Guided Hikes in the Ann Arbor Area

Calvin's father, in the timeless youth graphic novels, Calvin and Hobbes, often insists that outdoor activities with the family will help "build character" in his son, though Calvin himself clearly has other ideas. If you are looking for some similar character-building activities with the family this Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, consider the Waterloo Recreation Area's investigative program, "The Mystery of the Missing Groundhog", and then head out to the trails on a search for some winter wildlife.

Looking for something closer to Ann Arbor? Check out Saturday's daytime hike, the Winter Woods Walk, through County Farm Park where a guide will lead you on and off the trails looking for plants and wildlife. Or try Leslie Science Center's nocturnal Winter Night Walk which caps off a crisp night trail hike with a lively campfire.

If you can't make these weekend events, check out the following Ann Arbor trail guides from the AADL: Riverwalks Ann Arbor and Footloose in Ann Arbor.

Get your dancing shoes on!

Tuesday, January 26, at 7 p.m. at the Pittsfield Branch, Susan Filipiak, director of Swing City Dance Studio will be teaching basic fundamentals of swing dancing. If you remember the jitterbug and want to brush up on your skills or are starting from scratch, this class is for you. No partner is needed. So get your feet moving and cut a rug.

Slack Off Wisely -- Teen Magazine Update

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Students rejoice! Fall semester is over and the glory of Winter Break has begun. But once the first flush of freedom is exhausted, the reality remains that you have three weeks to fill. After all, there is only so much time you can spend watching cartoons in your PJ's. Fortunately, AADL's teen magazine section is here with suggestions to fill your free hours.

1. Catch up on your guilty pleasures -- Alright, maybe you're not guilty about liking pro wrestling. In any case, WWE Magazine is ready for you, bringing you interviews with ten up-and-coming young stars, including Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston and Ted DiBiase, Jr., who, by the way, stars in the recently-released DVD The Marine 2.

2. Practice your rock star skills -- Drum! Magazine also gets in on the "let's make a list of cool people" thing with a feature on drummer, composer and all-around great musician Steve Jordan and another on the "Ten Heaviest Drummers of All Time." The magazine's Practice Pad also contains the drum part to Killswitch Engage's "Starting Over." That'll keep you busy.

3. Catch some air -- Of course, for you outdoorsy, active types we have not one, not two, but three magazines about sports involving boards. Thrasher Magazine documents the Emerica team's trip to Paris, in which they lived on a boat and did a lot of cool things. Transworld Skateboarding, provides a sneak peek at Cliche founder Jeremie Daclin's new book, while Transworld Snowboarding's "Photo Issue" features eye popping shots of even more mind boggling stunts. And, of course interviews with lots of cool people.

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.

Free Pottery Class for People with Disabilities

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The University of Michigan School of Art and Design and the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living are jointly offering a class on working with clay for people with disabilities September 21 through December 7. Classes take place Mondays from 2 to 4 pm at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. The classes are free, and no tools or prior experience is necessary. Space is limited to 20 people who must make a firm commitment. To join, contact Carolyn Grawi at cgrawi@aacil.org or 734-971-0277 x. 16.

Dance your way to fit with Bollywood workout DVDs

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The energetic yogi Hemalayaa adds Indian dance moves and bhangra music with cardiovascular and sculpting routines for a fabulously fun and playful workout in her series of DVDs. The Bollywood dance workout with Hemalayaa features four routines with an intro and cool down, so you can choose what you want to work on. Or you can focus on your backside in Bollywood Booty. These dance routines will lift and firm while you dance and laugh. For a more intense Bollywood workout (that is still suitable for beginners) try Hemalayaa’s Bollywood Burn. A nice feature about these DVDs is that you can set it so you can hear the instructor with the music or just music only. Get your heart pumping and your hips shaking with these hot Indian dance moves!

Up the Rouge!

Author Joel Thurtell and photographer Patricia Beck, veteran Detroit Free Press staff, collaborated to produce this wonderful book about canoeing on the Rouge River—yes, the Rouge River!! The Rouge--not as well-known as the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie catching fire in 1969, but confident in its reputation as a famously polluted body of water.

Metroparks, Recreation, and The Quality of Community Life With Robert Marans, Metro Parks Commissioner

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On Wednesday, June 17, at the Downtown Library at 7pm, Professor Robert Marans, President of the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Commissioner of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, will discuss his current research about the impact of the built and natural environments on metroparks throughout southeastern Michigan. This event is held in conjunction with the Library’s summer reading program, Local Motion - which encourages the use of local neighborhoods and outdoor areas to move and get fit!

Ultramarathon Man on DVD

One man. 50 marathons. 50 consecutive days. 50 different states.

Dean Kazarnes once again proves that he is the Ultramarathon Man in this documentary about his mission to raise awareness for youth obesity. Kazarnes runs 26.2 mile courses that are all used for annual marathons, but held on a different day than he runs them, or in the case of the New York City Marathon, when he runs on the day of the actual city-wide marathon event.

Athletes from several countries run the courses with the inspirational author and running enthusiast, even during torrential thunderstorms and under the 100+ degree heat of the Desert Classic Marathon course in Surprise, AZ. Karno's running toughness is matched only by his public spotlight endurance during this two month event. For upwards of five hours while running, Karno talks with fellow runners and listens to their stories, and then after the run he's shaking hands, signing autographs, and giving speeches before meeting with press and photographers, only to get back on the bus and drive to the next state. Catch up with Dean Kazarnes, the Ultramarathon Man, on DVD at the AADL.

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