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

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    A U-M researcher found that daters value thriftiness in their partners.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com File Photo

    You're on a date and your admirer chooses a bottle of wine from the half-off happy hour list, instead one of the fancier options listed on the full price menu.

    Your thoughts? According to a University of Michigan researcher you're likely to swoon at your spendthrift date's choice.

    Jenny Olson, a doctoral candidate at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, is working on a scholarly article titled "A Penny Saved is a Partner Earned: The Romantic Appeal of Savers."

    When Olson surveyed participants who had to evaluate dating profiles, savers were considered more desirable, Reuters reported. On a scale of 1-7, savers ranked roughly at 5 in terms of attractiveness, while spenders ranked 4, the article states.

    "You would think that spending would be more attractive, because things like flashy watches or purses are so visible," Olson told Reuters. "Those things can also be perceived as wasteful and lacking in self-control."

    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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    A teenager was seriously injured Tuesday after being hit by a car while riding a bike on Scio Church Road between Wagner and Zeeb roads.

    Huron Valley Ambulance spokeswoman Joyce Williams said medical personnel were sent at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday to the crash.

    She said a teenager was hit by a car while riding a bicycle and was taken to University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in unstable condition. Williams said the person was a teenager, but the exact age was not available.

    Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office officials were not able to comment on the crash Wednesday morning when reached by phone.

    The current condition of the teenager is unknown. Check back to this story for more information as it becomes available.

    View Untitled in a larger map

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

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    Nine years after leaving the University of Michigan coaching staff and his son Nick at Saline High School, Bill Sheridan is once again in the same city as his second son.

    Bill Sheridan is entering his second season as the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the University of South Florida in Tampa, Nick is entering his first season as the Bulls’ quarterbacks coach.

    After a four-year career as Michigan’s quarterback and a year coaching quarterbacks at Saline, Sheridan spent two years at Western Kentucky, the first as a graduate assistant and the second as the quarterbacks coach. When WKU head coach Willie Taggart moved on to South Florida in Tampa during the offseason, Sheridan came along.

    The two talked to WTSP, a television station in Tampa, about coaching in the same town.

    "I just think we both feel very fortunate,” Nick told WTSP. “It's unique that we're in the same town, but aside from that, just to be able to work at the places we do- for my dad to be a coordinator in the NFL and for me to coach quarterbacks at the Division-I level at a place that has such great tradition and great expectations like South Florida has," said Nick. "I think we both just feel very fortunate and the fact that it's together makes it that much better."

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    After an hours-long hunt Wednesday, police captured the last of four suspects accused of shooting at a house in Ypsilanti Township and firing at an officer during a chase.

    Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies and police from other agencies scoured the West Willow neighborhood and nearby areas for five or six hours after receiving a report of shots fired on Greenlawn Avenue about 6 a.m. Wednesday. No one was reported injured in the shooting.

    Officers quickly caught two suspects after they crashed a car into another vehicle on Greenlawn and fled on foot a few blocks from the shooting incident. Two others initially eluded police, however, and were eventually caught in the area, said Washtenaw County Police Services Commander Dieter Heren.

    One shot was fired at police during the chase.

    "A deputy was shot at, but not hit," Heren said.

    Police did not return fire because they were concerned about the safety of others in the area, Heren added.

    A gun recovered on Tyler Street in the West Willow neighborhood is believed to be the gun used in the shooting.

    The incident began when deputies were called to Greenlawn Avenue south of Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti Township shortly after 6 a.m. to investigate a report of shots fired at a residence on the street, said sheriff's office spokesman Derrick Jackson.

    Police were still investigating what motivated the shots Wednesday afternoon. A window of an SUV parked in the driveway appeared to be shattered. Police had it covered. Investigators marked several spots in the middle of the street where shell casings fell.

    The suspects attempted to flee in a Chevy Impala, but only made it about three houses away from the home before the vehicle rammed into a parked car. Police say the suspects then fled down the street, across the freeway and into the West Willow neighborhood on foot.

    Police initially said they captured two suspects immediately and were looking for a third youth in his early teens. Several people were taken out of a residence on Woodlawn Avenue a block away and questioned during the investigation, police confirmed. It did not appear any of them were taken into custody.

    The sheriff's office K-9 unit was at the scene tracking in the area all morning and a helicopter from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office was brought in for the search. Officers from Michigan State Police, Pittsfield Township, Van Buren Township and Ypsilanti all assisted in the search efforts.

    Michael Williams said he lives on Tyler Road in West Willow and was woken up by police in his yard and in the adjacent vacant lot.

    "I woke up at about 6 a.m. and my house was surrounded," he said. "They were combing that field like they were looking for a weapon."

    Heren said investigators eventually identified a fourth suspect and said that as of 1 p.m. all of them had been taken into custody. He could not elaborate on how or where the two were detained, but said it was without incident.

    Police did not release the exact ages or hometowns of the suspects. Heren said the matter is still under investigation.

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    The Honda Emissions Lab on Research Park Drive in Ann Arbor has been conducting vehicle emissions testing since 1975 and it's now poised for a major expansion.

    The Ann Arbor Planning Commission voted Tuesday night to recommend approval of Honda's plans for a new two-story, 24,116-square-foot addition to the existing 19,357-square-foot facility. The plans now await final approval from the City Council.

    Tommy Chang, a manager for the American Honda Motor Company, told planning commissioners the company is excited about the project.


    Honda's emission's lab is located in a research park off of South State Street that also houses research and development centers for Mercedes Benz and Subaru.

    Ben Freed | AnnArbor.com

    "We have been here since 1975 to conduct tailpipe emissions, evaporative emissions and fuel economy testing in compliance with EPA regulations," he said.

    The new space will house a chassis dynamometer — which measures the amount of power or torque generated by a machine — as well as storage space for test vehicles and other equipment.

    Chang said it will be a "state-of-the-art environmental chamber" that will help Honda put even cleaner vehicles on the streets.

    "Our intent is to also bring more job responsibilities from Japan to the Ann Arbor area," he said. "Personally I think Ann Arbor is the right place for technology."

    The lab on Research Park Drive is one of 43 major facilities Honda operates in the United States. Honda's only other emission's testing facility in America is located in Denver.

    The estimated cost of construction for the expansion is $4.3 million, according to a staff report from City Planner Matt Kowalski.

    Plans call for an underground stormwater detention system on the southwest portion of the site with a connection to the city's storm sewer. There are no existing stormwater facilities onsite.

    Kowalski said the project needs to go before the city's Zoning Board of Appeals next week for approval of a variance for the driveway width.

    A variance is required in order to keep the width of the existing curb cut. City code requires 24 feet for a two-way drive and the existing curb cut is 19.7 feet wide.

    There are seven landmark trees located on the site, and two of them will be removed. Six new trees will be planted as mitigation for the landmark tree removal.

    Honda also plans to install 32 shrubs along the front of the new building to help minimize the visual impact, and a new public sidewalk will be installed along Research Park Drive.

    Since the original testing facility was constructed in 1975, there was a 4,400-square-foot addition in 1994, according to Kowalski.

    Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at ryanstanton@annarbor.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.

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    Winning a Southeastern Conference championship in swimming, as seen above, will now count toward the Board of Director's Cup Trophy.

    Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Who wins the Southeastern Conference championship in football has never meant anything to whoever happens to win the league title in girls swimming.

    Starting this year, it will.


    Athletic scoring
    First place - 3 points
    Second place - 2 points
    Third place - 1 point

    Academic scoring

    First place - 6 points
    Second place - 5 points
    Third place - 4 points
    Fourth place - 3 points
    Fifth place - 2 points
    Sixth place - 1 point
    With the fall sports season getting underway, so too is the first year of the SEC Board of Director’s Trophy, a competition that will measure the overall performance of schools’ athletic departments against each other.

    A top-three finish by a team in the league standings will now earn a school’s athletic department points toward the SEC Board of Director’s Trophy. A school receives three points for a first place finish, two points for second, and one for third.

    Just like in the sports that comprise the cup, an SEC Red and SEC White champion will be crowned.


    Football, girls golf, boys soccer, girls swimming, boys tennis, volleyball, girls cross country, boys cross country.
    Boys swimming, wrestling, boys bowling, girls bowling, boys hockey, girls basketball, girls basketball.
    Baseball, softfball, girls track, boys track, girls tennis, boys golf, girls soccer, boys lacrosse.
    “We’ve been working on this a couple of years, trying to work out some of the bugs and finally got a draft together,” said Saline athletic director Rob White, who is chairman for the SEC athletic directors. White said the league’s board of directors -- which consists of the 12 high school principals -- approved the proposal in the winter and competition will begin this fall.

    The “bugs” which White refers to is figuring out how to factor in academic performance or less quantifiable measures like sportsmanship

    “There’s not exactly a rubric for sportsmanship, so we just had to figure out some things besides just giving teams points for winning,” White said. “Some schools were more reluctant, thought it would be just the strong schools getting more accolades, but when we broke it down there is more balance within the conference than our ADs originally thought.”


    Red Division
    Ann Arbor Huron
    Ann Arbor Pioneer
    Ann Arbor Skyline
    Temperance Bedford

    White Division

    Ypsilanti Community
    Ypsilanti Lincoln
    Teams also earn points for academic performance. The top academic team in every sport - based on percentage of athletes with a 3.25 grade point average or higher - receives six points toward the standings and last place receives one point.

    In the event of a tie - academically or athletically - both teams receive the amount of points for the higher place.

    “People think of us as an athletic conference, but we’re an academic conference, too and we wanted to reward schools for performance in the classroom,” White said.

    A school’s bottom five sports will be thrown out so that the playing field is leveled for smaller schools that don’t offer as many sports. Every championship is worth the same.

    So while more people may show up to watch the SEC Red championship basketball game, it’s worth the same as the cross country championship and boys and girls sports are worth the same.

    “From my standpoint, looking at what we’re going to do in Saline, we’re looking at it as a way within for programs to support each other and hopefully other schools will too,” White said. “ All the sports are worth the same and the more we get points in all sports, the closer they come to getting that trophy.

    “It’s a way to recognize sports that don’t get as much attention, and for all those teams to rally behind something together.”

    The plan is to have the trophy presented to the winning school at its home SEC football opener. There will be a large traveling trophy that the winning school keeps the entire year and a smaller one the schools get to keep.

    “We’re hoping it builds some excitement,” White said. “We want to get players excited about winning a league title, not just in the MHSAA playoffs.”

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

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    Antique coins worth about $3,000 were stolen from the Chelsea Antique Mall during the weekend and a $500 reward is being offered for information, according to a report in the Chelsea Update.

    The report states the break-in took place between 7 p.m. Sunday and early Monday. Police told Chelsea Update an intruder destroyed a showcase containing many antique coins and smashed a glass door during the theft.

    Anyone with information on the break-in is encouraged to call the Chelsea Police Department at 734-475-9122 ext. 0 or the anonymous tip line at 734-475-9122 ext. 7.

    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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    The newly-installed Arbor Hills sign along Platt Road welcomes shoppers to the 90,700-square-foot boutique shopping center.

    Lizzy Alfs | AnnArbor.com

    Women’s fashion retailer J.Jill is the 18th tenant to sign a lease for the new Arbor Hills shopping center on Washtenaw Avenue

    The Massachusetts-based chain finalized a deal Wednesday to occupy about 3,250 square feet in the development on Washtenaw Avenue, said North Shore Properties Group’s Max Reiswerg, one of the Arbor Hills developers.

    Located between Huron Parkway and Platt Road across from the Huron Village shopping center, the 90,700-square-foot Arbor Hills will open to its first shoppers at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22.

    J.Jill is a women’s fashion retailer that was originally founded in 1959 as a single specialty store. Now with more than 200 locations, the retail stores sell women’s apparel, accessories and footwear. J.Jill is owned by private equity firms Golden Gate Capital and Arcapita and also operates catalog and online businesses. (View the J.Jill website)

    There are six J.Jill locations in Michigan, including one in Green Oak Village Place just south of Brighton and one in Twelve Oaks mall in Novi.

    A representative with J.Jill could not immediately be reached to comment for details on the Ann Arbor store.

    Including J.Jill, there are 18 confirmed tenants in the Arbor Hills shopping center, which includes 15 retailers, two restaurants and one coffee shop/juice bar. J.Jill joins women’s fashion retailers Madewell, V2V, Hot Mama and Anthropologie at the center.

    Eleven tenants plan to open to shoppers on Thursday, Aug. 22, while the remaining seven are finishing individual build-outs and will open in the next two months.

    Reiswerg said there is one remaining retail space in the shopping center, and he’s negotiating a deal with a high-profile restaurant user for another space.

    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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    The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has dropped a lawsuit against the Ann Arbor Public School District it filed over a proposal to charge students at Pioneer, Huron and Community high schools for seventh-hour classes.


    The ACLU of Michigan filed a lawsuit in early August on behalf of two Pioneer High students, demanding the implementation of a new ‘tuition-based’ program, which would charge students $100 per semester in order to take a seventh-hour class, be stopped.

    The suit claimed the fee was illegal because the Michigan Constitution states that public education should be free and equal for all students.

    On Aug. 14, the Board of Education unanimously voted to revoke the fee for a seventh-hour class period, which would have been implemented at Huron, Pioneer and Community high schools. The next day, the ACLU said it was considering dropping the suit. It filed its notice of voluntary dismissal on Aug. 16.

    The fee was originally approved by the Board of Education as a means to save the district approximately $100,000. The school board had to cut $8.7 million from its operations for the 2013-14 school year.

    “By rescinding the policy we believe the issue is resolved; however, we are going to keep our eye on it to make sure this tuition-based model does not creep back up in Ann Arbor or any other school district,” ACLU of Michigan Communications Director Rana Elmir said.

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

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    The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office is investigating 20 vehicle break-ins in Superior and Scio townships that occurred between Sunday and Tuesday, according to CrimeMapping.com.

    Eleven of those vehicle break-ins took place in Scio Township, while the other nine took place in Superior Township. The Scio Township break-ins took place in the Country French Estates, Arbor Pointe and Scio Farms neighborhoods.

    The first incident in Scio Township was reported at 10 p.m. Monday in the 100 block of Cherry Lane, according to CrimeMapping.com, Break-ins took place Tuesday morning in the 100 block of Peach Lane, 100 block of Sycamore Lane, 100 block of Orange Blossom Lane, the 100 block of Rockwood Court, the 5600 block of Versailles Avenue and the 5600 block of Villa France Drive.

    Four break-ins were reported between 6:09 a.m. and 6:27 a.m. Tuesday in the 5700 block of Cedar Ridge Drive, according to CrimeMapping.com.

    The break-ins in Superior Township took place on Sunday and Monday.

    The first incident was reported at 11 a.m. Sunday in the 9900 block of West Avondale Circle. Break-ins also came in the 1700 block of Bridgewater Drive, the 1900 block of Savannah Lane, the 9800 block of High Meadow Drive and the 1900 block of Andover Drive, CrimeMapping.com reports indicated.

    Four break-ins were reported between 12:28 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. Monday in the 9700 block of Ravenshire Drive, CrimeMapping.com data showed.

    The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office sent out an alert over the Nixle alert system Tuesday regarding the vehicle break-ins in Scio Township and an alert on Monday regarding the Superior Township incidents.

    Officials did not return a message seeking comment about the break-ins when contacted on Wednesday.

    Anyone with information on these incidents 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).

    View August vehicle break ins in a larger map

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

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    Caipirinha made with grilled limes.

    Jessica Webster | AnnArbor.com

    I invited my friend Jen over for an after-work drink tonight, with the promise that we'd invent some new cocktails. Inventing new cocktails sounds like fun, right? We'll just mix up some alcohols with some herbs and maybe muddle in some seasonal fruits.

    And then I remembered the last time I invited a friend over to invent some new cocktails. We ended up with a bunch of glasses of very strong cough syrup-tasting concoctions. Clearly, some better planning is in order.

    I've posted recipes for a couple of my favorite summer sipping cocktails on AnnArbor.com in the past, and they're definitely contenders for tonight's gathering. I'm a big fan of the classic Brazilian caipirinha, especially when the limes are caramelized on the grill, and Italy's beautiful negroni is a favorite standby in my house.

    Today, though, I'm scouring the Internet for interesting seasonal cocktail recipes. Esquire's Eat Like A Man food blog has a slideshow of late summer cocktails that includes Paul King's Porch Swing, a tequila drink with watermelon and thyme.

    Serious Eats has a list of 5 Drinks to Toast Summer's Twilight, including the Philly Smash, made with rye and muddled berries.

    What's your favorite summer cocktail? What do you like to sip while lounging on the front porch during the waning days of summer?

    Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for AnnArbor.com, a part of the MLive Media Group. Reach her at JessicaWebster@annarbor.com. You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.

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    QVC’s ‘In the Kitchen with David’ will feature a live feed from Ypsilanti’s historic Haab’s restaurant Wednesday night ahead of a live broadcast in Ypsilanti Sunday.

    Thumbnail image for Haabs3.jpg

    Associate Producer and co-host of the show, Mary DeAngelis, is on site to talk with restaurant patrons, employees and owners David and Mike Kabat.

    LIve scenes from Haab's will be aired at 8 p.m., 9:10 p.m. and just before the show ends at 10 p.m., Mike said.

    Show host David Venable will be at the Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday to sign his cookbook, ‘In the Kitchen with David: Comfort Foods That Take You Home’, before shooting live from Riverside Park, 6 W. Cross St., on Sunday.

    The live broadcast at noon Sunday of ‘In the Kitchen with David’ will feature Haab’s, winner of the show’s June Road Trip Contest, and give viewers a taste of Ypsilanti living.

    “The tents are already up for the construction of the set and a 60-foot marquee is up,” Mike said. “There are about 100 people from QVC setting up for Sunday and getting everything ready. It’s pretty exciting.”

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

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    James McPherson

    Courtesy of Washtenaw County Jail

    The 30-year-old Ypsilanti man charged with arson after police said he set a construction crane on fire was arrested for breaking into an apartment complex three days after being freed on bond, police said.

    James Henry McPherson has been arraigned on one count of breaking and entry, illegal entry, and is now being held at the Washtenaw County Jail on a $25,000 bond, jail records show.

    Police said they found McPherson hiding in a closet in the offices of Paschall Apartments, located at 15 Johnson St., while responding to a break-in at 11:30 p.m. Monday night. A neighbor had heard glass breaking and called 911.

    McPherson was arrested and taken to jail, where three days earlier he was arraigned via video in the 14A-1 District Court on two counts of arson and one count of property damage after police said he lit a crane on fire.

    The crane, which officials said cost around $1 million brand new, was being used to rebuild the Ford Boulevard bridge in Ypsilanti Township. McPherson is accused of sneaking onto the construction site and somehow popping open the fuel compartment on the crane and setting it ablaze.

    He is also accused of slashing several tires at the site. For that incident, McPherson is charged with arson, third-degree arson of property more than $20,000 and malicious destruction of property between $1,000 and $20,000.

    Magistrate Elisha Fink gave McPherson a $5,000 personal recognizance bond, thus setting him free, when he was arraigned on those charges Friday.

    During that arraignment, McPherson admitted substance abuse issues.

    "I'm in between jobs right now," he said Friday. "I don't have money for an attorney. I'm struggling with drugs and alcohol."

    Police said McPherson was highly intoxicated when arrested soon after firefighters extinguished the burning 20-foot tall construction crane.

    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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    Opening at the Multiplex

    In "The World's End," 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub - "The World's End." As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind's. David Edelstein of New York Magazine says, “This is by light-years the most entertaining movie of the year. How many apocalyptic sci-fi action extravaganzas leave you feeling as if the world is just beginning?” "The World's End” opens Friday.

    In “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld. “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” opened Wednesday.

    In “You’re Next,” a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, leaving the hapless victims trapped … until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all. “You’re Next” opens Friday.

    Opening Downtown

    “Blackfish” uses shocking, never before seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts to manifest the orca’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades, and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals. Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice says, “The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut - the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians - is always worth investigating.” “Blackfish” opens Friday at the State Theatre.

    In “I’m So Excited!” a technical failure has endangered the lives of the people on board an airplane. The pilots and their colleagues in the Control Center are striving to find a solution while the flight attendants and the chief steward try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two words: sex and death. Alonso Duralde of The Wrap says, “After a run of brilliant films that have deftly plumbed the dark side of the human soul, this new comedy makes it clear that (director Pedro) Almodóvar remains one of the wildest, raunchiest and most hilarious directors of our generation.” “I’m So Excited!” opens Friday at the Michigan Theater.

    A hit at Sundance and Southeast Michigan’s own Cinetopia Film Festival, “The Spectacular Now” is the story of high school senior Sutter (Miles Teller), an effortless charmer and self-proclaimed “life of the party” - and of how he unexpectedly falls in love with “nice girl” Aimee (Shailene Woodley). While Aimee dreams of the future, Sutter lives in the now. And yet somehow, they’re drawn together. What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth - one that doesn’t look for tidy truths. Ty Burr of the Boston Globe says, “A clear-eyed, disarmingly tender teenage romance that bears comparison with the best of its genre, both old (‘Say Anything’) and new (‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’).” “The Spectacular Now” opened Wednesday, August 28th at the State Theatre.

    Special Screenings Downtown

    Federico Fellini’s “8 1/2” is one of the most surreal films about an auteur’s creative process ever made. Fresh off the success of “La Dolce Vita,” Fellini turned the lens on his own process, desires, family, and fears to create a stunning time capsule of a director at the zenith of his creative prowess, but seemingly at the end of his rope. Beautifully shot in black & white, the film’s daydream sequences, especially the opening scene, are worth the price of admission alone. “8 1/2” plays Sunday, August 25 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, August 27 at 7 p.m.

    The Michigan Theater is proud to present R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” as a special sing-a-long! This action-packed, fully interactive show features a “Dance Party Warm-Up,” sing-a-long subtitles, and an encore song at the end of the show to leave the audience dancing. A must see! “Trapped in the Closet” plays Thursday, August 29 at 10 p.m.

    See you at the movies!

    Russ Collins is executive director of the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Tune in to the audio version of “Cinema Chat” on WEMU radio (89.1-FM) each Thursday at 7:40 a.m. and 5:40 p.m., or listen to it online at WEMU's web site.

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    Dylan Mulder’s freshman season at Eastern Michigan started with disappointment, and finished with some success at an unexpected position.


    Dylan Mulder smiles during the Eastern Michigan spring game.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com file

    Mulder was recruited to Eastern from Saline High School as a kickoff specialist, and came into fall camp expecting to handle those duties as a freshman in 2012.

    He struggled in the preseason, though, and found himself relegated to the bench for the first two games of the season.

    But when fellow kicker Kody Fulkerson started struggling in field goals, Mulder found an opportunity starting in the third game.

    “I was recruited to kick off here, and ended up not doing as well there,” Mulder said Sunday at EMU’s Media Day. “But I was able to help out kicking field goals here.”

    “Help out” is an understatement. Starting with a 23-yard field goal against Purdue, Mulder made 10-of-11 field goals and was a bright spot in the Eagles’ two-win season in 2012. Three of those field goals were from 40 yards out or more.

    Now, there’s no debate as to who has the starting placekicker job when the Eagles open the season Aug. 31 at home against Howard.

    Mulder is expected to be one of the top kickers in the Mid-American Conference this year -- last month, he was one of 30 kickers in the country named to the watch list for the 2013 Lou Groza award.

    It’s a role he’s been preparing for since sixth grade, when he began football kicking after playing soccer for several years.

    At Saline, Mulder earned All-State honors and started preparing for a career kicking at a Division I program.

    “I was able to play in front of big crowds there, and that’s helped me build my comfort to play here,” Mulder said. “It was great, we were a successful football team there, and I loved playing at Saline, it was great.”

    Kyle Austin covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kyleaustin@annarbor.com or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.

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    Rhiannon Ragland and Rusty Mewha star in "Miles and Ellie" at the Purple Rose Theatre.

    photo by Sean Carter Photography | courtesy of the Purple Rose Theatre Co.

    As we head into the home stretch of summer, several top-notch shows are finishing up their runs. With just two weeks left of “Translations,” “Miles and Ellie,” and “My Other Voice,” and three weeks left of “My Name is Asher Lev,” it’s time to take in a show (or two) before many theaters go on their early September hiatus.

    From a small town in Ireland, to an Hasidic community in 1950s Brooklyn, to a small Midwestern town in the 1990s, you don’t need to get out of town to get out ON the town. As always, theater is a great way to transport yourself to another culture, time, or experience.

    Show: “Translations” by Brian Friel, through August 31 Company: Carriage House Theatre Type of Company: Pre-professional Venue/location: Carriage House Theatre, 541 Third St, Ann Arbor Recommended ages: 12+ Description: Translations, by acclaimed Irish playwright Brian Friel, is set in a rural school in the town of Baile Beag in 1833, when Ireland is under direct British rule. The schoolmaster’s son Owen has returned from Dublin, accompanied by two English officers with orders to survey the area and standardize place names - which means translating them into the King’s English. As the residents of Baile Beag struggle to find their place in this anglicizing world, young lieutenant Yolland begins to fall in love with Baile Beag as it is, its language, and a young woman who attends the school. Language itself, with its ability to both unite and divide, stands at the crossroads between imperial powers and cultural heritage, between tradition and progress in this complex play about identity in a changing world. Fun fact: Translations was adapted as a radio play directed by Kirsty Williams, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, on 4 September 2010 For tickets and information: carriagehousetheatre.org Show: “Miles & Ellie” by Don Zolidis, through August 31 Company: The Purple Rose Theatre Company Type of Company: Professional Equity SPT Venue/location: The Purple Rose Theatre Company, 137 Park Street, Chelsea Recommended ages: 17+ (contains adult language and content) Description: Miles and Ellie are two teenagers in love when a youthful misunderstanding breaks them apart. Flash forward 20 years and a disenchanted Ellie has come home for what she expects to be a typical dysfunctional family Thanksgiving. Not long into the family shenanigans, however, Ellie learns that Miles is still in town and carrying a torch for her. Is it possible to get a second chance at your first love? This charming romantic comedy will make you wonder “what if?” Fun fact: One of the conventions of romantic comedy in films is the contrived encounter of two potential romantic partners in unusual or comic circumstances, which film critics such as Roger Ebert have dubbed the "meet-cute.” During a "meet-cute" scriptwriters often create a humorous sense of awkwardness between the two potential partners by depicting an initial clash of personalities or beliefs, an embarrassing situation, or a comical misunderstanding. For tickets and information: www.purplerosetheatre.org, 734-433-7673 Show: “My Other Voice” by Alex Kipp, through September 1 Company: Alex Kipp Productions Type of Company: Professional Equity, Special Appearance Contract Venue/location: Walgreen Drama Center, 1226 Murfin, Ann Arbor Recommended ages: 16+ Description: “My Other Voice” is Alex Kipp’s autobiographical play about his battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma while a senior at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan. Kip, 25, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was given a 15-30 percent chance of survival after being diagnosed, and lost his voice during subsequent treatment at the U-M Medical Center. “No longer able to speak or sing,” he said, “I had to find a new identity.” Now in complete remission, Kip wrote "My Other Voice" with the goal of providing inspiration and hope to other cancer patients. Fun fact: UMHS is considered one of the nation’s leading medical and research institutions and has received many awards and honors recognizing its advanced medical care, leading-edge biomedical research and broad range of educational activities. For 17 consecutive years through 2011, UMHS has been named to the "Honor Roll of America's Best Hospitals" compiled by U.S. News and World Report magazine. For tickets and information: http://akipprod.com/tickets.html Show: “My Name is Asher Lev” by Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok, through September 8 Company: Performance Network Theatre Type of Company: Professional Equity (SPT) Venue/location: Performance Network Theatre, 120 East Huron, Ann Arbor Recommended ages: 16+ Description: Based on the famous 1972 novel by Chaim Potok, this provocative play tells the story of a boy growing up in a sheltered Hasidic community in 1950s Brooklyn, who discovers he has a prodigious talent as an artist. Struggling to reconcile his gift with the community’s Orthodox values, he immerses himself in an art form steeped in Christian imagery. When he brings forth a masterwork entitled “The Brooklyn Crucifixions,” he must decide whether or not to honor his self-expression and exhibit, potentially bringing shame on his family, his community, and even his faith. http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/performance-networks-my-name-is-asher-lev-is-a-powerful-family-portrait/ Fun fact: Potok is most famous for his first book "The Chosen," a 1967 novel which was listed on The New York Times’ best seller list for 39 weeks and sold more than 3,400,000 copies For tickets and information: 734-663-0696, www.performancenetwork.org/

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    I hope you have had a good summer thus far. Enjoy the final weeks of summer and the relative ease of traveling through the streets of Ann Arbor, because as veteran Ann Arborites realize, it will be getting harder to move around downtown when the students return. Time to start planning for the onslaught of maize-and-blue clad future world leaders. Planning now can save you countless headaches later.


    Volunteers, family and students work to move in at Couzens Hall at the University of Michigan.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    The arrival of the students reminds me a little bit of the first snow of the year. If you do not plan ahead and set your alarm clock a little earlier, you run the risk of being late for work or wherever else you might be headed.

    Adding all the students enrolled in classes for the fall term of 2013 bumps the population of Ann Arbor by about a third. More people moving into town means more cars, bicycles, pedestrians and just more issues to deal with and look out for.

    Remember that favorite parking spot you found this summer when you came downtown and found the students gone for the summer? Like they would say in The Sopranos, “Forgetaboutit.” That spot is gone. Someone has jammed a car or two in that spot.

    Parking is always at a premium, but never as much as it is during the school year. It may take some time to find a parking spot, so plan ahead.

    In the downtown area, keep your head on a swivel and watch out for pedestrians darting out into traffic between parked cars and generally not paying attention. Remember these future world leaders are still just a few years out of high school and these young adults are still kids. Kids make mistakes and are sometimes overwhelmed with the newness of the college experience, being out on their own and many times being late for class and thus not thinking clearly.

    For the motorist, this means being aware of the possibility of someone walking out into the street without looking, crossing against lights or midblock in a hurry. It means pedestrians with all manners of electronic devices to distract them from paying attention to traffic.

    Ear buds jammed in their ears make some students oblivious to traffic sounds. Cellphones held to the ear of some, make it not only hard to hear and concentrate, but make one whole side of their person a blind spot. Be aware of these hazards. Slow down and drive defensively to avoid a tragedy.

    There will also be bicycles and bicyclists. For whatever reason, sometimes bicyclists, in the slower traffic of the downtown area, will maneuver in and out of traffic where no vehicles should be. Some bicyclists will use their special status to ride a combination of in the road and on the sidewalk. Therefore it is essential to not only drive defensively but also pay attention when walking.

    When walking, the most dangerous areas are at driveways, entrances and exits to alleys and when going around the corner of a building. Be careful, keep your head up and pay attention so you do not get bowled over by the one in a thousand bicyclists who do not understand why bicycles should not be on crowded sidewalks.

    When driving, make sure you leave bicyclists plenty of room. Bicycles have a tendency to move drastically sideways at times because of glass, sticks or potholes that can bend rims and flatten tires on a bike. Share the road and be patient.

    This is also the time of the year that more city and university buses run and are operating on some very narrow streets. Remember buses and trucks are even tougher to drive and park downtown with than your car. Give them plenty of room.

    At intersections with solid white stop bars or stop lines, make sure you stop behind the line — especially if you see a bus or truck coming. Buses, especially, need that extra room that those stop bars afford them to swing wide and make turns without going over the curb, running over feet or knocking down utility poles.

    If you are in front of the stop line as the bus approaches, the bus driver will not be able to make the turn, and YOU are now holding up the traffic in the intersection. You will have to move to get out of the way so the bus can complete the turn. Therefore to save you the embarrassment, horn honking and dirty looks — stop behind the stop line.

    In short, the students will be back in the next few days. Plan ahead, be patient and remember that college is a huge learning experience for our young adults. Even when you are cranky with students who will make mistakes that might affect you, try your best to be patient, kind and courteous.

    We were all young once and have all made mistakes. Try to remember that and realize that you are part of that student’s education as well. Teach them how a responsible adult acts in time of crisis or issue. Be the role model of a good neighbor, and remember a kind smile is the most well understood communication tool in the world.

    Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.

    Rich Kinsey is a retired Ann Arbor police detective sergeant who now blogs about crime and safety for AnnArbor.com.

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    With one and a half weeks until the first day of school, 10 more teachers that had received layoff notices have been called back to work for Ann Arbor Public Schools, officials said Wednesday.

    That leaves about 30 of 233 teachers issued pink slips at the end of last school year that still have not received notice that they will have a job with the district this fall.


    Interim Superintendent David Comsa, far right, sits at the board table for the last time in his interim role Wednesday night at the regular Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education meeting at the Ann Arbor District Library.

    Amy Biolchini | AnnArbor.com

    “I’d say that I’m hopeful, but I’m not certain,” said Interim Superintendent David Comsa to AnnArbor.com on whether the approximately 30 teachers would be called back to work.

    Comsa announced the recall of the 10 teachers during his final report in his interim role to the Board of Education during its regular meeting Wednesday night.

    His time as interim superintendent ends when the district's newly hired superintendent from Colorado Springs—Jeanice Kerr Swift—takes the reins Aug. 27. Comsa will return to his role as legal counsel and deputy superintendent of human resources and legal services.

    The district has been recalling teachers on an incremental basis this summer as the administration works to balance the retirements of 41 employees against the 40 positions cut as a result of the 2013-14 budget reduction.

    “You may have a French teacher that resigned and you may have a math teacher that was laid off,” Comsa said as an example.

    Cutting 40 staff positions accounted for $3.9 million—or 45 percent—of $8.7 million in cuts the district made from its operational budget in June. The budget was developed by district administration under the guidance of former Superintendent Patricia Green, who announced her resignation abruptly in April.

    District staff have been working to match the laid-off staff with positions that they still have open. As of the regular Board of Education meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, Comsa said one of the district staff members was still at the office working on the staffing plan to see if more teachers could be recalled.

    “We’re looking at what classes are being offered, what the building administrators are suggesting, what the certifications and qualifications are of the laid-off staff, based on their seniority … on where we place them in one or two buildings or more, based on how we need them,” Comsa said.

    The remaining pink-slipped teachers that have not been recalled span all grade levels and specialties, Comsa said.

    There is no deadline for when the district must call teachers back, Comsa said—as enrollment figures after the start of school may present a different picture than the administration anticipated. Teachers could be called back after the start of school.

    District officials declined to release to AnnArbor.com the list of teachers that had not yet been recalled.

    Should the approximately 30 teachers not be recalled to their jobs, it will be the first teacher layoffs in the district's recent history.

    Amy Biolchini is the K-12 education reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at (734) 623-2552, amybiolchini@annarbor.com or on Twitter.

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    Leah Keaton

    Courtesy of WCSO


    Joseph Starr

    Courtesy of WCSO

    A 19-year-old woman Ypsilanti Township woman was sentenced Monday to serve six months in jail and then two years on probation for using a racial slur and pushing her black neighbor.

    Judge Darlene O’Brien also ordered that Leah Keaton to write a 200-250 word essay on diversity and attend a racial sensitivity class.

    "It's very, very hurtful behavior," O'Brien said.

    Keaton was tearful and spoke barely above a whisper when asked if she had any statement to make before O’Brien passed sentence.

    “I want to get my life on a better track,” she said.

    Keaton was also ordered to not have any contact with either the victim, or her ex-boyfriend, Joseph Starr, who participated in harassing the 23-year-old black woman in the early morning hours of July 3.

    Both Starr and Keaton were charged with one count of ethnic intimidation. Starr also faced a charge of disturbing the peace. Both felony counts against Starr were dismissed in a plea deal struck at a July hearing, court records indicate.

    He eventually pleaded no contest to an added count of assault and battery and was sentenced on Aug. 8 to 60 days in jail with credit for 32 days served, according to records and officials.

    Assistant Washtenaw County Public Defender Laura Dudley argued Keaton was under the racist influence of Starr, who she referred to as Keaton’s ex-boyfriend. Dudley said Keaton has a bipolar disorder and that the vulnerable 19-year-old was taken advantage of by Starr “who did hold these beliefs.”

    Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brenda Taylor argued for the stiff sentence, which went above what was recommended to the judge by the probation department.

    Taylor said she was appalled when she heard about the racially motivated incident and that Keaton “bragged” about it in an obscene Facebook post, which Taylor read aloud to the court.

    “You are a danger to the race you are targeting,” Taylor said.

    Keaton pleaded guilty to one count of ethnic intimidation on July 23, when a count of assault and battery was dismissed.

    The female victim lived next door to Starr and Keaton in the 1100 block of Hull Avenue in Ypsilanti Township.

    Deputies were called there around 1 a.m. July 3 for a dispute. The 23-year-old woman told police that she overheard Keaton and Starr through an open window using a racial epithet when referring to her, according to police. The woman said after hearing it about eight to 10 times, she went next door to ask them to stop.

    Keaton then pushed the women to the ground and closed the door, according to police. When officers arrived and knocked on Keaton and Starr’s door, no one answered. Officers left, but were then called back to the same houses two hours later after receiving reports Keaton and Starr were outside singing songs about killing black people and were throwing rocks at the 23-year-old's house, police said.

    Officers continued to investigate and learned Keaton and Starr had been using the same racial slur with the 23-year-old woman's 63-year-old father and also neighborhood children of Asian descent, Fox said.

    Keaton and Starr were arrested a few days after the July 3 incident and have remained jailed since.

    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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    A football falls into the hands of senior Jaavaid Love, right, while being trailed by senior Quavon Smith during Huron High School's football practice Aug. 12. Replacing aging turf on Ann Arbor Public Schools' athletic fields is among a list of projects that would be funded should voters pass a sinking fund millage renewal Nov. 5.

    Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com

    Voters will decide in November whether to renew a sinking fund millage for Ann Arbor Public Schools' physical property repairs and improvements following a unanimous vote by the Board of Education Wednesday night.

    The board voted 5-0 during its regular meeting to approve the ballot language for a sinking fund millage renewal. Trustees Simone Lightfoot and Susan Baskett were absent.

    The school district will be seeking a five-year renewal of the millage at the same rate it was previously—1 mill. That means the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $100 per year.

    The sinking fund millage at the 1 mill tax rate was last approved by voters in 2008 and expires in 2014.

    Should the renewal win voters’ support, it would take effect in 2015. Officials anticipate about $7.5 million would be collected in the first year—about the same amount that the district has been collecting since 2008.

    By law, funds garnered from the millage cannot pay for general building maintenance, furniture, technology or salaries for teachers and administrators.

    The district had been considering adding a bond proposal to the sinking fund millage renewal ballot language, but the school board nixed the idea at its previous meeting due to input from its legal counsel.

    At the request of several trustees, said Tim Gruszczynski, supervisor of environmental services for AAPS, outlined a list of impending repair and replacement projects that the passing of the renewal millage would fund:

    • Replacement of turf on athletic fields, which is reaching the end of its 10-15 year lifespan
    • Replacement of two nearly 30-year-old underground storage tanks at the transportation yard
    • Replacement of a 25-year-old fiberglass storage tank at the Balas Administration Building
    • Replacement of the original cooling tower equipment at Huron High School
    • HVAC system upgrade
    • Replacement of clocks, bells, announcement systems
    • Roofing projects
    • Paving projects
    • Asbestos and lead abatement
    • Replacement of all exterior doors

    Trustee Andy Thomas questioned whether the $7.5 million that was budgeted for maintenance from 2015 to 2019 would be enough to care for the district’s aging property portfolio.

    With the exception of Skyline High School, most buildings were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s—and some are even older, including Burns Park Elementary School, Angell Elementary School and Eberwhite Elementary School, Thomas said.

    “I feel we’re near, if not past, the useful life of our buildings,” Thomas said.

    All of the buildings owned by AAPS are worth $518 million, Gruszczynski said.

    Gruszczynski acknowledged that there were some issues with the old buildings.

    Trustee Glenn Nelson said that without the renewal of the millage, general fund dollars would have to be taken away from teachers and classrooms.

    "This is a renewal, not a tax increase from current levels, and continues our commitment to excellent schools, rather than expands our commitment," Nelson said.

    Vice President Christine Stead expressed her concern that the ballot language not be made too specific as to restrict the district's use of the sinking fund millage dollars should state law change.

    "There has been legislation introduced more recently that may allow some expansion for services," Stead said. "Transportation potentially being covered by this could be a huge benefit to our community as well. That would be something to share with our community for possible expansion of scope for how some of these funds might be used—even though it's not super likely to happen, should it be possible, it would be a huge missed opportunity for the community to not have that ability to fund something that's a significant cost in our general obligation fund."

    Trustees added wording to the draft of the ballot language they were considering to make the potential future use of the money collected by the millage broader in scope.

    The following is the ballot language that the school board approved Wednesday night:

    “This proposal would renew the authority last approved by voters in 2008 and which expires with the 2014 levy for the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor to levy a sinking fund millage.

    As a renewal of authorization which expires with the 2014 levy, shall the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, Michigan, be authorized to levy 1.00 mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) to create a sinking fund for the purpose of the construction or repair of school buildings and the improvement and development of sites and, to the extent permitted by law for other purposes including but not limited to the acquisition and installation of furnishings and equipment, by increasing the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the School District for a period of five (5) years, being the years 2015 to 2019. It is estimated that 1.00 mill ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) would raise approximately $7,450,000 in the first year that it is levied.”

    With its action Wednesday night, the school board has met the Aug. 27 deadline to file for the Nov. 5 ballot.

    Amy Biolchini is the K-12 education reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at (734) 623-2552, amybiolchini@annarbor.com or on Twitter.

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