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Fictional Michigan beach town the setting for chart-topping summer romance – City Pulse

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Fictional Michigan beach town the setting for chart-topping summer romance – City Pulse


By BILL CASTANIER

One of this summer’s hot beach reads is “Funny Story,” by Cincinnati-area romance writer Emily Henry, who not only attended college in Michigan but set the book in a fictional Michigan beach town.

The book revolves around two pairs of lovers who split up and end up swapping partners. Daphne and Peter are nearing their wedding date when Peter invites his childhood friend, the glamorous Petra, to his bachelor party. The two decide they’re in love, and the wedding is off for Daphne and Peter and on for Petra and Peter.

Petra moves in with Peter, and Daphne finds herself in the lurch, so she and Petra’s ex-boyfriend Miles become roommates. After some margaritas, Miles and Daphne play the roommates-in-love game, with a fictitious wedding on the horizon to make their former partners jealous.

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Throw in some unusual parents, a few wacky friends and Miles’ couch-surfing sister, and you have a “Three’s Company”-esque comedy. Henry also brings the heat — body heat, that is — midway through the book. Her former administrators at Hope College, a small Christian university in Holland, Michigan, would blush.

Daphne is a children’s librarian, and Miles works at a winery. Petra and Peter, on the other hand, have a rich, high-society vibe — you know, boat shoes and pink pants. As you might expect, Miles and Daphne find love, but Henry knows how to make the old saying “too thick won’t stick” play out in this delightful summer read.

Henry has a way of making absurd plots like this believable. Friends I talked with cited similar circumstances with couples they know.

Henry is unlike most romance writers, who bleed for publicity. She lives a reclusive life, never going on book tours or making TikTok videos. She just writes. In an era where musicians and authors share every aspect of their lives online, it’s a refreshing approach.

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I requested an interview with Henry, but after some polite emails, her publisher declined. Since two of her books are set in Lake Michigan beach towns, I wanted to ask her several questions: Does she have a place on Lake Michigan? Does she summer here? Does she wear boat shoes?

Elisabeth Egan of The New York Times Book Review recently published a profile on Henry and her writing. What it didn’t include was any personal details.

What we do know is that she’s a tremendously successful romance author who has dominated The New York Times’ best-seller list for several years.

In the article, Egan writes about Henry’s anti-celebrity persona: “Emily Henry has never been on a book tour or done a traditional bookstore reading. She’s not on TikTok. Her Instagram features book covers and an occasional giveaway; there are no closet tours, rescue cats or elegantly plated snacks.”

Egan neglected to mention that a Google search will turn up little in the way of a biography of Henry. Her website says next to nothing, and a short article on her alma mater’s website says she was an English major who graduated in 2012.

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Despite that, her newest book has been sitting on The New York Times’ best-seller list for 10 weeks. A previous novel, “Happy Place,” is set to be adapted into a Netflix series, according to Egan.

The article reveals that Henry was previously a technical writer and authored young-adult novels on the side. Her first adult book exploded into popularity despite being published during the COVID lockdowns. I guess it was the right time for a breezy romance novel.

In many ways, Henry’s homebody attitude must make things easier for her publisher’s publicists. Beyond a handful of interviews, they don’t have to bother with complex tours, Facebook updates or much else. 

Henry could wander into a Trader Joe’s, and it’s likely no one would recognize her. She looks a little like Debbie Harry, but she didn’t go for the typical glamor pose in her book jacket photo. She’s got the Cormac McCarthy vibe going for her — he was notably an anti-publicity kind of guy. Of course, he didn’t write romance.

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Michigan

Jaishawn Barham’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2024

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Jaishawn Barham’s path to Michigan, outlook for 2024


With Junior Colson and Michael Barrett now in the NFL, Michigan needed not only depth but experience at inside linebacker. Enter Maryland transfer Jaishawn Barham.

The story so far

Barham played high school ball at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore and was a four-star prospect in the 2022 class. the No. 130 overall prospect in the 2022 class, per 247Sports. Barham committed to South Carolina before flipping to Maryland after receiving offers from programs such as Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, and USC, among others.

Barham was an immediate contributor for Maryland during his true freshman campaign in 2022, totaling 58 tackles (6.5 for loss), four sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Barham didn’t surpass those totals last season, dipping to 37 tackles (3 for loss), three sacks, and one interception of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

At the conclusion of the 2023 season Barham entered the transfer portal and committed to Michigan. Barham was with the Wolverines for spring practices, and received props from head coach Sherrone Moore.

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“Instinctual, physical, violent, fast — everything you want in a linebacker,” Moore said. “As quiet as can be, just goes about his business the right way, just how we like the transfers that come in here. They just come in, assimilate themselves in the culture and keep attacking. He’s been outstanding, and just I can’t wait to see what he does.”

Outlook moving forward

Barham, who stands 6-foot-3, 248 pounds, will be a welcomed addition to Michigan’s linebacker room this season. Barham and Ernest Hausmann will be Michigan’s primary inside linebackers.

Barham has great athleticism and has a penchant for getting into the opponents backfield via sacks and tackles for loss, which are traits necessary in Michigan defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s scheme.

Barham will be wearing No. 1 on his uniform and that should send a message before he plays a snap. He expects to become a top linebacker for the Wolverines.



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Harris effect in Michigan may mean most to down-ballot Dems – City Pulse

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Harris effect in Michigan may mean most to down-ballot Dems – City Pulse


By TYLER SCHNEIDER

Judith Daubenmier’s first dose of political activism came when she volunteered for John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004.

In May, the Livingston County Democratic Party chair earned her first selection as a Democratic delegate for Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, which includes Ingham County. That means she’ll vote for the party’s presidential nominee during the virtual roll call before next month’s national convention in Chicago.

Until President Biden bowed out, Daubenmier was sure she would support him.

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“I felt sad for him and had a lot of empathy for what he was going through and what it must have felt like to make that decision,” she said. “It took a while to work through that — but then I started thinking about the future.”

What might that political future look like for Michiganders?

Assuming Vice President Kamala Harris locks up the Democratic nomination, Michigan State University political science Professor Matt Grossman said the pivot still won’t necessarily put the state’s 15 electoral votes out of reach for either party.

“To the extent that Biden had a relative advantage over Harris, it would have been among older white voters, which Michigan has a lot more of than other states,” Grossman said. “So, the switch does not necessarily help in Michigan as much as it helped elsewhere. And there certainly still is the danger of losing for Democrats.”

The potential trade-off comes in Harris’ expected appeal among younger and minority voters. In February, 13% of the state’s Democratic primary voters selected the “uncommitted” option to protest Biden’s handling of the Israeli war. Many of those votes came from the 500,000 Arab Americans in Michigan — the most of any state — and college-age adults.

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Thasin Sardar, an Islamic Society of Greater Lansing trustee, said Harris’ expected candidacy could chip away at that protest vote.

“I do see some attrition of some who were motivated to join the movement not only because of Gaza but also because Biden was not a winning candidate,” he said. “I’m pretty sure they all care for Gaza, but I think they may also see Harris as having a good chance.”

Before Biden dropped out, some thought he was also starting to lose ground with Black voters, long considered one of his strongest electoral demographics. Could that leak be stymied with Harris — who is half-Black and half-Indian — atop the ticket?

Daubenmier thinks so. But it’s still too early to tell for Michigan State University associate political science Professor Corwin Smidt.

“That’s one group that one would assume she can cement support with, but there’s a little concern about how much of a connection she’ll have with the Black voters in Michigan, which tend to also be older,” Smidt said.

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She may earn new supporters elsewhere, however.

“There is an Asian-American community in suburban Detroit that does seem a little less unified politically,” he added. “The fact that she’s half-Indian American could resonate with some of those groups that you don’t traditionally see as active in Michigan politics,” Smidt said.

Despite these unknowns, Grossman predicted that Michigan’s electoral coalition would be “90% to 95% the same.”

Smidt agreed but added that the implications of Biden’s withdrawal may be more visible in who is and isn’t representing Michigan next year.

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“When it comes to Michigan, it’s not like this is like a sea change, but it does sort of shuffle the chess pieces or the type of communication you might see,” Smidt said.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s future is among the pieces that may be in play. While Whitmer has twice stated that she isn’t interested in becoming Harris’ running mate, her potential to help turn a key swing state blue means she’ll remain in the conversation.

“We have evidence that home state VP candidates do matter, but we’re talking about a very small 1% or so,” Grossman explained. “Were Whitmer in it, that would still make a specific difference in Michigan. Now, there are many other actors on that list, so, more than likely, it will go to someone else.”

If Whitmer stays put, Harris’ rise could still impact Michigan’s future, including in the race for Michigan’s 7th U.S. House District, which includes Ingham County. Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr. and Republican Tom Barrett want to succeed three-term Rep. Elissa Slotkin. The latter, a Democrat, is expected to face former Rep. Mike Rogers for the U.S. Senate, pending the outcome of the Aug. 6 primary.

Based on a poll by the nonpartisan firm Noble Predictive Insights conducted July 8 to 11, Barrett leads Hertel 48% to 41%, with 11% of the survey’s 532 respondents still undecided. The same polls suggested the Senate race would be much closer, with Rogers leading Slotkin by one point at 48%, with 4% undecided.

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Grossman said Harris’ increased popularity with younger and minority voters could change the trajectory of these down-ballot races. For one, her candidacy may promote greater turnout, theoretically bolstering Democrats.

“In general, there’s an extremely strong relationship between the presidential vote and votes for all other partisan offices on the same day. It could be two or three points, but that could be important in determining the winner of those elections,” Grossman said.

With Biden out, Smidt added that Hertel’s odds of shoring up younger or moderate-leaning voters may also be boosted.

“There’s sort of a social media cache with Kamala Harris that could mobilize younger people more,” Smidt said. “Because this is a split district, Michigan State voters alone can be a decisive factor.”

Still, Smidt views Michigan’s Senate matchup as “more important than the presidential race.”

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“You have Slotkin, who’s got some vulnerabilities in her base in terms of Israel and Gaza, and Rogers, who is seen as kowtowing to Trump in some ways. To me, that race has much more to say about the state party’s future and how both parties look coming into 2026 and 2028 than it does the presidential election,” Smidt said.

Grossman said the results of that race could ultimately echo that of the presidential contest.

“If it were literally 50-50 in the presidential race, you’d still expect Slotkin to win, but not much more than that. She pretty much needs Democrats to either win Michigan or come close,” he said.

State Sen. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, believes Democrats can win big if they focus on issues like inflation, the cost of living, the environment and reproductive rights.

“When Harris has come to the state, by and large, it’s been around reproductive health care, which was a defining issue two years ago when the Democratic trifecta was elected and continues to be at the top of mind for Michiganders, particularly women,” Anthony said.

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Daubenmier agreed, noting that she hopes Michigan voters will get behind Harris.

“Some people will feel more interested in the campaign now because they wanted to see a new face. They wanted to see someone younger, and I think that will help us tremendously,” she said.

— TYLER SCHNEIDER





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Losses to Michigan put Day on hot seat | Arkansas Democrat Gazette

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Losses to Michigan put Day on hot seat | Arkansas Democrat Gazette


INDIANAPOLIS — Ohio State Coach Ryan Day sounds confident and comfortable discussing this year’s football team.

Never mind the three Michigan banners hanging over his head and slightly behind the podium where he’s speaking at the first of three Big Ten media days in Indianapolis — or that it’s a not-so-subtle reminder about the looming stakes when he heads home.

Yes, despite winning 39 league games since taking over one of college football’s most storied programs in 2018, the 45-year-old coach finds himself still answering questions about the three losses burning at the heart of the program — all to archrival Michigan.

“Our guys know what the expectation is. You’ve heard some of them say what their goals are,” Day said Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium. “We want to win the rivalry game, be right in this stadium right here and win this Big Ten championship and win a national championship.”

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Day comes here each year and reminds everyone what’s on the list and in the proper order. In Columbus, Ohio, beating Michigan ranks above anything else.

So losing three straight, each of which sent Michigan to a Big Ten title game, still rankles the fan base. And even though the Wolverines cashed in on last year’s opportunity by winning a third straight conference crown and their first national championship since sharing the crown with Nebraska in 1997, many Buckeyes fans contended it was tainted by the Wolverines’ signal-stealing scheme.

Still, it’s made no easier for fans to accept, or for Day’s job security.

Despite going 11-2 each of the past three seasons, despite making three playoff appearances and playing for a national title, despite reaching New Year’s Six bowl bids all five of Day’s full seasons as coach, he finds himself squarely on the hot seat, this fall.

Day understands why it’s this way as do his players.

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“A bunch of junk came out after we lost to those guys a couple of times, about him not caring, which couldn’t be more wrong,” all-conference defensive end Jack Sawyer said. “He does get unfairly criticized at times, but he knows what he signed up to do and we all signed up to do the same thing and we’ve fallen short as well. If anything, it doesn’t come back on him, it comes back on us as players.”

It’s a key reason one dozen players, including Sawyer, opted to return to campus rather than leave early for the NFL — to correct a perceived wrong.

And this just might be the Buckeyes’ year.

Ohio State heads into the fall dubbed by many as the preseason conference favorite. A media panel selected four of the 12 Buckeyes returnees to be the best at their respective positions this season. Plus, Day has handed former college and NFL head coach Chip Kelly play-calling duties and has added quarterback Will Howard, who threw 24 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions last season at Kansas State.

Day believes Howard’s mobility and Kelly’s innovative offensive style could change everything in Columbus, Ohio.

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“It starts with the quarterback and then it goes to the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers, and how that all gets put together,” Day said. “I think he (Kelly) would tell you he’s very excited about what he has in terms of the talent level on the perimeter, up front, the running backs, the quarterback options, the tight ends.”

Defensively, the Buckeyes look even stronger after allowing the second-fewest points per game nationally last season, 11.23, behind only Michigan.

Nine starters return from that group starting with Sawyer and cornerback Denzel Burke. Sawyer played high school football in suburban Columbus and dreamed of the day he’d help Ohio State defeat Michigan. Burke still does.

“You can’t really leave without some gold pants,” Burke said, referring to the prized trophy Ohio State hands out for beating the Wolverines.

Michigan isn’t scheduled to appear in Indy until Thursday and will largely be in reload mode.

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The defending champs return few starters and a new coach, Sherrone Moore, after Jim Harbaugh returned to the NFL.

For Day, that just means the stakes are even higher.

Beat Michigan and all will be well. Lose again, and it’s conceivable Day won’t be around to see another banner added to the Lucas Oil Stadium collection.

“I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t burn a fire inside of us,” Sawyer said. “It’s definitely something we think about. We know what’s at stake when we play those guys. All of our goals and aspirations for the season ride on that one game in November. They hate us, we hate them. That’s the way it’s got to be.”

    Ohio State head coach Ryan Day speaks during an NCAA college football news conference at the Big Ten Conference media days at Lucas Oil Stadium, Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
 
 
  photo  Ohio State head coach Ryan Day speaks during an NCAA college football news conference at the Big Ten Conference media days at Lucas Oil Stadium, Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
 
 
  photo  Ohio State’s Jack Sawyer speaks during an NCAA college football news conference at the Big Ten Conference media days at Lucas Oil Stadium, Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
 
 
  photo  Ohio State’s Denzel Burke speaks during an NCAA college football news conference at the Big Ten Conference media days at Lucas Oil Stadium, Tuesday, July 23, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
 
 



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