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On the Ground Ypsi

89.1 WEMU has forged a partnership with Concentrate Ann Arbor to highlight some of the positive things taking place in Ypsilanti. The sponsored project from Second Wave Media is called "On the Ground Ypsi." Concentrate Media project reporter Rylee Barnsdale discusses her observations and interactions while "On the Ground" in Ypsilanti. 

  • There are tarantulas in Ypsilanti! Fortunately, they are kept under the close watch of some good folks in the Eastern Michigan University biology department. Studying tarantulas in the lab is one thing, but getting up close and personal with the eight-legged wonders on their territory is an entirely different experience. So, some EMU students are heading out west to see and study the arachnids at work and play in their natural habitat. EMU student Spencer Poscente joins Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale for “On the Ground Ypsi” to talk about his experiences in EMU's arachnid lab and what he hopes to learn out in the field.
  • Original Moxie started off as a hair care line out of owner Rachel Blistein’s home. Now, it is part of a the aptly-named “Beauty Block” at the Ridge Center on Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township. Its three businesses support and collaborate with one another and have bigger plans on the horizon with another woman-owned business planning to move in soon. Find out more when Rachel Blistein from Original Moxie joins Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale for this week's "On the Ground Ypsi."
  • Independent restaurants serve Ypsilanti in just about every cuisine you can imagine. In fact, for restaurant owners, the city has become a desired location. In choosing Ypsilanti, they also work towards creating community. There are a number of eatery owners working to do just that, and Naj Hammoud is among them. He and his family own and operate Speedy’s Big Burgers, and he shared his story with Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale.
  • Small businesses are the lifeblood of any community, and Ypsilanti is no exception. WEMU's Josh Hakala and Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale talk about what makes Ypsilanti's small business community unique with their guest, former city council member and current small business owner Brian Jones-Chance.
  • Getting an education as an adult can be challenging and costly. But for the last 25 years in Washtenaw County, the organization “Adult Transitions” has been helping adults get their GED, take English as a Second Language classes, and much more. WEMU's Josh Hakala and Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale talk about this path to education with Bonnie Truhn, the program director of Adult Transitions.
  • The Michigan Avenue branch of the Ypsilanti District Library flooded during a severe rainstorm back in July. Its closing has been a big loss to the community, but plans are in the works to come back bigger and better. WEMU's Josh Hakala and Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale caught up with downtown branch manager Joy Cichewicz for the latest.
  • The Ypsilanti District Library and Eastern Michigan University are working to make menstruation products more accessible. In fact, the tampons and pads are available free of charge. As you’ll learn on WEMU’s 'On the Ground Ypsi,' the hope is to reduce the financial burden of these essential items while also getting rid of the stigma of menstruation. WEMU’s Josh Hakala and Concentrate Media’s Sarah Rigg get all the details in a conversation with Jesse John from EMU’s ‘Changing the Cycle’ program.
  • The Community Leadership Revolution, or CLR Academy, is a youth sports sampling program. It's expanding through the Ypsilanti area, and beyond. But sports are just a vehicle for the organization’s efforts to help kids live healthier lives. Among other things, it teaches them about nutrition, mental health, and building positive relationships. Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper program director Jamall Bufford is one of the founders of CLR. He joined WEMU's Josh Hakala and Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale to discuss the program and its growth.
  • Bicycle traffic is on the rise, and more people are using bikes as their primary mode of transportation. The Ypsi Bike Co-Op is available free of charge to help people in the city keep their bikes on the road. It helps with maintenance, repairs and advice. WEMU's Josh Hakala and Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale got the lowdown in a conversation with Co-Op volunteer, Yitah Wu.
  • Ypsilanti native Deshawn Leeth has spent most of his young life in and out of the juvenile justice system, and, by age 18, he was sent to prison. After his release, Leeth discovered there were very few resources to help him readjust to society, which led to create the nonprofit mentorship organization, "Underdawg Nation". Leeth talks about his experiences while incarcerated and his work with underserved youth with WEMU's Josh Hakala and Concentrate Media's Rylee Barnsdale.