Enjoying a beautiful day in Ypsilanti… and raising a few questions

I took Clementine and Arlo out today, on a walk around Ypsi. It felt good. We dropped books off an the library, bought candy at the Rocket, did some science experiments at the park, raced rafts made out of bark and twigs down the river, broke up the last bits of ice that we could find, and otherwise just bummed around, talking with people, and enjoying the fact that, for the first time in weeks, we could actually see the sun… Anyway, on this two hour journey of ours, a few questions were raised, and I thought that I’d bring them up here, in hopes that one of you might have an answer.

• Why is there an office chair on the little island that’s formed beneath the tridge? Does someone work there? I think it’s beautiful, and wouldn’t want anyone to remove it, but I thought that I’d ask. If I weren’t so old and out of shape, I think it would great to either repel down from the tridge, or wade out from the riverbank, and work there. (I wonder if this is where we were making our interim City Manager work, and if maybe that’s why he put in his notice after just a few days on the job.)

• Speaking of working in the park, did I just hear somewhere that Solar Ypsi has been working with Wireless Ypsi to deploy solar-powered internet access nodes throughout the park? If so, that’s incredibly cool. (Maybe we’ll start seeing more office furniture scattered around the park this spring.)

• As Arlo just turned two months old yesterday, I haven’t been getting out much, so I don’t know how long this picnic table (pictured right) has been sitting on the bottom of the river. Assuming it didn’t just go in today, I’m wondering if there have been attempts to get it out. Do we still have city employees to do that kind of thing, or is park maintenance now the domain of the Jaycees? (I can’t remember where we left things.) Anyway, if no one else is going to get it out, should we line up some volunteers to do it, or do folks like having an underwater option when it comes to picnicking in the park?

• And what’s going on in the space that VG Kids used to inhabit on Michigan Avenue (that was later known, for a short while, as the XVG Gallery)? It looks like someone is conducting a talk show in the front window. (Speaking of talk shows, there’s talk of bring Dreamland Tonight back to life in the not too distant future. Stay tuned.)

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29 Comments

  1. Arika
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I wondered about the old VG kids space too- two chairs, a rug, and a fireplace: looks like a cozy place for something… but what?l

  2. Edward
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    The books on the table are Ypsi history books. It could just be the landlord trying to do something interesting. (It’s certainly more compelling than looking into a vacant building.) Or, maybe, local historian James Mann sits there, and reads at night, smoking a pipe, and surveying life on Michigan Avenue.

  3. Posted February 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    All of this abandoned furniture is used by pukwudgies when humans aren’t around. Watch your step.

  4. Posted February 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I am not familial with these pukwudgies. Are they like bigfoot? Do they long for office jobs?

  5. Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    They are, and they do. Google for more info…

  6. atf
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    I love partially submerged picnic tables. There was one at Loonfeather park, but it was eventually fished out. Made many great memories there.

  7. Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    You’ll note they tore out what was the back wall of VG’s display room too. I saw them at it this past week and asked what was up — apparently new tenant incoming, software/web design/something like that?

  8. Erika
    Posted February 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Stan Kirton is the last man standing with regard to handling things such as the table in the river. He’s doing the jobs of several people, so he may not be able to get to that soon, but you should contact him to let him know of your concerns. He will do his best to handle it.

  9. j
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    The VG Kids space is being taken over by Pillar Technology ( http://pillartechnology.com ), a software development consultancy. It would be a solid ‘get’ for Ypsi, but I’ve heard conflicting reports as to whether it’s actually going to happen, though the renovations are a good sign.

    What I find really weird about the chair is that it seems to move around the island. Some very athletic or very wet people are maintaining it.

    The picnic table, or one like it, has been in the river for quite a while. It started out farther down river about 100 feet and about 30 feet from the bank. Another mystery is how the hell it got there in the first place. I remember thinking it would have been really cold to drag it out there and get it back in (so maybe October at the earliest, December at the latest?). How it managed to get upriver and closer to shore but not out is beyond me. Maybe it made it back to shore only to be dunked again?

  10. Eel
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    It’s cute, if that’s a photo of her taking a water sample. Not so much, if she’s adding some sort of neurotoxin.

  11. Benner
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I would LOVE to spend a week, living in that storefront. I think it would be fun to take naps there, to wake up and see people walking by, to sleep there at night. :)

    Also, speaking of the Dreamland Tonights maybe starting back up, that got me thinking… Mark, you asked me a while ago to submit episodes to CTN in AA but I never got the discs. If you still have them, or could make copies of them… well… what I was thinking was… It would be so cool if we had copies at the library that you could check out! Local talk shows available to check out on DVD! I run the DVD collection downtown so… let me know what you think!

  12. kjc
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    does anyone else live around the old boys and girls club and want to know why someone (from the city?) just cut down every gorgeous tree around that property?

  13. Wikipedia
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    A Pukwudgie is a 2-or-3-foot-tall (0.61 or 0.91 m) troll-like being from the Wampanoag folklore. Pukwudgies’ features resemble those of a human, but with enlarged noses, fingers and ears. Their skin is described as being a smooth grey, and at times has been known to glow.

    In Native American lore, Pukwudgies have the following traits and abilities;

    • they can appear and disappear at will
    • they can transform into a walking porcupine (it looks like a porcupine from the back, and the front is half-troll, half-human and walks upright)
    • they can attack people and lure them to their deaths
    • they are able to use magic
    • they have poison arrows
    • they can create fire at will

    Pukwudgies control Tei-Pai-Wankas which are believed to be the souls of Native Americans they have killed.

    Native Americans believed that Puckwudgies were best left alone. When you see a Puckwudgie you are not supposed to mess with them, or they will repay you by playing nasty tricks on you, or by following you and causing trouble. They were once friendly to humans, but then turned against them. They are known to kidnap people, push them off cliffs, attack their victims with short knives and spears, and to use sand to blind their victims.

  14. Elf
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I’d be surprised it it was someone from the city who cut the trees down, as I think we sold our chainsaws to a scrap metal dealer for 15-cents a pound.

    If we did have have the people to do it, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the city had sent out an edict to tear down all of the trees on public land. It’s a lot easier to cut a tree down than care for it.

    As for questions, I have one of my own. How long has the Huron been full of carp? Does anyone remember when there were other fish in the river? Is there no hope of ever getting a population of indigenous fish back again? Has anyone ever tried to offer a bounty on Huron and carp and wipe them out once and for all?

  15. kjc
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I tried to call the City but that office closes at 4. I wrote Brian Robb (my rep) asking if he knows why someone did it. I actually have pictures of those trees in full bloom. It was painful to stand there and watch them be destroyed.

  16. kjc
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    and Elf, that was funny except I’m too sad to laugh.

  17. Erika
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    The city did an inventory of the trees this summer and identified those with disease that could spread and kill other trees. They have been through Normal Park and College Heights neighborhoods over the last few days, too. Professional arborists from Davey Tree Service identified and marked the trees for removal on city maps. This was budgeted for two years ago and is the best thing for all of the city’s trees in the long run.

  18. Aaron
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen the chair there. When it’s warm I plan on eating ice cream in it. Or maybe drinking whisky.

    Possibly both.

  19. kjc
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    These trees were removed according to Gary Burchwell because they’re “junk trees”. He said they can do it if they want cuz they’re on city property. He claimed they were going to damage the fence. It’s my landlord’s fence. I asked him if my landlord wanted them cut down. He said the city decided. Finally he admitted it was him. Anyway, the whole thing was a beautiful bird sanctuary. They didn’t need to come down. But I have a great view now of the crumbling remains of the dugout and backstop, specifically the dugout where LARRY BIG DICK is displayed.

  20. kjc
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    the words Larry Big Dick are displayed, not the actual Larry, who is probably riding his bike around town right now.

  21. K2
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s not fair that Larry gets a sign posted about his Big Dick in a public park, while Mark has to make due with a fleeting mention of his on the city’s website.

  22. Elf
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of throwing away old office chairs, I happened across the following to-do list online this morning.

    http://i.imgur.com/sLrJY.jpg

  23. Lynne
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    kjc, I took a look at the trees this morning and as far as I can tell, most of what they cut down were mulberry trees. They’ve cut these trees back much worse before and I can 100% guarantee you that they will grow back :)

  24. j
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    @elf, Just leave the carp alone. We don’t need another carpocalypse: http://annarborchronicle.com/2010/07/29/in-the-archives-carp-ocalypse/

  25. kjc
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    they weren’t all mulberries but even if they were it doesn’t much matter to me. there were lots of them, always filled with birds, and in full bloom in the spring and summer. i have a series in my living room of those trees in all four seasons. when people were living in those trees, the city didn’t seem to mind.

    and if they grow back, they’ll just cut them down again from what Gary had to say. I don’t get it.

  26. anonymous
    Posted February 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    It apparently wasn’t your penis that got Hansen fired.

    http://www.annarbor.com/news/ypsilanti/officials-john-hansen-resigned-from-ypsilanti-iterim-managers-post-after-employee-harrassment-charge/

  27. Lynne
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    kjc, yeah, I know it is frustrating. But I also want to reassure you. Mulberry trees and those “Tree of Heaven” trees (which probably were also in the bunch) grow really fast so in a few short years, you should have the trees you enjoy back.

    That isn’t always the case though. You did say that you enjoyed seeing the trees in bloom in the spring. That makes me wonder if there weren’t some old fruit trees back there. If so, those wont grow back and that is a shame because they are very lovely. I know that I am still grumpy about a maple tree that was on the easement between the sidewalk and the street that was cut down. It was one of the most beautiful trees on the block but when Marsh Plating had that accident with the chemical spill, it died and no one ever replaced it. :(

  28. kjc
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    thanks Lynne. it sucks to care about this stuff when people in charge don’t care.

  29. kjc
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    oh and yes, there definitely apple blossoms on a couple of those trees.

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