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Oldnews posts articles, letters to the editor and photos on the history of the Pall-Gelman dioxane groundwater contamination

Tue, 03/08/2016 - 7:32pm

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The Pall-Gelman 1,4 dioxane groundwater contamination has a long and troubled past in Ann Arbor history.

AADL Archives staff, with the assistance of Scio township resident [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/90445|Roger Rayle], founder and leader of [https://sites.google.com/site/srsworg/|Scio Residents for Safe Water], has posted [http://oldnews.aadl.org/gelman_history|over 1,000 historical articles], [http://oldnews.aadl.org/gelman_editorials|editorials], [http://oldnews.aadl.org/gelman_letters|letters to the editor] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/gelman_photos|photos] from the Ann Arbor News covering the history of the Pall-Gelman dioxane groundwater contamination cleanup from the late 1960s, when Gelman Sciences (now the Pall Corp.) pumped contaminated water into a holding pond at their 600 S. Wagner facility, through the close of the first iteration of the Ann Arbor News in 2009. Coverage includes not only attention-grabbing headlines but considerable detail about the company's earnings, personnel changes, and related environmental concerns at the state and local level throughout this period.

The discovery of the 1,4 dioxane in water wells in the 1980s caused a public outcry and set off much finger-pointing and several legal battles between the Pall-Gelman Corporation; Scio township residents; the city of Ann Arbor; and the state of Michigan concerning responsibility for the cleanup that's now stretched over three decades. Former Ann Arbor News assistant metro editor Lynn Monson has written a [http://oldnews.aadl.org/features/pall_gelman_cleanup|special feature story for Oldnews] to bring readers up to date as the dioxane plume continues to spread toward the Huron River.

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Blog Post

Old News Way Back Day: January 29, 1951

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 7:15pm

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This month Old News travels back 65 years to [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129|January 29, 1951] and the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-pupils_begin_classes_pg1.jpg|grand opening] of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/57815|Eberwhite School]. We found a wealth of material on Eberwhite so we've posted over 200 articles and photos all the way back to the original [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19450411-acceptance_of_land_gift.jpg|land swap] with the University of Michigan, the laying of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N029_0123_004|cornerstone] in 1950, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N029_0304_001|construction], and the hundreds of events and milestones throughout the years. Many of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N029_0349_012|photos] we've posted were never published in the Ann Arbor News so we don't have [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N150_0189_011|names] to go with the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/BN077_19950403_ebert_015|faces]. We'd love to hear from the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/BN170_19990329_eberwhit_034|alumni,] faculty and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N029_0318_001|families] of Eberwhite to make the history more complete.

There was plenty of other local news reported on the 29th. Fire destroyed the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-fire_razes_building_pg13.jpg|Riverside Bar and Bowling Alley] in Ypsilanti. The Ann Arbor Public Schools announced the first annual [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-special_band_programs_pg13.jpg|Bands In Review] program featuring bands from [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/1044|Ann Arbor High School] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/2148|Slauson] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/3455|Tappan] Junior Highs. On the sports front, Dave Dingman dominated the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-no-records_bettered_pg14.jpg|All-City Skating Meet] at Burns Park. The University of Michigan opened its track season with a meet that featured a mysterious [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-mystery_of_missing_lap_pg14.jpg|missing lap] in a medley relay. While the Kiwanis [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-ann_arbor_kiwanis_club_pg15.jpg|thanked] city residents for their generous support of the fundraising Rummage Sale, an Ann Arbor News [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-why_is_ann_arbor_pg4.jpg|editorial] wondered why the citizens of Washtenaw county were failing to support the Polio Drive. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-miss_johnstone_pg10.jpg|Weddings] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/node/327459|births] were announced, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-civic_theater_slates_pg13.jpg|plays] produced and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-whitney_theater_ad_geronimo|movies] promoted. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-tuning_in_pg7.jpg|Television] replaced radio as the mainstay of home entertainment with shows like Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Milton Berle and Studio One. Our favorite advertisement of the day was the Modern Appliance Co. display ad for the amazing [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19510129-in_a_class_ad.jpg|Spindrier] that featured several ladies dancing, celebrating and hugging the appliance.

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Lectures & Panel Discussions

Building Matters: Kahn Arbor

Wednesday March 2, 2016: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

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Blog Post

Old News Way Back Day: December 17, 1935

Wed, 12/16/2015 - 8:11am

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This month Old News travels back 80 years to [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217|December 17, 1935. ] Local news dominated the front page that day with the major announcement of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-three_ann_arbor_banks_merge_pg1.jpg|merger] of three banks, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/8280|Ann Arbor Savings Bank], the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/51163|Farmers and Mechanics Bank], and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/87087|First National Bank and Trust Co.] The merger, in the middle of the Great Depression, was seen as reassuring move in an otherwise shaky banking industry. Economic conditions dominated other local news as the Ann Arbor Public School [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-schools_get_more_funds.jpg|announced] federal funding for nursery schools and adult education. The WPA plan for a [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-plan_practice_home_for_maids.jpg|"practice house"] where girls from relief families would be trained as housemaids was also unveiled. Even the Letters to the Editor were concerned with the Depression as a citizen [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-readers_viewpoint.jpg|called on neighbors] to drop their opposition to a home for orphan children in the 7th ward. Perhaps related to the dire economic conditions (or not), the Courts took up the case of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-admits_hog_theft.jpg|stolen hog].

Many of the holiday traditions familiar to Ann Arborites took center stage in 1935. A front page article predicted that [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-thousands_will_listen_pg1.jpg|thousands] would listen to the University Choral Union's Messiah at Hill Auditorium. The Community Sing, begun in 1931, was promoted with a [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-community_carol.jpg|full-page display] complete with lyrics to all the favorite Christmas songs for the expected 10,000 carolers. The University of Michigan's [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-community_carol.jpg|Subscription Dance] was becoming so popular organizers had to limit ticket sales. The local schools were not to be outdone with the Tappan School students putting on a production of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-dickens_play_to_be_given.jpg|Dicken's Christmas Carol.] Check out the list of players and you may recognize a Townie. The annual [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-yule_lighting_contest.jpg|Yule Lighting Contest] deadline was extended to give citizens plenty of time to decorate their yards.

Amateur sports were big, really big, in 1935. Amateur boxing nights at the Armory drew big crowds and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-ten_amateur_bouts.jpg|prominent coverage] in the News. Mill Marsh, the News sports columnist, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-playing_it_over.jpg|mused] on the growing popularity of Wolverine hockey and basketball. Intrepid wrestling coach [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/5808|Cliff Keen] regaled the Ann Arbor Kiwanis with a description of the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-keen_points_out.jpg|drama] of Big Ten conference matches.

So what kind of routine news would you find in the Ann Arbor Daily News in 1935? Plenty. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-happy_birthday.jpg|Birthdays] were celebrated, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-marriage_license_applications.jpg|marriage license] announced, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-announcements.jpg|deaths] noted, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-statistical.jpg|weather data] recorded, and the ever-present promotional contests, with readers competing for prizes with [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-a_smile_or_two.jpg|funny verses.] Readers looked to the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-on_the_radio_waves.jpg|radio listings] for their favorite programs and the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-michigan_theater_ad.jpg|theater ads] for the latest films from Hollywood.

Much has changed in Ann Arbor in 80 years but it's amazing to note how many business are still around. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/34534|Moe Sport Shop], celebrating 100 years in 2015, had a gorgeous [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-moe_sport_shop_ad.jpg|display ad] to tempt holiday shoppers. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/6707|Kroger Co.] gave cooks [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-kroger_stores_ad.jpg|a list] of the most-needed holiday items. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19351217-arbor_springs|Arbor Springs] reminded readers to stock up on water for the holiday dinners. Stay tuned to Old News for more Way Back Days.

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Blog Post

December 1, 1974 ~ Ann Arbor's Biggest Snowfall

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 2:47pm

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It was 41 years ago on Sunday, December 1, 1974, that the snow started [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N110_0039_001|falling], and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N110_0036_008|falling], and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0170_018|falling]. By the time the storm stopped on December 2nd, Ann Arbor had recorded it's biggest snowfall since records began in 1880 -- a total of 19.8 inches. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19941202-thousands_stranded_by_pg1.jpg|Thousands of travelers were stranded] throughout [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19941202-great_storm_of_1974_pg13.jpg|Washtenaw County]. [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N110_0036_001|US 23] was a mess and cars were [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0170_006|stuck] on all county roads. City, County, Schools and organizations sprang in to action, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19941203-and_people_here%20%281%29.jpg|housing] folks, providing bed, blankets and meals for the weary voyagers.

In Ann Arbor, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0170_025|buses] were waylaid, the University of Michigan [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0170_023|closed] and townies handled the storm with typical [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0170_011|aplomb] , true [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0170_007|grit] and seasonal [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N110_0036_010|humor]. The [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0170_016|Lopez kids] got down to work, the University of Michigan students got [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N114_0177_007|arty] and cars [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N110_0039_001|stayed buried] for days.

We went to THE source for weather records, Dennis Kahlbaum, and he provided the up-to-the-minute list of Ann Arbor record snowfalls since 1880:
1) Dec. 1- 2, 1974: 19.8 inches
2) Jan. 26-27, 1967: 17.0 inches
3) Jan. 3- 4, 1999: 15.9 inches
4) Mar. 18-19, 1973: 14.6 inches
5) Jan. 30-31, 2002: 14.5 inches
6) Feb. 1- 2, 2015: 14.1 inches
7) Jan. 25-26, 1978: 13.6 inches
8) Dec. 11-12, 2000: 13.1 inches
9) Jan. 14-15, 1992: 12.5 inches
10) Jan. 1- 2, 2008, 12.3 inches

Check out all the photos and articles on [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/2015|Weather] at Old News -- we're always adding more weather-related content.

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Blog Post

Friend of AADL's Old News, Wystan Stevens, Dies at 72

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 8:29am

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[http://oldnews.aadl.org/|Old News] lost a vital member of the team this week with the passing of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/8482|Wystan Stevens,] the dean of local historians. Wystan generously shared his deep knowledge and love of Ann Arbor with Old News since its inception in 2010. He named unknown people, identified unknown buildings, streets and venues, gave context to hundreds of photos, corrected mistakes made by Ann Arbor News reporters and photographers as well as Old News staff.

Just last week Wystan helped us in trying to identify where a group of 1930s photos of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N033_0009_007|bowling teams] were taken. We had no names, places, or specific dates on the negative envelopes but Wystan was able to identify people, teams, venues. Here’s an example:

"The man with necktie number 3, second from right, is a very youthful Jerry Hoag, longtime manager of the Michigan Theater and other Butterfield theaters in Ann Arbor. His presence here strongly suggests that the venue is the Michigan Recreation Lanes, which was located in the Michigan Theater Building's basement." ~ Wystan Stevens

Wystan loved to include nuggets of history and the more controversial the better, like this one about the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N031_1146_001|Wolverine Barber Shop]:

"Like the old Dunbar Community Center, this building figured largely in the history of Ann Arbor's African-American community. And when it was a hotel, in 1902, it played host for a few days to anti-drink crusader Carrie Nation, on one of her lecturing and saloon-smashing excursions." ~ Wystan Stevens

All we had on this photo envelope was “[http://oldnews.aadl.org/N003_0354_010|House Being Demolished, September 1969].” We sent it to Wystan knowing there was simply too little to go but, once again, he knew exactly the where, what and why of the photo:

"Demolition of the former home of piano teacher Geraldine Seeback, who sold it to Comerica Bank for installation of their drive-up banking window branch office and driveway on the site, which was across the street from the 1925 Michigan Bell Telephone headquarters. The brick house next door now belongs to Peter Heydon." ~ Wystan Stevens

He was at his best detailing the history of buildings. The [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N081_0145_001|Haven Hall fire] photos illustrates just how deep his knowledge of a building could go:

"The Law Building, completed in 1863 north of Mason Hall, was expanded and remodeled several times -- extensively in 1893, and again in 1898 following protests over the 1893 makeover, which had added a useless tower. After the beautiful new Cook Law Quadrangle was completed in 1933, the old Law Building was renamed "Haven Hall" -- it provided offices, classrooms, and library space, until it was destroyed in an arson fire on August 6, 1950. (After the fire, nothing ever again was built on the site.) ~ Wystan Stevens

When it came to making sense of an old aerial photos, which is always hard, Wystan could sort out the direction we're facing, as well as what was to come. Check out his unbelievable commentary for the photos of [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N014_0145_004|Tappan Junior High School] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N014_0148_002|Stadium Blvd.]

Wystan's contributions to local history go far beyond Old News. He contributed photographs to and research for the [http://aastreets.aadl.org/|Downtown Historical Streets Exhibit Program] as well as narrating the video introduction to the Streets Exhibit. And he donated his time and materials to the [http://aafounders.aadl.org/|Ford Gallery of Ann Arbor Founders Exhibit.] He even made makes it into our Old News UMS archive of historical programs as narrator in a [http://oldnews.aadl.org/ums/programs_19790224e|program from 1979.]

[http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/author/%2522Stevens%252C%2BWystan.%2522|Wystan] authored, introduced, or had been a consultant for numerous books on Ann Arbor history in the AADL collection. He did workshops on [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19731230-murder_doctor_stories_popular|books] set in Ann Arbor, led [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19781109-historic_occasion|tours] of the city's landmarks, including his most famous and popular tour, the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/BN039_19931011-cemetery_tour_009|Forest Hills Cemetery]. He was a favorite [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N091_0100_001|subject] of Ann Arbor News photographers and his sense of humor came through in every [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N117_0521_004|photo]. The [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N117_0092_016|official historian] of Ann Arbor and the unofficial Old News historian will be greatly missed by all of us at Old News.

Thanks for the memories, Wystan.

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Public Event

ArborWiki Blogwarts

Tuesday July 28, 2015: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Training Center

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Public Event

ArborWiki Blogwarts

Tuesday July 14, 2015: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Training Center

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Public Event

ArborWiki Blogwarts

Wednesday June 24, 2015: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Library: Training Center

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Blog Post

Were You There?

Sun, 06/07/2015 - 11:52am

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On Saturday, April 19, 1958 the [http://aapd.aadl.org/aapd|Ann Arbor Police Department] held a [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/72477|bicycle auction] that drew a big crowd of bidders of all ages. The Ann Arbor News took a lot of photos of the event but only three made it into the April 21st edition. The human interest [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19580421-going_going_gone.jpg|story] concerned then eight-year-old [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/72414|Douglas Hehr] and his almost-didn't-happen winning bid.

We've published many of the photos that didn't make it into print and hope you recognize someone, maybe even yourself, in one of them. If you do, share your memories with Old News through the Add New Comment feature at the bottom of this blog. Don't forget that you can earn all kinds of cool prizes in the [http://play.aadl.org/|Summer Game] when you share your local history knowledge with Old News.