Ypsilanti Citizen News Lincoln Schools

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Heated meeting about local business' future

Photo by Christine Laughren and Dan DuChene

Samir Hanna, Cathy Hanna, a local patron and Mayor Pro-Tem Trudy Swandon defend Brandy's Liquor on Michigan Avenue Tuesday evening. The store faces a nuisance suit filed by Ypsilanti Police at the City Council meeting last night. The suit could lead to hi
Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

By Dan DuChene
Nov. 19, 2008    ·    1:50 a.m.

More than 20 people came to the City Council meeting last night to support a local liquor store and stop the city from potentially closing it.

At the end of the meeting, City Council agreed unanimously to postpone a nuisance suit filed by Ypsilanti Police against Brandy’s Liquor Store.

The suit, filed with 14-B Circuit Court earlier this month, could have lead to the store closing its doors on Michigan Avenue, west of Summit Street. The agreement reached by council set a 60-day stay on the case and forwarded the matter to the city’s Human Relations Commission.

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said police have responded to approximately 200 calls regarding Brandy’s during the past year. He said that compares to 85, which is the next highest amount of calls made. Officials say the store has become a hotbed for crime.

Samir Hanna, his wife Cathy and his son Brian came to the meeting to defend their store during audience participation. They were joined at the microphone by more than a dozen community supporters.

“He’s saying I’m not cooperating,” Samir said before the meeting about Ypsilanti Police Chief Matt Harshberger.

Samir said he has hired a security guard, installed cameras, trimmed shrubs and painted his building upon the request of Harshberger and Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr.

“(Harshberger) keeps on telling me I’m not doing (anything),” Samir said.

The Hanna family say when they call the police to report loiterers hanging out in the store’s parking lot, they aren’t taken seriously and told to handle the situation themselves. Instead, they said costumers are often harassed by police officers.

Samir said he once reported a loiterer he could not remove from his property. He said he was told to call the police from his cell phone and stand next to the person.

“How is that person going to stay there if he knows I’m talking to the police,” he said.

The decision was proposed by Councilmember Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, during council-proposed business toward the end of the meeting.

“This seems like it would be a good issue for the Human Relations Commission,” Robb said. “They could probably lead that cause.”

Mayor Pro Tem Trudy Swanson agreed with Robb’s proposal.

“I think that is a good idea,” she said. “I think we need to get together and communicate this out."

She said police often present themselves to the community one way, and deliver information to City Council in another.

Swanson, several members of the audience and the Cathy alleged the suit against the store is race related. They said loitering outside of stores is a common event throughout the city, not just at Brandy’s.

“It’s a far bigger issue than one spot in the city,” said Ypsilanti resident Kevin Hill. “Perhaps we need to look at the broader issue.”

The Hanna family is Middle Eastern and most of the audience members who came in support of the store were African American.

Though he said the problem wasn’t necessarily coming from City Council, Ypsilanti resident Leonardo Christian said, “Really what you’re talking about is a race card.

“My people go up there and cater that store,” Christian, who is African American, said. “If you run another business out, there goes Ypsilanti.”

Cathy said her store is often the recipient of harassment from police and the surrounding community. During audience participation, she played a recording of a phone call she had received, which repeatedly called her and the family that own the store “nigger lovers.”

“This is what we’re dealing with,” she said.

“(Police) have time to harass my customers,” Cathy said. “When we need them, we’re told ‘don’t call the police.’ ”

City Council said recent efforts made by the Hanna family show good faith, and wanted to see how much progress was made and have it presented back to council.

The decision was made after Mayor Pro-tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, called the question, which was seconded by Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2.

Robb opposed the motion to call the question. He said he wasn’t satisfied with the details of the agreement.

“I’m always curious about the endgame,” Robb said before the motion to call the question. “What are we expecting?”

After the motion, Robb said it was not clear who would be making a decision about the store. It was also not clear how long the city would collect data to make a presentation, and what data would be compared.

“We called the question and never came to a decision,” Robb said.

Councilmember Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1, was not present at the meeting.

Stay tuned to the Ypsilanti Citizen for details on this developing story.

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