Articles on this Page
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Argo Cascades art ...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Fourth Avenue's re...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Police release nam...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Lawmakers drop ani...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Ann Arbor native E...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Ypsilanti's Savann...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Time to consider n...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Public process con...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ 4th Ward Ann Arbor...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ 3rd Ward Ann Arbor...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Blight beat: Liber...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Book printers figh...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Ann Arbor's advice...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Election primer: W...
- 08/04/13--05:27: _ Hatcher Library ex...
- 08/05/13--07:30: _ Images from the Mi...
- 08/05/13--07:30: _ Milan man in criti...
- 08/05/13--07:30: _ Groundbreaking for...
- 08/05/13--07:30: _ Ypsilanti man pron...
- 08/05/13--07:30: _ Renovation of hist...
- 08/04/13--05:27: Argo Cascades art finalists show off work, seek input for project
- 08/04/13--05:27: Fourth Avenue's reopening good news to area businesses
- 08/04/13--05:27: Ann Arbor native Elise Swartout wins Illinois Women's Open
- 08/04/13--05:27: Ypsilanti's Savannah Roberson wins pair of AAU national track titles
- 08/04/13--05:27: Time to consider nonpartisan elections for city councils
- 08/04/13--05:27: Public process continues in Ann Arbor's review of downtown zoning
- The north side of Huron Street between North Division and North State, near the 413 E. Huron project
- The south side of East William Street between South Main and South Fourth Avenue
- A parcel of the south side of Ann Street adjacent to the north side of city hall
- 08/04/13--05:27: 4th Ward Ann Arbor City Council candidate bios
- Sierra Club Huron Valley Group and Sierra Club Michigan Chapter
- Ward One City Council member Sumi Kailasapathy
- Ward Five City Council member Mike Anglin
- Ward Two City Council member Jane Lumm
- District Library Board member Nancy Kaplan
- Former County Board of Commission member Vivienne Armentrout
- Former Treasurer of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority Board Ted Annis
- Local Environmental Activist Doug Cowherd
- Chair, Protect Our Libraries, Kathy Griswold
- My top priority is our infrastructure. Residents urge me to work to improve the sorry state of our local roads before spending on visionary road corridor planning projects. Additionally, I support efforts by neighborhoods to get the city to address our long neglected stormwater system and neighborhood flooding.
- My second priority is to address our real and substantial environmental problems. I would work to turn our attention from frivolous projects such as solar powered parking meters to real problems such as the Gellman 1,4-dioxane pollution plume that has spread across our community and is headed for the Huron River. Additionally, I am concerned that our failure to address our stormwater system deficiencies will have significant impact on the health of our river.
- My third priority is the city's budget priorities. I would devote myself to rebuilding our police and fire departments. Neither department meets commonly accepted national standards for staffing. Residents want their local government to exercise fiscal restraint that is familiar to anyone who has a household. We must provide excellent core services before we engage in extravagant projects and subsidization of development.
- IBEW Local 252
- Michigan Laborer's Political League
- Mayor John Hieftje
- Nancy Leff, Neighborhood Leader
- City Council Member Christopher Taylor
- City Council Member Margie Teall
- 08/04/13--05:27: 3rd Ward Ann Arbor City Council candidate bios
- Ph.D., Health Services Organization and Policy; University of Michigan
- M.P.H., Health Behavior and Health Education; University of Michigan School of Public Health
- A.B., Anthropology; Bryn Mawr College
- Lecturer, Health Policy Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Health Educator, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute’s Community Outreach Division
- Chair (2010-present) and member (2007-present) of the Park Advisory Commission
- Land Acquisition Committee
- Golf Advisory Task Force
- Senior Center Task Force
- Sustainability Task Force
- North Main Huron River Vision Task Force
- 721 North Main Technical Committee
- DTE Gas Site Subcommittee
- Selection Committee for Argo Cascades Public Art Project
- Downtown Parks Subcommittee
- Parent Volunteer, Burns Park Elementary School
- Alumnae Admissions Coordinator for the State of Michigan, Bryn Mawr College
- Rachel Bendit and Mark Bernstein
- Jean Carlberg
- Rene and Matt Greff
- Margaret Leary
- Michelle and Eric Mahler
- John Pottow
- Sandi Smith
- Washtenaw County Skilled Building Trades Council Inc.
- Engaging the public in the development of city-owned properties: We need to actively engage the public to create development, including open space, which is consistent with residents' vision for the character of our downtown. By reflecting upon the lessons learned from past failures, we can create a plan for public engagement. It is also critical that council takes a long-term view of these properties and does not merely select the short-term benefits offered by the highest bidder.
- Improving access to information about city services: Constituents should be able to depend on their elected representatives to connect them to the person at the city who can best respond to their concerns. However, more can be done to create user-friendly sources of information. Residents should have access to a website that is simple to navigate, as well as educational materials that address common concerns.
- Infrastructure improvements, with specific attention to stormwater: We should focus on stormwater management and offer greater assistance to neighborhoods that are most greatly impacted by flooding. I have supported past collaboration with city and county water resources departments to clean and mitigate stormwater runoff in our parks and would like to see additional efforts throughout the region.
- Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, 1981
- Bachelor of Science Natural Resources, May 1986, University of Michigan
- Master of Landscape Architecture, May 1990, University of Michigan
- Master of Urban Planning, May 1990, University of Michigan
- 08/04/13--05:27: Blight beat: Liberty Square demolition to begin Monday
- 08/04/13--05:27: Book printers fighting to stay competitive as industry changes
- 08/04/13--05:27: Election primer: What will be on your ballot Tuesday
- Increase of .325 mills from 3.2 mills for fire services, which would annually generate an additional estimated $370,671.
- Increase of .950 mills from 5 mills for police protection, which would annually generate an additional estimated $1,083,502.
- Increase of .475 mills from 1.68 mills for garbage, refuse collection, recycling, composting, energy conservation, alternative energy, water quality and environmental protection, which would annually generate an estimated $541,751.
- Renew the roads millage, which is set at 1.0059 mills.
- 08/05/13--07:30: Images from the Michigan hockey alumni golf outing
- 08/05/13--07:30: Milan man in critical condition after crashing pickup in rural area
- 08/05/13--07:30: Groundbreaking for Ann Arbor Skatepark set for Friday
- 08/05/13--07:30: Ypsilanti man pronounced dead in apparent drowning
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Two artists being considered for the Argo Cascades public art project showed off examples of their work to the public Saturday and talked about how they would approach the project
The artists visited the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market Saturday morning, gave a presentation from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Workantile on Main Street, and were scheduled to participate in a "meet the artists" event from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Argo Canoe Livery Shelter on Longshore Drive.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
"People want the artist to use natural material, make sure that any structure fits with the size of the area, and want it to be functional art, meaning that it provides shade, benches, etc." said Aaron Seagraves, Ann Arbor's public art administrator, who was reporting the results of a survey taken by 120 people.
Seagraves said that respondents listed walking, biking and running as a priority for the Argo Cascades area followed by canoeing and kayaking.
At the presentation, at the Workantile, a co-working space on Main Street, Massachusetts artist Mags Harries, who works with her husband, Lajos Heder, an architect, showed examples of their work. Jann Rosen-Queralt from Maryland, the other artist who was chosen from among more than 50 applicants, also presented examples of her work. The third finalist, Andy Dufford, withdrew from the project competition.
Harries said that both she and Heder are ardent kayakers, which is why they thought this would be a great project for them.
"I hope we will hear from the community what this site means to them and how the art can be integrated to be meaningful," said Harries. "I am here to learn, to absorb the spirit of the place and hopefully we will reflect it in a beautiful way."
Harries and Heder have completed a number of art projects around the world related to water, ranging from river projects in the Bronx as well as Upstate New York near Love Canal, to a project in wetlands in China that uses floating umbrellas on the water.
"Water is fundamentally the most exciting thing to use," said Harries. "This is the kind of project that brings out the best in our sensibilities."
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
"I am eager to present Ann Arbor with a work that not only conveys the importance of water quality and conservation, but creates a strong connection to the river resource as a life affirming symbol," she said. "My environments and site-specific sculptures often prompt visitors to pay attention to overlooked sites and sounds, sometimes making the invisible visible."
Rosen-Queralt has completed art projects around the U.S. and showed a variety of examples, including a vertical pendulum perforated with holes that creates a quiet tone when the wind blows. It hangs above the tributary of a river located on an estate in Baltimore, Md.
"I want to engage as many human senses as possible in my work," she said.
Seagraves said the proposals for the art projects are due in October, after which the seven-member selection panel will meet to review them. The Ann Arbor City Council will most likely approve a contract with one of the artists in the winter with the expectation that the selected artist will begin working on the Argo Cascades art project in the spring of 2014.
The chosen artist will receive a budget of $115,000 that covers materials, fabrication, and installation of the project as well as engineering consultation, insurance and travel.
Lisa Carolin is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Contact the news desk at email@example.com or 734-623-2572.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
After being closed for more than two months for a water main replacement project, Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor reopened Friday to the delight of business that suffered from reduced foot traffic and sales during the construction.
At Literati, a book store on East Washington Street near the corner of Fourth Avenue, employee Deb Leonard said Saturday she can already see the difference.
"It's great for us because the construction affected our business very much," said Leonard. "We're so glad that people can actually drive here now. Saturdays are usually a good day for us, but the increase in business today is extraordinary."
At Shine, a boutique gift shop that opened at 211 S. Fourth Avenue in March, employees are also optimistic about business improving.
"We opened six weeks before the construction started," said Kelly Hadin, manager of Shine. "It was tough because people didn't even know we were there. I'm looking forward to having people find us."
"The construction meant there weren't as many people walking down the sidewalk," said store manager Katie Miszak. "People can park in front of us now, and there's a lot more foot traffic."
The sidewalks were open to pedestrians during the project, but the construction still kept customers away, businesses in the area said.
Fourth Avenue between East Huron and Liberty streets has been closed since mid-May. Traffic was also restricted on Washington and Liberty streets during part of the project.
The $742,000 construction project included replacing the water main with a new 12-inch water main, installing a new stormwater management system, and replacing curbs, gutters and some sidewalks.
Although Fourth Avenue opened for the Ann Arbor Art Fair from July 17-20, it closed again following the fair for the placement of the final layer of asphalt and to place pavement markings as well as to complete the restoration of brick pavers.
Lisa Carolin is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Contact the news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2572.
Colleen Ramsdell | For AnnArbor.com
Byron Frederick Abraham died after he lost control of his car on Washtenaw Avenue near Carpenter Road and it rolled over onto several cars in the parking lot of the Palm Palace restaurant at 2370 Carpenter Road.
Police said the Abraham's car was traveling east on Washtenaw just east of U.S. 23 about 7:45 p.m. when it drifted off the roadway to the south. The driver lost control, and the car traveled southeast across the northbound U.S. 23 exit ramp to Washtenaw Avenue. The vehicle then went over an embankment and eventually came to rest after striking several unoccupied parked cars at the restaurant.
Abraham was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are waiting for autopsy results to help determine what caused Abraham to lose control of the vehicle, Pittsfield Township Police Chief Gordy Schick said.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call Pittsfield Township Police at 734-822- 4911.
A bid to make Michigan the first state with an animal abuser registry akin to one that shames and identifies sex offenders has been dropped by lawmakers over concerns about cost and other issues.
Instead, the state could soon require that criminal background checks be done on every would-be pet adopter at Michigan animal shelters. The $10 fee for each check would be waived for shelters under revised bills being drafted.
Judges would have to order defendants convicted of crimes against animals not to own or possess animals for at least five years.
Cracking down on those who abuse or neglect animals generally has broad support, though a recent committee hearing on the issue got heated when some dog breeders voiced opposition to the legislation.
The measure is named for Logan, a Siberian husky that died last year, four months after an unknown assailant dumped acid on his face inside a backyard kennel in Wales Township outside Port Huron. His owner, Matt Falk, says people from around the globe are buying "Logan's Law" T-shirts and pushing similar measures in other states and countries after seeing his Facebook page that tracks the Michigan bills.
"There's a lot of connection between animal abuse and human abuse," Falk said, "and I'd like to see these bills passed not only for the safety of animals but for the further safety of our human friends."
Because the proposed registry has run into resistance from state police officials and others who fear it would be expensive and cumbersome, legislators in the House and Senate are pursuing an idea they hope becomes law by year's end. Shelters could use the Michigan State Police's Internet Criminal History Access Tool, or ICHAT, to check if people wanting to adopt a pet have abused or neglected an animal in Michigan.
"Why not simply make this a free service for most of these organizations who have very little money, go month to month sometimes struggling to keep their doors open, and allow them to do a criminal check before they adopt out an animal?" said Sen. Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. "We want to try to stop that. No more victims being adopted out."
He pointed to the 2012 conviction of a former Michigan State University medical student who killed at least a dozen greyhound puppies.
The student's case, however, indicates potential loopholes that may not be able to be addressed in the legislation.
Andrew Thompson bought the dogs from out-of-state breeders and had them shipped to him. Those businesses couldn't be subject to doing background checks. Neither would in-state breeders under the bills.
"It's a start. Would I like it to be in law that no breeder or pet store would sell animals to someone who had been convicted? Absolutely. But we're looking for something we can get passed, and I think this is a good step," Jones said.
Sen. Steve Bieda, a Warren Democrat sponsoring the legislation with Jones, said which entities would have to conduct background checks is still a point of discussion and depends in part on feedback from breeders. Helping shelters and humane societies first is positive because they "tend to be the source of a lot of animals that are abused because they tend to be a little bit lower cost to begin with," he said.
Breeders seem receptive to changes coming to the legislation but still have concerns.
For one, they contend it's unfair to waive the ICHAT fee for nonprofits only and say the move could cost the state hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in lost fees.
"Mandating tens of thousands of criminal background checks on law-abiding citizens who merely wish to acquire a pet from a shelter is absolutely unwarranted when there are less than a dozen convictions for animal abuse in the state per year," said Anne Hier, a North Branch breeder who also serves as legislative director for the Michigan Association for Pure Bred Dogs.
Statewide arrests for animal cruelty averaged 122 annually in the past five years, according to the state police.
During a Senate committee hearing last week, supporters of the legislation were angered by a smaller contingent of dog breeders opposing the bills, one of whom questioned how strong the link is between animal abusers later becoming serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer.
"Before these people pooh-pooh these organizations who are doing everything in their power to help these helpless animals, they ought to spend a week in the streets," said Norman Van Etten of Detroit Dog Rescue, which rounds up loose dogs in the city and finds them homes. "I can't tell you ... the cruelty, the carelessness that we see every day."
With a 4-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole, Ann Arbor native Elise Swartout took home the title at the Illinois Women’s Open Friday. It was her first professional golf win.
Swartout shot a three-under 69 Friday in the tournament's final day to finish with a share of the lead at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Ill. She shot a three-day total of 213, and earned $5,000 in prize money.
Her winning put was set up by a chip from 82 yards out that landed feet from the hole.
"This year has gone really well," Swartout told the Daily Herald. "Everything's clicked. I've been playing real solid, and I knew I had it going. Everything was coming together except for winning."
Swartout is a 2006 Pioneer graduate who went on to play at Western Michigan. There, she set the school record with a 75.7 scoring average as a senior in 2009-10. She is in her third year as a professional.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com file
On the final day of the AAU Junior Olympic track competition at Eastern Michigan University, a local runner stole the show.
Savannah Roberson of Ypsilanti took home both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash titles Saturday at Rynearson Stadium. She is the only local runner to take home a national running title during the weeklong event.
Roberson ran an 11.86 100-meter dash, edging out Taylor Andersen of Brooklyn Park, Minn., by two hundredths of a second.
Courtesy of Rad Greaves
Later in the afternooon, she increased her margin of victory in the 200. Roberson ran a 23.89, the top time by more than a tenth of a second.
Multiple other area runners competed in the 11-day junior olympics. Complete results are now available at the junior olympics web site.
Ah, August. The time of year when much of our community goes on vacation, the universities are at their quietest, and the pace of life around here noticeably slows down.
Oh—and we decide who's going to be on the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti city councils. That is, a few of us decide—those who are still in town, who are watching local politics more than flowers and fireflies, and who can manage to remember there's an election taking place.
This would be less of a concern if there were truly contested races in the November general election. But in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, that rarely happens. While we do occasionally see someone run as an independent, it's awfully hard, if not impossible, to win a council election as a Republican on either city's partisan ballot.
So that means that most races are decided in August by default, when participation and engagement are at their lowest. (And most college students, an important constituency in both cities, aren't here at all.)
The primary election itself will remain necessary. But there is one fairly simple way to improve the system: Remove the partisan aspect from the city council elections.
Not only would this tend to give more voters a say in the final election (primaries could still be used to winnow the field when needed), it simply makes sense. The work of overseeing our cities focuses on infrastructure, building projects, zoning, providing services. These aren't really issues for the national parties. Even in cases where an argument can be made that a party's platform does apply—Democrats tend to be more environmentally concerned, for example—partisanship seems inappropriate on the local level. Protecting the Huron River doesn't need to be a partisan concern.
The most common argument in favor of partisan elections is that a D or R label gives voters an easy clue on what the candidates believe and value. But does it really? On the local level, candidates for city office can simply affiliate with the dominant party whether they really embrace it or not. Conversely, a true-blue party member still might separate from the fold on individual issues. So what's the point?
Last year, Ypsilanti voters narrowly defeated a new city charter that would have made its city elections nonpartisan. But other charter changes were proposed as well, so it's a little hard to read that as a clear referendum on the concept—and even if we do, the closeness of the vote (14 votes out of nearly 6,000 cast) shows substantial support for the idea.
It's hard to imagine voters in Lansing or Grand Rapids arguing that their elections would be improved by partisanship. This year's primary in Ann Arbor takes place Tuesday, Aug. 6. Isn't this a good time to wonder whether our elections might not be improved by a change?
Monday, members of the city's Planning Commission tasked with reviewing the appropriateness of downtown zoning ordinances will receive a summary of the public input that’s been collected within the past week at focus groups and coffee meetings on the subject.
Clearly defining what all of the issues are is important in order for the Planning Commission to be able to draft a list of recommendations on ordinance changes to the Ann Arbor City Council that won’t raise further issues.
At least two highly contested developments have been begrudgingly approved by City Council, the most recent of which was the 413 E. Huron high-rise. The other was the controversial City Place project on South Fifth Avenue.
Although the public may vehemently oppose the projects, the proposed buildings have been designed to the exact standards outlined in Ann Arbor’s downtown zoning ordinance.
The outpouring of public participating during the deliberation of the 413 E. Huron project wasn’t just from the neighborhood adjacent to the property - but from across the city.
“Because the downtown seems to belong to everyone (unlike, for instance, a neighborhood), anyone can feel excited by or confronted by changes in the downtown,” said Council member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward. “The Council would probably love to have community consensus; since that's not likely on some issues, such as changes in the downtown, making certain that all voices are actually heard as we talk about the tweaks needed in the zoning is valuable.”
Engaging in conversations about the details of zoning so far has left many residents with more questions about why zoning policies are the way they are downtown.
Humphreys & Partners Architects
The Planning Commission has been tasked with developing a list of recommendations regarding D1 zoning to deliver to City Council by Oct. 1.
D1 zoning is the district that comprises the core of downtown Ann Arbor. It permits buildings up to 180 feet tall in most cases.
There are specific areas City Council has asked the Planning Commission to review to see if D1 zoning is appropriate:
Additionally, council asked the commission to review the floor area ratio premiums for residential buildings in D1-zoned properties.
The commission’s ordinance review committee of Wendy Woods, Diane Gianola and Bonnie Bona have been assigned that task directly. Kirk Westphal, chairman of the Planning Commission, and Briere have been involved as well.
In the beginning of July, the commission hired the Ann Arbor consultant firm ENP & Associates for $24,000 to provide a more independent, objective public engagement process than commission members believed they could conduct themselves.
“In order to determine whether the standards are clear and understandable, I believe it is important to the council to be confident that the requirements make sense to and meet the needs of developers, builders and the public. If our ordinance language is too complex or confusing, we need to know that,” Briere said.
The Monday workshop meeting with the consultant firm and the members of the ordinance review committee is schedule for 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the basement conference room of the Washtenaw County Building at 200 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor.
The meeting is open to the public and input is encouraged.
In Tuesday's primary, voters in Ann Arbor's 4th Ward will choose between incumbent City Council Member Marcia Higgins and challenger Jack Eaton, both Democrats.
AnnArbor.com asked both candidates to provide the following basic information about themselves. Both candidates were allowed up to 200 words for responses to the last two questions.
Address: 1606 Dicken Dr.
How long have you lived in the ward? Since July 1998
Education: BA from University of Michigan; Law Degree from Wayne State University School of Law.
Professional experience: As a young adult, I worked as a transit worker for more than a decade. I have been a lawyer since 1991. As an attorney, I represent transit employee unions across the state, but not in Ann Arbor.
Political background: I am a life-long Democrat. I have not held elected office.
Community involvement: I am active in my neighborhood group, I have helped other neighborhoods organize, and I co-founded a coalition of neighborhood organizations called the Neighborhood Alliance — www.a2na.org.
Why are you running for council?
I am running for City Council to add my voice to those on council who seek to represent the common sense priorities of city residents. In my activities as a neighborhood advocate, I have found some members of our City Council to be unresponsive to the wishes of their constituents. My neighbors, friends and supporters tell me they want local government to focus on core services and essential infrastructure.
Residents tell me they want a representative who responds to their phone and email inquiries. I will not only be responsive, but I will work hard to help residents and neighborhoods resolve their problems and concerns. I believe residents should not need to organize a neighborhood group or collect signatures on a petition just to get their elected representatives to address their concerns.
The current council is closely split between those who are willing to use public money to subsidize private development and business and those who seek to provide excellent public services. I intend to work with others on council to set reasonable spending priorities to better serve our neighborhoods.
What are your top three priorities?
Address: 1535 Westfield Ave.
How long have you lived in the ward? 25 years
Professional experience: 14 years on City Council
Political background: Democrat
Community involvement: City Council
Why are you running for council? Our city is in a strong position as the state emerges from the Great Recession and I want to continue working to keep us moving forward. Many cities raised taxes during the recession, but despite the loss of our largest taxpayer and private employer, we made it through hard times with a millage that is lower now than it was in 2000.
Steps we took at council years ago are paying off with many new, well-paying jobs in our city. Our infrastructure is being repaired, upgraded and replaced. This includes: bridges, stormwater capacity, the sewage treatment plant and now our roads. Our downtown is more vibrant and lively than it has ever been. Crime is at an all-time low. I have worked to ensure that our police officers have decent working conditions and that gives us the ability to retain our dedicated officers.
As chair of the Labor Committee, I pushed to hire new police officers. I also opposed the closing of any additional fire stations. I want to continue to bring a balanced viewpoint that is representative of our 4th Ward community to the council table and that includes ensuring that all voices are heard.
What are your top three priorities? Stormwater issues, moderate development, transportation for everyone.
In Tuesday's primary, voters in Ann Arbor's 3rd Ward will choose between incumbent City Council Member Stephen Kunselman and challenger Julie Grand, both Democrats.
AnnArbor.com asked both candidates to provide the following basic information about themselves. Both candidates were allowed up to 200 words for responses to the last two questions.
Address: 1604 Brooklyn Ave.
How long have you lived in the ward? almost 7 years (15 in Ann Arbor)
Political background: Never run for political office
Endorsements (list up to eight):
Why are you running for council? I am running for City Council because I love this community and truly enjoy public service. The core message of my campaign is to listen to and work hard for the residents of Ward 3, by making informed, thoughtful decisions.
Professionally, my courses teach practical skills and encourage students to problem solve with their peers. I push students to make recommendations based on a combination of top-down data-driven best practices and bottom-up community-based solutions. These lessons will strongly influence my own decision-making process on council.
As chair of the Park Advisory Commission, I have enjoyed solving problems, engaging the community, and making a direct impact on the quality of life of all Ann Arbor residents. I've been fortunate to represent PAC on subcommittees and task forces ranging from improving golf course operations and the Senior Center, sustainability planning, and mapping the future of riverfront recreation, the Allen Creek Greenway, and downtown open space.
Over the last six years, I have adhered to a philosophy of preserving and improving upon our existing resources, while looking for creative partnerships to fund new opportunities. I believe that this philosophy is directly applicable to much of the work on council.
What are your top three priorities?
Address: 2885 Butternut St.
How long have you lived in the ward? Since January 2001
Professional experience: energy conservation liaison, University of Michigan
Political background: Ann Arbor City Council 2006 to 2008; 2009 to 2011; 2011 to present
Community involvement: None at this time
Endorsements: County Commissioners Yousef Rabhi and Andy LaBarre
Why are you running for council? To continue the effort of restoring public trust in our local government.
What are your top three priorities? Proactive public safety, infrastructure rehabilitation, fiscal sensibility.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Now, the housing development will come down in what will conclude the township’s largest and longest-running blight elimination project.
Ypsilanti Township’s elected officials will gather with the director of the Michigan Land Bank, Kim Homan, and other state officials for a brief on-site event on Aug. 5 at 10:00 a.m. to knock down a wall on the first of 7 buildings.
It will kick off a three-month demolition process.
“This project has been a three-year team effort and everyone involved is pleased that demolition activity is finally ready to begin,” said Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards. “This site has been an eyesore in the community and has sucked up public safety resources for way too long.”
This demolition project is funded, in part, by a grant from the Michigan Land Bank. Ypsilanti Township is one of 34 grantees awarded funding through the Michigan Blight Elimination Program.
The $654,000 the township received for the project includes the direct cost of demolition, but does not include the more than $170,000 the township has spent on legal fees, boarding-up fees, an asbestos survey and asbestos abatement.
The grant funds were part of a $97 million settlement banks agreed to pay the state of Michigan for the banks' role in the foreclosure crisis. The settlement came after a national class action lawsuit filed by Michigan, 48 other states and the federal government, and some of the money was earmarked for blight elimination projects.
The township’s award was among the largest sums provided directly for the demolition of one project. Prior to learning about the program, township officials weren’t sure how to fund the massive demolition of the 151-unit housing project.
“The Michigan Land Bank and its consultant have been great partners,” Radzik said. “This project is among the higher dollar amounts awarded through the state's Blight Elimination Program for a large single site that will have a tremendous impact in the community. We are grateful for the opportunity to complete this project.”
Liberty Square sits on 26 acres on Grove Road just west of Rawsonville Road. Township officials say they believe the land, once cleared, will be strongly positioned for redevelopment.
The township’s efforts to get the property brought up to code or, when complex leadership failed to do that, demolished, began in early 2008 when notices of violation for upkeep issues were posted on 68 units.
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com. Contact the news desk at email@example.com or 734-623-2572.
Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com
Edwards Brothers Malloy’s consolidation announcement last week contained a message: In order to stay competitive, the book manufacturing company needs to invest in its digital printing operation.
The 120-year-old Ann Arbor company is selling the 185,000-square-foot offset printing facility it developed on South State Street in 1954, and consolidating operations with its Jackson Road facility. The company’s owners said the move will help Edwards Brothers Malloy adapt to a changing industry.
“Like most book printers, we’ve seen a decline in longer run offset business,” said Edwards Brothers Malloy CEO John Edwards. “At the same time, our digital operation is growing at a 20 percent clip, so that is where we need to be investing for the future.
"Having two large offset facilities this close together that are not fully utilized just doesn’t make sense, and we need to redirect resources to the side of the business that is growing.”
Digital printing allows a manufacturer to print a single copy of a book and quickly deliver it back to the consumer, as opposed to long-run offset printing presses, which can print hundreds of thousands of books over a longer period of time.
Edwards Brothers Malloy isn’t alone in these business adjustments; nationwide, book printers have been forced to adapt to changing technology and the rise of electronic books.
The annual BookStats study reports 457 million e-books were sold in 2012, compared to 10 million in 2008. Although e-book growth is slowing, digital books now account for about 20 percent of all book sales reported by publishers.
For many U.S. book printers, the recession and changes in the publishing world mean layoffs or closures as revenues drop.
In the Washtenaw County region, book manufacturers such as Edwards Brothers Malloy, Thomson-Shore and Sheridan Books are fighting to stay viable with strategic moves like mergers and technology upgrades.
Kevin Spall, CEO of Dexter-based Thomson-Shore, said the company has invested more than $5 million in technology in the last three to five years to support the digital printing of books.
“We see digital as a very real need for the industry,” Spall said. “Our digital growth is 60 percent year-over-year for digitally produced books.”
In its consolidation announcement, Edwards Brothers Malloy said it plans to install a new inkjet press in the next six to eight weeks. The company also took over the operation of an in-house digital print center for a publishing client in New Jersey, and plans to incorporate those operations into its digital facilities by October.
Edwards Brothers merged with Scio Township-based Malloy Inc. in 2012, resulting in Edwards Brothers Malloy.
“We have to re-equip ourselves with the right technology to be able to do the short run book production,” the company’s vice president of operations Tim Cotter Jr. told AnnArbor.com at the time.
Still, Spall said the demand for long-run offset books is “very healthy” and Thomson-Shore’s run counts and number of print jobs have increased.
“You really need to have a really broad range of offerings and be very customer focused, and you need to adapt quickly to be able to support what that market is looking for,” he explained. “It continues to be a challenge, but it certainly is an industry that is robust as it ever has been, in my opinion.”
Spall said that because people are printing single copies of books today, the company has to work harder to make the same amount of money. Two years ago, Thomson-Shore would process 400 to 500 jobs per month, and today it processes 1,000 to 1,500 jobs per month.
He said book printers are also facing pricing pressures — and that’s unlikely to change.
“The price we have to put out in the marketplace, without question, has gone done year-over-year and will continue,” he said.
Other updates Thomson-Shore has made since 2008 include adding new binding lines, installing another traditional offset printing process, adding capabilities for leather-bound book editions and buying stampers and embossers.
“In the last two years, there has been a tremendous shift back towards high quality covers and jackets with lots of decoration and lots of stamping and lots of textures to try and grab the readers attention,” Spall said.
It’s also investing in book segments that are growing, such as cookbooks, children’s books and art books.
"Our color press is busy for weeks," he said. "We need another one."
Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com file photo
But how does a person do all of these things in a district that "chews up superintendents and spits them out?" as one school board member said.
Listen and collaborate, communicate openly and hold others accountable — that's what some community members and past superintendents say will be keys to success for superintendent-elect Jeanice Kerr Swift.
Swift, an assistant superintendent in Colorado Springs, Colo., was offered the job of superintendent in a 4-3 vote Wednesday, after the Board of Education's top choice for the job turned it down.
Provided a contract agreement can be reached, Swift will be the district's fifth superintendent in a decade — sixth if the tally includes former Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Allen, who served as a yearlong interim in 2010-11.
Controversy plagued the departure of three of the last four permanent superintendents.
Rossi Ray-Taylor was forced out by her Board of Education in 2003. In 2008, two weeks after George Fornero resigned, he informed the community that the under-construction Skyline High School was a year behind schedule and $3.3 million over-budget. And the district's most recent superintendent, Patricia Green, couldn't shake the community's reproach of her $245,000 salary. She also was criticized for a lack of visibility and for maintaining a residence in Maryland.
So how can Swift avoid the controversy of the past, stave off burnout and be successful? What should her first items of business be?
AnnArbor.com contacted a number of notable community members and past superintendents to see what advice they have for Swift.
Culture of Openness
Ray-Taylor, who now owns an education consulting business in Ann Arbor, said the most important thing Swift can do is spend a significant amount of time collaborating with and listening to the board, the community members at large and the district's teaching and administrative teams.
"All have voices, experiences in our local history and interests that can be very helpful to a new superintendent," Ray-Taylor said. "The next piece of that is to focus and act — to take all of that information, focus it down, and use it to lead and drive your action."
Ray-Taylor talked about how doing what's best for learning must be any superintendent's "compass" and beyond that, the other factors that should come into play are those things that make up the "fabric of the schools."
"For example, in Ann Arbor, the arts are a huge point of pride for the community," Ray-Taylor said. "In some communities, the arts don't resonate as much, but it's a critical piece of the educational experience in Ann Arbor. And swimming. Swimming is huge. Without these, you risk losing some students to charter schools."
She cautioned the new superintendent against becoming distracted by voices in the community that could cause her to stray from her internal compass. Ray-Taylor said Ann Arbor is a strong and vital school district that continues to be regarded as one of the best.
"It should always be among the top pacesetters. (Swift) should use the local expertise to help it maintain its status."
"She definitely needs to get out into the schools," said former school board member Kathy Griswold. "I would say rather than relying on her cabinet to introduce her to Ann Arbor, she needs to look to the community leaders, to parents and to principals to drive her around and get her acclimated.
"The previous superintendent (Green) relied on her cabinet to bring her up to speed, and the environment at Balas (central administration) is very different. They have a different view of the operation," Griswold said.
Former district superintendent Todd Roberts, who now is the chancellor of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, was candid with his advice to the new superintendent about coming to Ann Arbor.
"Be prepared to work an awful lot," he said.
Roberts also said it's important to effectively utilize the dedicated people not only within the district, but also in the greater community.
You can't do it all as superintendent and you have to rely on the talented people you have. I also really found that the people in Ann Arbor, even outside of the public schools, are very invested in education and want the district to be the best it can be," he said. "Tap into that."
Griswold said she would encourage Swift to form an advisory committee of community leaders to guide her during her transition into the district.
"The more people working with her and who feel part of the solution, the fewer naysayers there are going to be," Griswold said.
Roberts recommended Swift set aside some time on her calendar each week for talking to the public. He also encouraged her to make sure she is not just engaging those people who want to be engaged and come to her, but also the people who are not coming forward and are not heard from as often. Roberts said Swift should not be hesitant to accept invitations from the community.
He said Ann Arbor has a lot of bright kids who can "lend a lot to the conversation," so he encouraged Swift to include students in decision-making processes and brainstorming sessions whenever possible. However, he lamented that in a district the size and composition of Ann Arbor and with the financial challenges that districts everywhere face, Roberts said: "You don't get to spend as much time around students as you probably would like."
"I probably saw the Ann Arbor News and AnnArbor.com reporters more than I saw my wife," Roberts said.
Griswold said she was happy to see Swift granting interviews to the media already.
"The district has been very guarded in the past two years. So I hope (Swift) will continue to have a different attitude. I think we need to do more with social media in the district, too," Griswold said.
University Bank President Stephen Lange Ranzini and local blogger and parent Ruth Kraut both said they would like to see Swift do away with the "just FOIA that" mentality of the previous superintendent and the central administration.
"If it's easy to provide, it should just be provided," Kraut said. "It contributes to a feeling of openness. I think there were a lot of misunderstandings that arose under Pat Green because there wasn't a culture of openness."
Aside from improving external communications and access to district documents and information, community members stressed a need to improve accountability — program, personnel and budget accountability.
Both Griswold and Kraut advised Swift to do a thorough evaluation of the district's programs to see which are working and providing results to students. They said the programs that are not should be done away with and other options explored.
"There should be no new programs initiated until she gets a process in place for accountability. And I'm a big believer in pilot programs. There is no reason for district-level mandates before we know if something is going to work," Griswold said.
Reading intervention is one example of a program Kraut said should be studied. It was a hot topic during the most recent budget cycle because central administrators wanted to reduce the number of reading intervention specialists. But Kraut said she never heard any real facts presented on how the reading intervention program and staff affect children's reading levels or about how reducing the program would have a different outcome.
Ann Arbor Administrators Association Co-President Kathy Scarnecchia said she thinks Swift adequately articulated during her interviews that she plans to look at all of Ann Arbor's programs and initiatives and evaluate them. Scarnecchia said the next step of prioritizing the initiatives will be important.
Ranzini encouraged Swift to evaluate staff and to "get the wrong ones off the bus." He made particular mention of principals and holding principals accountable.
Ranzini said Swift should "focus like a laser beam" on completing a zero-based budget that includes a profit and loss statement for all 31 schools — "so each can be managed to a budget, and the principals held accountable if they fail on either the revenue side or expense side."
Scarnecchia also had thoughts about the budget.
She said she hopes Swift will be able to come into the Ann Arbor Public Schools, conduct a quick review of the budget that was passed in June and reassure everyone in the school community that it's solid.
Scarnecchia said in the past few years, despite making drastic budget cuts, there have been a number of "surprises" that have come up midyear.
"I think the community needs to be reassured that we'll have a great year and that as the school year goes on, the budgeting is going to hold up and there won't be any budget freezes to fix problems," she said.
Professional development for teachers also is something Scarnecchia would like to see Swift address. She said there are ways principals and teachers can work together to provide cost effective professional development.
"Personally, I was impressed with her background in curriculum and feel she can make sure we have teachers learning all the time," Scarnecchia said.
" I always felt that Ann Arbor's leadership was shared until the past couple of years. But I have faith that (shared decision-making) is the leadership style of Dr. Swift and that it's her desire to be collaborative."
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Voters are not required to present a voter registration card at the polling place, but must present a form of photo identification, including a driver’s license, state-issued I.D. card, U.S. passport, military I.D. or student I.D. card from a high school or accredited higher learning institution.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Two incumbent city council members will be defending their seats in 3rd and 4th ward races. Council members serve two-year terms.
Council member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, will face challenger and Democratic candidate Julie Grand.
Kunselman has served three terms on council. Grand is the chairwoman of the city's Parks Advisory Commission.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Higgins has served on the City Council for 14 years. Eaton, who has lived in the 4th Ward since 1998, works as a labor attorney in Southfield.
The August primary election precedes the November regular election, when voters will decide the 2nd Ward seat on City Council as well.
Four proposals will be before voters for approval, three of which are millage increases:
Ypsilanti Township officials have stated that without the millage increases there would likely be severe cuts to core services like fire and police protection.
If all three millage increases are passed, the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay an additional $175 per year in taxes.
Whitmore Lake Public Schools
Voters living in the Whitmore Lake Public Schools District will decide on a proposed $12.3 million bond issue to remodel and update school facilities and technology, purchase school buses as well as to construct athletic buildings and playing fields.
The school district is pursuing general obligation unlimited tax bonds for the work. The district encompasses parts of Washtenaw and Livingston counties.
The estimated tax rate is 2.5 mills to pay back the bond in the first year. The millage rate would mean a homeowner with a house of $100,000 taxable value would pay $250 per year on top of his or her existing tax burden.
courtesy of the University of Michigan Transportation History Collection
The exhibit commemorates the centennial of this famed U.S. highway, which once stretched from New York City’s Times Square to San Francisco’s Lincoln Park.
The Lincoln Highway’s 3,400 “scenic” miles, says Kathleen Dow, Head of the Archives Unit and curator of the Transportation History Collection at the U-M Library, was “one of America’s first paved transcontinental highways.”
It was a slog to travel outside urban areas even as late as the second decade of the 20th century. Inner-city driving wasn’t that much better — there were merely the rudiments of roadways within cities themselves — but there was simply no infrastructure to go across the country.
You might as well have ventured forth in a covered wagon.
“By 1913, Ford Motor Company and dozens of smaller manufacturers were building more affordable cars so they would be within reach of the common man,” says Dow in her gallery statement, “but lack of roads made travel difficult. With no government support, Indianapolis-based entrepreneur Carl Fisher formed and led the Lincoln Highway Association, which was made up of representatives from the automobile, tire, and cement industries. Their goal was to plan, fund, construct, and promote (one of the first) coast-to-coast highways.”
Formally dedicated on Oct. 31, 1913, this initial automobile road across the continent opened commercial opportunities for the states, cities, and towns it passed through. So much so, it was given the nickname of “The Main Street across America.” As such, one of the more interesting aspects of this exhibit is precisely the historic record of this “main street across America” because the Audubon space is filled with just this kind of memorabilia.
courtesy of the University of Michigan Transportation History Collection
“Association members attacked the complex problem of mapping the road, getting right-of-way permissions and allowance to post markers along the route; convincing others to change the name of roads incorporated into the highway (and rerouting when the request was refused); and figuring out how to build a road through miles of desert, over mountain ranges, and through flood plains. They took photos along the proposed route, annotating them to help with decision-making, and more during construction.”
This sort of information is on display. It is, in fact, the most prominent feature of the exhibit.
Two very large, oversized posters dominate the Audubon’s wall shelves. The first is a 1913 “Appeal to Patriots” broadside sent as an address to the governors of all states — succinctly explaining the purpose behind the Lincoln Memorial Highway. And flanking this appeal is a “Proclamation of the Lincoln Highway” clarifying the proposition. These two massive documents set the agenda for “On the Road.”
As Dow points out, the men who planned the highway “were a combination of visionaries and flim-flam men.
“They were trying to build a quality road,” she says, “but they were also trying to expand their companies — they wanted to make a buck and have a good time. Donations poured in from building companies, suppliers and individual citizens.”
This is nowhere more apparent than an Aug. 11, 1913 letter on display written by Joseph Patrick Tumulty, secretary to President Woodrow Wilson, to Arthur Pardington, vice president of the Lincoln Highway Association. Tumulty’s letter, declining a certificate offered by the Lincoln Highway Association, speaks for the official record. Not noted, but also part of the historic record, is the fact that Wilson made a private contribution to the Lincoln Highway Association.
“On the Road” is good at illustrating the hardships and challenges that came with the highway’s construction. But as with the project organizers themselves, the exhibit is especially good at highlighting the association’s virtues. As such, a group of seven portrait black and white photographs is enough to allay concern about the association Board of Directors bona fides. Included in this group with Michigan connections are Lincoln Highway Association President Henry B. Joy (president of the Packard Motor Co.); Vice President Roy D. Chapin (chairman, Hudson Motor Car Co.); and Vice President-Secretary Austin Bement (Austin F. Bement Agency, Detroit). Each of these fellows has the ostensive rectitude one might seek in making a donation to what was essentially a first-of-its-kind project.
Also included are three leather-bound consecutive editions of “The Complete Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway”; a 1921 “Brief Account of the Eighth Year of Progress on the Lincoln Highway”; a 1925 Metro-Goldwyn “America’s First Trackless Road” brochure; and a 1935 scrapbook with reactions to “The Lincoln Highway: the Story of a Crusade that Made Transportation History” book published that same year.
Of special interest are 13 color postcards giving us a view of what America looked like at that time drawn from the highway route: “Donner Memorial Bridge and Donner Lake,” near Reno, Nev.; “Fifth Ave. through Clinton, IA”; (downtown) “Lincoln Highway,” Massillon, Ohio; and “Calhoun Street Bridge,” Trenton, NJ.
Toss in service coupons from “Lincoln Hi-Way Service Co.” from Upper Sandusky, Ohio; a “Lincoln Highway” cigar band taken from the Frankfort, IN National Cigar Co.; “Official Lincoln Highway Globe sticker” manufactured by Pittsburgh’s Macbeth-Evans Glass Co.; and even the sheet music to the “Lincoln Highway March, Two Step” by Harry J. Lincoln,” and the display is packed.
Dow notes, “When the road was finished in 1927, the Lincoln Highway Association was disbanded. (But) in 1992 it was revived by historians and highway buffs as a historical preservation group dedicated to preserving the remaining sections of the highway.”
This makes “On the Road” a fitting centennial celebration of one of the most influential nationwide projects that would ultimately define 20th century American life; as well as serve as a direct influence for the pivotal National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956 that laid the foundation for today’s interstate highway system. It’s a legacy to remember.
“On the Road: Celebrating 100 Years of the Lincoln Highway” will continue through Aug. 29 at the University of Michigan Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library Room 100, Audubon Room, 913 S. University St. Exhibit hours are 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday; and 2 to 7 p.m., Sunday. For information, call 734-764-0400.
Former Michigan hockey players took to the ice on Friday for the annual alumni game. The former players had an easier time on the alumni weekend Saturday, hitting the links at the Michigan Golf Course.
Courtney Sacco is a photographer for AnnArbor.com.
A 25 year-old Milan man was seriously injured and hospitalized early Sunday after crashing his pickup truck in a rural area near Dundee, the Monroe Evening News reported.
Travis Timothy Hauser, 25, was flown by ProMedica Air Ambulance to ProMedica Toledo Hospital following the crash. A hospital spokeswoman told AnnArbor.com Sunday he remained in critical condition.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said the incident took place around 2:30 a.m. at the intersection of Bragg and McCarty Roads, about 5 miles southwest of Dundee.
Police said Hauser was driving his 1992 Ford F-250 4-by-4 pickup northbound on Bragg but disregarded the stop sign at the intersection and drove into a ditch on the north edge of McCarty. Police arrived and found the truck straddling the ditch right side up, with Hauser slumped across the front seat bench.
For more, read the Monroe Evening News.
A rendering of the approved construction design for the Ann Arbor Skatepark. Construction is set to begin this month.
The Ann Arbor City Council approved a construction contract for the skatepark at its July 15 meeting. Construction could begin this month with a target opening date in the spring of 2014.
The Ann Arbor Skatepark will be a 30,000 square-foot world-class facility free to the public. It will include kidney pools ranging from 5 to 9.5 feet deep, clover and flow bowls, rock ride, a slappy curb and a snake run.
There will also be a barrier-free path from the skatepark to both parking lots as well as a stage area for events. Native plants, bioswales and retention areas are among the landscape and stormwater-management design features.
The Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark have worked with the city of Ann Arbor as well as the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's Office, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to get a skatepark constructed.
The ceremony, which will include remarks and a brief photo opportunity, will take place at the future location of the facility on the northwest side of Veterans Memorial Park. Parking is available off of both Dexter Avenue and Maple Road.
A 39 year-old Ypsilanti man drowned Saturday while swimming at a lake near Milan, police said.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said Russell Wilson was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor hospital.
The incident took place around 6:45 p.m. Saturday at Clean Water Beach, a private beach about 4 miles south of Milan.
"He was in the deep end, he went down and it looks like his friends didn't see him for 10 or 15 minutes or so," said Monroe County Sheriff's detective Jeff Pauli.
Beach staff went into the water and pulled Wilson up on the first try, Pauli said. They attempted CPR, as did paramedics who transferred him to the hospital.
Wilson was in in roughly 12 feet of water about 30 to 40 feet from the shore, Pauli said.
A man who answered the phone at Clear Water Beach declined comment. Pauli said this was the first fatal drowning of the season at the beach.
Lisa Carolin | For AnnArbor.com
The camp was a 1936 Works Progress Administration project and offered city children a chance to experience living outdoors, but in 2000 the camp was no longer usable and the Department of Natural Resources did not have the funds for repairs.
Tourism Cares for Michigan, an organization that aims to preserve tourist locations for future generations, will recruit 200 volunteers from professional groups to begin gutting old cabins, staining the exteriors and trimming overgrown foliage in early October, the newspaper reported.
The DNR will install new plumbing, electrical systems, interior walls and furnishings after the initial renovations are complete, according to the article.
Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.