And They're Off! Runners Prep for Chicago and Detroit Marathons

There's one month left until the gun fires to signal the start of the Chicago Marathon on October 11, and the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon on October 18. First time marathoners looking for some advice can check out the books Run Your First Marathon by Grete Waitz, or Marathon: The Ultimate Training and Racing Guide by eminent training guru, Hal Higdon. For those veteran marathoners looking for some extra racing mojo, see Spirit of the Marathon, the story of several marathon runners of varying experience -- from first timer to pro -- all of whom are filmed while training for, and competing in, the Chicago Marathon.

Volunteers are still needed for both Chicago and Detroit marathons in such exciting positions as Course Marshal, Crowd Control, and Split Timer, so there's still time to sign up to participate in these inspiring events.

Help Us Choose the Book for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads 2010

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It's almost time for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads to begin once again. This year, our selection committee has chosen two finalists for our theme: Michigan. The finalists are Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, by Kevin Boyle; and The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas by Jerry Dennis. We have plenty of copies in stock and we appreciate your comments and opinions on which one should be our official selection for the Reads. Check these books out and then let us know which one you think should be chosen by leaving a comment on the AA/Ypsi Reads Website. The final selection will be announced in mid-October.

Paws in the Park

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Attention dog owners and dog lovers: this Saturday and Sunday (8/22 and 8/23) from 9am to 5pm at Heritage Park, in Canton, bring your pup to Paws in the Park, a new event featuring the Purina Incredible Dog Team from America's Got Talent 4, Ultimate Air Dog, Rock n' Roll K9's, and much more. Be sure to check out the entire weekend schedule for more exciting events. This dog owner is especially looking forward to the Best Trick Contest and the Wiener Race, but maybe a bit unsure about the Best Kisser Contest. Can't make it this weekend? Check out Agility Training and Enjoying Dog Agility from the AADL for more information on training your dog for performing agility events.

Make it a De-LIGHT-ful Summer, Include Lighthouses In Your Vacation Plans

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Did you know that Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state? Join Nancy Finlayson, The Lighthouse Lady, at the Downtown Library on Thursday, June 4, at 7pm for a slide show and lecture featuring tips, suggestions, and itineraries for putting a lighthouse or two (or more) in your summer vacation.

Canoeing Anyone??

With Memorial Day quickly approaching, now is a great time to don your sunscreen, fill your cooler, and head out on one of our many Michigan waterways. If you are a fan of canoeing/kayaking, pick up a copy of Doc Fletcher's new book Michigan Rivers Less Paddled : The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns here at the AADL. This handy guide will provide you with plenty of ideas for canoeing excursions around the area, including local pubs to hit at the end of your journey. Jerry Dennis' Canoeing Michigan Rivers : A Comprehensive Guide to 45 Rivers is another guide to consider if you are looking for new routes to explore. If you are not the proud owner of a canoe or kayak, there are plenty of rental places in the area. Visit Huron River Net for a list of businesses that will gladly provide you with that canoe you need.

University of Michigan and Tart Cherries

Dr. Sara Warber of University of Michigan Integrative Medicine researched the benefits of eating tart cherries and found that the Antioxidants may help with heart disease and inflammation. This is one of the topics discussed at the Experimental Biology 2009 meeting in New Orleans.

Read more about Michigan cherries and check out a consumer's guide to dietary supplements and alternative medicines.

And here's a story about cherries for the kids.

Ideas for Michigan's economy

Is anyone except me tired of hearing bad economic news about Michigan? If you're ready for some inspiring ideas on how our economy might improve in the future, check out the new book Coming Clean: Breaking America's addiction to oil and coal, especially the chapter about how carmakers can save themselves and help save our planet. Or read the fascinating article “Getting Airport City Off the Ground” from the The Center for Michigan. The article says, among other things, that Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport has a branch of the famous Rijksmuseum. Maybe someday a Michigan “Airport City” will have a branch of the newly reopened U-M Museum of Art.

Before MSU game - read this

I know virtually nothing about college basketball, but apparently MSU has a fighting chance of becoming the national college basketball champ. Suddenly, I’m a fair-weather MSU fan. Looks like I’ll have to wait my turn for When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball, by Seth Davis, which recounts the season leading to the March 1979 NCAA finals, in which MSU’s Magic Johnson squared off against ISU's Larry Bird. Sounds like a good history of the NCAA basketball tournament.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Betty Ford!

Next month former First Lady Betty Ford will turn 91, and to help us all anticipate that, her former assistant press secretary will appear at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library at the University of Michigan. Patti Matson will talk about “Betty Ford: Strength in a Package Marked Fragile” on March 31 (Tuesday), at 7:30 p.m. Mrs. Ford is the founder of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction and a Congressional Gold Medal recipient. You can see wonderful images of her life in our AP Images database.

Speeding ticket campaign is hoax

A Michigan “speeding ticket campaign” is a hoax, maybe even an urban legend. Check your e-mail for this: "Beware all you lead foots!!! Spring is Coming! . . . and so is Operation Yellow Jacket. Look out for MI-DOT trucks parked along the road or suddenly appearing behind you pacing you - it could be a Trooper driving the truck. Called 'Operation Yellow Jacket', each Michigan State Police District has a truck cleaned up and ready to go! These trucks have specially modified engines that can virtually catapult the truck from snow-plow speed to intercept speed in seconds. And when the engine boost kicks in, the warning lights automatically change from flashing yellow to the dreaded red and blue! . . . “

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