Skip to main content

Ann Arbor Idiocy - Now They're Banning Grills

We got a nice notice today that we have to get rid of our gas grill within two weeks. Why? Because of something called the International Fire Code of 2003 (sounds very official, doesn't it?). The book, if you're looking for it, is available from Amazon for $63.00, or it's ISBN: 1892395606. Note, this is not a local ordinance, but a book of codes published by the International Code Council, a group which requires paid membership and, as far as I can tell, has no authority to enforce any of their codes.

Of course, in Ann Arbor, things like this are done in the summer, so as not to invoke the wrath of students. See, students tend to show up at council meetings, planning commissions, and the like to protest idiotic changes like this.

Other states have tried to enact this same code and have decided, after the public got a chance to offer their opinion, not to enforce the code. See Nebraska, Ohio, Alabama and Washington.

So, get on the phones, write a letter, do whatever. Tell the city to stay off your porch. Again.

UPDATE: Thanks very much to Arbor Update for the mention and link. Hopefully someone wiser than I can help all of us non-house owners out.

I should mention that this isn't just for renters. If you own a condo, but have more than one unit per building (like the nice units going up on Eisenhower), you're affected as well. The ban isn't on the grills, but on the propane tanks. Anything over 2.5 pounds cannot be stored or used within 10 feet of "combustable construction". I know someone will be splitting that hair if we ever get a chance to comment, but the effect is the same.

According to the Ann Arobr Fire Department, this code has been in effect since April 1st. I wonder why property managers weren't notified until very recently about this?

AAFD - (734) 994-2772

AA Housing Inspector - - (734) 994-2678

Mayor John Hieftje - - (734) 994-2766 (guess who's up for re-election this year, too?)

Contact your City Council member


Popular posts from this blog

Google Inbox: A classic Google product

My work domain (an EDU) recently had Google Inbox enabled so I had a good chance to try it out. My personal email is relatively quiet and, I believe, doesn't provide a good Inbox experience. Work is more active and requires actual management, something I've tossed many a tool at over the years. As part of my work life, I supported the Google Apps for EDU installation here and took a pretty extensive presentation to campus about how to manage large amounts of email.

Inbox is a classic Google product: the distillation of a number of excellent ideas into a set of half-complete features built for a use case most people don't meet. We've seen this in the past in products like ChromeVox, Google's Chrome extension for accessibility. ChromeVox works great on ChromeOS devices, but completely ignores the point that most users of accessibility tech (AT) don't have or want ChromeOS devices and come to services with their AT in tow. ChromeVox also ignores decades of convent…


Evernote, for better or worse, is the best note-taking service for my needs. It works across all my devices/computers/modes. It's fairly easy to get stuff into it. Hell, they even have 2-Factor authentication. The Windows app is a little clunky and my girlfriend and I have never been able to get shared notes to work properly (conflicted note! three times in the same grocery trip!), but what service is perfect? At least they have nice socks.

Everything, in fact, is pretty good as long as you don't screw up. And screw up I did. I'm not very regular about making backups, but I do make them every month or so. Once you figure out how to create a backup, that is.

There's a helpful Export Note option (which turns into Export Notes when you select multiple notes HINT). The export process is essentially opening All Notes, selecting every note, and then choosing Export Notes. Or something like that; Evernote never tells you, you're left to figure it out on your own. The file…

Happy Retirement Pat Sweeny!

In a previous life, I was an active member of the West Michigan Shores Chapter of the STC. I met a lot of really cool people there and learned a lot about what it meant to be not just a technical writer, but more about how technical writers can break out of the mold and accomplish things.

One of the people who did that was Pat Sweeny. Pat is (or was, by this point) the President and owner of The Bishop Company, a contract do-it-all house; they document, streamline and illustrate your process, and they do it damn well. Pat was one of the first people in that chapter to "get it", which is to say, he and his company understand that technical writing isn't going to be a department for very much longer, it's going to be a business.

He had the foresight to actually make it a business, but he also had something else. Pat was forever trying to better those around him. He would come to meetings (which was a big step beyond most people) and teach you things. Or he would come to …