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

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    Previous story: Pittsfield Township police searching for missing and endangered man More: Pittsfield Township police continue to search for missing 22-year-old man

    Carl Donovon Thomas, missing since July 18 from Pittsfield Township, has been found safe and uninjured in Montibeller Park, also in Pittsfield Township, police said Monday.

    carlthomas.jpg

    Carl Donovon Thomas

    Courtesy of PTPD

    Thomas, 22, was reported missing and endangered by his mother on July 18, according to police. He had been last seen in the area of Carpenter Road and Center Valley Drive, and was spotted at a branch of the Ann Arbor District Library on the same day.

    Police canceled the missing person alert at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

    Donovon previously had gone missing from Ann Arbor and was found in Gibraltar, Mich. He suffers from a number of mental illnesses.

    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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    Devontae_Gambles.jpg

    Devontae Gambles

    Courtesy of WCSO

    Police are looking for 20-year-old Devontae Cartez Gambles in connection with the shooting of a man in Ypsilanti Township Sunday night.

    Deputies from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office were called to the Village Grove Apartments in the 1500 block of Village Lane in Ypsilanti Township at 6 p.m. Sunday after receiving reports that a man had been shot in the leg, said Sgt. Geoff Fox.

    When police arrived, they discovered a 28-year-old Ypsilanti Township man lying on the ground with a bullet wound in his thigh. He was transported to the hospital in stable condition, Fox said.

    Investigators believe the man met Gambles at the apartment complex. "A struggle ensued and the gun discharged," Fox said in a press release.

    Police could not release any additional information about the incident because it is in the preliminary phase of the investigation.

    Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Gambles is asked to contact the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office at (734) 994-2911 or provide an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SpeakUP.


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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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    For the third time this summer, University of Michigan police arrested a man for masturbating in public on campus, officials said Monday.

    Two people walking in The Diag Sunday night about 10:45 p.m. flagged down police officers in the area and notified them of a man who was making inappropriate comments to them, U-M Police spokeswoman Diane Brown said. The man reportedly made lewd comments to the pedestrians and they ran away from him.

    While on patrol, officers spotted a man masturbating in bushes near Mason Drive and North University Avenue who matched the description given by the pedestrians, Brown said.

    It’s the third such arrest on campus this summer. On June 16, a 52-year-old man was arrested during a screening of Skyfall at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. The next day, a 46-year-old man was arrested for masturbating while riding his bike through The Diag.

    Brown said the man was placed under arrest after officers found him Sunday.

    “His clothing was around his ankles,” she said. “I’m not sure if anyone saw it other than the police.”

    The police report did not say the man was intoxicated and no drugs were found on him, but possible drug paraphernalia was found in the area of his arrest.

    He’s been released and is awaiting charges, pending warrant approval from the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office.

    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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    Nature is a lot of things -- interesting, unexpected, awesome. Sometimes, it's all of those things and more.

    Recently, an example of how unexpected nature can be was revealed on social media.

    On Tuesday, Texas A&M University Veterinary Teaching Hospital posted a photo of one of their patients -- a Labrador retriever -- who is nothing short of unusual.

    The dog, named Bull, with his joyous expression, has caught the attention of the world with his mottled, unique coat.

    It's hypothesized that Bull's coat is the result of chimerism, but the facts are unclear. Bull's markings could be because of mosaicism.

    Chimerism, as you may have learned about last year when a photo of a cat named Venus thought to be a chimera went viral, is rare.

    Chimerism occurs in a single organism -- in this case, an animal -- has two (or more) different populations of genetically distinct cells -- basically, two embryos fused together.

    It seems more likely, and less exciting perhaps, that when Bull was conceived, a phenomenon called somatic mutation took place. The type of thing tends to occur more commonly in Labrador and Golden retrievers; no one knows why, and the mutation is not inherited.

    To read more on somatic mutation and to see photos of a Labrador that has the characteristics of it, click here

    TAMUVTH could not elaborate on why Bull was visiting the facility, but we wish him the best.

    Click here to see a photo of the beloved pooch.

    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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    The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has submitted a strategic land-management plan to Gov. Rick Snyder that could be reviewed soon by the Legislature.

    The Detroit Free Press reports Monday the plan's objectives include protecting natural resources, supporting local economies and land-based industries such as timber and mining, and providing quality outdoor recreation that the public can access.

    Donna Stine, policy coordinator for the DNR, says it's the first time the department has looked at land it owns in such a strategic way.

    Last year, Snyder signed a bill that severely constrained Michigan's ability to acquire more land for public use until a comprehensive plan for managing the property was adopted by May 1, 2015. It set a limit on the state's holdings of about 4.6 million acres.


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    writersblock.jpg

    Photo from the film shoot of the Bollywood romantic comedy "A Happy Ending/Writer's Block," in a condo above Vinology on Sunday.

    Photo by Stewart Beal

    The Bollywood romantic comedy film that's been called "A Happy Ending" as well as "Writer's Block" - which recently used local restaurant Lena as a backdrop, and stars Bollywood superstar Saif Ali Khan - is still being filmed in the Ann Arbor area.

    Ypsilanti-based developer Stewart Beal confirmed that the production team - including directors Raj and D.K. - has rented the condo belonging to his parents (Fred Beal and Nora Wright), situated above the restaurant Vinology in downtown Ann Arbor, for 15 days, but has "been there 5 days thus far," including Sunday, July 28, when Beal got to spend six hours as an extra, playing a party guest.

    "It is always really exciting when a movie comes to Ann Arbor and Detroit, and it was really great they allowed me to participate as an extra in the film," said Beal.

    As for the movie's plot, Beal said, "The movie is about a writer who is very successful and makes a lot of money, but then gets down on his luck when he hasn't written anything in awhile. Meanwhile, all these girls fall in love with him and he freaks out."

    Beal added that although Bollywood films are famous for their musical numbers, "A Happy Ending/Writer's Block"'s 4 music scenes will be shot in India; and in addition to Lena, the production team has also used Detroit nightclub Bleu and Enspire Dental in Ann Arbor as filming locations, and is renting the Liberty Title Building on Main St. in Ann Arbor for the purposes of housing extras and catering prep.

    "I would say there are 75 people involved, including extras," said Beal. " … The budget of the film is under $5 million, but they are definitely real professionals."

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


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    Dive teams continue to search for a male boater from Whitmore Lake recently reported missing, the Daily Press & Argus reported.

    Township police and firefighters were dispatched at about 2:15 p.m. Sunday after a nearby lakeside resident reported strange activity from a boat and what looked like a head in the water.

    Th search for the 46-year-old man who lives on the lake continued until they could no longer see well enough at 10 p.m. Sunday.

    The search was picked back up Monday at 8:15 a.m. but conflicting witness reports and lack of information about where the boater was when he disappeared was making the search difficult.


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    A Scio Township woman often wakes up in the middle of the night, telling her husband that she thinks she's hearing someone breaking into their home.

    Tuesday morning was the first time she was right.

    The woman, who asked to remain unnamed for fear of her and her family’s safety, woke up when she heard rummaging around in the lower level of the three-level home in the 1600 block of Abigail Way.

    “It’s like your nightmare coming to life,” she said. “And, my initial thought is my kids and right after is ‘I don’t even want to see them, I want them out of my house.’”

    The home invasion was one of four break-ins early Tuesday morning at homes with residents present: There was another incident in the 1600 block of Abigail Way and one each in the 1700 block of Harley Drive and the 1500 block of Scio Ridge Road. All of the homes are west of Ann Arbor near Scio Church just west of I-94.

    Three arrests of juveniles ages 14 and 15 followed, and a fourth teen was questioned. Police said they're connected to all of the break-ins.

    The woman from Abigail Way told AnnArbor.com in an interview Friday that she woke up about 1:15 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and heard rummaging in the lower level of the home. The couple was sleeping in their ground-floor bedroom while two children slept upstairs.

    The woman said she initially thought it was the dog or her children moving around, but ruled that out when she continued to hear noises. The truth came to her quickly.

    “I realized there was a lot of noise, and everything sounds louder at night, but there was some distinct movement, shuffling of things,” she said. “And it was like, I think something is happening and someone is in our home downstairs.”

    The woman immediately started calling out to her children and making noise to let the intruders know she was awake. Soon, she started yelling she would call 911, which she did immediately after.

    Looking over the balcony of the ground floor into the basement, the woman could see the door to the basement patio open. She told dispatchers the intruder was no longer in the home, while her husband went downstairs to investigate if something large had fallen.

    She was terrified — the family doesn’t own a gun and she didn’t know who was in her basement, what they were doing and whether they were armed.

    “Life can change in a matter of seconds, because we have no idea what’s about to happen,” she said. “It’s a frightening reality.”

    Dispatchers told her to take the family into one room and wait for deputies. About 10 minutes later, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies were on scene. She praised dispatchers and deputies for keeping her and her family calm in the immediate aftermath.

    The search for suspects began quickly. A K-9 unit responded to the scene and began the search, and further investigation brought deputies to evidence dumped in the 2700 block of Scio Church Road. The woman said investigators found identification among the stolen items.

    Three suspects were arrested and a fourth questioned. One is held in juvenile detention and two were released to their parents, according to Sgt. Geoffrey Fox. They were all between the ages of 14 and 15, the woman said.

    The reality of what happened — and the young age of the suspects — is sinking in for the family. The woman said she went into crisis mode when she heard the noises from the intruder and didn’t really process what was happening.

    Now, as the stolen items — a Nintendo Wii, an Xbox, a camera and an iPod Shuffle, among other items — are recovered and the suspects are facing charges for the home invasions, the woman is looking to move on.

    However, she’s disheartened her home was broken into by children.

    “I’m saddened by the fact that it’s youth,” she said. “I hope there’s some early intervention with these guys and they don’t grow into hardened criminals.”

    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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    EMU-softball-coach-action.jpg

    Former Eastern Michigan softball assistant coach Melissa Gentile, center in 2005, was announced as the Eagles' new head coach on Monday, July 29.

    Photo courtesy of EMU Athletics

    Eastern Michigan hired a former University of Michigan softball team captain to lead its athletic department, and is sticking with the formula to lead the softball team.

    Former Michigan All-American catcher Melissa “Skeeter” Gentile has been hired as Eastern Michigan’s new head softball coach, the school announced on Monday. Gentile was a four-year letter-winner for Michigan and captained the Wolverines in 2000. She is the first head coach hired by new Eastern Michigan athletic director Heather Lyke, who also played college softball at Michigan, captaining the Wolverines in 1992.

    Gentile-Melissa-EMU-softball-um-shot.jpg

    Melissa Gentile, pictured above, played for Michigan from 1997-2000.

    Ann Arbor News file photo

    "We are thrilled to have someone with Melissa's playing, coaching and teaching experience lead our softball program," Lyke said in a release. "Not only is she a highly motivated teacher and student of the game, she is an exceptional person. She will be a tremendous representative for our Department of Athletics and University. I appreciate the search committee's efforts, and we are extremely excited about the future of EMU Softball under her guidance."

    Gentile replaces Karen Baird, who coached the Eagles for 11 years, compiling a 198-287-1 during her tenure. Baird did not have her contract renewed at the end of the 2013 season after Eastern went 17-33-1. Gentile was an assistant at Eastern from 2003-05 under Baird and at Central Michigan from 2000-02. Gentile led Jacksonville University to a 22-37 in her one year as a Division I head coach in 2006 before leaving to start her own company, Powerline Softball.

    "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return to EMU softball and to guide this program," said Gentile. "With the support of University President, Dr. Susan Martin, and the leadership of Athletic Director, Heather Lyke, the University and in particular the athletic department are entering an exciting time. I am eager to be a part of this new direction and to impact the lives of our student-athletes."

    Gentile, 35, graduated from Michigan in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She was the program's all-time leader in home runs when she graduated. Gentile earned a master’s degree in athletic administration from Central Michigan in 2005.

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


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    Previous coverage:

    The Ann Arbor Board of Education will regroup Wednesday to discuss what its next steps will be for filling the district's vacant superintendent position.

    AAPS-full-school-board-file-photo.jpg

    The Ann Arbor Board of Education will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Balas Administration Building to discuss options for filling the superintendent position.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    After a little more than a week of waiting for a response from superintendent candidate Brian Osborne, the New Jersey leader declined the board's offer to become the next Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent.

    The board will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Balas Administration Building's Main Conference Room, 2555 S. State St.

    A number of options are available for the board to consider, among them:

    • Offering the position to runner-up candidate Jeanice Kerr Swift, assistant superintendent of instruction, curriculum and student services for Colorado Springs School District 11.
    • Considering one of the other candidates further back in the application pool.
    • Engaging in a new superintendent search immediately.
    • Delaying a new superintendent search until early 2014 and allowing the district's existing administrative team and Interim Superintendent David Comsa to lead the district this fall.

    Also among other things school board trustees told AnnArbor.com they will need to discuss at some point is the role of superintendent search firm Ray & Associates going forward, as well as whether to keep Comsa in the interim position or if another arrangement is needed because the interim timeframe could be longer than they initially targeted.

    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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    Two men died in a head-on collision Monday morning. They were Benjamin Alden and Neil Stierle, according to police.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    Editor's note: The information about which vehicle crossed the centerline has been corrected in this article.

    Previous story: 2 dead, 1 injured in head-on collision in Pittsfield Township

    The two men who died in a head-on crash Monday morning in Pittsfield Township are Benjamin Arthur Alden, 28, and Neil Nelson Stierle, 81, according to police.

    Alden and Stierle were both killed at the scene of the crash on Michigan Avenue Monday. A 71-year-old Freedom Township woman was still in critical condition as of Monday afternoon.

    Pittsfield Township Deputy Police Chief Gordy Schick said the crash is still under investigation.

    “They’re still putting together the crash,” he said.

    Officials said the westbound vehicle, a 2008 Chevrolet cobalt, driven by Alden, crossed the centerline and struck the eastbound vehicle, a 2005 Mercury Montego, driven by Neil Stierle. Officials initially said it was the eastbound vehicle that crossed the centerline.

    The victims' families have been notified of their deaths.

    Schick said an update with more detail on the crash was expected Monday afternoon.

    Police responded at 8:29 a.m. Monday to Michigan Avenue near Textile Road, west of U.S. 23 for a report of a head-on crash.

    Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate Alden, Stierle and the woman from their vehicles. Huron Valley Ambulance transported the woman to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, officials said.

    Michigan Avenue was closed between U.S. 23 and Platt Road for hours Monday morning while police investigated. The road opened again about noon Monday.

    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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    pittsfieldbadge.jpg

    Courtesy of the PTPD

    Police are investigating the theft of four guns from the back of a vehicle in Pittsfield Township.

    Officers were called to a residence in the 2800 block of Dayton Drive at 8:01 p.m. July 24 to investigate the report, Pittsfield Township police said in a release issued Monday.

    A Glock 23, Colt M-4 rifle, Beretta Tomcat 32 and a Remington shotgun were all reported stolen from the trunk of the vehicle. No other items were stolen, police said.

    Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety at (734) 822-6049 or the tip line at (734) 822-4958.


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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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    Former Eastern Michigan quarterback Alex Gillett, left, is trying out for the Green Bay Packers at wide receiver.

    Associated Press

    Alex Gillett couldn’t keep his job as the starting quarterback for the Eastern Michigan football team as a senior. He has a shot at an NFL career because of it.

    Gillett, who started at quarterback for the Eagles for most of the first three years of his college career, was benched after an 0-3 start in 2012 in favor of sophomore Tyler Benz. Gillett couldn’t stand the thought of spending his senior season watching from the sidelines, so he made the switch to wide receiver. He made three starts at wide receiver in 2012, catching 14 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. All of his receptions came in the final four games of the season.

    “I got benched at quarterback and I didn’t want to sit out my senior year, so I thought where else could I help at? Receiver was kind of where it was,” Gillett told the Green Bay Press Gazette.

    Gillette is now at Green Bay Packers training camp fighting for a wide receiver position. He was signed during offseason team activities (OTAs) in May more or less as a warm body for drills. But after injuries to rookies Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey and free-agent Sederrik Cunningham, Gillett is suddenly in the middle of a wide-open wide receiver competition at Packer minicamp.

    “This is a the place that gave me an opportunity,” Gillett told the Press Gazette. “I’m just happy to have it.

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


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    Chelsea's Purple Rose Theatre has announced its 2013-14 season lineup.

    Photo by Sean Carter

    Chelsea's Purple Rose Theatre Company has just announced its 2013-14 season lineup, and it consists of a revival of PRT founder Jeff Daniels' "The Vast Difference"; a production of "Redwood Curtain," by Daniels' legendary mentor, Lanford Wilson; a world premiere comedy festival called "Lovers, Liars & Lunatics," by various playwrights; and "The Last Romance," by Joe DiPietro.

    A press release contains complete details:

    Eight low-priced previews will begin each run, followed by press opening night during the second week of each engagement. Regular performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. with added performance dates to be announced. All performances will be held at The Purple Rose Theatre Company, 137 Park Street, Chelsea, Michigan 48118.

    "The Vast Difference" by PRTC founder and award-winning playwright Jeff Daniels ("Across the Way," "Best of Friends"), starts the season. A twentieth anniversary production, this classic comedy returns to the stage where it premiered in 1993. Centering on male flight attendant George Noonan and his impending vasectomy, the play explores the relationship between fathers and sons, the Detroit Tigers and what it really means to “be a man.” "The Vast Difference" will have a thirteen-week engagement from Thursday, September 19 to Saturday, December 14, 2013. Directed by PRTC Artistic Director Guy Sanville, the cast includes Richard McWilliams (Dayton, OH), David Bendena (Chelsea, MI), Stephanie Buck (Chelsea, MI), Rhiannon Ragland (Chelsea, MI), Michael Brian Ogden (Berkley, MI), Rusty Mewha (Plymouth, MI), Drew Parker (Ferndale, MI) and Nathaniel Eyde (Okemos, MI).

    "Redwood Curtain," by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson, is a drama about a young Vietnamese-American woman searching for her birth father. Forging a friendship with a homeless veteran in the woods of Northern California, will she unlock the mysteries of her past? The Purple Rose is especially pleased to produce this play, as the PRTC had a strong collaborative relationship with Wilson, premiering the last two plays Wilson wrote in his distinguished career. "Redwood Curtain" will run for nine weeks from Thursday, January 16 through Saturday, March 15, 2014. Directed by PRTC Resident Artist Stephanie Buck, the cast will feature Rainbow Dickerson (Los Angeles, CA), Alex Leydenfrost (Ann Arbor, MI) and Michelle Mountain (Grass Lake, MI).

    "The Purple Rose Spring Comedy Festival: Lovers, Liars & Lunatics" is a collection of comedic and touching world premiere short plays. Playwrights include PRTC Resident Artists, emerging writers and prominent names that will create a performance sure to entertain, thrill and delight. "The Purple Rose Spring Comedy Festival: Lovers, Liars & Lunatics" will have an eight-week engagement from Thursday, April 3 through Saturday, May 24, 2014. Directed by PRTC Artistic Director Guy Sanville, the cast will feature Rhiannon Ragland (Chelsea, MI), Michael Brian Ogden (Berkley, MI), Rusty Mewha (Plymouth, MI) and Lauren Knox (Macomb, MI).

    "The Last Romance" is a heartfelt comedy by Joe DiPietro which tells the story of Ralph, a widower, and how a different path taken on his daily walk leads to an unexpected second chance at love. "The Last Romance" will run for twelve weeks from Thursday, June 12 through Saturday, August 30, 2014. Directed by PRTC Resident Artist Michelle Mountain, the cast will feature Will David Young (Milford, MI), Priscilla Lindsay (Ann Arbor, MI), Franette Liebow (Riverforest, IL), Ryan Dooley (Canton, MI), and Andrew Buckshaw (Canton, MI).

    Founded in 1991 by acclaimed actor and Chelsea native Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose Theatre Company is a leading American theatre dedicated to producing the new American play and creating opportunities for Midwest theatre professionals. The PRTC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit professional theatre operating under an Small Professional Theatre agreement with the Actors’ Equity Association. The PRTC promotes the development of new American theatre and its practitioners, provides valuable educational opportunities for young artists, and, through consistently high quality production values, has earned the respect of both local and national theatre communities.

    Tickets for groups of 12 or more are available for purchase now. PRTC donors can purchase tickets approximately two months before each show opens with tickets going on sale to the general public two weeks later. Ticket reservations can be made by calling The Purple Rose Theatre Company Box Office at (734) 433- 7673 or online at www.purplerosetheatre.org.

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


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    Dogs play at Hudson Mills during Saturday's Dog Days of Summer.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    No place for Fido to run and play? Well, just as you would say to him, "Speak!"

    According to a release sent out by the city of Ann Arbor's Dog Park Subcommittee of the Park Advisory Commission, residents are being invited to participate in an online survey to give their opinion on potential dog parks being developed in the city.

    The survey is for both dog owners and non-dog owners and is estimated to take about 10 minutes to complete.

    PAC is asking for input on both where the parks potentially could be located as well as what types of amenities they would include. This would include both existing and new dog parks.

    The subcommittee has been working toward developing the elements and criteria they believe will lead to a successful dog park, such as location, size and unique features. The survey also asks for residents to weigh in on elements the public thinks are important.

    The subcommittee will host two public meetings — 7 to 8 p.m. Aug. 27 in the basement conference room of Larcom City Hall at 301 E. Huron St.; and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Cobblestone Farm Barn at 2781 Packard Road. You also can email PAC for more information.


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    A 71-year-old Freedom Township woman is still in critical condition a day after a head-on collision that killed two men in Pittsfield Township, police said.

    Thumbnail image for 072913_NEWS_Fatal_MRM_01.jpg

    One woman remained in critical condition Tuesday morning, a day after this crash killed two men in Pittsfield Township Monday.

    Pittsfield Township Deputy Police Chief Gordy Schick said there was no new information to release on the crash and police continue to investigate the incident.

    The head-on crash occurred about 8:30 a.m. Monday on Michigan Avenue between Textile Road and Platt Road. Police said 28-year-old Benjamin Alden, of Ypsilanti Township, was driving west in a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt when his car crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic.

    The Cobalt struck the 2005 Mercury Montego driven by 81-year-old Neil Stierle, of Freedom Township, head on. Stierle and Alden both died at the scene of the crash.

    Huron Valley Ambulance took the 71-year-old woman to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital for treatment. Schick said Monday the woman is a relative of Stierle's, but did not release her name.

    Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate the three people from the wreckage. The crash and subsequent investigation caused the road to be closed between Platt Road and U.S. 23 for several hours Monday.

    It’s still unknown what caused Alden's vehicle to cross into the other lane.

    It was the fifth fatal crash in Washtenaw County during the month of July.

    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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    Chris DuPont

    Up-and-coming musician Chris DuPont, who headlines the bill Saturday night at the Blind Pig, is clearly going places.

    The University of Michigan graduate (performance arts technology) and Ypsilanti resident was selected earlier this year from 500 worldwide entries to perform at the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival in August. His second album, “Anxious Animal,” received five "mittens" from the Web site Listen to the Mitten, and made the www.BandCamp.com top-seller list the week of its release.

    DuPont recently played at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and was booked for the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Grove Stage, but was rained out by a massive thunderstorm.

    He performs with a full backing band, and his wife, Betsy King, sings backup vocals. This is DuPont’s third Blind Pig show.

    Opening are Kylee Philips (who also played at this year’s Art Fair), Bennett (Grand Rapids natives who appeared alongside The Avett Brothers recently at the Common Ground Folk Festival) and Cincinnati-band Young Heirlooms.

    If you check out some of DuPont’s videos (several are on YouTube), you may have the same feeling I do: One day we’ll be able to say we knew him when.

    Chris DuPont plays at the Blind Pig, with Young Heirlooms, Bennett and Kylee Phillips opening, Saturday Aug. 3. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7-$10. Details at www.blindpigmusic.com or 734- 996-8555.


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    Anne Hills

    Thursday brings a great double bill to The Ark: Anne Hills and Matt Watroba.

    Both are well-established singers, musicians and songwriters with deep Midwestern roots. Hills is especially known for a stunning voice, which most recently she has turned to "Things I Notice Now," a tribute to folk great Tom Paxton.

    In addition to his performing career, Watroba now works for folkalley.com, based at Kent State University. For more than 20 years, he hosted the popular "Folks Like Us" radio show on WDET in Detroit.

    Hills agreed to answer a few questions via email ahead of Thursday's concert:

    The story goes that you first heard Tom Paxton songs when you were a 15-year-old student at Interlochen. What first appealed to you about them at that point in your life?

    I was never a huge fan of pop music. I was more interested in the poetry or story in songs. My dad would bring home recordings like "Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall" or Simon and GarfunkleI's "Sounds of Silence," and my family was also pretty political. I was doing theater at Interlochen, so, when my roommate played me Paxton's "Get Up Jimmy Newman" (a point-of-view song about a wounded soldier in Viet Nam), I heard the perfect combination of all those things!

    I fell in love with folk music as a vehicle for art, entertainment, insight and social change. I really ought to write a song called "Blame it on Tom Paxton (NOT the bossa nova)"!

    PREVIEW

    Anne Hills and Matt Watroba

    • Who: Midwestern singer-songwriter-musicians.
    • What: Top-notch modern folk music.
    • Where: The Ark, 316 S. Main St.
    • When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1.
    • How much: $15. Tickets available at The Ark box office, the Michigan Union Ticket Office, or online from MUTO.
    You consciously avoided some of his better-known songs, and took some suggestions from the man himself, but still it must have been difficult to narrow down your choices of songs for the Tom Paxton tribute. How did you go about making the final list?

    Of course it was difficult because Tom is so prolific and has such a broad brush, stylistically. I wanted to showcase the more serious and poetic side of his writing, "Icarus" being my first inspiration for the project).

    Although his best known song is "Last Thing on my Mind" (which I also learned at 15) he is, in many ways, a musical social worker. He's so gifted at capturing the micro (individual consciousness) and the macro (social consciousness) of the human condition and struggle. Nobody, and I listen to a lot of writers, nobody does it as well, as often as Tom, period. The only writer I've heard comes close was Phil Ochs. But Tom is also playful and can dance comfortably on the humorous side of politics and life. Besides that, he writes a helluva love song and has written children's songs that have been hits!

    I wanted to include the first songs of his that I learned ("Cindy's Cryin'"), the first song I sang with him ("Hold on to Me, Babe") and a few of his requests, (Mother, "When Princes Meet"). Some songs kind of stood up and demanded attention like "Dogs at Midnight" about black lung disease (NPR did a recent investigation into the re surgence of complex black lung and I heard it just when I was thinking "Oh, that's not relevant anymore."!) or "Time to Spare," which captures the era of his early political writing. Midge, Tom's wife, suggested "Every Time" and I couldn't refuse her.

    One of the songs on the album is a new Tom Paxton composition. Is that something he wrote specifically for this project?

    No, he and Geoff Bartley had written "Redemption Road" and he'd sent it on to me for consideration. Seemed appropriate as a song for someone turning 75 years old who has spent his life making the choice to do socially relevant consciousness-raising songs against the tide of "American Idol" pop music.

    A double bill with Anne Hills and Matt Watroba makes for a rare chance to see two great Midwest folk talents at the same time. What can people expect from the show? Will you and Matt play together at all, or will it be two separate sets?

    Matt and I are such good friends, we're going to share the stage and swap songs and stories until they kick us out!

    Bob Needham is director of entertainment content for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at bobneedham@annarbor.com or 734-623-2541, and follow him on Twitter @bobneedham.


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    Cash was reported stolen Monday from a business in downtown Ypsilanti during a break-in that occurred overnight, Ypsilanti police said.

    The break-in was reported at 8 a.m. Monday in the first block of South Huron Street, said Detective Sgt. Thomas Eberts. Eberts said an unknown person broke out a window in the back of the building in order to enter.

    A small amount of money was stolen from a cash box, Eberts said.

    It’s believed the break-in happened during the overnight hours.

    Eberts did not release the name of the business, but said it was not the Credit Bureau of Ypsilanti.

    Anyone with information on the break-in is encouraged to call the Ypsilanti police at 734-483-9510 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


    View Larger Map

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


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    More than 600 people attended Paul DeWolf’s funeral in Portage Monday, which included a moving tribute from his sister who played songs he taught her on the piano, according to a report on MLive.

    dewolffuneral.jpg

    Paul DeWolf's mom, Kristine, hugs family with dad, Thom, talking in the background after Paul's funeral service at Berean Baptist Church Monday in Portage.

    MLive photo

    The Kalamazoo Gazette reported family and friends remembered DeWolf at a ceremony at Berean Baptist Church. His sister, Rebekah DeWolf, played the theme song from the TV show The Office as a tribute, a song she said Paul taught her.

    DeWolf was found dead in his room at the Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity in Ann Arbor last week. Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

    • Read the full report on DeWolf’s funeral here.

    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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