WhiteHouse.gov

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Here's a new way to get involved with our government. The White House announced today that Mon-Fri a White House senior advisor will post a blog updating progress made by the administration in a particular area. In the afternoon that same advisor will host a live video chat where you can ask anything or just see what people are talking about. This week on Tuesday, Ben Rhodes from the National Security Council weighs in on national security, on Wednesday Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will tackle the coming changes with health care reform and Friday Christina Romer who is Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers will address restoring the economy and job creation.
The entire schedule can be found here: White House Blog. It is also possible to follow the live chat on FaceBook.

City of Ann Arbor Offices Closed Tuesday Jan. 12, 2010 9:30 a.m. ~ 12:30 p.m.

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City of Ann Arbor services will be closed temporarily on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010, 9:30 a.m. ~ 12:30 p.m. for an employee-only meeting at the Michigan Theater. An AnnArbor.com article provides background on the meeting and the fiscal challenges the City is facing in 2010.

Video of Helen Thomas at the Michigan Theater Now Available

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If you weren't one of the 1,100 people who joined us at the Michigan Theater last month for Helen Thomas' talk and book signing, you can now view our video of the program here. Our podcast featuring her reflections on presidents past and present, thoughts on the state of journalism, and feelings about how America has changed in her nearly 75 years of reporting is available here.

Meeting on the Future of Mack Pool

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What does the future hold for Mack Pool? Attend the public meeting of the Mack Pool Task Force on Thursday, Nov. 12, 6:30 ~ 8:30 p.m. in the Media Center at Ann Arbor Open School at Mack and evaluate the options. Mack Pool currently offers public swimming, Red Cross swim lessons, master's programs and synchronized swimming programs in a six-lane, 25 yard main pool and attached children's pool. For more info on the meeting contact Dan McGuire, Mack Pool supervisor at 734.794.6237 or dmcguire@a2gov.org.

2nd Public Meeting on the Future of the Ann Arbor Senior Center

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The Ann Arbor Senior Center Task Force will hold a second public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6:30 ~ 8:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, 1320 Baldwin Avenue, adjacent to Burns Park, to discuss options for the future of the Ann Arbor Senior Center. As outlined in the Ann Arbor Chronicle article, City budget constraints will require a re-evaluation of the services offered at the Senior Center. Public input and comments will be greatly appreciated at the meeting. If you have further questions, please call Facility Manager Pam Simmons at 734.794.6250.

You must read Zeitoun!!

If you haven't added Zeitoun by Dave Eggers to your must-read list, please do so immediately. This amazing piece of non-fiction made me laugh, cry, shake with rage, smile with triumph, and recoil in horror and disbelief. For me, it was definitely the best book I have read this year.

After copious research, Eggers shares the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a successful Syrian-born painting contractor, who decided to stay in his New Orleans home during Hurricane Katrina while his wife Kathy and their family fled. Egger's text, simple yet incredibly eloquent, recounts Zeitoun's experiences in such a riveting way, I often forgot that it wasn't Zeitoun himself telling his story. He describes the water filling the city, when the levees first broke, as beautiful and crystal clear, giving everything a surreal, sparkly, otherworldly quality. You, the reader, can easily imagine the scene of him paddling around the city in his canoe, rescuing neighbors and feeding stranded pets. Zeitoun's story takes a horrifying and heart-breaking turn when he is arrested, accused of being a member of Al Qaeda, and thrown into an injust Bush administration/bureaucratic nightmare. The ending of this book kept me up late into the night, unable to go to sleep until I found out what happened to Zeitoun and his frantic family. Out of one family's tragedy does come something positive: Proceeds from the sale of this book go towards supporting the Zeitoun Foundation, formed in 2009 by the Zeitoun family, Dave Eggers, and McSweeney's.

Argo Dam: The Report

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City staff prepared a 32-page Report briefing City Council on the options to consider in responding to the order by the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality regarding Argo Dam. City Council reviewed the report at a Sept. 8 public work session. The session will be replayed tonight Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. on CTN Channel 16.

Argo Dam Public Presentation

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As reported in the Ann Arbor Chronicle last week, the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality sent the City an order regarding the Argo Dam. The City is required to meet and take actions to address MDEQ's concerns. To that end, the City Council will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall to hear a presentation by staff on options available to the City. The public is invited to the presentation that will precede the regular City Council meeting which begins at 7 p.m.

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

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48 years ago today President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. (News outlets claim he is spending the day at the White House, lunching with the entire Senate Democratic Caucus.) On his birthday, August 4, 1961, John F. Kennedy held the office of the presidency in a very different United States of America. To explore the journey of Obama from Hawaii to Washington D.C., visit the AADL for a wealth of material, including books, dvds, books on CD and videos about this history-making man.

An Income Tax for Ann Arbor?

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The City of Ann Arbor has released the Income Tax Feasibility Study and FAQ prepared July, 2009 by Plante, Moran. Print copies for citizen review are available in the Downtown Branch reference collection as well as two previous studies, the Income Tax Feasibility Summary prepared in 2004 by Plante, Moran and the Revenue Impacts of a City Income Tax for Ann Arbor prepared by the University of Michigan School of Public Policy in 1997.

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