Ann Arbor

User: PunkToad / flickr

Sabra Briere (D-Ward 1), Zachary Ackerman (D-Ward 2), John Eaton (D-Ward 4) and Chip Smith (D-Ward 5) won their primary election races. Currently, the four Democratic candidates face no opposition in the November general election. 

Michael Hacala

The music industry has changed a lot over the past half-century, but a music venue in Ann Arbor that focuses on folk music has been able to survive through all those changes.

As The Ark celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, its leadership is now looking to the next generation of folk musicians to keep the venue around for the next 50 years.

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Detroit is listening to Peezy, Ann Arbor to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, and Grand Rapids is sticking to Top 40 country. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

So-called "sanctuary cities" in Michigan could soon face the loss of state funding.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Kowall plans to introduce legislation to reduce state funding to cities that have policies discouraging police officers from asking people about their immigration status.

wikimedia commons

Seven Ann Arbor restaurants must pay more than 100 employees over $145,000 in back wages.

That’s after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation into the city’s restaurant industry revealed a host of violations.

The district is considering a new requirement for all kids to take the state test, or be excluded from magnet schools and programs.
Ryan Brown

The Ann Arbor school board is considering a new rule that would require all students to take the state standardized test, or risk losing their spots at magnet schools and programs.

Now a parent has responded with an online petition protesting that policy.

A 140 square foot "tiny house."
Gregory Johnson / The Environment Report

A member of the Ann Arbor City Council says he will introduce a resolution directing city staff to draft a plan for establishing a small village of tiny houses on city-owned property across from the YMCA.

Ryan Stanton of the Ann Arbor News reports that council member Stephen Kunselman announced Tuesday his plans to bring forward the resolution at the next council meeting on June 15.

Viviana Pernot

You might have heard of Camp Take Notice, the tent city in Ann Arbor that was forced to close nearly three years ago.

Viviana Pernot has made a short documentary film about that homeless community and the non-profit group that helps them.

Ann Arbor may use sharp shooters to thin deer

May 15, 2015

Ann Arbor administrators have released a report that recommends using sharp shooters to help manage the city's deer population.

This comes after some Ann Arbor residents complained deer were damaging their landscaping and gardens. Residents also expressed concern over health risks and deer-vehicle accidents.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Several thousand people are expected to swarm Sunday’s Ann Arbor Classic Bicycle Show and Swap Meet.

This is the show’s 35th year.

Organizer Paul Kleppert says people are drawn to see the rarest of the two wheelers.

Ann Arbor church pulls plug on concealed carry class

Apr 21, 2015
Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor Michigan
Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons

Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor has canceled the concealed pistol license class it was offering for parishioners. 

The decision comes after Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea issued a statement saying the classes were "inappropriate for church property."

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor school board has unanimously voted to ban guns on school grounds, less than two months after a man wore a gun to a school choir concert.

Dozens of parents turned out to recent board meetings asking the board members to pass the ban.

But it required lengthy discussion with the board’s legal advisors, because technically, an exception in Michigan law makes it legal for someone with a concealed pistol license to open carry in schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A prominent Democratic politician will be a featured speaker at a marijuana legalization rally in Ann Arbor tomorrow.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is quick to point out he’s never smoked pot. But the former Democratic candidate for governor says he now supports legalizing it.

Elsa Blaine / Flickr Creative Commons

The  ACLU of Michigan wants state law to be changed so that local prosecutors would no longer handle cases involving deaths caused by police in their home counties.

"We would very much like to see a new system in Michigan that calls for independent prosecutors to be appointed when cases of this kind come up." said Mark Fancher, staff attorney for the Racial Justice Project of the Michigan ACLU.

Arborlight hopes to replace harsh indoor lights like the ones pictured above with natural lighting that simulates sunlight.
Ari Sandberg / Michigan Radio

For many of us lacking the fortune of an office with a window, harsh indoor lighting has become an accepted staple of workplace life. This reality might be changing in the not-so-distant future.

Ann Arbor-based technology company Arborlight has been awarded a $1.7 million venture capital investment to further commercialize its "daylight simulator."

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Trinity Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor announced it will not put a temporary homeless camp on its' property this summer.

The pastor, Rev. Lori Carey, says they can't get insurance for it this year.

Elaine Fogel

The Next Idea

For new ideas to flourish, for innovations to truly take hold and change our communities, we hear all the time that we in Michigan need to connect and collaborate more and be more civil to each other. But how, exactly?

Collaboration and civility are feel-good abstractions that well-meaning folks use, but often without offering a clear pathway to actually achieving improvement. Instead, we are left with flimsy takeaways that basically say, “Just try harder to be more open” or "Just go meet people." 

A new contractor will run Ann Arbor school buses next year.
Leslie Science and Nature Center / Flickr

Update 2:48 p.m.

The school buses are running again this afternoon in Ann Arbor. A spokesperson for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, the agency responsible for operating the district's bus system, has drivers for this afternoon.

Michigan Radio's Virginia Gordon spoke with WISD spokesperson Emma Jackson.

user: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

The traffic on US-23 between Brighton and Ann Arbor can be rough during rush hours, which is why the Michigan Department of Transportation is considering adopting 'dynamic shoulders' -- the road's shoulders would open as a way to alleviate traffic. 

"They have been used in other states, in Europe," explained Kari Arend, spokesperson for MDOT. "So this would be the first time such a system would be implemented in Michigan"

Shayan Sanyal / Flickr

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's prison system is defending against a major lawsuit that claims guards and other employees failed to prevent the sexual assault of male inmates under 18 who were housed with adults. 

After more than a year of litigation, the young inmates have made some important victories. Washtenaw County Judge Carol Kuhnke has agreed to make the case a class-action and also declared that state civil rights protections apply.

Jason Pratt / Flickr Creative Commons

An Ann Arbor neighborhood group is kicking off a new way to keep city sidewalks clear.

It's raised enough money, $20,000 so far from about 170 people, to buy a tractor for clearing 12 miles of sidewalks in the Water Hill neighborhood and its connection to the downtown.

School Bus
Nicolae Gerasim / Flickr

The American Academy of Pediatrics says teens need to sleep later. The Academy is challenging America’s schools to not start high school classes until at least 8:30 a.m.

Time to turn Michigan's "three economies" into one

Dec 1, 2014

When it comes to economic growth in Michigan, one size does not fit all. Take a look at the varying scope and scale of companies here and you’ll find a general pattern of three different types of businesses associated with different regions:  large multinational corporations in Southeast Michigan, small high-tech start-ups in Ann Arbor, and family-owned, mid-size companies in Western Michigan.

Homeless camp
Nicole Salow / Flickr

People living in an Ann Arbor homeless camp are bracing for eviction from the privately owned woods where they've established their tent community.

On Sunday, California-based Highridge Costa Housing Partners reported that it had authorized Ann Arbor police to clear the camp from the company's property. Camp Serenity, as its residents call it, is situated along nature trails near a highway on the city's southeast side.

An "exoplanet" orbiting a distant sun.
Jet Propulsion Lab/CalTech

In recent years, more than 1,800 exoplanets (planets that orbit a sun outside of our solar system) have been discovered across the universe by telescopes such as the Kepler Space Telescope. Hiding among these planets are some that researchers hope could perhaps be hospitable for life. 

The International Astronomical Union is now opening up the opportunity for the public to become involved with this exciting age of planetary discovery through its "Naming Exoworlds Contest."

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

We’ve seen the images of the ferocious drought in the West. In Michigan, that drought has affected beef prices, which have skyrocketed upwards of 34%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 


Rick Magner, who owns Ann Arbor’s iconic Blimpy Burger, says he's seen beef prices rise 40 cents in the last month. Magner says he had to raise the price of a burger from $2.44 two years ago to the current $3.49.

Magner says so far customers haven’t really complained about the increased price of burgers, and he isn’t worried about raising prices again, saying, “eventually it’ll level out.” 

It was The Ann Arbor News, in its form, that originally brought the founders of the recently-closed online publication The Ann Arbor Chronicle to town. Mary Morgan was offered a job with the Booth Newspapers publication, and as her husband, Dave Askins, had just completed his graduate coursework, the timing worked out well for the couple to move from Rochester, NY to Ann Arbor in the mid-1990s. 

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Grand Rapids has just wrapped up another successful ArtPrize and Detroit pulled off Dlectricity.

Those examples and more have people involved in the arts in Ann Arbor looking around the state and then asking questions about the state of creativity in Ann Arbor.

Omari Rush is curator of public programs for the Ann Arbor Art Center. He's served as an adviser for many arts organizations, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

"This is why I hate Ann Arbor's bigotry," one Whitmore Lake parent whispered to her neighbor at an information meeting today to discuss whether Ann Arbor schools should annex the Whitmore Lake school district. 

So yeah, things got a little heated towards the end. 

But the first chunk of the meeting was spent tackling parents' questions about how the logistics and numbers would play out.

Ann Arbor Board of Education President Deb Mexicotte kicked off the event with her argument for annexation: right now, the Whitmore Lake district is barely operating in the black.

Will Ann Arbor succeed with its bike sharing program?

Oct 10, 2014
Heather Seyfarth and "Cooper" at the Clean Energy Coalition in Ann Arbor.
Doug Coombe

Bike share programs are not a new concept – there are successful bike share programs in major cities all throughout the world. If you travel around North America, you'll find citywide bike share programs in Chicago, New York, Boston, Austin, Des Moines, Denver, Boulder, D.C., Madison (WI), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, Columbus, Charlotte, Chattanooga, Baltimore, the Bay Area, Toronto, and Montreal, among others.  

At the end of September the new ArborBike bike share program in downtown Ann Arbor debuted, becoming the first and currently only public bike share program in southeastern Michigan.