Rethinking the Plaza

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The City of Ann Arbor and the Downtown Development Authority are seeking further input through Jan. 31, 2007 on plans to improve Sculpture Plaza. Plans include new lighting, landscaping and reconfiguring the seating and tables. Offer your comments to City Parks Planner Amy Kuras by phone at 734.994.1827 or via email akuras@a2gov.org.

Trash Day is Trash Day

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Ann Arbor trash collection days will be unaffected by Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday January 15th. Regular trash pickups will occur Jan. 15th - Jan. 20th. City Hall will be closed on MLK Day but the Drop-Off Station will be open.

O Christmas Tree

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The City of Ann Arbor will collect holiday evergreen trees from the curbside during a one-week period, Monday Jan. 22 - Friday, Jan 26, 2007. Remember to remove all ornaments, nails and tinsel and don't put the trees in plastic bags. You can also drop off your undecorated Christmas trees in the parking lot adjacent to the Drop-Off Station through January 31st.

Post Offices Closed January 2, 2007

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Mail service will be suspended Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, the U.S. Postal Service announced. President Bush has ordered federal agencies to close that day out of respect for the memory of former President Gerald R. Ford. There will be no regular mail deliveries or retail service at offices. Normal mail service will resume Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda

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Here we are at … the City of Ann Arbor’s Holiday Break Camp for kids ages 6 – 10 years old. The Bryant Community Center is the place to be 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Jan. 2 – 5, 2007. Lots of activities, lunches, snacks and field trips are included in the $50 resident fee. For more information contact Community Outreach at 994.2722.

President Gerald Ford 1913-2006

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Former President Gerald Ford, the only non-elected chief executive, died Tuesday, December 26, 2006. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor provide exhibits, history and papers of Michigan’s only president and his family. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press have extensive coverage of the President's life.

Books to Films (Holiday Releases)

Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, and Michael Caine starred in this adaptation of P. D. James’ The Children of Men, set in near-future London when all human males have become sterile. Historian Theo Faron is asked to join a band of revolutionaries--a move that may hold the key to humanity's survival. (December 25th)

Perfume: The Story of A Murderer is about one man’s pursuit of the perfect perfume, but the indulgence in his rare gift and greatest passion - his sense of smell - leads to murder. Based on the 1986 acclaimed bestseller and international sensation by Patrick Suskind. The novel is a brilliant, powerful, and gripping page-turner. (December 27th)

Zoë Heller’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel What Was She Thinking?:Notes on a Scandal is beautifully captured in this film adaptation.
When Sheba Hart's love affair with an underage male student comes to light, school teacher Barbara Covett decides to write an account of the affair in her friend's defense, in the process revealing not only Sheba's secrets, but also her own. The film boasts a stellar cast with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. (Limited release December 27. Watch the papers for local release date.)

The Painted Veil is a remake of the 1934 Greta Garbo film, inspired by W. Somerset Maugham’s masterpiece.
Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, it is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane (Naomi Watts), who is forced to accompany her husband (played by Edward Norton) to the heart of a cholera epidemic, where she reassesses her life and learns how to love. (December 29th)

There is a Santa Claus…

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Apollo 8, Launched on December 21, 1968, was the first manned mission to leave Earth orbit and head for the moon. After ten lunar orbits it was time to go home. To get back on the right path, the crew had to perform the Trans-Earth Injection burn while on the far side and out of radio contact with NASA. Everything went as planned, and when radio contact was restored (at the precise time calculated by NASA engineers) this was the transmission:

Apollo 8: Houston, Apollo 8. Over.
Mission Control: Hello, Apollo 8. Loud and clear.
Apollo 8: Please be informed there is a Santa Claus.
Mission Control: That's affirmative. You're the best ones to know.

It was December 25.

If NASA’s authority isn’t enough to convince you, take a look at NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker website. They’ve been tracking the jolly old elf since 1955 using state of the art radar equipment.

New Year’s Resolution: A Healthier County

The Washtenaw County Health Improvement Plan has released the
2005 Health Indicators Survey. We’re smoking less but eating more, our blood pressure is going up and we’re not exercising as much as we did in 1995. So let’s get going walking, biking, hiking, and eating better.

Whitefish Wipeout Worries

Anyone who’s spent even one weekend Up North knows that whitefish is the mainstay of lakeshore restaurants. A Great Lakes Radio Consortium story warns that our beloved whitefish are threatened by an invasion of Quaggas who are eating the whitefish’s favorite food, diporeia. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is researching the invasion and what we can do to assure the whitefish maintains its hallowed status on Michigan menus.

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