Monthly Archives: September 2012

ArborWiki is moving to a Localwiki platform; what to expect

Arborwiki is a local encyclopedia about the Ann Arbor area that anyone can edit. Up til now, it's been running on the same Mediawiki software that powers Wikipedia, but we're in the process of moving it to a new Localwiki instance.

Localwiki is wiki software designed especially for using in city wikis. It's based off of ideas learned from DavisWiki, a very successful wiki based in Davis, California. The Localwiki software is especially good at handling maps, and so it should be that much easier to map out the streets and roads of Ann Arbor and surrounding Washtenaw County.

There's now also a new Facebook group to discuss Arborwiki, which has been handy for sorting through restart visuals. I'll make sure to invite everyone who has touched the project so far to it.

In response to some questions:

The migration process has been relatively smooth so far, with about 10,000 pages moved in without much in the way of hand-editing things to patch them up. There's an importer for Mediawiki pages into Localwiki that handles a lot of the heavy lifting. We had to redesign the home page to take advantage of the new include file syntax, and there are some Mediawiki templates that I used for automatically generating links to news clippings that I'll have to reimagine. Localwiki founder Philip Neustrom has been a big help, and we're running on a Ubuntu instance that Ryan Eby at the Ann Arbor District Library spun up for us.

Not a lot of the Arborwiki pages had maps on them, so Philip wrote a little bit of custom code to make that happen more frequently by automatically recognizing some pages with addresses on them. 


Ann Arbor Daily Telegraph for 18 September 2012: Groceries, libraries, and sidewalks

This is the Ann Arbor Daily Telegraph for Tuesday, 18 September 2012. 


Patel Brothers is "coming soon" to 3426 Washtenaw Avenue (at Pittsfield), the former home of Once Upon A Child. "Patel Brothers is the largest Indian Grocery chain in America, with over 35 stores nationwide and still growing." The store is about 3400 square feet in total. [Loopnet] [Twitter: @pbrosfan] Yelp readers are very happy (4.5 stars) about their store in their home town of Chicago. [Yelp]


In Lincoln, Nebraska, the library system is looking at spending $43 million on a new main downtown library. "The study envisions a “21st century main library” with a café, 250-seat auditorium with green rooms, a black box theater, kitchen, Internet stations and larger adult, children and teen areas. There is no projected increase to the staff of 60." [Nebraska Watchdog] The current library is more than 50 years old and needs "costly updates". [Lincoln Journal-Star]

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, the library system has a ballot proposal that would fund a $65 million project to build a new downtown library. The library system FAQ envisions a "21st century library building" with a cafe, 400-seat auditorium, a grand reading room, expanded Internet production stations and a destination youth programming area. [AADL] The current library is more than 50 years old and is "deficient by today's standards" [Providence Report]

Your editor is strongly in favor of a new downtown library. [ed.]


The Internet Archive has a new archival collection of television broadcasts, including three years of news footage. [] The collection is searchable through captions. Among the footage collected is a Good Morning America segment on the March 15, 2012 Dexter tornado. [KGO]


Chicago teachers start their seventh day of a teachers strike Tuesday, as the city goes to court to try to end the strike on the grounds that it is illegal. [Chicago Tribune] AP reports that teachers are concerned that the teacher evaluation methods used based on student standardized tests could put 6,000 teachers out of work in the next two years. [NPR] About 350,000 students are out of school.


In 1888, an Ann Arbor City Council meeting was dominated by petitions from citizens for the city to put in sidewalks. In one case, a resident asked that a neighbor's dilapidated barn be torn down to make way for a sidewalk. [Ann Arbor Argus / Old News]

On Monday night, the Ann Arbor City Council meeting had an extended discussion of filling in the gaps in the city's sidewalk network. Council members noted several locations in their wards where students did not have a safe way to walk to school on sidewalks or a safe place to cross busy streets; others on council noted that the existing non-motorized transportation plan already addressed this and other issues. When it came to a vote, the proposal to study sidewalk gaps was turned down 6-5. [Ann Arbor Chronicle]

A small sidewalk gap on Summit Street was the subject of my 2009 FOIA request, which resulted in the missing sections of sidewalk being fixed by the city. [a2docs] [FOIA Coordinator]

Freedom of Information

A bill in the Michigan House would limit reform the state FOIA law by limiting the costs of photocopies and asserting a right to appeal the cost of a FOIA request. The bill is from Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake. [HB 5879] [Lansing State Journal] [via Roger Rayle]


Detroit Tigers lose to the Chicago White Sox, 5-4, in Chicago. [MLB] Detroit is now 3 games out of the lead, with 16 games to play; Chicago's magic number is 14.

Ann Arbor Daily Telegraph for September 17, 2012

I've made an effort to cull stories from other college towns around the country and to feature former Ann Arborites who have left town to make their mark on the world. Without further ado…. 

Beirut, Lebanon: Former Ann Arborite Bilal Ghalib is now in Beirut raising money for an international network of hacker spaces. His Kickstarter campaign would bring this campaign to Baghdad, Iraq. [Kickstarter] [GEMSI] Bilal has been affiliated with Ann Arbor's AHA All Hands Active makerspace, which hosts weekly build nights and after-school programs. [AHA]

Rawsonville: Raspberry season is abruptly over at Rowe's Produce Farm, as an infestation of Spotted Wing Drosophila has been found on the berries. [Rowe's Produce Farm mailer] Drosophila suzukii, an Asian import, is a serious economic threat to cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, grapes, and other soft, summer fruits. [MSU Integrated Pest Management]  [Wikipedia]

Ann Arbor: Construction is underway at the corner of Ellsworth and Platt on the city's southeast side. A new 8,000 square foot strip shopping center on the northwest corner of that intersection is being developed by the owner of the parcel across the street to the east. The project has been in the planning stages since 2007. [Ann Arbor City Council, April 2010]

Brief news from college towns across the nation: 

Austin, Texas: University of Texas officials sent emergency notices Friday morning to evacuate all buildings on campus based on a bomb threat. [U Texas Emergency] [KUT live blog] No bombs were found. Similar threats emptied North Dakota State University and Ohio's Hiram College. [AP/Google News]

Austin, Texas: Rain is helping refill dry central Texas reserviors, which are down as much as 30 feet from normal levels. Parts of the Austin area have received more than 5 inches of rain recently. [KVUE]

Boulder, Colorado: A new Trader Joe's is being built in Boulder, but it won't carry Two Buck Chuck or any other wines. The chain will use its one Colorado liquor license in Denver. "Bernadette Swanson said when she lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., she would to go Trader Joe's about once every two weeks — often to buy wine," reported the Colorado Daily. [Colorado Daily]

Davis, California: The University of California will pay a settlement to 21 students and alumni who filed suit over a notorious November 2011 pepper spray incident. [LA Times] The chief of police at UC Davis had earlier resigned as in the aftermath of the case.  [DavisWiki] [Photos: Davis Enterprise]

Cambridge, Massachusetts: Several Harvard athletes are expected to sit out a year of competition in the aftermath of a cheating scandal. [Boston Herald] Teaching assistants had noticed that students were using the "same long, identical strings of words" in their answers to a take-home exam. [WBUR]

Eugene, Oregon: "Moderate" air quality levels are in effect as smoke from the nearby 5,000+ acre Pole Creek Fire wafts towards town. [Register-Guard] The fire is burning bug-killed timber. [Inciweb] Mountain pine beetles have left entire western forests dead and susceptible to wildfires. [Photo: Michael McCullough] [Video: OPB]

Madison, Wisconsin: State capitol police are cracking down on musicians playing at the farmers market in the city, requiring them to get a permit for each performance. The old-timey band "Moldy Jam" is affected by the change in rules. [Isthmus] [Moldy Jam]

Atlanta, Georgia: The State of Georgia is closing public access to its state archives this year as a result of budget cuts. [Public Broadcasting Atlanta] [Georgia Secretary of State statement] Over 5,000 people have signed an online petition protesting the cuts. [Facebook] []

Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Bus advertisements in Chapel Hill opposing military aid to Israel have sparked a controversy. The national campaign is sponsored locally by a Presbyterian church. [Chapel Hill News] [Two Peoples One Future] An anti-Israel advertisement which was rejected by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority prompted a 2011 lawsuit. [Ann Arbor Chronicle]


A giant #GOBLUE was seen in skywriting over Ann Arbor on Friday evening. [Ann Arbor Chronicle]

University of Michigan: Athletic Director David Brandon unveiled a $250 million, 10 year plan to upgrade the South (Athletic) Campus. Among the changes would be the conversion of 112 year old Ferry Field to a parking lot and a new pedestrian "Walk of Champions" path across the Ann Arbor Railroad. [] [Michigan Daily]

Michigan is a heavy favorite against Massachusetts, but then again, they were also expected to clobber Appalachian State. [MLive] Michigan won 63-13.

Ann Arbor daily telegraph for September 14, 2012: Belle Isle, Busch’s recall, Guatemala eruption, Detroit Free Press exodus

Please note that the name of this newsletter has changed from the "Daily Telegram" to the "Daily Telegraph", to avoid confusion with the Adrian, Michigan "Daily Telegram" newspaper.

Apples, cheese, sticks, lava, speeding bicycles, noise-making devices and old VHS tapes with big 1970s hair all feature prominently in the Friday edition of the Ann Arbor Daily Telegraph. To subscribe via email, fill out the form at or send a note to . This is an experimental production; please forward to your friends.

Middle East: Anti-American protests have spread across the region to Sudan [Reuters], Yemen [Voice of America], and continue for a fourth day in in Egypt [NY Times].

Guatemala: Tens of thousands of citizens are evacuated from villages after the Fuego volcano erupts. [Guatemalan goverment (in Spanish)] [BBC] [Wikipedia] The government is issuing volcano updates via Twitter. [@ConredGuatemala] The volcano has erupted frequently, with historical records of ashfall and lava flows noted since 1524. [Smithsonian] Video: [Daily Motion]

Detroit / Lansing: Under a proposed 30 year lease, Belle Isle in Detroit would come under the authority of the State of Michigan parks system which would upgrade long-neglected park facilities. [Bloomberg/SFGate] The proposal would institute a $10 annual fee for park use, the same fee now used to grant access to all state parks. [Detroit Free Press] Some Detroit city council members have expressed opposition to the parks deal, leading a chant of "It’s the people’s park! Whose city? Our city! Keep the Vote No Takeover!" at an August 1 rally. [Voice of Detroit]

New York: Attorney Richard Bernstein of Birmingham, Michigan is suing New York City after being hit by a bicycle and badly injured in Central Park. The lawsuit alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act because the park cannot be reached without crossing a road on which speed limits for bicycles are not enforced. [Oakland Press] The crash came a week after a New York Daily News story on the dangers of speeding bicyclists. [New York Daily News]

Detroit: The latest Detroit Free Press buyout will thin the ranks of the newsroom with the early retirement of 22 staffers from the Gannett paper. [Deadline Detroit] The buyouts had been announced in July. [Poynter] [Gannett Blog]

Westland, Michigan: A new policy places a $5 minimum fee for Freedom of Information Act requests, even if no documents are found in a search. [Observer and Eccentric] [FOIA Coordinator]

Michigan Apples: Area apple orchards, hard hit by springtime frosts, are planning to still open up this fall, relying on entertainment like corn mazes to make up for a short crop. [Detroit Free Press, with map] The Dexter Cider Mill is open and is bringing in apples from other parts of Michigan. [] The apple harvest is going very slowly for growers, with some varieties ripening out of their normal order. [MSU Extension]

Listeria contamination: Busch's Markets in Ann Arbor have announced a recall of chicken pot pies due to concerns of contamination with Listeria. [Ann Arbor Journal] [CBS] Spartan Stores, which has stores throughout Michigan and distributes some products to Busch's, has issued recalls for over 100 deli products including pot pie mix. [Petoskey News] [FDA] The Centers for Disease Control is tracking a multistate outbreak of Listeria-related disease from contaminated cheese; none of that cheese was distributed to Michigan. [CDC]

Ann Arbor: The Ann Arbor District Library is negotiating digital licenses directly with publishers to allow patrons to download their works for use. [Jon Udell] Among the first of these is a license for music through Magnatune, with over 1,000 albums available for download. [AADL]

University of Michigan: The Board of Regents will require a security screening before allowing attendance at upcoming meetings. This policy takes effect with the September 20, 2012 meeting, and is said not to be in response to any specific threat. The announced restrictions do not place any specific limits on cameras, cell phones, or other recording devices, but "sticks, poles, and noise-making devices" are prohibited. [University Record]

University of Michigan: Construction crews ruptured a small gas line on Thursday. [UMich Police] They are working as part of $29 million expansion of the Institute for Social Research. [] [UMich AEC]

Detroit Tigers vs Chicago White Sox rained out; the game will be played on Monday. Fans waiting for the game to be called watched the Bears-Packers game on the stadium screen; Green Bay beat Chicago, 23-10. [Micki Maynard] [NFL]

Michigan vs Massachusetts at Michigan Stadium football is on Saturday; game time is 3:30 p.m. Plan your game-day travel accordingly. Michigan is favored by over 45 points. [The Spread] Last week's Pioneer High School game-day parking price was $50.00. [Facebook] UMass has lost their first two games this year, but almost upset the Wolverines in 2010. [Massachusetts Daily Collegian]

Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm was once on The Dating Game. Check out the big 1978 hair in this newly restored VHS dub. [Youtube]

Ann Arbor daily telegram for 9/13/2012: iPhone 5, “Sam Bacile”, Penny Stamps, Ann Arbor downtown construction update

Volume 1, no. 4 of the Ann Arbor daily telegram. If you're interested in an email subscription, follow the subscription link. This is still an experimental project. 

San Francisco: the iPhone 5 is out; it's faster, lighter (112 grams), thinner (7.6 mm), and has a slightly bigger screen (4", 176 extra vertical rows of pixels) than previous iPhones. [Techmeme] [The Next Web] But wait, there's more: there's a new dock connector, so all of your old iPhone peripherals are incompatible. [Engadget]

Benghazi, Libya: One of the dead in the attack on the Libyan embassy was gamer Sean Smith aka "Vile Rat", who was well known as a diplomat and a spy in the EVE Online multiplayer gaming world. [Wired]  [The Mittani]

California:  The identity of "Sam Bacile", the purported Israeli-American producer of the anti-Islamic film that caused violence in Egypt and Libya, goes under scrutinty by the press who are "highly skeptical" that he exists. [The Atlantic] [NPR] There's also evidence that the most offensive lines of script in the video were badly overdubbed in post-production. [On The Media] AP traces a link to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a Coptic Christian. [AP/Arizona Star] The New York Times makes a connection to a "notorious" anti-Muslim activist. [NY Times]

Chicago: Teachers strike enters its fourth day, with little progress on the essential issue of evaluations of teachers based on student standardized tests. [Guardian] [The Atlantic] Teacher anger and frustration is directed personally at Mayor Rahm Emanuel. [Chicago Reader]

Lansing: Michigan governor Rick Snyder proposes sweeping changes to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which would turn it into a mutual insurance company and which would subject it to taxes in exchange for reducing regulation. [Lansing State Journal] [Detroit Free Press]

Lansing: The House approves HB 4394, requiring a US flag in every classroom and requiring that students recite the pledge of allegiance. The analysis of the bill notes: "There are many reports of young students learning the words of the pledge by rote, but mangling them when they recite, with utmost sincerity, same-sounding nonsense". [via Jeff Irwin] [House Legislative Analysis] [HB 4394] ["For Richard Stands"]

Lansing: Statewide food and grocery inspections are now online. [Lansing State Journal] [MiSafe] Washtenaw County has its own inspection program, also online. [Sword Solutions]. The latest published spreadsheet from Washtenaw's system, listing all inspected restaurants in July 2012, was released at the end of August 2012. []

Ann Arbor: Construction is underway at the old Champion House (Preztel Bell building) space at the corner of Fourth and Liberty; new window openings are going in on the Fourth Ave. side. The new restaurant will be Kuroshio, a Japanese fusion restaurant. [Facebook] [Arborwiki] [Pretzel Bell]

Ann Arbor: Construction is also underway at the 317 Maynard Street building that Barracuda Networks is planning to move their Ann Arbor operations to. O'Neal Construction is doing the work. A hearing on a tax abatement for the building is scheduled for October 1, 2012. [Ann Arbor Chronicle] [Building permit BLDG12-1246, Etrakit]

Ann Arbor: Cafe Ambrosia is now Elixir Vitae; they changed their name, but not their ownership or essential grad student/townie atmosphere, because of other coffee companies of the same name. A second store is opening at 117 East Liberty between Main and Fourth by the end of September. [Facebook]

Washtenaw County's Solid Waste program has a guide, Turning Trash into Treasure, with a comprehensive list of where to recycle or dispose of everything you no longer need. Ammunition, carpeting, propane tanks, motor oil, freon, tires, styrofoam, paint – and more – are all listed with helpful dropoff and pickup details. [PDF, 48 pages]

Sandusky, Ohio: Cedar Point's Space Spiral ride came crashing down in a controlled explosion. It was demolished to make way for a new Gatekeeper winged roller coaster. [demolition video, WKYC 3]

Detroit Tigers 8, Chicago White Sox 6. Tigers were up 8-1 in the top of the 8th, but four Chicago runs in the bottom of the 8th and one more in the bottom of the 9th put the tying run at the plate. Scherzer with the win (16-6), Valverde with the save (30). Tigers are now one game out of first place. [MLB]


Every Thursday is the A2B3 "bi bim bap lunch" at noon at Eastern Accents, 214 S Fourth Ave in Ann Arbor, where yours truly hosts 8-25 people for lunch and networking. [a2b3]

The Penny Stamps lecture series features filmmaker PES, known for his animated short films; that's at the Michigan Theater at 5:10 p.m. [Art and Design] [Home of the twisted films of PES]. Here is "Western Spaghetti" (2009)


The Knight-Wallace Fellows annual Hovey Lecture is at 5:00 p.m., with Der Spiegel Moscow bureau chief Matthias Schepp presenting "Powder Keg: Where is Putin Taking Russia?"; that's at the Wallace House, 620 Oxford. Free, reservations required at 998-7666. [KWF]

See the Ann Arbor Observer calendar for complete listings. 


Ann Arbor daily telegram for 9/12/2012

News from around the network and around Ann Arbor for Wednesday, September 12, 2012. This is an experimental production! Let me know if you're interested in being on a mailing list for the daily telegram.

Volume 1, Number 3.

Benghazi, Libya: Four American embassy officers, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, are dead and others are injured after a mob attacks and sets fire to the US consulate office. [BBC] [New York Times]

Cairo, Egypt: Protestors scale the wall of the US embassy, seize the US flag, and burn it. They are angry about a film that insults the prophet Mohammed. [Reuters] [Memeorandum

Los Angeles: Israeli-American film maker Sam Bacile is in hiding after his anti-Islamic film sparks riots in the Middle East. [AP/Sacramento Bee]

Chicago teachers strike, day 3: Talks are scheduled to resume on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. between the Chicago Teachers Union and the school board, with a new offer on the table. [NBC 5 Chicago] The strike is seen as a greater test of the Democratic Party's support for organized labor. [Democracy Now]

Ann Arbor: The final bid at the county tax foreclosure auction for the parcel containing the now-demolished old St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was $610,200. [] [Ann Arbor Chronicle] No word yet on which organization won the bid.

City of Ann Arbor: The Building Board of Appeals hears appeals of cases where the city has found poor repairs or construction of buildings; they haven't published their meeting minutes since 2010. A FOIA request has been filed by the editor to see what decisions have been made and what's been on the agendas. [FOIA Coordinator]

Bing Maps now has transit directions, including details on service on the AirRide to Detroit Metro Airport. [Bing Maps] [getDowntown] [Bing Transit]

Rawsonville, MI: Rowe's Produce Farm is open for fall raspberry picking.

Detroit Tigers 5, Chicago White Sox 3. Tigers are now 2 games out of first place and they snapped a 4 game losing streak on the road. Two Tiger home runs from Jackson and Cabrera in the 5th inning; Fister with the win (9-8), Valverde with the save (29). [MLB]

NHL: Ann Arbor will be watching for a possible lockout of National Hockey League players, which could cancel the scheduled January 1, 2013  "Winter Classic" at Michigan Stadium. "Sources tell Action News the NHL will hold a press conference Thursday to announce the Sep. 15 lockout," writes WXYZ-TV's Brad Galli. [@bradgalli] [Winter Classic] [CBC News Windsor] [Globe and Mail]

Events. Check the Ann Arbor Observer calendar for details of what's going on today. At 7:00 p.m. at the Matthei Botanical Gardens there is a meeting of the Ann Arbor Backyard Beekeepers [Arborwiki] to discuss fall management of bees. At 8:30 p.m. at Arbor Brewing Company, WCBN-FM's Robot Pasta show is sponsoring a screening of The Delian Mode, a 2011 documentary about Delia Derbyshire, the 20th-century English electronic music composer who did music for the Dr. Who series.

Mid-afternoon notes on an ordinary 9/11

Some news notes from 9/11/12; I'm not including any memorials of 9/11/01 in this listing.

Newfoundland lashed by Hurricane Leslie. Power was out to over 20,000 subscribers, and the strong winds (up to 137 km/hr, or 85 mph) toppled trees and ripped roofs off buildings.  [CBC] [wikipedia] The track of Leslie is next expected to hit Iceland. [Weather Underground].

Chicago teachers strike in second day. [Chicago Tribune] City parks have opened up activity centers to help take care of the some 350,000 students affected by the labor action.

GoDaddy name servers were down on Monday. The outage affected large parts of the Internet when name lookups failed to resolve, taking sites offline. Anonymous was quick to claim credit for the attack, but the company said Tuesday that it was caused by internal routing issues and not an attack. [New York Times/AP] [TechMeme

Ann Arbor: A fire at Rick's and Amer's evacuated the building at 611 Church St. Monday afternoon, with no reports of injuries. [] [Michigan Daily]

Ann Arbor: A Citgo near Packard and Platt that is being remodeled sports a "Dexter Bakery" awning. [Barbara Tozier via Twitter]

Ann Arbor: The old St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church building on North Main St is torn down. The property is up for auction for back taxes after a failed development project. [] [Arborwiki] [Ann Arbor Observer]

Ida, Michigan: Whittaker's Berry Farm is open for raspberry picking.

University of Michigan: Seven more diesel-electric buses are being added to the University's bus system; when they are all in service, 1/6 of the bus fleet will be hybrids. [PlanetBlue

Detroit Tigers lose 6-1 Monday to division-leading Chicago White Sox. The Tigers are now 3 games out of first, and face the Sox again tonight in Chicago. []