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

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    The stately mansion known as Gordon Hall, located just west of Dexter, has a mortgage to be paid off and some restorations to be done.

    Gordon Hall.JPG

    Gordon Hall.

    File photo

    That's why the Dexter Area Historical Society and Museum is asking people to support the 1841 Greek Revival structure that stands on 67 acres of property by buying a raffle ticket in the weeks to come.

    The Historical Society, which purchased Gordon Hall from the University of Michigan in 2005, adopted the raffle from the Dexter Kiwanis Club, which disbanded last year after operating the raffle for 24 years to support charitable activities in the Dexter community.

    "We have two primary goals in conducting this raffle — to raise money to support Gordon Hall and to raise awareness about Gordon Hall in our community and beyond," said Caryle Burke, a member of the Historical Society.

    Gordon Hall was built by Judge Samuel Dexter, who founded the village of Dexter. Gordon Hall was donated to U-M in 1950 by Katharine Dexter McCormick, Judge Dexter's granddaughter. She was a philanthropist and a suffragist remembered for funding much of the research to develop the first birth control pill.

    When the Historical Society bought Gordon Hall eight years ago, it promised to restore the building to its historical accuracy. The purchase price was $1.5 million, with just more than $240,000 remaining to be paid.

    "Gordon Hall overlooks the Village of Dexter and is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in Michigan," said Burke.

    It was designed and built by Calvin T. Fillmore, brother of the U.S. President Millard Fillmore, and the home is on the National Historic Register as well as the State of Michigan Historic Register.

    The raffle drawing will take place at the Gazebo in downtown Dexter at 7 p.m. Saturday. All proceeds will go to support Gordon Hall. The grand prize is $10,000 with a $1,000 second prize, and a $500 3rd prize.

    Raffle tickets can be purchased from many businesses in Dexter, or from Historical Society volunteers clad in green Gordon Hall T-shirts around town and at their own booth at Dexter Daze Aug. 9-10.


    View Larger Map


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    It's been nearly a year since I started work at the AnnArbor.com office. Four hundred and eighty-four assignments and thousands of pictures later, my internship has concluded.

    Through invaluable experiences and collaboration with the helpful, experienced staff, I am confident I'm leaving with a much better head on my shoulders. I truly feel my pictures and reporting are more thoughtful, relevant, and mature than when I arrived.

    While I was a part of the AnnArbor.com team, I’ve covered Michigan athletics, documented a high school brawl and climbed a 164-foot crane to photograph a rescue simulation. I have prided myself on finding intriguing angles and shooting behind the scenes.

    Inevitably, I will mostly miss the warm local hospitality on the streets. Ann Arbor is a one-of-a-kind town with even more special happenings and people. I will miss it all.


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    Although “My Name is Asher Lev,” now being presented by Performance Network Theatre (a co-production with Jewish Ensemble Theatre), is about a young, aspiring artist who’s part of an Orthodox Jewish family, director David Magidson has found that audience members with markedly different ambitions, backgrounds and dreams have had strong responses to the play.

    “Since we started doing the play (at JET), I would say that around 50 to 100 people have approached me and said something like, ‘That’s my story. My father was a doctor, and all I wanted to do was sell rugs, because I loved rugs. I just felt like I had to do it,’” said Magidson. “So this goes in all directions. It’s not just about being an artist. Everyone has this thing inside them, this thing they need to do. This is a story about paying attention to that, even when it’s upsetting and inconvenient.”

    Based on Chaim Potok’s best-selling 1972 novel of the same name, and adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner, “Name” is set in 1950s Brooklyn, where young Asher’s artistic talent raises tensions within his Hasidic family and community. When, after studying with Jacob Kahn, Asher produces a controversial piece called “The Brooklyn Crucifixions,” the conflict comes to a head.

    PREVIEW

    ”My Name is Asher Lev”

    • Who: Performance Network
    • What: Based on Chaim Potok’s 1972 novel, and adapted by Aaron Posner, “My Name is Asher Lev” tells the story of a talented artist growing up in a sheltered Hasidic community in 1950s Brooklyn. When he produces a controversial piece titled, “The Brooklyn Crucifixions,” he must decide whether or not to honor his self-expression, which might bring shame to his family, community and faith.
    • Where: Performance Network Theatre, 120 E. Huron Street in Ann Arbor.
    • When: Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m., Aug. 8 through Sept. 8. (Previews run Aug. 8-15.)
    • How much: $27-$41. (Tickets for preview performances cost $22-$32, with a “pay what you can” first Thursday preview - at which the suggested donation is $15, and reservations are strongly encouraged.) For more information, or to make a reservation, call 734-663-0681 or visit www.performancenetwork.org.
    “There are three extremely multi-faceted people who are part of this family,” said Mitchell Koory, who plays Asher. “They’re all passionate, they’re all flawed. And in the midst of all of this, it’s a tumultuous time period for Jewish people, just after World War II, when (Asher’s) discovering himself and his passion. … With that need to express it and be honest, he also has to experience the pain of what that honesty brings.”

    The showdown within the family is largely between Asher and his father (John Seibert), who dedicates his life to sharing the teachings and practice of the family’s Hasidic sect.

    “They’re not just 2 headstrong people bashing heads, or fighting just for the sake of fighting,” said Seibert. “They love each other, and they don’t want to hurt each other. They’re trying to see their way through somehow while also honoring and staying true to themselves.”

    Caught in the middle of the struggle is Asher’s mother (Naz Edwards). “I’m the wall between the father and the son, trying to keep them together,” said Edwards. “It’s so frustrating for her. She loves them both. So what does she do?”

    Distilling a nearly 400 page book down to a 90 minute play - which premiered in Philadelphia in 2009, and earned an Outer Critics Circle Award for outstanding Off-Broadway play in 2012 - can be a challenge, but all those involved in PNT’s production have been impressed with how true the play is to the novel.

    “The play has all the right things in it,” Magidson said. “There’s enormous complexity in being as simple as possible.”

    PNT artistic director David Wolber grew up loving the original novel, and became interested in adaptation immediately.

    “One of the reasons why it’s such a powerful piece is, it’s not about who is right or wrong at all,” said Wolber. “All 3 characters are searching for their true place in the world. … They want to make the world better by bringing their best selves to fruition, … but they have conflicting perceptions about what that role should be for each other, and that’s so crucial - figuring out what to do with your life, and how to do that.”

    Because this could apply to all people, audience members from all cultures and walks of life responded with enthusiasm to this production when it played at JET.

    “Someone, after the show, tapped me on the shoulder and said that she felt like she needed to be left in the dark for a longer time at the end,” said Edwards. “(Audience members) feel so stunned and emotionally wrung out that they want to sit in the silence and digest everything they just saw.”

    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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    Bike_Share.jpg

    Bike share racks at 103 N. Adams St. sit less than a half block from the Ypsilanti Transit Center.

    Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com

    Ypsilanti developer and Beal Properties owner Stewart Beal has launched a free bike-sharing program for his tenants and Ypsilanti’s residents.

    The program is a partnership with Zagster, a Cambridge, MA-based bike-sharing company that specializes in partnering with property owners, hotels and universities to provide bike sharing programs.

    As of this week, four bikes are available at a Beal property at 103 N. Adams St., which Beal said was chosen for its close proximity to the Ypsilanti Transit Center. A second group will be installed at 107 E. Cross St. behind the Thompson Block when its parking lot is built sometime in 2014.

    “It’s a nice amenity to have,” Beal said. “Some properties have a washer and dryer, some have wireless internet and now this property and properties within walking distance can also have free bike sharing,”

    Beal is also discussing partnering with the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority to help fund more bike sharing racks throughout the city.

    In Ypsilanti, Beal owns 30 properties and manages 10 more that 200 residents call home.

    A resident wishing to use a bike must first join Zagster at Zagster.com. Each bike contains a bike lock with a key stored inside a lock box. A rider texts “start” plus the bike number to a phone number provided by Zagster. Zagster then texts back the access code for the lock.

    That reserves the bike until the end of the day or when the bike is returned. But riders must provide a credit card number and are responsible if the bike is lost or stolen.

    Ypsilanti residents can also take part in the program by signing up through the Beal Properties Facebook page.

    Bike sharing has been growing in popularity. According to a Zagster press release, there are now over 500,000 bike share bikes available worldwide and programs in 49 countries.

    Beal said Zagster approached him about installing a rack at the Broderick Tower in Detroit, which the Beal family partially owns. Zagster recently launched a larger bike share program in Detroit for employees of Dan Gilbert-owned companies.

    “I became fascinated with the company and decided to check it out in Ypsilanti on a small scale before doing it in Detroit,” he said. “I’m a big fan of car sharing and bike sharing and Ypsilanti had neither.”


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    Ian Clemens was true blue from the start, a “Michigan man” even as a boy.

    Last year, the Livonia native began his studies at the University of Michigan College of Engineering like his great-grandfather and his great-uncle before him. He was going to study industrial or mechanical engineering — something that would lead him to something that would improve others’ quality of life, says his mother, Michelle Clemens.

    A memorial scholarship fund has been set up in Ian Clemens' name at the UM College of Engineering.jpg

    Ian Clemens, a University of Michigan Engineering student, died last year of an aggressive brain tumor.

    Courtesy photo

    Not long after Ian moved into Bursley Hall in the fall, jumping into his classes with the same gusto he brought to all his endeavors, he was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor that typically affects much younger kids. One month later, it killed him.

    He was 17, a graduate of Churchill High School, a scholar-athlete who had an eclectic music collection, loved nature photography, played on his school’s state-ranked tennis team, ran track and was known as a leader.

    Michelle and Al Clemens, along with their daughter Kylee, reached through the fog of their grief and shock to find a way to honor Ian’s memory and his ambitions. They started an endowment at U-M in Ian’s name to help an engineering student each year defray tuition costs.

    “The main thing was, Ian tried to become a student at the University of Michigan, he wanted to be a Wolverine, so when he passed away, we wanted to do something to make sure he’d be associated with the school," says Al Clemens, a 19-year Livonia police officer. "In setting this up the way we did, it’ll last forever."

    At Ian’s funeral, the Clemens asked mourners to donate to the Ian Clemens Memorial Scholarship Fund for Future Engineers and raised $8,000. Then they dug into their retirement account to make it an even $25,000 — enough to start an endowment that will ensure that one incoming student at the College of Engineering each year will get $1,500 to kick off the school year.

    The goal is to raise enough to cover the full tuition of an engineering student each year. The scholarship is available to students from Wayne County.

    Al and Michelle Clemens, Ian's parents.jpg

    Al and Michelle Clemens, Ian's parents.

    Courtesy photo

    “It’ll take us a long time to get there, but we’re determined,” says Michelle Clemens, a reflexologist who teaches nutrition classes.

    In late July, the Clemens held a “poker run,” in which participants in cars and on motorcycles made various stops — North Campus, Carl’s Cabin (Ian’s favorite burger place), Downey’s potato chip factory in Waterford, and other places that had meaning for their son — picking up playing cards along the way. They eventually met back at an American Legion hall in Livonia to eat, find the winning hand and raffle off prizes. After expenses, they raised $3,000.

    On Thursday, Aug. 8, the Clemens are hosting a second fundraiser, this one at Painting with a Twist, a Farmington studio where participants can get creative with a paintbrush. So far, 69 people have registered; there’s room for a total of 86. The cost is $45 per person, of which half will go to the Clemens for the scholarship fund. The event will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

    “We’ve been very blessed with a wonderful family and amazing friends who’ve been there to support us,” says Michelle. “Ian wouldn’t want us sitting home and not living our lives the way he did. I know that each day we need to get up and try to make a difference in the world. That’s what truly helps us.”

    For more information and to register for the fundraiser Thursday, click here.

    To donate to the Ian Clemens Memorial Scholarship Fund directly:

    • Contact December Therrien at the University of Michigan at 734-647-7042
    • Or make checks payable to the University of Michigan with the notation, “Gift — Ian Clemens Memorial Scholarship Fund,” and send to the UM College of Engineering, 1221 Beal Avenue, Ste. G264, Ann Arbor, 48109-2012
    • Or donate online at giving.umich.edu/give/eng-clemens

    Julie Edgar is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com


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    landmark.jpg

    Landmark high-rise on South University and South Forest wants to host a "pep rally" block party in September.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    Ann Arbor student high-rise apartment complex Landmark is taking its marketing efforts to the streets.

    Texas-based American Campus Communities — the owner of the 14-story high-rise on the corner of South University and South Forest near the University of Michigan campus — wants to close a block of South University on Sept. 6 for its “Beats, Eats and Cleats in the Streets” event.

    Landmark is requesting that Ann Arbor City Council approve the closure of South University between South Forest and Washtenaw Avenue from 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, until 2 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7.

    The event precedes the University of Michigan night game against Notre Dame on Sept. 7.

    “This event is a welcome to new and returning students and will have a pep rally, live music, food trucks, inflatable boxing, and other entertainment. Alcohol will not be served,” a city notice says.

    The actual Beats, East and Cleats in the Streets event would take place from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sept. 6. South University in front of Landmark would be closed before and after the event to provide time for equipment set-up and cleanup.

    The block party is part of increased creative marketing efforts by Ann Arbor’s new student high-rise buildings, which are competing to attract tenants.

    Last year, Landmark sponsored a fraternity tailgate party, designed “Live at Landmark” T-shirts and distributed specially marked sunglasses.

    City Council will consider the street closure request at its Aug. 8 meeting.

    block_landmark.jpg

    The South University block Landmark wants to close for a "pep rally" stretches from South Forest to Washtenaw Avenue.

    City of Ann Arbor

    Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at lizzyalfs@annarbor.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lizzyalfs.


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    nadernassif.jpg

    Nader Nassif

    Courtesy of WCSO

    Nader Nassif, a 29-year-old Ann Arbor defense attorney and Downtown Development Authority member arrested Wednesday, was formally charged Friday afternoon with sexual assault in the 15th District Court, police have confirmed.

    Nassif was charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and released from custody that same day on a $25,000 bond, according to officials with the Washtenaw County Jail. The records did not indicate if it was a 10 percent bond.

    Third-degree CSC involves penetration and can also involve force or coercion. It is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

    Ann Arbor police on Saturday couldn't discuss details of the case. The department policy is to not release information about sexual assaults currently under investigation because of the sensitive nature of the cases, said Lt. Robert Pfannes.

    Nassif was arrested Wednesday in the 200 block of South Fourth Avenue.

    The arraignment was initially scheduled to take place Friday at Pittsfield Township's 14A-1 District Court, but the venue was changed to the 15th District Court in downtown Ann Arbor.

    Nassif is a criminal defense attorney and a member of the Ann Arbor DDA since 2011. He is a former attorney with the Washtenaw County Public Defender's Office and the Lorandos Joshi Law Firm, and currently runs his own law firm, The Nassif Law Firm PLLC, at 202 E. Huron St. in Ann Arbor.

    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    University of Michigan junior Jillian Jackson leads a tour of prospective students and their parents through the Law Quad in June.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    Ann Arbor is a town whose high-schoolers, living in the shadow of a highly regarded university, value higher education.

    The percentage of seniors who are college bound ranges from 80 percent at Pioneer High School to 91 percent at Huron High School and 96 percent at Community High School.

    Yet admission into college, especially elite schools, becomes more competitive each year.

    The University of Michigan, for example, whittled down 46,730 applications to 15,430 acceptances— with 6,400 applicants paying an enrollment deposit. The school's acceptance rate is steadily declining. Roughly 42 percent of applicants were accepted in 2008, and 37 percent were accepted in 2012. This year that rate dropped to 33 percent.

    So as outgoing high-schoolers, newly accepted into college, take the summer to celebrate and transition into a new era, Ann Arbor's incoming senior class is gearing up for campus tours, last-minute SAT prep and college applications. They'll weave their academic credentials, outside interests and life experiences into the tapestry that is the college application — and in doing so, they're hard pressed not to find the process stressful and overwhelming.

    Of the roughly 10,000 high schoolers surveyed recently by the Princeton Review, 70 percent said they were "highly stressed" by college applications.

    "It's ridiculous because they're looking for the perfect student and there is no way you can have a 36 on your ACT, get a 4.2 GPA and do all these extracurricular activities that they are looking for," said Alyssa Gruich, a high school junior from Washtenaw County. "It makes you realize, 'Maybe I'm not good enough for my dream school. Maybe instead of watching that television show I should have studied for that exam I had.' It makes you really think."

    Gruich is far from alone in her feelings. Earlier this year, rejection letters from her dream schools prompted Pennsylvanian high schooler Suzy Lee Weiss to write an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal satirically lamenting what she considers the unrealistic expectations of college admissions offices.

    Ted Spencer, U-M admissions director, agrees that the admissions practices of elite schools have become more competitive. At U-M, applications have increased from 29,814 in 2008 to 46,730 this year. The average GPA of an incoming student has risen.

    060613_NEWS_UM_Tour_MRM_01.JPG

    University of Michigan junior Jillian Jackson leads a tour of prospective students.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    "Many people want to get into the schools that are considered to be some of the best schools in the country," Spencer said, adding that mid-tier schools remain accessible.

    John Boshoven, a counselor at Community High School who also does independent college counseling, said there's more pressure on students to impress colleges than there was a decade ago. Students are going to great lengths to get into their dream colleges. At U-M, wait-listed applicants have sent counselors music videos, life-size cardboard cutouts of themselves and even a miniature chair with the message "save a seat for me."

    "Ten, 15 years ago you'd walk into Barnes & Noble, and would there be a whole section on college admissions? No," Boshoven said. The books range in topic on how to choose the college that best fits a student's needs to tutorials on writing the perfect essay and navigating the interview process. There's book after book of college rankings that quantify the quality of colleges high schoolers are considering.

    5 tips for choosing a college

    Trying to figure out what college is right for you or your high schooler? Here are five tips — offered up by University of Michigan admissions director Ted Spencer — for picking which schools to apply to and which one to ultimately attend.

    • 1) Consider a college's academic offerings and reputation.

      "That means a lot of different things to a lot of different people," Spencer said. "Some of the things that are important for students to look at when considering the academic reputation are 'Can I get the classes that I will need to graduate? Will I be able to get the classes with the professors I want to be involved with? Will I have the personal attention at that particular school?' " Other important factors to consider are a school's graduation rates, how many of its freshman return to campus for their sophomore year and what a school's job placement rates are.

      2) Know all the application details, what the college expects from students and your chances of acceptance.

      Students should ask themselves what colleges expect academically; for example, what are the mid-range GPAs and test scores? They should know application deadlines and give themselves plenty of time to refine their applications and essays. Applicants should also be realistic about their chances of acceptance. John Boshoven, a Community High School counselor, suggests that for every "dream school" a student applies to, that student should also apply to two safety schools. He suggests that students apply to 10 or fewer schools.

      3) Determine the cost versus value ratio.

      "Families have to make that decision. So much money is no longer available through many of the state programs as well as the federal government," Spencer said, explaining that families should ask: "Whatever I pay, whatever that amount is, do I think I will get a great education from the school and will it offer other opportunities?"

      4) Do you like the campus?

      "The next thing they should look at is the social life. Is it a good fit? Do I feel comfortable going to school there? What's there to do when I am not in the classroom," Spencer says. "Those are the kinds of things people remember about their college experience, not to say they don't remember their professors, but they certainly remember their friends and they certainly remember many events that happen."

      5) Determine, to the best you can, your career goals.

      Students who know what they want to study should seek schools with strong programs in that area. The idea, Spencer says, is for "the degree you work so hard for (to) work hard for you when you graduate."

    "Kids start to think 'I should be going to the best one that I can go to,'" Boshoven said, "but No. 14 isn't really much better than 39."

    Added Spencer: "We've developed this thing about ratings and rankings and we've expanded it to colleges, and so the colleges that people feel are ranked higher in many cases, those are the ones that are receiving more attention and more applications."

    Incoming Community High School senior Fernando Rojo plays varsity soccer, edits the school newspaper and has a relatively high GPA. Rojo is one of many students striving to get into a "stretch" school. During his junior year he toured Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University and U-M. He's applying to Northwestern and the University of Pennsylvania, along with about six other schools.

    "It's easier for me to point out my dream school and not the ones I could get in more easily because you want to shoot for your highest," he said. Rojo says he has spent hours looking at colleges, skimming applications, talking with counselors and studying for standardized tests. He's looking for a school in new place that is both academically strong and has a vibrant campus life.

    He says that at Community High, where classmates go to schools like Yale University, the University of Chicago and U-M, "there's a high standard" for choosing an elite college.

    The question, Rojo says, is whether his extracurricular activities and high GPA, paired with an average ACT score, will be enough to get into one of his dream schools.

    "Even though you think you might have all these things that you think you need to get into college, maybe you don't have the certain things a college is looking for," he said.

    Spencer said the majority of applicants —around 80 percent— are qualified to attend U-M, so the school takes the cream of the crop from among a qualified applicant pool. Admissions counselors look at an applicant's competitiveness with fellow applicants and also within the context of the high school they attended. There's no guarantee that if you got into U-M a decade ago, you'd have what it the school is looking for today.

    "The real competitive colleges are getting more competitive," Boshoven said. "Those tend to be the ones in some circles that everyone thinks they need to go to. But they're not necessarily the best colleges for (all) kids. ... You have to find the right fit."

    Added Spencer: "Broadly speaking it's true that a lot of schools like Michigan are doing very well and a lot of it is based on our reputation, and that's good. But then a lot of other schools are suffering because they aren't perceived to be as strong and students are not applying— very good students who could do very well on those campuses."

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


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    The University of Michigan's William L. Clement's Library's Avenir Foundation room.

    Courtney Sacco I AnnArbor.com

    Nearly 90 years after it was built, the University of Michigan's historic William L. Clements Library is finally about to enter the 21st century.

    The university has dedicated $10 million of its money and $6.8 million in donations to a two-year renovation project of the building on U-M’s central campus tucked behind the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and next to the Shapiro Undergraduate Library.

    The Clements Library, built in 1923 and designed by Albert Kahn, houses a large collection of books and documents on American history prior to 1900.

    Though much of the renovation won’t be visible from outside, researchers will have a much different experience inside: The historic, rarely used great room will be converted into a reading room.

    080113_Clements_Library_CS_2.JPG

    Researchers work in the Clements Library's reading room in the basement of the building, Thursday, August 1.

    Courtney Sacco I AnnArbor.com

    In its present arrangement, researchers review documents in a small room in the library’s basement, which is lined with card catalogs and curator’s offices.

    About 15 people can fit around the small tables in the room -- but they don’t have much room to spread out their research materials, said Ann Rock, development director for the library.

    With wood paneling, tall windows and chandeliers, the great room will be able to accommodate many more researchers on larger tables that will be equipped with new lamps. Lining the room are built-in bookshelves that house part of the collections.

    The great room is used fewer than five days per month for events like lectures, special exhibits and receptions, Rock said.

    Moving the reading room from the basement to the great room is a part of a shifting attitude by Clements Library administrators to bring in more people to the building.

    Rock called it a “changing culture” at the library: “We’re really opening the doors to show people what we have,” she said.

    Among those documents are the first letter written by Christopher Columbus, and all of George Washington’s medical records.

    080113_Clements_Library_CS_3.JPG

    The University of Michigan's The William L. Clements Library located at 909 South University Ave in Ann Arbor.

    Courtney Sacco I AnnArbor.com

    Rock attributed the change to the library’s director, J. Kevin Graffagnino, who has held that position for about 4.5 years.

    The biggest physical expansion of space for the library will be a 3,000-square-foot basement addition that will add space for mechanical equipment. A part of the expansion will also be used to house shelves of books - and will give the library room to grow its collections.

    The underground addition will be barely visible from the outside, as the area above the new addition will likely be covered with landscaping.

    Electrical wiring will be upgraded, as will the wireless internet capabilities in the building to handle more computers.

    The entire building will also be equipped with a fire suppression system and security cameras will be installed, Rock said. Heating and cooling systems will also be replaced to give curators more control over the climate inside the building to protect the collections of old books.

    The library closed to the public in July. During the two years that the library will be closed for the renovations, most of the collection will be available for review at a facility at 1580 Ellsworth Road in Ann Arbor.

    Staff will begin moving the collections in August, and the Ellsworth Road facility will open to researchers Oct. 1.

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


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    All that was missing from Saline High School’s athletic fields Sunday night was the pep band as an estimated 3,000 people showed up to watch for the Running Institute Mile. Fans packed the track to watch 2008 Olympic 1,500-meter silver medalist Nick Willis attempt to break the state record in the mile.

    “The experience here wasn’t just from the fans perspective, it was from the runners’ experiencing them as well,” Willis said. “I came around the bend after 300 meters, I’ve never done this before in a race, and the whole home straight I looked up at the crowd and stared in awe.

    “I was actually soaking up the gaze of having a full embankment of a crowd and I know at least 50 percent of those people aren’t regular track attendees and that’s something that is really special for us track people.”

    Most of the 3,000 fans came out to show support for Willis who received the loudest ovation when the runners were introduced prior to the race. A former University of Michigan track star, Willis won an Olympic . silver medal in 2008 representing his native New Zealand. However, having lived in Ann Arbor for more than a decade, Willis said the experience meant more to him than typical races.

    “This is the first time I’ve truly felt like a local and not just a foreigner who lives in Ann Arbor,” Willis said. “That was really special in that sense.”

    Willis is recovering from an injury he suffered in May and used the event as part of his training routine as he prepares for the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Moscow next week.

    While Willis came up short of setting the state record, still held by Michigan runner Kevin Sullivan with a time of 3:55.87, Willis’ time of 3:56.57 was good enough for first place in the race which featured long-distance runners from across the country.

    nick-willis-fast-mile.jpg

    Former Olympian Nick Willis sprints down the Saline High School track on his final lap as he tries to beat the record for the fastest mile run in Michigan, Sunday, August, 4.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    “I’m a little bit disappointed, but honestly that was a selling point to help promote the event more than anything,” Willis said. “You always want to have those sorts of targets, but winning the race is always your first primary goal. And for me coming back from injury, my goal was to get across the finish line without being too lame.”

    One of the runners pushing Willis was Miles Batty of Utah who set the NCAA indoor mile record in 2011 as a member of the Brigham Young University track team. Batty was impressed with turnout and seeing the enthusiasm shown by fans Sunday.

    “This is probably the first time I’ve participated in something like this, but it definitely exceeded expectations,” Batty said. “Just to see the whole community get behind something like this and get really excited was truly fun and really exciting and I was glad to be a part of it.”

    Maybe the only other racer to get an ovation the size of Willis’ was Saline High School senior and track captain John Dolson who only ran the initially 400-meters of the race. Dolson sprinted out of the gates and ran a sub one minute leg of the mile.

    “There’s not going to be another time where I can run with 10 world-class sub four milers in the same place, let alone race with them,” Dolson said. “Just to be running with them was awesome. I was just trying not to ruin it for all the runners to be honest.”

    Dolson said the experience was only comparable to home football games for the Hornets.

    After the race was finished, Willis thanked everyone for coming and supporting the race. He stuck around afterwards to sign autographs and pose for pictures with hundreds of supporters. The only time he signed that many autographs was in his homeland Willis said.

    “That was as big, if not bigger of a line to sign autographs… this was an equal experience,” said Willis.

    With so much support, Willis said there is no reason why another event like Sunday’s race can’t happen in the area next year.

    “The crowd behind it tonight, I guarantee sponsors will want to jump behind it and make it a bigger and better event, if it could even be such a thing in future years,” Willis said. “Let’s make this the inaugural and not a one and done.”

    Matt Durr is freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.


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    Two men stabbed each other at a residence in the 4500 block of Washtenaw Avenue in Pittsfield Township Sunday night, police said.

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    Courtesy of the PTPD

    A 41-year-old Ann Arbor Township man walked down the street to the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, located 2201 Hogback Road, with a stab would to his chest after the fight, Pittsfield Township police said in a release.

    Officers were called to the parking lot of the service center — which houses the sheriff's office, jail and 14A-1 District Court — at 11:51 p.m. The man told them he had gotten into a fight at a residence nearby.

    Police were then dispatched to a residence in the Arbor Meadows mobile home park to investigate a report of a 25-year-old Ypsilanti Township man suffering from a stab wound to the arm. The two incidents were determined to be related, the release said.

    Investigators then went to the residence in the 4500 block of Washtenaw Avenue, where it was determined the two men got into a fight. Both suffered a single stab wound.

    The men were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Officers are still investigating the incident and attempting to determine if any other subjects were involved in the incident.

    No arrests have been made at this time.


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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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    Nathan Timmel

    Nathan Timmel, at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase this weekend, learned from the best.

    When he was 6, Timmel conned his grandmother into buying him a record—George Carlin's 1972 disc “Class Clown”—and soon Timmel, probably much to grandma’s chagrin, was the only child running around the playground shouting the infamous seven dirty words you can’t say on television.

    Thus began Timmel’s stand-up comedy career. Since then, he has performed across the country, been overseas for American troops eight times—hot spots such as Iraq and Afghanistan included—recorded several comedy CDs and thrice visited the nationally syndicated “Bob & Tom Show.”

    He specializes in cutting past partisan politics and getting down to matters on which we can all agree. His Web site says he’s a “comedian, author and idiot,” a combination that’s always good for a laugh.

    Nathan Timmel performs at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9-10, at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, 314 E. Liberty St. Tickets are $10-$12. Details at www.aacomedy.com or 734-996-9080.


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    Seth Walker

    Seth Walker began his career in Austin, Texas, and for 15 years, he lived there, drinking up the music of that city’s fertile roots-rock / blues scene. But for the last few years, he’s been a man on the move, both geographically and musically.

    About three years ago, he moved from Austin to Nashville, and then last year, he released “Time Can Change,” which was a departure from his previous releases, in that the music was more intimate, more spare, less produced. Then, last November, he moved again, to New Orleans, and is now at work on an EP that will be bluesier, darker and more guitar-intensive than “Time Can Change.”

    And after that, he has two other EPs planned, each of which will go in different musical directions—one more jazzy and swinging, the other mix of ska and New Orleans R&B.

    “Yeah, after spending 15 years in Austin, I was looking for a different kind of juice, and to find some new influences,” says Walker, who comes to The Ark for a solo show on Thursday. “And I got that in Nashville, working with a lot of the great songwriters there.

    “But Nashville is a pretty conservative city, so after about three years there, I wanted to be somewhere that was a bit more diverse, a little more rough around the edges, and get some new inspiration,” says Walker by phone from his home in New Orleans.

    “And I had always loved performing in New Orleans, and I love New Orleans music. So I came down here to check it out, and my cousin lives here, so I began hanging out with her, and found I was getting a lot more local gigs here than I got in Nashville—because even though Nashville is a music-industry center, the live-music scene there isn’t nearly as thriving as it is in New Orleans, or Austin.”

    Walker says he has “six or seven” songs written for the upcoming EP, and plans to go into the studio this month. “This one will have a rootsy-ambient sound, and will definitely feature my guitar more than ‘Time Can Change.’

    PREVIEW

    Seth Walker

    • Who: Roots-music singer-songwriter-guitarist who spent 15 years in Austin before moving to Nashville in 2009 and then to New Orleans.
    • What: Walker's guitar style is definitely rooted in the blues, but his music also draws on jazz, R&B folk, country and swing.
    • Where: The Ark, 316 South Main St.
    • When: Thursday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m.
    • How much: $15. Tickets available from The Ark box office (with no service charge); Michigan Union Ticket Office, 530 S. State St. or online at https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=eae6149c8ca05453db84749ddf45a2e5.
    “It will be a lot more open—I want listeners to be able to get more of a feel for the room,” says Walker, compared to “Time Can Change,” which had a tighter, more controlled sound.

    “I want to hear more bleed in the mix. On most contemporary records, every instrument is isolated, so you don’t hear any guitar bleeding into the vocal tracks, etc. But some of my favorite recordings are older albums by artists like Ray Charles, where they just had a couple of microphones, so you heard more bleed—which is more like what you hear when you’re seeing a band live.”

    ‘Plus, ‘Time Can Change’ was all love songs, while these new songs are about other subjects, some of them darker. Like, I’ve got one, ‘High Wire,’ that talks about how we’re all balancing on a high wire, and how that can apply to almost any situation in life.”

    Looking back on his decision to do a quieter, more spare-sounding record when he made “Time Can Change,” Walker notes that “for a couple of years before that, I had been touring a lot by myself, just performing solo. (These days, about half of his shows are solo, and half feature a backing band.)

    “And I really do enjoy doing the solo shows, so I wanted to do something that showcased that side of my music, so that, if you heard the album, it would pretty much sound like what you heard if you’d seen me live. There are other players on it, and you can hear the other instruments, but they’re really quiet, so that my voice is right up front and everything else is in the background.”

    Walker actually started out playing classical music when he was growing up in North Carolina. “My first instruments were cello, and then bouzouki,” he says. “Then I began getting into country music. Willie Nelson was some of first contemporary music I heard. And then when I discovered the electric guitar, I was mostly drawn to blues, so that’s how my guitar style developed.

    “And then when I became more interested in the writing aspect. I was pretty focused on trying to find that elusive lyric—I loved writers like Tom Waits and Nick Lowe, so I would always try to meld blues and soul with great songwriting. These days, the thing that is often missing in newer blues music is a great lyric.”

    Although Walker says he’s just as influenced by jazz as he is by blues, and also loves reggae, folk, ska and swing, he doesn’t mind that he’s mostly been labeled as a blues artist for most of his career.

    “No, that’s okay, I know a lot of people need a reference point, and I am a blues guitarist. Coming up in the Austin scene, Stevie Ray Vaughan first turned me upside down, and then I began digging deeper and getting into blues greats like T-Bone Walker, Lightin’ Hopkins, Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown—those guys were all big influences on my guitar playing.”

    After the upcoming EP, which he will co-produce with Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers (the Nashville-based Americana band), Walker says he’ll make another EP “that will feature more of my jazzy and swinging side, and more crooning, and Raul Malo (of the Mavericks) will do some vocals on it. I toured with the Mavericks a lot last year, and we’re pretty good friends.

    “And then after that, I’ll do a third EP, with venerable producer John Porter, that will be a mix of classic New Orleans R&B and old-school Jamaican ska.

    “And I want to release these three EPs about eight months apart. I like the idea of putting out an EP every eight months, as opposed to the industry’s previous model, where you put out a full album every two or three years. I think that makes more sense now, given the way the industry has changed, with things being so much more immediate.”

    Kevin Ransom is a free-lance writer who covers music for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at KevinRansom10@aol.com.


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    Someone broke into a detached garage outside a York Township home and stole a video game system, controllers and about 20 games in an incident reported Saturday.

    Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies said the incident was reported Saturday in the 12000 block of Stoney Creek Road and occurred sometime overnight.

    An unknown thief or thieves cut off a lock to the garage and entered. The items that were taken were all inside the garage.

    The home itself was not broken into, deputies said.

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


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


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    Police are now offering a $5,000 reward in the Paul DeWolf homicide case.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    Editor's note: This article has been updated with information about U-M police matching the reward initially offered by Ann Arbor police.

    Ann Arbor and University of Michigan police are offering rewards totaling $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction in the fatal shooting of University of Michigan medical student Paul DeWolf.

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    Paul DeWolf

    Ann Arbor police announced a $5,000 reward Monday morning. Just after 2 p.m. Monday, the University of Michigan Police Department announced the department would be matching the $5,000 reward offered by Ann Arbor police. Anyone with information is asked to call the AAPD tip line at (734) 794-6939 or e-mail TIPS@a2gov.org.

    The rewards are being offered independently of CrimeStoppers, which is also accepting tips at (800) SPEAK UP, police said. CrimeStoppers tips can also lead to rewards.

    DeWolf was found dead from a single gunshot wound July 24 at his apartment at the Phi Rho Sigma medical fraternity in the 200 block of North Ingalls Street in Ann Arbor. No firearm was found in the apartment and nothing seemed disturbed in the room, police have said. The case is being investigated as a homicide.

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

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

    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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    Courtesy of Ann Arbor police

    Police arrested a 28-year-old man on allegations he sexually assaulted a woman at a residence on Jay Lee Court in Ann Arbor Sunday.

    At 3 a.m., officers were called to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township, where the victim had been taken after the assault, said Ann Arbor police Lt. Renee Bush, adding that it is procedure for someone reporting a sexual assault to go to the hospital.

    The woman, who is an adult, is acquainted with the suspect, Bush said.

    Police said they could not release any additional information due to the sensitive nature of the case.

    Detectives continue to investigate. The suspect remains in custody. He could be charged pending authorization from the prosecutor's office.


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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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    Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation and Rec & Ed held a celebration of the new ball fields at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday.

    Photographer Courtney Sacco captured these images.


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    Polls will be open to voters 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday for the primary election in which several key local races and ballot issues will be decided.

    This is your guide to all of AnnArbor.com's coverage leading up to the election.

    election2013square.jpg
    A list of all issues on the ballot facing Washtenaw County voters—including complete ballot proposal language—can be found at ewashtenaw.org.

    Additionally, the Michigan Secretary of State office has an online tool to assist voters in finding their polling place.

    Ann Arbor

    3rd Ward Ann Arbor City Council:

    4th Ward Ann Arbor City Council:

    Coverage of both council races:

    Whitmore Lake Public Schools

    Ypsilanti Township

    Check AnnArbor.com Tuesday night for election results as they are released.

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


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    The residents of two apartments at the Aspen Chase complex in Ypsilanti Township were displaced by a fire Sunday night, officials said.

    Ypsilanti Township fire Lt. Keith Harr said crews were called to the complex located in the 2600 block of International Drive at 5:17 p.m. Sunday for a small fire that broke out on a third-floor balcony.

    The fire spread into the third-floor apartment, but never fully engulfed the residence. Harr said it was mostly smoke. The incident affected the apartment below, as well.

    Firefighters had to cut open the walls and extinguish hot spots, Harr said. The scene was cleared in about three hours.

    Three residents total were displaced. The Red Cross assisted them with food and clothing, the agency said in release.

    Harr said the incident is still under investigation, but that cigarette smoking may be to blame.

    No one was injured.


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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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    Someone smashed a car window and stole a purse Sunday at the LeFurge Woods Nature Preserve in Superior Township, sheriff's deputies said.

    The incident occurred between 9:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday at the park, located near Prospect and Vreeland roads.

    Deputies do not have suspects in the case, and anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at 734-973-7711 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


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


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