Inside the Newsroom

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another severe storm and tornado

Last night brought another major rain storm and reported tornado to the area.

Reports suggest that a tornado touched down between Saline and Milan near Saline Milan Road and Jewell Road.

I live in north Ann Arbor and watched off of my balcony as most of the major fronts moved south of us. (See photo)

Fortunatly, my wife and I didn't have the flooding issues we had with the last major storm, and it sounds like those in the proximity of the tornado were also largely spared from damage.

I'd like to hear from those of you in Saline and Milan with tales to tell concerning last night's storm.

If you would like to share your experience for an article in this coming week's paper, email me at

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Results from our latest polls

When do you start getting interested in the Primary Election?
Never: 36 percent
July, closer to the election: 23 percent
Just days prior to the election: 21 percent
After petitions have been filed: 21 percent

What qualities do you look for in a political leader?

Independent thinker: 55 percent
Rapport with 'regular folks': 17 percent
Experience: 17 percent
Agent of change: 10 percent

How did you spend Memorial Day?
Did nothing in particular: 51 percent
Attended community Memorial Day events: 21 percent
Attended a family picnic: 20 percent
Spent time at the pool or lake: 7 percent

What do you do about child care in the summer?
Family members: 40 percent
Summer camps: 32 percent
Daycare facility: 20 percent
Babysitters: 8 percent

What do you really do when there's a tornado warning?
Cautiously wait and see: 49 percent
Take cover in the basement: 31 percent
Ignore it: 11 percent
Take cover in a room without windows: 8 percent


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family Fun Day at Two Twelve Arts Center: Part II

Editor's Note: Below is a story Steven Howard wrote after attending the Two Twelve Arts Center's Family Fun Day. Unfortunately, we had double coverage, as our intern, Randi Shaffer, was there, as well. We ran Randi's story on our website and in print and I thought I'd post Steve's story here so it wasn't a total waste of time. Enjoy!

The Two Twelve Arts Center in Saline held its ‘Carnival of Art’ Family Fun Day on Saturday, offering an abundance of art-related activities as well as many other forms of family entertainment.

Andrew and Deb Hamman, of Saline, brought their three children to the event after reading about all of the exciting things going on there.

Hamman said Tommy, 6, Sarah, 3, and Andrew, 1, participated in a number of the games and activities.

“We’ve done the water color, face painting, the raffle,” he said. “The kids love it.”

Art instructor Cindy Baxter was teaching children and adults how to make enormous bubbles using a special bubble-blowing device.

As she instructed Carter Baxter, 6, of Saline, Harris said good bubbles come from a good bubble mix.

“It’s all up to the bubble solution,” she said, suggesting she tried several different mixtures and percentages before arriving at an agreeable formula.

Another entertaining moment came when Pat Collins and Leo Babcock performed their classic comedy routine.

Babcock said he thoroughly enjoys enacting segments, such as the “Who’s on First” bit they staged on Saturday.

“I’ve always been kind of a sing and dance man by night,” he said,” architect by day.”

Babcock also regularly appears with the Dexter Community Players.

Collins, who can be seen with the Saline Area Players, said the pair’s act came naturally.

“We just started doing it,” said the 30 year Saline resident.

Babcock said the pair began practicing the classic comedy routine about three years ago.

Also at the event was Lillian Collins, who was collecting money for the organization ‘Milk Money for Mali.’

Collins said she decided she needed to do something about the pervasive child homelessness problem in the country after traveling there with university colleagues.

“I went to Mali on a study abroad program through Michigan State University,” she said. “It’s pretty hard not to notice the problem of childhood homelessness there.”

MMFM collects money to be sent to the impoverished nation, which goes toward the most vital staples such as milk.

“We’ve sent almost $1,000,” Collins said, indicating the funds raised are transported directly by an MSU faculty member.

Once the school where many homeless children attend received the most recent money, administrators were immediately able to buy a large supply of milk, something they had run out of recently.

“She went out and bought 14 boxes of 45 bottles of milk,” Collins said.

As with the theme of the day, Collins also offered a booth with traditional Malian textile painting.

She also sold handmade t-shirts with the organizations logo for $15.

Also on display on Saturday, were many pieces by local artist Robert Kinsey.

Gaines Collins said Kinsey first displayed his work at Two Twelve as part of a collaborative teen exhibit, but his work made him stand out from the crowd.

“He was just exceptional,” she said.
Kinsey’s collection is called ‘Rust’ and will be available for viewing at the center until June 30.

The Two Twelve Art Center is located at 212 W. Michigan Ave. in Saline.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sometimes event coverage gets to me

I've covered multiple charity events within my few years as a college reporter/ intern. Some of them include coverages of a powderpuff football game for cancer, a "jock rock" event to benefit Haiti relief, a mascot basketball game to benefit the American Lung Association and a blood drive competition for the American Red Cross.

The most recent charity event I had a chance to cover, however, was the Michigan Chapter of the ALS's Gears and Beers, ride for a cure.

This event, like most charity events, was simple. Grab some sponsors, get some money, bike a few (or many) miles and enjoy the after party.

I wasn't really prepared for the impact this event had on some of the participants though.

One woman I talked to had recently lost her father to ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Her brother recently developed the disease and she faces a possible risk of inheriting it, since it runs in the family. Instead of accepting defeat, this woman worked with a team of about 20 other event participants to raise $15,000 toward a cure. Incredible.

Another woman, suffering herself, recently lost her mother to ALS. She told me, tears streaming down her face the entire time, all about her mother and the impact this disease has had on her family.

This isn't the first touching charity event I've had to cover. It's also far from the last. However, it's events like these that remind me of what I love: to hear people tell their stories. If I could make a living out of hearing these stories and telling them to other people... Oh. Wait. I think there's a career for that.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Original Gravity in Milan celebrates two years

I went to Original Gravity Brewing Company in Milan for the first time last week to cover a fund raising effort for the Village of Dundee.

I met with the owner Brad Sancho, and found out he had to make a major career shift in order to follow his dream of brewing and selling beer.

Sancho was a mechanical engineer, testing diesel emissions, when he got bored and decided he wanted to do something he felt was more rewarding.

Having made home brews as a hobby for a few years, Sancho decided to start looking for a building that could house a beer-making operation and be purchased at a reasonable price.

When he found his location on County Street in Milan, he took the plunge and hasn't looked back for two years now.

It really is quite wonderful to see someone following their passion and doing well at it.

So, happy two year anniversary Original Gravity.



Friday, June 11, 2010

Blogging 101 at the Saline Senior Center

Jeff Smith, our photo intern from Ann Arbor, and I headed over to the Saline Senior Center this morning to teach "Blogging 101" and instead of me teaching the seniors a thing or two, they taught me.

I must admit that I am not that knowledgeable about technology, although I hide it very well. I am on Facebook and I use Twitter, and I've been blogging for four years, but I am the type of person who sets up that stuff and I just kind of figure it out on my own, with just a basic understanding. As long as I can get done what I need to do, I am satisfied. I don't do anything really fancy or amazing. I just send out messages, and share links, photos and video.

I've been tweeting since January 2009 for The Saline Reporter, Milan News-Leader and added A2 Journal in July 2009. I've been on Facebook maybe three years and I've experimented there by uploading photos and video, and sharing links. I even expanded my horizons -- and responsibilities -- by creating a Facebook page for The Saline Reporter/The Milan News-Leader, The A2 Journal and Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary. I also upload all of the web content for The Saline Reporter, Milan News-Leader and A2 Journal on our website -- after training and following step-by-step instructions that I have since memorized.

So, it appears as if I am tech savvy, but I had to have our graphic arts department create my Twitter background and I don't know how to upload audio, although Jeff has offered to show me. Yes, an unpaid intern who is supposed to be learning from us (check out his photo blog) is going to teach me. And so that brings me back to this morning.

Luckily, I was smart enough to bring Jeff along because he really did all of the work. The eight seniors who signed up learned, for the most part, all they needed from him, and I tried to help troubleshoot, although I suspect I wasn't very good at that. I put together some blogging packets, with information from Blogger on how to create a blog, but we ended up showing them how on Word Press because Blogger wanted to confirm via a text and a lot of seniors don't have cell phones that have texting capabilities.

My initial thought was that I would end up with a group of seniors who weren't really familiar with the Internet and I would do more talking. But, boy, was I wrong. My little talk about blogging was less than five minutes and then surprise, surprise, they all wanted to set up their own blogs immediately. I thought maybe one person would want to and we would all huddle around that person as Jeff explained the process. Instead, poor Jeff, jumped from computer to computer and individual to individual helping them each set up a blog.

Evelyn Griffin was one of our students -- or rather, I should say, I was her student. We initially struggled with Blogger and then got her going on Word Press. When it was all said and done, she was showing me her Walgreens account, where she stores digital photos. She has a slide show on there and she has colorized photos. She even told me about the PowerPoint she is working on or had worked on, I can't remember which. She is way more advanced than me. I've never put together a PowerPoint. I don't even use a website to upload photos to be printed, such as Walgreens or Flickr. I usually go to Walmart and insert my storage device and place an order, and it has been at least a year, maybe two, since I've done that.

My intention in holding the class was to get senior citizens started on blogging in hopes that maybe a few of them would like to become one of our blogging partners, joining the ranks of local residents April Scarlett, Emily Wilson and Kristin Judge. While many of my "students" at the senior center created family blogs, the invitation is still out there and is good for anyone with an interest. I am looking for blogs of general interest, such as local history, local happenings, gardening advice, books/reading, the active life of a senior citizen, etc. So, if you're interested, send me an e-mail and we will set you up. Your blog will appear in our Blog Center and we will promote it in print. In turn, we ask that you add our headline widget so your blog followers may click over to our news site to read some of our stories of interest.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A lot of rain, a flooded apartment and a huge headache

The first big seasonal storm of 2010 came through Washtenaw County last night, and left my wife and I with a flooded apartment.

We live in northeast Ann Arbor and were hit fairly hard with rain as many other people in the county were.

While we consider ourselves fortunate not to have seen damage as those in Dundee experienced via a tornado, the standing water ruined all of our carpet, as well as everything sitting on the ground.

Some of our furniture will have to be replaced due to mold concerns, and we already had a crew come by and rip out the carpeting.

It all came to pass when my dog started barking around 1:30 a.m. because he heard our neighbors outside talking loudly. I put my feet down on the floor, directly in to about three inches of standing water.

The next few hours were spent moving everything that wasn't already soaked to higher ground and trying to track down maintenance to get the ball rolling on a solution.

The carpet was removed around 8:30 a.m. after the water had subsided, but the planned equipment to dry the place could not be turned on because the power went out around 9 a.m. (And has yet to be restored)

This presented another big issue because I take a weekly drug that needs to be refrigerated at all times, so we decided to drive to my wife's office to stash the medicine, and some perishable food, in the refrigerator there.

All in all quite a mess.

A positive note in all of this is the way our neighbors have come together to extend help to one another in a trying time.

In all, around 10 apartments were flooded in our complex, and we all pitched in a little to help rectify and save whatever and wherever.

Hopefully we'll straighten the rest out this week.

I didn't like my shoes anyway.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 4, 2010

A beautiful night at the fair

I'm sitting at the Milan Community Fair right now on a breezy, warm evening.

The fireworks are to begin just after dusk, but some rain clouds in the distance look intense.

Hopefully, the wet weather will hold off at least until after the show.

I watched 'Torn' play a set earlier, and they were quite good.

All the Milan regulars are here, as well as plenty of visitors from neighboring communities.

Saturday is kids day at the fair, so be sure to bring the family down if you haven't already.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]