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Ann Arbor : In the News

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Train from Ann Arbor to Traverse City in the works?

It sounds great on the surface. But then you read all the caveats -studies, "many years off," exploratory, "no funds for this" - and realize that, like most interesting transportation ideas, Michigan will probably let it die on the vine. Let's hope our cynicism is wrongly placed.


"He said they're looking at a Traverse City to Ann Arbor line in particular because the tracks are still owned by the state and, for the most part, are in pretty good shape.

A map of the A2TC route shows the train would stop in Cadillac, Mount Pleasant, Alma, Owosso and Howell on its way from Traverse City to Ann Arbor, with the option of continuing to Detroit from Ann Arbor.

MDOT is conducting the study next year because there was an overwhelming amount of interest in the idea when MDOT created the State Rail Plan back in 2011, Bruckbauer said. The top priority that came out of the public input sessions for that plan was a passenger connection to Traverse City, he said."

Read the rest here.

Check out these techs. Google Demo investors will.

Three Detroit-area tech startups have won a chance to pitch their companies to investors lined up by Google and looking for business ideas to put their money behind.
After competing last week in the Grand Circus Detroit Google Demo Day competition, the founders of AdAdapted, GENOMENON and LevelEleven, are hoping to be picked to visit Google’s California HQ in April and spill to investors what’s promising about their companies. One or two will make the cut to make the trip to Mountainview, Calif.

“We’re very impressed by the talented entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the Detroit area. Google for Entrepreneurs partners with organizations like Grand Circus to help these local communities of entrepreneurs grow and thrive,” said John Lyman, head of partnerships and marketing for Google for Entrepreneurs.

Read more about these little companies that could here.

Contests become launchpads for Detroit startups

In the last few years, entrepreneurs are increasingly making pitch and business plan competitions part of their game plans. And more than ever, nationally televised contests are filming in Detroit. 


"A number of competitions mirroring the style of hit TV show "Shark Tank" have sprung up in Detroit,  where a downtown start-up tech scene  has taken root...

Mark Kiel's company, which developed software to interpret data about gene mutations in DNA sequencing, was founded two months ago, but he has already raised $47,000 in capital.Kiel, 37, won his money from MiQuest, the Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize and Greenlight Best Overall Pitch.

Ann Arbor-based Genomenon has won three business-pitch competitions — allowing Kiel to bypass the traditional route of hitting up family and friends or wooing an angel from a venture capital firm."

More here.

Local school districts rank as best communities for music education

Several southeast Michigan districts – Ann Arbor, Oak Park, Bloomfield Hills, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Fraser, and Rochester – are attuned to excellence in musical education.


"This year, the NAMM Foundation designates 376  districts  as Best Communities for Music Education and 96 individual  schools  as SupportMusic Merit Award winners. These districts and schools set the bar in offering students access to comprehensive music education...

More than 2,000 schools and school districts participated in this year's survey, resulting in a 21% increase in designations."

More here.

Dickinson Wright is tops in U.S. News' "Best Law Firms" 2014 report

The legal eagles at Detroit-based Dickinson Wright PLLC have taken top national and regional awards in a litany of specialties, according to the 2014 rankings in U.S. News. The firm says it has garnered 92 first-tier rankings out of 70 practice areas overall. Within Michigan, it earned first-tier recognition in 67 practice areas.

See the rankings here.

Ford and U-M team up to open battery lab

Developing the next generation of hybrid and electric battery for autos is tricky business. Innovations don't always square with nusiness needs. Ford and U-M are hoping to close that gap by joining forces.


"The center, on the university's campus in Ann Arbor, will bring together battery makers, car companies and researchers who will test new batteries for prototype vehicles.

Ted Miller, who manages battery research at Ford, said the lab will be unique in the U.S. He said that labs currently testing new battery chemistries can't produce them in the amounts or formats needed for automotive research. And battery companies aren't always sure that what they're developing could be useful to the automotive industry."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter rail plans move forward

How does commuter rail service with stops in Ann Arbor, Westland, Dearborn and New Center in Detroit sound? Pretty good to us as well.  Semcog gave a presentation of what the new MiTrain line would look like for residents of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.


"Officials are looking at providing five round trips a day when service begins in about three years. It will be run as a demonstration for the first two years. After the first two years, officials will evaluate the project and its feasibility.

They have leased 23 bi-level rail cars, rehabilitated them and have been showcasing them in various areas along the proposed line. "

Read the rest here.

Ford Motor Co. & U-M to open battery research & manufacturing lab

It seems the days of charging our cars to fuel them are drawing ever closer.


"Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan are opening a new battery research and manufacturing lab that they hope will speed the development of batteries for electric and hybrid cars...

The center, on the university's campus in Ann Arbor, will bring together battery makers, car companies and researchers who will test new batteries for prototype vehicles.

Ted Miller, who manages battery research at Ford, said the lab will be unique in the U.S. He said that labs currently testing new battery chemistries can't produce them in the amounts or formats needed for automotive research. And battery companies aren't always sure that what they're developing could be useful to the automotive industry."

More here.

Amtrak, state on board with higher speeds, Wi-Fi on Michigan trains

High-speed, wifi, and bike storage to boot are coming to Michigan 's trains.


"Amtrak and the state of Michigan plan to invest millions of dollars over the coming years to improve service on the state's three passenger train lines, resulting in quicker trips and more amenities for  travelers.

Upgraded tracks between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will allow trains to travel up to 110 mph in that area...

Most passenger trains through Michigan travel at a top speed of 80 mph, so the track improvements between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will be  noticeable.

To draw passengers, Amtrak opened up space for bicycle storage on its Blue Water line. Packing a bike costs a passenger an extra $10. The  Michigan Department of Transportation  also will spend about $1 million to bring Wi-Fi to the three lines by  January."

More here

Ann Arbor's Domino's Pizza debuts DomiCopter, the future of pizza delivery

Are we looking at the end of pizza delivery dudes? Domino's unveils the DomiCopter, a proof of concept that pizza delivery can be by air.
Watch the video below.

Silicon Valley company finds Metro Detroit just right

Silicon Valley's Stik moves to Detroit because of the region's resources - particularly talent.
"“We had a great network the last two years in the Valley. But the employee side was more advantages here in Detroit being a much bigger fish in a smaller pond of startups. We didn’t start here 2 years ago because we didn’t see the network of investors and advisers that we knew existed in Silicon Valley. But that was 2010. 
Now, in 2012, there’s a lot of resources here between Quicken Loan’s major investment in the tech scene and an investor group in Ann Arbor that has been very helpful.”"
Read the rest here.

State awards $5.25M to SE Michigan to fuel tech innovation

Tech entrepreneurship doesn't just happen. Sometimes it needs a push or helping hand. The state has awarded strategic funds to organizations like the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy at the University of Michigan, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth, and the Macomb-Oakland University Incubator in Sterling Heights.
"The awards, which are designed to help organizations fill gaps in entrepreneurial service areas, were among several items approved Thursday by the Michigan Strategic Fund.
A total of $3.25 million in assistance will help Next Energy in Detroit, the Macomb-Oakland University Incubator in Sterling Heights and the Michigan Small Business Technology & Development Center, housed at Grand Valley State University, to provide commercialization matching funds to companies receiving federal technology research grants. Next Energy will receive $700,000 over three years; Macomb-OU will receive $766,036 over two years, and the Small Business Technology & Development Center will receive $1.75 million for one year, according to state information."
Read the rest here.

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.

Five Metro Detroit communities make 100 best places to live list

Metro Detroit represents! Accounting for 5% of the 100 best mid-sized places in the country to live (pop 50K-300K) ain't too shappy. Who in the Mitten ranked highest? Ann Arbor squeaked in at 100. Shelby Township was 78th, Macomb Township was 84th, West Bloomfield Township was 37th, and Troy kicked butt coming in at 26th. 
Carmel, Indiana took the very top spot.
Like many places near Detroit, Troy suffered during the recession, but good times seem to be back. Auto companies' profits are rising and formerly vacant office space in Troy is filling up. Detroit's woes mean housing in the area is a bargain: The median home price is just $166,000, and property taxes are ultralow. That's a pretty good deal for a city that's been rated the safest in Michigan for 10 of the past 14 years, has great schools and the best community sports program in the state."
Read the rest here.

Coldwell Banker picks 5 metro Detroit cities as hippest in Michigan

Coldwell Banker Real Estate has started to enter the "Best Of" game, ranking communities by what they think their customers are seeking. For their first (of five) lists they evaluated the social scene in cities around the country and picked the places they thought were hippest. Nothing in Michigan made the Top 10, but within the Mitten Ann Arbor, Birmingham, Huntington Woods, and Rochester came out as tops.

Check out their list here.

Richard Florida asks: Is Detroit becoming a suburb?

In a provocative article, the Creative Class guru talks about the distinction between city and suburb today. He compares Motown to Urban-burbs like Ferndale, Royal Oak, Birmingham and Ann Arbor, metro Detrtoit communities that are evolving their urban design to adapt to changing community standards.


"The old distinctions between "city" and "suburb" do seem to be blurring. Urban neighborhoods are improving safety, upgrading schools, adding parks and bike lanes to their existing urban fabric, while suburban ones are adding density, walkability and mixed-use districts to their existing safe streets and good schools."

Read the rest here.

Beaumont and U-M Hospital top U.S. News best list

Those U.S. News chaps sure do like their lists. Must be some money in them, huh? Seems they've changed their creteria and that has resulted in a shake-up of sorts (reputation is no longer weighted). Along with ranking Michigan hospitals for their quality of care they've picked U-M in Ann Arbor (ranked 17th overall) as among the best in the nation. Beaumont in Royal Oak came in number 2 in the Mitten with 10 nationally ranked soecialities.

You can see the rankings here.

Crain's has a write-up here.

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.

University of Michigan ranks 14th in tech transfer revenue

Tech transfer has become big business for universities, adding millions to a school's bottom line. Michigan had only one school crack the Top 20. Looks like our other institutions might want to take a look at what the top ten are doing that they're not.


"2010 was a bit of a bounce-back year for U.S. technology transfer programs, as licensing income inched up 3 percent to $2.4 billion, compared with the prior year.

Still, that level of licensing income was a far cry from the halcyon days of 2008, when technology transfer programs reported $3.4 billion in licensing income, according to the latest annual survey from the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). 2010′s tally represented a 30-percent drop from 2008."

Read the rest here

New Economy Initiative funds international student retention programs

The URC – Wayne State, Michigan State and the University of Michigan – has launched the Global Detroit International Student Retention program. Funded with a three-year, $450,000 grant from the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, the effort hopes to diversify metro Detroit's economy in more ways than one.


"The program aims to complete four objectives outlined in the Global Detroit study. These include marketing the region to international students from orientation to post-graduation, recruiting area businesses to build working relationships with international students, working with students to navigate international legal barriers and developing relationships between students, businesses and universities.

Jeff Mason, executive director of the URC, said retaining international students is a critical step in the economic revitalization of Detroit."

Read the rest of the story here.

Seed for thought: Is the Midwest the new Silicon Valley?

Yes, the Midwest is much bigger than Silicon Valley. Yes, the Bay Area has a huge head start when it comes to a new economy-based entrepreneurial ecosystem. But that doesn't mean the Midwest, and Michigan in particular, isn't making strides. TechTown, the Ann Arbor SPARK business accelerators and the new angel investor tax credits are real-world proof of where Metro Detroit's economy is heading in the 21st Century.


While all this activity is still eclipsed by the activity in Silicon Valley, it's the start -- actually, more than the start -- of a transformation occurring across the Midwest. And it's probably why the CEOs of venture-backed companies were most bullish on company growth in the Midwest compared to any other region in the U.S.

Read the rest of the story here, and a story about Michigan's new angel investor tax credits here, and a story about how the future of the Great Lakes State's economy lies with start-ups here.

Venture capital gains traction in Metro Detroit

Venture capital is starting to gain some momentum in Metro Detroit. A couple of stories, both local and national, are talking about how local VC funds are gaining more and more investors. Could the VC ground hog finally overcome the fear of its shadow and help thaw the financial markets for local start-ups? Some prominent people are starting to think so.


"Leading the cleantech revolution," or "Leveraging the intellectual property of our major research universities" -- such hopeful and visionary statements are just a sampling of various mantras that have echoed the chambers of Midwestern capitals and filled the pages of local newspapers for the past several years. In the face of the recent economic despair that has besieged the regional economy, numerous Midwestern politicians, economic developers and regional venture capitalists have been, somewhat counter-intuitively, touting the notion that Midwest states like Michigan actually present excellent, yet overlooked, venture capital investment opportunities (including yours truly, as I did in "America's Midwest: Cashless Chasm or The Valley of Opportunity?").

Skeptics (which predominantly include frustrated Midwesterners, some business journalists and dismissive coastal venture capitalists) have generally disregarded such optimistic economic proclamations as desperate political hand-waving and hopeful, yet hollow hype to win votes, mollify the economically depressed and justify their own existence. I can understand why one would be doubtful -- it is easy to be negative these days. But today, I write to tell you that the skeptics and defeatists look to be wrong, and we have some early evidence to prove it.

Read the rest of the story here and a Crain's Detroit Business story about how investing in local venture capital firms is trending upward here.

Metro Detroit scores nation's first regional patent office

One of the big reasons Toyota set up its technical center in Ann Arbor decades ago was so it could be close to an EPA facility there. Toyota now employs more than 1,000 there today. Imagine what the U.S.'s first regional patent office could do for Metro Detroit.


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is adding to the list of agencies with satellite offices outside of the D.C. region. It's part of a new hiring program that will add one hundred people to USPTO's ranks.

"For the first time in our 230-odd year history we are going to be opening an office outside of the Washington DC area and the city that we've chosen for that is Detroit, Michigan."

David Kappos, Director of the USPTO and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, definitely sounded excited when he told Federal News Radio about the expansion.

"...One of the main reasons we're doing this is to get access to the talented workforce of professionals in the Detroit area, people who have the right qualifications to be patent examiners in an area where the cost of living is very attractive, where there's access to great universities - the University of Michigan among them..."

Read the rest of the story here, and more here and 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.

U-M prepares to launch student built satellite

Students at the University of Michigan are known as the leaders and the best. Now they're taking that reputation from this world to the next as the university prepares to launch its first student-built satellite into space.


It's only 6.5 pounds and about the size of a loaf of bread. But when it launches into space, scheduled for Friday night, it will make history for the University of Michigan.

At 8:24 p.m. Friday, a group of U-M engineering students will be focused on a launchpad in Alaska as they wait for the satellite they spent two years building to blast off. It will be a nerve-wracking experience for the team.

"I certainly get goose bumps when I think about it," said James Cutler, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering at U-M.

It will be the first craft completely built by U-M students to launch into space. And when it gets there, it will conduct experiments on space weather.

Read the rest of the story 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.

Issue Media Group named to Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the nation

Did you know that one of the nation's most thriving media companies, Issue Media Group, is based right here in Metro Detroit? The start-up parent of this publication is on the higher end (think 1,000s) of Inc. magazine's latest list of the 5000 fastest growing companies.


Issue Media Group, number 1,672 on Inc.'s list, has developed many community websites, for places like Detroit and Cincinnati. The sites have original features and contributors' blogs, as well as the neighborhood profiles and event listings you would expect from a community website. The sites' strength is a strong emphasis on photography, as in this profile of Cincinnati musician Baoku Moses.

Read the rest of the story here.

Forbes recognizes U-M President Coleman's push for student entrepreneurs

Michigan's colleges should be helping students hit bottom lines, not just the books. University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman advocates for students to have the tools and mindset to become business owners and job creators, and for institutions of higher learning to accommodate this paradigm shift.


Entrepreneurs on today's college campuses are no longer only huddled together at the business school. They are emerging from the hallways in our music schools and our engineering programs. They are coming forward with fresh ideas in architecture and medicine.

The educational programs designed to draw out these innovative thinkers must be welcoming to all students willing to take a risk on what some might call their "crazy ideas."

The late President Ronald Reagan got it right in 1988 when he told students at Moscow State University, "These entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all of the economic growth in the United States."

If he were making that same point today, Reagan might have to address the students more directly. Instead of discussing "these" entrepreneurs he would need to say "you" entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurism is breaking out all over our college campuses. At the University of Michigan we've learned that many of our students are creating opportunities for themselves even before they get to campus. One survey found that as many as 15% of our incoming freshmen had already started businesses.

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.

Xconomy reviews VC activity in Metro Detroit

The new news site in town takes on Metro Detroit's emerging venture capital scene and the streak of investments it has been on lately.


There are three reasons Michigan can feel good about a recent $8 million venture capital investment in Detroit-based medical imaging company Delphinus Medical Technologies.

  • It is an investment in a Michigan company;
  • The investment comes from an all-Michigan VC team;
  • It is an investment in Michigan-grown technology developed in one of the state's premier research institutions—one that deals with real-life cancer cases every day.

Delphinus Medical’s breast-cancer-detection technology, SoftVue, has been undergoing development at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit for the past 10 years. Unlike mammography, it does not use radiation or compression to image the breast to detect early stages of breast cancer.

Read the rest of the story here and more here and here.

Ann Arbor's Mobiata receives praise from Apple's Steve Jobs

Apple is known for saying the unexpected at its product launches, but no one really saw praise for one Ann Arbor-based start-up coming.


Apple CEO Steve Jobs briefly highlighted Ann Arbor mobile software firm Mobiata's FlightTrack application during a high-profile presentation Monday in San Francisco.

Jobs, discussing the early success of the iPad, included Mobiata's FlightTrack app in a visual presentation of a few apps developed specifically to run on the tablet computer.

"There's some wonderful stuff that's coming out," Jobs said at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, where he also introduced the iPhone 4.

Read the rest of the story here.

In Ann Arbor, bees are not fly-bys

Beekeepers are like missionaries. If you meet one, you might walk away with a phone number and a head full of bee thoughts. And, it's getting to be that time of year when the bees are out in full force. Ann Arbor is no different. Bees don't need to be in the country, they could be right in your backyard. Just like those of the Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers.


The Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers (A2B2) is an informal group of area residents interested in tending bees in their backyards. They meet once a month to discuss honeybees, their survivability, habitat and trade tips on how to raise healthy hives. They drop terms like nuke and talk about after swarms and virgin queens. It’s fascinating and a little overwhelming.

Raising bees seems like a strange and potentially painful hobby. Whatever happened to getting an exotic pet like a ferret or a giant snake?

Read the entire article here.

Plymouth Road park-and-ride is another route for Ann Arbor commuters

It'd be great to see a commuter line from Ann Arbor to Detroit. But, unfortunately, those plans were shifted to the back burner. However, in the meantime, for those in Plymouth who want to go to Ann Arbor, you can now take the park-and-ride.


Ann Arbor Transportation Authority officials held a ceremonial ribbon cutting today, officially marking the grand opening of the agency's fifth commuter park-and-ride lot.

Existing AATA park-and-ride facilities already take nearly 1,000 vehicles off the road each year. And with the opening of the new lot on Plymouth Road at US-23, another 260 spaces are available for commuters using the heavily traveled M-14 and US-23 corridor.

"Tens of thousands of people come to work in our city every day — people who don't live in Ann Arbor," said Mayor John Hieftje, who appoints AATA's governing board. "We are exploring and working on a number of ways to bring them into the city. We provide places for them to park their cars, lots for them to park and take the bus, they can ride their bike, and now we're working on rail options to bring more and more people into our city without their automobiles. And this is just another step in that direction."

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor on the boob tube

From Hitchcock to House, Ann Arbor is all over the tube. Now, this isn't a ground breaking piece here, but it's fun, and we always want to know the shows or movies that involve our cities. It's pride and entertainment all rolled into one.


Whether or not you enjoy salivating over the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," it's hard to resist Guy Fieri's enthusiasm for our hometown favorite Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger.

This episode featured the favorite haunt of the speedy eater (I once observed someone down a "quint"--that's 5 patties for the uninitiated--and a large order of fries in less than a minute). When Guy visits you can almost smell the burgers frying. Be sure to check it out in repeats.

Read the entire article here.

The Jewish Deli Reformation

Eateries across the U.S. are injecting a little change in the traditional idea of a Jewish deli. In the past, as long as it was blessed by a rabbi, it was good to go. These days, it's different, looking for different ways to keep it fresh. One of those delis is Zingerman's.


Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, Mich., collaborated with the all-natural meat producer Niman Ranch on Niman's pastrami, which delis across the country (like Saul's in Berkeley) bring in-house, and then steam to their specifications. The pastrami at Zingerman's is made from Black Angus beef, by Sy Ginsberg of United Meat and Deli in Detroit.

"Doing handmade, traditional food is not easy; you have to keep moving forward, making it better," said Mr. Weinzweig, who opened Zingerman's in 1982 and has expanded it into an empire with a creamery (where cream cheese is made by hand) and bakery (where the rye bread for sandwiches is long risen and naturally leavened). "I would be embarrassed today to serve the rye bread we used in 1982."

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor-native musician Andrew WK bares his teenage soul

Raised in Ann Arbor, musician Andrew WK rose to fame with his 2001 hit "Party Hard." But, before he was the big rockstar in the dirty white jeans and the greasy long hair, he was a teenager in Ann Arbor. A teenager with a crush. A teenager with a restraining order against him because of a song. He talks about it in the Guardian.


I was in high school in the 1990s, in a town called Ann Arbor in Michigan. I had a crush on a girl and was deeply and passionately fixated on her. She had a baby face, a 14-tooth smile, large eyes, a crowned forehead, an oversized brow and a tender style. She consumed me with both lust and hatred – lust, because I was truly drawn to her beauty and soft skin, and hatred because she rarely spoke to me, wouldn't look at me much and never gave me a chance to show her my deep affections. I used to call her house just to listen to her say, "Hello?" Then I'd hang up, terrified and shaking with nervous ecstasy.

In our senior year of high school, when I was 17, we were required to make a final project which was presented to the head of the school and graded as our final exam. This was when my crush was at its absolute height. I decided to write a song dedicated to her and submit it as my final project for graduation. The song was My Destiny. I've never recorded another song like it, and now – listening to it after all these years – I can see why.

Read the entire article here.

Is your beer better?

So, you think you got what it takes? Is your beer better than my beer? Well, come May 22, at the Arbor Brewing Co., you'll be able to find out as the brewery is hosting its fourth annual Brews Crews Homebrew Competition. It's time to get all hopped up on hops (get it?).


Arbor Brewing Co. will host their fourth annual Brews Crews Homebrew Competition on May 22 at The Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti.

The winner will have the chance to work with the staff at Arbor Brewing Co. in Ann Arbor to brew their beer on the pub's seven barrel system and have it served there as well.

This year, the Beer Judge Certification Program and American Homebrewers Association sanctioned event will also feature new categories for meads and ciders.

Read the entire article here.

Finding India in Ann Arbor

This is the great thing about blogs -- they are about the stuff we never think about. Like this little gem: AnnArborIndia. From the title you can probably guess what it's about. This particular post focuses on India's tea, and where to get it in Ann Arbor.


I asked Lisa about her customer base. Characterizing her customers in general, Lisa says, "Most of my customers are foodies, wine drinkers and connoisseurs of specialty items in general." However, her typical customer comes in with only enough information to ask for either black or green tea. At that point, Lisa or Andrew who works at TeaHaus full time, makes suggestions. The number one bestseller is Earl Grey, followed by Indian Chai which can be in two forms - one with the masala or spices already blended in with the tea and the other where the masala is added separately. More Indians come to her shop now and they are a little more discerning than the average customer. I found it very interesting that she has noticed that for some Indians, walking into her shop and discovering this world of tea from India is a moment of regaining pride in the old country. As I had mentioned in my last post, many Indians are not very aware of the finer distinctions between the different varieties of tea, so it takes a tea shop in Ann Arbor to open this world for some! All power to globalization!

Read the entire post here.

Bike polo isn't horseplay

Polo is a bunch of people on horses with mallets, hitting a wooden ball from one side of a field to another, and the players are usually associated with a high-tax bracket. Well, take out the horses and put 'em on bikes. That's what is going on in Ann Arbor. The article has video, by the way.


Bike polo is like regular rich people pony polo except that players ride bicycles instead of steeds and participants are less likely to be named Davenport, Reginald or Captain Chester Demetrius Applebottom. Most bike polo players use fixed-gear bicycles to free up their hands and allow tracking - standing or balancing in one place. Bike polo mallets are constructed from ski poles attached to high-density polyurethane heads made from plastic pipes used in gas stations. 

Some polo players wear helmets. Some bandannas. A few rely only on their lustrous hair to protect their melons, though there aren't a lot of falls.

Read the entire article here.

Taking the mystery out of muscles

What's the deal with muscles? Sounds like the beginning of a Jerry Seinfeld joke, doesn't it. Well, it's not. Some University of Michigan researchers asked that question, in a roundabout way. They were looking into the muscle building details of hormones. And they may have found it. To save you some of the scientific jargon, these details could help treat chronic muscle-deteriorating diseases as well as new ways in dealing with tumor growth.


The team's findings, scheduled to be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could lead to new treatments for muscle-wasting diseases and new ways of preventing the muscle loss that accompanies aging.

And because IGFs also are implicated in the growth and spread of malignant tumors, the new insights may have implications in cancer biology.

Like other peptide and protein hormones, IGFs work by binding to receptors on the cells they target. The binding then sets off a cascade of reactions that ultimately direct the cell to do something. You might think that a given hormone, binding to a particular receptor, would always elicit the same response from the cell, but that's not what happens in the case of IGF and myoblasts (immature cells that develop into muscle tissue).

Read the entire article here.

Hear comes the sun

If you put your ear up to a conch shell you hear the ocean. If you work at U of M and have access to NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer satellite, you might hear the sun.


Scientists can now listen to a set of solar wind data that's usually represented visually, as numbers or graphs. University of Michigan researchers have "sonified" the data. They've created an acoustic, or musical, representation of it.

The researchers' primary goal was to try to hear information that their eyes might have missed in solar wind speed and particle density data gathered by NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer satellite. The solar wind is a stream of charged particles emanating from the sun.

The process of sonification isn't new. It's how Geiger counter radiation detectors emit clicks in the presence of high-energy particles.

"What makes this project different is the level of artistic license I was given," said composer and recent UM School of Music alumnus Robert Alexander.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor man takes tandem bikes to the national level

You never really think about a tandem bike until you see one. And then you laugh, think it's funny, and maybe wish you had one. Well, at least some of us do. Anyway, some people think about them a lot more than others. And some people even take hand-made tandem bikes to bicycle shows.


Like a tailor who makes fine suits, Joel Hakken hand builds custom bikes. From the lightweight frames with exotic paint jobs to wheels whose weight is measured in ounces, they are functional showpieces. Hakken calls them art on wheels.

The owner of Midwest Bike & Tandem, located in a small shop at the rear of the Courtyard Shops in northeast Ann Arbor, Hakken will be taking four of his custom creations to the 2010 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond, Va., which starts Friday.

Joel Hakken, owner of Midwest Bike & Tandem of Ann Arbor, shows one of the custom, hand-made bikes he will take with him next week to the Hand Made Bike Show in Virginia. It's an aluminum-framed ultra lightweight bike that can be broken down to fit into a suitcase-size carrying bag and is valued at $4,000 to $5,000.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor has a masters in great food, Limite mag says

Limite, an arts, culture, and lifestyle magazine, says Ann Arbor has a post-grad degree in good food.


Meal after meal in this classic midwestern college town surprised me, rising far above the expected student mainstays of chicken wings, nachos and burgers. Sustainable, seasonal, organic and artisan were seen over and over on irresistible and affordable menus. Who would expect delicate small plates at a wine bar close to campus? Brewpubs with not only incredible beer, but excellent farm-to-table food? And fine Mediterranean fare in a strip mall? In Ann Arbor, there’s all that and more.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor nationally recognized for Green Fleets program

Gas!? Who needs it? Well, OK, we do... at least for the time being. But Ann Arbor doesn't need so much of it these days. The city was nationally recognized recently for its cut backs in car juice.


Those hybrid vehicles cruising around town are getting noticed.

The city of Ann Arbor's success in using alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles to keep its fleet green is the focus of a new report today.

Government-Fleet.com reports the city's Green Fleets program is the focus of this week's MotorWeek Clean Cities Success Story. It says the city, which set a goal in 2004 of reducing its fleet's petroleum usage by 10 percent by 2012, has a new goal of 30 percent by the end of 2010.

Read the entire article here.

All dogs go to heaven, but can't go to Ann Arbor Borders

No dogs allow. Nope, not anymore. If you're going to Borders in Ann Arbor, park the puppy outside. (You'll see below that this story links to AnnArbor.com. But a blog called "ohmidog!" beat out AnnArbor.com for top billing.)


After years of allowing dogs, the bookstore has decided to enforce the chain’s company-wide policy prohibiting pets from entering.

"We prioritize the safety and happiness of our customers," Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis said. "We think that it's important to put this particular store in line with our other stores, which currently only allow service dogs."

AnnArbor.com reports that the store’s general manager said she had "received a number of complaints about the dogs, some of which she described as 'nasty,'" (meaning the complaints, I'm pretty sure, and not the dogs).

Read the entire article here.

Michigan's prosperity will come from reinvention

Prosperity in our state is still years away, according to The Economist and a whole lot of other people, but, still, the signs point toward prosperity.


Universities, too, are preparing to play a bigger role in the state's economy. The top-notch University of Michigan, a mere 40-minute drive from Detroit, is filled with cheerful cafés and big brains. The three-year-old University Research Corridor is a collaboration between Michigan's three main universities. "I describe it as the university becoming much more porous", explains Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan. She hopes to improve ties with businesses and ease the commercialisation of academic research. Just as energetic is the attempt to nurture a new generation of entrepreneurs. (For 100 years, Michigan coasted on the success of that hyperactive entrepreneur, Henry Ford.) The University of Michigan has a two-year-old Centre for Entrepreneurship, providing classes and other support to students with business ideas. In Detroit, Wayne State University's TechTown is a research park as well as an incubator for new companies. TechTown hopes to help create 1,200 start-ups by 2012.

Read the entire article here.

Good eats, smart people in Ann Arbor

Most of us already know this... but it's so much nicer when other people say it.


Lobster bisque at a walk-up hot dog stand sold me on Ann Arbor, Michigan. Good chance of finding other surprising combinations, I figured, when this bisque tasted great.

Clearly this is a university town with a big medical complex but it's also homey, tasty, talented and unpretentious.

Nice personality for a visit. My notion panned out in nearby Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter too but Ann Arbor is the place to start. Detroit's only 35 miles to the northeast but that city-in-massive-automotive change wasn't my focus.

Fine food, superb art in museums, galleries and cooperatives, beguiling book stores, active theaters and music scenes along with lively main streets defined this southeastern Michigan city of 114,000 people for me on a blustery December visit.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor-Detroit railway is in the budget

More Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter rail talk here. But new funds have been budgeted for the service. It's not set in stone yet ... but, as it seems, it's another step closer. Eventually all these steps will turn into an actual service ... we hope.


Traveling to the airport and downtown Detroit can be a nightmare for students without access to cars, but a newly proposed rail line between Ann Arbor and Detroit could soon alleviate transportation frustrations.

Last month, the United States Senate budgeted $331 million for the state of Michigan, including $3.5 million for a proposed rail service between Ann Arbor and Detroit that would include stops in Ypsilanti, Dearborn, and the Detroit Metro Airport.

Carmine Palombo, director of Transportation Programs for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, said the budget for the new service is not yet set in stone. But, he said a number of aspects of the project would be completed by October 2010.

From Ann Arbor to Detroit, the service is expected to take around 50 to 55 minutes. Palombo said exact prices have yet to be determined, but the cost for a round-trip ticket will be competitive with other comparable services and will most likely range between $6 and $7.

Read the entire article here.

A growing future: Michigan's $64 billion agriculture industry

--This article originally appeared on February 12, 2009

In the interest of wiping carbon footprints from the dirt, and to support the local economy, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation have formed the "A team" to support the efforts of agricultural entrepreneurs.


It was the sign that caught Don Koivisto's eye as he started to drive back to Lansing from the Chelsea headquarters of Jiffy Mixes. There, in front of the New Chelsea Market on South Main Street, a sign boasted more than 300 Michigan products. Koivisto stopped the car, went inside and saw a cornucopia of homemade "Michigan made" labels on sauces, wines, even eggs on display.

Two of the three legs of Michigan's economic tripod are tottering. The domestic auto industry is in freefall, while the tourism sector has been pummeled by high fuel prices and the deterrent impact of fiscal hard times on business and pleasure travel. But agriculture, the third leg and a $64 billion-a-year powerhouse, holds steady, insists Koivisto, the state Agriculture Department director since September 2007.

Read the full story here.

In new U-M course, iPhones are music to the ears

Looking to use your iPhone as a musical instrument and get credit for it? Well, there's a course for that.


iPhones are being used as musical instruments in a new course at the University of Michigan.

The students -- who design, build and play instruments on their smartphones -- will perform at a public concert on Dec. 9. The concert is free and open to the public.

Building a Mobile Phone Ensemble, believed to be the first such course in the world, is taught by Georg Essl, a computer scientist and musician who has been driving the development of mobile phones as musical instruments.

Several years ago, Essl and his colleagues were the first known to use the microphone as a wind sensor -- a tactic that enables popular iPhone apps such as the Ocarina. Ocarina essentially turns the phone into an ancient type of flute. Essl is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

"The mobile phone is a very nice platform for exploring new forms of musical performance," Essl said. "We're not tethered to the physics of traditional instruments. We can do interesting, weird, unusual things. This kind of technology is in its infancy, but it's a hot and growing area to use iPhones for artistic expression."

Read the entire article here.

Rally around light rail

A light rail up Woodward would not just be for Detroit. And a commuter rail from Detroit to Ann Arbor wouldn't just be for those two cities. Mass transit, when done right, could coalesce and serve the entire region.


"Gas prices hit $4 a gallon last year and will go up again," he said. "If we can make it so that commuter rail is faster and cheaper and you won't have to pay to park your car, then people will definitely ride."

The Detroit Department of Transportation predicts 20,000 daily riders on the Woodward line by 2030, with 11,100 roundtrips per day. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) estimates 5,800 daily riders for the Ann Arbor-Detroit line, with four round trips daily.

Rep. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, whose district includes part of the proposed Woodward Avenue rail route, said it's important for both projects to become a reality. "They are separate plans, but they show regional cooperation."

Businesses would move close to the rail routes and the region would be "more attractive to live, work, and play," he said.

Read the entire article here.

Clive Owen acts on UM's campus

Clive Owen, he's so dreamy... and so British. He's also been on the campus of the University of Michigan, not brushing up on his economics but acting, 'cause that's what he does. Just another reason that the film incentives are good for Michigan -- you get to see Clive Owen.


The University of Michigan doubled as a movie set earlier this week when exteriors were shot for the movie Trust.

The cast and crew filmed Wednesday on the steps of the Michigan Union and at about a half-dozen sites across campus, according to Lee Doyle, director of the University of Michigan Film Office.

Friends star David Schwimmer is directing the drama and Clive Owen and Catherine Keener are starring in it. According to Variety, Owen and Keener play parents who are stunned to find out that their 14-year-old daughter has been victimized by an adult who posed as a teen in a chat room.

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.

UM team places 3rd in world in solar powered car race

A bunch of University of Michigan kids just traveled 1,880 miles through Australia. Not backpacking, however, but powering a solar powered car in an international race. And, as if that wasn't enough, the UM team came up third.


Though the students who raced Infinium hoped to be the best in the world, or at least the best in UM history, they say they're happy sharing statistics with impressive cars from the past. Michigan finished third in the World Solar Challenge in 1990, 2001, and 2005 and is the reigning North American Solar Challenge champion. The team has won that race five times.

"We still ran a great race," said interim project manager Steve Durbin, a senior aerospace engineering major "We have a reliable car. We didn't meet our overall goal of finishing first, but we proved we are one of the top teams in the world by placing so well in the competition."

Durbin credits the team's dedication and technology for the solid performance. Through the summer, a core of 20 team members worked 80-hour weeks to get the car ready to race. And a state-of-the-art lithium battery donated by A123 Systems helped Infinium achieve a high average speed approaching 60 mph.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor bicyclists and motorists need mutual respect

Bicycles and cars are both vehicles, it's just that one is a lot more lethal than the other. So, as Ann Arbor looks to add another 26 miles of on-road bike lanes over the next few years, car drivers will need to keep an eye out, and an eye on, cyclists.


On the AnnArbor.com Web site, this has been one of the most commented-on topics, and the discussion has been unsettling in what it has revealed about the lack of tolerance between those who travel on four wheels and those who travel on two.

Given that Ann Arbor plans to add another 26 miles of on-road bicycle lanes over five years, along with other efforts to encourage more bike use, it is essential that we as a community improve our level of bicycle and automobile safety.

If you ride a bike, you need to know the rules of the road, and obey them. The failure to stop at traffic lights or signal before you turn is not only unsafe, but results in ill will by motorists toward all cyclists.

Read the entire article here.

University of Michigan has Internet mojo

Got mojo? The University of Michigan does... on the Internet. In a national analysis of universities, UM beat out some pretty prestigious schools (that's not to say UM isn't prestigious) to get the No. 1 ranking when it comes to net coverage, traffic, and social media shout-outs.


The University of Michigan has topped Harvard University and all other universities in the United States for the amount of public interest measured by media coverage, Internet traffic and social media mentions, according to an independent national analysis released this week.

Michigan (previously ranked fourth) was followed by MIT, Harvard (previously No. 1), Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the University of California-Berkley, the University of Wisconsin, Stanford University, the University of North Carolina and Cornell University.

The survey was part of Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor's newest Predictive Qualities Indicator survey using word analysis to measure media trends and "buzz.''

Global Language Monitor President Paul Payack attributed the shift in public sentiment to the 2008 financial markets meltdown that cost Harvard's endowment $11 billion, forcing Harvard and other elite privates that relied on endowments to make major cuts in 2009.

"There's been a flight to quality with increased interest in the Public Ivies like Michigan and Wisconsin as well as more interest in technology, which helped MIT climb from 16th in the previous survey,'' Payack said. "We look at this as a branding analysis, looking at the perceived attributes people are most interested in."

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor's South Main Street is a Great Place

What makes a great place may be relative, differing from person to person, but if you talk to the American Planning Association they'll point you toward Ann Arbor's South Main Street.


So, what makes a great place? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the APA thinks it's the ability to provide for the pedestrian and bring a community together. It's also about creating a sense of local identity. South Main Street in Ann Arbor, Mich. makes the list of Great Streets because of its diverse range of locally-owned businesses and restaurants housed in architecturally interesting, mixed-use buildings. It's an appealing environment that encourages walking rather than driving; you won't find many surface parking lots here. It's all about creating a space for the surrounding community to socialize, and not in a forced way. Ann Arbor residents now enjoy sidewalk seating at cafes, dozens of market days and street fairs per year, and easy access to public transportation.

Read the entire article here.

Invention central at U-M

You'd think there was some mad scientist working on the University of Michigan's campus, considering how many inventions were churned out in 2009.


University of Michigan researchers disclosed 350 new inventions in fiscal year 2009, setting a new record. Royalties from university-developed technologies rose 20 percent during that period, another all-time high.

And despite the state's economic woes, the university licensed eight new startups in the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the UM Office of Technology Transfer.

"This past year, when we were expecting a slowdown and anticipating three, maybe four, new start-ups, faculty responded -- with eight," UM President Mary Sue Coleman said Monday in her State of the University address. "In the past nine years, faculty have launched 83 start-ups. That's roughly one new business, every six weeks, since 2001.

Added Coleman: "Universities drive economic development. Our faculty are looking the recession in the eye and moving forward."

Read the entire article here.

UM researchers find that heart attacks can be inhaled

We all know air pollution was bad... but heart attack causing, yikes!


Inhaling air pollution over just two hours caused a significant increase in diastolic blood pressure, the lower number on blood pressure readings, according to new UM research.

The study findings appear in the current issue of Hypertension, a publication of the American Heart Association.

Nearly one in three Americans suffer from hypertension, a significant health problem that can lead to heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and other life-threatening problems.

"Although this increase in diastolic blood pressure may pose little health risk to healthy people, in people with underlying coronary artery disease this small increase may actually be able to a trigger heart attack or stroke," says Robert D. Brook, M.D., lead author and vascular medicine physician at the UM Cardiovascular Center.

Read the entire article here.

Is Ann Arbor a glimpse into journalism's future?

As the 174-year newspaper, the Ann Arbor News, shut down, AnnArbor.com emerged. There was outrage, discouragement, curiosity, and a host of other feelings about the new social media/blogging/news web site. Well, whatever you felt about it -- good or bad -- AnnArbor.com may be what is in store for journalism.


Yet I think that's the whole idea. Vielmetti himself isn't a journalist. His background is in technology, how people communicate over the web, and blogging. He's been blogging for 10 years, and on his own he started hosting a weekly lunch group for local Ann Arbor residents. In other words, he was doing "community building" before it was the buzzword among journalists.

Vielmetti says about half the community bloggers are active. They mainly write about the softer side of news: parenting, food and drinks, neighborhoods. So in a sense these community bloggers cover much of what typically made up features sections -- except you might get multiple voices instead of one, and all are local.

The bloggers get technological assistance and coaching on the blog style, which Vielmetti says isn't news or feature writing, but something unique. A copy editor reviews their posts after the fact and fixes typos or style and grammar errors. If one of the community bloggers writes something that really should be a news story, the post will be pulled until it can be substantiated, Vielmetti says. A reporter may be assigned to flesh out the idea -- so in that sense, the community bloggers become a herd of highly invested tipsters.

Read the entire article here.

Michigan farmers get business boost from local non-profit

School lunches don't always have to be pizza and fries. It could be the carrot from down the street or the potato from your neighbor's farm. Local food is growing and growing these days and local farmers have an opportunity to grow their businesses. An Ann Arbor-based non-profit is helping these farmers do just that.


Jane Bush, a business development specialist for the partnership, said there is growing demand for locally grown food such as fruits, vegetables, eggs and other farm products. She said local producers could share in millions of dollars if southeast Michigan grew all the food its residents consume.

Michaelle Rehmann, director of the partnership's Farm to School Program, told those attending the forum that local growers have opportunities to sell produce, meat and dairy products to schools, universities, hospitals, correctional facilities and even homeless shelters for the needy.

Schools in Ann Arbor and Chelsea and a charter school in Detroit already are holding "Farm Fresh Fridays" or Wednesdays in the fall where locally grown green beans, cauliflower, potatoes and other produce are served in the cafeterias.

"That's great for students and their health and translates into more opportunities for local farmers," Rehmann said.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor chef authors gourmet cooking tome for college freshmen

Ah, the eating habits of a college freshman. It's something to be studied and thought about and pondered. 'Cause the question still remains: How many Ramen noodles can one human eat? Well, if you're one of the Ramen junkies, Ann Arbor sous chef Max Sussman, and his brother Eli, have put together a book for easy, fast, gourmet cooking for the Ramen noshing freshmen called Freshman in the Kitchen: From Clueless Cook to Creative Chef.


Ramen noodles, frozen pizza, chips: The trifecta of college cuisine dominates the menu of those short on time, money and culinary skills.

But it doesn't have to be that way, says Max Sussman, sous chef at Eve, the Ann Arbor, Mich., restaurant that has been packed since Eve Aronoff's recent selection as an Iron Chef contestant. While buying blueberries and squash blossoms at the nearby Kerrytown Farmers' Market, Max shared advice for the young and hungry.

Max and his brother Eli learned to cook in a home that valued good food and lacked a microwave. They worked cooking jobs at summer camps and in college.

After college, Max went into high-end cuisine while Eli took his laid-back diner chops to Los Angeles to work with celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre. Sensing widespread craving for a book for budget foodies, Max says, "We put our different approaches together for good food that you can make easily." The result: Freshman in the Kitchen: From Clueless Cook to Creative Chef, a spiral-bound book combining techniques and recipes.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor chef, slow food star on 'Top Chef'

There's nothing slow about Eve Aronoff's newest endeavor. The Ann Arbor chef and owner of Eve is one of 17 contestants on the fast-paced Top Chef cooking show. The longer she sticks around the better for her, her Kerrytown restaurant, and the further cachet of Ann Arbor.


A Michigan culinary star will be in the national spotlight on Top Chef, the foodie equivalent of American Idol.

Eve Aronoff, the 40-year-old chef-owner of Eve restaurant in Ann Arbor's Kerrytown District, is one of 17 contestants in the latest edition of Bravo's hit cooking competition, which returns for a sixth season Wednesday.

A cookbook author who's studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Aronoff is known for her vibrant flavors. She's described on her restaurant's Web site as a supporter of the slow food movement, which embraces the virtues of locally grown seasonal fare and cooking from scratch.

But there's nothing slow about the fast and furious pace of Top Chef. The addictively watchable series pits aspiring chefs against each other in high-pressure challenges that test their basic skills and sheer inventiveness.

Read the entire article here.

Los Angeles-via-Ann Arbor multi-instrumentalist isn't your typical soul artist

Mayer Hawthorne could be the cleanest and newest looking record sandwiched between Issac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield at your local record shop. It sounds old, scratchy, and raw, like it's still 1972. The thing is, Mayer Hawthorne is actually a "29-year-old white kid from Ann Arbor."


Los Angeles-via-Ann Arbor singer/DJ/producer/multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne basically does everything on A Strange Arrangement, his debut full-length for Stones Throw. He has a sort of throwback Detroit soul sound and cites Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Barry White, Leroy Hutson, Smoke Robinson, etc., as influences. It's smooth stuff that ought to be enjoyed by a wide demographic. Maybe the Strange in the album title comes from the fact that the somewhat nerdy Hawthorne isn't your usual soul crooner? As the copy at Stones Throw puts it:

Few expect such heartfelt sentiment to come from a 29-year-old white kid from Ann Arbor, but he has caught the ear of his family at Stones Throw, as well as BBC Radio 1 host Gilles Peterson and producer/DJ Mark Ronson.
Read the entire post, watch the video, and download an mp3 here. (A link doesn't get much better than that, really.)

No trivial matter: University of Michigan lends name to indie film

The Michigan film incentives have taken film productions all over the state, a good number of those having been filmed on or around the University of Michigan's campus. Still, the university hasn't given its name for use in any productions... until now, with the film Trivial Pursuits.


Despite the growing popularity of filming on campus, the University has chosen not to lend its name to any film productions -- until now.

"Trivial Pursuits" -- the most recent movie being produced on campus -- is an independent film that captures the life of trivia fanatic Paul Tarson, an Ann Arbor native and University student played by actor Christopher Gorham. Gorham is known for his portrayal of Henry Grubstuck on ABC's "Ugly Betty."

Director Christopher Farah, an Ann Arbor native and University alum, credits his knowledge of and love for Ann Arbor as inspiration for the basis of the film. He said the story was not based on real life events, but that his experience living in Ann Arbor helped shape the movie.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor-based Ghostly International releases app for iPhone and iPod Touch

"There's an app for that," the iPhone commercial says regularly. It's catchy, that's for sure. And now, if you're a Ghostly International fan, well, now there's an app for that. The iPhone and iPod Touch will read your mood and create a playlist using catalogs from Ghostly and its sister label, Spectral Sound.

Sounds better than a mood ring.


Ann Arbor-based Ghostly International has just released an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Called Ghostly Discovery, the application works as a mood-reading jukebox containing Ghostly's and sister label's Spectral Sound's catalogs, allowing users to create space-age playlists for what they want to listen to based on their emo(tional) state and digital (or) organic preference. After setting your own parameters, you get the option of reading artist bios and purchasing MP3s. Ghostly Discovery is free at the iTunes Store. Download it now, we say. Get it and find Dykehouse's 'Chain Smoking.' You'll want to hug it, guaranteed.

Read the entire post here.

Zingerman's pops up in southern Louisiana food blog

Everyone knows that Zingerman's has good food... and now those in southern Louisiana know, too. The deli shows up in a post for a southern Louisiana food blog, gives a little history, and tries a BLT.


It all started in 1982 with the Deli, located in an old house not very far from the University of Michigan campus.  All these years later, the Deli is stuffed from floor to ceiling with tasty treats, eager patrons, and peerless sandwiches.  In honor of the July theme, Camp Bacon, I sampled a BLT with cheddar, accompanied by a side of fried latke fingers and new-style crisp pickles.  Excellent bacon and superior tomatoes on first-rate bread:  the BLT is a simple thing, but sublime when elevated by impeccable ingredients.

Read the entire article here.

High-speed hydrogen rail between Grand Rapids and Detroit and learning from the 'Simpsons'

It's a bit Jetsons-y, an elevated high-speed rail that's powered by hydrogen. But, what the heck, right? Let's get a little futuristic. The trip from Grand Rapids to Detroit is expected to take 40 minutes. If it comes to fruition, it should be a nice economic bump to the city, bringing in people from Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Ann Arbor for the games and festivals Detroit has to offer.


The project was proposed by the privately owned Interstate Traveler Company, located just north of Ann Arbor. Company officials are asking the state to provide free use of the right-of-way along Michigan's interstate freeway system.

The railway's cars would levitate on top of an elevated hydrogen-based track and be propelled by energy from magnets. Cars holding people, freight and vehicles would cycle at high speeds, stopping in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Local business leaders say the concept has the potential to create a new manufacturing base in Michigan and spur economic development.

"Clearly this would bring a competitive advantage to our state if we could move people and freight and cars and vehicles from Grand Rapid to Detroit, and eventually to other Midwestern states," said Jared Rodriguez, a lobbyist with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Read the entire article here.

Additional piece from the Grand Rapids Press that links this high-rail plan to The Simpsons. Complete with hilarious clips. Check it out here.

Ann Arbor's NanoBio may buck hurdles in life science research

Life sciences are expected to have a number of hurdles in the coming years due to the tightening of FDA rules and regulations. Ann Arbor's NanoBio, however, maybe be able to jump those with the amount of capital they've seen and their communication with the FDA.


Capital is flowing to NanoBio, which announced July 8 that it had received $10 million in venture capital from two separate funding sources.

The firm has managed to secure $22 million in capital this year - enough to last the company at least two years, a critical buffer in a tough fundraising and regulatory atmosphere. The firm received its latest funding from New York-based majority shareholder Perseus and Venture Investors, which has an Ann Arbor office.

"It was a bigger round than we initially planned, but it was welcome because of the (financial) environment and it gives us a little bit of extra runway," Peralta said.

Nanoemulsion technology is relatively new to the industry. That means the FDA likely would put NanoBio's drug therapies under intense scrutiny before issuing market approval.

Read the entire article here.

Student-run Tech Arb fosters college entrepreneurs

You need good soil to grow crops. With dry, cracked, stressed soil you're not going to grow even the smallest bit of anything. You can apply that to startups and entrepreneurs, as well. You need good soil to grow a healthy crop of entrepreneurs. The UM student-run incubator is hoping its good soil will produce a new crop of tech moguls and entrepreneurs.


Under Google's imposing shadow on East Washington Street in Ann Arbor, more than two dozen University of Michigan students click-clack on keyboards and discuss third-party software, iPhone applications and angel investors. They are all attempting to grow technology-based startups and to see their big ideas succeed as part of the student-run incubator, TechArb.

TechArb, with its 29 budding entrepreneurs representing 11 companies, is the upshot of UM senior Jason Bornhorst's involvement in the entrepreneurial summer internship program, RPM-10.

RPM-10 is a 10-week technology-based accelerator, created by Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm RPM Ventures and the College of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship.

Now in its second year, RPM-10 selects three UM student-run startup companies a year and provides them with mentorship and capital to build their company.

Read the entire article here.

U-M students texting for good

University of Michigan students have developed a new app to tout (er, tweet) good deeds.


Beautify your world. Leave an inspirational message in a public place. Connect with a family member. Those are just a few of the proposed acts of kindness pushed out to users of a new smartphone application developed by University of Michigan students…

DoGood, a new, free app available to iPhone and iPod Touch users, aims to make the world a better place, its developers say.

"We simply wanted to empower the 40 million iPhone and iPod Touch users to collectively do acts of kindness," said Bornhorst, a senior computer science and engineering student. "I can go smile at a stranger, but what if we could get 300,000 people to do that? … The world needs something like this."

DoGood, created by the student-run company Mobil33t, (pronounced "mobil-EET") has been downloaded more than 10,000 times since its release June 8. It has an active user base of more than 5,000, and that number is growing every day. It lets users leave stories about how they participated in that day's deed. It also integrates with Facebook and Twitter so participants can send a message to their friends when they've finished an act of kindness.

"There's a tweet somewhere in the world about DoGood every five to 10 minutes," Bornhorst said.

Read the full story here.

Ann Arbor aims to plant 1000 trees a year

Ann Arbor is looking to gain some of what it lost when the emerald ash borer blew through town and took out most of the ash trees. At that time nearly 14 percent of Ann Arbor trees were of the ash variety. This ambitious new initiative is looking to plant 1,000 every year.

That's a lot of freakin' trees.


Ann Arbor is launching a significant new replanting program this fall to add roughly 1,000 new trees every year.

The initiative begins half a dozen years after the die-off of once-plentiful ash trees. City officials say they'll use aerial photos to identify the more pronounced holes in Ann Arbor's tree canopy and concentrate on those spots.

Street trees will be planted across the city, said Kerry Gray, urban forest and natural resources coordinator. City employees will likely do the work, but details are still being worked out.

Read the entire article here.

Economic development organizations jump into bed with state's public universities

The University of Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK have tightened their relationship with each other. The collaboration isn't meant to be exclusive to Ann Arbor but to be a model for other universities to hook up with economic development organizations. After all, "Economic development is a team sport."


"We really are one Michigan," said Ron Kitchens, CEO of Southwest Michigan First. "We can talk about regions, and regions are important - they're part of who our culture is. But our problems are endemic to the entire state."

Jeff Mason, a former MEDC official and new executive director of the University Research Corridor, said Michigan's universities are the lynchpin to the state's success. But he suggested that the URC - a coalition among U-M, Michigan State University and Wayne State University - would have to collaborate with other organizations to jolt the economy.

"Economic development is a team sport. It's a collaboration amongst universities, government and the private sector," Mason said.

Read the entire article here.

Michigan International: Higher education is our best export

Between Wayne State University, Michigan State, the University of Michigan, and Eastern Michigan, the state is pretty set up when it comes to higher education. The importance of these institutions is pretty immeasurable ... well, maybe it is measurable. But, without the data at the ready, it's safe to say they are damn important and one of Michigan's chief draws.


Certainly the economic impact and jobs are welcome at a time when the state is facing a number of challenges.

In addition, enrolling international students in our state universities is also critical for the education of our Michigan students who must understand cultural differences and learn how to work together to succeed in today's global workplace.

There is no better preparation for future business interaction than to participate in a team project in a business course than to have a student from China, another from India working with two students from Michigan.

Domestic students must understand international competition and, hopefully, study abroad themselves. You can't just read about international issues - you must live overseas for a true learning experience.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor vs. Warren: One state, two economies face off

Warren and Ann Arbor are in the same state... but that might be their only similarity. Fifty miles away from each other Warren and Ann Arbor may be what Michigan was -- the manufacturing city of Warren -- and what Michigan needs to be -- the innovative, start-up saturated Ann Arbor.


Innovative companies like Accio are common in Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan, where a highly educated population has created a burgeoning economy, and a street-corner conversation can develop into a company and create jobs.

Michigan's economic future rests on making the state look more like Ann Arbor, and less like Warren, 50 miles to the northeast, where factory buildings and warehouses built on the riches of the Big Three auto makers bear signs saying they are "priced to sell." The latest blow came earlier this month, when Chrysler LLC shut down its two plants in Warren as part of its bankruptcy filing.

Read the entire article here.

GM & Ford tightening ties to the University of Michigan

A time of strife forces change and rethinking pretty much everything. With that said, GM and Ford have shifted their gaze toward the University of Michigan and its engineering department to tighten their relationship for research purposes.


U-M's auto partnerships reflect the university's willingness to help contribute technological advancements as the suffocating auto industry is starving for cash. But it also shows that some major automakers are positioning their research operations to emerge from the crisis with new collaborative strategies designed to accelerate future technologies.

General Motors' engineering partnership with U-M has been formalized as the GM/U-M Institute of Automotive Research and Education. The institute includes the new Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains, through which GM is investing $5 million over five years to develop new electric vehicle technologies.

Read the entire article here.

Gorging yourself in Ann Arbor

A Chicago Tribune writer skipped San Fransisco and came to Ann Arbor to stuff himself. What he found was 28 square miles of comfort and comfort food. To say he bit off more than he could chew might not be accurate 'cause, well, he finished everything on his plate... or at least it sounded like he did.


Ann Arbor -- after Disney World, the second-happiest place on Earth.

A tear forms in my eye as I stand in line for a cheeseburger here, in Ann Arbor, a true Midwestern Eden, 28 square miles of quaintness, boasting eight species of turtle, two canoe liveries and countless men still sporting ponytails. Ann Arbor, I think to myself, is proof there exists a place in this world where the quality of small things still matters. Things such as comfort and food. To be honest, I am sitting as I think this; my girlfriend is standing in line. I twisted my ankle while leaving the bed-and-breakfast.

My leg throbs.

"Got to stand, no saving tables," the guy at the counter says, an edge in his voice.

We're in a small shack of a burger joint, Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger. Its motto is nice: "Cheaper Than Food."

Read the entire article here.

U-M Law School ranked 9th in the nation

"Counselor, please step up to the bench. I'd like to ask if you went to the University of Michigan Law School 'cause they were just ranked No. 9 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report."


The University of Michigan Law School maintains both the reputation and the price tag to rank in the top 10 law programs nationwide, according to the annual rankings released this week by U.S. News and World Report.

The Ann Arbor law school ranks No. 9 out of 184 schools surveyed nationwide — essentially unchanged from a tied No. 9 ranking last year. This year the University of Chicago and University of California at Berkeley are tied at No. 6.

Read the entire article here.

University of Michigan aiming for a smoke free campus by 2011

In a few years it's gonna be no more cigs on three campuses of the University of Michigan. That shouldn't mean get all your smoking in now, it means start weening yourself off the nicotine.


Joining hundreds of college campuses around the country, the University of Michigan plans to go smoke-free on its three campuses by mid-2011.

The policy was unanimously approved by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and the university's executive officers, which includes the chancellors of both U-M Flint and U-M Dearborn.

The idea is to promote a healthier campus culture where smoking is actively discouraged, said U-M Chief Health Officer and University Health Service Director Robert Winfield. He estimates about 15 percent of faculty, staff and students smoke at least casually.

Read the entire article here.

Forum at U-M Museum of Art explores social media

Social media is here. Well, actually it's been here for a bit, but not it's really here, sitting on the couch, watching TV, completely moved in. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter -- all of these, and other types of social media, are changing the way people do business, stay in touch, and, yes, even vent.


Though it's an effective, low-cost way to reach out, she said, most nonprofits aren't taking advantage of social media. "We need to catch up."

Song described Twitter as perfect for communicating with a nonprofit's constituency and raising money. "It's like a stream of consciousness coming from your organization." NEW uses Twitter to promote workshops and other events, but also to pass along links that other nonprofits might find interesting, and to talk about what staff members are doing. (One recent Tweet: "Quality Coffee Friday at the NEW Center today. Tenants are loving @Sweetwaters House Blend and House Decaf!")

Related to Twitter, TipJoy is an application that allows you to raise money via your Twitter network. It’s an alternative to the more well-known PayPal e-commerce system, Song said, and is preferable for nonprofits because it charges lower administrative fees for the transactions.  Song reported that a nonprofit called charity: water raised $250,000 in a week-long TipJoy campaign.

Read the entire story here.

4 southeast Michigan hospitals make Thomson Reuters' Top 100

Thomson Reuters dishes out kudos to southeast Michigan's medical facilities by putting four of them in their top 100.


Four hospitals in southeast Michigan and eight others in Michigan have been named top 100 hospitals by Thomson Reuters, an Ann Arbor-based consulting firm.

The four in metropolitan Detroit are Providence Hospital and Medical Center, Southfield; University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers, Ann Arbor; Saint Mary Mercy Livonia Hospital; and Saint Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital.

Last year, Detroit posted six hospitals on Thomson’s list. The two that did not make it this year are St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit and Garden City Hospital in Garden City.

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.

Living on the cheap in Ann Arbor hasn't changed much in 15 years

Cheap never goes out of style and it never dies. And as for a book written 15 years ago about about living cheap in Ann Arbor, not only has it not gone out of style, it hasn't changed much and the tips in the pages are still worth their salt.


The book "Cheap Living In & Around Ann Arbor" is 15 years old, but the tips are still so relevant, it could have been written yesterday.

It was 1994 when Annie Zirkel, then a local stay-at-home mother, decided to put her thrifty ideas into print. She published 2,000 copies of her book and sold them around town for $5 each. Maybe you or someone you know has one stashed away somewhere.

"It wasn't a great big book, but it was a great accomplishment," Zirkel, who is now a therapist, told me this week.

"Cheap Living" has three parts: Part I is advice from experts. Part II is a second-hand directory, which lists more than 20 resale shops in the area with tips on each. Part III is called Cheap Deals.

Read the entire article here.

UM researchers may have found a link between fast food restaurants and strokes

Cheeseburgers are good and strokes are bad. Unfortunately, when it comes to fast food cheeseburgers - as in fast food restaurants - the two might be linked according new data compiled and put together by researchers at the University of Michigan.

So, cheeseburgers are good but a healthy lifestyle is better. (Depending on the cheeseburger.)


Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor looked at stroke data from the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi Project and found that between January 2000 and June 2003 there were 1,247 ischemic strokes in Nueces County, Texas (An ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked artery to the brain depriving the brain of blood and oxygen, resulting in tissue damage.). They also found 262 fast food restaurants in the county.

Researchers found that those who lived in areas with the most fast food restaurants had a 13% higher relative risk of stroke than those who lived in areas with the least fast food restaurants, after controlling for demographic and socioeconomic issues.

For every fast food restaurant in a neighborhood, the relative risk of stroke went up 1%.

Read the entire article here.

Body by Bollywood

Innovation is a state of mind – and body. Area exercise classes are turning fitness groupies into drummers and Hindi movie dancers. Oh Slumdog Millionaire, what have you wrought?


A class called "Bollyfit" in Ann Arbor merges culture and fitness by incorporating Bollywood dance into workouts. Farmington Tennis Club and Birmingham Racquet Clubs offer cardio tennis, a combination that puts less emphasis on technique and more on drills, rallies, and an aerobic workout. And Vixen Fitness in Detroit makes workouts of belly dancing, salsa, pole dances and even lap dances.

Read the full story 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.

Universities a potential source for major job growth in Michigan

Michigan's universities will not only be creating the next generation of minds to move into the state's workforce but they might be on their way to creating the work itself. Universities across the state, through various expansions, developments, and research projects, will be creating a large number of jobs in the coming years.


Michigan State's FRIB and U-M's purchase are high-profile examples of how universities throughout Michigan are taking a prominent role in trying to rescue the state's troubled economy.

The universities were once largely uninterested in dirtying their hands by working with local governments and businesses to create jobs.

"That's changed--a lot," Boulus said. "Maybe we didn't have to play this role 15 or 20 years ago, when the auto industry provided so many jobs."

Today, every public university in the state can point to some initiative with business or government that has job creation as its focus.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor native, Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton dies at 60

Sometimes music happens that changes things. Influential music ebbs and flows, there are peaks and valleys. There are a few that lead while most follow. The Stooges was one of those leaders. It's hard to argue the Stooges' place in rock history. And the man behind those three-chord, punk rock riffs, Ron Asheton, was found dead in his Ann Arbor home last week. A tribute to Asheton will be held on Jan. 17 at the Music Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Detroit.

Will Iggy show up?


Three high school friends in Ann Arbor — Mr. Asheton; his drummer brother, Scott; and the singer James Osterberg, who later changed his name to Iggy Pop — formed the nucleus of what was first called the Psychedelic Stooges. Influenced by free jazz, garage rock and Chicago blues, the Stooges’ first two albums — “The Stooges” and “Fun House” — are the best showcase of Mr. Asheton’s sound: two- or three-chord riffs with an open, droning, low E string and solos filtered through distortion and wah-wah pedals.

After the high point of “Fun House,” things became more complicated. The bassist, Dave Alexander, was fired, and the band was dropped by its label, Elektra. Iggy Pop, individually, was signed by David Bowie’s production company, MainMan. A new guitarist and songwriter, James Williamson, joined the group. On “Raw Power,” the band’s final studio album, Mr. Asheton was demoted to playing bass.

The Stooges lasted from 1967 to 1974. Having progressed from a noisy, anarchic joke to a great, confrontational rock band and back to a joke, the members were broke and addicted to heroin, except for Mr. Asheton, who increasingly took responsibility for holding the band together from day to day.

Read the entire article here.

For more information on the tribute go here.

MichBio and MEDC hook up to promote state's biotech services to the nation

Go, spread the word of Michigan's biotechnology industry throughout the land. Travel far and wide and preach the word of biotech. That's what MichBio, with the help of the MEDC, is planning to do. They are going to hit the road on a national campaign to promote Michigan's biotech services to all the land.


"When we go out on business development trips, we can spread the word and it will start to build on itself," said Stephen Rapundalo, MichBio's president and CEO at an afternoon panel discussion Tuesday at the fourth annual MichBio Expo at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi.

He said the message will be spread at national conferences and trade shows around the U.S. next year.

"We haven't done this well in the past. Michigan needs to build a brand for itself. The service model is taking root. We need to sell that brand, that we can do everything from start to finish," said Rapundalo, who was part of a 16-member panel called the Biosciences Policy Summit.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor ranked among the best places to raise rugrats

Ann Arbor racked up another superlative - this time for raising kids in America. Business Week went out and pulled together a number of the best cities in the nation to raise children and Ann Arbor was one of them.


We knocked out towns with populations of fewer than 50,000 and median household incomes of less than $40,000 or more than $100,000. And we ended up with a list that included some well-known places such as Phoenix, Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Mich. But we also found some hidden gems such as Euless, Tex., smack in between Dallas and Fort Worth, which according to Sports Illustrated has the nation's top-ranked high school football team, and Murfreesboro, Tenn., a college town outside Nashville.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor's 'Greenbelt' gets bigger

Ann Arbor's greenbelt program just got considerably bigger. This program is designed as a preservation initiative to hold onto the green land around Ann Arbor. The city has purchased two plots, adding nearly 400 acres to its greenbelt land.


The combined 336-acre deal preserves farmland proximate to other protected open space.

It also fulfills a a long-held wish, said Mayor John Hieftje, who remembers using the Whitmore Lake Road property as an example when he promoted the idea of a greenbelt program in 2003.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to preserve agriculture around Ann Arbor for a very long time to come," he said.

Read the entire article here.

LimeWire talks to Ghostly International

LimeWire interviews Jeff Owens, the label manager for Ann Arbors favorite electronic music label Ghostly International.


It's the season of scary, and we recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Owens, the label manager for Ghostly International and Spectral Sound. Founded by Sam Valenti IV in 1999 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ghostly is one of America's most innovative and influential independent record labels. Continue reading to find out why...

Read the entire article here.

There's presidential business in Ann Arbor but it's not what you think

The country is embroiled in a pretty heated election race between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. It's a historical election on both tickets with Obama being, possibly, the first black candidate elected to the office and, McCain's VP, Sarah Palin, being, possibly, the first female elected to that office.

Either way, it's time to merchandise and Ann Arbor businesses are doing just that. Their likenesses are popping up on soda, coffee, and, of course, t-shirts. And business seems to be good.


Natural and organic grocer Plum Market has stocked Jones Soda Co.'s "Pure McCain Cola." But it also has sold "Obama Blend: Yes We Can Coffee," from Ann Arbor roaster Mighty Good Coffee Co.

David Myers, co-owner of the coffee company, said Obama just happens to be the first candidate to have a perfect blend of former residences - including Hawaii, Indonesia and Kenya - to inspire a new version of coffee.

"Obama Blend" has been a top seller since it was introduced earlier this month, Myers said. He has no McCain roast, but said that shouldn't be taken as his business' endorsement for Obama.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor's IT sector going against the grain - in a good way

Ann Arbor's IT sector isn't hearing all that noise about job loss and economic downturns.  It doesn't care about the "trends" of its industry. It's throwing it aside and doing quite well.


Two weeks ago I wrote a story for the Ann Arbor Business Review concluding that five IT companies have announced plans to add more than 1,000 jobs in the next few years. Literally a week later, Californian network operations firm NetEnrich announced plans to locate an operation in Ann Arbor and add 225 jobs here.

Network security, software development and IT services firms may be keeping Ann Arbor's economy's afloat as other firms hold back on potential expansions.

Read the entire article here.

Local investment could heal economy

Wouldn't you love to get get an instant return on an investment? Well, you can. Spending a dollar in a locally owned business is the same as investing a dollar in a locally owned business. It's money in the community and, for instance, if it's a grocery story, you can walk out with a sack full of food.


The key to restoring health back to the finance system is to re-localize - to reintroduce real relationships between lenders and borrowers and between entrepreneurs and investors.

Investors, especially those of us with our life savings on the line, have a right to know where our money is going, and an opportunity to place it in funds that reinvest in our own communities. Moving trillions of dollars out of unknown global companies and the unknowable derivatives linked to them, and into Main Street businesses, would give communities across the country a desperately needed economic boost. Simply feeding more federal dollars to institutions that ignore local investment is exactly the wrong approach.

What we need is right here in our own backyards: a system of federally regulated, community banks that fulfill the classic textbook function of acting as intermediaries between local people looking for a secure place for their savings and local people who need a loan to buy a home or finance a business.

Read the entire article here.

Film industry keeping college grads in Michigan

One of the biggest issues facing Michigan is talent loss. Well, Michigan's new filming industry is giving recent grads a reason to stay.


"It's given me a job, and it's opened up a lot of doors, and it's given me some better opportunities for work," Zakalik said. "I don't know if it's necessarily going to last for more than a few years, but I'll stay here for as long as I'm getting work, and it's paying well."

A survey of more than 5,000 recent graduates of Michigan's public universities between October 2007 and March found that almost half had left the state. In the last 10 years, although the overall state population grew, the number of residents between 25 and 34 dropped by almost 20 percent.

Now, with the influx of movie industry jobs, some in that age bracket may choose to stay here - or come back.

Read the entire article here.

UM students building tiny satellites to study space weather

Grad and undergrad students at the University of Michigan are building small satellites, about the size of a loaf of bread, for the Radio Aurora Explorer project that will study space weather. Yeah, that's right, space weather. These space weather satellites are the first free-flying space crafts built by UM students.


"This project will help us better understand space weather processes, how the Earth and Sun interact, and how this weather produces noise in space communication signals -- noise that translates to lower quality telecommunications capabilities and error in GPS signals," Cutler said.
The RAX satellite will act as a receiver that will pick up signals from a ground radar transmitter. These radar pulses will reflect off disturbances, or space weather phenomena, in the ionosphere.

Read the entire article here.

Cleanest City in Michigan honors go to Ann Arbor

Squeaky clean... and pretty green. Ann Arbor picked up recognition from the Clean Cities Coalition as Michigan's 2008 Clean City of the Year. Keep up the good work. Or should it be clean work? Or green work? Either way, stay the clean course, Ann Arbor.


Ann Arbor was cited for its Green Fleets Program, created in 2004, which organizers said has set a national example for municipal clean fleets programs.

The city's fleet has been reduced in size and increased use of biofuels, compressed natural gas and electric vehicles. That has reduced fuel consumption by more than 14 percent since 2003 and has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 290 tons annually.

Read the entire article here.

Car pools make a splash

It's basic math, really. Sixty bucks for a tank of gas divided by one wallet is 60 bucks. Sixty bucks for a tank of gas divided by four wallets is only 15. Car-pooling is cost effective (and easier on the environment). And it's up in and around Ann Arbor.


The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority van and car pooling program now has 3,588 participants, a 15 percent increase over last year, says Mary Stasiak, AATA community relations manager.

Web-based ride-sharing sites have made finding potential matches easier.

A search on Erideshare.com for car pools to a downtown Ann Arbor zip code returned 90 hits. The U-M Greenride Web portal has more than 2,500 users after its launch only a couple of months ago, said David Miller, U-M director for parking and transportation.

More than 2,500 employees have registered with the site so far, he said. Fourteen new van pools and 15 new car pools have registered with U-M to date. Overall, ride-sharing is up 8 percent among cars and 20 percent in the van-sharing program - and those are the just the ride-shares that U-M has registered.

Read the entire article here.

Peddling to Pedalers

The two-wheelers were out this summer and in noticeable numbers. Light posts all over downtowns were locked with more bikes than last year. Local bike shops have seen an increase in sales during this summer of the $4 gallon and the $50 tank.


At the Ann Arbor Cyclery on Packard Street, sales are up 27 percent from this time last year, said owner Jon Kieft.

Just recently, the 2009 bicycle models became available. But before that, customers were finding it more difficult than usual to get a bike in both the exact model and color they wanted, Kieft said.

Sales, are "stronger than usual because people are trying to avoid the cost of gas," Kieft said.

Bike shops all over the country tell similar stories. New bikes designed mostly for work commuters have been the hardest to keep in stock. The high cost of gas and a general desire to save money in uncertain economic times have also brought in customers asking mechanics to tune up old cruisers that have gathered dust for years.

Read the entire article here.

Making Michigan the place to be

Michigan is the place to be for some but it can be the place for all. It won't be without work, vision, and, possibly, chasing the unrealistic, according to Brian Pappas's Op-Ed piece in the Freep.


We need new solutions. The "race to the bottom" to have the best business climate (lowest taxes) is nothing without an educated, healthy and cultured workforce. Our tax base is tapped out, our state budget is devastated, and we need a new direction. As counter-intuitive as it seems, now is the time for bold action and investment. Unrealistic goals can be easier to achieve than realistic ones, if they provide the challenge and interest that keep people involved and motivated.

Public transit is one such unrealistic goal. Metro Detroit has a lot of what Chicago has -- culture, entertainment, sports, recreation, talented people and a great waterfront. It's just not all concentrated in one city.

A region-wide public transit system can unite us and reframe the map over the long term, creating new centers of commerce and providing the infrastructure for long-term advancement. At a bare minimum, young people do not want to drink and drive, and don't want to battle traffic on the way home. Public transit addresses those concerns. The Woodward and Ann Arbor corridors are great starts, but we need to think big!

Read the entire article here.

Retiring in Ann Arbor is a pretty good deal

Congratulations, Ann Arbor. You've racked up another high-ranking slot on an interesting survey. Black Enterprise magazine listed Ann Arbor as the third best place to retire in the nation, just behind Durham, N.C., and Charlottesville, Va.


Ann Arbor has come in third on Black Enterprise magazine's list of the 20 best places to retire, behind Durham, N.C., and Charlottesville, Va.

In rating the communities' quality of life in its October issue, the magazine considered housing prices, public schools, crime levels, traffic congestion and commercial air access. It also factored in health care, taxes, leisure opportunities, arts and culture, and climate.

It was the second time in recent months Ann Arbor scored highly as a place to live; in July, AARP magazine named Ann Arbor the healthiest city in the United States, particularly for seniors.

Read the entire article here.

Local 'radiopreneurs' go non-traditional to hit the airwaves

Radio is like that top-of-the-world who now struggles to get someone to listen to his stories. 

Not to worry. Local "radiopreneurs" are finding new ways to promote their broadcastings and looking to push radio back into a relevant picture.


Hughes also knows what won’t fix radio: “It certainly isn’t satellite radio. They’ve curtailed their wild program offerings and cut a bunch of programming. The answer would be: We need more independent stations,” he said.

That’s essentially what he’s doing with Coolarity Radio. The Web site, thayrone.com, offers free live streams of his Monday-Friday talk show, “On the Edge,” and his Sunday evening aural avalanche, “The Bone Conduction Music Show.” He says the sound quality is better than FM broadcast. Both programs are archived on the site. “On the Edge” is syndicated in a number of markets, as well.

Access to computer-driven radio in your car will also change radio, Hughes said.

“It’s coming soon — people already have it with their iPods,” he said. “The Web is like the wild, wild West … all crazy creative stuff.”

Read the entire article here.

It's not just the big budget films, indies are coming, too

It's not just Clint Eastwood, Drew Barrymore, and Michael Cera. Independent films --some locally conceived-- are also comin' to town.


Less glamorous, lesser-known beneficiaries of the legislation are local filmmakers like Victor Fanucchi, who just finished an intensive five-week shoot in Ann Arbor for his feature film, "Art House." The comedy - set to feature a cameo appearance by Iggy Pop - focuses on art students who are living at a communal house when a university dean and a descendant of the house's original benefactor decide that the place might be better used as a residence for varsity golf players.

"The starting point was stories from when I lived in a vegetarian co-op in college (at Princeton)," said Fanucchi, who works as a lecturer in screenwriting and film production at the University of Michigan. "There are plenty of stories that come out of that kind of living situation."

Once a story came together, Fanucchi knew precisely where he wanted to shoot. "I'd gone to an after-party during the (2007 Ann Arbor Film) Festival that was hosted by Black Elk Co-op (on Baldwin Street) ... and I experienced a bit of nostalgia going to this place," Fanucchi said.

Read the entire article here.

As gas increases so does riding the rails

Chicago to Ann Arbor and back is increasingly turning from a road weary journey to a rail riding experience. Amtrak's trips to the 'City by the Lake' are gaining more and more ridership due to the hike in gas price.


Amtrak officials say the number of people riding Pontiac-Detroit-Ann Arbor-Jackson-Chicago lines was up 5.9 percent since last October. The Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago line has seen a 6.5 percent jump in riders, while the Grand Rapids-St. Joseph-Chicago line was up 7.2 percent, a Detroit newspaper reported.

The increases would have been greater if tickets, especially for weekend trips, were not selling out.

A Michigan Department of Transportation official says the price of gas is the strongest single reason for the increases.

Read the entire article here.

Here is another piece from the AP that showed up in the Chicago Tribune.

There is a nicotine gene, UM study finds

Nicotine gene has a Dr. Seuss-y ring to it. Unfortunately, unlike green eggs and ham, which only look weird, nicotine can be quite deadly. What the UM study found was that people who have this particular type of gene are more inclined to want to hit the cig.

Strange what scientists discover, isn't it?


Those who experience a pleasurable buzz during their first cigarette are more likely to have a variant of the CHRNA5 nicotine receptor gene.

They're also more likely to become addicted smokers - and more likely to develop lung cancer, previous research has found.

"That's a really surprising element, that the same gene that would make you like it and make you addicted would cause a disease process ... it's a terrible trap," Pomerleau said.

Read the entire article here.

More 'Greenbelt' land preserved

While most people are tightening their belt, Ann Arbor and its neighboring cities are making theirs a bit looser... well, at least their 'greenbelt.'

A program started nearly six years ago to preserve green space, farmland, and natural habitats in Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas, the Greenbelt has grown leaps and bounds since its inception.


The township has received a grant of $350,000 from the federal farm and ranchland protection program and $255,000 from the state agricultural preservation board. Pittsfield Township has also pledged a total of $295,000 from its general fund.

The land is located between the township's Lillie Park and the Pittsfield Preserve.

The land is designated for agricultural preservation in the Pittsfield Township Comprehensive Plan. "This is one of the few properties (in the township) that is in the greenbelt and that also has the agricultural preservation (designation)," said township Treasurer Christina Lirones.

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.

Ann Arbor SPARK has helped spark $700 million in investment since 2005

Ann Arbor SPARK, an firm that promotes and develops innovation-based start-ups in the region, boasts that they've helped secure nearly $700 million in investment in just three years. Whew... that's a lot of cash.


The organization's business accelerator program has assisted 97 "innovation-based" startup companies since 2005, Finney added, saying SPARK had "directly impacted the community."

These figures come six months after SPARK reported that it had helped secure $100 million in new business investments in 2007. Those investments would eventually lead to the creation of 2,248 jobs in the Ann Arbor region, SPARK said.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor software firm thinks differently about work

No long nights, no cubbies, no walls... What about working weekends? Well, none of that, either. And, all the while, no offshoring of work. In fact, Menlo Innovations is keepin' their peeps right here in Michigan. A bit of an alternative working environment, wouldn't you say? Either way, you should be just a little bit jealous. Come on! No weekends!


So far, Sheridan's belief that an innovative company could take root here in rust-belt Michigan -- and teach others a process and methodology for innovation -- appears to be succeeding even in today's trying economy.

Menlo employs 50 people today, up from around 30 two years ago, and expects to hire another 25 this year. Revenues hit $2 million in 2006, rose to $2.5 million in 2007 and are running 70% ahead of last year thus far in 2008, Sheridan said.

Menlo has made investments in 13 of its clients and has started to receive royalty checks from two of them.

Read the entire article here.

Program aims at retaining entrepreneurs, so far so good

Entrepreneur isn't the easiest word to spell. However, on the flip side, it's a lot easier spelling it than being one. So, to make it a little easier, and to retain these entrepreneurs here in Michigan, a program called MORE is making a push. The  program has granted 11 UM students five grand to pursue a wide range of ideas.


The grants are part of the MORE Program, an organization founded in November 2007 to stop the loss of highly skilled college graduates to other states and promote entrepreneurship in southeast Michigan. Brian Balasia, a U-M graduate and founder of the Detroit-based medical records firm Digerati, started the program.

Balasia received a two-year, $355,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that's part of a $5-million grant awarded for similar efforts throughout Michigan to spur entrepreneurship.

In May, Balasia, executive director Jessica Pfeiffer, and a number of area organizations hosted a job fair at U-M that connected hundreds of young entrepreneurs with small businesses in the state looking for talent.

Read the entire article here.

Time to start thinking about 'green' computing

Green cars, green buildings, green living, and, now green computing. No, not a really sweet looking green colored macBook, but a way of living that is moving into the computing industry.


Research centers, particulary ones with large computer installations, are the greatest producers of CO2 and the greatest consumers of power on a university's campus, according to St. Arnaud. To spur the reduction of CO2, many universities across Canada are moving their data centers into zero-carbon facilities, which are powered by renewable energy and use high-speed networking to relay data and applications back to users.

"Through distributed computing and virtualization, by putting servers and computer facilities in remote locations and zero-carbon facilities, universities can use the optical network to access servers and still lower CO2 output," according to St. Arnaud.

"Our industry can be the most important tool to reduce carbon consumption," he said. "IT and networking can provide leadership to reduce power consumption and carbon emissions."

Read the entire article here.

A crane in the skyline is a good thing - but thank the University of Michigan

There are a lot of cranes in the Ann Arbor skyline these days, which, obviously, is a good thing because it means some extensive construction is happening. And, not in all cases, but in most, the University of Michigan is to thank. Most of those cranes and most of Ann Arbor's construction stems from the U.


Those who keep a close eye on local developments say the latest construction boom, like many of those previous, is an example of how Ann Arbor benefits from the presence of the University of Michigan.

While some of the big building projects are the work of private developers, most of the biggest ones are university projects. And even some of the private projects - two large apartment complexes marketed for students, for example - are the result of the university's presence.

Read the entire article here.

Toledo Blade says Ann Arbor has big-city vitality, small town charm

Toledo Blade motors north to Ann Arbor and discovers its big-city vitality intertwined with its small town charm.


The food is one of the biggest attractions said Elaine Johns, who for decades has operated The Treasure Mart, a popular consignment store tucked away on a quiet brick street on the north side of town.

"There is so much to do in Ann Arbor," Ms. Johns said. "We get a lot of locals in our store, but people come from Detroit, Toledo - all over."

If there's time, tourists should also visit the nearby Ann Arbor Farmers' Market and Zingerman's Delicatessen, Ms. Johns recommended.

Read the entire article here.

Finally, computers can get some real sleep around here

University of Michigan researchers have developed the lowest possible power output for a microchip that goes into sleep mode. It's more of an "extreme sleep mode," using 30,000 times less power than active chips on the market today. With such low power, a chip like this can greatly reduce the size of batteries for various systems. However, this little bugger has bigger fish to fry than just powering down your macBook. It'll be applied to biomedical sensors and technologies.


A group of UM researchers is putting the Phoenix in a biomedical sensor to monitor eye pressure in glaucoma patients. Engineers envision that chips like this could also be sprinkled around to make a nearly invisible sensor network to monitor air or water or detect movement. They could be mixed into concrete to sense the structural integrity of new buildings and bridges. And they could power a robust pacemaker that could take more detailed readings of a patient's health, researchers say.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor, Washtenaw teaming up again to conserve land

Ann Arbor's Greenbelt program and Washtenaw County are looking toward Superior Twp. to buy 140 acres of land for preservation and conservancy. This is the second time these two groups have jumped into the same boat together for a similar project.


The 55-acre property on the east side of Prospect includes a wet area, woodland and open fields under agricultural production. A ridgeline on that parcel separates the Rouge River and Huron River watersheds, said Tom Freeman, assistant director of the county's parks and recreation department. There's also a stream.

The 84-acre parcel on west side of the road includes land currently in agricultural use, a large body of open water and a "spectacular" woodlot with hickory and oak, Freeman said.

Read the entire article here.

Tornado tracking made easier by UM

If this Web site had been around for Bill Pullman and Helen Hunt in the movie Twister, well, their lives would have been much easier. This Web site, developed by the University of Michigan, tracks all the tornadoes in the U.S. that have touched down.


"As tornado chasers, it's interesting for us to know where the storms have been and have a record of them," Samson said. "This Web site is another way for those interested in weather to get a sense for what's going on."
The site updates automatically every 10 minutes. It's always possible that there could be nothing on the screen, Samson said. That would mean no tornadoes hit on that particular day.
During this year's storm-chasing trip, Samson and his students gathered data from eight supercell storms -- more than they've ever recorded. He describes the events as "not for the faint of heart. We weather chasers are different than normal people. We want to be there. It should not be taken lightly or considered a spectator sport."

Read the entire article here.

Visit the the tornado Web site here.

It's startup weekend in Ann Arbor, the goal is to launch 10-12 new businesses

Looking to start a business this weekend? Well, on Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21, you just might have your shot. It's startup weekend in Ann Arbor and the recruits are looking for the motivated, the innovated, and the ambitious to start something up. The event will be held in the lower level of Liberty Square, 510 E. Washington.


This isn’t a series of classes or speakers, it’s a bunch of people rolling up their sleeves and creating companies with the help of a facilitator.

Participants will get not just ownership in a company you help found (which is pretty cool in its own right), but new relationships with interesting, energetic, talented people and a new set of skills -- which you will be able to use in the future.

Organizers say the event is as much about building a startup-friendly community as it is about building companies.

Read the entire article here.

To register for the event, go here.

Cooley law profs and students provide free legal assistance for troops

Preparing a will for departing troops is grim, but a necessity. And, preparing a will can also be costly. However, a group of Michigan law professors and students from Thomas M. Cooley Law School have been helping out, free of charge, to get this done for the soldiers through a program called Service to Soldiers: Legal Assistance Referral Program.


The group of lawyers, Cooley law professors and students also has assisted troops in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and Kalamazoo, said Heather Spielmaker, who runs the program.

Before deployment, the group mainly prepares wills and powers of attorney for the departing troops.

"It's basically like a will assembly line," Spielmaker said. "We prepare about 150 a day when we're at full tilt."

The program began by helping recently returned military personnel with legal matters, but soon expanded to help those about to be deployed.

Read the entire article here.

U-M wins national EPA award for asthma care

The University of Mighigan Health System is making it easier for nerds to run around. All right, that's a joke. But, what they are doing is improving asthma patient health through innovative and effective strategies. So much so that the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded them the National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management.

UMHS was only one of three recipients this year.


Its asthma programs include instruction for patients about environmental factors that trigger asthma and an evaluation of patients' homes for things like tobacco smoke, dust mites, mold and mildew that cause asthma attacks.

More than 350,000 people in Washtenaw, Livingston, Oakland and Wayne counties suffer from asthma, which is one of the leading causes of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and school absenteeism for children, the release said.

Read the entire article here.

Borders taps into the e-com pipeline

Borders' e-commerce had been previously ran by Amazon from 2001 until last year when the second largest book chain cut ties. For the last 18 months or so Borders has been researching a new way for them to do business - electronically. They came up with an online bookstore - a real bookstore online with shelves to cycle through.


Borders has been exploring strategic alternatives including a sale since March, but continues to execute its turnaround strategy announced last year, Jones has said. The new e-commerce site is a big part of the turnaround.

The dominant feature at Borders.com is something called the Magic Shelf. Borders says the shelf captures the essence of shopping in one of its stores.

Books are placed cover out and side by side on the shelf. Shoppers can move up or down and from side to side. Roll the cursor over a book and a box with details about it pops up.

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.


UM Health System participates in first-of-its-kind GLBT equality index

It's never been done before - and that always gets attention. The University of Michigan Health System will be included in the first-of-its-kind index that'll rate hospitals for standards of care of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.


"The UMHS Pride Network (the Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay
Employee Resource and Patient Advocacy group) is proud of its partnership with the Health System in achieving these ratings in the Healthcare Equality Index," said Kimber Converso, a cardiac sonographer and researcher at the University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center and chair of the Pride Network.

"We look forward to continued improvements in both the provision of quality medical care to the transgender, bisexual, lesbian and gay communities, and creating an inclusive and supportive work environment," Converso said on behalf of the Pride Network Executive Committee.

Visit the UMHS Pride Network on the Web here.

UM researchers develop potential lead into new AIDS drugs

It's complicated, but it's good news. Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed what could possibly be the first new way in 20 years of inhibiting the growth of HIV, thus having the potential to develop new AIDS drugs.

Again, it's complicated, but it's good news.


A protease is an enzyme that clips apart proteins, and in the case of HIV drugs, when the HIV-1 protease is inhibited it cannot process the proteins required to assemble an active virus. In existing treatments, a larger molecule binds to the center of the protease, freezing it closed.
The new mechanism targets a different area of the HIV-1 protease, called the flap recognition pocket, and actually holds the protease open. Scientists knew the flaps opened and closed, but didn't know how to target that as a mechanism, Carlson says.
Carlson's group discovered that this flap, when held open by a very small molecule -- half the size of the ones used in current drug treatments -- also inhibits the protease.

Read the entire article here.

Report says most parents don't want their kids tested on

Parent's don't want their kids experimented on? What, you serious? OK, so, all joking aside, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital produced a report on such a thing. It's not really so much experimentation as it is medical research. The other side of this coin is that, through such research, advances in medicine are discovered.

However, an overwhelming amount of the parents polled said that they don't want guinea pigs as children - if that were the case, they could have just gone to the pet store.


Many parents are often unwilling to allow their children to take part in medical research, fearing that they may be harmed or used as "guinea pigs," according to a report released today by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

In fact, the report finds that only 30 percent of parents are willing to allow their children to participate in research involving a new medication.  In contrast, 77 percent of parents want only FDA-approved medicines for their children. This finding reveals a large gap between the proportion of parents who want safe medicines for their children, and those who are willing to have their children take part in research that could ultimately produce information about medicine safety.

Read the entire report here.

Local businesses collaborate on Mott playhouse

C.S Mott Children's Hospital has some new construction going on.

No, not a new wing filled with state-of-the-art medical equipment. It's actually a bit smaller and not so high-tech. But it is for the kids. It's the Mott Storybook Cottage. When it's all said and done, it'll be a 90-square-foot playhouse, built by local companies with local materials.


Best of all, the Mott Storybook Cottage is a home-town project – all building materials and services are being donated by locally based businesses specializing in construction, architectural design and interior design.

Once complete, the one-of-a-kind playhouse will be auctioned at the “Champions for Children’s Hearts” celebrity golf event hosted by the NFL’s Brian Griese and Steve Hutchinson on May 17-18. All proceeds will benefit the children’s and women’s building project, and the U-MCongenitalHeartCenter.

Read the entire release here.

Yucking it up in yoga class

The class starts off with a chant similar to Santa Claus - something like, "ho ho ho." Then a half hour of laughing that range from a giggle to a belly buster. Of course, it's not all a barrel full of laughs, there is some stretching and breathing and, obviously, yoga.


This is a “laughter yoga” course, part of a growing trend in parts of the United States, India and other countries. The students are re-learning something children already know instinctively: that laughter makes you feel better.

“Kids laugh about 400 times a day, and adults only about 15,” notes Barb Fisher, a certified laughter yoga leader and the instructor of this class offered by the U-M Health System’s MFit health promotion division. “Laughter is a gift that has been given to us to make us feel better.”

Read the entire article here.

Kick out the jams with a rare A2 Records anthology

A2 Records was founded by Hugh "Jeep" Holland, a University of Michigan student, and it boasted quite an impressive lineup of '60s Michigan rock groups, such as MC5. Jeep died in 1998 and left A2's masters with his brother Frank. England-based Ace Records purchased them and this Tuesday will be bringing these rare albums together into one product.


"A-Square (Of Course): The Story Of Michigan's Legendary A-Square Records," which will be available only as an import CD from Ace Records, includes tracks from The Scot Richard Case, MC5 (the rare "Looking at You"), The Prime Movers (featuring a young Iggy Pop on drums and lead vocals, circa 1966), The Thyme, The Up and more.

Read the entire article here.

Local heart goes national

There may be a new device on the market to help older guys and dolls pump blood through their bodies, and, guess what? Yep, it was made in Ann Arbor. The DuraHeart System is up for trials to see how well this contraption works. If all goes well, which similar devices have already shown, this little thing will start improving and lengthening precious lives.


The DuraHeart System, made by Ann Arbor-based Terumo Heart Inc., part of Terumo Corp., which is headquartered in Japan, was approved in February by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be tested in up to 140 U.S. patients.

The device is being tested as a "bridge to transplant'' for patients suffering from certain forms of heart failure, said David Munjal, Terumo Heart vice president for clinical studies, regulatory affairs and quality systems. The goal is to request approval to run a simultaneous study of the device as a "destination'' therapy for patients who don't qualify for transplant, he said.

Read the entire article here.

Shedding light on solar energy

It's almost time to bring out the sun chairs and the kiddie pools. It's going to be fun in the sun for the next handful of months. However, while you're all getting tan and barbecuing, maybe it's time to think about the sun in another light, so to speak. And if you live in Ann Arbor, this might be an easy option.

Solar power is being pushed by the city's website by giving a potential home buyers options for this technology.


Ann Arbor residents and potential home buyers can now receive a free solar analysis by visiting the City’s Website, selecting “My Property Information”, and clicking on the “Solar Potential” tab.

Part of Mayor Hieftje’s 2005 Green Energy Challenge, which includes a goal of 5,000 solar roof installations by 2015, Ann Arbor Energy Commissioners and UM students assessed over 21,000 Ann Arbor roofs for their solar potential.

Read the entire article here.

Livonia orthopedic firm acquires more bones

One orthopedic firm grabs another. The Livonia-base Michigan Orthopedic Services moseys on over to Ann Arbor and acquires Koch's Orthotic Prosthetic Service, Inc.

Terms weren't announced.

In addition to Livionia, and now Ann Arbor, MOS has locations in Flint, Eastpointe, Midland, Saginaw, and Southgate.


Detroit-based Huron Capital Partners L.L.C. is expected to announce today that one of its portfolio companies, Livonia-based Michigan Orthopedic Services L.L.C., has acquired an Ann Arbor company, Koch's Orthotic Prosthetic Service Inc.

Read the entire article here.

Rail study between Howell and Ann Arbor leaves the station

The commuter line between Howell and Ann Arbor is inching closer and closer. A study, important to the life of the project, is gearing up now that the Livingston County Board of Commissioners has approved a $15,000 contribution that will go toward the $150,000 cost of the study.

If the rail-line goes forth, it's estimated that 1,700 passengers will use it every day, while their fares will cover half of the anticipated $4.8 million annual price tag.


R.L. Banks & Associates Inc., a national railroad consulting company that has offices in Cheboygan, will assess the proposed budget, station plans, ridership estimates and other data gathered by the coalition. The consultant will provide a draft business plan and 10-year budget that are expected to be finished within 60 days.

Read the entire article here.

iTunes now carries UM lectures

If you missed that lecture, just go to iTunes. The University of Michigan joins 40 other university who participate in iTunes U - a branch of the apple creation that offers lectures (audio and video) to audiences across the globe through iTunes Store free of charge.

Stanford, a participating school, has reported 1.8 million downloads since spring 2005. Wow, that's either a lot of class skipping, or a lot of interested people.

Topics are across the board, from art to business to the environment.


A wide variety of material is going up — lectures from a Saturday morning physics class, teaching material from dental courses, university news releases, even a complete archive of speeches by U-M President Mary Sue Coleman going back to her inauguration in 2003.

Audio and video material can be downloaded, all of it free, although some selected class lectures will be password-protected for registered members only. Not all classes and departments at U-M will participate; downloads will only be available from professors who record their offerings and decide to post them online.

Read the entire article here.

Michigan's blather, Michgan's poetry

Thomas Lynch, local writer and funeral home director, watched the University of Michigan's symphony orchestra play Carnegie Hall. The music, he says, was moving and the night was brilliant, but Michigan's issues - good and bad - didn't stray from his mind.


By comparison, the perseverance of our governor, Jennifer Granholm, gets little notice. Her efforts to diversify the economy, double the number of college graduates and restore our cities are not nearly as engaging as the soap opera that has been playing out in Detroit. The Government Performance Project at the Pew Center for the States graded Michigan’s management with a B-plus this year; only three states scored better.

As she has put it: “We need to capitalize on our natural advantages ... Wind. Woods. Water. Work force. Even waste. If we do this right, Michigan can be the alternative energy capital of North America, and create thousands and thousands of jobs.” Her faith in the future is contagious. So is despair. Sometimes we vote our hopes, sometimes our fears.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor charged up for battery business

Battery development is charging ahead of the pack in the Ann Arbor region. A number of local companies, including the university, are developing new, improved, and innovated batteries, turning the area into a development hub.

The focus is mainly on car battery technologies to alleviate dependence on gasoline. These batteries, essentially, split the duty, allowing cars to go dozens of more miles before tapping into the gas tank.


Adding to the local battery technology boom is University of Michigan professor Ann Marie Sastry, whose startup company Sakti3 will "commercialize a manufacturing process in Ann Arbor for the development of high-power batteries that will withstand the rigors of automotive use, primarily in electric vehicles," according to a news release.

Sastry has been publicly quiet about the details concerning her company. But Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Michael Finney indicated that "she's got investors who are willing to help her grow her business." State tax credits were awarded based on projections that the company would eventually employ 112.

Meanwhile, the Ann Arbor division of A123Systems is helping GM develop the battery for the much-hyped plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle that GM says will travel 40 miles on a single electrical charge.

A123Systems owns Ann Arbor-based T/J Technologies, which was co-founded by U-M professors Levi and Maria Thompson. Maria Thompson is now president of the Ann Arbor division of A123Systems.

Levi Thompson, director of U-M's hydrogen energy technology laboratory, said the university's intellectual property and innovative strength has driven the growth of local companies focusing on alternative energy and battery technology.

Read the entire article here.

Connecting the dots... with transit

Transit talk is gearing up and growing legs - or, more appropriately, wheels. Planners in Washtenaw County held a town hall meeting on transit outlining a vision of connected dots. The issue is money of course. Their plan would require nearly $7 million more a year on top of what is currently available.

Numerous ideas that are being bandied about southeast Michigan with a buzz that  parallels landing on the moon. Projects in the works are commuter connections between Ann Arbor and Detriot, Washtenaw County and Livingston County, as well as talk of a privately funded light-rail up Detroit's spine - Woodward.

Money, of course, is turning out to be the issue with all of them.


Someday soon, Washtenaw County traffic planners would like to see transit connections between cities and villages, door-to-door service on demand throughout the county, expanded service in urban areas and more park-and-ride lots, among other projects.

Terri Blackmore, executive director of the Washtenaw Area Transport Study, outlined the county's transit plan Monday (March 24) night during a "Transit Town Hall" meeting at Washtenaw Community College. About 80 people attended the meeting, hosted by Blackmore and Rep. Pam Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township.

Read the entire article 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.

Ann Arbor's own March Madness

March Madness is in full effect. Ford Field is getting ready for the Sweet 16, college basketball fans are checking and double checking their brackets, and televisions everywhere are saturated with college basketball programming. So, the Ann Arbor News has chimed in with it's own little bracket of 64. Check out the contest between the 64 great things Ann Arbor has to offer.

Who would be your champion? Download the bracket and see if you're surprised.


Could Blimpy Burger actually top a world-class hospital - the University of Michigan Medical Center? Or can a steak joint - Knight's - make an improbable run?

We bracketed 64 great things about Ann Arbor and played it out. And just like the NCAA basketball tournament, which gets under way today, ours had upsets, a run by an upstart and a great champion.

Read the entire article here.

14 Michigan hospitals on top

Go to the head of the class, if you're a Michigan hospital. The last two years have been pretty good when it comes to healthcare on the peninsula. Last year Michigan hit 16, top in the nation. This year, they dipped a bit to 14 and tied Ohio for the lead. Still, not bad. Bravo!


Michigan again ranks at the top nationally with the most top-rated hospitals.

Fourteen Michigan hospitals are listed in the annual Thomson Healthcare Top 100 Hospitals, formerly the Solucient 100. Michigan tied with Ohio for the most hospitals on the list, which annually ranks hospitals based on several benchmarks, including clinical outcomes, patient safety, financial performance and efficiency.

Read the entire article here.

More commuter train cha-cha-chat

WALLY, the name of the commuter train line between Washtenaw and Livingston counties, is nearly here. The line, along with an new interchange at I-96 and Latson Road, has been approved by two SEMCOG committees and the third should be no different.

Of course, cash is still a big question. As long as it falls into place, look for WALLY in 2010.


The commuter rail project, known as the WALLY train for Washtenaw and Livingston Line, has a projected price tag of $12.6 million from 2006 through 2010, and another $11.4 million from 2011-2015.

The SEMCOG plan shows a $6 million contribution from the state’s Michigan Transportation Fund, collected from gas taxes, from now until 2010, as well as some federal money. More than $3.4 million is slated in the category of private funding.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has taken a more active role than its Livingston County counterpart in the WALLY project, which would have several stops between Howell and Ann Arbor.

Read the entire article here.

World's 50 most innovated companies - Michigan snatches two

Fast Company hit the streets to find some of the most inventive, innovated and intriguing companies around. Two of Michigan's own were tacked to the list. Google, of course, made tops. Herman Miller fell in at 26th.


Fast Company slotted Zeeland-based Herman Miller at 26th in its "World's 50 Most Innovative Companies" in the March issue out now. Google, with its AdWords outfit based in Ann Arbor, earned the top spot among the league of global superstars that also included Facebook, Apple, Disney, Nike and HP.

Read the entire article here.

MORE bang for your talented buck

Michigan gets a bad rep for jobs and talent. But, truth be told, according to MORE, they are both still here. What they do is pair up the young and the talented with smaller companies that have 500-800 employees. MORE removes the veil of names that dominate the job market to expose smaller, growing organizations.


"We want to introduce the companies to faculty who do research in areas related to their business, to opportunities to sponsor student research projects, rent subsidized lab space and just build up a relationship. ...

"This should give the smaller companies visibility to students and to faculty and should result in them naturally knowing where to go to find the perfect students for their internships and job openings. MORE is a first step, and we'll go from there."

Read the entire article here.

Berkley jumps on board green boat

Going green probably had a different meaning 20 years ago. But these days it's an effort, and not an allusion to getting sick. Berkley has joined 21 cities statewide, and an even larger number across the nation, in making steps toward going green. In addition to that, Berkley is hoping to make their community more "walkable" and less dependent on vehicles.


Like other communities, Berkley has joined the Sierra Club's "Cool Cities" effort aimed at reducing pollution from carbon-based fuels and other sources.

Cities such as Warren, Flint, Ann Arbor, Ferndale and Royal Oak are also part of the green effort.

Read the entire article here.

What's the score here in Michigan?

The self-proclaimed Ann Arbor "think-and-do" tank, Center for Michigan, has been keeping score here in the Mitten. Various research sources were compiled and edited by Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard to roll out "The 2008 Michigan Scorecard: Benchmarks for Michigan's Transformation." And founder of the tank Phil Powers kept the grading simple.

It's possible Ebert may have had a hand - or thumb in this.


It tracks 36 measures of Michigan's competitive standing in three areas: Workforce and Talent; Economy and Quality of Life; and Accountable Government.

The ratings couldn't be simpler -- thumbs up, so-so or thumbs down. The verdict: ten "thumbs-up," seven "so-so," and 19 "thumbs-down" grades.

Read the entire article here.

Not your normal smallpox vaccine

Ann Arbor-based NanoBio Corp. and the U of M have put together a new kind of smallpox vaccine, to be taken nasally. Essentially, it's dead smallpox up the nose.

This new-and-improved vaccine contains the inactivated vaccinia virus, a cousin of smallpox, which, when in the nose, quickly is recognized and an immunity is created. Right now, this has proved - in animals - to protect the subject 77 times greater than the normal smallpox vaccine.


"The key finding is that we have validated in animals a new means of immunization that produces a unique and highly effective immune response without the potential risks of smallpox vaccination that are no longer considered acceptable in the population at large," said Baker. "The safety and speed of our nasally delivered vaccine would provide the necessary protection to the public in the event of a bioterrorist attack or a natural outbreak of a related orthopoxvirus infection such as monkeypox."

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.

UofM genetic study details human migration

How did we get here? Where are we going? That and answers to a bunch of other psychobabble could be in a new study from the University of Michigan. The study reveals interesting clues on where humanity started and why is spread out in which direction.


University of Michigan scientists and their colleagues at the National Institute on Aging have produced the largest and most detailed worldwide study of human genetic variation, a treasure trove offering new insights into early migrations out of Africa and across the globe.

Like astronomers who build ever-larger telescopes to peer deeper into space, population geneticists like UM's Noah Rosenberg are using the latest genetic tools to probe DNA molecules in unprecedented detail, uncovering new clues to humanity's origins.

The latest study characterizes more than 500,000 DNA markers in the human genome and examines variations across 29 populations on five continents.

Read the entire article here.

U-M releases key consumer survey

If you want numbers, look no further than Ann Arbor. The American Customer Satisfaction Index, released today, examines the American consumer's relative happiness with buying things, and is complied, studied and analyzed by the University of Michigan and a handful of other organizations, including Ann Arbor's ForeSee Results.

This year's big discovery? People like the Web.


Overall customer satisfaction dipped by 0.4 percentage point to 74.9 during the fourth quarter of 2007. But customer satisfaction with Web transactions reached an all-time high. The e-commerce ASCI figure jumped 2 percentage points to 81.6.

Read the entire article here.

U-M blogger named top by magazine

U.S. News and World Report has named a University of Michigan student's blog the been named "Best Alternative Media Outlet" in the magazine's college rankings.


The blog, "University of Michigan OTR," at
www.michiganotr.com, is a member of the CollegeOTR "On The Record" blog network created by New York City-based TheU.com.

The UM blog beat out blogs from schools like Harvard, the University of California-Berkeley and Columbia University to claim the title. Another OTR Blog, University of Wisconsin-Madison OTR, at www.wiscotr.com, was also nominated for the award.

Read the entire article here.

Orange County Chopper for sale

Wanna buy an Orange County Chopper? No? What if it was for a good cause?


On Saturday, November 17, 2007, the “Big Blue” Bike made its debut during half time at the UM – Ohio State game.  Mikey and Paulie Teutul of Orange County Choppers and stars of the popular TLC's American Chopper® presented the custom-made motorcycle ... “Big Blue” will be auctioned off to the highest bidder along with a tailgate party for 10-20 people at a UM home game of their choice sponsored by Domino’s Pizza.  All proceeds from the auction will benefit the new U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital building campaign.

Read more here.

UM technology used in Mercury flyby

To the moon, University of Michigan! To the moon!

Okay, Mercury will do.

A UM-designed instrument will be used to take measurements of Mercury's atmosphere and space environment. How cool is that?

Excerpt: The Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) instrument onboard MESSENGER, designed and built at U-M, will take measurements to determine what Mercury's atmosphere is composed of and how the planet interacts with its space environment. The planet's magnetic field and its proximity to the sun provide an interesting test-case for interaction of the solar wind with terrestrial planets.

Read the entire article here.

AA offers awards to energy-conscious companies

Ann Arbor's mayor is asking the city's residents for support in an ambitious yet necessary goal - to achieve 20 percent renewable energy use community-wide by 2015.

As part of the challenge, the city is recognizing members of the business community that prioritize the use of renewable energy or energy efficiency.

Excerpt: The Energy Challenge Awards are open to commercial projects that demonstrate energy efficiency or renewable energy in the City of Ann Arbor - including both new construction and renovations. Awards are offered only for projects that have been completed within the last three years. Applications are available online or at City Hall, and are due Jan. 21, 2008.  

Click here to learn more about the Energy Challenge. 

Stay competitive? Build green

Local companies say they're investing in training workers in green building practices, as that segment of the market grows by leaps and bounds.

Excerpt: But the bottom line: Companies say green building knowledge is a requirement to be competitive in Michigan, which has more than 200 structures registered as LEED certified, ranking it among the top-10 states.

Read the entire article here.

U-M researchers find new applications for cancer drug

University of Michigan scientists have found that a drug used to treat advanced multiple myeloma may have another use - pushing cancer cells into overdrive, then burn out.


The U-M scientists found that bortezomib, a drug approved by the FDA to treat advanced multiple myeloma, is able to selectively inhibit melanoma tumor cells because it causes the c-MYC oncogene to overproduce a cell-death promoter called NOXA. Their results place c-MYC and NOXA, well studied among cancer researchers, in a new light. The study appears online ahead of print in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read the entire article here.

Arb Camp 'Un-Conference' set for Oct. 27

Connect Ann Arbor is hosting a one-day gathering on October 27 with the broad theme of social networking. The concept is that the agenda will be set by participants. Joseph Jaffe is the headline speaker.

Find out more and sign up here.

Job hunt mingle hosted at Vinology Oct. 24

Ann Arbor SPARK is joining a bunch of partners and local companies to host a "career connections" mingling event at Vinology on October 24 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The cost is free and you can register here.

Ann Arbor resident receives lifetime innovator award for developing Photoshop

Thomas Knoll began manipulating pixels back in 1987 as a University of Michigan student. No one could have guessed that 20 years later, the product that it developed into Photoshop, would remain the most-widely used image manipulation software on the market.


Knoll, a longtime Ann Arbor resident with his wife, Ruth, received Business Review's Lifetime Innovator award Oct. 4 at the second annual "Innovation Michigan" event at The Henry Ford Museum.

Knoll could have left for greener pastures many years ago, considering that Adobe is based in San Jose, Calif.

But the software genius has always liked Ann Arbor better - primarily because he likes the changing of the seasons here and hates the traffic in California.

In a rare interview, Knoll marveled at the longevity of Photoshop. He said the only program that has matched its prominence is the software suite Microsoft Office.

"It's remarkable that it's managed to stay at the top of its market," Knoll said of Photoshop. "There aren't many programs that are still the state of the art in their fields after so long."

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor-based ShareSleuth profiled in Wired Magazine

Chris Carey works from his Ann Arbor bungalow on ShareSlueth, a website devoted to investigative reporting on publicly-traded stocks that is owned by Mark Cuban. Cue controversy.


In a yellow bungalow in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Carey is pecking away at his keyboard in his tiny home office, surrounded by piles of files. It's located on a typical college- town block, right down to a laissez-faire attitude governing home and garden that tolerates crabgrass, peeling paint, and cluttered front porches. A line of black carpenter ants streams up the wall. Carey doesn't seem to notice.

Tall and balding with pale blue eyes, Carey is shy and cerebral. Ask him a question and he pauses, tilts his head, and responds cautiously — like a tax lawyer appearing before the IRS. On hot summer days, Carey swelters (there's no air-conditioning) and sometimes splurges on lunch at a local deli to enjoy an hour of AC. A little maroon Corolla sits in his driveway. The rent for his combined home and office: $1,500 a month. "I'm pretty frugal," he says.

In other words, he is an odd partner for the profane Mark Cuban, who spends his free time screaming at NBA officials. The two met via email in 2005, while Carey was on leave from the Post-Dispatch. Carey had worked at newspapers since 1983, when he graduated from Indiana University and took a job at the Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Kentucky. Over the next two decades, he hopped to the Orlando Sentinel, the Indianapolis Star, and eventually the Post-Dispatch, where he wrote a highly regarded series on global stock fraud in June 2004. Those stories, he says, helped him win a journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Ann Arbor was a welcome break for Carey.

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.

New gallery works to bridge Ann Arbor and Detroit

The University of Michigan's Detroit Center has launched a new gallery with the intent of connecting the Detroit and Ann Arbor art scenes.


Director of Exhibitions Nick Sousanis, who also runs TheDetroiter.com, aims to use the space to create dialogues and further long-term interactions between Detroit and Ann Arbor. "It can be both a place to have things," he says, referring to shows, lectures and meetings, "and a launch pad."

For the gallery's debut show, Ann Arbor and Detroit artists were asked to ruminate about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and Woodward Avenue intersection. Some artists took the task quite literally, with trash collected and documented by Stephen Schudlich and a bus stop erected -- and manned -- by Rachel Timlin and Nick Tobier. "U-M's School of Art & Design is interested in art as a part of the community, part of social change," Sousanis says.

Read the entire article here.

Crain's names its annual 40 under 40

Crain's has released its annual "40 in their 40s" list. It includes success stories from all over Southeast Michigan and from numerous industries.

The front page of the feature is here.

Ann Arbor SPARK to host a round of entrepreneur boot camp

Sign up by October 5 for a round of Ann Arbor SPARK's entrepreneur boot camp, set for the beginning of November.


The Boot Camp Program compresses the usual three-month learning curve to move a great business to the next level with two intensive days of learning. You'll spend two days and evenings learning how to identify critical issues for your business plan.

A seasoned entrepreneur will lead you in the Boot Camp. He will be complimented by a host of local business experts.

You'll learn how to develop a solid business planning foundation, design effective investor presentation, and work one-on-one with experienced business executives and MBA students.

Read more and sign up here.

Taubman donates $22M to U-M

A. Alfred Taubman has donated $22 million to fund the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute.


"We are on the doorstep of amazing scientific discoveries that will dramatically improve the health of people around the world," said Taubman, a retail pioneer and founder of The Taubman Co., in a statement.

Read the entire article here.

Life sciences grant-writing workshop to be held Sept. 20-21

Biotechnology Business Consultants is presenting a two-day workshop on September 20 and 21 covering all aspects of grant writing for life science technologies. Get an overview of grants and contracts, sources of funding and eligibility. Learn to craft a fundable proposal for the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and more.

Contact BBC at www.bioconsultants.com or 734-930-9741.

Great Lakes Entrepreneurial Quest back for 8th year

TechTown, Automation Alley and Ann Arbor SPARK will sponsor intensive entrepreneurial training this fall called Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest.


The GLEQ has a track record of success, with more than $22 million recently awarded to twelve GLEQ alumni from the 21st Century Jobs Fund, bringing the total investment into GLEQ companies to more than $40 million.

The GLEQ is structured into two distinct maturity "paths" serving entrepreneurs at different stages of development. Cash awards of as much as $25,000 and in-kind services are provided to the winners.

Read the entire article here.

New web portal for job hunters launches

Ann Arbor-based NetXert Inc. has launched JoobsToday.com, a web portal for local job hunters.


NetXert developed the life sciences portal "BioConnections" for MichBio, the state's biotechnology industry trade group, to help keep Pfizer Inc. employees in the area.

NetXert said that in celebration of its grand opening, any business located in Michigan can register and post jobs for free through Dec. 31.

Read the entire article here.

UM consumer satisfaction study encouraging for Detroit automakers

University of Michigan's annual American Consumer Index Study (ACIS) showed Ford and General Motors to be improving in quality, as far as buyers are concerned.


Ford's Lincoln and Mercury brands, GM's Buick and Cadillac brands and BMW all tied for second at 86.

The scores are encouraging for Detroit because they come in a year when the domestic nameplates -- led by GM -- are trying to offer less in incentives, said Claes Fornell, director of the U-M center.

Read the entire article here.

Teeter Talk travels from A2 to Midtown Detroit

Local teeter totter enthusiast "Homeless Dave" transcribes conversations he has with people while, what else, teeter tottering. This one, with Kyle Cambell from the DeMattia Group, is an interesting read about Midtown Detroit and Ann Arbor's relationship to the region.


HD: So psychologically, for you, how do you think of Detroit and its relationship to Ann Arbor? When my wife and I were trying to decide if we wanted to actually move to Ann Arbor or not, one of the plusses that we actually wrote down was its proximity to Detroit, a big city, we can take advantage of whatever it is that Detroit has to offer. And then we moved to Ann Arbor, and I dunno three or four years later, we woke up and realized, Gosh, we haven't been to Detroit once, why is that? And I think there's not an orientation towards Detroit as a part of our general mental horizon here in Ann Arbor. It's already over the horizon, as far as most of Ann Arbor is concerned.

KC: That's very true. Growing up here, we rarely went to the city. That's why it's such an adventure for me every day is seeing what's in that city! But yeah, Ann Arbor is kind of isolated from Detroit, and other cities in metro Detroit, Livonia and Warren. You know, it is southeastern Michigan, but it's isolated.

HD: I mean, if you look at it on the map, though, it's not.

KC: Oh no, not at all. It's a straight shot down I-94, it takes about 40 minutes. It's no problem getting there. But people just go in there for their baseball games and come right back.

Read the entire conversation 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.

Ann Arbor looking for public input in shaping downtown area

The People's Republic of Ann Arbor maybe the punch line to a few jokes about Metro Detroit's best college town, but the "Republic's" leaders are looking for the opinions of its everyday people to help shape the future of its downtown.

City planners will hold a public downtown design workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. July 26 in the Michigan Room of the Michigan League, 911 N. University Avenue. The workshop is part of the city's Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown initiative, which encourages local residents and business owners to work with city officials on downtown issues, such as downtown parking, historic preservation, urban design and the development processes.

City planners have identified and mapped areas of distinct character in the downtown, along with a set of design principles for each area, using information from a public workshop in May. This design framework will provide the base for the development of design guidelines.

Information from the July workshop will be used for the final workshop scheduled for September. The initiative hopes to develop design guidelines for downtown development.

For information, contact Wendy Rampson at wrampson@a2gov.org or (734) 994-2802.

Source: City of Ann Arbor
Writer: Jon Zemke

Ann Arbor Art Fairs in town through Saturday

It's that time of year: the Ann Arbor Art Fairs are upon us. Through Saturday, experience hundreds of artists in four juried fairs.

Find out more information here.

Public input wanted on A2's new municipal center July 24

The city of Ann Arbor is hosting a public meeting to solicit public input on plans for its new municipal center.

The meeting will take place on July 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library's main branch in the lower level multipurpose room.

More info at www.a2gov.org.

"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.

BioArbor networking group forms for life sciences, first meeting set for July 11

Ann Arbor Spark and MichBio are sponsoring BioArbor, a networking group for the local life sciences industry.


The first BioArbor meeting -- Wednesday, July 11 -- will feature Chris Ehrlich, a partner with the California-based venture capital firm InterWest Partners. As a member of the firm's life sciences team, Ehrlich is focused on investing in and building new businesses around entrepreneurs with novel therapeutic approaches.

In this presentation, Ehrlich will share his experiences and these valuable insights:

*What investors look for in a start-up company

*Today's "hot" investment areas

*Companies who successfully raise venture capital, and

*The challenges of investing in Ann Arbor

Read the entire article here.

Soultracks launches expanded and redesigned website

Ann Arbor-based SoulTracks, the nation's most popular soul music website with over 3 million annual visits, has enhanced its website to meet its growing readership's needs.


"SoulTracks over the past four years at a rate beyond our wildest expectations," said SoulTracks publisher Chris Rizik. "And our readers have been asking for even more. More interactivity, more news and more features on both classic soul and modern soul artists. Soul Music is again one of the fastest rising musical genres in the world, and the new SoulTracks will continue to grow with it."

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor job hunters: 2 opportunities for you courtesy of SPARK

Ann Arbor SPARK will host two opportunities for job seekers to find high tech employment in the area over the next two days: On June 6, a networking event with the Ann Arbor Computing Society and on June 7, a career change exploration event.

Find out more here.

A2 market owner supplies store with produce from his own local farm

Bello Vino Market owner Louis Ferris grows 30% of his store's produce on his own 85-acre farm located just miles away from the grocery store.


What the store can't get from the farm it strives to buy as locally as possible, relying heavily on the Amish community around the town of Homer, said Jennifer Ferris, daughter of Louis Ferris and vice president of the store. In all, about 80 percent of the store's produce over the course of the year comes from what can fairly be called local sources, she said.

Bello Vino customer Judy Dyer said knowing much of the food she buys there is locally produced is important to her for reasons of ecology, even though she wasn't aware what farm may be producing it.

"I know that they sell local products, and I buy that,'' Dyer said.

Read the entire article here.

A2 ranks in top 5 of most liveable cities

New York Times profiles Bert Sperling, the man behind the annual "Cities Ranked & Rated: More Than 400 Metropolitan Areas Evaluated in the U.S. & Canada." Ann Arbor ranked No. 5 this year.


USA Today printed a piece about his research and data-collection methods; the editors of Money magazine liked what they saw, and a relationship was born in 1987 that continues to this day — with a few breaks — developing the magazine’s “best cities” lists.

This has blossomed into a virtual industry. There is Sperling’s Best Places (bestplaces.net), where you can plug in any city and get a wealth of information. The site gets about 20,000 hits a day, he says.

Then there are the specific projects, for which he charges an array of clients $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the scope. For seven years he performed an annual study for Ladies’ Home Journal on the best cities for women, and he still does a yearly study for Self magazine on the healthiest cities for women.

Mr. Sperling also sells access to his database to companies like Yahoo, MSN and The Wall Street Journal.

He does all this with the help of his wife and five researchers.
He has developed a set of 10 broad categories into which he feeds an array of government statistics. The 10 are economy and jobs; cost of living; climate; education; health and health care; crime; transportation; leisure; arts and culture; and quality of life, which includes physical setting, downtown core, heritage and overall appearance.

Read the entire profile here.

Microsoft to host innovation forum May 23

Microsoft Innovates will be held on May 23 in Ann Arbor. Panelists include Scott Davidson, General Manager for Microsoft’s Heartland Area and Matt Roush from the Great Lakes IT Report.


This working session will give you tools to arm your business for survival and growth. This is a session you can’t afford to miss given today’s economic climate.

In addition to the panel discussion, you will have the unique opportunity to participate in a strategy mapping exercise. In a two-hour working session, you’ll get to network with other executives, and get hands-on experience with two business tools that you can take back to your company to help make your business better:

Find out more and register here.

Zingerman's get NYT shout-out

Ann Arbor's beloved Zingerman's Deli nabs a nice little write-up in the New York Times.


Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich, has gone beyond being simply deli to being gourmet enterprise with sales of more than $30 million expected this year...

Read more here.
Note: It is a Times Select article, so it is $4.95 to read the whole thing.

Entrepreneur "pitch forum" set for May 17

The New Enterprise Forum will host a a pitch forum on May 17 at which would-be entrepreneurs can learn about what makes a successful pitch and then practice shopping one to a panel of experts.


At the May 17 event, the forum will put four entrepreneurs in front of a judging panel and give them an imaginary company to pitch ideas to. Entrepreneurs will give impromptu presentations, with little to no time to prepare. The audience will participate in voting for the best pitches.

Read more here.

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.

SPARK offers full May schedule for career change boot camps

In May, Ann Arbor SPARK is offering several opportunities and focuses for their Career Change Boot Camps, including health care, IT and entrepreneurship.


"A series of Boot Camps are being offered for people who are looking for new career opportunities or are considering starting their own business. These Boot Camps will provide an intensive one-day opportunity to learn from area experts, obtain information about resources and obtain one-on-one mentoring. Boot camps are a way to learn about your options with no strings attached."

Read more and sign-up 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.


A2 IT Zone to host Google Analytics program May 1

The Ann Arbor IT Zone will host "Google Analytics" on May 1.

Find out more and register here.

A2 IT Zone to host Google Analytics program May 1

Ann Arbor IT Zone will host "Google Analytics" on May 1.

Find out more and register here.

5 UM professors receive Guggenheim Fellowships

Five members of the University of Michigan's faculty have been named as 2007 Guggenheim Fellows -- only 189 of nearly 2,800 applicants so honored.


The faculty: Michael P. Flynn, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science; Enrique García Santo-Tomás, associate professor of Spanish; Arthur Lupia, Hal R. Varian Collegiate Professor of Political Science; Roberto D. Merlin, professor of physics and of electrical engineering and computer science; and Piotr Michalowski, George G. Cameron Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations.

Read more here.

MIT professor to speak on the future of transportation at UM

MIT professor Dr. Joseph Sussman will speak on the future of transportation based on his new methodology for regional strategic transportation planning.

Sussman's ground-breaking new research methodology is currently being employed in Mexico City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Portugal.

RSVP to rholden@umich.edu.

Ann Arbor to host transportation public workshop Apr. 23

Ann Arbor will host two workshops on the future of its transportation system on April 23 -- one at 4 p.m. and one at 7:30, both at Huron High School.

Excerpt from website:

Each workshop will include information about the current state of transportation in Ann Arbor and will begin with a short presentation to help participants make informed suggestions. The presentations will be followed by the project team receiving public comments from groups formed from attendees. Those attending can express their opinions about the direction of transportation in the city and talk about their priorities with other participants.

The workshops are intended to gather information that will help the city set priorities for the rest of the transportation planning effort. Officials expect the City’s transportation planning process to take approximately one year.

Find out more here.

Denso retiree cooks up French-Japanese cafe for downtown A2

Japanese-born Miyoko Honma retired after 22 years with automotive supplier Denso Corp. and leaped at the chance to open Cafe Japon, a Japanese-inspired bakery and cafe with a French twist in downtown Ann Arbor.


While Café Japon was originally conceived with 30 seats, city building requirements restricted her seating to about a dozen chairs inside, with sidewalk dining in the summer. Therefore, Honma said the restaurant will emphasize carry-out cuisine.

For those who dine in, Honma promises a unique experience. "I'll be presenting (food) in a different way, even the coffee,'' she said, declining to reveal her secrets just yet.

Read the entire article here.

UM Health System to host job fair Apr. 15

University of Michigan Health System will host a job fair for clinical openings on April 15 from noon to 4 p.m.

The event will be held at the North Campus Administrative Complex, 2901 Hubbard Road in Ann Arbor. Attendees are encouraged to bring their resumes.

Find out more here.

UM Medical School ranks 10th nationally

US News & World Report ranks University of Michigan's Medical School tenth out of 125 medical schools nationwide.


It placed in the top 10 in four specialties. The school ranked No. 4 in family medicine, No. 5 in geriatrics, No. 6 in women’s health and No. 8 in internal medicine.

10 local nonprofits net $900,000 from McGregor Fund

The McGregor fund has donated a total of $900,000 to be shared amongst 10 local non-profits including the Michigan Opera Theatre and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The other awardees are:

Plymouth-based First Step, Detroit-based New Urban Learning, Detroit Parent Network, Central United Methodist Church, United Negro College Fund and Freedom House, The Baldwin Center in Pontiac, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the Lansing-based Michigan League for Human Services.

Read the entire article here.

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.

A2 to host public meeting regarding downtown parking strategy Mar. 29

The City of Ann Arbor will host a public hearing regarding a downtown parking strategy on March 29 from 6-8 p.m. at City Hall.

The city is developing a parking strategy as part of its long-term transportation strategy. For more information, contact Eli Cooper, Transportation Program Manager, at

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.

Nonprofit innovations in US and Eastern Europe at UM conference

University of Michigan's Center for Russian and East Europe Studies and Ford School of Public Policy are hosting a conference, that concludes today, focused on innovations in the non-profit industry as a result of shrinking funding sources.

Information from the school reads:

This  conference aims to provide a venue for nonprofit directors, business leaders, foundation representatives, students and academics operating in the broadly defined social entrepreneurship/enterprise arena to share best practice and network.  Co-sponsored by the Center for Russian and  East European Studies and  Ford  School  of Public Policy.

Find out more and register here.

Zingerman's celebrates 25 years with week-long celebration

Owners Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw are celebrating 25 years of Zingerman's Deli with a week-long celebration.


Together they've not only created a $10 million-a-year deli business, they've added other successful enterprises to the Zingerman's family, including the Bakehouse in 1992, the Creamery in 2001 and the Roadhouse in 2003, which will all take part in the celebration.

The deli makes almost 5,000 sandwiches a week (2,000 of which are the ever-popular Reuben using their award-winning corned beef), and the name has taken on world-wide recognition thanks to a $6 million a year mail-order business.

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.

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.

New record label to focus on A2 folk and indie rock scenes

Ann Arbor-based Jeremy and Brian Peters, along with New York-based partner Justin Spindler, have started an independent record label called Quite Scientific.


Jeremy Peters said the trio decided to start the label because a lot of great local acts weren't getting the chance they deserve.

"There's all this good music going on in this scene - the local folk scene, the local indie rock scene - that's not getting paid attention to, or getting lumped into the Detroit scene incorrectly,'' he said. "We're just trying to publicize and show other people all this good music from this area. It's just kind of a co-op idea. Everybody's friends help out each other to a certain degree.''

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.

Alumni donate record amount

The University of Michigan helps lead the way in a record year of fundraising for higher education, bringing in $251 million in 2006. On a list of top fundraisers, U-M was No. 16.

"Prosperous alumni helped make 2006 a record fundraising year for colleges and universities, which hauled in an all-time high of $28 billion - a 9.4 percent jump from the year before.
The University of Michigan did not see such a big jump, but did maintain a level of fundraising in 2006 that had grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. U-M raised $251 million in 2006, according to a report released last week by the Council for Aid to Education. That's about $120,000 more than it raised in 2005. The report counts only cash received during that period, not the full value of pledges due in upcoming years."

Read the complete article here.

U-M, MSU, Wayne presidents: Help us, help state

The key to Michigan's economic recovery lies in pumping more money into the state's three biggest universities, the presidents of Wayne State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan said Wednesday in an unprecedented joint appearance before a state appropriations subcommittee.

Read the entire article here.

Amtrak ridership increases statewide

Increased gas prices and airfare have increased the number of people in Michigan riding Amtrak trains.


Amtrak's popularity in Michigan is soaring. State ridership, which hit a record last year of nearly 665,000, has jumped 47 percent since 2002 -- far outpacing the nationwide increase of 12 percent.

read the entire article here.

Film scenes shot in A2

A national film is shooting scenes at Ann Arbor's Gallup Park and Huron High School.


Based on Steven Gould’s 1992 young-adult novel about a young man who, after his mother dies, discovers that he can teleport himself, “Jumper” stars Hayden Christensen, Dianne Lane and Samuel L. Jackson. Area native Tom Hulce also reportedly appears in the film. The director is Doug Liman (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith”).

Read the entire article here.

GLEQ to sponsor 2 entrepreneurship training events in SE Michigan

The Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest will partner with two southeast Michigan business catalyst organizations to provide training to start-ups.

The GLEQ and Ann Arbor Spark will sponsor the discussion "Legal Primer for Business Start-ups." on March 1 at 6 p.m. at Spark Central in Ann Arbor.

The GLEQ and Automation Alley will sponsor "Legal 'Gottahaveits' for the Emerging Business." on March 7 at 8 a.m. at Automation Alley in Troy.

More information and registration here.

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.

New Enterprise Foundation salutes entrepreneur of the year

The New Enterprise forum will celebrate its 21st birthday as a entrepreneurial networking organization and salute its entrepreneur of the year, Dick Beeden of Entyre, at its Annual Awards and Birthday Celebration in Ann Arbor on Feb. 15.

More information and registration available here.

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.

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.

Rothwell says AA, U-M integral part of Detroit region

Detroit Renaissance CEO Doug Rothwell talks with the Ann Arbor News about the importance of research universities to the state and Ann Arbor's interconnectedness to other communities, particularly Detroit, in Southeast Michigan.


I think the University of Michigan needs to be considered a flagship asset, but not the only one. Clearly Michigan State and Wayne State would be - the three research universities are clearly the ones that need to be given special consideration.

...the similarities [between Detroit and Ann Arbor] are that as Detroit begins to offer more cultural and entertainment and reasons, from a quality of life standpoint, for people to go downtown to frequent things that frankly you can only get in Detroit, that enhances the attractiveness of Ann Arbor because it is so close. And especially for young people who are attracted to urban environments. The more Detroit can offer the restaurants, the bars, the nightlife, the urban experience - that makes Ann Arbor an attractive place to be.

Read the entire artcle 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.

U-M to fund commuter line between AA & Howell

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje announced U-M's intentions to pay for its employees to ride a commuter rail line between Ann Arbor and Howell. Approximately 4,000 employees could benefit from the route.


Hieftje said the offer from U-M came from Hank Baier, associate vice president for facilities and operations, in a conversation during the holidays. The mayor has been promoting a commuter rail service on an existing railway now operated by Great Lakes Central Railroad between Ann Arbor and Howell.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor considers expanding commercial recycling program

Ann Arbor City Council is considering expanding the city's recycling program with regard to commercial businesses at a cost of approximately $600,000 per year.


Bryan Weinert, the city's solid waste coordinator, said one option could be an ordinance similar to the residential policy that has 90 percent participation by residents, who recycle about 50 percent of their waste.

"The expectation would be if you live in this community, this is what you do,'' he said.

Read the entire article here.

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.

UM grad student documentary sheds insight into downtowns

Kirk Wesphal, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan's Master of Urban Planning program, has made a documentary about the magical mix of ingredients that makes a downtown vibrant.

Watch the video here.

UM to expand wireless network

University of Michigan is investing $1.5 million into the wireless network of its College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. LSA's network will eventually be compatible with that of Washtenaw County, which is currently under development.

Read the entire article here.
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