Thursday, April 19, 2012

Drill, Baby, Drill?

An oil and gas company drilling in the Saline area told a crowd of about 125 people Wednesday night it can't promise it won't ever use the controversial technique known as "fracking" in Washtenaw County. Read the story.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Inside The Big Dig

Four stories down at the bottom of Ann Arbor's new underground parking garage, daylight from the world above splashes onto the concrete floor. That's possible because of the architectural design of the main pedestrian staircase descending from Fifth Avenue. Amy Sullivan, project manager for contractor Christman Co., took me on a journey to the bottom of the parking garage on a recent afternoon. Read the story.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Goin' To Jackson

A Michigan Department of Transportation official says his office has been inundated with negative feedback on the proposal to reduce Jackson Avenue to three lanes. "The message is being received loud and clear," said Mark Sweeney, manager of MDOT's Brighton Transportation Service Center, who reports receiving dozens of emails in opposition since the Ann Arbor City Council endorsed the lane reduction last week. The council's resolution, which passed by an 8-2 vote, asks that MDOT consider changing Jackson Avenue from four to three lanes to improve safety and possibly allow for the addition of on-street bicycle lanes when it resurfaces the road next year. "It's a city request and I know many of the emails from the public were asking us not to abide by the city request," Sweeney said. "It does put us in an awkward position." Read the story.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gotham City Revival

With brush in hand on Wednesday afternoon, Pontiac-based artist Gary Markley was back in front of the mural he painted 12 years ago in front of Gotham City, part of the Cavern Club complex on First Street next to the Blind Pig in downtown Ann Arbor. "This painting was here about 12 years ago and I'm just retouching it now," he said, adding it was the first time in 12 years he had touched up his painting of a skyline inspired by the fabled Gotham City from the Batman comics. "It's sort of my own interpretation of that," he said. "It's not totally Batman-oriented." If you've ever been to Gotham City or Circus, the paintings on the walls inside are his, too. Check out more of his work.

Five For Fighting

Fifteen months into his new job as Ann Arbor's representative in Lansing, Jeff Irwin is suing his Republican colleagues over procedural tactics in the Michigan House. It's a case that has attracted national media attention, including coverage from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, and it's now playing out in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Irwin and five other Democratic lawmakers who are co-plaintiffs in the case argue House Republicans have repeatedly granted immediate effect to controversial bills that don't actually have the two-thirds majority support needed to take such action. Irwin sat down with me on Tuesday to talk about the case. Read the story.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hash Bash 2012

The University of Michigan may be a smoke-free campus as of last July, but that didn't mean much on Saturday as the 41st annual Hash Bash kicked off on the Diag, followed with the Monroe Street Fair. Read the story.