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Posted on Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Judge rules Jenny's Market straw maze can stay - for now

By Cindy Heflin

Jenny’s Market proprietor Burton Hoey can keep a straw maze at his business open, at least for the time being, a judge ruled Friday afternoon.

Washtenaw Circuit Court Judge Timothy Connors refused to grant Webster Township’s request for a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate removal of the straw maze.

The township had sought the injunction as part of a complaint filed against Hoey and his daughter, Jennifer Lambers, who owns the property, earlier this month alleging the maze is a public nuisance and unsafe and should be removed.

In order to win a judge’s order shutting down the maze immediately, the township had to convince him it was likely to ultimately prevail in the case, and that it or the public was likely to suffer irreparable harm for which there was not adequate remedy. Connors was not convinced.


Inside the straw maze at Jenny's Market.

Daniel Brenner |

Although the township failed to win the preliminary injunction, the larger case remains unresolved, and the judge noted that Friday’s ruling doesn’t mean he would ultimately rule against the township, but he suggested the parties not give him the chance. Instead, he advised them to seek a facilitator to reach a settlement in this case and another filed by Hoey against the township over its refusal to grant him a permit for a bathroom.

After the ruling, Hoey said it was a victory for the children who like to play on the free maze, which he says he’s had for 18 years without an injury or complaint from the township. Hoey alleges the township wants to put him out of business and said it may succeed on that front.

“Because if the harassment by Webster Township keeps up, I’m selling,” he said.

Hoey has been in a long-running dispute with the township over zoning and other issues. He's faced a string of problems in the past 12 months that began when an employee fell off a hayride wagon and suffered permanent paralysis. Most recently, Hoey was charged with animal cruelty after the Humane Society of Huron Valley seized several animals.

The market, at Dexter-Pinckney and Island Lake roads west of the village of Dexter, is a popular spot for pumpkins, cider, doughnuts and hayrides in the fall.

In making the decision Friday, Connors said he had to balance the interest of government in trying to protect citizens with the rights of parents and their ability to decide what’s safe and acceptable for their children. He said he’s driven by the market many times.

“It seems that people enjoy it,” he said.

Earlier in the day, he went out and inspected the maze himself and brought his wife along. He said he wanted her perspective because over the years they have sometimes had different opinions on parenting issues.

During the hearing Thursday afternoon, township lawyer Helen Mills argued that the maze was unstable, that it could collapse on a child or that a child could fall and be injured or killed. She also said the maze appeared not to be regularly maintained or monitored.

She also argued that the maze is a fire risk and that children could suffer smoke inhalation if it caught fire. She said a cigarette could set the maze on fire or someone might light it on fire as a Halloween prank.

She said the matter was urgent because it's during the next several days, right before Halloween, that the maze is likely to get its heaviest use. . John Bredell, Hoey’s lawyer, said children could be injured while participating in many kinds of activities, including swimming at the pool or the beach or playing football or baseball. He said there’s nothing in life that’s completely safe except possibly sitting on the couch and playing video games.

Mills countered that those other activities have rules and supervision. Pools and beaches usually have lifeguards, and football and baseball players use safety equipment, she said.

Bredell also dismissed the fire risk, saying parents are routinely watching their children when they’re playing in and on the maze. He acknowledged that someone could start a fire at the maze, but said that's no reason to shut it down.

“Are we going to close down everything because of crazy people?” he said.

He also said the maze is supported by metal scaffolding and plywood and can support 2,000 pounds of weight. He said Hoey formerly had a builder’s license and understands how to create sound structures.

After the ruling, Bredell said it was important to note that Friday’s ruling was only about whether the maze was so imminently perilous that it needed to be closed down immediately. He said Hoey would abide by whatever decision is ultimately reached.

“If it’s dangerous, I want it taken down,” he said.

Cindy Heflin is associate news director at Contact her at 734-623-2572 or or follow her on Twitter.


Nick Roumel

Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 3:39 a.m.

I remember years ago Judge Connors was criticized for driving the car of a young man who appeared before him on a speeding ticket. The defense was that his car didn't even go that fast. Judge Connors obtained permission, and soon had the vehicle cruising well past the alleged speed without even having it floored. He's a hands-on judge, hard working, independent, and very fair. I say this and he's ruled both ways for me plenty of times. As for John Bredell practicing in front of him, that's another red herring. You won't find too many lawyers in town who haven't actively supported one judicial candidate over another - it's a small community. If judges recused themselves from everyone who helped their campaigns, there'd be few attorneys left. Mr. Bredell is an attorney of high integrity. As for the request for an injunction, it's one of the rarest rulings to obtain in a courtroom because of the high standards involved. So don't sweat Judge Connors' decision in this case, and leave your conspiracy theories at home.

A2 Mom of Twins

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

@The Secret Team: You and your "Team" seem to have a lot of time on your hands to keep throwing your "facts" around every chance you get. I don't have any ties to Attorneys or Judges and don't have any interest in your conspiracy theories. You obviously have an agenda and it seems that you support this other person, Mike Woodyard. Your constant commenting and negative tone toward this judge Connors is muddying the message board. I will skip your political smear tactic comments in the future as they are exhausting. I'm happy about the ruling in favor of Jenny's. I've been to Jenny's three times since I moved to AA this year. Burton doesn't seem to be the most outgoing person, but he remembered me from my previous visit and has been friendly to my family every time I've been there. They have great donuts and we will keep going back if all this negative press doesn't force the family to shut down. They are trying to run a business. If people don't like it, then don't go there.

The Secret Team

Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

@Nick Roumel: You should disclose that you are a member of Judge Connors' campaign committee, per his campaign website. You have also made 50 registered political contributions recorded and downloadable at the website at the Secretary of State, Bureau of Elections section - so you are what could be characterized as "politically wired" rather than a grassroots guy. What about Tim Connors being employed at U-M since 2008? What about his 2009 dismissal of a civil rights suit brought by Catherine Wilkerson, MD against U-M Hospital. What about Dr. Wilkerson's December 2007 acquittal in a criminal action in a jury trial in a case tried by Margaret Connors? What about her joining U-M Law School as a faculty member for Winter 2013 to "co-teach" Tim's class at U-M? What about the fact Edward Connors - Tim's dad - served as president of U-M Hospital from 1969 through 1974? Don't some red flags go up? What about the allegations at What about the "My Opponent's Record" litany of cases and Judicial Tenure Commission references at I am happy Pat Lesko and Cindy Heflin want to check matters out, as set forth above. Please respond to any of these points , Nick. It's time for a change in the circuit court. Good to hear from you. Hope you join the Michael Woodyard campaign.

The Secret Team

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

According to the Secretary of State campaign finance contribution search engine downloadable at, a contributions analysis search using the name "Bredell" reveals that John Bredell or his wife, Lynn, have made 145 campaign contributions of record cognizable by that office. These donations total well into five figures and do not include either contributions under the jurisdiction of the County Clerk or the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). FEC records downloadable on disclose five more political contributions - all for congressional campaigns,


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

Mr Bredell, you claim that you and Judge Connors were law partners over twnty years ago, but coveniently forgot to mention that you are actively involvefd in the judges re-election campaign. I guess thats not important because it demonstrates a very active relationship with Judge C onnors andI wouldn't want the public to know about that because it raises questions about ethics Now explain that!


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

I find it hard to swallow that the Township who filled the suit to begin with didn't know which Judge would preside!!! Please! Now they whine about the ruling & Judge Conner! No one is being dragged into this maze. If you are uneasy about it DO NOT GO IN IT! The Court isn't here to protect you from your stupidity!

The Secret Team

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

The court has a blind-draw system of judge assignment. When the lawsuit was filed the judge was assigned at that time.

Patricia Lesko

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

@Cindy just one quick question that you might like to answer: How did you know Judge Connors was going to visit the site? Do you often get tipped concerning cases on Connors's docket? Considering he's running for re-election, that's a pretty important part of the story you neglected to mention. A2Politico posted an interview with Michael Woodyard ( and contacted Judge Connors, as well.

The Secret Team

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Thank you both for your efforts. Cindy - you can look at the above-cited Patricia Lesko interview thread for some recent conflict of interest discussions relative to Judge Connors. Older cases alleging attorney favortism in Judge Connors court can be found at

Cindy Heflin

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Pat: I was in court Friday morning when the judge made his decision to go out and inspect the maze. I was there for the hearing Friday morning because I've been following this case. Here's a link to the original story: Also, we are looking into the allegations of conflict of interest. If anyone has additional information to share with us, please contact me at 734-623-2572 or

The Secret Team

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2 a.m.

Patricia Lesko, in published on October 8, 2012 the article "Interview: 22nd Circuit Court Challenger Michael Woodyard Pledges To Dispense Justice Fairly." Ms. Lesko has been discussing some of the conflict of interest issues mentioned here. She wants to get the opposing side of the story. She posted a comment today to that article: "I have tried contacting Judge Connors and his campaign manager to no avail............" Judge Connors or Mr .Bredell need to address these issues ASAP.

j hampton

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

I represented Burton Hoey at the hearing that is the subject of this article. I am responding to the allegations that there is something improper about me appearing in front of Judge Connors. There are very specific rules that every lawyer and judge must follow about conflicts of interest, and there has been strict compliance, by all, with these rules of ethics. Judge Connors and I worked as young lawyers for the same law firm back in the late 80's. He left to become a judge and I left to start my own firm. Judge Connors has ruled against me many times over our careers and it is very insulting and unfair to suggest that because Judge Connnors did not rule immediately in favor of Webster Township and Washtenaw County that he was being unfair. In the past, the same malcontents have suggested that Judge Connors should not decide cases against U of M because he teaches a single class at the U of M law school. So, these same malcontents now suggest that because I worked with him as a young lawyer, more than 20 years ago, he has a conflict of interest in not tearing down a popular children's attraction and for ordering mediation of the dispute. Most of these anti -Judge Connors posters have appeared in front of Judge Connors and simply did not like his rulings. I am voting for Judge Connors and I am working, along with almost all of the lawyers in Washtenaw County to return this ethical, hardworking, fair man to the bench. John Bredell, attorney at law.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

It's a straw maze kids - maybe you need to tighten your foil hats, go for walk and get some air.

The Secret Team

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

@jhampton: You were with us all the time, John! Isn't it a fact you and your wife, Lynn, donated "big bucks" to Margaret Connors' failed 2008 District Court run and you both endorsed her? Isn't it a fact that many of the registered donors to the Margaret Connors for district judge campaign committee had little or nothing to do with the district court or Margaret Connors but had large personal injury or civil rights cases before Judge Connors, her husband? Isn't it a fact that most elected county officials are not endorsing Timothy Connors' re-election bid and many of these non-endorsers are members of the Bar - like Brian Mackie, Rolland Sizemore - and Mackie and other non-endorsers like Jerry Clayton and Jan Bobrin are busting their tails campaigning for circuit court judge candidate Jim Fink - even though they are Democrats? How many members of the Washtenaw County Board of Commisioners are endorsing Judge Connors? None that I am aware of, but correct me if I have missed someone. Isn't it a fact that Judge Connors has collected $140,000 since 2008 in salary (verifiable by from the University of Michigan and now his wife is on the U-M law school faculty to "co-teach" with Timothy Connors a family law class - even though she was a career assistant prosecutor? Isn't it a fact Judge Connors has heard some big cases involving U-M in recent years? Isn't it a fact that the Michigan Court of Appeals has beeen sharply critical of Judge Connors in numerous rulings? Isn't it a fact that, as Mike Woodyard's campaign has pointed out, Judge Connors was cited by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission for deploying court resources for campaign committee purposes? Isn't it a fact you were present on Saturday, September 15, 2012, when the Ann Arbor Democratic Party via memebrship vote denied Judge Connors' bid for an endorsement by a 47-8 margin? Please respond to any of these points, John. It is so good to hear from you.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

@ Bredell seems strange that a attorney specializing in personal injury cases(according to the back page of my yellowpages book) would represent a Public Nuisance case. Has Mr. Hoey retained you in any other cases prior to this Public Nuisance Allegations???????


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

Good to see a Judge challenge the adult sissy class and inject some common sense into what is really a sophomoric dispute more suitable for a playground then a courtroom. The rabid hysteria of left wing cranks writing in here is another indicator of what non-issue "straw maze safety" really is. This issue is one more good reason to VOTE FOR JUDGE CONNERS!


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Hay! Let the children play!


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

According to many writing in here, your comment indicates that you must have when to elementary school with Judge Connor when he was of an age who might have enjoyed a straw maze, then later attended massive law school parties with him, then a law partner and now a key member of his vast election committee who obviously brings him breakfast in bed every morning.

The Secret Team

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

A few points: Firstly, John Hampton Bredell not only sits on the Connors re-election committee but is also a key organizer of his campaign. He was at the Elk's Club functon in May when Connors appeared. Bredell was at the 9-15-12 AADP meeting where the Democratic members voted by a 47-8 margin not to endorse Connors or anyone else in his race; Bredell was also at the later Washtenaw County Democratic Party meeting where Connors sought the endorsement of the county party. Bredell has been a virtual "shadow" to Connors in this campaign cycle. Secondly, in 2006, Timothy Connors and his wife Margaret tried to get a variance from the Ann Arbor Board of Zoning Appeals to expand their Hilltop Drive home; according to the minutes of that meeting, Connors got denied after a board member pointed out that Connors failed to follow the directions on the application form that required him and his wife to attach floor plans of the proposed expansion to that form; this reminds one of the adage about the person who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client. It also calls into question the ability of Connors to handle this case prudently and effectively. Thirdly, the article references that Connors brought his wife along for her "perspective". I feel this is a questionable practice as Connors' spouse, an attorney, should not be conveying recommendations to him without all attorneys present. A judge's decisions should be based on evidence and arguments of record. The circuit court needs a good alternative to Timothy Connors; vote for Mike Woodyard this November.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

When I read analysis like this, it makes me wonder what people like you know about obama and his reign of blathering incompetence. My guess is - not much. Because he does not have an R after his name, you stick your intellects in the sand and cover it with concrete while he's in office. In regard to the issue at hand, it looks like the straw maze conspiracy is getting a little side-ways on you. Try Screwing that foil hat on a little tighter and re-adjust your coat hanger antenna.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Connors is a embarassment to the Judicial system his behavior is not that of Judge, dont surprised with a loss.....tell Alissa hello ;)


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 9:09 a.m.

Tesla, I know many Republicans who do not support Connors. This isn't about political party. It's about his past behavior as a Judge.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 2:59 a.m.

another couple weeks you can sleep again and Mr. Woodyard can go back to chasing ambulances. I'm a Democrat and I support Tim Connors. That should tell you something.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Ihave a suggestion - if you have a case in front of Judge Connors - use one of the following attorneys 1) use an attorney that belongs to his former law firm or one of his former law partners 2) use his personal divorce attorney to defend you 3) use an attorney that contributes to his campaign or on his re-election committee. then facts become irrelavent and your chances of winning multiply to almost a gurantee of not losing.. So much for integrity and fairness! Reccommendation - GO TO THE JUDICIAL TENURE COMMISSION.

The Secret Team

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Thanks for the heads up, Sam. The website does reference some Judicial Tenure Commission action taken against Connors. It arises out of his deployment of court property for campaign committee purposes. His personal divorce counsel from a 1995 case was C. Denise Fawcett and yes she practices before Connors. John Hampton Bredell is a personal injury specialist and sits on the Connors re-election committee.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 10:25 p.m.

People on here are having a big pity party for Hoey. Obviously they know little about him or they would not defend his actions so heartily. Thinking that there is some political motive by Webster Township or move coming by the Zingerman's folks is pure silliness. He has gone against anyone who has ever criticized what he did his whole life. That should not make him a hero. He set the dangerous course for that hayride that paralyzed Ms. Armbruster and he thumbed his nose at the township numerous times when they just wanted him to follow the rules like everyone else. His "troubles" go back long before the ever growing "farm stand" ever existed. Use your pity for the animals in his "care" and the woman who will never walk again.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Shut down Hoey. How much more is needed to get this bum out of business? More lawsuits or more employees falling off of wagons and being paralysed?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Is Judge Connors up for re-election? A pile of straw like this is a danger and one cigarette will set the entire mess on fire. I have respect for Connors but this is a bad decision.

The Secret Team

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

I have NO respect for Connors but agree with you that this is a bad decision.

Kristi Charles

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

I smell a Zingermans Farm Stand coming soon! Sad... but glad that I no longer own property in Webster Township b/c this wreaks of personal vendetta and I, for one, would be tempted to use my vote this November to put an end to my tax dollars being spent that way. Everybody just settle down already...sheesh!


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

I wonder if Connors will come over and look at my deck? What politicions will do around election time is amazing.......well the good thing is he had to do something this election!

The Secret Team

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

Best way to get Judge Connors to inspect your deck - give to his re-election committee.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Seems to me someone on the Webster Township board has got a vendetta to settle with Hoey. They do need to stop harassing him. It;s not like hes getting rich trying to run a small business. Im surprised he hasnt thrown the towel in yet, its a shame he's getting trampled so much.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

I'm not sure on the straw maze what to do. Maybe a engineer should take a look at it for safety issues. But I am sure that they have been after Jenny's market way too much and too long. I always thought it was a great place. Dexter sure has changed through recent years and this is all part of that change. Soon we won't have anymore towns like Mayberry and that is a shame. That I am sure of.

Dave Szydlowski

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

I'm sure if you follow the money these lawyers are funded by some township officials looking to shoehorn Mr, Hoey off of his prime realestate so they can erect more housing or some other insane landmark and increase there tax base so they can incorporate and divvy up more cash amongsed themselves . Leave him alone! Preserve Dexter and its culture...


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

Sounds like with the exception of a few politically motivated friends of Mr. Woodyard (Tim Connors opponent in the upcoming election) and one sour grape addict; Jennys has the support of the communities surrounding Webster Twp. on this Maze issue at least. Awesome.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

Telsa seems like you are a Judge Connors tool Go to and you'll become aware of this particular judge's fabulous contribution to the Washtenaw County Couurt system. i'm surprised that the Judicial Tenure Commission has not seen it fit to remove him fron the bench.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

It would be nice if the reporters mentioned the fact that Judge Connors was a law partner with Hoey's lawyer Bredell. Even in passing...not that there is any coincidence with the positive ruling or anything....sigh....

The Secret Team

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Thank you, Goofus, for questioning the author of this article about the failure to mention the link between Judge Connors and Joh Hampton Bredell. It's been the "elephant in the room" that Bredell himself has now resonded to on this thread.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

...yea, it's a conspiracy like obama's cover-up of the Benghazi terrorist attack. Former law partners met in secret for months, planning to maintain a dangerous straw maze! LOL Hoey should not need a lawyer - this lawsuit is moronic. Those at Webster Township behind this harassment should be VOTED OUT OF OFFICE! ...your avatar is well chosen.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Someone sneered: >> So the judge is a trained safety engineer or safety expert, capable of reviewing hazards of this type structure? << No he's not a "trained safety engineer", but he has a lawsuit before him in which the Township alleges it's unsafe, so he necessarily has to decide whether it's unsafe. The Township is of course free to bring in a "trained safety engineer" to make the case. It appears the Township didn't, either by affidavit or testimony (at least AA.COM didn't mention it). Only the attorney's statements. The judge reasonably, and I think commendably, went to the site, for whatever could be learned, undoubtedly questioning the attorneys at the site. There's a problem with this? I don't see one.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

It's not nice to make fun of other commenters. I did not see Goober sneer!


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

Lol only in Ann Arbor......


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Also, it sounds like it is time to boycott Webster township, but I am not sure they have anything to offer, anyways.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

If it burns, I would go pay a visit to just curious. They seem to have a personal hatred of this man.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Maybe someone didn't like what happened when they appeared in front of Judge Connors.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

@justcurious You've posted 6 comments - or 16% of the comments - in the short time this article has been up. They've all been anti- Judge Connors (at least you're consistent). If you've got something to say about Judge Connors, then post an opinion piece. I'm sure would welcome you.

The Secret Team

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2:05 a.m.

I hope someone does post an opinion piece.

Laura Jones

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

When and why did the township deny him a permit for a bathroom? Seems hard to complain about the place having bad hygiene when they deny such a permit.

A2 Mom of Twins

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

From what I've read, I think the permit was for a public bathroom for kids to wash their hands between petting the animals and eating their awesome donuts. I pretty sure they have an area to wash their hands that is accessible for patrons to use. On a side note, the donuts are amazing and are the best I've had and friends of mine agree. They are always hot when I buy them and seem to be best when eaten right away.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

mermaid72 has proclaimed that the donuts are clean, though.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Conflict of interest?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

Are you saying people within a profession shouldn't talk outside of work or be friends outside of work?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

How long ago was that again? And is your axe getting sharp yet?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2 p.m.

"Connors began his career working for the law firm of Conlin, Conlin, McKenney & Philbrick. He then joined Logeman, Connors & Bredell, P.C., where he became Vice-President. "

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

Seems to me a building inspector would be better suited for this task than a judge.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

It's not a building - get a grip.

Laura Jones

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Man, you are really bitter about this issue. Maybe take some distance from it.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

This visit by the judge was just an attempt to get his name in front of the people close to his re-election. Obvious. Also, he did it for a "friend".


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

"Because if the harassment by Webster Township keeps up, I'm selling," he said. Who owns it, him, or his daughter? Is he living there now? Maybe in the straw maze. His prediction can not come soon enough.

music to my ear

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Hoey Hoey Hurae !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

His ruling is a farce in light of the fact that he was former law partners with Hoey's attorney and that attorney is working on his re-election campaign. Can anyone recognize conflict of interest here? Not every activity that children enjoy should exist. That "activity" should have a true fence around it, with a lockable gate so that children could not wander out into the heavy traffic at the least. Mr. Hooey has created his own problems over the last 45 years. If people had a clue, they would not give him one cent. Hard to understand how people can cheer for someone accused of abusing animals, employees and customers.

The Secret Team

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

@Chrissa: Connors' first priority is promoting his re-election campaign.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

Connors first priority is always the children. He is an incredibly fair and puts the needs of the children in his courtroom before any one else's, I would assume even his own. I am not a fan of Jenny's, and have seen firsthand how awful some of these animals look, but I also don't think Judge Connors would rule on something for only the sake of a personal agenda of his own if children's safety was of issue. Just my .02


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

He abused customers? When did that happen?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

@justcurious, it may be time to take a big breath. There are parents there to make sure kids don't wander out into traffic. And many of us aren't "cheer[ing] for someone accused of abusing animals, employees, and customers." That's "accused", not convicted, right? And I can't speak for others, but what I'm advocating is rationality and due process over a witch hunt and hyper-regulating by politicians.

music to my ear

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

and around this area it is hard not to know someone who knows someone. Iam sure it was pure coincident

Laura Jones

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

It is not a conflict of interest by any definition - that is not so unusual a situation, judges come from law firms as a matter of practice (pardon the pun). Judge Connors is also not an idiot who things every client of someone he knows is correct in their case or defense. Really, this is simply too far.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

WOW lots of anger towards everyone.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

MI Farmer

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1 p.m.

For decades after decades children have play in, or on straw bales, lofts, forts made in barns across the rural country side. If people disapprove of that harmless childhood activity, go to McDonalds play land. I commend Judge Connors for going out and getting first hand with the case, and not being persuaded by hungry lawyers.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:47 p.m.

Yay! Sanity prevails. I'm not for or against Mr. Hoey's maze, but I'm definitely against witch hunts. And Webster Township sounds like it has more pitchforks than common sense.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

I have taken my children to this maze every year for 8 years. I grew up on a farm. The maze is entirely accessible to adults, and indeed adults are constantly going into it. I am a large man and go in every year. There are multiple exits, and they are available from the central hub of the maze. This is *not* a maze. It has three or four tunnels leading to a central space. It is impossible for that maze to collapse as built. It is built of bales of straw and bales of that type have incredible structural strength. In addition the straw is supported by heavy posts, and heavy plywood. Straw in that configuration burns badly. I have seen it. It is a slow moving fire with lots of fragrant smoke. The bales simply will not burn. They might smolder. The point is that there would be a lot of time to evacuate the children, plenty of exits for them, plenty of room for adults to go in and check, and no place inside to hide nor get lost.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

not many judges would go out and look at things. i say he was being fair. fair is what you need as a judge.

Laura Jones

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

OK, I have to ask. Everyone who is voting down the comment; Why? Why is it a bad thing that a judge looks further into a case than the lawyers before him? It is incredible to me that this is offensive to anyone. If you have ever been before the law, this is exactly the kind of judge you want! Makes me wonder if people just have an ax to grind or they actually have a problem with judges who look deeper into cases before them. Stunning.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

This story gets curiouser and curiouser. What the heck is a judge doing visiting the straw maze? Something is just not right about all the persecution and news about Mr. Hoey. I am not - repeat not - a fan of Mr. Hoey. But this really seems like selective enforcement.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

He's up for re-election???


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Thanks for the additional information, Aloys


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

If you knew Judge Connors, you would know why he went out. He has a history of looking into things himself and not taking Attorney's words for things


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

Still would not buy food from a place with no sanitary facilities. Gross.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

They have great doughnuts & cider.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

I guess you don't tell your kids to wash after using the toilet. "silliness"? Tell it to Ms Armbruster. I myself don't find anything silly about permanent paralysis.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

I buy food from there all the time, & I am alive enough to respond to all the silliness about Jenny's Market. Best donuts around. Clean too! The man is being harassed by the officials. Helicopter moms should put crash helmets on their kids if they want to go in the straw maze. Much ado about nothing.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

Well, thank goodness for that.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

Even though it is close to Halloween, this witch hunt has to stop.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

The witch hunt does need to end. Makes me want to build a straw maze.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

You nailed it TessM


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

It seems to me that Webster Twp wants this business gone so they can continue the "Ann Arborization" of that corner. If they succeed there will be another 'upscale" over-priced outpost from Ann Arbor in its' place.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

"He said there's nothing in life that's completely safe except possibly sitting on the couch and playing video games." HAH!! You are forgetting trolls on xbox live....


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

Say what you want....I'd never let my kid climb through ANY strawmaze that was only made up of wet strawbales and chipboard.... "Oh we've had the maze for 15 years....." Yeah....and? They had the aggie bonfire for NINETY YEARS...that's 90 years...before they had an accident and something like a dozen people died. And there were definite safety concerns raised before it happened too...but they were ignored for the sake of "tradition."


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Do you let you kid climb on the monkey bars at the parks? Because they are WAY more likely to result in an injury than this thing.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

I wouldn't let my kid climb on a structure, such as you're describing, either, but that's not the case here. There is a metal substructure in place, over which the bales are set. My kid has gone through it with me following close behind.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

Tornados are also dangerous. Maybe we should all move. 100 years ago there was another one in Dexter.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Car accidents happen. So do accidents with airplanes. Do you ride in a car or take a flight periodically?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

What a great Judge to go out there. Its to Bad that judge Wheeler is to old to go see what goes on in families before her one sided rulings


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

From what I have seen and heard, Judge Wheeler doesn't go out and see what goes on in families for herself, I don't see how that would work if she were to try. But, she has listened to and asked for the opinions of experts and professionals in the related field. I think that is a better way to go. She has also talked to children involved in cases that have been before her. She seems to stick to what the law says and to work hard at being impartial.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 2:18 a.m.

Please expound On Judge Wheeler Robert. Can you?

The Secret Team

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

"What a great Judge to go out there." Jenny's Market's attorney is not only his former law partner but also is a key organizer of his re-election campaign.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

I have a lot of respect for Judge Conners. If he thought for a second the kids were in danger or the straw mound was a danger to them, he would not have hesitated to issue the injuction.


Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 10:15 a.m.

"So the judge is a trained safety engineer or safety expert, capable of reviewing hazards of this type structure?" No, but evidently his wife is: "Earlier in the day, he went out and inspected the maze himself and brought his wife along."


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

I bet the judge is every bit as much a safety engineer as the township's attorney, Ms. Chicken Little.


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

re: Goober So the judge is a trained safety engineer or safety expert, capable of reviewing hazards of this type structure? Goober, Judges, on a daily basis gather information and render decisions. The attorneys on both sides submitted their briefs as is normally done. Judge Connors would have reviewed that and then went a step further and personally inspected the situation. I also believe I saw the building inspector in one of the pictures. To answer your question, I think the Judge is qualified to render an opinion on this. I think this is what Judges do!


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 12:18 p.m.

So the judge is a trained safety engineer or safety expert, capable of reviewing hazards of this type structure?


Sat, Oct 20, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

The maze is on private property so in my opinion any attempt by the government to shut it down is an infringement on basic rights. It is hard to see how it could be a "safety issue" that would be my only legitimate concern if I were the Judge. Otherwise it should stay.