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

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    Ann Arbor Pioneer High School held its 2013 prom at the Eastern Michigan University student center ballroom Saturday night, May 11. Photographer Andrew Kuhn was there to capture these images from the evening.


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    Examples of various SAES and Mole tags from across Ann Arbor.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    The 15-year-old Community High School student accused of spray painting his moniker SAES all over Ann Arbor violated a court order three days after he was placed under house arrest and is now being held at the Washtenaw County Youth Home, court records indicate.

    He is scheduled to next appear in the Washtenaw County juvenile court Wednesday.

    While under house arrest, the boy was still allowed to go to school. On April 29, he was not in class when he was supposed to be, according to court records. The court order came down April 26.

    The GPS on his tether showed that "he was in a different place than he was reported by his parents to be," according to the records.

    "His whereabouts were unknown," was written on the order remanding him into custody.

    He was held in the youth home until May 3, when he was brought to a court hearing where the referee decided the teen should remain at the detention center. At that time, the referee set a hearing date for May 15.

    The 16-year-old Pioneer student accused of being behind the graffiti tag "Mole" is scheduled to appear in court Monday. He is charged with 11 counts of various destruction of property charges.

    The 15-year-old faces 16 counts. Police said the boys are friends. Mole and SAES graffiti tags can be seen on dozens of buildings, overpasses, light poles and other locations around Ann Arbor.

    Police filed petitions for the two boys in April after linking them to the graffiti. A juvenile court referee subsequently put both of them on house arrest and nighttime surveillance as their criminal cases went through the judicial system. Both boys were fitted with tethers.

    Police also continue to investigate the graffiti painted at the Artrain site on North Main Street earlier this month.

    Six rail cars at the Artrain site along North Main Street were vandalized between 1:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 13 causing approximately $60,000 in damage. The vandals tagged the cars with "Clams," "Raw" and "Hash."

    Crime Stoppers is still offering a $1,000 reward for information regarding graffiti and vandalism at the Artrain site. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


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    University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman addresses graduates in Michigan Stadium at commencement ceremonies May 4.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman earns a total compensation of $918,783 a year, the sixth-highest pay of a public university leader in the U.S.

    The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Coleman's compensation as part of an examination of presidential pay at public universities in fiscal 2011-12.

    Coleman is the highest paid university president in Michigan.

    She received base pay of $586,000, deferred compensation of $175,000, retirement benefits of $58,000 and a $100,000 bonus. She also receives the free use of a house and car.

    In September 2012, Coleman received a 3 percent raise, bringing her base salary to $603,400. She donated her initial raise of $17,600 to scholarships, but will receive the base increase next year. Coleman is set to retire in July 2014.

    When offering Coleman a raise in September, former Regent S. Martin Taylor, speaking on behalf of U-M's governing board, defended Coleman's salary.

    "We’ve looked at all the publications, the benchmarking, what's being done, best practices et cetera. ... The base salary of the president is certainly not out of line in terms of being too high," he said. "If anything it is too low."

    AnnArbor.com obtained Coleman's compensation and benefits package in 2011 through a Freedom of Information Act Request and found that she earned $933,000. Coleman's full compensation package is paid out of U-M's general fund, which is comprised mainly from tuition dollars and state funding.

    The highest paid public university president in fiscal 2012 was Graham B. Spanier, the former leader of Penn State University. Spainer earned base pay of $351,000 that year, but received $1.25 million in deferred compensation after he was forced out of his position due to the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that roiled Pennsylvania's flagship public university that year, according to the Chronicle.

    Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon earned $672,000 in fiscal 2012, and Wayne State University President Allan Gilmour earned $506,000, according to the Chronicle.

    The Chronicle analyzed the salaries of six college leaders in Michigan, including the leaders of MSU, WSU, Central Michigan University ($431,000), Oakland University ($437,500) and Western Michigan University ($471,400).

    "I look at their compensation and what they do, and then I look at a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and I go 'wow, they're doing it at that price?'" said Michael Boulus, executive director of the President's Council for State Universities of Michigan. "They deserve every penny they get, given the fact that what they do most is not only lead the university, but raise money for the university."

    Coleman, for example, is credited with being one of the best fundraisers in higher education. She recently secured a $110 million gift, the largest in school history, from a California billionaire that will be used to help build a dormitory for graduate students.

    The median total compensation for the 212 presidents at 191 public research colleges surveyed by the Chronicle was $441,392. That figure represents a 4.7-percent increase over 2010-11.

    The Chronicle did not report on Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin's pay. On Friday, Martin was granted a contract extension that raises her base pay to $300,000 a year. Martin collected $295,000 in 2011.

    E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, earns $1.9 million a year and received the third-highest pay among public university presidents in fiscal 2012, according to the Chronicle report.

    University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, who earned his Ph.D. at U-M, made $483,000; University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, who used to be provost at U-M, earned $731,500; and University of Florida President Bernard Machen, who also used to be provost of U-M, earned $834,562.

    Coleman also serves on the executive boards of Johnson & Johnson and Meredith Corp. She took home $425,400 in 2011 for her service on those two boards, according to a Chronicle database derived from U.S. Exchange Commission filings.

    Coleman was ranked as the fifth-highest paid public university leader in fiscal 2011, according to a Chronicle database from that year.

      Top 10 highest-paid public university presidents in fiscal 2012:

    • 1. Graham B. Spanier*, Pennsylvania State University, $2,906,271
    • 2. Jay Gogue, Auburn University, $2,542,865
    • 3. E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University, $1,899,420
    • 4. Alan G. Merten*, George Mason University, $1,869,369
    • 5. Jo Ann M. Gora, Ball State University, $984,647
    • 6. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan, $918,783
    • 7. Charles W. Steger, Virginia Tech, $857,749
    • 8. Mark G. Yudof, University of California, $847,149
    • 9. Bernard J. Machen, University of Florida, $834,562
    • 10. Francisco G. Cigarroa, University of Texas, $815,833

    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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    Manchester High School held their 2013 prom at the Ann Arbor Sheraton Hotel. Sophomore Savanna Damon took her camera along to document the evening.

    Savanna_photo.jpg
    About Savanna: I have always been the artistic kind of kid, I have been taking photos for many years now and I have always been look for a way to take a hold of my potential and get better it. I'm still sorting out my plans for post-graduation, but I have always been up for any kind of challenge and looking forward to what that the future will hold.


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    Grant-Lee Phillips

    Grant-Lee Phillips has often explored the themes of history and legend in his songs. “But sometimes, I don’t have to look quite so far to find inspiration,” says Phillips.

    In this case, Phillips is referring to his Native American heritage, and to his latest album, "Walking in the Green Corn," released last autumn. On that disc, Phillips explores that heritage, as well as Native American history, culture, lore and beliefs. "My songs are always a document of where I’m at in my life at a given time - where my heart and mind is being pulled," says Phillips, who comes to The Ark on Friday. "I grew up with an awareness of my heritage, but in recent years I’ve been increasingly fascinated with Native culture and what that means today. There are a number of Native American artists who make films, music, and write, and I can’t help but feel a kindred sensibility."

    Phillips has Native American and European heritage on both sides of his family. "My great-grandmother, on my mom’s side, was full blooded Creek," says Phillips in an e-mail interview from a tour stop in Norway. "She died before I was born, but I knew her sister, my aunt. She was the last of the full-bloods in my family.

    "There’s also a lot of Cherokee on my dad’s side, so when you put it all together, I’m nearly as Native as I am of European descent. The Creek and Cherokee people coupled with Scottish and German immigrants hundreds of years ago. The mixing of blood, cultures - that’s the American story."

    PREVIEW

    Grant-Lee Phillips

    • Who: Singer-songwriter who was the leader of the alternative-roots-rock band Grant Lee Buffalo in the 1990s, and has released seven solo albums since that band split up in '98.
    • What: Phillips' latest disc, "Walking in the Green Corn," released last fall, is a subtle, muted acoustic-folk album that explores his Native American heritage, as well as Native history, culture, lore and beliefs.
    • Where: The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor.
    • When: Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.
    • How much: $15. Tickets available from The Ark box office (with no service charge); Michigan Union Ticket Office, 530 S. State St.; or online from MUTO.
    Phillips has released seven solo albums since breaking up his alternative-roots-rock band, Grant Lee Buffalo, in the late 1990s. And he's written about his Native heritage a few times before now. One song, “Were You There,” appeared on the anthology "Storm Hymnal: Gems from the Vault of Grant Lee Buffalo," in 2001.

    "That was one of the earlier songs that I wrote regarding Native American history," says Phillips—it addresses "the tragic story of Wounded Knee." Another one, “The Last Days of Tecumseh,” was on that band's second album, "Mighty Joe Moon," in 1994. Meanwhile, “Susanna Little,” from his 2004 “Virginia Creeper” solo disc, was "a narrative based on the life of my great-grandmother and all that she had to overcome being a full blooded Creek girl growing up in Oklahoma during the early 1900s."

    But "Walking in the Green Corn" is the first full album devoted to the subject. "The song 'Buffalo Hearts' came first," says Phillips. "Then 'Thunderbird,' and then the title song soon followed. I just allowed the songs to emerge on their own, but I was certainly drawn to a Native theme."

    On the lead-off track, "Vanishing Song," Phillips sings about connecting with the ancestors who came before him, and also laments the destruction of the environment in the pursuit of financial gain. "It's about vanishing ways and an endangered commitment to the health of the planet," he says. "So many of our choices, those of our leaders, seem very short term. We have to begin to think of the longer arc and consider how our actions effect the next generations.

    On “Great Horned Owl,” Phillips uses the image of that bird—one often associated with "wisdom"—as a symbol for something internal. "It’s a love song," says Phillips. "It’s about instinct and listening to that quiet part of yourself that sees and hears everything long before your ears and eyes do."

    Similar imagery appears on songs like "Thunderbird," "Buffalo Hearts, "Black Horses in the Yellow Sky" and "Silent Arrow."

    Phillips wrote and recorded most of the songs in the last few months of 2011. They began as spontaneous home recordings, as Phillips wanted to capture the songs on tape as soon as he could after writing them. He thought he would later put a band together and re-record the songs. But he was struck by the warmth and simplicity of his home "demos." "I often have some inkling of where I want to take things, but with this material, it was clear that this going to be a solo-acoustic album, rather than with a band," he says.

    Most of the songs are understated, organic folk songs, with spare acoustic instrumentation—primarily Phillips' acoustic guitar, framed on some songs by the violin and backing vocals of Sara Watkins (formerly of Nickel Creek), and subtle vibraphone by Alexander Burke.

    On Phillips' previous album, "Little Moon," in 2009, many of the songs were about the experience of being a new father, and he still had his small daughter in mind when he wrote the songs for "Green Corn." Part of what inspired him to examine his Native heritage, he says, was wanting to be able to tell his daughter where she came from.

    "There’s a lot of strength that comes with understanding your roots, how they sprawl and intertwine with the generations," says Phillips. "Because Native peoples have been dispersed and disrupted throughout history, it is with tenacity that a sense of identity remains. Some people even think of Native Americans as having vanished, but this is far, far from the truth. I wanted to share that with my daughter."

    Kevin Ransom is a free-lance writer who covers music for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at KevinRansom10@aol.com.


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    Company officials have announced that business operations at Pall Life Sciences at 600 S. Wagner Rd. in Scio Township will cease this summer.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file photo

    The Pall Corporation announced Monday it will close its Ann Arbor business operations this summer.

    Employees at Pall Life Sciences at 600 S. Wagner Rd. in Scio Township were notified Friday that the company would be ceasing operations, said Doug Novarro, corporate director of public relations for Pall.

    Novarro would not give the specific date for when business operations would end at the Ann Arbor facility, but stated that the closure would occur in phases, starting in July.

    A WARN Act notice filed with the State of Michigan and sent to employees said 55 of 71 employees at the site would experience an employment loss.

    About 12 have been offered transfers to other Pall Corp. offices, Novarro said.

    The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies to notify employees who will be affected by plant closings, mass layoffs or certain other employment loss conditions

    Employees will begin transitioning out of Pall's Ann Arbor operations beginning in July, Novarro said. The notification filed with the state gave July 9 as the date for the first layoffs.

    Pall Corp. has its headquarters in Port Washington, N.Y. It has 14 facilities in the U.S., as well as international operations in 32 countries.

    According to its 2012 earnings statement, Pall had a net earnings of $319.3 million. Most of its 2012 sales of $2.67 billion were from foreign markets: 38 percent in Europe and 30 percent in Asia.

    The company manufactures a variety of laboratory equipment materials, including filters and membranes used in research, medical and biopharmaceutical operations.

    Employees at Pall's Ann Arbor facility work in a number of different arenas that support the company's life sciences business, including the manufacture of lab products and separation of cells for research purposes.

    Pall Corp. is reviewing the structure of its business operations worldwide, Novarro said. The company has closed operations in some of its holdings in the past two years, Novarro said.

    The closure is a part of Pall's effort to deliver its services cost-effectively, Novarro said.

    Pall Life Sciences in Ann Arbor was formerly Pall-Gelman. Gelman Sciences was responsible for a plume of 1,4 dioxane that contaminated groundwater in the Ann Arbor area between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s.

    Environmental monitoring and remediation efforts are ongoing and are being tracked by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

    "This was strictly a business decision," Novarro said, noting that the environmental contamination at the site did not factor into the company's decision to close the facility. "It's a part of an effort to ensure we're appropriately structured worldwide."

    The environmental team will remain at the Ann Arbor facility to continue remediation efforts, Novarro said.

    "The closure does not affect the environmental remediation effort at the site," Novarro said.

    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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    A SAES and Mole tag from William Street looking south down the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks.

    Ryan Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    A 16-year-old Pioneer High School student admitted in court Monday that he was responsible for spray-painting his moniker "Mole" at 11 sites throughout Ann Arbor.

    The boy appeared with both parents in Washtenaw County juvenile court where he entered into a plea agreement and a referee ordered the teen's tether be removed after he received a positive report from the probation department.

    Referee Gail Altenburg granted the boy's request for a deferred disposition, which means if he complies with all the terms of his probation, his record would be wiped clean. In exchange, the boy admitted responsibility to the 11 counts, the equivalent of guilty pleas.

    "What did you do?" Altenburg asked the boy after naming the location on each count.

    "Spray painted," the boy replied.

    "What did you spray paint?"

    "Mole," the boy said.

    The boy's disposition date -- the equivalent to sentencing -- was scheduled for June 18. How much money the 16-year-old and the 15-year-old Community High School student alleged to be the SAES tagger will have to pay in restitution should be known by then. It was unknown at Monday's hearing just how much total the boys will have to pay in restitution. Prosecutors did say "Mole" will at least be responsible for $253 separate from the total.

    Altenburg told the boy community service and programs could be part of the punishment. The boy also could be put on probation.

    The boy was also relieved of his GPS tether at the hearing after a request was made by Shelia Blakney, his public defender. Representatives from the probation department gave the boy a glowing report, saying he hasn't missed any school and has fully complied with all the requirements.

    "I'm not surprised in the least," said Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Jonathan Emmons, who said he was aware the boy was doing well and did not argue against the request.

    "I hesitate because on a tether, I know where you are," Altenburg said.

    She granted the motion, however, citing the plea agreement.

    "Now there's a great incentive for you to comply," she said, otherwise the agreement is "utterly jeopardized."

    The boy will remain on house arrest and nighttime surveillance while awaiting his disposition. His parents, who told the court their son is still grounded, are responsible for reporting any violations to authorities.

    The 15-year-old Community High School student thought to be behind the SAES moniker is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. He remains in the Washtenaw County Youth Home for violating his tether requirements.

    Police said the boys are friends. Mole and SAES graffiti tags can be seen on dozens of buildings, overpasses, light poles and other locations around Ann Arbor.

    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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    Ypsilanti resident Tom Dodd played an intricate part in restoring the historic Depot Town and did countless things within the community to propel it forward, but it was his magnetic personality that many will remember.

    Dodd died from a heart attack Sunday at the age of 78.

    tomdodd.jpg

    Tom Dodd, pictured here in a file photo, was known by the Ypsilanti community as a leader and an individual who cared about the city.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    "He was Depot Town," said Linda French, Sidetrack Bar and Grill owner and Depot Town Merchants president. "He was instrumental and it would not be what is today if it weren't for him. He was quite the character. He was like a magnet. Everyone would come up to his table. There wasn't a person who didn't like him."

    Dodd was a teacher for more than 50 years and founded the Depot Town Rag.

    Dodd also served as president of the Depot Town Association and many say he led the restoration of the historic neighborhood. Dodd also served on the Ypsilanti City Council and as Mayor Pro Tem. Dodd also served on the Washtenaw County Historic District Commission and the Riverside Arts Center board.

    "He was the one who lobbied the city to shine a light onto Depot Town for the restoration," French said. "Depot Town was once looked down upon. ... He was the glue that kept the Depot Town merchants together. He was a good man."

    "He wrote humorous stories and people came from all over just to pick it up," French said, referring to the Depot Town Rag.

    In addition to the Depot Town Rag, Kathryn Howard, chair of the Ypsilanti Historical Society, said Dodd did key work for the society. Dodd wrote several stories and features for the Ypsilanti Gleanings, the official publication of the society, and at one point he was responsible for the publication.

    "Tom and I have been friends since I can remember," Howard said. "It breaks me up. I worked with him closely there. He was very good in publications and he just knew how to put things together. He could always put it in an interesting way even if the topic was dry."

    Howard said she knew Dodd for more than 30 years.

    "We were very close," Howard said. "He was fantastic. It's hard to describe Tom because he was just an all around great person. There's only one Tom Dodd and he was a very dear, dear friend of mine."

    Howard said he will be greatly missed at the society.

    "I don't know anyone around that doesn't know Tom Dodd," Howard said. "It's just something about him. He was a very caring friend."

    Heide Otto-Basinger, an Ypsilanti Depot Town resident, has been a close friend of Dodd's family since she was 8 years old. She attended elementary school with Dodd's son, Gregory. Otto-Basinger remembers when Dodd was a teacher and how dedicated he was to his craft.

    "He was the kind of teacher that was everyone's favorite," Otto-Basinger said. "He was always outspoken and could give you his opinion without insulting you... It's shocking. I just had breakfast with him Saturday morning."

    Otto-Basinger recalled when he dressed up as Susan B. Anthony for a special day at school.

    "He was a lot of fun," she said. "He was always happy to see you."

    Otto-Basinger said later on in his career, he worked at Ann Arbor's Community High School, where he retired from the arts department. While there, Dodd wrote several things, including a musical that the students performed. Dodd contributed to iSPY Magazine and taught journalism classes at Washtenaw Community College.

    Dodd also wrote and co-authored books with local historian James Mann, including "Our Heritage: Down by the Depot in Ypsilanti."

    Aside from all of the work Dodd did in the community, Otto-Basinger said he was a loving family man, who enjoyed spending time with his wife, Bettie, and his son, Gregory.

    "They were childhood sweethearts," Otto-Basinger said. "He was always a joy to have around. He always had a way of making you feel good. He'll be missed by a lot of people. He was just a wonderful person."

    Nathalie Edmunds, one of the founders of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival, worked closely with Dodd over the years. She said he helped start the festival in 1979.

    "This is something that has disturbed us all very much," Edmunds said. "I've worked with him personally since at least 1970 or before that and he's been a great friend. He has been a great, great community leader."

    Edmunds said Dodd continued to be involved with the festival, even up to this year.

    "He worked on so many things that it's hard to keep up with them," Edmunds said. "And it wasn't just a partial involvement, it was a total commitment. Everything Tom did turned out to be so successful."

    Although he was 78, French recalls Dodd had a youthful spirit.

    "It’s a loss for the whole community, not just Depot Town," French said.

    Dodd is survived by his wife, Bettie Dodd, and his son, Gregory Dodd.

    A celebration of Dodd's life will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 9 at Frenchie's in Depot Town at 54 E. Cross St. According to Dodd's son, speeches in remembrance of his father will begin at 3 p.m.

    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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    One home was ransacked and a cellphone and tablet device were stolen at another in two separate home invasions reported in Ypsilanti Sunday, police said.

    The first was reported in the 300 block of Washtenaw Avenue, where a woman said she left around noon and returned at 3 p.m. to discover someone had entered her house through an unlocked door, according to a news release from Ypsilanti police. An iPhone and an iPad were taken.

    At 4:15 p.m., police were called to the first block of North Normal Street, where a woman said she left around 1 p.m. and returned a few hours later to discover that her home had been ransacked.

    "(The) victim advised that nothing was taken, but whoever kicked in her door flipped the beds, drawers, and opened cabinets as if they were looking for a specific item," the release stated.

    Police continue to investigate both cases.


    View break-ins May 13 in a larger map

    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Arie Lipsky will return to lead the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra for its 85th season.

    courtesy of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra

    The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has announced its full schedule for the 2013-14 season, including its regular subscription series as well as a variety of special events.

    Tickets are on sale for the subscription season, which opens with a performance of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring."

    The full text of the orchestra's announcement appears below:

    The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 85th year with an exciting variety of symphonies, concertos, contemporary works, and a delightful opera that will enchant audiences new to the orchestra as well as long-time friends. Classical, Family, and Chamber Recital season subscriptions are now available to hear outstanding performances by Michigan’s premier regional orchestra and renowned guest soloists.

    Opening Night: The Rite of Spring
    September 21, Michigan Theater, Sponsored by the Ray & Eleanor Cross Foundation, MCACA & NEA
    The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Arie Lipsky, now in his 14th year with the A2SO, opens its season with “The Rite of Spring.” Stravinsky’s daring piece launched symphonic music, and society, in bold new directions by breaking all the rules - from the very concept of melody to audience expectations. Grammy award-winner Bill Bolcom’s Commedia for (Almost) 18th-Century Orchestra and Schubert’s classic Unfinished Symphony round out the evening.

    Autumn Cellobration
    October 19, Michigan Theater
    The A2SO is ushering in fall with the rich, warm sounds of Dvorak’s magnificent Symphony No. 7. Back by popular demand, Julie Albers plays one of the most challenging cello showpieces in the repertoire - Prokofiev’s sinfonia-concertante. This sweeping work for cello and orchestra was dedicated by Prokofiev to Mstislav Rostropovich. Soloist Albers will dazzle you with her fire and finesse. The lush orchestra sound continues with Bartok’s Two Portraits, where the listener can hear the unmistakable influence of Debussy along with Bartók’s love of his native folk music. The piece features the sublime elegance of A2SO concertmaster Aaron Berofsky.

    Winter Dreams
    November 23, Michigan Theater, sponsored by the UM Centers of Excellence: Cardiovascular, Comprehensive Cancer, Transplant, and Brehm Centers.
    Listeners will take a winter journey with Tchaikovsky’s seldom-heard masterpiece, Symphony No. 1, “Winter Dreams.” Hear for yourself why the composer himself said this symphony “was better than any of my other more mature works.” Glazunov’s brilliant Violin Concerto showcases Concertmaster Aaron Berofsky in this work made famous by Jascha Heifetz. Complete your concert journey with Estonian composer Arvo Part’s wintry description of icy woods and coastline in his Fratres, which builds to a haunting intensity and passion.  2nd Annual Holiday Pops, Co-Sponsored by Bank of Ann Arbor
    December 13
    It’s a family tradition to gather and enjoy the songs of the season with your A2SO including excerpts from The Nutcracker, and glorious choral music by Measure for Measure. Enjoy the good music-making and merriment of this festive concert - the perfect way to welcome in your holiday season.

    18th Annual Mozart Birthday Bash: Cosi fan tutte
    January 25, Michigan Theater
    Modern movie writers would call this a “Romantic Comedy.” We call it pure delight. Celebrate the genius composer’s putting it all together - a funny story, beautiful arias sung by great singers, and a message that makes “Thus do all women” an enduring work. Your A2SO become actors in this narrated, semi-staged opera featuring an all-star cast including: sopranos Sarah Hibbard and Lauren Skuce, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Holloway, tenor Charles Reid, bass-baritone David Small, and bass John Shuffle. Narrated by Stephen West, with chorus prepared by Steven Lorenz, the 18th Annual Birthday Bash is sure to sell out.

    Beethoven and Beyond
    March 22, Michigan Theater
    Beethoven himself was the soloist at the Vienna premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 2, nearly 220 years ago this week. A2SO soloist Adam Golka, back by audience demand for a second performance in Ann Arbor, brings the music’s sense of drama and playfulness to life. Strauss’ famous tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra fills every cubic inch of the Michigan Theater when the mighty Barton organ, installed when the theater was built in 1927, joins the symphony’s impressive ranks. Listeners will recognize the music from the Apollo space program and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The driving beat and melody of modern composer John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine, one of the most performed orchestral works composed in the last 30 years, will shift you to high gear - in less than four minutes.

    Season Finale: Brahms Festival
    April 12, Michigan Theater, cosponsored by Rebecca Horvath
    Each distinguished piece of music at the A2SO’s Brahms Festival is packed with emotion, passion, complexity, richness and beauty. From the dashing Academic Overture to MacArthur Genius Award-winner Bright Sheng’s hauntingly beautiful full orchestral arrangement of Brahms’ Intermezzo in A major - a poignant work originally written for solo piano - you’ll hear Brahms’ full-hearted voice. Violinist Itamar Zorman, the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition winner, pairs with 2008 Naumburg International Cello Competition winner David Requiro in the massive Brahms Double Concerto. Guest violinist Itamar Zorman plays with intensity, integrity, and virtuosity. Guest cellist David Requiro creates a rich and evocative sound. Together, both artists compliment the intensity and emotional range of the Brahms concerto. The A2SO concludes with one of Brahms’ best-loved works, Symphony No. 1.

    A2SO Chamber Recital Series
    Sponsored by CFI Group
    October 4, November 1, January 17, March 14, April 18
    The A2SO Chamber Recital Series features the finest chamber recital music played by A2SO musicians. These hour-long concerts, open to listeners of all ages, combine fresh sounds of newly minted as well as time-honored classics for wind, string and brass soloists. All concerts are preceded by dessert and coffee. Subscriptions to all five concerts are just $45 and single tickets are $10. Repertoire and musicians TBD and will be posted on a2so.com.  The Benard L. Maas Foundation Family Concert Series
    Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Family Concerts are specially designed to introduce children and their parents to the wonders of a live symphony concert. Part performance, part family outing, these affordable concerts will spark the imagination of the whole family.

    Beethoven Lives Upstairs, part of the Benard L. Maas Foundation Family Series
    November 24, Michigan Theater, sponsored by Toyota
    Young Christoph is convinced his mother has rented out the upstairs room to a madman! That boarder is none other than Ludwig van Beethoven who is busy composing his Ninth Symphony. The boy and the cantankerously eccentric deaf composer eventually meet and Christoph begins to see the softer side of Beethoven as his music begins to win the boy over. Beethoven’s memorable music is magically woven into the play that won an Emmy Award for Best Children’s Program. Actors in costume bring the story to life, using funny and true stories about Beethoven, with all music performed by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra.

    Sing-Along with Santa, part of the Benard L. Maas Foundation Family Series
    December 7, Bethlehem United Church of Christ
    Your A2SO has a special relationship with Santa. Each year he sleds down from the North Pole to meet the children of Ann Arbor at our Sing-Along. He loves to read aloud ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, and sing all his favorite carols with the kids. To help remember the fun, a photographer will snap a photo of each youngster with Santa - sent to you in time for Christmas. Cookies and cider will make your afternoon festivities bright. Bassist Erin Zurbuchen will be accompanied by pianist Lori Zupan.

    The Planets, part of the Benard L. Maas Foundation Family Series
    March 23, Michigan Theater
    Bring your lightsabers and come in costume! Discover the universe through music such as Holst’s The Planets and Hollywood’s Star Wars. Rocket around the stars with Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra, best known as the theme from 2001 Space Odyssey, and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony. This concert features special photographs of space and the planets from the University of Michigan’s Astronomy space projects.

    KinderConcert Series, sponsored by Rotary of Ann Arbor, Downtown Kiwanis Club, David & Stephanie Pyne, and the Ray & Eleanor Cross Foundation
    KinderConcerts are free 30-minute concerts designed especially for children 2 to 6 years old. Members of the A2SO join child movement expert and piano collaborationist for a guided introduction to the instruments of the orchestra. Introduce even the youngest listeners to classical music at your local libraries. Concerts are September 20, 21, 30, January 10,11, 13, and May 9, 10, 12 at the Ann Arbor District Library, Ypsilanti District Library and Dexter District Library. To learn more about how you can schedule free KinderConcerts at your library email info@a2so.com.

    Annual Youth Concerts
    March 19, 2014, Hill Auditorium
    Each year, nearly 5,000 students attend Youth Concerts at the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, students will discover the universe through music such as Holst’s The Planets and Hollywood’s Star Wars. Open to public, private, parochial, and home schools, these concerts offer a comprehensive educational experience that enriches in-school learning. Hill Auditorium presents itself as a unique classroom, where special performances by the A2SO combine the thrill of live music with key educational concepts. Participating teachers receive access to resource materials which include lesson plans, music selections, and a CD of all music to be performed. The programs are geared toward elementary grades three through five and meet all state and local academic standards, lending themselves to integration with other curriculum areas, such as language arts and social studies.

    18th Annual Hearts for the Arts Fundraiser
    February 8, 2014, Barton Hills Country Club
    Join the A2SO for the 18th annual Hearts for the Arts gala. This very special event raises money for the educational and artistic programs serving over 30,000 young people in a five-county area. A long-time favorite of symphony and community arts supporters, the evening boasts a champagne reception and silent auction, an elegant dinner, and a spectacular live auction of exciting trips and one-of-a-kind packages. The 17th annual Hearts for the Arts set a new record, raising over $80,000 to introduce even more children to the joy of live symphonic music.

    To order tickets for what promises to be the greatest season yet, call the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at (734) 994-4801 or email tickets@a2so.com. Tickets are also available online at www.a2so.com or can be purchased in person or via post at 220 E. Huron, Suite 470, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Classical subscriptions start at $48. First time subscribers can buy one season subscription and get one FREE! Senior, student, group, and community discounts are also available.


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    The Ann Arbor Administrators Association issued 17 recommendations for what the Board of Education should look for in a new superintendent. The principals union took a couple of jabs at current Superintendent Patricia Green, pictured above, in its recommendations.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com file photo

    Previous stories:

    Three days after advertisements seeking the next superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools went live, the Ann Arbor principals union released a list of 17 qualities it hopes to see in the district's fifth leader in 10 years — and a doctoral degree and thick resume were not among them.

    Finding an internal candidate who can be a "healer" and gain the trust of the community through collaboration, visibility, open and honest dialogue, and flexibility of thought were repeated throughout the union's list of desired characteristics.

    Dicken Elementary School Principal and union President Mike Madison penned the recommendations which captured the collective thinking of the Ann Arbor Administrators Association and sent them to the Board of Education late Monday morning.

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    AAAA President Mike Madison

    "We believe the superintendent should come from the ranks of current staff, and it should be someone with a very long career already with AAPS," Madison wrote. "We need local ties and local understanding right now to stabilize the ship.

    "I realize this would require a current building-level administrator, in that no one at Balas (Administration Building) currently is a long-time employee, but it is a risk AAPS must take."

    Superintendent Patricia Green resigned from the Ann Arbor Public Schools in mid-April, stating her intent to retire after 43 years in public education.

    Her resignation is effective July 9.

    Green requested a five-year contract when she was hired by AAPS in 2011. When the Maryland native leaves in July, Green will have served just two years of her contract.

    Green's time in the AAPS has been marked by criticism from parents, teachers, principals and the public. Her communication skills, approachability, accessibility and level of transparency have been points of contention throughout her tenure.

    School officials have said the $245,000 salary the Board of Education set in 2011 negatively affected the public's perceptions and expectations of the position. Board Trustee Andy Thomas called the salary an "albatross" Green wore around her neck the entire time she was here.

    The idea behind increasing the salary was to attract a prestigious candidate with a wealth of experience working in a large district, and in a university town, similar to Ann Arbor. The board also wanted a candidate with expertise in improving academic achievement and discipline issues among ethnic minority and economically disadvantaged students, which Green excelled at in her previous districts.

    However, members of the school community have stressed a need and a desire for stability and longevity in leadership. The AAAA's recommendations echo pleas from parents and the public for local and internal candidates and take several swipes at Green.

    "We need a leader who realizes that only effective instruction from highly effective educators solves achievement and discipline issues," Madison wrote. "Our leader should know that just saying 'shrink the discipline gap' won't solve the problem, but knows that through best practices, buy-in from staff and high quality interventions that we will solve these issues."

    The union also wrote that the next leader should have a history of being an effective — not just well-liked — teacher and administrator himself.

    "They do not necessarily need a doctoral degree or an extended resume. Is that not what we just had?" Madison wrote. "How did that work out?"

    Other recommendations from the AAAA include finding a leader who:

    • Values and solicits the ideas and creativity of all the members that he or she works with.
    • Leads by example, guides with enthusiasm and praises the collective works of the team.
    • Has conversations about other topics besides education.
    • Is aeteran leader with varied work experience.
    • In addition to his/her own educational philosophy, has skills in building consensus among all of the stakeholders of the educational community and can be open to considering changes to his or her own plan when circumstances require it.
    • Has the ability to reorganize central office in order for decisions to be made quickly, timely and based on students' needs, not adults.

    The AAAA also said superintendent candidates should be required to share their 90-day plans as part of the interview process.

    A posting advertising the superintendent position went up Friday and will close June 14. The school board is using the Iowa-based consulting firm Ray & Associates to conduct a nationwide search for a new leader.

    The search will be at a minimal cost to the district because of a two-year satisfaction guarantee clause the district had in its contract for the search that resulted in Green's hiring.

    The salary has been advertised at $180,000 to $220,000, "plus an excellent comprehensive benefits package." This pay range is $25,000 to $65,000 less than Green's $245,000 salary. It brings the district closer to the $175,000 base pay the AAPS had when former Superintendent Todd Roberts was in office. It also brings the district more in line with other superintendents in the county, who earn an average of about $140,000.

    The Ann Arbor school board will be appointing an interim superintendent shortly to lead the district while the board goes through the process of finding a new leader. The board's intent is to have a new superintendent in place prior to September and the first day of the 2013-14 academic year.

    The AAAA had recommendations about the interim superintendent as well.

    "An interim candidate must be carefully chosen," Madison wrote. "The wrong choice from our current central office could make things even worse for our community. A vibrant building leader stepping up would be a way to help the board earn back trust and respect."

    The board is expected to talk more about the superintendent search at a study session on Wednesday. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Balas Administration Building.

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


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    Someone stole a silverware set from a Salem Township home during a home invasion Saturday, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Monday.

    According to deputies, the break-in occurred between 9 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. in the 5600 block of Seven Mile Road. A door window was broken, allowing the intruder, or intruders, to unlock the door.

    A Rogers Brothers silverware set was the only item reported stolen, according to deputies.

    A witness said a full-sized gray Dodge pickup truck with a ladder rack is a possible suspect vehicle. However, there was no suspect description released by deputies Monday.

    Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at 734-973-7711 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


    View 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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    Because Ypsilanti Community Schools made preserving current employee salaries a priority for when the new district launches in July, the joint Ypsilanti-Willow Run Board of Education approved slightly reduced insurance coverage Thursday night, according to a report in the Ypsilanti Courier.

    scott-menzel.jpg

    Scott Menzel

    Teachers will start their employment with the new consolidated district at the base salary they made in 2012-13 at their previous districts, either Ypsilanti Public Schools or Willow Run Community Schools. New teachers coming into the district going forward will earn $40,000 to $70,000 depending on their degree/certification and experience levels, according to documents previously approved by the board.

    YCS and Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel told the Courier the biggest difference in the benefits is that some employee groups, such as paraprofessionals and custodial staff, will no longer be eligible for family or spousal coverage. He said the district also will be using just one insurance provider for the various types of insurance to keep things simple. Employees will be able to choose from multiple plans with varying deductibles and premiums, the Courier says.

    The new Ypsilanti-Willow Run consolidated district will offer dental, medical, prescription, vision, life and long-term disability coverage to most employees.

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


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    Despite the limited evidence of principles directing the game of Politics, it remains the only acceptable route to democratic governance, so - whatever its problems - we have to make it work. Unfortunately, with so many of its players being courted and supported by goals and a constituency forever focussed on the next election, the system is now more the tactics of the process than its humanitarian goals - a serious blow to the higher moral standards we had once believed were ours.

    As a nation whose founding purpose was “to form a more perfect Union” and whose pledge was “to promote the general Welfare,” there is a rich humanitarian tradition attached to our existence - one that is now at odds with much of our current performance. That original commitment to serve the needy of our society, for example, is a tribute to the essence of who we are and have been since our founding, but the likelihood of carrying those responsibilities forward into continuing generations is increasingly sidelined by the tactics chosen for the task.

    There is, of course, the complaint of those less needy (in effect, those who would foot the bill) who insist that we simply cannot afford the costs of supporting those who have not the means to do for themselves. Because they see as our first priority the restoration of our country’s economy, they advocate holding off subsidizing many of our national aid programs until the economy improves- a commendable goal as long as the cost of that economic repair is in keeping with the principles that define us. Such an approach in regard to medical treatment, for example, would make more sense if we could also hold off the damaging effects of untreated health problems for that same period. Unfortunately, the damages to the human health system that may result from inattention cannot always be corrected after their onset - which makes the tactic of delay very dangerous.

    It is true that a generous nation can do more good for its people when its economy is strong, but the projects themselves must not be sacrificed to that cause. One of the tactics now being pursued in the name of national well-being, for example, is to improve the fiscal health of those industries whose success will likely result in increased employment - an unquestionably commendable goal. Nevertheless, if pursued too aggressively and with a concentration too narrowly focused on the needs and demands of industry, the implementation of such an approach could be very dangerous for our larger society.

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    A Meals on Wheels volunteer delivers a hot meal.

    File Photo

    For example, in order to pay for the project, Meals On Wheels, a federal program providing needed nutrients to indigent seniors since 1972, is facing budget cuts that will eliminate up to nineteen million meals from their program.

    And at the other end of the age scale, funds to keep the aviation industry working efficiently will be paid by budget cuts for Head Start, causing 70,000 children to lose access to that program - during this most critical period in their short lives.

    We all applaud building a stronger economy, but the core humanitarian projects dependent on that economy must not be sacrificed to that cause. Federally financed programs providing valuable assistance to the needy are obligations to the people of the nation no less valid than reducing the burdens of taxation may be for those who pay such taxes. However disconnected the privileged and the needy are from each other, the nation - with all its benefits and all its problems - belongs to all its people.

    In short, our primary focus should be on the target - not the tactics.

    Robert Faber has been a resident of Ann Arbor since 1954. He previously owned a fabric store and later a travel agency. He served a couple of terms on the Ann Arbor City Council. His wife of more than 60 years, Eunice, died March 20. He may be reached at rgfaber@comcast.net.


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    If the Monday morning chill made you think this must have been the coldest May 13 ever in Ann Arbor, you were right.

    Frost_Mlive.jpg

    MLive file photo

    The low of 28 broke the old record low set in 1996 by one degree, said University of Michigan weather observer Dennis Kahlbaum. It also set a new record for a temperature that low so late in the spring, Kahlbaum said. The previous record was 27 on May 11, 1907.

    The average date for a temperature at or below 32 degrees is April 30. The latest date at which the temperature fell below 32 was May 29, 1884, when the thermometer dipped to 30 degrees, Kahlbaum said.

    Luckily, no such weather is on the horizon for the next few days in the Ann Arbor area. After an overnight low of about 40 Monday night, temperatures will begin climbing on Tuesday. An afternoon high of about 65 is expected. It will be mostly cloudy with showers likely in the morning.

    A serious warmup is in store for Wednesday, when the high is expected to hit 81 degrees. It will be mostly sunny in the afternoon with a chance of showers and thunderstorms before noon.

    For the rest of the week, we can expect highs in the low to mid-70s and lows in the 50s. After Wednesday, the next chance for rain is Saturday.

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


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    The 21-year-old man accused of helping abduct a 25-year-old Ypsilanti woman last week is being held on a $250,000 bond after being arraigned Monday, records show.

    Raymond_March.jpg

    Raymond March

    Raymond March

    Raymond March, of Belleville, is charged with unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy to commit unlawful imprisonment, interfering with the reporting of a crime and aggravated assault, court records show. He was arraigned at the Washtenaw County Jail Monday afternoon and was given a $250,000 bond, according to jail records.

    March is charged with assisting Jeremy Abston, 27, in the abduction of Farrah Cook on May 6. Cook eventually broke free of her captors that same day in an Ypsilanti Township apartment complex, suffering a sprained ankle.

    March was arrested Friday at an Inkster home, according to police. The Ypsilanti Police Department and the 2nd District Fugitive Team arrested March.

    March faces a preliminary exam at 8:30 a.m. May 21, records show.

    Meanwhile, a warrant was approved for Abston, who remains at large. Abston and Cook had a four-year relationship and have three children together, twin 4-year-old girls and a 3-year-old boy.

    Court records show Washtenaw County Prosecutors approved an 11-count warrant for Abston Monday.

    jeremyabston.jpg

    Jeremy Abston

    Courtesy of YPD

    He faces charges of unlawful imprisonment, conspiracy to commit unlawful imprisonment, interfering with the reporting of a crime, assault with a dangerous weapon, larceny in a building, three charges of interfering with electronic communications, aggravated domestic violence, assault and battery and malicious destruction of property worth less than $200, according to court records.

    A message was left with Ypsilanti police Detective Sgt. Thomas Eberts seeking an update on Abston’s whereabouts Monday afternoon. As of last week, Abston spoke with investigators and police were working with his family to get him to turn himself in.

    Abston is said to be possible armed and dangerous. The vehicle used in the abduction has also been recovered by police.

    Cook was leaving for work about 5:45 a.m. May 6 in the 500 block of South Hamilton Street when she was grabbed by a man and led toward a dark Pontiac Bonneville. A second man grabbed her and pulled her into the car, which then drove away. About 10 people witnessed the abduction, which was also caught on security cameras.

    Later on in the day, Cook escaped the apartment she was being held in at The Villas apartment complex in Ypsilanti Township.

    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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    Huron High School baseball coach Terry Bigham tries not to complicate the task at-hand for his team’s pitching staff.

    Their assignment: throw strikes.

    Seems simple enough, and it’s exactly what they did on Monday. Wouldn’t you know it, it led to a doubleheader sweep of crosstown rival Pioneer, 3-2 in the opener and 9-1 in the nightcap.

    More coverage: Game 1 Boxscore | Game 2 Boxscore

    Led up the middle by shortstop Demetrius Sims and centerfielder Nasheed Bass, Huron’s defense made Pioneer earn every inch it took on the basepaths. Huron only committed two errors in the first game and didn’t commit a single one in the second.

    “We definitely have some speed in the outfield and up the middle…when our pitchers do throw strikes we seem to play very well,” Bigham said. “That’s been one of our issues this year is consistently throwing strikes and some of our pitchers have been getting behind in games.”

    Huron’s pitchers didn’t overwhelm Pioneer, but by just getting the ball in play, they played to their team’s strength: its defense.

    Doug Mussio did an excellent job in the second game of throwing strikes, he had very few strikeouts, but he threw strikes,” Bigham said. “He got a little tired there in the sixth inning, but he did a tremendous job letting our defense play and buying into the philosophy of just throwing the ball over the plate and letting us play behind him.”

    Mussio threw 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and three walks and allowed five hits. He had a 6-0 cushion to work with after Huron batted around the order in the bottom of the first inning. Bass - the third batter in the lineup - got the scoring going with a two-run double in the frame. The Pioneers (5-19) would give up three doubles, commit two errors and allow a walk in the first inning alone.

    “When we make mistakes we can’t kind of find the stopper, make the bleeding stop. We make a couple mistakes in that first inning of the second game and give up six runs instead of one or two runs,” said Pioneer coach Jerry Holley. “One, two or three runs down, it’s still a ball game, but six runs you really gotta battle and we’re not scoring that many runs consistently.”

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    Huron High School shortstop Demetrius Sims slides safely into second base during the first game against Pioneer on Monday, May 13.

    Bass finished the game 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, three steals, two runs and two RBIs.

    Pioneer led off the sixth inning with a double and would eventually load the bases, but didn’t muster any runs after Bruce Campbell came in and got Mussio out of the jam. Campbell retired all four batters he faced in relief.

    “It’s just kind of how the year’s been. When you’re 5-19, things don’t go your way,” Holley said. “I think we played well, had some opportunities, I think we left too many guys on base early and that’s just been kind of the way the season’s gone, though.”

    Fortune smiled Pioneer’s way for most of the opener, but not at the end. After Huron pitcher Bobby Knutilla walked one batter and hit another, Ryan Kielczewski had a two RBI single to put Pioneer up 2-0 in the first inning. Knutilla calmed down after the first and ended up going the distance while only allowing three hits.

    Knutilla did have six walks, but was able to spread them apart and settle down when runners were on base.

    “I tried to ignore what happened in the past and focus on the next batter. I try to keep my head straight and focus on my mechanics and forget about that last batter,” said Knutilla, who finished with eight strikeouts.

    “I thought Bobby Knutilla did a great job for us in the first game of giving us a chance to win.”

    While Huron’s bats were cold in the opener a well-executed hit-and-run in the sixth inning led to two runs, including what would prove to be the game-winner. While Pioneer may have led for five inning ands Huron only for 1 1/3, the River Rats chose their spot wisely.

    “It’s just the kind of way it’s happened all year. Play hard the whole game, make a few mistakes and suddenly they put a few things together,” Holley said.

    Sims was 3-for-3 with two doubles, two steals and an RBI in the opener. Kielczewski struck out nine and gave up seven hits in six innings in a losing effort in the opener.

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


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    Carol Dunitz stars in the original one-woman musical, "Bernhardt on Broadway"

    Ann Arbor resident Carol Dunitz will perform her one-woman musical, "Bernhardt on Broadway" - which Dunitz last staged locally in January 2012 - at Vinology on Sunday, May 19 at 4:30 p.m.

    Full details appear in the press release:

    Vinology will host a performance of "Bernhardt on Broadway," the musical about Sarah Bernhardt, starring Ann Arbor resident Carol Dunitz on Sunday, May 19th at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 with a two drink minimum and are available by calling Vinology at 734-222-9841. This performance will be followed by the Manhattan Premiere in June at the Metropolitan Room.

    Before mass media and modern travel, Sarah Bernhardt ingeniously master marketed her meteoric rise to superstardom. She was the world's first superstar. Before Lady GaGa and Marilyn Monroe posed nude for national magazines, and Janet Jackson “accidentally” bared one breast at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, Sarah Bernhardt shamelessly posed nude for renowned 19th century photographer Felix Nadar while still in her teens.

    … Mark Twain punctuated Sarah Bernhardt’s Avant Garde status when he identified five kinds of actresses: “bad, fair, good, great - and then there is Sarah Bernhardt.” Nicknamed ‘The Divine Sarah’ by Oscar Wilde, Bernhardt was the undisputed queen of theatre during her lifetime. It is said she almost single-handedly revolutionized the place of women in the theater. Her bravery and bold abandon has become the archetype of successful women to this day.

    "Bernhardt on Broadway" is a no holds barred expose about the daughter of a courtesan who overcame countless obstacles to become the most famous woman in the world. Now, almost a century after her last apearances in the United States, audiences can once again experience the wonder of Madame Sarah in the one-woman musical, Bernhardt on Broadway. The show opens with Bernhardt welcoming the audience to her drawing room, a warm and cozy setting for the audience to become rapt in intimate self-disclosures via story and song about the actress’ legendary life.

    Playwright, composer, lyricist and lead Carol Dunitz read close to 100 books and countless articles and reviews on Sarah Bernhardt before writing Bernhardt on Broadway. Ann Arbor resident Dunitz graduated from the Universtity of Michigan and holds a Ph.D. in Speech Communication and Theater from Wayne State University. She is the author of nine books in addition to Bernhardt on Broadway. Her love of musicals dates to her childhood when her mother, who often told her she was ‘a little Sarah Bernhardt,’ took her to see Gypsy.

    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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    The man accused of committing home invasions around Washtenaw County while out on bond nearly pleaded guilty Monday to all 13 felonies he faces before he reconsidered.

    javareholmes.jpg

    Javare Holmes

    Courtesy of WCSO

    Javare Holmes, 18, started to accept a deal that would have seen him plead guilty to nine counts of first-degree home invasion and one count each of second-degree home invasion, larceny in a building, receiving and concealing stolen property worth more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 and assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer. In exchange, prosecutors would have agreed to the sentencing guidelines that Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Darlene O'Brien would use.

    O’Brien was in the process of reading Holmes his rights when the hearing was passed. When O’Brien asked Holmes if he was forced or coerced by anyone to take the plea deal, a woman in the courtroom began saying, “Say yes! Say yes!” repeatedly. The woman was identified as Holmes’ mother.

    O’Brien decided to pass the hearing to allow Holmes to speak with his attorneys. He then decided to seek new counsel and did not accept the deal. Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Brenda Taylor was not pleased and stated the possible consequences of Holmes’ decision.

    “That would allow us to have discretionary consecutive sentencing,” Taylor said. The deal originally would have had agreed upon guidelines for Holmes’ sentencing.

    She added, “The offer will be the exact same no matter what attorney is hired.”

    On each charge of first-degree home invasion, Holmes faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. Second-degree home invasion carries a maximum of 15 years in prison. If Holmes is convicted on all counts and is given consecutive sentencing, he could face 208 years in prison.

    Holmes was charged in May 2012 with first-degree home invasion and assaulting, resisting or obstructing a police officer. He paid $2,000 to bond out of jail on that case and then went on the lam, missing a pretrial hearing. Police believe he committed nine more home invasions during the time frame that he was wanted on a bench warrant.

    He was eventually arrested on March 9 after a search warrant was served on a home in the 1400 block of Kirtland Drive in Ann Arbor. Guitars, violins, computers, televisions, GPS units, cellphones, watches, laptops and digital cameras were recovered from the home.

    The evidence was linked to home invasions in Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township and the jurisdiction of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

    Holmes was given court-appointed lawyers but will now seek private counsel. His current attorneys, Washtenaw County Assistant Public Defender Robin Stephens and Michael Friese, will still be his representatives until his next hearing, at 1:30 p.m. June 3.

    Holmes is being held in the Washtenaw County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

    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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    To formally dedicate the new East Stadium Boulevard bridges in Ann Arbor, national, state and local officials will host a ceremony 10 a.m. Tuesday.

    Among them will be U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who was largely responsible for securing a $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the work.

    He will be joined by U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle, Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and Ann Arbor City Administrator Steve Powers. Project contractors, Washtenaw County officials, neighbors and the public will be present as well.

    The brief ceremony will be at 1501 S. State St. Parking is available in the University of Michigan's Red Lot adjacent to the bridge off of State Street.

    The East Stadium bridges opened to traffic in November after a year of construction.

    As a major east-west route across the southern part of Ann Arbor, the bridges span State Street. An estimated 17,000 drivers cross the bridges each day.

    Overall, the project's cost was $22.8 million to replace the 83-year-old spans.

    A public art installation will be the next development on the bridges. The city has offered up a $360,000 contract and is in the process of accepting submissions from four artists.

    The deadline for the submissions has been extended from May 9 to May 22, with formal presentations on June 7, according to Aaron Seagraves, the city's public art administrator.

    AnnArbor.com has compiled a photo gallery of the East Stadium bridges before, during and after construction.

    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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