2013 February

Car-Free in Ann Arbor

As awareness grows of the environmental impact of fossil fuels, Americans are falling out of love with the automobile. While a global solution to that dilemma is still far from clear, plenty of folks are finding their own...

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John Shea’s Big Case

“Today went fine,” John Shea says, after a long pause and a deep sigh. “Probably better than expected.”Shea is on his cell phone, talking as he drives back to Ann Arbor after what the media are calling...

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The Great Train Station Debate

For the first time since taking office in 2000, mayor John Hieftje faces a skeptical city council. In two successive primaries, Second Ward voters turned out two of his closest allies, Stephen Rapundalo and Tony Derezinski....

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Sky Show

When the Ann Arbor Observer moved to its new office on Winewood at the end of October, staffers were thrilled by the free air show at dusk. Nightly in November and December, hundreds of starlings suddenly gathered and flew in...

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Slow Food on Washtenaw

If you range hungrily down Washtenaw east of US-23, watch for the small blue sign of the howling wolf just past Golfside. Turn in and you will enter a small, minimally designed, eight-table dining room with a kind of goofy-folky...

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Merely Brilliant

Some orchestras know what they want in a music director. Chicago wants power, aka bombast, while Boston wants elegance, aka tedium, Cleveland wants diplomacy, aka don’t piss off the donors, while Philadelphia wants tact,...

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The Boy Governor

Don Faber had hoped to get his biography, The Boy Governor: Stevens T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics, ready to publish by 2011, in time for Mason’s 200th birthday. Faber didn’t quite make it, but the delay...

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Manpower’s Womanpower

Stenographers–those gals (rarely guys) trained in something called shorthand–were in demand when Manpower, Inc., opened its doors locally fifty years ago. The area’s first temp agency sent them out wearing...

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Poet Nikky Finney

When Nikky Finney won the National Book Award in 2011 for her collection of poems, Head Off & Split, I spent a few hours rereading her work and trying to summarize my response to it. I was left with reactions that seemed at...

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Wild Belle

For a band that still hasn’t even released its debut album, Wild Belle has accumulated a remarkable amount of public adoration. The band has been highlighted in gushing features in Rolling Stone, T: The New York Times...

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A New Downtown Bookstore!

Hilary Lowe and her fiance and business partner Mike Gustafson hope their new bookstore, Literati, will be open by spring. They have signed a lease for 2,600 square feet (basement and first floor) of 124 E. Washington, next to...

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Five Marketplace Closings

Hibachi Grill (“and Supreme Buffet,” as its website grandly added) opened last summer and closed at the end of the year. An Asian business owner who didn’t want to be named (“I could be sued!”)...

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Touch screens from scratch

On devices from smart phones to iPads, touch screens have become ubiquitous in the last five years or so. And that has an Ann Arbor company, Dynics Industrial Computer Solutions, riding a wave of touch-screen mania.”Four...

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Chris and Rachel Antoun

Never before had Rachel Yang responded to a Facebook message from a guy she didn’t know, but something about Chris Antoun “just seemed so warm and approachable.” And looking at his photo, the U-M grad student...

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DIY weddings

Lacking ties to organized religion, more and more young people are asking friends or family members to perform their marriage ceremonies. “I’d say about 40 percent of the people I see use an officiant,” says...

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Seeing the light

Stephanie and Ken Faulk haven’t taken down their holiday lights, but they’ve had no complaints from neighbors. In fact, many applaud the changing year-round light display on the six-foot evergreen at the corner of...

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Paying It Forward

A timely repair helps an Air Force veteran in need.After serving twenty years in the air force, Michigan native Dave Kelly semi-retired to Las Vegas. Each summer, he returned to Clio, north of Flint, to help his elderly mother....

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ADA Access at the State

Q. The State Theater doesn’t have an elevator, or handrails in the center aisle. Why don’t they have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act?A. The State Theater is “grandfathered” and has not...

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