It Takes A Town To Make A Video – How Was I To Know?

June 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Humor, News, Video

This is the story of  the making of a music video.  Before reporting how it was made, is proud to report where it was made – In Ypsilanti, Michigan.  Ypsilantian Ken MacGregor is a strong proponent of supporting local businesses.  With this music video he is trying to do his part to bring national, perhaps even global, attention to our city as a place of “enormous creative potential.”

It started with an idea for a song, but since MacGregor, the man with the idea, couldn’t write  music, play music, or even sing – he needed help.  He found it in Adam Dahl: singer, songwriter, guitarist. Together, they hashed out the lyrics, and within an hour had completed “How Was I To Know?” They played the song for friends and family with positive response.  Dahl & MacGregor both got the song stuck in their heads and figured that was a good sign.  Adam commented, half-joking, “We should make a music video!”  Ken responded, “You know… I know people who do that.”

MacGregor sent out emails and used his connections with local Ypsilanti talent to set things in motion.  He said, “I could see it in my head, and once I could do that, I knew I could make it happen in the real world…or at least on camera.”  Ken contacted videographer Scott Hatkow, who agreed to work pro bono saying, “I’ve always wanted to do a music video.”  MacGregor also called upon Kelly Jean Passage, the female lead in a zombie horror / comedy he’ll be  shooting this summer.  Passage loved the song and was enthusiastic about being in the video.  Matthew Fulton,  a buddy from high school, now a Kung Fu instructor happily agreed to choreograph the fight scenes.  A recording session was scheduled, filming locations were confirmed and they were ready to go.

Kelly Jean Passage had never studied martial arts, a key element of the video.  After a month of rehearsing fight choreography, Matthew Fulton had her looking like a mighty warrior, very convincing on camera as a competent Kung Fu practitioner.  Matthew also provided the armor used in the video and appeared as an extra.  The first day of shooting was devoted entirely to the fight scene, and was shot over five hours on a day with intermittent rain showers. They had to stop taping often to run into the garage out of the rain.  Shooting would resume when there was a break in the clouds.  MacGregor ended up ill after shooting scenes where he repeatedly had to fall  on the wet grass.  His enthusiasm still evident he remarked, “It was totally worth it. We got some great footage!”

The gym scene was shot at Ypsi Studio, a small fitness and wellness center in Ypsilanti on Michigan Avenue.  Julia Collins, the owner, donated the use of the space and agreed to fill in as an extra.  MacGregor also called in Dave Rahbari at the last minute as an extra-extra-extra playing three different parts.   The final location was Haab’s Restaurant, an Ypsilanti landmark.  There, the production was aided by a very helpful staff, including the bartender who made the actors fake cocktails to drink.

The video went up on YouTube on June 1, and is  already closing in on  1,000 hits.  YouTube has begun putting ads on the video, which can be assumed means  they think it’s doing pretty well.  It’s definitely a positive statement about the local talent in Ypsilanti.

WATCH VIDEO:  How Was I To Know?

EMU debates concealed guns on campus

December 2, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

EMU Student government hosted a debate over propsed changes to Michigan’s Concealed Carry laws. Representatives from the NRA and the EMU Police department argued for and against the concealed carry of firearms on campus.

Advocating for concealed carry was Reid Smith, a member of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, and Professor David Coy, an accounting professor at Adrian college and a volunteer on the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association. Coy arrived about 15 minutes late.

Arguing against guns on campus was Paul Leighton, a criminology professor at EMU, and Greg O’Dell, Chief of the EMU Department of Public Safety.

Just over 100 students, staff, visitors, and EMU police officers attended the nearly two hour debate.

Michigan law prohibits anyone under 21 to carry a concealed weapon. So a large number of EMU students would not be permitted to hold a concealed pistol license as they are too young.

Chief O’Dell said he was opposed to the possession of guns on campus as it would increase the rates of suicide. O’Dell said cops have an extraordinarily high rate of suicide because of easy access to guns.

According to NIH and the FBI, police officers are twice as likely to commit suicide as the general public. Leading one audience member to ask after the debate if perhaps EMU police officers should not be permitted to carry guns on campus.

Ann reported about one student who told the story, “My aunt was murdered by someone with a concealed weapons permit,” she said as her voice began to crack and she fought back tears. “Just because people go through these classes doesn’t mean they won’t kill someone.”

The student wouldn’t give her name and left before the debate ended. A student sitting next to her said the aunt was killed by a family member in their home. The murder apparently had nothing to do with the concealed carry of a firearm.

Under Michigan law and the Michigan State Constitution, concealed carry is currently allowed on the campuses of public universities except concealed carry in dormitories and classrooms. The EMU Board of Regents passed a rule against the possession of any firearms while on campus.

According to a recent ruling from Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and the Michigan State Police, licensed concealed carry permit holders may openly carry a firearm into a pistol exclusion zones including dormitories and classrooms.

The carrying of a concealed weapon on campus can be confusing. During the debate, it was pointed out that off-duty police officers that are also EMU students have carried firearms into classrooms. This is apparently a violation of the Regents policy. According to the university no action has been taken against these students.

Moreover, an officer or CPL holder that drives to EMU and then safely stores their firearm in their vehicle is still in violation of EMU Regents policy while their actions are legal under state law. Michigan State University Regents addressed this confusion as they too had a complete ban on firearms.

In June 2009, MSU Regents changed rules to allow the carrying of concealed weapons in open spaces by licensed concealed permit holders while still barring firearms in buildings. According to MSU spokesman Kent Cassella, “The rules were changed to better align with county and state law.”

Lansing’s reported, “At the University of Michigan, guns still are completely banned, with the county prosecutor enforcing the ban, (MSU Trustee Colleen) McNamara said. She said the prosecutor who handles crime on MSU’s campus did not prosecute people who violated MSU’s ordinance, instead siding with state law and prompting the board’s vote to change policy.”

Daniel Throop Revolutionary War Veteran Memorial

July 5, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

A new headstone and memorial mark the long lost grave of a Revolutionary War veteran. Over three hundred people attended the memorial service for Capt. Daniel Throop (prounounced Troop) at Judd Cemetery in York township on Friday.

Throop served in the 2nd Regiment, Connecticut Light Horse, and according to records fought in the Battle of Lexington in 1775.

Washtenaw Road Commissioner Fred Veigel, Realtor Gary Lillie, and Ann Arbor Attorney and Washtenaw Historic District Commissioner Elmer White spent two years researching Throop’s gravesite and service record. They also raised the money and organized volunteers to acquire the marker and organize the event.

Decedents of Throop drove 140 miles from Alma Michigan in Central Michigan to attend the event. Daniel Throop, Jr. spoke on behalf of the family and thanked the volunteers and crowd for honoring one of their decedents.

Watch a slide show of the memorial service with photos taken by John Reiser.

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Video: Future of the Autos and retraining in Michigan

Congressman John Dingell (D, Mi-15) hosted U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis for a round table meeting at Eastern Michigan University about the ‘autos’ and worker retraining. The meeting was timely given the announcement on Monday that GM was closing the Ypsilanti Township Willow Run transmission factory at the end of 2010.

Also present were local elected officials, EMU President Susan Martin, and representatives from AFL-CIO and the UAW.

Video: Watch entire Ypsilanti Human Relations Committee meeting May 28, 2009

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

The Human Relations Committee met on Thursday, May 28, 2009 and voted to ask the Ypsilanti City Council to change the name of the Ypsitucky music festival.

Related Stories
Ypsilanti Human Relations Commission asks City Council to change name of Ypsitucky music event
Video: DTCDC Director speaks after HRC recommends name change for Ypsitucky event

Video: DTCDC Director speaks after HRC recommends name change for Ypsitucky event

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Breaking News, News, Video

Erik Dotzauer, Executive Director Depot Town Community Development Corporation, talks with reporters after the Ypsilanti Human Relations Commission meeting. The HRC had earlier passed a resolution suggesting the City Council meet with the DTCDC to change the name of the Ypsitucky Jamboree.

View letter to HRC from DTCDC from May 20, 2009.

Video: Watch complete Ypsilanti Human Relations Committee Ypsitucky meeting

May 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

The Human Relations Committee met on Monday to hear both sides of the continuing debate over the use of the word Ypsitucky to promote a Labor Day music festival sponsored by the Depot Town Community Development Corporation.

Officials from the DTCDC told the commission it was too late to change the name, they were already promoting the event.

The commission decided to schedule another meeting as soon as possible to continue the discussion.

Video: Commission meets on Ypsitucky name for music festival, decides on nothing

May 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Breaking News, News, Video

The Human Relations Committee met this evening to hear both sides of the continuing debate over the use of the word Ypsitucky to promote a Labor Day music festival sponsored by the Depot Town Community Development Corporation. The commission decided to schedule another meeting as soon as possible to continue the discussion.

Officials from the DTCDC told the commission it was too late to change the name, they were already promoting the event.

HRC Chair Cliff Larkins talks after the meeting how the issue came before the commission.

Correction: Mr. Larkins name is misspelled in the title of the video. The error is ours and we apologize to Mr. Larkins for misspelling his name.

Video: Freighthouse receives $500,000 grant

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

Ypsilanti will restore historic railroad freighthouse for community use

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced during a ceremonial check presentation that a historic railroad freighthouse in Ypsilanti will soon see new life as a community center, farmers market, café and historic education center.

The city of Ypsilanti will restore the historic Ypsilanti Freighthouse, one of 22 transportation enhancement (TE) projects recently announced to benefit Michigan communities, with $500,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funds. U.S. Congressman John Dingell also participated in the check presentation.

The 6,500-foot facility is listed on the Michigan State Register of Historic Sites and is located in Depot Town within the city’s local historic district.  The city hopes to reopen the freighthouse as a community facility that would promote cultural tourism and serve as a reminder of the history of railroad activity and early commerce in the area.  Owned by the city, it is operated under the terms of a management contract by the Friends of the Ypsilanti Freighthouse, a 501C (3) organization.  To repurpose the 1878 building, the city will make major structural improvements to the foundation, floor, walls, pilasters, roof and interior mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, HVAC).  These items, outlined in a conditional assessment report, partially funded by a state historic preservation office grant and completed in July 2006, are required to re-open the facility to public use.  The work will begin this fall.

“This project is going to be a tremendous asset to Ypsilanti residents,” said Governor Granholm.  “All across Michigan, projects funded by the Recovery Act will bolster efforts by groups like Friends of the Freighthouse to make positive improvements to their communities.  We look forward to the transformation of this transportation icon of the past into a much-needed resource for the community.”

“This announcement is a real victory for the city of Ypsilanti, the people of Washtenaw County and the state of Michigan,” said Congressman Dingell.  “With these funds, we will be able to preserve a piece of our history, not as a relic or monument, but as a needed civic facility and a true source of pride for Depot Town.  I am so pleased that our freighthouse will once again serve the people of Ypsilanti and Depot Town, and I applaud the governor and the Michigan Department of Transportation for this wise decision to restore a terrific piece of our past and create a new bright spot for our future.”

Ypsilanti has been mentioned as a proposed stop for the Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter demonstration project led by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). The demonstration line would utilize existing tracks with stops at Metro Airport, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Dearborn.

Under federal law, 10 percent of federal surface transportation funds are set aside for TE projects.  The TE funds cannot be used to build or repair roads.  Administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation, TE grants enable communities to invest in landscapes, streetscapes, bike path development and historic preservation.  These grants provide a maximum of 80 percent of the money required for each project, with the remainder coming from state and local government and the private sector.  Local communities benefit from Recovery Act funding, because it is 100 percent federal, with no local match required.  The Recovery Act requires that every state spend three percent of its allocated funding on enhancement projects.

Source: Office of Jennifer Granholm, Governor

Washtenaw Community College votes to reject offer to buy Country Club

March 24, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Video

In a unanimous vote by the Board of Trustees of the Washtenaw Community College, the board has decided to reject the offer to purchase the Washtenaw Country Club.

While several of the board members wanted to purchase the property saying that it was a good deal, they said the perception was it was a bailout of the country club.

Vice-president Pamela Horiszny, who in the past was a vocal supporter for the purchase said, “In these tough economic times, this purchase does not fit with the mission of the college.”

The board had been offered the 122 acre property for assuming the $1.9 million existing debt and a pledge to continue to operate the club for a minimum of 5 years.

Trustees said part of the agreement required the College to preserve the green space and it would have been a better offer had the College had the option to build on the property in the future.

Trustees thanked the board of the Country Club for the generous offer.

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