The Puck Drops Here and the Winter Classic help ring in the new year in Ann Arbor!

At 1:00pm on New Years Day, hockey fans will pack The Big House in downtown Ann Arbor for the 2014 Winter Classic. The battle between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs is not only expected to shatter the record of the highest attendance ever at a hockey game, but is also expected to break the overall attendance record in the Big House, which currently stands at over 115,000.

To welcome visitors in town for the game and celebrate the New Year, local Ann Arbor groups have worked together to create The Puck Drops Here, an outdoor celebration being held in downtown Ann Arbor tonight. There will be over 6 hours of live entertainment throughout the event, most notably The Voice finalist and Ann Arbor native Michelle Chamuel, and a midnight ball drop on Main Street. Many Main Street restaurants plan to re-open their outside seating for the evening, so the guests can watch the festivities under the warmth of outdoor heaters.

In conjunction with this event, the Farmers Market space in Kerrytown will have family-friendly activities including a skating rink, ice carvings, and marshmellow roasting.

You can read more about activities related to these events at AADL. Kids will enoy Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet. Red Wings fans can explore The History of Hockeytown: Detroit Red Wings, 75 Years and The Winged Wheel: A Half-Century of Detroit Red Wings in Photographs. And, you can hear more of Michelle Chamuel’s work on Dancethink Systems, by My Dear Disco, the local band she was part of before competing on The Voice.

Happy New Year to all!

Save the Date: Smart & Thrifty Energy Expo

Mark Thursday, January 30th on your calendar for the Washtenaw County Smart & Thrifty Energy Expo. The expo will be from 4 to 7 pm at the Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center. Topics and presentations will include methods for conserving energy, home weatherization, new energy saving products, and alternative energy options. If you want to monitor the energy efficiency in your home, take a look at our home tools. These uncommon tools to check out from the library include three different kinds of energy meters!

Take a Hike@ Furstenberg Nature Area

Thursday August 7, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Furstenberg Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages

Furstenberg Nature Area is a 38-acre park on Fuller Road, west of Gallup Park. Enjoy wetlands, woodlands, prairie, and oak savanna on this nature walk with a staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor). Learn about native plants and trees, invasive plants, ecological restoration, and lots more.

Meet near the restrooms near the parking lot off Fuller Road (across from Huron High School).

Take a Hike @ Argo Nature Area

Thursday June 5, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Argo Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages

On World Environment Day, take a hike in this 22-acre linear park on the east side of the Huron River. An unpaved trail runs the length of the park along the river. The trail travels through two types of woods: basswood and willow in the southern half and black oak and shagbark hickory (and spring wildflowers!) in the northern half. The entire trail offers beautiful views of the river. A staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will discuss native plants and trees, ecological restoration, and more.

Meet in the parking lot north of the Argo Canoe Livery, off Longshore Drive.

Take a Hike @ Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

Thursday September 4, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages.

Celebrate National Wilderness Month with a hike along Malletts Creek, through the woods and wetlands of this 81.4-acre park. A staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will lead the hike.

Meet at the park entrance parking lot off Packard Road, across from Easy Street and just southeast of Cobblestone Farm, or park at the Malletts Creek Branch (3090 E. Eisenhower) and walk a half mile east along Eisenhower and Packard to the park entrance.

Get the Facts About the Affordable Care Act

Join MSU Extension experts for a live, online webinar to learn how you can get the most out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Sessions for individuals and families will be held on Mondays from 9 am to 11 am, 3 pm to 5 pm, and 6 pm to 8 pm. The same information will be provided during each time period. Sessions for farmers, self-employed people and small business owners will be held on Mondays from noon to 2 pm. To participate, log on to connect.msu.edu/healthinsurance. Click "guest" and type any name to attend anonymously.

Inspired Addition - More Trees for Traverwood

WindbreakWindbreakOne of my very favorite spaces in town is the reading room of the Traverwood Branch Library. I think it is that combination of coziness, open space and trees, inside of the building, that makes me feel so calm. I didn't think it could get better until a donated piece of artwork was installed over the fireplace. Gale Nobe's black & white photograph, Windbreak, is the perfect addition to the space.The row of aspen trees in the image visually echos the tree-inspired architecture of Traverwood. We have exhibited Gale's work previously, but this venue highlights the lovely and haunting evening scene with the moon hanging overhead. Go in peace and enjoy!

Performance Network Theatre: Jerry's Girls

Ann Arbor's Performance Network Theatre is showing Jerry's Girls, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, through Jan. 5. Herman worked on the concept with Larry Alford and Wayne Cilento. From the theatre's webpage: "Fabulous, flamboyant and fun for the whole family, 'Jerry's Girls' is the larger than life musical revue of Jerry Herman. Winner of four Tony Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement of Theatre, Jerry Herman and his music are synonymous with some of Broadway’s biggest hits – Hello Dolly!, La Cage Aux Folles, Mame, Mack and Mabel, Dear World, and more. Complete with large scale production numbers, tap dancing, and a little bit of drag – this is the perfect holiday excursion . . . " Ticket information is here.

Call for Community Presenters

North Quad Programming is seeking presentations by individuals or groups from the greater Ann Arbor-Detroit vicinity whose work explores the idea of supporting, sustaining, or establishing community. The Exposure Series is an ongoing Powered by PechaKucha event in Space 2435, organized by North Quad Programming. Presenters are invited to prepare a powerpoint presentation under the following guidelines: 20 slides, presented for 20 seconds per slide, for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. The presentations will take place on December 18 from 6 to 8 pm. Email umnorthquad@umich.edu to reserve your presenter slot. Videos of past Exposure Series presentations can be viewed on the North Quad Vimeo.

Drop Off Your Old Eyeglasses!

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Do you have eyeglasses that you no longer use or need? The Ann Arbor (Host) Lions Club has over 30 drop-off locations throughout Washtenaw County. Lions Club International collects an average of 4.5 millions pairs of glasses per year to send to developing countries. You can also donate prescription or regular sunglasses too. For information on how AADL serves those with low or no vision, check out the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled @ AADL!

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