89.1 WEMU

Sarah Rigg

Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Since the formation of the new Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS) district, many changes have had to take place.  Busing routes were reorganized, learning curriculums have changed, and new school principals were hired.  Still, new YCS superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross sees nothing but a positive future for the district.  She talks about the district's progress with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Ypsilanti's Sugarbrook neighborhood was hit particularly by the Great Recession of 2008.  Still, local pastor Willie Powell and his wife, Geraldine "Lady P" Powell, believed that such a recession should never define the children who grew up in such hardship.  So, they created the Community Family Life Center, which provides educational and athletic activities to these kids.  The Powells talk all about this endeavor with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Geneology helps people learn more about their families and their heritage.  Yet, it can be more complicated for African American families, especially when America's history with slavery is factored in.  From there, the Washtenaw County African American Geneological Society was born.  The society's founders, Omer Jean Winborn and Cheryl Garnett, talk about this project with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many social inequities and tendencies toward violence exist throughout the country.  So, a few young Michigan residents formed an organization called "Creating a Righteous Environment Around Me," or "The Cream" for short.  The group seeks to promote community peace and understanding through special events, including an upcoming gun buyback event in Ypsilanti.  Three of The Cream's top members, Mwai Leonard, Srikar Chiravuri, and Tru Ajani, talk about their work in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi" with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

The Ann Arbor YMCA has contributed much to the community, especially when it comes to getting kids more physically and socially active.  But recently, the organization decided to take its efforts beyond the confines of Ann Arbor and into Ypsilanti, which is now known as the "Y on the Fly" program.  The program's director, Tess Jackson, along with Ann Arbor YMCA president Toni Kayumi and aquatics coordinator Kimberly Baetz, join WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg for a conversation about "Y on the Fly" in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many entrepeneurs have made their way into the Ypsilanti area.  A few of those business owners came with the purpose of healing its residents through more holistic and spiritual means, such as yoga, acupuncture, and massage practices.  Among these special folks are Aubrey and Art Schupbach, who own the yoga studio Zion Well, and they join WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg for this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Breaking into the music scene is not an easy task.  One would need talent, access to recording equipment, and personal/professional connections.  So, Eastern Michigan University doctoral candidate Rod Wallace developed the "Plugin" program, which is a series of events where aspiring musicians can show off their talents in a professional and competitive environment.  Wallace, along with Grove Studios founder and Plugin co-sponsor Rick Coughlin, talk about this project with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Buying a home can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments in a person's life.  Fortunately, there are a number of real estate programs in the Ypsilanti area that can make the whole experience worthwhile.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg hear about such programs from Candye Hinton and Kayia Robinson, a local, mother-daughter real estate team, in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

For over three decades, Friends In Deed has provided assistance for those living at or below the poverty line.  One of the newest programs operating under Friends In Deed is called "Circles," which involves more long-term assistance in maintaining finances and pursuing higher education.  Project coordinator Suzanne Van Dam and program member Nikia Smith talk about their experiences with "Circles" with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


David Lewinski / Concentrate Media

Getting outdoors for some good exercise is essential for a child's development, especially when there's not much to do during summer vacation.  Ypsilanti Running Company owner Mike Nix wanted to give local kids such an activity by co-creating the Frog Island Track Club.  Nix talks all about this exciting youth organization with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg on this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Over the last few years, the craft beer business has booming in Michigan.  Among the many breweries that have popped up across the state is Unity Vibration in Ypsilanti Township.  This particular brewery specializes in a fermented tea called kombucha.  Unity Vibration co-founder and owner Rachel Kanaan talks about her amazing work with WEMU's Lisa Barry and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Washtenaw County conducted the Latino Health Survey in 2014, which determined that Latino residents suffered a significant lack in basic needs, such as housing and education.  From there, Charo Ledon helped found the Buenos Vecinos, or "Good Neighbors" program, which would help remedy this situation.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," Ledon talks about the program, along with her colleagues Liz Sirman and Diana Bernal-Canseco, with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


Bryan Foley

The Parkridge Community Center in Ypsilanti partnered with the Youth Arts Alliance to develop a exciting, new youth arts program.  Part of that program involved building a brand-new music studio that would allow kids to experience working in the audio business.  Bryan Foley, who helped build the studio, and Heather Martin, who is involved in the arts program, share the details on this new project with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg on this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Gardening is a popular activity in the spring and summertime, and many folks get together at this time for community gardening.  Among the community gardening programs in the Ypsilanti area are Willow Run Acres and the Cooperative Orchard of Ypsilanti (CORY).  The programs' respective founders, Lisa Bashert and T.C. Collins, join WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg to talk about their efforts in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

May is Bicycle Month, which means, now that the weather's a little warmer, it's time get out and do something outside, like biking.  But there's one biking group in Washtenaw County, known as the Wolfpack Cruiserz, that sees biking as not only good exercise, but a way to promote and inspire the community.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg hear all about the group's work from its president and vice president, Damian and Nikki Guyton, in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

There was a house in Ann Arbor was a place where people could celebrate life with music, poetry, and delicious pancakes.  Patrick Elkins and his friends, who once occupied the so-called "Totally Awesome House," decided to take such a celebration to a wider audience and created the "Totally Awesome Fest" in Ypsilanti.  Elkins joins WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg to talk about this year's festival on this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Back in 2018, the "In Our Neighborhood" grants program awarded funding to several projects in and around Washtenaw County.   One of which was the "Ypsi Fidelity" or "Y-Fi" initiative, created by Nick and Yen Azzaro.  The goal of this particular program was to bring together high school students through the performing arts and other social means.  The Azzaros talk more about their "Y-Fi" project in detail with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

The Peninsular Dam has been a point of controversy in Ypsilanti for years.  Some, like climate change activist Beth Gibbons, believe it should be demolished.  Others, like Margery Dosey of the Friends of Peninsular Park, want the dam repaired and preserved.  Both Gibbons and Dosey present their arguments in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi" with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.


David Lewinski / Concentrate Media

Living with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia makes life difficult for older people and their family members.  One life aspect that suffers the most is social interaction, which is why the Ypsilanti Senior Center established the "We Care Connect Memory Cafe" program.  It allows seniors to maintain social connections and even create new ones.  Monica Prince and Shonda Gibbs from the Ypsilanti Senior Center talk about the program with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Patrick Campion / 89.1 WEMU

Booker T. Washington was an integral part of African-American history, especially in the realm of education.  Washington's work inspired local photographer Noah Rucker to create an holiday designed to spread education, business, and art in the black community, which he calls "BookDay."  Rucker talks all about the most recent BookDay with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many people look at their lives and might say that they wish they had more time and energy time to pursue some activities other what their careers involve.  That is why the DO (something) Conference was recently held at Ypsilanti's Riverside Arts Center.  It allowed people to make interpersonal connections when it comes to pursuing new careers or special projects.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg hear all about the event from conference organizer John Eslinger and guest speaker Khalid Ibrahim in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Throughout the decades, women of color have faced many challenges, whether it's a result of their culture, upbringing, or surroundings.  So, a group of Washtenaw County women formed a project called "Untold Stories of Liberation and Love," which allows such women to share their experiences through poetry.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg learn all about this collaborative from two of its co-founders, Maria Ibarra-Frayre and Julie Quiroz, in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

During the Obama administration, a new program called "My Brother's Keeper" was established to assist young people of color in their education and potential career paths.  Washtenaw County was the first county in the U.S. to jump on this new mission.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg hear all about the Washtenaw County chapter of My Brother's Keeper from Shamar Herron, who sits on its planning committee.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

In the years following the Great Recession, Ypsilanti neighborhoods have rebounded from economic and housing problems.  However, Ypsilanti's Sugarbrook neighborhood has seen a slower upswing.  So, the Huron Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity decided to step in.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg learn all about this redevelopment project from Sugarbrook neighborhood watch coordinator Glenn Fitzhugh and Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley representative Ceara Murtagh.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Pregnancy is a very stressful time in a woman's life.  For women who are incarcerated, that time is consideredly more stressful, due to lack of support or proper medical care.  This is why the Michigan Prison Doula Initiative, or MPDI, was created.  MPDI co-founder Jacqueline Williams talks about her project with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Early childhood education is essential to a child's development.  Yet, more research needs to be done to make such education more effective.  Fortunately, a little-known organization in Ypsilanti called HighScope has been making strides in this field.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg takes us inside HighScope with its executive vice president, Dr. Ben Edmondson, and its early childhood applied practice manager, Shannon Lockhart.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Many young people remember being read to by their parents, whether it's a bedtime story or just a daily activity.  Of course, such an activity fades over time, but the Ypsilanti District Library believes that it shouldn't.  In fact, it should evolve into a more in-depth experience.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg learn all about the "Ypsi Family Read" program from Ypsilanti librarians Jodi Krahnke and Gilliam Ream Gainsley.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

When someone's a roofer, plumber, or carpenter, some negative stereotypes come out of it.  So, local handyman Tyrone Bridges decided to change all of that.  In fact, he wanted to show young people that good values can come out of an honest day's work.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," Bridges talks about his mentoring program with WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg.  Plus, we hear from members of the Snowdon family and their friend Jared Taylor, who benefited from Bridges's guidance.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Building and working with robots is a fascinating endeavor.  In Ypsilanti, high school students can get a head start in such high-tech feats, while making some great, emotional connections along the way.  In this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi," WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg talk to members of the Grizzly Robotics Team, as well as one of their mentors, Dan Schunck.


Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

Over the last few days, Eastern Michigan University has celebrated the life and accomplishments of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a series of events.  One event returned to the schedule after a long absence, and that was the MLK Gospel Fest.  WEMU's Patrick Campion and Concentrate Media's Sarah Rigg learned about this musical event with Engage at EMU's Caroline Sanders and EMU Gospel Choir president Da'Tuan Demaris Stinson in this week's "On the Ground-Ypsi."

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