2014 February

Kangaroos on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.

Armadillos in a basement, swans in a pond, sloths on the ceilings, kangaroos in a field, kids in a classroom, an alligator in a van. Is this place a zoo, an animal sanctuary, a traveling circus, or a school?”It’s...

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Back on Track

A race car crouches in the lobby of Road & Track’s south-side office. “That’s a real McLaren, from ’89,” Larry Webster says. “That thing on the wall is [a body panel] from a real 1966...

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A $250,000 Election?

In November, Jane Lumm and Kirk Westphal spent over $40,000 between them in Ward Two. Their total nearly doubled last year’s second-most-expensive contest, the $21,000 Democratic primary between Jack Eaton and Marcia...

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Mother hunt

“A beautiful secure life, love & joy awaits your cherished newborn,” read a recent classified ad in the Ann Arbor Journal, the Heritage chain’s free weekly paper. Another ad offered “A loving...

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ParknParty

The local website handled the rental of 3,000 parking and tailgating spots for the New Year’s Day hockey game at Michigan Stadium. That easily beat its previous record: 2,000 spaces for the last fall’s Michigan-Notre...

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Street Clocks?

Q. I like the old street clocks that I see in so many towns and cities. Isn’t it odd that Ann Arbor doesn’t have one?A. Sometimes called “post clocks,” these would traditionally stand in town squares,...

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Garbage gully

When a west side resident stopped by the donation boxes at the edge of the Westgate Kroger parking lot one morning in December to drop off a bag of clothing, the prospect was appalling. The gully between the lot and Maple Road...

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Gospelfest

I knew I’d get the question, and, sure enough, less than five minutes after I arrived someone asked, “So, what’s a nice Jewish boy like you doing here at Gospelfest?” Fair question, but those familiar...

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Annabelle Closes

At the end of December a reader sent a news tip thatAnnabelle,a jewelry and accessories store on S. Main Street, next door to the M Den, was advertising deep discounts and appeared likely to close. One week later, a “For...

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Happy’s Plans

A fire destroyed the Happy’s Pizza franchise on S. Main Street on January 7–a day of record-setting cold in Ann Arbor. A message to customers on the store’s answering system said that the store “was...

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Unlucky Kroger

After some thirty years at the corner of Stadium and South Industrial, Kroger failed to come to a lease agreement with the property’s owners, and Boulder-based natural foods grocer Lucky’s Market is slated to take...

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Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal has never been afraid of the big themes, the overpowering issues. I remember a Hopwood Award-winning essay she wrote back in the 1990s, when she was in graduate school at U-M–“We do not live here; we...

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Habib Koite

In 1983 I saw King Sunny Ade and His African Beats at Soldier Field in Chicago–a whirlwind of melody, rhythm, and motion, watched and heard by tens of thousands of people. African music has never again reached that level...

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Orange Leaf frozen yogurt

Orange Leaf frozen yogurt is coming to Traver Village on Plymouth Road in part of the former Tree Town Toys space, according to a sign in the window. The Oklahoma City-based company is a “self-serve,...

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Firehouse Subs closes

Firehouse Subs, a franchise that opened last March in the former White Market space on William Street, closed January 16. Jessica Hammond, who owned the store with her husband Doug, says the couple will “pursue other...

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Joshua Breakstone

The electric guitar is probably the most common instrument in popular music in our time. But until the invention eighty or so years ago of the amplified version of the instrument guitarists worked mainly in the rhythm sections...

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Ralph W. Hammett, Monuments Man

I have long been curious about the late Ralph W. Hammett. A U-M architecture professor, he designed many local buildings, including an addition to the Ann Arbor (then Women’s) City Club on Washtenaw, the Congregational...

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Word of the Year

In January, U-M English prof Anne Curzan attended the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society, where the country’s top linguists and graduate students present their academic papers–and vote on the Word of the...

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