Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bring on da noise!

Hello, citizens. Your friendly neighborhood sports writer is here to comment on non-sports related things, such as music and concerts.

I recently purchased four Oasis tickets for a December concert as a Christmas gift for my boy-toy. It's ok, he knows, so this isn't breaking news. However, the purchase brought to my attention how few music entertainment options there are in the Saline and Milan area. I'm hoping maybe I'm just out of the loop, but in case I'm not...

I think it's time to stop suckling from the Ann Arbor music scene. Sure, it's hot, interesting and possibly sexy at times. But it might be fun to save on some gas mileage and host some local talent ourselves. The new Saline High School has an a-maz-ing auditorium. I missed playing in it by one lousy year. And I was in wind ensemble, so I would have appreciated it. It's time to lure me to that venue for the first time since my return. The Saline community can do that by livening up Thursdays, Saturdays or possibly Sundays by hosting some great local talent. The Saline Fiddlers are a great option, for one. They're renowned around the country. Or the new and upcoming bands that started in Ann Arbor, such as My Dear Disco (I personally know this band and they're an amazing group that won't be small for long), Nightdaze (started by a Saline grad), or Tally Hall. Plus, these groups have enough of a following that hosting them will bring in visitors from the surrounding area. $$$$ Concert ticket money + food bill from Saline restaurant + positive community reputation = :-)

So, come on Saline. You don't graduate some of the best Michigan musicians for nothing...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Favorite Photos

Here are some images I've taken since joining the paper.

Halloween at Milan Public Library

Milan Public Library hosted a Halloween party on Oct. 27 during storytime.


Service Week at Symons

Esteban Page Sander and Jacob Dowd.

Students made placements for Milan Senior Citizens.


Pumpkin riding

Ben Holloway, 14 months, rides a pumpkin at Wells pumpkin patch in Lodi Township


It's About Time ...

It's official now, I have joined the blogging generation.

So here goes something. Or nothing. Depending on your perspective after reading this.

On Sept. 22, I joined the staff of the Milan News-Leader and the Saline Reporter and was reunited with Editor Michelle Rogers, who I'd worked for previously while covering Dexter for The Dexter Leader.

At the time, I'd recently moved back to Michigan and had taken a break from the newspaper biz to become the editor of an international cat magazine. Yes, I got my job through The New York Times. But in moving back to The "Wolverine" State (U-M '80), I decided to get back into the news biz -- as a way to learn about what was happening in my own backyard and to meet new people in the area.

I'd tried to get out of the newspaper biz, I really did. But there is just something about the people you meet as a reporter and the marvelous stories you are trusted to tell. The rush of a news tip that sends me scrambling to find out more. It's the places and faces and events I'm lucky enough to experience each day. There is nothing like it.

And, as I embark on my 20th year as the editor of I Love Cats magazine, I'm proud of the magazine that I produce every other month, but the pride I feel in publishing cat news is different from the rush I experience while being a reporter.

In the last two months, I've meet many people who call Milan their home. Each one has greeted me warmly and has taken the time to explain why Milan is a great place to live. They've indulged me with its history; they've given a newcomer perspective on the city. And, they've spent lots of time giving me directions to and from the places. Smile.

While at the Milan News Leader and the Saline Reporter, I've eaten a hotdog cooked on the engine of a Model T in Milan Township and attempted to interview 3 year olds at the Milan Public Library storytime.

I've experienced Harvest of the Arts in downtown Saline and Harvest on the Farm at Rentschler Farm. I've learned how to make cider at the Pittsfield Grange and visited Crosswinds Marsh in Wayne County with students from Paddock School.

I watched as a new Jehovah's Witness Hall was built by volunteers and was treated to a flaming cheese dish at the new Leo's Coney Island in Pittsfield Township.

I've photographed a blessing of the animals at Holy Faith Church in Lodi Township and learned all about pumpkin growing from the Wells family, also of Lodi Township.

I was amazed at the number of people who turned out for Milan High School's homecoming as well as the number of people who arrived at the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce Business Enterprise awards gala at Stonebridge Country Club.

All in all, it's been a lot of fun.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Check out the County Commissioners on TV

Did you miss the Washtenaw County Commissioner Candidate Forum sponsored by The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader on Oct 14? Our friend, Steven Stump at Saline Community Television Network filmed the event and now has it available on cable television.

The forum can be viewed on SCTV, channel 18 in Saline:
Oct 28, 7 p.m.
Oct 29, 12pm
Oct 30, 8 am, 12 pm, 7 pm
Oct 31, 12 pm
Nov 1, 8 am, 12 pm, 7 pm
Nov 3, 12 pm
Nov 4, 8 am, 12 pm, 7 pm

Thanks to the collaboration of SCTN and CTN staffs, viewers throughout the county will be able to watch the debate on television station 17 over the next few days or tape it for later viewing prior to Tuesday’s election on Ann Arbor’s Community Television, CTN, Channel 17, at the following times:
Thursday, 10/30/08 at 11:00pm
Saturday, 11/1 at 9:00pm
Sunday, 11/2 at 10:00am

Or, watch it online:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Saline Fiddlers Need Your Support

Today I learned that the Saline Fiddlers is struggling with tickets sales of the group's hometown concert 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Ellen Ewing Performing Arts Center at Saline High School. As a result, I posted the fiddlers' press release about the concert online and sent out an e-mail alert to people on my e-mail contacts list. I also thought I'd use this forum to share some information about the group.

The Saline Fiddlers, directed by Ben Culver, a 2005 Arts Education Award winner, is made up of Saline High School students. It was formed in 1994 and since then has released numerous recordings to help pay for its performances across the United States and cities around the world.

According to the group's Web site, members of the Saline Fiddlers have graced the stage more than 1,000 times, performing three times at the White House and twice at the Kennedy Center, as well as at the state of Michigan's Inaugural Ball in January 2001. During this time, the fiddle players have shared the stage with many nationally renowned recording artists, as well as the group's own cloggers, who are choreographed by Sheila Graziano.

As members of this community, we should support this musical group and enjoy its immense talent. I urge you to look at your calendar and pencil in the group's hometown concert. Tickets range in price from $10 to $20 and can be purchased online or by calling 1-866-257-5333, ext. 1. If you can't make it Nov. 1, the group will be performing 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the PIX Theater in Lapeer and will return home for a concert the night of Saline's Holiday Parade 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Historic Union School.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Got non-perishables?

My heart is broken.

I just talked to Susan over at Saline Area Social Services and their shelves are empty for the first time since she can recall.
She said there is no food to give out to families in need. Whoa.
I know that Steve Laatsch and the staff at Heritage School (Saline fifth and sixth graders) had a food drive today. My sixth grader took in a (recycled) bag of food to contribute and said she and her classmates wanted to fill the UM moving van to go to SASS tomorrow/Tues. morning.
Go home.
Look in your cupboard and fill a bag of of non-perishables and drop it off to the SASS office, behind Dan's Downtown, at the back entrance off the parking lot.
When you go to Busch's or Country Market tonight (because, if you are like me, you go at least four times a week), buy a half dozen boxes of mac and cheese, some canned fruit or a bag full of paper products for SASS. They are at 131 E. Michigan Ave., 429-4570.


It doesn't get much sweeter than this!

My friends, Robin and Steve and Erin over at Benny's have been mixin up more magic and will be frosting through the wee hours for their big CUPCAKE WEEK.

Cupcakes for a Cause is coming to Benny's Bakery October 21-25th. This week, CancerCare has asked bakeries around the country to sell selected cupcakes and donate a portion of sales to the "CancerCare for Kids" program. Benny's has said YES, WE CAN. All money raised will be used to support free counseling services for any child who is affected by a cancer diagnosis--either their own or that of a family member. This will Benny's Bakery's second year participating in this fundraiser. Check out the cupcake page on Benny's site (who knew!!!) to see the variety of cupcakes available. Due to the popularity of this event, Robin Schantz (a very talented artist and froster) would appreciate advanced orders for a dozen or more cupcakes. Cupcakes will be available throughout the week for individual sale and the style and flavor will vary daily. Please help Robin and Steve raise money for this very worthwhile cause! or call the bakery at 734-429-9120 to place an order.
Benny's isn't just for pretzels anymore! Visit them across from The Saline Reporter office on Michigan Ave.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

You know what really grinds my gears...

Facebook friending. Don't get me wrong. I love, love, love my Facebook time. But I don't enjoy being friended by people I do not know.

Why do they do this? Why do these strangers feel the need to join my collection of networked people? Is my profile that interesting? Are they secretly the friend of someone I despise who wants to stalk my pictures and memorize my favorite movies? I don't know. I just don't know.

And that terrifies me. Because I'm a rational person and I'm not needy, but lots of people are. Plenty of my friends accept these invitations instantly with no qualms about having no idea who that person is. As if to say, "Oh, yes, perfect stranger... here is my address, cell phone, personal pictures, and daily activities. Stalk all you want. I enjoy that my online friend count has just gone up."

So I have three suggestions to remedy this situation...

First suggestion: Clean out your friends list. If you can't remember who someone is simply by reading their name, they don't belong on your list. You shouldn't have to read their profile and history to remember them.

Second suggestion: Do not accept these people to begin with. It does not make anyone cooler to have 350 friends. It just makes you an easy target. How many of those 350 "relationships" are actually meaningful? Maybe five percent? Less? You are not mean for declining someone. You are smart.

Third suggestion: Do NOT post your cell phone or home address on your profile, especially if you're one of these 350+ friends people. MAYBE posting these things is acceptable if you privatize your profile so only your real confirmed friends can read it. But a private profile is useless if you're overly nice with the confirmation button. If someone you know needs your cell or address, they can email you discretely.

... and that's what really grinds my gears.

Ode to the blog

I just want to take a moment to clarify something. The blog is not a venue for articles. Anything that appears on them is similar to a writer's column, but even less formal and free to address pretty much any subject matter. Especially if that subject matter doesn't really fit our job description. For example, I am a sports writer, but I can write on the blog about politics if I want. If I decide dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate in every way (which it is), I have the right to vouch for that here with no hesitations.

And other writers can do the same. But one of our writers was recently chastised for responding to some high school drama on the blog. Ah, the life of someone in the public eye. Obviously, it's perfectly acceptable and welcomed to disagree with blog postings and post your own comments in response. That is also what the blog is for, to stimulate debate. We want community members to know about the blog. We want them to read it and respond and enlighten everyone around them by voicing their opinion and contributing to the discussion. So if you're going to rip someone apart, do it because you disagree and can present a sound counterargument intelligently. Do not respond because you think the writer should not be allowed to post such "articles." Because they're not articles, they're opinions and ideas to consider. And we ARE allowed to post them. They may be controversial in subject matter, but they will never be overtly inappropriate. The blog is sort of our venue to act like regular, non-journalist people. Just like you. No, we're not always right and we're not always eloquent (although we certainly try). And not even all of us writers can 100 percent agree on things colleagues may say, but that isn't the point. So give us slack, I say!

This is why I have always felt that the 24-hour rule was my mother's greatest invention. OK, so it wasn't my mother's idea, but she certainly practiced it. I'm sure most people know what I'm referring to, but for those unaware persons, the 24-hour rule is simply an effort to sit on a response for a day before writing it. If something is written or said that upsets you, by all means respond. But do so a day later. Those 24 hours can do a lot for your psyche, giving you time to cool off, formulate your response the way you want it to be understood and avoid the use of foul language. It's simple, but it's instrumental. No one wants to read hate mail. But simultaneously, no one likes that feeling of regret in the pit of their stomach after they've clicked the "send" button and realized perhaps it wasn't prudent to do so. Because it can be embarrassing to portray oneself negatively.

So let's all chill out, take a little breather, and get back to blogging the way blogging was intended.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bring your questions for your candidates

Do you know what will be on your ballot in a few weeks? Of course, McCain and Obama. But also, a few proposals and local representative to pick from.
We're hoping to make it easier for you to chose your county commissioner by hosting a CANDIDATES FORUM for Washtenaw County Commissioner candidates. Districts 3, 4 and 7.

Tues, Oct 14
5:30 - 7:30
Liberty School

If you haven't had the chance to get familiar with the issues facing our county budget (roads, police protection, etc), this is your chance to get policitally active by listening to the candidates you will consider on Nov 4. Bring your questions. I will be moderating the event. Should be interesting. Hope you can come.


Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]