2011 December

Retiring Champions

Partly because redistricting is about to reduce the number of Ann Arbor commissioners from four to three, and partly because they’re in their seventies, Barbara Bergman and Leah Gunn are retiring at the end of 2012 after a...

Read More

The Hoarder Within

I’ll call her “Flora.” The neighborhood kids called her “the witch of Burns Park.”She had inherited her gracious home from her father, a distinguished U-M professor. She drove around town in an old...

Read More

Children of Hoarders

Elizabeth Nelson also works to make people aware of the complexities of compulsive hoarding, but with a different emphasis. Nelson is co-founder of Children of Hoarders, a nonprofit that reaches out to people who, like her, grew...

Read More

The Better Angels of Ann Arbor

This past summer, two men sexually assaulted seven women in and around the U-M campus. A rash of burglaries last year enraged folks on the near northwest side. And just a few weeks ago, a thief or thieves broke into four cars in...

Read More

Death in the Barn

One Sunday morning some longtime Saline residents enjoying coffee at the Drowsy Parrot mentioned a murder that took place years ago on a farm just outside of town. They also mentioned wild parties with loose women out on that...

Read More

Off the Map

“It shouldn’t necessarily be easy to become a city,” says Dexter’s assistant village manager Courtney Nicholls as she rifles through a large box of papers in the village offices in downtown Dexter....

Read More

Where’s Andrew?

Early in November, “Andrew Waston” emailed the Observer with a story idea. He said he was part of a babysitting pool of stay-at-home dads, whose members were saving “tons of money” using online...

Read More

Use it or lose it

“We absolutely are getting the word out!” says Mary Schlitt of Food Gatherers. The message Schlitt and other nonprofits are spreading is, “Give while the giving is still good.” As part of Governor...

Read More

Hijabs and head scarves

Last month Ann Arbor lost one of its smallest resale shops, Woman in the Shoe, but nearby an even smaller and more discriminating resale shop opened. Modest Intentions is part of the newly formed Muslim Social Services, a...

Read More

Bill Hoppe

It’s a cold, clear November morning at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, and vendor Bill Hoppe watches from his booth as bundled-up shoppers mill about the long aisles, occasionally eyeing the unusual homemade crafts he sells....

Read More

Woman in the Shoe closes

“The competition was so bad. The minute the Salvation Army moved in, I knew it was over,” says Connie Snow, owner of one of the oldest thrift stores in Ann Arbor, the Woman in the Shoe, which closed this fall....

Read More

Snyder’s gift?

In their radical reinvention of Michigan, governor Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled legislature have passed plenty of laws that have riled local governments, including expanding the power of emergency managers to take...

Read More

The first of 800 stores

EMU grad Bruce T. Halle opened his very first Discount Tire store on West Stadium in 1960. Fifty-one years and 800 stores later, Halle (now working out of corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona) personally made the...

Read More

A quiet opening

Cesar Hervert opened Tmaz Taqueria in the former Zamaan Cafe and Bakery space on Packard near Platt in late September. Not that you’d have noticed–as of mid-November he still didn’t have a sign out front....

Read More

Good cause gowns

Bargain hunting brides-to-be might check out the Brides Project Wedding Boutique, a cause disguised as a store around the corner from Downtown Home & Garden on Liberty. Opened in September, the by-appointment-only shop is...

Read More

Sound relief?

Q. Are there any plans to put sound barriers in neighborhoods that are close to the highways? I live in Foxfire subdivision, which is north of Dhu Varren near US-23 and M-14. The developer put up a massive berm in the west...

Read More

On a roll?

Lately, sandwich chains like Quiznos and Subway have been on a roll, so to speak, in Ann Arbor. The former has struck a deal for concessions inside Meijer, and the latter is the fastest growing fast-food franchise in the...

Read More

Beilein as Frankenstein

Last year the Observer predicted that the U-M was headed for another losing season–we even wrote that coach John Beilein was attempting to “reanimate a zombie.” But since the point of sports is hope, the...

Read More

People or Animals?

Hard times make for hard choices.When jobs are lost and family income drops, it can force parents to choose between feeding their kids or their pets. And when property tax income drops and state revenue sharing all but...

Read More

Space available

At the end of October, a “Space Available” sign went up in the front window of the U-M WORK Gallery on State. Rumors spread that the gallery was closing, and “one woman came in and actually started...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2