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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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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?
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?
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.
"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. 
"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?
"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.
"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. 
“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.
"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.
"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.
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