Offbeat

Crime
3:38 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

People in Grand Rapids working on ways to curb spike in homicide rate

HeatherHeatherHeather Creative Commons

There have been nine murders in the last thirty days in Grand Rapids. That’s almost as many as the state’s second largest city sees during an average year. But the community is working on a game plan to fight the violence.

Friday morning about a thousand people gathered at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church. They prayed and they made plans for many smaller meetings over the next 60 days.

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Offbeat
6:44 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Fights shut down low-income housing voucher event

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) - Fights in a line of several thousand people seeking applications to get on a waiting list for housing vouchers in a Detroit area community forced police to cancel the event.

The Taylor Housing Commission says Saturday in a release that upward of 4,000 people arrived ahead of the 9 a.m. start to get Section 8 voucher applications.

Some people began lining up Friday evening at the Taylor Human Services Building, southwest of Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that four people were arrested for disorderly conduct.

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Offbeat
11:57 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Hand grenades found at Salvation Army

Mk 2 Grenade from World War II

If you dropped off three hand grenades at the Shelby Township Salvation Army last week, the police would like a word.

On Monday, a store employee stumbled upon the grenades in a donation box. She called the police, who then evacuated nearby businesses as a precaution.

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Offbeat
2:30 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Video: Highland Park firefighter lights up YouTube with helmet cam footage

HPZ1442 YouTube

Scott Ziegler has a more interesting job than the rest of us, and he knows it.

The Highland Park firefighter recently posted a montage of footage that he took using a camera mounted to his helmet. 

The YouTube video, "2012 a year on my lid"  has become an Internet sensation with nearly 1,000,000 views.

It highlights some of the more harrowing moments of fighting fire in the Detroit area.

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Offbeat
12:03 am
Mon December 31, 2012

"Fiscal Cliff" & "Job Creators" top annual banned words list

What word or phrase would you like to see banned from further use?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie is out with its annual year-end list of words and phrases that should be banned for overuse.

As you may expect, words and phrases popular with politicians top this year’s banned list, with one getting a lot of use right now leading them all:  Fiscal Cliff. 

Banned Words list co-creator John Shibley says the phrase used to describe the combination of looming federal tax increases and spending cuts was overused by the news media.

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Offbeat
2:54 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Santa's helpers sometimes dress like firefighters in Michigan

Santa's not the only one bringing presents this year
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Most Michigan children believe Santa Claus brings them presents for Christmas. 

But children in Charlotte KNOW local firefighters are handling the delivery.  Starting about five o'clock, fire engines will start rolling down local streets, delivering presents.  

The Christmas Kiddies program has been providing needy children with presents in Eaton County for more than a hundred years.   This year, more than 400 children will be receiving Christmas presents.

Tyger Fullerton is the deputy fire chief.   He’s the third generation of his family to be part of the program

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Offbeat
5:34 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Stateside: Two firefighters' impressions of "BURN"

Chris Palm and Tony Angelucey shared their experiences of fighting fires
detroitfirefilm.org

Firefighter Chris Palm and Sergeant Tony Angelucey spoke with Cyndy about "BURN" and their accounts of putting out fires.

It’s possible to leave “BURN” feeling as if you’ve just combated the inferno of multiple house fires.

The documentary- which utilizes actual footage of Detroit firefighters- is strikingly realistic, unlike previous films of its kind.

Firefighter Chris Palm and Sergeant Tony Angelucey shared their accounts of entering burning buildings.

Though an experienced firefighter, Angelucey was pleased with the shift of perspective the film afforded him.

“It was shocking to see what we do. We’re always doing it, so we don’t usually get to sit back and watch it unravel,” he said.

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Offbeat
4:48 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Special Ticket Opportunity for A Prairie Home Companion in Ann Arbor


  


Michigan Radio will be welcoming Garrison Keillor and "A Prairie Home Companion" back to Ann Arbor's Hill Auditorium on June 1, 2013. Tickets for this special performance will go on sale to the general public in April. However, you can be among the first to get tickets to this special show...without even having to wait in line.


A very limited number of seats are available now for a new pledge of $750 to Michigan Radio. This package includes two Gold Circle seats to the live show and a post-show reception with the cast.

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Offbeat
4:06 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Stateside: Sailing on a ship of pleasure

Similar steam ships sailed equipped with alcohol and swing music in the early 20th century
holger.ellgaard

Early 20th-century steam ships traveling from Chicago to South Haven carried some promiscuous passengers.

Historian Larry Massie wrote a November article entitled “Floating Gomorra" for Encore Magazine, in which he investigated these ships and the people who frequented them.

In his article, Massie said that South Haven, a Mecca for Chicago tourists, placed a ban on alcohol.

This ban, said Massie, carried no authority on board the steam ships.

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Offbeat
1:59 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Bigfoot visits Michigan

A Michigan woman plays her recording of a possible Bigfoot at a townhall meeting in Prudenville.
AnimalPlanetTV YouTube

You may not have seen it in the latest Pure Michigan ad, but the state would be a great place for any Bigfoot looking to relocate.

So says, Cliff Barackman a researcher for the reality television show “Finding Bigfoot.”

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Offbeat
6:02 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Pinball Wizards descend on Howell

A few of the Shark club's Pinball Machines
Courtesy: Shark Club website

This weekend, Pinball Wizards, "wannabes" and recreational players will descend on Howell’s Shark Club for the Snowball Open Pinball Tournament.

Organizers expect Amateurs and Professionals from as far away as Italy and all across the country.  Competitors will compete on about 40 pinball machines and eventually over $8,000 in prizes will be awarded on Sunday.

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Offbeat
5:20 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

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

This Blimpy Burger patron just heard the news--or he has a stomachache.
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."

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Offbeat
6:02 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Stateside: Kalamazoo's Little Free Library

The Little Free Library in Kalamazoo

Today we spoke with Hannah-Lane Davies about her ambitious book-share project.

Kalamazoo's "Little Free Library" functions as a way to share books throughout the city.

Listen to our interview with Davies above.

Offbeat
5:39 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Fake wedding prank disrupts U of M biology class

The fake wedding took place during Barry O'Connor's biology lecture.
412nathan (screenshot) youtube

It used to be that a good college prank just meant finding a way to get a horse into Dean Wormer's office.

These days, media-savvy college students are putting together elaborately organized, digitally recorded productions, ready-made for YouTube.

Animal House it is not, but a group of students from the University of Michigan deserves credit for the fake wedding they put on in the middle of a biology lecture.

Here is the video:

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Offbeat
9:10 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Powerball blues for millions, but not for two in Michigan

The winning numbers roll in.
Powerball YouTube

Millions are awaking to the reality that they are indeed... not millionaires.

But there were a few lucky winners, including two in Michigan.

From the Associated Press:

The Michigan Lottery says two Powerball tickets worth $1 million each were sold in the state as people sought the game's big jackpot.

The Lottery says the tickets matching five numbers drawn Wednesday night but not the Powerball were sold at a liquor store in the Grand Rapids suburb of Kentwood and a CVS pharmacy in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

The numbers drawn Wednesday night are: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and Powerball of 6. Powerball officials said early Thursday that tickets sold in Arizona and Missouri matched all six numbers to win the $579.9 million jackpot.

And for the big winners... there were two. One from Arizona, and one from Missouri. They'll have to split the $579.9 million jackpot.

From the NBC News blog:

The frenzy now surrounds the identities of the lucky winners.

Arizona lottery officials said early Thursday they would announce where that state's ticket was sold during a news conference later in the day. It wasn't immediately clear when Missouri would announce where its ticket was sold.

Watch the numbers roll in from last night's drawing here:

Offbeat
1:49 pm
Sun November 25, 2012

On the road home from Thanksgiving

DETROIT (AP) - Chilly winds and snow flurries are greeting thousands of Michigan travelers as they head home after spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.

The long Thanksgiving weekend saw temperatures push into the 60s in places, but Michigan got a preview of winter on Sunday, with midday readings in 20s and 30s and swirling snow in places.

AAA Michigan has estimated that about 1.3 million state residents were planning to travel 50 miles or more during this year's Thanksgiving period, an increase of 7 percent over 2011.

Many buses are fully booked Sunday on the Megabus discount travel system that serves Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and East Lansing, and flights are packed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Offbeat
3:34 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

Poll shows parents want more online protections for children

A new University of Michigan survey finds most parents want stronger online protections for children under 13.

The poll shows two-thirds of parents say a federal law that protects children's privacy online should be expanded to include handheld devices.

“The hope is that this update of the federal rules can be combined with continuing or maybe even enhanced parent vigilance around what their kids are seeing and where their kids are going on the internet,” says Matt Davis, the director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

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Offbeat
11:26 am
Sat November 24, 2012

Paper lanterns to launch on dark Detroit block

DETROIT (AP) - Floating paper lanterns will be launched in Detroit's former Chinatown as part of a community-based event.

The Saturday evening event near Wayne State University is dubbed "Illuminating Chinatown." The lanterns made by local artists, designers and university students are set to be launched in a block without working street lights.

Paper lanterns were first used as signaling balloons and now are used in festivals to signify good luck and new beginnings. Organizers say they also intend for them to signal change coming from the hands of the community.

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Offbeat
2:39 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Mad grab for Ding Dongs, Twinkies, and Zingers

Get them while you can... but somebody else will probably make them.
Larry D. Moore Wikimedia Commons

And I forgot to mention Devil Dogs, Donettes, and Sno Balls.

Hostess Brands announced this morning that they're going out of business and laying off around 18,500 employees.

Hostess higher-ups said a strike by bakery workers was a big part of the decision for the shutdown, and that they don’t have the “financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.”

Union leaders called the announced shutdown a Bain-style decision – “a microcosm of what’s wrong with America.”

In the meantime, Ho-Ho production is winding down. From the NYTimes:

The last batches rolled off Hostess production lines early Friday morning, according to Tom Becker, a company spokesman, and no new products will be made for the time being.

The Times points out that Twinkies might not be a thing of the past, as Hostess Brands will likely be auctioned off to others.

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Offbeat
12:33 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Michigan utility sends crews to New York to help restore natural gas service

Michigan utilities sent hundreds of linemen to the East Coast last week to help restore electricity to areas hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Now Consumers Energy is sending two dozen workers to help restore natural gas service to parts of Long Island, New York.

Roger Morgenstern is a Consumers Energy spokesman.    He says restoring natural gas service presents a very different challenge than getting the lights back on after a storm.

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