2013 May

The Last Engineer

My father passed away last year at the age of eighty-nine. By all measures, Russell Hurst lived a full and happy life. A member of the “Greatest Generation,” he served bravely in WWII and then came home to marry the...

Read More

Groundcover’s Crisis

Susan Beckett changed lives when she founded the city’s homeless newspaper. But she’s getting tired and its future is uncertain.—Greg Owens is a Groundcover success story.For six months, he stood outside the...

Read More

The North Main Puzzle

On a sunny Wednesday morning in late March, a friend and I set out to explore the Bluffs Nature Area. The city parks website gives 1099 N. Main as the Bluffs’ address and includes a link to a park map. The map shows a...

Read More

Failure to Communicate

The recession was a rollercoaster ride for Washtenaw Community College. Income from local property taxes shrank by $9 million between 2008 and 2012, lopping nearly 10 percent off this year’s $95 million budget. As laid-off...

Read More

Tesla’s Biggest Fan

John Wagner is a man on a mission. “My ultimate goal is to gain popular recognition for Nikola Tesla,” says the retired Dexter teacher. “I know I’ll never achieve it.”He may not. Tesla, the...

Read More

Traveling the Chain of Lakes

At rush hour the railroad underpass in Dexter turns into a bottleneck, as people who live north of the village come and go on their daily commute. Many of them live in lake homes, either converted cottages or new houses, on the...

Read More

Firesign Family Farm

Ruth Ehman, proprietor of Firesign Family Farm near Whitmore Lake, has a number of farming irons in the fire: animal, vegetable, and hospitable (she runs a B&B with or without a kind of dude ranch experience). But here...

Read More

Glassbox Cafe

The Glassbox Cafe is one of many new businesses springing up around the Landmark high rise on the corner of South U and Forest, but it may be the greatest retail land grab of the year. “It was a bit of random luck”...

Read More

Shine

Kelly Hadin, a former classical ballet dancer who performed around the country, has opened Shine on Fourth Avenue. This is the second Shine–she opened the first in Royal Oak six years ago. Though she doesn’t own the...

Read More

Hometown Brew and Ribs

It’s a weekday morning at Chelsea Alehouse Brewery, and the smell of hot malted wheat wafts through the expansive warehouse-size pub. Across the bar and through some windows, associate brewer Eric Schroeder can be seen...

Read More

Bonanza in Dexter

“I get up at 2 a.m. to load the ribs into the smoker so they’ll be ready for lunch. There’s no cheatin’ if you want ’em done right. I’ve heard some people put ribs in the oven with a little...

Read More

Dexter Crossing Newbies

Anchored by the Country Market, Dexter Crossing is the older of the two strip malls on Dexter’s eastern border, and it’s hard not to notice the number of vacancies. But lately a few new lights have come on there.In...

Read More

Cancun Mexican Grill

The washed-out, leafless, biting cold days of winter in southeast Michigan–not even remotely tropical–can set us to combing the Internet for travel deals that take us south. Cancun! Take me away! In the meantime,...

Read More

A New Path for State Supremes

At a talk at the Ann Arbor City Club in February, new Michigan Supreme Court justice Bridget McCormack said she’d enjoyed her first weeks on the bench and that her new colleagues had all been warm and helpful. But she...

Read More

The Family Learning Institute

“There was no money for payroll,” Amy Rolfes recalls.In November 2008, Rolfes was a part-time reading consultant at the Family Learning Institute, a free reading program for students in local elementary schools. Then...

Read More

The New Naked

Naked Furniture has finally completed its move a block east to its new home across from Arborland. For months, neon-colored signs screamed that a move was imminent and a sale in progress. Now equally loud signage in the new...

Read More

Mocha Monkey Cafe

The name of the Mocha Monkey Cafe is a reference to owner Jamal Abusway’s past. The Mocha Monkey was a favorite coffee drink at the Shaky Ground, a now-defunct coffee shop near San Francisco’s Chinatown where he...

Read More

Bernie and Marvel Mayotte

A toddler is on the loose in Bernie and Marvel Mayotte’s family room, weaving in and out among the toys and books that dot the floor, climbing up and down on couches, and pointing around the room. Bernie, age...

Read More

Make Way for Ducklings

The mother mallard waddled right across the storm sewer grating, but her eight tiny, just-hatched babies slipped through the bars.Sue–not her real name–had just turned into Oak Valley Centre, on her way to meet a...

Read More

Pho House

It’s hard to take seriously a new restaurant that opens–and continues to operate a couple of months later–still sporting its predecessor’s signs. Inside, too, the new Pho House on Washtenaw reveals a...

Read More

Upcoming Events