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Becky Trombley Domegan / Facebook

"Basically, it's just free and fun."

That's the motto of Pianos 'Round Town, an event beginning today through Oct. 9th in Ypsilanti.  Pianos are set outside in the open for the public to enjoy. Anyone at anytime can sit down and play.

Korin Hancherlian-Amos, the founder of Pianos 'Round Town, got the idea from British artist Luke Jerram. Jerram began the project, Play Me I'm Yours, in 2008 in London, which has since grown to cities all around the world. 

In 2010, Hancherlian-Amos called her long-time friend, Tim Hoy, owner of Steinway Piano Gallery in Detroit. Hoy agreed to lend the pianos for the event, making Pianos 'Round Town possible. 

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.

Ypsilanti Public Schools

Two struggling Michigan school districts will ask voters in November if they should merge.

Ypsilanti Public Schools has about 3,600 students; Willow Run Public Schools has about 1,600.

Both districts have serious financial problems, along with poor student test scores and low graduation rates.

Both districts' high schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind law last year. 

Dedrick Martin is Superintendent of Ypsilanti Public Schools.

http://www.ypsd.org/district/superintendentsmessage/

Superintendent Dedric Martin says the school system could need an emergency manager, unless staff agree to deeper cuts. 

Martin acknowledges staff already took a 10 percent salary cut. 

“That comes on the heels of additional concessions that they've made. And we've had reductions at all levels. Unfortunately it's not enough to carry a balanced budget and pay back money that has already been borrowed and spent," he said.

Martin says he knows the "emergency manager" card could be perceived as a ploy to get further concessions from unions.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

A crowd wearing hooded sweaters of all colors gathered in downtown Ypsilanti Monday afternoon, one month after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Florida.

The unarmed black teenager was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. The man who shot Martin has not been arrested.

 Jeff Clark lives in Ypsilanti, and helped organize the event.

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Leaders of the Willow Run and Ypsilanti school districts say plans to consolidate could prevent them from being placed under the control of an emergency financial manager.

AnnArbor.com reports both school districts have been on the state's list of districts operating with a deficit consistently since 2009. Ypsilanti Public Schools has a total projected deficit of $9.4 million and Willow Run Community Schools has a $1.7 million deficit.

The superintendents of both districts said Tuesday that consolidation could prevent an emergency manager and improve student achievement.

Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin says his district has spent more than it has taken in since 2004-05. Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki says school officials are looking to take a local, proactive approach to solving their schools' growing financial and student achievement problems.

The police chief at Eastern Michigan University has died in a suicide. The Washtenaw County sheriff's office says Greg O'Dell was found dead Friday just west of Ann Arbor. He was 54 years old.
    

O'Dell had recently returned to Ypsilanti as EMU's police chief after three months as public safety chief at the University of Michigan. He said he wanted to return to a job he loved.
    

EMU President Susan Martin says the campus is "shocked and saddened" by O'Dell's death. He was in law enforcement for 30 years, much of it with Ann Arbor police.

Doug Aikenhead / Michigan Radio Picture Project

You can file this story under "silver lining."

Michigan's recession has left a lot of empty buildings in its wake. When James Marks was looking for a larger building to house his t-shirt and flat screen printing company, VG Kids, he looked at a two-story brick building on Railroad Street in Ypsilanti.

The building had plenty of space, but was divided into dozens of small rooms. Marks says the space wasn't a good fit for his company, but it was perfect for artists’ studios:

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