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

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    Hydro_Med_medical_marijuana_1.jpg

    MediSwipe CEO Michael Friedman said his company is opening their trial locations in Ann Arbor because the community is "very lenient" toward caregivers providing medical marijuana.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com file photo

    The legal status of medical marijuana dispensaries does not look bright in Michigan, but one company is betting it can provide an alternative business model in Ann Arbor.

    MediSwipe recently moved its headquarters from Florida to Birmingham, Mich., and is planning to open two offices in Ann Arbor before the end of March.

    The first Ann Arbor location will be a doctor’s office with three physicians who will be able to write medical marijuana prescriptions after creating a “continuous one-on-one relationship” with patients, CEO Michael Friedman said.

    “Up until now a lot of the practice has been patients will come in and say ‘I suffer from Chrone's disease, or I suffer from glaucoma,’ and the doctor would just sign the certificates after briefly meeting with the patient,” he said.

    “The state wants a stronger more continuous relationship between doctor and patient and that’s what this center will be providing.”

    Friedman said that once a doctor writes a prescription for medical marijuana, it can be filled for up to 21 days, after which the patient gets a state identification card. Once acquired, the cards can be used for up to two years.

    In addition to functioning as a doctor's office, the center will be a “patient certification center.” A staff of six to eight people will handle the administration of the office where patients will be assisted with the paperwork necessary to acquire the state ID card.

    “MediSwipe has nothing to do with the medicine, we’re completely agnostic about it,” Friedman said. “We will not be dispensing anything, we are just streamlining the process and helping patients fill out paperwork to get their ID cards.”

    MediSwipe’s second Ann Arbor location will be a “virtual office space” designed to function as a safe meeting place for patients who have prescribed medical marijuana and their designated “caretakers.”

    According to state law, each caretaker can be responsible for themselves and up to five other patients.

    “Without dispensaries it’s going to go back to how it was before where you were seeing a lot of parking lot deals,” Friedman said.

    “Patients don’t necessarily want to go to a caregiver’s home and they’re carrying cash. Caregivers don’t want to go to patient’s home carrying meds, there’s a lot of liability on both sides of the transaction. So we’re providing them with a place to meet.”

    MediSwipe will charge the caretakers for use of the rooms but will not take a cut of any transactions that occur in the building, Friedman said. Caretakers will be able to pay a fee to use one of the 25-30 offices and also will gain access to MediSwipe’s database software to keep track of their patients.

    Medical-marijuana-dispensaries-open-again-Ann-Arbor.jpg

    The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana dispensaries can be considered a "public nuisance."

    Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Friedman said there are 27,000 caregivers registered in the state and 127,000 registered patients.

    “We expect to gain 10 percent of the caregivers, several hundred in the Ann Arbor area right off the bat,” he said. “Based on the new legislation [House Bill 4271] there will be a closing of all dispensaries.”

    The leases on the two spaces have not been finalized, but the locations of the offices should be public by the end of the week. Friedman said the doctor’s office and patient certification center will be approximately 1,500 square feet and the meeting space for caregivers and patients is about 10,000 square feet.

    MediSwipe is a publically traded company that also specializes in electronic transaction processing. Friedman said that currently credit card companies are not accepting transactions that deal with medical marijuana, making it a cash-only enterprise.

    “We do have the technologies set up to handle that if those rules change though,” he said.

    MediSwipe also is developing technologies and mobile apps to help patients navigate state laws and match them with doctors and caregivers.

    In addition to the two Ann Arbor offices, the company also is opening a similar space in Wayne County.

    Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at benfreed@annarbor.com. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


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    Students at the B. Side program brainstorm a list of companies they would like to be a part of.

    Courtney Sacco I AnnArbor.com

    Diamond Alston, a 17-year-old student at Skyline High School, is taking the B. Side Basics entrepreneurial workshop for the third time, but not because she didn't do well before.

    "I'm here to keep getting better so that when I actually do get out there by myself, I know what I'm doing and I'm confident in knowing what I'm doing," she said.

    Alston is one of 206 young people who have graduated from the program during the last five years.

    The 10-week program exposes youth as young as 11 and as old as 21 to business ideas in a hands-on, project-based learning environment. Every Saturday, the students spend four hours in the B. Side classroom in Rackham Hall at Eastern Michigan University to learn what it takes to build a successful business.

    But Jack Bidlack, B. Side director, said the program's mission is broader than business.

    "The ultimate goal here is [to teach] better decision making, better planning earlier in life," he said. "Most of our youth today do not plan. Most adults do not plan. We're all flying by the seat of our pants and hoping it all works out. If you just plan, your chances of success are much better."

    With decades worth of combined business experience, Bidlack and fellow instructor Kory Scheiber encourage their students to envision what they want to do with their lives and then develop goals to make it happen.

    "We have a very realistic approach — we don't think every kid is going to start their own business," Bidlack said. "[But] there's going to be a few of them who are going to take it and say, 'this is something I really want to do.' We try to give them the foundation with the hope that they'll grow up to start businesses and create jobs in Washtenaw County."

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    Jack W. Bidlack, director of the B. Side program, talks to students about inventions that have changed the way people live their lives.

    Courtney Sacco I AnnArbor.com

    The B. Side began in 2007 with support from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the RNR Foundation, and the James A. and Faith Knight Foundation. Bidlack said the organization has used more than $456,652 worth of grant money to provide educational services to more than 550 youth in Washtenaw County.

    "I see in a lot of these students what I saw in myself when I was much younger, that budding opportunity," Scheiber said. "I offer up anything I have as far as education and experience to let these young folks really build their business or just build a stronger career."

    The program teaches basic business finance and marketing, but also sharpens what Bidlack call, "soft skills," such as communication, relationship networking, and work ethic.

    "These are the building blocks for you to be successful in life," he said. "This isn't a joke. These are some basic things you need to be able to do to move forward."

    Bidlack and Scheiber said they want the program to feel as much like a real job as possible.

    "We expect you to be here on time, we expect you to participate, and we don't expect you to leave early," Scheiber said. "If they want to come in and slack off, sleep — you can't do that on the job. You're not going to do it here."

    The program culminates with each student devising a business plan for a hypothetical venture and presenting that plan to the class.

    "I've written four business plans so far," Alston said. "I'm getting better every time."

    Alston came into the class with an interest in fashion, having made, mended and altered her own clothes for years. But at that time, much of her work was hand-sewn.

    "Jack gave me a new sewing machine," she said.

    Now, Alston plans to pursue a bachelor's in business management and fashion design from EMU, with the ultimate goal of opening her own fashion business.

    "I don't think I would be here if it wasn't for this program," she said. "I wouldn't know how to do the stuff that I know how to do. I wouldn't be in the mindset that I am."

    The next business basics class will be held in the fall. Registration is $50 per student, but Scheiber stressed that the fee covers 40 hours worth of training from two experienced business professionals.

    "You're not going to get this level of training and experience for this cost level," he said. "That goes for any program I know of in this area."

    Scheiber said some students have even qualified for paid participation through the Michigan Works! program.

    Scheiber and Bidlack want to provide their students with more than education. Through their connections in the business world, they've connected more than 30 students with internships and job shadowing experiences throughout the years. As funds have permitted, they've even provided start-up capital for students who want to apply their training.

    "We've had about 30 youth who've actually tested their ideas, where they received start-up funds up to about $250 to go out and buy whatever materials they would need to start their business," Bidlack said. "We've had a number of youth who've been very successful with that."

    Bidlack said he hopes that regardless of their level of success, these experiences will impart a simple message on his students: "If you can't find a job, make a job."

    "Take the risk — that's what this market needs," he said. "It needs people who are willing to take risks who will go out there and look at new ways to do things."

    More information about B. Side's various educational programs can be found on its website.

    Kody Klein can be reached at kklein@mlive.com.


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    Related story: Insomnia Cookies coming to Ypsilanti's Cross Street

    Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea will open its first Ypsilanti location this month, said owner Lisa Bee.

    sweetwaters.jpg

    Sweetwaters will open its Ypsilanti location this month at 735 W. Cross Street.

    Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com

    Wei and Lisa Bee signed a lease last November to open in the 1,300-square-foot building at 735 W. Cross St.

    Bee said they haven't set an exact opening date, but she hopes to open by March 20.

    Bee has hired about 15 people to staff the Ypsilanti location.

    "We've hired all of the staff and they've been trained at the downtown store," Bee said.

    Bee said during the past few years, she's visited several Ypsilanti shops and thought the city would be a good place to expand into.

    "We’ve been going to different new places that have opened up in Ypsi and it seems Ypsi is kind of up-and-coming," Bee said. "The residents and community are open to really good food and drinks."

    Bee also said the location of the building, which is right across from the Eastern Michigan University campus, also was a factor in the decision.

    Bee said the shop underwent renovations and will seat between 30 and 40 patrons. The space will feature one large communal table and smaller ones as well.

    "We re-did the interior," Bee said. "The other thing that’s nice about Ypsi is design-wise, it's not as conservative. We were able to do some fun stuff."

    Bee said the interior will have an "industrial" look to it, but she didn't want to provide too many details prior to the shop opening.

    "I don’t want to ruin the surprise," Bee said. "But it’s a really cute store, we never want to be cookie cutter and never want all of the stores to be the same. Overall it has a different feeling."

    The menu offerings will largely be the same and feature BakeBar desserts, which are made by Sweetwaters. Bee said 90 percent of the cakes and desserts already sold at her other Sweetwaters locations are BakeBar, but she plans to use the Ypsilanti location to test out new products.

    gingerfizzsweetwaterscafe.JPG

    The Ypsilanti Sweetwaters location will have a few new baked goods offerings.

    Mary Bilyeu| AnnArbor.com contributor

    "Ypsilanti will be the test run," Bee said. "We will be supplying all of the desserts for all of the Sweetwaters and testing out some new products in Ypsilanti. We've always been wanting to bake our own desserts... It just seems like the palate of Ypsilanti residents seems to be a bit more adventurous."

    Bee said the Ypsilanti location will have an initial soft opening, followed by a grand opening two to three weeks later.

    "We just can't wait," Bee said. "I think our staff are just champing at the bit to open up... We're super excited."

    Sweetwaters was founded in 1993 and has three locations in Ann Arbor: one on East Washington Street downtown, one in Kerrytown and one on Plymouth Road.

    This stretch of Cross Street will see the opening of two restaurants in the span of two months. Sweetwaters will open in March, just one month before Insomnia Cookies, which is slated to open some time in April.

    The recently renovated building at 729-735 W. Cross St., is already home to two, first floor retail tenants — a Subway sandwich shop and the Ypsilanti T-shirt Co. shop.

    Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for AnnArbor.com.Reach her at katreasestafford@annarbor.com or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


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    The State Board of Education has launched a series of public events around the state to discuss education policies and reform.

    The series will make a stop at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School from 6-8 p.m. Monday, March 11.

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    State Board of Education President John Austin

    MLive file photo

    The State Board is helping to convene a number of community forums this winter and spring to "encourage engagement and facilitate public engagement and thoughtful discussion of current education issues, education reforms, financing proposals and potential legislation," according to the Michigan Department of Education.

    The Washtenaw Alliance for Education is hosting Ann Arbor's forum. The Alliance for Education is a joint committee of superintendents and two school board members from each of the county's 10 traditional public school districts. It was formed in February 2012.

    State Board President John Austin, State Board member Eileen Weiser and several local education officials are expected to speak at the event.

    Austin, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, was re-elected to the position of president for the state board in January. He first was elected to Michigan's State Board of Education in 2000.

    Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at daniellearndt@annarbor.com.


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    A documentary about the Ypsilanti Willow Run airport's legendary B-24 bomber plant will air Sunday on PBS.

    Legacy.1945.BomberH16X.20J.JPG

    B-24 Liberators line the airfield at Willow Run Airport in this June 1945 photo. The bomber plant adjacent to the airport produced the famed World War II bombers in a plant built by Henry Ford. The influx of workers for the massive war-time production project gave rise to an entire community called Willow Run.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    "The Story of Willow Run" was a black and white documentary produced by the Ford Motor Company in 1945. The documentary describes the history of the bomber plant during the World War II period.

    According to the Michigan Aerospace Foundation, the documentary recounts the building of the massive assembly plant, and the production process of more than 8,000 B-24 heavy bombers. The bombers were built at the plant from 1942 to 1945.

    The plant was built by Henry Ford in 1941 and employed more than 42,000. The factory produced one B-24 aircraft every 59 minutes, according to the Yankee Air Museum. The museum was established in 1981.

    The program will air at 4 p.m. Sunday on Channel 56.

    Below, see a preview of the documentary from the Michigan Aerospace Foundation:

    Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for AnnArbor.com.Reach her at katreasestafford@annarbor.com or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


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    lynda_barry_self-794489.jpg

    A Lynda Barry self-portrait

    Writer-artist Lynda Barry has always been intrigued by unconventional perspectives—or, at least, by alternative approaches.

    In the 1980s, Barry broke new ground in the comic-strip world as the writer and illustrator of "Ernie Pook's Comeek," which was unlike other strips in that it was "not a funny strip," as Barry herself has often noted. Indeed, it was an often-sad strip that unflinchingly probed the more troubling and harrowing aspects of the human conditon—particulary growing up in a dysfunctional family.

    The strip ran for almost 30 years in alternative weeklies, until the legs fell out from under the alt-weekly industry, as many of them either folded or got bought out by larger, more corporate-minded newspaper-publishing companies.

    Even before "Ernie Pook" wound down, though, Barry was expressing herself in other media. She's written 18 books, including "One! Hundred! Demons!," "The Greatest of Marlys!," "Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel," "Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies! Naked Ladies!" and "The Good Times are Killing Me," which was adapted into an off-Broadway play.

    She also wrote a how-to graphic novel, "What It Is," in 2008. "What It Is" along with its companion, "Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book," from 2010, explore creativity and the use of imagination in everyday life—not just to create art for consumption by patrons and / or the masses.

    PREVIEW

    Lynda Barry

    • Who: Groundbreaking writer / illustrator / educator who first made a name for herself in the 1980s as the creator of the alternative comic strip, "Ernie Pook's Comeek" and has written many books.
    • What: A Penny Stamps lecture titled "Accessing the Imaginary—Where did you get your imagination?"
    • Where: Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St.
    • When: 5:10 p.m. Thursday, March 14.
    • How much: Free. For more information, see the Penny Stamps website.
    Currently, Barry is one busy lady. She is working on a new book, continues to update her blog, The Near-Sighted Monkey, and is also currently conducting an artist residency at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

    Plus, she travels to other cities to give lectures about creativity and writing. One of those will be a free lecture at the Michigan Theater on Thursday. The event is part of the University of Michigan School of Art & Design Penny W. Stamps Lecture Series. The title of her lecture is "Accessing the Imaginary—Where did you get your imagination?," and Barry will discuss her own creative process.

    Her "What It Is" book was based on her “Writing the Unthinkable” workshop, which she also conducts in various cities, and which in turn is based on a method of creativity that is accessible to anyone with a wish to write, or to remember—not just to professional writers or artists.

    Recently, Barry and Drawn & Quarterly, the comics publisher, have been helping to turn younger readers on to Barry by reissuing her older work. D&C recently reissued "The Freddie Stories," which originally appeared as often-heartbreaking sequences from “Ernie Pook’s Comeek.” They were first compiled in book form in 1999. The new reissue presents the strips in redesigned and enhanced fashion, employing new graphic design, with the panels set over striking and colorful crayon backgrounds.

    In 2011, D&C also published "Blabber Blabber Blabber: Volume 1 of Everything," which pulled together the seminal "Ernie Pook’s Comeek" strips, some of which had been out of print for 20 years or more, and also included her earliest books, like "Girls and Boys and Big Ideas," with an introduction written by Barry.

    Barry has also long been interested in exploring the question, "What is an image?" Her research on the notion has included conversations with scientists and mathematicians, and has informed her teaching.

    "My interest does take a lot of external forms, whether it's teaching or making my own pictures, whatever it is," Barry recently told TheDailyPage.com, in Madison. "But to me they're all tied together by this central question that I've been chasing down since I was 19 and I met my teacher Marilyn Frasca at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington ... The only way to explain it is this little question she asked me, which is 'What is an image?'

    "The more I studied with her, the more I realized that, for example, everything we call 'the arts' contains it: this sort of living thing. It's the reason we talk about a painting like it's alive or a piece of music like it's alive," she continued. "After working with (mathematicicians and scientists), I would argue that certain mathematical formulas have it. People respond to them as if they're alive."

    Barry is also fascinated in the area of of neuroscience that's devoted to brain function and creativity.

    "I've been really interested in the work of this brilliant guy named Iain McGilchrist," Barry recently said in an interview with "To The Best of Our Knowledge," a syndicated radio show. McGilchrist wrote the book, "The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World."

    "He's written brilliantly about how we kind of have two brains. The left side of the brain....likes technology, it likes logic, it likes purpose, it likes utility, it's the parent in you that when you say, 'I want to be an artist,' says 'Well, then I'm not paying for school.'

    "The other side is where we respond to music, poetry, metaphors, things as a whole, our experience of actual depth and distance," Barry continued. "So, the studies that McGilchrist talks about (suggest that)....in a weird way, part of the function of the brain is to shut the other side up.

    Kevin Ransom, a free-lance writer who covers arts and entertainment for AnnArbor.com, can be reached at KevinRansom10@aol.com.


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    Several downtown Ann Arbor streets will be closed for the annual Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5K charity run on Sunday.

    The closures will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

    The main closures will be West Liberty Street, from South First Street to South Main Street, as well as South Main Street, from West Stadium Boulevard to East Washington Street.

    A map of the entire route is available online.

    More information about lane closures can be found on the city's website.

    Kody Klein is an intern for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at kklein@mlive.com


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    Skyline High School student and distance runner Spencer Morgan wanted to know the benefits of running with shoes versus without shoes. He made that the premise of his science fair project, which is on exhibit Saturday at the Southeastern Michigan Science Fair at Washtenaw Community College's Morris Lawrence building.

    Morgan asked people to run 20 yards while he recorded their feet, first with shoes, then without, and then studied the videos.

    "When in shoes, they generally ran on their heels," said Morgan. "Without shoes, apparently instinct kicked in and they began running on the balls of their feet for the most part."

    Morgan says that making first impact with the balls of the feet is much better because it absorbs the force up into the calves and hips better (rather than the knees.)

    The public is invited to see hundreds of projects at WCC from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The fair includes the projects of middle and high school students from Hillsdale, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw counties.

    Jeff Bradley, who runs the biomedical science program at Skyline High School, has 60 students, sophomores and juniors, participating in the science fair. He approved all of their projects, which they worked on at lunchtime, after school, and at home.

    "Colleges love it (when students participate in the science fair,) said Bradley. "Students learn good protocol, and the research shows that many of these kids stick with it and go into science."

    Other examples of his students' science fair projects include testing blood glucose meters that are used for diabetes and comparing their efficiency, experimenting with acne creams' effects against other pathogens, and setting up a Wii and a nerve reflex monitor in the classroom to see the results of what happens when someone tries to drive and text simultaneously.

    "The question for my project is 'which substance contains the most electrolytes?'" said Skyline student Sarika Tyagi, who calculated the electrolyte content in various sports drinks, energy drinks, sodas, and juices. "I had a lot of fun doing my science fair project because it was very cool to analyze my results and apply them to daily life. I have actually never been more thrilled to be proven wrong."

    Tyagi predicted Gatorade would have the most electrolytes but orange juice was the winner.

    Skyline student Joanna Vuylsteke took on a food-related topic as well.

    "I compared the difference in the moisture content of whole wheat and white bread and learned that whole wheat flour in bread actually gives the bread more moisture because the moisture is grounded in the whole wheat grain," said Vuylsteke.

    Skyline student Abby McDonough did her science project on metamemory and compared the ability of students from different grades of high school to predict the memory strategy that would help them memorize 40 words.

    "It was fun to use human participants and worthwhile to research something that is relevant to school and studying," said McDonough.

    The judging committee did its job Friday and then interviewed the top five students in the high school division Saturday morning to determine the students' understanding of their own projects. The winners' names are now posted at the fair.

    Former science fair judge Cinda-Sue Davis has been the fair's director since 2001. She coordinates faculty and staff from the University of Michigan and WCC as well as volunteers to run the fair.

    "There is a strong correlation between participation in a regional science fair and a career in science, engineering or mathematics later in life," said Davis. "It's the actual doing of science or engineering that is exciting and rewarding, and the science fair is an opportunity to do just that."

    Exhibits are evaluated by their thoroughness, accuracy, workmanship, originality, scientific thought and clarity of presentation. The top ten award winners are eligible to attend the Michigan Science and Engineering Fair in Detroit in April, and the top two winners are invited to attend the Intel International Science Fair in Phoenix, Arizona in May, all expenses paid.


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    Two duffle bags full of clothes, a Northface fleece jacket and a wallet were taken out of a car parked on the 900 block of Railroad Street in Ypsilanti Friday night.

    The victim said the vehicle was entered through an unlocked door, according to the Ypsilanti Police Department.

    Police have no suspects at this time.


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    St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township will be featured in an episode of CBS’ 60 Minutes this Sunday as a part of an investigative series into a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

    Forty-eight deaths -- 13 of which are of Michigan residents and four of which are from Washtenaw County -- are linked to batches of injectable steroids contaminated with fungus from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

    030813_ST-JOES_60-Minutes.jpg

    Scott Pelley of CBS' 60 Minutes interviews patients at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township for a segment on the fungal meningitis outbreak.

    Courtesy of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

    The steroids were distributed across the country last summer. By that fall, hundreds of patients that had received injections of the steroid in their back and joints for pain relief were presenting with rare forms of meningitis.

    In Michigan, four facilities received shipments of the steroids. As the outbreak has unfolded, Michigan has had the highest concentration of fungal meningitis patients in the country: 253 cases to date, out of a total of 720 reported in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The closest to the Ann Arbor area was Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton.

    St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor quickly became the epicenter for treating fungal meningitis patients in Michigan. Additional staff was called in from affiliated hospitals and a ward of patient rooms was opened to accommodate the constantly fluctuating patient population.

    "There has been a great deal of media attention due to the large number of patients in Michigan who have been affected and the central role that St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor physicians, clinicians and staff have played in caring for this population. We are very proud of the response and commitment St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor has had to this community public health disaster and continue to treat these patients as they work to recover from this," said Michele Szczypka, regional chief marketing officer for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, in a statement.

    The 60 Minutes segment interviews patients and their families living with fungal meningitis that have been receiving treatment at the Ann Arbor hospital over a two-day period in February.

    Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes also interviewed a former lab technician at the compounding company under fire in the outbreak who is speaking out for the first time.

    “Lethal Medicine” will air 7 p.m. EST Sunday on CBS.

    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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    030813_Arborland_sign_CS-1.jpg

    The digital sign over Arborland Mall was not updated in November to reflect the correct time.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    Hopefully you didn't make any plans for early Sunday morning -- it's that dreaded time of the year when we lose an hour of sleep with the changeover to daylight saving time. As usual, the actual time change goes into effect at 2 a.m. Sunday.

    While that may be unfortunate news for your sleep cycle, it will get those errant clocks around us like the iconic Arborland sign over Washtenaw Avenue back on schedule.

    Not a fan of the time change? Look at the bright side, spring is less than two weeks away and you'll soon be enjoying that extra hour of light on the golf course, at a Detroit Tigers game, or grilling hamburgers on your patio.

    Related: 5 Fun facts about daylight saving time


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    A man in Ypsilanti reported watching his neighbor steal his change jar from his bedroom Friday night during a home invasion, according to the Ypsilanti Police Department.

    The victim did not report anything else taken from the apartment, located on the 900 block of Washtenaw Avenue, in Ypsilanti.

    The man said he was in bed when he heard someone enter his room. He said he rolled over and watched his neighbor walk out while holding his change jar.

    The police said the man was thought to have gotten in to the apartment through an unlocked door. The suspect left before officers arrived at the victims apartment.

    The amount of money in the jar was not available.


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    Editor's note: The name of J.B. has been withheld due to his age.

    My name is J___ B___. I am 11 years old. I have just completed Webelos II and received the Arrow of Light Award in January. I was happy to hear that Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is rethinking their policy regarding the gay population.

    The last three years, I have been the top-seller for our pack’s popcorn sales. My family has also coordinated a popcorn selling event at my parent’s work to increase the popcorn sales and donations for my den totaling over $2,500 a year.

    This year I realized that BSA was discriminating against other families. This is not what I believe in. I did not feel good about fundraising for an organization that chooses to make policies against other families. More specifically: my friends’ families, and my neighbors’ families. It was embarrassing to sell to others. I feel this policy is similar to the time people discriminated against black people in the 1950s and continued for decades later. It should not be happening.

    I have decided not to continue with Boy Scouts this year due to this policy. My family and I choose to use our Wednesday nights that once were “Cub Scout nights,” to do similarly fun activities but those that will also align with our beliefs and those of our community and friends. Should BSA change their policy I am willing to reconsider my decision.

    I am writing this letter in hopes for a change. I have really enjoyed my experiences in Cub Scouts up until now. I have had a lot of fun, made new friends and learned new things. Maybe this time Boy Scouts of America can learn something new from me?

    J. B.

    Ann Arbor Former Boy Scout

    11 years old


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    Ypsi public forum.JPG

    Members of the Ypsilanti and Willow Run communities met with school board members Saturday at a public forum to talk about plans to unify the two school districts.

    Lisa Carolin I For AnnArbor.com

    The overwhelming opinion of parents and community members from the soon-to-be unified Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts during a meeting on Saturday is that round table public forums like today's are an effective way for two-way communication between the people of the district, the school board, and other administrators.

    More than 45 people participated in Saturday's World Cafe format, which involved dividing into small groups and letting every person take a turn answering the same questions. Each table was led by a school board member from the Ypsilanti Community District or an administrator from the county.

    Participants were asked to answer questions aloud, and also could write answers on a large piece of paper in the center of the table.

    One question which prompted strong reactions was "What is your greatest fear in this process of transitioning to a united district?"

    Ypsilanti High School junior Kate Mull said her biggest fear is that nothing changes.

    "Kids will get lost because adults don't get along," she said.

    Scott Heister said, "I fear that we won't be able to create a structure that will attract the best staff and keep them."

    For parent Jason Evans, the fear is the short timeline.

    "I don't want it to turn to making reactionary decisions that involve emergency management," said Evans.

    Scott Menzel, superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, who helped lead the round table discussions, concurred that time is limited. He told participants, "There are 114 days until the new district starts, and we have a monumental task ahead of us bringing two different school districts together."

    Other fears included the community being torn apart, a massive exodus of students, and an inability to sustain good programs.

    "I want to make this district the best I can because my kids are going to stay here, and I don't want my friends and their friends to leave," said parent Michelle Tramp.

    Tramp also echoed a popular sentiment from many of today's participants: The importance of being a part of the decision making process along with being kept up to date on exactly what decisions have been made.

    "We need communication from leaders telling us what's going on se we don't have to just depend on word of mouth," said Tramp.

    David Bates, president of the Ypsilanti Community school board, told the participants, "Our most important work is to let the community know they're players in the process."

    One of the final round table requests of participants was to share one dream for the new district.

    "My dream is that all of our kids can feel like they can achieve," parent Nancy Harvey said. "We have a lot of kids who don't have families there to help so the school has to do that."

    The next opportunity outside of school board meetings for people to participate tentatively is set for Saturday, March 23. Information will be posted on the Ypsilanti Community Schools website.


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    Spring is inching its way in our direction with Daylight Savings Time beginning at 2 a.m. Sunday. We spring our clocks ahead one hour, lose that hour of sleep, but gain extra daylight.

    010612-AJC-unseasonably-warm-weather-03-thumb-590x393-99137.jpg

    Temperatures could reach above 50 degrees Sunday.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    On Sunday, the temperature may break the 50-degree mark, with a 50 percent chance of rain. The chance of rain increases to 70 percent Sunday night with rainfall amounts near 0.3 inches possible.

    Temperatures are predicted to be in the 40s at the start of next week with a high of 43 degrees Monday and a 50 percent chance of rain. That rain could change to snow Monday night when the windchill may get as low as 16 degrees.

    A partly cloudy day is predicted Tuesday with a high temperature of 40 degrees but a windchill as low as 18 degrees.

    The sun will set Saturday at 6:35 p.m. and will rise Sunday at 6:56 a.m.

    For updated forecasts and conditions any time, check AnnArbor.com's weather page.


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    For the first time since 2010, the Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team will not play in the Mid-American Conference title game.

    Freshman center Miracle Woods had 29 points and 10 rebounds to lead Western Michigan to an 80-72 win over the Eagles in a first-round tournament game Saturday at the Convocation Center.

    The Eagles advanced to the title game of the tournament each of the past two seasons, winning the league’s automatic NCAA berth last March. The WMU win also snaps a nine-game losing streak to the Eagles, who beat their cross-state rivals twice during the regular season.

    WMU (11-19) started the game on a 9-2 run and never trailed. EMU (8-22) closed a 13-point halftime deficit to six, 51-45, on a Desyree Thomas jumper with 11:21 left to play.

    The Broncos’ Julia Henson answered with a 3-pointer and EMU wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the game. Henson finished with 21 points. Thomas (10 assists) and Natachia Watkins (six steals) each scored 19 points for EMU.

    WMU advances to the second round of the tournament and will face Bowling Green Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

    Toledo tops EMU men
    In the first game of a doubleheader at the Convocation Center, Toledo beat Eastern Michigan 78-67 in the regular season finale for both teams.

    Dominique Buckley scored 21 points and Julius Brown contributed 19 points and 12 assists for the Rockets (15-13, 10-6). Derek Thompson led EMU (14-17, 7-9) with 25 points, including five 3-pointers.

    Eastern Michigan led 18-6 early on but allowed Toledo to battle back and tie the score at 26-26 late in the first half. The Eagles shot 52.2 percent as a team and 7-of-7 from the free throw line to lead 35-31 at halftime.

    Toledo opened the second half on a 25-6 run to blow open a four-point halftime lead.


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    During the past century women have overcome legal, societal, and cultural challenges on the march to equality while maintaining a vigilant watch to affect more progress and change.

    On March 8, the world paused to recognize the achievements of women throughout the past 100 years and consider the opportunities for the advancement of women in the next 100 years on International Women’s Day. This year’s theme for the celebration, The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum, is particularly poignant as more women, children and men, increasingly are becoming concerned about climate change and momentum for taking action is growing.

    Rebekah_Warren_Headshot_b.jpg

    Rebekah Warren

    National Women’s Day, the precursor to International Women’s Day, was first observed in America in 1909 during a time of tremendous industrial and political growth, fueled by innovation, rapid expansion, and a growing global economy. Since then, in times of war and peace, growth and recession, women have played an important role in leading our country forward.

    Susan B. Anthony was a pioneer in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and fought for equal rights for women during the 19th century. During World War II, it was women who kept the nation’s engine running, working in factories to produce the goods and materials needed to win the war being waged overseas. In recent years, women have led the fight for equality leading to improved economic opportunities for all.

    In the United States, 2013 set a high water mark for women in positions of national leadership - with the most women elected to Congress ever, including 20 women Senators and 82 women Representatives. They are poised to lead the nation and should capitalize on the momentum of support to address climate change.

    According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, 2012 was the hottest year on record and delivered some of the most extreme weather events that we’ve ever seen.

    Devastating droughts, deadly heat waves and violent super storms like Hurricane Sandy impacted nearly every county in the 48 contiguous states. These very real impacts have driven up concern for our future. A poll conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment America, following the president’s State of the Union address, shows that 65 percent of Americans believe climate change is a serious problem and a strong majority (60 percent) support President Barack Obama using executive authority to limit the dangerous industrial carbon pollution that is causing climate change.

    The Environmental Protection Agency is on the front lines of public health and environmental protection. President Obama's nominee to lead the EPA, Gina McCarthy, is a pragmatic and dedicated professional set on protecting public health, our children and families from the dangers of soot, smog, mercury and carbon pollution. These public health protections will save lives, prevent illness, and drive innovation in new cleaner energy technology.

    The EPA is the cop on the beat, and it needs a strong leader to keep it focused on tackling these important public health challenges. Having another strong woman at the helm of the EPA, building on the legacy of strong women who have led the agency in the past, including former Administrators Lisa Jackson, Christie Whitman and Carol Browner, is a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.

    Rebekah Warren is a senator from the 18th District.


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    adam-whitener-saline-swimming-030913.JPG

    Saline senior Adam Whitener swims the anchor leg of his team's state championship 200 freestyle relay, a race his coach said "turned the tide of the meet."

    Jon M. Brouwer | Mlive Media Group

    HOLLAND -- There hasn’t been a lot of adversity for this Saline High School boys swimming dynasty, with three straight Division 1 state titles by 70 points or more under their belt coming into this weekend’s state meet.

    But Friday night, they had their come-to-Jesus moment.

    After a disappointing preliminary session Friday, the Hornets were in position to finish the 2013 meet as runners-up to Birmingham Brother Rice by seven points, if all seed times held.

    But with dominating swims by its senior class and improved performances from several underclassmen, the Hornets won their fourth state title, 313-309 over Brother Rice, in a meet that came down to the final race Saturday afternoon at the Holland Aquatic Center.

    More Coverage: Complete Results

    “I looked at the meet at the end of last season and I knew it was going to come down to this,” Saline coach Todd Brunty said. “I kept trying to tell them all season that this is going to be this kind of meet. ‘Don’t worry about it coach, we’ve got it, that’s not going to happen.’

    “Last night I had to really bite my tongue and not say I told you so. But they believe in themselves, they do have that in them. That’s why they’re champs.”

    After nearly losing their points lead midway through the meet, the Hornets needed to finish fifth or better in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, to win the team title. It finished fourth, and the Hornets were once again jumping in the pool to celebrate.

    In winning its fourth straight state title, the Hornets accomplished something that’s been done only twice in the last 35 years at the state’s top level.

    And having the last one be the closest made it even sweeter.

    “It was a lot of pressure, but I actually enjoyed it better than winning by a lot,” senior Josh Ehrman said. “There was some swims where we knew we had to go fast and we had to win, and I think when you’re put under that kind of pressure, you’re going to perform.”

    The Hornets were once again led by the senior trio of Ehrman, David Boland and Adam Whitener, who had won 11 individual state titles in three years going into the weekend and added six more to the haul Saturday.

    Ehrman set two all-class state records in the 200 individual medley and 100 breastroke to take swimmer of the meet honors. Boland set two Division 1 state records in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, while Whitener took home titles in the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle.

    The three also contributed to Saline’s two relay state titles: the 200 medley relay, which beat the national public school record record it set Friday, and the 200 freestyle relay, which set an all-class state record.

    sam-blair-saline-swimming-030913.JPG

    Saline senior diver Sam Blair celebrates with teammates after finishing second.

    Jon M. Brouwer | Mlive Media Group

    Fellow senior Michael Bundas added another state title to the haul in the 50 freestyle, and senior diver Sam Blair finished as runner-up.

    With four team state titles, 18 individual state titles, four state records, plus contributions to seven relay titles and two relay state records, the Saline seniors class leave high school swimming with a legacy that may never be matched by a single class.

    “I don’t think there’s going to be anything ever quite like it,” Ehrman said.

    The Hornets won nine of 11 races Saturday, more than it did in any of its previous three state title wins. But this year’s team didn’t have the depth of previous ones, opening the door for Brother Rice.

    After an early lead, the Hornets were nearly caught in the total points in 200 freestyle relay. But after the relay team fell behind to Brother Rice in the third leg, Whitener closed in a 19.98 50-yard freestyle to get the win in a race that Brunty said “turned the tide of the meet.”

    “I saw we were a few feet behind, and I just wanted everything I could to finish strong and take it home,” Whitener said.

    While Saline’s seniors won their share of state titles, the difference between second and first in the overall points came down to the team’s other athletes moving up from their seeds. That included all three Saline divers moving up a spot from their positions heading into Saturday, earning diving coach Gretchen Plamondon coach of the year honors.

    And after shuffling the lineup from Friday, a relay team that included a freshman and sophomore got the final place the Hornets needed to seal the win.

    “It even made it a little more special that we were able to go through some adversity yesterday and come through, and a couple of kids redeemed themselves. It was a real special day for us,” Brunty said.

    And if this Saline dynasty is going to continue, Brunty hopes it started with two of Saline's younger swimmers doing their part in the championship-clinching relay.

    “(The seniors) have paved the way and opened the door for the other guys,” Brunty said. “Yesterday they didn’t really follow, today they came back and followed the leadership. So that’s what’s going to be huge.”

    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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    Adam Bouton | For AnnArbor.com

    ROCHESTER -- Pioneer High School senior Chris Klein capped off a stellar prep swimming career by winning two individual state titles, leading the Pioneers to a second-place finish at the Division 2 state championship.

    Pioneer, competing in Division 2 for the first time, exceeded expectations, according to coach Dennis Hill. The Pioneers finished with 280 points. Holland won the D2 state title with 323 points.

    "We are excited," Hill said. "We came in with about 200 seeded points and came out with 280, so the kids swam really well and that's what we wanted to see today. We ended the season on a good note and I couldn't be prouder of the kids. This is the first time at Division 2 and it was a fast meet."

    Klein.jpg

    Pioneer's Chris Klein

    Jake Thielen | MLive.com

    Klein, who will swim at the University of Michigan next year, was aiming at the all-divisions record in the 100 breaststroke (55.36), set by Saline's Josh Ehrman in 2012.

    After swimming a Division 2-record time of 55.47 seconds during the 100 breaststroke preliminaries, Klein won the Saturday final in a time of 55.53. He also was victorious in the 200 individual medley, posting a time of 1:48.79.

    He won both events by more than one second and set new Pioneer varsity records in each event as well.

    "We're all really happy," Klein said of his team's finish. "We came in a little underestimated and we all did great. I'm proud to be a captain of this team."

    More coverage: Results | Statewide coverage

    Pioneer was within striking distance of Holland throughout the meet, but ultimately couldn't overcome the points hurdle.

    "I think all of us were hoping to get first," Klein said. "At some points in the meet, I think we thought it was possible. But we are excited with the finish."

    The Pioneers had several other outstanding performers at the state meet.

    The 200 medley relay team of Matthew Erickson, Klein, Kai Williams and Thad Stalmack finished second with a time of 1:34.83.

    Pioneer senior Tyler Leach finished second in the diving competition, finishing with 415 points. St. Johns' Jared Gregory won the event with a score of 484.15.

    "He dove for the first time last year," Hill said of Leach. "He has the school record in the pole vault and he just came a long way and did a really nice job for us."

    Williams and Max Cornblath finished second and third in the 100 butterfly for Pioneer. Williams rallied from sixth place at the halfway point to touch the wall at 51.25. Cornblath had a time of 51.44.

    Also for Pioneer, Jiaming Shen placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke (58.13), Andrew Heise was fifth in the 100 freestyle (47.41) and Davis Argersinger finished sixth in the 500 freestyle (4:43.02). Pioneer finished fifth in the 400 freestyle relay and sixth in the 200 freestyle relay.


    Dexter, Skyline finish in the top six

    Dexter entered the Division 2 state meet as the defending champions, but knew entering Saturday's finals that capturing a second straight title would be a tall order.

    "We knew that being in the top three was going to be tough," Dexter coach Michael McHugh said. "Our goal was fourth. That was a goal that we thought we could accomplish."

    Dexter finished with 196.5 points, which was good for fourth overall out of 32 teams.

    The Dreadnaughts were strong all day in the freestyle, whether it was in the relays or individually. Senior co-captains, Brennan Maisch and Jonathan Zofchak each placed in the top three in two events.

    Maisch finished in a tie for second in the 50 free finals (21.37) and third in the 100 freestyle (46.55). Zofchak placed third in the 200 freestyle (1:41.79) and was second in the 500 freestyle (4:36.74).

    "Robbie Zofchak bounced back today with a great meet," McHugh said the freshman brother to Jonathan. "We had a lot of contributors and the relays were key."

    The 200 freestyle relay of Maisch, Paul Ruble, Max Merriman and Jonathan Zofchak finished third with a time of 1:25.62. Maisch, Merriman and the Zofchak brothers teamed up for a fourth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, posting a time of 3:08.02. Dexter's 200 medley relay finished sixth.

    "I'm proud of these guys," McHugh said. "To have a three-year run like we've had is special."

    Skyline placed sixth overall, finishing with 142 points.

    The Eagles had three finalists in the 500 freestyle event. Matt Orringer finished third (4:36.90), Dennis Dahlmann placed fourth (4:41.34) and Ryan Vander Meulen was fifth (4:42.73) for Skyline.

    Orringer, a sophomore, also earned a fourth-place finish in the 200 IM, posting a time of 1:55.55.

    The Skyline relay team of Daniel Schorin, Gabe Solomon, Vander Meulen and Dahlmann were seventh in the 200 freestyle relay (1:28.50). The Eagle quartet of Dahlmann, Solomon, Vander Meulen and Orringer also finished in eighth in the 400 freestyle relay finals (3:13.08).


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    Milan junior Ollie Smith celebrates after winning the 50-yard freestyle at the MHSAA Division 3 state championships Saturday at Eastern Michigan University.

    Daniel Brenner I AnnArbor.com

    Tim Wing | For AnnArbor.com

    Chelsea High School junior David Alday won both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 freestyle races at the Division 3 state finals in two very similar situations.

    Alday trailed Bloomfield-Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood’s Matthew Liu going into the final 50 yards in the 200 IM at Eastern Michigan University on Saturday, but shot out and dominated the final leg to finish in 1 minute, 52.88 seconds, a full two seconds ahead of Liu.

    “That entire race was exciting, and I didn’t breathe at all in the last 25 yards,” Alday said.

    Four races later, Alday turned on the afterburners and edged Grand Rapids Christian’s Ryan Beezhold in the 100 freestyle, finishing in 46.85 seconds.

    “To be as multi-talented as David really shows you how great of a swimmer he is,” Chelsea coach Dave Jolly said.

    Chelsea finished the meet in fifth place with 177 points.

    More coverage: Results | Statewide coverage

    “That finish is kind of bittersweet for as good as we were,” Jolly said, “but that just really shows how wonderful everyone at the state meet is.”

    Nick Burris, Sam Almhiemid, Jacob Hartman and Alday finished fourth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:13.32), and Burris, Max Lonnemo, Jonny Mangner and Nick Deppner finished fifth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:28.58). Almhiemid, Alday, Burris, and Deppner were fifth in the 200 medley relay (1:38.45).

    Burris was eighth in the 100 butterfly (54.17) and Deppner was eighth in the 100 backstroke (55.53). Joe Smith was ninth in diving (374.20).

    Milan junior Ollie Smith followed up his record-setting 20.92-second 50 freestyle time from Friday’s preliminaries by winning the event in 21.04.

    “I was so excited (Friday) and that pumped me up and got me focused for today,” Smith said. “I’ll come back stronger next year.”

    Smith also finished fifth in the 100 freestyle (48.00) and Milan finished seventh overall (128).

    “We did as best as we could, and we are fortunate that we a losing only a couple guys from this year,” Milan coach Dan Heikka said. “A lot of guys who weren’t here today can step up and fill in spots for next season.”

    Smith, David Brown, Tyler Kimbrell and Colin Schettenhelm finished seventh in the 200 freestyle relay (1:29.28), and eighth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:21.70).


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