My Town

Feeding Creativity

It’s after midnight, and in front of the Vault of Midnight a young man tends a small island of a hot dog stand with a gas grill, cold storage boxes, and a large umbrella. It is a cold late autumn night in Ann Arbor. The...

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Steinway Philosophy

Hard-core Ann Arborites know that the historic Kempf House on Division was owned and occupied by music teacher Reuben Kempf and his family, and that the Kempfs’ Steinway, manufactured in 1877, is reputed to have been the...

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My Series of Unfortunate Events

The series of unfortunate events that led me to feel prematurely old began the week before Christmas last year, when I bit down too hard on a Kalamata olive (hence those ubiquitous warnings: “May contain pits”!)....

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Superwoman

How did this happen? One minute my wife, Kim, was happily planting flowers in containers in front of the house. The next, she was bursting through the door and into the kitchen sweating, agitated, eyes wide open with...

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Easy Pay, Easy Go

For years, print newspapers have been trying increasingly desperate measures to boost revenue, but the latest ploy by the MLive Media Group breaks new ground: taking subscribers’ money without their permission.MLive,...

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Back Yard Fences

To my neighbors …I’ve been thinking about fences lately; I apologize if you’ve seen me surreptitiously peeking at your backyards, trying to see your views and your fence arrangements. It’s really...

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Ann Arbor Nights

The bus drops me off on Victors Way twice a week around 9 p.m., just as the skies slowly peel from the bright blue of day to reveal soft shades of lavender, pink, and silver. I love this time of night and enjoy walking slowly...

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Front Yard Gardens

“Farm-to-table” cooking is popping up everywhere, from restaurants to hospitals. In the summer of 2015, as I limbered up a new hip walking my Newport/Westport/Red Oak neighborhood, I realized it had even spread to my...

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Burning Up the Dance Floor

July 24, 2003. I arrive home from work. Kalaea, the co-director of my dance group, has left messages on my voicemail: “The Technology Center is burning! You have to come and see!”I had spent a few moments that...

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PEDs, Bo, and Me

In reading recent accounts of state-sponsored use of performance enhancing drugs, primarily by Russia, I was struck by how quickly it was decided that the FBI would open an investigation. There hasn’t always been a keen...

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Magical World

My journey with my teenage son to the U-M Biological Station began in an unlikely place: Jazzercise. That’s where I met a friendly lady named Carol. I often chatted with her after class, and one day she mentioned that her...

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What’s Happening at 215 Beakes?

A 4,600-square-foot single-family house is going up at 215 Beakes, where a collision shop–built before Ann Arbor had a zoning ordinance–long stood. The adjacent houses are modest: 946 square feet at 213 Beakes and...

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Mayhem on Main St.

For thirty-four years, our office has looked out on the corner of Main and Huron. Over the years, we have seen some great stuff: Geoffrey Fieger news conferences; post-courtroom screaming matches; cops chasing robbers;...

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Loss and Living On

I have just finished a program of WWII remembrances at a local women’s club when Luragay Olsen–known to all as “Gig”–touches my shoulder. “My first husband was a fighter pilot. He was shot...

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The Whizbang Chicken Plucker

If you’re going to raise ninety-six chickens in a small-scale operation for the fryer, you better raise the bar on how you’re going to get them ready for the kitchen. Even though the garden-variety domestic chicken...

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My Town No More

Growing up, I never knew much about Ann Arbor besides the obvious: Hill Auditorium and the Big House. My friends played an annual band concert at Hill, and I got peeks of the stadium while my dad yelled at the television during...

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Rite of Spring

All winter long, families find refuge from the gloom at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where, for a short time, they can imagine themselves taking a tropical mini-vacation. “I can see an almost instant transformation when...

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Time Capsule on E. Liberty

For more than sixty years, the Christian Science Reading Room, on the ground floor of an old house at 306 E. Liberty, has been a quiet oasis downtown. As its surroundings grow denser, taller, and busier, the contrast between the...

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Wet Paint

There are advantages to living near the Rock. It’s a useful landmark for visitors, and we can check out its ever-changing appearance daily. We’ve even painted it ourselves twice, which is not as easy as it looks....

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