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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.


"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?


"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.


"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.


"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.


"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!


"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.


"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.


"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.  


"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.


"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.
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