Offbeat

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.
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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Offbeat
6:17 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Stateside: A good city for a drink

A taste of Detroit's hard-drinking beginning.
Laserbrain

Imagine going to your pharmacy to fill a keg of hard cider.

Such was reality in 19th century Detroit.

Stateside’s Cyndy Canty spoke with Bill Loomis, writer for the Detroit News, about the city’s history of dedicated drinking.

“You could get liquor almost anywhere. Pharmacies sold liquor. You would bring in your container and they would fill it up and charge you,” said Loomis.

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Offbeat
3:44 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

A Hoffa-themed scam in Roseville, Michigan

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say someone's trying to scam residents of a Detroit suburb into believing that missing Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa could be buried on their property.

Roseville police are warning city residents about a letter that purports to be from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The letter says a recent dig at a Roseville home for Hoffa was a ruse to keep the media away from the real site.

The letter's author implies the true Hoffa dig site is at the recipient's home.

Several residents received a copy of the fake letter as a lure to get them outside while thieves go inside their homes.

Roseville police investigated a claim last month that Hoffa was buried in a backyard, but testing on soil samples showed no traces of human decomposition.

Offbeat
11:31 am
Fri October 5, 2012

VIDEO: Petoskey Batman explains his side of the story to local news

Mark Williams, a.k.a. Petoskey Batman, was recently arrested and charged with a felony for obstructing a police investigation.

7&4 News got Williams' side of the story:

Offbeat
12:38 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Petoskey Batman back in action, faces felony charges

A photo of 'Petoskey Batman' on the Michigan Protectors website.
Michigan Protectors

When I posted last April that 'Petoskey Batman' was 'hanging it up,' I was quickly corrected:

Your information is false. The Petoskey Batman is selling off the suit, but he is FAR from hanging it up. He has constructed a new suit, and plans to go back on patrol in a few weeks.

Now we hear news that sure enough, Mark Wayne Williams was at it again.

The Petoskey News reports Williams was arrested last Saturday night for interfering with a police investigation.

Sgt. Jeff Gorno told the News the incident happened in Bear Creek Township:

Troopers were responding to the scene of a personal injury accident in which the driver had left the scene.

“When we arrived, (Williams) was at the scene in his Batman outfit. He wouldn’t clear the scene and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent,” Gorno said. “He said he wanted to help us look for the driver.”

“We didn’t want the dog to track Batman instead of the accident scene and he was getting in the way of officers who had a job to do.”

Williams’ Batman costume and gear were confiscated. Gorno said he was not carrying any dangerous weapons.

Williams posted bond and was released from the Emmet County Jail.

Williams faces felony changes for "resisting and obstructing police in an investigation."

He was arrested last year after he was spotted on a rooftop in downtown Petoskey. He was ordered not to don his costume while on six months of probation.

'Petoskey Batman' is listed as one of the members of the 'real-life-superhero' group "The Michigan Protectors."

No word on the whereabouts of the bat cave yet:

Offbeat
4:57 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Latest search for Hoffa comes up empty

Jimmy Hoffa with Bernard Spindel in 1957.
Roger Higgins wiki commons

The search for Jimmy Hoffa has hit a dead end--again. The AP has the story:

Tests on soil samples gathered last week from a backyard in suburban Detroit showed no traces that Hoffa — or anyone else — was buried there, Roseville police announced Tuesday.

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Offbeat
11:25 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Police digging under driveway for Hoffa, search is a 'circus' for one neighbor

Jimmy Hoffa on WESW-TV's Morning Exchange program sometime between 1971 and 1975.
WEWS-TV YouTube

Police are digging under a driveway in Roseville, Michigan this morning to see if they can come up with evidence of a body.

Ground penetrating radar indicated an "anomaly" under the driveway earlier in the week.

There's wide speculation the body could be former Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa, but that appears to be a long-shot. From CNN:

Police Chief James Berlin told CNN on Thursday that while the tipster's information seems credible, he's not convinced the body is Hoffa's because of the timeline. He spoke with the tipster on August 22 and says he believes the person did see a burial.

Police will send soil samples from the dirt under the driveway to MSU for analysis.

The samples will be sent to a forensic anthropologist and tested for human decomposition. Results aren't expected before next week.

In the meantime, one homeowner tells the Associated Press that the search for Hoffa has turned her neighborhood into a "circus."

Szpunar tells The Associated Press Friday that the Roseville home she's lived in for 24 years has been turned into a "three-ring circus" by onlookers and media members who gawk and take photos.

Szpunar told the AP she just wants to be left alone.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Search for Jimmy Hoffa leads to driveway near Detroit

Jimmy Hoffa on July 24, 1975. He disappeared six days later.
Tony Spina MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 10:34 am

The 37-year-old search for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa moves to a driveway in Roseville, Mich., on Friday.

"Police will be taking soil core samples," the Detroit Free Press reports, after receiving what they say is a "credible" tip that around the time of Hoffa's 1975 disappearance someone was buried under what's now a driveway in a Roseville residential neighborhood.

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