The Ypsilantian of the Year


[The following post is kind of rambling. I apologize in advance for the stream-of-consciousness nature of it.]

A few nights ago, half joking, I posted on Facebook that I was considering the possibility of bestowing a “Local Person of the Year” award in Ypsi, the same way that Time magazine does every year for the nation as a whole. Well, the conversation evolved in a direction that I hadn’t really foreseen… People actually took the idea seriously… By the time the online conversation finally died down, not only had several dozen people been nominated, but people were actually committing themselves to the idea in significant ways. Rob Hess, the owner of Go Ice Cream, offered to contribute a sizable amount of ice cream to a gift basket for the winner, suggesting that others do the same. “You should just pick a person,” Rob said, “Then we can load them up with gifts like a goddamn walking, talking Ypsilanti Christmas tree.” And, then, someone by the name of Ginny Golembiewski contacted me, offering to organize a parade on behalf of the recipient, which would culminate at the person’s home, where members of the community would bestow baked goods, and share a toast in their honor.

To be honest, the last thing I need right now is one more big project, but, judging by all of the responses, this thing clearly has potential, and I feel as though I should probably see it though, wherever it might lead… The question is how.

As I see it, I have two options. I could either do it myself, and just pick someone, giving them a plaque saying something, like “Mark Maynard’s Favorite Ypsilantian of 2014,” or I could do it right, drafting a committee representative of the city, agreeing to a number of guiding principles, taking nominations, and then going through the process of meticulously weighing the merits of every nominee… The problem, of course, is that the people I’d want to serve on the committee would likely be people who themselves should be considered for the honor.

And that’s another thing to consider. Would it really be an honor? Would someone want an Ypsilantian of the Year award to begin with, let alone from a blog that an old guy writes in his bed, while chewing on cough drops? Of course, I don’t guess I’d even have to mention the blog. I could just start up a whole new entity to present the award, calling it something grandiose like The Society for the Betterment of Ypsilanti, right?

And then there’s the question of just where to draw the geographic boundaries. As this site has just as many readers in Ann Arbor as it does in Ypsilanti, should we include them as well? Or is it better to just focus closer to home and honor someone who’s busting his or her ass to make life here better? (People in Ann Arbor get enough awards, don’t they?)

Or, I could just make the whole thing a joke, and give the award to myself, and then continue to do so on an annual basis for the rest of my life, watching my living room wall slowly fill with “Ypsilantian of the Year” plaques. Or, would that be too douchey? If so, I could change the name of the award, calling it something like, “I’m Being The Best Mark Maynard That I Can Be Award.” And, every year, on the last day of December, I could walk out of my front porch, bestow it upon myself, and give a little speech. I think that would be nice. Or, better yet, I could give it to a different Mark Maynard each year. I like the idea of a “Best Mark Maynard of the Year” trophy that could travel from town to town between those of us named Mark Maynard.

So many things to think about.

[Time passes.]

…OK, here’s what I’m thinking. There’s too much of risk in trying to do it correctly. Invariably, people will be disappointed. They’ll argue that the panel of judges isn’t representative enough. They’ll argue that our criteria for judging was skewed in favor of one person, or one type of person. They’ll argue that we picked the wrong person. They’ll argue that we didn’t even consider people who we should have… This, of course, had occurred to me early on, but I thought that it would still be worth it. I thought that the ensuing conversation, even if it might get a little ugly, would be a good thing, as it would get people in the community talking about what we collectively value, and what we’re all doing to make life here better. Now, though, I’m thinking that the risk outweighs any possible benefit that we might enjoy as a community. So, for that reason, I’m deciding against the “do it right” option, at least for the time being.

What I’m thinking instead is that I’ll just do it myself, and I won’t call it the “Ypsilantian of the Year” award. I’ll call it something like, Mark Maynard’s “From My Admittedly Limited Knowledge of the Community in which I Live, this is the Ypsilantian Who I Think Kicked the Most Ass This Year, and I Apologize if You Disagree, and I’ll Try to Pick Someone Better Next Year” Award.

So, if you have people to nominate, please do so by leaving a comment here. Just name the person, and briefly explain why it is that you think they’re awesome, and how they made life here in Ypsi better.

As for the prize which will accompany the award, if you’d like to join Go Ice Cream and contribute toward it, just send me an email. I’ll probably go and buy an old bowling trophy or something, and have a new brass plate etched for it. At ten cents a letter, or whatever it is, Mark Maynard’s “From My Admittedly Limited Knowledge of the Community in which I Live, this is the Ypsilantian Who I Think Kicked the Most Ass This Year, and I Apologize if You Disagree, and I’ll Try to Pick Someone Better Next Year” Award will cost a small fortune, but I reckon it’s worth it.

And, if all goes well, I’ll hand it over to someone on New Year’s Eve.

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  1. Tom
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    The President of EMU came out against the EAA last week. I don’t know how hard, if at all, she tried to sway the regents, but I liked that she voiced her opinion against it. She also walked to the other side of Cross Street for the brat eating contest. Nothing earth shattering, but it’s nice to see something positive at EMU.

  2. Rob Hess
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    I’m stoked that this is actually a thing! I’m gonna see if I can drum up some nominations. Let’s hurry and get to the part where there is a parade and lots of gift-giving and happy foolishness.

  3. anonymous
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    What about giving the first one to a historic figure, like George McCoy, who smuggled escaped slaves to the Detroit River from Ypsilanti, hidden in his wagon? Who could possibly complain about that?

  4. Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    With so many pivotal people in my young Normal Parkian life its hard to chose just one person that earns a nomination from my side. There are so many facets to what I decree as a great person.
    Rob Hess would get one for his indominatible spirit, excellent attitude and great ice cream.
    Tyler Weston would get one for being taller and nicer than I.
    Patricia Berry would get one for her great smile and wood floors.
    Amber Davis would get one for her beauty and tenacity.
    And you, Mark, would get one just for asking such a question.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Amanda Edmonds

  6. Quinn Phillips
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Colleen O’Brien! She’s been making Ypsi a better place for many years through her work with at-risk youth at Ozone House. The Drop-In Center on Hamilton St. provides hot meals, showers, laundry, groups and case management for kids who may not have a safe place to go.

  7. Aaron
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    ooh! Nice nomination for Colleen O’Brien. i’ll second that nomination. I’d also like to nominate Amanda, and of course, one nomination has to go to you Mark. you do a ton for our city.

  8. Krystal Elliott
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    How many nominations am I allowed? I have a small handful.

    Police Chief Tony DeGiusti: For leading the YPD to an unprecedented level of collaboration with EMU Police and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office during the last year, for his (and the department’s) commitment to the safety of Ypsilanti through dedicated community policing, for working with the city to grow the police force in a financially responsible way, and for being an all around good guy every time someone mispronounces his name into the public record.

    Former City Planner Teresa Gillotti: For working her absolute butt off during the Shape Ypsilanti master plan process and making sure that the community was involved every step of the way (and nabbing the city a pretty neat planning award on top of it), for being well-prepared and on top of her game for every City Council presentation she made, and for being able to answer nearly every question I ever had (or point me towards someone who could) related to economic development in the city.

    D’Real Graham: For putting more enthusiasm than I’ve ever had for anything in my life into every thing he does, for his commitment to 826michigan and area youth, for managing and helping to provide a safe “third” space at Beezy’s Cafe (shout out to Bee for opening her space) for the Washington Street Tutoring Lab, and being a positive voice for Ypsilanti and its people.

    I could go on with nominations but I should probably start my workday at some point.

  9. Caleb Z
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    There at least 20 people that spring to mind for this award, but when you add it all up there’s only one person that takes the proverbial cake (or in this case- ice cream).

    My Boss, Bee Roll. Bee Roll runs a restaurant. Bee Roll runs a damn-fine restaurant. This in and of itself, for anyone that’s worked in one, is a marvel. The amount of managerial curveballs she has to juggle whilst raising 2 adorable youngin’s (usually on her person) is simply astounding. I’ve never seen anyone take on so much responsibility with such grit and persistence. Even when a situation seems impossible, she always finds a way to mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually MacGyver her way out of it. She learns from her mistakes with scientific precision and rises to every challenge that presents itself.

    Her employees, whom she interviews personally and hand-selects with impeccable discernment, are not your typical hires. We are Peter Pan’s lost boys, we are Santa’s misfits toys. Yet she stops at nothing to accomodate us to the best of her abilities and circumstances. We are compensated well, we are well-fed, we are given flexible schedules to allow us to nurture our personal goals beyond Beezy’s, and when she works in the kitchen she doesn’t take a cut of the tips so we can have more to take home.

    She is incredibly sharp and methodical. She has keen business sensibilities and is constantly searching for ways to improve herself and her environment. Her work ethic is steadfast and tireless. She is loyal and she is a force to be reckoned with. She doesn’t talk feminism, she walks feminism. She, in the most benevolent sense, is the self-empowered woman incarnate. And she’s infinitely more likely to take more weight on her shoulders than to ask for help.

    She is the most generous person I’ve ever met. With what little she is able to provide the community, she offers freely and without want of anything in return. From the 826 Tutoring Program to First Fridays; Bee invests in Ypsilanti’s past, present, and future.

    Above all, Bee Roll cares about this town. She cares about her customers. She cares about her staff. She cares about the troubled youth that grow up here, and the starving artists that work here. Bee, next to Pete Seeger and my own parents, is my hero. I, along with everyone in this town should consider themselves proud, and profoundly lucky to have her in our lives. And though she’s probably the least likely to accept this kind of praise, she is absolutely the most deserving of it.

  10. Kristen Cuhran
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I am very much enjoying reading these love fest posts- can’t wait to read more. I am grateful we have so many people we admire in our tiny Ypsilanti. You are going to have a seriously hard task ahead of you Mr. Maynard.

  11. Joe
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I second Bee’s nomination.

    It’s not easy for someone to run a successful business and treat their employees like humans. Or, maybe it is easy and lots of bosses just choose not to do it for some reason. Either way, beyond that sort of baseline level of respect for human dignity that I wish all business owner’s could rise to, she’s just a badass.

    If you wanted to really complicate things, you could have categories, like art, non-profit, business, etc. There are just too many awesome people in Ypsi. I guess the act of choosing one person to honor is always problematic.

  12. anonymous
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    If we give EOS the award maybe we can flush him out of hiding.

  13. bee roll
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I am prettyyyyy, ahhhh, verklempt? over Caleb’s nomination- I clicked over to see how this was developing because I lurked all over your facebook post and got a real kick out of the mark maynard of the year award.

    was not expecting to see a fucking tome in my honor. Nothing like 10 am, having not brushed your teeth yet, snot dripping out of your nose and feeling like a losery loser of losers only to read that. It’s like ‘A Wonderful Life’ only less good looking and I’m not standing on a bridge. I have a community full of guardian angels and the most phenomenal crew backing me up. And no, I don’t want the award. Please no. But I copied that post from Caleb and put in my notes and I’ll probably print it out and keep it somewhere relatively accessible but hard to find under a pile of papers so that when I’m having a shitty day, I’ll find it and it will make e weep all over again, and I’ll use it to fire up my running on fumes always engine. That’s winning, right there. Ice cream for everyone.

    Speaking of which- guys, go order one of those ice cream pies from Live the good life, one bite at a time.

  14. Elize
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I nominate Kayj Michelle!!
    Shes been bring art and events to this community for years, and has put in hundreds and hundreds of hours of her own time to give us things like live art throw downs with community rebirth, to entire sections of heritage fest dedicated to art and music. Through community rebirth, shes made a space for artists to meet and collaborate and have fun.
    I have the pleasure of directly working with her as her VP on First Fridays Ypsilanti (all volunteer run) , a monthly event that has taken off and blossomed just in this past year. FFY would have never gotten off the ground if it wasnt for Kayj’s leadership. Kayj is keeping Ypsi weird, and interesting, and theres nothing that she wouldnt do for this community.

  15. PhyllisMarie Mason
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    well, do I at least get an honorable mention?? LOL

  16. Nathaniel Hockman
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Susie Andrews. Everything she does in Ypsilanti comes with a smile and I nominate her for this because this calendar year she has been busier than ever. She often shows me her calendar and she doesn’t get a lot of breaks. She has been servicing this city before I was born. If no one knows about her, it is because the good deeds she does are out of love and she would probably prefer to be under the radar. She is by far the hardest working woman in Ypsilanti even in her old age. Her work with “nature&me,” (imagine what it would be like to have a lawncare business in your 60s-70s) and all of her very hard work making sure things get accomplished at the ladies literary building, are just a couple things that barely scratch the surface. She has virtually worked at every business in Ypsilanti over the years, and lived in virtually every part of Ypsilanti durng her life here. She could tell you everything you would want to know about Ypsilanti and give many reasons why she has stayed here. She’s like the George Bailey of Ypsilanti . She won’t win but the thing about Susie is that she wins every day she wakes up. Love you Susie Andrews!!

  17. Nathaniel Hockman
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Bee and Kayj are solid nominations

  18. Lynne
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ll nominate my next door neighbor, Eric, because he came over not to long ago to tell me that I needn’t worry about shoveling my walk this winter since he is going to do it. For free. Just because. Sometimes it is the quiet neighbor stuff that makes all the difference.

  19. Elize
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Although i do still stand by my nomination of Kayj, I kindof think all this is really silly, trying to point out the best one of us, when there are so many people that contribute in so many different ways. Nominating a boss because she isnt a shitty boss… i could name handfuls of business owners in ypsi that fit that criteria! Also, there are so many great things done by great people that will never get recogized. We should just have an icecream social to celebrate all the ypsilantians who have made it what it is today.

    However i like lynns nomination, walk shovelin Eric!
    I also nominate the lady on River Street that found my cat and made sure he got home safe to me.

  20. Andrew Clock
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I second the nomination of Kayj. I would say that she is running the two most effective groups for the promotion of Ypsilanti, Community Rebirth and First Fridays. Her attempts to build foot traffic in downtown and her efforts at the Heritage Festival stand out in particular.

    I’d also nominate Malissa Eckley, who is a stylist at Eleven West Salon on Michigan Avenue. Malissa was the volunteer coordinator/associate director/doer of whatever needed doing for the last three years of the Heritage Festival, has become the secretary of First Fridays Ypsilanti, and single handedly organized Ypsilanti’s Small Business Saturday Promotion, from convincing the DDA to at least pony up money for an event they should have been leading anyway to reaching out to every businesses to in town to participate. Malissa may not be as high profile or flashy as some others on this list, but her dedication to making Ypsilanti a better place speaks for itself.

  21. Crow
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    As no one has said it yet, I’d like to nominate Matt Siegfried, who has busted his ass for a hell of a long time to document the existence of people of color in Ypsilanti. He as done so without compensation, and he has done a damn fine job of it, giving both free walking tours of Ypsilanti, and appearing on this very site to discuss things like the underground railroad and Native American burial sites. Our community is better because of his presence.

  22. Joe
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Nathaniel Hockman! He’s a beam of sunshine, and a genuine friend of Ypsilanti. Also, Tyler Weston! He’s been the most outspoken person in Ypsi pulling for this town. It’s been great watching him get the word out on how much he loves his town.

    Oh, also Stewie Beal! because… JUST KIDDING! ;)

  23. Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Wow! What great nominations! And i like reading them to learn more about great nominations.

    I too would nominate Amanda Edmonds and Kayj Michelle.

    I would also nominate Shoshanna Phillips from Heritage of Healing, a local non-profit that helps families experiencing cancer. They do a lot of great work helping families, and Shoshanna founded this group, runs it, and raises 2 amazing teenagers ALL WHILST BATTLING MULTIPLE MYELOMA (bone marrow cancer) with a smile. She is AMAZING… one of my biggest role models.

    I also would nominate Colin Moorehouse for his selfless grueling work creating and editing and designing the new local zine Ypsi Underground. He nearly killed himself staying awake for, like a month, to create issue #3, which is a masterpiece (buy it at Ugly Mug or Beezy’s.) Colin’s vision is building an even tighter knit artists and free-thinkers community here in Ypsi. I know that Beezy’s food and Ugly Mug’s coffee kept him nourished during this process, so I can dig on Bee’s nomination too. lol Also, Colin is not trying to make money with the zine; he’s trying to make HISTORY. :-)

    I also think that Mark does an amazing job on this blog and all the research and networking that goes into it. I nominate Mark too.

    What if we had MORE THAN ONE Ypsilantian of the year? What if we had a big party somewhere and had a lot of different awards, for different people that have done different things for the community? What if it was an annual gala where we all gave each other the kudos we deserve for having one of the coolest towns on the planet? I would go. Consider this my RSVP. ha ha

  24. Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I also thing Brian Robb should be nominated. He has done a lot for this City whilst on Council (plus he FOUNDED Wireless Ypsi and runs a great blog and runs the radio station downtown). He cares about the people and is an excellent person to have running this town. He thinks about pedestrians, chickens, bees, better lighting, and all the issues that make this town a better place to live.

    What about Mayor Pro-Tem Lois Richardson? She is incredible. I used to work with her 20 years ago in the social service industry. She really has the needs of the people in mind. Listen to the audio of City Council meetings or attend them and you will see she is there asking the hard questions and fighting for the people of Ypsi, like making sure big construction projects hire people WHO LIVE IN YPSI.

    We are very lucky to have great people running this town!!

    Oh! What about Lisa Bashert? She is involved in so many excellent causes in town, like volunteering at the Co-op, helping start the new Co-op orchard in town (CORY), and advocating for the rights of the BEES, amongst other things.

    Yeah, I don’t think just one award will do. There are a lot of great Ypsilantians. We have a section in Ypsi Underground called “Ypsilebrity” and we honor great Ypsilantians there. I think Amanda is going to be our next Ypsilebrity.

    What about Ben Miller? He is really involved in a lot of great things and really cares about this town. He is on the Co-op board of directors, helped the League of Women Voters with all the election stuff, and helps run Totally Awesome FEst, where he gives away amazing free clothing that he collects all year. (He then donates the left-overs to the Ypsi Thrift STore).

    If Corrine, the GM of the Co-op, lived in Ypsi, I would nominate her too, especially with all of her work at the FreightHouse.

  25. Rob Hess
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Wow. It is so fun to read all of these comments. Look at all the Ypsi love out there. It is hard, in fact impossible to find the best Ypsilantian among us, and isn’t that an awesome problem and a great chance to enumerate what we love about our neighbors. Let’s keep this thread going until we have pointed out every person in our town.

  26. Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    We’ll go street by street.

  27. Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Bee is a solid nomination for sure. Amanda Edmonds, Tyler Weston, Mark Maynard, Andrew Clock, D’Real Graham, Julia Collins, Tony DeGiusti, Teresa Gillotti, are also all tied for first.

  28. Anonymous
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh come on. This is a popularity contest amongst a specific community within Ypsilanti. There are so many great people in Ypsilanti teaching the next generation, saving lives, supporting neighbors, and being positive who don’t have the time or money to be the faces of businesses, programs, etc. I have enjoyed reading about the people so far, they are great too.

  29. Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    And this is your chance to name them, Anonymous. Let us know who they are.

  30. Me
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    I think this should be an award that is never actually given, but perennially accepts and publishes nominations.

  31. Caleb Z
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Apparently Mark has shown remarkable foresight in his preemptive concern with the issue of rivalry. It comes as a shock to me that anyone would want to mutate such a wholesome and constructive prompt into something malicious and competitive.

    I’m with the illustrious Mr. Hess- it’s the act of expressing gratitude and appreciation to significant people in our lives that we should be celebrating. Everybody wins if we manage to keep it classy.

  32. Posted December 17, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I second Bee Roll.

    If the Ypsilantian of the Year could be a place rather than a person, I’d say the RAC.

  33. Posted December 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Let’s have categories for “persons” “places” and “things!” I nominate the Ypsilanti Farmer’s Markets and Ypsi Food Co-op for places, and I nominate the Tridge for “things.” Or is the Tridge a place?

    We would need some definition between the “places” and the “things” category….. yeah… maybe a “thing” is something that can be moved, and a “place” can’t be moved. So the Tridge is a “place,” then.

    Ok, I nominate Lisa and Beth’s car (beautifully fully covered in mosaic) for the “Things” category then. There are a few other amazingly decorated cars in town that could go in this category as well…..

  34. Charlotte Payne
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I am in agreement with Mark, it’s time we step up and give credit where credit is due and often overdue. However, in reading the numbers of names being put forth and knowing that there are others not mentioned here (yet) that Mark is on to a good idea. I suggest that a calendar of profiles be created for the 12 top vote getters in the 12 pages and that future proceeds from the sale of the calendar be donated to the agencies of the winners choice……this of course after initial expenses are paid, if a donor to pay up front for the costs doesn’t step in. It’s never to soon to express gratefulness and recognition for our citizens. Who knows, this idea might catch on in other communities and Ypsilanti will be the trend setter.

  35. CED
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    What fun. Wonderful people nominated so far, with more to come, for sure. As an Ypsi newbie, I find this very helpful for identifying people and projects to learn about. Thanks, Mark, for your good cheer in getting this rolling.
    It would be more work in the long run, probably for a team, but no reason not to expand on the concept as a few people have already done. Appreciation is great.
    Re: geographical boundaries–Ypsi city, maybe Ypsi Township. Not Ann Arbor. They do already have plenty of awards over there. IMHO.

  36. Posted December 18, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    I would say that it should be Tater Salad, but I think he lives in Canton.

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 18, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    This is the highest percentage of non-anonymous comments I have ever seen on this site.

  38. Caleb Z
    Posted December 18, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    That calender idea is pretty legit! Good thinkin’ Charlotte!

  39. Posted December 18, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I’d like to nominate Linda Yohn and all of the folks at WEMU. They provide such great music & news every day. Linda is always enthusiastic, warm and wonderful on her daily program.

    I would certainly second Bee’s nomination though! What a dynamo!

  40. Posted December 22, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I’m typically pretty awful at these things because I hate making best-of-lists, tend to kind of basically love everyone, am pretty gunshy of declaring anything perfect or exemplary in every way and I hate to exclude anyone or any thing. But.

    I figure if there is ever a place to not be a wimp, giving folks kudos for being awesome is definitely it. One thing this award is definitely proving to me is how many people in Ypsilanti I still don’t know, but then again, I guess a place is made up of many small relationships and many small actions, so that’s where I am going to focus my list.

    Nomination 1: Kate Stroud and Jenn Wenzel. They raise chickens, children, dogs, a bunny, grow their own food, do massage, make jewelry, renovate houses, cook their own dog food, teach fitness classes at Ypsi Studio and in the past year have volunteered their time and talents to help at least three small businesses that I can think of off the top of my head, but I would guess that number is actually closer to 6 or 7. That right there makes them Ypsilanti poster children to me. They are constantly helping other people. It’s insane. Damn near an illness. When we were helping Bona Sera re-decorate, we told we were looking for picture frames and BAM! Suddenly 30 pictures frames appeared. Along with a oocuple of walls and a bunh of other shit, too. For free. Because they like to help. I know that if I ever need anything, I can call on them and if they can’t make it better, they will at least meet me at the Tap Room and help me drown the problem in a giant beer. I figure that if I feel that way about them, there must be a dozen others that feel this way, too.

    Nomination 2: Mark Maynard. A) it’s deserved and B) it’s the most excellent troll bait and C) why not celebrate ourselves? I don’t think you’ll do it, but I think it would be awesome and I would definitely give you ice cream and make a big fucking deal out of it because hilarity.

    Nomation 3: Bee Roll. Bee is almost too obvious a choice. I mean, really. If ever the beloved Water Tower were to fall, I mean, it’s a pretty safe bet that it would be replaced by a giant statue of Bee, right? Just look at what Caled said! What small business boss get’s that kind of love? She’ll never take it but she deserves it. She should get it for her breakfast burritos alone.

    Nomination 4: Juna (age 9) who, this Summer, distributed a little newspaper into the mailboxes of Normal Park residents called The Oakwood Seed: a newspaper of love and imagination. The little photo-copied paper was illustrated with pictures of her bunny and her cat, along with pictures of a peace sign, a recycling symbol and an anarchy symbol. I love that we are the kind of town where kids are encouraged to do things like this. Finding and reading this little story from a kid I don’t know was one of my favorite things of the entire year.

    Nomination 5: Mary Garboden, head of Youth & Outreach Services at the Ypsilanti District Library. The library does awesome stuff and Mary has always been a pleasure to work with. Super-friendly and encouraging and professional and creative, exactly the kind of person you want helping young folks engage knowledge.

    I also totally agree with the Corinne Sikorski and Colleen O’Brien nominations. Shit, I could go on and on with folks, but I have to limit my list!

    Damn, I just remembered I wanted to nominate Cre and Sherri and Marcy for DIYpsi, too. Goddamnit. See? I hate lists! Ugh. This is the worst.

    Tough choice, Mr. Maynard. But a fun process. I look forward to meeting more Ypsilantians next year and expanding my list.

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  1. […] you may recall, about a month ago, I said that I’d like to bestow an Ypsilantian of the Year award, and asked for your nominations. Well, yesterday, on my new radio program, I announced the […]

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