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OpEd: Film incentives are good business for Detroit and Michigan

With the future of Michigan's film tax incentives in question, Detroit cinematographer Geoff George makes the case for why we can't afford to give up on them yet.

Ann Arbor's Great Divide Part 1: How our metro has become segregated by class

A recent report by the Martin Prosperity Institute ranked Ann Arbor as the eight most socioeconomically segregated metros in the United States - out of a possible 380 regions. In a two-part story, Concentrate's Natalie Burg digs into the how and why, as well as what we, as a community, can do about it.

LGBT-friendly Ann Arbor: 45 years of change

Though the state of Michigan still has a long way to go when it comes to LGBT rights, Ann Arbor has remained ahead of the curve due to the efforts of people like Jim Toy, Keith Orr and Martin Contreras (among many others). Today, the college community has been called the second most LGBT-friendly city in the Mitten. Concentrate looks at how we got there.

A plan to make Ann Arbor Michigan's startup city

To establish a true startup culture, Ann Arbor needs more than just a SPARK. It needs incubator, research and co-working spaces that can accommodate a growing and wide variety of needs and disciplines. Mark Smith hopes to address that with his ambitious plan to build an entrepreneurial campus on the outskirts of the city.

3 up and coming arts nonprofits that deserve your support

In a community filled with long established arts and culture nonprofits (some over a century old), launching a new organization can be tough going. Concentrate shines the spotlight on three fledgling groups that could help seed the ground for the next generation of creators and audiences.

OpEd: Makers need an audience

For more than 50 years the Ann Arbor Film Festival has been presenting experimental and thought-provoking cinema to local audiences. Executive Director Leslie Raymond makes the pitch that the festival is as relevant as ever, and that you should clear your calendar March 24-29 to attend.

5 tough questions with Roger Hewitt of Ann Arbor's DDA

While DDAs tend to have a good reputation in most Michigan communities, Ann Arbor's downtown development authority has frequently come under fire by local (and particularly vocal) critics. So, what's the deal? Concentrate talks housing, affordability, and ambassadors with veteran board member Roger Hewitt.

Building a better beer ecosystem

Having a microbrewery in your community is great. Having a craft brew ecosystem is freakin' awesome! And that's just what Washtenaw County has. What started decades ago as a small homebrewers scene has grown into a beer-o-sphere that includes hop growers, small batch pioneers, a craft brew organization for women, and even beer-flavored suspense novels.

Healing through Xbox: Locally-launched non-profit gives games to sick kids nationwide

Talk about the law of unintended consequences. In 2007, a local police officer shut down a Saline high school Halo tournament, claiming video games corrupted the minds of teens. That one misguided complaint ended up inspiring Gamers Outreach, a growing nonprofit that provides video games to children's hospitals across the country.

Can we power the Mitten with "energy freedom"?

It's a brave new energy world in Michigan. Coal is on the way out, natural gas, wind and solar are on the way in. But the bigger question is who will generate electricity in the future- traditional utilities, or individuals and communities?  Metromode's Nina Ignaczak plugs in to find out.

OpEd: Reflections on 12 years on Ann Arbor's City Council

Margie Teall stepped down from Ann Arbor's City Council in November, after serving for twelve years. During her time in office she saw a lot of changes to the city, listened to a lot of competing points of view, and learned a thing or two about public service. She has some observations… and concerns.

Illuminart: Thinking smart about lighting

Think about light. Consider how it impacts the way you live in your home or do your work. Think about how it makes you feel warm and welcomed… or uncomfortable and creeped out. That's what the designers at Illuminart in Ypsilanti evaluate with every project they tackle. It's an under-appreciated aspect of architectural design - something Michigan businesses are only beginning to recognize.

Affordable Housing: What Ann Arbor Can Learn From Santa Cruz, CA

In discussing the need for affordable housing in Ann Arbor, recent conversations have ranged from planned density to public assistance to developer incentives. But what about revisiting the idea of allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs)? Santa Cruz, CA has taken the lead with these small, apartment-sized houses, creating a program that cities around the nation are emulating.

Digital Inclusion: From classroom to pop-up

A program at EMU not only aims to teach low-income and at-risk area youth how to repair computers, but how to sell the fruits of their labors at a retail pop up. It's the best kind of entrepreneurial education, learning by both book and by practice.

Cool Jobs: Quack!Media's Al McWilliams

Al McWilliams launched his ad and media agency Quack!Media with the profits he earned from selling a high school buddy's ska band cassette. Okay, there's more to the story than that, but suffice to say, it's representative of how this did-it-himself entrepreneur does things. We chat with McWilliams about his company's diverse client list, local politics and, believe it or not, municipal infrastructure.
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