Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ann Arbor's hottest new market is Lucky's

Last night, my sister and I went to soft opening the soft opening of Lucky's Market's brand new Ann Arbor store. The grocery store is located in the old Kroger building on South Industrial. There is something especially nice about a brand new, clean grocery store with tall piles of bright produce.

Lucky's has a good selection of great looking produce. Yes, that is turmeric in the bottom right. 

My initial impression is that Lucky's fills an important niche in Ann Arbor's foodscape. They offer high quality food, but they also seem to be conscious of price.

Update from Mayor Taylor

Earlier this month, Mayor Taylor shared this update on current issues in the city. This covers a huge range of issues, and it's interesting reading.

One highlight is that we'll see a lot of road repairs this year—more than last year—which should make driving more comfortable in 2016. And there's a statement on the shooting of Aura Rosser.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tell the AAPD how it's doing

The Ann Arbor Police Department last week posted two online surveys to measure perceptions of safety in the city and satisfaction with interactions with the police department.

I'd encourage you, dear reader, to take a few minutes to complete those surveys when you have a chance. It certainly can't hurt anything, and they're anonymous.

Police Chief John Seto says in the city's press release, "The perspectives shared on these surveys will help us as we strive to provide the best possible service to the community."

The AADL's Ann Arbor News archives: photos and factoids

I had the good fortune on Monday to join a tour of the AADL facility where they're housing and digitizing the Ann Arbor News archives, along with archives of other local newspapers and some other interesting stuff. The tour was organized by friend of Damn Arbor, Patti Smith, for the local nonprofit A2Geeks.

The man in the striped shirt is Andrew MacLaren.

We were met by Andrew MacLaren, one of the AADL's archivists, who gave us background information and guided us on the tour. The archives consist primarily of bound volumes of the News, photo negatives, and backfiles, plus the clip files the AADL maintained on its own.

Negative images of historical front pages greet visitors.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds judgment against Andrew Shirvell

This is old news at this point, but it just came across my Twitter feed tonight. I'll be brief…

Remember Andrew Shirvell, the former assistant attorney general who was fired in 2010 for harassing, defaming, and stalking Chris Armstrong, UM's first openly gay Michigan Student Assembly president?

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in January upheld a judgment denying his request for unemployment benefits. So it turns out that stalking and harassing people is still not a great idea, especially if you're a high-profile government employee.

Ann Arbor requests voluntary removal of cars from certain streets for snow plowing

I could not come up with a well-phrased version of this title :(

But at any rate, over the next month the city is going to perform some extra evening snow plowing on some neighborhood streets. And if you're on one of those streets, they would like you to move your car for a few hours so they can do a good job.

Head over to this article on the city's site for a list of roads, dates, and times.

edited to add:

I just recently discovered the many email lists the city will let you subscribe to. On their website, you can subscribe to updates on…well, just about anything Ann Arbor-related!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ann Arbor in Podcast

If you're looking for a nice Friday diversion at the office today, check out 99% Invisible, Episode 83: Heyoon. It's about a strange object located in a field north of Ann Arbor.
If that doesn't do it for you, there's also Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 171: Gene Buttman, Live in Ann Arbor. Recorded live at the AADL in 2011, this episode features a shoutout to Deputy Director Eli Neiburger.
Gentle readers, do you have a favorite Ann Arbor-centric podcast episode, or a favorite Ann Arbor-based podcast?

h/t: @emilbeckwilcox for the 99% Invisible episode.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nerd Nite A2 #22 tomorrow

Ann Arbor's 22nd Nerd Nite is tomorrow at Live. There will be presentations on (not) curing cancer, and games as a form of storytelling. I'm most excited about the presentation on the geography of students in Ann Arbor as it pertains to local elections. Should be fascinating. Door's are at 6:30 and the AADL is covering the admission fee.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Paczki Day

Our friends at Sister Pie in Detroit are working at the cutting edge of paczki technology.

Here are my thoughts on where to get paczki today. If you want to go that authentic route, you could go to Hamtramck. EJ has a fondness for the New Martha Washington Bakery. That said, if you are reading this, it may already be too late. If you are looking for something wonderful and exciting and are in Detroit (or willing to drive) you will not want to miss Sister Pie's 2015 model year paczki. The "pieraczki" a pierogi-paczki hybrid looks especially exciting. It's a potato flour pączek stuffed with a potato cheddar cheese filling.

If you are planning on staying in Washtenaw County, Dom Bakeries in on Wasntenaw in Ypsilanti has a very good reputation. If you're on the west side, Dimo's Deli and Donuts, is also reputed to have excellent paczki.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Much ado about nothing, OR Solar-field of dreams

Google Streetview from 4181 Lohr Rd. The proposed solar field would be located behind the row of trees in the background, approximately 800 ft. away from where the picture was taken. 

Last night, Pittsfield Township's Board of Trustees voted to oppose Ann Arbor's plan to build an array of solar panels on an agricultural field within the boundaries of the city's airport. By way of background, Ann Arbor's municipal airport is on land owned by the City of Ann Arbor but within the boundaries of Pittsfield Charter Township. The Ann Arbor News reports Township Treasurer Patricia Scrtbner objecting to Ann Arbor's plans because the Ann Arbor City Council has not reached out to the Township's Board of Trustees. In a counterpoint posted on Mary Morgan's Facebook post about the row, CM Kunselman indicated that the appropriate city staff had been in contact with the appropriate township staff.

In cries that echo the Plymouth Road Solar Array Kerfuffle of January 2013, some commentors on the .News are complaining that they feel like residents of the subdivisions adjacent to the Airport on Lohr Road should not be subjected to unsightly solar panels dotting the horizon and interrupting their formerly bucolic vista. I understand that people get attached to their physical environment and that change is stressful. Nevertheless, I'm surprised to hear such vehement opposition to the location of the proposed solar array. Using Washtenaw County's awesome web-based MappingWashtenw program I measured the proposed location of the array (as indicated in the .news) to be over 760 feet from the edge of the Lohr Road right of way and over 900 feet from the nearest residence. Beyond the understandable desire of the Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees to be better looped into the conversation, I find it hard to understand the opposition to this proposed project.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

March of the Canada Goose

Hot off the youtube comes a video parodying this winter's trendiest jacket. I really like the idea, but the jokes could be just a bit pithier.

h/t: Evamcs on /r/uofm

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Snowman of the Year

I know we still have weeks of winter remaining, but I doubt any snowman will match this one in someones yard on Miller, just west of Maple. It is huge, well over 2 meters tall, and glows eerily.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday Six Pack IV tonight at 6

Ypsilanti's hottest community radio show, The Saturday Six Pack with Mark Maynard, will be live on AM1700 tonight at 6. It will include, possibly for the first time ever on the radio, a puppet show on. Are you as excited as I am?

Friday, February 6, 2015

Goodbye Chef Frank Fejeran

Frank Fejeran has been at The Ravens Club for less than two years, but in that time, he has really upped their food game. Last November, at a food blogger dinner, he talked about how he had worked to build an ambitious menu that was anchored by stalwart favorites. Thus, at Ravens Club you can find grilled bone marrow but also fried chicken and an outstanding hamburger.

Over on Life and Thyme, Chef Frank Fejeran has written a moving essay about fatherhood and his life in and out of the restaurant industry and ultimately his decision to leave the Ravens Club:

...The passion of being a chef has now shifted to passion for being a father. I don’t want to be good at both… I want to be fucking great at one.

I love this industry with everything I have. It has given me and my family all I could ever ask for. It has made me everything I am today. I am thankful for that, but I owe it nothing. I have given this industry more than enough. This is the end of my restaurant career and I will miss it every day.

After I email this essay out, I am talking with the owner of the restaurant to discuss my exit. I’ve had one crazy fucking ride through this industry and I have enough memories to last a lifetime. It is time to make peace with myself, accept my faults, and give those who love me my time.

Have a good service, everybody.

Reading the essay, you get a wonderful sense of the intensity and dedication of the restaurant industry. For my part, I am sad to see Chef Frank Fejeran go, but am happy that it sounds like he is making the right decision for himself and his family. I will miss your grilled bone marrow, sir.

h/t: Rich Retyi

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Much ado about pie slices

Do Ann Arbor's charter mandated pieshapped wards intentionally dilute the student vote? The Michigan Daily's Austen Hufford and Pat Sier, explore this question in an interesting article this week. They look at the proportion of registered voters who are students in each ward and discuss the possibility of a more student centric ward design. It's worth a read.

Monday, February 2, 2015

What would it take to live stream Ypsilanti City Council Meetings

I love watching Ann Arbor City Council meetings live, over the internet, from the comfort of my home or from the comfort of my favorite local watering hole. I'm not afraid to admit it. Because the City Council meetings are broadcast live over the internet there is a nice community of folks who follow along and chat about the meetings on twitter. There are literally dozens of us. It's a great way to engage with local government.

As EJ is fond of reminding me, we no longer live in Ann Arbor. I know my new home, Ypsilanti, doesn't the same public access television infrastructure as Ann Arbor. Still I think it would be great to be able to watch and discuss Ypsilanti City Council meetings in real time, over the internet. Does anybody know what it would take to reliably set up a live stream of these meetings?