2009 June

Ron Olson’s Challenge

It’s not easy being Ron Olson these days. Olson, who headed Ann Arbor’s parks system for twenty years, now runs the parks and recreation division of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources. And managing one...

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Discovering Endover

“Well, this month’s ‘I Spy’ appears to be a very nice angle on the ‘Cube’ near the [Michigan] Union,” emailed Julie Sorenson of Ypsilanti. “I’ve spun it many a time over the...

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Skinny sidewalk, strange sign

Q: What’s the deal with the narrow sidewalk outside of Hiller’s at Arborland? Two people can’t walk side by side there—how is a handicapped person going to manage? Isn’t there an ordinance about width of...

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Goodbye to Golden Rose

After twenty-seven years Carol Kliber has closed the Golden Rose flower shop on Green Road. At Avanti Hair Designers next door, Wanda and Ray Heinrich say that Kliber ended her tenure there with an auction of everything:...

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Whose Live Anyway?

Stand-up comedy is to improv what classical music is to jazz. Outstanding stand-up combines sidesplitting jokes with perfect timing, in the same way that a fabulous classical music performance is the blend of a great...

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Tea, antiques, and pipes

Teavana, a fast-growing mall chain selling high-quality teas and the pots to make them in, has opened a store in Briarwood. Tim Auck, the personable manager, came up from the Teavana in Columbus, Ohio, and is a jolly font of...

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Crossword King

When Huron High math teacher Pete Collins hands out New York Times crossword puzzles to his students, they’re impressed: they know he created them. Collins started constructing puzzles three-and-a-half years ago, and made...

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GO Ask Voters

Pat Lesko has a simple but radical idea: require voters’ permission before the city issues “general obligation” bonds. She got the idea after working on a petition drive last year that tried to force a vote on...

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Too subtle?

Umi Sushi’s owner, Mike Kim, spent a year learning the trade at Saline’s Biwako, where I enjoyed monstrous, occasionally weird, and generally delicious sushi rolls on several visits last year. So I was very eager to...

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Dancer Savion Glover

Savion Glover is to tap dancing what Bobby McFerrin is to singing. Both have taken a craft and turned it into a high art. Bobby McFerrin can make his voice sound like any instrument in the orchestra or like an angel or laughter....

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Library Scenes

It was after my four-year-old son dropped his pants and wiggled in front of the distorting mirror in the play area of Busch’s that I felt the need to limit our public exposure for a little while. So for a few weeks, we...

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Shakeup at Car and Driver

It’s been a tough year for the world’s most popular car magazine. In the past twelve months, Car and Driver has shed its longtime Ann Arbor location, some veteran staff members, and its editor, Csaba Csere.Csere...

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Naomi Corera

Naomi Corera doesn’t look intimidating. Fifty-eight years old and ninety-eight pounds, she is slim and slightly stooped. Yet despite her small stature, her aura of high moral seriousness makes it hard for people to tell...

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Jazz Revisited

During his thirty years as host of the WUOM radio show Jazz Revisited, Hazen Schumacher amassed 50,000 78s, 10,000 LPs, and 400 CDs—enough to fill five rooms at various university locations. Then, in 1997, WUOM changed its...

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Fixed up, finally

As the Ann Arbor Farmers Market prepares to celebrate its ninetieth anniversary, the market will get new lights, a PA system, and a paint job. But it will not get more stalls, a pavilion, or a storm-water management system....

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The ultimate M Den

Dave Hirth and Doug Horning opened their fifth M Den in the former Steve & Barry’s space at the end of March. It’s by far their biggest Michigan memorabilia store, with 11,000 square feet spread over two floors....

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Give $3, keep Top free

“We’ve always had donation requests,” says Robb Woulfe, director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. “We’re just a little louder in our ask.” He’s talking about Top of the Park, the hugely...

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Two Lives in Boxing

In 1982 Eric McGuire was eleven years old and learning to fight at the Ann Arbor Boxing Club. In a photo in the Observer that February, McGuire is a couple of feet shorter than the club’s older boxers. He’s wearing a...

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Great Lakes Google

Early versions of Google’s Earth-imaging software were mocked as “Google Dirt” by renowned marine explorer Sylvia Earle, because they showed topography on land, but not the ocean floors. Google fixed that in...

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The New Regionalism

Once the word “regional” was used to dismiss writing that was firmly based in a particular place. There might have been good reason for condescension: some of the writing wasn’t of in-terest to anyone beyond a...

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