2008 December

Downtown’s New Buildings

“Why are so many of the buildings going up around town so ugly?” asks Joan Lowenstein. Standing in City Hall’s cramped main entrance, the not-yet-former city council representative isn’t afraid to name...

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The Threshold Choir

Before my father died, he was in the grip of a profound dementia. He was in a hospital in Florida and my brother and I were still here in Michigan. We phoned daily, but he was confused, anxious, and incoherent.Then one day my...

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Polls and pigeons at Mack

“My ‘educated’ guess [for November’s I Spy] is the Ann Arbor Open at Mack School, 920 Miller Road,” wrote Alice Ralph, correctly identifying it as “one of many school buildings used for...

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December 2009 MPC Closings

Not much was left of Linens ‘n Things the first week of November. The bankrupt chain was down to selling the crown moldings ‘n things. Tom Goldberg, of landlord ATMF, says he hasn’t yet signed a new tenant for...

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Green Cheese on South State

It took the Chipotle Mexican Grill chain fifteen years to come to Ann Arbor. But once it got here, it went viral in just eighteen months. The third Ann Arbor Chipotle opened in October on South State, bringing monster-size...

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NYPD Starts Franchising

NYPD is slowly and carefully franchising its New York–style pizza. While the two campus locations will continue to be called NYPD (short for New York Pizza Depot), there are now three locations of Uncle D’s, as the...

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Past Present

The dirt road to Ray and Karen Berg’s home in Manchester takes visitors past farms, cornfields, and rolling green pastures to a light blue Queen Anne perched on a hill. The Victorian-style house and its pastoral setting...

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Kosher for Christmas

Rabbi Bob Levy knows where to find a lot of his congregants on Christmas morning—at the Michigan Theater, where Temple Beth Emeth will be sponsoring a showing of Shrek. Several years ago, the energetic rabbi initiated the...

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La Casa de la Habana Opens

When Ismail Houmani opened his first cigar store in 1996, he didn’t smoke cigars. He just wanted in on the action. “In 1996, the cigar business was booming,” he says, so he opened his first La Casa de la Habana...

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Etre joins Beliza

The showroom of Être Design was dark and its doors locked for most of the past year, but the little jewelry store hadn’t gone out of business. In fact, business was so good that there wasn’t time to open the store...

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The Return of Spalding Clark

Charlie Nielsen beat Spaulding Clark in 2004, only to lose to him in this year’s Democratic primary. Nielsen blames an anti-incumbent mood—”Of the five supervisors up for election, all five lost to...

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East Side Story

On the evening of October 13, residents on Buckingham Road smelled gas.As a DTE technician fruitlessly wandered the neighborhood with a flashlight and digital detector, neighbors recalled that one house, which had sat vacant...

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Dinners from Everyday Wines

The year’s not quite over, but I’m going out on a limb and naming as the most contentious restaurant closing of 2008 the demise of Kerrytown’s Lunch at Everyday Cook. It made headlines by putting the spotlight...

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Lapping It Up

Grace Bowles spreads a soft blanket on the floor at Chelsea’s McKune Memorial Library and sits beside her nine-year-old collie, Cassie. Bowles strokes the dog’s fluffy mane. Like Leo the Labrador and Boomer the...

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Principal Ben Edmondson

At a recent Scarlett Middle School rally, principal Ben Edmondson playfully demonstrates some dance “steps” in front of the pep squad. But a few minutes later, when student leaders read aloud the results of the...

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A Nip and a Nosh

Okay, it’s a Saturday night and neither of you feels like cooking, so your sweetie proposes a big night out at . . . the grocery store?Not exactly the height of romance. Or perhaps it is, if your idea of romance includes a...

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Wild ride 2008

In late October the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority voted to become the authority responsible for WALLY—the “Washtenaw and Livingston Line” that may, someday, deliver commuters from Howell to Ann Arbor. Though...

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Ringing up $180,000

The holiday season’s been up and down for Ann Arbor’s Salvation Army. With a goal of $180,000, the bell ringers were down $2,000 the day before Thanksgiving, then up $800 the day after, down a week later by $1,400,...

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Gift House

“You’re supposed to give until it hurts,” says ninety-year-old Henry Vander Kaay. “And I wasn’t hurting enough.”Vander Kaay was active in Kiwanis and Motor Meals but says he felt “a...

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Shopping for Santa

I suspect that my eight-year-old son no longer believes in Santa Claus, but I haven’t been able to prove it. I’ve never asked him outright, and any attempt to trip him up would be pointless because he’s wilier...

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