PPNA Happenings

Happenings, history and news of the Prospect Park Neighborhood and Ypsilanti

Archive for March, 2009

Midwest Sliders Meet and Greet

Posted by ppna on March 31, 2009





Rob Hilliard

President & Director Team Personnel



Brian Robb



YPSILANTI, MI (March 31, 2009) – The Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti will be hosting a Meet & Greet at Frenchie’s on Wednesday, April 8th from 5PM to 7PM. Frenchie’s is located in the heart of Depot Town in Ypsilanti, MI at 54 East Cross Street.

The Meet & Greet will take place beginning at 5PM, free of charge, and will be the kick-off event for a great season of baseball at Eastern Michigan University’s Oestrike Stadium. Fans will get a chance to talk baseball with players and get autographs. In addition, Tim Birtsas will be there to sign autographs and meet fans. Birtsas pitched for Michigan State University, was the New York Yankees #1 draft choice in 1982, and won a World Series with the 1990 Cincinnati Reds as a member of the “Nasty Boys” bullpen.

Team President Rob Hilliard will be available to answer questions about season tickets, group pricing, sponsorship opportunities, and becoming a host family for the 2009 season. In addition, come and discuss how to keep minor league baseball in Ypsilanti permanently!

  1. # #


The Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti (www.midwestsliders.com) are a professional baseball team based in Ypsilanti, Michigan. They are a member of the East Division of the Frontier League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Sliders’ 2009 season will begin in May, at Eastern Michigan University’s Oestrike Stadium.


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Easter Bunny and Harlem Globtrotter Type Show Coming to Town

Posted by ppna on March 31, 2009

Saturday April 4th @ 9a (this Saturday!)
The Easter Bunny will be in Frog Island!
The Ypsilanti Area Jaycees invite you and your family to a fun filled morning of Easter Egg hunting, games, crafts and the famous Marshmallow Drop. This year’s event begins Saturday, March 15 at 9:00am, rain or shine, at Frog Island Park in Depot Town. The hunts start at 10:00 am and the drop is at 11:00 am. Registration starts at 9am (cost is $1 per child). Plan to arrive early, as candy is only guaranteed for the first 500 children!

The Marshmallow Drop will feature a helicopter dropping 75 pounds of marshmallows on the field at one time, over 3000 marshmallows.

Children’s events will include a jelly bean guessing jar, a sucker tree, and a bean bag toss. The Ypsilanti Area Jaycees have been running the Easter Egg Hunt since 2001, and have had on average 500 children enjoy the event each year. Many thanks to the volunteers and donors who make this event possible, and to Helicopter Services of Wayne, Michigan for making the marshmallow drop possible.

Thursday April 9th @ 7p (a week from this Thursday)
The Harlem Ambassador’s v. the Jaycee Swoops Basketball Exhibition Game
Advance tickets are cheaper than at the door!
Feel good family entertainment for all ages. The Harlem Ambassadors is a professional basketball team that performs dazzling ball-handling tricks, high-flying slam dunks and hilarious family comedy. The Harlem Ambassadors will play the Jaycee Swoops, a team made up of local community members. It is a two for one deal, not only is it an exciting basketball game, it is also a comedy show. The Ambassadors will conduct a post-game autograph session where every child and fan will have the opportunity to meet every player. You can also view video of their antics at http://www.HarlemAmbassadors.com.

The Harlem Ambassadors Basketball Show will be played on April 9, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at Calvary Christian Academy Gym, 1007 Ecorse Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48198. Advance tickets may be purchased at ypsilantijaycees.com. Advance tickets are kids/students/seniors $7.00, adults $9.00 and kids four and under free. Game day tickets available starting at 6:30 are kids/students/seniors $8.00, and adults $12.00, kids four and under free.

This event is a fundraiser for the Ypsilanti Area Jaycees. The Ypsilanti Area Jaycees is a leadership development organization for people between the ages of 21 and 40 which build leaders through community service. Projects run by the Ypsilanti Area Jaycees include the Ypsilanti Easter Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Drop, the Heritage Festival Parade, and the Great Train Race. Our chapter strives to provide the opportunities necessary for our members to create positive change in their personal and professional lives as well as their communities. Please feel free to contact us via our hotline at (734) 332-9139 (voicemail only) or check us out at our website http://www.ypsilantijaycees.com.

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Posted by ppna on March 26, 2009

Over on the Mark Maynard site there is a lot of discussion about the graffiti ‘artists’ that were arrested the other night.

Here are the facts as I understand them —

The owner of the vacant ‘Smiths’ furniture building downtown sat on his roof waiting for the ‘artists’ to come by. The fact that he is a landlord that maintains an empty building should not have any bearing on the fact that he didn’t want graffiti on his building.

The owner contacted the police and they responded in force. They caught the ‘artists’ with 7 cans of spray paint and some stencils.

Some folks in the community expressed support for these stenciled pieces of ‘art’ which have appeared throughout the city. Other people want to see this type of thing stopped or offer an alternative location for public art.

I do know there has been official discussion about a ‘graffiti wall’ or some sort of area for public art and I can see this happening in the cities future.

Personally, I don’t find the stenciled items interesting but I understand that there are people that enjoy these works of ‘art.’ The main issue I have is when these folks place their ‘art’ in totally inappropriate places like on historic markers or on places which are incredibly difficult to remove. If these works of art were placed in a ‘temporary’ fashion I’d probably enjoy them.

In the same conversation on Mark Maynard the subject of the sticker folks was also brought up. The people that put stickers on signs are not artists they are just vandals. Defacing a street sign which the city has to clean or replace isn’t art. Placing a sticker of a slice of pizza over the hours of permitted parking is not creative in any way. Putting a Dirty Bros. sticker on every crosswalk sign in the city isn’t creative.

In defense of public artists I must say that I really enjoyed the ‘found kitten’ flyer that was posted outside the Corner Brewery a couple of days ago. If you didn’t see it it was a typical ‘found kitten’ flyer except it had a picture of an angry possum. This flyer was creative and non destructive and I enjoyed it a lot.

Is This Art?

Is This Art?

Posted in Kurt's Rants | 2 Comments »

Volunteer for the WEMU pledge drive this week

Posted by ppna on March 26, 2009

WEMU 89.1FM is looking for phone volunteers for the pledge drive starting Friday
(tomorrow) and running through Saturday April 4th both at the studios and at the Michigan Theatre.

Email Bill Harris at: wharri12@emich.edu or call

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Midwest Sliders Job Opportunities

Posted by ppna on March 24, 2009

I was looking through the Midwest Sliders Page and noticed these Job Opportunities.

Community – Job Opportunities

Year ‘Round Part-Time Positions

Sales Associate:
Our sales associate will be responsible for selling to groups and small businesses. Social diplomacy, subtle persuasiveness, telephone demeanor and interpersonal selling skills will be important in cold calling prospective customers, arranging face-to-face meetings and “closing the deals.” Monthly salary is $400, plus a 15% commission on all sales.

Seasonal Part-Time Positions

Ticket Sellers:
Our ticket sellers sell single-game tickets to fans who “walk up” to purchase tickets immediately prior to game time. Basic math skills and a friendly disposition are critical to the job. Positions are for home games, only. Hourly pay is $8.00/hr.

Ticket Takers:
Our ticket takers act as official greeters as fans enter the ball park. Basic duty is to check validity of tickets. Positions are for home games, only. Hourly pay is $8.00/hr.

Security Associate: Our security guards are unarmed personnel who have security training and/or related experience for sports & entertainment events. Duties include [a] ensuring that fans do not carry into the ball park any food or beverage items or instruments that could be used as weapons and [b] assisting in crowd management in the event of unruly behavior and/or a natural or man-made disaster. Compensation to be negotiated.

Ball Park Ushers:
Our ushers work inside the ball park, directing fans to the correct seating area. Ushers also will be asked to “pitch in” on miscellaneous in-game duties, including but not limited to distributing sponsor coupons and directing fans/contestants onto the field for between-inning contests. Friendly disposition and the ability to work quickly are important. Positions are for home games, only. Hourly pay is $8.00/hr.

Public Address Announcer:
Our P.A. announcer for Midwest Sliders will be working all 45 home games. You will need to be on site when gates open one hour prior to first pitch. An ability to convey excitement, to speak clearly, to read ad copy with emphasis on appropriate phrases, and to properly pronounce player names is critical. Pay is $32 per game.

Press Box Attendants: Our press box attendants will perform various duties, from operating the scoreboard and providing press row with statistics, other game-day information and refreshments … to playing music between innings as well as before batters come to the plate and at other points during the game. Positions are for home games, only. Per-game pay is $30.

Ball Park Maintenance Crew: Our maintenance crew members are responsible for cleaning Oestrike Stadium – either the morning after the game or immediately after the game depending upon game start and completion times. Must be available for clean-up after all 45 home games and must be thorough. Three hours guaranteed for each clean-up at $8.00/hr.

Groundskeeper: Our groundskeeper will be responsible for maintaining the infield, which is field turf, and outfield, which is natural grass. Experience in sports facility maintenance preferred, but will provide training. Compensation to be negotiated.

Home & Visitor Clubhouse Managers: Our “clubbies” will be responsible for providing pre-game snacks (drinks and PBJ sandwiches) and towels and soap for players and coaching staff after the game. They will be responsible for doing team laundry, having uniforms ready for players three hours prior to game time and, in general, keeping the clubhouse in spotless condition. A “clubbie” manual containing details of all duties will be made available. For 45 home dates and two weeks of Spring Training, clubbies will be paid $500 from the Midwest Sliders of Ypsilanti and will receive approximately $1,500 in tips (the Frontier League mandates player and coach contributions from their travel per diem) during the season.

Bat Boys/Girls: Our bat boys/girls will work directly with the clubhouse managers in preparing the home and visitor dugouts with all required items prior to each game and breaking down the dugouts after each game. The bat boys/girls will sit in the dugouts during the games, “shagging” bats for players as well as retrieving fouled-off baseballs behind home plate and providing the home-plate umpire with new baseballs as required. Candidates must be at least 14 years of age and have parental permission to participate if a minor. Compensation is $20 per game plus one complimentary ticket to each game.

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A Future Slider?

Posted by ppna on March 24, 2009

Here is a story from The Register Herald in West Virginia about a possible player for the Midwest Sliders. Hopefully everyone will get out to support Cardona and the other players from the Sliders this coming summer.

Cardona appreciates life, baseball

Upper Deck trainee has chance at turning pro
By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor

Victor Cardona points to the scars that cover his upper body, reminders of a day he would rather forget, but can’t.

“This happened in 2003, November 5,” he says in his low, Puerto Rican accent.

The scars are bullet wounds, suffered while Cardona was in line at a doctor’s office with his girlfriend while he was a student at Laredo (Texas) Community College.

“(The shooter) came up to me and said, ‘I want to kill you,’” Cardona said. “I thought he was joking.”

Cardona found out this was no joke. The shooter left momentarily, but soon returned and shot Cardona numerous times.

He was forced to spend five days in the hospital. Thankfully, he came through. And he learned to appreciate every day and every thing.

That includes the opportunity to play professional baseball.

Cardona will get that chance in May, when he travels to Ypsilanti, Mich., to try out for the Midwest Sliders of the independent Frontier League. Cardona returned to his native Puerto Rico last month, but will return to Beckley to continue training for his opportunity.

He has been working with former WVU Tech baseball coach Tim Epling at Upper Deck Training Center since last year. Actually, the two met before that, while Epling was on a recruiting trip.

“We had the gun on him and he was throwing about 83, 84 (miles per hour),” Epling recalled. “Then all of a sudden I told him to do some things, and the next thing you know, Victor’s throwing 85, 86, just within a couple of minutes.

“He saw a change in this short amount of time, and he wanted to come play for me.”

So Cardona enrolled at Tech and continued his baseball career. Among his highlights was pitching in an exhibition game against the West Virginia Power, at the time a Class A team in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

He went back to Puerto Rico after the season, but it wasn’t long before he was back in contact with Epling.

“He called me up and said, ‘Coach, I need to come back because I need you to train me,’” Epling said. “’I want to sign a pro contract.’”

Cardona returned to the Mountain State to begin work on realizing his dream. He developed a changeup and had to increase his velocity.

“When I first came here I did not throw a changeup,” the 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-hander said. “Now my changeup is good.”

His fastball isn’t bad, either. Through his hard work, Cardona is back in the 92-mph range.

Now he’s about to take the next step toward fulfilling his dream of being paid to play baseball. There is, of course, a sense of urgency to his quest. The shooting, while opening Cardona’s eyes to the more important parts of life, robbed him of precious time.

“I couldn’t play baseball for three years,” said Cardona, now 26.

“Victor has done everything you could ask him to do, (but) his age is against him right now,” Epling said. “He’s got to get it done now.”

Cardona’s example is one that exemplifies the reason for the center’s existence.

“That’s what we’re all about,” Epling said. “Whether a kid wants to go to the high school level … then a high school kid wants to go to college, and a college kid wants to go to the pros. That’s always a dream. The great thing right now is there is so much opportunity for kids who want to work hard. I mean, it’s not easy. But if they do certain things, I believe there is more opportunity out there today.”

Opportunity. That’s all Cardona wants.

He certainly is thankful to Epling for all he has done. Moreso, he’s thankful to be alive.

“I appreciate everything.”

— E-mail: gfauber@


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Royal Doulton Event & Expo July 17-19

Posted by ppna on March 24, 2009

This looks like an interesting event coming to town in July. From the looks of it everything except the Saturday night dinner $50.00 is free but you need to RSVP.

Whitley Collection/Seaway China to host inaugural Doulton Event and Exhibition in Ypsilanti, Michigan

Ypsilanti, Michigan – March 16, 2009 – In the true spirit of innovation, Whitley Collection/Seaway China announces a premier Doulton International Event to take place July 17-19, 2009 at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti, Michigan. This preeminent international exposition will feature an expansive roster of prestigious, international exhibitors featuring the finest in Royal Doulton, Moorcroft, and other masters of British art pottery design.

Serving as the venue for this cultural event, the Ann Arbor Marriott at Eagle Crest is nestled on a 135 acre championship golf course and offers a tranquil park setting and resort-style amenities. The Ann Arbor Marriott will be transformed into a dazzling art gallery, displaying the finest in British ceramic and art pottery design.

Gregg Whittecar and Arron Rimpley, promoters for this international event and owners of Whitley Collection and Seaway China located in Doral, Florida, have been providing collectors around the world with the finest in Royal Doulton, Moorcroft, Wedgwood and other fine art pottery and ceramics. They have successfully organized and participated in numerous expositions throughout the world. The promoters are also authors of the book Royal Doulton: A Legacy of Excellence 1871-1945, depicting the important contributions made by the Doulton Company during the late 19th and early 20th century.

When the doors open Friday night, collectors will be greeted
with a champagne reception and the opportunity to preview
and acquire their own piece of British history. The shopping will continue Saturday with a spectacular dinner party being planned for that evening. Guests will also be invited to the final exhibition
day on Sunday.

“This Doulton International Event will
create excitement not seen in years” said
Arron Rimpley. “We look forward to
welcoming collectors and exhibitors from
the United States, Europe and around
the world to our extraordinary
event in July.”

This innovative Royal Doulton
Event is devoted to bringing
the finest in antique English art
pottery to discerning collectors
and dealers from around the

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Ypsilanti Pride Day

Posted by ppna on March 24, 2009

Ypsi PRIDE Day brings out more than a thousand volunteers throughout Ypsilanti to work on more than 30 public clean up and beautification projects – all on the same day! As you know, this year’s Ypsi PRIDE Day is Saturday, May 16th. In preparation the steering committee has been working hard to make the event better than ever, and to incorporate more neighborhood input.

Here’s what we’ve been up to, and how you can get involved!

Check out the new website! http://ypsipride.org

Thanks to some great volunteer help, we have a new website that allows volunteers to do a lot of the basics online!

· Sign up to volunteer!

The quickest way to sign up as a individual or a group is to do it online. Fill out the super-easy form here: http://volunteer.kopmanis.com/index.php

· Suggest a site for clean up and/or beautification!

Is there a public site (parks, tot lots, medians, right of way), that needs some sprucing up, let the committee know, and we’ll work with you to try to prepare the site for Ypsi PRIDE! http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cERpZXVQdF8zbTViTC1ubkcyLWlGRXc6MA

· Nominate a volunteer for special recognition!

Do you know of someone who always lends a helping hand? Someone whose efforts make Ypsilanti a more beautiful place? Nominate someone in one of three categories: youth, adult and business. http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cERpZXVQdF8zbTVib3ZOdzJjUzhWRWc6MA

· Donate!

Donations keep Ypsi PRIDE going each year. Any amount is appreciated! Sign up to donate through the website at: http://volunteer.kopmanis.com/index.php

We look forward to seeing you on Ypsi PRIDE Day!


Ypsi PRIDE Day Steering Committee


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Youth Softball League Forming

Posted by ppna on March 20, 2009

Behavior Workshop is starting a co-ed Youth Softball League.

Click on the link below for information.


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Lots and Lots of things going on

Posted by ppna on March 20, 2009

I’ve deceided to start posting the mass of emails I get from the listserves I’m on. A lot of this information is really good stuff to know so here it is, all for you in one spot.

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