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

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    Bike Ypsi, a community cycling group, will host its sixth Spring Ride and Festival event Sunday, May 5, the Ypsilanti Courier reported.

    Bike Ypsi began in 2007 to encourage biking in city streets.

    The free event will feature guided bike rides through Ypsilanti, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Recreation Park on North Congress Street. Rides will leave around 10 a.m. and will have three different lengths depending on riders skill level.

    The five-mile ride will be for those looking for a short ride through the city on bike paths and through the Border-to-Border trail, a 15-mile ride that explores the various roads and routes, and a 33-mile ride for those looking for a challenge.

    According to the group's page there will be local bike shops on hand to perform maintenance before the rides to ensure that participants' bikes are ready for the roads.

    Bike Ypsi's website said there will be a cookout following the event.

    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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    Outdoors enthusiasts of southeast Michigan, rejoice: Cabela’s in Dundee reopens Friday afternoon.

    cabelas_mlive.jpg

    Cabela's is scheduled to reopen Friday afternoon.

    Mlive.com

    The store has been closed since Wednesday, April 26 after a small electrical fire required a major cleanup. Spokesman Chuck Smock said the store, 110 Cabela’s Blvd., is scheduled to open at 4 p.m. Friday.

    According to a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Cabela’s employees and outside contractors are working in three shifts around the clock to complete the cleanup.

    “Our team is eager to get our store put back together,” said Joe Ross, general manager of the store. “We can’t wait until we can open the doors and welcome our customers back.”

    The fire started at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday and the store suffered smoke and chemical damage during the process of putting it out. A sooty film covered parts of the store.

    The entire clothing inventory and other goods needed to be replaced. Store officials said all merchandise damaged by the fire, smoke and the fire extinguisher compound have been removed from the store. They will be replaced by new items.

    The building itself did not suffer any structural damage.

    Cabela’s will continue to honor sale prices for its Warm Up to Savings event and the upcoming Let’s Go Camping promotion until May 12.

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


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    The family of Ypsilanti resident Michael Sheets said he was one of seven crew members killed Monday in the U.S.-run civilian cargo plane crash in Afghanistan, ClickonDetroit.com reported.

    032613_Willow-Run-Airport-thumb-646x424-138177.jpg

    Ypsilanti resident Michael Sheets was one of seven individuals killed in the Afghanistan plane crash. National Airlines, was recently based at the Willow Run Airport, pictured here.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Sheets' family issued a written statement confirming that he was employed by National Airlines, the company that owned the plane. The family said that while there were inherent risks involved with his job, Sheets faced the risks to provide for his family.

    Sheets had a fiancee, Anna Love, and two children.

    The Monroe Evening News reported that Monroe resident Jamie Brokaw, 33, a first officer pilot with National Airlines, also died in the crash. Shirley Kaufman, vice president of human resources and ethics and compliance with National Airlines, confirmed Brokaw was in the cockpit and second in command of the flight crew.

    The Detroit News reported that one of the pilots was Brad Hasler, 34, who got married April 14 at a Detroit restaurant in a small family ceremony. Hasler and his wife, Robin, are the parents of a 1-year-old daughter, Sloane.

    Seven people, five from Michigan, were killed when the plane crashed Monday shortly after takeoff at an airfield in Afghanistan. AnnArbor.com previously reported that officials have said the National Transportation Safety Board will assist in an investigation to determine the cause.

    The Florida-based cargo company, National Airlines, said its Boeing 747-400 plane crashed at about 7 a.m. EST at the Bagram Air Field, just north of the Afghan capital.

    National was based at the Willow Run Airport, located in Ypsilanti Township and Wayne County's Van Buren Township, until January of this year. The company relocated to Orlando, Fla.

    The National Airlines Family Information Call Center has been activated to support any family members requiring information. The National Airlines Family Information Call Center number is 888-705-7560.

    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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    Endi_Poskovic_Black_Mountain.jpg

    “A View From the Black Mountain in Green and Yellow Mist with Blue (for Joseph Albers)” by Endi Poscovic

    The landscapes of Endi Poskovic's mind are on display at Chelsea’s River Gallery.

    His “big triumph|majestic land,” a compilation of his 2003-2013 “La Souffrance et L’Aventure” and “Majestic Landscapes” series with additional lithographs drawn from his “Crossing” series of the same period, feature imaginative sceneries with a hermetic flamboyance.

    As Poskovic says in his River Gallery artist’s statement, “Through the representation of familiar imagery my work proposes a range of eventualities, from hybridized narratives to unexpected scenarios, invoking a sense of place and time, and exploring ideas about displacement, memory and reconciliation.

    “A critical element in many of my relief prints is the placement of invented phrases and words that are cut in wood, placed and printed below the images. Created in actual and/or faux Romance and Germanic languages, the captions contribute to interpretations that may simultaneously appear to be real and fictitious, rational and absurd. The intersection of the image and the written word in my prints reinforces the act of reading the two in a single context as a source of unlimited interpretive possibilities.”

    And unlimited possibilities, these prints most certainly are. For this is one of those subtly inventive exhibits whose meaning might be confounding otherwise. As it is, these imaginatively crafted prints are intriguing solely from their appearance — with or without “actual and/or faux” meaning because Poskovic’s personal passages also seem almost never-ending.

    As his biography tells us, born in 1969 at Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and raised in Yugoslavia in the 1970s; Poskovic moved to Norway, and then relocated to America to make art. These transitions account for what the gallery describes as his “multifaceted perspective of home, country, boundaries, nationality, and visions.”

    Through this period, Poskovic’s exhibited at major international exhibitions including the Shanghai International Biennial, China; Taichung International Biennial, Taiwan; Krakow International Triennial, Poland; la Biennale Internationale d'Estampe Contemporaine de Trois-Rivieres, Canada; Egyptian International Triennial; Deutsche Internationale Triennale, Frechen, Germany; Tallinn International Triennial, Estonia; Xylon International Triennale, France; Varna Biennale, Bulgaria; Warsaw Impact Biennale, Poland; and Ljubljana International Biennale, Slovenia.

    Add American surveys held at the Philadelphia Print Center; Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND; Des Moines Art Center; Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha — as well as Michigan’s own Interlochen Arts Academy Dow Center for the Arts — and his movement seems perpetual.

    All of which makes Ann Arbor now a resting spot for this University of Michigan professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design and recipient of grants and fellowships ranging from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and John D. Rockefeller Foundation to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Flemish Ministry of Culture-Frans Masereel Centrum. We’re just lucky Poskovic’s slowed down enough to exhibit at the spacious River Galley.

    For the way these works are described by the gallery is equally restless.

    “Poskovic’s ‘La Souffrance et L’Aventure’ Series and ‘Majestic Landscapes Series,’” says the River Gallery, “are the results of intersecting cultural signifiers, both real and imaginative. Provoking the viewer to attempt a construction of meaning through the reading of the text as well as the images themselves. These landscapes resist the possibility for logical classification and result in infinite possibilities of interpretations.”

    Likewise, his “Crossing” series “underscores a personal tale of discovery, “In 2010, (Poskovic) returned for the first time to his ancestral birthplace in Southeastern Herzegovina, experiencing tiny villages untouched by time juxtaposed with devastating evidence of violence in the landscape. In this project, Poskovic indirectly (examines) recent dramatic demographic shifts in his motherland through additive and subtractive stone lithography printing to depict the war-ravaged topography.”

    The results of these ever-moving efforts therefore are an extraordinary collection of prints whose flights of imagination are as fantastic as the results themselves. Take Poskovic’s heroic-scaled woodblock “A View From the Black Mountain in Green and Yellow Mist with Blue (for Joseph Albers)” as a representative instance.

    This magnificent woodblock print has been handcrafted in 14 colors from 4 blocks on Kozo Okawara washi 43 x 73 inch sheets where fantasy mingles with an abstracted representational landscape to create a realm that resides in Poskovic’s imagination. Most certainly, the first hint is his cutline at the base of the print: “il trionfo e la gloria della Repubblica Monderna” — or “the glorious triumph of the Modern Republic.”

    Now whose “modern republic” is left open-ended, but we do know the German-born Albers left his homeland for the United States after the Berlin educational institution he with whom he was affiliated (the famed Weimar Republic-era Bauhaus) was shuttered by Nazi pressure in 1933. On emigrating to the U.S., he joined the faculty of the equally now-famous Black Mountain College in North Carolina. He ended up chairing the paint program whose alumni eventually included Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Susan Weil.

    Yet for Poskovic’s purposes, everything written above is mere history. What’s not debatable is the landscape he produces in his composition: A hyper-charged peninsula whose four volcanoes spew ash from varied perspectives abetted by multi-colored striated cloudbanks and an equally striated blue and green river flowing into the print’s recession.

    Endi_Poskovic_Zachlumia.jpg

    “Zachlumia (for Dervis)” by Endi Poskovic

    By contrast, his stone lithograph “Zachlumia (For Dervis)” film still VI from his “Crossing” series is vaguely reminiscent of Rene Magritte’s 1959 “The Castle of the Pyrenees.” Yet though Poskovic’s hand, this pregnant image is reinterpreted to his use.

    Zachlumia — a medieval principality located in modern-day Herzegovina — is depicted as a stone edifice set upon a floating rock with deep root. And no greater strength of resilience could seemingly be depicted as Poskovic etches the enduring strength of his birthright.

    If Magritte is depicting enigma, Poskovic’s depicting nothing less than sheer endurance. For it is upon such symbols such national strength is born. And Poskovic wields his art like an unmistakable marker for those who can read his meaning.

    “Endi Poskovic: big triumph|majestic land” will continue through May 11 at the River Gallery, 120 S. Main St., Chelsea. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m., Sunday. For information, call 734-433-0826.


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    Michelle Chamuel, the musician well known to Ann Arbor music fans as the former lead singer of My Dear Disco / Ella Riot, continued her strong run on "The Voice" Tuesday.

    Chamuel won her "knock-out" head-to-head matchup against another contestant, and now she moves on to the live rounds of NBC's TV singing competition as part of Usher's team.

    NBC's episode recap describes the battle:

    "Michelle Chamuel and Audrey Karrasch are set to face off next. Coach Usher works with each of them differently, daring Audrey to make a personal connection and pushing Michelle to not run out of breath by exercising right before they rehearse. Audrey takes the stage first and delivers a solid, if slightly subdued take on "How to Love." Michelle is all rock and roll, working the stage as she sings "Raise Your Glass." It's just over the top enough to send her on to the live rounds."

    Chamuel now lives in the Boston area. Watch her "knock-out" performance here:

    Bob Needham is director of entertainment content for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at bobneedham@annarbor.com or 734-623-2541, and follow him on Twitter @bobneedham.


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    051512_SPT_HURONSOCCER_JMS05_fullsize.jpeg

    Pioneer takes on Huron in a 2012 game.

    AnnArbor.com file

    Girls Soccer

    Skyline 3, Pioneer 0
    Story | Boxscore

    Skyline converted five shots into three goals as the host Eagles defeated Pioneer 3-0 Tuesday in a Southeastern Conference Red Division win.

    "It's a crosstown rivalry," Skyline coach Chris Morgan said. "It is hard to control the emotions and play the game, but our girls rose above that. We had a pretty good game plan in place and our girls executed very nicely."

    Allie Moening, Sydney Hutnik and Alex Apostoleris each scored for Skyline (6-1, 3-0), while Tori Norris made four saves.

    Sofia Gambini stopped two shots in net for the Pioneers, who dropped to 2-3-1 overall, 2-1 in the division.

    Chelsea 2, Tecumseh 0
    Story | Boxscore

    Chelsea’s Krista Pagliarini made three saves in a 2-0 shutout against host Tecumseh on Tuesday.

    Nikki Liedel and Hayley Bunten each scored a goal.

    “We had more possessions and created opportunities as the game went along,” Chelsea coach Shawn Hayes said. "We weren’t able to finish a lot of the chances we had at the goal, though.”

    Baseball

    Skyline 11, Pioneer 2; Skyline 5, Pioneer 2
    Story | Boxscore

    Skyline remained undefeated in the Southeastern Conference Red Division after sweeping host Pioneer 11-2 and 5-2 in a doubleheader on Tuesday.

    Skyline sophomore Matt Blunk struck out eight batters in Game 1, and Thomas Friedlander held Pioneer to four hits in Game 2.

    “Our pitchers threw strikes and kept guys off balance,” Skyline coach Frank Garcia said.

    Brody Stevens led the Skyline offense, scoring two runs and driving in three on two doubles and a single. Liam Aronoff and Jack Clark each had two hits, with Aronoff adding two RBIs.

    Milan 11, Monroe Jefferson 2
    Story | Boxscore

    Milan trailed 2-1 going into the sixth inning against Monroe Jefferson before scoring 10 runs in the final two innings.

    Jacob Hendricks started the rally with a pinch-hit, three run double after Monroe Jefferson walked two batters, to give Milan the lead. The hit was the first of four straight which resulted in six runs in the inning for Milan.

    Milan continued the streak by scoring four runs in the seventh to extend its lead to 11-2. Kyle Schrader struck out two Monroe Jefferson batters and allowed only one hit.

    Softball

    Dexter 14, Huron 3; Dexter 13, Huron 0
    Story | Boxscore

    Dexter’s Lauren DeHaan and Aubree Whitley recorded wins.

    Brooke Lupi led with six hits and 10 RBIs, hitting three home runs, one triple, and two doubles, while Savannah Krull had six hits and six RBIs.

    “We hit the ball well and had runners in scoring position all game,” Dexter coach Mark Whitley said. “We had good defense and our pitcher both threw good games.”

    Kyle Austin covers sports for AnnArbor.com.


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    Let's face it, one of the greatest reasons to have kids is you now have an excuse to play with toys and you get to go to fun programs like the Touch-a-Truck Event at Shadford Field in Ypsilanti.

    Thumbnail image for YpsiFireTruck.jpg
    Sure, you can say that this event that features dozens of vehicles for kids to play on—including school buses and police cars--is a learning experience for the kids. But really, you just really want to see a fire truck up close and personal without there being some sort of tragedy involved. No one can blame you.

    Local non-profits and businesses will also share information about preschool opportunities, childcare, health services and a wide variety of other family services.

    Saturday, May 4, 2013. 9 a.m.-noon. Free. Shadford Field is located at 1885 Packard Road, Ypsilanti. Park at Ypsilanti High School, 2095 Packard Road, Ypsilanti.


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    The owners of what crepe? in Birmingham and Royal Oak decided to launch their third restaurant in Ann Arbor, since "it was a great area for a great product," said manager Dennis Williams. "There's nothing like it here."

    What crepe? opened Feb. 24. The most striking element is the dramatic, awe-inspiring transformation of the space. This was formerly home to a short-lived restaurant called Squares, a plain, open space that served food cafeteria-style.

    It is impossible to recognize it now. This welcoming space has the look and feel of a French bistro, with an eclectic mix of design. Gone is the cafeteria setup. Instead, this is an elegant yet casual sit-down restaurant, with hardwood floors, brick red walls and crystal chandeliers.

    White paper covers the black tables, while a large glass pitcher of water with no ice, European style, is there to refill the tiny glasses provided. There are an eclectic mix of knickknacks throughout, including a bookshelf with French cookbooks. Behind the bar, a large flat-screen television plays classic movies, while French cafe music serenades brunch diners. Glass is all that separates customers from the kitchen, so you can watch the chefs prepare the crepes.

    RESTAURANT REVIEW

    What crepe?
    214 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
    734-369-3207
    whatcrepe.com/
    • Hours: Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, closed. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
    • Plastic: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover.
    • Liquor: Yes.
    • Prices: Moderate. Entree crepes range from $12 to $16.
    • Noise level: Moderate
    • Wheelchair access: Yes
    From the moment you sit down, you are transported to a place with a cool, sophisticated feel. And that's even before taking a bite of the food. What crepe? serves what the name implies. Aside from some appetizers, soup and salads, crepes are the only focus.

    There are two dozen "savory" crepes, main-course dishes, including vegan and gluten-free options, as well as a dozen sweet dessert crepes. You can choose from the options on the menu or build your own crepe, selecting from meat, seafood, cheese, sauce and veggie categories.

    We started with drinks and I opted for the latte. It was frothy, full-bodied and provided a perfect amount of caffeine; on my next visit, the cappuccino I ordered was of the same high quality.

    While the dessert crepes are paper-thin, served the traditional way, the main-course crepes provide a filling entree. On my first visit, I ordered the deja vu crepe. It was enormous, with a sculpture-like appearance. The crepe was stuffed with fresh smoked salmon, Swiss cheese and asparagus, accented with a slightly spicy Hollandaise sauce. The flavors blended well for a rich, filling offering.

    I decided to order the chicken truffle crepe the second time around, adding a blend of shiitake, oyster, cremini and button mushrooms, and it was wonderful. The chicken was marinated in a delicious sauce (a house recipe the manager would not reveal), and it combined well with the melted Swiss cheese and fresh spinach. The truffle zip, a mix of soy sauce, butter and truffle oil, nicely accented the crepe.

    The pan-seared tofu, red onion, avocado, tomatoes, spinach and feta in the Old Woodward crepe individually tasted fine, but this dish lacked a sauce to tie the ingredients together.

    Basic side dishes here are a cut above. The scrambled eggs were thick and moist, while the bacon was outstanding. With a sugary maple flavoring, this was far better than the thin strips served at many restaurants. The pieces were so thick they had to be cut with a fork and knife.

    The dessert crepes also were artfully presented, with a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate drizzled on top. They tasted as good as they looked. My daughter got her day off to a sugary start with The Patriot, in which creamy vanilla ice cream was tucked inside a crepe and surrounded by fresh bananas, blueberries and strawberries. A layer of nutella added more sweetness, as did the homemade whipped cream.

    I thought this was a sinful concoction until I tasted the even richer What? Chocolate Eclair, which also included shaved white chocolate and vanilla bean white custard. It was beyond decadent, a splurge for anyone's sweet tooth.

    The mixed berry was a mix of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries, served in a slightly tart raspberry sauce, also a great offering. We also tried the s'more, in which graham cracker crumbs and chocolate sauce were served over a crepe filled with marshmallow and peanut butter. I thought the peanut butter was a bit overpowering and could be eliminated, especially since the spread isn't part of a traditional s'more.

    On our second visit, on a weekend night, the restaurant had an entirely different vibe. Instead of jazz, Motown played on the speakers and patrons sipped cocktails instead of coffee.

    We started with the savory appetizer flight, which came with three different spreads and was served with slightly sweet "crispies," resembling flat, unsalted chips. The artichoke dip was better than the typically mayonnaise-laden dish. It had a broth-like consistency and contained delicious chunks of artichokes. The salmon pate had a dense taste and was thick and creamy, while the queso offered a spicier option. I appreciated the way these different spreads complemented each other, though I think they would have been better served with crusty French bread instead of the crispies. I didn't much care for the soup of the day, spinach feta, which had a watery broth and was overly salty.

    I want to give a special shout-out to our server on our first visit, Phill, who had a welcoming and contagious enthusiasm. After he checked in on us and asked our opinion of our meals, and we told him that our food was delicious, he responded with genuine pleasure. On our second visit, our server was quieter and seemed a bit nervous, though she was nonetheless pleasant. Though our entrees were delivered promptly on both visits, we needed to wait longer for the dessert crepes the second time.

    Premium food comes at premium prices. The most basic dessert crepe is $8, while many of the savory crepes are $12, but I felt the quality justified the price.

    On both our visits, this place was bustling. That doesn't surprise me. If you're a crepe lover, or even someone who just likes crepes, you'll be happy for this new addition to the Ann Arbor dining scene.


    View Larger Map

    Julie Halpert reviews restaurants for AnnArbor.com.


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    A University of Michigan provost who is leaving to lead Dartmouth College is among two from the Ann Arbor school to be named fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    phil_hanlon.jpg

    Phil Hanlon

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    Outgoing Provost Philip Hanlon and education and public policy professor David Cohen are among 198 new members of the society that recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions in their fields.

    Hanlon is expected to start work in July at Dartmouth. Cohen is a visiting professor at Harvard University.

    This year's new members also include actors Robert De Niro and Sally Field, musicians Herbie Hancock and Bruce Springsteen, and astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn.

    The new class of fellows will be inducted in October at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.


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    A thief or thieves smashed windows in three Chrysler vehicles and swiped radios overnight Tuesday in Ypsilanti Township, sheriff’s deputies said.

    The thefts occurred in the 200 block of South Hewitt Road, the 2300 block of East Ellsworth Road and the 
8600 block of Lagoon Drive, sheriff’s deputies said in a media summary. Two of the vehicles targeted were Chrysler cars. The third, on Lagoon Drive, was a Chrysler van.

    Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office confidential tip line at (734) 973-7711 or 1-800-SPEAK UP.


    View Car break-ins in a larger map


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    Ypsilanti_police_badge.jpg
    Someone swiped a purse containing money and credit cards from an Ypsilanti residence overnight Monday, police said.

    The suspect or suspects entered the residence in the 500 block of Emmet Street through an open window and damaged the screen in the process, police said. A purse containing a driver's license, money and credit cards was taken.

    The purse was right next to the window, according to the release.

    The break-in was reported Tuesday morning. Police were dispatched to the residence at 8:30 a.m.

    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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    As one of America’s most well-read cities and the birthplace of an out-of-business big-box bookstore, Ann Arbor has a special connection to book world.

    The opening of a new independent bookseller downtown coincided with news from the Publisher’s Association that book sales rose 4 percent in 2012, according to a report from Time.

    04012013_BIZ_Literati_Bookstore_DJB_0024_fullsize.JPG

    A customer browses books in the newly opened Literati Bookstore on Monday, April 1.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com

    While the growth primarily came from digital book sales, fiction books showed a 3 percent increase in physical distribution and more in-hand children’s books were sold than in 2011. According to the Time article, much of that growth can be attributed to the fact that children’s books often come in irregular shapes and sizes and are more durable than e-readers or tablets.

    According to the story, the biggest winners were e-book and digital fiction sales, both up more than 130 percent. Some in Ann Arbor might disagree with the supposed “biggest loser,” brick-and-mortar bookstores, targeted because more and more sales of digital and physical books are happening online.

    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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    Friends and family members of Michael Sheets, the Ypsilanti resident who died Monday in a U.S.-run civilian cargo plane crash in Afghanistan, are remembering him as a family man and a good-natured individual.

    Michael_Sheet_WithAnna.jpg

    Michael Sheets pictured with fiancee Anna Love

    Courtesy Michael Sheets' family

    Family friend Francine MacBride, who is acting as the family's spokesperson, said Sheets was a good son and a decent man.

    "I think that's what his family truly wants everyone to know, is what a good man he was," she told AnnArbor.com Tuesday via the phone.

    MacBride further elaborated about Sheets in an email and said he was the kind of son she hopes her sons grow up to be.

    "He loved his mother, his brothers, his fiancee and her children as his own," MacBride wrote. "Life for Michael was about being good and honest. He never complained when times were tough, he made the best of every situation. His job took him all over the world but his home was in Ypsi with his family."

    Sheets had a fiancee, Anna Love, and two children.

    The family sent the following statement to AnnArbor.com:

    "Michael had been employed by National Air Cargo. While there were inherent risks involved in his position, Michael assumed these risks to provide for his family. Michael was a loving and devoted son and brother and leaves behind countless friends and family including his mother Margaret Madigan, brothers James Stubbs and John Stubbs, his father Darryl Sheets and fiancee Anna Love and her two children who Michael loved as his own."

    Funeral arrangements have not yet been set.

    The Associated Press reported Sheets was the loadmaster of the flight and responsible for making sure the weight and balance of the cargo was appropriate.

    According to the Associated Press, the National Airlines released the names and hometowns of the seven Americans killed in the crash:

    Pilots Brad Hasler of Trenton, Mich. and Jeremy Lipka of Brooklyn, Mich.; First Officer Rinku Summan of Canton, Mich.; loadmaster Michael Sheets of Ypsilanti, Mich.; First Officer Jamie Brokaw of Monroe, Mich.; and maintenance crew Gary Stockdale of Romulus, Mich. and Timothy Garrett of Louisville, Ky.

    Seven crew members, six from Michigan, were killed when the plane crashed Monday shortly after takeoff at an airfield in Afghanistan. AnnArbor.com previously reported that officials have said the National Transportation Safety Board will assist in an investigation to determine the cause.

    The Florida-based cargo company, National Airlines, said its Boeing 747-400 plane crashed at about 7 a.m. EST Monday at the Bagram Air Field, just north of the Afghan capital.

    National was based at the Willow Run Airport, located in Ypsilanti Township and Wayne County's Van Buren Township, until January of this year. The company relocated to Orlando, Fla.

    The National Airlines Family Information Call Center has been activated to support any family members requiring information. The National Airlines Family Information Call Center number is 888-705-7560.

    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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    Dexter-softball-pitcher.jpg

    Pitcher Tasha Drinkard, pictured above, and the Dexter High School softball team are in a close race for AnnArbor.com Team of the Week honors.

    Daniel Brenner | AnnArbor.com file photo

    The next AnnArbor.com Team of the Week will almost certainly be an SEC White softball team.

    lincoln-girls-softball-2013.jpeg

    The Lincoln girls softball team

    Courtesy Photo

    Which one, though, is yet to be determined.

    As of noon Wednesday, halfway through this week’s voting period, Lincoln had a slim 30-vote lead over Dexter in our poll, with each garnering more than 200 votes of the 600 that have been cast.

    Lincoln has put out a strong social media campaign, as it tries to replicate its voting success from the football season.

    And while it has outpaced three of the four other team’s in this week’s poll, it so far it hasn’t been able to shake the Dreadnaughts.

    Both teams are enjoying strong seasons, and the winner of this week’s poll will be the focus of our coverage. Voting will stay open through noon Friday, so get your vote in now.


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    A University of Michigan professor who taught landscape architecture died Tuesday after battling cancer.

    Beth_Diamond_web.jpg

    Beth Diamond

    U-M photo

    The Michigan Daily reports that Beth Diamond, an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, was integral in the Heidelberg Project in Detroit and other community projects in the city.

    “Beth was always using art as a means of inspiring and effecting change and bringing communities together,” fellow U-M professor Stan Jones told the Daily.

    A memorial ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Dana Building.

    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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    Ann Arbor police are searching for a man who produced a knife and demanded money from a business on Washtenaw Avenue Tuesday afternoon.

    Ann Arbor police Lt. Renee Bush said the robbery was reported at 5:23 p.m. Tuesday at a business in the 3200 block of Washtenaw Avenue. She did not immediately name the business.

    Bush said the man “produced a knife demanding money from the business” before walking away from the area.

    The man is described as black, 25 years old, 6-feet tall and 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a mask and black clothing, Bush said.

    Further information was not immediately released Wednesday afternoon.

    Anyone with information on this incident 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).


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


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    Clark Smith

    photo courtesy of WEMU

    Clark Smith, a well-known presence and 30-year employee at WEMU (89.1-FM), is retiring effective this Friday, the station announced.

    Smith has been both news director and program director at WEMU, the public-radio station at Eastern Michigan University. The station is starting a search for a replacement.

    The full press release from WEMU:

    89.1, WEMU, Eastern Michigan University’s announced that Program Director, Clark Smith, is retiring after 30 years at the station. His last day is Friday, May 3.

    Originally hired as News Director in May of 1983, Smith was named Program Director in 2007 and filled both positions until Morning Edition anchor, David Fair, was named News Director in August of 2012. Under Smith’s direction the WEMU news department expanded its coverage of Washtenaw County to include the city councils and school boards in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, AATA, and many other civic groups. Smith is responsible for WEMU’s strong local election coverage and created and produced WEMU’s popular ‘Soapbox Summer’ series on which candidates whose names appear on the Washtenaw County primary ballot are given three minutes of free air time for a stump speech.

    As Program Director, Smith strengthened WEMU’s midday jazz programming by adding music to the noon-1:00 p.m. time slot. Together with Music Director, Linda Yohn, he developed a new weekday evening sound, rooted in jazz, aimed at attracting a younger music audience, and created a roots and Americana music block on Saturdays with Roots Music Project, hosted by Jeremy Baldwin, and the syndicated programs Mountain Stage and American Routes.

    Smith also served as WEMU’s sports director and was responsible for bringing in seasoned sportscaster, Matt Shepard, as the voice of EMU football.

    “Clark Smith has been a mainstay at WEMU, both on and off the air,” said General Manager, Molly Motherwell. “He is broadcast professional and perfectionist who helped lead and train generations of broadcasters, many of whom are on the air all over the country. We will miss him tremendously but wish him the best in his well-earned retirement.”

    “When I was in high school, I wanted to be in broadcasting. I'm one of the fortunate few who's been able to pursue that dream and hold onto it for a career, and I couldn't be more grateful to all those who helped me along the way, and all the wonderful people I've worked with all these years,” said Smith .

    “I'm most grateful for WEMU's listeners who've made WEMU what it is today and glad I've been able to meet so many good people. It's just amazing to work for a station that values its audience so highly. While WEMU certainly faces formidable challenges, I see nothing but good fortune for the station in the future. Outstanding leadership, a hard-working, dedicated staff, and a great University that realizes the terrific value of WEMU. I look forward to listening for years to come.”

    Smith’s responsibilities will be shared among various staff members while WEMU conducts a search for a new program director. The station hopes to post the position by the week of May 13.

    WEMU is a listener-supported, NPR affiliate with a format of jazz, local news, and blues in addition to network news, information, and cultural programming. The station broadcasts to an eight county area that includes all or part of Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, Jackson, Lenawee, and Lucas (OH), operates a second HD channel WEMU2, an unhosted mix of blues, Americana, and roots programs, and webcasts live 24 hours a day at wemu.org


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    The McDonald’s on Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti is undergoing renovations that will include adding a second ordering board and constructing a stone facade. The renovations come a few months after receiving approval from the city's planning commission to move forward.

    Monique Vann-Brown, the McDonald's owner and operator, said it will remain open during the renovations, which will be completed by mid-May.

    mcdonalds.jpg

    The McDonald's at 16 Ecorse Road in Ypsilanti is adding a second ordering board and a new stone facade.

    Paula Gardner | AnnArbor.com

    On Sept. 9 2012, McDonald’s, represented by Greg Lautzenheiser of L+A Architects, submitted a site plan approval request to construct an additional ordering board and reduce its number of parking spaces.

    The 5,000-square-foot restaurant, at 16 Ecorse Road, sits on about one acre of land on the southwest corner of Ecorse and Michigan Avenue, east of Center Street.

    The restaurant has one stand-alone ordering station with 37 parking spaces. McDonald's applied to reduce the number of parking spaces to 32 and construct an additional stand-alone ordering board.

    The existing drive thru is directly to the south of the building, but the additional order station will require both to be located slightly to the southwest side.

    The property initially went through a full site plan review as part of a full site “scrape and rebuild” in 2004 and 2005, but only minor modifications will take place at this time. It's unclear if more renovations will occur over time.

    In addition to the ordering board and reduction in parking spaces, a stone facade also is being constructed.

    City staff said the addition of the order station requires the parking space removal and the stone facade construction will require work to the foundation.

    Lautzenheiser told the city that McDonald's will also add new landscaping details to the location, such as new trees and the Center Street pedestrian ramp will be revamped.

    The assessed value of the building is $316,100, making its market value $632,200. The property was purchased in 1979 for $200,000 by Franchise Realty Interstate Corp., according to city records.

    "At McDonald's, we are committed to meeting the changing needs of our customers, and providing them freshly prepared, quality food served in an environment that is modern, enjoyable and comfortable," Vann-Brown said in a statement. "We hope that people in the community enjoy the contemporary updates designed to enhance the customer experience."


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    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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    On Tuesday, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation released its 2012 annual report, which included a new strategy intended to “spur community prosperity by advancing the local arts and culture sector.”

    To this end, AAACF trustees, in the spring of 2012, engaged more than 50 “local business leaders, representatives from arts and culture organizations, individual artists, and government and education officials” in a conversation about where the local arts and culture sector’s biggest needs lie.

    Three primary needs surfaced: “A wider group of community stakeholders that are actively invested in supporting the sector and who can help build upon the Washtenaw Cultural Plan; data that demonstrate the economic impact of arts and cultural activities; access to low-cost capital to help organizations innovate, expand, manage risk, and invest in revenue generating activities.”

    The foundation is launching a new strategic initiative, called Cultural Economic Development, which aims to bring community stakeholders together to coordinate and implement ideas; to research and share data that links economic growth to arts and culture; and to leverage and mobilize private resources in creative ways.

    “We’ve actually been helping arts organizations for decades,” said AAACF Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Community Investment Neel Hajra in an interview Wednesday. “I just see this as the next step.”

    AAACF began, in 1963, as an organization that provided funds for a wide range of community needs, and a vehicle for community members to “give back.” Since its founding, AAACF has locally awarded more than $30 million in grants and scholarships in the areas of the arts, education, the environment, health and human services, seniors, and youth programs.

    In the past, local arts and culture organizations proposed ideas and competed for AAACF funds, so the CED initiative aims to blaze a new path, one that would proactively bridge prospective donors with local arts and culture organizations in new and creative ways.

    “With (CED), we hope to not just fund 12 organizations or programs, but to bolster the sector as a whole,” said Hajra.

    Hajra believes it will take a couple of years to identify local groups and individuals that will be crucial to CED’s goals—be it the Downtown Development Authority, Spark, the county, etc.—but he’s optimistic that AAACF is pointed in the right direction.

    “There are lots of folks out there who are looking to support the arts sector in different ways,” said Hajra. “Before we dive into specifics, we don’t want to be alone out there, saying, ‘Here’s the right answer.’ Also, it’s worth mentioning that our work is always linked to economic development. There’s a proven, strong link between arts and culture and economic prosperity. … To me, it’s actually complementary to the health and human services work we do. … When you strengthen the local economy, fewer people fall into social safety net.”

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


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    Four break-ins were reported Tuesday in Ann Arbor and one man was arrested in one of the incidents after he attempted to get in a woman’s vehicle as she parked in her garage.

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    Ann Arbor police Lt. Renee Bush said the garage incident occurred at 10:07 p.m. Tuesday in the 600 block of Barber Avenue. Bush said a 35-year-old woman arrived home and was parking her vehicle in the garage when a man approached.

    The man entered the garage and attempted to open the vehicle’s door. He looked into the vehicle and then walked away, and the woman called police. Officers located the man a short distance away and took him into custody, Bush said.

    Police also were notified at 12:48 p.m. Tuesday that a residence in the 900 block of Greenhills Drive was broken into. The landlord called police after finding a broken window in the basement and an open sliding door. Bush said no items were reported stolen.

    Two laptops and jewelry were reported stolen after a break-in that took place some time between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 2700 block of Windwood Drive. Bush said a door was pried open at the residence.

    The final break-in occurred between 7 p.m. April 15 and 6:07 p.m. Tuesday in the 2300 block of Parkwood. Bush said a rear door was kicked in and jewelry was taken from the home.

    Police still are looking for suspects in the unsolved cases. Anyone with information on the Greenhills, Windwood and Parkwood break-ins 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).


    View April 30 break ins in a larger map

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


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