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

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    Conors Line.jpg

    The line outside Conor O'Neills at 6:54 a.m. (Not pictured: sub-zero temperatures, morning breath)

    To help guide you through St. Patrick's Day in Ann Arbor, intrepid reporter Richard Retyi hit the streets at 6:30 a.m. to get a lay of the land, talk to the hardcore St. Paddy's Day revelers on the street and help you avoid the places worth avoiding. Take his advice or leave it—but be safe out there, kids.

    6:37 a.m.
    The human body is made up primarily of water and it's freezing outside

    It’s midnight black when I roll down Main Street to check on the line outside Conor O’Neill’s on this St. Patrick’s Day morning. Not even a sliver of light. It’s cold and dark but that hasn’t kept around 150 people from creating a zig-zaggedy line stretching from the front doors of Ann Arbor’s most beloved Irish pub all the way past The Ark.

    A few minutes later, driving past Ashley’s, a similar line of 50 people stretches to the Jimmy John’s. Just down the street by the Michigan Union, three brave souls stand behind a large table (Free Bagels!) hopping up and down trying to stay warm, while a left turn away, 30 people wait outside for the opening bell at the Blue Leprechaun with about half as many standing outside Good Time Charley’s waiting for discounted car bombs.

    There’s a reason the sidewalks are empty save for anxious drinkers willing to pay $10 cash for plastic cups of green beer, a free breakfast and maybe a free T-shirt. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the body is primarily of water and it’s 25 degrees out, without wind chill. Plus it’s 6:37 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Abandon all hope, ye who stand in line.

    One place that isn’t empty is the Tim Horton’s on South University. A line queues for hot drinks, one girl with matted hair sitting this one out with her head down on a counter and a big yellow blanket thrown over her shoulders.

    Joggers.jpg

    Joggers before dawn. On a Sunday. Which happens to be St. Patrick's Day.

    “Why do we have to have jobs?” she says to a friend, who answers by walking to the restroom.

    I drive back to Main Street, passing a few joggers. Joggers, really? There’s something egotistical or masochistic about jogging in sub-zero temperatures at 6 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. A pair of masochists in bright yellow jackets kick past my car. I’ll pass them again later when they run down State Street. I take a picture of them to prove the people standing in line aren’t the only crazy people in Ann Arbor this morning. Show-offs.

    6:54 a.m.
    Like a winter version of a Michigan football Saturday

    Back in line at Conor O’Neill’s, the crowd is getting anxious. A group of St. Patrick’s Day revelers have been up since 5:40 a.m.—one even drove in from Lansing the night before to spend the day in our fair city. The sound the line makes is like a giant tailgate party, which is what one of the partygoers compares this morning to. “Like a winter version of a Michigan football Saturday.” They’re excited about the Irish coffee, live music and breakfasts awaiting them inside, and damn the consequences of dehydration or lack of sleep for school tomorrow.

    A cheer ripples through the crowd as the doors open and the line inches closer to the front doors where Conor’s staff IDs and slaps wristbands on revelers. Green plastic hats (popular this year), green hoodies and a few green kilts disappear through the doors, but most of the St. Paddy’s Day kit is covered in parkas and scarves and toques. I’d say St. Patrick’s Day is Halloween for college kids, if Halloween wasn’t Halloween for college kids.

    7:08 a.m.
    These are all good touches, said the Ann Arbor Police officer

    The line is only 12-deep at Ashley’s but it’s a crowded 12-deep.

    “Cram in and close the door,” yells the poor hostess, ID'ing and clicking an electronic counter as each patron gives up $10 for a T-shirt, a plastic plate of breakfast and the honor of spending St. Patrick’s Day at a British pub (blasphemy!).

    Ashleys Boys.jpg

    Boys at Ashley's enjoying the morning

    “I didn’t just work on my thesis last night, I went and saw Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble,” says a girl crammed in line in front of me. This isn’t your typical boozy crowd. There are some brains in here. An Ann Arbor police officer squeezes through the mass, his gut and holster parting the line.

    “These are all good touches,” he says, working his way to the front. I note the name on his nametag, but opt to keep it out of the official record.

    Inside Ashley’s it’s as green as green can be. Plastic cups of green beer are on nearly every table in various states of empty, though some patrons opt for the real stuff, served in real glass mugs. Healthy appetites shovel eggs, sausage, bacon and some kind of mini-muffins into their mouths as a steady stream of more plastic plates of food are shuttled out of the kitchen two at a time. Every once in awhile a server goes into a restroom in the back and pulls a free T-shirt out of one of the big cardboard boxes lying on the floor. Happy St. Paddy’s not-the-most-hygienic Day!

    7:23 a.m.
    The Beach Boys playing in the Mexican bar

    The line is exhausted and the sun is up outside Ashley’s. Birds chirp, crows caw and the guy working in the 7-Eleven stares at me suspiciously through the front window. I drive to Good Time Charley’s and walk past a worker sweeping the sidewalk in the cold. The staff looks amazing in their green tees and tanks, but just two tables of patrons stacked up against the windows drink beer and chatter. The scene at BTB Cantina is a little more depressing with zero patrons enjoying St. Patrick’s Day in the second-floor Mexican bar. I comment on a Beach Boys song playing on the sound system and a guy at the bar tells me they’re saving the Dropkick Murphys for later. Cheeky.

    7:34 a.m.
    Can I get a Mimosa?

    Blue Leprechaun.jpg

    Revelers at The Blue Leprechaun

    “Wow, it’s light outside,” a girl says, emerging from the Blue Leprechaun. Inside, tables and necks are decked out with glowing green necklaces and, guess what, a Dropkick Murphys song blares on the sound system. I do a lap and talk to a long table of folks sharing huge pitchers of green beer. They’re eagerly awaiting breakfast, which they say won’t be served until 8 a.m., and they feel bamboozled that there aren’t any free T-shirts, as advertised. They suggest I do an expose and I counter with an offer to take their picture. Two revelers are particularly excited to have their photo taken—this being their second appearance in the cyber-pages of AnnArbor.com—the first being a story about a fire.

    I sidle up to the bar for a breather and ask the bartender how the morning has been.

    “It’s been good,” she says. “We had a nice line this morning. I wouldn’t call it hectic. It’s St. Patrick’s Day!”

    “Can I get a mimosa?” someone shouts down the bar and I head out the door.

    7:49 a.m.
    "It's called public intoxication, sweetie"

    The city is properly waking up. More “open” signs blink on and on the sidewalks someone walks with purpose wearing a sensible backpack and another walks a small dog.

    “I waited for you,” a slurring kid in a green sweater yells into his cell phone standing outside Conor O’Neill’s. “It’s not my fault. Let’s make this a good day. You’re good, I’m good. Mom! I’m having a good day!”

    Conors Bartender.jpg

    Kiss him, he's Irish (I think) at Conor O'Neills

    Let me reiterate that a $10 cover is crazy. When one of the doormen says I might need to pay $10 to walk around the establishment, I reflexively (and in hindsight rudely) laugh in his general direction. They let me in without incident. It’s not nearly as busy as a random Friday or Saturday night—in fact Conor’s is downright roomy. A guy plays acoustic guitar, singing wonderful Irish songs and the crowd claps to the beat with big smiles on their faces.

    The food looks a lot better here than anywhere else. Actual plates with actual cutlery. It’s hard to see what they’re serving because everyone eats so quickly. With space for 300 people, the place is about two-thirds full, with a less sloppy scene than many of Ann Arbor’s other St. Paddy’s locations. Rumor of Irish dancers arriving later in the day piques my interest. I see a number of police cars and witness one arrest.

    "Why are they arresting that man," a little girl asks.

    "It's called public intoxication, sweetie," the mom says matter-of-factly.

    8:13 a.m.
    The most disgusting thing all day

    I walk down the street to Starbucks and order my second giant coffee of the morning. A lone patron sits at a table reading something on his Kindle. I plug in, get comfortable and write my story.

    Near the end of my detail, three Ross School of Business students dressed in slightly different hues of blue button-down shirts sit beside me, prepping for some breakfast meeting/presentation, but one of them can’t figure out the free wireless. He complains and finally gives up and pulls up a seat next to one of his team members. They talk about SWOT analyses, dynamics and use the word “solutions” 900 times. They name-drop celebrities and champions of industry and mention Jupiter, Florida, a lot, for some reason. It’s by far the most disgusting thing I’ve seen all morning.


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    Police said Sunday they apprehended a man suspected in the weekend robbery of a TCF Bank in Ypsilanti Township.

    tcf_robbery_suspect.jpg

    The bank's surveillance camera captured this footage of the suspect during the robbery.

    From WCSO

    An Ypsilanti Police officer who was on patrol near Towner Street, near East Michigan Avenue and Ecorse Road, saw the man walking down the street and recognized him from the bank's surveillance footage, said Derrick Jackson, spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

    The suspect, a 50 year-old Ypsilanti resident, was arrested without incident, Jackson said. He will be arraigned Monday.

    The robbery took place around 2:25 p.m. Saturday at the TCF Bank at 2150 Packard Road, at the corner of North Hewitt. Bank surveillance footage captured images of a man wearing dark-colored pants, a white dress shirt and tie and a red jacket.

    No weapon was observed during the robbery.

    Some of the money stolen was recovered during the arrest, Jackson said. The suspect is currently on parole for another bank robbery in Wayne County.

    Ypsilanti police declined to comment.


    View Larger Map


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    Recent comments made by high-powered entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are drawing attention to the relationship between Ann Arbor and the innovation and entrepreneurship hub of Silicon Valley. Now a new VC firm aims to capitalize on local ideas and talent, Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh writes.

    Silicon Valley venture capitalists Scott Chou, Doug Neal, Bob Stefanski and Rick Bolander launched Michigan eLab last summer, attracted by Ann Arbor's talent pool and comparatively low cost of living. The group also maintains an office in San Mateo, Calif.

    Neal also serves as executive director of the University of Michigan College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship. He does not vote on investments because of his role at U-M.

    Michigan eLab has raised almost $10 million, including $2.25 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and hopes to close its first fund with $15 million ready to invest in mostly information technology companies, Walsh reported.

    Chou, the author of "Maxims, Morals and Metaphors: A Primer on Venture Capital," last week told students at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business: "Everything is cheaper here. It's a source of disruptive innovations. It's a core center for research innovations — one of the top-funded universities in the country. There's a lot of groundbreaking ideas and few venture capitalists here."

    For more, read Walsh's Sunday column.


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    CSG 2.jpg

    Students received free pizza and trinkets Sunday during the Central Student Government's St. Patrick's Day party on the U-M Diag.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    While local bars happily supplied their St. Patrick's Day patrons with alcohol, University of Michigan Central Student Government wanted to make sure students and community members were well-fed and hydrated.

    CSG gave away pizza, bagels, and bottled water at its second annual St. Patrick's Day Tailgate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday on the U-M Diag in front of the Hatcher Graduate Library.

    "It's providing a safe and fun alternative to going to the bars," said Jill Clancy, chief programming officer for CSG.

    The event featured The Traveling Photo Booth, music by DJ Styles and a raffle to win assorted M Den merchandise. A troupe from O'Hare School of Irish Dance performed in the morning.

    "This is wonderful!" said Katie McNally, a U-M senior who was sitting on the ground eating pizza. "This is a good spot for people to get free food, which will help them sober up."

    The CSG Health Issues Commission was at the event handing out condoms and free metal U-M water bottles. There were also Medical Amnesty Awareness cups that students could take.

    According to CSG, last year's event saw more than 3,000 students participate. Attendance this year seemed significantly slimmer, but Clancy estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people stopped by to partake in the festivities. She pointed out that the weather was significantly more accommodating last year.

    "There's not as many people as we expected but it's been a fun atmosphere and I'm happy we can be here to give food to students," said Becca Liebschutz, chair of the CSG Student Safety Commission.

    The event cost $15,000, including $3,000 worth of pizza and $1,600 worth of M Den merchandise. CSG is funded by student fees and its total budget for the winter semester was $340,704.

    CSG donated leftover food to the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County.


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    Desmond_Parker.jpg

    Desmond Parker

    Courtesy of WCSO

    A 26-year Detroit man accused of robbing an Ypsilanti store at gunpoint has been charged with intimidating witnesses in the case, police said.

    Desmond Jamal Parker was arraigned Thursday on four counts of witnesses intimidation, false report of a felony and solicitation of lying to police, according to court records.

    Parker is accused of attempting to intimidate witnesses from the Washtenaw County Jail, where he has been held since last July, police said.

    “He was trying to send mail out to get witnesses or victims not to testify,” said Sgt. Geoff Fox of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

    There was no information immediately available about who Parker is accused of writing to or what was written, according to police.

    Parker was arrested shortly after the robbery of a store in the 800 block of North Huron River Drive round 2 a.m. July 2, police said.

    Police said the business’s owner was outside on a cigarette break when a gun-wielding man told him to go back into the store. Parker is accused of making the man open the register, grabbing cash and fleeing the store. The business owner was not injured.

    Police said they later arrested Parker while he was trying to hide a gun under a shed. Parker is charged with armed robbery, felony firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, assaulting or resisting a police officer and possession of a firearm in that case.

    Parker last appeared in court on March 11 for a pretrial hearing in the armed robbery case. At that time, a judge dismissed a motion to quash and reappointed a pubic defender to represent Parker after his counsel withdrew, according to court records. The case was then adjourned until March 18. A jury trial is set for March 25.

    He remains in the Washtenaw County Jail on three different bonds, according to jail records: $100,000 cash or surety bond for the armed robbery charges, 10 percent of $10,000 for resisting arrest charge and $100,000 cash or surety bond for the witness intimidation case.

    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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    An Ann Arbor man is accused of committing multiple home invasions after being released on bond in another case last year, court records show.

    javareholmes.jpg

    Javare Holmes

    Courtesy of WCSO

    Javare Holmes, 19, was arraigned last week on five charges of first-degree home invasion and a charge each of second-degree home invasion, larceny in a building and receiving and concealing stolen property worth $1,000 to $20,000, court records show.

    Ann Arbor Police detective Katie Nucci said Holmes broke into multiple homes in the Dicken and Lawton neighborhoods in Ann Arbor.

    He’s also a suspect in home invasions in Pittsfield Township and the jurisdiction of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Nucci said.

    “He hit multiple homes in Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township and Washtenaw County,” Nucci said. “His M.O. was he was looking for open garage doors, like the main garage door, and any rear door that was unlocked.”

    Holmes was arraigned on first-degree home invasion and assaulting, resisting and obstructing a police officer on May 17, records show. Magistrate Thomas Truesdell gave Holmes a 10 percent of $2,000 bond, according to court records.

    Holmes stayed in the Washtenaw County Jail until May 23, when he was freed on bond. He showed up to a preliminary exam the next day but then failed to appear for a pretrial hearing on July 2. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest, records show.

    Nucci said Holmes committed the latest home invasions after he was freed on bond.

    Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said a search warrant was served in the case before Holmes was arrested. Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox said he wasn’t aware of an investigation into Holmes by sheriff’s deputies.

    Pittsfield Township Deputy Police Chief Gordy Schick confirmed that Holmes is a suspect in at least three home invasions there. Charges on those cases have been submitted to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office.

    “We are working in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Police Department,” Shick said, “and we believe Mr. Holmes is responsible for at least three more home invasions connected to Pittsfield Township.”

    Holmes is scheduled to face a pretrial exam in the May case at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Fox confirmed his preliminary exam in the latest case is scheduled to be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

    He’s being held in the Washtenaw County Jail on a 10 percent $50,000 bond, according to jail records.

    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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    A Northfield Township woman was sentenced to jail time, anger-management therapy and $3,000 in restitution after pleading no contest to driving toward a pair of police officers and striking one, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus reported Sunday.

    Rebecca Lee Ball, 26, was sentenced to five months in the Livingston County Jail and given 87 days credit for time already served. She had pleaded no contest to two counts of felonious assault stemming from the July 4 incident in Green Oak Township, in which police said she revved the engine of her car and drove toward two officers who responded to an assault report, striking one officer in the upper thigh.

    Ball had been jailed for violating terms of her bond, which called for her to surrender her license and not drive, after she drove herself to a court hearing.

    Ball will also serve two years of probation upon release, with the first year on electronic monitoring.

    Her attorney, Mark Spickard, said Thursday that Ball has spent an additional 28 days in jail as a result of violating bond and said it was "a bit of a wake-up call" for her.

    For more, read the Press & Argus story.


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    Ann Arbor police are confirming that they’re investigating a report of a stabbing that reportedly took place early Sunday morning.

    AAPDbadge.jpg

    Courtesy of Ann Arbor police

    Courtesy of Ann Arbor police

    Police officials said investigators were dispatched at 1:35 a.m. Sunday to the 200 block of North Main Street. Officials declined to say more about the incident when contacted by AnnArbor.com.

    More information about the incident is expected to be released on Monday.

    Details about injuries were not immediately available.

    AnnArbor.com will update this story as more information is released.


    View Larger Map

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


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    Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti residents donned proper Irish attire and flooded the streets, bars and churches in celebration of St. Patrick's Day on Sunday. Some folks ventured to a traditional pub to partake to Irish music and food while others enjoyed alternative entertainment at Ypsilanti First Presbyterian Church or Michigan Theater.

    Check out the photo gallery above for a selection of St. Patrick's Day images.


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    Ann Arbor police arrested a 25-year-old South Lyon man after he stabbed a man, sending him to the hospital Sunday morning, a police detective said.

    Police are also investigating an assault that took place at a bar near the stabbing at about the same time. They said they appear to be unrelated.

    Ann Arbor police Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said police responded at 1:42 a.m. Sunday to the 200 block of North Main Street to investigate a reported stabbing. Pfannes said the 25-year-old South Lyon man is accused of stabbing a 28-year-old Ypsilanti man after a verbal confrontation turned physical.

    Pfannes said the South Lyon man produced a knife during the argument and stabbed the Ypsilanti man.

    The South Lyon man was arrested at the scene of the incident before being transported to the hospital to be treated for injuries he suffered in the fight. The Ypsilanti man remained in the hospital Monday morning.

    The two men didn’t know each other, Pfannes said.

    Pfannes said charges are being sought in the case, but there were no warrants filed in the case Monday morning, according to court records.

    Police are also investigating an assault that took place at Live, a bar located at 102 S. First St., shortly before the stabbing.

    Pfannes said police were called to investigate the incident at 1:35 a.m. Sunday, after a 41-year-old East Lansing man was assaulted.

    The man was sitting at the bar when an unknown man struck him. The assailant was gone by the time police arrived.

    The East Lansing man suffered a laceration on his face and required medical attention, Pfannes said.

    The assailant is described as a white or possibly mixed race man, 6-feet to 6-feet-2 inches tall, with a muscular build and a crew-cut hair style. He was wearing a dark jacket, Pfannes said.

    Anyone with information on these two incidents is encouraged to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).

    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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    Should college athletes get paid, and if so, what is a fair rate for kids who sometimes generate millions in revenue before they're allowed to buy a beer at the bar?

    What about non-revenue sports? Should athletes who don't create revenue be given an equal "piece of the pie?"

    These are some of the issues New York Times columnist Joe Nocera will discuss in an appearance at Eastern Michigan University's Student Center Auditorium on Tuesday, March 19, at 5:30 p.m. In his speech, entitled "How To Fix Big-Time College Sports," Nocera plans to discuss current issues surrounding college athletics.

    According to a release, there will be a question and answer period that follows the speech. The discussion is free and open to the public.

    Nocera has been an Opinion-Editorial columnist for the Times since April 2011 and has written numerous pieces on the topic of college athletics. In past columns he's proposed plans to pay football and men's basketball players at major schools, using a salary cap formulation. He's also called to give players and coaches more due process rights, and has called for athletes at big-time schools to be treated like any other student on campus.

    Nocera's appearance is being paid for by the EMU Student Government.


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    The state's "Pure Michigan" tourism campaign kicked off a $13 million national cable television advertising effort on Monday that is partly funded by several communities and the Henry Ford historical attraction in Dearborn.

    Nickels_Arcade_2011.jpg

    According to a Pure Michigan ad campaign, Ann Arbor does it up different.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com file photo

    The campaign runs through the end of June, and includes plans to run TV ads more than 5,000 times nationally. The state's five partners contributed a total of $3 million each: Ann Arbor contributed $1 million and The Henry Ford, Grand Rapids, Mackinac Island and Traverse City each kicked in $500,000.

    "Our partnership program has allowed us to maximize our national exposure and tell a compelling story about the unique destinations Michigan has to offer," George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan, which is part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said in a statement.

    The contributions were made through the Travel Michigan Partnership Advertising Program, which matches contributions of those partners, doubling the size of the advertising buys, the state said.

    TV spots featuring the five partner sites will be included in the national advertising rotation.

    The Pure Michigan campaign has been running for years. According to the state, the current campaign is the largest dedicated to promoting tourism nationally in Michigan. There's also Pure Michigan summer video series that features six warm weather activities and attractions.


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    The Ann Arbor Thrift Shop, located at 3530 Washtenaw Ave. in Ann Arbor, has jumped on an opportunity provided by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' viral hit "Thrift Shop" and created their own video.

    Check it out here:

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


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    GreenOakArmed.jpg

    Green Oak police are asking the public to contact them at (810) 231-9626 if they recognize this suspect who robbed a 7-11 Friday night.

    Courtesy of Green Oak police

    Police issued an an alert to businesses and retail stores after two armed robberies took place Monday morning in Livingston County.

    At 7:15 a.m., the BP gas station at 204 W. Grand River Ave. in Brighton was robbed, according to information from police. The PNC Bank at 8130 W. Grand River Ave. was hit next, at 9:45 a.m.

    The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5 foot 5 inches to 5 foot 7 inches tall, wearing sunglasses, a black winter jacket and hoodie underneath the jacket. The suspect's weapon was described as a black semi-automatic handgun. Additional information will follow if more information becomes available.

    The alert came just a few days after the 7-11 at 11501 Grand River Ave. was robbed in nearby Green Oak Township. Just before 8:53 p.m. Friday, a man walked in with a black scarf on his face brandishing a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded money, according to Green Oak police. The man took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled.

    The suspect in that robbery is described as a white man, 20-30 years old, 5 foot 10 inches tall and about 180 pounds. In addition to the scarf on his face, the man was wearing a knit winter cap with ear flaps, a grey sweatshirt and blue jeans.

    Call your local police or Livingston County Central Dispatch at (517) 546-9111 if you observe someone matching the suspect's description.


    View Brighton armed robberies in a larger map

    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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    020613_NEWS_Aerial_Downtown.JPG

    An aerial view of University of Michigan's downtown Ann Arbor campus.

    University of Michigan is moving forward with the next steps of four large construction projects.

    The school is putting a $60 million South Quadrangle dormitory renovation to bid to area contractors. Renovation of the 1,180-bed dorm's dining center, common areas and bathrooms was approved by the school's governing board in September and the schematic design was approved last month. South Quad will become a dining hub of central campus as the school plans to close nearby dining centers.

    Construction will take a year, ending the summer of 2014. U-M officials estimate the project will provide an average of 131 on-site construction jobs.

    Meanwhile, the school also is putting the construction of a 10,200-square-foot new softball facility to bid. The project was first approved by regents, who OK'd the $4 million budget, in October. Now, officials are asking to increase the construction budget to $5.3 million, with all funding provided by athletic department resources.

    That project is expected to provide an average of 19 jobs and be completed by winter 2014.

    The softball facility is part of an effort by athletic director Dave Brandon to put $250 million into upgrading non-revenue sports facilities in coming years.

    The revised project budget and schematic design, along with authorization to issue both projects for construction bids, will be discussed by the Board of Regents during a public meeting Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Michigan Union.

    The design for a $55 million renovation to 137,000 square feet of the Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library, a project first approved in September, also will be discussed by regents.

    The upgrade includes a new clinical simulation area for the medical school, a study area and a computer lab, in addition to the renovation of the existing library, which is primarily used by medical and pharmaceutical researchers and students.

    Regents also will discuss a $1.8 million roof replacement for the Earl V. Moore building, which houses U-M's School of Music, Theater and Dance. The roof on that building, which is scheduled to receive a separate $23.5 million renovation, was last replaced in 1986, according to a university memo.

    That project is expected to provide 18 construction jobs and be completed in the fall, while the library renovation is anticipated to provide 72 construction jobs and be completed in the fall of 2015.

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


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    The difficult themes of memory loss and dementia will be addressed in Lauren B. Morris' Department of Dance MFA thesis concert, "Resulting in This," at the Betty Pease Studio Theater.

    ContainerBridge.php.jpeg
    Morris will use original choreography, costumes, video, projection imagery, text, music and props to explore and express the different stages of mental degradation and the effects it has on identity.

    Three videos playing throughout the performance will tell the stories of Morris' grandmothers, each of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dimensia.

    The work is in collaboration with Martin Montgomery, director and editor of the videos; Katherine Nelson, costume designer; and Dennis Morris and Raphael Szymanski, music and sound composition.

    Thu-Sat., March 21, 22 and 23. 8 p.m. $5. Tickets are available one hour prior to the performance. For more information, contact the Department of Dance at 734-763-5461. The Dance Studio is located at 1310 N. University Ct., Ann Arbor.


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    Despite one man being sent to the hospital after being stabbed early Sunday morning, Ann Arbor police reported a much calmer St. Patrick’s Day weekend than last year.

    03172013_ENT_StPatricksDay_DJB_0151_fullsize.jpg

    Ann Arbor police reported revelers were well-behaved for the most part on St. Patrick's Day weekend.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    Ann Arbor police Detective Lt. Robert Pfannes said police were dispatched for 255 incidents from early Saturday morning until 2 a.m. Monday. That represents a significant decrease from March 17, 2012, when police were sent out on 475 calls for service.

    University of Michigan police reported 19 people needed to be taken to the hospital due to their level of intoxication. In addition, there were eight cases of minors in possession of alcohol. Last year, only five people were taken to the hospital for alcohol-related issues, and U-M police issued five MIP citations.

    Ann Arbor police Sgt. Elizabeth Patten reported mostly routine calls for service, including a few bar fights, in addition to the stabbing incident in the 200 block of North Main Street. She called the weekend “surprisingly quiet.”

    It was a significant departure from the busy day police had on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012.

    On March 17, 2012, police fielded 475 calls in one day and had to close the bars on South University Avenue early after the crowd in the area became too rowdy. Approximately 200 people crowded the street and three people were arrested for drunken disorderly conduct.

    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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    Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is now a Milan resident, although his prison cell is probably not the quiet home he’d enjoy.

    kwame_kilpatrick_trial.jpg

    Ex- Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick peers out from the Theodore Levin Federal U.S. Courthouse in Detroit following his 6-month-long corruption trial in which Kilpatrick was found guilty on 24 of 30 counts.

    Tanya Moutzalias | MLive

    As the Monroe News points out, Kilpatrick is just the latest in long line of famous names to be held in the Federal Correctional Institution at Milan.

    A report in the Monroe News details the history of the prison holding famous inmates, including the wives and girlfriends of notorious criminals, terrorists, hackers and Hollywood producers.

    Kilpatrick and former Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson were convicted last week on federal corruption charges. Kilpatrick was found guilty on 24 of 30 counts and Ferguson was found guilty on nine of 11 counts. They were ordered to the Milan prison to await their sentences.

    It's the second time Kilpatrick has been in the Milan prison — he was there in 2010 during a previous trial.

    There are more than 1,500 inmates at the prison.

    Read the full Monroe News report here.

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


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    20130314_TanyaMoutzalias_MLiveDetroit_govsecosummit_023.JPG

    Scott Temple speaks to the Governor's Economic Summit in Detroit Monday morning. Temple is a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University who wants to find a job in human resources.

    Tanya Moutzalias | MLive Detroit

    Related:
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  • Gov. Rick Snyder kicks off economic summit, features students looking for jobs in Michigan
  • “Gap” has been the word of the day at Governor Rick Snyder’s first economic summit. But is there a “talent gap,” a “skills gap,” a “communication gap,” or a “wage gap?” That all depends on who you ask.

    The largest gap exists between the two counter-intuitive narratives that have emerged at the summit: employers cannot find talented workers to fill open positions, and young talented people who want to work in Michigan can’t find jobs.

    Governor Snyder set the tone for the conference by referencing both narratives during his brief opening remarks. He first spoke about the 60,000 unfilled jobs on the state’s job search engine mitalent.org. He pointed out that if those jobs were all filled, it could lead to a 1.5 percent decrease in the state’s unemployment rate.

    With his next breath he said that Michigan’s greatest resource is not its Great Lakes, but the people in the state. He then proceeded to bring 10 college seniors and recent graduates to the stage, who made “the elevator pitch of their lives” to the crowd.

    The students were polished, poised, and professional, but somehow each of them was still struggling to find employment in Michigan. Leaving the session, the gathered business owners, economic development officers, and industry leaders were all wondering aloud how these people had not been hired yet.

    “It’s a communication gap,” recent University of Michigan graduate Morgan Fett said.

    “The dehumanizing of the hiring process has a lot to do with it. There are so many skilled and passionate youth out there who just can't make the connections they need to show how impressive they are.”

    Fett might have a point. Economist Paul Traub poked holes in the “skills gap” argument by noting that if there were a shortage of skilled employees, wages should have risen as demand outpaced supply. While there have been some modest gains in wages in Michigan, they have not been high enough to support this measure of skills gap.

    Traub also said that employers expectations have been rising. They are looking for the perfect job candidate, not merely a qualified one. In his presentation, a slide noted that “companies just aren’t willing to forgo profits and hire that next incremental employee.”

    “It’s not a question of ‘is there a talented workforce?’ There is,” ForeSee Results CEO Larry Freed said.

    “It’s not a question of quality it’s a question of quantity. It’s difficult to attract people from outside the state to Michigan right now and a lot of the young talent is leaving the state. The talented workforce is in high demand, and there’s not enough of them.”

    One of the students who addressed the summit in the morning was Eastern Michigan University graduate student Scott Temple. He works in the claims department at the University of Michigan but is taking an internship at Ford Motor Company’s HR department over the summer.

    Temple gets to see both sides of the equation. As someone who has both submitted and reviewed resumes and applications, he says there’s work that needs to be done by both job seekers and employers.

    “On the seekers end, the gap is knowing how to work the system and structure your resume for the computer systems that a lot of companies use now,” he said.

    “People looking for jobs also need to take networking more seriously, and get involved with different groups and organizations with the express goal of meeting people.”

    That personal connection seems to be the key to finding a job in the state today. Not surprisingly the presenters who were most engaging on stage were the ones with the largest circles of potential employers jockeying to speak with them.

    Temple said that for their part, companies do need to be less reliant on technology when it comes to finding the right people to hire. There are not enough human eyes that go over the resumes, but that it is made more difficult by the sheer number of applications that come in for every open position, he said.

    “In business you always want to try to have less people doing more things,” he said.

    “That makes it more on the job seekers to take more risks to get their name out there, that’s when you see people trip and fall right into an opportunity.”

    The state’s economic leaders have an opportunity today and tomorrow to figure out what is keeping the state’s talent from matching with its jobs. Maybe an entire summit is needed just to put college graduates in front of the state’s employers and let them talk for 2 minutes each.

    Also, if anyone is looking to hire someone in HR, I have a copy of Temple’s resume. He wouldn’t leave our interview with passing one off to me.

    “You never know,” he said. “Being too safe is the biggest risk you can take.”

    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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    A 41-year-old Ypsilanti woman died Sunday after colliding with a guard rail on Interstate 275 near Michigan Avenue in Canton Township, The Detroit News reported.

    Michigan State Police told The Detroit News Desiree Sharron Richard-Mobley was the only occupant in her Jeep at about 4:30 a.m. when it crashed into the guard rail, went off of the freeway and rolled. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

    It is unclear if Richard-Mobley was wearing a seatbelt or if alcohol was involved in the crash. Police continue to investigate the incident.


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