In the News

1453 Articles | Page: | Show All

Concentrate's News Editor commissions local muralist for Detroit building

Concentrate's very own Jon Zemke has a sideline (well, really it's his main line) as a building developer in Detroit. Along with bringing neglected buildings back to life, Jon saw an opportunity to bring art to the Woodbridge neighborhood.

Excerpt:

"Zemke originally just wanted people to stop tagging his rental property with graffiti. Then he realized he could make it a tribute to an important Detroiter. He also wanted to show his support for teachers in the embattled Detroit Public Schools system."

Read the rest here. And next time you see Jon, give him a little 'good on ya' nod.

Graduate Ann Arbor opens, now city's largest hotel

Chicago-based AJ Capital Partners has made a $51 million bet that Ann Arbor 's dearth of downtown accommodations means big business for their new hotel.

Excerpt:

"Dennis Doyle, executive vice president of sales and marketing at the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the sale price can be attributed to strong demand for hotel space in the city, where occupancy rates, at 65 percent, are above the national average."

Read the rest here.
 

Toyota to build driveless vehicle R&D site in Ann Arbor

Autonomous vehicle research is all the rage, and Toyota is getting in on the action with a new R&D center in Ann Arbor.

Excerpt:

"Although the focus of each of the three strategically located facilities will be broad, each will feature a different core discipline.  TRI-ANN will focus primarily on fully autonomous (chauffeured) driving.  TRI-PAL will work on what may be termed “guardian angel” driving, where the driver is always engaged but the vehicle assists as needed. TRI-CAM will dedicate a large portion of its work to simulation and deep learning.

The Toyota Research Institute is an enterprise designed to bridge the gap between fundamental research and product development.  With initial funding of $1 billion, it has four initial mandates."

Read about it here.

And if you're interested in the ethical implication of autonomous vehicles, be sure to check out Dude, Where's My Driverless Car? The Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles, a conversation being held tonight (Wednesday) at the Michigan League, Henderson Room.

What computer games can teach us about urban planning

In what may be one of our favorite articles about urban planning, The Atlantic writer Daniel Hertz looks at what computer games say about American attitudes about urban planning.

Excerpt:

"While all games that simulate real life are of course drastically simplified, the way that they’re simplified often speaks to the actual worldview of the people who design and play them. With that in mind, here are some notes on the assumptions that undergird urban-planning video games such as SimCity and CS:

You must zone—and use single-use zoning. With the exception of some Sunbelt cities, nearly every urban core in America took shape in an era before zoning. Brownstone Brooklyn, Wicker Park in Chicago, Cooper-Young in Memphis, and any number of pre-WWII neighborhoods across the country—not to mention iconic cities in other parts of the world—could only have been built without modern American zoning, with its density limits, parking requirements, and separation of shops and homes. But in CS, no one can build anything on a plot of land until a player has given it a zone: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, or Office, and specified high- or low-density. It’s striking that zoning is so baked into our assumptions about how urban development works that leaving something unzoned is just not possible—let alone creating mixed-use zoning, form-based zoning, or other kinds of development regulations like those used in Europe."

Read the rest here. Really, read it!

How to make a walkable neighborhood more walkable

Not all walkable neighborhoods are created equal. Liz Callin, a policy associate at the Michigan Environmental Council, offers up five ways walkable neighborhoods can be made more walkable.

Excerpt:

"The more people and places there are in a neighborhood, the more places there are to walk and (usually) people to walk with. I’m not saying a place needs Manhattan-levels of density to be pleasant to walk in, but generally speaking, a neighborhood with at least a few thousand people per square mile is helpful."

Read the other four suggestions here.
 

Are urban planners ready for driverless cars? No.

Federal law requires metropolitan planning organizations to develop regional plans that look 20 years out. Given the advances in driveless mobility, you'd think those plans (which must be produced every 4 years) would start preparing for this next evolution in transportation. You'd be wrong. A University of Pennsylvania researcher perused the plans of the 25 largest metro planning organizations and found that 24 don't even mention self-driving cars in their future. 

Excerpt:

"The biggest factor, then, is not uncertainty about whether or not self-driving cars will change urban transportation. Rather, it’s uncertainty over just what those changes will look like, and how these shifts will impact major planning investments already underway. One planner put it bluntly: “We don’t know what the hell to do about it. It’s like pondering the imponderable.""

Read the rest here.

And here's a little about Google's new self-driving car.
 

Football helmet designed at U-M may decrease head injuries

For those of you who weren't put off by Steve Almond's provocative "Against Football: A Reluctant Manifesto" but still worry about the concussions that plague football players, researchers at U-M are developing a more shock-absorbing helmet system for players.

Excerpt:

"The engineering researchers making the system, called Mitigatium, were recently funded by a group that includes the National Football League. Their early prototype could lead to a lightweight and affordable helmet that effectively dissipates the energy from hit after hit on the field. Current helmets can't do this, and that's one of the reasons they aren't very good at preventing brain injury."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M researchers are developing injectable radios

Yeah, it brings to mind creepy science Fiction movies, but U-M researchers are developing implantable radios. And that could mean big advances in medical devices like pacemakers and health monitoring sensors.

Excerpt:

"Implantable medical devices usually have to trade smarts for size. Pacemakers and other active devices with processors on board are typically about a cubic centimeter in size, and must be implanted surgically. Smaller implantable electronics tend to be passive, lacking computing smarts and the ability to actively broadcast signals, says David Blaauw, a professor of electrical engineer and computer science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor."

Read the rest here.
 

What about donating solar power to Michigan non-profits?

Our old pal Dave Strenski from Ypsi Solar has a great suggestion. What is it, you ask? You did read the headline, right?

Excerpt:

"The non-profits simply had to accept the check and pay the contractor to install the panels. There was no administrative overhead; we got economies of scale by bidding six projects as one; and the non-profits had very little extra work because everything was laid out for them by SolarYpsi.

This is an excellent model to replicate in other communities. By funding solar power projects for non-profits, donors ensure that these organizations reduce their electricity bill, and can instead use those funds to further their missions."

Read/listen to the rest here!
 

Ann Arbor Coherix teams with Chinese firm, lands $12M in investment

The world just gets smaller and smaller and smaller. Ann Arbor's Coherix has taken on a Chinese investor to the une of $12M to help market their current technology and develop more products for their target industries.

Excerpt:

"Xintai Electric is a new investor to Coherix. Based in Liaoning, the company specializes in the research, development, manufacture and sales of power equipment in China. Initially, the joint venture will focus on marketing the existing Coherix Robust 3D machine vision products to the automotive industry in China and throughout Asia. The product line will include Predator3D™, Robust3D™, Saber3D™ and ShaPix3D® systems. Coherix and Xintai Electric intend to expand operations into the semiconductor, precision manufacturing and aerospace markets as well as other industries. In addition, the companies jointly plan to refine the 3D machine vision products to better suit the needs of local markets."

Read the rest here.
 

Siemens chooses Ann Arbor as "Center for Intelligent Traffic Technology"

Siemens has been using Ann Arbor as a guinea pig for traffic flow management research, and now intends to expand its program to include more than 50 intersections.

Excerpt:

"The 10-year relationship with the city wasn’t the only reason Siemens chose Ann Arbor to be its first Center of Excellence for Intelligent Traffic Technology. Welz said U-M’s work in developing connected and autonomous vehicles, particularly at its MCity vehicle research center, made Ann Arbor especially attractive.

“Because of the research being done at the university, there are 3,000 or so cars getting traffic congestion information from traffic controllers,” Welz explained. “The university has a separate program for connected vehicles, but because they’re doing the testing in and around Ann Arbor, they’re using some of our controllers."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M classes inspire local government careers

Students at the University of Michigan are taking classes that foster both inspiration and insight into the practical application of public service. The result for some has been a new career in local politics. 

Excerpt:

"Along with Ackerman, University alum Travis Gonyou, who graduated in 2012, said his University education allowed him to get a greater understanding of politics that he used for his current job as a community outreach and communications manager at the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. Gonyou said Political Science Prof. Arthur Lupia’s political persuasion class was especially formative for Gonyou, and inspired him to think about politics in a different way."


Read the rest here.
 

Stockholm institutes "reverse congestion dividends"

In an effort to fight congestion, cities aren't just charging auto users more (something american cities would do well to consider) but also creating financial incentives for commuting cyclists.

Excerpt:

"This is an idea being proposed for Stockholm in a new report from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology. Having studied the barriers Stockholmers face in switching from cars to bikes, the institute has recommended that the city’s existing congestion charge zone be adapted to benefit people commuting by bike. Some money earned through the congestion charge (which covers most of the inner city) could be funneled back into cycling benefits—not as cash in hand, but as credits towards bike repairs or upgrades to studded tires for winter riding. According to institute staff, the plan would do more than provide practical incentives."

Read the rest here.

 

Ann Arbor-based LLamasoft grows business and jobs

How do we know that LLamasoft is burning economic rubber? Well, first, it was named to the Deloitte 2015 Technology
Fast 500 for the fourth consecutive year. Second, it's currently looking to add 20 new employees.

Excerpt:

LLamasoft has been on a relatively fast growth track, according to company officials. It added 75 employees last year and expects to do the same by the end of this year. In each of the last three years, LLamasoft has ranked as the fastest-growing supply chain software company in the Deloitte Fast 500 list of North American technology companies.

Read the rest here.

The company will hold a career fair from 4-7 p.m. Nov. 19  at its headquarters at 201 S. Main St.

Ann Arbor libraries are on the cutting edge of innovation

The rise of the Internet culture has challenged libraries across the nation to rethink their role in the community. Luckily, the Ann Arbor Library is on the cutting edge of this thinking, evolving its mission and offerings in exciting and unconventional ways.

Excerpt:

The Ann Arbor District Library has been adding to its voluminous collection of circulating science equipment. It offers telescopes, portable digital microscopes and backyard bird cameras, among other things — items that many patrons cannot afford to buy. Dave Menzo, a 28-year-old musician, created a whole album by borrowing electronic music equipment, including a photocell-controlled synthesizer called a Thingamagoop.

Read the rest here.
 

Ghostly Records featured in NY Times

We here at Concentrate have long sung the praises of Ghostly Records, which was founded by U-M alum Sam Valenti. Heck, they even provided us with music for our videos. Now, the New York Times' business section is finally noticing this cooler-than-cool company.

Excerpt:

"A diversified product line can be a smart survival strategy in a struggling business, which the music industry continues to be 16 years after Napster shattered the highly profitable model of selling CDs. But according to Sam Valenti IV, Ghostly’s founder, the nonmusical goods that it sells are not a hedge against declining record sales. Music, he said, is profitable and by far Ghostly’s biggest product."

Read the rest here.

U-M fellow comes close to living trash-free

Darshan Karwat is a post-doc at the University of Michigan. Aware that the average American generats nearly 1500 pounds of trash a year he set out to minimize his impact... and succeeded, reducing his annual trash output to roughly six pounds.

Excerpt:

"In many ways, though, my life didn’t change much. I had grown up in a humble setting in India, where I was accustomed to consuming as little as possible. I was a member of the People’s Food Co-op in Ann Arbor, where I bought my produce unpackaged. Most of my waste came from food packaging, so anything I could do to limit it reduced my trash and recycling significantly. I bought bread from the bakery, gave up most cheeses and drank milk only when it came in reusable bottles. Even though I seldom bought new gizmos or clothes, I stopped buying them entirely for this project, because I knew creating them, transporting them and selling them at retailers generated plenty of upstream waste. If I thought I really needed something, like a new mug or hoodie, I’d wait a week before buying it. And then I’d wait another week. Turns out I never bought those things, which means I never needed them. I had enough already. Compared with the way so many others live, it wasn’t much of a hardship."

Read the rest here.

Dyson acquires Ann Arbor's Sakti3 for $90M

It's the kind of acquisition many a startup hopes will come true: lithium-ion battery developer Sakti3 was bought by UK vacuum-maker Dyson to the tune of $90 million.

No plans have yet been announced for where the battery production facility will be based but Michigan is a possibility.

Excerpt:

"The $90 million acquisition — first reported by business-news site Quartz — reflects a win for clean-tech investors in Sakti3, including General Motors and Khosla Ventures. Dyson itself had already invested $15 million in Sakti3.

The University of Michigan spinoff company's founder and CEO Ann Marie Sastry will lead development of her technology as an executive for Dyson."

Read the rest here.

 

Some communities embrace agrihoods (instead of golf courses)

Hey, here's an idea: How about Ann Arbor turn one of its two golf courses into a community farm? Or how about a few of our under-used pocket parks? Nearly 200 communities around the nation are embracing just such an idea.

Excerpt:

"Pushing back against that stereotypical image of suburban living is a growing number of so-called “agrihoods” springing up nationwide. These developments center around a real, functional farm as their crown jewel. According to CivilEats, there are currently about 200 of them nationwide."

Read the rest here.
 

Pedestrian deaths indicate a need to rethink street design

In Dallas, a city councilman is arguing that we need to stop blaming pedestrian deaths on pedestrians and start looking at how we design or streets.

Excerpt:

"“Blame the pedestrian all you want,” he says. “You’re just going to end up with more fatalities.”

Kingston says that in his central Dallas district there are more people walking and riding bicycles all the time. “It’s the result of urbanization,” he says. “We’re simply having more conflicts with motor traffic.” Street design, however, is not necessarily keeping up with that reality. People often cross mid-block because crosswalks are too far apart. Drivers often travel in excess of the speed limit. Lighting is sometimes inadequate."

Read the rest here.

How planning engineers stifle criticism

There is always a war between what is safe and what is efficient, what is best and what is affordable. So, how does the average citizen confront planning decisions that are skewed in favor of one over the other? Understanding the rhetorical landscape helps.

Excerpt:

"Engineers commonly play off budget and safety against each other, as if they are two dependent variables on a sliding scale. You can spend more and get more safety or you can spend less and get less safety….the choice is yours. ... The notion that we are not able to design streets that are safe unless we have bloated budgets is false. That it is widely believed within the engineering profession anyway reveals a lack of innovation and a certain level of myopic comfort engineers wrongly enjoy.

Read the rest here.
 

Baltimore brewer pays homage to Ann Arbor rock band

Ann Arbor-based stoner rock group Blue Snaggletooth has a serious fan at Oliver Brewing. The Baltimore brewery has dubbed their latest libation: Blue Snaggletooth Serpent and the King ESB (extra strong bitter).

Excerpt:

Originally, Serpent and the King ESB was only available on tap at the Oliver brewery in Baltimore. Taylor says the brewery was going to pay them a royalty for using Blue Snaggletooth’s name and logo, but the band opted to get paid in bottled beers instead. So Serpent and the King was put into 22-ounce bottles with a label designed by the band’s guitar player Casey O’Ryan.

It will be available in this area only on Saturday in Ann Arbor.

The release party is 9 p.m. at Vault Ultralounge, 219 S. Main St. Admission is free and for $5 guests get a cup of the beer and pizza. The band will have a limited supply of bottles available for sale at $25, which come with a signed silkscreen black light poster for the event.

Read the rest here
 

Ann Arbor engineer helped expose Volkswagen's diesel deception

It's pretty well known that Volkswagen tried to pull a fast one with its emissions-cheating software. What's less known is that it wasn't regulators who discovered this massive act of corporate fraud but rather a pair of engineers working at a non-profit lab with local roots.

Excerpt:

"Peter Mock of Berlin, Germany, and John German of Ann Arbor, Michigan, work for the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The organization’s mission as stated at the ICCT website is to “provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators.”

Mock became suspicious when test results on diesel-powered vehicles in Europe were inconsistent. The tests were intended to convince European environmental regulators to loosen restrictions on the sale of diesel cars by verifying claims that their engines ran on “clean diesel.” Two of the models tested – the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat – passed emissions tests in the lab, but were still emitting unacceptably high levels of pollutants under real-world driving conditions. Since US clean air standards are higher than those in the EU, Mock contacted his American colleague. Would identical testing on vehicles made for the US market produce the same results?"

Read the rest here.


Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Ann Arbor embraces Halloween season with creepy cinema

It's a first for Concentrate - sourcing a story to horror fan site Bloody Disgusting, but given that tomorrow is the start of October it seems apt to highlight the line up of scare flicks that'll be showing on local movie screens. Our fave: They Live!

Excerpt:

"I’m a big fan of going to both the State and Michigan theaters in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. What can I say, they’re my digs! That’s where I saw It Follows, Nosferatu with a live organist, Army of Darkness on the big screen, Paranormal Activity during its first run of 13 theaters, and more. They’re both wonderful theaters and it’s always a blast to see what they have playing, especially because it’s obvious that they show movies for the love of showing movies."

Read the line-up here!
 

Pedal-powered drinking comes to downtown Ann Arbor

It's a bike for 14 people. It's a pub on wheels. It's Trolley Pub, and it's now available in downtown Ann Arbor.

Excerpt:

Trolley Pub is a pedal-powered, eco-friendly, pub-crawling trolley for up to 14 people at time. The Trolley Pub is powered by YOU and your fellow pedalers. It’s hard not to smile on the Trolley Pub!

The Trolley Pub Loading Dock can be found at 221 Felch Street.

Read more about it here.
 

Solar energy research center proposed for Ypsilanti Township

Southfield-based V-Max USA, which produces high-end batteries, is planning a new Ypsilanti Township facility in order to expand its developing solar energy business. This means producing "advanced" solar packages that can be distributed to contractors who install solar energy systems into customer homes.

Excerpt:

"Preliminary site plans submitted to the Ypsilanti Township Planning Department call for a 30,000-square foot facility, and the project could be in front of the planning commission later this month, said township planning coordinator Joe Lawson.

The building is planned for an 18-acre vacant property at 1879 W. Michigan Ave. near the Ellsworth Road intersection."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Sparks grows its Liberty St. space

Ann Arbor Spark, the incubator space for early-stage companies, just finished the build out of 6600 additional sqaure feet to its space dedicated to entrepreneurial development. 

Excerpt:

“The challenge in Ann Arbor is the real estate market is really tough. There’s very little inventory, and people are asking for long leases for what is available, so it’s really put a damper on the ability of our incubated companies to grow.”

Read the rest here.
 

EMU develops phone app to promote better study habits

Here's something for older folks to grouse about: a phone app that rewards students for better study habits. Can't you almost hear them say, "How about good grades? Isn't that reward enough?" Oh, grandpa.

Excerpt:

"Students earn points for activities such as meeting with a tutor or success coach, attending campus events and more. Points accumulate and can be used to “purchase” items in a prize store or used at the end of the year to bid on major benefits such as free tuition, housing, a meal plan, a tablet device or gift cards to the campus book store."

Read the rest here.

Another food writer pens a love letter to Ann Arbor

Nom nom nom. Another day, another newspaper writer discovers Ann Arbor's culinary scene. Yes, Zingerman's gets a shout-out. But so does new kid on the block, Mezzevino.

Excerpt:

"All I knew about Ann Arbor when I made my first visit was that it is home to the University of Michigan. The city’s population of 114,000 swells to 145,000 when students are on campus. But after only four days, I left knowing this: If the dictionary had a definition of “cool American town,” it would be Ann Arbor.
 
Consider the following: Ann Arbor has five farmers markets; 23 used-book stores; the largest collection of antique and heirloom peonies in North America; a hardware store that transforms into a beer garden by night, and a local deli, Zingerman’s, that holds an annual fundraiser, Camp Bacon, where events range from the Potlikker Film Festival to the Bacon Ball."

Read the rest here.

How road diets work

Not sure what a road diet or how it works or why Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti should be considering one?

Read this

Or watch this:

 

Jeff Speck: Four Road Diets from Cupola Media on Vimeo.


If U-M bars were Parks & Rec characters

Ever wonder which Parks & Rec character your favorite bar resembles? Sure you do. Now, if only they'd tell us which Walking Dead character our local cell phone outlets are most like.

Excerpt:

The Blind Pig: Andy Dwyer
A bit of a hike from campus, but its the place to catch up with the local music scene, order a pitcher and maybe win back your ex-girlfriend over a game of pool. Mouse Rat would definitely bust out a moving rendition of “5000 Candles in the Wind” here.

Read the rest of this must-know information here.

EMU gets $3.26 million gift for special ed, music therapy programs

Eastern Michigan University was handed a $3.26 million gift from long-time supporters William and Delores Brehm. The philanthropic couple are dedicated to growing the university's special education programs and have, over the years, donated more than $8 million to the school.

Excerpt:

"Dee Brehm, herself a graduate of EMU’s special education program, says that their objective is to help train special education professionals and researchers who will lead the way in supporting people with disabilities as well as those who can benefit from music therapy."

Read the rest here

Ann Arbor becomes vacation destination for Chicagoans

So, over the last couple of years we've seen enough of these stories to conclude that Chicagoans... or at least Chicago writers and bloggers... think Ann Arbor is a nifty weekend getaway for those who need a break from the Windy City.

Excerpt:

"As your resident Virgin Traveler, I am ashamed to admit that this is my first entry about the never-ending charm, incredible food choices, and the sense of community that exudes from this college town.

Home of the University of Michigan, and a historical town in its own right, Ann Arbor is an intoxicating mix of the old and new. An old-fashioned spirit runs through Main Street, yet the vibe and energy of trendy restaurants ensures a sense of youth and exuberance."

Read the rest here.

U-M opens a medical library without books

Technology is helping to reinvent the way we interact with libraries. U-M's Taubman Health Sciences Library just under went a a $55 million overhaul... and major rethinking of how it functions best.

Excerpt:

"Hundreds of thousands of books were moved to an offsite location and are available on demand for delivery, and by becoming "bookless" the school said that frees up space for medical student education. The facility on the school's Ann Arbor campus officially reopened over the weekend."

Read more here.

Does Michigan have too many counties?

There should be a point where we ask: "Why are we doing things this way?" If the answer is, "Because that's the way we've always done it" then we should probably be talking more seriously about change.

The Detroit Free Press looks at what it means that Michigan has 83 counties yet California, with three times as many people, has just 47.

Excerpt:

"Michigan taxpayers could save hundreds of millions of dollars by redrawing the state’s oldest political boundaries and reapportioning responsibility for government services on a different basis, the practical obstacles to doing it are enormous."

Read the rest here.

The case for narrower traffic lanes

Though the concept might be a tough sell in auto-obsessed Michigan, studies show that wider traffic lanes are less safe than narrow lanes - especially in urban settings.

Excerpt:

"Given the empirical evidence that favours ‘narrower is safer’, the ‘wider is safer’ approach based on intuition should be discarded once and for all. Narrower lane width, combined with other livable streets elements in urban areas, result in less aggressive driving and the ability to slow or stop a vehicle over shorter distances to avoid a collision."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor's robot city

The University of Michigan has opened Mcity, a  $6.5 million, 32-acre simulated urban and suburban environment where self driving cars and mechanical pedestrians run wild.

Okay, maybe not run wild. But it does make you wonder when they'll open WestWorld.

Excerpt:

"The University of Michigan opened Mcity, the world's first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies that will lead the way to mass-market driverless cars today."

Read the rest here.
 

The case for converting street parking to bike lanes

Businesses often argue that if a city converts street parking to bike lanes they will financially suffer. Unfortunately, study after study shows that simply isn't the case.

Excerpt:

"But here's the thing about the "studies on possible economic impacts" requested by retailers on Polk Street, or really wherever bike-lane plans emerge—they've been done. And done. And done again. And they all reach a similar conclusion: replacing on-street parking with a bike lane has little to no impact on local business, and in some cases might even increase business. While cyclists tend to spend less per shopping trip than drivers, they also tend to make more trips, pumping more total money into the local economy over time."

Read the rest here.

In a related article - there's a great piece in Treehugger about the inappropriate way bikes are held to the standards of cars. You should read it here.

Favorite quote:

"In the meantime, the vast majority of provincial resources around lawmaking, education and enforcement should be directed towards motorists, whom a recent report found were “at fault” in 93 per cent of collisions with bikes in Metro Vancouver.

Expecting both drivers and cyclists to play by the same set of rules is like equating shotguns with water pistols. Let’s not lose sight of the real weapons on our streets."

Ann Arbor named top Swim City... again

Who says being land locked is a disadvantage? Ann Arbor recently got named the top swim cities in the USA. Eat it Pismo Beach!

Excerpt:

"Ann Arbor’s has the largest percentage of top USA Swimming athletes per population and the second-highest number of pool facilities per population of any city in the country. More than 60 Olympians came through the University of Michigan’s swim program, including 2012 Olympic champion Tyler Clary and fellow gold medalist Tom Dolan."

Read the rest here.
 

Tennessee travel writers fall under Ann Arbor’s spell

In case you were wonderin’ what out-of-towners think about Ann Arbor, feast your eyes on the enthusiastic words of praise a pair of feature travel writers have to say about our community.

Excerpt:

But, residents say many other reasons keep them in Ann Arbor. Students graduate and never leave. Young families like the vibe and point to job opportunities, recreational green spaces, thriving farmer's markets, and community activities. Retirees call it a comfortable, walkable city and note the strong medical institutions. Ann Arbor has more than 100 arts and entertainment venues.

And, as the 5.6 million travelers who visited last year can attest, this city is really fun.

Read the rest of the gushing here.

Ann Arbor's record setting $100M office sale

If you want an indicator of how much office space is in demand in Ann Arbor, consider Oxford's $100M office acquisition.

Excerpt:

"It's hard for me to put into context," said Andrew Selinger, market analyst for Oxford, "but it's probably one of the defining deals of Ann Arbor real estate history."

Read the rest here.

Regional airport shuttles could start in Spring 2016

It's a start. Yeah, Ann Arbor already has an airport shuttle bus (such as it is), but the expansion of such a system around the region is the first step in developing regional transportation. Or so The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan hopes. Note: A shuttle proposal between Ann Arbor and downtown Detroit is also in the works.

Excerpt:

In addition, the request for proposal includes an addendum seeking optional proposals for express bus service from Ann Arbor to Downtown Detroit with a stop in Wayne County. Ford said the airport service is the priority, but the RTA also wants to use the request to gather information about a possible future connection between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Read the rest here.
 

Purple Rose Theatre ad features Jeff Daniels & Timothy Busfield

Having friends in high places helps when you're an arts organization. The Purple Rose Theatre Company is celebrating its 25th season and founder Jeff Daniels appears along with Timothy Busfield in an ad promoting the theatre company's long-standing commitment to drama.

Check it out!

 

Every outdoor movie screening in Ann Arbor & Metro Detroit

One of the great conundrums of summer is whether to enjoy the warm weather or indulge in a night at the movies. Outdoor movie screenings give you the best of both worlds and Thrillist has put together a calendar of what's playing where in Ann Arbor and metro Detroit.

Excerpt:

"Remember when you used to look up movie times in the paper? Or actually called Moviefone? Or searched in a bunch of different places to find out what outdoor summer movies where playing? Yeah, all of that sucked, but we’ve finally solved the last one by rounding up every single outdoor moving showing in the D, from now until August, and put ‘em in one handy calendar..."

Check it out here!

Ann Arbor Commuter Challenge winners announced

Okay, so it's not the Tonys. Or the Emmys. Or the Oscars. But in terms of lowering humanity's carbon footprint, getDowntown and The Ride's Commuter Challenge is a heckuva lot more important.

250 local area organizations and businesses encouraged their employees to walk, bike, bus or carpool to work in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. In a more perfect world, events like these would warrant red carpets and press calls. So who won? Click the link below!

Excerpt:

The following organizations got the highest participation in their size category (and the highest avg commutes if a tie) and therefore are our winners:
Winners of the 2015 Commuter Challenge

Extra Small: Ghostly International (100% participation, 48 avg trips/employee)
Small: Bivouac (100% participation, 22.4 avg trips/employee)
Medium: SmithGroupJJR (68.3% participation)
Large: Arbor Research Collaborative for Health (77.7% participation)
Extra Large: Zingerman's Community of Businesses (12.9% participation)
All winners will win worksite parties! 

Read the rest here.
Check the stats here.
 

The economic cost of NIMBYism

Housing, affordable and otherwise, is a problem in the nation's most vibrant cities, stifling both economic growth and diversification. Part of that reason is protectionist policies of NIMBY's, who aren't keen to share their neighborhood communities (but very happy to benefit from the sky-high property values that accompany growth).

Excerpt:

Protectionist housing policies are bad for people who’d like to work in Silicon Valley, of course. But NIMBYism is also bad for the nation as a whole. Even though labor productivity has grown the most over the last few decades in three specific U.S. cities—New York, San Francisco, and San Jose—that local growth hasn’t translated to greater national growth at all, thanks to a lack of housing.

Read the rest here.

A guide to hosting your wedding in Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit

The sun is out, birds are singing and couples are looking to tie the knot in the best and most memorable way possible. Eater offers a guide for brides and grooms to be.

Excerpt:

Duck and cover because summer means wedding season. Time to pull out your cocktail dress and prepare to overindulge and celebrate happy unions. While many couples will opt for the traditional reception halls around town, Southeast Michigan's restaurants provide some great options for hosting celebrations. So pour yourself a glass of bubbly and tighten your tie. Here are 20 awesome restaurant locations that transform for the big day. 

Read the rest here.
 

Unfinished Orson Welles memoir found in U-M archives

File this under pretty dang cool. Archivists at U-M have stumbled across an unfinished memoir by one of Hollywood's greatest directors, Orson Welles.

Excerpt:

"According to reports in the LA Times and The GuardianConfessions of a One-Man Band details his views on his friend, Ernest Hemingway, wife Rita Hayworth and filmmaker DW Griffith. The autobiography was started in 1970s, according to archivists at UM who announced Thursday they found eight boxes of materials, including handwritten notes and edits, sent by the Citizen Kane director’s partner of 24 years, Oja Kodar, from her home in Croatia."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor is tops as "Small American Cities of the Future"

Another week, another list.

Ann Arbor just landed on fDi Intelligence's 2015 list of Small American Cities of the Future, with top scores in human capital and lifestyle. The city was ranked the #10 Small City of the Future overall.

Excerpt:

The top 10 of fDi’s third biennial ranking of American cities is a wholly North American affair, with all entrants located in Canada or the US. Rebounding somewhat following a turbulent economic period, FDI projects into North America increased 4.55% between 2012 and 2014.

Read the rest here. PDFs of the rankings are at the bottom of the page.

Ann Arbor FarmLogs now used by 20% of farms in U.S.

Agricultural technology businesses are thriving and Ann Arbor-based FarmLogs is reaping big rewards with its crop monitoring technology.

Excerpt:

"Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, FarmLogs launched about three years ago and participated in the Y Combinator startup accelerator program. FarmLogs raised $10 million in Series B about six months ago, bringing its total institutional funding to $15 million thus far. FarmLogs is used by farmers in all 50 states and internationally in over 130 countries across six continents. FarmLogs currently has 30 employees and the farm management software company plans to double its staff count this year."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor native Andrew W.K. launches a podcast

First a weekly newspaper column, now a podcast. Give hims few years and Ann Arbor native Andrew W.K. may make a bid for Howard Stern's King Of All Media throne.

Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/america-w-k

Zingerman's now available at Detroit airport

Travelers cannot (and should not) eat by fast food alone. It's about time that DTW got something a little better than bags of processed food dropped into a multinational franchisee's fryer.

Enter Ann Arbor foodie stalwart Zingerman's! Hopefully sales will be good enough to inspire an actual Zing's cafe. Until then...

Excerpt:

"Hungry guests passing through the McNamara terminal will be able to enjoy Zingerman's foods and coffee at an HBF-operated kiosk near terminal gates 70-78. Visitors to the kiosk will be able to purchase such classic Zingerman's staples as packaged pastries from Zingerman's Bakehouse, savory cheese plates and packaged cheese spreads from Zingerman's Creamery, delicious Cold Brew from the Zingerman's Coffee Company, sandwiches made using Zingerman's Deli meats, cheeses, and condiments, as well as fresh-baked bread from the Bakehouse. To top it off, guests can enjoy handmade, fresh candy from the Zingerman's Candy Manufactory. "

Read the rest here.

First steps in connecting Ann Arbor and Detroit public transit begin

It's been a long torturous route and there's no doubt the logistical and political agony will continue, but progress is being made -albeit slowly- to link Ann Arbor, Detroit and the surrounding suburbs via public transit. Knock on wood, say a little prayer and light a candle for things to develop at reasonable pace.

Excerpt:

Michael Ford is the CEO of RTA. He says the region is way behind other metro areas in terms of transportation.
"Think about this: how many people can get where they need to go right now? There's needs for frequency, late night service, earlier morning service. So people can get to jobs and get home. So people can get to shows and get home, people can get to sporting events and get home. So right now, that’s an issue.

“What if we just do nothing? People are going to continue to move out, because they can't get to good jobs, they can't get home. They can't just function normally.”

Ford also says the region isn’t keeping up with other areas in terms of investing in public transportation.

Read and listen to the rest here.
 

Cars, pedestrians, race and the fate of 2 downtowns

James Fallows has an interesting report on two California cities struggling to revitalize their downtowns in diametrically different ways - and the response of local residents to the proposed changes. It's a provocative set of reactions and a compelling view on how people form opinions.

Excerpt:

"Eliza Tibbets and her husband Luther built an orange empire in the inland-Southern California city of Riverside, which we introduced briefly here before. As Deb points out, Riverside has undertaken a downtown-revitalization project based on exactly the opposite premise from the one now being applied in Fresno, as chronicled most recently here. Fresno has an arty, high-concept, half-century-old pedestrian mall that was once a commercial success but is now a half-occupied distress zone. The city’s solution is to dig up the mall and open Fulton Street once more to cars. Riverside, by contrast, turned its Main Street into a pedestrian mall not long after Fresno did—and it is sticking with that plan.
Who’s right? Readers weigh in."

Read the rest here.
 

Traverse City group wants rail service to/from Ann Arbor

The question isn't whether people want a train to Traverse City, it's whether they want it enough… and whether Michigan's pathological inertia with regard to transportation issues will ever allow it to happen.

Excerpt:

"At statewide community forums in 2010 while the Michigan Department of Transportationwas developing a state rail plan, a consistent and top theme that emerged was that Michigan's passenger rail system should include a Traverse City-to-southern Michigan connection, said Liz Treutel, a policy associate at the Michigan Environmental Council — which, with the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, convened the meetings.

Feedback ran both ways, Treutel said. People in northern Michigan wanted easier access to downstate, and tourists were interested in rail service heading north."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor No. 1 small city for millennials

Apparently, the American Institute of Economic Research hasn't read any of Concentrate's articles on affordable or millennial-friendly housing but, hey, that's cool. We're #1! 

Excerpt:

"Ann Arbor is ranked first in the nation among the most desirable small cities to live and work for millennials while Detroit is ranked close to last in a study released today by the American Institute of Economic Research.

The combination of a low unemployment rate, the University of Michigan and a thriving technology industry helped vault Ann Arbor to the top spot in the study."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor-made Stratos card put to the test

Wired takes the all-cards-in-one Stratos credit card out for a spin… and is impressed with what it can do. 

Excerpt:

"There are a thousand upsides to a card like Stratos, even beyond finally ditching your gigantic George Costanza wallet. It can make sure you actually use your gift cards, or make getting a loyalty card totally automatic. It’s much more secure than a standard credit card, for a variety of reasons. If you lose it, just shut it off—you don’t need to cancel the individual cards themselves. It even uses Bluetooth to warn you if you left it in the check-holder, and will shut off if you get too far away."

Read the rest here.

Could a universal fare card link Ann Arbor and Detroit transit?

The Regional Transportation Authority of Southeast Michigan is working to make the region's public transportation easier to use with a universal fare card.

Excerpt:

"The Authority is studying what kind of funding and policy decisions are needed to introduce universal fare card technology to the region. CEO Michael Ford says it’s a lengthy process."

Listen to the rest here.
 

U-M struggles to achieve economic diversity

Given all the accolades and advantages U-M as as the fourth-ranked public university in the United States, you'd think it'd do a better job of educating low income students.

Excerpt:

"U-M has one number it’s probably not proud of: the smallest share of low-income students among Michigan’s public universities, and one of the lowest rates among public universities in the country."

Read the rest here.
 

Is the future of urban mobility microtransit?

Uber, Lyft, airport shuttles, independent commuter buses, the revolution has begun. But where is it heading and what's needed to create the optimal carless system?

Excerpt:

"Strictly speaking, there's nothing new about microtransit. Informal ride-sharing networks like New York's dollar vans have operated for years, while city agencies run paratransit services for people with disabilities (often at a great loss). But better data on mobility patterns and wide smartphone access have made flexible, on-demand transit more possible than ever. Social trends toward city living and away from car-ownership have also fanned the current flame."

Read the rest here.
 

The challenge to affordable housing in successful cities

The great conundrum: Cities with a high quality of life rapidly become unaffordable to the average citizen. Is it a real estate issue... or a wage issue?

Excerpt:

"Leading the buzz kill was Robert Hickey from the Center for Housing Policy, a division of the National Housing Conference, who quantified the scope of the problem—that incomes have simply not kept pace with housing costs. Citing a study of Chicago, Hickey said a growing number of families simply don’t earn enough to buy a typical home. Renters are the majority in 10 major cities from Miami to L.A., but the news is equally bad if not worse in that department: rents are up 40 to 80 percent. Households with severe housing cost burdens—shelter costs eating up the family budget and leaving little left over for anything else—have spread from low income to middle class."

Read the rest here.
 

VC investment in Michigan at highest level in 15 years

Investment in Michigan startups hit a 15 year high in the first quarter of 2015. 

Excerpt:

"Twelve companies across the state collectively received $75.3 million in venture capital investments from January to March, according to the MoneyTree report from the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers using data from Thomson Reuters. That compares to 14 deals for $37.1 million in the same period in 2014 and was the best first quarter since the 17 deals for $142.9 million to start 2000.

Two of the recent deals included companies in West Michigan.

Apjohn Ventures invested $3.5 million in Kalamazoo-based Armune BioScience Inc., which is commercializing a new-generation blood test for men suspected of having prostate cancer.

Meanwhile, Grand Rapids-based software firm Buoy76 LLC received $950,000 from Start Garden LLC, Huron River Ventures in Ann Arbor, Detroit Development Ventures and an undisclosed investor, according to the report. Buoy76 is developing Sportsman Tracker, a mobile application that forecasts the best time and location for hunters and anglers as well as their probability of success."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Greenway plan gets city funding

The Ann Arbor City Council earmarked $200K to develop a Greenway master plan in hopes of attracting further funding. It would build on a report developed by U-M graduate students in the urban planning department.

Excerpt:

"Council members made advancing the greenway vision a top city priority at a city budget retreat in December, and now the city's administration has included funding for a master plan in the proposed 2015-16 budget.

The envisioned walking and biking path would follow the general path of the Ann Arbor Railroad and Allen Creek."

Read the rest here.
 

Blogger digs into Ann Arbor's 826Michigan

A former EMU creative writing student decided to start a locally focused blog. She describes it as:

"Unpublished" is the journey of discovering Ann Arbor and everything it has to offer. It is exposing interiors; offering a deeper look at places I frequent. It is the gathering of recommendations from locals and my experiencing them for the first time. "Unpublished" is spreading Michigan roots in food, fashion, art, music, coffee and local business territories.

Her latest slice of local goodness is the nonprofit 826Michigan. Onward robots!

Excerpt:

"Having a relationship with creative writing all of my life, and working with children for half of it, I am confident in saying that 826michigan is probably the coolest nonprofit organization. Ever."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Commuter Challenge breaks records

The car isn't the only way you can get to work. More and more folks are discovering that. This year's Commuter Challenge proved that - with a record number of sign ups. And the numbers keep climbing.

Excerpt:

"Despite lower gas prices, more employees than ever are signing up to try an alternative commute during the 2015 Commuter Challenge, happening in May.  With over 800 registrants to date, the Commuter Challenge is on track to break last year’s record for total participation.
 
The Commuter Challenge is a fun, free alternative commuting competition that happens during the month of May. The Challenge has been an Ann Arbor area institution since 2005. More information about the Challenge is available at www.LetsMakeaMove.org. During the Challenge, Ann Arbor area organizations compete to see who can get the most employees to try an alternative commute."

Read more about the program here.
 

Ann Arbor ranked second best Big Ten city

I'll see your badger and raise you one wolverine.

A 10 person penal ranked Big Ten communities (because, you know, science) and Ann Arbor got edged out by Madison for the top college town.

Excerpt:

"The winner was Madison, which received eight of 10 first-place votes and 12 points. A first-place vote was worth one point all the way down to 14 points for a last-place vote, so the lowest score prevailed.

"There is no place like (Madison) in the Big Ten during fall Saturdays and it's why Madtown is routinely voted one of the nation's best college towns," wrote Athlon's Braden Gall. "The capital city is located between two gorgeous lakes and is home to the famed State Street — and it's delicious brat haze. It's vibrant, fun, welcoming and an absolute blast.""

Read it here and weep.
 

Will we ever have good trains?

Echoing the challenges to establishing train travel in Michigan, our entire nation is far behind the ball when it comes to rail travel. Is it our pathological love of the car? Our inability to invest in the future? Our short sighted, highly partisan political leaders? The answer is yes.

Excerpt:

"Compared with the high-speed trains of Western Europe and East Asia, American passenger rail is notoriously creaky, tardy, and slow. The Acela, currently the only "high-speed" train in America, runs at an average pace of 68 miles per hour between Washington and Boston; a high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona averages 154 miles per hour. Amtrak's most punctual trains arrive on schedule 75 percent of the time; judged by Amtrak's lax standards, Japan's bullet trains are late basically 0 percent of the time."

Read the rest here.

National Geographic writer goes on culinary tour of Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor's dining options once again impress. Although, honestly, the writer barely scratches the surface. 

Excerpt:

"If there’s one restaurant you won’t want to miss, it’s Frita Batidos, a Cuban restaurant in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor. Walk inside and you feel like you’ve been transported to a simple, modern NYC restaurant with spartan white walls and wooden picnic tables as seats. We ordered our fritas (Cuban-style burgers) piled high with avocado, eggs, and french fries (a fritas staple), but for all their mouth-stretching goodness, the real treat was the batidos (shakes). I went a more classic route with chocolate Español, but my sister’s hibiscus shake really stole the show. Add a shot of dark rum to any batido for a buck and you’ll be in hog heaven.

Read the rest here.

Suburban commuters are big polluters

As more and more people move into dense urban environments, accessing public transportation, the suburb remain a formidable source of carbon pollution. This is a big deal for Ann Arbor when you consider that 70 percent of U-M's employees do not live in the city.

Excerpt:

"Suburban commuters are, and will continue to be, a leading source of vehicular carbon chemicals unless they're provided alternative means of transportation."

"This hypothesis—that emissions from suburban car commuters negates the benefits of green transit in urban cores—is supported by a 2014 study by the University of California. That research concluded that populous cities with small carbon footprints are generally surrounded by gas-guzzling suburbs."

Read the rest here.

New bike house to be added to Ann Arbor's downtown

Cyclists and pedal commuters will have a second parking lot for their self-powered vehicles in Ann Arbor's downtown. Yay!

Excerpt:

"The getDowntown Program manages the Maynard bike house, which offers downtown employees who sign up, at a cost of $75 per year, guaranteed and reserved bike parking with a secure entrance accessed via keycard.

The new bike house will be managed by getDowntown similar to the Maynard bike house with similar fees.

The DDA board voted at its last meeting to approve spending up to $60,000 to design, fabricate and install the new bike house using downtown parking revenues."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor teacher given Stephen Sondheim award

Each year the Kennedy Center hands out Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards to teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students. This year 13 were awarded, 3 were awarded to Michigan teachers and 1 was Pioneer High School teacher Jim Robert.

Excerpt:

"Be the change you want to see in the world!" I entered the teaching profession to inspire my students accordingly. What I didn't anticipate was how being in the presence of adolescents would thoroughly change me. For 27 years they have been teaching me to listen and inside that listening I have learned to teach."

Check out the list here.
 

U-M researchers challenge "an apple a day" dictum

So, researchers from the University of Michigan's School of Nursing have concluded that while an apple a day won't keep the doctor away, it might reduce your need for prescription meds and be less likely to smoke.

Excerpt:

"Still, there’s plenty to love about apples. They’re a great source of vitamin C and fiber, and they’re chock-full of healthy polyphenols and antioxidants, including quercetin, a compound that has been shown to lower blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. Other research has shown that eating one a day can make sex better for women."

Read the rest of this silliness here.
 

U-M solar car team to compete in local Eco-marathon

We've been following U-M's solar car team for a few years now, with races in far-flung regions like Australia. In two weeks y'all can get a gander at the award-winning team as they compete against 130 other vehicles in the Shell Eco-marathon, which is being held for the first time in Detroit April 9-12.

Excerpt:

The U-M Supermileage Team will compete in the Shell Eco-marathon, held for the first time in Detroit at the Cobo Center April 9-12.

The contest, which started as a wager between two engineers in 1939, has since gone global, attracting engineering students from around the world who aim to design, build and drive the world's most energy-efficient vehicle.

Read the rest here.
 

U-M among top 20 schools for luxury student housing

The University of Michigan comes in at a respectable (is that the right word?) 17 on the list for college campuses with the most luxurious student housing. Man, where were these places when I went to school in a drafty, cinderblock room crammed with two other students?

Who topped the list? The Hub at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Excerpt:

This residence building at The University of Michigan is so coveted that first year students don’t even have a chance at its luxurious living. The private and spacious rooms set to mimic apartment living are only some of its benefits. Additional amenities include bike routes, learning communities, a TV studio, lounges on every floor and communal spaces with work areas and conference rooms with video conference equipment and media facilities. The cherry on top? The dining hall has reached ‘gold status’ for exotic fare like their famous burger crumble tacos and even have served shark!

Read the rest of the list here. Watch a video about the housing here.


 

The economic case for turning parking spaces into bike lanes

Here in Michigan, where the automobile is religiously worshiped like an expensive and ever-demanding deity, this concept might seem absurd. Luckily, there are compelling studies for other cities to seriously ponder as we inevitably ignore or dismiss them.

Excerpt:

But here's the thing about the "studies on possible economic impacts" requested by retailers on Polk Street, or really wherever bike-lane plans emerge—they've been done. And done. And done again. And they all reach a similar conclusion: replacing on-street parking with a bike lane has little to no impact on local business, and in some cases might even increase business. While cyclists tend to spend less per shopping trip than drivers, they also tend to make more trips, pumping more total money into the local economy over time.

So to put these debates to rest we've compiled an annotated, chart-filled guide to every major study we know of conducted on the subject to date. Here they are, in no particular order, for your public meeting pleasure.

Read the rest here... if you dare.

 

A sneak peek at Jerusalem Garden 2.0

You know you're a true Ann Arbor local when you click on a link that offers you a glimpse inside the new, soon-to-open Jerusalem Garden. For the uninitiated, JG is a popular falafel and shwarma joint that took over the former Seva restaurant space on Liberty.

Here's your sneak peek.

 

Ann Arbor officially earns its hipster badge

Ann Arbor has been ranked as the 15th most hipster city in America, beating out San Francisco's rank of 16. So, now the question becomes: Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Excerpt:

So where are the hipster hubs? Using our places data, we at FindTheHome determined four important attributes that define a “hipster city” and found 19 cities that fit the bill (and surprisingly, Portland is not one of them). We first decided to only look at cities with over 50,000 people that also had a high population of people between the ages of 20 and 34. Then we looked at the cities with a fairly educated population (a high percentage of residents with at least a Bachelor’s Degree), many cafes and yoga studios. We calculated a composite score for each city by multiplying the number of yoga studios per 10K people with cafes per 10K people, and used this final number to rank the cities.

Read the list here and cheer… or weep. 

5 'tech titans' have strong ties to Michigan

Of the 23 "titans" listed in this compendium of tech giants, more than 20 percent have strong ties to the Mitten. And more than a couple are U-M grads.

Excerpt:

"... we've profiled 23 tech titans with Midwest roots, whether they earned their degrees here or were born-and-bred. Yes, each founder and executive eventully left for the coast, but if the region continues to build out its individual tech hubs, the surrounding states will start to retain the game-changing innovators - like Marc Andreesen, Larry Page, Jack Dorsey, and more - that it's consistenly seeding. "

Read the list here.

Saline-based Flatout purchased for $92 million

Columbus, Ohio-based T. Marzetti Co. bought the Saline-grown rolled sandwich franchise Flatout for a not-too-shabby $92 million.

Excerpt:

"Flatout reported $42 million in net sales in 2014. The company has about 150 employees at its factory in a Saline industrial park. The company, one of Washtenaw County's most successful food start-ups, was partially sold in 2010 to private equity firm North Castle Partners and Glencoe Capital."

Read the rest here.
 

Six qualities that make a beautiful city

Some cities have it. Others don't. It's nice to think that your hometown is a great place but the truth is, some cities are better than others. This article does a great job of articulating why.

Excerpt:

"All of the most beautiful compact cities have human-scaled squares where people can gather. Ideally, the squares are no more than 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter so that you can make out a person’s face on the other side—lest they become alienating. Squares give us a break from the confines of home and allow us to bask in the cheering company of others in uplifting surroundings, de Botton says. Yet nobody’s built a good square on the planet for decades, he says."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's affordability problem

We can't help but feel we help start a conversation that was long overdue - how does Ann Arbor become a city that embraces economic diversity?

Excerpt:

"On a regional level, economic segregation makes the county fundamentally unsustainable, as some communities “degrade beyond a point of no return, and others grow in value beyond a point that’s ever again affordable,” according to the report. As is often the case, the housing market is an indicator of more sweeping trends. It turns out that Ann Arbor’s rising housing market corresponds with increasing wage disparity. Households in the city’s metro area that are in the 90th income percentile have seen an 18.8 percent gain since 1979, while those in the 10th percentile had wages drop by 14.4 percent. This wage divide correlates all too neatly with race. “To be in the 90th percentile (income) in Washtenaw County is to be white,” according to the report, “and to be in the 10th percentile is to not be white.”"

Read the rest here.

Tecumseh Brewing Company to open in April

Ann Arbor Brewing begat Corner Brewing. Grizzly Peak begat Jolly Pumpkin Brewing. Now, Ann Arbor's Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery (as well as Melange) has begotten the Tecumseh Brewing Company. It's all part of Michigan's growing beer ecosystem.

Excerpt:

"Between Tecumseh Brewing Company’s interior and proposed beer garden and patio, the establishment will hold approximately 150 people. Guests will have the opportunity to choose from 16 taps dedicated to the brewery’s signature brews.

According to DeWitt, the goal is to have all 16 taps up and running by the brewery’s target opening timeframe of early April."

Read the rest here.

The urban donut has shifted

The old and busted narrative went thusly: Suburbs are safe, smart and affluent. Cities are scary, poor, and un-educated. What a difference 20 years make.

Excerpt:

Putting urban neighborhoods under a microscope, a University of Virginia researcher has concluded that the traditional urban "donut" pattern — a ring of thriving suburbs surrounding a decaying city center — is being replaced by a new pattern: a thriving urban core surrounded by a ring of suburbs with older housing, older residents and more poverty.

Read the rest here.
 

Winnipeg writer hearts Ann Arbor

A Canadian comes to Ann Arbor and is smitten.

Excerpt:

Ann Arbor is midwestern-rural-meets-cosmopolitan-urban. It has the energy of a big city, yet feels small-town. It’s fast-paced and laid back. Modern and progressive, yet charming and quaint. Live theatre, art galleries, museums and music spaces are as prominent as the 50,000 trees which line its streets. It boasts an exceptional pedestrian shopping area, hosting events like ‘midnight madness’ where stores stay open late with special discounts and giveaways, and serve up warm beverages on a cool evening.

Read the rest here.

Talk of Traverse City to Ann Arbor train heats up

Though it may be as much as a decade or more away. talk of train service between Ann Arbor and Traverse City has really struck a chord. This Q&A with Jim Bruckbauer of Michigan Land Use Institute gives hope that Michigan may finally learn to embrace rail travel.

Excerpt:

"The tracks between Traverse City and Ann Arbor run through some of Michigan’s greatest downtown’s like Cadillac, Mt. Pleasant, Alma, Durand and Owosso.

A 2009 Grand Valley State University study showed that Michigan towns with rail service—even just once-a-day service—had anywhere from a $7 million to $45 million boost to their local economies because of that service.

Rail would allow the residents and college students in these towns to have another option for traveling to other wonderful Michigan cities and, because it intersects with two Amtrak lines, they’ll have access to major metropolitan areas around the country."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor City council vows to grow affordable housing

As Ann Arbor lands in the top 10 for most economically segregated cities in the U.S., city officials say they are committed to changing that dynamic. Good to see that the conversation we started in earnest several months ago has snowballed into a serious exploration of what our community needs to accommodate residents of every stripe.

Excerpt:

City Council this week voted, 10-1, to adopt affordable housing goals, the Ann Arbor News reported. That's part of a larger goal of adding 3,137 affordable non-student rental units between Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township over the next 20 years.

Officials also hope to increase demand for market-rate housing in the Ypsilanti area by 4,187 units.

Read the rest here.

 

Local investors bet on Ann Arbor as tech hub

Hoping to bring together Ann Arbor startups struggling to grow, a pair of execs at Nutshell Inc. have decided to develop a tech hub incubator. And they already have their first tenant before the doors have opened.

Excerpt:

"Using the Madison Building in downtown Detroit as the model, a group of former Barracuda Networks Inc. executives wants to create a large hub for tech startups in downtown Ann Arbor.

They have signed a purchase agreement to buy two adjacent office buildings downtown and are negotiating to buy one or two more buildings. They hope to close on the first deal in about a month and have a build-out done in six months."

Read the rest here.
 

NerdWallet says Ann Arbor is an innovative tech hub

Looks like news of Ann Arbor's tech scene is spreading. While we didn't break the top 10, NerdWallet lists us at a respectable 12th for innovation.

Excerpt:

Silicon Valley is by far the leader. With a high number of patents per capita and venture capital funding figures that no other place comes close to, the metro area that includes the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara leads all in tech innovation.

The West dominates. Only two East Coast places made our top 10 list — Burlington, Vermont, and Boston, Massachusetts.

Universities are key. Every area in our top 10 is located near a major university, suggesting that higher education and innovation are closely linked.

Read the rest here.
 

U-M among top 10 universities for Peace Corp volunteers

If you're one of those townies who grumbles every time they see a U-M student playing beer-pong on their front lawn or crossing against the light when you least expect it or, well, whatever townies grumble about (over crowded restaurants, clueless drivers, too loud music, etc), keep in mind that you might be cursing the next Peace Corp volunteer. Yep, U-M ranked 8th when it comes to producing international do-gooders (51 volunteers currently).

The university also ranked No. 5 on the Peace Corps' list of the top-producing graduate schools

Or so says the Peace Corp in this report.
 

How Ann Arbor's Skyspecs got off the ground

Ann Arbor-based drone firm Skyspecs lays out the story of its path to investment and product development in Crains' interesting business series, "Startup diaries," analyzing how new metro Detroit businesses find their feet.

Excerpt:

"But these startups hardly have it easy. They slog through early years developing often-complicated technology and spending just as much time chasing money. It's a drawn-out, gambling lead-up to one day having sales that reward the effort. 

SkySpecs launched on paper in 2012, but that was just one small first step. The company's first few years were spent honing its product and chasing money, whether at business plan competitions or from investors. "

Read the rest here.
 

According to science Jolly Pumpkin is 6th best beer in Michigan

Dexter's Jolly Pumpkin Brewery ranks six out of the twelve best beers in the Mitten. Or so says Thrillist online magazine. And, frankly, we take serious issue with that assessment. Don't get us wrong, there are many fine Michigan brews on their "scientific" list. But sixth? Puh-lease. Jolly Pumpkin easily ranks in the top three. So say we all!

Excerpt:

"Jolly Pumpkin is all about those rustic, country style, sour beers, and if the whole sour thing seems off-putting to you, don’t worry about it. Most folks who think they don’t like sour beer wind up liking Jolly Pumpkin’s sour beer, so much so that their facilities last year maxed out at around 4-5,000 barrels. And although this is a beer list, you should also eat their food. Trust us."

Read the rest o' the list here.
 

U-M Michigan League ranked as top college campus wedding venue

We're #31!  We're #31!  Okay, so we seriously question the jounralistic intergity of a publication that's sole goal is to rank things about college campuses, but there's no getting around the fact that the Michigan League is a pretty darned awesome-looking place to hold a wedding.

Excerpt:

"The Michigan League on the beautifully wooded Michigan campus is the premier place to hold seminars, conferences, and receptions, serving the University as well as the community. It was built to be a “building that would become a center for women’s social, cultural and recreational activities on campus.” It serves as a facility for ceremonies and receptions of all faiths and orientations without regard to affiliation with the University."

Read the rest of the list here.
 

Departing chef at Ann Arbor's Ravens Club bares all in moving essay

Chef Frank Fejeran has helped make Ann Arbor's The Ravens Club a must-visit restaurant/bar, winning both awards and accolades. He recently decided to leave his lofty perch to start a food truck. In this moving essay he partly explains how he came to that decision.

Excerpt:

"I am finishing this essay in my basement, watching my amazing son play a video game on our one hundred inch projection screen. This is when it makes the most sense. My mother and step-dad are very proud of everything I have done, and are always so excited to read the next blog about their son or see me on the local news. I walk into the restaurant and everybody is working smoothly, quickly, and executing above the expected level. The dining room fills up quickly with excited guests, a dining room that two years ago would have been empty. In under fifteen months, I’ve lead a kitchen team and turned our kitchen around from being at the bottom of the barrel in Ann Arbor, into one of the most fun, respected, and praised restaurants in the city. We were awarded the 2014 best restaurant and best chef in Southeast Michigan. I leave work and pull into the driveway of my two story, three bedroom house, I purchased at the age of twenty five. My beautiful lady is happy to see me and so is my son…they are happy. This is success, right? I did everything I said I’d do, if not more."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor neighborhood forms snow-clearing co-op

Clearing snow from your sidewalk has become the bane to many an Ann Arbor homeowner. One neighborhood decided to pool their resources and purchase their own SnowBuddy.

Excerpt:

"Tinkerhess decided to see if he could mobilize a community sidewalk-snow-clearing service funded with the model popular with public radio stations: Provide the service for free to the neighborhood, then ask for donations to offset the costs once it was up and running. As the co-creator of the popular Water Hill Music Fest, Tinkerhess was already a recognized leader in the community. It took only a couple of weeks to raise the $18,000 in startup funds that the board of the SnowBuddy (now registered as a formal nonprofit) had set as their first goal. It was enough to buy a $43,000 tractor on a four-year plan and still have some funds to cover their estimated expenses of $25,000 a year—including a $2 million liability insurance policy."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor to get largest solar array in Michigan

Well, it's about time. A serious investment in solar (aka renewable) energy is in the cards for Ann Arbor through a deal with DTE. Now, how about working on planes for all of SE Michigan?

Excerpt:

"The agreement between Ann Arbor and DTE would allow the utility company to use about 14 acres of the city-owned airport property. DTE would be responsible for paying for the solar panels and their installation and maintenance.

It's a 20-year agreement, with 10 one-year renewal options. DTE would pay the city $38 per kilowatt of system capacity, which is estimated to translate to at least $41,800 per year initially, and up to $81,700 per year with full implementation."

Read the rest here.
 

Parking innovations every city should adopt

Pay-By-Plate technology, pollution Surcharges, length-based fees (we're looking at you SUV drivers), lower resident rates and improved local services. These all sound like damn good ideas to us. Hey, DDA, how about one or two of these instead of that ambassador program?

Excerpt:

"To encourage cleaner cars and improve local air quality, Madrid recently imposedpollution-based parking fees that vary based on a car's environmental impact. The new charge is applied via pay-by-plate technology: drivers input their plate numbers, which tells the city system the make and model of the car, which then spits out a parking rate based on emissions. Hybrids, electrics, and fuel-efficient cars reportedly get up to a 20 percent discount; gas guzzlers pay up to a 20 percent surcharge."

Read the rest here.

A Chicago suburbanite visits Ann Arbor

Aren't we just the cutest, quaintest little college town?! A Chicago suburbanite visits Tree Town and falls in love with our family-friendly museums. Or, at least, like. This is the kind of stuff the CVB eats up.

Excerpt:

"Chances are you would consider a long weekend visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan, because it's easy to get around in this university town filled with family-friendly experiences. Give the trip more depth by looking for the exceptional museums and experiences thait await, both on and off of the University of Michigan campus."

Read the rest here.

 

Ann Arbor-based Advanced Photonix grows with merger

Ann Arbor's Advanced Photonix is about to become part of a merger that will turn it into a $50 million company. That's pretty darn impressive for a firm we've been watch grow year after year. In fact, since Concentrate launched in 2008.

Excerpt:

"The board of Ann Arbor-based Advanced Photonix Inc., a supplier of optoelectronic sensors, devices and measurement instrumentation for the telecommunications, defense, industrial and medical markets, has agreed to merge with Luna Innovations Inc., which makes fiber-optic sensing and test and measurement products for the same industries."

Read the rest here.

Creating a multimodal city requires more than less cars

The challenge to building a city that truly offers alternative transportation amenities means reconciling some difficult relationships. CityLab sums up the issues with transitioning to a multimodal community.

Excerpt:

"Supporting many modes requires including multiple actors in the planning process, all with different priorities and preferences. More travel choices also means private entrepreneurs will take the lead on some services normally offered by the public sector: from taxi or bus services to parking management to goods movement. And with the benefits of redefining and reallocating street space in a multi-modal system come new political problems in terms of fighting for that space, too."

Read the rest here.

U-M professor's graphic novel to debut as film at Sundance

U-M School of Art and Design professor Phoebe Gloeckner made a splash in 2002 with her lauded graphic novel, The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Now she's poised to find an even bigger audience as the film adaptation, starring Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard, is set to debut at next week's Sundance Film Festival

Excerpt:

" Over the years, I've been approached by three different directors about turning the book into a film but I was never comfortable with the vision that they presented. Maybe it was because I had my own vision for a film version. Then, Marielle Heller approached me about creating a play. I thought that was so insane and couldn't imagine it whatsoever, so I said yes. Over the last eight years, as she was researching and writing, we developed a strong relationship and I grew to trust her. So when she approached me about turning the play into a film, I said yes."


Read the rest here.  Watch an interview here.
Catch the Sundance listing here.

 

Top U.S. metros have an over supply of parking spaces

Just because you ate doesn't means we've solved world hunger. Just because it snows doesn't mean global warming isn't happening. Just because you can't find a parking space doesn't mean there aren't enough. In fact, research shows that the top 27 U.S. metro regions are have a nearly 65 percent over supply.

Excerpt:

Some new research reminds us just how oversupplied parking really tends to be in American metro areas: in a word, enormously. Rachel Weinberger and Joshua Karlin-Resnick of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates analyzed parking studies of 27 mixed-use districts across the United States and found "parking was universally oversupplied, in many cases quite significantly." On average across the cases, parking supply exceeded demand by 65 percent.

Read the rest here.

U-M grads seeks to promote social entrepreneurship with Arbor Brothers

From the University of Michigan to Teach For America to Wall Street, a pair of U-M alums get together for a beer at Ashley's and realize that they still wan't to make the world a better place. Enter Arbor Brothers, a part-time philanthropic organization that helps facilitate social entrpreneurship.

Excerpt:

"While maintaining their day jobs, the two started with a few pilot projects. They spent 100 hours with Nick Ehrmann, then a Ph.D. student at Princeton University, who founded Blue Engine, a nonprofit that places teaching assistants in public high schools in New York City. They worked with Hot Bread Kitchen, an organization that empowers women and minority entrepreneurs in culinary workforce programs, a loan package that financed a move to a full-time kitchen. Then in September 2010, they quit their jobs and focused all their efforts on Arbor Brothers."

Read the rest here.
 

Why Ann Arbor gets shout outs on Parks And Recreation

So, that's why! Good to know the show's writers didn't just close their eyes and jab their finger at a map. Always nice to get some hometown love, eh?

Excerpt:

"You may wonder why the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan is mentioned so frequently on Parks and Recreation. The answer for that is simple. Aside from Ann Arbor being a close distance from fictional Pawnee, Indiana,  Executive Producer Michael Schur was born in the city. He was later raised in West Hartford, Connecticut. The city of Pawnee was founded in 1817, which is when the University of Michigan located in Ann Arbor was also founded. Ann Arbor is where Ann and Chris move to during season six."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor GenZ scooter makes a small splash at CES

Alternative personal transportation that cost pennies to fuel were on display at CES in Las Vegas and Ann Arbor was in the house, with the GenZ electric scooter.

Excerpt:

"Key specs of the GenZe include a seven-inch touch screen display and a removable, rechargeable battery that can be charged at any 110v outlet. The vehicle tops out at 30 mph and can travel 30 miles on a full charge. While license requirements may vary by state, most will not require a full motorcycle license for operation. Built domestically in Ann Arbor, MI, the product will launch in March 2015 in California and Oregon."

Read the rest here.

Local startups use crowd funding to get a leg up

Crains offers a step-by-step primer on how local startups used crowd funding to get their businesses off the ground.

Excerpt:

"Locally, cousins Lucy Carnaghi and Molly Mitchell used Kickstarter last year to raise the final $19,000 they needed to open Rose's Fine Food on East Jefferson Avenue. And Avegant Corp., an Ann Arbor-based startup, raised $1.5 million to produce a video headset called Glyph. 

But donors don't own any part of the business, and there is little to no recourse for them if a company fails to send the promised rewards. Kickstarter is littered with failures."

Read the rest here.

Conquer the Cold commuting pulls in record number of participants

Now entering its third year, Ann Arbor's getDowntown commuter challenge has registered more than 500 people to commit to winter weather non-automotive commutes in the month of January.

According to getDowntown's Business Services Director Nancy Shore the current stats are:

413 people have logged at least 1 commute so far
2,885 commutes have been logged in total
Most popular types of commutes logged: Walk, Walk & Bus.

Check out the photo documentation of getDowntown's Facebook page. And check out the inspirational comics drawn by local artist Bruce Worden here

Mayor Taylor's commitment to art has Interlochen roots

Ann Arbor's new mayor has made his support of public art and the arts in general very clear. Interlochen, the renown arts education institution, believes it played an important role in the mayor's formative years.

Excerpt:

"While arts and politics may not seem a natural match, Taylor says his experiences in the arts have helped him in his years in elected office. “I see Interlochen’s influence with both skills and substance. Substantively, it gave me an appreciation for the arts and for culture, which are crucial to place-making and successful city planning. On the skills side, the training I had as a singer and actor helps with stage presence and public speaking."

Read the rest here.

Zingerman's and laboratory mice meet in bacteria study

Apparently researchers at U-M will spare no expense in their quest for knowledge. Even if it means feeding mice $6 loaves of bread.

Excerpt:

"As it turns out, the Zingerman's diet appears to have fueled the growth of the mannans-consuming B. thetaiotaomicrons — more so than other bacteria that lacked that ability to process mannans."

Read the rest here.

Hackathon hits this weekend

For the 36 hours this weekend, students will immerse themselves in a world of programming codes and junk food in hopes of winning the nation's largest programming marathon with an incredible new product or application. Expect the air to be filled with excitement and B.O.

Excerpt:

"According to the University of Michigan Engineering Department, the event is the largest student-run hackathon in the country. In 2014, the school says MHacks attracted over 1,200 college and high school students from 100 schools."

Read the and/or listen to the rest here.

 

U-M Solar Car team race in Abu-Dhabi this week

Can U-M solar car designers and racers make it six for six? With a quintet of first place wins, Abu Dahbi offers them their latest chance to impress.

Excerpt:

"The Michigan-Abu Dhabi team will drive the Quantum, the Ann Arbor university's vehicle that won its fifth national title in a row last year at the American Solar Challenge competition.

Read more here.

Michigan needs more millennials

For any who reads this publication, statements like these should come as no surprise. We've been saying this since we started more than five years ago. But it's nice to see local editorialists catch up.

Excerpt:

Of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country, only Cleveland has a smaller percentage of millennials than Detroit, said Kurt Metzger, a demographics expert who retired last year as head of Data Driven Detroit.

Meanwhile metro Detroit has the third-highest percentage of baby boomers to total population among the largest metro areas, he said.

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor considered a top dining destination

Move over Chicago, the small but epicurious town of Ann Arbor is looking to steal some of your restaurant thunder. Or so says a writer at MainStreet Newspapers Inc.

Excerpt:

"Traditional Ethiopian food, a Turkish café and an Irish Pub are just a few of the dining experiences awaiting visitors to Ann Arbor, Mich., one of the top food towns in the Midwest. You can taste food from around the world in the charming town of Ann Arbor. With more than 300 restaurants, Ann Arbor offers something for everyone from friends looking for a fun spot to dinner to family gatherings to couples out for a romantic meal."

Read the rest here.
 

Former entrepreneur joins SPARK to assist new startups

Though it meant a pay cut, entrepreneur Bill Mayer has settled in as the vice president of entrepreneur services at Ann Arbor SPARK. The Freep chatted with him about his job.

Excerpt:

Q: OK. Let's say, I'm just a guy who just got laid off from the line, and I decide I have the next best product, next great idea — and I want to start my own business. How do I build my network and surround myself with smart people?
A: Well, so that's why places like SPARK, TechTown and Automation Alley exist. They tend to be hubs for entrepreneurial activity. If you are an entrepreneur, like entrepreneurship, you are kind-of a tech junkie, you work for a start-up, you just want to see what this entrepreneurship is all about, come to a SPARK event. There are like-minded people here. If we have have 100 people at an event, and you don't walk away with 15 business cards, it's bad on you. We try to make it easy. And in the Midwest, we tend to be a pretty friendly bunch. One person will introduce you to three, each of those people will introduce you to three more.

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor among best cities for global trade

No, not because there are big plans to turn the Huron River into a water trade route. Those days are long gone. It's our proximity to influential universities that makes us a contender. 

Excerpt:

"Think of this as a collection of helpful tips. We think you should consider these cities when looking, for instance, for a great business environment, a well-educated or skilled workforce, a globally minded city or assistance with your site-selection process."

Read the lists here.
 

Ann Arbor sixth grader stars in Ukraine's top film choice

It's not every day that an eleven year old Ann Arbor kid gets a leading role in a feature film. Rarer still is the kid who gets cast in an Ukrainian film. But it must be winning the lottery kind of numbers to end up in a foreign film that's been submitted for consideration for the 2015 Oscar for Best Foreign Language flick. Local sixth grader Anton Sviatoslav Greene hit all three.

Excerpt:

"Anton's chance to star in a foreign film came about quite unexpectedly. But his determination to succeed at acting didn't surprise his parents, Arthur Greene, a University of Michigan music professor with Ukrainian heritage, and Solomia Soroka, a Goshen College music professor and native of Ukraine.

Soroka found out about the casting call through an e-mail from a friend in Toronto. Not really expecting anything to come of it, the family sent a video made with an iPad of Anton reading poems and playing the piano."

The movie already played at the Michigan Theater but we still think it's awfully cool.

Read the rest here.
 

Why the complete street concept is important to downtowns

It's amazing what one image can convey. When thinking about our downtowns it can be shocking to realize just how much real estate we sacrifice to automobiles. Swedish artist Karl Jirg makes how little space we afford pedestrians (in our supposedly most walkable neighborhoods) to cars.

Excerpt:

"Jirg’s image shows a pedestrian crossing an intersection, but instead of a crosswalk, the walker is on a plank of wood;instead of providing safe passage in front of cars, the plank spans a rather deep looking chasm. On a nearby sidewalk, you see pedestrians sharing a narrow space between buildings and the ominous hole. A small child tugging at a woman’s hand to run ahead toward the intersection takes on a new sense of danger considering the abyss just a wrong step away."

See and read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor and DTE team to build solar farm at the airport

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? The venerable mostly coal-dependent energy company DTE has decided to partner with Tree Town to build a roughly 10-acre solar array out at the Ann Arbor airport.

Excerpt:

"DTE spokesman Scott Simons says the solar array would be a continuation of the utility’s Solar Currents program and would help Detroit-based DTE meet the state’s renewable energy standards. Simons says most of its renewable energy is coming from wind power.

Simons says power would go directly to the grid and would produce enough energy to power about 150 homes."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor has more VC per capita than Silicon Valley

Guy Turner of Hyde Park Ventures makes a startling discovery: that Ann Arbor is attracting an impressive amount of venture capital for its mid-stage companies. Possibly, the highest per capita in the nation.

Excerpt:

"Ann Arbor is one of the most concentrated pockets of talent, thought leadership and willingness to take risk in the country. This is what happens when a world renowned university draws talented students and their spouses/partners into its gravity… and then often retains graduates locally who love the smart but quaint college town life. Four of the five most active venture markets outside of the Bay Area are college towns"

Read the rest here.
 

New York Philharmonic partners with UMS for 5 year Ann Arbor residency

Concerts, classes and workshops are part of a five year Ann Arbor residency for one of the nation's premiere orchestras. 

Excerpt:

"The University Musical Society announced today a five-year residency partnership that will bring the New York Philharmonic to Ann Arbor for three extended appearances between 2015 and 2020. The residencies, underwritten by a seven-figure donation to UMS, will include multiple concerts each year, master classes and workshops for students and a range of public activities designed to connect the orchestra with the community in southeastern Michigan."

Read the rest here.
 

Millennials look to invest with social purpose

Along with all the other labels that get affixed to millennials how about socially responsible? As in, putting their values and ethics where their money is.

Excerpt:

"That has investment firms in the sector ecstatic about their growth prospects as millennials enter their prime saving and investing years, and potentially inherit trillions of dollars from grandparents and parents. Some even see a new style of "caring capitalism" emerging to reverse the global trend of income and wealthy inequality.

Nydia Cardenas, a 28-year-old MBA student at the University of Michigan, believes that Wall Street needs a makeover.

"I feel like the system is set up to breed greed," she said. "But I think finance can be used in a really positive way to transform society."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M helps entrepreneurs develop a better eye dropper

With an assist from UM3D Lab’s Cube printers, Dr. David Lorch and Dr. Marius Tijunelis developed a clever eye dropper guide. 

Excerpt:

"During a fellowship at the University of Michigan Medial Center, David Lorch and his partners searched for problems that patients regularly face.

The fellowship was designed to teach the entrepreneurial process along the way, leading towards the invention of DROPin, a new and easier way for patients to distribute eye drops."

Read the rest here.
 

Forbes puts Ann Arbor's Rich Sheridan in the spotlight

Imagine: treat your workers like real, valuable human beings and seek to inspire them and your business will not only succeed, you'll be heralded as a workplace genius.

Question #4 is probably the best of the lot.

Excerpt:

"One yellow sign in his office reads, “Caution: Babies and Dog Crossing.” That’s because Menlo allows workers to bring their dogs and newborns to the office. Dogs are allowed because, “Quite frankly, we think it adds to the joy,” Sheridan says. “There’s something about those 4-legged, furry creates that brings out a smile in everybody.” Babies are allowed because 7 years ago, one worker named Traci didn’t have day care options or family nearby to help watch her daughter after the typical 3-month maternity leave. Sheridan told her, “Just bring her in to work.” So Traci brought Maggie in to the office all day, every day for four months. “It was such a wonderful experience,” Sheridan says. So eight other babies have joined the firm in the last 7 years and the office awaits two new babies right now, who will be joining “Menlo dads” in the office soon."

Read the rest here.
 

India now Dominos Pizza's second biggest market


Man cannot live by vindaloo and tandoori alone. Sometimes there must also be cheap pizza.

Excerpt:

"India now has an insatiable appetite for pizzas. And, Domino’s is riding high on the subcontinent’s love for fast food.

India is now the American pizza maker’s second biggest market, the Economic Times newspaper reported today. It has 818 Domino’s Pizza restaurants, the second highest in the world."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor needs the rest of Michigan more than it thinks (and vice versa)

Here's a convincing argument for why Michigan's varied and silted business communities should find more -eek, we're going to say it - synergy… or common ground.

Excerpt:

"The story in Ann Arbor is completely different. Despite its proximity to Detroit, Ann Arbor does not depend on the same massive companies. With the University of Michigan as an intellectual, cultural, and financial hub, the industry is knowledge and the spirit is an entrepreneurial one: people don’t depend on pre-existing companies—they start new ones. Consider the fact that the founders of Google and Groupon, and dozens of other successful new economy entrepreneurs, got their start in Ann Arbor.

The thing about Ann Arbor, though, is that all this start-up energy and growth is unsustainable. The people who start new companies don’t stay in Ann Arbor. They move elsewhere, to places where they can get the capital they need to quickly grow."

Read the rest here.
 

The art of the nap

Don't you wish more local firms emulated U-M's recognition that naps could do wonders for productivity?

Excerpt:

"And more and more people are doing just that. Companies like Google, Ben & Jerry’s and Proctor and Gamble encourage employees to take nap breaks. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is one of several colleges to set up rooms for napping. (Located in the school’s library, UM’s nap station is equipped with vinyl cots, disposable pillowcases, and a 30-minute time limit.) And Barclays PLC, a global financial group, got some unwanted publicity last year, when the Wall Street Journal revealed that exhausted interns were slipping into stalls to take “toilet naps,” using their phones as an alarm. And then there’s Google Naps, a parody of Google Maps, which can tell you the best places in your city to catch a few winks—from libraries to park benches."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M moves to #6 for most students studying abroad

The University of Michigan moved from 10th to 6th in the rank of higher education institutions with the most students studying abroad between 2012 ans 2013. This represented a 15-percent increase, with 2, 365 students studying overseas (for academic credit)

On the flipside, U-M dropped three ranks for schools that host international students.

You can check out all the stats here. Kind of like baseball, ain't it?

 

Lansing and Ann Arbor, economic rivals as well?

Oh, how the mighty might fall. Not only is U-M's football in decline, overshadowed by the green and white, Ann Arbor may soon see its economic dominance eclipsed by Lansing as well.

Excerpt:

"But if growth trends continue, perhaps Lansing is poised to take the lead here as well after trailing Ann Arbor for 13 years.

In the Lansing region, which includes Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, GDP grew by 2.4 percent in 2013 over the previous year, with more growth expected from a series of recent plant investments by General Motors. But in the Ann Arbor region, which includes Washtenaw County, 2013 growth was an anemic .7 percent."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor ranked as Michigan's second most LGBT-friendly city

And the competition continues, with East Lansing edging us out on the LGBT-friendly designation, scoring a perfect 100 out of 100. Knocked from its first-place slot, Ann Arbor secures number two with 83 out of 100 according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Excerpt:

"The Human Rights Campaign examined 353 municipalities in the U.S. to see how open their governments are toward people who identify as as being lesbians, gay, bisexual or transgender. East Lansing scored a perfect 100 out of 100 total points, based on six criteria that focused on city laws and government outreach; it was one of only 38 cities in the U.S. to do so, according to the report.

The study said that being open to gays and lesbians can help cities develop and attract talent, an issue in Michigan, where attracting college grads has been a challenge. "Being welcoming to all residents and visitors reflects the core values of our university community," East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett said in the report, released Wednesday. "It's part of who we are."

The city, for example, has an ordinance banning discrimination against the LGBT community and also includes transgender people in health coverage."

Read the rest here.

The state of Detroit's startup scene

Ann Arbor likes to think that it exists in a magical economic and political bubble. But the truth is, we are part of the Detroit metro region and its fortunes impact our fortunes. And so as our community's entrepreneurial ecosystem strengthens it only makes sense that we should pay better attention to Motown's situation... especially as more and more U-M grads choose to move there.

Excerpt:

"Detroit has lost more than 20 percent of its population 25 years and over in the last decade, according to U.S. Census Data. But a more shocking statistic indicates a different narrative: the population of college-educated residents under 39 year-olds increased by 59 percent in the 7.1 square mile area of Greater Downtown from 2000 to 2010, according to a Forbes report from 2011.

“There is a certain demographic that comes to Detroit that is well-educated, affluent and white and wants to do something,” said Associate Prof. Nick Tobier, who teaches topics like social entrepreneurship in the University’s School of Art & Design. “I mean that in good and bad ways.”

Now, Detroit is building an ecosystem of entrepreneurship, including venture capitalists — those who provide early-stage funding to promising startups — entrepreneurship-focused non-profits; lawyers; a tech-savvy Chamber of Commerce; office hubs, the vibrant urban areas that innovators crave and months-long programs that provide funding and mentorship to innovators."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor Library among best in nation

Ann Arbor's library system gets five stars with regard to circulation and services. How about we construct a downtown building that honors that sterling reputation?

Excerpt:

"For the seventh straight year, the library system has earned a five-star ranking in the Library Journal's yearly Index of Public Library Services. "

Read the rest here.
 

The Bridge breaks down Ann Arbor's economy

Did you know we rank third among Michigan's economic regions but 241st among the nations top 382 metro areas? Check out The Bridge's thumbnail analysis of Ann Arbor's economy and enlighten yourself!

Read it here.
 

Build bike lanes and they will come

Gotta love a story that starts "...from the Journal of Duh…". Apparently, research shows that if you provide people with good biking infrastructure they'll -gasp!- use it. Crazy, I know.

Excerpt:

"In short, folks who live near the off-road trails switched to cycling to work at a higher rate than people who don’t. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of U.S. bike commuters has increased 60 percent over the last 10 years. The shift to pedal power in Minneapolis has been even more pronounced: Bicycling among workers who live within three miles of the Greenway shot up 89 percent during the decade of data."

Read the rest here.
 

Houston VC firm opens in Ann Arbor

Somebody smells money. If there's one thing Texans don't fool around about it's football, oil and, of course, making money. To wit, Houston-based venture capital firm Mercury Fund has set up shop in The Deuce.

Excerpt:

"He said there is a depth of engineering, computer science and machine-learning talent in the area, bolstered by graduates of the University of Michigan. One of Mercury's main areas of investment is biotech, and there are numerous contract research organizations in Ann Arbor that were founded by former Pfizer Inc. employees after it closed its local operations in 2008."

Read the rest here.
 

NASA tests Ann Arbor firm's wing innovation

Flexfoil, a company that's no stranger to Concentrate, is having their flexible flap design flight tested by none other than NASA. How cool is that?

Excerpt:

"The flap design is a variable geometry airfoil system called FlexFoil, which was designed and built by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based FlexSys Inc. The FlexFoil has already been installed and the first flight-test has been completed on a Gulfstream III test airplane."


Read the rest here

Ann Arbor "Hackomotive" winner sell stake in mobile app

Ann Arborite Steve Schwartz is one third of a trio of entrepreneurs (one in Lansing, one in Seattle) who developed an app called Carcode, that connects customers and auto dealerships via text message. Success took less than a year.

Excerpt:

"Berkowitz would not disclose financial terms of the deal. But Gorton and his team said the transaction was “life-changing.” The group also declined to accept investment offers while launching Carcode, which allowed each of them to keep a larger ownership share."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor in top 10 for construction job growth

Look at all the giant cranes around town and it should be little surprise that Ann Arbor is a destination for construction employment. In this case we're seventh on the list.

Excerpt:

"In addition to being the home of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is also number 7 on our list of top cities for job growth in construction. From August 2013 to August 2014, the Tree Town had a total construction job growth of 18.4 percent. Though job growth in construction is strong, the University of Michigan remains the city’s largest employer. The city is also a regional hub for technology, biotechnology, health services, research and manufacturing."

Read the rest of the list here.
 

Washtenaw County an early adopter of single point of entry homeless services

As financial support dwindles, nonprofits that are part of homeless service system are adopting new strategies to offer care. 

Excerpt:

"Here's how it works in Washtenaw: A nonprofit organization called Housing Access handles all visits from potential clients. A separate 24-7 hotline operated by the county's Salvation Army fields calls for services. Staff members then assign clients a vulnerability rating that determines what kind of services individuals receive.

Outside of a few exceptions, such as the domestic violence shelter, the organizations don't field calls directly from potential clients. By having just one agency screen potential clients, the system streamlines the intake process and ensures that all participating agencies receive the same data, making it easier for agencies to coordinate on getting clients a shelter bed."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's Avegant raises $9+ million. Is this the future of video?

Could Glyph be the next generation in entertainment viewing? Some big investors are betting on that to be the case.

Excerpt:

"Glyph is based on technology developed by Dr. Allan Evans, a graduate of the University of Michigan, and relies on images that are generated from reflected light, which mimics how the human eye sees the world.

Each headset incorporates an array of tiny mirrors that reflect light onto the retina. Reflection creates images that are crisp, avoiding the pixelated effect of images on older televisions and on smartphones, for instance, when their screens are too close to the eye, the company said.

Video for Glyph is generated from a smartphone or other mobile device and connects to Glyph through an HDMI cable that Avegant provides."

Read the rest here.

 

Ann Arbor's secret auto lab

Shhhh. It's a secret. There's a lab in A2, the only Federal testing facility in the country, that determines what a car's m.p.g. rating really is. Or so the Freep tells us. There's no telling how many reporters they lost getting this information.

Excerpt:

"The MPG audits performed in Ann Arbor are increasingly important with several companies forced to restate inaccurate fuel economy figures. Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have had to revise their claims and some have sent compensation checks to owners.

The accuracy police at the EPA have changed some of their testing, now auditing more aspects of each vehicle as a result of the misleading stickers. And the lab in Ann Arbor, which is the only federal lab to do fuel testing, continues to expand its overall."

Read the rest here.

How cities can make smarter economic choices

Bruce Katz of the Brooking's Institute has some advice for metro regions… and points to San Diego as a city that 'gets it.'

Excerpt:

"We have 100 metropolitan areas that really power our economy forward. They all have really distinct economic profiles — what they make, the services they provide, what they trade, who they trade with. Buffalo is not like Boston. San Diego is not like Syracuse. In the great words of Dolly Parton: “find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Cities should invest in those things that will really power their distinct economy forward — in some places that might be an investment in a port or an airport.  Everywhere it will require an investment in skills but it needs to be really customized to the kind of economy you have.

Read the rest here.
 

How living wage requirements impact nonprofits

Ann Arbor's living wage ordinance comes under review in an evaluation of how living wage ordinances (ie. increases in minimum wage salaries) would impact their ability to execute their mission. NPQ weighs the pros and cons.

Excerpt:

"Increasingly, the sentiment among political leaders is that nonprofits may not always warrant the exemption. In some living wage ordinance structures, nonprofit organizations have an opportunity to demonstrate a need to be exempted from the wage increase. For example, in Ann Arbor, the Community Action Network applied for exemption from the local living wage ordinance, which the original ordinance permitted based on need. However, in granting the exemption from the ordinance, CAN had to submit a plan to demonstrate how it would come into compliance with the living wage rate (at that time, in 2012, $12.17 an hour for employers paying for health insurance, $13.57/hour for those not providing health insurance) in three years."

Read the rest here.
 

Spreading awesomeness throughout Ann Arbor and Detroit

Check out these two philanthropic groups that are making Ann Arbor and Detroit (and points  in between) more awesome $1000 at a time.

Excerpt:

"The Awesome model is a simplified, smaller-scale version of traditional philanthropic foundations. Detroit and Ann Arbor’s trustees meet monthly to sort through anywhere from 10-30 proposals, funding whatever project best spreads “awesomeness” in their respective communities.

“We don’t follow any rules,” said Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation dean Mark Maynard. “We don’t answer to a board. People make a choice as to where they give their personal money, and then they do it.”

Read the rest here.
 

Thomson Reuters expands, to add 300 jobs over five years

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) approved a $2.4 million Michigan Business Development Programperformance-based grant for Thomson Reuters to grow its presence in the Ann Arbor area. Pittsfield Township to be exact. That supposedly means a few hundred new jobs.

Excerpt:

"Thomson Reuters worked with Ann Arbor SPARK to secure the MEDC incentives. Pittsfield Township will consider offering support of the project in the form of a property tax abatement, the release says."

Read the rest of the press release reportage here.
 

NY Times reviews musical inspired by Ann Arbor's Davy Rothbart

Local boy - turned found letters, notes and memos guru - turned filmmaker Davy Rothbart can now add theater artist to his ever expanding resume of projects.

Excerpt:

“Found,” which opened on Tuesday night at the Atlantic Theater Company, derives its title and much of its text from the magazine of the same name, which publishes collections of such writings. (“You have to make up your mind Mr. Dickens, ’twas either the best of times or the worst of times; it could scarcely be both.”) Davy Rothbart, the founder of Found, the magazine, is basically the principal character, and the musical, with a book by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree, and music and lyrics by Eli Bolin, tells the (semi-fictionalized) story of the “Eureka!” moment of the magazine’s birth and, eventually, its near-death by success.

Read the rest of the mostly positive review here.
 

Zingerman's co-founder weighs in on minimum wage

Paul Saginaw, co-founder and partner at Zingerman's blogs about his company's commitment to a thriveable wage for its employees.

Excerpt:

"I hear many in the restaurant industry say raising menu prices will result in customer loss and diminished profits, but I reject that and question the scale of those profit margins, wondering if the margins are maintained by shorting their employees. Customers have voted with their pocketbooks for locally sourced, organic, and free-range products. Now is a prime time to educate “voters” for ethical employment practices as well.

Many myths about the industry workforce and the minimum wage create a false reality and highly unproductive debate. The truth is that livable wages and profits are not mutually exclusive, and Zingerman’s are not the only businesses to know this and operate accordingly. RAISE, an alternative restaurant association, is aligning businesses across the nation to adopt “high road” labor practices. Zingerman’s Community of Businesses joined. I sense that there is public readiness to join this growing business leadership and leverage its consumer dollars to “vote” for raising standards for workers."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M researcher considers mass extinction

And because no hump day would be complete without some depressing news… U-M researcher and ecologist Anita Narwani warns and worries about the recent die-off of species around the globe. You might ask: "But why is this important?" Well, more than the issue at hand (our planet's potential demise) is shows the kind of important, far-reaching work that is being done at U-M.

Excerpt:

"It is too soon to declare that Earth is undergoing a sixth mass extinction, Narwani says. She defines a mass extinction as the loss of 75 percent of species over 2 million years or less. We haven’t lost that many — at least not yet. But if current rates of species losses continue, such a mass extinction could occur in just 300 years.

“This is a very short time relative to the time frame for the previous mass events,” she points out. Such an event would leave a telltale absence of many species in the fossil record. From that point on, fossils of the vanished species would no longer appear in the pages of Earth’s rock-based diary."

Read the rest here.
 

Aficionados love Ann Arbor La Dolce Vita Cigar Bar

Who would have guessed: a cigar magazine praises a local cigar bar? Though if you're going to pick an Ann Arbor location to light up, La Dolce Vita is a pretty darn good choice.

Excerpt:

"Michigan law prohibits dining while you smoke, so you can't order from The Chop House menu at La Dolce Vita. Instead, have your meal at the restaurant, then move downstairs to the cigar-friendly La Dolce Vita. The basement walls of La Dolce Vita are dark with wood panels and natural stone exposed in certain areas, adding that "cellar feel." The lighting is dim and elegant. There are gas-lit lamps along the walls and an exposed ceiling that adds to the contemporary feel. Comfortable seating is located throughout the wine and cigar bar, including everything from traditional wood tables to plush couches.

Here you can indulge in a fine list of liquors and wines and a fine selection of cigars. For the spirits, there are more than 10 types of Woodford Reserve Bourbon alone—selections that stand out among a generous drink list. A wide range of cigars are available to guests, and the smokes have suggested wine pairings presented on tablets. The tablets serve as a convenient and visual alternative to traditional menus. Popular cigar options include Arturo Fuente Hemingways, Ashton Classic and VSG, Cohiba, Davidoff, San Cristobal, Montecristo and Rocky Patel. Flavored cigars are also available."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M researchers chart profound changes in the American family

Children born out of wedlock, later marriages, more mixed-race children, older mothers - the profile of the 'American family' is going through some dramatic changes. But chill. It's all good. Things change. We don't marry off our 12 year old daughters for a couple of goats anymore either.

Excerpt:

"The new American family is not nearly as white as it used to be. In fact, white babies may already be in the minority. In addition, mixed-race couples have become far more common, and more gay couples have started families. Unmarried households headed by same-sex couples increased 80 percent in the 2010 Census from a decade earlier to almost 650,000, and an estimated 25 percent of those households are raising children."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor invaded by cuteness

The whimsical art of David Zinn has become such a main-stay here in Ann Arbor it's sometimes easy to forget how unique and special his chalk drawings are. Road bloggers certainly didn't take his work for granted as they passed through Ann Arbor.

Excerpt:

"What makes Zinn’s work really original is that he’s entirely self-taught. However, I reckon his degree in Creative Writing and English Language has helped him construct the fantastical worlds that he creates on the streets and sidewalks around Ann Arbor."

Check out the photos here.


Also, read this story in the Business Insider.
 

Ann Arbor-based Stratos develops one card to bind them all

We've covered Stratos big investment scores in a recent issue of Concentrate but it looks like TechCrunch just caught wind of the A2 company developing an all-in-one, inter-connected credit card.

Excerpt:

"The startup raised $5.8 million from Midwest and West Coast investors. San Francisco-based Toba Capital led the round with Western Technology Investment, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and Michigan-based Resonant Venture Partners also participating.

Stratos is one of the latest companies to come out of Ann Arbor. Olson was born in Michigan, and its CTO co-founded Detroit Labs. Stratos operates out of the same building that houses the hot security startup, Duo Security."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor architecture firm reimagines the city of the future

Welcome to the age of the megalopolis, where networks rather than borders define our community and commerse. Or so imagines a local architecture firm at a new exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture.

Excerpt:

"“Infra Eco Logi Urbanism” is the result of a research project devised by Geoffrey Thün, Kathy Velikov and Colin Ripley of RVTR, an architecture firm with offices in Toronto and Ann Arbor, Mich. Their approach illustrates one aspect of a sea change among architects: In the past few years, urban planners and design professionals have become much more intent on confronting such consequences of unchecked growth as air pollution, traffic congestion, contaminated waterways, blighted landscapes and invasive sprawl. They believe that inspirational planning can help make things better."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor among top 3 best small cities for college students

The rankings were actually determined by the American Institute for Economic Research. Are you getting list fatigue? We're getting a bit tuckered out keeping track of which top 10 list we've made thos month.

Excerpt:

"Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, came in second, with high levels of academic research and development per student and percentage of workers in "innovative" fields.

In third place, Ann Arbor, Michigan reported both a high percentage of college-educated residents as well as a high student concentration."

Read the rest here.
 

Tech Transfer reports a record year for U-M inventions

Go big or go home. Entrepreneurship is becoming a way of thinking at U-M and this year saw a big uptick in relationships with companies, new inventions and the formation of start-ups.

Excerpt:

"U-M Tech Transfer recorded number of advancements in fiscal year 2014, the university reported. Researchers reported 439 new inventions in fiscal year 2014, which is up from last year’s 421. Additionally, U-M Tech Transfer also recorded 148 option and license agreements compared to 108 agreements a year ago. There was also 14 start-ups launched, which brings the total number of businesses launched in the past five years to 55."

Read the rest here.

 

U-M student entrepreneur profiled

Three cool business innovations are profiled in Entrepreneur's "3 Student Startups That Are Going the Distance" and U-M chemical engineering major Carolyn Yarina made the list with her human-powered centrifuge built from bicycle parts.

Excerpt:

"Returning to India over the next two summers, she refined her concept and developed contacts. After graduating in 2013, she worked on her centrifuge full time, eventually developing a portable machine dubbed (r)Evolve that can alternate between manual power and electricity. She also lined up engineering and manufacturing support in India.

But it dawned on Yarina that she needed to go further. "Once I created our student organization and started going to business classes, I had an epiphany," she says. "Open-source designs are not a viable option if you actually want to get your product out there. If it was just about creating a process to separate blood, we would have been done four years ago."

Read the rest here.



 

Why traffic lanes shouldn't be 12 feet wide

Wider traffic lanes are not safer, nor better for a community. We must realign our thinking away from auto-centric policies and toward people-centric policies.

Excerpt:

"And states and counties almost always apply a 12-foot standard.

Why do they do this? Because they believe that wider lanes are safer. And in this belief, they are dead wrong. Or, to be more accurate, they are wrong, and thousands of Americans are dead.

They are wrong because of a fundamental error that underlies the practice of traffic engineering—and many other disciplines—an outright refusal to acknowledge that human behavior is impacted by its environment."


Read the rest here.




 

Sava Lelcaj makes Crain's "40 Under 40" list

It was inevitable. I mean, seriously, is there an entrepreneur more responsible for transforming downtown Ann Arbor than Sava Lelcaj?

Excerpt:

"In the meantime, Lelcaj and her team are preparing to launch a product line and open two new “grocerants,” a concept that she describes as a marriage between a traditional grocery store and a restaurant. The markets will sell ready-to-eat/heat food as well as products from the company’s new line. Both grocerants will be located in Ann Arbor, with one at 2835 Boardwalk and the other at 12 Nickels Aracade. "

Read the rest here.

The town that driverless cars built

Robotic pedestrians and tricky intersections -probably with traffic circle-ignorant drivers- will be part of the research and testing town created for driverless car research.

Excerpt:

"A mocked-up set of busy streets in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will provide the sternest test yet for self-driving cars. Complex intersections, confusing lane markings, and busy construction crews will be used to gauge the aptitude of the latest automotive sensors and driving algorithms; mechanical pedestrians will even leap into the road from between parked cars so researchers can see if they trip up onboard safety systems."

Read the rest here.

A conversation about affordable housing in Ann Arbor

Both Mark Maynard and the Metro Times have decided to tackle the issue of affordable housing - or rather the growing lack of such - in Ann Arbor. As usual their thoughts are both insightful and empathetic.

Excerpt from Mark Maynard:

"I don’t have any problem with affordable housing. I think it’s a good thing. What I have a real problem with, however, is segregation. I have a problem with a system where it’s accepted that some towns are “too nice” for the poor. And I find it doubly infuriating when these nice, liberal communities, once they’ve forced their most vulnerable citizens beyond their borders, mount campaigns to stop attempts at regional cooperation, as we recently saw play out in the battle over the AATA’s expanded role in providing bus service within Washtenaw County. Many people in Ann Arbor cried out that they didn’t want their tax dollars going to fund the transportation of people in Ypsilanti, in spite of the fact that many of those people were probably Ann Arborites before they were forced out due to the cost of living. And the same goes for everything from our public schools to our police departments."

Excerpt from the Metro Times:

"It's a good post, one that inspired a lot of people to join in with comments of their own. The general tone is one of despair at what Ann Arbor has become, how it has fallen from its days as a scrappy campus town with a good mix of incomes. After reading them, we come away agreeing that without lots of different kinds of people of different classes with different perspectives, a city is a less interesting place. As for subsidies, one needn't not have a job to not receive subsidies. The fact is, everybody in the United States gets some sort of subsidy, not just the odd person who makes it their life's work to avoid earning a living."


Read Mark's observations and opinions here.

Read the Metro Times respone here.
 

Ann Arbor charms the socks off a Canadian travel writer

They come from all over but leave singing our praises. Another travel writer (this time from the Great White North), another glowing report about Ann Arbor as a travel destination.

Excerpt:

"As I explored the downtown area by foot, I found that this city seemed to resonate with its own special vibe, and its plethora of performing arts theatres, art studios, microbreweries, specialty shops, world-class museums, and numerous parks and green spaces all contributed to the special feeling I had there."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M spinout produces revolutionary battery technology

U-M tech innovation + entrepreneurial ambition = successful startup. See, math isn't so hard.

Excerpt:

"Produced by Sakti3, Inc., a self-proclaimed “spinout” company from the University of Michigan, the battery cell has double the energy density of a current lithium ion battery. In more specific terms, the battery produces over 1,100 Watt hours per liter (Wh/l) in volumetric energy density. Typical lithium-ion batteries produce between 250-730 Wh/l."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's blossoming condo market

And on the flipside of the affordable housing issue... we have this. Hmmm. Any chance our fair city could find a way to create greater (not less) economic diversity?  Because in case you hadn't noticed a few buildings have gone up in downtown Ann Arbor. And guess what? People are moving into them and paying big bucks to do so. Funny how the market works, huh? Demand meet limited supply.

Excerpt:

"Many of the current and earlier developments specifically cater to U-M students, offering additional near-campus living options aside from blocks of grubby old houses. Other projects have targeted high-earning professionals and empty-nesters and are filling up faster than local observers anticipated.

Fueling the boom has been an eagerness among lenders to finance high-end student housing projects, the willingness of parents to pay upwards of $1,400 a month for a child’s college bedroom, and what appears to be pent-up demand in general for amenity-filled Ann Arbor apartments."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M and startup community create an entrepreneurial ecosystem

What do you get when you mix one of the biggest, best-funded institutions in the country with an ever-growing list of aggressive entrepreneurial incubators? Answers revealed in the article link below!

Excerpt:

"Student organizations tout entrepreneurial spirit abound — namely MPowered, optiMize and MHacks — and administrative facilities and programs, like the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovate Blue, foster startup ideas and passion, providing resources that turn those concepts into realities.

Even outside the University, startup enthusiasm is everywhere. Incubators and consulting firms like TechArb, Ann Arbor SPARK and Menlo Innovations are in high demand — the former two even partner with the students through Innovate Blue."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor filled with brainiacs

Even folks in the U.K. are impressed by the size of our big brains. Which inspires one to ask: Does it also mean we also have big heads?

Excerpt:

Move over East Coast elite! Ann Arbor is America's most educated city but New York doesn't even make the top 50, study says:

-The Michigan city is number one among the nation's 150 largest metro areas, according to Wallet Hub
-The study analyzed nine metrics including number of workers in tech and science, quality/size of a city's universities and educational attainment
-Ann Arbor was followed by Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina; Provo, Utah; Provo, Utah; Manchester, New Hamphsire

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Farmer's Market featured on Today show

Truth be told, the guest was Joe Diaz from travel magazine Afar Media who suggested that the Ann Arbor Farmers Market would make a boffo fall getaway, touting it as "one of the most colorful and bountiful markets in the United States." But that still counts.

Watch the segment below.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Ann Arbor number two college town among small metros

With high scores in academic environment, good scores in quality of life and, well, less than good scores in professional opportunities, Ann Arbor still manged to take second place, sandwiched between Boulder, CO and Madison, WI.

Excerpt:

"The “college experience” is about more than simply attending a top-notch university. The city or town where the school is located also is important. The people students meet, the places they go, and the jobs they may hold are essential supplements to formal education."

Check out the rankings here.
 

Many support mass transit, but far fewer use it

Turns out that Onion headline ("98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others.") is pretty close to true. So, how does support turn into use?

Excerpt:

"They found no statistical connection between respondents who supported transit funding and those who wanted to drive less, or even those willing to use transit if it were more convenient. But respondents who believed "the community would benefit" had a 700 percent increase in odds of being a pro-transit voter. The researchers write in the journal Transportation: Put simply, Americans are more likely to see transit as a way to solve social problems than as a way to get around.

This doesn't have to be a bad thing, so long as people indefinitely keep paying for transit they don't use. Perhaps that's even a sign of societal maturity. But problems will arise if voters stop agreeing to devote their taxes to transit, because the broader benefits they've hoped for fail to materialize."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor-based musician creates app for bands and fans

What we at Concentrate love almost as much as a story about a local musician developing technology to help his fellow artists is that this U.K. publication considers Ann Arbor part of Detroit. Yay regionalization! That's the spirit!

Excerpt:

"The dad-of-two, who now splits his time between visiting his children in Preston and Ann Arbour in Detroit, has performed in front of 25,000 people at Ewood Park after winning the Rock FM Rock Idol competition back in 2002.

However, part of the ?reason for him developing the app was to allow musicians to have their music discovered without relying on radio play."

Read the rest here.
 

Another day, another best of list for Ann Arbor

So, the danger here is to point to the listicle and call it a day. But even if we are the 13th best place to live according to Livability.com (moving up a few spots from last year) that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, right? Or do we sound too much like a mom?

Excerpt:

"This quintessential Big Ten college town lays claim to the University of Michigan, which includes Michigan Stadium – the largest stadium in North America. Residents have easy access to the more than 300 restaurants located in a 20-mile radius of Ann Arbor, as well as the city's growing metropolitan area that features great schools, medical facilities, culture and more."

Check out who else made the list here.
 

The humans (and lizard people) of Ann Arbor

First there was the popular Facebook page "Humans Of New York," which supposedly sets out to capture the rich pageant of living in America's largest city. Then Ann Arbor created its rather more homogeneous counterpart. Then the inevitable happened. Grad student Jeremy Kaplowitz sought to unmask the lizard people of New York who actually control our world. Now that mission has spread to Ann Arbor as well… though no hidden reptilians have yet to be revealed. Yet. Further proof of a conspiracy?

Humans Of New York: https://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork

Lizard People Of New York: https://www.facebook.com/lizardpeopleofny

Humans of Ann Arbor: https://www.facebook.com/HumansOfAnnArbor

Lizard People of Ann Arbor: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lizard-People-of-Ann-Arbor

Auto industry showdown: driverless cars vs wireless cars

With Detroit's auto industry developing cars that can talk to one another in order to avoid traffic jams and keep drivers safe, and Google's plan to develop driver-less cars, there's a battle a brew in' for which technology will set the course of our auto future.

Excerpt:

"Among the advancements automakers announced at last week’s conference in Detroit was GM’s “Super Cruise” system for 2017 Cadillacs, which will let drivers take their hands off the steering wheel and feet from the pedals for periods of highway driving. Like technology being developed by Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and other companies, GM’s system hands control back and forth between driver and vehicle.

The approach that Mountain View, California-based Google is taking is, literally, much more hands-off. In May it unveiled plans to deploy at least 100 fully autonomous, two-seat, egg-shaped test cars with a top speed of 25 miles (40 kilometers) per hour and no steering wheel. Google has since said it will include one, as well as brake and gas pedals, as California requires."

Read the rest here.
 

Aut Bar voted Ann Arbor's best neighborhood bar

The outdoor courtyard seating alone made this a slum dunk. But there's so much more!

Excerpt:

"For the outdoor courtyard seating alone this one"Since we are talking about neighborhood bars, it certainly is not uncommon that neighborhoods have a particular political affiliation," said Orr. "You go to a Chicago neighborhood bar and there will be a certain political affiliation to it. Not that the LGBT community is completely monolithic in its beliefs, but we do believe in supporting the folks who are willing to step out and fight for our rights. So certainly in terms of political work for individual politicians, we have worked a lot in that way and we believe, for the most part, our clientele – our neighborhood, as it were – stands by us on it and understands why we do what we do." was a slum dunk."

Read the rest here.
 

Washington Monthly names U-M among 14 best universities in country

Ivy League, shmivey league. State schools are where it's at for world-class education. Or so say the scholars at The Washington Monthly.

Excerpt:

"The list is heavy on campuses from the University of California system, but we can't say we blame them. The University of Texas at Austin doesn't make the cut, but Texas A&M does, ranking ahead of both Harvard and Stanford. Compared to the U.S. News & World Report ranking, which the top 20 is entirely private schools, Washington Monthly's is mostly state universities. Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Yale all fail to even crack the top 50."

Read the rest here.

See the rankings here.
 

Pinkerton picks Ann Arbor as its HQ

Now you can apply to Pinkerton man in Ann Arbor. That's right, the security company that once protected Abraham Lincoln (but not on that fateful night) and chased Jesse James has come to town.

Excerpt:

"Pinkerton men tracked down Butch Cassidy and the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang and pursued Jesse James. Pinkerton agents were also a part of the historic Battle of the Overpass at the Ford River Rouge Plant in 1937.

Now, the 164-year-old security and risk management company is moving its global headquarters from New Jersey to Ann Arbor, Michigan."

Read / Listen the rest here.

Pinkerton announcement here.
 

Automated cars to be implemented by 2021?

We at Concentrate predicted this technology would be game-changing back in 2006, when few believed driverless cars would ever become a reality.  If only we could have made some bets...

Excerpt:

"The University of Michigan is working with carmakers on technology that would let vehicles talk to each other, all designed to reduce traffic congestion and automate cruise control and smooth out stop-and-go driving.

The hope is an automated car system will be developed and implemented by 2021. The system will be developed and tested in Ann Arbor, Mich., the location of the university, which is reportedly testing a pilot program."

Read the rest here.

More on this here. And here.


 

An ode to Ann Arbor's The Rock

At the corner of Washtenaw and Hill someone or ones make their mark - every day, for nearly the last 65 years.

Excerpt:

"While the multitude of writing it has accumulated over the years hasn’t lent it a lot of physical depth — in reality, the paint covering the Rock is only a few inches thick, as found by a Daily reporter who drilled through the paint in 2010 — its significance as a campus tradition both for students and alumni, as well as local residents, is uncontested."

Read the rest here.
 

Head of AATA Michael Ford tapped to head RTA

Inch by inch the Regional Transit Authority creeps into being, ever-so slowly moving toward the development of a regional public transportation system. Someday. Maybe. Hopefully. Yeah, we're cynical.

Excerpt:

"Ford faces many challenges in an area that has resisted regional transportation for decades. They include assembling a staff with a shoestring budget, helping to better coordinate services among the region’s transit providers and convincing voters in Macomb, Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties that a property tax hike is needed to fund RTA operations and the Bus Rapid Transit project up Woodward from Detroit to Pontiac."

Read the rest here

 

Hohokum video game debuts with Ghostly International's soundtrack

Hohokum is game and music album wrapped up in one.

Excerpt:

"It's somewhere between drawing and flying a kite," artist Richard Hogg tells me.

It's hard to explain what  Hohokum  is, but Hogg's description might just be the most apt. Launching today for the PlayStation 4 and Vita,  Hohokum  is a weird and wonderful world developed by British studio Honeyslug with Hogg providing whimsical, colorful art....

The music also plays a surprisingly large part in the experience. Your actions help bring each level to life, filling them with color and movement. But they also add more layers to the sound, with the soundtrack growing in depth the more you explore. And the Ghostly-provided tunes — some of which were composed specifically for the game — are a perfect fit..."

More here.

Biking has $668M economic impact on state, MDOT study says

Biking is going the distance in Michigan, in terms of economic and health benefits, tourism, and other outcomes, according to a recent study.

Excerpt:

"Bicycle riding in Michigan has an estimated $668 million economic benefit annually for  the state, according to a study released Thursday from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The benefit  comes from several factors, including sales of bikes and related equipment, money spent for tourism and reduced health care costs. The study also found that 39 percent of Michigan households reported using a bicycle for transportation last year...

The study also focused on how bikes are used in five Michigan communities...

In Ann Arbor, for example, people were more concerned about commuting and transportation..."

More here.

Ann Arbor a top college town for retirees

Interestingly, both retirees and professionals agree on what makes a city attractive to live in.

Excerpt:

"Intellectual engagement is one big draw...

The three-week Ann Arbor Summer Festival showcases more than 100 events, including dance, local bands, comedy and outdoor movies.

Ann Arbor is home to dozens of restaurants, from Caribbean to vegetarian to Tex-Mex. Transplanted New Yorkers will feel right at home sampling the bagels and pastrami at Zingerman’s Deli, an Ann Arbor institution since 1982."

More here.

U-M in top 10% of Forbes Top Colleges ranking

In this twist on typical college ranking methodologies, Forbes looks at what students take away from college vs. what it takes to get in.

Excerpt:

"The FORBES 7th annual Top Colleges ranking reveals higher education in flux, ongoing debate between the value of liberal arts vs. STEM degrees and a winning formula of high student satisfaction and graduation rates, alumni career success and low student debt...

What sets our calculation of 650 colleges and universities apart from other rankings is our firm belief in "output" over "input." We’re not all that interested in what gets a student  into  college. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting  out  of college."

More here

 

Was the Big House game a turning point for soccer in the U.S.?

The sports media was abuzz with the fact that the Real Madrid-Manchester United soccer game played at U-M Big House brought in 109,318 spectators. With tickets going for $100 and more, that's an economic event worth sitting upright for? But was it a one time fan event or a harbinger of things to come? Some believe it was more the former than the latter.

Excerpt:

"Among the major outlet process coverage of the match and the rest of European soccer’s American summer vacation, there have been think pieces of questioning the value of these European tours—whether they are a detriment to the growth of MLS, a ‘problem’ for American soccer as a whole, or merely a vapid commercial exercise. All of these things are potentially true, but they represent an ever-present insecurity that forms a divide within American soccer culture—that there is a right way to be an American soccer fan, that there is a right way to grow the sport in the United States, that these friendlies are fake."

Read the rest here.
 

Affordable housing and eco redevelopment in Ann Arbor

A pair of Ann Arbor affordable housing projects are under the microscope as WEMU looks at where green redevelopment and housing for lower income residents dovetail.

Excerpt:

"To 'better serve both its residents and our communities' public housing in Ann Arbor will become “greener,” healthier, more comfortable and more energy efficient, thanks to a project under way that includes significant involvement from the Ecology Center.

Jason Bing, healthy buildings director at the Ecology Center, is working with the Ann Arbor Housing Commission and Norstar Development on two new affordable housing projects that are intended to be models of green and healthy residential construction. When complete, the housing units should lower utility costs, as well as provide homes that are more comfortable and healthier for their residents."

Read/listen to the rest here.
 

U-M's struggle to adopt data-driven learning

Transitioning from traditional educational methods to our technology-aided, data-driven culture is a much more complicated and unwieldy than you might think.

Excerpt:

"But things were beginning to change. That same year, Michigan created a central data warehouse that has become a giant digital filing cabinet for all of the data collected by the university’s 19 schools and colleges. And soon universitywide management software vastly increased the amount of data flowing into that central warehouse.

More recently, Michigan has piped in data from its learning-management system that not only identify students and the courses they are taking, but also indicate how frequently they log in to the system, download digital course materials, and submit online assignments."

Read the rest here.

HomeGrown Festival kicks off September Bookfest

The HomeGrown Festival, which features, shockingly enough, local food, music, and drink, will be held at the Kerrytown Farmer's Market the night before the Kerrytown Bookfest - making the weekend a two-fer of community fun. There's a HomeBrew competitionso how bad could it be?

Visit the HomegRown Festival's site here. Check out their event brochure here. Info on Bookfest can be found here.
 

The secret to human-scaled cities? Smaller roads

This most excellent and passionate blog makes the case that the real secret to livable walkable communities is... smaller roads. We whole-heartedly agree. But good luck with that in Michigan.

Excerpt:

"We have to get out of the ugly habit of building such automobile-friendly environments. Once we make it automobile-friendly by adding wide roads and segregating automobile and pedestrian traffic, the automobile will take over. Remember, we fled from this. The result just happened to be worse, because we did not know any better. 

When we break the habit of building wide roads and segregating automobiles from pedestrians - even without having to ban them - we will begin building pleasant urban environments. "

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor ranked as "Most Intelligent College Town" in U.S.A.

Oh, look! We're on another list. What a surprise. Well, since we're so darn smart does that mean we can  coast on those IQ points for a little while and devote a week or two to drinking beer?

Excerpt:

"Here we are, finally at number 1 on the list, with the most intelligent college town in the nation being Ann Arbor, Michigan, where nearly half of the residents of the entire city boast a graduate degree or better. An economy that is driven by the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the city’s culture is immersed seamlessly into the intellectual climate of the famous academic institution. Indeed, many of the world’s greatest composers, poets, engineers, musicologists, and businessmen who teach at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor also find themselves regularly interacting within the town’s festivities, concert halls, public lectures, and forums, laying the foundation for an intellectual culture in one of the midwest’s most beloved cities. "

Read the rest here.
 

The Daily Show puts the Michigan Daily in the spotlight

What is the current state of journalism? Where does it go next? The Daily Show takes the Michigan Daily to task for its oh-so old timey ways in a segment called "Internet Killed the Newspaper Star."

Watch it below:

 

Local artist in the CriticCar spotlight

We've put our own spotlight on Cre Fuller and his fantastic Angry Tin Men in Concentrate in the past. Now, sporting a pair of award ribbons from Maker Faire, Detroit's CriticCar gets even more of his story.

Watch the video below.

 

Candidates for local political offices weigh in on the arts

The Arts Alliance conducted a survey of candidates running for office in Washtenaw County regarding their views of arts and culture. The results of their questionnaire have been gathered in this pdf document.

Interesting to see how many voice strong support for public art and its community importance but only hand-full seem to actively support public funding of the arts. You may conclude from that what you may.

Read the candidate answers here.
 

Ann Arbor startup lands on CNN's list of "game changing gadgets"

Ever want to be Jordi from Star Trek? Or Lobot from Star Wars? Have no idea what those references are? Don't worry, not being a geek doesn't mean you can't think these 3D goggl;es aren't cool.

Excerpt:

"From Michigan-based Avegant, the Glyph headset looks like a chunky set of headphones with a pop-down, "Star Trek"-style visor. (They promise a sleeker look for the final product).

It hooks up to a smartphone, TV, gaming device or laptop and uses a system of 2 million microscopic mirrors to beam the images directly into your retinas."

Read the rest here.
 

Bank of Ann Arbor takes on the big boys

While banks and bankers may not be the public's favorite folks in our age of controversial bail outs and investment instruments, The Bank of Ann Arbor is proving that a local institution can sometimes outperform a multi-national corporation.

Excerpt:

"In 2007, before the recession hit, the Bank of Ann Arbor was sixth in deposit market share with 8.04 percent in the city, with deposits of $329.8 million, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. KeyBank was No. 1 at 16.45 percent with deposits of $675.1 million.

As of June 30, 2013, the latest date for which data are available on the FDIC website, Chase was No. 1 at 17.3 percent with deposits of $901.6 million, while the Bank of Ann Arbor had climbed into second place at 12.38 percent and deposits of $646.2 million. "

Read the rest here.
 

A bold plan to develop transit parking lots

Atlanta is a city that is struggling with serious sprawl issues. In an attempt to address that MARTA, the metro area transit authority has decided to turrn under-utilized parking lots into mixed-use commercial and residential buildings.

Excerpt:

"In the long term, MARTA expects such upgrades to result in more riders, which in turn will mean more fare revenue. The big picture outlook also includes nicer public spaces for the city; each project requires a park or a plaza, and 20 percent of all housing must be affordable, says Rhein. MARTA is also looking into air rights development at four downtown stations—Lenox, Arts Center, Midtown, North Avenue—and working with the Urban Land Institute to target TOD opportunities in weaker real estate markets along the system's south and west lines."

Read the rest here.
 

A Chicagoan goes shopping in Ann Arbor

Amazingly, there's nary a mention of Zingerman's!

Excerpt:

"About a four-hour drive from Chicago, Ann Arbor Michigan may not be the ideal destination for a quick day trip. But if you have a weekend to spare—and an interest in cute boutiques, fairy teas, and serious pizza—it's worth taking a jaunt to the charming town."

Read the rest here.
 

Local mayoral candidates in the spotlight

It's primary season which means that in a mostly democratic town those seeking office tend to be determined in the dog days of summer primaries when voter turnout is low. Here's hoping that Concentrate readers turn out in higher percentages than the populace at large.

Ann Arbor News / mlive has a round up of links on how the candidates voted on various hot button issues here.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle explores what kinds of personas the candidates have carved out for themselves here.

The Ypsilanti Courier reports on mayoral forum here.

Ann Arbor News endorses Amanda Edmonds for Ypsilanti mayor here.

Ann Arbor News endorses Christopher Taylor for Ann Arbor mayor here.
 

A Jersey girl visits Ann Arbor

Ah... there's the Zingerman's mention.

Excerpt:

"Think of Ann Arbor and undoubtedly you'll think of the University of Michigan with its "Hail to the Victors" passion for college football and that massive Michigan Stadium — North America's largest, known to house some 114,000 crazed fans. 

But this city of 114,000 residents (not to mention the additional 30,000-plus U of Michigan students there during the school year) is more than just the "ultimate college town" — it's a fun-filled Midwestern mecca for fine dining, live music, and plenty of cultural happenings."

Read the rest here.
 

36 hours of beer in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor's amazing beer scene has almost become a given for those that live here. For those that don't it's a revelation.

Excerpt:

"It doesn't take a visitor long to notice the ever-present bouquet in the air of malt and hops, thanks to numerous craft beer bars, brewpubs and microbreweries. Throw in a few stellar beer gardens and it becomes patently clear that this town belongs on every beer lover's list of must-visit burgs."

Read the rest here.
 

Director of UM Entrepreneur Institute talks future goals

Last fall, Stewart Thornhill stepped into the role of executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, which is part of the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business. His big idea is to intiate a Silicon Valley-style business accelerator.  

Excerpt:

"The accelerator will be modeled on Y Combinator, Techstars, Launchpad LA. The perfect company to enter an accelerator is the one that is quarter-baked. You want it to be half-baked before it's really in a position to get that early, seed or angel investor money. But if companies try to go for that early investor too early, they're going to fail or they're going to have to give up so much of their company because of the wildly risky nature of it that it's often not worth doing.

We often find that students who incubate ideas, whether in a formal incubator or just in their dorm room, often get to the point where they finish their degree, they'd love to be able to take it to that next stage, but they have to go get a job. They've got student loans, they have to pay rent, buy groceries."

Read the rest here.
 

Transformer hides out in Ann Arbor

Move over Violin Monster, Transformer Joslyn Paige is taking to the streets.

Excerpt:

"Paige says that he has spent about $800.00 on his ‘transforming’ costume that even moves electrically when he transforms into the vehicle. Judging by the video kids love him. The 28 year old Paige chatted with the Detroit Free Press about his life as a human Transformer. Paige tells the Press that at the end of the day his knees hurt and that his best day of tips was around $700.00. Not bad for a street performer…I wonder how much he would do in say, New York City?"

Read the rest here. Watch him here.
 

Are bike haters a sign of a successful cycling community?

While we have never understood the vitriole drivers express toward cyclists (other than they selfishly don't want to share the road and might have to pay more attention to what they're doing), the notion that more change means more friction and therefore it's a sign that things are changing is a provocative one.

Excerpt:

"The most thoughtful response, in the current case, came from Carl Alviani, writing in Medium. Alviani traces the source of much driver contempt toward cyclists to a basic cognitive bias called the fundamental attribution error—basically, a tendency to attribute behavior to personality or disposition, rather than a situation or environment. So, cyclists think they're above the law because that's how they are; not, cyclists occasionally make poor riding decisions because the road network wasn't designed with them in mind."

Read the rest of the story here.
 

Ann Arbor named top swimming city in USA

Holy seastar! Ann Arbor is ranked number one as a place for swimmers. That's pretty impressive conisdering that we're a land-locked community.

Excerpt:

"Combine the influence of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte with demonstrable health and social benefits, and the result is that competitive swimming has exploded in popularity across the United States. 

USA Swimming, the sport's governing entity, has released a study breaking down exactly where swimming holds the most sway. The cities most favorable to swimmers don't follow any geographic pattern, stretching from sea to sea and north to south. Metrics include the number of swimmers, swim clubs, and accessible pools, as well as the number of standout swimmers springing from each locale. The winner? Ann Arbor, Michigan."

Read the rest here.
 

A cautionary tale about downtown public parks

As Ann Arbor feuds and fusses over whether to build yet another park in our downtown, there are examples we might want to avoid repeating.

Excerpt:

"The greatest land-use mistakes in Minneapolis park history came from creating parks for purposes other than the relaxation, recreation, entertainment or edification of its citizens. Creating grounds for a pleasant stroll to a stadium eight days a year isn’t reason enough to make “The Yard” work as a park. Planning for those two blocks has to go well beyond landscaping only for the benefit of surrounding property owners, too."

Read the rest here.
 

St. Joseph's is tops for heart surgery

Usually it's ":U-M this. And U-M that." I'm sure St. Joe's in Ypsilanti is glad to get a piece of the limelight for a change.

Excerpt:

"St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was named one of the top 15 hospitals in the country in Consumer Reports first-ever rating of hospitals in heart surgery.

More than 400 hospitals were rated in 45 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico based on data for two heart surgeries: surgical aortic valve replacement and coronary artery bypass graft surgery, an operation done to treat blocked coronary arteries."

Read the rest here.

How to make mass transit financially sustainable

Though Concentrate would argue that the notion that mass transit need to "pay for itself" is a faulty one (after all, roads are hardly profit centers), this article makes soime really powerful observations.

Excerpt:

"Just as the public sector pays the electric utility for street lights, it should pay the transit utility for services that the government insists on but that the transit provider cannot charge users enough for. The Paris transit system, RATP, charges local and national governments a "compensatory indemnity" for keeping fares below the break-even price. Governments recover this from an employment tax. Once profitable, the perception and mindset of the transit organization would change from a drain on society to an economic catalyst."

Read the rest here.

Siri meet Dom: Dominos takes its app to the next level

The robot invasion has begun! Well, sorta. If by "robot" you mean voice-based app and if by "invasion" you mean pizza delivery. Dominos = Skynet? Not quite.

Excerpt:

"The company, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, says the updated app for iPhones and Android devices will deliver a "human-like, conversational" experience, but notes that it will take some time to work out the kinks in the technology."

Read the rest here.
 

Relive the glory of Totally Awesome Fest via Internet video

For 10 years now, Ypsilanti has been home to a sprawling DIY festival of art and music that takes over local venues, businesses and homes. It is known as Totally Awesome Fest and if you haven't had the privilege to attend, well, here's your chance to see what all the hubbub is about.

Watch it below...


A Totally Awesome Film from Adam Wright on Vimeo.


Comic blogger experiences the awesomeness of Vault of Midnight

Places like Vault Of Midnight make Ann Arbor's downtown a true destination for locals and visitors alike. Of course, feel free to add Literati and Aunt Agatha's and Perpetua and... well, you get the idea... to the list. We are glad VoM is getting an extra helping of love.

Excerpt:

"Vault's focus this year seemed to be on families, as they had face-painting outside for kids and were giving away free Green Lantern Corps power rings for the under-12 set. I'll admit to being a little jealous of the Sinestro Corps yellow power ring that the little boy behind me snagged. They didn't have ice cream this year, which was probably for the best since it was so excruciatingly cold. "

Read the rest here.
 

Ypsilanti DDA considers improvement funds for freight house

So close... the Friends of the Freight House are closing in on their funding target to properly rehab the hsitoric structure.

Excerpt:

"Currently, an estimated $300,000 is needed to address fire suppression, bathrooms and heating, ventilation and air conditioning issues that need to be fixed before the building can be occupied. Last week Ypsilanti City Council voted to approve $220,000 in funding for the project and an estimated $40,000 has also been committed by several other organizations."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Avegant lands $4M in investment for 3D goggles

Three... no, four words: Hi-Def 3D goggles. Guess what's going to be the next hot tech development? At least, Intel thinks so, investing $2 million in Ann Arbor startup Avegant.

Excerpt:

"“It’s too late,” said another venture capitalist, this one in from Cleveland. “They closed their round at $4 million. I was trying to get in and couldn’t. Intel took $2 million of it and the existing investors took the rest. They took it off the table. I still can’t believe I got shut out.”

Having would-be VC investors salivating at the idea of writing you a check, and being able to say no, is a nice, and rare, spot for an early-stage company to be in. How Ann Arbor-based Avegant Corp. got to that spot is an interesting tale of being in the right place at the right time with the right technology."

Read the rest here.
 

U-M to develop ghost town for robotic cars

Think of it as our own version of Radiator Springs (that's a Cars reference btw), a place where driverless cars will navigate everyday environs. File under: "Kind cool and awesome."

Excerpt:

"Now, a purpose-built simulated town and suburb for that very same purpose--testing autonomous vehicles--is to open this fall on 32 acres at the University of Michigan's North Campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Mobility Transformation Facility will include straight and curving roads of asphalt and concrete, including traffic signs, stoplights, merge lanes, traffic circles, a railroad crossing, sidewalks, and streetlights."

Read the rest here.
 

Detroit Free Press says: Let's do brunch in Ann Arbor

What does a great brunch say about a city? Well, we're not sure but it's gotta be better than if we only had a Denny's. The Freep points to five bodacious brunches in our humble burg.

Excerpt:

"A friend from Ann Arbor recently described the home of the Wolverines as “brunch heaven” — a boast that almost begged to be tested. Detroit and its suburbs, after all, has more good brunch options than anyone could visit in a year, and the list keeps growing. But I adore Benedicts and waffles and all the rest — and occasionally, But I adore Benedicts and waffles and all the rest — and occasionally, I even have a Bloody Mary for research purposes — so I took the bait. I can’t say it’s better brunch territory than, say, Oakland County, but it certainly holds its own. If you want to taste for yourself, here’s a start: five great places for brunch in Ann Arbor.

Read the rest here.
 

U-M student startup Seelio gets acquired after just 3 years

From kitchen table to acquisition, a U-M social media startup see bright days ahead.

Excerpt:

"When Seelio launched, Lee envisioned it as an alternative to LinkedIn for the Millennial set—a place where students could showcase their talent, experience, and hobbies. For example, users could create a page that detailed a fictional company created for a business course complete with photos, videos, and information about the company’s business model."

Read the rest here.
 

Come to Ann Arbor, feel the excitement

You know Millennials have become the prime traget demographic when real estate sites start ranking communities by their hip and exciting metrics.

Excerpt:

"The young population rank was third, because nearly half of the population here was between the ages of 18 and 35. The music venue rank was third as well, with highlights such as The Ark and The Blind Pig. The city also had the second best arts and active life on our list, including the very unique Fairy Doors you can walk to see, and a whole lot of non-fast food restaurants to choose from."

Read the rest here.

Amazon says Ann Arbor is a best-read city

Berkeley, California
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Alexandria, Virginia
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Notice a trend here? Apparently big college town make for big book sales. How Amazon knows whether we actually 

read the books or just pile 'em on our nightstand has yet to be revealed.

But if you now feel inspired to buy more books, might we recommend that you drop by Literati in downtown, Bookbound on Plymouth Ave or Nicolas Books on the west side of Ann Arbor? 

Excerpt:

"The online retailer announced Tuesday that Alexandria, where many government workers from nearby Washington reside, ranks No. 1 for sales of books, newspapers and magazines in cities of 100,000 people or more."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor singled out as a travel destination

A travel blogger sings praises to Ann Arbor's serene green spaces, U-Ms campus and, of course, our bustling downtown.

Excerpt:

To understand Ann Arbor is to understand that it is more than just a college town. It has a dense population of local producers, hippies, and craftsmen that love to share their skills and their wares off. Kerrytown is home to these kinds of people. With a weekly farmers market in the summer, a mixture of hard to find bars, and famous delis this part of town screams originality only found here. Even the roads have character as they are laid with brick instead of concrete. 

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor startup TurtleCell is starting to get noticed

It's a cell phone case. It's a set of headphones. It's two great tastes that taste great together. ...Or something like that. Ann Arbor-based TurtleCell has developed a nifty new cell phone accessory and they're getting more and more attention for it.

Excerpt

TurtleCell is set on embracing its young startup culture by delivering entertaining content to fans, including WTF's, (short for Weekly Turtle Facts), a live Twitter feed highlighting tangle haters worldwide, and a "Tur-Torial" video. TurtleCell aims to break the barrier between a product and its consumers through superior customer service, social engagement and fun promotional campaigns.

Read the rest here.
 

Mayor of Rome says bikes and public transit are the future

Wouldn't it be great if more Michigan mayors were this enlightened about the need for more public transit and bike focused infrastructure?

Excerpt:

"It’s only been about a year since Marino’s ascent to office. (Random fact: He used to be a transplant surgeon in Pittsburgh before deciding to return to his native Italy to pursue politics.) In that short period, Marino has made some controversial transportation decisions: He rebooted the city’s bike-share initiative, which had been plagued by theft and vandalism. He wants to help commuters pay bus and subway fares with their smartphones. He decided to close the Via dei Fori Imperiali, a major thoroughfare with heavy traffic, to non-essential vehicles on weekdays, and created a pedestrian-only plaza on weekends. And he’s limiting traffic on Rome’s most noteworthy roundabout — the one at the Colosseum."

Read the rest here.

Tony Hawk to celebrate opening of Ann Arbor Skatepark

Having Tony hawkshow up to christen your community's new skatepark is a pretty big damn deal - as Dave Askins, co-founder of the The Ann Arbor Chronicle discovers.

Excerpt:

"Now that Tony Hawk is scheduled to make an appearance in Ann Arbor in just a little over a month, I took some time check into why it’s a big deal. Here’s what I have learned. He’s a professional skateboarder, and not just some very good professional skateboarder. If a new tennis court were being dedicated, it’d be like Roger Federer showing up to hit a few balls over the net. Or if a new public swimming pool were being christened, it’d be like Michael Phelps turning a few laps on opening day. If new chess tables were being installed at a city park, it’d be like Garry Kasparov sitting down at a board to force checkmate in three moves."

Read the rest here.
 

EMU, U-M chosen for Google Community Leaders Program

EMU joins Wayne State University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and the University of Michigan for a Google-sponsored program that teaches search optimization and digital marketing experience to students in order to help them support local businesses.

Excerpt:

"Five Eastern Michigan University students have been accepted into Google's Community Leader's Program, a volunteer operation in which students help equip local small businesses and non-profits to compete in the digital age. The five EMU students, Mahdi Alkadib, Patrick Cotter, Joseph Wendl, Robert Larson, and Sean Tseng, will work with various local businesses and organizations throughout southeastern Michigan, introducing them to tactical Google tools like Google+, Google Apps, Google Analytics and Google AdWords."

Read the rest here.
 

Duo Security's Dug Song named Leader & Innovator of the Year

It's no secret that Concentrate has a soft spot for local CEO Dug Song and his tech firm Duo Security. Seems like others are starting to catch up...

Excerpt:

"he Leaders & Innovators program was developed in 2005 by Lawrence Tech to recognize Michigan business executives who are engaged in cutting-edge professions and industries expected to be key to Michigan’s economic future.
 
Song has a history of leading successful products and companies to solve pressing Internet security problems. He spent seven years as founding chief security architect at Arbor Networks, protecting 80 percent of the world’s Internet service providers, and growing annual revenue to $120 million before its acquisition by Danaher."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor historic architecture captured in new book

A hero to some, a villain to others, there's little doubt that The Ann Arbor Historical Foundation has deep love and appreciation for Ann Arbor's architectural identity. To wit, they have released a new book: Historic Ann Arbor: An Architectural Guide, which describes over 350 vintage local buildings.

There's a book signing event with the authors tomorrow at the Ann Arbor City Club at 1830 Washtenaw Ave from 4-8pm. Check it out.

More info here.

New York Magazine suggests escape to Ann Arbor

Apparently Ann Arbor is a choice weekend getaway for claustrophobic New Yorkers seeking an arty (if sunless) destination. Topnotch meal destinations are rightly noted but the "What To Do" section seems a bit thin and unconvincing.

Excerpt:

"Sip a rare whiskey at the Ravens Club, where you can often find single bottles of spirits long forgotten by the general public, such as 20-year-old Barterhouse and Old Blowhard (26 years) by Orphan Barrel Whiskey. A rotating selection of seasonal craft beers and classic gastropub food like rabbit potpie ($12) and a burger made with locally raised, grass-fed beef from Steinhauser Farms ($14) are balanced by an impressive selection of bourbon and inventive menu items like the smoked-salmon tostada with beet salsa ($9) and grilled-watermelon salad served with avocado crème and pistachios ($8). Start with a few picks from the charcuterie menu—like the finocchiona, a Tuscan-style salami made with wild fennel seed and aged for 90 days ($6), or the earthy tartufo with black summer truffles ($6)—and add on a couple of local artisanal cheeses, such as Grassfields' Fait Gras, an especially creamy cheddar ($6)."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Film Festival gets a critical analysis

There isn't another film festival in the U.S. - heck, North America - that's like the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Though its experiemental programming may not make it a popular event destination for mainstream filmgoers there is little doubt that it features some of the most interesting, challenging and offbeat films screened anywhere. Not surprisingly, the 52nd fest's offerings get a critical review that is, unequivocally, positive.

Excerpt:

"But just what is experimental cinema? These days, based on the selections of Ann Arbor and other festivals of its kind (such as Images, Crossroads, Migrating Forms, and Views from the Avant-Garde), it’s a combination of work that resembles “classic” avant-garde film, as in hand-processed, abstract, or structuralist 8 or 16mm film; irony-toned video art; works of editing from archive; or non-narrative nonfiction. Sometimes these types overlap, but they also don’t necessarily hang together in a cohesive way, either. What they do more or less all share is a general lack of commodifiability—and the artistry and dedication that attends this status—which is precisely why it’s crucial that those festivals, microcinemas, and local scenes continue to intervene. "

Read the rest here.
 

India-based scooter maker comes to Ann Arbor

Why did a Mumbia-based scooter company lay down roots in metro Detroit? It's that word economic development folks like to endlessly toss around: "ecosystem." As in, Michigan has the right one for their product.

Excerpt:

"The Mahindra Group — based in Mumbai, India — inaugurated its North American Technical Center in Troy on Friday. The center will develop fully engineered vehicles for Mahindra Global Automotive and will employ more than 100 engineers.

A separate manufacturing facility, Mahindra GenZe, will be located in Ann Arbor."

Read the rest here.
Here's what SPARK had to say about the company.
 

Ypsilanti band takes on infamous park defiler

In answer to the unfortunate and sordid story that made national news (seriously, there aren't more important issues for news outlets to draw our attention to?), Black Jake and The Carnies have decided to take lemons and make, er, lemonade/ Or, at least, music.

Watch and listen below.

 

Smaller cities seeing a rise in cyclists

Wouldn't it be nifty if Ann Arbor made it onto this list? Maybe we could do something about that...

Excerpt::

"The increase in bicycling so far has been mainly among men between the ages of 20 and 64, while rates of cycling by women and seniors lag far behind (cycling by children has actually declined, due to parental fears of traffic danger and stranger danger). More could be done to increase cycling among these underrepresented groups. One key measure is the installation of traffic-protected cycle tracks, which have been shown to increase cycling especially among children, seniors, and women. Cycle tracks offer direct, on-street routes while protecting cyclists from being hit by cars. "

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor student is finalist for Google Doodle scholarship

Artsy and green-minded. It's so Ann Arbor. A grade-schooler at Logan Elementary is a finalist for the Google Doodle contest and may end up on the search engine's main launch page.

Excerpt:

Hannah Hu of Logan Elementary school is one of 50 finalists in the contest to design the company's logo for a day. This year's theme is "If i could invent one thing to make the world a better place."

Read the rest here.
 

If you were an Ann Arbor bar, which would you be?

I got aut Bar. How about you?

Try the test here.
 

Why cities should pay attention to what millennials want

And what do they want? Walkability, good schools and parks, and the availability of multiple transportation options. Seems sane to us.

Excerpt:

"The first survey was released by The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America, the arm of Smart Growth America that focuses on transportation as the key element of land use.

They found that 54 percent of Millennials surveyed would consider moving to another city if it had more or better options for getting around, and 66 percent said access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weigh when deciding where to live. Nearly half of those who owned a car said they would consider giving it up if they could count on public transportation options. Up to 86 percent said it was important for their city to offer opportunities to live and work without relying on a car."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor start-up to market wearable body sensors

Imagine military uniforms that can assess the environment they're in. Or even the condition of the soldier wearing them? An Ann Arbor start-up isn't just imagining such a thing, they're developing it.

Excerpt:

"A pair of professors, one at the University of Michigan, has completed the first round of funding for PsiKick, a two-year-old start-up aiming to sell ultra-low-power chips that can be embedded in a T-shirt or other clothing, do not need a battery or wires and can run on heat, vibrations and sunlight."

Read the rest here.
 

AV Club visits Ann Arbor, pays tribute to The Stooges

The A.V. Club brings the band Protomartyr to Ann Arbor, visits where The Stooges once lived and stages a live concert at the Michigan Union Ballroom.
 
Watch the video below.
 
 

It's Veg Week in Ann Arbor


Put down that steak knife and embrace seven days of meat-free living! April 21-27 has been proclaimed as Veg Week. Paleo devotees, it's gonna be a looong week.

Excerpt:

"Over 20 local restaurants are offering special Veg Week menu items and/or discounts, offering vegetarian and vegan alternatives to support people taking the pledge or just wanting to reduce the amount of animal foods they consume."

Read the rest here.
 

Portland food and travel writer sings praises to The Ravens Club

Writer Jennifer Heigl came home to Ann Arbor too attend to family medical issues. It was a tough time. Taking a break she and her mom dropped into The Ravens Club. It was such a fabulous experience she just had to write about it.

Excerpt:

"In between hospital visits, I booked a table at The Ravens Club, a local restaurant I had kept an eye on for the last year or so. Their offerings, it seemed, rivaled those you would find in Portland or San Francisco, including a robust cocktail selection and whiskey pairing dinners. Amid the anguish, I wanted to be comforted in the ways that have become so familiar over the last few years – with food and drink and celebration of life and laughter.

It was good to be home, to wander the streets of Ann Arbor as I had for so many years during my teen years. My Mom and I made our way to The Ravens Club on South Main for dinner, settling into a back booth offering a full view of the restaurant – ‘the Godfather booth’, as nicknamed by managing partner Jeff Paquin. I ordered a variety of things off the menu, to get a full taste of the plates presented."

Read the rest here.
 

Ypsilanti's untold Native American past

Local blogger Mark Maynard has a fascinating interview with local historian Matthew Siegfried about Ypsilanti's indigenous past and the burial site found on the city's Water Street property. 

Excerpt:

"It’s important to emphasize that these groups had, and made, their own history. We know, for instance, that smallpox decimated the local Potawatomie villages 1752. And, in 1787, the disease struck the Wyandot villages. And another epidemic in 1813 further weakened an already hard hit population.

And the groups around Ypsilanti would have been active in the defining events of that era. They debated how to use the rivalries between the French, English, and later Americans, to protect and further their own interests. The Wyandot were particularly divided over these questions."

Read the rest here. It's pretty amazing stuff.
 

Ann Arbor has one of the best Jewish delis in the U.S.

Read the headline. Can you guess who they're talking about? Yup, Zingerman's gets yet more love.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In Ann Arbor, Mich., crowds have been flocking to Zingerman's Deli, opened by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in a historic building near the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market in 1982. The deli's widespread sandwich menu might seem overwhelming to new visitors, but also encourages guests to sample the products before purchasing - it even allows a sampling of its $200 olive oil. All of its bread is homemade in its bakery, creating a freshness for its sandwiches that is hard to beat."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ypsilanti Library gets graphic novel grant

You know grpahic novels (aka comic books) are finally being accepted as valid works of art when libraries get grants to start offering them.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Ypsilanti District Library announced Thursday that it was one of two libraries in the nation to receive a $7,000 grant to increase its selection of graphic novels on the shelves.
 
The district was awarded the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Award from Eisner’s family foundation."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

State earmarks $6.6M to seed tech startups

The state plans to invest a whole lot of simoleans in up and coming tech firms, seeding Michigan's entrepreneurial ground with promising startups.
 
Excerpt:
 
"As with the state’s first Pre-Seed Fund, which is fully invested and managed by Ann Arbor SPARK, the money for the fund announced today has been allocated by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Paula Sorrell, the MEDC’s vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, will take a seat on Invest Michigan’s board along with Martin Dober, a former MEDC exec and current vice president of business development at Invest Detroit; Mark Bennett, an attorney and serial entrepreneur; Marianne Fey, an advertising executive, entrepreneur, and angel investor; and David Gregorka, a partner with Baird Capital in Ann Arbor and advisor on technology transfer to state universities."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Local blogger takes on anti-transit groups

Blogger and Ypsilanti resident Mark Maynard is no stranger to Concentrate's pages. His sporadic Exit Interview series is about as good as it gets for a ground-view perspective of living in our communities. Lately, Maynard has cast his ear and eye on the fight over whether Ann Arbor Area Transit Authority should expand its service and those who oppose the idea.
 
Excerpt:
 
"I should know better than to try to make sense of the arguments being offered by the rag tag band anti-tax activists who have come together to fight the AAATA millage we’ll be voting on next month, but, when I heard that they’d launched a website, I thought that I’d check it out, and see if maybe they’d figured out a way, in the time since we last discussed this, to better articulate their concerns.
 
What I found, though, was an absolute mess… an intellectually inconsistent barrage of unsubstantiated nonsense."
 
Read the rest (and comments) here.
 
 

Eberspaecher expands locally, to add 100 jobs in Brighton

A global exhaust system company is making a big investment in Michigan, to the tune of $122 million.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The first phase of expansion will begin in Brighton, Michigan, where the company will nearly triple the size of its current 110,000 sq. ft. plant. A minimum of 100 jobs will be added to support the manufacture of exhaust systems and catalytic converters for commercial vehicles in the short term. The search for additional manufacturing capabilities in Michigan is underway and further expansion is anticipated."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Smart urban planning and mass transit could curb climate change

Resource effeciency, pooled transportation efforts, denser living, these are the practices that lower our carbon footprint and thus are most likely to help stem the increase of climate change.
 
Excerpt:
 
Now the world's leading scientists are suggesting that those same cities in harm's way could help drive solutions to climate change.
 
A draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says smart choices in urban planning and investment in public transport could help significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions, especially in developing countries.
 
 
Read the rest here.
 

Local violin maker proves modern violins can outclass legendary Stradivarius

Ann Arbor violin-maker Joseph Curtin (who we've covered in this magazine) shows ina research study that much like the blind Coke-Pepsi test, worldclass violinists prefer newer instruments to the classics. We at Concentrate strive to show that sometimes the common wisdom of the past isn't really the best choice for the future. That applies to business, urban design and, now, world-class instruments.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In actuality, expert soloists pick new violins over antiques in blind tests, the research finds. What's more, the soloists performed no better than chance at guessing whether a given violin is newly manufactured or more than a century old."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Big House to host Real Madrid-Manchester United soccer match

You'd think in a nation where half the elementary school kids play soccer that we'd embrace the sport the rest of the world loves so deeply. For a brief moment this summer - August 2nd to be exact - Ann Arborites can get a taste of the that action.
 
Excerpt:
 
"This match promises to be an exciting event for players and fans alike. Tour matches of this nature provide great preparation for the team as we look forward to the 2014/15 season," said Manchester United Group managing director, Richard Arnold. "This will be the team's first ever match in Michigan and playing at the iconic Big House will be a memorable experience for all involved. United has over eight million followers in the US and I look forward to welcoming many of these fans to this historic fixture.""
 
Read the rest here.
 

The enormous benefits of setting the right parking price

Less congestion, increased transit use and more tax revenue - who wouldn't want that for their community? Well, smarter pricing policies about pdowntown parking can provide those things.
 
Excerpt:
 
"First comes a close evaluation of SFpark, San Francisco's world-class effort to match the price of parking with real-time demand. SFpark changes the cost of street spaces in commercial areas to maintain an average occupancy of 60 to 80 percent. By making sure the streets are never completely full, the program hopes to reduce circling and thus congestion on city streets."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Cinetopia Film Festival to link Ann Arbor and Detroit through movies

Where political leaders fail, art organizations hope to succeed. AnnArbor and Detroit have long maintained their separate cultural bubbles. Russ Collins and Elliot Wilhelm (of the Michigan Theater and Detroit Film Theater respectively) hope to bridge the I-94 gap by bringing world-class cinema to both cities under a single film festival: Cinetopia.
 
Excerpt:
 
More than 100 screenings of 45 films are planned. "We will be expanding the Cinetopia Film Festival to at least five screens in Ann Arbor, and at least four screens in Detroit," the event site says."
 
Read the rest here. Check out the Cinetopia website here.
 
 
 

Really big pow wow comes to Ann Arbor this weekend

Skyline sounds kinda native American, doesn't it? Too much of a stretch? Nevertheless the Ann Arnor high school will be the scene for the 42nd annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow. THe event will "host some 200 competitive dancers, 10 drums and singers, and more than 40 vendors and artisans to celebrate Native American cultures and languages, traditions and foods from around the U.S. and Canada."
 
Excerpt:
 
Now one of the largest university powwows in the nation, the 2014 Dance for Mother Earth Powwow continues to provide an important opportunity for Native Americans to celebrate and share the diversity of their indigenous cultures with one another and with the broader community.
 
Read the rest here. For ticket information and dance registration, visit the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow website
 

Howell signs on to Ann Arbor rail study

Drip by drip, inch by inch... or is it millimeter by millimeter?... plans to expand rail service move forward. Look for concrete plans in the next decade or three.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Howell City Council is backing a grant application from Ann Arbor that would begin work on a possible rail line through the city. City Manager Shea Charles tells WHMI Howell would be one stop along the proposed rail line that would run from Detroit to Holland and all points between."
 
Read the rest here.
 

College towns like Ann Arbor beget more notable people

Why do famous folks come from college communities? Apparently it's a combination of nature (smart parents) and nurture (innovative environment). Or so says Wikipedia.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Another key element he adds is "exposure to early innovation," citing the businesses that take off in colleges and, particularly for notable musicians, the exposure to innovative record stores, concerts and radio stations.
 
He attributes exposure to ideas as key to the success of those born in cities. "It's much better to grow up around ideas than to grow up around backyards," Stephens-Davidowitz remarks."
 
Read and watch the rest here.

 

Car share works better in suburbs when paired with transit

I know it seems impossible to believe but there are suburban communities working on transportation strategies that don't rely on everyone owning a car. I know, wacky, huh?
 
Excerpt:
 
"For that reason, it was suggested that potential suburban car-sharing services form partnerships with regional transit providers. The coordination makes good sense: transit agencies put some money up front now with the expectation of gaining new habitual riders in the future, while the car-sharing service breaks into the suburban commuter market. That idea is already starting to play out; Portland's TriMet recently partnered with Zipcar to offer car-sharing at three transit stations."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor area among happiest metros in the US

Though you might not know it reading the comment section of the local paper, Ann Arbor is a happy happy place.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Some metro areas scored higher than others for the different factors used to determine well-being. Ann Arbor, Mich., scored highest in life evaluation. Meanwhile, Honolulu, Hawaii, scored highest for emotional health and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles in California scored highest for work environment. Holland-Grand Haven in Michigan scored highest for physical heath and access to basic necessities, and Salinas, Calif., scored highest for healthy behaviors."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Do you understand the Ann Arbor male fashion sense?

Apparently the Ann Arbor male has a dress style that distinguishes him from the rest of the collegiate pack. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"What makes this Fashionisto and other fashion conscious Ann Arbor males really stand out though are their unique accessories that add both edginess and dimension to their combinations. I enjoy how he embraces color in his outfit, confidently wearing a plum colored scarf rather than a neutral black or gray one. It adds a pop of color to his otherwise neutral outfit and is also quite practical for the weather. Moreover, as a fellow "four-eyed" comrade, I love his glasses. They accentuate his facial features, bring out his eye color, and give off a sense of intellectual curiosity -- something that truly distinguishes and unites all Michigan students in our welcoming academic community."
 
Read the hilarious rest here.
 

Researchers plan for 9000 talking cars in Ann Arbor

The real question is how many of them will just complain about potholes?
 
Excerpt:
 
"Nearly 3,000 wirelessly connected cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles already are operating in Ann Arbor as a part of the study conducted by the university’s Transportation Research Institute and funded in large part by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M among best colleges for families with children

BestColleges.com compiiled their list of best colleges for families with kids and U-M once gain muscled its way onto another list.
 
Excerpt:
 
""To be recognized as first in the nation on the "Best Colleges For Students With Children" list is a tremendous accomplishment that highlights the type of campus culture that we've built at Purdue North Central," said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. "We work very hard to make PNC and a Purdue University degree accessible for all students. Our tuition rates, financial aid, class schedule, campus child care, tutoring services, even our PNC - Porter County location, are all factors that help our students succeed.
 
Second on the list is the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. Other Indiana universities making the list are Indiana University-Southeast - New Albany listed at 14 and Ball State University at 28."
 
Read the rest here.
 

The Ann Arbor Film Festival Opens

Last night was the opening night gala but that's no reason to imss out on the rest of the fun! Now in its 52nd year the Ann Arbor Film Festival, under new directorship with Leslie Raymond, is looking to attract audiences to its one-of-a-kind work.

Excerpt:

"The Festival’s boundary-blurring legacy lives on bringing us brilliant tastes of what’s happening in experimental and independent film today. Program Director David Dinnell travels to film festivals around the world as part of his job. He spoke about some of his favorites, beginning with “From Deep,” a feature-length, experimental documentary about basketball created by Brett Kashmere — a timely choice as the Wolverines bask in the glow of the Sweet Sixteen."

Read the rest here.

More coverage here. And here. Recommendations for what to check out here.

A.V. Club to shoot secret performance in Ann Arbor this weekend

The location is a secret but if you follow the Onion's non-satiric site A.V. Club on Twitter you may end up with an invite to a rock show with Those Darlins.
 
Excerpt:
 
The second city The A.V. Club intends to visit on their road-trippin' series is Music City, where they'll chill out with Cream faves (and recent inaugural performers in the Cream's "Live in the Morgue" series) Those Darlins. The Club will also kick it in Ann 
Arbor, Mich., with Protomartyr, who I very recently described as making "extremely The Fall-esque post-punk that vacillates between heavy and tuneful." This Friday, March 21, 
 
Those Darlins will play their "Pioneering" set in a secret location, and if you'd like to attend, all you have to do is a Twitter thing.
 
Read the rest here.
 

Popular podcast reveals secret Ann Arbor destination

Okay, so not only do I have a new podcast I must listen to but there's a place in Ann Arbor I simply need to find. If anyone can take a lowly editor to Heyoon it would be much appreciated.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Mars focuses on the nearly invisible. "It tries to focus on all the thought that goes into the little things that people don't think about,” he added. For example, a personal favorite was when he delved into the logic behind revolving doors. The simpler the concept, the better it resonates with listeners, such as one of his bigger hits about a secret place in Ann Arbor, Mich. called "Heyoon."
 
Read the rest here. Here's the episode in question.
 

U-M grad student ends Jeopardy! champion's reign

Brilliant strategist or cold-blooded villian? Whatever your opinion of Jeopardy! champ Arthur Chu, his nearly 3 month reign has come to an end - at the hands of an Ann Arborite. I knew we were smart.
 
Excerpt:
 
"She won the game that aired Wednesday night, ending an 11-win streak by Chu that earned him $297,200 -- the third-largest haul in the popular show's history."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Transit use outpaces vehicle use in U.S.

Ann Arbor is just one of many communities cited where transit use is on the rise. While local naysayers argue that expanded public transit isn't a necessity, trendlines show that they may be on the wrong side of history.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Cities showing big ridership increases include Ann Arbor, Denver, Cleveland, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles (yes, car-crazed L.A.), Indianapolis and Tampa. Some 17 of 27 transit systems report light rail drawing bigger crowds. Bus ridership, meanwhile, is stable, but up 3.8 percent in smaller cities (those with a population below 100,000.)"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Could Michigan's minimum wage get a raise?

All across the country there are states wrestling with the issue of minimum wage. Michigan is just the latest to start debating an increase to $10.10 per hour, and polls indicate there's string support for such a change.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Denno Research conducted the poll of 600 likely voters in the state’s general election.
 
"We had 65 percent were strongly supportive or somewhat supportive,” Dennis Denno told WWJ’s Marie Osborne. "Only 32 percent that were somewhat opposed or strongly opposed."

Denno said he had expected a wide variety of the results."Not surprisingly 85 percent of Democrats were supportive, but even 65 percent of independents were supportive,” Denno said. “I thought we would see significant drop off in older voters, but we didn’t see that either."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Oscar nominees get taste of Zingerman's Zzang! candy bars

We wonder how many Hollywood celebs still have those delish Zingerman's chocolate bars left in their Oscar gift bags? Probably not many.

Excerpt:

"This year's Academy Awards ceremony was famous for all-star selfies, Liza Minnelli potshots, John Travolta's name mangling, Jennifer Lawrence's red carpet pratfall, and Ellen DeGeneres's pizza delivery. But for Zingerman's Candy Manufactory,  the highlight of the Oscars this year was the inclusion of the company's Original Zzang! Bar in swag bags handed out to celebrities and Hollywood insiders at events leading up to the awards."

More here.

And in other Zingerman's news, website delish named the deli to its list of the nation's top cool grocery stores.

Ann Arbor-based Underground Printing makes Inc. "Build 100" list

Just out: Inc. magazine's list of companies that have consistently upped their headcounts every year, recession or not. Custom T-shirt and apparel maker Underground Printing is one of a tiny percentage of U.S. mid-market companies that consistently hired.

Excerpt:

"We began the Build 100 project by collecting  data  on more than 100,000 U.S. mid-market companies (those with 85 to 999 employees). We then looked at how many increased head count in every year from 2007 to 2012. Remarkably, fewer than 1.5 percent of the companies met that standard...We focused on head count rather than revenue because we found that increased hiring is more predictive of future sustained growth, and that’s what this project is all about."

More here.

Try Ann Arbor's Sky-Tri triathlon, WSJ says

Area fitness buffs with day jobs don't have to travel far to get to the nearest triathlon. If you're already in good shape, how about Ann Arbor's Sky-Tri?

Excerpt:

"I'm a Jock who is...
Just Dabbling Training 4 to 6 hours per week – Six to eight weeks  could prepare you for a short-distance  event, like the  Sky-Tri  in Ann Arbor, Mich., on April 27."

More here

Forecast 2022: Where the nation's best jobs will be

Employment sector trends are mapped out in this interesting article that forecasts where the nation's plum jobs will be. Good job growth is predicted for the Ann Arbor area, which will also compare very favorably against the rest of the nation in creative-class jobs. 

Excerpt:

"...Between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. will add 15.6 million new jobs, according to BLS projections, with the overall workforce growing by 10.8 percent from 145 to 161 million. Of these, 5.6 million will be high-wage, creative class positions. The creative class will grow by 12.5 percent, the highest rate of all groups.  

Forty-five percent of metros (179) will experience employment growth greater than the national average of 10.8 percent. The darkest blue areas are along the East Coast, in parts of Florida, and in the energy-driven metros of Texas and the Midwest. The metros that will add jobs at the fastest rate include mainly smaller metros like Duluth, Minnesota; McAllen, Texas; and Greenville, North Carolina. College towns like Morgantown, West Virginia; Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Ann Arbor, Michigan are also projected to experience a relatively high rate of job growth."

More here


U-M student showcased in Academy Award's "Team Oscar"

Just one of five (out of 5000) student filmmakers, Bronx native and U-M student Zaineb Abdul-Nabi's short film was honored by the Academy Awards. Abdul-Nabi was then invited to hand out Oscar statuettes to the presenters at Sunday night's 86th annual Academy Awards.
 
Excerpt:
 
“I’m a Gonzo cinematographer siezing the richness of the everyday, searching for the infinite forms of strength and tenacity that make us all extraordinary humans,” says the budding auteur in a voice-over during her winning short, which lovingly features images of graffiti-strewn Bronx buildings and street scenes in Ann Arbor, where the 22-year-old senior attends the University of Michigan."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Buzzfeed gives 23 reasons to eat in Ann Arbor

There are the usual suspects in BuzzFeed's list of Ann Arbor's delectables (Zingerman's, The Fleetwood Diner, the now honeless Blimpy Burger, etc)... and a few surprises.
 
Excerpt:
 
"NOTHING, NOTHING is more comforting than a hot stone bowl BiBimBop at Kang’s, topped with a perfect runny egg, and doused in gochujang, glorious Korean hot sauce."
 
Read the rest of the list here.
 
 

With increased urbanization are we entering the age of "Peak Car"?

Are we approaching the ago of 'Peak Autos'? With the rise of urbanization and an increased demand for mass transit, some are seeing the future of the car as a neceessity in decline. Take note mass transit opponents.
 
Excerpt:
 
"More young people also are passing on pursuing drivers’ licenses, once a rite of passage. In 2010, 69.5 percent of 19-year-olds in the U.S. had a driver’s license, down from 87.3 percent in 1983, said Michael Sivak, director of sustainable worldwide transportation at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor.
 
Better-built cars are damping demand for new ones: The average age of autos on the road today has reached a record 11.4 years, according to researcher R.L. Polk & Co."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M developing solar cells with an aesthetic edge

Researchers at U-M are working on see-through solar cells that could be used as decorations and even stained-glass windows.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The cells, believed to be the first semi-transparent, colored photovoltaics, have the potential to vastly broaden the use of the energy source, says Jay Guo, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, mechanical engineering, and macromolecular science and engineering at U-M. Guo is lead author of a paper about the work newly published online in Scientific Reports."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 
 

Proponents of AATA transit expansion dissect opposition

On May 6 voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will decide whether to fund the AATA's plan to expand services. An opposition group has formed, making various claims about the millages failures and shortcomings. Blogger Mark Maynard brought together a trio of proponents to discuss their campaign.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The small but loud opposition relies on this argument to fire people up. “We don’t benefit, so we’ll vote no.” They present it as black and white, and ignore the general benefits, which are numerous. They don’t acknowledge the fact that mass transit alleviates road congestion, improves safety, makes parking spaces easier to come by, etc. If they don’t have a bus stop right outside their house, and routes that take them directly from their first appointment of the day to their last, and back home again, they’re completely against it. They’re demanding something of a bus service that’s just not realistic. The truth is, our local transit service has been continually improving (AirRide service to Detroit Metro Airport, expanded NightRide service, increased frequency of service on routes 4 and 5, etc.), and there will be even more options for people if this millage is passed"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Two Ann Arbor firms in the running to pitch to Google

Seven metro Detroit businesses enter, one business... pitches its plan to Google. MyFab5 LLC and Wisely Inc hope to emerge as finalists in Google's national Entrepreneurs Program.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Google Demo Day is part of the Google for Entrepreneurs Program, with competitions being held across the U.S. One winner from each city will advance to the finals."

From 5:30-7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, the seven finalists will make pitches to become the local winner at Grand Circus, at 1570 Woodward Ave. Detroit. The event is open to the public.
 
Read more here.
 

Are the "Gods of Soccer" coming to Ann Arbor?

Officials from the International Champions Cup haven't yet announced the date and location for the Real Madrid-Manchester United game this summer... but it seems to coincide with talks that U-M is having with the soccer franchise.
 
How cool would it be to cheer "Glory Glory Man United!" or "Hala Madrid! Hala Madrid!"
 
Excerpt:
 
"The University of Michigan is holding talks about bringing top soccer teams Real Madrid and Manchester United to the 109,901-seat Michigan Stadium on Aug. 2 as part of the International Champions Cup."
 
Read more here.
 
The Michigan Daily also has a story.
 
 

Mixed-use zoning and you

Stateside takes a peek into the thorny issue of zomining laws, where a community can enforce stagnation or unchecked growth if it does not fairly balance the heritage of yesterday with the needs of today and the possibilities of tomorrow.
 
Listen in here.
 
 

Ann Arbor's Glyph Mobile Personal Theater nears $1.5M on Kickstarter

Apparently a lot of people want to chuck their widescreen TVs away and get a head[hones and goggle theater that provides a virtual and personal experience.
 
Excerpt:
 
Glyph Mobile Personal Theater plus Audio closed their crowdfunding round on Kickstarter this past week having raised $1,509,506 from 3,331 backers. The hardware from Ann Arbor, Michigan based Avegant now stands as one of the most successful rewards based crowdfunding campaigns of 2014.  Glyph set a goal of raising $250,000 – an amount that was easily topped in under 48 hours. 
 
Read the rest here.
 

Sava's gets a thumbs up from food site

Somebody really likes Sava's on State. A lot. A real lot.
 
Excerpt:
 
"If you’re a student at the University of Michigan you’ve probably had a meal at Sava’s for one reason or another. Located on State Street right off of central campus, Sava’s has become the go-to place for anything from swanky date nights to casual get togethers.  I found myself back yet again this past weekend for a friend’s birthday dinner, and I couldn’t help but wonder if Sava’s actually lives up to all the talk around campus.
 
Two hours later, I was ashamed those thoughts had even crossed my mind."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M expands Islamic studies

As our world gets smaller our knowledge of other cultures must get deeper and wider. U-M gets this and has decided to grow its Islamic studies curriculum.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The new program, known as the Islamic Studies Virtual Curriculum, is funded with a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Classes begin in the fall of 2015 and will involve sophisticated video equipment allowing students to be active participants in courses at the universities in the group, called the Committee on Institutional Cooperation."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

City and U-M finalize plans for bike sharing

Looks like bike-sharing, dubbed ArborBike is going to become a reality for Tree Town this May.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Since August 2013, the Ann Arbor City Council has been working in tandem with the University and the Clean Energy Coalition, a local non-profit dedicated to the promotion of energy-independent communities, to ensure the program’s success.
 
This collaboration included attaining federal, city and University funds to subsidize the project. From November 2013 through January, the CEC garnered community involvement for the new program by hosting an online naming competition. Among the top contenders were A2Go, MiBike and ArBike, but ultimately, the service was christened ArborBike on Feb. 5."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Could young tech-savvy candidates mean better government?

A 23-year-old becomes village president of a New Jersey town and concludes that geeks make better political leaders.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Running towns, Torpey reasons, should naturally appeal to problem-solving geeks more intrigued by how systems work than by ideology. “They won’t be political, because they’re not political people,” he says. “[They’re] smart people who care about helping the community, the world.” His new ambition is, he says, “to try to get a couple percent more” such candidates on ballots around the country."
 
Read the rest here.
 

SELMA Cafe celebrates 5th anniversary

For five years now Selma Cafe, a completely volunteer local-foods breakfast party, has been bringing together Ann Arbor neighbors in support of a sustainable regional food economy. 
 
Their blog has a wonderful photo essay about their celebration and info on what they've done and what they're up to next.
 
Check it out here.
 

Ann Arbor Schools gets cyber liability insurance

Data breach has become a big problem in our Internet-reliant age. As a result APPS has decided that it needs cyber liability insurance coverage. Who knew there was such a thing?
 
Excerpt:
 
"While Target fights to recover from the breach and is now paying for free credit monitoring for all of the affected customers, other organizations are looking into the difference that cyber liability insurance could make in case they should ever experience 
their own data breaches. Ann Arbor Public Schools has realized that this threat is a real one and that a data breach could be very harmful to them if they were to experience one without this additional security protection."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

The Huffington Post likes Ann Arbor food and drink

For everything from tomme dolce cheese to Belgian Elvis waffles to cosmopolitan night spots, this writer from the Huffington Post suggests staying, eating, and drinking a while in Ann Arbor.

Excerpt:

"The midwestern city of Ann Arbor has a lot going for it. It's now the fifth largest city in Michigan. It is home to the University of Michigan. And this vibrant town might surprise you with its dining scene. Perhaps it's all the international residents that call it home thanks to the University. Perhaps it's the fact that Michigan is one of the country's most agriculturally diverse states. Regardless, in the last five years this city has come into its own culinarily. Some even say, after Chicago, it's the dining capitol of the midwest."

Get a taste here.

Ann Arbor is America's 12th most romantic city

No Valentine's date yet? No worries. If you're looking for V-Day dinner out in Ann Arbor, you're in good company.

Excerpt:

"OpenTable calculated a city's romance level by ranking the percentage of restaurants in the area rated as "romantic," according to OpenTable diner reviews, the percentage of tables seated for two, and the percentage of people who dined out on Valentine's Day last  year.

More here.

Old House Gardens grows national reputation for flowers

It's early yet for flowers, but the nation's gardeners are setting aside space to plant bulbs from Ann Arbor's Old House Gardens.

Excerpt:

"Although I have never met owner Scott Kunst, I consider him an old friend. His newsletters and catalog entries are delightfully conversational. Charlie the company cat lived a good life, and now there is a rescued black-and-white terrier named Toby installed in Charlie’s place...

I have planted numerous pint-size hardy gladioli from the Ann Arbor, Mich., company’s American-grown inventory, with great success, in big pots and in the ground. Their colors and markings are remarkable, and they come back year after year."

More here

U-M ranks 8th nationally for international student population

With over 6,800 international students, U-M continues to attract students from around the globe.

Excerpt:

"Michigan's first two international students -- one from Mexico, one from Wales -- enrolled in 1847. Now the prestigious Big Ten university hosts the 8th-largest population in the country, 78% of whom come from Asia."

More here.

Second place winners of Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge are now U-M students

A quartet of Florida students took home the second place prize from The Miami Herald's Business Plan Challenge, a fashion app called How Do I Look, which would allow customers to share pictures of themselves wearing outfits. Two of the team are now U-M students.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Kaplan and Altman, who were seniors at Ransom Everglades when they won the award, are now at University of Michigan and will most likely pursue the study of business. Greenwald, also from Ransom, is at Tulane University studying political science. Lieberbaum, who was at Miami Beach Senior High, is now at the University of Florida and studies business.
 
Currently, progress has slowed, but the four had an entrepreneurial summer. “To begin with, we met with experienced entrepreneurs that we know to figure out the first step in starting our project. We then met with programmers to learn what they needed to be able to create the app,” said Greenwald. “Our first big step was working on designing the app, creating each and every possible individual page, how users could move between pages; basically deciding how it would look and work. We worked on this step for a couple months and had the app completely designed and ready to hand over to programmers.""
 
Read the rest here.
 

A plan for assessing a community's parking needs

Is there anything uglier than a surface parking lot in a bustling downtown? Not to our eyes. Yet communities all over the country still don't understand how to effectively manage their parking needs.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The realization that creating a place where people want to come and spend time is more important than parking unfortunately eludes many municipalities. Worrying about and wasting public money on parking is taking over the public planning process and subsequently parking is taking over our communities. So how can we put parking in its place and draw people back to public spaces?
 
One big step forward is to assess the supply of parking in relation to what is actually needed."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M Athletics has 8 docs on the 2014 Best Doctors in America list

Best Doctors Inc lists over 50, 000 U.S. physicians on its annual list. 493 U-M docs, more than any other institution in Michigan, made the cut.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Team physicians and orthopedic surgeons Dr. James Carpenter, Dr. Bruce Miller and Dr. Ed Wojtys were named to the prestigious list along with neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher. In addition, four consultants that work with the athletic department on a case-by-case basis received selection: James Holmes (orthopedics - foot and ankle), Anthony Chiodo (physical medicine and rehabilitation), Jennifer Kim (ENT/plastic surgery) and Jon Jacobson (radiology)."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M Kellog Eye Center implants first bionic eye

<Insert Bionic Man sound effects here> Last month surgeons at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center implanted the very first bionic eye in patients with  late stage Retinitis Pigmentosa.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The device is implanted in one eye. The patient wears glasses with a camera that converts images into electrical pulses that go to the retina.
 
It won't completely restore a person's vision, but it's giving people who can't see some hope."
 
Read or watch the rest here.

 
 

Ann Arbor singer competes on American Idol

Local singer/songstress Keri Lynn Roche made a play for the git TV show last after auditioning in Chicago. This year, she got the "golden ticket" during the Detroit auditions. Can she go the distance. Time will telll...
 
Listen to a musical sample of her pipes by clicking the video.
 
 

Did you know Ann Arbor has a Dinnerware Museum?

Okay, we knew about the reptile museum. And, of course, the kids museum, dinosaur museum, art museum and even the fire engine museum in Ypsilanti. But this one was a new one to us. And it took our friends in Toledo to draw our attention to it.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Established in 2012 by art historian and dinnerware guru, Dr. Margaret Carney, The Dinnerware Museum holds more than a thousand international pieces in a permanent collection. Nostalgic pieces from Grandma’s table; celebrity place settings of Liberace and Henry Ford and familiar pieces that made designers famous."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Michigan's URC gets A+ for talent, 'Needs Improvement' for startup creation

A five-year study from the Anderson Economic Group gives mixed grade to University Research Corridor, a research partnership between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. While it placed high in many categories it came in dead last in tech transfer and next to last in when it came to creating startups.
 
Some might see that as a black-eye. We see it as room to grow.
 
Excerpt:
 
"However, the URC had a strong showing in other categories against the other clusters, which included North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, California’s two Innovation Hubs and Massachusetts’ Route 128 Corridor. In fact, the URC placed first in talent production and fourth in research and development spending."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Visions of driverless cars in Ann Arbor

The prediction: 2,000 driverless vehicles on Ann Arbor roads within eight years. Mark my words, this may be the most culturally revolutionary innovation since the Internet. And we're ground zero!
 
Excerpt:
 
"The university has already started to make this a reality. For the last two years, Sayer has been leading a project called Safety Pilot that includes 2,800 volunteers from Ann Arbor who agreed to outfit their own cars with wireless radio communications devices that can “talk” to traffic signals at 25 intersections. The cars can also receive warnings when they are going too fast around certain curves.
 
By the time the 18-month project, done in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Transportation, is finished in a few months, Sayer estimates it will have collected 12 billion wireless transmissions from the volunteer vehicles--each broadcasting 10 times a second."
 
Read the rest here.
 

A love of books begat a marriage begat Literati Bookstore

No, it's not the plot line of a some old timey literary romance. But there is literature. And there is romance. And the result is that Ann Arbor got a very cool bookstore.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Sitting in a cozy café, a swirl of snow outside the ?frost-glazed windows and this young couple across the table from me, I suddenly feel as though I’ve stumbled into a Nora Ephron movie. The casting and plot are spot-on: Attractive, intellectual twentysomethings—of the earnest, nonhipster variety—fall for each other via an epistolary romance. Cue the film montage: Gustafson arrives in Manhattan a few months later, he and Lowe spend a romantic fall dating in New York City, and the following year they move in together. In November 2011 they get engaged (close-up of the ring), in July 2012 they move to Ann Arbor with the sole purpose of opening a bookstore together (long shot of a U-Haul on the highway heading west), and in January 2013 they sign a lease and begin construction (dial up the sounds of saws and hammers)."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Why STROADs are bad for our community

It's a business-lined street. It's a fast lane road. It's two good ideas combined into one terrible outcome. While Metro Detroit is filled with stroads, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti are far from immune. Ahem, wwe're looking at you Plymouth Rd, Washtenaw Ave and part of Stadium Avenue.
 
Learn what a stroad is by watching the video.
 
 
For more analysis click here.
 
 

Nomadic artist inspired by Ann Arbor

Helen Gotlib lives the snowbird life in reverse. During the winter she nests in Ann Arbor's wintery climate then come summer hits the road, traveling from one ARt Fair to the next.
 
Excerpt:
 
"A graduate of the University of Michigan’s art school, Gotlib studied printmaking and medical illustration, and landed a gig doing medical illustrations for an orthopedic news publication. She decided the commercial art thing wasn’t for her and decided to take a swing at being a full-time fine artist. 
 
“My last semester, [my boyfriend and I] said, ‘Wouldn’t it be kinda cool to just go around the country and just do art fairs for a summer?’” Gotlib says. “So we did that and we were like, ‘Oh, wait, we can actually make a living doing that,’ and, 10 years later, that’s still what we’re doing.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Michigan Daily columnist urges students to explore region

It's too easy for students at the University of Michigan to get trapped in the Ann Arbor bubble. Michigan Daily Columnist Alexander Hermann wants them to burst it and explore everything Metro Detroit has to offer, ranging from enjoying Middle Eastern food in Dearborn to tracking down award-winning breweries in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Excerpt:

“Fortunately, the city of Dearborn, with the highest concentrated Arab American community in the United Sates, is just forty minutes east of Ann Arbor. The crucial stop is Shatila Bakery on Warren Avenue that serves Middle Eastern pastries, cakes, coffee and even its own brand of ice cream. From there, you can simply just Yelp your way to Lebanese food better than anything served in Ann Arbor. That strategy paid off for my last time in Dearborn, as I enjoyed Al-Ameer restaurant leftovers, just a couple blocks from Shatila, for days after eating there for the first time over break.”

Read the rest of it here.

Ann Arbor app developer makes Forbes' "30 Under 30"

Jesse Vollmar is the co-founder and CEO of Ann Arbor-based FarmLogs, software that helps farmers with risk management by monitoring crops, weather and business variables. Its product is used in every state of the U.S. and over 120 countries worldwide. He's one of Forbes entrepreneurs to watch.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Vollmar grew up on his family's fifth-generation farm in Michigan and started a successful IT consulting business with classmate Brad Koch while still in high school. "
 
Check it out here.
 

Ann Arbor invention one to watch at Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show

Think Google Glass is tearing at the fabric of society wait til you get ahold of The Glyph, which is being developed by Michigan startup Avegant Corp. If they figure out a way to integrate it with XBox and Playstation all kids need is an IV drip and a chamber pot and they need never leave the couch again.
 
Excerpt:
 
"“It’s screen-less technology,” he told MarketWatch in a private demo. “The image is projected directly to your retina. We are able to mimic your natural vision.”
 
The device is geared toward common everyday mobile uses, from watching videos, browsing the Web to holding videoconferences. It is meant to work with a range of devices from laptops to iPhones to tablets.
 
Unlike Google Glass, which is based on glance-able technology aimed at providing information to the user quickly or for short-term viewing, the Glyph is for longer-term, more engaged media consumption."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Travel & Food Writer says you MUST eat in Ann Arbor

Zingermans, artisanal beer, downtown and football all make the list of reasons to vsisit A2. And Vellum gets singled out as "the epitome of where Ann Arbor's dining scene is headed."
 
Excerpt:
 
"Perhaps it's the fact that Michigan is one of the country's most agriculturally diverse states. Regardless, in the last five years this city has come into its own culinarily. Some even say, after Chicago, it's the dining capitol of the midwest."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Downtown Ann Arbor loft induces house envy

If you're going to live in downtwon Ann Arbor and you've got the bucks, you might as well live in taste and style, eh?
 
Excerpt:
 
"The structure is a 1920s office building in downtown Ann Arbor that has served as a livery stable, a title firm and a bank. As proof it still has three vaults. One vault is a wine cellar now, one’s a half-bath, and one holds the office’s computer network. Laura and Bill Schlecte added a third floor to the original two, then converted this all to a live-work building.
 
The whole building is for sale at $1,899,000. It can also be split — $499,000 for the commercial office and $1.4 million for the loft."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Aunt Agatha Mystery Bookstore wins mysterious Raven Award

It's a mystery to the owners of Aunt Agatha's Mystery Book Store how they won the 2014 Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Word arrived a few days ago that Aunt Agatha’s had claimed the honor, given each year for accomplishments not related to writing.
 
Chances are it was for nurturing authors like Steve Hamilton, the University of Michigan grad whose bleak and brilliant Michigan-based novels are the store’s top sellers."
 
Read the rest here.
 

How to engineer a safer street

With all the recent rancor and politics surrounding pedestrian safety ordinances, here's an interesting break down of what makes a street safer for everyone involved.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In the past decade or so, New York has seen a considerable decline in traffic fatalities (30 percent since 2001) and an even more dramatic decrease in the risk of serious injury among cyclists (72 percent since 2000). At the heart of these public safety achievements is better street design. City streets are far from perfect, but as officials have reduced space for cars, they've improved mobility for everyone."
 
Read the rest here.
 

The case for a tangle-less earbuds

Path to human happiness: (1) Feed the world's hungry. (2) Heal the world's sick. (3) Invent iPhone earbuds that don't tangle.
Apparently an Ann Arbor-based firm is on its way to solving one-third of the planet's woes.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Ann Arbor-based TurtleCell LLC didn't win the grand prize of $500,000 at last month's Accelerate Michigan Innovation competition at Orchestra Hall, but it won the popular vote of those in attendance as having the best pitch, winning the People's Choice Award of $10,000.
 
What was the attraction? The company's product solves a problem everyone in the audience could immediately identify with: Getting rid of those darned tangled cords you wrestle with every time you pull your iPhone earbuds out of your pocket."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Krazy Jim's Blimpyburger hits the crowdfunding circuit

You'd have thought it was Ann Arbor's Pearl Harbor the way local media and greasy burger fans wailed and moaned and gnashed teeth over the closing of Blimpyburger (I mean, just how many articles did AnnArbor.com devote to ikts closing?). Well, here's a chance for all those cry-babies to put their money where their mouth is. Krazy Jim and company have set up a Indiegogo campaign to find a new home.
 
Excerpt:
 
"I’ve had the pleasure of dining at this proud hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It’s a very unique experience that requires some knowledge of how to order your food. If you don’t do it right you’re liable to get chastised, but it’s all part of the fun. Regardless, the burgers are amazing. It’s fast food heaven.
 
So, you could imagine the heartbreak caused when the restaurant was forced to close its doors in July of this year. The University bought the property for a new construction project, and unfortunately Blimpyburger didn’t own the land. They were displaced tenants."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Why some cities are better for entrepreneurship than others

How does social trust or capital foster entrepeneurship? This article makes a compelling argument for how the strength of local social networks and trust can help create an environment where business innovation and creation can grow,
 
Excerpt:
 
"This makes intuitive sense. Venturing out on your own is a risky proposition, and one that takes a huge amount of effort and ingenuity to build a business — even if it’s just you — from the bottom up. That’s why certain personalities are thought of as more “entrepreneurial” than others. But, as the authors note, there’s a snowballing effect as well, as more diverse and widespread social networks bring everyone, regardless of their own connectivity, into contact with far more people. These effects can spread beyond the very local level, and metros with more engaged citizens provide the right context for self-employed workers to make it.
 
Community is clearly key to creating an atmosphere where risk-taking is, in essence, less risky. But a couple of caveats, which the authors note themselves, should give us at least slight pause."
 
Read the rest here.
 

An Ann Arbor writer sings the praises of the USPS

Though Congress seems to love to malign the U.S. Postal Service, polls show that Americans are actually pretty with this public service. And  we at Concentrate absolutely love getting mail. Real mail. From actual people. How quaint, huh?
 
Excerpt:
 
"A couple weeks ago, many otherwise level-headed people got excited about Amazon’s absurd plan to deliver packages by drone. Once the hype subsided, though, the publicity stunt had the unusual effect of reminding people why the human postal carrier is so effective, trustworthy and safe. “Can you imagine how expensive delivery would be that way?” laughed Lucy, the counter attendant at my post office in Ann Arbor. “I’d like to see them try that. Some guy will build a huge net and steal all that stuff out of the sky. Then just watch how fast people come back to us.”
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Local musicians make "Buy Local" music video

It has a "(Ain't Gonna Play) Sun City" earnestness and just enough Ann Arbor people and places to become the "We Are The World" of locavore anthems. Or so the folks behind this Buy Local video hope!



Alternative transportation use growing in Michigan

Commuters in cities across the state (and nation) are opting for public transit over cars more and more. These trends were evident in Grand Rapids, Flint, and Detroit. As Ann Arbor continues its contentious debates about alternatiove transportation issues (bicycles, buses, rail and, ahem, pedestrians) it seems prudent that our leaders consider the current and expected trends when making policy. Just sayin'.
 
Excerpt:
 
"“This important study signals that the investment cities have been making in transit and non-motorized transportation are paying off. It is no accident that Grand Rapids has experienced a 44% increase in passenger miles traveled by transit in a half-decade, or that the percentage of work trips on bicycles places our city 12th in the country,” said Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell. “Public investment drives public behavior by giving citizens choices. We must capitalize on the improvements so clearly identified in the report by dedicating financial resources at the federal and state levels to accelerate local investments in transit and non-motorized transportation.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

OSU blogger says Ann Arbor may be the better college town

Columbus-based blogger Matt Brown likes Ann Arbor. A lot. Or, at least, he really really likes our downtown... and our grub. Matt, we welcome defectors.
 
Excerpt:
 
"I realize I may lose my Ohio State Blogger License for saying this, but Ann Arbor really is a great college town, and for many definitions, maybe a better one than Columbus. The campus is located in a clean and newer area, and the city is in the perfect sweet spot for College Town size (around 113,000). It's big enough to boast a few attractions and institutions at least somewhat independent of the university (unlike say, a tiny college town in the middle of nowhere), but it isn't so large that the university risks getting swallowed up. It retains a somewhat "crunchy" vibe commonly associated with some of the best college towns, and is near a major US city. It would probably be a great place to go to school or live. You know, if Michigan wasn't there."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor-made app puts credit card data at your fingertips

With the idea that credit card charges tell you whole lot more than Yelp reviews, phone app Wisely (developed by Ann Arbor-based Glyph) gives users access to transaction data, allowing them to deep dive into the local economy. File under very cool.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In the new app Wisely, you can search for things like restaurants, shops or bars, for example, and see search results based on transaction data, not social mechanisms like check-ins or user rankings and reviews.However, the app isn’t only focused on the “before” side of consumer spending – it also lets you store your loyalty and membership cards for easy access during your visits and helps you understand your spending behavior afterwards, similar to something like Mint. 
 
Like Mint and other mobile money management apps, Wisely lets you set a budget and then analyze your spending over time, examining the categories of your past purchases and even where they’re located on a map – the latter an easy way to spot a possible fraudulent transaction, Vichich claims."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Madonna hearts Ann Arbor

Old news for anyone monitoring the Twittersphere but for those who missed it, one of U-M's most famous drop-outs wants her daughter to Go Blue.
 
Excerpt:
 
Madonna only studied at the University of Michigan for a brief period before quitting to pursue her pop dreams in New York, but she has made no secret of her desire for Lourdes to attend her old college.
 
Last year (12), she said, "I want my daughter to go to school there. I keep telling her, Ann Arbor is an awesome place."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

A new way to teach music to Ann Arbor students?

Studies indicating positive outcomes be damned, there is a constant drive to eliminate art, music and other 'non-essentials' from public education. This has forced some cash-strapped schools to look poorer nations for low-cost ideas about how to include them in their curriculum. Mitchell Elementary in Ann Arbor has looked to Venezuela.
 
Excerpt:
 
"One Ann Arbor Elementary School is teaming up with the University of Michigan School of Music for a unique approach to teaching music...and they are turning to Venezuela for inspiration.
 
It's called El Sistema."
 
Read and listen to the rest here.
 

A2 firm consults with Birmingham on keeping young residents

Ann Arbor's Greenway Collaborative is helping Birmingham, MI develop transportation and development plans that will make the city more enticing to younger generation MIchiganders. Ah, if only the folks on A2's current city counil were as receptive to such locally-generated ideas.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Geared for all age groups, the Multi-Modal plan integrates traditional motorized roadways with walking routes, bike lanes and public transportation.
 
They’re features meant to link neighborhoods with other parts of the city. Cox said those types of features are particularly meaningful to young families and members of the millennial generation.
 
“A lot of things in this plan are keys to helping retain the youth and attract new youth,” Cox told the commission. “We all want our kids to settle in the town they grew up in, and kind of take the town to the next generation.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 

Is U-M becoming a luxury product?

There's a provocative and well-written think-piece in the Nov. 26 Michigan Daily that asks important questions about how the income divide is reflected in housing choices in Ann Arbor. The writer voices well-founded concerns about the state's premiere public university becoming a resource that only those with significant wealth can access. On the other hand, the idea that incresased housing choices might incite downward pressure on housing costs is never mentioned. All in all, good food for thought about U-M's and Ann Arbor's future.
 
Excerpt:
 
"With the plethora of buildings actively advertising themselves as “luxury” and “embodiments of the good life,” this housing trend reflects the ever-sharpening divide between higher- and lower-income University students — a rarely discussed, but critical issue considering only 16 percent of University students receive Pell Grants."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M aims for driverless car network by 2021

The end is nigh, the end is nigh! Drverless cars? What next, dogs and cats sleeping together? Seriously, this Concentrate editor predicts that technologies like this will have almost as big an impact on the way we live as the Internet.
 
Excerpt:
 
"By 2021, Ann Arbor could become the first American city with a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles. That's the goal of the Mobility Transformation Center, a cross-campus University of Michigan initiative that also involves government and industry representatives."
 
Read and watch the rest here.
This story is getting a lot of play. Check out articles here and here.
 
 
 
 

Ann Arbor in the TV spotlight

C-Span is taking  Book TV and American History TV on the road, spotlighting the literary life and history of select cities. Guess who made the list?
 
Excerpt:
 
A film crew descended on the city for a week in late October, visiting local literary and historic sites.
 
Comcast channel 104, Book TV, will feature its Ann Arbor block of segments on Saturday, November 16 at noon; Comcast channel 105, American History TV, will feature its Ann Arbor block of segments on Sunday, November 17 at 5 p.m.
 
Read all the deets here.
 

Make sausage the Biercamp way

Michigan and sausage, is there a more enduring love affair? From this former outsider's perspective the state's intense love of cars, shooting deer and making sausage has always been a bit perplexing. But everybody's got to have their something, eh?
 
Excerpt:
 
After getting his culinary degree, Hansen spent six years working at New York’s Del Posto for Mario Batali (whose own Dad is quite the sausage pro), and moved back to Michigan where he and girlfriend Hannah Cheadle opened Biercamp, where they churn out fresh and smoked sausages, many from recipes handed down from his butcher dad and grandfather. 
 
Hansen says breakfast sausage is a great recipe to start with because the ingredients are simple and you don't necessarily need to master the technique of stuffing it into links.
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Public input wanted on Ann Arbor transit routes

Transportation planners are interested in hearing from Ann Arborites about several proposed high capacity public transit connectors. 

Read and listen about here.
 
There's a presentation about the six potential routes here.
 
You can weigh by attending their public information meetings. The schedule is here.
 
 

Local-gone-superstar Michelle Chamuel's new single released today

Local girl makes good! Okay, technically Michelle Chamuel was a transplant. But we're still proud (and missing My Dear Disco). The Voice runner-up, former U-M grad and local pop diva releases her new single "Go Down Singing."
 
You can listen to it stream here.
 

Local high school entrepreneurs peddle team 'Spirit Specs'

Speaking of innovation, a pair of Ann Arbor high school senoirs have been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. They've launched Spirit Specs, sunglasses that are emblazoned and dyed with your favorite college team's colors and mottos.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Noah Hirschl and Josh Carn-Saferstein, seniors at Community High School and Skyline High School, are co-founders and co-owners of Spirit Specs — a custom sunglass startup.
 
The pair, who went to Hebrew school and middle school together, started brainstorming business ideas their sophomore year. They settled on making glasses to leverage their location in a college football hotbed."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor area has new technology job mojo

Washtenaw County secures further evidence that we are a destination for technological innovation... at least when it comes to private-sector jobs that are in related to technology and information. Considering the cities on the Progressive Policy Institute's list, being ranked 18th in the nation is pretty darn good. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"On average, the top 25 counties, as measured by the Index, showed an average private sector job gain of 2.4% between 2007 and 2012. That doesn’t seem like much, but the remaining counties had a decline of 3.5%. In other words, a vibrant tech/info sector tended to make the difference between a local economy that had recovered by 2012, and one that was still in decline. 
 
The implication is that policies to encourage tech/info growth are more likely to boost the overall economy. Innovation creates well-paying jobs. What’s more, the diversity of places on our list suggests a high-growth economy is not just for traditional tech powerhouses such as Silicon Valley, but has broader applicability."
 
See the rankings here.
 

Ann Arbor's HistoSonics named Innovator of the Year

HistoSonics has produced a device that uses sound waves to treat tissue in lieu of invasive surgery. Clinical trials have been set for patients with urinary problems due to an enlarged prostate. Pretty cool, huh?
 
Excerpt:
 
"Christine Gibbons, HistoSonics president and chief operating officer, said the Vortx Rx was approved for investigational use in clinical trials on humans in May by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. Clinical trials began in July to treat patients with urinary problems due to an enlarged prostate. The trial phase is expected to last several years. The discovery and development work on the technology was performed at the University of Michigan.
 
Six units were made, three of which are being used for clinical trials at sites in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario. The hope is the device will be used for other clinical indications beyond urology."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's Barracuda Networks goes public, plans to double staff

Ann Arbor has had its fair share of big company sales and public offerings but not all of them have stuck around. Barracuda Networks, whose public debut brought in an impressive $75 million at the close of the bell, has decided that A2 makes a very nice home, thank you very much. And they're planning to double down their staff.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Firewall and data storage company Barracuda Networks made its public debut this morning on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $74 million, at an opening price of $18 per share.
 
Investors immediately pushed the stock — trading under the ticker symbol CUDA — to more than $23 per share, though the price settled to $21.55 as the market closed.
 
The 10-year-old company's IPO follows network security company FireEye's sizzling IPO in late September. It's the latest affirmation of Wall Street's continuing love affair with technologies designed to help the good guys slow down data thieves, cyberspies and hacktivists."
 
Read the rest here.
To read about their hiring plans click here.
 
 

Carp for Council Goes Viral

With all the rancor and name-calling in politics sometimes a little levity is just what the doctor ordered. Running to represent Ann Arbor's 4th Ward on city council was "Twenty Pound Carp." From Huffington Post to NPR to blogs and local news casts, the fish made quite the media splash.

Did the good residents of the ward see fit to elect this candidate and  inject some aquatic perspective to local government? We write this before the final results are in. 
 
Excerpt:
 
“With the destruction of Blimpy Burgers, I have proposed the immediate construction of a series of glacis and escarpments, ravelins and Parrott gun installations to encircle critical strategic points such as Dominick’s and the Fleetwood Diner,” the user wrote.
 
Twenty Pound Carp wrote that if elected, it would encourage the city to work with the federal government to build canals for its fellow aquatic creatures, creating “the Venice of Washtenaw County.”
 
Read the rest here.
 
"A 29 pound carp is campaigning as a write-in candidate for the City Council in Ann Arbor.  The fish tweets: "since I have no actual feet, I don't have to stand for anything."
 
Listen to more here.  Slide show here.
 
 

Ann Arbor ranked as one of the smartest American cities

So, Lumosity conducted a survey of 478 U.S. cities and ranked them according to their "average brain performance score" - whatever that means. Ithaca, NY, homw to Cornell University and Ithaca College ranked number one. Ann Arbor came in 5th. In general, college towns dominated this clearly scientifically generated study.
 
Excerpt:
 
"According to the Lumosity website, the study involved 2,417,530 participants nationwide. It tested their performance across five cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. Participants ranged from 15 to 85 years old.
 
Surprisingly, few of the country's largest cities ranked among the top 100 on the list. New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Houston and Chicago didn't make the cut."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M to offer entrepreneurship education to all undergrads

The University of Michigan thinks that entrepreneurship should be a part of every student's educational repertoir. Within two years they intend to make classes in entrepreneurship education available to every undergrad, no matter what their academic focus.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Zurbuchen will lead the design of a program in entrepreneurship that will be open to all majors and that could be in place by the fall 2014 semester. He'll also coordinate and grow the school's entrepreneurial co-curricular activities, including the TechArb student business incubator and innovation-related student clubs."
 
Read more here.
 

Local Roboroach kit earns big Kickstarter support, PETA's wrath

The good folks at Backyard Brains think that every child should find a cockroach in their Christmas stocking (or under the menorah). That's why they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund RoboRoach, a kit that allows you to cut open live cockroaches and implant electrodes to control their movements. Sounds like something Jack skelington would approve of.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Backyard Brains has developed a Kickstarter project, the RoboRoach, that allows one to cut live cockroaches and implant electrodes to control the insects’ movements. One hundred and eighty three people have pledged $12,339 — exceeding the $10,000 goal to fund the project.
 
It’s like a remote-controlled car in the body of a live bug, the game “Operation” writ large. But the creators want it to be taken seriously, with Greg Gage saying his product advances the study of neural circuits, allowing students to make scientific discoveries."
 
Read the rest here.

Britain experiments with self-lighting bike paths

In case you hadn't heard, bicycles are outselling autos in Europe. Do, it makes sense that some pretty cool innovations are being tested for those who prefer two wheels to four.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The so-called "Starpath" is a type of solar-enhanced liquid and aggregate made by Pro-Teq Surfacing, a company headquartered southwest of London near the awesomely titled town of Staines-upon-Thames. It's in the prototype phase, with a test path running 460 feet in a Cambridge park called Christ's Pieces. (The British and their delightful names!) The material works by absorbing UV rays during the day and later releasing them as topaz light. In a weird feature, it can somehow adjust its brightness levels similar to the screen of an iPhone; the path gets dimmer on pitch-black nights "almost like it has a mind of its own," says Pro-Teq's owner, Hamish Scott."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

The economic impact of eating local

Those who eat know where their food comes from. Those who grow know who's eating their food. The supply chain gets shorter and information about what you put into your mouth becomes more transparent. What's not to like about becoming a locavore.
 
Check out Slow Money NW director Tim Crosby's break down of the economic impact of eating local here.
 
 

U-M is a magnet for Fulbright scholarships

With 36 U-M students and faculty members receiving Fulbrights (32 accepting), the university ranks among the tippy top in the nation. This year, Princeton University and Arizona State University were ranked behind U-M in a tie for third with 26 grantees.
 
Check out who won what here.
 

The Columbus-Ann Arbor rivalry gets tech oriented

In case you missed it, Ann Arbor made the list of the Progressive Policy Institute's 25 high tech hotspots when it comes to tenchnology and information jobs. Know who didn't make the list? All of Ohio.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Blogging in The Atlantic Cities, aided by a helpful map illustration, creative-class enthusiast Richard Florida points out the list “goes beyond the usual suspects.” Sure, three Silicon Valley counties are at the top, but there’s also the counties that include New Orleans and Huntsville, Ala."
 
Read the rest of the rationalizing here.
 
 

Welcome to the six county Ann Arbor region

What do Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw Counties have in common? They all want to trade on the Ann Arbor name to attract business. Oddly, next door Wayne County isn't included.
 
Excerpt:
 
"To kick off its outreach efforts, Greater Ann Arbor Region partners have created a new website that includes a robust suite of research data, available properties and other tools that businesses can use to evaluate location options.  The website also features case studies of successful regional businesses, including VenTower of Monroe, C. Raker and Sons of Hillsdale, and NuStep of Ann Arbor. 
 
In coming months, the partners will kick off a targeted email and social media marketing campaign to create awareness of the Greater Ann Arbor Region.  Efforts will also include hosting site selectors for tours of the region."
 
Read the rest here.
 

The Last Word's cocktails impress

Somebody in Detroit likes to imbibe at Ann Arbor's The Last word. A lot. Hope they had a designated driver.
 
Excerpt:
 
"And that’s part of the process. The staff at the Last Word says they enjoy “learning and gaining experience through experimentation” — that this gives them the ability to feature new flavors for their guests. Their drive is not fueled by whether a drink fails or succeeds but rather the process of creating something new being fun."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor ranks high among livable college towns

Aside for its now dated reference to Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burgers, the folks at Livability.com make a good case for why Ann Arbor is such livable college town.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In addition to providing residents with opportunities to cheer for some of the best teams in college sports, U-M offers a lot of free arts programming, including plays, concerts and gallery tours. Dance Marathon, the largest student-run nonprofit event at the university, raised more than $516,000 to support pediatric patients at two local hospitals during the 2012-13 school year. Students also provide mentoring and tutoring to elementary school children, build homes for underprivileged families, and participate in programs to better the lives of residents in both Ann Arbor and Detroit."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M's Solar Car Team finishes 9th in World Solar Challenge

It was a heartbreaker for U-M's solar car team. One of the most decorated teams of its kind in the United States -the team has finished third in five of the challenges- the team's solar-powered roadster struggled to make a comeback after a crash during its crossing of the Australian Outback.
 
Excerpt:
 
"“Everything happened pretty quickly, but I heard the driver over the radio say that he was fine so that gave me some relief,” Chudler says. “I'm really impressed with how our team rallied after the crash. The damage to the car was definitely not insignificant, but we were able to fix it up overnight and get the car safe and ready to drive the next morning. It was a whole-team effort and everyone performed remarkably.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor pop-punk band Pity Sex among 10 bands to watch

Each October more than 1000 bands from around the world descend on New York for CMJ, the five-day music industry conference that can chart the future success (or obscurity) of those who attend.
 
Billboard singled out Ann Arbor's pop-punk band Pity Sex as one of their bands to watch.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Lovelorn Ann Arbor pop-punk outfit Pity Sex have a penchant for fuzzy guitars and dreamy shoegaze vocals. Black-clad and bespectacled singer Brennan Greaves wields an obvious gift for melody, as does co-singer/better-half Britty Drake. "
 
Listen to the band here. Read more about CMJ here.
 
 
 
 
 

How Utah turned an unpopular transit system into a hit

How does a regional transit system go from angry protests and scorn to citizen's taxing themselves $2.5 billion to complete construction faster in just 10 years? With all the rancor aimed at developing local transit options, maybe there's something to be learned from Salt Lake City's build it and they will love it approach.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Oddly enough, one of UTA's most effective strategies for uniting people was targeting those who don't use public transit. The agency and its advocates pointed out that TRAX ridership saves 29,000 trips — or two full freeway lanes — in the Interstate-15 corridor every day. Road-reliant businesses like UPS ran ads explaining that FrontLines would help residents get their packages quicker by reducing traffic.
 
UTA also worked hard to create what Meyer calls an "inter-local agreement" among cities up and down the Salt Lake Valley corridor. Transit officials explained the basic infrastructure that would be put in place in every city and told local officials that they would have to pay for any extra amenities themselves. That early clarity prevented cities from withholding support unless they got a better deal than others."
 
Read the rest here.
 

A black Detroiter in Ann Arbor

There have been more than a few references to the Ann Arbor "bubble" over the years. And it's relationship with Detroit, a mere 45 miles away, seems disproportionately distant. So, how does a black senior from Detroit attending U-M view our leafy college city? The answer may surprise you.
 
Excerpt:
 
"You have a campus that claims to be diverse, viewing the picture through a white lens, but falling pretty short of that mark.Some may argue, “Nothing is in Detroit; what good can you really say about it?” I have seen this in so many comment sections on blogs and news sites. My family lives in Detroit. I personally take offense to this remark because it pretty much implies my family’s existence is worthless. It hurts me every time someone makes a blanket statement about Detroit because I view it as a personal attack on who I am and what has shaped me."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor to get "Power Art"

Traffic signal boxes will soon become instances of public art, thanks to the Arts Alliance and Ann Arbor DDA. How cool is that?
 
Excerpt:
 
"Downtown Ann Arbor is expected to get some more artwork, this time on the outside of the grey metal traffic signal boxes that are often covered in graffiti."
 
Listen to the report on this cool project here.

Ann Arbor 'Glass House' is source of envy

Ann Arbor architect Carl Luckenbach built a glass and deck-dominated house in 1985 with a view of the Arb. It's pretty spectacular and across the street is a house by Frank Lloyd Wright. And it's for sale.
 
Excerpt:
 
"On the main floor, the ceiling soars to 30 feet, and the structure is not just shown, it’s punctuated. Long white beams form the roof’s framework. They are buckled together with black steel plates and black bolts, like exclamation points on the white.
 
“I like the idea of being very straightforward about how the house is built,” Luckenbach said.

Built-in bookcases climb one wall like steps. Two rows of clerestory windows wrap around the dramatic ceiling and let natural light pour in."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Fiber fans to flock to Ann Arbor

Okay, there's three ways this story could go. There's the fiber that's good for your G-I tract. Then there's the high-tech data transfer medium so many techies crave. But here we're talking 'bout natural fibers, as in weaving, knitting and the like. Classes, vendors and spools and spools of the stuff will be on hand.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the fiber arts. The sustainable and green movement has brought a new life to the age old crafts of felting, knitting, spinning and other crafts using natural fibers. The economy has forced people to look towards entertainment at home, so the craft industry has been flourishing. One problem for those interested in these natural fiber arts is where to find materials for these crafts. "
 
Read the rest here.
 

Head of MichBio weighs in on Michigan's life sciences industry

What's the state of the state's life science's industry? "We’re holding our own," says Stephen Rapundalo, CEO for the trade organization MichBio. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"Certainly we’ve seen some modest growth in the medical device space. … I would summarize it as ‘steady as she goes.’ People are generally seeing more business coming their way. Everybody’s just kind of focused on doing the right thing, maintaining their sales and their growth. I don’t know what the numbers will ultimately say (for 2013), but I suspect it will be modest growth."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Birthday bash and custom-made beer for the 493 year-old Violin Monster

Come celebrate the Violin Monster's birthday with a bash at Corner Brewing this Thursday! There's not only music but a specially made beer in his honor.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Corner Brewery, located at 720 Norris St. in Ypsilanti, will be hosting the Violin Monster’s 493rd Birthday Bash on Thursday from 6 p.m. to midnight.
 
The Violin Monster, who clarified things a bit, said he’s a werewolf and was born Oct. 3, 1520 in Ireland, but now calls Ann Arbor home.
 
“I feel like Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor are so connected, and I feel like I’ve been embraced by the community,” he said.
 
When asked whether or not he has an alter ego, he said, “I am known simply as Violin Monster.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

U-M says no to sugary sodas

Maybe Michael Bloomberg got Mary Sue Coleman's ear. Whatever the catalyst, U-M has decided that the campus will no longer be a haven for high-calorie high fructose corn syrup.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The University of Michigan Health System and the medical school soon will stop selling sugary drinks in their cafeterias and vending machines.
 
The policy is set to take effect in mid-November and applies to sodas, sweetened coffees, sports drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, energy drinks and sweetened tea."
 
Read more here.
 

Ann Arbor one of the best 7 autumn college towns

Ah, the fresh smell and earthen colored rainbow of fallen leaves. The cheer of the crowds. The sight of fresh-faced students playing Beer Pong and littering their front lawns with plastic red cups. That's the stuff.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The University of Michigan's home, Ann Arbor, is nicknamed "Tree Town" -- so there's no question that it's probably at its finest in the fall, with all those leaves changing. Plus, there's the football. Ann Arbor is rife with densely-forested parks, so you'll have your pick of leaf-peeping opportunities, and if that's not enough you can check out the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum. If you can snag tickets to a Wolverine's football game, get ready for some excitement. There's nothing like a Big Ten game -- or the tailgate before it."
 
Read the rest here.
 

A season of free arts lectures in Ann Arbor

One of the great things about living in Ann Arbor is the multitude of university-sponsored events that are open to the public. And top of that list is the Penny W. Stamps Speaker Series, which brings a wide spectrum of artists to town to lecture about their work. The lectures are free and open to the public and take place on Thursdays at 5:10 pm at the Michigan Theater.
 
Some events to look out for:
 
Art is Open Source - "a visual, sonic journey through the new rituals and emergent ways in which we have radically changed the ways in which we work, relate, consume, feel emotions, have sex and entertain ourselves."
 
Liza Donnelly: What's So Funny About Humor? - Check out her TED Talk. It'll convince you to come.
 
Sputniko!: Alternative Futures with Design - "Sputniko! explores technology, feminism and pop culture. Produced with the investigative cooperation of scientists, her works are critical speculations on possible futures, provoking people to think about the social, cultural and ethical implications of new technologies."
 
Check out this year's program here!
 

Ann Arbor chalk artist profiled

David Zinn's wonderful chalk drawings are already a welcome part of Ann Arbor culture, popping up around town without fanfare or notice. The Daily gets the skinny on Zinn's background and inspirations.
 
Excerpt:
 
Over the course of almost three decades in Ann Arbor, Zinn has created scores of drawings on any imaginable sidewalk in town. His tools have included everything from charcoal to paint, but he’s cultivated something of a reputation for his work with chalk.
 
The creatures he brings to life peer out of the ground with childlike innocence. The most famous ones, Sluggo and The Flying Pig, are featured on the homepage of his website, both draped by a simple, Pixar-esque message: “Occupy your imagination. Or someone else will.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M to provide shuttle service between Ann Arbor and Detroit

In an ideal world we'd have the public transportation infrastructure to make this unnecessary, like most other metro areas around the country. Nevertheless it's good to see that someone try to bridge the gap between Motown and Tree Town.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Beginning Saturday, October 5, UM students, staff and faculty will be able to travel from the Ann Arbor campus to UM Detroit Center onboard the MDetroit Center Connector.
 
“The University’s ties to Detroit run deep,” says Addell Austin Anderson, Director of the U-M Detroit Center and Co-Director of the MDetroit Center Connector, “but until now, there have been few options for a reliable transit system connecting us.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M to deep dive into Gershwin's music

The University of Michigan has become partners with the Ira Gershwin estate to provide universoty researchers and scholars complete access to Gershwin's work. (Cue Rhapsody In Blue for those who think they don't know his work)
 
Excerpt:
 
Additionally, the agreement allows SMTD to create new, definitive scores and parts for Gershwin compositions, the first time such a sustained, scholarly effort will be made to establish authoritative performance material that accurately reflects the composer's and lyricist's intent.
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

U-M researchers say: love thy neighbor, live longer

Haters take note: good will for your neighbor equals good health. It's science. Man, we feel sorry for all those short-lived commenters on AnnArbor.com
 
Excerpt:
 
"A new University of Michigan study shows that adults in this age bracket who live in a good neighborhood with trustworthy people lowered their risk of stroke up to 48 percent.
Feeling connected with neighbors builds what researchers describe as "neighborhood social cohesion." The trust and connection with neighbors was associated with a reduced risk of stroke above and beyond the effects of negative psychological factors—such as depression and anxiety, said Eric Kim, a doctoral student in the U-M Department of Psychology and the study's lead author."
 
Read the rest here.
 

HealPay uses young techies and happy faces to collect debt

An Ann Arbor start-up is getting noticed for its kinder, gentler, more tech-savvy approach to debt collection.
 
Excerpt:
 
"As HealPay co-founder Erick Bzovi says, debt collection “is a dirty world and the technology sucks.” The solutions he and cofounder Lance Carlson have developed streamline collections and provide electronic options that they say improve chances of collecting receivables.
 
HealPay’s SettlementApp, for instance, is designed to let large billers such as  hospitals, collection attorneys, and collection agencies create payment options so that debtors can make payoffs over time. Pointing to the Home Shopping Network’s enticing sales pitches that let customers “make three easy payments” or “get flexible payment options,” Bzovi says, “People are more likely to buy a service, or pay off their debt, if you give them options."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Guide to freshman eats in Ann Arbor

For those of you who wondered what college kids are eating these days...
 
Excerpt:
 
7. Best Greasy Eat: Frita Batidos. I’m kind of obsessed with this Cuban spot just off Main Street. The name comes from its classic offerings: fritas (Cuban burgers served with shoestring fries on top) and batidos (refreshing smoothie-milkshake hybrids). Order the classic chorizo frita with your choice of toppings (mine is muenster, thick-cut bacon, avocado spread and a sunny-side-up egg) and a coconut cream batido for a meal you’ll never forget.
 
8. Best Lunch Spot: babo. At this pay-by-the-pound deli counter, you can rest assured that you’re in for an exceptional lunch. With a variety of fresh and creative salads, pressed sandwiches and funky-cool drinks, you’ll never run out of new things to try. Seating is limited, but classy and casual out on the patio.
 
Read the rest here.
 

In Ann Arbor the Dude could abide... and reside

WWTDD (What Would The Dude Do)? According to the geniuses at Estately, he'd live in Ann Arbor. Why? We have the right mix of bowling alleys, bars, lenient marijuana laws and affordable housing (huh?).
 
Other possible places the Big Lebowski would find desirable? Minneapolis, Minn., Austin, Texas, Houston, Texas, Portland, Ore., Tuscaloosa, Ala., Louisville, Ky., Ventura, Calif., Honolulu, Seattle and Chicago.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Dude believes in pacifism, something that can be studied in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, particularly as it relates to World War I. The Dude enjoys White Russian cocktails, the ingredients of which—vodka, Kahlúa and cream—can be purchased at virtually any grocery store in Ann Arbor. The Dude smokes marijuana, and this hippie haven was named by High Times as one of America’s Best Cities for Pot. This is completely primo Dude territory if ever there was."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

U-M ranks 4th in Bloomberg's list of top colleges for tech CEOs

U-M graduates are at the top of the class when it comes to becoming a tech CEO, according to Bloomberg.

Excerpt:

The main campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a lot closer to Motor City than Silicon Valley, but the Wolverines have had a big appetite for running tech companies.

Eric Lefkofsky, who recently took over as CEO of Groupon, and Paul Rooke, who runs printer maker Lexmark, are Michigan alumni. Steve Singh, who runs the travel expenses company Concur Technologies, and Bobby Kotick, the animated CEO of Activision Blizzard, also went to Michigan but didn't stay until graduation.

More here.


U-M receives $200M gift to support business school, athletics program

U-M's coffers will runneth over with billionaire real estate developer Stephen M. Ross's $200M gift.

Excerpt:

"The real-estate developer's gift, the single largest in the university's history, will be split between its business school—which is named for Mr. Ross, a 1962 graduate—and its athletics program...

In 2004, Mr. Ross gave $100 million to construct a new building for the University of Michigan's business school and to bolster the school's endowment. The latest gift is meant to "finish the job" in upgrading the business school's other buildings, Mr. Ross said."

More here.

Arbor Networks acquires Australia-based Packetloop

Arbor Networks is broadening its scope in the data security field with its acquisition of Packetloop, a Sydney, Australia-based firm.

Excerpt:

"Arbor is building a network security and analytics platform that goes far beyond DDoS detection and mitigation," said John Grady, research manager for Security Products at IDC. "Adding a big data security analytics and forensics platform like Packetloop's makes sense as they extend into the broader advanced threat market. Arbor now has a unique combination of NetFlow, packet capture and global threat intelligence from their ATLAS infrastructure to address today's dynamic threats that evade signature-based solutions."

More here.


Larky forms new partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Larky, a provider of a web and mobile service that tracks discounts for consumers, has a new deal on its plate.

Excerpt:

"Today, we're launching a new partnership with  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan  (BCBSM) to raise awareness and increase usage of their awesomeHealthy Blue Xtras  member discount program. We're super excited about this, not only because we can help four million BCBSM members save money effortlessly, but also because Healthy Blue Xtras discounts are from  great Michigan merchants  focused on health and wellness."

More here.


Could Ann Arbor embrace open mixed-use planning?

Slate's Matthew Yglesias trumpets Ann Arbor's new "mixed-use" party, a group that advocates a more democratized version of urban planning that defies the politically-influenced micro-managing of urban design ordinances.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Of course I'm a radical who's no fan of maximum height rules anywhere, but these kind of codes are a big improvement on the idea that town planners need to micromanage where people can and can't put an office or a store. Regulatory separation of uses is fine to the extent that you don't want people operating potentially dangerous factories (see West, Texas) next to people's houses. But beyond broad safety and pollution concerns, towns should let people vote with their feet and their wallets and see what kind of neighborhoods emerge."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M researchers create online map for local climate change impacts

Wonder what the local impact of climate is? The University of Michigan along with an independent research group have created an interactive map http://bit.ly/1a5f46s that will help local officials and leaders chart the impacts of climate change.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The map provides social, economic and demographic statistics on 225 counties in the eight-state region. It includes data about municipal spending, land use and climate-change characteristics such as temperature patterns."
 
 
Read the rest here
 


How colleges use signature events to stand out

What would U-M be without its rivalry with Ohio State? Is there a more boisterous, deep-rooted, and irrational sense of competition in college sports. Writer Gwendolyn Freed makes the case that oddball events can act as a kind of placemaking for universities and colleges, sending a message that levity and creative expression are welcome.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Bonding through signature events takes many forms, as I once observed from the nosebleed seats at an Ohio State-Michigan football game. The Buckeyes-Wolverines rivalry, which began in 1897, rouses more than 100,000 spectators to scream and party for days. A juggernaut among signature events, the big game coordinates expensive, high-stakes efforts in logistics, security, marketing, media relations, and halftime entertainment—not to mention the football. For an entire weekend, it overtakes the city of Ann Arbor."
 
Read the rest here
 

Michigan Stadium bridge to get artsy

The latest project approved by the Ann Arbor Public ARt Commmission will bring LED trees on carved stone slabs to a very public and very visible piece of infrastructure.
 
Excerpt:
 
"On the State Street underpass, Widgery plans to construct large stone panels with etchings of photographs she took of trees around Ann Arbor. The panels will be lit by LED lights.
 
Widgery has created public art for cities across the country. She says while some critics see public art as a poor use of funds, public art helps revive cities and bring people in."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor runner up for Best American Town 2013

Outside Magazine is showing The Deuce a whole lotta love this month. In their list of great American towns Ann Arbor comes in 18th. Not too shabby given we're up against the likes of Park City, Utah and Boston, Mass.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The best thing about A-squared, as locals call it, is that you never have to leave—there are great ethnic restaurants, a world-class university, bike lanes galore, and superb trails, like the 35-mile Border2Border."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor wants your input on dog parks

Have a dog? Hate them? What do you think of the city's dog parks? Should there be more? Less? And what about cats? Well, the city doesn't seem to interested in our feline compatriots at this juncture but they are interested in your thoughts and opinions about the state of play for man's best friend.
 
Give your feedback here.
 

DIYpsi brings indie art and craft beer to Heritage Festival

Missed the Shadow Art Fair? Well, the spirit of that event is alive (albeit with a different mix of folks) at Ypsilanti's Heritaghe Festival courtesy the fine folks at DIYpsi.
 
Excerpt:
 
"This is the first year DIYpsi has partnered with the Heritage Festival. “Festival organizers had come to us with the idea of us bringing the DIYpsi show inside the festival,” Green said. “Everyone agreed it would be a great collaboration for the community. DIYpsi had ideas about putting on a summer show, but without a venue or the know-how of how to offer beer and music outside, and the Heritage Fest already had all of that and just needed the artists.”
 
Drinkable offerings in the beer tent will range from standard American brews from large beer companies to Michigan wine and beer, including offerings from Ann Arbor’s Wolverine State Brewing."
 
Read more here.
Click here for more info on the festival
 

Grand Rapids to Ann Arbor, a waterside tour

Outside Magazine has a photo essay called "Waterside Drive," which takes readers on a driving/coastal tour of Michigan. The final destination? Jerusalem Garden in Ann Arbor.
 
Click here to follow their route.
 

The Big House to host largest college hackathon event in country

If you want more evidence that it's the geeks that will inherit the earth you have to look no further than the Michigan Stadium on the weekend of September 20.
 
Excerpt:
 
"...when organizers sought a location for the September 20-22 event, they realized one of the only locations on campus big enough to hold the anticipated 1,000 hackers was the nation’s largest football venue — Michigan Stadium."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor ranks #11 for VC activity

Start-hubs are all the rage and Ann Arbor has been listed as a capital-dense start-up community, right behind Seattle!
 
Excerpt:
 
"Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley capture a lot of attention, but cities including Detroit, Michigan; Las Vegas, Nevada and Omaha, Nebraska each boast booming entrepreneurial communities of their own. Heck, even Canada is in the running for next start-up frontier."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 
 

River Network names A2's Laura Rubin a River hero

The River Network, a national coalition more than 2,000 organizations, named Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council, this year's River Hero for her 15 years of leadership at the HRWC.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The award recognizes Rubin’s inspirational and innovative leadership in growing HRWC into an organization known for its outstanding citizen scientist programs like Adopt-A-Stream and the Bioreserve Project, its stormwater and pollution management services for regulated communities, and programs that address place-making, natural areas protection, climate resiliency and water efficiency."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor is #2 most liveable college town

I guess if you're going to get praised for your liveability it's good that that praise comes from a web mag called livability.com, eh?
 
Excerpt:
 
"“The same factors that make locations attractive to students also make them attractive to businesses,” says Steven Cunningham, director of research and education at AIER. “A growing, highly-educated population with an extensive proportion of creative people and entrepreneurs means a high-quality labor pool. City accessibility supports morning commutes. Low cost of living means less upward pressure on wages. A high student concentration suggests enthusiastic part-time labor and internships. Favorable economic measures suggest a stable business environment and local demand for goods and services produced. All of these factors are important to quality of life in the broadest sense, which is important to employees and retirees.”"
 
Read the rest here.

Ford Motor Co.'s tech hiring spree puts it back in the driver's seat

The Ann Arbor area's tech graduates might get a jump start at not only local start-ups, but at the new and retooled Ford Motor Co.

Excerpt:

"Ford Motor is dramatically stepping up its hiring of engineers, software workers and other salaried employees to meet the increased demand for a new high-tech era in the auto industry. Ford said it will increase white-collar hiring by 36%, or 800 jobs, to a total of 3,000....

At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, traditionally one of the nation's top sources of automotive talent, students are grasping that automotive is undergoing a revolution, says David Munson, dean of the engineering school. With driverless cars, advanced infotainment and other high tech on the way, "there has never been a more exciting time in the auto industry." Demand is strong, he says, for all but civil engineers."

More here.

U.S. News & World Report ranks U-M Hospitals tops in nation

The nation's best cure-alls for most every affliction can be found right in the Ann Arbor vicinity.

Excerpt:

"The University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers offer the best care in Michigan and are among the nation’s best in 12 specialty areas, according to a new ranking from  U.S. News & World Report.

This is the second year in a row that U-M has topped the  statewide ranking, and the third that it has also topped the  Metro Detroit ranking."

More here.

U-M to expand bike rental program

U-M's bike rental program has been getting good mileage over the last year, so it's adding more to keep with up the demand.

Excerpt:

"A bike-rental program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is expanding following its launch last year and riders are awaiting the start of a bike-sharing program for the city and the school's campus....

"We were getting calls for our first rentals before we even had the bikes assembled," said John Swerdlow, assistant director of recreational sports for the University of Michigan. "All semester bikes flew out the door and we had to make a waiting list."

More here.

Ann Arbor makes room for indie bookstores

Blink and you won't miss them: indie bookstores are here to stay in Ann Arbor.

Excerpt:

"Don't look now, but a small literary renaissance is sweeping Ann Arbor. In the midst of a nationwide bookstore die-off, by summer's end this famously academic city will have two new independent bookstores, each started by an idealistic young married couple....

Indeed, statistics from the American Booksellers Association, which represents independent bookstores, defy the gloomy prognosis. In 2009, the ABA had 1,401 member businesses. Today it has 1,632. The number has grown every year for the past four, but significantly, jumped the most between 2011 and 2012 — the year that Borders vanished."

More here.

Great Lakes blue waters could be Michigan's new green

We've heard the anecdotes about tech companies moving to Michigan to take advantage of reasonable living costs and a considerably more tech-oriented culture than in the past. Could water-intensive industries be far behind?

Excerpt:

"Climate change and population growth are making the Great Lakes region’s role as a global food producer more important as water shortages become more severe in other parts of the world....

The Great Lakes are positioned to become “ground zero” as water vanishes elsewhere. The region has long been viewed as one of the world’s most abundant collections of fresh water and would be in a crucial position to adapt to a global water crisis....

“We are going to see and are already seeing water-intensive industries move back to the Midwest,” said Jim Byrum, Michigan Agri-Business Association president.

One such industry is dairy farming.

Some California dairy farmers, frustrated by California’s tighter water restrictions, have relocated to northwest Ohio and parts of Michigan."

More here.

Bioartography is both art and science

At Ann Arbor's art fairs last week, a body of artwork by U-M scientists got some visibility around the country.

Excerpt:

"One of the fairs' booths features art for sale that isn't just beautiful. It might also save lives.

It's called Bioartography. It features prints and notecards with scientific images taken through microscopes and scanners by University of Michigan Medical School scientists and their colleagues.

The proceeds of the sale help young scientists travel to conferences where they can share their work and make career connections."

More here.

Healthy blood vessels? Everist Genomics has the test

A Stanford grad and California native moved his medical device company to Ann Arbor to utilize the talent of former Pfizer staffers and U-M's technology. 

Excerpt:

"Everist Genomics has developed a device called the AngioDefender that in a deceptively simple way tests the resiliency and therefore the health of a subject's blood vessels. Now marketed in India and soon to be sold in Europe and other parts of the world, the AngioDefender might one day be as synonymous with Michigan as Vernor's and Domino's."

More here.

Ann Arbor one of nation's "brainiest" metros

What do you know? Ann Arbor is the nation's 6th "brainiest" metro area (5th among the under-35 set!) The bright minds behind Lumosity say so.

Excerpt:

"In the knowledge age, "smart" cities and metros have a considerable economic advantage. Economists like Harvard's  Edward Glaeser  have shown how urban and regional economic growth turn on education levels or so-called "human capital"...

But what about more direct measures of "brain performance"?

Last year,  I mapped  America's "brainiest" metros, using new measures and rankings developed by Lumos Labs via their online brain-performance program,  Lumosity...

This year's analysis is significantly expanded, based on data from 2.4 million users. The rankings cover five key cognitive areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving....

While we usually think of the knowledge economy as having a strong bi-coastal orientation, most of Lumosity's top 25 brainiest places are in the Midwest."

More here.

Arbor Brewing Co. supports "Clean Water"

Ann Arbor's Arbor Brewing Co. is one of 20 brewers in the country pledging to reduce the amount of water used in their brewing process, and who are also urging President Obama to reinstate the Clean Water Act.

Excerpt:

"Beer is ninety percent water...Once you account for the brewing process, it takes around five gallons of water to produce just one gallon of beer....

Since Obama is himself a home brewer (though it seems unlikely he has any time to ferment these days), the NRDC has corralled a group of 20 craft breweries—from big hitters such as Sierra Nevada and New Belgium to small guys like Michigan's Arcadia and Brooklyn's Kelso—who have made a pledge to make their operations more water-efficient and have signed a letter to the Obama Administration, urging it to pass guidance from the EPA that would put muscle back into the Clean Water Act."

More here

Mott Children's Hospital doctor scores $250K cancer research grant

Ann Arbor is a magnet for top docs that draw big research dollars for funding cures, as shown by this grand sum.

Excerpt:

"A pediatric oncologist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor will receive a $250,000 grant for children's cancer research....

Dr. Craig Byersdorfer's research focuses on improving treatment available for graft vs. host disease in children who've had bone marrow transplants."

More here

ParknParty.com to ease congested parking at Ann Arbor art fairs

Instead of chasing parking spots at this week's art fairs in Ann Arbor, drivers can book their real estate ahead of time through a newish Ann Arbor company's website, parknParty.com

Excerpt:

"[ParknParty manager Taylor Bond] said they worked with the DDA and Republic Parking to provide parking spaces in the downtown Ann Arbor area, right in the middle of the action, so people won’t have to worry about where they are going to park. The cost for a full day of parking is 18 dollars. And Bond says the best thing is, you are guaranteed a spot will be waiting for you."

More here.

Chalk artist David Zinn's creatures pop up on Reddit.com

Ann Arbor passersby, and the nation, are doing double takes at chalk artist David Zinn's pop-up sidewalk art.

Check out his creature creations here.

Wifi-connected cars could be the rule of the road

New technology could put the brakes on car collisions, according to U-M researchers.

Excerpt:

"ANN ARBOR, Mich. — As Debby Bezzina drives near her office here, her car beeps if she takes certain turns too fast or if another vehicle is, say, speeding into the same intersection she is in.

Bezzina's showing a taste of a future in which cars talk to each other, to the road and even to traffic signals. She's managing a federally funded pilot project of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. It wraps up in August, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to decide by year's end whether to take the first steps toward requiring cars to connect this way to improve safety and reduce congestion...

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, what the researchers call V2V, is heading down a road many see leading to self-driving cars. And it's a natural next step now that automakers are increasingly adding features that slow and even stop cars when sensors detect crashes are imminent...." 

More here.

Clean hands are healthy hands: Biovigil's technology gets tested

The nations' hospitals are trying to clean themselves of the consequences of poor hand washing by giving technology developed by Ann Arbor's Biovigil a dry run.

Excerpt:

"Health experts say poor hand cleanliness is a factor in hospital-borne infections that kill tens of thousands of Americans each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that one of every 20 patients in U.S. hospitals gets a hospital-acquired infection each year...

Since last year, SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in the St. Louis suburb of Richmond Heights, Mo., has been the test site for a system developed by Biovigil Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich. A flashing light on a badge turns green when hands are clean, red if they’re not. It also tracks each hand-cleaning opportunity — the successes and the failures."

More here.

LA Times catches up on Duo Security's web security technology

It's the high-tech equivalent of the bar bouncer. Ann Arbor's Duo Security is a heavy player in the nation's best web security software applications.

Excerpt:

"Banks and other financial institutions have long had double-layered protection (i.e. asking a preset personal question such as "What was the name of your first pet?"). But a recent spate of major cyber attacks that have exposed hundreds of millions of personal accounts to hackers is increasing pressure on non-financial Web services to fortify their digital doors beyond a single password...

In the meantime, companies such as Duo Security in Ann Arbor, Mich., are trying to ease the pain for users who might have switched to two-step log-ins but are tired of managing multiple accounts. Duo's product taps into services that already have open standards. Log-in requests get filtered through the application, and the user need only tap "accept" or "deny."

Among Duo's clients, according to its website, are the University of Michigan's Departmental Computing Organization and the CedarCrestone technology consulting company in Atlanta. Google's venture-capital arm is among Duo's investors."

More here.

Spontaneous Art trio appears on NBC's 'America's Got Talent'

When it comes to thinking on your feet, it's hard to top Spontaneous Art, the Ann Arbor performance trio getting national recognition for streetside antics. Catch the show clip and an interview with Ypsi blogger Mark Maynard here.

And check out Concentrate's interview with the group here.

WCC Students win 3 local Emmys

It's easy to forget that U-M and EMU aren't the only higher learning institutions in the area. Washtenaw Community College is so much more than your typical commuter school. This five digital media students brough home a trio of Emmys for their work. And it's not the first time WCC students have done so.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Five WCC digital media students received Michigan Emmys for their work at the 35th Emmy Gala on June 15. This is the second consecutive year WCC students have returned to campus with Emmys in hand.

A documentary film by George Pariseau, Kevin Jackson, and Eileen Meier, “The Flow,” won in the Arts and Entertainment/Cultural Affairs category. The film showcases some of Ann Arbor’s fire and acrobatic performers, and was recognized for outstanding achievement in reporting on activities devoted to cultural or artistic significance."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Rolling Stone dubs Michelle Chamuel "The Little Indie Artist Who Could"

Rock's venerable and premiere magazine has a straight talking interview with Ann Arbor fave and second place winner on "the Voice" Michelle Chamuel.
 
Excerpt:
 
"You've mentioned fake hair a couple of times. . . .
Yeah, one of the creative suggestions that came in was for me to wear a ponytail during my performance of Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason," so they put a whole bunch of fake hair in. I was squirming in the chair, really not happy about it, but they were like, "Just try it." So I went onstage to rehearse, and I crush my hair in my hands a lot when I’m singing, and I managed to get a handful of this beautiful hair that was once someone else’s and is now dead on my head and I said, "I can’t sing like this, this feels so wrong.""
 
Read the rest here.
 

MA travel writer discovers Ann Arbor's restaurant scene

A Massachussettes writer makes a point of investigating what Ann Arbor has to offer the casual visitor and likes what he finds (Preview: Frita Batida makes the list!).
 
Excerpt:
 
"I had visited  the University of Michigan campus before, but I'd never taken the time to enjoy the city of Ann Arbor, so on a recent visit to Michigan I decided to have a look at the city. What I found is that besides being a college town, Ann Arbor is a fully realized city on its own with a host of things to do. It's like a smaller version of Philadelphia or Chicago with great restaurants, unusual shopping experiences, active theater, lively music venues and some fine museums. 
 
In just a few days I saw two plays, shopped three bookshops, toured three museums, saw a Marshall Crenshaw/Bottle Rockets concert at The Ark, toured the University of Michigan football stadium, visited the nearby cities of Ypsilanti and Chelsea, and dined at a different restaurant every lunchtime and evening."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's storm water policies praised as "climate-smart"

Stormwater utilities aren't exactly sexy topics for the average reader but in the grand scheme of life their policies have a huge impact on both the environment and our daily lives. Ann Arbor's approach to storm water issues are the subject of a green-minded blog and the verdict is pretty darn favorable.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Climate change road trippers and recent University of Michigan grads Kirsten Howard and Allie Goldstein recently returned to Ann Arbor to learn more about the city’s  stormwater utility.
 
The agency manages the stormwater that accumulates and picks up pollutants after heavy rainfall.
 
Howard and Goldstein have been traveling and blogging about how U.S. cities are adjusting to climate change. Now they’ve found successful adaptation in their own college town, where the inspiration for their trip began."
 
Read the rest here
 

Huron High grad behind the "Man Of Steel"

Ann Arbor native David S. Goyer has carved out a pretty career for himself in Hollywood. He wrote the "Blade" movies, co-wrote the Dark Knight movies, created the Starz cable series Da Vinci’s Demons and is the man behind the reboot of Superman.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Goyer was mentioned on “The Colbert Report” during a tongue-in-cheek slam of the updated Superman costume in “Man of Steel,” which doesn’t include the traditional red briefs, or “granny panties,” as the show’s host described them. But that’s fine. “You haven’t made it until you’ve been name-checked by Stephen Colbert,” jokes Goyer, who didn’t even mind that Colbert mistakenly called him Dan. In the movie, Superman’s blue suit is typical of the garments worn under robes and armor by citizens of Superman’s home planet."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Car-sharing comes to Ypsilanti

U-M lead the way. Followed by A2 then EMU. NOw, Yspi is climbing aboard the car sharing bandwagon, with two rent-by-the-hour cars in their downtown.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The program will begin with two cars being available for rental, but could expand to include more.
 
"If it's successful, we will look into adding more cars once we have some more usage data," Wessler said.
 
The cars will be placed in the Washington Street parking lot near the Ypsilanti Transit Center. The city does not foresee any security issues, but will deal with any on a case-by-case basis."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Menlo Innovations' collective mind profiled as new workplace trend

Is top-down management destined to go the way of the dinosaur? New York Magazine writer Matthew Shaer uses Ann Arbor's Menlo Innovations as an example of a boss-free work environment.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Consider, for instance, the fact that hiring at Menlo is handled by committee, with each applicant spending a little bit of time with a group of employees, until a consensus can be reached. That same collective decision-making happens during promotions, layoffs, and flat-out firings.
 
Consider next the charts in the corner of the office, which display the names and titles of the Menlo employees and also their corresponding pay grades. When I first saw them, I was standing in the midst of a scrum of Menlonians, and I suggested—thus belying my own, frankly square work experience—that it might be a little unnerving to have your salary exposed to your colleagues. And the guy standing to my right actually scoffed. “No,” he said. “It’s the opposite. It’s liberating.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 

Proposition: Building a bridge between Ann Arbor and Detroit

The editor of Xconomy Detroit reports from the semi-annual Entrepreneurs Engage event hosted by the University of Michigan’s Office of Tech Transfer and has some observations about some Ann Arborites misguided view of Detroit.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Of course, what came up first is Detroit’s image problem. In an earlier discussion session, I had heard an Ann Arborite declare that his city would never officially connect itself to Detroit because Ann Arbor is “good” and Detroit is “bad.”
 
Well, sir, that’s a fairly subjective pronouncement. What you consider good may come off to me as boring. What you consider bad might seem vibrant to me. I’m just as frustrated as any Detroiter about our ongoing infrastructure and public safety issues, but to simply say it’s good vs. bad shows me that you probably haven’t spent much time in Detroit, and certainly not lately."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Domino's Pizza introduces DomiCopter, the future of pizza delivery

Are we looking at the end of pizza delivery dudes? Domino's unveils the DomiCopter, pizza delivery by air.
 
Watch the video  below.

 

Could the Great Lakes be an economic watershed for Michigan?

An interesting piece on how our abundance of fresh water could be an economic reservoir in coming generations.


Excerpt:

"As growing water scarcity casts a shadow over the economic boom in warmer states, many in the long-scorned northlands are hoping they can finally make their abundance of freshwater a magnet for businesses and jobs that are now going elsewhere. The idea is either a perfect nexus of opportunity and timing, or— as some in the Sun Belt believe— just another longshot attempt by a cold and downtrodden region to reverse history.

In the eight Great Lakes states, organizations devoted to the venture are springing up, with headquarters, government grants and binders full of Power Points and five-year plans. Universities are establishing freshwater science and engineering programs, such as theUniversity of Michigan Water Center, a $9 million research and education center formed in October."

More here.

U-M team wins national prize for research crowd funding software

If this concept goes far enough, a prize-winning platform developed at U-M could be the Kickstarter for the medical community.

Excerpt:

"Crowd funding is all the rage these days, with everyone from charities to start-up companies offering ways for masses of people to kick in small amounts of money that together can make big things happen.

But could that concept work for medical research?

A University of Michigan Health System team wants to find out – and  they have just won a national prize  for their prototype of a web-based platform to do it."

More here.




Dexter gardener pushes "World Cup of Gardening" for Detroit's Belle Isle

It'll be high-stakes gardening at Detroit's Belle Isle if a Dexter landscaper/gardener's vision of tens, or even, hundreds, of thousands of the world's best gardeners duking it out over the roses comes true.

Excerpt:

"John Cullen, who owns Celtic Gardens in Dexter, wants to compete with other internationally known gardeners at Belle Isle in a "World Cup of Gardening."

"To take the beautiful assets, the architecture, the water front, the places that people already recognize and love... I would say, simply, goosebumps, when I think about Belle Isle and that venue," Cullen said.

More here.

Monarch Antenna takes global prize for vehicle wireless solution

The automotive intelligentsia is putting its money behind Monarch Antenna's latest wireless device

Excerpt:

"SAE Detroit Section, in concert with the MIT Enterprise Forum, Great Lakes chapter (MITEF) named Monarch Antenna Inc., a up-and-coming technology developer of smart, adaptive tunable antenna solutions to enhance vehicle wireless connectivity, the winner of their 2013 5th  annual Global automotive Competition. 'Our technology permits narrow-band antenna tuning over a wide frequency range so that a single antenna can replace multiple passive antennas in today’s connected vehicles' said Randy Dence, CEO of Monarch Antenna."

More here.


Wisconsin sees Michigan as venture capital model

Michigan's mix of public and private investments in venture capital is garnering not only a jump in the VC stats (in one year it moved from 25th to 15th in national VC investment rankings), but also attention around the country.


Excerpt:

"In many ways, Michigan looks a lot like Wisconsin. It shares hundreds of miles of the same Great Lakes shoreline, and usually votes "blue" in presidential elections and "red" when it chooses governors and its state legislature. It also boasts major research universities that rank among the nation's best.

Unlike Wisconsin, however, Michigan began investing in its emerging economy years ago — even as the state’s automobile manufacturing base was teetering on the edge of collapse.

The success story of how Michigan has surged onto the national radar when it comes to venture capital investment in tech-based, "knowledge economy" companies should be instructive to Wisconsin policymakers as they prepare to vote on creating a state-leveraged fund."

More here.

Why the creative class is choosing Michigan

In this Bridge magazine column, Concentrate's Natalie Burg dispels the popular misconception that the creative under-40 class is leaving Michigan as fast as it can.

Excerpt:

"Hi. I'm Natalie. I'm a self-employed writer, I'm 31, and, if you listen to the headlines, I don't exist. Like a centaur or a yeti, the well-educated, career-driven, creative-class Millennial like myself is not found in the wild here in Michigan. Supposedly, we've all left or are desperately attempting to do so.

Surprise! Not only am I a Michigander by choice (seriously, my husband is a musician; we could literally be anywhere), I get offended when people ask why we're "still here." I try to break it down as simply as I can for them: I know Michigan's challenges as well as anyone, but I love it here, and I know – not think,  know  – we're on our way back."

More here.

Michigan retaining bigger share of new college grads, study says

In terms of retention of young college graduates, it looks like the tide may be turning in the Great Lakes State.

Excerpt:

"The Detroit Regional Chamber on Thursday released a study that analyzed the mobility of graduates of Michigan's 15 public universities, which conferred more than 66,000 degrees last school year...

Among that group, 63 percent are still living in Michigan, 35 percent have moved to another state and less than 2 percent moved out of the country, according to the report, released Thursday afternoon at the chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference. About 83 percent of the graduates attended Michigan high schools.

The percentage of those who stay has increased from 2007, when a similar study showed 51 percent of the target group reported living in Michigan about six months after graduation."

More here.

U-M doctors "print out" life-saving airway tube

Talk about being quick on your feet. Who would've thought a 3-D printer and some plastic could help to save a life?

Excerpt:

"In a medical first, doctors at  C.S. Mott Children's Hospital  of the  University of Michigan  in Ann Arbor used plastic particles and a 3-D laser printer to create an airway splint to save the life of a baby boy who used to stop breathing nearly every day.

It's the latest advance from the booming field of regenerative medicine, making body parts in the lab."

More here.

Make something out of the Mini Maker Faire on June 8

Artists, crafters, builders and techies, activate! The Mini Maker Faire on June 8 is your chance.

Excerpt:

A "maker" can be a lot of different things. A tech geek builds robots. An enthusiast builds a ham radio. An artist creates something brand new out of recycled objects. People enjoy all sorts of DIY pursuits. The common thread is the impulse to flex creative muscles, invent, and produce.

"I think the maker movement is broad enough to encompass all of it," says Emily Puckett Rodgers, a spokesperson for the A2 Geeks and their 5th annual Mini Maker Faire. This year dozens of exhibitors, a lineup of speakers, and thousands of event attendees will convene at Washtenaw Community College's Morris Lawrence Building on June 8.

More here


U-M grad's film, "Zug", wins Student Academy Award

And the Oscar goes to...

Excerpt:

"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has selected a University of Michigan graduate's undergrad thesis film (Perry Janes' "Zug") as one of 15 winners in this year's  Student Academy Awards  competition. This is the first time in the history of the Student Academy Awards (which began in 1972) that a film by a U-M student has won.

Janes, who grew up in different parts of metro Detroit (most recently Royal Oak), based "Zug" on a short story he’d written about two young men who are dared by classmates to visit mysterious Zug Island.

"That's the coming of age, narrative, literal story of the film," Janes said. "The thematic idea of the film is that Detroit is a really polarizing place that people talk about in terms of extremes, when the reality of the place is … that these are regular people just living in the city, living their lives. These are two boys who, by virtue of having one foot in the city, one foot outside of it, get sucked into those mythic narratives. And then Zug becomes an allegory for testing them, and affirming the maybe more comforting reality underneath the way that people talk about (Detroit)."

More here

Duo Security product selected for major online banking platform

Online banking security may be getting a little tighter with Ann Arbor-based Duo Security's product behind it.

Excerpt:

"Duo Security, a cloud-based two-factor authentication company, announced today that Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) (OTCQX: CSVI) has selected Duo two-factor authentication (2FA) for its online banking platform.   With Duo Security, CSI will deliver 2FA as an opt-in service to more than 140 financial institutions currently leveraging its Internet Banking platform."

More here.


U-M Health System touted for leading-edge green practices

For seven years running, U-M Health System has ranked among the top hospitals in the country for healthy green infrastructure, garnering an Environmental Leadership Circle Award from Practice Greenhealth.

Some reasons why: 

"In 2012, 3.5 million pounds of trash were diverted from the landfill through UMHHC’s recycling efforts.   This resulted in an overall recycle rate of 28 percent for 2012...

UMHHC requires all new buildings, additions and construction projects with a budget of $10 million or more to meet  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)  Silver level.   LEED is one of most widely accepted international rating systems for measuring the environmental impact of new construction."

More here

Cinetopia International Film Festival is showtime in Ann Arbor

From June 6-9, Ann Arbor venues will be showing over 40 feature-length films culled from the world's major film festivals, many of which are making their North American or Michigan debut. Catch them at Michigan Theater, State Theater, University of Michigan's Angell Hall, and, for the first time, at the Detroit Film Theatre.

Click here for more info.



Daily Beast ranks Saline High School in America's Top 300

And yet another set of national stats on public high schools, this one from Newsweek's Daily Beast, puts Saline High School, Chelsea High School, and Ann Arbor's Community, Huron, and Pioneer in the nation's top 1,000, with Skyline High School just a few slots behind. 

See the full list here.

Solar power in limelight at TedX EMU event

In a quest to put 1,000 solar roofs over Ypsilanti heads, solar extraordinaire Dave Strenski spoke out at the recent TedX EMU event. 

Catch the video here.

Ann Arbor 8th cheapest city for new grads

Unlike many other cities, it seems college grads can afford to live in Ann Arbor without being packed into apartments four-deep. Ann Arbor makes another nation's top 10 list, this time getting the shout-out for its reasonable cost of living. 

Excerpt:

"Luxury high-rises are sprouting up like weeds in downtown Ann Arbor, so it may come as a surprise to some that the city is apparently one of the cheapest places in America to move after college.  Appearing on yet another “top 10” list,  Ann Arbor came in at No. 8 on Complex’s guide for thrifty recent college graduates which was headlined by No. 1 Spokane, Wash.

According to the pop-culture website, typical monthly rent for one bedroom outside of the “city center” costs about $600. The costs for utilities, public transportation and “annual income needed for a living wage before taxes” (estimated at $19,738 for Ann Arbor) were also factored into the decision process."

More here.




Madame Fromage finds Zingerman's cheeses tasty

We think cheese maven Madame Fromage, whose blog is followed by the likes of Zagat and the New York Times, finds Zingerman's cheeses to her taste. You'll want to try the Charloe, Sant Mateu, and Bitto after reading.

Excerpt:

"Last weekend, a pair of hobbits couriered some cheese from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Philadelphia in their luggage. The hobbits are a petit couple who, like mice, can eat their weight in cheese without gaining girth, and before coming to Philadelphia they scouted out the best shnibbles at  Zingerman’s  — thanks to some help from a cheesemonger named Chad....

I have never been to Zingerman’s, but I am intrigued by their catalogue and their  books on cheese and service. I think fondly of the company as the “granola” Dean & Deluca; they are ruled by a Jerry Garcia-esque genius named  Ari Weinzweig  who has managed to turn the cheese retail industry into a kind of cult jam band, based on his anarchist approach to business. Cheese retailers flock to Michigan to study at his feet."

More here.

Domino's "Pizza Theater" stores spread nationally

No longer is the carryout pizza counter just a blank place to stare at empty boxes and count down the minutes. Now, picking up the pizza is an event an itself.

Excerpt:

"With bright colors, a beverage cooler and staff showing off its pizza-tossing skills, Domino's hopes its customers will think they're in an old-time pizzeria. But they'll probably be taking their dinner home.

Dubbed "pizza theater" by the Ann-Arbor, Mich.-based fast-food chain, the new store design reflects a growing carryout business and a newfound pride in the primary product...

Last summer, Domino's said it was dropping "pizza" from its name and planned to redesign its stores, making the pizza-making process more transparent and its stores more comfortable for consumers stopping by to pick up their dinner rather than dialing the store once they get home."

More here

Awesome Mitten features A2 creatives Natalie Burg & Mike Vial

Read on for this very entertaining Q&A featuring one of Concentrate's own, development news editor Natalie Burg. Natalie and her husband share heir backstory and why they chose Ann Arbor as the place to hone their creativity.

Excerpt: 

"Mike and Natalie had been recommended by my superiors as  Happy Hour's  first group interview because of their success at their interesting jobs: Mike as a full-time singer-songwriter and Natalie as a journalist and author.   They turned out to be excellent subjects, talking at length about their careers, their love of Michigan, and what it's like to be young professionals in creative fields."


Jake:   You have  a book that's coming out  right?

Natalie: Right! Before I met Mike, when I was living here, I had the opportunity to -- and I use the word "opportunity" lightly -- I had the opportunity to go to Sweden as an au pair for a family.   And it was a  total disaster.   The end all, be all is that I ended up being an undocumented domestic servant who was not paid enough…

Natalie:   And the thing was, the real answer to the reason they hired me was, they lived on this farm in the middle of nowhere, and the mom was this free-spirit, metaphysical --

Mike:   Yeah, they had a cult in the barn.

Natalie:   Yeah, she was starting this, like, religious philosophy, and she wanted to really focus on that --

Mike:   She didn't want to do any of the work.

Natalie:   Yeah, she wanted to quit being a mom and a farmhouse wife and focus on that, so she had me come in, as I would find out later, to take over the farmhouse wife and the mother duties, which is not at all what I was expecting.   So I was supposed to be there for a year, but I wasn't there for a whole year.   The book is about that and getting out of that.

Mike:   It's like  Eat, Pray, Love  meets David Sedaris's humor.

Natalie:   Meets Lena Dunham.   And the moral is, never leave Michigan."


Read the rest here.

U-M graduates first class of entrepreneurs

U-M has just gotten its inaugural class of entrepreneurs out the door, evidence that there is a defined route to being your own boss.

Excerpt:

"The University of Michigan is ideally positioned to deliver such a program," said Ross School Dean Alison Davis-Blake. "Our top-ranked business and engineering schools have a long history of successful collaborative ventures. This new joint degree program gives students access to real-time technology and resources to turn a business idea into a market-ready venture within 12 months." 

...Many of the students have undergraduate degrees in science, technology or engineering and want to bring about positive social change. For example, one student wants to improve infant mortality rates through new uses of warming technology."

More here.


Ann Arbor attorneys are "IP Stars"

Given Ann Arbor's prominence as a tech community, it's no surprise that its professional service providers are also enjoying high distinction.

Excerpt:

"Four attorneys from the Ann Arbor office of intellectual property law firm Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione have been recognized as IP Stars for 2013 by  Managing Intellectual Property  magazine for their insights into the intricacies of practicing IP law and their experience serving clients in various industries and technology sectors...

Brinks Ann Arbor attorneys named were Lawrence G. Almeda, Joshua E. Ney, Ph.D., Steven L. Oberholtzer, the Ann Arbor office's managing partner, and Eric J. Sosenko. Also included was Brinks' president, Michigan native and University of Michigan graduate, James R. Sobieraj."

More here.

Follow the Thompson Block on Twitter

The Thompson Block commercial and loft space in Ypsilanti's Depot Town now has a Twitter handle. Get the latest word here.

Education program provider Seelio receives $900K seed investment

A sizable round of seed funding has gotten Ann Arbor-based Seelio onto Forbes' radar.

Excerpt:

"Seelio is especially popular with educational institutions  for students to showcase their school projects.   Today Seelio has announced that they have raised $900,000 in a seed round of funding from First Step Fund, Michigan PreSeed Fund, and several angel investors...

Many institutions have been using Seelio non-traditional educational programs like boot camps and training programs.   A couple of examples of these programs include the Digital Media Institute at the  University of Texas at Austin  and the  University of Michigan Design Expo...

Seelio is now being used by thousands of students across 500 campuses."

More here.

Ann Arbor high schools among top 20 in state

When it comes to education, if you live in Ann Arbor you're likely to get a good one. Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School ranks 12th and Huron High School is a close 16th among Michigan's public high schools.

See the U.S. News & World Report rankings here.

Ann Arbor is nation's sixth most well-read city

Ann Arborites are among the country's most prolific page-turners, according to major bookseller Amazon.com

Excerpt:

"Last year, Ann Arbor placed fourth. The 2013 list ranks Ann Arbor behind Alexandria, Va.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Miami, Fla.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Orlando, Fla...

The list "is proof that the country is reading," Sara Nelson, Amazon's editorial director of books and Kindle, said in a press release."

More here.

Pinoccio co-founder talks creative hardware

Software start-ups get much of the glory, but in a nice turn, here's an interesting interview with Sally Carson, co-founder of Ann Arbor-based Pinoccio.

Excerpt:

"Pinoccio is a new Open Source Hardware business, building “a complete ecosystem for the Internet of Things”. The Pinoccio is a pocket-sized microcontroller board, with wireless networking, rechargeable LiPo battery, sensors, and the ability to expand its capabilities through shields, much like an Arduino board...

Eric Weddington (EW): What intrigued you about the Pinoccio to co-found a hardware startup company?

Sally Carson (SC): Well, I was always a creative kid, always drawing or making something. And, I always loved fiddling around with gadgets and electronics. In high school, I became an audio/video nerd. I got into skateboarding and playing in bands with friends. But, a huge part of both of these hobbies was the A/V part. So, for example, I filmed tons of footage of my friends and I skating. I would make these skate videos, editing the footage down using two VCRs. I’d use a 4-track to mix in audio, or I’d splice in the audio from an old Nintendo, like from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Every time we ollied or did a trick, there would be the “bloop” sound of a turtle jumping. So, I wasn’t like, busting out the soldering iron, but I was trying to find all of the different ways I could combine the electronics that I had access to."

More here.

What zombies can teach us

The Boston Marathon bombing showed that anything can happen on a second's notice. You can never be too prepared.

Excerpt:

"You can learn a lot from a zombie.

At least that’s what a University of Michigan professor hopes her 31 graduate students took away from Tuesday’s bizarre, albeit bloody, “zombie apocalypse.” The classroom exercise was designed to get School of Public Health students thinking about what the appropriate response should be during a disaster...

"'Zombie apocalypse' sounds a bit silly, but the point of this is to show that if we're prepared for any hazard, even the unimaginable hazards, like zombies — because we know they don't exist — we are capable of preparing ourselves for perhaps anything that might occur," said Dr. Eden Wells, the epidemiology professor who teaches the course and serves as the brains behind the exercise."

More here.

Jiffy mix has baked-in business success

At age 83, the Jiffy mix company is rather vintage, but there's a reason it's had such a long run. And the muffins are still fresh.

Excerpt:

"Anyone who has dared venture down a grocery store's baking aisle or opened their grandparent's cupboard has probably seen one of the timeless white and blue "Jiffy" boxes that haven't changed much since the mixes were first invented by Holmes' Grandmother in 1930. What I didn't know until I did some homework, was just how great of a company is behind Jiffy mix. After a 16-minute long chat with the Jiffy mix CEO, and 11 years of studying business and economics, I knew I had discovered one of America's last great businesses. Here is seven reasons why...

5. Jiffy mix staff find meaning and purpose through their work.

When I commented on Holmes' decision not to sell off even part of his multi-million dollar company, he said "What would I do if I sold-out? Spend my life vacationing somewhere?!" The CEO of Jiffy has the right attitude. Our occupations, in balance with our relationships, give our lives meaning. To work a job just for money or to escape from community and family responsibilities is shallow at best.  A visiting reporter from Fortune magazine described  Jiffy mix as "a  decidedly chipper workplace, with friendly employees who seem to be genuinely enjoying their jobs. They greet Holmes warmly, he appears to know virtually all of them by name, and none of it feels phony."

More here.

Suds up! Michigan is 5th in nation for craft brewing

Michigan is a craft brewer sophisticate among the states.

Excerpt:

5. Michigan, 102 craft breweries

"Michigan is quickly moving up the ladder in the world of craft beers with over 100 breweries in the state. You may not find the big name craft brews of other states, but what you will find is some hidden gems -- and maybe your new favorite -- at local institutions like Bells Brewery and Founders Brewery."

More here.

EMU one of America's most affordable colleges

With the middle class finding itself increasingly priced out of college for the kids, EMU is one of a few in the country that have clamped down on tuition costs.

Excerpt:

"In 2010, Eastern Michigan University led the way as one of the nation's most cost conscious colleges when it froze tuition, room and board and fees with its 0%, 0%, 0% campaign...

This tuition restraint and other factors have recently earned Eastern a ranking of 54th out of 350 colleges for its affordability among the larger public colleges by AffordableCollegesOnline.org. There were 15 metrics used in the ranking, including tuition, admission rates, enrollment total, average grant dollars per student and average scholarship per student."

More here.

U-M is a gorilla among recyclers

It looks like U-M is putting up a good green fight.

Excerpt:

"Students, faculty and staff collected nearly 750,000 pounds of recyclables during the 10-week 2013 RecycleMania competition. The collection total placed U-M 11th among 365 colleges and universities participating in the nationwide competition's Gorilla Prize category.

At the conclusion of the program, the university’s efforts generated the following results:
• 31.1 percent recycling rate per person (Grand Champion category).
• 11.4 pounds of recycling per person (Per Capita Recycling category).
• 36.6 pounds of waste per person (Waste Minimization category).
• 746,025 pounds of collected recyclables (Gorilla Prize category)."

More here.

California investor sees blue skies in Michigan

California investors are seeing that Michigan is no longer a no man's land when it comes to having fundable companies.

Excerpt:

"Investors attracted to deals on the coasts for years overlooked Michigan as a flyover state, but those perceptions seem to be slowly changing as more outside money sets its sights on in-state companies.

Just ask Ned Tomasevic, principal of Los Angeles-based private investment firm Toma Capital Management LLC...

Toma created its fund in November 2012 with a group of 20 former CEOs and has yet to do its first deal. The firm wants to close a deal or two by the end of this year, Tomasevic said.

Tomasevic now has a two-year mandate to spend the money raised, an amount he declined to disclose other than to say it was eight figures. He said the amount could be much more because many of his investors might be willing to write a big check to buy the right company.

"I'm trying to find an owner who gets this model," Tomasevic said. "I like to be in a place with good pool of people to work with, and Michigan offers that for me."

More here.

Cherry Lake Publishing, Sleeping Bear Press flourish in Ann Arbor

Amidst calls for the demise of the book, it's good to see a couple of Ann Arbor's presses are still hot.

Excerpt:

"Ben Mondloch is talking about the fierce nature of the book publishing business and bears.

It's all in a day's work for Mondloch, CEO of Cherry Lake Publishing, which he started in Ann Arbor four years ago to offer educational books, and Sleeping Bear Press, which he acquired in 2012 and sells children's books.

Though book publishers had a tough time in 2012 with the Internet and economy wreaking havoc, Mondloch saw his sales jump 25%.

Sleeping Bear Press currently has more than 400 titles with another 60 in development."

More here.

Detroit's growing creative class and a call for A2-Detroit transit

A super article on the growing spread of Metro Detroit's creative class, including input from U-M professors and a call for extending mass transit between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Excerpt:

"In an email to me,  Christian Unverzagt, a  Detroit-based architect  who lives in Lafayette Park and teaches at the University of Michigan's Taubman College, pointed out the transformation that the  Cass Corridor  has undergone. Long home to activists and artists, its gritty, windowless galleries and practice spaces have given way to a variety of renovated spaces including Green Garage (a co-working space), Great Lakes Coffee, and small retail shops such as City Bird, Nest, Hugh, and Nora, along with several yoga studios...

With $200 billion in economic output, its economy is the same size as Ireland's, Hong Kong's, or Singapore's. It is connected to the world through its airport. On top of this, the region is home to an incredible cluster of universities and knowledge based institutions, the University of Michigan in nearby Ann Arbor, long a center for top researchers and now an emerging nexus for tech start-ups, Michigan State in East Lansing, and Wayne State in Detroit. The region's talent base is especially deep in engineering, design, and industrial know-how. Before all those assets can be fully-leveraged, suburban interests must come to the table, and transit must be extended outside the core to the suburbs and ultimately all the way out to Ann Arbor."

More here.

Spring greens are greener in Ann Arbor

The dwellers of the Great White North of Alaska, which has to import many of its fresh veggies, are reading about Ann Arbor's greener greens.

Excerpt:

"Spring greens are popping up at grocery stores and farmers markets...

Woods picked up a bag of pea shoots from Garden Works organic farm in Ann Arbor....

"They're very tender, and have the same flavor as a pea pod," says Robert MacKercher, 46, who owns Garden Works. "They're very good sauteed with olive oil and garlic."

But the appeal of spring produce goes beyond the taste. As farmers markets gear up for the summer season, sales of spring greens are a healthy pick-me-up for those who eat them and those who sell them.

Says MacKercher: "It's a nice spring boost for everybody."

More here.

Ann Arbor's Ornicept wins surprise at Clean Energy Challenge

One Ann Arbor firm won a nice prize at last week's Clean Energy Challenge in Chicago, while another took home a surprise gift.

Excerpt:

"The contest brought together the nation's top researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers to uncover the most promising cleantech startups in the Midwest.

SkySpecs, a University of Michigan firm that uses unmanned aircraft to monitor sewers, wind turbines and bridges, won the Invenergy prize...??At the last minute, the judges chipped in $10,000 of their own money to support Ornicept, an Ann Arbor, Mich., start-up that can track and analyze bird populations with cameras and cloud computing software."

More here.

Need to borrow an energy meter? Check out the Ann Arbor library

No longer just for well-worn books, the nation's libraries are turning into lenders of all trades. And the Ann Arbor Public Library is one of the standouts.

Excerpt:

"This spring, your next packet of garden seeds may come not from a hardware store or nursery, but from your local public library.

Fighting to stay relevant in the digital age, public libraries have taken to lending all manner of weird and wonderful items: hand tools, baking pans, fishing poles, telescopes and knitting needles, among others. Don't like the memoir offerings at your local branch? Bring a USB thumb drive, plug it in at one of several massive Espresso Book Machines and print a hard-cover copy of your own memoir — or any other obscure title the library doesn't keep on hand.

In Ann Arbor, Mich., the library circulates three kinds of energy meters that patrons can take home to test how much juice their appliances use. On a recent Monday, 27 of the library's 30 meters were checked out with the 28th on hold, said Celeste Choate, associate director for services, collections and access.

Later this year they plan to begin circulating science equipment — oscilloscopes, microscopes and perhaps even a few life-size models of the human skeleton — so students can shine at science fairs. "Sometimes you need tools in order to do cool science projects," Choate said. "Not everybody can afford a pH meter."

More here.

Better job market means more student internships

U-M and EMU students in the market for summer jobs would do well to head east – Detroit-area firms are hiring.

Excerpt:

"While seasonal jobs at landscaping companies, golf courses and swimming pools remain popular for teens and college students, spending the summer in degree-specific internships goes a long way toward finding entry-level jobs after graduation, recruiters say...

Quicken Loans Inc. still needs to fill about 500 of the 1,000 intern positions available this summer — nearly all of them at its downtown Detroit location, a spokeswoman for the online mortgage lender said.

"We're still looking for dynamic candidates," said Michelle Salvatore, Quicken Loans director of recruiting. "We're opening good positions every day."

More here.

U-M is one of the nation's top 10 dreamboat schools

The University of Michigan just made The Princeton Review's dream list, finishing ninth on students' (and tenth on the parents') lists of colleges they'd attend if acceptance rates and money were no object.

Excerpt:

"The Princeton Review conducts our annual College Hopes and Worries Survey of college applicants and parents of applicants to report on their expectations and experiences surrounding the college application process. Respondents are readers of our annual "Best Colleges" guidebook and users of our website.

Findings for our 2013 survey are based on responses from 14,125 people: 9,955 college applicants and 4,170 parents of applicants. They came from across America, representing all 50 states and DC. Some replied from countries abroad."

More here.

CNN hears Ann Arborites saying no thanks to cars, yes to the bus

Ann Arborites' record setting year of bus usage (up 6.6% year over year) puts it among top metros in the nation for increased mass transit usage.

Excerpt:

"When Ann Arbor, Michigan, advertising executive Al McWilliams finished high school in the late 1990s, he made a vow.He swore he would "never, ever again" commute to work by car, "no matter what I was doing in life."

...Flash-forward to the present. McWilliams, now 32, either walks or rides the bus to his office every day, making his way to the back of the Route 5 bus, where he'll find a window seat and maybe enjoy a nice book...

McWilliams represents a growing segment of America that has embraced public transit from coast to coast in communities like Seattle, Dallas, Nashville and Los Angeles."

More here.

Wall St. Journal chats with Sakti3 CEO on the power of batteries

AnnMarie Sastry, CEO of Sakti3, sees clear roads ahead for growth in the making of the batteries that power electric vehicles.

Excerpt:

"If you look at battery technologies, clearly the U.S. is a great proving ground and hotbed of activity for startups like mine. The reason is, we draw talent globally. So we've had people at my company from seven different countries. Will we have plants in China? I certainly hope so. Must they be in China? Well, eventually if we're to hit these markets, they must. But can they be anywhere that people buy cars and phones? Yes."

More here.

PBS' "Under the Radar" show takes food and drink tour of Chelsea

PBS picks up fork and glass on a whirl through Chelsea's culinary and distillery scene.

Excerpt:

On this episode of Under The Radar Michigan, we're in charming Chelsea for a café that really cares about the planet. We'll also meet the actual hair of the dog … eat at a Common Grille that's not so common … and find out where all those little blue boxes come from.

More here.

Washtenaw County's top 10 industries for job growth

In the next couple of years, job hunters should be uncovering a wealth of jobs, everywhere from computer systems designers to country clubs. AnnArbor.com takes a look at the top ten job industries.

Excerpt:

"The Economic Outlook for Washtenaw County, published by University of Michigan economists George Fulton and Don Grimes, showed job growth in the region that would fully replace all jobs lost in the recession as early as mid-April.

The good news continued as the economists predict that by 2015 there will be 11,000 more jobs than ever before in Washtenaw County.

But what jobs will these be? Fulton said that the fastest-growing job segment is 'high-wage' jobs."

More here.

Start your business in Ann Arbor, Silicon Valley entrepreneur says

Ann Arbor's down-to-earth talent and quality of life means entrepreneurs don't have to try to make a dent in the stratospheric competition and cost of living in Silicon Valley. In fact, they're being advised to stay put.

Excerpt:

"Silicon Valley is so yesterday. Ann Arbor is the place to be for technology and entrepreneurship these days.

True?

Or wishful thinking?

It sure was the gist of some online buzz after this recent quote from Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur (and University of Michigan graduate) Steve Blank bounced around the Twitterverse:

"Silicon Valley is out of A players. Don't start your company here," Blank said March 6 at the Weather Underground Startup Trek, an annual two-day tour of the San Francisco Bay area technology scene by students for U-M's Center for Entrepreneurship."

More here.

Showbiz soulmates in exotic places recall days in Ann Arbor

Many lifelong friendships are cemented in Ann Arbor, from those who still religiously do football Saturdays, to those who've earned stardom in Parkistan.

Excerpt:

Publishing editor of Paper Magazine Meher Tareen and Khadijah Shah of Élan need no introduction. They have been friends since college, when they attended University of Michigan-Ann Arbor together. "Meher has always been very creative when it comes to making collages and using Photoshop," says Khadijah. "She always wanted to work for a magazine or own one — I don't see a better suited career for her."

More here.

Washtenaw County is 5th healthiest county in Michigan

Turns out that biking, walking, parks, and the B2B Trail in Washtenaw County are good for something!

Excerpt:

"Washtenaw County is among the healthiest counties in Michigan for the fourth year in a row, according to a report released Wednesday.
 
A study sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin ranked counties across the country by state according to factors including tobacco and alcohol use, diet and exercise, access to quality health care, education, employment, income and environmental quality."

More here.

Come one, come all, to Ann Arbor

Anyone considering whether to live in, or at least visit, Ann Arbor should do more than look twice at this video. Food, arts and culture, transit, parks, a healthy citizenry, the largest canoe livery in the state – you got it!

See the video here.

Techno-SLAM is "The Matrix" & March Madness for techies

Entre-SLAM and SPARK Central will be co-hosting Techno-SLAM, a celebration of technology in the life of an entrepreneur. The event is themed on the sci-fi hit, The Matrix. Be there, 7 p.m. on March 28th at LIVE A2 on 1st and Huron.

Click here for more details.

Ann Arbor Film Festival boasts appearance by Ken Burns

It's the 51st annual Ann Arbor Film Festival (the oldest independent film fest in the U.S.) and over its six day run it will present more than 200 experimental and indie shorts and features. Chances are this will be your only chance to see many of these films. PBS documentarian star Ken Burns brings his latest, The Central Park 5, to the festival and will be on hand afterward to answer questions.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Acclaimed documentarian (and former Ann Arborite) Ken Burns will appear at 5:10 p.m. March 21 as part of the Penny W. Stamps lecture series. A showing of his latest work, "The Central Park 5," about a heavily publicized 1989 rape case in New York, will take place at noon March 23; Burns is set to attend."
 
Read the rest here.
 
The festival runs through Sunday, Mar. 24. You can learn more about screenings, tickets, and events here

Read my review of The Central Park 5 here.

U-M grad student braids books

You really have to see what Matt Monahan has created to appreciate why we're including it in Concentrate. Just beautiful!
 
Excerpt:
 
"Matt Monahan braids the pages of a book, similar to the way a french braid is done, adding a few more pages to each group as it gets folded into the braid. The result is an awesomely clean looking design that unfolds itself over time. One of his circular installations is in the Penny Stamps Graduate Studio and the other in the Hatcher Graduate library of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he is currently working toward a Master of Fine Arts."
 
Read and see the rest here.
 
Or check out Monahan website here.
 

U-M research unlocks iridescence to evolve e-reader displays

File this under "really cool." University researchers have found a way to create light relective displays, which will not only give e-reader and electronic paper colors sheen but can also eliminate the need for a light source.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In a peacock's mother-of-pearl tail, precisely arranged hairline grooves reflect light of certain wavelengths. That's why the resulting colors appear different depending on the movement of the animal or the observer. Imitating this system—minus the rainbow effect—has been a leading approach to developing next-generation reflective displays.
 
The new U-M research could lead to advanced color e-books and electronic paper, as well as other color reflective screens that don't need their own light to be readable. Reflective displays consume much less power than their backlit cousins in laptops, tablet computers, smartphones and TVs. The technology could also enable leaps in data storage and cryptography. Documents could be marked invisibly to prevent counterfeiting."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Could libraries serve as start-up incubators?

Sometimes moving forward means adopting the practices of the past, or going old school. Way way old school.
 
Excerpt:
 
"This old idea of the public library as co-working space now offers a modern answer – one among many – for how these aging institutions could become more relevant two millennia after the original Alexandria library burned to the ground. Would-be entrepreneurs everywhere are looking for business know-how and physical space to incubate their start-ups. Libraries meanwhile may be associated today with an outmoded product in paper books. But they also happen to have just about everything a 21st century innovator could need: Internet access, work space, reference materials, professional guidance.
 
Why not, Lea suggests, put these two ideas together? Arizona State is planning in the next few months to roll out a network of co-working business incubators inside public libraries, starting with a pilot in the downtown Civic Center Library in Scottsdale. The university is calling the plan, ambitiously, the Alexandria Network."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Could Minecraft be the next educational frontier?

For those of you who have been living in a cave (or don't have children), Minecraft is a game that lets players do and build essentially anything they want. It also offers educators a unique opportunity to create programs that simultaneously teach and engage kids. What a concept!
 
The A2 Public Library already recognizies how Minecraft is more than just the latest substitution for Mario Brothers, offering programs and events
 
Watch why below.



And take a tour of Ann Arbor in Minecraft below.

 

Silicon Valley entrepreneur revises opinion about A2 investment scene

Entrepreneur Steve Blank has revised his opinion about Ann Arbor's investment landscape... slightly. He still says we still suffer from a risk-adverse culture that is akin to 'one hand clapping' and chastise governor Rock Snyder for not doing more to change that.

Excerpt:

"Blank told me what's changed in Ann Arbor is that there are venture capitalists and 'angels' in the city who are willing to invest, and who don't have to put up huge amounts of capital to get things going.

Blank said there's an enormous talent pool in Ann Arbor from the University's engineering and medical schools.
"And you don't need a lot of money to get some of these ideas off the ground. You don't need to put up $10 million to get things going. Basically you just need a couple hundred thousand dollars and a laptop," said Blank."

Read/listen to the rest here.

Ann Arbor library offers more than books, part of a national trend

To the editors at USA Today it might seem "weird" that a public library would offer seeds, energy meters, microscopes, and skeletal models. To others it looks like a beloved public institution is evolving its mission. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan considers the seed collections a powerful way to help people pursue "self-directed learning and education." Sullivan, interim dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College in Boston, said she has been encouraging librarians "to get out of the four walls of the library and really be out and about in the community." Seed libraries, she said, are perhaps the most visible sign that libraries get it.
 
Choate, of the Ann Arbor library, said seed libraries and skeletons aren't necessarily a sign that libraries are trying to stay relevant — it's in the very nature of libraries to change. Many of the items we now take for granted — paperback books, pulp fiction and children's books, for instance — were novelties, or worse, when libraries first introduced them. "Back in the day," she said, "having fiction was scandalous.""
 
Read the rest here.
 

Quack! Media's Al McWilliams is poster child for public transport

Al McWilliams of Quack! Media takes the bus or bike to whereever he wants to go. And he's not alone. More and more young professionals are choosing to live where they can either walk, bus or  take the train to work.
 
Excerpt:
 
"McWilliams represents a growing segment of America that has embraced public transit from coast to coast in communities like Seattle, Dallas, Nashville and Los Angeles.
 
And the numbers are bearing that out. Statistics released Monday from the American Public Transportation Association show that 2012 ranks as the second-highest transit ridership year since 1957. Only 2008 was higher."
 
 
Read the rest here.
 

Willow Run's B-24 bomber factory gets PBS doc

A documentary about the Ypsilanti Willow Run airport's reknown B-24 bomber plant will hit the airwaves... well, ride the cable signal... Sunday on PBS. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"According to the Michigan Aerospace Foundation, the documentary recounts the building of the massive assembly plant, and the production process of more than 8,000 B-24 heavy bombers. The bombers were built at the plant from 1942 to 1945."
 
The program will air at 4 p.m. Sunday on Channel 56.
 
Read the rest here.

 

Ann Arbor's impending Literati Bookstore is real news to some

We're not sure we should be tickled or depressed that the opening of a bookstore in Ann Arbor's downtown should be regarded as feature-worthy big news. No one seems to blink an eye when a new cupcake joint moves in. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"The last few years haven't been easy for book lovers in the college town of Ann Arbor, Mich. Not only did they lose Borders Books' flagship store, which closed when the company went out of business in 2011, but they've also suffered the departure of the campus retailer Michigan Book & Supply and the Shaman Drum bookstore. Fortunately, there's a happy twist to this sad tale; a new independent bookstore will soon be opening its doors near the University of Michigan in the city's downtown."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

U-M lands $7.5M medical discovery fund

U-M docs and researchers are constantly making new discoveries and innovations. But is there a way to help monetize some of them? The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization says yes.
 
Excerpt:
 
"A new $7.5 million fund aims to help University of Michigan medical discoveries move from the laboratory to the market.
 
The Ann Arbor school says Monday the effort will help its Medical School and its Office of Technology Transfer identify and advance medical research projects with a high potential of commercial success."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's Duo Security shows Google login vulnerability

What do bears and snakepits have to do with your gmail account? They illustrate how the less-than best laid traps often fail. An Ann Arbor software firm shows how hackers get into your account and wreak havoc.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Some months ago, we found a way to (ab)use ASPs to gain full control over Google accounts, completely circumventing Google’s 2-step verification process. We communicated our findings to Google’s security team, and recently heard back from them that they had implemented some changes to mitigate the most serious of the threats we’d uncovered. Here’s what we found:"
 
Read the rest here.
 

Chelsea record collector launches online store

Vinyl records prove the Peter Allen song true: "Everything old is new again". Though LPs represent less than one precent of the recorded music business, a Chelsea collector sees good potential for a return on his investment.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Branham, a longtime resident of Chelsea, has been collecting records since the 1970s. When he's not fulfilling his duties to Sylvan Township as township treasurer, he travels around the state "picking" through estate sales and personal collections, on the prowl for rare discs by obscure bands like The Kegs and The Phantom 5."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Envy Alert: The ultimate outdoor home theater is in Ann Arbor

Envy is actually too watered-down a word to describe Concentrate's feelings about this $50k+ outdoor home theater set-up.
 
Excerpt:
 
"A projector inside designed for both day and night viewing shoots the picture onto the back of a 9-foot-wide glass screen. Small speakers are strategically placed to distribute the sound evenly to the seating areas only, so that any neighbors beyond the large lot aren't disturbed."
 
Read (and drool over) the rest here.
 

U-M among schools with the richest alums

How many billionaires has the University Of Michigan produced? Turns out it's 410, which puts us 15th in the world.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Wealth-X, a due diligence firm specializing in profiling the world's richest individuals, recently published its international list of universities ranked by the number of alumni worth $1 billion or more -- and 17 of the top 20 are located in the United States. The only non-American institutions to break into the top 20 were the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and the University of Mumbai. The top 15 are ranked in the slideshow below."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

300 take the polar plunge at the Big House

Folks paid $75 each for the privilege of jumping into a pool of ice cold water this past weekend, raising nearly $130,000 for Specia Olympics Michigan. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"With a raucous crowd shouting their support, more than 300 plungers -- including five Special Olympians -- leaped one by one from a wooden platform into one of two above-ground pools set up on the partially snow-covered football field for the U-M Polar Plunge.
 
Plungers wore costumes ranging from basketball jerseys to bowling pins and superheroes. "Ahh, it's great. I loved it," Patty Carden, 52, a special-education teacher and coach at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, said as water dripped from her green St. Patrick's Day-themed jacket and hat. "Fantastic. You should try it.""
 
Read and see more about the event here.
 

Talking trains with A2's transportation manager

Eli Cooper has been Ann Arbor's transportation manager since 2005. AnnArbor.com sat down with him to discuss the city's future with regard to rail travel and roads.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Cooper came to Ann Arbor in 2005 after spending two decades honing his skills as a transportation planner in New Jersey, Delaware, Minnesota and Washington. He's worked on initiatives ranging from light rail to statewide transportation planning, and just about everything in between.
 
Cooper said he welcomes the recent news that the Michigan Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. have signed an agreement to transfer ownership of 135 miles of Norfolk Southern's tracks to MDOT for $140 million."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Local doc donates nature preserve to Legacy Land Conservancy

A retired Ann Arbor surgeon has spent nearly 40 years purchasing 92 acres of land near Dexter. Now he's handing it over to the Legacy Land Conservancy in order to safeguard its future as a sensitive nature preserve.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The land, located in Dexter and Putman townships, was previously protected with a conservation easement held jointly by Legacy Land Conservancy and Livingston Land Conservancy.
 
The terrain consists of two kettle lakes, several ponds, near-shore habitat abutting Portage Creek and Little Portage Lake, wetlands, swamp, marsh, and dry oak forests. Such habitat diversity provides a home for many Michigan species, including the Dwarf Hackberry and Massasauga Rattlesnakes."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Cyclists need better street maps

What do you know, navigating streets and roadways is different for bicycles than it is for cars. Who'd of guessed? Austin is leading the way with mapping out its streets to make info about them safer, more relevant, and more accurate for local cyclists. Hopefully other communities (cough-AnnArbor-cough) will take note.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In other words, the majority of people might want to give biking for transport a try, but they’re worried they might not be able to handle the stress and danger of riding on their city’s roads. That 60 percent is the coveted demographic slice that Wilkes and others want to encourage. And for Austin, a better bike map is a key part of an overall strategy to get those folks out and riding.
 
The city’s map prioritizes rider comfort in its symbology. "We tried to make it real intuitive," says Wilkes, who has been refining the concept for several years now. Bike trails, separated cycle tracks, and what the city terms "quiet streets" – in peaceful, low-traffic neighborhoods – are marked in vivid green. "High comfort" roads are bright blue."Medium comfort" is marked in a darker blue. "Low comfort" is indicated by a cautionary yellow. And red signifies "extremely low comfort," as in, you probably don’t want to go there unless you are one of the rodeo-riding one percent. Directional arrows indicate hills and how steep they are."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Indiana blogger goes on Ann Arbor beer tour

An Indiana writer visits Ann Arbor and, lo and behold, discovers our community's magic elixir. Many compliments ensue.

Excerpt:
 
"In addition to all the great pubs in town, there are a number of great breweries to choose from as well.  Arbor Brewing Company is one of my favorites (and just down the street from the Blue Nile).  While grabbing a quick lunch, I tried a Listenership Smoked Pale Ale (5.3% ABV, IBUs 40).  This was brewed in commemoration of  Ann Arbor radio station WCBN’s 40th anniversary.  It is an English pale ale brewed with American smoked malt and English hops.  The appearance is a hazy golden color with pale malt and subtle hops on the nose.  I enjoyed the pleasant flavors of citrus hops, with a nice subtle smokiness, making this a very nice session ale."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

City of Ann Arbor and U-M look to launch bike-share program

Ann Arbor’s Clean Energy Coalition, Downtown Development Authority, AATA and U-M are working to create a bike-share programs that would serve the campus and downtown, tragetting both student and resident users.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The idea for the bike-sharing program began with University President Mary Sue Coleman’s sustainability address last year. In her remarks, she touched on her wish to bring a bike-sharing program to Ann Arbor similar to the ones that had been successful on other university campuses. Students have advocated for the program in recent years as well.
 
Stephen Dolen, the executive director of Parking and Transportation Services, formed a partnership with the CEC, the Downtown Development Authority and the AATA to launch the program. Dolan said while the groups have all committed to working on the project, some technical aspects are still being negotiated."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 
 

Domino's locations get a make-over

First it was the pizza now it's the kitchens. Domino's is revamping its logos and locations across the nation, starting in Ann Arbor and Seattle. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"The revamped Domino's feature open kitchens that showcase employees spinning dough and baking pizza. Customers are encouraged to write comments in colorful chalk on a chalkboard covering a large wall, and the layout has been altered to provide seating."
 
Read the rest here. Or check out the images on the AnnArbor.com article here.
 
 
 
 

Michigan bucks national trend, sees rise in VC investment

Venture capital investment in Michigan during 2012 was the third highest on record, since quarterly reports began in 1995. Among the three biggest winners was Ann Arbor's CertoPherx Inc., pulling in $16.44 million.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Investors put $232.31 million into 47 deals in Michigan last year, surpassing pre-recession levels and easily exceeding the $84.75 million invested in 36 deals in 2011, according to the quarterly MoneyTree report from the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M Unconference bridges Ann Arbor-Detroit entrepreneurial gap

An invite-only event brings out the region's top entrepreneurs in an unique audience-guided getting-to-know-you (and your topic of choice) format.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The premise of the Entrepreneurs Engage unconference held at the University of Michigan yesterday may sound a little hokey to the uninitiated: The audience suggests breakout-group topics, and then folks spend about 45 minutes in each discussion—or they don’t. “You vote with your feet,” said emcee (and Xconomist) Rich Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations. “Go to a station, contribute, and if you lose interest, find another station. Whoever shows up at the station are the right people who are supposed to be there, and it ends when it ends.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

DIA brings art to Ann Arbor and Ypsi

Funding public art may not be a part of Ann Arbor's priorities but at least it'll act as a canvass for art from the Detroit Institute Of Art for three months this Spring.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Now in its fourth year, Inside|Out brings reproductions of masterpieces from the DIA’s collection to the streets of metro Detroit," a DIA press release said. "Inside|Out aims to connect with audiences outside the museum walls in places where they live, work and play."
 
Ann Arbor will host the following Inside|Out spring installations from April to June (see below for a complete list of participating communities).
 
Ypsilanti will host yet-to-be-determined artworks from July to August."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor ice dancers take the gold

Ann Arbor skaters didn't only represent at the Four Continent ice dancing competition, they dominated with first and third place finishes.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In the last major competition before next month's world championships, world silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White (Ann Arbor) won the ice dancing gold medal in the Four Continents competition Sunday."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor startup Family Mint teaches kids money mgmt

Based out of Ann Arbor's Tech Brewery, Family Mint has released a video explaining how they help kids learn financial responsibility.
 
Watch the video below.
 
 

How to turn city-owned properties into downtown residences

In a terrific opinion piece, former dean of architecture and urban planning at U-M Doug Kelbaugh lays out an ambitious but achievable plan for greater residential density in Ann Arbor's downtown. Check it out!
 
Excerpt:
 
"There are other benefits of downtown living, such as the fiscal bounce to the city, which can more easily provide municipal services, as well as maintain a more compact infrastructure. There's a less automobile dependence and higher transit ridership, which cuts AA's energy/carbon footprint and reduces traffic. And there's a vibrant sidewalk life, for all ages and tastes, supporting and feeding off of downtown culture and commerce while building a cosmopolitan community.
 
So, for starters, the city should prioritize residential development over office space on these four lots. We have plenty of workers downtown — too many come the 5 o'clock rush hour! - but not enough permanent residents. We need as broad a demographic mix as possible — rich, poor and in-between, with a healthy ethnic, racial, age and size mix of households — and, like central cities the world over, some families with children. Downtown can be a 24/7 neighborhood as well as a central business district."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Parents mag says Mott Children's Hospital among best in the nation

What does $754 million and a 1.1 million-square-foot facility get you? A number eight ranking on Parents magazine's top 10 children's hospitals in the country.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Hospitals were ranked by the editors of Parents based on the following: Rates of survival for childhood cancer, pediatric heart disease, experience in performing complex procedures, depth of research programs, safeguards to prevent medical errors, staging ratios, community outreach and services that address the emotional needs of families and patients. "
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Film Fest screens in U.K.

Edge Hill University in Lancashire, U.K. will be holding a special screening of selections from Ann Arbor's 50th Film Festival. It's part of the festival's world tour program.
 
Excerpt:
 
"America's longest-running independent film festival celebrated its milestone anniversary in March 2012, presenting 233 films, videos and live performances over six days, including more than 30 premieres of new work. It will arrive at the University’s Arts Centre on Wednesday 6th February for a one-off free viewing as part of the 50th birthday celebrations."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Is car sharing the way of the future?

Ann Arbor is just one of many cities embracing such car-sharing programs as Zipcar. With more than 750K members, car-sharing programs are becominga vianle alternative, particularly for a younger generation with different transportation priorities than their parents.
 
Excerpt:
 
"In the case of car sharing, a few factors have contributed to its rise. "Re-urbanization is a big trend," says Mark Norman, president and chief operating officer of Zipcar, based in Cambridge, Mass. "Lots of people are staying in cities, raising their kids there. Empty nesters are returning to walkable communities."
 
"We're dancing around the issue of young buyers," says Bruce Belzowski, an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor. Young adults have "different priorities than having a new vehicle," he says.
 
Millennials aren't buying cars in the volumes their counterparts once did. Adults ages 24 to 31 bought just 27 percent of vehicles sold in the United States in 2010, down from a peak of 38 percent in 1985."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Startup Weekend boasts 55 pitches, 12 potential businesses

You've heard of the 48-hour movie competition? Similar idea, bigger impact. Over three days students pitch start-up ideas, winnow them down to the best dozen, put together teams, develop their plan then persent their ideas for a winning business. It's a 54 hours endure test for budding entrepreneurs.

Excerpt:
 
"On Friday evening, all Startup Weekend participants were given the opportunity to pitch business proposals for potential start-ups. By late evening, 55 pitches were brought forward and participants voted on their favorites. Then, teams were built around the 12 winning pitches. Though pitches this year tended to be mainly for technology products, other pitches included a non-profit venture to help feed impoverished children.
 
Business sophomore Lorenzo Salacata, an organizer of the competition, noted that though the majority of participants were students with non-engineering or computer science backgrounds, approximately 40 percent of Startup Weekend participants had coding experience."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor is tops in churning out patents

Okay, it's a per capita ranking (patents/thousand jobs) but still tenth in the nation is pretty impressive. For overall patent output over five year (590) we were 37th. That averages out to more than 2 per day. Detroit ranked tenth in overall patents with 2,720 but 35th per capita.
 
Check out the stats by metro area and company here.
 

App firm started by U-M students reinvents note-taking

The article claims that Fetchnotes is based in Cambridge but it was founded in Ann Arbor by U-M students. It went out to Boston to participate in a business accelerator program. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"...what if there was a way to improve on this simple idea by integrating one of our favorite social media platforms, Twitter?
 
Meet Fetchnotes.
 
Fetchnotes is more than just a place to store ideas. Users generate their own organization method through hashtags and followers."
 
Read the rest here.
 

A2 directed, written and produced movie stars Hunger Games hunk

Homegrown but Hollywood fueled, "Love and Honor" was co-written by U-M professor Jim Burnstein, directed by U-M grad Danny Mooney, produced U-M grad Eddie Rubin, and shot in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. But it stars The Hunger Games hunk Liam Hemsworth.
 
You can see the Vietnam era movie on VOD starting February 14 and in theaters on March 22.
 
 
Check out the trailer.

 

The Urbanwood Project turns wood waste into valuable resources

Between the emerald ash borer, landfill-bound wood waste, and mill rejects, a whole lot of timber egst overlooked or discarded.  Enter Recycle Ann Arbor, which teamed with the nonprofit Southeast Michigan Resource Conservation and Development Council and the Genesee Conservation District to develop a one-of-kind organization to turn wood waste into a usable resource.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The project grew out of a happy accident in 2005 when Recycle Ann Arbor was looking to put some new flooring in one of their conference rooms and sought out a sustainable option. They had heard some local sawmills were creating products from ash trees, and the Southeast Michigan RC&D Council put them in touch with those producers, Simons explained. Eventually, people began asking about the new flooring, which led Recycle Ann Arbor to sell a small amount of the urban wood in their reuse center. Out of those small beginnings, Urbanwood has grown into a project that involves half a dozen sawmills and two retail outlets, one at Recycle Ann Arbor's ReUse Center and the other at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Flint, Mich."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 
 

Detroit-based private-equity firm relies on U-M for hires

All discussions about Michigan's developing new economy include talent - where to get it, how to retain it, and what the next generation of professionals need. Huron Capital Partners (Michigan's largest private-equity firm) sees the University Of Michigan as an important pipeline for employees.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The 20-person firm now takes up most of the 27th floor of the Guardian Building. It's new hires are mostly investment professionals. A large quantity of them earned their MBAs locally.
 
"The University of Michigan is educating more of our team than any other school," says Michael Beauregard, senior partner at Huron Capital Partners."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Backyard Brains' DIY neuroscience kits make waves on CNN

Ann Arbor's Backyard Brains is making waves with its Spiker Box, an affordable neuroscience kit. Founder Greg Gage's interview and article appear on CNN.

Excerpt:

"...While most everyone is fascinated by the brain, very few get the chance to peer into the world of neurons. Because, until now, there wasn’t a way for amateurs to get involved.

In neuroscience, for example, equipment to read out the brain activity can cost over $10,000. But this is beginning to change. With the DIY revolution, people can now have similar high-tech gear in their own homes and garages for under $100.

When I was a grad student studying neuroscience my labmate, Tim Marzullo, proposed an interesting idea: Can we record from the brain for less than 100 dollars, just using everyday electronics? We set off on a self-imposed engineering challenge to see if we could replicate our expensive lab equipment with something affordable by consumers.

We ended up with the SpikerBox: a small kit (which you can build yourself, if you like) that can listen to the living brain cells from insects."

More here.

Cleaner, safer clothes could be on the way

It'd be nice to be able to cut way back on laundry. Researchers at U-M are developing liquid-repellent coatings for clothing and other products.

Excerpt:

"A nanoscale coating that's at least 95 percent air repels the broadest range of liquids of any material in its class, causing them to bounce off the treated surface, according to the University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed it.

In addition to super stain-resistant clothes, the coating could lead to breathable garments to protect soldiers and scientists from chemicals, and advanced waterproof paints that dramatically reduce drag on ships."

More here.

Bucking retirement trends, boomers are choosing Ann Arbor

Retirees are looking for college towns where they can keep their minds busy, instead of the golf course, and Ann Arbor is one of them. CNBC reports on the trend.

Excerpt:

"You really didn't expect Baby Boomers to flock to those staid retirement communities in Florida and Arizona, did you?...

Thus, other affordable college towns such as Ann Arbor, Mich. (University of Michigan); South Bend, Ind. (Notre Dame); Gainesville, Fla. (University of Florida); and State College, Pa. (Penn State) offer exactly what Boomers are looking for these days: cheap homes, a reasonable cost of living, livability and lots of culture and sports."

More here.

DRAFT magazine tips a pint at Ashley's

Ashley's has one of the Midwest's finest selection of pours, the tastemakers at DRAFT say.

Excerpt:

"It's easy to find excellent beer in Michigan (Short's, Jolly Pumpkin, Arcadia Ales), but to find it in one wood-dressed place where you'll rub elbows with grad students and true students of beer, you've gotta go to Ashley's. Some love it for the proximity to campus nightlife, but the savvier set reveres it for the 70-plus taps that often get first dibs on Michigan's finest."

More here.

NEA Magazine features Chelsea's Purple Rose Theatre

The magazine for the National Endowment Of The Arts not only decided to write a profile of Chelsea's Purple Rose Theatre they created an audio slide show.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Chelsea, Michigan, is a small town with a thriving arts scene. That's thanks in no small part to the Purple Rose Theatre Company (PRTC), founded by actor, and Chelsea native, Jeff Daniels. Starting out in a garage with a skeletal staff, PRTC has flourished into a first-rate theater company, developing local talent, nurturing Midwestern voices, and providing a cultural hub in this corner of Michigan.  Artistic Director Guy Sanville, who has been with the company almost from its inception, explains how PRTC was a game-changer for Chelsea."
 
Listen to the slide show here.
 

Ann Arbor's Entre-Slam gets noticed by CNN

I don't know, seem kind of cool that we beat "The Worldwide Leader in News" to this story by about a year. Kudos to the organizers behind Entre-SLAM, the storytellers salon for those with a business bent.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Entre-SLAM encourages entrepreneurs to connect over stories and a beer. "We are drawn to authentic, real life stories," says Ballew, who has written two unpublished novels and hosted a local public access television show. She gave it up this summer to spend more time on Entre-SLAM. "This is like The Truman Show -- watch everyday people and their everyday dramas and issues," she says. Except the people telling stories are business owners, some who have decades of experience and some who started just days before their storytelling debut."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's "human capital" is tops for small metros

Business leaders call them "human capital," economists call them educated people. Either way you slice the tomato, both consider it a key factor in regional growth and development. Richard Florida takes a look at what human capital in suburban vs urban settings looks like.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Perhaps not surprisingly, college towns predominate when we add smaller metros (with populations of less than one million) to the list. With nearly 70 percent of adults holding bachelor degrees, Ann Arbor comes in first, followed by State College, Pennsylvania (69.2 percent), Iowa City (55.9 percent), Bloomington, Indiana (54.8 percent), Corvallis, Oregon (53.1 percent), Boulder, Colorado (50.9 percent), Columbia, Missouri (50.4 percent), Madison, Wisconsin (48.1 percent), Lawrence, Kansas (47.6 percent) and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (47.4 percent)."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

For art house movie theaters going digital can mean do or die

The move toward digital projection has mostly taken hold in cineplexes around the country, but what about art houses and vintage historic theaters? There, the transition hasn't always beena smooth one. The Michgan Theater's Russ Collins weighs in in a recent article on the topic.
 
Excerpt:
 
"It's a paramount moment for the industry. The National Association of Theater Owners calls the transition to digital the most important change since the invention of talkies. That late-1920s revolution, coupled with the Great Depression, killed theaters for much the same reason that digital threatens -- cost.

"Most people are going to figure out a way to do it," said Russ Collins, director of the Michigan-based Art House Convergence, an organization of independent community theaters. "And there are probably going to be some very tragic stories. Change causes those things.""
 
Read the rest here.
 

Baconfest luminary Chef Steven Grostick joins Produce Station

Ann Arbor's Produce Station is more than just fruits and veggies, it's becoming a foodies destination and haven. Their latest acquisition? The now former Executive Chef of Toasted Oak Grill + Market in Novi.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Produce Station has really grown their presence over the last year, but has been focused on carrying locally-grown, locally-raised and locally-made products since they opened in 1986. (Yep ... loooooooong before the locavore movement became a thing.) With Steve on board you can expect to see more signature events, like their "The Art of Local" event held this past June and other ticketed events with Michigan wine, beer and cider producers paired with Steve's house-made charcuterie and more. 
 
Read the rest here.
 

Toyota previews autonomous car

The whiz-kids at Ann Arbor's Toyota Research Institute have developed a car that uses radar sensors and a laser scanner to collect three-dimensional data. That data is sent to oan on board computer that then analyzes the surroundings and then operate the car’s controls. 
 
Twenty years later Skynet takes over the Earth.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Toyota is also working to allow a car to understand road and traffic conditions much as a human driver would—for example, by observing traffic signals. “That may, over time, evolve into a fully autonomous car,” said Templin. The research is motivated by a desire to “eliminate future traffic-related fatalities and injuries.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to speak at U-M next week

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be speaking and answering audience and online questions at the University of Michigan next Monday (Jan. 14) from 4:00-5:30pm.
 
Excerpt:
 
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke joins Ford School Dean Susan Collins for a conversation on monetary policy, recovery from the global financial crisis and long-term challenges facing the U.S. economy.
 
The event is free and open to the public, but seating passes are required. Tickets are available for the public starting at noon Friday, Jan. 11, at the Michigan Union Ticket Office. U-M faculty, staff and students can pick up seating passes at the ticket office on Thursday, Jan. 10. Limit one per person.
 
Michigan Union Ticket hours and location: http://muto.umich.edu/about
PLACE: Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor 

Oregon company buys Arbor Photonics

Ann Arbor-based laser technology company Arbor Photonics has been targeted for acquisition by advanced laser manufacturer nLight Corp. ion Oregon.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Following the deal, Keeney said nLight will retain a small office in Ann Arbor, Mich.
 
The companies did not disclose terms of the sale, but nLight reported in an regulatory filing last week that it had raised $3 million in conjunction with an acquisition. Keeney said this morning that filing presents an incomplete picture of the deal."
 
Read the rest here.
 

One year of the Wurst

A year ago The Wurst Bar opened in Ypsilanti. It quickly became a success, surprisingly less for its brews and more for its food. Mark Maynard decided to interview owner Jesse Kranyak about business, the community and competition.
 
Excerpt:
 
"I do not think that there is any competition in Ypsilanti – the market is still under developed and under appreciated in my opinion. A lot of the businesses in the area do share a lot of the same customers, but every additional business that offers something unique also adds to the quality of the entire neighborhood. This is not an area that has hit any saturation point, and, if another restaurant opened and we lost business, I would start heavily critiquing how I was approaching customers rather than think they were being taken away. We still continually get customers that drive in to check us out from Birmingham, Royal Oak and Beverly Hills because of something they saw online. I think that’s great for other places as well. I live and work here in Ypsilanti and I would be pretty hard pressed to continue doing so if there were not other places to eat and socialize such as Sidetrack, Beezy’s or Red Rock."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

CityFARM urban farm business model gets noticed

Urban farming is emerging as a viable business model for companies like CityFARM.
 
Excerpt:
 
Its first year brought 40 new clients, allowing the company to employee two full-time workers and three part-timers. Besides its consulting and farming divisions, the business has an online store where it sells handmade products such as cedar raised beds, composters, container gardens and trellises. 
 
Read the rest here.


Mindy Kaling hearts Zingerman's

The former cast member of The Office and now star of The Mindy Project waxes enthusiastic about Ann Arbor's most famous deli.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Mindy Kaling, perhaps best known for her work on "The Office" and "The Mindy Project," became something of a Zingerman's devotee during the time she spent in Ann Arbor filming "The Five Year Engagement" in 2011. She waxed ecstatic about the deli (and its Reuben sandwiches) in a blog post last fall, but clearly Ann Arbor's food mecca is still on her mind."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

New $9M U-M research center will help restore and protect Great Lakes

Fresh water may be our region's very greatest asset. But we haven't always treated it as such. U-M is out to change that.
 
Excerpt:
 
"With a $4.5 million, three-year grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and an additional $4.5 million from the University, the new University of Michigan Water Center, will provide solid scientific framework for more efficient and effective Great Lakes restoration.The Erb Family Foundation is a supporter of the University's sustainability initiative. Established in 2007, the Foundation aims to nurture environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metropolitan Detroit and to support initiatives to restore the Great Lakes basin."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M grad named College Entrepreneur of 2012

He may now be attending Duke but U-M grad Bryan Silverman's company Star Toilet Paper operates out of Ann Arbor. Bathroom time will never be the same.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Jordan found research showing that Americans respond favorably to advertising in public restrooms, including signage above urinals, and came up with the idea to print coupons on toilet paper. The siblings went to work, building their startup, Star Toilet Paper, with less than $1,000 of their own cash. "Anything we could, we figured out ourselves and saved money," Bryan says.
 
Star buys recycled toilet tissue rolls in bulk wholesale and has a printer place coupons on the top ply."

Read the rest here.

Ypsilanti ok's DTE plan to build $4M solar array on landfill

Revenue for Ypsilanti, clean energy for DTE customers, a productive use of landfill space. This smells of win-win.  
 
Excerpt:
 
"The proposed Ypsilanti project would cover about 4.5 acres of the 7-acre property near Spring Street and 
just north of the westbound Interstate 94 Huron Street exit.
 
The city would lease the property to the company for $9,778 per acre, or $44,000 a year. A one-time construction payment of $20,000 must be made within 30 days of the execution of the lease.
 
The city receives $35,000 per year for the lease of the existing, large digital billboard that is currently on the property. City officials said the billboard would not be affected by the solar project. Both leases together would generate about $75,000 per year for the city."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Chairman of the Fed to speak at U-M next month

As part of their public policy talks the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy is bringing in Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to give a free-and-open-to-the-public talk on January 14th.
 
Learn more here.
 

Local teens select Best American Nonrequired Reading for 2012

Dave Eggers is a well-known author, publisher (McSweeney's), screenwriter, and the founder of the very cool literay non-profit 826. Every year he serves as editor on the annual anthology The Best American Nonrequired Reading. This year, Eggers is assisted by Ann Arbor area students, who will help select the stories, comics, and essays that will appear in the collection through the 826MIchigan chapter. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"The group consists of approximately a dozen students and two facilitators who meet for two hours every week to discuss material that could possibly be included in the anthology. The students represent about six different high schools from the Ann Arbor area. When searching for material, the panel acquires texts in a few different ways.The series is considered “nonrequired” because it is a compilation of more unusual texts."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor is a "magnet" for retirees

Local writer Julie Halpert chats up Ann Arbor's appeal to retirees, the local battles over taxes, and the region's top price real estate.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The city's learning programs are a big attraction. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Michigan has 120 study groups that focus on topics such as philosophy, history, social science and the performing arts. Instructors are volunteers; many are retired or current professors at the university. About 700 people age 50-plus take classes each year, paying $20 for a membership and $40 for a 15-week class.
 
A similar program, called Elderwise, has attracted about 300 students. The 50 classes this fall included "How the Supreme Court Changed America" and "Ancient Greek and Roman Theater." Membership is $30, and each course is $5."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M Researchers show that cell phone use is contagious

Much like the yawn, researchers have found that cell phone use begets more cell phone use. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"In 2011, two researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study in which they observed pairs of young people roughly between 16 and 25 sitting at tables in dining halls and restaurants in and around campus. They recorded cell phone use in 10-second intervals, noting if one or both people checked a mobile device within each 10-second span, according to the paper published in the Human Ethology Bulletin."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor's Ice Cube develops next gen of NHL players

In the last 16 years more than 200 NHL players have been developed at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor's Ice Cube.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Right inside the door is a reception counter, with gleaming trophies from USA Hockey's victories at the last four world under-18 championships inside glass cases. Photos of the teams celebrating their victories are on the walls.
 
To the left, there's a hallway filled with framed USA Hockey sweaters from world junior championships and other international competitions along one wall, the medals won in those competitions in the corner of the frame. On the other, photos of the former members of the program who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League are displayed.
 
It's a long hallway."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Why talent stays (or leaves) Ann Arbor

Successful software developer Bill Merrill has made Ann Arbor his home for over a decade. Now he's leaving. And it's not because he's going to take a job somewhere else. Can something be learned from his reasons for going? Dave Askins makes some great observations and links to his interview with Merrill.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Whether a guy like Merrill stays or leaves Ann Arbor ultimately isn’t up to other folks  – like me, for example – who’ll likely serve out their productive lives here. But I think we’d probably “do it up” better if we measured success not by how long people like Bill Merrill choose to stay, but by how open we are to hearing their thoughts while they’re here – whether that’s a short time or forever."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

At 63 years, bookbinder is U-M's longest-serving staff member

Maybe the time was right. With digital information becoming the defacto practice in the land, 81-year-young Jim Craven is leaving his bookbinding post after more than 6 decades.
 
Excerpt:
 
"For more than 63 years, Craven has bound books and conserved artifacts on Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.
 
On Friday, the 81-year-old Craven leaves campus, retiring as the longest-serving staff member in the university's history.
 
He began working part-time at the university in 1947 while he was still in high school in a bookbindery in the basement of the Hatcher Graduate Library."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Bus from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti faster, more frequent

Ridership is growing on local buses and new route planning is helping to make the system better for all. The bus from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti along Packard will be 8 minutes faster now that it's traveling a straight path.
 
Excerpt:
 
"On the branch from downtown Ypsilanti, the number of trips will continue to be two per hour, but the trip time will be reduced by 18 percent by providing a more direct route along Packard. On the other branch, the number of trips will increase from two to four per hour."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

U-M is very well endowed indeed

Okay, now that we've got your attention... maybe you'll be interested to learn that the University Of Michigan is has the seventh largest university endowment in the country. Top of the list? Harvard, Yale, and the University Of texas - Austin.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The University of Michigan, with the largest football stadium in the country (capacity: 109,901), has one of the most dedicated alumni communities in the U.S., and that no doubt has helped its endowment fund make the top 10.
 
Ann Arbor is considered one of the most affordable and enjoyable college towns in the country, and the constant influx of people for school-related activities has led the university to use some of its funds for nearby parking facilities costing millions of dollars in recent years."
 
Read the rest here.
 

A visit to Bubble Island

Ever walked past a bubble tea joint and think to yourself: what the heck is that? Well, wonder no more.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Bubble tea has been popular in southeastern Asia for a few decades now, and its popularity seems to be spreading to every metaphorical corner of the globe. In our corner is Ann Arbor’s Bubble Island, located in the downtown area at 1220 S. University Ave.
 
The first thing you notice upon entering the quaint little cafe is its chill, laid-back atmosphere, complete with a couple of invitingly comfy couches. Cute drawings are scattered around the front counter. The menu hangs on the wall to the right of the waiting line, listing some of the more popular options."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Nicola's Books celebrated in writer anthology

A trio of Michigan bookstores made the cut in a collection of essays called: My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop. Among them, Nicola's in Ann Arbor gets a shout out from author Nancy Shaw.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Shops in Ann Arbor, Petoskey and Gaylord get prose hugs from women with unsurprising affection for places that sell what they create. Essays on these reader resources appear in My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their 
 
Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop, a hardback published Nov. 13:
 
* Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor (selected by Nancy Shaw)
 
* Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord (Katrina Kittle)
 
* McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI (Ann Patchett)
 
Its publisher describes the 384-page collection as "a joyful, industry-wide celebration of our bricks-and-mortar stores and a clarion call to readers everywhere at a time when the value and importance of these stores should be shouted from the rooftops." Eighty-four authors contribute."

Is our food secure? U-M is looking into it

Five years and $4 million dollars. That's how much has been allocated to a MIchigan-wide research project that'll look at disparities to food access in the state.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The researchers with the Ann Arbor school plan to interview residents and study data in small- to mid-sized cities to better understand factors affecting so-called food security. The federally funded work also will look at how urban agriculture can get to people in those communities."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Double decker rail cars tested for Ann Arbor commuter line

Inch by inch the development of a commuter rail system between Ann Arbor and Detroit... well, actually Jackson and Detroit, becomes a reality.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Officials say they hope to hear next week whether the cars passed the test to enter into service. If so, the public could have a chance to take demonstration trips next year.
 
Tuesday's test used an Amtrak engine to take the cars on a run that began in Pontiac and included stops at Birmingham, Royal Oak, Detroit's New Center area, Dearborn, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelsea and Jackson."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor is ready for its close up

The Five-Year Engagement, The Ides of March, Cedar Rapids, Whip It and Flipped are on the map. The Michigan Film Office has put together a movie tour map of Ann Arbor film locations. Get yours at the Convention and Visitor's Center.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Just in time for the winter season, the Michigan Film Office has come out with a new Ann Arbor Film Locations Tour Map that could help entertain visitors to the region -- or just give University of Michigan alums an excuse to return to campus."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Former Ann Arborite among best 3D sidewalk chalk artists in world

No need to say much. The pictures speak for themselves. Click on the link then scroll down for awesomeness.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Kurt Wenner was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and boasts to be the inventor of three-dimensional pastel drawings. He produced his first commissioned mural at the age of sixteen, and by seventeen was earning his living as a graphic artist. He attended both Rhode Island School of Design and Art Center College of Design. According to his website, 3D Pavement Artists, 3D Sidewalk Artists, and 3D Chalk artists can all trace the roots of their work back to the street art of Rome in 1982, where Kurt Wenner transformed the complex geometry of Classical Italian Architecture into a new form of Popular Art. Whether they are called Street Paintings, Chalk Paintings, Sidewalk Paintings or pavement art, if they have a three-dimensional illusion they can be traced back to Kurt Wenner pastel drawings."
 
Check out the 3D art here.
 

Chinese students flock to the Big Ten

International enrollment at U.S. universities and colleges grew six percent last year, with nearly a quarter of that came from China. The University Of Michigan is part of a trend that shows Chinese students being admitted to large, public land-grant universities in the Midwest.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Of the 25 campuses with the most international students, a dozen have increased international enrollment more than 40 percent in just five years, according to data collected by the Institute of International Education. All but one are public, and a striking number come from the Big Ten: Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Ohio State and the Universities of Minnesota and Illinois. Indiana's international enrollment now surpasses 6,000, or about 15 percent of the student body, and in Illinois, the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus has nearly 9,000 - second nationally only to the University of Southern California."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

U-M ranked 8th in nation for international students

My, oh my. The world gets smaller every year. Not only is the University of Michigan ranked No. 8 in terms of international student enrollment (6,382 in 2011-12), it also ranks No. 16 in the study abroad category for the second year in a row. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"The rankings were in the Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education. The New York-based nonprofit group said enrollment of international students in 2011-12 grew to a record-breaking 764,495 nationwide — a 5.7 percent increase from the year before.
 
The annual report released this week has consistently ranked U-M as one of the most sought-after destinations for international students who want to study at a leading American university."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M researcher turns algae into oil

Biofuels haven't exactly made headlines as of late, but exciting innovations are still being discovered. Needless to say the prospects of turning algae into petroleum is darn revolutionary.
 
Excerpt:
 
"It looks like Mother Nature was wasting her time with a multimillion-year process to produce crude oil. Michigan Engineering researchers can "pressure-cook" algae for as little as a minute and transform an unprecedented 65% of the green slime into biocrude.
 
"We're trying to mimic the process in nature that forms crude oil with marine organisms," said Phil Savage, an Arthur F. Thurnau professor and a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Michigan."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M students sample their possible future in tech business and culture

From Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey to Yelp to the Walmart-sponsored 48-Hour Mobile Apps Hackathon, U-M students get a taste of what's waiting for them in the ever-changing tech marketplace.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Yelp is an aggressive player in the increasingly expensive recruiting wars to find the next tech superstar.
 
“Having a second event today is a great way to have people come back and get a little bit more information,” says Chess. “When you’re at the career fair, there’s a really long line of people, you only get a minute or so to talk to each individual person. You can only communicate so much information in that time.”
 
The solution: Lure students back with a tech talk from experts, four-star Indian food and fairly good odds at leaving with an iPad. The scene almost makes one forget the real reason they’re here."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M researchers develop heartbeat powered battery

One word: Piezoelectricity
 
Researchers at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan have developed a battery prototype that can take the motion generated by a heartbeat and use it to recharge pacemakers.
 
Excerpt:
 
"For the latest study the team measured heartbeat-induced vibrations in the chest. They then used a 'shaker' to reproduce the vibrations in the laboratory and connected it to a prototype cardiac energy harvester they had developed.
Measurements of the prototype's performance, based on a wide range of simulated heartbeats, showed the energy harvester generated more than 10 times the power required by modern pacemakers."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor Muni Center gets LEED Gold

Say what you will about the new city hall's aesthetics, at least it's more sustainable than its predecessor.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The municipal center project includes the new Justice Center, landscaped municipal plaza rain gardens, green roof promenade, and porous pavement in the parking lot. It obtained a total of 44 LEED points. Quinn Evans was the architectural firm for the Ann Arbor Municipal Center. The landscape architects were InSite Design Studio Inc. with Conservation Design Forum."
 
Read the rest here.
 

A2Awesome Foundation gives $3K to cool projects

Sometimes even a token support can make a big difference. Each month a dozen Ann Arbor locals vote (and pony up $100) to make their community a little bit more awesome by funding worthy projects. The newest awesome grant recipients include: 826Michigan, Spontaneous Art, and photographer Bill Streety.
 
Excerpt:
 
A2Awesome Chair Lisa Dengiz had the following to say: “It’s really amazing how many people in our community have brilliant ideas that can be realized with as little as $1,000. When we started this chapter of the Awesome Foundation almost a year ago, we had no idea just how much potential there was. Our grants, among other things, have helped launched Bona Sera Cafe on Michigan Avenue, bringing a renewed sense of vibrancy to downtown Ypsilanti, and put exercise equipment inside Ozone House, improving the lives of local at-risk youth. That’s incredibly gratifying.”"
 
Read more HERE.
And here
And here.  
 
Full disclosure: Concentrate's editor Jeff meyers is a board member of the A2Awesome Foundation

U-M has most Fulbright students... again

You know your university is doing something right when it bests both Harvard and Brown. And not by a little. Fulbright student tally for the top 3 schools: U-M with 40, Harvard with 31, Brown with 29. Takes a little of the sting away from the Wolverine's loss this weekend.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Michigan says this marks the sixth time in the past eight years it has held that honor. It also led the nation in Fulbrights in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011."
 
Read the rest here.
In related news, U-M increased enrolled 1.7% in 2012.

For locavores, Grange offers meal grown within 50 miles of home

Well, actually 52 miles. We're rounding up a bit. Ann Arbor's Grange Kitchen is offering the ulitimate in locavore dining.
 
Excerpt:
 
"You’ve heard of 100-mile dinners? Chef Brandon Johns of Ann Arbor’s Grange Kitchen & Bar (118 W. Liberty) is planning a 52-mile dinner Nov. 7, in which he’ll prepare courses based on ingredients sourced from no more than 52 miles away."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Toyota Tech Center celebrates 35 years of R&D

Toyota's North American research and development facilities found not one but four homes in Michigan. To celebrate their three and a half decades here they handed out grants to local non-profits like 826Michigan, Ele's Place, The hope Clinic, and Growing Hope.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Toyota Technical Center (TTC) has been the driving force behind Toyota's North American engineering and research & development (R&D) activities since 1977. Headquartered in Michigan, TTC has R&D facilities in Ann Arbor, Saline, Plymouth and Livonia. In California,"
 
Read the rest here.
 

International entrepreneurs learn from U-M experts

Small business entrepreneurs from the Middle East and North Africa will be spending a few weeks in Ann Arbor getting advice on how to grwo their enterprises.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Fourteen Middle Eastern and North African entrepreneurs are at the University of Michigan as part of a State Department-sponsored program that partners university experts with area community organizations.
 
The program participants are from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia. They're primarily small business owners."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Mary Sue Coleman among top 10 most popular university presidents

While the students might have something different to say (or maybe not), the staff and faculties weigh in on university presidents and chancellors around the country. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"Glassdoor asked employees the following question: Do you approve of the way your CEO (president/chancellor, in this case) is leading the company?
 
The result puts four of the top 10 sharing the No. 1 slot with a 100 percent approval rating, although Stanford's John L. Hennessy also had an employer rating of 4.0 and "very satisfied."
 
Read the rest here.
 

How public art makes economic sense

With research from the Urban Land Institute backing it up, Dan Rosenfeld, a senior deputy for economic development for Los Angeles County's MTA makes the case that public art can have a positive bottom-line economic impact, particularly when it comes to transportation.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The intangible benefits of public art—aesthetic beauty, cultural interpretation, education, inspiration, and general improvement of the urban environment—are well-known. But because these are considered "soft" benefits, they are sometimes dismissed as a low priority, especially during challenging economic times. However, experiences in Los Angeles show that public art can be a source of publicity and cash income, as well as beauty."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Can Kickstarter double A2 sauerkraut production?

Sure Kickstarter is great for projects involving computer games, indie films, CD releases, graphic novels, and pop culture doo-dads. But what about fermented cabbage? David Klingenberger of Ann Arbor's The Brinery is hoping to raise enough funds to buy 12,000 pounds of locally grown cabbage, a bunch of barrels, and the staff to help him on his “40 Barrels in 40 Nights” project.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Brinery, whose biggest customer is Zingerman’s Deli, is ready to double production, producing 40 more 55-gallon barrels of sauerkraut, Klingenberger said, as the local cabbage crop is nearing the end of its harvest time. He has 12,000 pounds of cabbage lined up from local farms. He also needs to purchase 40 plastic barrels, where the fermentation process takes places. And he needs to pay staff."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Going blue by train instead of car

Reporter and blogger Jeff Wattrick decides to travel from Royal Oak to Ann Arbor (a mere 52 miles) to take in the U-M vs MSU football game on Saturday. This is his story.
 
Excerpt:
 
"It’s certainly the less stressful choice. I might have gone full-on Michael Douglas in Falling Down trying to endure Michigan Stadium traffic. Seriously, traffic jams before and after the game were like a goddamned REM video. Instead of living out traffic hell scenarios from early 1990s entertainment, I sat on the train and watched an episode of The Wire on my iPad.
 
What’s more, if the planned Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail line ever comes to fruition, the train to a Michigan game could be even more cost-effective. Compared to fares for the long-haul Amtrak, commuter rail is generally less expensive. The most expensive ride on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority commuter rail, for example, costs $11 and MBTA lines run with greater frequency."
 
Read the rest here.

$875K fellowship to U-M prof to study ice

Greenland is hardly anyone's idea of a celebratory destination but that's where University of Michigan assistant professor Sarah Aciego is headed with her Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering award. Though far from paradise, it is a great place to study what melted ice water can reveal about global climate change.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Aciego is an assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences in the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; and assistant professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences in the College of Engineering. Among the classes she teaches is an undergraduate class in geomorphology, the study of how glaciers, rivers and landslides have shaped the surface of the earth."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M offers student course that explains its own finances

Let's say you're a student at the University Of Michigan, and you're wondering why your tuition is what it is. Well, now there's a course for that.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Fifty-six students are registered this semester for "The Challenge of College Affordability: Financing the University," a series of seven two-hour lectures taught by top administrators at the public university. The course, geared toward sophomores, is designed to explain where the school gets revenue, what drives its costs and how that translates into tuition rates and financial-aid packages."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Plight and hope for the Ann Arbor skateboarder

Concentrate has long written about the need for a skatepark in Ann Arbor, a point made all the more relevant when you consider the general hostility the community shows toward boarders. The Michigan Daily captures in words and photos why.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Being a skateboarder is tough. Learning tricks and having balance doesn't come easily to many people.
 
But it's particularly difficult to be a skater in Ann Arbor. The nearest skate park is miles away, and it's illegal to be on a skateboard in the majority of the city. Fines for skateboarding can reach up to $150 and skaters' boards can be confiscated. Campus police, Ann Arbor police and private security constantly kick skaters out of parking lots, alleyways and parking garages."
 
Read the rest here.

20 years of murder and mystery

It's murder most foul in downtown Ann Arbor every day of the week at Aunt Agatha's bookshop. And this oasis for mystery devotees in celebrating two decades of poisonings, stabbings, shootings, and whatever fatal deeds villains hope to get away with.
 
Excerpt:
 
"When asked her thoughts on the store's success, Agnew said that she and her husband had created not just a store, but a "community space."
 
"We're small. We know our customers," she said.
 
Agnew added that they are careful about how much inventory they keep and tend to order one copy of a new book at a time."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Density may actually reduce traffic

Here's some counterintuitive food for thought... communities with higher mixed use denisty demonstrated reduced congestion.
 
Excerpt:
 
"[The study] found that roadways in more compact, mixed, multi-modal communities tend to be less congested. This results from the lower vehicle trip generation, particularly for local errands, more walking and public transit travel, and because the more connected street networks offer more route options so traffic is less concentrated on a few urban arterials. This contradicts our earlier assumptions."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Craiglist rolls out mapping app, Ann Arbor a test city

It's impressive for our college town to be mentioned in the same breath as Los Angeles and San Francisco. Craiglist is testing their mapping feature in several communities and we are one of them.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Ann Arbor joins Los Angeles and the Bay Area as a testing ground for Craiglist’s newest feature according to a report on thenextweb.com. The new application will allow apartment hunters to use a map view to find apartments in specific neighborhoods or areas."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor has the cutest street art

Blink and it's gone. Ann Arbor artist and street quirkmaker David Zinn catches the attention of a UK writer with his delightful chalk drawings.
 
Excerpt:
 
"David Zinn makes streets a little brighter, if only for a few hours.
 
The chalk artist has become known in his hometown of Ann Arbor, America, for his brightly coloured little creatures dotting the pavement.
 
Zinn, who has been "drawing for as long as [he] can remember", started the project because he wanted to create "something absurd, anonymous and temporary"."
 
Read and see the rest here.
 

A2's Performace Network gets spotlight on Broadway site

Local theater depends on the kindness of strangers. The Broadway World theater site has an interview with Performance Network associate artistic director and actress Carla Milarch. There, now, you're not strangers anymore. But they probably could still use a little of your kindness...

Excerpt:
 
"While Milarch has been away from the stage these past years, she has not been away from the theatre. She has been working on the creative side of Performance Network Theatre for over thirteen years in a range of positions. Most recently, she has been the associate artistic director of the company and helping to get its children’s theatre and Second Stage Theatre up and running. “I really love PNT and being part of it for so many years,” she says, “it also has let me realize that you can do what you love for your work and be a professional actor in Michigan.”"
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor gets smartest cars of all

Are crash-proof cars on our horizon? The Ann Arbor area is ground zero for the testing of autos that communicate with one another in order to avoid colission. No word yet on whether the system will be called Skynet.
 
Excerpt:
 
"If you want to find the smartest drivers in the world, you need to head for the home of the US car industry. Just outside Detroit, lies the town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The drivers there are not any more intelligent than other parts of the world, despite it being a famed college town. However, their cars are.
 
That’s because the roads of Ann Arbor are now home to a fleet of several thousand cars that constantly “talk” to one another. The scheme, known as the Safety Pilot Model Deployment project, offers a potential blueprint for the future of road transport. Like many projects it aims to cut congestion and make the road network more efficient. But this vision of the future is missing one thing: crashes."
 
Read the rest here.
 

U-M hosts first Indie Korean film fest in U.S.

Yeah, "Gangnam Style" has thrust Korean pop culture into the U.S. mainsteam but the Korean film industry has really been making its mark on international cinema. This year sees the national debut of a Korean independent film festival. And it's happening at U-M.
 
Excerpt:
 
"“I decided to go with independent film because independent film has not been considered important, not even in South Korea,” Lee said. “I just want to show the diversity of Korean cinema.”

Lee explained that an independent Korean film is produced outside of the three main production studios in South Korea — CJ Entertainment, Showbox and Lotte Entertainment, which are comparable to Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios in the US. Lee said about 90 percent of South Korean films are produced through these three studios."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Better downtown parking coming for Ann Arbor cyclists

The Ann Arbor DDA is making room for bike riders in the popular Maynard St parking garage - 50 bikes. Given that it means giving up just two auto spaces that seems like pretty good math to us.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The authorization of $30,000 from the DDA’s parking fund – for design, fabrication and installation of the bicycle storage facility – was given at the board’s Oct. 3, 2012 meeting. Similar “cages” in other cities use a chain-link fencing material. However, the DDA hopes that a more aesthetically pleasing option can be identified."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arborite featured on National Storytelling Blog

Longtime Ann Arbor resident Barbara Schutzgruber has been spinning yarns (the vocal kind) for nearly 30 years. Her Acme Tattoo Parlor gets spotlighted on the site.
 
Excerpt:
 
"‘Acme Tattoo Parlor’ is my own story of resilience after a turn of events changed my life forever. It is part of a longer program called “Parts is Parts” which uses folktales, family stories and personal narrative to explore the questions: Are we the sum of our parts? If so… what if we don’t have them all? How do we see ourselves then?"
 
Listen here.
 
 

A daily commuter train from A2 to Detroit in our near future?

Most American metroploitan areas have several daily commuter trains between the region's largest city and the surrounding suburbs. Wouldn't it be nice if we could join them? Finally?
 
Excerpt:
 
"The paper reported that the Michigan Department of Transportation "is in the process of spending more than $500 million to purchase the tracks between Dearborn and Kalamazoo from Norfolk Southern and improve them, according to officials at the meeting."  "
 
Read the rest here.

Zombies in Ann Arbor

The Freep has a great photo slide show of Saturday's zombie walk. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"The undead came to life Saturday for the annual Zombie Walk to benefit Food Gatherers of Ann Arbor. Participants met at Pinball Pete’s in Ann Arbor to drop off nonperishable food donations. From there, they hobbled and crawled to the Three Corpse Circus Horror Film Festival at the Michigan Theater. Organizer Bambi Slevin, 32, of Ypsilanti said about 60 people participated this year and donated two bins of food."
 
Check it out here!
 

Hacker Tour stops in Ann Arbor

The SF start-up ReadyForce has decided that the current job search process is broken. With that in mind they've launched HackTour 2012,"n 8 week national bus tour designed to connect fast growing startups and tech companies to top computer science and engineering students across the country." Ann Arbor U-M was one of its 27 stops.
 
Excerpt:
 
"At the College of Engineering career fair Tuesday, the van was parked outside emblazoned with the logos of the 26 companies sponsoring the eight-week swing through 27 campuses across the country. The website is a cross between LinkedIn, Match.com and Monster.com that connects college students with companies interested in hiring them."
 
Read the rest here.
 
 

Ann Arbor AutoBike seen as a "promising disruptive technology"

What is the Disruptive Investor? Well, according to their site they are "dedicated to uncovering the most commercially promising disruptive technologies. Our mission is to connect the most disruptive technologies to the investment, licensing and acquisition communities." Get it? Ann Arbor's AutoBike gets singled out for notice.
 
Excerpt:
 
"For most people, the purpose of a bicycle is to take leisurely rides and have fun. Some riders, however, do not shift gears at the right time. They therefore exhaust themselves faster or may have to walk their bicycles up otherwise manageable hills. These situations tarnish the entire cycling experience and make people less likely to ride. The AutoBike solves this problem by automatically shifting gears for the cyclist."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Arbor Brewing gets more praise for going green

Having one solar-powered, green-minded brewpub in your community is pretty awesome. Having two is twice the awesome.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Corner Brewery’s $250,000 “Green Brewery Project” includes solar-thermal, photovoltaic, and geo-thermal technologies along with new windows, awnings and energy-efficient chiller equipment. It is expected to provide almost all of the brewery’s hot water needs and up to 15 percent of its electricity, while knocking $20,000 each year off energy bills."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor makes the list for young entrepreneurs

It looks like thirteen is a lucky number. On its guest list of 13 awesome cities for start-ups, Business2Community ranks Ann Arbor alongside Chicago, Portland, and Madison.
 
Excerpt:
 
“Ann Arbor has a thriving entrepreneurship community due to the University of Michigan, Michigan economic development initiatives and, most importantly, entrepreneurs that choose to grow their companies here. Plus the quality of life is fantastic: There’s plenty of art, culture and shopping, but it only takes 15 minutes to get from the edge of town to city center (unless there’s a football game!)."
 
Read the rest here.
 

TechArb represents a generational shift in thinking

Visiting TechArb, writer Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic witnesses a seed change in the way college students view entrepreneurship. THe name of his article says it all, "These Students Love Startups Like the Animal House Guys Loved Beer" 
 
Excerpt:
 
"I mean, I'm not even in Generation X and I find it easy to be cynical about this kind of excitement for putting one's shoulder to the capitalist wheel. At the same time, their excitement is infectious. I spent the rest of my time at TechArb excitedly talking with students about the companies they're trying to build and before I knew it, two hours had gone by and I was still not quite ready to leave. These are kids who probably first heard "Start Me Up" on a Microsoft commercial. You say you want a revolution? Well, you know, we all want to change the world."
 
Read the rest here.
 

The word is out about Zingerman's "bake-cations"

As we reported back in June, Zingerman's classes aren't just yummy, they're attracting out-of-town tourists. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"Students in the four-day program, which costs $1,000, can specialize in breads, pastries or a combined "world tour" course of international baked goods. Two-day courses, at $500, focus on either pastries or breads.
 
Bake-cation classes are limited to 12 students to allow for one-on-one instruction, and Zingerman's staff members take care of measuring the ingredients and cleaning up afterward."
 
Read the rest of the story here.
 

Jeb Bartlet endorses U-M prof for Michigan's Supreme Court?

Have you seen the West Wing video that careening around the Internet? In it the cast talks about nonpartisan elections (Ie. judges, etc) and the importance of casting your vote. Bridget Mary McCormack gets name-checked by actor Martin Sheen.
 
Excerpt:
 
"McCormack's younger sister, Mary, appeared in 48 episodes of West Wing between 2004 and 2006, playing the role of deputy national security adviser Kate Harper. She appears as her character in the video and, for a laugh, acts as clueless as the rest of the cast when they mention her real name."
 
Read the rest here. Watch below...

 

Visiting Ann Arbor with kids

The fairy doors were a hit, of course. And the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Frita Batido, and Zingerman's. Where did they stay? Webbers, duh. Can you say "pool-side suites?"
 
Excerpt:
 
"My children, ages 2 and 11, had a blast trying to find the many intricate and colorful fairy doors located in shops, cafes and restaurants throughout town. Follow the fairy map, available at Urban Fairy Operations (urban-fairies.com) and see if you can spot the tiny entrances that lead to hidden fairy dwellings. I was happy to have a chance to browse the boutiques while they gazed through the miniature windows and doors."
 
Read the rest here.


60 Minutes shoot at Zingerman's?

An expose on bagels? Or is it because Food & Wine Magazine listed Zing's Reuben as one of the best sandwiches in the country?

Mary Morgan of the invaluable Ann Arbor Chronicle adds this tantalizing snippet in the publication's "Stopped. Watched." ticker.
 
"A staff member from Zingerman’s Deli reports that a producer and camera crew from “60 Minutes” were there earlier in the day shooting footage."
 
I guess we'll know when we know. In the meantime, be sure to check out the Chronicle for the goings-on in Ann Arbor city government.
 

U-M ranked 29th by U.S. News and World Report

Once again the list comes out and once again universities and colleges start the bragging/bitching process. Are these rankings accurate? Please. Still, interesting to see that a public school didn't break the top 20. Check out all the rankings here.
 
On the other hand, QS World University Rankings rated U-M as the top American public university and 17th overall. Read about it here.
 

Ypsilanti to welcome return of Pianos 'Round Town

Time to get your fingers ready and raring for Pianos 'Round Town, the public art project that places 8 sets keyboards in locations around Ypsilanti. Expect instances of true musical inspiration, random plunking, and more than few kids banging away.

Pianos arrive Sept. 21 and can be found in front of Sidetrack, Nelson Amos Studio, The Ypsilanti Co-op, Tower Inn, Red Rock Barbecue, Café Racer, the Depot Town Dispensary and Mix until Oct. 9.
 
Excerpt:
 
"During Pianos 'Round Town eight pianos are placed in front of various businesses around the city for public use. Anyone who is having a musical whim can sit down and play.
 
The event is inspired by the "Play Me, I'm Yours" public artwork project by British artist Luke Jerram. Jerram travels to large cities around the world and places pianos in public areas for people to play. The project began in 2008 and has traveled from London to New York and even Grand Rapids, Mich. "
 
Read the rest here.

Murder and intrigue in Ann Arbor

Harry Dolan sees a different Ann Arbor than you or I. In his crime novels it's not uncommon for bodies to stack up like cord wood, as his mystery magazine editor / sleuth David Loogan uncovers our community's murders most foul. NPR catches up with the author and puts the spotlight on The Deuce. 
 
Excerpt:
 
"Ann Arbor residents would easily recognize their city in Harry Dolan's crime fiction, but the likeness ends with murder; while Dolan can pack several homicides into each book, the real Ann Arbor is much more peaceful."
 
Read/ Listen to the rest here.
 
 

WiFi-based vehicle hazard warnings begin testing at U-M

Can computer technology reduce auto accidents? U-M is testing a wirelss system that allows cars to "talk" to one another in order to avoid crashes and hazards.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The trial is being conducted by the University of University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) for the US Department of Transportation. In all nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses in Ann Arbor Michigan equipped with the technology will 'talk' to each other in real time to help avoid crashes and improve traffic flow."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Finding the right zoning for downtown/urban/suburban parking

Ah, zoning, thou art a fickle friend. Norfolk, VA is creating a three tiered system of zoning in its attempt to properly respond to the evolving needs of parking and development. It might be worth Ann Arbor's time to see what works in their experiment... and what doesn't.
 
Excerpt:
 
"It may be overly simplistic, but boiling a neighborhood down to its very basic characteristics is something we do all the time. If you're surrounded by tall buildings or Main Street shopping, you're probably downtown. If you're driving down block after block of single-family homes, you're probably in a suburban area. But in many cities, the zoning codes that determine land use are terrible at noticing and responding to these very different conditions."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor's Violin Monster invades Austin, ends up on cable TV

What do a werewolf, a violinand Anthony Bourdain have in common? They... and by werewolf we mean A2's street musician Zachary Storey... were at the South By Southwest Music Festivals and make an appearance on an episode of the Travel Channel's "No Reservations."  
 
 

The Atlantic magazine is looking for a few good start-ups

Entrepreneurs and economic development officials, be on the alert for a pair of enterprising reporters from The Atlantic magazine. Beginning next week, they're making a beeline for the Upper Midwest, and Ann Arbor is one of the cities where they're looking to find the region's brightest start-ups.

Excerpt:
"This year, we're starting the trip in Chicago and finishing up in Pittsburgh. Call it a Rust Belt Tour, if that's not a pejorative. If you're starting a business along this route (or even near it), we want to hear from you. While we're primarily interested in tech (very broadly construed), interesting entrepreneurs of all types should feel free to get in touch.

And stay tuned because we're working on putting together a few events, so that we can meet as many people as possible.

This year, we want to build maps of the startup scene in each city we visit. That means we want to map not just where startups have their offices, but also where they get coffees and beers and meetings and employees and money."

Read the full story here. And check here for MLive's coverage.




And now a word from your toilet paper

With a slogan like: "Don't rush. Look before you flush," Ann Arbor-based start-up Star Toilet Paper iwas bound to make a splash. More impressively, it was named one of five finalists in Entrepreneur Magazine's College Entrepreneur of 2012 contest.
 
Excerpt:
 
The company plans to distribute free, ad-supported toilet paper to public restrooms at restaurants, offices, stadiums and other venues. These locations can save money on a basic necessity in exchange for providing Star Toilet's advertisers with a captive audience.
 
Amid all the laughs, Star Toilet was recently named one of five finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine's College Entrepreneur of 2012 contest.
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor luxury student housing leads the Big Ten market

Nice apartments near campus and downtown. That's what college kids want these days. Actually, more than just college students. Professionals under 35 are looking for the same living choices. With Ann Arbor's saturated market and few new apartment projects on the horizon, is it any wonder that the market is toght and rents are high?
 
Excerpt:
 
"According to local commercial real estate agent Peter Allen, the local market can take in even more luxury beds. Allen's company has a listing for the air rights above Pizza House, which was built to hold a 15-story high-rise.
 
Allen is in talks with interested developers, and he says there's been a common theme: Ann Arbor is expensive."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor squeaks into best 100 places to live

Coming in it 100, Ann Arbor joins 5 other Michigan commumnities on the list of best places (pop. 50K-300K) to lay down stakes in. Whon in the Mitten ranked higher? Shelby Township was 78th, Macomb Township was 84th, West Bloomfield Township was 37th, and Troy kicked our butt. coming in at 26th. Carmel, IN took the top spot.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Cheering a Big 10 football game along with thousands of other fans is a major rush, but what really powers this college town is job opportunities. Though the city has lost several large employers like Pfizer and Borders, it has attracted many others -- cybersecurity firm Barracuda Networks and hospitality giant Hyatt recently opened offices here. Families generally avoid the student-filled homes near campus, opting for the quieter west and north sides of town. "
 
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor is best place to successfully age

I know, huh? But what the folks at CNN really want to reinforce is that A2 is aces for AARPsters looking out for their health and well-being.
 
Excerpt:
 
"The Milken Institute analyzed data for 78 indicators of success, including health care, housing, transportation, education opportunities and cultural experiences. They then weighted the indicators based on survey information regarding what was most important to seniors - health care and financial security landing at the top of their concerns."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Today is the deadline for Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

Got a great a late-stage start-up that needs an extra financial push to get over the hill? Then get your proposal to the post office post haste.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Companies interested in entering must provide a maximum 250-word abstract and maximum 6-page executive summary to be considered in the first round by Aug. 15. In the Sept. 28 semifinals pre-event, 50 businesses will be 
selected to provide a 12-page business plan, and of those, 10 will create a pitch for a $500,000 prize."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor is retiree heaven

Or so says Where to Retire Magazine. Unforunatley, much like its audience, the publication is not comfortable putting content online. Still, according to A2 Chamber o Commerce the mag claims: 
 
"The youthful exuberance of this college town greatly appeals to boomers, who can partake in university life through continuing-education classes and spectator sports."
 
You can check out A2YChamber's marketing/coverage of the story here.
 

What makes for a successful park?

Writer Kevin Klinkenberg looks into why some parks are successful and others are woefully (or ipappropriately) used. The short answer: Location, location, location.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Integration with the surrounding streets and buildings. While Forsyth is bounded by two streets on the east and west that are one-way, and have traffic that generally moves far too fast, the streets themselves are not wide. This makes them easy to cross for pedestrians, in spite of the high traffic speeds. And, around the park are located small businesses, hotels, bed and breakfasts in addition to the many residences. The park does not feel as though it’s set apart from the neighborhood – it feels as though it’s distinctly part of the neighborhood."
 
Read the rest here.

U-M one of the best colleges to work for

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education's 2012 Great Colleges to Work For, the University Of Michigan made it onto the honor role, excelling in nine of the 12 categories (apparently they still need some work in diversity, career development programs, and supervisopr relationships).

Check out the run down here.

Other "best" colleges can be found here.

Ann Arbor company takes some sting out of debt collection

Debt settlement has gone high-tech with HealPay, an A2 company that decreases the stigma of colection repayment by taking it online.

Excerpt:

"The venture came together after co-founder Lancelot Carlson, who had been consulting for a collection agency, started to talk with Bzovi, who had previously worked in advertising technology — where he said he became “enthralled” with ad server technology — about the possibilities of online bill payment.

Struck by how behavioral targeting can yield higher click-through and conversation rates, they decided to see if the same techniques would work with billing – and even debt collection."

Read the rest here.

Michigan eLab wrestles Silicon Valley for start-ups

How does Ann Arbor develop start-ups and keep the business that blossom from them? Michigan eLab is working to just that.

Excerpt:

"Stefanski -- who lives blocks away from downtown Palo Alto, the original home of many high-profile tech companies -- said he sees a promising start-up corridor growing between State Street and Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

But to hasten the growth, he said, Ann Arbor would have to become more than just "one of the biggest exporters of talent through the country.""

Read the rest here.

An economic case for public art

The argument is all-too familiar to Ann Arbor residents - public art is nice but we can't afford it. The Atlantic Cities rebutts this claim with specific examples of how public art has contributed to a community's bottom line.

Excerpt:

"The intangible benefits of public art—aesthetic beauty, cultural interpretation, education, inspiration, and general improvement of the urban environment—are well-known. But because these are considered "soft" benefits, they are sometimes dismissed as a low priority, especially during challenging economic times. However, experiences in Los Angeles show that public art can be a source of publicity and cash income, as well as beauty."

Read the rest here.


Jobs are aplenty in Ann Arbor

With the lowest unemployment rate in Michigan and nearly half of some professional job openings going unfilled, Ann Arbor is boom city USA.

An excerpt from the Detroit Free Press article:

"Full employment -- when everybody who wants a job can find one in a reasonable time -- is something you'd expect to see in places such as North Dakota and Texas, not Michigan.

Ann Arbor is getting closer to this economic nirvana. Help-wanted signs have popped up in the windows of some of its crowded restaurants and bars, and the area's online jobs portal for high-skilled workers has nearly 900 job listings yet to be filled. In late June, the Web security firm Barracuda Networks announced plans to create 184 jobs in Ann Arbor for software engineers and other technical workers during the next three years.

With the lowest jobless rate in the state, 6.2% in June, the college town has rebounded from the loss of 2,100 Pfizer jobs and the demise of Borders' corporate headquarters. With a vibrant downtown, a Big Ten university and cultural activities such as this month's art fair, Ann Arbor is leading Michigan's economic recovery...."

Read more here and see where the jobs are here.

Ann Arbor gets an A from entrepreneurs

Ann Arbor's got the right stuff for entrepreneurs and their lifestyles, ranking right up there with Boulder, NYC, and...Israel.

"Ann Arbor has a thriving entrepreneurship community due to the University of Michigan, Michigan economic development initiatives and, most importantly, entrepreneurs that choose to grow their companies here. Plus the quality of life is fantastic: There’s plenty of art, culture and shopping, but it only takes 15 minutes to get from the edge of town to city center (unless there’s a football game!)."

- Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E

Read more here.

What does a great walkable city look like?

Copenhagen provides an example for how walkable (and attractive) a couple of city blocks can be. Notice, in particular, how close shops are to the street, how small but heavily used the public park space is? Instead of thinking in terms of what we do with whole city blocks maybe Ann Arbor can take a lesson and see how many things can be done on a single block.

Excerpt:

"The square itself is anchored by a single tree in the center, surrounded by benches and more cafes. Small Streets says it's only about a half-acre, but it's quite obviously enough to create a sense of place, somewhere we want to be to relax and enjoy a drink, meal and conversation.

This is all rather simple, and Small Streets presents it in a more engaging fashion than I do here. But simplicity is kind of the point. The amount of density and building stock is just enough to entice and relax without creating a feeling of being overwhelmed or crowded. I would love to have more spaces like this in my own city."

Read the rest here.

Or, if you want to dig deeper, read the blog that inspired the piece here.

Blimpy Burger, a fast-food treasure

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger landed on USA Today’s "10 great places for regional fast-food treasures" list. This follows the burger joint's appearance on "Man V Food" in 2010, and the Travel Channel's visit back in May to film a segment for "Burger Paradise." That episode will supposedly air in October.

Excerpt:

"Hein became a fan of this institution while a student at the University of Michigan. The shack serves tiny burgers, available with extra meat - double, triple, quad, or quint, in the local parlance. Burgers can be topped with everything from a fried egg to grilled banana peppers. "You can pack it pretty high. The quint is a lot of meat. You'll be sitting for a while," Hein says."

Read the rest here.

How does U-M evolve its business model?

To say that our nation's higher education system is in danger of collapse is not an understatement. Costs are increasing, support is decreasing, student debt is becoming a major liability. Our ability to provide world class teaching is eroded everyday, even as technical know-how and advanced college degrees have become necessary for economic advancement. U-M's president Mary Sue Coleman has some ideas for how to prepare for that uncertain future, according to The Center For Michigan. Could it be a model for other institutions?

Excerpt:

"Together with Provost Phil Hanlon, a former U of M mathematics professor, Coleman has been developing a two-pronged strategy for dealing with the university’s increasingly fraught environment, which includes sharply reduced state support, rising tuitions, ballooning student debt, reduced student accessibility, legislative hostility and a new Web-based technology for delivering education products."

Read the rest here.

Is Ypsilanti real estate a good bet? California investor thinks so

Washtenaw County is growing and that change is reflected in the rental housing market. Now, maybe someone can talk to these investors about Water Street.

Excerpt:

"San Diego-based Coseo Properties Inc. recently bought the Country Meadows Apartments for $5.9 million with the intentions of upgrading and flipping the complex in around five years.

In a news release, the company called Ypsilanti “currently one of the more attractive secondary markets for real estate investment in the nation.”"

Read the rest of the story here.

U-M solar car wins 4th straight title

Looks like U-M's solar car team is like the Yankees of sun-powered competitors. Since 1990 they've raked up a nine wins at the 2012 American Solar Challenge, four in the last four years.

Excerpt:

"The Ann Arbor-based university's car Quantum won the eight-day solar vehicle competition on Saturday. The 1,650-mile event started July 14 in Rochester, N.Y., and ended in St. Paul, Minn.

Michigan's Quantum crossed the finish line about 2:30 p.m. CDT, with cars from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and Principia College in Elsah, Ill., coming in second and third. There were 18 teams in all."

Read the rest here.

Ypsilanti library embraces cafe culture

Believe it or not, Starbucks moved into Portland, Oregon's main library branch more than ten years ago. Now, Ypsi's Whittaker Branch library will have a coffee shop - the first in Washtenaw County.

Excerpt:

"Downtown Ypsilanti’s B-24’s Expresso Bar has partnered with the Ypsilanti District Library and opened a new location inside the Whittaker branch library.

Visitors can even walk throughout the library with beverage in-hand, provided it has a lid and cannot be taken to any of the computer terminals."

Read the rest here.

Richard Florida calls Ann Arbor a top creative city

The celebrated author of "Rise Of The Creative Class," cites Ann Arbor as a center for creativity.

Watch the video below.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Ann Arbor has world class pizza

Actually, it looks like the Deuce has both ends of the pizza spectrum covered. On one end, you've got your Dominos. On the other, Mani Osteria, which Food And Wine magazine listed as a "Best New PIzza PLace."

Excerpt:

"Adam Baru worked under restaurateur Danny Meyer before returning to his hometown to open his first restaurant. Wood-fired ovens turn out pies like the Farmers’ Market, loaded with local vegetables. "

Check out other pizza must-visits here.

Mark's Carts gets noticed

Food Truck are not only the hot new dining destination in cities around the country, they're also an entrepreneurial opportunity. It'd be so nice if cities in our region recognized that and created an easier path toward their creation. Until then, at least we have Mark's Carts.

Excerpt:

"A garden-lined courtyard houses a collection of eight carts. The hours vary, but lunch- and dinnertime are safe bets. You'll find gourmet grilled cheese, wood-fired pizza, Indian food, Tex-Mex, vegan options and paella. Try San Street's steamed pork buns."

Read the rest of the MidWest here.

U-M takes lead in $152M NASA satellite project

It appears that some folks at U-M are REALLY into the Weather Channel. It looks like the U will be taking the lead in a $152 NASA satellite project that will help better predict hurricanes and extreme weather.

Excerpt:

"The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) will make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes. It's a constellation of small satellites that will be carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle."

Read the rest here.

Can density decrease traffic congestion?

Propose a building over three stories and what's the typical response? "Oh, the traffic!" Plantizen blogger Todd Litman points to an Arizona study that shows greater density can actually reduce traffic congestion.

Excerpt:

"There is plenty of evidence that land use factors such as density, mix and road connectivity affect the amount people travel. However, the study made an important additional discovery. It found that roadways in more compact, mixed, multi-modal communities tend to be less congested. This results from the lower vehicle trip generation, particularly for local errands, more walking and public transit travel, and because the more connected street networks offer more route options so traffic is less concentrated on a few urban arterials. This contradicts our earlier assumptions."

Read the rest of the story here.

TechCrunch takes note of U-M's entrepreneurship classes

Don't let your fortunes be dictated by campus recruiters. The number of university courses on entrepreneurship now numbers 5,000, up from 250 a generation ago, according to TechCrunch. Count the University of Michigan's courses among the nation's standouts.

Excerpt:
"At the University of Michigan, there are three types of classes: 1) engagement classes where students are made aware of the importance of entrepreneurship 2) skill-building classes 3) practicum classes in which companies and projects are launched."

Read the full story here.

18 Wolverines are Olympic-bound

It's "Go Gold!" for 18 current and former Wolverines at this summer's Olympic Games.

Excerpt:
"Peter Vanderkaay: Swimmer, USA men’s 400m freestyle. Vanderkaay was a four-time varsity letterwinner and a five-time NCAA Champion during his career at Michigan from 2003-06. He competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics, swimming the 4x200m freestyle relay team that won gold. Overall, Vanderkaay has won two Olympic gold medals and one bronze in addition to multiple World Championships."

Read about them here.

Ann Arbor Skatepark gets a designer

Things are finally starting to shape for Ann Arbor's ambitious skatepark project.

Excerpt:

"At its June 19, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission recommended approval of a contract with Wally Hollyday Skateparks for the Ann Arbor Skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park. The $89,560 contract would cover design and construction oversight of the project. It will now be forwarded to the city council for review, likely at the council’s July 16 meeting."

Read the rest here.


Toledo discovers Ann Arbor's epicurean offerings

Sometimes we take fopr granted what Ann Arbor has to offer. Take fiddlehead ferns and cobia, for example. Apparently Toledo doesn't have easy access to the exotic foodstuffs that make foodies salivate. Luckily, A2 is merely an hour away. Okay, Toledo, let's trade: some nifty spices for your zoo.

Excerpt:

"The vibrant and cosmopolitan college town has long been known for its wide assortment of restaurants and bars, from rowdy campus hangouts to sophisticated fine dining, with a host of ethnic restaurants in between. But in recent years, it has also gained a reputation for its diverse selection of well-stocked food and specialty stores."

Read the rest here.

Olympic hopefuls train in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor adds Olypmic class running to its reputation as an incubator for topnotch athletes (see: swimming).

Excerpt:

Just down the hall, a few training partners are in various stages of rest and recovery near the storefront window of The Running Institute in Ann Arbor. Among them is Will Leer, who in just over a week -- on Day 10 of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials that starts today in Eugene, Ore. -- hopes to be on the starting line in the 1,500 final with a chance to join New Zealander Willis at the London Games this summer.

Read the rest here.


When the 1 percent become NIMBYs

From affordable housing to density to bike lanes to public transit, Salon's Will Doig offers an interesting view on how privilege often leads to NIMBYism and roadblocks community progress and sound public policy.

Excerpt:

"From bike lanes in Brooklyn to desperately needed housing in D.C., public micromanagement has become such a problem that several cities are now trying to rein in the Not-In-My-Backyard crowd. “The current process does not work for anyone,” one urban design expert told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want the Planning Commission to focus on big planning issues, not micro-design issues.”

How tiny bands of refuseniks and wealthy obstructionists absorbed so much power provides instructive lessons for how they might be stopped."

Read the rest of the story here.

ArborMoon Software has plan to keep talent in Michigan

According to AnnArbor.com our state has nearly 80,000 job openings and not enough qualified workers to fill them. Political leaders often looks to big companies to solve the problem of attracting and retaining talent. But sometimes it's the smaller companies --like Arbormoon-- that have the right idea.

Excerpt:

"The company is part of a team that launched Develop Detroit this month — a 12-week program that trains 20 to 30 people on iOS and iPhone development in downtown Detroit. Companies like Compuware and Quicken Loans are promoting the program with the goal of hiring some of the trainees.

Arbormoon also hosts CocoaHeads Ann Arbor — a monthly meeting and technical talk for iPhone, iOS and Mac developers — and Bourne co-founded Mobile Monday Ann Arbor — a monthly meeting that highlights mobile strategy and marketing. It also plans on launching an Android development group that will be hosted in the Arbormoon office.

The goal of the programs: Get workers in Michigan better adapted to current job openings, and develop a strong mobile community in southeast Michigan."

Read the rest of the story here.

Toronto travel blogger sings Ann Arbor's praises

A girl. Her suitcase. A visit to Ann Arbor in early summer. Nice to know we made this travel blogger swoon.

Excerpt:

"I was fortunate enough to see a theatre production that moved throughout the park. While it was a bit tedious to move my chair every 20 minutes, it was unlike any outdoor production I'd seen and there was no better backdrop than the natural landscape of this beautiful park.

As I do in all cities I visit, I had to see what the local museum had to offer.

If you enjoy world-class art of all genres, make sure you check out one of Ann Arbor's biggest cultural landmarks - the University of Michigan Museum of Art, or UMMA.

This impressive museum boasts permanent collections comprising more than 18,000 works of art and hosts exhibitions from all over the world. I easily spent an afternoon there and was impressed by the variety of their collections and grandeur of the building's architecture."

Read the rest here.

Is regional transit finally coming to Washtenaw Cty?

Time to step outside the Ann Arbor bubble and see how our struggles to establish reional transit are being ocvered elsewhere.

Excerpt:

"The plan proposes many improvements throughout Washtenaw County including more service to Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and other areas outside the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor cities; more routes, and more frequent runs of buses; new express buses; more affordable fare alternatives for lower income workers; different fares in peak and off peak hours; fares to allow up to two adults and four children to ride for just twice the fare for one adult; more bus shelters; and improvements to existing bus shelters."

Read the rest here.

Civil War era facade gets Civil War art in Ypsilanti

Ypsi high school students take a burned out 150 year-old building in Depot Town and use it as an outdoor gallery for Civil War-inspired art.

Excerpt:

"A public art display created by Ypsilanti High School students was installed Friday morning on the west side of the nearly 150-year-old Thompson Block building in Depot Town.

Mary Delcamp, president of the Historic Eastside Neighborhood Association, and her husband John Delcamp, member of the Civil War Reenacting Company E, 17TH Michigan Infantry, came up with the idea.

The building served as Union Army barracks during the Civil War. During the war, the basement was used to prepare food, the ground floor was a wagon repair shop and soldiers lived on the second floor and part of the third floor."

Read the rest of the story here.


Ann Arbor-made Hand-e-holder featured on Fox And Friends

The controversial cable network tooks some time off from playing politics to spotlight a local company and its very cool iPad accessory.

Watch the segment below.  Read about it here.



Ann Arbor's downtown to feature dancing in the street

Shakespeare once said that "all the world's a stage." Ann Arbor Dance Works sees this as both a mission and a challenge.

Excerpt:

"Performances, set for Thursday-Saturday, begin at 7 p.m. in the WSG Gallery at 306 S Main St. WSG is but the first of several sites on this four-block terpsichorean tour.

From WSG, located in the elegant historic Pratt Building—once a corset factory, and later a hardware store and a department store before becoming a gallery space—the dancers and their audience move on to the “Kline’s” alley; to Downtown Home & Garden; to the corner of First and Liberty streets for an dance on the sidewalks near the railroad tracks; and finally to the parking lot behind 415 W. Washington Street (opposite the Ann Arbor Y), an area envisioned as anchor park for the proposed Allen Creek Greenway."

Read the rest here and here.



Three Ann Arbor workplaces ranked among best in country

Okay, on a score from 1 to 4000 where do you think U-M's Health System, Proquest, and Domino's Pizza fall when it comes to best places to work? If you said the top 10 percent you would be close. Actually, they're in the top 8 percent.

Excerpt:

"Detroit Free Press has recognized 132 Companies and Organizations in Michigan as Top Workplaces 2011. These companies have been recognized as Top Workplaces based solely on surveys about the workplace completed by their employees."

Check out the map of Michigan companies here.

U-M tests vehicle-to-vehicle tech to prevent car crashes

The University of Michigan plans to outfit 3,000 drivers with V2V devices to study new technology's reliability in preventing car accidents. Too cool.

Excerpt:

"The University of Michigan is conducting a pilot program to test a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications device that could help drivers avoid accidents, reported AnnArbor.com. This technology could prevent up to 81 percent of all vehicle crashes, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT). The school's Transportation and Research Institute is seeking 3,000 drivers in the Ann Arbor, Mich., area, and will equip their vehicles with wireless equipment that will alert the drivers to vehicles moving erratically. Intersections will also be outfitted with communication devices, and eventually the system could facilitate "dynamic real-time timing of traffic signals," according to the article."

Read the rest here.

A billion dollars of building at U-M

Dorms, labs, sports facilities, and performance space. There's much ado about U-M's expansions, retrofits, and renovations. It also demonstrates an institution that is vibrant with plans for its future.

Excerpt:

"The building boom at the University of Michigan shows no sign of abating, with the tab for current and upcoming construction at the Ann Arbor campus edging past $1 billion.

The school is undertaking $460 million in current construction projects — including the $163 million retrofitting of the old C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital facility and the $116 million renovation of the 800-plus-bed East Quadrangle dormitory. It has another half-billion worth on the horizon.

U-M is in the early stages of planning a $250 million investment in non-revenue sports facilities, $150 million in large dormitory renovations over a two-year period and $140 million in classroom and lab building upgrades. The university is also contemplating building a $180 million to $250 million pathology building, or a portion of that building."

Read the rest of the story here.

Chicago Tribune gets schooled at Zingerman's bakehouse

Zingerman's isn't only a destination for deli fanatics and Epicurean locavores, it's attracting tourists who want to learn how to bake, among other things, the perfect strudel.

Excerpt:

"For the intimidated masses, a stop at the popular Zingerman's deli in downtown Ann Arbor sates the need for a luscious loaf of bread or a palate-pleasing pie. But about four miles to the south, at Zingerman's so-called Bakehouse, the experts are more than happy to share their secrets. Each summer people from around the country travel to southeast Michigan to spend their time off on a "Bake-cation.""

Read the rest here.

Check out Pure Michigan's video about building a business in Ann Arbor

We think the grammar in this Pure Michigan - Ann Arbor ad might be a bit better than the last. Rich Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovation, acts as your host and narrator (Along with Paul Krutko, Jan Garfinkle, Michael Miller, Sean Heiney, Patrick Doyle, Mark Sutter)

Watch and decide for yourself.


Ann Arbor among three brainiest cities in U.S.

Cambridge, Berkeley, and Ann Arbor walk into a bar and... nothing funny happens 'cuz each city is too smart to be the punch line in a stupid joke.

Excerpt:

"Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Berkeley, Calif., hold the top three places in On Numbers' analysis of educational attainment in 269 communities with more than 100,000 residents:

Seventy-two percent of all adults (25 or older) hold bachelor's degrees in Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan    , and 43 percent also have advanced degrees. Both figures are the best in their respective categories among all major cities."

Pump up your civic ego (or pride) by reading the rest of the story here.

Amazon says Ann Arbor is 4th best-read city in U.S.

Okay, if the last news item didn't swell your head (an egghead, no less) then how about this: Amazon ranks us the 4th best-read city in U.S.. That or we just order a lot of books.

Excerpt:

"Romance novels are especially popular in Alexandria, according to the online retailer, which released the list Tuesday. Alexandria was immediately followed by several college towns: Cambridge, Mass.; Berkeley, Calif.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Boulder, Colo. Municipalities on the list all have populations of more than 100,000."

Read the rest here.

Ypsilanti High School Court is in session

With apologies to Law And Order... In the Ypsilanti high school justice system, the students are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the plaintiff, who mounts a case for their issue; and the student jury, which hands down the verdict. This is their story.

Excerpt:

"Students at two Ypsilanti high schools now have the opportunity to decide each other’s fate when violating school policy.
Cooley Law School and Dean Joan Vestrand have partnered with the Ypsilanti Public Schools to create the Ypsilanti High School Student Court."

Read the rest here.

Maker Works opens with 150 members

File this under cool reasons to live in Ann Arbor. Maker Works, an amateur inventor's dream of all things wood, metal, and circuit-based just opened its 150K sq ft space.

Excerpt:

"What surprised the owners of Maker Works is that they thought that most of the 150 members would be individuals. Instead, it's mostly small business that have bought memberships so far.

"We helped the landlord rent space in other buildings around us to some of the small businesses who are our members and want to be nearby," said Root."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor joins the rapid river movement

First we dam the rivers, changing their flow and character. Now we manufacture white-water features to create a more "natural" recreation experience. Ah, human intervention, is there anything you won't try? Ann Arbor joins a hand full of Michigan cities, which are engineering their rivers to appeal to more outdoor sports types.

Excerpt:

"Cities such as Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City and Eaton Rapids are considering engineering steps that will alter local rivers to increase drops, create obstacles and pools and manufacture eddies for safety — upgrades designed to provide paddlers with a white-water experience.

It's a technique that has been successful in communities such as Petoskey and Williamston and, to a greater degree, in nearby South Bend, Ind.

Read the rest here.



Ann Arbor among top 10 places for new college grads

We've got to work on the the eighth variable a bit (public transportation) and the fifth probably isn't quite what the author thinks (rental share of housing) but the others features seem a bullseye on what makes our community stand out.

Excerpt:

To capture places that are open to smart 20-somethings, where you can not only build friendships and look for mates but create the personal and professional networks that are so crucial to both career and happiness, we added the share of adults who are college graduates along with the percentage of the population that has never been married. The eight variables we based our rankings on are:

    +Unemployment rate, via the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
    +Share of jobs in professional, technical, and creative occupations (BLS)
    +Percent of adults with a BA and above, via the American Community Survey  (ACS)
    +Average salaries and wages for professional, technical, and creative occupations (BLS)
    +Rental share of housing (ACS)
    +Money left over after paying for housing (ACS)
    +Share of adults that have never been married (ACS)
    +Share of commuters who use public transit (ACS)

Read the rest of the story here.

Work at EMU? Get up to $10K to live in Ypsi

Much like a Wayne State program that's found success in Detroit, EMU is trying to persuade some of its full time employees to buy a home in Ypsilanti by offer sweet loan deals.

Excerpt:

"The Live Ypsi program, which is currently being finalized and will likely be announced later this month, will use EMU, Washtenaw County government and DTE Foundation resources to offer forgivable loans to full-time faculty and staff who purchase a home in the Ypsilanti area.

Officials say loans will likely range from $5,000 to $10,000 per individual. For each year that the homeowner lives in the Ypsilanti area and maintains employment at EMU, 20 percent of the loan will be forgiven. After five years, the loan will be completely forgiven."

Read the rest of the story here.





Ann Arbor's Mobiata wins Best Travel App at the Webby Awards

Chalk up another impressive milestone for red-hot phone app company Mobiata. This time the Ann Arbor tech firm took home a Webby.

Excerpt:

"Mobiata, developer of some of the most popular travel apps on the market, announced today that its popular app FlightBoard was named the best travel app of the year in the 2012 Webby Awards competition. FlightBoard, which launched in June 2010, is available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Cited as a must-have app for the frequent traveler, it was designed after the Arrivals and Departures Board at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and turns a user's screen into an arrival and departures board for any airport in the world."

Read more here.

How to build a better rush hour

Writer Nate Berg has a fascinating article in The Atlantic Cities about Stanford University's attempt to combat traffic jams for its commuting employees. As U-M grows its job ranks and Ann Arbor's population stagnates, this might be something to help combat our mounting traffic issues. The increasing sprawl will probably remain, however.

Excerpt:

"In an effort to cut down on the morning zoo, researchers at Stanford University have launched a study and program aimed at shifting traffic patterns by encouraging drivers to slightly alter when they arrive at campus. To entice people to change their arrival times, the researchers have turned the morning commute into something of a game. Dubbed Capri, or Congestion and Parking Relief Incentives, the program awards points to enrolled drivers who arrive either before or after the 9 a.m.-to-10 a.m. and 4 p.m.-to-5 p.m. rush hours. Participants' arrival times are tracked through RFID tags and drivers are entered in a raffle that awards random cash prizes. The jackpot? A high of $50 and a low of $2. Not much, sure, but the researchers have found that even meager rewards – and the even more meager chance of actually winning those rewards – can have a significant effect on people's behaviors."

Read the rest of the story here.

Michigan Universities excel at developing world-class talent

In a benchmark study, the Mitten's universities prove to be world class breeding grounds for new talent, on par or out-competing with tops schools around the nation. Now let's get to work on keeping them here.

Excerpt:

The annual report commissioned by the URC, shows the URC's member institutions – Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University -- remain competitive as research hubs and as economic engines when compared with university consortia across the U.S., said Jeff Mason, executive director for the URC.
...
The report compares the performance of the best-known groups of universities in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania against the URC. Each cluster includes three universities from the same geo graphical area that were selected based upon academic quality, research intensity and size of the institution.

Read the rest of the study here.

Ann Arbor is a finalist for national Green Cities award

If you're an avid reader of Waste & Recycling News (all 12 of you) you might have noticed that The Deuce made it into the Top 3 mid-sized Green Cities for its residential recycling program. Cool beans. Now, if we could only show as much dedication to commercial recycling, which accounts for 50+% of waste.

Excerpt:

Nearly 100 municipalities across North America — a record — entered the contest, according to a press release from the city. Ann Arbor is among Anaheim, Calif., and Bellevue, Wash., as one of three medium-sized city finalists.

The Green City Award recognizes communities that have shown exceptional leadership in successfully communicating and promoting their residential recycling programs.

Read the rest here.
Read Waste & Recycling News here.

Hyundai to spend $15M on test facility expansion in Superior Township

Hyundai is quickly becoming the car company to watch. With an expanding global presence and new respect for its products the Korean automaker is stepping up its game, and that includes a bigger local testing center and 50 new jobs.

Excerpt:

"Hyundai plans to spend $15 million on the facility and other upgrades. Plans for the expansion were announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The facility will be built at the South Korean automaker's
Hyundai America Technical Center in Washtenaw County's Superior Township, near Ann Arbor.

To secure the deal, the state agreed to spend $2.5 million to build a power substation to improve service to the testing facility. The funding involves Superior Township and is similar to a loan."

Read the rest here.
Read more at AnnArbor.com

How green is your Ann Arbor home?

Green building gets some high profile attention from the Freep as a local insulation demonstration draws crowds and Matt Grocoff's greener-than-thou homestead produces excess electricity. Both stories are guaranteed to make you feel sustainably inadequate.

Excerpt:

"Imagine a home so green and energy-efficient that it produces enough electricity that you can skip paying a utility bill.

In fact, the power company pays you for the excess electricity that your house generates. Matthew Grocoff imagined it and made it happen at his 111-year-old west-side Ann Arbor home."


Read all about the wonder of insulation in the Behind The Drywall article here (with photo essay).

Read all about the Grocoff home here (with photo essay).

Ann Arbor's Main Street considered one of best in the nation

Another day another "best of" list for Ann Arbor. Although, you've got to admit, Main Street is pretty great.

Excerpt:

"You’ll find these great Main Streets across the U.S., from mining towns like Silver City, NM, to stately, red-brick Staunton, VA. Yet our list does skew east of the Mississippi, favoring towns that were established before the age of the automobile—and so display the DNA of a pedestrian and bike-friendly environment.

Not that a walkable layout can guarantee a thriving Main Street. Take York, PA, where the 1978 shuttering of the last of four downtown department stores triggered a period of decay. The turnaround was slow going, as landowners aided by various programs renovated nearly every Victorian and Classical Revival façade. Now, on the first Friday of each month, local businesses stay open late, with special events and discounts."

Check out the rest of the story here.

U-M's solar car doc on Detroit Public TV

Set your DVRs for Sunday at 4:30 pm to watch the 30-minute documentary "Racing With The Sun," an up close look at U-M's team attempt to win the 2011 World Solar Challenge across the Australian Outback.

Watch a promo trailer below


If you build bike lanes, they will ride

Do it right and they will come. But be patient. Change doesn't happen overnight. Bike lanes can be a city's Field Of Dreams moment.

Excerpt:

"Indeed, depending on how you judge what makes a city best for cycling, it’s often the colder ones that win out: Frozen Minneapolis is one of the best biking cities, thanks to well-built infrastructure and a bike share system.  Rainy Portland continues to have the largest percentage of its population commuting by bike, a fact that should continue to shame city managers whose polities stay pleasant all year round.

Still, Portland’s 4.2 percent of commuters biking is nothing compared to Copenhagen’s 37 percent. Reaching that level of bicycle penetration in American cities would have numerous positive effects for society, and judging by this study, demands increased investment in the bike lanes that will bring cyclists out in droves."

Read the rest of the story here.

Navigating the intersection between faith and medicine

Deciding how and when to talk about an individual's spirituality can be a challenge when it comes to medical treatment. However, a U-M medical student's experience helps illustrate why it can be an important connection.

Excerpt:

"When Hasan Siddiqi saw a patient wearing a head scarf, the fourth year medical student at University of Michigan—Ann Arbor wished her "Assalamu alaikum." After returning the Arabic greeting, the patient—who, it turned out, attended the same mosque as Siddiqi—asked him about everything from the availability of halal food at the hospital to the proper times and direction to pray. "

Read the rest here.

U-M researchers seek to make buildings smarter, more energy efficient

Buildings are cited as accounting for 72% of electrical consumption in the U.S.. Seems like a pretty good place to start looking for conservation strategies.

Excerpt:

"A team of computer, environmental and computer scientists; architects; and natural resources specialists starts work this fall at the Ann Arbor school.

Their 2-year project seeks ways to sharply cut the carbon footprint of the power demands that buildings place on the electrical grid."

Read the rest here.

Americans are driving less, want more walkability

We linked to a story last week that showed how young Americans are driving less and less. Well, looks like everyone is driving less these days.

Will that spur more resources for public transportation? One can only hope...

Excerpt:

"Clearly, Americans are demanding walkable, compact communities that offer a variety of transportation options, and reports from the tri-state region bear this out. According to a recent poll, two thirds of New Jerseyans believe that their state needs more walkable, sustainable communities; nearly three in four New Jerseyans said that they would definitely or probably like to live in such a community. "

Read the rest here.

U-M praised on Colbert Report

Are universities adequately challenging their undergraduates? Richard Hersh gives a shout out to U-M (along with M.I.T and University Of Virginia) as a school that gives its undergrads a well-rounded education.

Watch the interview in the video below:


U-M says young Americans are driving less

The Internet. Moving to places with more walkability and public transit options. The high cost of buying and maintaining an auto. Uh, "Why are young people driving less, Alex?" Ding ding ding. Nice to know there's academic research to support what Concentrate has been writing about for four years now. Even nicer to know it came from U-M.

Excerpt:

"From 1983 to 2008, the share of 16- to 39-year-olds with driver's licenses declined markedly, with the greatest decreases among drivers in their late teens and early 20s, according to a study at the University of Michigan

Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor. About 69 percent of 17-year-olds had a driver's license in 1983. By 2008, that had dropped to 50 percent. Among Americans ages 20 to 24 in 1983, nearly 92 percent had driver's licenses. Twenty-five years later, it was 82 percent.

The older the age group, the less dramatic the declines, the Michigan study found. But even among 35- to 39-year-olds, there was a 3.2 percent decline in the share of licensed drivers."

Read the rest here.

Ann Arbor librarians interviewed by Publisher's Weekly

Never doubt their clout. AADL's director Josie Parker and the library's associate director for IT & Production have a virtual tete-a-tete about the future of books, digital media, readership and libraries.

Excerpt:

As a consumer, given the mix of affordances and restrictions that e-bookspresent, do you see a place in the market for both e-book rentals and purchases?
 
JP: No, rental is not a practical model for our library system and our users. Library budgets work when they can plan spending annually, and the per-use cost to the library drops with use. Libraries don’t work as a subsidized pass-through.
 
EN: It seems that the library market is about the only place that publishers feel they have some power to set terms right now, so we’re bearing the brunt of boardroom anxiety. But we know in libraries that our superusers are also publishing’s best customers, and that borrowing does not supplant buying, no matter the relative friction. It’s up to libraries to make deals that make sense for their communities and move the relationships with rightsholders forward, towards greater value and sustainability, not to chase the shiny thing and assume it leads to the future.

Read the rest here.



U-M number one for research spending in U.S.

For two years running the University Of Michigan has ranked tops in the nation for R&D among public institutions, earmarking $1.19 billion for 2011.

Excerpt:

"U-M atop the R&D expenditures list for public universities and behind only Johns Hopkins University on the list of all U.S. universities and colleges. The latest NSF rankings cover fiscal year 2010.

R&D spending at U-M increased 18.3 percent between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, up from 14.9 percent growth the previous fiscal year. For comparison, Johns Hopkins’ research spending grew 8 percent between 2009 and 2010, while the third-ranked university, University of Wisconsin-Madison, grew 8.6 percent."

Read the rest here.

NPR covers Ann Arbor Film Fest

When you hit your golden celebration you get noticed. Last week's 50th Ann Arbor Film Fest gets some love... along with the experimental films they feature.

Excerpt:

"Leighton Pierce, a filmmaker and installation artist, calls the Ann Arbor Film Festival his favorite, in part because the films are screened in the Michigan Theater, a "gorgeous" space with nice seats and an organ player.

"Normally experimental film is shown in dark, basement-like places," explains Pierce.

He first entered the festival in 1981 with his 16mm film "He Likes to Chop Down Trees."

Read / Listen to the rest here.
Also, check out the videos/story in Huffington Post