January 27, 2022

Can you guess what is pictured in the photo above? Click the image for the answer and more.

First a few words by way of introduction: My name is Dayton, and I’m happy to say that I’ll be taking over as the editor of a2view. I’m a composer and recent U-M graduate who spent the last year teaching English in France. During my time at U-M, I served as managing editor of the Michigan Daily, where I was also the classical music columnist. Recently, I've adopted a very sweet little cat who was living underneath my parents’ porch and now am in search of an Ann Arbor apartment that will take both me and her! 

On campus and around town this week people continued to take stock following Mark Schlissel’s termination as U-M president, as some looked to the future with hope and others with apprehension. Meanwhile at City Hall, councilmembers explored new ideas about energy and winter sidewalk maintenance that could affect their constituents’ everyday lives. Folk fans were disappointed to hear of the cancellation of the annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival, while students at the recently reopened High Point School enjoyed the new building’s amenities during their first week of in-person classes. 

Dayton Hare, editor

Cleo and her person, a2view editor Dayton Hare, are looking for an Ann Arbor apartment where both are welcome. Reply to this email with any suggestions. 

The News...Briefly

Washtenaw County reported 397 cases of Covid-19, one hospitalization, and two deaths in the 24 hours ending Wednesday at 10 a.m., down from more than 500 in the same period last week. The weekly positivity rate for the county was down a bit to 17 percent, and still markedly better than the statewide rate of 30 percent. But a complication has cropped up with the new drive-through testing site we told you about a couple of weeks ago: Mlive reports that Ypsilanti Township is threatening to shut it down, saying it failed to get proper permits.

The Ann Arbor Folk Festival has fallen prey to the pandemic for the second time in three years, MLive reports. The multi-day event was called off amid coronavirus concerns and comes on the heels of a headliner cancellation, which staff feared might presage other artists backing out. Tickets will be refunded by the Ark or MUTO, depending on where they were purchased. The festival was to be dedicated to folk music legend Nanci Griffith, who died last summer. This Saturday, the Ark hosts an online tribute concert of Michigan artists covering Griffith’s songs.

U-M and the Ann Arbor community continue to come to terms with Mark Schlissel’s termination as university president. Mirroring a common sentiment on campus, the editorial board of the Michigan Daily supported the firing but expressed skepticism over the regents’ motives, and called for consistent transparency surrounding sexual misconduct in the future. Read more about student, faculty, and alumni reactions in my article in this month’s Observer.

A newly remodeled High Point School opened its doors January 18, MLive reports. The $52 million redesign is aimed at making school more accessible, engaging, and enjoyable for the ~70 special needs students who attend it. The new building was funded by a bond proposal passed by voters in August 2019, and was constructed on the site of the old school.

The longtime director of the SafeHouse Center domestic violence shelter has resigned after an outside investigation reported “lapses” in management “in the areas of human resources, communications, and safety,” according to MLive. Barbara Niess-May stepped down following allegations that the shelter’s conditions were “deplorable” and that abuse survivors were forced to leave while still in precarious situations.

The Ann Arbor City Council last week approved a resolution calling for a feasibility study into power municipalization. If implemented, municipalization would supplant DTE Energy as Ann Arbor’s power provider and give the city greater control over energy decisions, including whether to increase usage of renewable sources. The measure comes as part of a larger push to achieve citywide “carbon neutrality” by 2030, a goal for which the city previously approved a $1 billion A2Zero plan.

In addition to power, city council is considering taking on additional winter sidewalk maintenance, MLive reports. Following years of concerns that property owners inadequately clear sidewalks of snow, the city passed a resolution this week to explore whether it could hold itself to the same standards as it does residents in the event the city took over winter maintenance. A memo discussed by council in December estimates it could cost the city between $1.3 million and $22 million in its first two years, depending on coverage and the type of labor used.

The Washtenaw County Black Farmers Fund is calling for applicants as it prepares to distribute $100,000 to local farmers, Concentrate reports. The group is made up of local nonprofit leaders, farmers, and community members, and is modeled on similar projects such as the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund. The coalition is looking for people with “a maturity of vision,” but applicants need not have a business fully up and running yet. The deadline for applications is February 18.

Rumors are swirling around whether U-M football coach Jim Harbaugh will continue in his role or give the NFL another shot. Over the last fortnight, sportswriter John Bacon has been tweeting his “Harbaugh Watch” observations, speculating it’s possible the coach takes a job with the Las Vegas Raiders or Minnesota Vikings. At least one U-M insider, however, is confident that Harbaugh will stay, Sports Illustrated reports. The talks come at the end of a remarkable season for the Wolverines, which saw Harbaugh named “coach of the year” by the Associated Press.

The state of Michigan marked its 185th birthday yesterday. Want to celebrate? Go check out the historic marker at Main and Huron that commemorates the gathering of delegates from throughout Michigan for the famous “Frostbitten Convention,” where the future of the soon-to-be state was decided. 

Marketplace Changes

Interest in local food production is alive and well, and Argus Farm Stop is expanding once again, Micki Maynard reports in the February Observer. Meanwhile, the Argus-inspired Agricole Farm Stop in Chelsea has hit a major milestone: since opening in 2019, it has paid out more than $2 million to local food producers.

Argus Farm Stop co-owner Kathy Sample with online operations manager Will Moyer. The store's second Packard St. storefront will let Sample display more fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen food, and bread and pastries - and save Moyer's produce-packing crew a lot of stair-climbing. 

The vegan bakery franchise Cinnaholic opens Friday at 121 E. Liberty. They’ll be selling buns for just $1 during a grand opening event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (limit one per person).

New restaurants are on the scene in Ypsilanti, Concentrate reports. Bridge Community Cafe, on W. Michigan Ave. offers a selection of food, coffee, and tea drinks, on top of hosting a variety of mission-driven events such as a monthly dry bar and a weekly pay-what-you-can soup day. Its opening delayed due to Covid-19, Latin American Cuban Cuisine now offers authentic Cuban food in Roundtree Place on Ellsworth.

Pulte leads Pittsfield’s home construction wave, Sue Maguire reports in the Observer’s February Home Sales Map. Pittsfield accounted for forty-seven of the 171 sales on this month’s map, and more than half were in Pulte subdivisions.

Things to Do

by Jennifer Taylor

28 Friday: Have a laugh at the behest of Ty Boeh, a fast-paced comic whose cerebral style is both witty and silly, at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. Preceded by 2 opening acts. Alcohol is served. 7:30 p.m., 212 S. Fourth Ave. $15 reserved seating in advance at etix.com before 6 p.m. the night of the show, $17 general admission at the door. 996–9080.

29 Saturday: Catch the livestream tribute to beloved folk icon Nanci Griffith, featuring many musicians with Michigan roots offering covers of her classic songs. This production of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival and the Ark features Annie and Rod Capps, Chris Buhalis, Dave Boutette & Kristi Lynn Davis, Dick Siegel & Dave Keeney, Jen Sygit, London Beck, The Lucky Nows, Matt Watroba, May Erlewine, Nadim Azzam, The RFD Boys, Rochelle Clark, and The Accidentals with special guests Kim Richey, Maia Sharp, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and The Burney Sisters. 8 p.m., available for unlimited repeat viewing through Sun. Feb. 6. $10 streaming pass available here.

See the Observer’s online calendar for many more local events. 

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