Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Peace Neighborhood Center former director, Rose's Good Company founder dies at age of 70

Rose Martin, who was heavily involved in the nonprofit organizations Peace Neighborhood Center and Rose's Good Company, passed away Tuesday.

The Ann Arbor Journal has posted a story on the loss and about the many efforts she contributed to.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some local decisions voters will be asked to make at polls Nov. 6

One question that will be put to Ann Arbor area residents on ballots for the Nov. 6 general election is whether to fund a new downtown library. The proposed library would replace the current building, which is considered outdated. Five candidates are also running for the Ann Arbor District Library board.

Voters will also be asked whether to authorize two city millage proposals. One is to renew a millage for park maintenance and capital improvements, and the other is for a new millage for art in public places.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

PPT repeal legislation sounds like good idea, but isn't

The legislation aimed at Michigan's Personal Property Tax is one of the most straightforward documents I've read out of Lansing, which its drafters should be lauded for and proud of.

But there's nothing to be proud of when it comes to boiling this legislation down to its core components.

Obviously the idea is thus:

1) I'm a business owner with $x of personal property at my place of business that I'm paying $y of taxes on to local units of government, while I could be spending $y on business expansion in the form of hiring and purchasing more equipment.

2) So I take $y and spend it on some new people and buy some new equipment to better serve my customers or serve more of them.

3) My business expansion actually grows local and state tax revenues in other ways by improving the economy. I win and everyone wins.

The problem is that this isn't always going to happen. It may not even happen a great deal of the time -- it's a huge assumption that gives local governments absolutely no comfort or stability. From what I gather, the above is an assumption based on legislators talking to business owners about their pie-in-the-sky ideas about how to "grow their business," which doesn't necessarily mean hiring people and buying equipment.

The element missing from the equation is the means to increase demand for the products that these companies produce, and it just isn't there in the statewide and local markets right now, and national and global markets are still only looking good relative to the financial collapse of 2008. The only thing I can gather is that we're expected to bet it all on black in the hopes of a recovery feeding into this assumption and paying out a jackpot to Michigan and all of its residents.

While there's a lot to be pleased about if you watch Bloomberg or Mad Money, the real economy is still showing only anemic signs of recovery and none of the reforms that needed to happen to ensure we don't have another market breakdown were put into place.

It's unreaasonable to ask school districts and municiple governments at the local and county levels to expose themselves to markets outside of their boundaries like this, and that's exactly what this legislation will do. Why should your school district be so directly punished by the ups and downs of markets half a world away -- that is if your local governments are even lucky enough to have big commercial and industrial taxpayers in the first place.

Otherwise, giving small busineess owners a break on PPT isn't going to do any good but slightly boost yearly revenues and profits, which isn't going to translate into new jobs or new equipment purchases. This thing is only designed for the heavy hitters, and I just don't see them biting, at least in the way that the guys and gals in Lansing have been led to believe.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gizmodo recognizes Ann Arbor for marijuana, not tech innovation

How does Ann Arbor get mentioned on major gadget-tech-random site Gizmodo?

You'd think it was for some new innovation launched at U-M, or a product or service developed by the engineer at Google's Ann Arbor headquarters.

No, it took a pot bust at the Meijer on Carpenter Road for mention on the site. This tweet from Giz, the site famous for discovering the iPhone 4 before it was officially launched, says it all:

From the post on the website's Stoner Channel," it links to a write-up from The Consumerist, saying:
Ann Arbor Police were summoned to a Meijer supermarket in the wee hours of Tuesday after a store employee unwittingly discovered a 70-plant hydroponic operation in a nail salon operating within the supermarket. 
Obviously, there's one small error: Pittsfield Township police, not AAPD, were summoned.


Monday, April 16, 2012

An evening with the Glee Club at Cottage Inn downtown (where were they when I needed them?)

Another gem from Ann Arbor recently received more recognition this weekend.

Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom wrote a column about his experience with the Men's Glee Club at the original Cottage Inn in downtown Ann Arbor (the place I took my girlfriend to dinner before proposing to her, although there was no glee club that night. Darn).

In addition to his column, a YouTube video of his personalized performance accompanied. Take a look below:

Have you ever heard the Glee Club perform? How are they?

Labels: ,

Friday, April 6, 2012

University of Michigan the 13th-most buzzed about university and college on the Internet

The University of Michigan is quite the attention-grabber on the Internet.

In a recent study, U-M ranked No. 13 in the list of most buzzed-about colleges and universities on the Internet, according to this Mashable article.

U-M ranked ahead of such schools Princeton, Duke, Georgia Tech, and (most importantly) Ohio State University. It ranked below schools like Harvard, Yale, Cornell, UCLA and the No. 1 most-buzzed about school, MIT (??).

What was the measuring stick? The Global Language Monitor used several ways of gauging the buzz around U-M, including blog and social media posts and several thousand media outlets.

Here's betting we can pin a lot of buzz on the Wolverines' football team making a splash into the BCS last year, as well as the buzz around Brady Hoke.

Labels: , ,

Fracking in Washtenaw County

It was incredibly informative attending a town hall on the fracking issue in our state's Brooklyn last night, where Dr. Christopher Grobbel of Grobbel Environmental discussed the history of resource recovery in our state.

He also discussed a number of terms and several cases in which oil and natural gas recovery efforts have gone horribly, horribly wrong. I'm in the process of compiling notes and research for the article, which I hope folks spread around to friends and neighbors in Washtenaw.

If there's even a small chance that some of the worst case scenarios that have happened around the state under the current regulatory framework could happen in this county, I think it's worth resisting the oil companies.

I'm not opposed to drilling outright, but it's pretty clear after spending my evening in Brooklyn hearing Grobbel and several local officials like the Supervisor of Norvell Township recount their experiences dealing with the DEQ, that there's something wrong with how oil and gas recovery is regulated by the state.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]