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Posted on Wed, Jan 13, 2010 : noon

Televisions in Scio Township, Dexter ice skating, the Farmer's Market and birthday parties

By Edward Vielmetti

I'm on a long-term strategy to reduce the number of messages in my inbox, so that fewer people ask me "did you get my message about?" and so I don't have to say "uh, it's somewhere buried in the inbox" so often. On the other hand, the more e-mail I get, the more interesting some of it is. I really don't know what I'd do with zero messages in my inbox - what would I write about?

Here's the Wednesday edition of things found in my inbox, with links. I'm working on an organizing strategy for it, and you'll notice datelines (that's new) and some sections (which are also new). Work in progress.

Today's list: HDTV antennas in Scio Township, earthquake in Haiti, ice skating in Dexter, kefir grains and more at the Farmer's Market, kids' birthday party ideas for downtown and Chelsea, a fundraising idea for the Huron Valley Humane Society, and some maps of Augusta Township and Washtenaw County.


KERRYTOWN, ANN ARBOR - Kim Bayer writes in her weblog The Farmer's Marketer about the variety of produce available at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market even in the dead of winter. Our farmers market, even in the dead of winter (right now) has: apples, cider, eggs, bread, meat, yogurt, greens, potatoes, onions, coffee, chocolate, popcorn, pasta, squash and mushrooms. There were fourteen vendors at the market last week and four of them were selling eggs! I don't know about you, but I can think of a lot of dishes to build around this list of ingredients. Along with what the Co-op has from Michigan, we're pretty well set on meat, dairy, eggs, bread, flour, beans and apples. We'll have squash, potatoes and onions for a little longer now. And soon more hoophouse greens, beets, and carrots will be showing up.

HENDERSON, MICHIGAN - Kim Bayer and Molly Notarrianni were also helpful in tracking down a request for fresh kefir grains, which are being sold at the market by Harley & Linda Thomas from Thomas Organic Creamery, Henderson, on Saturdays.

VIA LITHUANIA - Kefir grains are used to make the fermented drink kefir; this recipe for Saltibarsciai (Lithuanian cold beet soup) has a comment from Jurate Senavaityte from Ann Arbor: "Saltibarsciai is traditionally made with Kefyras, which is kefir, rather than sour cream or buttermilk. You can find unflavored kefir in health food supermarkets like Whole Foods. A whole different taste, and the only way to make it! And yes, the natives serve it with a side of cold boiled potatoes sprinkled with a little bit of fresh or dried dill - sometimes a dollop of kefyras and a sprinkle of dill on the top of the soup. Kefir has live biocultures like yogurt which makes this quite a healthy soup. I was in Lithuania for 2 months last summer and had Saltibarsciai almost every day! I sviekata! (to your health!)"


SCIO TOWNSHIP - Roger Rayle was pondering this idea: Having too many trees to get satellite TV, not in an AT&T U-verse area, and not ready to throw more money at Comcast, I'm thinking about getting an external antenna to get local HD signals. Of the several replies that came back, Dan Romanchik's recommendation for a 4 bay U-4000 bowtie TV antenna from Antennacraft came with this review: When I bought it, I really didn't think it was going to work, but I've been really surprised. I can reliably pick up all the Detroit channels, except for Channel 2 (Fox) for some reason. $33, including shipping; point it at Southfield. (Source: a2b3 mailing list)

World report

VERRETES, HAITI - Michigan native Tom Braak writes on Facebook from Verretes, about 25 miles north of the 7.0 earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, where he has been living since 1997. "As you likely know, Port-au-Prince is a disaster. One local radio station has come on and they are in communication via Internet with stations in Port. Two adjacent mountains collapsed above Port completely covering the homes below, a large hospital and many schools collapsed." (Via Facebook)

DURHAM, UK - Geologist Dr. Dave Petley of the University of Durham writes Dave's Landslide Blog, the single best coverage in blog form of landslide activity worldwide. His Haiti: thoughts on disaster note of last night reads No news is very, very bad news. The biggest impacts are often in rural areas with the highest levels of shaking. These areas had poor communications to start with, but when an earthquake strikes the roads become blocked, power is lost and there is no telephone service. Therefore, no news comes out for some time after the quake. The picture is actually the opposite of the obvious.

Things to do with kids

DEXTER - The Village of Dexter has flooded Monument Park to form an ice skating rink. Days and Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Resurfacing daily between 8 a.m. and 11 am, when necessary, or as soon as weather permits. Rules & Regulations Skate at your own risk; safety gear recommended; no skate attendant on duty; no hockey, sticks or pucks. Do not walk on gazebo with skates. For emergencies call 911. (Via arborparents, a parents group celebrating its 10th year).

STATE STREET, ANN ARBOR - My winter kids birthday party story brought in more ideas. reader mpeterse described a downtown Ann Arbor pizza party, with pizza at Cottage Inn and then a walk over to Borders to pick out books (in lieu of goody bags). (Via comments)

CHELSEA - Kathy Hay suggested the The TreeHouse in Chelseaa (734-475-1555; $13.50-$15.00 perchild) as a welcome indoor play structure. (Via e-mail)

WEST SIDE, ANN ARBOR - Mia Menzel-Brown recommended Grandpa Don Botsford's Recreation Center at 3015 Miller Ave. (734-662-9200, $40 an hour) for a trampoline party. (Via e-mail)

DIXBORO - Mia Menzel-Brown also suggested that instead of presents, partygoers could bring gifts for the animals at the Humane Society of Huron Valley, located on Cherry Hill Road in Dixboro. Her Clague Middle School daughter had a great time with a party that raised cash, food, treats and toys for the shelter. (Via e-mail)


WASHTENAW COUNTY - A Washtenaw County road map (10 megabytes, PDF) shows township boundaries and has a lot of detail; it should be suitable for printing out large enough that you can tell which intersection of which roads is in which township. It's maintained by the Washtenaw County Road Commission. (Via arborwiki)

AUGUSTA TOWNSHIP - An 1874 plat map of Augusta Township and a current map of the drains in Augusta Township show the results of 130 years of development in the township. (Via arborwiki)

Edward Vielmetti has been reading e-mail since Ronald Reagan was president, which is a lot of time in dog years. Fill up his inbox at .