Inside the Newsroom

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some housekeeping...

So the rain and whatnot has stirred me into overdrive mode where I become super efficient and organized. This has caused me to do several things, many of which remind me to remind all of you to do the same... So here we go with some housekeeping and shameless promotion...

First up, Mother's Day is fast approaching. If you haven't yet figured out what to get her on the glory day, figure it out soon. Flower shops will be busy with arrangement orders, so if that is your cup of tea you should get on it. I've selected my present of choice already, but will share it with you all AFTER the day, because she reads this blog and I don't want to spoil the surprise (it's going to be awesome, mom). Some gift ideas for the creative: photo collages, quote books, picture frames, recipes, home herb garden kits, etc. etc.

Second up, since I'm the sports writer I'll plug a few things. Milan track is home tonight at 4 p.m., but may in fact be cancelled due to weather conditions. If it thunderstorms they delay for 30 minutes of clear weather. Also, Saline track is home tomorrow (Friday) for a very special Golden Invite of Awesomeness in which the boys will be competing with Milford for Team of the Decade Honors essentially. Over the weekend, Milan baseball is home, and Saline softball is hosting Milan and others in its Saline tourney at Saline High School. Starts around 10a.m. I believe.

Third up, Matt Giraud was kicked off American Idol for the third time last night, but this time it stuck and the judges couldn't do anything about it. He was a wild card selection for the Top 13 and earned the judges' first-time save two weeks ago. He made it to the top five and will tour with the other Idols in the summer. I was a big fan of him, and hopefully I'll get to speak with him and his family for a follow-up article soon.

Fourth up, for all the nerds out there... a special Harry Potter Wizard Rock Concert from Tonks and the Aurors will be featured at the Ann Arbor Book & Street Festival May 16 on Stage 2 of Ingalls Mall at 3 p.m. The group is Springsteen meets Wizard Rock, and features songs from the perspective of Nymphadora Tonks. The classic rock style band is fronted by Stephanie Anderson and has been touring the U.S. since August 2007. If you're bored and like nerdy things and fantasy, check it out.

Fourth up (or fifth for those who are counting)... since the weather is nice, I've gained a slight tan despite the use of sunblock facial moisturizer and SPF 45 (I'm a freak). But take notice of the sun on hot days and make sure to take care of your skin. In other warm weather news, my pool is open again... which means sunday afternoon parties, swimming, and fabuloso drink concoctions. For anyone looking to have an outdoor BBQ soon, feel free to invite me, or use one of the awesome drink recipes listed below. One is cheap and one is not, but they both taste awesome. Trust.

Mangoberry Elixir of Youth and Enlightenment (name donned by me, just now)
1 cup Burnetts Mango Vodka (I know Burnetts is gross, but you won't be able to tell)
1 cup Ocean spray Cranberry Juice
1/2 cup Sprite
Mix and pour over ice and enjoyyyyy.

Sangria Margarita
8 oz. tequila
12 oz. margarita mix
2 oz. lime juice
3 oz. triple sec
4 oz. sangria (if you use sangria with wine, rather than just the mix, you'll have a nasty headache.. so keep this part virgin)
Blend tequila, margarita mix, lime juice, triple sec, and ice in a blender and pour into glasses until 2/3 full. Top with sangria.

Hip, hip, hurray for spring and summer!

Sixth up, and most exciting of all. I'm going to shamelessly promote a livejournal user I follow, thanks to previous sports writer Jerry Hinnen. But guess what? It isn't a sports blog. Surprise! It's actually an old college friend of his... she's named cleolinda in her online accounts (she refuses to share her real name). She posts to the blog Occupation: Girl which has thousands up followers and viewers every single day. She writes the Secret Life of Dolls, which is a fun, witty, week-by-week adventure among her favorite movie action figures/dolls. It features characters from Twilight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, and the The Golden Compass to name a few. She's hilarious and brilliant. She also writes what are known as "Movies in Fifteen Minutes," which are typically hilarious overviews of movies using online verbiage and lingo. She wrote so many of them, that they became well-read in the blog world and were eventually optioned to become a book. It is available for purchase now in the UK and on If you're interested, she's hilarious... check out her blog at

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pitching CARES and sinking fund

I attended my son's third grade music program last night at Pleasant Ridge Elementary. Loved the rain song, the Native American dance, the good ole states song. ("Alabama and Alaska, Arizona...). I was happy to see that the principal, Sheila Light, stood to welcome parents and plug the CARES and sinking fund millage, facing voters next Tues, May 5. Though, I was confused why she didn't tell parents to vote, "yes and yes." She did remind them to vote and read up on the two issues. (See the story I wrote in last week's paper or online at for ALL the details or go to the school Web site for Mr. Graden's plug and blog stuff). At the opening day ceremony for SAYB&S little league baseball Saturday, Graden and Parks and Rec's Sunshine Lambert (does she have the best name ever?) stood in front of families and players to remind voters how important it was that they vote YES on the two ballot measures. CARES grants helped pay for 3 or 4 of the ball fields, Movies in the Park, Rec on the Go and more. CARES funds (that only cost the taxpayer a few hundred bucks a year - a few bucks a day) pay for the senior center, school pool and stage and will hopefully support a new teen center. Some dude standing behind me at the baseball ceremony said, "that's inappropriate for them to bring politics here today." What do you think?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Tweets Paying Off

As many readers know, I wear two hats in town. In addition to serving as editor of the local newspaper, I am on the board of directors at the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary. I was appointed in January and I've been busy trying to get the word out about the sanctuary and its needs. Last night, I was so excited to have all my social networking on pay off.

Since February, our followers on Twitter have doubled every month. In fact, we have 500 followers now, including people from across the United States, England, Canada, Germany and Japan checking our updates, which include how to help the sanctuary, information on sponsoring bunnies, adoption, video links, fundraising events and work bees.

Among my first official projects as a board member, I volunteered to host Hoppy Hour May 28 at the Spotted Dog Winery in Saline as a fundraiser for the sanctuary, which is in great need of donations to continue operating out of a farm in Willis, near Ypsilanti. With 500 rabbits, it's a daunting task to keep the money flowing to support operations year round, and especially after Easter, when many people surrender their rabbits after finding out they weren't a good match for their family for whatever reason.

As part of the wine tasting event, we're holding a silent auction. I am soliciting donations to be auctioned off, with all the proceeds benefiting the sanctuary. Before pounding the streets locally, I thought I would jump on Twitter and see if I could convince people to help out. First I sent out a "tweet," which is just a sentence or two, that we were looking for donations of items for a silent auction to benefit the bunnies. One person responded with interest in helping. Then I looked through our list of followers, where I found artists, business owners and jewelry makers. I then sent them a direct message asking if they could donate an item as a tax write-off. Then I thought bigger. I went under the "search" function and plugged in "art," "artist," "jewelry," "crafts" and "watercolor." A bunch of tweets then popped up with those words in them and I found many were artists. I then replied to their tweets, soliciting donations.

In less than 24 hours, I've had four artists respond who didn't even know anything about our organization until I sent them a tweet. I am really excited that they care enough about the sanctuary, after checking our Web site, to help out and that my efforts on Twitter are finally helping the sanctuary in a tangible way.

I also twitter for the newspapers, providing links to breaking news and blog postings on our Web site. So, hop on Twitter and check out all my posts -- for the newspapers (mrogersheritage) and the rabbit sanctuary (GLrabbits). Also, if you're involved in a nonprofit, I recommend you get to twittering. It can only help.

Also, if you find yourself looking for a nice evening out while also helping a good cause, come to our wine tasting and auction. Maybe you will be the winning bid on some of these fine art items. If you're a local artist or business person and want to donate an item to the auction, please e-mail me at

Here's my press release on the event:

The Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary will host Hoppy Hour, a wine tasting benefit for the sanctuary, from 6 to 8 p.m. May 28 at the Spotted Dog Winery, 108 E. Michigan Ave., in Saline.

The event will feature Spotted Dog Winery’s unique blends of white, red and fruity wines. Sale of bottles of wine with a rabbit sanctuary custom label also will benefit the rescue group. In addition, there will be a 50/50 raffle, silent auction of donated items and light refreshments.

To purchase tickets in advance, visit the Web site For more information or to donate an item for the auction, e-mail

The Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization, is the largest rabbit rescue in the United States. It’s located on a farm in Willis, near Ypsilanti, providing a home for about 500 rabbits and four pot-bellied pigs. Opportunities for rabbit adoptions, sponsorships and fostering are available on the sanctuary’s Web site.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saline Arbor Day picnic Friday, April 24

Grab that PB&J, pack it in a recycled bag and ride your bike to Curtiss Park on Friday, April 24 for the Saline Arbor Day Celebration at 12 noon. Hosted by the Saline Parks Commission (of which I am an esteemed member), the short ceremony will include a quick history of Arbor Day and the introduction of some talented young artists from Heritage School. We will be planting a lovely sunset maple tree and enjoying the beauty of Curtiss Park. Never been there, you say? Well, from downtown, head west on Michigan Ave toward Mickey's Dairy Twist. The entrance to the park is just past the cemetary, opposite the little damn from Mill Pond. There are great hiking trails, swings, a covered picnic pavilion and a picturesque bridge over the river. Bring your friends, your lunch, your camera and open up your heart to one of Saline's gems, Curtiss Park. Happy Arbor Day.


Hip, hip, hurray: Matt Giraud lives!

For all those Idol fans out there... Matt Giraud is stayin' alive, an appropriate sentiment given that A) voters kicked him off the show last week, but the judges kept him by using their single save, and B) "Stayin' Alive" was the song he sang for America on Tuesday night that resulted in his earning another week on the show.

So hurray for him, and hurray for all the Michigan communities that have a place for Matt in their hearts. For those unaware of all that is American Idol gossip and knowledge, Matt hails from the Milan area and graduated from Lincoln High School. A great deal of his family members are still residents of Milan, Mich. and his father graduated from Milan High School in 1974. Also staking a claim to his residency card is Kalamazoo across yonder in Western Michigan. Coincidentally, he attended Western Michigan University where he graduated with a B.A. and was working as a dueling piano player at a bar.

Since we like local around here, I thought I'd plug him again so that people can keep voting for him. I watch the show regularly and he happens to be in my top three. I actually like his style more than Danny Gokey, even though the Gokester has a great voice, pitch, and tone. I can actually picture myself liking Matt's music longterm, when I can't do that for Danny. Of course, Kris and Adam are (unquestionably) the top two, IMO.

If you're interested in Matt or intrigued, you can check out some of his best recent performances here, **here**(actual live video with piano playing), here, here, and here. They are available for purchase on iTunes through the American Idol page, as are the works of the rest of the contestants.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saline hospital named tops

Congratulations, Saline hospital:

Saline Hospital Named One of the Nation's 100 Top Hospitals for the Third Year
SALINE, Mich. – (April 22, 2009) – For the third year in a row, St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital has been named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. The winning hospitals were announced in the March 30 edition of Modern Healthcare magazine.

The award recognizes hospitals that have achieved excellence in clinical outcomes, patient safety, patient satisfaction, financial performance, and operational efficiency.

“This is a prestigious award, with only 20 hospitals nation-wide named in the small community hospital category,” explains Kathleen Rhine, chief operating officer, St. Joseph Mercy Saline. “It’s an honor to be placed within the top 100 hospitals in the country, and we didn’t get here without the true dedication of our entire staff.”

The winners were identified through an in-depth analysis, the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals®: National Benchmarks study. The study evaluated 3,000 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals in nine areas: mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average length of stay, expenses, profitability, cash-to-debt ratio, patient satisfaction, and adherence to clinical standards of care.

“We know that achieving this level of excellence is a direct result of the remarkable people who work at our hospital, our team of great physicians, nurses, staff and volunteers,” says Barb Fielder, director of operations at St. Joseph Mercy Saline.

St. Mary Mercy Hospital Livonia, of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, was also awarded the 100 Top Hospitals award in the large community hospital category. This is the third year for St. Mary Mercy to be named to this coveted list.

“The 100 Top Hospitals winners raised the bar again this year, delivering a higher level of reliable care and greater value for their communities,” said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals programs at Thomson Reuters.

If all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as Medicare patients treated in the winning hospitals:
• More than 107,500 additional patients would survive each year.
• Nearly 132,000 patient complications would be avoided annually.
• Expenses would decline by $5.9 billion a year.
• The average patient stay would decrease by nearly half a day.
"St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital doctors and staff are dedicated to providing quality patient care. This award exactly demonstrates our commitment to providing consistent, high quality care to maintain patient safety, operational efficiency and national standards," concludes Dr. George Williams, chief of staff, St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital.
More information on this study and other 100 Top Hospitals research is available at

About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a newly expanded health care organization serving southeast Michigan. Health coverage spans six counties, including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy in Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, 119-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron and 74-bed St. Joseph Mercy Saline. Combined, the six hospitals are licensed for 1,613 beds, have five outpatient health centers, five urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 13,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 2,400 physicians.

A member of Trinity Health, the nation’s fourth largest Catholic health care organization, SJMHS is committed to providing a remarkable patient experience by using leading edge technology in a comforting and healing environment. As a mission based organization, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals provides approximately $100 million in community benefit to the communities it serves each year.

For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit

Milan Superintendent Comments on Bond Project

This column from Milan Superintendent Bryan Girbach came in after deadline, but I thought I'd share it with readers of our blog.

MAS Bond 2009 Update

A lot has happened since the passage of the bond on February 24th, so I thought it was time to bring everyone up to speed on the progress that has been made. While no construction or remodeling has started, a great deal of planning and preparation has taken place. Several companies have been brought on board to assist us in the effective use of the approved funds.

First and foremost, we have been working diligently with our legal counsel and financial advisor to make sure that we make wise decisions in the process leading up to the sale of the bonds. The Thrun Law Firm and Stauder Barch & Associates have been very diligent in assisting us through this process. During this time of economic downturn it is crucial that we investigate every alternative available to the district. After evaluating all of our options, we have decided to sell Build America Bonds (BAB’s). These bonds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This new program is intended to assist school districts, states, and local governments in financing capital projects at lower borrowing costs in an effort to stimulate the economy and create jobs. “These innovative bonds give state and local governments an important new tool to help finance public capital projects that will benefit communities in challenging times,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. Specifically, the federal government will pay 35% of the interest costs associated with these bonds, thus alleviating the Milan taxpayers of some of the burden. Our current estimates place the savings of BAB’s over traditional tax-exempt bonds in the millions of dollars. The true savings will not be known until the bonds have been sold.

The district has also selected Raymond James & Associates as the primary underwriter of the bonds. They will handle the sale of the bonds with assistance from Stifel Nicolaus & Company, Edward Jones & Co., and Fifth Third Securities. The Preliminary Official Statement was released on Tuesday, April 14th, and the bonds were priced on Tuesday, April 21st. The sale of the bonds took place immediately following the pricing process (April 21st and April 22nd) and will continue until all bonds are sold.

BAB’s are only available for use by schools and governmental agencies during 2009 and 2010. Therefore, the district made the decision to sell all $49,165,000 of the approved bonds now. The original plan of waiting to sell $14,000,000 of the bonds in 2012 was altered because of the projected savings for our taxpayers made available by the use of BAB’s. Borrowing all of the money at this time using BAB’s will allow us to complete the projects described during the campaign without raising tax rates. In addition, the estimated savings in interest costs have generated projected payoff schedules that end earlier than the timeline provided during the bond campaign. Again, the specific effect of the savings will not be fully known until the bonds have been sold.

The district has also started the process of hiring an Owner’s Representative, Architect, and Construction Manager. Contract talks are underway with Plante Moran CRESA, Fanning Howey, and Barton Malow in an effort to fill these respective roles. Fanning Howey and Barton Malow assisted the district during the lengthy pre-bond facilities study.

The projected construction schedule will require Paddock and Symons Elementary Schools to be closed during the summer of 2010 as well as the closing of Milan Middle School during the summers of 2010 and 2011. No scheduled school days will be effected. The work on the transportation facility and Milan High School will not create a need to entirely close the buildings at any time. In every case, the district will make every effort to protect the integrity of the educational process during the extensive remodeling process.

If you have any questions regarding the Milan Area Schools, please feel free to contact the Superintendent, Bryan Girbach, at or 734-439-5050.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Best of the Best

Saline Salutes honored the best of Saline's best Friday during the annual Saline Salutes program. The evening was impressive, from the delicious food served by the culinary arts students at the South and West Washtenaw Consortium to the warm and kind-hearted words people shared about the honorees. Margie Bovee, Leslee Niethammer, Carla Scruggs and Shehara Waas all shined. If you didn't attend the program, please check out our videos online of each winner being honored -- Bovee as Saline's Citizen of the Year, Niethammer as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Scruggs as the George A. Anderson Award winner and Waas as Youth of the Year.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Open book: School board candidates join forum April 21

Now is the chance for you to grill those brave folks running for school board.
Put this date on your calendar: Tuesday, April 21st at 7:00pm in the Woodland Meadows Elementary Media Center for Board of Education Candidate Forum. Three candidates are running for two seats. Amy Cattell, Craig Hoeft and Bari Livsey will be present to answer questions about their candidacy for the Saline Area School Board. The forum will be moderated by J.P. DiMaggio and is being organized by the Saline High School student council. The school election will be held on Tuesday, May 5th.

If you can't make it but have questions that you would like the candidates to answer, email them to board president, Lisa Slawson:


Yum, fresh produce is almost here

It's that time of year again. Put on your shorts (soon) and straw hat and plan on spending some of your morning hours at the local farmers' market. Saline's opens May 2. Here are the details from market manager Nancy Crisp:

SALINE FARMERS’ MARKET begins its 9th year on Saturday, May 2 and will be open every Saturday from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon through October 31. The month of May will begin with perennials, hardy annuals, shrubs, trees, Spring produce, cut flowers, hanging baskets and planters, baked goods, jams, and crafts. As the season continues there will be bedding plants, vegetable plants, fresh seasonal produce, fruit, herbs and much more. The Market is located in downtown Saline, City Parking Lot #4 on South Ann Arbor Street, next to Little Caesar’s Pizza. A Master Gardener will be at the Market to answer gardening questions. Call Nancy Crisp, Market Manager at 429-3518 or email at for more information.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Marathons, races galore!

With spring and warmer weather means people can get back outside for their 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and marathon races. There are many options available to the masses in close proximity should that be an interest to you, which are listed below.

Dexter-Ann Arbor Run on May 31st (

Tortoise and Hare Ann Arbor 5K on July 3rd (

Tooth, Fang and Claw 10K run and Swamp Party on June 3rd in Pinckney (

Run Fit Kids Fitness Camp on June 17th, July 15th, and August 12th (

Flirt with Dirt 5K and 10K races on June 13 in Novi (

Tri Series June 24, July 22, and August 19 in Brighton for a half-mile swim, 12.4 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run (

There are likely even more races in your area than listed here, but this should get you started if you're interested in signing up. Good luck training!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Work on a farm?

Wayne Clements of the Saline Area Historical Society has set the next two Saturdays, April 18 and April 25 as Work Days at Rentschler Farm Museum. We will be doing any number of chores to spruce things up after the long winter. Wayne will have some cleaning tools on hand, but if you have a favorite broom, etc. please bring it. Individual and family help will be very much appreciated. Park on the farm grounds and check in with Wayne when you arrive. Come any time after 9 a.m. and stay as little or as long as you are able. The SAHS maintains Saline's beautiful historic properties. Come engage yourself in your community, meet interesting people, learn about the city's heritage.

FARM TO DO LIST, Spring 2009

  1. Paint gate next to combine.
  2. Seal Combine.
  3. Repair west gate to Ford Lot.
  4. Jack up Combine and block.
  5. Paint Thresher areas.
  6. Paint trim boards on Ice House.
  7. Paint west end of Rentschler Exhibit Barn.
  8. Remove gutters on Chicken House.
  9. Paint south wall on Chicken House.
  10. Add 19th century signage to Old Barn.
  11. Stain Gazebo.
  12. Locate (install??) another barnyard fence at Salvage Barn.
  13. Paint Scale.
  14. Clean up brush along pasture drive to Ford.
  15. Sweep barn aisles and Exhibit Barn Floors.
  16. Remove cobwebs from barn aisles and windows.
  17. Wash windows all around.
  18. Repair Exhibit signage.
  19. Pressure wash and paint Handicap Ramp with abrasive mix.
  20. Clean up Corn House floor.
  21. Pick up trash along pasture fencerows.
  22. Wash Milk House contents and floor with garden hose.
  23. Oil all door tracks and locks.
  24. Re-organize Old Barn Storage.
  25. Level West Barn entry hill.
  26. Freshen grain in Granary.
  27. Sweep area of Saline Mfg. Exhibit and bring in plow.
  28. Remove storage bin from Lean-to Implement area.
  29. Install and paint lower trim board on Sheep Entry Door.
  30. Sweep Salvage Barn.
  31. Freshen sawdust in Ice House.
  32. Clean 1903 Olds
  33. Paint Windmill Supports gray.
  34. Get equipment running: Allis, John Deere, Golf Cart.
  35. Turn water ON at Sheep Tank.
  36. Freshen Wool Exhibit.
  37. Sweep floor and place chairs in Rentschler Exhibit Barn (#1) for May Fieldtrips and Adobe Education Program.
  38. Repaint hasp on west end of Clements Exhibit Barn (#2).
For more information, email: or go to


Monday, April 13, 2009

Share Your Thoughts By April 20

I just received a letter to the editor from Saline Fire Chief Craig Hoeft about the May 5 election and it reminded me that I should make a better effort to let readers know about our letters policy.

When I came on board from the Chelsea and Dexter papers in November 2006, I implemented a letters policy that sets the deadline two weeks before the election and prohibits election-related letters running the week prior to the election. This is to ensure errors or misinformation is not shared before the election without an opportunity to publish a correction. Since we publish weekly newspapers, that means a really early deadline.

So, readers interested in weighing in on the May 5 school election, which includes candidates running for the board and millage renewal, put your words in writing and e-mail them to me by 1 p.m. April 20. Letters will be published April 23.

We want to include as many voices as possible, so step up and share your thoughts. My e-mail address is

Friday, April 10, 2009

As I sit here with my premature Easter candy...

... I can't help but feel that old familiar surge of senioritis that I'm no longer allowed to feel because I'm not a student anymore. But OH, do I feel it! But that's right, I'm an "adult" now with big-person responsibilities

Part of my senioritis (there really is no other word that appropriately describes this feeling) probably has to do with our lovely writer Sue G. spending her days and nights in gorgeous Portland, Oregon, which just so happens to be the one place in the country I'm dying to visit and have never seen. And although she's purchasing a t-shirt for me from my favorite book shop ever (Powell's Books,, my constantly-fidgeting right foot means that may not be enough to quench my thirst for laziness.

The other part is probably due to the schools and their respective spring breaks. For a week and a half now, I've been fielding the same question from coaches, parents, and players. "So, are you vacationing anywhere for spring break? Have any special spring break plans?" The answer is a resounding, "No. I am your puppet. I must seek out content, even after you have abandoned me for warmer, happier places." And no, I'm not bitter.

That's right. When everyone traveled to Mexico, Florida, Arizona, the Caribbean, and, heaven forbid, oversees, I was right here in Saline experiencing an APRIL SNOWSTORM. I'm sure the faces and gestures I made when I heard that little tidbit of news would have been reeeeeal entertaining for onlookers.

But I'm over it. Partly because the snow has again melted, and partly because I'm eating my premature Easter candy.... even though it isn't really Easter candy, but donated sweets from my boss to bribe me into doing stories. Don't tell her I'd do them anyway; I want the treats to keep coming. I'm also experiencing a much-needed boost from the festivities that surround the holiday with a very busy weekend planned. Several of my best friends are in town for the occasion, I have a wedding shower and Easter brunches and dinners to keep me full, and My Dear Disco is returning to the Blind Pig on Saturday. I'm going to be totally rejuvenated.

So for everyone returning from spring break or still on it, and for everyone celebrating the upcoming holiday weekend... cheers and huzzah!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Importance of Community Newspapers

I found this on the Michigan Press Association's Web site and thought it would be interesting to share with our readers:

Readership Newsletter

March 6, 2009 - Issue #3

Remind readers of the importance of newspapers in their community

In these hard economic times it is important now more than ever to remind your community of the importance and value of their community newspaper.

Community newspapers boost the local economy – both through advertising and in news coverage. They showcase community businesses at a time we need to be shopping locally, investing in the community and protecting local jobs. They allow “mom and pop” businesses to reach their most likely customers.

Community newspapers bring us “good news”—news of Scout projects, civic club fundraisers, little-league registration, chamber of commerce happenings, church bake sales and students who make the Honor Roll or Dean’s List.

They help neighbors get to know each other a little better. They often report on anniversaries and
family reunions, reminding people of the things they like so well about their community.

Community newspapers provide a forum for expression. They allow readers to make their voices heard, and they enable ordinary citizens to deliberate on the future of their community. They encourage civil, issue-oriented discourse and they often set the stage for it.

Many community newspapers serve as “watchdogs” to hold elected leaders accountable. They shine a light on local government, sometimes using “Freedom of Information” laws to get public records and make those records available to citizens. They keep voters informed. They let people see how their tax dollars are being spent. During an economic downturn – when tax dollars are scarce and the demands on them increased – that’s important.

The people who operate these newspapers work and live in the communities they cover. They’re your neighbors. They share your values. They understand your community because they’re a part of it.

With the nation plunging into recession and with the never-ending stream of bad economic news, there’s much focus on the decline of newspaper circulation in most of the major markets across the country. Newspaper stocks have been taking a beating, and news reports tell us these are dark days for their industry. Community newspapers are much more than paper and ink. Community newspapers pull communities together. They help connect people with those around them. In this way, community newspapers provide a valuable form of public service.

Amid uncertainty over the quality of our daily economy and the direction of our nation, their role is more important than ever. Let’s hope the outlook for community newspapers is much brighter than what is being reported in the national media. If you want to be encouraged, read your community newspaper.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Miss me yet?

As anyone who has come within a five foot radius of me in the last month knows, I have left Saline for three weeks to be with my sister and her new twin baby girls in Portland, OR.
The nine-day old girls are Dana Starr (Dana, after our brother, Dan, who died of AIDS, and Starr, after our forefathers from New England) and Veronica Sue (Nica for short, and yes, I am bursting busting puffed with pride). My amazing little sister is their poster-perfect mother. Double nursing, recording their every meal and move (or, should I say, movement) and tucking in for a nap herself whenever the babies are quiet.
Me? Deliriously happy: holding, burping, fetching, cleaning, cooking, playing gate keeper and relishing every midnight conversation with my darling sister while feeding and diapering. Sweet solice.
I do miss my family, though.
I don't miss Saline (sorry).
I do miss writing.
I don't miss my cats (sorry).

Portland is a welcoming haven of velvety coffee shops, aromatic sidewalk cafes, unpretentious microbrewers and groovy yoga studios. I swear there is one of each at every corner. This place has Got It. I have had lots of personal firsts here already.

1. Peeled an orange while standing over a compost bin, depositing the skin directly into the buggy pile.
2. Running through Forest Park - my longest jog yet, getting thoroughly lost in the winding woodsy trails, ending up at the Portland Audobon Society. As one does!
3. Sipped a papaya-scented margherita at a bench outside a place called, Por Que' No? Indeed, why not!
4. Held two 12-hour old babies at once.

More soon. Must go pick up a stirring baby. Ok, nobody is stirring, but it's been two hours since I've held a girl.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Easter in Milan

The Easter Egg Hunt at Wilson Park in Milan and Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Milan Senior and Community Activity Center April 4 were a huge success. I will post video soon from the events. In the meantime, here are some adorable photos.

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Powwow Makes Grand Entry

I just got back from the kick off of the 37th annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow at Saline Middle School. This is the first year it has been held in Saline. The event attracted participants from across the United States and Canada and drew a capacity crowd in the gymnasium. The Grand Entry and Flag Song were incredible. The event continues Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be sure to check it out! Here are some photos from the event.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Cat in Milan rescued

This is a great story from the Humane Society of Huron Valley that I thought I'd share with our readers.

After being stuck on top of a 45-foot utility pole in Milan for 4 days, a black and white cat, now named Nina is warm, safe, and dry and up for adoption at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV). A Milan resident initially called HSHV to report that the cat was on top of the pole and wasn’t coming down on its own.

“Cats will often run up a tree or a pole in flight from a predator. But they can usually get themselves down again. They just need to get hungry enough. Obviously it takes more courage and more skill to go down than it does to go up. Because we know they can get down and because going up after them can cause them to fall we prefer to let them come down on their own. In this particular situation the cat wanted to come down, but just couldn’t muster the courage to do it,” said Julie Curtis, the head of HSHV’s Animal Rescue and Cruelty Investigation Department.

The neighbors were all wonderful, including Milan’s Schultz Motors. They were all very concerned for the cat and kept close tabs on how she was doing. They even made sure to keep their dogs inside so as not to scare the cat in hopes she would eventually come down.

HSHV also kept an eye on the cat and tried to wait her out, but on day 3 decided to take more serious action and started calling tree service companies. “We had trouble finding a company willing to help, but on the morning of day 4, after one call to Ann Arbor’s McFarland Tree Service we had a community partner willing to rescue the cat,” said Tanya Hilgendorf, Executive Director.

When the employee in the lift from McFarland’s got close to the cat, she was so happy to be rescued that she actually jumped into his arms. The cat was taken to the Humane Society of Huron Valley and although a bit hungry was no worse for the wear. "Everyone here at McFarland's was grateful we had the time to help the Humane Society, and it was the right thing to do," said Sherry Keeney, owner of McFarland’s Tree Service.

“We are so relieved that this cat is okay and are very grateful to all the compassionate people in the neighborhood and to the generosity of McFarland Tree Service for ensuring a happy ending,” said Hilgendorf.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving all of Washtenaw County and beyond, and relies solely on donations from businesses and individuals in our community. The mission of HSHV is to promote responsible and compassionate care of all animals in our community. For more information, call (734) 662-5585 or visit

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Rhythm and mood from canadian singer

Hey everyone. Some of you may not know this, but I'm a bit of a music buff and have almost completely filled the memory available to me in iTunes. It seems impossible, but it's true. What that basically boils down to is that I'm always heading out to see local bands, live music, and finding up-and-coming artists through various websites.

Well one such artist of interest recently infiltrated my radar, and I'm here to plug her and recommend her to those people who are into Rufus Wainwright, Jose Fernandez, Sam Bradley, Laura Marling, and the like. She mixes a 50s-era vocal with some modern keys. She hails from Canada and has been performing on tour there to sold-out venues. She writes her own music and her songs all vary with her mood, which I appreciate because you get variety in a performance.

Her new album is called "Famous For Fire" and can be purchased through her MySpace page, or on iTunes. Check her out if you like indie rock.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Easter Bunny is Coming!

If you're looking for something to do with your children Saturday morning, Milan is the place to be. Milan Parks and Recreation will host an Easter Egg Hunt and Milan Relay for Life will hold a pancake breakfast. I attended last year with my boyfriend and his two sons. While I got some incredibly cute photos of local children with the Easter Bunny for the newspaper and great video for our Web site, Scott and Aaron gathered up oodles and oodles of candy. They had so much candy, they couldn't eat it all, even over several weeks. It's a great event for kids, and the pancake breakfast is for a very worthy cause. Make sure to preregister for the Easter Egg Hunt by Friday. See The Milan News-Leader for details. I'll be there and I hope to see you, too.

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