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When Jimmy Rhoades was 26-years-old, his father was diagnosed with cancer. Rhoades was told he would have between six months and a year left with his dad. He went home, and really got to know his father.

"I found out more about his biography in the last six months of his life than in the previous 26 years," Rhoades said.

With the loss of another family member after his father passed away, Rhoades realized the therapeutic value in having your story heard. 

Knight's / Facebook

The shell of one old Ann Arbor institution will become a new home for another, still thriving, Ann Arbor institution.

The owners of a local butcher and steakhouse, Knight's, plan to open another restaurant downtown. The new restaurant will be in the space once occupied by the Borders flagship store.

After Borders went bankrupt, the downtown space has been empty - a hole in the middle of an otherwise busy downtown.

AnnArbor.com's Lizzy Alfs has more:

“We’ve been looking for the right location for about five years,” said Don Knight, who runs the restaurant on Dexter Avenue. “When we saw this spot become available, we thought it could be really cool.”

The move comes 61 years after Ray Knight opened Knight’s Market at 420 Miller Ave., and nearly 30 years after he purchased Annie’s Dugout at 2324 Dexter Ave., opening the now-iconic Knight’s Steakhouse. Ray’s five children run the family businesses after Ray died in February.

You wouldn't know Knight's Steakhouse on Dexter Ave. is there unless you looked for the sign - a black knight chess piece. With a location downtown, you won't miss it.

Michelle Chamuel, of Ann Arbor, is one of six remaining contestants on NBC's show, The Voice. Chamuel is originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

This is her most recent performance:

Michigan Flyer facebook page

A federal grant to expand bus service between Lansing and Detroit Metro Airport is stalled.

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission split nine to nine on authorizing a $600,000 grant to help the Michigan Flyer expand its daily trips from eight to twelve.    The commissioner with the potential tie-breaking vote did not attend Wednesday night’s meeting.

State and federal transportation agencies have already approved the grant, which would essentially help offset the costs for the first few months of the added service between East Lansing and Ann Arbor.

courtesy of Leni Sinclair

It starts this week in Grand Rapids.

As of May 1st, 2013, if you celebrate 4:20, you’re less likely to get jail time.

Instead, you’re subject to a $25 fine for your first offense ($50 for your second, and $100 for three or more).

WKZO reports Grand Rapids police have issued tickets already:

The first tickets were issued Wednesday when the voter-approved ordinance took effect.  The first one went to a 28-year-old man from the northwest side of Grand Rapids, who was cited around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The marijuana law in Grand Rapids mirrors the one in Ann Arbor.

The only difference is “selling marijuana” is not listed as a potential civil infraction in Grand Rapids as it is in Ann Arbor (organizers felt Grand Rapids voters wouldn’t be THAT lax).

Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist / Facebook

Sure, the three sisters from Ann Arbor's Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are probably going to beat you in a game of trivia about the Bible.

But you wouldn't expect them to take you on the physical challenges as well.

It turns out Sister Evangeline, Sister Peter Joseph and Sister Maria Suso are pretty darn good at flipping forks into glasses:

AAPS

Ann Arbor Public Schools' Superintendent has resigned.  

Patricia Green has been on the job in Ann Arbor since 2011.

In her letter of resignation, Green cited her 43 years in education.  Green’s resignation becomes effective in three months.  

The Ann Arbor Board of Education president praised Green’s service to the community as well as her advocacy for public education.

Professional hockey is coming to Ann Arbor after all.

The National Hockey League announced today that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings will play next year at Michigan Stadium.

The NHL's Winter Classic was scheduled to be played in Ann Arbor this past January.  But the game was canceled due to a contract dispute between team owners and the players.

When this year's event was canceled, the league had said it would schedule the next Winter Classic at the stadium, which holds more than 100,000 people.

A student-run and conductorless 20 piece orchestra from Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School was named Grand Champion of the 2013 National Orchestra Festival in Rhode Island.

The group started just this year.

This photo has been making the rounds on Facebook.

The photo was pushed out on Ann Arbor SPARK's Facebook page - a group dedicated to building business expansion in the area.

Just two years ago, Blank published an article about the venture capital climate in Ann Arbor.

In a post he wrote in 2011, "What's Missing For Entrepreneurs In Ann Arbor, Mich.," he described the climate as the sound of 'one hand clapping.'

He felt there was plenty of talent, but money and a risk-taking culture were missing in the city (below he mentions VCs - 'venture capitalists').

Stateside: A story slam competition for entrepreneurs

Jan 30, 2013
http://vimeo.com/entreslam

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Tired of giving the same pitches in the same offices?

Do you have a great idea but lack the environment in which to present it?

Then try Entre-SLAM!

Kansas company has deal to buy Ann Arbor Railroad

Dec 30, 2012

A Kansas-based company says it has a deal to buy the short line Michigan rail company Ann Arbor Railroad Inc.

Pittsburg, Kan.-based Watco Companies LLC says the deal awaits approval from the Surface Transportation Board, which is expected in late January or early February.

The Ann Arbor Railroad serves southeastern Michigan and the Toledo, Ohio, areas, mainly shipping auto and other manufacturing goods. It operates 50 miles of track between Ann Arbor and Toledo and has Toledo-area terminals serving General Motors Co., Chrysler and Ford Motor Co.

Ann Arbor plan could reduce greenhouse gases by 90 percent

Dec 18, 2012
GsGeorge / WIKIMEDIA Commons

Ann Arbor has just announced a plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 90 percent by 2050 - and they'll need residents' help to do it.

Nathan Geisler helped author the plan and says the almost 200-page plan suggests dozens of strategies for the community to reduce its carbon footprint.  “The climate plan is an energy plan and a transportation plan and has land use elements and a variety of things to look at how as a community we can reduce energy consumption and therefore greenhouse gas emissions.”

Blimpy Burger searching for new location after U of M buys building

Dec 7, 2012
Blimpy Burger / blimpyburger.com

The passage of right-to-work legislation in the state House and Senate may have Lansing in turmoil, but residents of Ann Arbor learned yesterday of  a more immediate concern.

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, a staple for U of M students and townies alike, is looking for a new home.

AnnArbor.com has more:

Owner Rich Magner said a deal between the University of Michigan and the property’s owner, Patricia Shafer, means he will have to close Blimpy Burger in summer 2013. He wants to find a new location for the restaurant.

Shafer is the widow of Blimpy Burger's original founder, Jim Shafer.

“I don’t know what the plans are,” Magner said. “But basically, in a nutshell, we will be able to operate in this location into summer 2013 and we will be trying to put a deal together and look for a new location.”

Magner said the University made Shafer an offer "she couldn't refuse."

Jazz great Dave Brubeck dies at age 91

Dec 5, 2012
Heinrich Klaffs / flickr

In 1954, jazz went to college.

That's thanks to music legend Dave Brubeck.

He was looking for a way to bring jazz to a wider audience, and decided on a North American tour of colleges and universities.

One of those schools was the University of Michigan.

The tour resulted in the album Jazz Goes to College, with five of its seven tracks recorded in Ann Arbor. Here's one of the tracks recorded on the campus of the University of Michgian, The Song is You:

Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Update 9:00p.m. - There's a growing crowd of people who say they'll protest the prosecutor's decision in Grand Rapids on Thursday. The event was posted on facebook this evening.

The City of Grand Rapids was ready to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana this week. But a Kent County judge issued the city a temporary restraining order Monday afternoon at the request of the Kent County prosecutor to prevent implementation.

Stateside: Old news put to good use

Nov 13, 2012
T. Voekler

Retired newspapers are finding a new purpose.

Old News, a project started by the Ann Arbor District Library, archives previously published news items throughout Washtenaw County.

Eli Neiburger works for the AADL, and works primarily on the Old News project.

"Libraries are service industries and we want to help people," said Neiburger.

Old News functions as a resource for anyone curious about past news items and family lineage.

"Our goal is to get people the answers to the questions of their own history," said Neiburger.

For more on Old News, listen to the above podcast.

Stateside: Small shining towns

Nov 7, 2012

The things one searches for in a big city may very well exist in one’s hometown.

In a recent article entitled, “In Praise of Smaller Cities,” Micki Maynard discussed the overlooked bounties of small American towns.

For Maynard, the benefits of living in a small town were not immediately apparent. In fact, it took living in numerous big cities to really see the practicality of having a lawn, a garden and a garage.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1396675400/40-barrels-in-40-nights?ref=live

An Ann Arbor pickling business hopes "crowd funding" will pay for a lot of sauerkraut – 12 thousand pounds to be exact. 

A Domino's Pizza outlet in India
user Hindustanilanguage / Wikipedia

Domino's Pizza is renewing its lease at Domino's Farm Office Park in Ann Arbor for ten more years.

More from AnnArbor.com:

Domino’s signed a deal in August to renew its lease in the Domino's Farms Office Park through 2022, and to expand its space by 12,000 square feet.

Ann Arbor’s city council is exploring options for a new train station. 

The council has approved over a half million dollars to identify the best improvements for Ann Arbor’s passenger rail services.

Map of Healthcare Facilities which received three lots of Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) recalled from New England Compounding Center.
CDC

News about the meningitis outbreak continues this morning. The outbreak has been linked to patients receiving steroid injections for back pain. The steroid shots could be contaminated with a meningitis-causing fungus.

From the CDC:

At this point, there is not enough evidence to determine the original source of the outbreak, however there is a link to an injectable steroid medication.

The company responsible for the medication, New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc., announced a recall on Oct. 6 "of all products currently in circulation that were compounded at and distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts."

Ed White of the Associated Press reports on the heartbreaking case of 67-year-old Lilian Cary of Howell, Michigan.

Late last month, Cary had been responding to treatment at the University of Michigan hospital:

"She was responding to medication. Her spirits were up. Her fever was broken," George Cary said. "She was walking the hallway and Skyping with grandsons."

But she became unresponsive Sept. 26, and eventually was removed from life support after suffering a stroke, he said.

Cary said he was informed Saturday that his wife had been treated with tainted steroids for back pain. The doctor at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, one of four Michigan clinics to get shipments from the Massachusetts pharmacy, said Cary also was at risk.

George Cary is now waiting to hear whether he was exposed when he received an injectable steroid shot.

The CDC reports that as many as 13,000 people received steroid shots suspected in the outbreak, but who is in danger is unclear.

From the Associated Press:

About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid sent to 23 states have been recalled. Inspectors found at least one sealed vial contaminated with fungus, and tests were being done on other vials.

The first known case of the rarely seen fungal meningitis was diagnosed last month in Tennessee.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a bacteria or virus. Exposure from fungi is a less common way to contract meningitis.

The MGoPatio in Ann Arbor.
Martin Vloet / Facebook

Marketplace's Tess Vigeland handed out their "Piggy Bank Award" to Ann Arbor's Martin Vloet.

Vloet and his wife bought a house in Ann Arbor a few years ago near Michigan Stadium.

They knew the garage needed some work, so when they re-built, they decided to make the space big enough for tailgaiting events.

"I found through some of the people that I worked with and through some of my connections in town, that there was a lot of interest in a space like that, because it was so close to Michigan football. "

Ask Harry Dolan to take you for lunch at a restaurant he's written about, and he won't disappoint. In downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., on Liberty Street, the vegetarian restaurant Seva serves mushroom sliders and yam fries that both the crime writer and his characters are quite fond of. With any luck, you'll also catch the perfect song playing in the background — "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads.

Status Creative, the media firm responsible for the viral "lip dub" video shot in Grand Rapids last year, is at it again. They have teamed up with the Pure Michigan campaign to shoot another lip dub video featuring shots from 50 Michigan cities captured in one week. Here are some pictures of the process when the crew came to Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti yesterday.

Elaine Ezekiel / Michigan Radio

The annual Shopping Cart Race attracted a crowd of about one hundred people outside the Fleetwood Diner in downtown Ann Arbor last night.  Each year, competitors personalize their shopping cart(s), don costumes and protective gear and push their teammates down the half-mile Main St. slope from E Ann St. to the railroad bridge past Depot St.

Scroll through the photo gallery above to see some of the racers and their creations.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Ann Arbor Public Art Commission / City of Ann Arbor

Last night, the Ann Arbor City Council voted to put a four-year art tax question on the November ballot.

AnnArbor.com reports the council approved the question for the ballot 10-0, with council member Margie Teall absent.

City Council estimates the 0.1 mill will cost each homeowner about $11 per year, and accrue $459,273 in the first year.

Kevin Lund, a senior geologist at the MDEQ's Department of Remediation, kicks over gravel to reveal the pollution along the Huron River.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Starting today, DTE plans to bring in the heavy equipment needed for the pollution cleanup along the Huron River west of the Broadway Bridge in Ann Arbor.

Black, oily coal tar pollution has been underground for decades.

It was left behind by an old manufactured gas plant owned by the utility company. Two years ago regulators discovered the coal tar was getting into the river. Now, DTE plans to spend between $2-3 million digging it out.

http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/Pages/aapac.aspx

A public art tax may be on the ballot in Ann Arbor this November. The millage would replace the city's current system of funding art installations.

Right now the city has something called the "Percent for Art" program. It sets aside one percent of the budget on capital projects for art installations.  But here's the thing: that art has to be directly linked to whatever project funded it. For example, a $750,000 water sculpture in front of city hall, paid for with storm water utilities.

KN

The Ann Arbor District is thinking outside of the box with a new collection called "Music Tools."

The small collection features quirky instruments and sound processors. It includes items with futuristic names that make sounds like hovering spaceships and funky clicks and clacks.

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