Gawlas not a write-in candidate for Ward 2

October 24, 2008 by  
Filed under News

John Gawlas, Ypsilanti City Council (Dem, Ward 2)

John Gawlas

Despite reports that had been swirling around for weeks, John Gawlas (Dem, Ward 2) is not a write-in candidate for Ypsilanti City Council on the city’s westside.

Gawlas, a 3-term, 12-year incumbent was defeated by Mike Bodary (Dem) in the August Democratic Primary. Bodary will not face a challenger in November.

According to both the County and City Clerk offices, no candidates had filed for write-in status in the City of Ypsilanti as of the 4pm Friday deadline.

In Ward 1, two-term incumbent Lois Richardson (Dem) has an independent challenger Mike Bugard. Bugard, has not been seen campaigning and unconfirmed reports that he no longer lives in the ward. Bugard has not returned a call from

In Ward 3, in a open seat vacated by Brian Filipiak (Dem) who has decided to not run for a second term, there are three contenders. Former Mayor Pete Murdock (Dem) who won the August Democratic Primary over Rod Johnson (Dem) has two challengers, Mike Eller and Ted Windish both listed as independents. However, while Eller is running as an independent, he is chairman of the America First Party of Michigan, an ultra-conservative party that first registered with the Secretary of State in February 2008.

One office that does have a write-in is for Ypsilanti District Library Board. Audrey Tisdale filed her paper work this week. Tisdale lives in Ypsilanti Township and has been a registered voter since 2002. Four others are already on the ballot for four open positions. They are Brian Steimel, Kay Williams, Jean Winborn, Jim Vick. The top four in vote count will hold seats on the library board.

Here is a complete list of write-in candidates in Washtenaw County

State Representative – 52nd District
Tom Partridge 4220 Eyrie Dr. Apt. 14
Ann Arbor, MI 48103 734-929-0769

Dexter Village Clerk
Carol J. Jones 7545 Third St.
Dexter, MI 48130 734-426-8114

Pittsfield Township Supervisor
Christina L. Lirones 151 E. Textile Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 734-944-0639

Pittsfield Township Clerk
Karen Zera 5635 Thomas Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 734-973-0280

Pittsfield Township Treasurer
Feliziana Meyer 6767 Robison
Saline, MI 48176 734-316-2332

Pittsfield Township Trustee
Kenneth Brostrom 314 Tamarack Dr.
Saline, MI 48176 734-429-2127
Andrea Urda-Thompson 7760 Crane
Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734-434-7654

Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioner
Marsha Lathiun 828 Cliffs Dr., 301 E
Ypsilanti, MI 48198 734-485-6067
Lonnie Scott 550 Kennedy Ave.
Ypsilanti, MI 48198 734-323-6028
Charles Taylor 8783 Aqua Ln.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734-879-0704

Ypsilanti District Library Board
Audrey Louise Tisdale 5900 Bridge Rd, Apt. 502
Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734-478-2816

Video: Ypsilanti City Council October 21, 2008 (Update1)

October 24, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Video

Part 1
Part 2

The big story from tonight’s Ypsilanti City Council meeting was the approval by city council for funding for AATA service. The City approved an nearly $70,000 increase in annual funding for AATA topping out at over $257,000 per year.

Presentation on Aerotropolis Corporation

Marsha L. Ennis, Aerotropolis Project Manager says Aerotropolis could create 60,000 new jobs. Ennis discussed a 10-bill package before the House in Lansing to change state economic development programs to assist Aerotropolis in attracting new business ventures. Ennis is thinking that Aerotropolis would use Local District Financing Authority (LDFA). A $50,000 annual fee would be paid for local governments though Ypsilanti would be exempt as they are part of the founding board.

Council approves on second reading the rezoning of the Hudson Motors/Automotive Heritage Museum.

Audience Participation. Lisa Walters and Lisa Zuber spoke in a tribute to John Gawlas as this is his last meeting before the next election. Beth Bashert also spoke to thank Gawlas for his willingness to take it on the chin for the city. Mayor’s remarks. Mayor Paul Schreiber (Dem) also thanked Gawlas for his service.

Minutes of Oct 3, 2008 were approved with one change.

Consent Agenda was approved with no discussion.
1. Resolution No. 2008-215, approving the Downtown Development Authority Blueprints Plan.
2. Resolution No. 2008-216, approving Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Cost Agreement for Traffic Signal Control M17 (Washtenaw Ave.) at Hamilton St.
3. Resolution No. 2008-217, approving Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Cost Agreement for Traffic Signal Control M17 (Huron St.) at Michigan Ave.
4. Resolution No. 2008-218, approving Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Cost Agreement for Traffic Signal Control M17 (Washtenaw Ave.) at Oakwood St.
5. Resolution No. 2008-219, approving Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Cost Agreement for Traffic Signal Control US 12 BR (Huron St.) at Catherine St.
6. Resolution No. 2008-220, approving Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Cost Agreement for Traffic Signal Control US 12 BR, M17 (Michigan Ave.) at
Washington St.
7. Resolution No. 2008-221, approving an agreement with Washtenaw County Community Development, Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) for
the City of Ypsilanti Sidewalk Ramp Replacement Program.
8. Resolution No. 2008-230, approving a contract with Ypsilanti Restoration, LLC for site work and wood repairs at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse.

Council approved the Aerotropolis Interlocal agreement. Bill Nickels (Dem, Ward 2) said the formation of the Aerotropolis was much like the formation of our country but without giving up local right like the states gave up their rights. Schreiber said Aerotrpolis was complicated and difficult to understand. No other discussion and the resolution was approved unanimously.

Next on the agenda was a series of resolutions outlining policies and procedures for granting tax abatements. Assistant City manager April McGrath introduced the presenters. Teresa Gilotti and Courtney Miller then presented the policies, process and fees for any future tax abatements.

This is a stunning new and sweeping policy. The new policy puts forth that any business locating in a property that is receiving a tax abatement must also pay a living wage. So this could apply to any home business. It isn’t clear if this requirement is only during the abatement period or for the life of the building. After the meeting we asked Ms. Gillotti if we misunderstood the policy and she said we did not but this was not a change but a a continuation of the existing Living Wage Law. Requiring a tenant that is not receiving the benefit of the tax abatement to pay prevailing wage would be a huge change in how the law is applied in Ypsilanti. City Manager Ed Koryzno said that he did not read the policy in the same way it was presented and would look in to the matter. YpsiNews will report back once the issue of tax abatements and living wage is clarified.

AATA funding was approved by council by a unanimous vote. Lois Richardson (Dem, Ward 1) renewed her request for how much funding AATA receives for providing service. The City manager said he was unable to get that information from AATA. Yet why didn’t the manager or City respond earlier rather than waiting until the night of the vote. Funding to AATA goes up by 39% over last year.

The City renews their request for full funding for fire service from the State. A letter will be sent.

Council proposed business
Richardson thanked Gawlas and Filipiak for their service on Council.
Brian Filipiak (Dem, Ward 3) brought up the savings of using LED for traffic signals. Filipiak also gave his swan song speech.
Robb asked about MERS investments and possible new costs from the general fund. Robb brought up the College of Business parking lot. Asked for fines for illegal dumping in downtown dumpsters.
Gawlas said goodbye and thanks. Sorry about the flowers, we did not put them there.
Nickels said thanks for Filipak and Gawlas as well.
Trudy Swanson (Dem, Ward 1) said goodbye to Gawlas and Filipiak saying Filipiak reminds him of a old teenager and that she will miss the 30 minute speeches from Gawlas.

Communications from the Mayor. Thanked Gawlas and Filipiak for their service.

Communications from City Manager Ed Koryzno. He has arranged for a guest speaker for the first council meeting after the election to talk about place. More thanks to Gawlas and Filipiak.

Audience Participation. Kevin Hill spoke about left turns on Michigan Avenue. Steve Pierce asked the council to support the request for public parking at the EMU structure downtown.

Mayor Schreiber said the EMU parking request should be pursued in a cautious manor.

Council adjourned at 9:55p.

Update1: November 3, 2008 12:14a Corrected the spelling of Teresa Gilloti’s name. Changed Prevailing Wage to Living Wage. The laws are different. Both errors were in reporting.

The City has also told YpsiNews the Living Wage ordinance would only apply to the recipient of the tax abatement. Tenants and residents working or living in properties receiving tax abatements would not be subject to the the Living Wage Ordinance. The City said they were incorrect in the information they presented to City Council about the Living Wage ordinance and the impact on tax abatements.

Video: Ypsilanti DDA, October 16, 2008 (Update 1)

October 23, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Video

Meeting notes from the Ypsilanti DDA.

YpsiNews brought up during audience participation that the DDA violated the Open Meetings Act on October 3 and that no one from the DDA including the DDA director has not responded to our inquiries or admitted there was a problem.

DDA Director Brian Vosburg passed out, during a public meeting no less, the minutes from the closed session held on October 3, 2008. After the minutes were approved, he quickly collected them back up.

Tree lighting. The DDA has $3,000 budgeted for lights. Director Brian Vosberg will call a contractor to get a quote to install new lights and see if DPW is putting up the lights and garland.

0h:11m David Curtis is continuing to work on the locks for the dumpsters. A discussion on the dumpsters then ensued. Mayor Paul Schreiber said the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti meeting on Wednesday discussed the continue problems with dumpster. When Brian Vosburg was hired in the June 2006 he was directed by the DDA board to make the dumpsters a top priority. Two years later the dumpsters continue to be a problem and the DDA does not have a clear plan to fix the current problems with dumpster divers, and overflowing containers. One concern brought up was tenants would not remember the code. Though no one mentioned it, that is easy to solve. The landlords could but a small sign on the inside of their building by the door most people use to take out their trash with the current dumpster code.
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Video: Ypsilanti DDA Blueprints update October 22, 2008

October 22, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Video

The Ypsilanti Downtown Development authority (DDA) held a public update meeting on Blueprints and the Mainstreet program. The meeting was held in the acoustically challenged Riverside Arts Center Off-center main room so we apologize for the sound quality.

Daily Crime Report

October 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Breaking News

Sunday night was not a good night to be out on the street in Ypsilanti as one woman was robbed and a man was assaulted in two separate events.

8:50p : The Ypsilanti Police Department is investigating an unarmed robbery that occurred at approximately 8:50 p.m. October 19 on the bridge located on Leforge Rd. Ypsilanti Police reported that two male suspects approached a female EMU student walking north on the bridge and demanded her purse. The suspects took her purse and a binder. The suspects then fled south on foot toward the Peninsular Apartment Complex. The purse and binder were the only items reported as stolen. The victim was uninjured.

The victim described the two suspects as African American males. The victim described one suspect as wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with a tee shirt or bandana pulled up over his face and possibly wearing khaki pants. The victim described the second suspect as wearing a larger dark hooded sweatshirt, but was unable to provide anything further.

11:50p : The Ypsilanti Police Department is investigating an attempted unarmed robbery that occurred at approximately 11:50 p.m. on October 19, at the intersection of St. Johns and Ann St. Ypsilanti Police reported that three male suspects approached a male EMU student walking across the intersection when one suspect punched the victim in the head and demanded money. The suspects then fled on foot in an unknown direction. Nothing was reported stolen. The victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The victim described the three suspects as African American males. The victim described the suspect that punched him as having a light skin complexion, light facial hair, 6’ – 6’1”, 175 lbs., wearing a dark coat and black doo rag. The victim was unable to provide any physical description of the other two suspects.

Home invasion in Ypsilanti, EMU student tied up and robbed at gun point (Update 1)

October 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Breaking News

(October 16, 2008) Ypsilanti Police are reporting that a resident on Gregory street on Ypsilanti’s Westside was bound and robbed at gun point in his apartment. The incident happened about 1:30a on Wednesday.

Police said the resident, an EMU student, reported that two black men were wearing bandannas over their faces and carrying handguns. The suspects took money and other items from the apartment.

Update 1 (1:12p October 16, 2008): YpsiNews received an email at 11:21a from Ypsilanti Police Chief Harshberger with additional information and a correction to the information originally released by Eastern Michigan. Harshberger said the robbery occurred at 1:30a and the victim did not report the robbery until some 12.5 hours to 2pm. Ypsinews originally reported the robbery occurred at 1:30p as that was the time stated in the release for Eastern Michigan. Harshberger also said the victim was involved in growing marijuana at the apartment and this appears to be a planned robbery of an illicit drug operation and not a random robbery. Harshberger says the investigation continues.

Video: HDC approves solar project for City Hall

October 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Breaking News

(October 15, 2008) On Tuesday night, the Ypsilanti Historic District Commission took up the issue of solar panels on City Hall. Over 20 solar supporters came to encourage approval. After an hour long discussion, the HDC approved solar panels on City Hall with Christian Overland the lone dissenting vote.

Related Story: Opinion: HDC should support Solar project at City Hall

Minor league baseball coming to Ypsilanti

October 10, 2008 by  
Filed under News

Minor league baseball is coming to Ypsilanti in 2009

Minor league baseball is coming to Ypsilanti in 2009

EMU Athletics office announced that minor league baseball is coming to Ypsilanti. The Midwest Sliders will play at Oestrike field on EMU’s campus starting in 2009.

The Sliders are part of the Frontier League and last played in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania in 2007. Their new office is in Waterford, Michigan and the general manager is Rob Hilliard.

Video: Ypsilanti City Council October 7, 2008

October 9, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Video

The Ypsilanti Police Department and the Friends of the Ypsilanti Police received an award and a $15,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation. The funds are unrestricted and may be used as the police determines.

The City announces that this week is fire prevention week in Ypsilanti.

City Staff presented their Economic Development Work Plan.

Richard Murphy from the Planning Department brought forward a rezoning of the Automotive Heritage Museum (the Hudson dealer). It was approved unanimously with the exception of Bill Nickels that abstained because he sits on the museum board.

Leaf pickup came back for the third time. Karl Barr Jr. stated there was an urgency to get the ordinance passed before the leaves start falling. The city simplified the ordinance to make sure that leaves are not swept into the streets and branches are properly bundled.

Audience Participation. Gary Hann congratulated the council for their fiscal management and thanked Ypsilanti Police Chief Matt Harshberger. Hann is still unhappy about the trash removal and a fine that is costing him some $330.

Sadly, No one else spoke at audience participation.
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Opinion: HDC should support Solar project at City Hall

by Dave Strenski

We have the final design. We have the money. We have the community support. All we need is the HDC to approve the project. Please spread the word to help convince Ypsilanti’s Historic District Commission to approve this project.

The Ypsilanti Solar Project is on the Historic District Commission agenda for this Tuesday evening October 14, 2008 at 7:00pm.

Dave Strenski will be addressing the Commission to ask for approval to install 12 solar panels on the back of the City Hall building. We need as many people as possible to attend as a show of support. The Commission is divided about whether to approve the project.

Citizens ask to put solar panels on City Hall at no cost to the city.

We have compiled a report of all past HDC minutes and City Council minutes pertaining to this project, plus an 1887 picture of City Hall from James Mann’s 2002 book, Ypsilanti, a History in Pictures (Arcadia publishing, Chicago).

Over the past 18 months the HDC has generally expressed support for this project, while also asking many questions about aesthetics, precedence, and impact on the building structure. Most recently the HDC requested a review of the design by a licensed structural engineer. On October 8th Fitzpatrick Structural Engineering completed this review, and we now have a final design which will not damage the old brickwork, and which may actually strengthen the building’s wall.

You can see the design on the Sustainable Ypsilanti website. (3.7MB)

You can also read about the project in an article from the Ypsilanti Courier.

There will be an opportunity at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting for public input on agenda items. Below are a few points people could mention:
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