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What's Left Ypsilanti

Dioxane Plume

Eddie Zhou

An underground plume of dioxane miles wide is traveling underneath the city of Ann Arbor, and more recently the Huron River. Dioxane, or 1,4 dioxane, is a synthetic chemical which is flammable at high temperatures. It leaches rapidly into the ground, which is a process by which liquids percolate downward and dissolve compounds on the way, and is miscible in water ― a chemistry term meaning it dissolves in water evenly making it difficult to separate from the water once it gets in. Dioxane is also a likely carcinogen which means it is linked to causing cancer. Most notably...

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A Community Land Trust Convergence

Desiraé Simmons

I first learned about Community Land Trusts (CLTs) while living in Boston, MA. The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) was created to “empower residents to organize, plan for, create and control a vibrant, diverse, and high quality neighborhood.” The community worked to reclaim land that had been victimized by divestment, arson, and dumping ― all signs of the white supremacist structures we operate under given the demographics of the Dudley neighborhood.

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A Tale Of Two Towns?

Alex Thomas

It was the best of times for Ypsi, the worst for much of the world. Bombs were needed to bomb the bad guys, and planes for the good guys to do it. During World War II folks came from far and wide, but mostly whites from Kentucky and Blacks from all over the South, to work in the Willow Run Bomber Plant. The workers in that factory, and the bosses in those smoke-filled rooms were the original cast in Ypsi’s present narrative. The work they did and the decisions...

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Retrograde Summer (April — July)

Mutable Mooney

The word “retrograde” may be unsettling to some people — it is commonly known as a difficult time for communication and relationships. However, it is helpful to also consider the opportunity for growth and transformation during retrograde seasons. When a planet is in retrograde it appears to move across the night sky in a reverse motion.

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In Memory of Ditch Witch


Rest in Power to our friend Lisa Leggio, AKA Brooklyn, AKA Ditch Witch, who passed away last month. She was an important activist for environmental justice in Michigan, and she will be dearly missed. As those of us who had the privilege of fighting and resisting the forces of capitalism and climate change alongside her would attest.

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Dam Displacement

Brian Geiringer

Today, the Peninsular Paper Dam sits on the northern edge of Ypsilanti next to Pen Park and a shell of the old Paper Company. In ten years, it may not. In one of two high-profile decisions under consideration at the moment, City Council may choose to begin a process to remove Pen Dam in the coming years. If it’s not removed, the dam must be repaired. An influential group supports each possible outcome: The Friends of Pen Park (FPP) urge Council to repair and keep the dam, while the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC), consulting with the city, has backed the opinion to remove the dam. Council has seven years to decide.

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Alive On Arrival


There was once a little girl that was going on a trip with her family. She was excited because she was going to fly and had never flown before. She spent her time getting ready — carefully packing for her trip. She packed summer clothes, her favorite blanket to sleep, and her best friend: her doll to love. Basically, she just packed all the necessities she would need into one small case. Her parents spent their time getting ready stuffing everything that was in their closets and dressers into four giant suitcases. Most of what the rest of her family packed wasn’t needed, but they couldn’t picture themselves without it.

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Totally Awesome Fest

Aaron Apsey

Late last month What’s Left sent (me) an attaché to cover what may have been THE MOST convoluted and Xtreme press release. I joined some of the organizers on the hallowed floors of Zap Zone where we blasted each other with laser rifles, and got obliterated by birthday party attendees while talking about the upcoming local cultural Xtravagana. I managed to learn some interesting things between the whooping and the zaps.

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