Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester and Saline: Then & Now

Dexter villageDexter village

Thanks to local historian Grace Shackman, we've recently added to Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now dozens of past articles from the Community Observer tracking the histories of our neighboring communities Dexter, Chelsea, Manchester and Saline. Some articles, including one about the origins of area libraries, another on the county's one-room schoolhouses, and a third detailing Christmases past cover the history of the subject in all four locations. You can also read many feature-length articles about the architectural landmarks, businesses and people that characterize the towns, from the Chelsea Private Hospital and the Dexter Underpass to the Manchester Mill and Saline Valley Farms. Grace has also written about the smaller villages of Dixboro and Delhi.

Small Business Loans

MoneyMoney

A major problem facing small business owners today is the difficulty in arranging credit and bank loans to finance ongoing operations. Many financial institutions have been reluctant to lend money at a reasonable rate, if at all.

One retailer, Sam's Club, realizing this situation was impacting their business customer's ability to buy at their stores, has gotten creative. About half of the store's members are small business owners and they account for more than half the revenue at the retailer. As a result of surveying their customer's needs, they will soon start marketing S.B.A. loans of $5,000 to $25,000 for members nationwide. The company that is managing the loans is giving Sam's members a $100 discount on the application fee, and lower interest rates, because of how much business it expects through the arrangement. You can learn about how it works at Sam's Club S.B.A. Program.

The Ann Arbor District Library has many resources designed to help small business owners.

To find potential new business use Reference USA to get detailed information on over 15 million businesses including company size and sales information, stock information, and management biographies. To discover new ways of doing business and up-to-date management techniques use General Business File to find millions of articles on business and finance for analyzing company performance, industry events, and the latest in management, economics, and politics.

Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, Deduct It!: Lower Your Small Business Taxes, The 7 Irrefutable Rules Of Small Business Growth and The Small Business Start-up Kit are just a small sample of the many books we have devoted to helping the small business owner.

Brush Up on Bicycle Safety!

Ride RightRide RightJoseph Kane's Famous First Facts, a wonderfully informative and interesting resource, notes that it was on this day in 1896 that the first reported automobile accident causing injury in the United States occurred. This first injury accident was an automobile-bicycle collision resulting in a fractured leg, and represents a cautionary event that's still relevant 114 years later.

Keeping cyclists safe is everybody's responsibility. Even way back then, the law relied on cyclists to be visible in traffic and to pedestrians, and to outfit their bikes appropriately for the conditions. According to an article in an 1899 edition of the New York Times, that city's own squad of bicycle policemen had made 65 arrests by 10pm on June 4th, most of which were for cyclists riding without a light and bell.

To help cyclists of all ages try to avoid the various road and traffic hazards, the AADL offers many helpful resources.

Try this search to get you started on bike safety materials for young and beginning riders. There is also a Safety Town run jointly by the Ann Arbor Police Department and the Ann Arbor Public Schools Community Education & Recreation Department. Safety Town was founded in my hometown of Mansfield, Ohio in 1937 by a traffic commissioner and a kindergarten teacher, and "includes pedestrian safety, bike safety, stranger safety, drug awareness, fire safety, school bus safety, outdoor safety and seat belt safety." I remember having an absolute blast riding my tricycle around the miniature town (with Mansfield landmark buildings and working stop light!), obeying all the rules of the road I'd just learned. If the program is anything like it was back then, I can strongly recommend it for any young person.

Even we old(er) cyclists need to keep reminding ourselves how to stay safe. Here are a few books that might help us stay upright and moving forward. Parts of David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling are actually very relevant to bicyclists (and anyone in traffic). I haven't read anything anywhere that's had a better effect on my understanding of visibility, sight lines, and awareness.

For a little perspective, Kane reports that almost exactly three years after that first accident, a bicycle officer made the first ever arrest of a driver for speeding. The driver was traveling at the "breakneck speed" of 12mph on NYC's Lexington Ave.

Oh, and did I mention that speedster back in 1899 was an electric car?

Help for women in transition

A valuable local resource is The Center for the Continuing Education for Women. Not just for University of Michigan students and staff, the Center provides classes, counseling and panel discussions on a range of topics including balancing work and other demands, re-entering the workforce, and resume and interviewing skills. Their lecture series features women who have overcome obstacles to become successful like activist, Ai-Jen Poo who drafted a bill of rights for domestic workers. On Friday, March 5, CEW will host their annual career conference which is open to the public. There is a registration fee. For more information, call 734-764-6005.

The Library has a great selection of books for women making career decisions or just starting out after college. One that's been published recently is The Anti 9 to 5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube. It's full of straightforward strategies for making it on your own and has a "snappy," upbeat tone. Note: CEW serves men as well.

Come learn about a new technique for your health and well-being

On Wednesday, September 9th at 7 pm at the Pittsfield Branch, we will host a program lead by local resident Michelle Obrecht about the Alexander Technique, a set of practices for improving health and well-being. I had never heard of the technique, so I asked Michelle to provide a description, and she wrote:

"The Alexander Technique is a 100-year old process of postural re-education designed to promote self-awareness and enhance well-being. Most of us are completely unaware of the many unconscious habits we have that result in spinal compression and restricted breathing. Alexander Technique provides a specific formula that helps us shed self-defeating postural habits and replace them with habits of elongation and expansion. Most people think of posture as something rigid and held; on the contrary, Alexander work teaches that good posture is simply an attunement with the balance that nature has
intrinsically provided us."

When I asked her what equipment she will need, she said "I'll just need a straight-backed chair."

It sounds interesting and like something we can do in our own homes. Come check it out!

826Michigan books for you

thanksandhavefunthanksandhavefun

The library owns a few books put out by 826Michigan (the fabulous local non-profit that offers tutoring and workshops, and supports writing endeavors for kids age 6-18.) They have many books that are samples and collections of students’ work, highlighting the best and brightest of writing talent that will knock your socks off. True Stories and Tall Tales culminates a year’s worth of work at Ypsilanti’s Childs Elementary School and features histories, fantasies, and other such silliness written by the students, while lead by 826Michigan volunteers.

Another book written by 826Michigan students, and other 826 chapters across the country, is Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President Obama. Which is essentially just that: a collection of letters written by kids and addressed to President Obama. Some are funny, some are heartfelt, all are worth reading.

If you’re looking for more works put out by 826, or some McSweeney’s titles, or want to hear more about what they do there, check out the shelves at the Liberty Street Robot Repair and Supply Shop at 115 E. Liberty.

826michigan Summer Workshops

826michigan826michigan

Registration for 826michigan's summer workshops is now open! Workshops are on a variety of subjects, including screenwriting, correspondence, poetry, puppetry, and more! There's even drop-in writing time for all ages. 826michigan's workshops are very popular- they fill up quickly so be sure to get your registration in early. Workshops are age specific, and each student can register for two workshops in the summer. Write on!

Interested in a Habitat Home?

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You may qualify for home ownership through Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley! In order to qualify you must be able to demonstrate a need for simple, decent housing, the ability to pay, and a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity. If you are interested in owning your own home but are unable to qualify for a conventional mortgage, and you live in Washtenaw County and have steady income, contact Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley at 734-677-1558 ext. 104. Opportunities are also available for volunteers!

News from the Ypsilanti Historical Society

Helen McAndrewHelen McAndrew

Join us at the Ypsilanti District Library (5577 Whittaker Rd, Ypsilanti, MI) on Saturday, January 10, at 11:00 a.m. for the unveiling of an online archive of the Ypsilanti Historical Society's newsletter, Ypsilanti Gleanings. This event will include a demonstration of the site and a presentation on Ypsilanti history by Al Rudisill, President of the Ypsilanti Historical Society.

AATA Introduces a New Route

The Ride2The Ride2

The Ride (a.k.a. the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti bus system) has introduced a new route just in time for the holidays. On December 1, AATA began service on Route 17; Amtrak-Depot St. This route starts and ends at Blake Transit Center and offers service to City Hall, Community High School, Kerrytown, and the Amtrak station on Depot St. For people like myself, who are planning to take the Amtrak train out of the city for the holidays and who have light baggage, this route offers convenient access to the train station for $1 (or less) per trip. For more details on Route 17 and other services of The Ride, visit their website or call at (734) 996-0400.

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