2008 November

Building the County Parks

It is hard to imagine now just how rare parks were in Washtenaw County in 1972. Ann Arbor and other big towns had their own parks, and there were the Metroparks on the river and the state recreation areas at the northwest edge...

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The Bargain Hunters

A family once shut out of Ann Arbor home ownership now has a lawn to mow and taxes to pay. A young couple skipped a starter house and moved straight to a multibedroom family home. And a professional couple saved hundreds of...

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The Pentagon’s Pet Projects

An expanse of sky and treetops on North Campus spreads out in the windows behind Wei Shyy as he describes his work designing tiny planes that fly and perch like insects and birds. Talking about an insect’s arms, the chair...

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Bar Louie

I’ll admit right up front that I don’t have much experience with chain restaurants—this summer, my friends had to walk me through a Dairy Queen excursion like a visitor from outer space. But I try to keep an open...

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Las Fuentes

This is a tragedy in three acts.The setting is a huge, festively decorated L-shaped room in Chelsea’s Clocktower Commons. Adobe walls are adorned with colorful murals, including one of a lady kneading dough who seems...

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Past Present

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

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The Fifth Quarter

Andrus McDonald says the name of his new nightclub, the Fifth Quarter, refers to several things: the club’s Fifth Avenue location, the five clubs he hopes to eventually run (a second spot in Lansing is in the works), the...

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Making Sense of Autism

A spinning disco ball dapples light on the walls of a darkened room. Travis, a fifteen-year-old with autism, walks toward an illuminated bubble tower. As the tube changes colors, Travis presses his face against it and glides his...

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Dexter Flowers’s new owner

Theresa Whitley, who is forty, has spent most of her life arranging flowers. “I’ve been doing flowers professionally at a flower shop since I was thirteen years old, but I’ve actually been arranging flowers...

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Mouse creator

First-time Ann Arbor children’s book author Sheila Pursglove found her dream illustrator through a blind ad on Craigslist. “I’m your man,” confidently asserted bily charley (he doesn’t capitalize...

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Super sale

Thrift- and style-conscious Ann Arborites have long been fans of the weekly Saturday sales at the Kiwanis building downtown. Few realize that on Thursday mornings, the store opens again for a private sale to a select group of...

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Bagger Dave’s

Stepping into Bagger Dave’s the first time, I felt as if I were entering a giant time-and-space blender. Take a 1950s soda fountain, add a dash of 1980s sports bar, season with local nostalgia blowups from the 1920s and...

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Canning’s Comeback

Ann Arborites are rediscovering the art of preserving their own fruits and vegetables. “Everybody’s doing it,” says Mark Ho¬desh of Downtown Home & Garden. “We normally get in hundreds and hundreds...

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Little house in the courtyard

Against a backdrop of skyscraping cranes, a towering framework of I-beams, and the pounding of pneumatic tools, a lone forklift recently chugged into the courtyard behind C. S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital and, in a...

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Main Street Bagels fills hole

Mike and Jennifer Spadafore had twins last fall. This fall they opened a twin business, Main Street Bagels, right next to their Twisters Ice Cream in Chelsea.The bagel shop was carved out of some spare space at one side of the...

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Renaissance

Renaissance has brightened the uninspiring southeast corner of Division and Washington, formerly parking space for TCF Bank. Owner Roger Pothus regrets the loss of foot traffic he had in his former location on Main, but he says...

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Joe DeVito

Joe DeVito comes onstage with no gimmicks. He doesn’t sing songs, wear funny clothes, or pretend to be anything other than what he is: a nerdy, clever New York Italian. We should all be so comfortable in our own...

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Panera opens at Upland Green

Most restaurants try to give things away to customers when they open, but Ann Arbor’s fourth Panera, when it opened the last week of September in Upland Green on Plymouth, was taking—asking customers to donate...

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Elmo’s Hideaway

Elmo’s Hideaway, beneath Elmo’s Main Street T-Shirts, is no Birdland or Village Vanguard. Still, it sure gave owner Elmo Morales a thrill when his first paying customer was musician Dick Siegel, who reserved the...

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Cadillac Sky

When Cadillac Sky’s album Blind Man Walking appeared early last year, bluegrass fans didn’t know quite what to make of it. These musicians from Fort Worth, Texas, took the generally conservative sound of bluegrass...

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