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Pure Michigan Singalong shows off Metro Detroit, becomes a web sensation

Come on, you gotta have a heart of stone not to be touched by this clever Pure Michigan promotional. And at nearly 2 million views in less than 2 weeks that's a helluva successful campaign.
Let's see if I caught all of our region's reps. There's the Erebus' ghouls (Pontiac), a high falutin' toast in Rochester, Royal Oak's polar bears, a Southfield weatherman, The Henry Ford (Dearborn), Ann Arbor's Big House, Detroit's Comerica Park, Lions, DIA, and Fox Theater, an ice rink in Novi, and the Ypsilanti Water Tower. Did I miss any?
Check out the video below.

Paste Magazine lists 12 Michigan bands you gotta listen to

Okay, let's start off by mentioning my intense love of Lightning Love, Chris Bathgate, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jr. But that's just the tip of the local music worth owning iceberg. Paste spotlights a dozen Mitten-based bands that you should be spreading the gospel about.


"Lightning Love is a trio that features siblings Aaron and Leah Diehl along with guitarist Ben Collins. Aaron’s simple, appropriate drums are a great backbone for Leah’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics that explore subjects that range from every day routines (“Everyone I Know”) to the more ridiculous (“Friends”). The band just released the excellent Girls Who Look Like Me EP on Quite Scientific Records."

Read the rest here.

Metro Detroit malls appear in New Yorker cartoon

Somerset, Oakland, Westgate, Jackson, and Briarwood malls all made the cut in one of the most recent cartoons in The New Yorker. The cartoonist, Dave Corley, lives in Ann Arbor and received a bachelor's degree in both philosophy and imaginative writing from Eastern Michigan University.

Check out the cartoon here.

Chicago Sun-Times is on board with Michigan's high-speed rail

Metro Detroit recently received $161 million in federal funds to improve high-speed rail service on Amtrak's Wolverine line between Pontiac and Kalamazoo. The Chicago Sun-Times takes a good look at the potential of this investment and how it breaks down.


About $150 million of the money awarded to Michigan will be for the section of track between Kalamazoo and Detroit. This is owned by Norfolk Southern, which wants to sell it, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

Michigan may buy it with a portion of the high-speed rail money. Discussions are ongoing about how much of the funds would be for the track and how much for track improvement, Magliari said.

Track improvements would increase speeds from 79 mph to 110 mph, which would bring it in line with the track Amtrak owns from Kalamazoo to the state line.

At greater speeds, Amtrak could double the number of round trips from Chicago to Detroit from three to six, Magliari said. Ridership on this route already has increased 8 percent in the past year.

The rest of the high-speed funding would be used to improve the connection from Pontiac to the state line.

Read the rest of the story here.

Art vs Beer - Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti feature big fests this weekend

Art and beer arm wrestle for crowds in Washtenaw County, wanna guess which will win? In one corner you've got downtown Ann Arbor's Art Fairs (four art fairs that are generally thought of as one). In the other corner you've got the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park. Personally, I'm putting my money on the the fest that gets me feeling happy quickest.



"Well, we all knew it was big, but when Google takes notice, it must be really big.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair was holding down the No. 4 spot on Google Trends' list of Hot Searches this morning. That's the top searches in the entire nation. The art fairs — technically it's four fairs, though the most likely search term is in the singular — was sandwiched between Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker and Georgia election results.

An estimated half-million or more people are expected in Ann Arbor over the next four days."

Get more coverage here.


"Or maybe you've said to yourself, "Well, I'd like to try some of that craft beer but I have no idea what I'd like and I don't want to waste my time and money ... oh how I wish there was someone to help me!!!!"

Well, your wish has come true! (Sorry, I can't help with those other wishes you have ... and those are kinda off-color, don't you think?) You can be a beer adventurer, kids! Kind of like being guided by a Boy Scout -- but with beer!! For the low price of $10 (a festival ticket is still required), you will get to enter through the VIP entrance at the beer fest and meet your adventurer guide. I've gone through this VIP entrance and that in and of itself is pretty cool ... no lines, for one, and you're a VIP! That's cool! Your guide will meet with you and up to four other people and plot your battle plan. And trust me, these battle plans will make the ones from "Red Dawn" (the original, not the remake) look like a Tic Tac Toe game."

Read the rest here.

Never mind rock-n-roll high school, Ypsi has a high tech high school

Ypsilanti went high tech with its latest high school addition. The school is incorporating various new teaching techniques along with technology to form new classes, or, at least, new versions of old classes.


Next fall, when students in the Ypsilanti area's newest high school get done learning their geometry lessons, they'll take those concepts and turn them into art.

That's because they won't be sitting in a traditional math class. Instead, they'll be in a geoart class - a 100 minute-a-day course that combines geometry and art.

It's one of three combination classes for the 100-plus students who will make up the initial freshman class at the Ypsilanti school district's New Tech High School.

The two others? Historytech and Biolit.

Combining classes is one part of the new techniques that will be used at the school, which will meet in Ardis Elementary School, a building that has been closed for several years.

The high school is geared to combine technology with new teaching techniques that focus in on project learning, said Cory McElmeel, who's in charge of the school.

Ypsilanti's New Tech is one five such high schools opening in the state this year, joining more than 50 already in operation across the nation.

Read the entire article here.

Ypsilanti firm helps Massachusetts entrepreneurs create dry erase paint

Who needs a dry erase board when you can just write on the wall, or the table, or the chair? The catch is that it's still all dry erase! A couple of mad scientists - A.K.A. entrepreneurs - thought about a world where dry erase board paint existed. They sought out to create it and found an Ypsi company to help them realize their dream.


For three years, former classmates Morgen Newman, John Goscha and Jeff Avallon sought help from specialty paint and chemical coating laboratories. Two labs claimed it was impossible. Whiteboards are made using high-intensity ovens. IdeaPaint needed something that could be applied with a roller in a single coat. That wasn't going to happen, the scientists said.

The young entrepreneurs refused to believe it. "Our joke was, if we could put a man on the moon, we can make dry-erase paint," says Newman, 25.

Then they found CAS-MI Laboratories in Ypsilanti, Mich., where the scientists were willing to give their plan a shot and even cover some of the development costs.

With the help of $1 million from family, friends and a few angel investors, the group spent the next four years fine-tuning their recipe.

Read the entire article here.

The Salvation Army's Red Kettle drive now takes plastic

No cash? No problem. Men and women ringing the bells outside now take plastic. The nostalgic scene will no longer have the sound of change falling into a tin can, but now more of a swipe and a printing receipt sound.


The Salvation Army of Washtenaw County will kick off its annual Red Kettle Campaign with an event beginning at noon on Friday, Nov. 20 inside Briarwood Mall. A giant red kettle measuring 6 feet tall and 6 feet around will be set up in the Celebration Center next to the play area in the JCPenney court. 

The Red Kettle Campaign is going high tech this year with the addition of credit card machines at three kettles in Briarwood Mall and one kettle at Sam's Club in Ypsilanti. TSA-WC is the first corps in the state of Michigan, as well as The Salvation Army’s Central Territory, to use credit card machines at its kettles.

"People who don’t tend to carry cash now have a convenient and safe way to donate to our Red Kettle Campaign," said Washtenaw County Coordinator Major John Williams. "The machines don’t hold the credit card data – the data is transmitted through a secure cellular connection."

Read the entire story here.

Study started in Ypsi preschool finds that IQ is overrated

IQ, schmIQ... according to a study that began in a preschool in Ypsilanti. Well, OK, so the study doesn't exactly say "IQ, schmIQ," but it discovered that IQ isn't the only factor when looking at achievement.

Forrest, "Stupid is as stupid does," was right.


From the Perry Preschool, in Ypsilanti, Mich., comes one of the most influential demonstrations that factors other than intelligence play a large role in determining achievement.

In the 1960s, researchers began a study of 123 African-American children born into poverty. When the children were 3 years old, they were randomly assigned to either a treatment group, and given a high-quality preschool education, or to a control group, which received no preschool education at all.

The subjects were then tracked over the ensuing decades, with the most recent analysis comparing the groups at the age of 40. The differences, even decades after the intervention, were stark: adults assigned to the preschool program were 20 percent more likely to have graduated from high school and 19 percent less likely to have been arrested more than five times.

Read the entire article here.

Ypsi's Clean Energy Coalition offers tips to green up your home

So you've heard about this "greening" thing. You've done some research. You'd like to check it out, maybe apply some of it to your house. But, you don't know how or don't know what... Well, look no further than the Clean Energy Coalition. They've set up a boutique in the back of their non-profit offices to give you the knowledge and the opportunity to get what you need and what you want when it comes to greening your home.


The Clean Energy Coalition has opened up a store and education outlet for homeowners interested in greening their houses.

The Ypsilanti-based nonprofit recently moved its offices to the back of the storefront and opened the "boutique" clean-energy store earlier this month.

Project manager Deb Heed said the goal is to showcase energy-efficiency products in a space that allows customer to ask questions of experts and make their purchase decisions that the same time. The Energy Outlet, located at 44 E. Cross St., has sections for lighting, insulation and sealing, water conservation, power use and more.

Read the entire article here.

Star-gazing in Ypsilanti

No, it's not Hollywood. It's not Los Angeles. It's Ypsi. If you've seen someone who looks like Hillary Swank or Minnie Driver or Sam Rockwell hanging around Ypsi and the Ann Arbor area lately, you're not seeing stars (literally). They are shooting a new movie in and around town.


Starring Hilary Swank, Minnie Driver and Sam Rockwell, "Betty Anne Waters" has already been filmed in Ann Arbor, Chelsea and Ypsilanti. It was announced in February that filming would begin Monday in the Freeman Bunting Insurance building on Michigan Avenue in Downtown Ypsilanti.

The movie is based on the true story of a working mother in Massachusetts who puts herself through law school to represent her brother after his murder conviction.

Read the entire article here.

Detroit to Ann Arbor light rail slated to begin in October

After years of speculation and meetings, the Detroit to Ann Arbor light rail should begin in October. Some communities, like Dearborn, are hoping to get a jump on the process to expedite the ride.


A three-year trial system of a proposed intermodal rail passenger station that would allow passengers to ride from Ann Arbor to Detroit is slated to begin next October.

Officials in the city of Dearborn are looking to get a jump on the process, as on March 2, the Dearborn City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Jack O'Reilly to execute an amendment to renew and extend a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) through Sept. 30 for site selection, environmental assessment and preliminary engineering and design of an intermodal station in Dearborn.

Read the entire article here.

Wireless Ypsi moves into downtown Ann Arbor

Telecommuters all over the land, or at least the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area, will have free wi-fi access in downtown parks, restaurants and those coffee shops that haven't entered the 21st Century. Ypsi Wireless, a community wireless system, though still very limited to business districts and high density areas, now offers its free service in Ann Arbor's downtown.


"We want to see how big we can make the network ... with thousands of people using it every day and doing it cooperatively," said Steve Pierce, who co-founded Wireless Ypsi with Ypsilanti City Council member Brian Robb.

Pierce owns Internet consulting and Web services business HDL, which manages the Wireless Ypsi system.

Wireless Ypsi launched in January 2008 as a way to provide free wireless Internet access mainly around downtown Ypsilanti. The system uses San Francisco-based Meraki Network's hardware.

Read the entire article here.

Vibrant downtowns top list of priorities for Ann Arbor, Ypsi in 2009

A city without a downtown is like a book without its pages. So it's a good thing to know that Ann Arbor and Ypsi have prioritized the coming year by focusing on keeping their downtowns vibrant.


Economic health will always affect and be affected by our downtown areas. It's good to see them among both councils' priorities. Each one is critical to each city's appeal, and both will need great care. Of course, this isn't a new concern. Ypsilanti administrators have already assembled an economic team and streamlined tax-abatement rules, while Ann Arbor's specific goal of zoning revisions is the result of a lengthy process. The plan is still being revised, and it will be important to ensure that the result makes it easier, not harder, to do business downtown.

Read the entire article here.

Ypsi non-profit is looking to rebuild the city one energy efficient light bulb at a time

It's time to change it up a bit. The old ways aren't working as well as they used to. Time to push for more clean energy technologies, more alternative energies, and longer lasting, energy-efficient light bulbs. And this is what Clean Energy Coalition, an Yspi non-profit, plans to do with their new project "Rebuild Ypsi."


The project is intended to reduce energy costs by assisting in energy efficiency improvements for commercial buildings such as offices, retail, restaurants and multifamily residential.

“We're extremely excited to work right here in the community towards energy efficiency practices that will benefit building owners and renters financially because of the continuous increase in energy prices," said CEC Executive Director Sean Reed.

Rebuild Ypsilanti is part of a larger effort in the State of Michigan, not surprisingly called, Rebuild Michigan. The Michigan Energy Office, headed under the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, provided $102,213 to Ypsilanti’s CEC and four other communities as part of a start up assistance grant.

Read the entire article here.

Dream homes in dream neighborhoods may now be affordable

Now would be a good time to find your dream home in your dream neighborhood. As prices drop, houses in some of the area's more desirable cities become more affordable - actually, a lot more affordable.


Since the market's peak in 2005, home prices have fallen about 23.2% in metro Detroit, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Record foreclosures in the past two years have also created a drag on home values as foreclosed properties compete head-to-head with owner listings.

So, for the first time in years, buyers can find many choices in the under-$200,000 price range in communities such as Allen Park, Westland, Dearborn, Ypsilanti, Detroit, Howell, Harrison Township, Fraser, Clinton Township, Warren, Holly, Farmington Hills, Keego Harbor, Waterford, Monroe, Royal Oak and Ferndale, according to data compiled by Realcomp in Farmington Hills.

Read the entire article here.

EMU alum's Web widget hits the big time

What the heck is a widget? Well, widgets do things, on the Internet, within Web pages. That's still vague, huh? OK, here's an example: You know when you go to Google and those ads pop up that reflect what you just searched? That's a widget working. It's a web application that can be personalized to do specific things. With that said, EMU alum Mo Kakwan gets a lot of looks with his Web widget that'll make you laugh.


If you haven’t heard George Washington recite the preamble to the constitution or a hamster speak French, you probably don’t know about Blabberize.com.

Don’t worry, word of mouth is helping turn the Internet oddity, created by Eastern Michigan University graduate Mo Kakwan, into one of the most talked about Web widgets around.

“I wanted to make a talking picture you could send as a postcard,” said Kakwan, 25, of Ann Arbor.

Read the entire article here.

Here comes the green revolution and NY Times columnist Friedman is kicking it off

So you want a revolution - a green revolution? Then you're in luck. EMU is hosting an alternative energy, green business event that focuses on Michigan's roll in what could possibly be the globes future industry.


"Anyone who looks at the growth of middle classes around the world and their rising demands for natural resources, plus the dangers of climate change driven by our addiction to fossil fuels, can see that clean renewable energy -- wind, solar, nuclear and stuff we haven't yet invented -- is going to be the next great global industry,'' Friedman wrote in a recent column. "It has to be if we are going to grow in a stable way. Therefore, the country that most owns the clean power industry is going to most own the next great technology breakthrough -- the E.T. revolution, the energy technology revolution -- and create millions of jobs and thousands of new businesses, just like the IT revolution did."

Read the entire article here.

Ypsi library helps summer 'stay-cationers' have fun without spending too much on gas

From increased gas prices to tighter wallets, people have stuck around the yard, the house, and the neighborhood this summer for vacations.
These "stay-cationers," however, didn't just play video games and mow the lawn. They went to the library ...and Ypsi has the numbers to prove it.


July's circulation figures at YDL topped 82,000 items, an increase of 14,000 over last summer. This is attributable in large measure to the fact that more and more residents are finding their entertainment in their own backyards rather than across the country. Want to listen to a book on your mp3 player? Come to the Ypsilanti District Library and go to our e-audiobooks station and download a book on your own machine.

Want to visit the Detroit Institute of Art or take the Ford Rouge Plant Tour, but just don't have the money to take your family on these outings? Visit your library first and check out a Museum Adventure Pass underwritten by Macy's and get free admissions to your favorite cultural institutions with your library card.

Read the entire article here.

Ypsi fair offers alternatives to the automobile

You don't always have to drive your car. Last Tuesday Yspi held a fair detailing non-auto options, like bikes, carpooling, and buses, for getting around.


The fair was held Tuesday to educate people who want to ride bicycles, carpool or use the bus, said Brian Vosburg, director of the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority. With the price of gas hovering around $4 a gallon, and area schools starting next week, the DDA partnered with several organizations to hold the fair and help residents learn about alternate transportation, Vosburg said.

Read the entire article here.

Solar power is coming to Ypsi, slowly but surely

Remember that marketing campaign for Heinz ketchup telling you, "Good things come to those who wait." Well, for Ypsi and solar panels that might be a good motto to take up.

The solar panel project for city hall is moving forward, but slowly. So, Ypsi, take heart. Good things come to those who wait.


In May, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved nearly $6.5 million in energy efficiency grants to fourteen Michigan organizations, including the Ypsilanti Food Cooperative, which secured nearly $36 thousand for the Ypsi Goes Green project, a plan to install solar photovoltaic panels on the Co-op's roof and on City Hall. The food Co-op will add seven panels to their current five, and 12 panels are slated to go up on City Hall.

Read the entire article here.

EMU wins 'Best in the Midwest' for 6 years in a row

Well, they might not be on par with Michael Phelps winning more gold medals than a shop teacher has fingers. But it's still pretty darn good.

Eastern Michigan University, for the sixth year in a row, has been named among the best in the Midwest by the 2009 Best Colleges: Region by Region published by PrincetonReview.com.

EMU was one of the 159 colleges chosen from 632 in the region.


“This is recognition of EMU by the people we serve – the students,” said Susan Martin, president of EMU. “This really speaks to the excellent educational experience that our students receive here.”

Read the entire release here.

Ypsilanti's 'Miles of Gold' is heaven for golfers

Kids have Disney Land, teenagers have text-messaging, the elderly have Columbo, and golfers have Ypsilanti. Miles of Golf is one of the largest public courses in the nation - and it's in Ypsi.

The saying, "you're like a kid in a candy store," could be changed to, "you're like a golfer at Miles of Golf in Ypsi." Yeah, it doesn't quite roll off the tongue like the former, but you get the point.


Far closer to my home in Illinois is the great golfing state of Michigan.

Not only are there more public courses in Michigan than any other state in the nation (believe it or not), there are monuments to all things golf, including some of the best golf stores, golf academies, and club-fitters in the nation.

One of the largest is Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti. For golfers, Miles of Golf makes The Epcot Center look small and dull.

Read the entire article here.

'Green' beer festival, and it's not even St. Patty's Day

This weekend in Ypsilanti's Depot Town you'll find a 'green' beer festival. Well, actually, the beer will be its normal color, but the festival itself will be 'green.' See, the Michigan Summer Beer Festival has decided to reduce and recycle all of the weekend's festival waste.


The Michigan Brewers Guild Board of Directors have decided to go for a zero-waste beer festival.

After receiving requests to consider using a "corn cup" for sampling as opposed to the normal plastic cup and looking to leave "less of a scar on the environment, " it has been decided that any trash generated by the festival will either be recycled, composted, or reused for animal feed.

Read the entire article here.

Ypsi is growing despite hardened ground

The economy is taking a bit of a hit lately, especially in Michigan. But that doesn't mean it's all doom and gloom. There are pockets and buckets of growth and inspiration all over the region - and Ypsilanti is one of them. Despite economic challenges, the city is growing quite nicely.


But have you seen the little wonder of downtown Ypsilanti? Have you seen the downtown district on Michigan Avenue? Like the little engine that could - despite the troubled economy - Ypsilanti's true downtown district has transformed itself from having most every storefront closed to having most every storefront open. There are gift boutiques and niche stores - such as Simply DeVine, World of Rocks, What Is That Gallery, Materials Unlimited, Bowerbird Mongo and The Rocket. Fashionable clothing stores such as the City Hatter, VG Kids, Puffer Reds, G & T and Studio Glamour are open for business.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor-Detroit rail line by 2010, potentially

After all that talk of a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter line, it's on its way... potentially. SEMCOG is just waiting on estimates of cost before they progress. The line could get held up again but Carmine Palombo, director of transportation programs for SEMCOG, says it should be a go.


SEMCOG has looked into the feasibility of a commuter rail between the two major cities for more than a year now. The concept would be to rely on existing infrastructure as much as possible as a system was developed to shuttle people between Detroit, Ann Arbor and Metro Airport.

Palombo said the question of where the stop that will service Detroit Metropolitan Airport will sit. So far, stations are already planned for Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, a Detroit Metro Airport stop, a stop at the Henry Ford in Dearborn and near the New Center Area in downtown Detroit.

Read the entire article here.

Same-sex family in Ypsi featured on '30 days' television show

Super Size Me was Morgan Spurlock's first major joint. It catapulted him into the spot light in a few different ways. He ate only McDonalds for a month, gained 30 pounds, and his liver got all jacked up. He's back with a new-er show called "30 Days." Somewhat of a spin-off of his first major work. In the show, a person immerses themselves in a lifestyle they aren't familiar or comfortable with. So, Spurlock brought the show to Ypsi and immersed someone into a same-sex family raising children.


Dennis Patrick said were asked to be on "30 Days" after the casting director saw an online interview about the family.

"We really had to think about it. Tom was reluctant; he thought it would be a big intrusion into our lives. It's not like it was for a couple of days ... and it involved inviting someone into your home who's against the very thing you are all about. But I talked him into it."

He said theirs was one of several families under consideration.

"After a while, you kind of got used to it," he said of the filming, which involved two producers, a camera operator, a sound man and an assistant producer. "The hard part was talking about gay adoption every day for 30 days. It's a big part of our lives, it's who we are, but it's not something we think about constantly or talk about every single day."

Read the entire article here.

Michigan will play host to EducationUSA

It's not easy picking a school in your hometown, let alone a town a gajillion miles away. Enter EducationUSA. They advise international students on their higher education options here in the States. And they're comin' to town.

This week U of M, EMU, and Washtenaw Community College will be hosting a a training program for EducationUSA overseas advisers.


EducationUSA advisers are available in a worldwide network of 450 sites—at U.S. Embassy Public Affairs offices, Fulbright Commissions, local universities, and bi-national centers—to help international students learn about higher education in the United States.

From May 17-22, EducationUSA advisers will visit colleges and universities in Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, they will visit the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Siena Heights University, Eastern Michigan University, and Washtenaw Community College.

Read the entire article here.


EMU hires college's first woman president

Eastern Michigan University has a new president. And, for the first time in its 159-year history, it's a woman. Dr. Susan Martin, who is EMU's 22nd president, was previously provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs for the University of Michigan's Dearborn campus.


"Isn't that great," Martin said of being the first woman president at EMU. "It is starting to sink in. It is unbelievable. I started on a farm. I went to a one-room school. Now I'm the farm girl who makes good. I am president of Eastern Michigan University."

Read the entire article here.

Growing Hope growing roots in Ypsi

Growing Hope is an Ypsilanti-based nonprofit that promotes dirty hands. Ok, not really. But they don't mind if you do. What they really promote is community gardening and education, and they finally have a home on Michigan Avenue, west of downtown Ypsi.

They operate the Downtown Farmers Market and help members design and maintain gardens. Twenty-five gardens are now supported by Growing Hope in Washtenaw County.


Edmonds said being in an area that hasn't experienced a lot of re-development attention is exciting for her organization. It's part of the "asset-based community development'' that is a mission for Growing Hope, she said.

The idea is to focus on available assets in a community and use them to help that community reach its full potential. Being closely associated with public housing residents is a great way to do that, Edmonds said. She also noted she's excited that neighbors have already been dropping to by to ask questions and, in some cases, ask for jobs.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor Spark receives financial spark from Superior Twp.

Ann Arbor Spark, a talent and business incubator for Southeast Michigan, just received a boost in funding from Superior Township. Spark had been looking for contributions to expand their offices from Ann Arbor into Ypsi. Looks like they got some.

Spark says it'll cost about $200,000 to open up, slated for September. They say they're about $60,000 away from reaching that goal.


The Superior Township Board of Trustees voted Monday to contribute $15,000 over three years toward a business incubator in eastern Washtenaw County.

Township Supervisor William McFarlane said the township approved $5,000 for the project this year. If it's successful, the township will contribute the rest of the money in the following two years. "We would want them to come to us and report on the project," McFarlane said.

Read the entire article here.

It's time to ride in Ypsi

Put the peddle to the metal, kind of. Bring out the bikes, if you haven't already, and shake the rust from the chain during a bike ride through historic Ypsilanti on May 4.


As part of "Curb Your Car Month," the Ypsilanti Bicycle Coalition will host its Spring Ride and Festival on May 4 at the Recreation Park Pavilion, 1015 Congress St., in Ypsilanti.

The festival, which will include a barbecue, bicycle polo, a kids' bicycle rodeo, information booths and more, begins at noon. Rides are scheduled for 8:45 a.m. (30 miles), 10 a.m. (15 miles) and 11:30 a.m. (3 to 5 miles). Helmets are encouraged for all and required for riders under 18.

Read the entire article here.

Visit Bike Ypsi here.

Keepin' tabs on the artists

Stand up and be counted if you're an artist in Washtenaw County. Well, actually, it's more like sit down, fill out a survey, and be counted. Between April 1 and May 17 the Washtenaw County Arts Alliance will launch an Artists' Census. The census will become part of the Arts Alliance's cultural plan for the county. They are urging everyone to participate. Who knows, maybe you'll find out you're an artist - and you just never knew it.


"Artists are the creative DNA of Washtenaw County, and provide the spark that makes our region such a great place to live," Tamara Real, Director of the Arts Alliance, said in a press release.

Real said the census would aid in building "visibility and credibility" of several artists in the community.

"It's easy to know how many arts organizations are in the country, but individual artists are often over looked."

Read the entire article here.

Late night Ypsi business

Ypsi business owners are staying up a bit later on Fridays. Well, at least the second Friday of every month. With the spring on it's way, their hope is that they'll see more traffic, which means more money, with these extended hours.

They'll also be offering special events and prize giveaways - and everyone loves prizes - for visitors. Hope everyone has an alarm clock, it's gonna be a late night.


"I would say it's to lure people to downtown Ypsilanti,'' said Paul Balcom, co-owner of The Rocket, one of the participating businesses. "(We want to) let the residents and consumers know that there are businesses within their downtown district that offer affordable merchandise. ... I don't believe that people that live within the city are aware that there are stores downtown. A lot of us are newer, too, so if they haven't been downtown in the last couple of years, they're unaware.''

Read the entire article here.

Coney Island County

Washtenaw County is racking up the hot dogs and clogging arteries with a recent explosion of diner-type eateries. Ypsilanti Township, for example, has added seven Coneys within their seven-mile border in the last four years.

With quick meals and less-than-expensive prices, a Coney seems to be the perfect stop for people with places to go - at least in Washtenaw County.


There are no statistics to back the growing trend of new Coney Islands, said Deloney, but it's obviously happening in Michigan, where the Coney Island restaurant is said to be rooted.

In the past few years, Washtenaw County has welcomed King of Queens Restaurt and Smokin' Coney; Greeko's Coney; Leo's Coney Island; Big Moe's Coney; Alpha Coney Island; and Luca's Restaurant and Coney.

Read the entire article here.

Commuter rails - coming to a city near you, maybe

Commuter trains are coming! Commuter trains are coming! At least that's the plan. A study just finished up that checked out the feasibility of a commuter rail from Ann Arbor to Detroit - and stops along the way.

As for Dearborn, they would be getting a brand new station, as long as everything goes according to plan. They'd call it the Intermodal Rail Passenger Station. Pretty cool, huh? Sounds like the future.


The commuter transit system is planned ot have stops in Ypsilanti and at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in addition to Detroit, Ann Arbor and Dearborn, Murray said.

Until the station is completed, Murray said the commuter trains would go through the Dearborn Amtrak Station.

"Detroit is the last major metropolitan center without a local transit system," Murray said.

"We need a transit system in this region to be competitive. It's just something a major metropolitan area needs to have."

Read the entire article here.

Ypsilanti-based VGKids growing up, to go national

Ok, so maybe James Marks isn't growing up, but his company is. VGKids, an Ypsilanti-based screen printing business that has grown 150 percent in the last year, is dropping in on the West Coast.

Marks recently opened a satellite space in Oakland, Calif., to hasten the shipping times of his numerous orders west of the Mighty Mississippi. This is first spot outside of Michigan, but Marks has his eye on 13 more locations around the Nation.


He moved to  converted office space in Ypsilanti on Pearl Street and later to 4,000 square feet of space on West Michigan Avenue, which he maintains for production.

While alternative markets are his niche, he's attracting more mainstream business from the likes of the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.

"The company brings energy to Ypsilanti," Marks said. "As we get larger, we'll continue to have a commitment to Ypsilanti. The plan from day one was to be a national company with Ypsilanti as its home."

Read the entire article here.

Metro Times releases annual 'Best of Detroit'

As they wont to do each year, the Metro Times has released its annual "Best of Detroit" awards.

Check them out here.

Metrotimes publishes area-wide food guide

The Metrotimes annual restaurant guide runs the gamut: from coneys to caviar, from haute to simply hot.

Categories include eggs, buffets, steaks and vegetarian-friendly. Check it out here.

Washtenaw County ranked 6th "most digital" county in nation

The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties have ranked Washtenaw County sixth in the nation when it comes to being "digital."


Among its online services, the county now allows job applicants to establish application accounts online to help cut down on time when applying for jobs. It also Webcasts the county board of commissioners meetings and provides archives of those videos online, on demand. The Webcasts are accompanied with prior and next meeting agendas, as well as meeting minutes on the county’s web site.

Read the entire article here.

Shadow Art Fair brightens up Ypsi July 14

The Michigan Design Militia, a group of Ann Arbor- and Ypsilanti-based fashion designers,
artists and publishers will host the Shadow Art Fair Saturday, July 14 at Ypsilanti's corner brewery. The free event will feature the work of over 40 local and regional artists that will be selling clothing, accessories, prints, leather, photography, painting, zines, comics, records, home goods, stencils and greeting cards.

The event runs from noon to midnight, and there will be live music beginning at 5:00 p.m.

"Dump the pump!" on June 21

Thursday, June 21 is the second annual "Dump the Pump" day that calls for the parking of cars and the riding of public transit as a way of calling attention to the environmental and economic benefits of using public transit.

A transit fact:

From 1995 through 2006, public transportation ridership increased by 30 percent, a growth rate higher than the 12 percent increase in US population and higher than the 24 percent growth in use of the nation's highways over the same period.

Find out more here.

Michigan Suburbs Alliance breakfast to focus on healthcare legacy costs

The Michigan Suburbs Alliance next Mayors & Managers breakfast will focus on healthcare legacy costs. It is set for June 29 and will be held at Macomb Community College.

Find out more and register here.

Tour the command center for the Transformers! (you know you want to)

The Transformers Sector 7 Mobile Command Center is coming to SE Michigan and will feature exclusive film footage.

The tour will stop in Novi at the Emagine Novi Theater on Friday, June 8 and in Ypsilanti at the Showcase Cinema on Saturday, June 9.

Michigan tourism website busiest in nation

Michigan's tourism website, Michigan.org, was the busiest in the nation in April, according to web trackers at Hitwise.


"We view this as a clear and important signal that people are looking to Michigan for their leisure travel," said George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan. "We know from independent research that 65 percent of consumers who use Michigan.org for tourism information, then travel to and within Michigan. So more web traffic means more business at Michigan destinations. We believe our efforts inside and outside of Michigan are making a substantial difference."

Read the entire article here.

Community Foundation spreads $15.4M around SE Michigan

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announced the awarding of $15.4 million in grants.

Awardees include:
  • Detroit Zoological Society,
  • Eastern Market Corporation,
  • Washtenaw County, for support of the Food System Economic Partnership,
  • Brookings Institute, to study the region's transformation from rust belt to knowledge belt, and
  • Boys and Girls Club of SE Michigan
Read the entire article here.

Tourism spending increases in Washtenaw County

The Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau say the 4 million visitors to Washtenaw County in 2006 spent $431 million—a 5.4 percent increase from the previous year.


"We are attracting a higher percentage of travelers from outside the state, and that has a great deal to do with the University of Michigan and the diversity of business here,'' said Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor visitors bureau. "We are pursuing more business having to do with emerging markets such as life sciences.''

Read the entire article here.

Michigan Suburbs Alliance annual meeting to celebrate "One Million Strong"

Michigan Suburbs Alliance's annual meeting is set for May 11. Entitled "Five Years. One Million Strong," the keynote speaker is former chair of the National League of Cities’ First-Tier Suburbs Council and current mayor of Bedford, Ohio.


Five years have passed since a small group of mayors and managers formed the Suburbs Alliance. Five years since these municipal leaders realized we must unite to achieve change. Today, we are nearly one million strong. The Suburbs Alliance currently represents 28 cities in southeast Michigan, and we’re still growing! This May we'll celebrate our accomplishments over the past half decade and talk about how we can harness our collective strength moving forward.

Read more and register here.

MDOT offers public chance to review its transportation plan

The Michigan Department of Transportation has released a draft version of its long-range transportation plan for the state and is requesting public input.

A link to the plan and to the questionnaire can be found here.


Winemaking business opens in Ypsilanti

Sharryl Sullivan, a former geography teacher, has opened a wine-making operation as a component of U-Brew in Ypsilanti.


After months of wrangling with the local and federal government to get the proper licenses and permits, Sullivan finally opened the winemaking portion of U-Brew on Washtenaw Avenue next to Mr. Pizza in Ypsilanti last month, where she'll brew her brand of Purple Feet wine.

Read the entire article here.

Airport noise abatement plan gets public meeting Apr. 4

Plans for noise abatement at Detroit Metro Airport will be discussed at a public meeting  scheduled for April 4. The meeting will be held from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Hotel in Romulus.

Environmentalists call for expansion of bottle deposit law

Environmentalists are calling for an expansion of Michigan's bottle deposit law to account for water and juice containers.


By most measurements, Michigan's law has been an unqualified success. Folks return more than 97 percent of the 4.3 billion bottles and cans of carbonated beverages sold here each year, according to state records. That tops the return rate of all other states and ranks Michigan's as America's No. 1 bottle recycling program.

Read the entire article here.

State launches first-ever tourism industry plan

A team working on behalf of the 9,000 businesses, attractions and groups that comprise Michigan's tourism industry have devised a strategic plan.


The plan's recommendations include:
  • Marketing the state nationally with a $30 million tourism promotion budget.

  • Boosting relationships with policymakers.

  • Promoting collaboration.

  • Expanding tourism-related research.

  • Improving hospitality training.
Read the entire article here.

Immigrants positive force for Metro Detroit's economy

Immigrants to the area are positively contributing to Metro Detroit's economy.


A study [director of research for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan Kurt] Metzger conducted in 2000 showed that about three-quarters of Asian Indians had graduated from college. More than 60 percent of Chinese and Japanese had received four-year degrees, and almost 50 percent of those of Korean descent had.

“We are getting this educated, young immigrant group that can provide that base that businesses are looking for,” he said. “They’re educated and talented enough to start new businesses.”

And they are coming at a time when Detroit’s native-born are leaving.

Read the entire article here.

Regional Chamber to host economic climate forum

The Detroit Regional Chamber will host a forum on the region's problems -- and proposed solutions -- on March 27.


Neal Peirce, chairman of The Citistates Group and a frequent guest on "Meet the Press," National Public Radio and "The Today Show," will offer a keynote address on the region’s challenges.

A panel, including Kramer, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and New Detroit Inc. Chairman John Rakolta, will lead an interactive exchange.

Read the entire article here.

State's green energy future has potential to do more than just clean the air

With everyone talking about what direction Michigan's energy future should go, many are pointing out that the greener it goes, the better for the economy.


"We could become the alternative energy state," says Mark Beyer, spokesman for the Detroit nonprofit NextEnergy.

When the facility opened, with its 80-seat auditorium and offices and research labs, the goal, said CEO James Croce, was to position both Detroit and Michigan at the "focal point of the emerging alternative energy industry."

Much of NextEnergy's efforts are focused on working with the Big 3 automakers to develop alternative fuels such as biodiesel, hydrogen and ethanol. But it offers alternative energy companies of all stripes research facilities, office space and access to government funding sources and private venture capital.

Read the entire article here.

Granholm heads to Germany to court business

Governor Jennifer Granholm heads to Germany and Austria to encourage international investment in the state.


Granholm said Michigan is competing with other states and countries for business investment.

"We've got what no other state has — this incredible footprint of automotive suppliers, research and development, engineers," she said.

Read the entire article here.

Michigan sports and leisure monthly to debut in April

Michigan in Play, a monthly sports and leisure magazine, will debut this April.    

The magazine promises to cover everything from basketball, football and baseball to dogsledding, wrestling and boating.

Locations where Michigan in Play can be picked up are listed here.

MichBio annual meeting set for Mar. 28

MichBio - the state's life science trade association - will host its annual meeting March 28 at Ypsilanti's Eagle Creek Conference Center. The keynote speaker will be Stephen P. McMillan of the Stryker Corp.


In a speech titled "Growing a Medical Device Company in Michgan," MacMillan will recap how Stryker grew from a small start-up company in West Michigan to one of the worldwide leaders in the medical device industry. (Gee, growing a company in Michigan. Isn't that supposedly impossible these days?) He will also provide an overview of the dynamic, $225 billion medical devices market and how individuals and companies in Michigan can participate in it. MacMillan will also field questions from the audience.

Read the entire article here.

Find out if your company is venture capital-worthy at upcoming Crain's event

Crain's will host "Following the Money: Where Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists See Opportunity" on Mar. 19 with panelists Ian Bund of Plymouth Venture Partners and
David Weaver of Great Lakes Angels.


Is your Company venture-worthy? Find out what panelists Ian Bund, chairman of Plymouth Venture Partners and David Weaver, president of Great Lakes Angels, look for in a company- and which sectors they think show the greatest opportunity in metro Detroit.

Find out more and register here.

Wireless Washtenaw forum set for Mar. 26

Wireless Washtenaw has announced a public forum to be held on March 26 to allow residents an opportunity to learn about and comment on the agency's plans to provide free wireless access across the county.


The project is entering a pre-deployment phase that includes the actual architectural design of the network that will eventually cover Washtenaw County’s entire 720 square miles.

Read the entire article here..

Transit plans gain momentum

Mass transit initiatives gain speed, momentum as  the public and local officials get behind efforts. The Establishment of a commuter rail line between Ann Arbor and Detroit and north of Ann Arbor is moving forward.


From proposed commuter trains to regional bus service, the long-failed effort to establish mass transit in car-crazy Metro Detroit is building steam, officials say.

Bringing the issue to the forefront are increasingly congested roads, soaring gas prices and the fact that Democrats -- who historically have championed public transportation -- now control the state House, governor's office and Congress.

Advocates say city after city has benefited from building a transit system, creating jobs and economic development along the routes. With the possible exception of Los Angeles, Detroit is the only major U.S. city without effective mass transit, critics say.

"I think it's really important that we develop an effective and efficient public transportation system if we're going to move ahead with economic recovery in this state," State Rep. Marie Donigan told a standing-room-only crowd at a public transit meeting last week in Royal Oak.

"We think there's an urgency in our work. We know the status quo's not working."

Read the entire article here.

New Metro Times columnist calls for regionalism

Larry Gabriel, former editor at Metro Times, debuts his new bi-monthly column for the publication with a call for regionalism with regard to the proposed Cobo Hall expansion.


"You might be able to make the case that the auto show in and of itself is a special reason why a convention center matters more for metro Detroit than other reasons. That's a sensible argument," says Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future, Inc. "The region and the state really benefit for making the auto show work as a premier event. ... Oakland County needs to help, not be a roadblock. Brooks is being shortsighted that the auto show isn't a regional asset. It's an example of how the region works against itself. ... The auto show is really important both symbolically and also strategically. ... If we were to lose the auto show, it would be a big black eye for the area."

Read the entire column here.

Transit subcommittee formed by State House

The Michigan House of Representatives has convened a subcommittee devoted to public transit.


The committee is designed to address transit issues including the improvement of bus systems, funding issues, accessibility and the development of public transit systems in communities around the state.

Read the entire article here.

E85 becoming more cost-effective as price of gas rises

As the price of gasoline continues to increase, ethanol blends are becoming increasingly cost-effective at the pump.


In Michigan, ethanol is gaining momentum as a viable alternative to conventional gasoline. There are three stations already pumping out ethanol with one currently under construction.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jennifer Granholm recently announced plans to build 1,000 ethanol and biodiesel pumps across Michigan by the end of next year.

Read the entire article.

Automation Alley added 39 members in January

39 new members joined Automation Alley, the tech trade group based in Troy, in the month of January - a single month record for the organization.

The sectors with the biggest gains were IT, with 15 new members and manufacturing, with six.

Read the entire article here.

Local professionals passionate about careers with non-profits

The non-profit sector - including health care and education - accounted for 62% of new jobs created in Michigan in 2005 and local professionals are finding themselves rewarding careers.


The non-profit sector - including health care and education - accounted for 62% of new jobs created in Michigan in 2005 and local professionals are finding themselves rewarding careers.

Read the entire article here.

$400,000 awarded to arts community to establish Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan

The Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan has received $400,000 in start-up funding from the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan along with the McGregor Fund and the Hudson-Webber Foundation. The Alliance will work to increase collaborations between and visibility of arts and cultural organizations in the seven-county SEMCOG region.

The Cultural Alliance will represent the arts and culture community in regional planning efforts and will market the programs and amenities of member organizations to a diverse group of audiences.

The chairman of the Cultural Alliance’s board will be Steven K. Hamp, former president of The Henry Ford and Chief of Staff of Ford Motor Co. “The Cultural Alliance represents a new era for the arts and culture in our region,” he said in a release. “It embraces all dimensions of the cultural community: performing arts, visual arts, history and historic preservation, community cultural activities, arts education, science and nature, libraries and literature. Our goal is to foster innovation and creativity and enable our many and diverse cultural resources to contribute more dynamically to the people and communities of southeastern Michigan.”

All participating parties stress the Alliance’s inclusiveness, as organizations both big and small, fledgling and established, will have access to the collective’s resources and expertise.

More than 60 organizations from across all seven counties participated in an 18-month planning process to develop the Cultural Alliance, and several hundred will be invited to participate.

Source: CFSEM
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

D-Rod, to be built by local company, will promote Detroit as travel destination

DMCVB has tapped Holly-based Detroit-muscle to build a custom hot rod, the D-Rod, to showcase Detroit's appeal as the Motor City and as a travel and leisure destination.


Rick Dyer, Detroit Muscle project manager for the D-Rod, said the company's extensive knowledge and technical ability allowed Detroit Muscle put to put together, with passion and style, a street legal vehicle that represents the best of Detroit's past and future to prospective visitors.

Read the entire article here.

MichBio announces annual meeting

MichBio, the state's life sciences industry trade association, has set its annual meeting for March 28 at the Marriott Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti.

The MichBio Annual Meeting draws industry leaders and influential biotech professionals from across the state.

The meeting includes reception, exhibits, refreshments, live music, a MichBio update and a keynote address delivered by Steve MacMillan, president and CEO of Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp.

More info at www.michbio.org

United Way CEO urges regional solutions to area's problems

United Way for Southeastern Michigan CEO Michael Brennan discusses the agency's survey process that has led them to begin working on solving the region's major problems in three key areas: educational preparedness, economic stability and basic needs. He urges the region to work together in a collaborative manner to acieve success.


During the course of our research at United Way for Southeastern Michigan, we collected more than 20,000 comments from 7,000 residents, and one theme reverberated consistently: This region aspires to be a place where all people have the educational and economic opportunities needed to succeed and to thrive.

Read entire editorial here.

Scholarships, stipends available for tech-savvy women

Women pursuing IT careers can apply for over $50,000 in scholarships and technology stipends from the Michigan Council of Women in Technology.

Read more at MCWT's website.

Local music gets spotlight on new weekly PBS show

Local PBS station WTVS has started a new weekly hour-long music series focusing on top independent talent in Metro Detroit.

The whole idea began with footage that metro Detroiters James McGovern and Greg Sharrow originally produced for www.canyouhearmetv.com, an online platform the two created to showcase select indie artists from around the country. Ultimately, Detroit Public Television picked up the Detroit episodes and packaged them for the series.

"Detroit is known for its music scene -- it's Motown," says McGovern. "It's our hometown and there's so much respect we have for the city. We hope to create a better image for it by bringing music here and promoting the local scene."

Click here for the full story.
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