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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"Unpublished" is the journey of discovering Ann Arbor and everything it has to offer.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 "Unpublished" is spreading Michigan roots in food, fashion, art, music, coffee and local business territories.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!


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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. 


"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.


"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!


"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.


"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.


"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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


"... 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.
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