Belleville & Ypsilanti: Inside the Newsroom

Here you can find the musings of writers and editors of the Ypsilanti Courier and the Belleville View.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New editor at the Courier

We've had a lot of staffing changes over this past summer at Heritage Media, but I'm happy to tell you all that I'm taking over as editor at The Ypsilanti Courier and Manchester Enterprise.

I'm Krista Gjestland, and I've been at Heritage since November as a general assignment and government reporter. Prior to that, I freelanced for Heritage for about nine months. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2011, where I earned a degree in journalism and worked at The Eastern Echo.

I live in Ypsilanti and am incredibly excited to help the city get the coverage it needs and deserves. I welcome any suggestions on how to move our coverage forward. As an Ypsilanti citizen I know what I'd like to see covered more, but I'd like to hear from you all as well. What issues in Ypsi are most important to you?

I'm always looking for more community contributors, bloggers and freelancers so please reach out to me if you're interested.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to email me at, find me on Twitter @kgjestland or give me a call at 734-429-7380 ex. 18.

I'm also regularly stationed in our Community Media Lab, located at 215 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown Ypsi. I'm there every Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so stop in and say hi.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Finally, barbeque in Ypsilanti!

A few weeks after starting work as a full-time reporter for Heritage Media, I wrote an article on a local barbeque restaurant that was slated to open in Ypsilanti called Red Rock BBQ.

After months of chomping at the bit waiting for this restaurant to open, the day finally came this past weekend.

Let me preface this with one thing: I love barbeque. And not just slapping sauce on chicken wings. I mean slow and low smoked meats that melts in your mouth. I've had a fair amount, and I can be quite judgmental and often leave places a little disappointed.

Red Rock, however, did not disappoint. The restaurant officially opened April 20. My fiance and I headed in the next day. I had a half smoked chicken entree and he had a beef brisket sandwich. It was awesome. Large portions, incredibly tasty meat and sides that could have stood out as meals themselves.

I typically judge a barbeque joint most harshly on its cornbread. I'm incredibly picky because I've had both great and terrible cornbread. In my humble opinion, cornbread should be moist and be made with real corn. Again Red Rock did not disappoint. Not only did the cornbread have real kernels of corn in it, but it was so moist that when you picked it up it was sticky like a cupcake. Needless to say, I was in love.

Service was great, especially for opening weekend. The prices are decent, pretty low for a barbeque place. You can get a meat entree for $10-13 or a sandwich (pulled pork, brisket, etc.) for $7-9. You definitely won't break your bank eating here, and most of all I'd say you'll leave happy.

What made me most happy and excited after going to Red Rock was seeing how busy they were on their second day of being officially open. The majority of tables were filled, and so was a good chunk of the bar. Since I live here in Ypsi I love seeing local businesses do well. It's a sign that our community is thriving and can support more businesses.

My fiance and I liked Red Rock so much, we went back for lunch on Monday. He had a pulled pork sandwich and I opted for a salad with smoked chicken and beef brisket. And more cornbread, of course.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Augusta Township 4th grader forced to sit outside with sign explaining misbehavior

It's a strange way to lead into the 10 p.m. newscast, but we'd thought we'd share it anyway.

Fox 2 led its 10 p.m. newscast last night with the story of an Augusta Township school child who was being punished by his parents for talking back to his teacher at Childs Elementary School.

His teacher asked him to rewrite a piece that was accidentally deleted off the iPad Cameron Adkins was working on. He apparently got upset and back-talked the teacher, getting him sent home for the day.

His parents have made him sit in their front lawn with a sign that says "I don't want to behave at school."

Take a look at Fox 2's report below. What do you think of the punishment? Is it something you would do with your children?



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Puppies and kitties!!!

Yesterday, Belleville View Co-editor Carrie Kennedy and I paid a visit to the Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue... and it was sooooooo awesome because all the dogs and cats were so cute.

We shot some video and took notes in preparation of a few stories for the paper and website. As journalist, I always try to remain neutral, but it was so hard when those cats rubbed up against my legs and purred and those cute dogs licked my face.

There was a little dog named Chachi that appears on camera with me (Chachi is not pictured). The video will be up next week. He was so cute and he shivered while I held him outside in the cold. But, he loved the attention I gave him.

On a serious note, FMAR does some important work. They take in dogs and cats that are scheduled to be euthanized. The groups always spay or neuter the animals they take in and give them complete heath checkups.

The animals they take in are up for adoption.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fried dough heaven

I have the privilege of living in Ypsilanti. With that privilege comes a lot of inside knowledge about Ypsi that I think the rest of the county misses out on. There are tons of innocuous looking places, especially places to eat, that are treasure troves of fun and deliciousness.

One of these places in Dom's Bakery, located at 1305 Washtenaw Ave., just west of Eastern Michigan University's campus.

It struck me today, as I waited in line to get my half-dozen paczki (don't you judge me, I shared), that Dom's is an Ypsilanti Gem. Unlike commercialized donut stores, Dom's is cheap, fresh and awesome.

Anyone who's ever gone to EMU or lived in Ypsilanti already knows what I'm about to tell you. Dom's Bakery has the best donuts. Ever. In the entire history of donuts. No one does them better!

Why? Because nothing beats paying $.65 for a fresh long john the width of my wrist. And because fresh doesn't mean made within the last two days. A lot of the time it means within a day. More times than not I've ventured in for a tasty late night snack and received a warm, gooey, obviously just off the drying rack donut. As an EMU student, it was the perfect late night food. Now, it's a perfect early morning comforting treat.

If I'm going to eat something like a donut, I'm going to make it worth it. And Dom's makes it worth it.
So if you haven't experience the calorie-killing bliss that is Dom's Bakery, do it before you regret it. Now, if you'll excuse me I still have one more paczki left...

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

In the near future

Joe and I are planning to visit the FAMA animal rescue shelter in Belleville sometime next week. I'm teased around the office of being more fond of puppies than people, so I'm particularly looking forward to this story. We're hoping to get at least three videos out of the trip, possibly four. Be sure to stay on the lookout for this feature, as it'll feature lots of cute, fluffy puppies and kittens. And let's face it, who doesn't love puppies and kittens?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Out in the field

Yesterday, Joe and I covered the 46th annual Detroit RV show, and what a great experience it was! This was my first time as co-editor out of the office acting as a reporter. Joe and I were there mainly to shoot video for our website and get a local connection to the show in the form of National RV in Belleville. Norm Wells, the manager of the store, was great to talk to and gave quite a bit of information about the latest and greatest in campers and RVs. As someone who's not particularly well informed about that kind of thing, I still found it interesting nonetheless.
Joe getting ready with his video camera.

Secretary of State  Ruth Johnson talking with Rick Kessler (right)
and Tom Wolfe (center), of the DNR.

Who else did we meet? Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. That was definitely an amazing opportunity, and she's a very friendly and outgoing woman. She did a little promo about the DNR's recreational passport program, which allows anyone with a "P" sticker on their license plate to get into all 99 state parks. I talked with DNR official Tom Wolfe a little more about the program and am planning on writing a little blurb about what the passport program can do for you.

With all the videos and photos Joe and I shot, expect our website to be brimming with new stuff this weekend! The RV show lasts through this weekend, so be sure to check it out before it leaves. And for the kids, there are lots of information booths with prizes, and even some trainer dogs to pet! (Dogs happen to be a minor obsession of mine, so I was particularly excited to see them.) The show is located at the Suburban Collection Showplace, formerly the Rock Financial Showplace. It's located at 46100 Grand River Avenue, Novi, MI 48374.

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