Friday, June 23, 2017

Clean up underway Border to Border Trail Water Street Redevelopment area Ypsilanti


Many residents in Ypsilanti may be wondering what is happening with the Border to Border Trail located in the Water Street Redevelopment area in Ypsi. The portion of the picturesque trail that winds along the Huron River between Grove Road and Michigan Ave has been closed for over a year due to soil contamination at the site of the trail located in the Water Street Redevelopment area.

Purple Walrus Press recently reached out to Ypsilanti Director of Economic Development Beth Ernat for information regarding the current status of the trail. Ernat told PWP that the section of the trail situated between Grove Rd and Michigan Ave has been closed due to the fact that the City found contaminated soils around the path. Ernat stated that this portion of the path has been closed since the trail was built.

In order to create a solution to the contamination issue, the City of Ypsilanti received a grant from the Washtenaw County Brownfield Authority for remediation activities surrounding the trail. Ernat added that the Trail itself remains safe because the asphalt creates a sufficient barrier.

According to Ernat, "Remediation work will be on-going into July. Currently, clean fill has been brought to the site and small site preparation activities have occurred."

Trucks and heavy machinery will be on-site for the next few weeks in order to dig and scrape the contaminated soil off the area before adding clean soil.

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Photos Purple Walrus Press.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Homicide suspect wanted for questioning in death of Ypsilanti/Detroit resident Latisha Bargaineer


According to a Thursday, June 22 press release from the Ypsilanti Police Department, on June 20, 2017, the Ypsilanti Police Department was notified that a possible homicide suspect may be residing within the city of Ypsilanti. The Ypsilanti Police Department was advised after Detroit Police were investigating the death of 29 year old Ypsilanti/Detroit resident Latisha Bargaineer. On June 18, 2017, Bargaineer was found deceased in a red Ford Flex. The vehicle was typically driven by her boyfriend Demetrius Montgomery. According to the press release, Ypsilanti Police discovered what is being considered a possible crime scene inside the couples Ypsilanti apartment that is located in the 300 block of W. Cross St.

According to the press release, "Mr. Montgomery is wanted for questioning involving Ms. Bargaineer's death." According to police Montgomery may be in a black GMC Yukon, Michigan Reg. of DRR6262 taken from Montgomery's cousin near the area of the location where Bargaineer was found. According to the release, "Until further evidence indicated otherwise, we are treating this case as a homicide."

Mr. Montgomery is not in custody. It is important that he be approached with caution. Police add Mr. Montgomery is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

News Alert: Officer stabbed in neck Bishop Airport in Flint Wednesday morning. Flint City Hall on lock down.

Updated Wednesday June 21, 2017,  6:20 PM.

WJRT ABC 12 News station in Flint is reporting that an officer has been stabbed in the neck at Bishop Airport in Flint. Officials have stated that a police officer was stabbed in the neck around 9 AM Wednesday, morning June 21. According to WJRT Channel 12 News Flint, Bishop Airport has been evacuated and is now closed as of 12:32 Wednesday afternoon.

Sources have stated to WJRT Flint that Lieutenant Jeff Neville, who retired from the Genesse County Sheriff's Office, has been stabbed in the neck. Neville is currently listed in stable condition. Sources tell WJRT News that Neville was attacked from behind while stationed near the escalators by an individual with a large knife.

According to Channel 12 News Flint, the western side of Bishop Airport is lined with police and emergency vehicles. The police and law enforcement vehicles are backed up from Bristol to Torrey Road in Flint near the airport.

According to airport officials all of the passengers are safe, although sources tell WJRT that there were 100 people at one point who were standing on the sidewalk in front of the terminal.

As of 12:32 PM Wednesday, Flint City Hall and the Flint Police Dept are on lock down for precautionary reasons according to WJRT.

This is a developing story. Please stay tuned for updates.

As of 2:34 PM Wednesday Bishop International Airport in Flint has issued an update:

According to Bishop Airport, " The stabbing incident at the airport remains under FBI led investigation. Local, state and federal agencies are on the scene. The airport remains closed until further notice. The police officer is in stable condition. The suspect is in custody and is currently being questioned.

 According to WJRT the stabbing is being investigated as an act of terrorism.

UPDATE: Wednesday June 21, 2017, 6:20: At approximately 5:30 PM Wednesday June 21, 2017 the FBI held a press conference at Flint Bishop International Airport. According to FBI Special Agent in charge David Gelios, the FBI is running the investigation. The stabbing is being investigated as an act of terrorism. Gelios stated that the attacker is a 50 year old Canadian citizen named Amor Fatouhi who entered the United State through Up State New York on June 16, 2017.

According to Gelios, the attacker used a 12 inch knife with an 8 inch serrated blade. According to wittinesses during the attack Ftouhi yelled Allahu Akbar and then said, "You have killed people in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan."

Special Agent Gelios stated that Ftouhi entered the airport in a public non-secure area and entered an airport restaurant just prior to the attack. Ftouhi did not go through a screening area.

Officer Neville is in a Flint hospital in stable condition and did require surgery.

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Penny Stamps Speaker Series: Motown in Zimbabwe: Joyce Jenje Makwenda at Cultivate in Ypsilanti June 22.


An interesting event will be taking place at Cultivate in Ypsilanti Thursday, June 22. Archivist, historian. ethnomusicologist, and writer Joyce Jeje Makwenda will be speaking at Cultivate in Ypsilanti. Makwenda was born in Zimbabwe in 1958.  Makwenda resides in and works in Harare where she founded and operates the Joyce Jenje Makwenda Collection Archive. The archive is one of the oldest in  in Zimbabwe containing interviews, newspapers, vinyl records, photography, musical instruments, as well as other materials.

For over three decades Makwenda's work has concentrated on on matters of early urban culture, politics, music, education media, religion, cultural issues and Women's histories in Zimbabwe. Her published works include Zimbabwe Township Music (2005), Divorce Taken (2009), and Women Musicians  of Zimbabwe (2013).

Makwenda will be speaking with archivist, historian, and writer Dr Melvin Peters who taught in the Department African American Studies at Eastern Michigan University.

The event is presented in partnership with the Zimbabwe Cultural Centre of Detroit.

The event will take place Thursday, June 22, 6 pm at Cultivate located at 307 N. River Street in Ypsilanti.

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Color Run in Ypsilanti coming up June 24.


The much celebrated Color Run is coming back to Ypsi and you don't want to miss it! The Color Run will take place on Saturday, June 24, at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. The event will be held from 8 AM to 12 noon. There will be open registration from 8 AM to 8:45. The race will begin 9 AM. There will be a pre-race party with music at the starting line prior to the race. There will also be giveaways during the pre race dancing, warm-up and stretching. Sounds like a great time! More info here.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 25 Ypsilanti Heritage Foundation Historic Home Tour to be memorable event.


 The YHF (Ypsilanti Heritage Foundation) Historic Home Tour is coming soon and promises to be a memorable event in Ypsilanti. Featured will be the renowned designs of local architect Ward Swarts. Tour goers will visit four mid-century homes. Although the homes may have interior similarities, structurally they are unique.

The YHF tour will also include three historically significant businesses located in downtown Ypsilanti. Each of the three downtown businesses are within easy walking distance of each other. Landline Creative Labs located in downtown is located in the Michigan Bell phone company building that was constructed in 1928. The building features a light fixture constructed from a telephone pole and glass telephone insulators. The fantastic locally owned Go! Ice Cream parlor is located in the building that once housed the People's State Bank which went out of business during the Great Depression. Last, check out Ypsilanti's Growing Hope Farmers Marketplace which is comfortably situated in an old warehouse that was once a showroom for the Studebaker.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at these Ypsilanti locations: Norton's Flowers, Eyrie, Cultivate Coffee & Tap House, Haab's, Materials, Salt City Antiques and Aubree's on Whitaker Rd. In Ann Arbor at Downtown Home & Garden. Learn more here. On the day of the tour you can purchase tickets in front of the Towner House on N. Huron St. Towner House will receive funds from the tour for restoration.

 Check out the YHF Historic Home Tour June 25th in Ypsilanti! You'll have great time!

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Parola Perspective : My dear lefty friends, clearly Russia is a threat to this country.

Brooks Parola Purple Walrus Press.

My dear lefty friends, because many of us grew up in the era of Cold War hysteria, (McCarthyism and a frightening arms race) we became apologists for Soviet actions as we urged our countrymen to see the world through their (the Soviet) point of view.
Because hindsight is 20/20, I think we can look back and see where we were right, in those beliefs, and where we were dead wrong.
As more information comes out about the Russian hacking of the election, and the more we face the REAL possibility that, essentially with GOP consent, (they have done nothing and are doing nothing about Russia and Trump) Putin put Trump in the White House, we lefties MUST come to terms with the REAL threat Russia poses.
Clearly, Russia is a threat to this country folks, and what's also clear is that no one on the right will think so, as long as Russia helps to keep them in power.

Brooks Parola. PWP.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell's June 14 statement on shooting at GOP Congressional baseball practice.


In a June 14 press release U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell issued a statement regarding the shooting at the baseball practice for the Congressional baseball game. Dingell said that she was stunned and horrified about the shooting that occurred at the Republican baseball practice Wednesday, June 14. Dingell stated that the Congressional baseball game is one of the few events on Capitol Hill that are still left, and that it is an event where people, Democrats and Republicans come together as a community.

According to Dingell, "We are praying for all of them - my Congressional colleagues, their staffs, the Capitol Police, their families and everyone affected."

According to a press release from the office of Congressman Scalise's office Friday, there has been an update from MedStar Washington Hospital Center regarding the condition of Congressman Scalise. According to Washington Hospital Center, " Earlier today, Congressman Steve Scalise underwent a second surgery related to his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg. He remains in critical condition, but has improved in the last 24 hours. The Congressman will require additional operations, and will be in the hospital for some time. At the request of the family, we will continue to provide periodic updates."

According to Dingell, "Let us come together today. We need to lose this divisiveness, this constant disagreement, animosity and hostility between too many people. We need to listen, share, respect, and accept each other."

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

City Council Town Hall with Beth Bashert and Dan Vogt : Ypsilanti issues and concerns addressed.


Ypsilanti City Council members Beth Bashert and Dan Vogt held a town hall meeting Wednesday evening, June 14, at the Ypsilanti Senior Community Center. The event was attended by roughly 35 people.

The event covered a range of issues and concerns facing Ypsilanti and it was immediately clear that Bashert and Vogt were interested in hearing opinions and receiving feedback from the roughly 35 residents in attendance. Laura Rubin, Executive Director of Huron River Watershed Council, also spoke at the town hall in regard to the Peninsular Dam in Ypsilanti.

Ypsilanti City Council member Beth Bashert opened the town hall by stating that Ypsilanti is working within the framework of an extremely tight budget and that the city is being forced to make painful cuts. Bashert stated that the next two years will be hard, but that at the end of the two years there will be positive change. According to Bashert, "Things will be hard, then better."

Council member Dan Vogt talked about the fact that the Great Recession of 2008 created problems the city is still recovering from. Michigan, particularly southeast Michigan was hit particularly hard by the recession. According to Bashert, the city had to cut six police officers in Ypsilanti in the past eight months.

Both Bashert and Vogt would like to see the Water Street Millage pass and feel that a millage would provide significant financial relief to the city. According to Vogt's statements it appears that Ypsilanti's budget is stretched so thin that the city is on the edge economically.

Bashert and Vogt also discussed the topic of the potential International Village development project that is being proposed for the Water Street property in Ypsilanti. International Village would cater to Asian students and people desiring citizenship, The development would entail emphasis on Asian restaurants and retail. Bashert and Vogt seemed to find the project promising and potentially lucrative for the city.

Executive Director of Huron Valley Watershed Council Laura Rubin addressed those in attendance with a discussion about the Peninsular Dam in Ypsilanti, particularly with respect to the option of having the 100 year old dam removed. It was stated that the dam requires $650,000 in repairs. According to Rubin the dam is considered "high hazard" because of it's urban location. Further studies on the dam will occur before a final decision is made in regard to removal.

Jeff Brown
Editor/Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.
Photos Purple Walrus Press.
Ypsilanti City Council member Dan Vogt and Beth Bashert hold town hall meeting Ypsilanti Senior Community Center. Wednesday.



Laura Rubin Huron Valley Watershed Council.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces charges of involuntary manslaughter Flint Water Crisis.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017, State Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a press release stating that he has charged five individuals with involuntary manslaughter in connection to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis. Involuntary manslaughter carries up to a 15 year prison sentence and/or a $7,500 fine.

 According to the Wednesday morning press release from Schuette's office, "Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that he has charged Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Early, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, as well as Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith and Water Supervisor Stephen Busch with involuntary manslaughter related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis.

According to the press release, Schuette has also charged Nick Lyon with Misconduct in Office, along with the manslaughter charge.

Further, Eden Wells, who is MDHHS Chief Medical Executive, has been charged with lying to a peace officer and obstruction of justice. This is related to an alleged effort to stop investigation into the health crisis in Flint, as well as an attempt to mislead investigators as far as her actions, according to the press release.

As stated in Wednesday's press release from Schuette, many people died of Legionnaire's disease in the Flint area following the city's switch from Detroit water to water from the Flint River. According to the press release, "All the defendants charged with involuntary manslaughter are charged in relation to the death of Robert Skidmore, 85, of Mt Morris, Michigan. Skidmore died of Legionnaires' disease after many others had been diagnosed with the illness, yet no public outbreak had been issued. The charges allege failure to notify and lack of action to stop the outbreak allowed the disease to continue its spread through Flint's water system."

I'd like to add that as Flint is my hometown and is where I grew up, I am full of gratitude and appreciation for Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette and his staff for bringing charges against these five individuals for their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis.

Jeff Brown
Editor/Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.
Downtown Flint Summer 2016. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

RUTHERFORD POOL IN YPSI.... Summer days are here again!

By Bob Resch. Purple Walrus Press.


Rutherford Pool, 975 N. Congress, in the cool city of Ypsilanti has just
awaken from it's long winter's nap.  With the help of friends and
family it's been dusted off, gardens weeded, a fresh coat of paint
here and there, chairs put back on the pool deck, locker rooms cleaned
up, snack bar stocked and..... voila!!  It's good and ready for
another season of fun in the sun!

There's nothing like the feeling, smell  and sound at an outdoor
public swimming pool. You can't help but feel renewed and revitalized.
Those within walking distance have more than once talked about the
'resort feeling' they get at the pool.

Rutherford Pool is heated and filled with 167,000 gallons of water
along with gleeful screams, crash and splash of cannonballs, the
slippery slope of the slide, smiles that go from ear to ear, and the
overwhelming feeling that FUN is the common denominator.  Kids of all
ages from 3-93 partake on a daily basis.

Program Director, Cathy Thorburn, keeps the events humming along, and
Pool Manager, Eric Rudolph, and his crew of lifeguards do a great job
to insure the public's safety.

The pool opens from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend with
programming for all levels of swimmers as well as exercise classes.
The early season with reduced hours is just about to transition to the
regular season starting June 17. The pool is also
available for rental.  Check for hours of operation, entry fees and
more information at www.forpool.org or call 734-482-4401.


Bob Resch.
Rutherford Pool Ypsilanti.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Major power outage in Ypsilanti Monday evening June 12.


As of 6:30 pm, Monday evening, June 12, over 6,600 customers have lost power in the city of Ypsilanti, according to DTE. As temperatures soared above the 90 degree mark during the day it appears that the electrical grid may have been over taxed from the use of air conditioners. According to DTE, the estimated restoration time is 11 pm for Ypsilanti.

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to high 80's throughout the rest of the week.

Stay tuned for updates.

Jeff Brown
Editor / Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.


Traffic lights out corner of Washtenaw and Summit in Ypsilanti. Photos Purple Walrus Press.
Rutherford Pool in Ypsi closes early due to power outage Monday evening.
People leaving Rutherford Pool after power outage.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

THE INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE IN YPSILANTI...If you build it, they will come!

By Bob Resch. Purple Walrus Press.


I am a huge movie fan.  One of my favorite sports movie of all time is
FIELD OF DREAMS.  Kevin Costner's character was a dreamer much the
same as Walt Disney.  Both had a dream that was shot down by their
friends.  One had acreage in Iowa. The other in the Orlando, Florida
swamp land.  Both heard a voice in their head.

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME!!

Since the recent news of the International Village project being
considered for the vacant 38 acres of Water Street in downtown
Ypsilanti, discussions group have gone wild with speculation.

Comments have run the gamut from it would be a good thing for the
community to Oh, my, it's an Asian Invasion, this can't be happening!!
 Displacing locals for foreigners....really?  Some people want a minor
league ballpark, or maybe a solar power field instead.  Will rents go
up?  Will property values go up or down?  Diversity.  Gentrification.
Clawback clauses.  The community interest is reaching a fever pitch.

Whew!!  Let's all step back.  Take a deep breath.  Relax and be happy
that at least someone is showing interest in the property.   For close
to 20 years, Water Street has been sick and lonely.  Shoved to the
side.   Given the cold shoulder.  Shunned.   Now, it has some new
life.  We should embrace it.   Beth Ernat, Director of Community and
Economic Development, sees it as being in line with local and regional
goals.  City Council awaits the 120 day "due diligence" study of the
land by the investment company with cautious optimism. 

I strongly urged Pete Murdock with the City Council to find a way to
delay the Water Street Millage vote in August until November.  Voters
would then know what's going on with International Village.  If the
Village is a go, it would start paying taxes  2020 or 2021 to cover
the bond payments till they were paid off in 2031.  Citizens would
only have to pay the 2.1 millage for a 3 year period until the Village
was up and running.

I am beginning to hear that voice.  It gets louder every day.  I
wonder if members of City Council and the community hear it as
well............

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME!!

Bob Resch.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Theatre Nova's presentation of The Legend of Georgia McBride is powerful and poignant.


Presented by Theatre NOVA and The Ringwald Theatre, The Legend of Georgia McBride opened Friday evening, June 9, at Theatre NOVA in Ann Arbor, and not a soul left the theatre unmoved by the performance.

Written by Mattew Lopez and directed by Joe Plambeck, the play is about a young married couple living in small town America struggling to make ends meet and about to have a baby. The young man is Casey and he is bent on making a living by performing at a local bar as an Elvis impersonator. Life becomes more difficult when he is fired from his beloved job impersonating Elvis. The young couples lives turn upside down when the bar owner decides, as a family favor, to hire non other than a drag queen show team. Will Casey learn how to strut his stuff for a living? Well, you will just have to see.

The acting was phenomenal. Nick Yocum performed the roles of Casey / Georgia in excellent fashion...  emphasis on fashion. Vince Kelley's performance of Miss Tracey wells was truly transfixing and completely engaging. Richard Payton's performance as Rexy was as strong and brassy as the character. Meredith Deighton played an equally strong and endearing wife as portrayed by her character, Jo.

As far as themes, there are plenty. How about unconditional love, self awareness, self identity, and sexual identity. Yes, these are heavy issues but they are real and have been with us since the beginning of time, I'd imagine. Therefore, this play is extremely relevant and important, particularly in times like these as our political landscape is wrought with bias, bigotry and polarization. One of the great things about the play is that these heavy themes are handled and addressed with a healthy dose of humor, which makes everyone instantly at ease and comfortable with the important and necessary subject matter.

Provocative, powerful and poignant are the best words to describe this wonderfully chaotic and deeply endearing play. Check it out. You won't regret it.

The Theatre NOVA presentation of The Legend of Georgia McBride will run June 9 through July 2 at Theatre NOVA located in downtown Ann Arbor. More information can be found here.

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press



Scenes from Theatre Nova's production of The Legend of Georgia McBride




Friday, June 9, 2017

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell issues statement on Director Comey's testimony.


Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI 12) issued a press release Thursday evening, June 8, in regard to James Comey's testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"Former FBI Director Comey's testimony underscores, more urgently than ever, the need for the ongoing Special Counsel and congressional investigations to proceed fairly, thoroughly and free of political influence. Director Comey's confirmation that President Trump asked him to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn, and the fact that he felt compelled to ensure the appointment of a Special Counsel, is deeply concerning.

"It has become abundantly clear that the Russians attempted to interfere in our elections, and we need to understand the 'how' and the 'why'. We need to be alert and understand how they may be trying to undermine the integrity of our democracy. It is our job to ensure there is an independent and non-partisan investigation, unobstructed by anyone, and that we are united as Americans in getting the truth."

Jeff Brown
Editor / Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Congressman Dan Kildee leads effort to oppose Republican Bill repealing Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.


As stated in a June 7, 2017 press release from Congressman Dan Kildee's office, on Wednesday, June 7, Kildee spoke at the House Democrats weekly press conference on Capitol Hill. Kildee is heading efforts to oppose a Republican bill repealing the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Kildee is from Flint, MI, and is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 5th district. The bill is known also as the "Wrong Choice Act." According to the press release the bill would get rid of consumer protection and Wall Street reforms that were designed to stave off another financial crisis.

According to Kildee, 'As the House considers the "Wrong Choice Act' this week, I have one question: Have Republicans forgotten just how much pain the Great Recession caused so many American families?" More than 8 million Americans lost their jobs. At least 11 million people lost their homes through foreclosure. American families lost trillions in wealth. Our nation's unemployment rate shot up to 10 percent. And now Republicans want to pass legislation to take us back to the same failed policies that led to this crisis."

Congressman Kildee made these remarks on the house floor on Wednesday, June 7.

Jeff Brown
Editor / Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell stunned by Trump's decision to withdraw from Paris Climate agreement.


In a June 1, 2017 press release from the Debbie Dingell office, Dingell stated that she is stunned by Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

According to Dingell, "President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord is stunning. In walking away from one of the most important international agreements of the last century-signed by nearly every other nation on earth-the president is ignoring the reality of climate change while signaling to the world that we no longer willing to be a leader in addressing one of out most pressing global threats."

Dingell feels that because of Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, American now has far less credibility in the world. Dingell also feels that backing out of the accord will cost the United States new jobs in the energy economy.

According to Dingell, "What cannot be denied is that sea levels are rising, oceans are warming and icebergs are melting."

Jeff Brown
Editor in Chief & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The City of Ypsilanti receives top national solar recognition.


 Purple Walrus Press has learned in a June 1, 2017 press release from the City of Ypsilanti that Ypsilamti has been awarded a Gold designation for the support of solar energy development, and Solsmart. Solsmart is a national organization that is dedicated to helping communities break down barriers to the growth of solar energy.

The City of Ypsilanti has received Gold designation because the City has strived to streamline solar panel installation, according to the press release. Further, the City has shown a commitment to encourage solar energy and installation on a local level. Ypsilanti is the the only city in the state of Michigan to be awarded this top award Gold designation.

According to City Manager Darwin McClary, "Today is a step closer to a green community."

Jeff Brown
Editor / Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

First Annual Ypsi Pride attracts joyful and exuberant crowd downtown Ypsilanti Friday


The First Annual Ypsi Pride event took place Friday, June 2, in downtown Ypsilanti, and can only be described as a smashing success, as an entire city block was packed with beautiful, happy, and exuberant people of every stripe. The event was hosted by EMU Lgbtrc, First Fridays Ypsilanti, Ypsi Pride, and Ypsi Real. The first annual Ypsi Pride was essentially a gigantic block party located on N. Washington Street between Michigan Ave and Pearl. The event was fun, dynamic, full of good vibes. Ypsi Pride was family friendly, also. Plenty of young kids and even a few baby strollers could be seen enjoying the street party.

The big ole block Party is actually a partnership with First Fridays Ypsilanti. According to event organizers, the event is in addition to to the monthly art & culture walk.

Stage performers included, Duane The Jet Black Eel, Kater Peterson, Wraiths, DJ Stacks/Culture, Mango, Justin Covington, Devine Leatherman, and Ypsilanti Drill Team. The Gratitude Steele Band put on a fantastic performance outdoors next to the Ypsilanti Public Library a couple blocks away.

Also featured at the event were resource tables represented by several area groups including WCC Nurse Association, Corner Health Center, and Ann Arbor Roller Derby.

Artist Tables included, Affected, Queer Crip Pussy Poets, Support the T, Queer Zine Table, and Hero Nation-Ypsilanti.

Ypsi Pride volunteer Christoffer Neville was very impressed by the large crowd and said he will be looking forward to the event for years to come.

Jeff Brown
Editor / Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.
Photos Purple Walrus Press.
Gratitude Steel Band.

Christoffer Neville

Ypsi Pride event in downtown Ypsilanti Friday evening. Photo Purple Walrus Press.
Event steering committee member Heather Freeling
Vivica Vavoom.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights asking for public awareness regarding ICE.


According to a May 30 post, WICIR (Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition For Immigrant Rights) is asking the public to be aware of increased ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) activity. WICIR is requesting that if you see ICE agents in community, to contact WICIR at the Urgent Response line at 734-355-2705.

 WICIR stated there are those who wish to film ICE agents in order to hold them accountable for actions, but WICIR is asking that people filming should keep some important things in mind while recording ICE. According to WICIR, "If you are not at risk for deportation yourself, and you choose film immigration officers, whether or not they are in the process of a raid, or an arrest, please keep in mind that videos of non-citizens interacting with ICE  agents could potentially be used against them." Further, WICIR informed people to be cautious if planning to share videos. This is to avoid accidentally placing individuals at risk. WICIR strongly advises that if individuals are unclear as far as the contents of a video, they should consult with an immigration lawyer before posting the video publicly.

Jeff Brown
Editor / Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Affordability concerns at Cross Street Village Apts Ypsilanti reflect a common worry in Washtenaw County.


There is concern among some residents at Cross Street Village Apartments in Ypsilanti that the rent will be unaffordable in the not too distant future. Rent increases are a common concern in Washtenaw County and throughout the region. Cross Street Village has offered affordable housing to seniors 55 years of age and up for 15 years.

 On Friday, May 26, Purple Walrus Press was contacted by an anonymous source who told PWP that there was a meeting earlier in the day at Cross Street Village regarding rent increases. According to the source the meeting was attended by representatives from ownership, MSHDA, Ronnie Peterson's office, Housing Bureau for Seniors, Legal Services of Southeastern Michigan and Ypsilanti Meals On Wheels. According to the source the meeting addressed, "How rents will be increasing there now and through the next three years, and how after three years the apartments may no longer just be for seniors." According to the source, "Many seniors are concerned about where they might have to go once rents really start coming up."

Purple Walrus Press contacted Cross Street Village tenant Jayna Eckler Friday evening, May 26, 2017. Eckler attended Friday's meeting. Eckler told Purple Walrus Press that the point of the meeting was to discuss if there is a solution for the 104 seniors currently living at Cross Street Village. Eckler stated that many seniors have lived there since 2000 and must live on a limited income such as social security. According to Eckler, the rent increase is roughly between $40 and $120. Eckler's statement in reference to a $40 to $120  rent increase has not been confirmed by Purple Walrus Press. According to Eckler, there is also concern that Cross Street Village will open up to residents of any age range, and will not be renting only to residents 55 and up.

On Monday morning, May 30, 2017 Purple Walrus Press was contacted by Executive Vice President of Independent Management Services James Harrigan. IMS is the management company for Cross Street Village. Harrigan stated that he did attend the Friday meeting at Cross Street Village. When PWP asked Harrigan about recent rent increases Harrigan stated, and this is paraphrased,  that there have been rent increases, but that this is not unusual and is line with normal business practice, and that the increase is needed for general maintenance of the building and grounds. Harrigan emphasized that the rent increases are do to capitol needs and pointed out that the Cross Street Village building is old. Harrigan stated that prior rent increase notice was given to residents. Harrigan added that, moving forward, residents will be given up to 60 days notice in regard to leases. Harrigan would not comment on the exact figures as far as rent increases for residents.

Purple Walrus Press has learned from Harrigan that Cross Street Village is for sale. This allows  the owners of  Cross Street Village the opportunity to exercise an option that could result in the property no longer being designated affordable housing in the future. This would allow Cross Street Village to, if they choose,  rent at market rate. Here is an explanation of what the option is and how it works. There is something called the Low Income Housing Tax credit Program (LIHTC).  According to Housing Justice National Housing Law Project, "When the LIHTC program was initially created, it only required a a 15 year compliance period. Therefore, properties developed between 1986 and 1989 only have 15 year compliance periods. Post-1989 developments have at least 30 year restrictions as required by the Revenue Reconciliation Act. However, the statute allows for owners to opt out by requesting that the state HFA find a "qualified contract" purchaser to buy the property during the fourteenth year of the initial 15 year compliance period. If no purchaser is found, the owner may exit the LIHTC program. If a purchaser is found, or if the owner will not sell the property, the use restrictions extend to the full 30 years."

 Residents of Cross Street Village, unless the building sells, could in theory find the rent unaffordable in 3 years. Existing residents, as of September 1, 2017, would not be charged market rate for three years. If the property doesn't sell by September, 2017, the property could be changed to market property and currant tenants would have 3 years before they would have to start paying market rate.

 According to MSHDA, "The fifteen year compliance period has since passed and Cross Street Village is currently seeking to sell the property under the current IRS rules. If the property is sold to a new owner at an agreed upon price set by the IRS, the property will remain affordable for the remainder of the extended use period, which would be Sept 1, 2020, whichever comes first. This means that regardless of whether or not the property is sold, your current rent controls will remain in place for at least three more years." Granted, this information is complicated.  Harrigan stated that management wants to keep Cross Street Village affordable.

In a separate conversation with Purple Walrus Press on Thursday, June 1, 2017, James Harrigan emphasized that there are no plans to make apartments at Cross Street Village available to people outside the 55 and up age bracket. According to Harrigan, "Yes, they could go outside the 55 and up age bracket, but are choosing not to."  Harrigan stated that ownership has agreed to keep the status age 55 and up. Harrigan feels frustrated that some feel that there is ill-intent on the part of management. According to Harrigan, "We are not kicking anybody out."

Jeff Brown
Editor & Publisher
Purple Walrus Press.


Cross Street Village Apartments Ypsilanti, MI. Purple Walrus Press photo.