2011 February

What price pensions

Ask Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary about the perils inherent in underfunded retirement plans and she’ll tell you flat out: “It’s a time bomb for government at all levels. The assumption is that...

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Erin’s Caldecott

The call came to the Depot Street apartment about 9 a.m. on Monday, January 10. Erin Stead heard the news, but couldn’t believe it. “Relax for the next few hours,” the woman from the American Library...

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Slurp and relax

Lovers of Slurpees have options available at the new 7-Eleven on South State: they can slurp out, or they can slurp in. That’s because unlike most 7-Elevens, which are single story and sell everything to go, this one is...

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A Thrifty Family’s Legacy

The Waterloo Area Farm Museum, ten miles northwest of Chelsea, is a living monument to a memorable immigrant family.Johannes and Frederica Seybold, together with her two children from a previous marriage, arrived in 1844. With...

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Rum Raiders

During the early hours of February 11, 1931, male students living in five fraternity houses on the U-M campus received unexpected guests–police officers who searched every room for alcohol.Coming just before the annual...

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Passport reviewed

Running a restaurant is hard work. The product is perishable, the work force often uneven, the customers unpredictable. The owners can only hope that their chosen concept, menu, and decor fit the public’s current mood and...

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Death from Above

The pair of peregrine falcons in Burton Tower get the press, but the real raptor story in Ann Arbor is the growing number of hawks in town. In December, a Cooper’s hawk was seen flapping down Alhambra, a full-sized...

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History Undercover

It was a great story. Ron Koenig, a friend of mine who works in architectural restoration, was on the second floor of a building in downtown Saline. The first floor was being rehabbed into a new restaurant, Mangiamo Italian...

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Don’t mess with the library

When an Ann Arbor District Library patron apologized profusely while paying her $8 fine for overdue materials, the clerk reassured her: “That’s nothing. We have several people who owe more than a thousand dollars in...

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Fox Tent, 1920-2010

Just before Christmas, Fox Tent and Awning, a family business that opened in 1920 and spanned three generations, locked their doors, folded their tents (and awnings), and silently slipped away. “We retired,” Becky...

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Saginaw, Detroit, Ann Arbor

Last June, a chartered van left Saginaw Valley State University and rolled 100 miles southeast to Detroit. The riders were my art students, and their mission was to compare and contrast the murals at the Detroit Institute of Art...

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Lewis Black

I first saw Lewis Black at the Michigan Theater several years ago (he’s back there on February 19). He gave what seemed to be a rambling monologue that began with jokes about the Old Testament and the plight of Jews,...

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Goodbye to College Shoe Repair

“We had a big [hockey] stick rack here, and they took that away,” said Dale Camfield, pointing to an empty spot in the front of College Shoe Repair. “We started crying, because my dad bought it–and I...

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Good Weather Underground

A U-M spin-off named after a radical sixties group is an unlikely capitalist success story.When Jeff Masters helped launch the Weather Underground as a private company in 1995, he never dreamed it would become the second-biggest...

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Un-Refreshing

The Pepsi Refresh Challenge left the Ann Arbor Skatepark Action Committee worn out and still thirsty–for funds. The soft drink giant has shifted some of its advertising budget to charitable donations, giving out grants...

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Fancy Papers by the Airport

Ann Arbor is already famous for one paper store, the astonishingly beautiful Hollander’s in Kerrytown. For many tourists and locals alike, a stroll through Hollander’s sheets of chiyogami beats a walk in the Arb or a...

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Future Geeks

“We are all having increasingly geeky kids,” says Dave Nelson, stay-at-home dad of four-year-old Otto Sam. But for all the kids’ skill at video games, Nelson says, those are “insular activities—and...

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The Toughest Commute

“I didn’t bike yesterday,” says DeWight Plotner, almost apologetically.It’s the day after a nasty snowfall in mid-January, but Plotner, owner of Wheels in Motion on Washtenaw, feels he needs to explain...

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Ragtime Revue

The prime root of American roots music is ragtime. The love child of Sousa’s marches and African Americans’ syncopations, ragtime preceded jazz and was there at the birth of the blues. And though jazz and blues...

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Mahanthappa and Iyer

At the very essence of jazz there is a seismograph that responds to the changing social fabric of America. This was perhaps best encapsulated in the title of Sidney Finkelstein’s book Jazz, A People’s Music,...

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