Washtenaw County reported eighty cases of Covid-19, no hospitalizations, and four deaths in the 24 hours ending Wednesday at 10 a.m., a significant decline from last week. The weekly test positivity rate dropped a hair to 10 percent, just a fraction below the plunging statewide rate.
The Washtenaw County Health Department will lift its school mask mandate on Feb. 28, Bridge Michigan reports. Washtenaw is the latest in a string of counties to alter mask policies amid falling case numbers. MLive reports that so far, only the Manchester district plans to make masks optional when the order ends. A petition calling on the AAPS to lift its mandate has gathered some online support.
Saline Area Schools lost 280 pupils in the past two years, the Saline Post reports. Already on a downward trend, the 5.5 percent decrease is causing funding difficulties and forcing the district to entertain new staffing models. The district’s troubles mirror similar problems statewide and across the nation, resulting from lower birth rates.
A pair of apartment buildings are going up behind the Michigan Theater, MLive reports. After a two-year pandemic delay, work began this week to clear four rental houses from the future site of the development, which will begin with sixteen “microunits” in a six-story building behind the theater, followed by a 240-unit, nineteen-story high rise on Washington.
City Council this week narrowly approved a resolution to widen the East Medical Center Bridge, according to the Michigan Daily. The rebuilding would add an additional lane for cars by reducing the width of the sidewalk, and was passed over objections that the move could jeopardize cyclist safety and hinder U-M’s carbon emissions goals. The change is the inverse of the prevailing trend in town, which in recent years has seen automobiles lose space to pedestrians and cyclists.
Racist clauses are being excised from Ann Arbor property titles, the Michigan Daily reports. Deeds to many properties contain racial covenants restricting home ownership to members of “the Caucasion race.” Unenforceable since 1948 and explicitly illegal since 1968, these vestiges of a more intolerant age are the target of Justice InDeed, which is piloting a program in the Hannah subdivision to replace them with a clause welcoming people of all backgrounds.
Artspace may be coming to Washtenaw County, Concentrate reports. The Minnesota-based nonprofit was invited by the Song Foundation to explore the possibility of building an artist-oriented affordable development, possibly in collaboration with Avalon Housing. It’s inviting members of the arts community to register by email for a virtual open house next Wednesday.
Food Gatherers has teamed up with DoorDash to deliver groceries to home-bound community members, the organization announced. Funded through the delivery app’s charitable arm, the year-long pilot program will see “dashers” pick up orders for delivery from food pantries. The Gatherers are working in partnership with the Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti and Jewish Family Services in Ann Arbor, and spokeswoman Lauren Grossman emails that they’re hopeful funding will continue after a successful first year.
Workers at two Ann Arbor Starbucks stores are organizing a union, the Daily reports. Their petitions calling for unionization votes are part of a national campaign by the Service Employees International Union, which scored its first success in December at a company-owned Starbucks in Buffalo. Union drives are also underway at Starbucks in Clinton Township and Grand Blanc.