Wednesday, September 28, 2016


A Regional Transit Forum was held Wednesday night at the Freighthouse in Ypsilanti. The event was hosted by The League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area. The goal of the event was to inform the public in regard to RTA plans to develop, broaden, and connect public transportation in Southeast Michigan. This plan also includes regional rail that would connect Ann Arbor and Detroit with rail service on a daily level.

The regional transit plan would connect Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties with regional transit, as well as the development of rail service connecting Ann Arbor to Detroit, thus, greatly improving regional transit.

Michael Ford, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, addressed the roughly 35 people attending the event this evening. He showed a video and and presented information describing the new transit development plans. Ford emphasized the need people have of getting to their jobs. Ford also spoke of issues facing Regional Transit such as service lines that are too low, infrequent service, service that does not run across the region, difficult transfers, and varying quality.

The implementation of these changes and enhancements will require the passage of a millage at a rate of 1.2 mills which is a $1.20 property tax for every $1,000 of taxable value, which comes to an average of $8.00 a month. This according to a Regional Transit System Map hand out.

This certainly sounds like a good and necessary plan to me. These days the more connection we can build the better.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

Regional Transit Authority Chief Executive Officer Michael Ford speaking at the Ypsi Freighthouse.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Madhouse Sessions in Ypsilanti is participating in a fantastic Beat poetry, art, and music festival. Folks are encouraged to come and perform or recite their own brand of Beat poetry, art, or music. You can also read or perform your favorite Beat poetry or music from a writer or performer you love. Of course you can also just hang out and dig the vibes and energy. This promises to be a wonderful happening. Come check it out!

The event is will be held September 30 - October 1.
Sept 30, 8 pm to Oct 1,  2 am.

1436 E. Michigan Ave. Ypsilanti, MI.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


In a Saturday press release Eastern Michigan University President James Smith praised students, fans, public safety staff employees, the marching band and athletes for their approach to peaceful BLM peaceful student protesters Friday night at the end of the EMU football game. Just as importantly, Smith supported the student protesters as well.

At the end of Friday night's EMU home football game against Wyoming student protesters moved onto the football field to demonstrate against racism. The EMU student BLM  demonstrators were peaceful and passionate.

In the press release President Smith expressed respect and support for student protesters. As an EMU alum I'm glad to hear of his respect for student protesters.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press
Photo Purple Walrus Press.


At the end of Friday nights Eastern Michigan University football game against Wyoming, roughly 100 to 150 EMU Black Lives Matter student protesters linked arms and peacefully walked onto the football field. Demonstrators made their way to the sideline at the 50 yard line facing the home team fans. The protesters chanted, "We're going to be alright", and, "Black Lives Matter." The students were peaceful and passionate.

As student protesters were preparing to march onto the field I spoke to student demonstrator Caryn Banks who is a 5th year senior from Detroit. Caryn said she came to EMU because she was impressed with the diversity of students at the school. Caryn said she was shocked by the racist graffiti painted on EMU school buildings in recent days. She expressed dismay that in 2016 this kind of racism is surfacing.

Caryn Banks informed me in the 4th quarter that, "They would be letting student protesters onto the field to demonstrate at the end of the game." When I asked her who gave the students permission to go onto the field she wasn't sure,

Unfortunately, one or two vocal people sitting in the stands heckled protesters in an ugly manner, and that is a shame.

EMU student BLM demonstrators handled themselves with grace, style, and a positive spirit.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

EMU student protesters walk onto the field after EMU football game. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

Friday, September 23, 2016


I was really looking forward to reviewing the Fred Eaglesmith concert at the Ark in Ann Arbor Thursday night, I really was. Honestly, I hadn't heard of the the Canadian country roots sing/songwriter until my old buddy and PWP print edition layout genius and contributor Chai Montgomery turned me onto him two weeks ago.

There has been quite a buzz around the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area lately about Eaglesmith. The bummer is the show was cancelled, zapped, kaputski. Shortly before the scheduled 8pm concert a couple of signs went up in the Ark window about the cancellation. A woman in the ticket office politely, and apologetically explained that Eaglesmith's bus was having problems on the road. My buddy Chai offered to go get Eaglesmith himself, but to no avail. His bus broke down. Rats!

Fans were very disappointed. One fan had driven all the way down from my hometown of Flint to see the concert. I know that the wonderful staff at the Ark felt badly about the cancellation, also. By the way, The Ark is one of the best and most important music venues in the United States. Big bummer for all concerned to be sure. I bet Fred Eaglesmith will make it to the Ark at sometime or another and it will be fantastic.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

That's me, Jeff, in Black tee shirt talking to fellow Flintstone and Eaglesmith fan in blue shirt.. Purple Walrus Press.
Unhappy fan from Flint on left, and PWP staffer Chai Montgomery. Chai is also not happy. . Photo Purple Walrus Press.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Vigil at EMU. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

As of this writing at 7;30 pm Wednesday night a candlelight vigil is taking place on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. The vigil began at 7:00 pm and was advertised earlier today as a SAY THEIR NAME VIGIL. The vigil is being held at the MLK Gardens off Cross Street near Mckenny Union.

I would estimate that there are about 100 people, mostly students taking part in the solemn vigil.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Intersection of Hewitt and Washtenaw. Photo Purple Walrus Press. 
At this writing details are sketchy as to what went on minutes ago at the corner of Hewitt and Washtenaw in Ypsilanti. There is a Black Lives Matter protest happening now at Eastern Michigan University in what, I believe, is in response to racist graffiti spray painted on a building on EMU'S campus earlier today.

I was just at the corner of Hewitt and Washtenaw. As I approached the intersection on foot I saw a large group of protesters in the intersection. Police were pulling up quickly to the scene. Minutes later the protesters began walking down Hewitt toward the EMU Convocation Center. More police and an ambulance were headed in that direction also.

I spoke to a witness who identified himself as Jr. He told me that minutes earlier the intersection was blocked with BLM protesters. He stated, and I'm paraphrasing, a woman in a car attempted to drive through the intersection and hit or bumped a female protester. Apparently protesters began pouring water on top of the woman's car. Jr reported that someone may have been chased down the street by a protester. This last bit of information from the witness is vague.

This is an ongoing situation.

UPDATE: A video of this incident was posted to YouTube late Tuesday by Michael Taylor.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press

Monday, September 19, 2016


The residents of the city of Ypsilanti should be very thankful to the
Ypsilanti Township park system that provides 30 parks and recreation
facilities totaling over 900 acres. In season, May through September,
the parks are staffed by attendants who take care of the boardwalks,
trails, picnic shelters, canoe and kayaking, athletic fields and so
much more.  Through the years, my wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed
North Bay Park.  It's one of our favorite ways to escape from reality.


The Daily Grind.  The 9-5  merry go round.  The Career.  Call it what
you may but it's that thing we all must do to pay bills.  Work, Work,
Work!!  But there is relief.  Medical research shows that the sounds,
sights and smells of the great outdoors has an amazing stress reducing
ability.  In addition, Spending time with nature can decrease pent up
frustrations and depression, increase self esteem, make one less
aggressive and violent and generally improve one's outlook on life.

Who knew?  Well, thanks for asking!!  Some of the most famous names
who ever lived had an opinion about good old Mother Nature.  Einstein
said:  "Look deep into nature and you will understand everything
better."  Ralph Waldo Emerson added:  "The earth laughs in flowers".
Aristotle himself said: "In all things nature, there is something
marvelous."   We can only wonder where was their escape from reality?
Did they have a place like our North Bay Park?

North Bay is a 139 acre park located on the west end of Ford lake
featuring a board walk, nature trails, wetlands, an observation deck,
bridges, restrooms and picnic areas and is staffed during the season.
Enter at the service drive just off Huron just past the park and ride


One of my favorite songs by the Beatles comes to mind when we start on
the trail down to the boardwalk.  It's steep and woodsy.  At any given
time we hear the warbles of Cardinals, Blue Jays, Orioles or Gold
Finches.  Hey, there goes a possum chasings a squirrel up the tree.
Chipmunks, turtles and frogs might cross our path.  Once we make it to
the boardwalk we are met with a panoramic scene of the wetlands of
Ford lake. An occasional Osprey flies menacingly overhead but never
seems to bother the beautiful white and blue Herons that gingerly
walking in the shallows hunting for tidbits. Oftentimes, through the
years we've seen a mother Swan tending to her little ones while the
male is off in the distance foraging for food.   A family of turtles
are sunning themselves on a branch protruding from the lake.  Whoosh!
Barn Swallows frequently flitter over and under the boardwalk.

Suddenly there's a commotion in the water as some carp have a big
disagreement over feeding grounds.   The lake has a wide variety of
fish including large and small mouth bass, pike, bluegill, catfish,
crappies, and walleye.  There always seems to be somebody baiting a
hook and trying to catch some action.  And then there are the geese.
If you're ever walking the trail and see a gaggle of geese coming
toward you with their little ones, BEWARE, THEY WILL ATTACK AND DRIVE
YOU BACK!!  Most of the times they are calm and considerate.  But, I
guess they have bad days like the rest of us.


It's so easy to get caught up in the pure serenity of North Bay.
Relax. Soak it up. Take a deep breath.  Listen to the ripple of the
waves as they wash ashore.  If you listen close enough you can hear
the chatter of the animal world here and there.  Your tranquility
might be interrupted by an errant golf ball landing in the woods or
splashing in the lake from the Eagle Crest golf course.  This may be
followed by a grunt or groan from the player who sent it there.  Not
to worry. Even the distant din of traffic on I-94 is a mere hum in the
background.  Spend an hour.  Spend a few hours.  Bring a picnic
basket.  Rediscover yourself.   Replenish that worn down battery cell
that drives your passion for life. This is a great way to get closer
to loved ones and family. Become one with nature in your own special
way. Feel like you're a world away right here at North Bay Park.

Anyone who has taken this little escape to North Bay knows what this
feeling is like and can relate to this idyllic getaway.  Doesn't
matter if your rich or poor.  Come as you are.  The beauty of the
Autumn season is upon us and the trees will be a canvas fit for Van
Gogh or Picasso.   Your escape from reality awaits you and yours at
North Bay Park.

Bob Resch

Thursday, September 15, 2016


News broke Wednesday that lead, VOC'S and methane have been found in Ypsilanti's Bell Kramer neighborhood. This according a September 14 article in the Ann Arbor News. I know the area well because I parked my car over there a few months ago while reporting on the homeland security/Secret Service raid of a gas station nearby. The residents I spoke to on that day were very friendly, warm, and welcoming."Do you mind if I park here?" I asked a Bell Kramer resident as I stepped out of my car that I had just parked in front of the residents home. "Sure, no problem", he said. The resident asked me if I knew what was going on with the big raid and all a half a block away. I remember speaking with several neighborhood residents that day, all of whom were exceptionally friendly.

Thursday I pulled onto Bell Street and parked my car in front of the same house, though this time for a very different reason. News broke Wednesday that the small neighborhood of modest well kept homes is contaminated with lead, VOC's and methane. I was hoping to see some of the residents I had spoken to several weeks ago during the gas station raid. I didn't see a soul Thursday working in their yard. The only word I can think of for this terrible mess is appalling. Word is, as stated in the Ann Arbor News, that an old landfill caused the contamination. How this can be is puzzling and troubling.

What is not puzzling however is how dangerous this contamination is. So what are VOC's? VOC's are volatile organic chemical contaminants. As far as lead, we know how dangerous lead is because of the Flint Water Crisis occurring in my hometown. Methane is the main component of natural gas.

According to an article in mlive September 14 there is now talk among Ypsilanti City Council of relocating residents. This begs the questions of where residents would be relocated and for how long. This is certainly the last thing residents in Ypsilanti's Bell Kramer Neighborhood want to deal with. What a nightmare. Ironically, the issue of relocating residents is not a new one of late in Ypsilanti. As reported in several recent Purple Walrus Press articles, there has been much talk about the possibility of relocating Senior and disabled residents of Towne Centre Place apartments in downtown Ypsilanti because of deplorable living conditions at the complex.

The summer of 2016 has spelled misery for many residents in Ypsilanti. Hopefully, the powers that be will truly address and improve living conditions for residents of the Bell Kramer Neighbor, and Towne Centre Place Apartments. We can do better than this.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press

Ypsilanti's Bell Kramer Neighborhood. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Word on the street is that Donald Trump will be visiting Flint, Mi Wednesday afternoon. Reports are that he will be visiting the Flint water treatment center. It looks like Trump will be arriving at Flint's Bishop Airport around 1:30 pm Wednesday. This according to a report in mlive.

Stay tuned for PWP updates.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.


It was last fall when Flint Hurley Hospital Dr. Mona Attisha exposed the horrific state of Flint city tap water that was poisoning residents in my home town of Flint since 2014. Dr. Mona is truly a hero for the city. However, the awful truth is that the drinking water in Flint is still not safe to drink. People who do not live in Flint and don't have family in Flint need to know that the water is not safe to drink and not much has been done to solve the problem. I would say that I am shocked that the water crisis in Flint has not been resolved but nothing shocks anymore these days.

Mark Durno, who is the deputy chief of the EPA emergency response said recently that it is likely that the city will remain on filters through the rest of the year. This according to The Detroit Free Press addressing a recent interview with Durno. After all this time Flint residents have been told they still must use filters on faucets. Well, let me tell you I know first hand how ineffective those filters can be for many people. Many residents, particularly the elderly and disabled, struggle to properly install the water filters. Further, filters need to be changed every so often, and many people don't have the ability to change the filters. Not to mention the fact that many people in Flint understandably don't trust drinking the water even with a filter. I don't blame them. If I still lived in Flint I would not trust little filters to screen the massively high amounts of lead and toxins pouring from the faucet.

And what about all of those congressional hearings that happened many months ago? A lot congress people mouthed off about the atrocity of the the Flint Water Crisis but in the end sadly, Snyder is still in office and the water crisis in Flint has not been resolved.

Jeff Brown
Downtown Flint. 2016. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


It's still an amazing sight to behold at Pease Park on the campus of
Eastern Michigan University.  It's a powerful piece of history
representing one of the worst moments in American history.  Here lies
the rusted 6,800 hundred pound, 14 foot steel beam from the World
Trade Center's 74th floor of the South Tower.

On this, the 15th year anniversary,  the steel beam reflected the crisp
morning sun under a cloudless blue sky.  Almost exactly the kind of
day the city of New York was experiencing on the morning of 9/11/01.
And here we are.  15 years later.  My, how time flies!  And yet, the
pain and anguish from that experience is still fresh in the hearts and
minds of all Americans.  Most of the 2,996 people killed were
civilians, except 19 of the perpetrators, 71 law enforcement officers
and 343 firefighters.

As attendees arrived for the ceremony, they were handed red and white
carnations. On one side of the steel beam, standing at attention,
stood The Ypsilanti Fire department, along with the Eastern Michigan
and Ypsilanti Police departments.  The EMU Army ROTC provided the
Color Guard.

The ceremony started at 8:40am with a welcome greeting followed by
Mika Green singing the National Anthem.  At 8:46am, the very moment
the terrorists flew the first plane into the Trade Center tower, came
the call for A Moment of Silence.  This was followed by a moving
version of Taps performed by two EMU trumpeters.  They stood about 75
feet apart and performed a rendition that included a call and response
in melodic harmony.  Heartwarming and Heartbreaking.

Chaplain Schindel then delivered a message of encouraging words that
spoke of how Americans came together during and after the turmoil to
make America stronger than ever.  It was during this speech that a
commercial jet flew over.  It was low enough that I looked up to see
where it was going.  It was eerie.  The timing was uncanny.  It's
probably the same thing many New Yorkers did 15 years ago.....and may
still do today!

Pastor Sarah Jackson then delivered a prayer and Mika Green sang God
Bless America.  The ceremony came to a close when the attendees were
able to pay respects by  placing their carnations on the beam.

9/11 will always be a day the world will never forget.

PWP contributor Bob Resch.


I have just finished a new book by Tavis Smiley with David Ritz. It's called Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year.  

I don't have time and space to connect all the dots to the social challenges that still confront us 50 years later. But I have pulled meaningful quotes throughout the text in the hopes of encouraging PWP readers to reflect upon King's words and the authors' interpretation. All page numbers refer to the large print edition.

In his last year on earth. Dr. King was often charged with "weakening his cause by joining issues that  [according to his critics] should be treated separately" (p.74). Some of his critics were former allies who tended to back President Johnson instead. Johnson separated out the Vietnam War as though it were not a civil rights issue, and King saw this as disingenuous.

In fact, MLK saw the war du jour and civil rights as inextricably intertwined. In King's own words: "We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together... you can't really get rid of one without getting rid of the others" (p. 74). You may have heard of what King termed the three "evil triplets"--racism, capitalism, and militarism--from his "Beyond Vietnam" speech, which was delivered exactly a year before his assassination.

Fast forward to a month before King's death. He is standing in front of a mostly white audience in Grosse Pointe, trying to promote the not-so-popular Poor People's Campaign. King tries to subdue the upset crowd: "We must all learn to live together as brothers in this country or we're all going to perish together as fools" (p. 238).

At one point, he actually invites a "particularly boisterous the stage" (p. 237). MLK listens politely as the heckler accuses King of treason. As a navy veteran, the man argues, he fought for freedom and he fought against communism. He said that he did not want "to be sold down the drain" (p.237). King then responds simply, "We love our boys who are fighting there and we just want them to come back home" (p. 238).

As a Christian minister, Martin Luther King illustrates the human struggle using the symbolism of the cross. "The cross is something that you bear and ultimately that you die on. The cross may mean the death of your popularity... It may mean the death of a foundation grant. It may cut your budget down a little, but take up your cross and just bear it" (p. 74).

A take away I get is that we bear individual crosses but we also bear collective crosses. No easy task, shouldering the burden together. But this coexistence does in fact lighten the load and may be the only way to save humanity.

I need to finish on a positive note because it's challenging to think of what Dr. Martin Luther King endured in that final year--not to mention that it's also a little but challenging to think about the end of humanity.

This quote comes from a sermon that King preached at a United Methodist church in Los Angeles. Despite King's assessment that it is "midnight in race relations in our country," he is determined to maintain hope.

First, he differentiates between hope and desire. "You may desire money, but you hope for peace. You may desire sex, but you hope for freedom. You may desire beautiful clothes, but you hope for the ringing of justice" (p. 242).

Next, he goes on to say, "I have seen hate, and all the time I see it, I say to myself, 'Hate is too great a burden to bear'." (p. 243).

Finally, he says he has seen people who have lost hope and that he doesn't want to be like that. In short, he sums it up, "It is only through love that we keep hope alive" (p. 242).

Contributed to Purple Walrus Press by Claire R, a birthright Michigander

Thursday, September 8, 2016


According to a September 7 press release from the MDHHS a seventh case of Legionnaires disease has been reported from Flint's Mclarean Hospital. According to the MDHHS, and I quote the press release, " On September 6, 2016, Mclaren Hosptal reported a new case of Legionnaires disease through the Michigan Disease Surveillance System electronic data base, bringing the total to seven cases in Genesee this year."

Also stated in the MDHHS release is that, and I paraphrase, essentially the MDHHS cannot shed any more light on the situation because they are blocked from investigating Legionnaires in the Flint area by a Protective Order. The MDHHS was only made aware of the 7th Legionnaires case because of MDSS.

In the September 7 press release the MDHHS also stated, "MDHHS  has no knowledge of any efforts  by Mclaren Hospital to appropriately assess, remediate and clear locations of patients with Legionnaires disease." There seems to be in my opinion a troubling lack transparency regarding Legionnaires in Flint because of this Protective Order. I have no idea what this Protective Order means or how it works, but I will do my best to find out.

According to the facts there have been 80 cases of Legionnaires disease in the Flint area between 2014 and 2015. This is an alarmingly high number. More troubling is the fact that since 2014 there have been 12 confirmed deaths in the Flint area from the disease.

Of course, the extremely high numbers of Legionnaires in the Flint area correlate precisely with the beginning of the Flint Water Crisis, which is a deeply troubling fact. Yet, essentially nothing has been done by the State or the Federal government for that matter, and for what it's worth, it's nothing short of appalling .

Jeff Brown
Downtown Flint 2016. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Let's face it.  This year,  we the residents of Normal Park have been
spoiled. We've been serenaded by a wonderful summer that featured
Mother Nature's sizzling symphony of 19 sweltering days over 90
degrees in August.

But,  all good things must pass, and as September neared, you could
hear it.  You could feel it.   That distant thunder on the horizon.
The sound of marching drums beating a familiar cadence.  The rhythm is
hypnotic and starts a burning fever that fills one's heart and soul
with anticipation.  It fills you with high expectations.  The fever
spreads from one person to another and becomes a brewing buzz reported
in the paper, on TV, on line, and on the radio.  Day by day the fever
grows to epidemic proportions. And, just when you feel like you can't
take it anymore.....the big day arrives with a mighty bang.  It is the
most special time of the year!!  It is................................

F O O T B A L L     S A T U R D A Y  !!

All across Collegiate America, Football Saturday is a magical time of
year where everything breaks out at a fever pitch.  Tailgating,
face-painting, rip-roaring block parties filled with barbeques, beer
and alumni sharing tall tails from yesteryear!!   It's strangers high
fiving strangers celebrating a touchdown.  It's the time to wear and
swear by your team colors.  It's the countdown to kickoff that creates
the fandemonium. Student body left, student body right, everybody
stand up, sit down, fight, fight fight.  This can only

F O O T B A L L    S A T U R D A Y !!

And lo and behold, we've just experienced the first Football Saturday
of 2016, and we all know that  MICHIGAN destroyed Hawaii, 63-3.  MSU
defeated Furman 28-13 and EMU won big over Mississippi Valley State,
61-14.  Winning is a beautiful feeling.   Being in first place in your
division is even greater feeling.  Hope of a Championship is alive and
well.  The fever continues to burn hot and heavy for all the teams and
the fans alike.  That's why THIS is the most special time of the year.
That's why we all love.........................


Bob Resch  Purple Walrus Press contributor

Saturday, September 3, 2016


We now know that Towne Centre Place Senior living complex in Ypsilanti is plagued with many code violations. This is a fact that residents have known for god knows how long, but the general public is just finding out about now. From elevators that don't work to poor sanitary conditions, residents, many of whom are senior citizens and disabled, have been forced to live in deplorable conditions at the complex.

The fact that the city will reinspect the building on September 26, this according to the Ann Arbor News, is a positive first step, but still one is left wondering why it has taken so long for a re inspection to occur. Further, in the same recent Ann Arbor News article it was stated the MSHDA "holds the loan" for the building. There seem to be so many agencies involved in this situation it leaves your head spinning.

On August 15 I spoke to MSHDA media spokesperson Katie Bach on the phone. Katie Bach was forthcoming and informative. She said that she had been to the complex earlier that day. She was emphatic when she told me that she wanted residents to know that " They have their back."  Interesting that when I spoke to Jeff Linton who is the media representative for Forest City, the company that owns Towne Centre Place, he seemed to know nothing about the issues facing the apartment building here in Ypsi. On that day Linton told me he would look into it and get back to me. He didn't get back to me, I got back to him, and he was not informative.

Right now the entire mess at Towne Centre Place apartments begs the question.. Who is in charge here? Right now I'm not sure.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.
Towne Centre Place Apts Ypsilanti. Photo Purple Walrus Press.