Community

The Phelps Effect

Watching Michael Phelps power his way through the pool in Beijing this summer has had a butterfly effect of its own: local swim clubs are bursting at the seams.The Chelsea Recreation Aquatic Club has gone from about fifty...

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Easy come, easy go

Seven years ago, Ann Arbor environmental engineer Kevin Olmstead won $2.18 million on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. During the three weeks between the time the show was taped and the time it aired, Olmstead prepared, like an...

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Brandywine Cemetery

On Halloween, Robert Beech’s yard has no fake blood, chain saws, or decapitated children. But the “haunted attraction and art installation” outside his southeast-side home does feature plenty of gargoyles and...

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The Many Lives of 210 E. Huron

The building at 210 East Huron first shows up on a city map from 1853. Although only a block from the Washtenaw County Courthouse, which was then the center of Ann Arbor’s commercial district, that stretch of Huron was...

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Hell and Back

Don Vettese remembers the first time he saw hell. “It was an accident, literally and metaphorically,” says the Jesuit priest. “It started in 1994 when I gave a talk about service to the seniors at St....

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Hit and Run and Monkey Blood

“Here comes one!” a voice whispered, and six pairs of eyes turned toward the intersection of Gralake Avenue and Lakeview Drive. A rush of adrenaline spread through the shrubbery that concealed a pack of pranksters,...

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Barn for Sale

For travelers on Ann Arbor’s west side, the big red barn with “M GO BLUE” boldly emblazoned across its roof marks the spot where the city ends and the townships of Lodi, Scio, and Pittsfield meet. Standing on...

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County clerk Larry Kestenbaum

If Larry Kestenbaum is biting his nails on election night, it won’t be because he’s worried about his bid for a second term as Washtenaw County clerk and register of deeds: Kestenbaum, a Democrat, is unopposed. Four...

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The House of Lee

When I was in second grade in the early 1960s, my parents had to sign a permission slip for me to learn about dinosaurs. My teacher at West Willow Elementary School in Ypsilanti, Ann Lee, taught evolution—a radical move in our...

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Thirty hours on the Huron

With limited time, limited money, and a desire to minimize our carbon footprint, Gary and I decided to spend our minivacation canoeing on the Huron. Since the river can be very shallow in late summer, we chose a route through...

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John Piette and Joanne Kimata

Three years into raising honeybees, John Piette and Joanne Kimata had an anxious moment when the insects, previously mild mannered, seemed to turn on them. “They were on the defensive,” recalls Kimata. “They...

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Fire Department Open House

As engine #6 pulls up and parks in the street in front of the downtown fire station, Little Brother and I walk up slowly, hand in hand, to get a better look. Suddenly the driver’s door opens, and right before our eyes, a...

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Ellie Serras, Main Street pro

Ellie Serras calls Main Street “the community’s front yard.” Since her husband, Dennis, and his Mainstreet Ventures partners opened the Real Seafood Co. in 1975, she’s seen the street blossom from a gray,...

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