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

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    As the federal government continues to deliberate the extent and timing of forced budget cuts known as sequestration, local agencies and organizations are grappling with the possibility of extensive cuts to their funding.

    The exact meaning of the cuts is relatively unknown, and local agencies and institutions that utilize federal funding are trying to adjust their plans to deal with shrinking budgets.

    020613_UMHS-ANN-ARBOR.jpg

    The University of Michigan Health System anticipates $6 million less in Medicare reimbursements as a result of sequestration, but the exact amount is still unknown as the federal government deliberates.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file photo

    A number of Washtenaw County services that help poor individuals are readying for cuts that total about $437,000 -- or about a 5 percent cut to federal funding award amounts across the board, according to information compiled by Mary Jo Callan, director of the Office of Community and Economic Development.

    “We’re trying to literally keep meals on the tables,” Callan said. “We’re doing triage.”

    Callan said the cuts will mean fewer people can be helped in programs funded through departments including U.S. departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Health and Human Services, Energy and Agriculture.

    About 11,000 fewer meals would be served through the Senior Nutrition Program and about 630 fewer people could be helped through the Employment Service Program, Callan said.

    At the state level, those departments will be receiving cuts to their budgets exceeding $52 million.

    032213_SEQUESTRATION-COUNTY-IMPACT.JPG

    Sequestration includes a number of forced budget cuts throughout the next 10 years.

    The Federal Aviation Administration announced Friday the closure of a number of airport control towers it contracts out would be closing.

    Control tower staff at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport and the Willow Run Airport -- who are full FAA employees -- have yet to be notified that their hours would be cut or reduced, respectively.

    Medicare is expected to reduce payments by physicians, hospitals and private insurers by 2 percent as of April 1.

    For the University of Michigan Health System , reductions in Medicare reimbursements means a $6 million reduction in reimbursements for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

    In the 2014 fiscal year, the health system will receive about $14 million less in Medicare reimbursements, according to information provided by UMHS.

    To date, no layoffs at UMHS have occurred as a direct result of sequestration, said Pete Barkey, spokesman for the organization.

    Barkey said UMHS anticipates that there could be ramifications with federal funding cuts.

    “We’re well aware of what the potential impacts of this are and keenly watching to see how this unfolds,” Barkey said.

    The potential cuts in federal funding were taken into account during the development of the budget for the current fiscal year, Barkey said.

    However, researchers at UMHS and across the state will likely face less grant funding for their work and increased competition for the number of grants that are offered.

    In 2012, researchers in Michigan received $655 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and a total of $1.02 billion in federal research dollars.

    Research institutions that make use of National Institutes of Health grants will likely see a 5 percent decrease in their funding.

    About $33.4 million in NIH funding to Michigan researchers could be at risk for being cut this year, according to an estimate from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The University of Michigan is anticipating a cut as high as $40 million in its research funding.

    Researchers at UMHS will likely receive lower levels of funding in grants that are non-competitive and renewed each year, and they may have to renegotiate the amount and scope of certain grant awards they have received from NIH.

    There will also likely be several hundred less grants awarded from the National Science Foundation in the 2013 fiscal year.

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


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    The 21-year-old man accused of beating a woman after she tried to break up with him, running her over with a car and trying to lock her in the trunk of a car will be in court Tuesday.

    Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for michaelglenn2.jpg

    Michael Glenn

    Michael Glenn is facing 10 felony charges for a Nov. 27 incident in the 2300 block of McKinley Road in Ypsilanti Township. He’ll be back in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday for a pretrial hearing in front of Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton.

    According to police, the woman went to Glenn’s home to break up with him on Nov. 27. He got in her car and an argument quickly started. Police said he punched the woman several times, stabbed her in the face with an unknown object and then strangled the woman until she blacked out multiple times.

    Glenn then allegedly got out of the car, dragging the woman, and ran her over several times before trying to put her in the trunk.

    Police said Glenn eventually left the woman alone briefly when he went inside and she was able to run away and call police.

    Glenn allegedly stole the woman’s car and was on the lam until mid-January, when he was arrested in Detroit. He’s now lodged at the Washtenaw County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

    Glenn is charged with two counts each of assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm and assault with a dangerous weapon. He faces one charge each of carjacking, motor vehicle theft, unlawful imprisonment and domestic violence.

    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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    Have you ever needed help finding your way around Ypsilanti?

    If so, the city hopes to address that by launching a comprehensive wayfinding project that would replace and install several new signs around the city over the course of two to three years.

    signsannarbor.jpg

    Ypsilanti may consider beginning an extensive wayfinding project similar to the one Ann Arbor did in 2009.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority Director Tim Colbeck said the project has long been a priority of the Ypsilanti Convention and Visitors Bureau to create unified wayfinding for the entire city.

    The DDA is working with the Eastern Leaders Group and the visitors bureau on the project, which they hope to begin sometime this year.

    Colbeck said Eastern Michigan University and the city of Ann Arbor have good examples of what the signage may look like. The signs point to major buildings on campus and in the city.

    Ann Arbor DDA leaders announced in 2009, the planned installation of nearly 200 new signs guiding pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The project was completed to improve navigation for visitors and new community residents.

    “There’s a similar need here,” Colbeck said.

    Colbeck said the three partners are in the process of sending out requests for proposals to possible consultants and companies to help move the project along and figure out the costs.

    “This would be a phase, multi-year project,” Colbeck said. “We would probably install them over the two to three years and we’re trying to get this thing on the fast track.”

    Colbeck said they don’t yet have a cost estimate and probably won’t until they hire a consultant, which alone could cost “tens of thousands.”

    “It could be a very expensive project,” Colbeck said.

    Debbie Locke-Daniel, director of the bureau, said it will likely cover a big portion of the costs and the Eastern Leaders Group has stated it will contribute as well. Daniel said the costs will be dependent upon how many they choose to install, how decorative they are and the materials.

    It’s going to be expensive enough where I don’t see it happening in all of 2013,” Locke-Daniel said.

    Despite the costs, Locke- Daniel said the signage is necessary and could help with tourism development.

    “Signage is important when you’re talking about getting people around,” she said.

    Locke-Daniel is leading the planning process and expects the RFPs to be sent out this week.

    Colbeck said the project is needed because there’s a mismatch of signs across the city, with some so old and some spots with no signage at all.

    Locke-Daniel said she would like for the first part of the project to put new signs up at the entrance gateways off of Huron Street, near Interstate 94, which she said would guide tourists and motorists to the most important parts of the city.

    "I think that signs speak to your community," Locke-Daniel said. "When you get off the highway, it can be complexing."

    The signs will largely encompass the "campus town" area, as well as Depot Town and the downtown area, Locke-Daniel said. The signs to Riverside Park and Frog Island Park may be replaced as well.

    Locke-Daniel said the project could potentially expand to include street signs, to create a more unified look.

    Although the project is still in its initial phase, at some point, the city council may be asked to approve the project. Locke-Daniel said she has already been working with City Planner Teresa Gillotti on the project.

    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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    ann arbor thrift shop.jpg

    The Ann Arbor Thrift Shop was one of several non-profits that was stolen from in the last year.

    Daniel Brenner I AnnArbor.com

    The weekend of Oct. 20 was unusually busy for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

    "It was a big sale weekend for us," said Maggie Porter, H4H development director. "We had more [money] than we usually make."

    By Sunday night, the store had $2,000 in its cash box, but when employees came in Monday morning, the store's office door had been busted open and the cash box was gone.

    Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office determined that someone hid inside the store, waited for the employees to leave and then broke into the office, making off with the money from the weekend's extra sales.

    Porter said the money would have helped fund renovations and repairs to houses in the community.

    "It’s a hard reality for me to think about, that there are people out there whose resources are so small that they do break into nonprofits and see that as a viable place to make money," Porter said. "It's unfortunate. All the money we raise and that our store makes goes back into the community. We’re working hard to help people."

    There were several reports of thefts from non-profit organizations in the last year. The Ann Arbor Art Center, House by the Side of the Road, the Ann Arbor Thrift Shop and the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living all reported thefts of some kind in the last year.

    "As a nonprofit, you just don’t think that’s going to be a big concern," said Tom Hoatlin, the vice president of development for the Center for Independent Living. "You’re so used to people giving to you and wanting to help out."

    The thefts from the art center, the thrift shop, and House by the Side of the Road, all occurred within a month of each other, between Dec. 7, 2012 and Jan. 6 of this year. In each case, a thief broke into the building through a window.

    "They made a mess with the glass," said Mary Breakey, a volunteer at the thrift shop. "They really went after the bottom corner and smashed through there and reached their hand in to open it up."

    Unlike the H4H ReStore theft, the other thieves made off with petty cash, including $400 from the art center and less than $300 from the thrift shop. From House by the Side of the Road, they got what the organization's treasurer, Cathy Freeman, called "loose change."

    "These are places that take donations," said Lt. Renee Bush of the Ann Arbor Police Department. "They don’t have large amounts of cash."

    The Center for Independent Living was not so fortunate. Last March, a thief drove off with a trailer full of outdoor recreational equipment specialized for people with disabilities, setting the center back about $35,000.

    "We basically found out that our whole summer sports and rec program was stolen," Hoatlin said. "It’s a complete blow that somebody would take a trailer full of highly-specialized equipment, strictly for people with disabilities."

    No arrests have been made in connection to the four incidents, which fell under the jurisdiction of Ann Arbor Police Department.

    Bush said the trailer stolen from the Center for Independent Living was recovered on Jan. 31 in Charlotte, North Carolina, but its contents were missing. Police are coordinating efforts with authorities from Charlotte.

    The Sheriff's office could not be reached to give comment about the H4H ReStore theft, but Porter said she was unaware of any arrests.

    Despite the similarities between the three cases involving window break-ins, police have not found any reason to believe they were connected.

    "At this time, we don't have any reason to unequivocally say that they're related," said Lt. Robert Pfannes of the Ann Arbor Police Department.

    Despite the heavy losses some of the organizations experienced, several of them found a silver lining in their ordeals.

    "The only way that It changed our opinion of the community was the outpouring of support once people found out what happened," Hoatlin said.

    Through insurance and contributions from community members and businesses such as Brewed Awakenings and the South Side Business Association, the Center for Independent Living was financially able to fully recover.

    "The community really stepped up without us really asking," Hoatlin said. "We started receiving donations."

    The H4H ReStore also saw an increase in donations as well as verbal support from the community, and the thrift shop was able to open as scheduled on Monday due to the clean-up efforts of volunteers.

    "Here we suffer this break-in and we have eight board members who show up on a Sunday and say, 'what can we do?'," Breakey said.

    Moving forward from these incidents, some of the organizations have implemented new security measures.

    "We really saw it as a wake-up call," Porter said. "We took note. We really have tightened our security. We’ve installed surveillance cameras."

    Porter said new ReStore policies also mandate that two employees be in the shop during business hours and that employees double-check the store is empty before closing for the night.

    "It’s good practice and we’re happy to do it, but it does mean taking a little bit of our energy from our mission to focus on that," she said.

    The thrift shop has implemented a strict policy that no cash be left in the shop overnight, utilizing a courier service to bring cash to the shop when it opens and take it back to the bank at closing.

    "We got a high-tech window replacement and we hope that's going to be effective to deter future attempts to break-in," Breakey said.

    The Center for Independent Living already had surveillance of its trailer and locks on the trailer's hitch, but the organization has purchased extra locks to increase security.

    But even with the increases in security, peace of mind has yet to be completely restored after the break-ins.

    "We still constantly worry about it," Hoatlin said "Is it going to happen again?"

    Bush said the organizations' previous security measures weren't inadequate. In fact, she said they mostly did everything right.

    "I think sometimes people are so determined to get into places or their need is so great because they need money or whatever, that they seek out these places that help people," she said. "...It’s unfortunate that these things happen and that these individuals can’t just ask for help."


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    shenandoah.jpeg
    On Wednesday, March 27 at 7 p.m., the documentary "Shenandoah" will have its premiere at the Michigan Theater, followed by a panel discussion that includes the director, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer (and University of Michigan associate professor and former U-M football player) David Turnley; and the film's executive producer, Danny Glover ("The Color Purple," "Lethal Weapon," etc.).

    The documentary focuses on "a coal mining town with a proud immigrant heritage, once pivotal in fueling America's industrial revolution and today in decline and struggling to survive and retain its identity, soul and values - all of which were dramatically challenged when four of the town's white, star football players were charged in the beating death of an undocumented Mexican immigrant named Luis Ramirez."

    The New York Times' Lens blog offers more detailed information about the story and the film's creation.

    “We are so lucky to have this gifted artist in our community,” Michigan Theater executive director Russ Collins said in a press release. “David used his journalist’s instincts to tell Shenandoah’s troubling story in insightful ways. Hard work, community spirit, racism, economic distress, hope, and personal transformation are all subtly layered in this excellent, carefully crafted film.”

    Immediately following the screening, University of Michigan Residential College Director Angela Dillard will moderate a talk that will include Turnley; acclaimed actor and activist Glover; executive producer Billy Peterson; and civil rights attorney Gladys Limon.

    Advance tickets are available at Ticketweb.com. Regular ticket prices apply. Visit Vimeo to watch the trailer.


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    The presence of the University of Michigan ensures that Ann Arbor is never a stranger to world-class athletes as future NFL, NBA, NHL and Olympic stars regularly spend their formative years in the college town.

    Right down the street from the Big House and Crisler Center is another hotbed for elite talent at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, the home of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. The NTDP invites the top 16, 17, and 18 year olds in the nation to train to play for their country. It’s the reason Steven Santini moved from the small New York town of Mahopac to Ann Arbor two years ago.

    Santini was born into a hockey family. His father, also named Steven Santini, played for the University of Maine in the 1980’s and owns an ice arena.

    "It was pretty obvious at a young age I was going to be a hockey player," Santini said.

    Santini’s upbringing proved beneficial when he was invited to train with the NTDP U-17 team before his junior year of high school.

    Despite the fact that their son would have to move 10 hours away from Mahopac, Santini's parents were very excited for him, and supportive of his decision to play for his country and pursue his dream to playing hockey at the highest level.

    "It's just weird being away from my parents and being at a new school is kind of a tough transition, but my family supported me and it made it a lot easier," Santini said.

    Santini's daily schedule is more comparable a collegiate athlete than it is to a typical high school student. He and his teammates attend Pioneer High School during the day, and immediately after report to practice at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.

    Head coach Don Granato along with his staff conduct a highly intense practice. The training consists of conditioning and lifting weights twice a week in addition to their practice which is just about everyday. The NTDP U-18 team plays in the United States Hockey League and in exhibitions against top college programs across the country in addition to their national tournaments around the world.

    The U-18’s beat the University of Michigan and Michigan State in exhibition contests this year.

    "The team is just the best in the country at developing players. I have seen the success that a lot of good players had coming out of here, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me to come out here and play," said Santini.

    After the day is through, it is time for Sanitni and his teammates to head to their host homes. Since the players come from every part of the country, families in the Ann Arbor area volunteer to host the players for the year.

    Steven lives with the Bullinger family with host-mother, Jodi, father, Chris, brother, Wyatt, 12, and sister, Autumn, 9.

    Santini is the second player from the NTDP to live with the Bullingers.

    "Family can be defined in so many way. They become a part of your daily life," Jodi said.

    The Bullingers got started in the program in August of 2009, a few short months after the death of Jodi's father. When Jodi was a young girl, her father, a former teacher, opened their home to a student in need who quickly became just as much a part of the family as those born in.

    Jodi wanted to help commemorate her father and she saw helping a NTDP player as the perfect opportunity.

    "(Steven) is a really solid human being. He has been a fantastic role model and he adds an awesome energy to our household," Jodi said. "He is one kid who is wise beyond his years."

    This year the NTDP has the highest combined GPA in the program's history with a 3.54. With plans to play at some some of the best schools in the country, most of the players look to keep up the good grades, but its clear where their focus lies.

    "They are very serious about school work and our attendance and keeping up our good grades, but at the end of the day I want to be a hockey player and that is very important to me," said Santini.

    Santini has a bright future ahead of him. He'll play for Boston College next year and this summer is projected to be a high selection in the 2013 NHL Draft in June as one of the country's top-rated defenseman.

    The dream he's worked so hard and so long for is quickly becoming a reality.

    "He has the great foundation of work ethic and competitiveness," Granato said. "He is a guy who should have a good long career in this business."

    Joseph Tobianski is a freelance photographer for AnnArbor.com.


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    Ep106_003_CombatRescue.jpg

    In Kandahar, Afghanistan, Master Sergeant Duane Hayes kneels on a rocky hill at sunset.

    Jared McGilliard | courtesy of National Geographic Channel

    Master Sergeant Duane Hayes of Milan is one of four members of the U.S. Air Force featured in National Geographic Channel's program “Inside Combat Rescue: Coming Home,” airing Monday, March 25 at 10 p.m.

    Hayes is a pararescuman, or “PJ,” assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron stationed in Afghanistan. The program centers on their final two weeks of deployment, on and off the battlefield, before the men head back to the United States.

    “When I get home it will just be awesome,” says Hayes early in the show. “I’m looking forward to waking up and seeing my wife and seeing the kids react the way they do in the mornings, being cute.”

    As their days in Afghanistan dwindle down, home seems that much closer and that much further away for the soldiers. When the Taliban detonate a motorcycle bomb near Kandahar city injuring 10 civilians, the PJs take to the air to rescue a U.S. serviceman who has lost three limbs and is quickly losing blood.

    “There’s no denying the reality. Not everyone makes it home from this war,” Hayes adds.

    Hayes, who is still on active duty, is now at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga. His parents are Margaret and Bill Hayes of Milan.


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    032213_ann_arbor_music_center.JPG

    Alex Johnson and Karen King are co-owners of Ann Arbor Music Center, located on the edge of downtown Ann Arbor. Like Herb David Guitar Studio, the center offers lessons on a variety of instruments along with repair and a sales showroom for guitars and other instruments along with accessories. Johnson expects to pick up some of Herb David's businesses.

    Janet Miller | For AnnArbor.com

    While the departure of Herb David Guitar Studio closes the door on one era, it opens the door for other businesses that hope to fill the gap left when this Ann Arbor institution ends a 51-year run.

    As Herb David winds up its last few days - it closes at the end of the month - other area music stores are looking to add inventory, expand lessons, hire instructors and offer new services.

    herb_david_house.jpg

    Herb David Guitar Studio, at Liberty Street and Fifth Avenue, is closing at the end of the month.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com

    Over the five decades, Herb David became the heart of the Ann Arbor music scene, attracting local musicians and big names such as John Lennon, who visited the studio in 1971 when he was in town for a concert to support John Sinclair. Herb David, who founded the studio in the basement of a State Street bookstore, was always at the helm and earned a place in history and his own Wikipedia page.

    “Herb David was the central place for music,” said Alex Johnson, who took his first guitar lessons at Herb David when he was growing up in Ann Arbor and later taught at the studio. “There was a great deal of idea sharing and musical connections made there. It was a scene.” Herb David sold guitars and other instruments along with music accessories, serviced instruments and offered lessons on a variety of instruments.

    That scene will shift as a handful of music stores that offer a similar menu of products and services as Herb David work to fill the void.

    Herb David Guitar Shop employees David Collins, Brian Delaney and Hesh Breakstone also are opening their own third-floor repair shop when the business closes. Ann Arbor Guitars will be in the converted attic of the Herb David building at the corner of Liberty Street and Fifth Avenue.

    Johnson, who owns Ann Arbor Music Center, which offers the Rock Band School, at 312 S. Ashley St., expects to pick up some of the slack. “We will be the only place downtown that sells music accessories. Herb David did more sales, but we did more lessons,” he said. He’ll grow his retail side, at least a bit. “People are already starting to walk through the door looking for accessories because Herb David has sold out,” Johnson said.

    But with many customers turning to the Internet of big box stores for musical instruments, Johnson said he will be cautious about adding inventory. “We’ll definitely become more of a store and add things like more ukuleles because Herb David sold at lot of them. But I don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on inventory that gathers dust,” Johnson said.

    Johnson said he expects to pick up 100 or more of Herb David students and hire some of his staff. They will be added to the center’s existing roster of more than 500 students who take lessons in guitar and bass, drums, violin, voice and more.

    Ann Arbor Music Center has grown from the days in 1998 when Johnson opened a solo business teaching guitar in a condemned building on the land now occupied by the Ann Arbor YMCA on West Washington. He later moved to a building on North Main Street, a location with good visibility but an aging structure he outgrew as he added programs, students and teaching staff.

    032213_rock_band_school.JPG

    Ann Arbor Music Center, at 312 S. Ashley St., offers Rock Band School.

    Janet Miller | For AnnArbor.com

    Today, Ann Arbor Music Center occupies 10,000 square feet in two buildings. With programs in rock, blues, jazz, classical and voice, they have grown every year and expect 20 to 30 percent growth in 2013, Johnson said. That could send them looking for more space.

    Steve Osburn, owner of Oz’s Music at 1920 Packard, said he expects to see a 10 to 20 percent bump with the Herb David closing and to pick up at least 50 students. He’s already hired two Herb David teachers, including Sean Rogers, the studio’s general manager, Osburn said.

    He expects to add a few new, pricier lines of guitars, including Seagull. Until now, he has stocked only entry-level guitars. There have been exclusivity arrangements that allowed Herb David to be the sole retailer of some brands, Osburn said. “But we also haven’t wanted to step on each other's toes.” He said he’s in negotiations to sell top-line Martin guitars.

    He’s also negotiating to sell tickets to The Ark from the 3,500-square-foot Oz’s Music, something Herb David had done. “There’s a small service charge, but it really is about getting more warm bodies through the door,” Osburn said.

    Finally, Oz’s Music will now be open on Sundays. “We used to have Sunday hours and things were slow,” Osburn said. “But Herb David has done well with their Sunday hours.”

    Sean Robinson, co-owner of Dennis's Music at 432 N. Hewitt in Ypsilanti, said he will wait and see if the Herb David closing bumps sales, and doesn’t plan on adding or expanding stock. “We, essentially, sell and do the same kinds of things as Herb David,” Robinson said. That includes guitar, drum and other instrument sales, music supplies such as strings and oil along with repair and lessons.

    And at least one Herb David instructor has expressed an interest in teaching at Dennis’ Music, Robinson said.

    A move a year ago from Depot Town to their storefront close to Ypsilanti High School puts Dennis’ Music in a better geographic position to pick up some of Herb David’s Ann Arbor customers. And retail became more of a focus when they moved.

    “I wouldn’t do anything to disrespect Herb David. Just about anyone who has done anything with music in Washtenaw County has had some (connection) with Herb David,” Robinson said. But he’s hoping to help fill at least some of the gap. “My door is open,” he said. “We do and sell the same things. I don’t want to be opportunistic. We’ll carry on and hope that some people find their way here.”

    Janet Miller is a freelance reporter. Reach the AnnArbor.com business desk at business@annarbor.com.


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    A former tennis pro accused of fraudulently bringing four children from the African nation of Togo to the U.S. and forcing them to work as slaves in his home in Ypsilanti was sentenced Monday to more than 11 years in federal prison.

    Toviave.jpeg

    Jean-Claude Toviave

    Jean-Claude Toviave, who didn't apologize when provided the opportunity to speak at his sentencing hearing in Detroit, also was ordered to pay two of the children $60,000 each.

    Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow to sentence Toviave to the maximum sentence within the guidelines, and he did, handling down a 135-month sentence, with credit for about two years of time served.

    "I can't get a read on you," Tarnow told Toviave. "I can't tell if you understand what you did was really wrong."

    The four children emigrated from Togo in 2006 with fraudulent immigration paperwork that listed them as being Toviave's biological children, which they are not.

    The victims said Toviave beat them with toilet plungers, broomsticks and electrical cords and starved them if they didn't follow his orders. They were forced to vacuum, iron, cook, clean and shine shoes at the home in Ypsilanti for nearly five years until January 2011.

    Toviave, who worked as a janitor at the University of Michigan and as a part-time tennis instructor at the Huron Valley Tennis Club, was arrested when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided his home in May 2011.

    Two of the victims were in the courtroom during sentencing, but declined to speak.

    Victim statements were entered into the record, however, and one was read aloud by a representative.

    "The physical torture, beating me and starving me, you inflicted was so painful that I prayed at night that God would either help me to be free or allow your assaults to kill me," wrote the unnamed victim. "The pain is something I will never forget. In the midst of your verbal and physical assaults, you worked the four of us to death."

    A jury convicted Toviave of four counts of forced labor in October. He previously pleaded guilty to fraud and misuse of visas, mail fraud and harboring aliens.

    Defense lawyer Randall Roberts, who asked Tarnow to sentence his client to four years, said the judge's sentence "was as tough as it comes."


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    UofMCampus_JT_09.jpg

    University of Michigan students traverse campus.

    Joseph Tobianski | AnnArbor.com

    A decade after upholding the use of affirmative action policies in University of Michigan admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear another case that will affect the Ann Arbor school's ability to consider an applicant's race.

    The high court has agreed to hear a case arguing the legality of a 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment that bans consideration of race in admissions by Michigan's 15 public universities.

    In an 8-7 decision late last year, a federal appellate court upheld a Sixth Circuit court's July 2011 decision to strike down the amendment, known as Proposal 2 or the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, because it presents an undue burden to proponents of affirmative action who would have to mount a long, expensive campaign to amend the constitution.

    Supreme_Court_AP.jpg

    The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

    AP photo

    Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which decided Monday to hear the case. The case is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The court in the fall heard an affirmative action case questioning the University of Texas' consideration of race in admissions and for that case U-M filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting affirmative action. A decision is expected this summer.

    Experts believe that by taking up the Michigan ban, the Supreme Court is looking to take a broader stance on affirmative action.

    While university administrators publicly support affirmative action —U-M President Mary Sue Coleman has said she is a "huge believer in affirmative action"— the school hasn't offered a stance on Proposal 2; instead Coleman said she is adopting a "wait and see" attitude as litigation continues.

    It's unclear whether the university will offer support the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action's case, led by attorney George Washington, now that it is before the Supreme Court.

    "We've been watching it," U-M spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said of the case, adding that the school's no-stance policy has not changed.

    Washington assisted the university's legal team before the Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2002 when it argued in favor of the school's consideration of race in admissions. In that landmark case, the court found that U-M could work toward achieving diversity in admissions, but that the school's existing policy considered race too heavily.

    As the university redrafted its affirmative action policies, opponents mounted a campaign to ban affirmative action among Michigan's 15 public universities. The result was Proposal 2, and since it took effect in 2006 U-M hasn't used affirmative action in admissions.

    Diversity in the school's student body has clearly suffered. Currently, underrepresented minorities make up 10 percent of the freshmen class, a 0.5 percent decrease from 2011 and a 0.6 percent decrease from 2010.

    According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the number of blacks enrolled as freshmen at U-M dropped nearly 15 percent from 2006 to 2010. Black enrollment at the law school fell 28 percent from 2006 to 2011.

    "These laws have driven down black and latino enrollment," Washington, the attorney that will represent affirmative action proponents before the Supreme Court when it hears the Michigan case in the fall, said in an interview. "It damages the minority.... It's a disaster, we want them to reverse the law."

    Washington said that while Schuette filed the appeal, his legal team encouraged the Supreme Court to take up the case. Washington thinks the court will find in his favor, thus setting a national precedent that affirmative action proponents have been seeking for years.

    For his part, Schuette has expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will uphold the ban.

    "The Michigan Constitution exemplifies the fundamental premise of what America is all about: equal opportunity under the law for all citizens," he said in a statement released Monday. "Entrance to our great colleges and universities must be based upon merit, and I remain optimistic moving forward in our fight for equality, fairness and rule of law at our nation’s highest court."

    In 2011, 33 percent of U-M freshmen said they supported affirmative action policies. That same year, 42 percent of college freshmen throughout the nation supported weighted admissions policies, according to an annual freshman survey conducted jointly by the University of California's Cooperative Institutional Research Program and U-M.

    Washington criticized U-M for not publicly supporting a repeal of the state's affirmative acton ban.

    "Their position so far has been to be neutral," he said. "They just say 'Whatever the courts decide,' which we think is wrong."

    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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    One westbound lane of Michigan Avenue between Prospect and Grove Street was still closed Monday in Ypsilanti after a Sunday water main break.

    "The westbound lane is still barricaded, just about 200 feet south of Prospect, going west," said Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority Director Jeff Castro.

    Castro said there are still two lanes of traffic flowing each way because they're utilizing the center lane.

    Castro said that portion of the road will likely not reopen Monday, and YCUA is meeting with MDOT before reopening. A reopen date has not been set yet.

    "We want to make sure we restore it properly," Castro said. "Other than that, traffic is flowing just fine."

    The water main break has been repaired and now YCUA is replacing soil that may have been washed away.

    The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office sent out an advisory alert Sunday alerting residents that Michigan Avenue between Grove and Prospect in Ypsilanti would be closed until further notice due to a severe water main break.

    Castro said the water main break occurred at 8:30 a.m. and was isolated by 10 a.m.

    "It was only an 8-inch water main break," Castro said. "We were able to isolate it quickly and it all drained out."

    The break was discovered by an employee who was monitoring the water distribution system.

    Castro said only two customers were affected by the water main break and no boil water advisory was needed. Castro said advisories are usually only put into affect if between 50 and 100 people are without water.

    Castro said the water main break was a result of one of the valves malfunctioning, which was caused by an electrical spark.

    "It opened more than we wanted to open and caused a water main break," he said. " We repaired the water main break and figured out the issue."


    View Larger Map

    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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    Mountain-Bendena_Rehearsal3.jpg

    Michelle Mountain rehearses "33 Variations."

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

    MLive arts and entertainment reporter Zeke Jennings will host a live chat with Purple Rose Theatre artistic director Guy Sanville and actress Michelle Mountain on Tuesday, March 26 at noon to talk about the Rose's newest production, Moises Kaufman's "33 Variations."

    Anyone is welcome to submit questions and / or follow along with the conversation.

    Watch for a preview article about "33 Variations" Wednesday morning on AnnArbor.com.


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    Thumbnail image for nixon.png

    "Our Nixon" is among this year's Ann Arbor Film Festival award winners.

    When the 51st annual Ann Arbor Film Festival wrapped up at the Michigan Theater on Sunday, March 24, organizers announced this year's prize winners, as chosen by a jury composed of Kevin Jerome Everson, Laida Lertxundi and Marcin Gizycki.

    Ken Burns Award for Best of the Festival
    "Our Nixon" (Penny Lane)

    The Stan Brakhage Film at Wit’s End Award
    "I Am Micro" (Shai Heredia, Shumona Goel)

    Lawrence Kasdan Award for Best Narrative Film
    "Bite of the Tail" (Song E Kim)

    Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film
    "Skinningrove" (Michael Almereyda)

    Award for Best International Film
    "2012" (Takashi Makino)

    Peter Wilde Award for Most Technically Innovative Film
    "Da Vinci" (Yuri Ancarani)

    \aut\FILM Award for Best LGBT Film
    "Encounters I May or May Not Have Had with Peter Berlin" (Mariah Garnett)

    Leon Speakers Award for Best Sound Design
    "Life is an Opinion, Fire a Fact" (Karen Yasinsky)

    FotoKem/Colorlab Award for Best Cinematography
    "Despedida (farewell)" (Alexandra Cuesta)
    "People’s Park" (Libbie D. Cohn, J.P. Sniadecki)

    The No Violence Award
    "I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard" (Matt Wolf)

    Gus Van Sant Award for Best Experimental Film
    "Postface" (Frédéric Moffet)

    Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film
    "Burning Star" (Joshua Gen Solondz)

    The Barbara Aronofsky Latham Award for Emerging Experimental Video Artist
    "Pareidolia" (Maya Erdelyi)

    Prix DeVarti for Funniest Film
    "Liberaceón" (Chris Vargas)

    Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker
    "Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful" (Akosua Adoma Owusu)

    George Manupelli Founder’s Spirit Award
    "Flower" (Naoko Tasaka)

    Art & Science Award
    "Dear Pluto" (Joanna Priestley)
    The Eileen Maitland Award
    "Lie Back and Enjoy It: A Film About JoAnn Elam" (Jessica Bardsley)

    Award for Best Music Video
    "Reagan by Killer Mike" (Daniel Garcia, Harry Teitelman)

    JURY AWARDS
    "Handful of Dust" (Hope Tucker)
    "Solar Sight II" (Lawrence Jordan)
    "Coversong" (Eric Dyer)
    "More Is Always on the Way" (Bryan Boyce)
    "Releasing Human Energies" (Mark Toscano)
    "Circle in the Sand" (Michael Robinson)
    "Phantom of a Libertine" (Ben Rivers)
    "Dad’s Stick" (John Smith)


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    marnie.jpeg
    Famed movie actress Tippi Hedren - as part of the Turner Classic Movies film series, Road to Hollywood—will be coming to the Michigan Theater on Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. Hedren will speak about the film and her career with TCM's Ben Mankiewicz after a screening of "Marnie," directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

    The series is free to attend; get your tickets online at www.tcm.com/roadtohollywood starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 26.

    Starring Sean Connery and Hedren, "Marnie" (1964) tells the story of a man who marries a woman named Marnie - even though she is a habitual thief with psychological problems - and tries to help her confront and resolve her issues.

    Road to Hollywood is TCM's classic film series, visiting 10 cities around the country. Ann Arbor is the 8th stop.

    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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    A 54-year-old Ypsilanti man faces a preliminary examination Tuesday on charges he broke into a woman’s house, raped her and physically assaulted her.

    derrickking.jpg

    Derrick King

    Courtesy of WCSO

    Ypsilanti police Detective Sgt. Tom Eberts said Derrick King used a key sometime after midnight on Feb. 3 to enter the home of a woman he had dated. Eberts said King used to live at the residence in the 700 block of Washtenaw Avenue.

    Eberts said King grabbed the woman’s phone away from her as she tried to call police and prevented her from leaving.

    “He kept her there during the night and sexually assaulted her and physically assaulted her,” Eberts said.

    King is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a charge each of first-degree home invasion, intimidating a witness, interfering with electronic communications and domestic violence, court records show.

    A preliminary exam is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the 14A-1 District Court in Pittsfield Township. King is held at the Washtenaw County Jail on a $50,000 cash or surety bond.

    Eberts said there was a prior history of domestic abuse in the relationship, which had been taking place for the last three years.

    The criminal warrant was approved against King on Feb. 12, but he wasn’t arraigned on charges until March 13. Eberts said he was arrested after contact with Ann Arbor police the day before his arraignment.

    The woman refused medical treatment, Eberts said.

    King has a long criminal history, dating back to a shoplifting conviction in 1990. In addition, he’s been convicted of delivery/manufacture of a narcotic less than 50 grams in 1992, first-degree retail fraud in 1993, two counts of armed robbery in 1993 and two1993 convictions of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, state records show.

    He was in prison from Aug. 1993 until Oct. 2011 on the 1993 convictions, which all stem from an incident on April 23, 1993,, records show. He was sentenced to from 17 to 32 years in prison for those convictions.

    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 company is considering drilling oil wells in northern Washtenaw County's Northfield Township, according to township officials.

    The company has hired Bishop Land Services of Mesick to execute land contracts, obtain permits and conduct initial seismic tests.

    033513_OIL-WELL.JPG

    A pump jack at an oil well in Saline Township operated by Paxton Resources. Representatives from a different company are seeking land leases for oil exploration in Northfield Township.

    Angela Cesere | AnnArbor.com file photo

    The Northfield Township Police Department issued a notice Monday that at least one subcontractor from Bishop Land Services would be going door-to-door in southeastern Northfield Township, and would likely be driving a two-door red Mazda.

    The police department issued the notice because they had received concerned calls from Northfield Township residents regarding the house calls in light of a rash of recent break-ins in the area.

    Bishop Land Services would not reveal their client company due to contractual obligations.

    Oil wells continue to be drilled in Saline Township by Paxton Resources LLC of Gaylord. The company has obtained permits for at least two new wells in the township this year.

    Further information was not immediately available.

    Washtenaw County's western neighbor, Jackson County, has the highest oil production in the state, closely followed by Lenawee County.

    A boom in natural gas production has yet to be seen in Michigan, Crain's Detroit Business reported.


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    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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    Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from City Administrator Steve Powers.

    The city of Ann Arbor failed to meet conditions of a grant agreement for demolition of six boarded-up houses on North Main Street, and the $96,000 award has been rescinded, a spokeswoman for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority said.

    Katie Bach, media affairs manager for MSHDA, on Monday provided a more detailed explanation of the issues surrounding the Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant and why it went unused.

    Mayor John Hieftje put the blame on MSHDA last week when asked why the houses weren't taken down by a March 15 deadline to qualify for demolition grant funding.

    North_Main_houses_032113.jpg

    Cars travel past the boarded-up houses on North Main Street in Ann Arbor on Thursday afternoon. They were supposed to be demolished by March 15.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    "They told us we needed to get the houses down by March 15, and a check was coming," Hieftje said. "Since then, we've had very little communication with them. They're not getting back to us."

    According to a timeline provided by MSHDA, the city was awarded a $116,000 increase on Sept. 28 to a previous grant, bringing the total award to $966,000.

    From the additional NSP funds, $20,000 was for demolition of blighted structures located at 512 Felch and $96,000 was for the houses at 720-735 N. Main.

    According to the grant conditions, all funds had to be spent by March 15 and no NSP funds would be available for expenses incurred after March 15.

    All invoicing had to be submitted to MSHDA by April 15, and only work completed prior to March 15 would be reimbursed with NSP funds, according to the agreement.

    MSDHA's timeline shows the grant was decreased by $20,000 on Nov. 20 after it was decided NSP funds wouldn't be used for the demolition of 512 Felch.

    And after the March 15 deadline lapsed and the North Main houses had not been demolished, MSHDA took back the other $96,000 on March 18.

    "The problem was that the city's procured contractor could not actually complete the demolitions within the NSP1 expenditure timeframe of March 15," Bach said.

    City Administrator Steve Powers said the city did not overlook the March 15 deadline. He said staff made a judgment call that the demolition work would not be completed by the NSP deadline.

    "I have asked staff for a recommendation on using MSHDA funds or the city's dangerous building fund," Powers wrote in an email on Monday.

    Bach said the city still could have elected to proceed with the demolitions and finance any costs incurred before March 15 with NSP funds and any costs incurred after March 15 with a different funding source. She said the city shouldn't have been waiting for a check from MSDHA.

    "NSP1 funds are not advanced, but instead are reimbursed on an invoice basis," she said, adding the city would not have received a check prior to the work actually taking place.

    Bach said last week Ann Arbor still might be able to demolish the homes with NSP funds, because there will be a reallocation window opening soon, and the city can reapply.

    "There are no guarantees, though, because it is a competitive process," she said.

    Hieftje said if the issue doesn't get resolved soon, the city will just go ahead with demolishing the houses using its own money.

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


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    Within 11 minutes Monday, three Ann Arbor area crashes sent three people to the hospital, all in stable condition.

    First, at 2:42 p.m. Monday, emergency crews were sent to a head-on collision at Jackson Road and Wagner Road. Ann Arbor police Lt. Jim Baird said three cars were involved in a crash.

    Huron Valley Ambulance spokeswoman Joyce Williams said at least two vehicles hit in a head-on collision. There were four people who needed to be treated by HVA personnel but only one person had to be taken to the University of Michigan Hospital emergency room in stable condition.

    Two minutes after that crash was reported, a two-car crash at Packard Road and Easy Street was reported. Williams said one person was taken to University of Michigan Hospital emergency room at 3:15 p.m. in stable condition.

    At 2:53 p.m. Monday, a car struck a bicyclist at South University Avenue and State Street in downtown Ann Arbor. Williams said the bicyclist was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital emergency room at 3:16 p.m. in stable condition.

    Ann Arbor police were not immediately available to provide more information on the crashes Monday afternoon, but officials said details could be available later in the day.

    Check back to AnnArbor.com for any further developments in these crashes.

    AnnArbor.com reporter Kody Klein contributed to this report.

    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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    An 18-year-old Ann Arbor man is charged with shooting an 18-year-old man in the shoulder Sunday morning while he was free on bond in a separate case, court records show.

    torreyjuide.jpg

    Torrey Juide

    Courtesy of WCSO

    Torrey Juide is charged with assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to court records. He was arraigned Monday at the Washtenaw County Jail, where he was held as of 3 p.m. Monday.

    Juide is charged with shooting an 18-year-old Ypsilanti man once in the shoulder sometime before 1:58 a.m. Sunday in the 3500 block of South State Street. Ann Arbor police Detective Bill Stanford said the two teens knew each other and had previous confrontations.

    “It was a drive-by type shooting,” Stanford said. “There were multiple witnesses and a distinct vehicle involved. We tracked the vehicle to Tecumseh and were able to make the arrest.”

    Juide and an 18-year-old woman were arrested Sunday in Tecumseh by Ann Arbor police investigators, with the assistance of the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Office and the Tecumseh police.

    Stanford said he was told Juide’s bond was set at $50,000 cash. There was no record of the bond available from jail records Monday afternoon. The 18-year-old woman who was also arrested in the case was not charged, Stanford said.

    Officials from the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office were not immediately available to comment on the decision to not charge the woman.

    The incident came a little more than a month after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of disturbing the peace.

    Juide was charged with possession of a billy club and carrying a concealed weapon earlier this year. Detective Chris Fitzpatrick, of the Ann Arbor Police Department, said the charges stemmed from a December incident.

    “It was a suspicious subjects call, a possible drug dealing complaint,” Fitzpatrick said. “Officers came across him and he had a billy club in the car and it was his.”

    Magistrate Thomas Truesdell, records show, arraigned Juide on the charges on Jan. 15. Truesdell gave him a $10,000 personal recognizance bond, allowing him to leave the jail for free.

    On Feb. 21, Juide pleaded guilty to an added third count of disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor, records show. In exchange, the felony charges of possession of a billy club and carrying a concealed weapon were dismissed.

    He was scheduled to be sentenced in the case on April 19, according to court records.

    The allegations against Juide will surely raise more questions about the amount of bond given to accused criminals, who then go on to be charged in other crimes while their cases are pending.

    In the last two weeks, Javare Holmes was arrested and charged with 11 felonies — all committed while he was free on bond from a May 2012 case. The news that Holmes was able to leave jail and allegedly commit more crimes upset many members of the community.

    Juide graduated from Skyline High School in June 2012 and is a former member of the school’s varsity football team.

    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 laptop, a GPS unit, two purses and a book bag were stolen in two separate incidents from vehicles parked in lot at Eastern Michigan University's Rynearson Stadium during this past weekend.

    An unknown suspect smashed the window of a vehicle and stole a GPS unit and two purses between 1 and 3:20 p.m. on Saturday.

    The following day, someone stole a laptop and a book bag from a vehicle that was left unlocked. This incident was reported at 3:09 p.m.

    EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes, said the victims were non-students who parked their vehicles in the lot during baseball games they were attending at the stadium.

    No estimate of the stolen property's value was available and there are no suspects at this time.


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


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