kitchen runs steadily, punk music blaring from device unseen in the back, and the tables are completely full by 1:30 a.m. Tickets stack up five and six deep with most of the product carried out of the kitchen belonging to the potato family. Hash, fries, more hash. Breakfast for dinner is a popular item at the Fleetwood.

    I eat my club and move outside at 1:40 a.m to get a good look at the madness unfolding in the outdoors. Bell the server comes out to have a quick cigarette and says, “They’re lurking on the corners, ready to pounce.” He’s not wrong.

    Public displays of affection and nonsense talk

    The lights at the intersection flash red and yellow and people stream across the street, heading for late night food. A decent number clock in at the Fleetwood.

    A young man with a flannel shirt unbuttoned to his xiphoid process needs a good deal of assistance from his girlfriend to first navigate the crowds, then slip through the front door and finally find his seat inside. He orders breakfast for dinner.

    A trio of ladies men sit across from me and deconstruct their night in the worst possible way.

    “I like quality over quantity.” “I like quality.” “I don’t chase either. Everybody knows that.” “Her friend was bitchy.” “It think it was the red hair.” “Yeah. Those facial expressions.” “You so didn’t get laid tonight.”

    I keep waiting for them to tell each other how money they are. It’s maddening and maddeningly misogynistic.

    A table of high schoolers grabs a table and pecks at their cellphones, the peppy girl receiving a call on her cell from what sounds like a long lost friend. She answers with a delightful, “Hey (expletive deleted).”

    A different girl drops her LG phone on the sidewalk and it explodes. A bystander taunts, “Done! It’s over!” when her friend tries to revive it.

    Melissa is getting frenetic at the cash. Later in the night, Bell tells me that he’s a long-distance worker and Melissa is a sprinter. Not much later in the night I get to see Melissa literally sprint, running across the street chasing a dine-and-dasher, one of the big guys from the back room trailing close behind. She gets her man.

    Three serious-looking gents with gray hair and wedding bands talk seriously at a table. When they leave, two of them produce hats from their laps and put them on. See: gentlemen.

    Cars constantly idle outside with a growing procession of cabs. Couples at the counter share plates, sleepily spearing food with forks. I’m on coffee number 11. The line at the cash register is five deep, the diner is packed and somebody getting a takeout order has the temerity to ask for extra pickles. One of the cooks, an e-cigarette tucked behind his ear, dips his hand into a container of sliced dills, drops them into a tiny plastic container and hands it across the counter. The kid asks for more. This request is denied.

    At 2:33 a.m. the bacon situation is dire. What was once a proud heaping plate of pre-cooked glory is now a weak pile of limp pork. A guy in a sparkly red top hat chats with a cab driver wearing a soccer jersey. A bearded man sleeps in a Saab just down the block, the back and passenger seats piled high with a life’s worth of belongings. Public displays of affection increase tenfold. Philosophical nonsense talking is off the charts.

    No one pays attention to me at this hour. They’re focused on their eggs and their potatoes and bringing forks and straws to mouths. The stars in the sky aren’t visible from the sidewalk outside the Fleetwood, but it’s not an overcast night. The Fleetwood is sucking the light out of the sky and the life out of my body. I drain coffee number 12.

    The misogynists mercifully clear out, but not before ogling the bottom of a girl telling a joke.

    “Guy walks into a bar and orders 12 shots and just starts slamming them back. The bartender asks her why he’s drinking so fast. ‘You’d drink like this if you had what I have,” the guy says. ‘What’s that?’ the bartender asks. ‘75 cents.’”

    At 3 a.m. there are finally some seats open, and I plop down front and center. Bartenders from nearby businesses are starting to trickle in. A cab driver pulls up and lets his dog out of the van, and together they walk down the block to smoke and pee.

    At 4 a.m., out come the Magic: The Gathering cards. The cooks and Bell are really into the game, producing boxes of cards and flipping through them behind the counter.

    “We’re the future of nerds,” says one of the cooks. “E-cigarettes and Magic. And we don’t get laid either.”

    I see that the plate of bacon has regenerated to its former tower of glory. It’s 4:15 a.m. and my blood is fire. The sun isn’t up, but it’s time to go.

    Richard Retyi returns to AnnArbor.com with his new column Hidden Ann Arbor. Rich will write about the hidden side of Ann Arbor and the things locals take for granted. In his day job, Rich is a social media director for a digital marketing agency in Ann Arbor. Read more of his stuff at RichRetyi.com or follow him on Twitter.


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    The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education and Superintendent Scott Menzel, far right, at the district's first official meeting on Monday, July 1, 2013. At Thursday's special meeting, the board approved an agreement that will allow the district to pay back its debt over 13 years.

    Amy Biolchini | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Previous coverage:

    Beginning with its 2014 financial audit, Ypsilanti Community Schools' books will no longer show an operating deficit.

    The Ypsilanti Board of Education Thursday authorized school officials to consolidate and refinance the unified district's $18.8 million debt and to proceed with an agreement with the Michigan Finance Authority to pay back that debt over a 13-year period.

    The Michigan Finance Authority met Thursday morning in Lansing to approve the agreement and repayment period from its end. The district called a special board meeting for Thursday evening to set the wheels in motion on its side as well.

    The new unified district inherited $18.8 million in debt from the former Willow Run Community Schools and Ypsilanti Public Schools. About $11.2 million of that total is the combined operating deficits from Ypsilanti and Willow Run, which began operating in the red during the 2009-10 and 2005-06 academic years, respectively.

    The other approximately $7.6 million in debt YCS has an obligation to pay back is owed to the Michigan Finance Authority for money each district borrowed in 2012 to address cash flow issues and make payroll at certain low points in the year.

    Because of the way Michigan disburses its per-pupil foundation allowance payments and because many districts no longer have fund equities or reserves to float money from to cover bills and pay staff in between aid payments, many districts have to borrow money from the state finance authority at the beginning of the year to ensure teachers and administrators won't go without pay during periods of low cash flow.

    YCS Superintendent Scott Menzel said there are 240 Michigan districts that participate in the MFA's state aid note borrowing program.

    Menzel originally had hoped for 15 years to pay back the $18.8 million debt. However, the Michigan Department of Treasury and the Finance Authority had their sights set on 10 years. So the 13-year repayment period was a compromise.

    The MFA is issuing bonds rather than notes to pay off Ypsilanti's maturing debt and to raise the cash upfront that's needed to run the district. The difference between selling notes and selling bonds are the terms of maturity, YCS' legal counsel explained Thursday. Bonds generally are long-term investments.

    The interest rate on the debt will be fixed once the bonds are sold. YCS officials are expecting an interest rate in the range of 3 to 6 percent.

    YCS will pay off the debt in the amounts of $1 million the first year, $1.5 million the second year and $2 million in years three through 13, Menzel said.

    The money for paying off the debt will be taken off the top of the district's state aid payments and will go directly to the treasury department.

    Per the MFA agreement, the money for the loan will come from the district's state aid payments for January through July of each school year. There are seven state aid payments during that period.

    Despite having the $18.8 million in outstanding debt, this agreement will make it look like the new unified district is operating in the black and will remove YCS from Michigan's growing list of school district's operating with a budget deficit.

    Brian Marcel, the assistant superintendent of finances and operations for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, who has been assisting YCS with this arrangement, essentially said the agreement turns the $18.8 million — from the state's standpoint — into more of an outstanding bond, rather than an outstanding debt.

    The $18.8 million will be recorded in the district's budget as a revenue source and immediately will give YCS a $7.6 million positive fund balance.

    "You are only guaranteed that for the one year," Marcel said to the board. "The financial decisions the district makes beyond the one year impacts whether that $7 million goes up or down."

    The YCS Board of Education asked many questions Thursday night about the MFA agreement and about the future financial stability of the district. A few trustees expressed concerns about the money to pay back the debt being taken off the top of the district's per-pupil foundation allowance seven months of the year.

    President David Bates stressed how the board and the district must work together to be intentional about attracting new families to YCS and increasing student enrollment.

    Both Ypsilanti and Willow Run struggled in the past eight years with losing students to charter schools and nearby districts. Data reports compiled by school officials show that, together, the districts lost nearly 2,400 children in that time period.

    For the 2013-14 academic year, YCS will receive $7,563 per pupil from the state. Taking $1 million from the district's per-pupil foundation allowance to pay down the debt essentially is the equivalent of 132 students more the district will have to attract to maintain its budget, Menzel said.

    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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    Even though the Sanctuary and Safe Haven for Animals continues to rescue animals in need, resources, space, money and volunteer support to house all of the cases being called-in has all but dried up, the Detroit Free Press reports.

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    Michigan State University student Rachel Kelly, a 26-year-old intern, rubs the belly of Lulu, a 5-year-old pot-bellied pig that was brought to SASHA Farm in Manchester about four years ago.

    The nonprofit organization, which is a farm in Manchester that takes in older and special-needs animals, is home to 20 cows, 22 chickens, 21 potbellied pigs, 40 goats, 24 sheep, 26 pigeons, six horses, three donkeys , as well as mules and emus. And the list of livestock continues to grow.

    SASHA Farm offers 75 pastoral acres to the abused or unhealthy animals that usually would be considered lost-causes, but limited space is forcing staff to turn away animals they normally would be happy to house at the farm, the Press said.

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


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    Police are saying 25-year-old Paul DeWolf died from a single gunshot wound.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    Paul DeWolf, the 25-year-old University of Michigan medical student found dead in Ann Arbor Wednesday, died from a single gunshot wound, an autopsy revealed.

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    Paul DeWolf

    Facebook photo

    No firearm was discovered at the scene of DeWolf's apartment, which was orderly and where the valuables appeared to be untouched when officers arrived, Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said in a press release.

    The cause of the injury wasn't immediately known after DeWolf's body was discovered and an autopsy was required to determine the cause of death, the release said.

    The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted the autopsy Thursday.

    DeWolf was found dead in his apartment Wednesday in the Phi Rho Sigma fraternity house in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street. Police said DeWolf failed to arrive for a scheduled assignment at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System Wednesday morning.

    The hospital sent a colleague to the home to check on him, and that person discovered DeWolf had died. Police were immediately called following that discovery.

    A funeral is being planned, an Air Force official confirmed. The official couldn't release any further information.

    The Schoolcraft, Mich. native was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University, where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon. DeWolf had just completed his third year of medical school at the University of Michigan and was studying to be a surgeon. He was set to graduate with his class of 170 students on May 16, 2014.

    DeWolf was a reserve officer in the Medical Services Corps of the United States Air Force serving as a medical student under the the military's Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), according to officials.

    University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman issued a statement Friday about DeWolf's death.

    "We extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues," Coleman's statement said. "He was working and training among a close, nurturing community of healers and I know they will help each other through this difficult time. They will need the support of the broader campus community in the weeks and months ahead, and we will provide it."

    The Ann Arbor police are actively investigating this crime. Anybody with information is asked to call the Ann Arbor Police tip line 734-794-6939, or e-mail TIPS@a2gov.org or Crimestoppers at 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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    University of Michigan and Ann Arbor police have increased patrols in the North Ingalls and Central Campus area after a 25-year-old medical student was found shot to death in his fraternity house Wednesday.

    DeWolf_Psm.jpg

    Paul DeWolf

    Courtesy photo

    Police are still investigating Paul DeWolf's death. He suffered a single gunshot wound, autopsy results showed.

    DeWolf, a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, was set to graduate from U-M medical school in May. His body was discovered at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in his room in the 200 block of North Ingallls Street, across the street from U-M's medical school and two blocks from Central Campus. DeWolf was a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a Schoolcraft, Mich., native.

    U-M police spokeswoman Diane Brown said police want to increase visibility in the area so residents feel at ease.

    "Regardless of where they are assigned, all of our officers over the course of their shifts, throughout 24 hours, will make patrols in this area," she said.

    Added Ann Arbor Police Department Lt. Ed Dreslinski: "We don’t have a lot of homicides in this city, so we’re tying to show a presence in the area to help put everybody at ease and maybe we run into something that helps us in our investigation."

    Homicides rare at U-M

    This is the first homicide of a student on or near campus in at least a decade.

    Michael R. Logghe, a former lieutenant and historian with the Ann Arbor Police Department who retired in 2009, said student murders in Ann Arbor are "virtually nonexistent."

    "It's an extremely safe campus, an extremely safe city. It's an aberration when it happens," he said. "It's very, very, very rare.... That's why it's so shocking."

    In 1999 a U-M senior killed her boyfriend, a U-M graduate, in his apartment at 727 Kingsley St. and then turned the gun on herself. Also in 1999, a man in his early 20s was killed during a party thrown by U-M students at a home in the 900 block of East University. He was shot when he tried to break up a fight, according to Logghe. He was not a student.

    In 1997, Tamara Williams was killed by her boyfriend in the family housing area of North Campus.

    Private gathering planned

    The Medical School is holding a private gathering in remembrance of DeWolf, U-M spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said. U-M has not planned a public service yet, she said. A funeral for DeWolf is being planned, an Air Force official said.

    The school sent a crime alert email to all students, faculty and staff on Wednesday at 11 p.m., informing them that DeWolf was found dead in his home. On Thursday, U-M police updated their website to reflect that the death is being investigated as a homicide.

    "We extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s family, friends and colleagues," U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a statement released around 2 p.m. Friday. "He was working and training among a close, nurturing community of healers and I know they will help each other through this difficult time. They will need the support of the broader campus community in the weeks and months ahead, and we will provide it."

    U-M Health System CEO Ora Pescovitz updated her blog with a condolence message on Friday.

    "The tragic and sudden death of Paul DeWolf has left a senseless and painful void in our Health System community," she wrote. "Paul was a talented medical student, a treasured friend and family member, and an individual who was dedicating his life to helping others. He will be greatly missed by many."

    U-M students and staff can receive grief counseling through medical school counselors, the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services program for students and the Employee Assistance Program.

    Cunningham said school officials have been at DeWolf's apartment providing "instrumental physical and emotional support to Paul’s family and friends."

    Counseling resources

    • Office of Medical Student Education’s Class Counselors at (734) 764-0219
    • CAPS program for students (734) 764-8312
    • Employee Assistance Program at (734) 763-5409.

    Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Ann Arbor Police tip line 734-794-6939, or e-mail TIPS@a2gov.org or Crimestoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP.

    Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that in 1999 a woman killed her boyfriend and then killed herself.

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


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    Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from Frank Hill.

    The Justice Department announced Friday it has reached a settlement with Barix Clinics regarding allegations that the clinic violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing or canceling surgery for two individuals because they were HIV-positive.

    One allegation stems from the cancellation of Frank Hill’s bariatric surgery at the clinic’s Ypsilanti location, 135 S. Prospect St. The other from a man in Langhorne, Penn., who was refused surgery by the clinic altogether.

    The Justice Department determined Barix Clinics, which operates bariatric treatment facilities in Michigan and Pennsylvania, unlawfully refused to provide Hill’s treatment as well as treatment to the man in Langhorne because the two were HIV-positive.

    Hill said he was medically cleared for gastric bypass surgery by a doctor at the University of Michigan Hospital and the surgeon at Barix Clinics who was going to perform the procedure.

    After the surgery was scheduled, the hospital called and informed Hill that hospital administration had decided not to perform the operation because certain staff members were uncomfortable working on someone who is HIV-positive, he said.

    "My surgeon disagreed with the decision and fought with administration," Hill said. "As soon as I filed the lawsuit they offered to give me the surgery if an infectious disease doctor was in the operating room. Eventually I did get my surgery, but it took me standing up for myself first. It was probably one of the most depressing times of my life."

    Investigation of both cases by the department showed the clinic's cancellation and refusal of treatment was not based on individual assessments of the patients or based on medical knowledge, according to a press release.

    The settlement states Barix Clinics must pay $20,000 to the man denied treatment in Langhorne and $15,000 to Hill. The clinic also owes a $10,000 civil penalty.

    The settlement also requires Barix Clinics to train staff on the ADA and implement a policy on anti-discrimination.

    This is the fifth settlement reached by the Justice Department with medical providers regarding HIV-related discrimination. The agreements are part of the Department of Justice’s Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, which works to aid in the enforcement efforts of critical areas for those with disabilities.

    Barix Clinics could not be reached for comment Friday.

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


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    Dozens of pre-kindergarten-age children were honored Friday during a graduation ceremony from Safety Town at Dicken Elementary School.

    The ceremony marked the end of the weeklong camp, sponsored by Ann Arbor Public Schools Community Education & Recreation Department and supported by the Ann Arbor Police Department. Safety Town curriculum covers fire and pedestrian safety, stranger danger and how to properly wear a bicycle helmet and use a booster seat.

    AnnArbor.com staff photographer Melanie Maxwell captured these images.


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    It's going to feel a lot like autumn here in Washtenaw County this weekend, as temperatures fall and rain clouds rise just in time for the Beer Festival in Ypsilanti.

    Coming to you from Ashley's in Ann Arbor for this week's Weather ... Or Not, I'm finally back after a vacation and breaking news-induced hiatus for the last two weeks. A big thanks to Kellie Woodhouse for admirably filling in for me during my Montana vacation (it was great, thanks for asking!).

    Unfortunately, I don't have great news to bring you this weekend — temperatures will be in the mid-70s for much of the weekend with a good chance of rain every day. I don't expect that to put a damper on the festivities at the Michigan Brewers' Guild Summer Beer Festival at Riverside Park tonight and Saturday at all.

    For more weather forecasts, check out Mark Torregrosa's forecast at MLive.com/weather or AnnArbor.com/weather.

    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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    Crash_072613.jpg

    Firefighters work to free a driver from a car after a crash Friday afternoon on Liberty Road east of Wagner Road.

    Photo courtesy of Terry Williams

    Editor's note: This article was updated as information became available.

    7:07 p.m.: According to a Nixle alert sent out by the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, the the portion of Liberty Road just east of Wagner in Scio Township reopened just after 7 p.m.

    A two-car crash injured two motorists and closed Liberty Road east of Wagner Road Friday afternoon, officials said.

    The head-on crash involving two cars occurred just before 3:26 p.m. east of Wagner Road near Lakeview Avenue in Scio Township, according to authorities.

    The road was expected to be closed for at least a couple of hours, a dispatcher said at about 4:45 p.m.

    One driver needed to be extricated from the vehicle and was taken to the University of MIchigan Hospital in critical condition, said Joyce Williams from Huron Valley Ambulance.

    The driver of the other vehicle was taken to U-M Hospital in stable condition, Williams said.

    No other information was immediately available.


    View Crash 072613 in a larger map


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