March 10, 2022

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

I took a long walk through town yesterday, and maybe I’m deluding myself but, chilly as it was, it seems as if the first harbingers of Spring might be starting to make an appearance. With any luck real springtime weather will make an appearance before too long.

This week the Observer lauched its new website. Check it out here to find all the content you love.

This week U-M announced changes to its mask policy, Jon Vaughn’s campsite was removed, and Michigan was knocked out of the Big Ten basketball tournament. Saline's city council appointed a new police chief, while in Ypsi a teenager was killed, a body was found in a park, and Haab’s Restaurant closed after eighty-seven years.

Dayton Hare, editor

Snowdrops poking up at the Museum on Main St., a harbinger of the coming Spring.

The News...Briefly

Washtenaw County reported forty-eight cases of Covid-19, three hospitalizations, and two deaths in the 24 hours ending yesterday at 10 a.m., up slightly from last week. The weekly test positivity rate slid again to 3.3 percent, slightly below the statewide rate of 3.7 percent.

Masks will be optional in most U-M indoor spaces starting Monday, the university announced, citing high vaccination rates and falling infections. This includes residence halls, offices, and athletic events, but excludes classrooms, buses, or patient care areas. The move follows the expiration of the county’s school mask mandate last week, which is nevertheless targeted in a new lawsuit from a parents’ group.

U-M removed Jon Vaughn’s campsite Monday, the Michigan Daily reports. The former football player and Anderson sexual abuse survivor had been living in front of the president’s house for more than 150 days in protest against U-M’s sexual misconduct policies. Vaughn was camped on city property, and had agreed to leave this Sunday. The university’s action preempted that timeline.

The Michigan men's basketball team narrowly vanquished Ohio State in an upset win last weekend. The game marked the last of the regular season and the end of coach Juwan Howard’s suspension. In the first game of the Big Ten tournament this morning, the Detroit Free Press reports, the Wolverines took an early lead but collapsed in the second half, losing to Indiana 69-74.

The Michigan women’s basketball team is also out of the running after losing their first-round game to Nebraska on Friday, 73-76. The women finished the regular season 22-5 and 13-4 in the Big Ten, just one game shy of what would have been their first Big Ten title, and MLive reports that coach Kim Barnes has been named the Big Ten’s coach of the year for the second time in six years.

Chief Mike Kennedy (center, with firefighters Andrew Gignac and Danielle Lalonde) would rotate crews between EMS vehicle Rescue 1-1 and an HVA ambulance. Photo: Mark Bialek

The Ann Arbor Fire Department wants to field a “safety net” ambulance, James Leonard reports in the Observer. The proposal comes in response to a staffing crisis at Huron Valley Ambulance that has resulted in delays, causing firefighters to wait at the scene for an ambulance to arrive.

Saline appointed Marlene Radzik as its new police chief, the Saline Post reports. Radzik has been the city’s deputy chief since 2020 and spent nearly thirty years in the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office; she and her husband, also a retired WCSO officer, raised their six daughters in Saline.

A teenager was shot to death in Ypsi Friday night, MLive reports. Eighteen-year-old LaRonte Benion Phillips loved playing basketball and football, as well as rapping and recording music. Police arrested two teenage suspects on Saturday and Monday.

The body of a middle-aged man was discovered in EMU’s Pearse Park early Monday morning, MLive reports. The cause of death has not been determined, but campus police say there is no ongoing safety concern for the community. Anyone with information should contact the EMU Police Department at 734-487-1222.

A mid-century modern Ann Arbor house owned by Thrive Juicery’s founders has sold for $3.6 million, the Wall Street Journal reports (subscriber exclusive). The 1950 house was built by Henry de Koning, and the real estate deal is one of the city’s priciest, though the record is still held by a 2019 deal with a price tag of $3.75.

Ann Arbor is the 3rd best city in the country at the rave online word game Wordle, ClickOnDetroit reports. On average, U.S. users take 3.92 guesses to find the word, whereas Ann Arborites take 3.59. The city was bested only by Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Reading, Pennsylvania.

The Wordle-themed fake ad from the Observer's March Issue. Ann Arborites are the third-best in the country at the popular internet word game.

Marketplace Changes

Dixboro House recently opened for business on Plymouth Road, Micki Maynard reports in the Observer. The high-end restaurant from Sava Farah’s Pulpo Group features a prepaid tasting menu clocking in at $185 per person that will change every three to four weeks depending on the season and chef Louis Maldonado’s culinary vision.

Haab’s Restaurant closed last week after eighty-seven years at the corner of Huron and Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti. According to the Detroit News, owner Mike Kabat cited a “staffing shortage, a decrease in business and his own age. He's been at Haab's for 47 years and his son Dave, the general manager, has worked there for 35.”

Luca Pastry holds its grand opening Saturday with a giveaway. The first 100 customers will receive a box of macarons. The new store on Washtenaw joins Luca’s shops in Canton, Plymouth and Livonia, and will feature the company’s signature cannoli as well as cakes and tarts. The Observer’s Micki Maynard will have more details in the April issue.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen marks its fortieth anniversary March 15. To celebrate, check out this excerpt from Micki Maynard’s new book chronicling the company’s history, in which she describes the hard times that hit with the pandemic two anniversaries ago.

Louis Maldonado and Sava Farah at the new Dixboro House space. Photo: J. Adrian Wylie


Lori’s Hands has recently expanded to Washtenaw County. The nonprofit trains college students to assist ill and elderly community members with non-medical household tasks such as grocery shopping and meal prep, on top of combating the effects of social isolation.

The Ann Arbor Thrift Shop is requesting proposals from nonprofit social service agencies for grants to support emergency housing/utilities or health related emergencies. Applications are due by March 30.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

11 Friday: Get expert insights on the current crisis in Ukraine by attending a virtual Teach-In on Ukraine put together by the U-M Weiser Center for Europe & Eurasia. Brief talks (via Zoom) by U-M faculty and other experts about the war in Ukraine, with time for Q&A following each presentation. Speakers include the former U.S. Ambassador to Poland and former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Daniel Fried and Jessica Zychowicz, director of the Fulbright Program in Ukraine. 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. Preregistration required.

12 Saturday: Get seduced by maple sugar at Waterloo Natural History Association’s Old-Time Maple Sugar Festival, which includes a guided walk to see various methods of collecting sap, demos of boiling sap down to make syrup, a display of antique syrup-making equipment, and children’s activities. Maple products available for purchase. Mask suggested for the indoor section. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Eddy Discovery Center, 17030 Bush Rd., Chelsea. Free, but an annual Michigan vehicle recreation passport is required ($12 or $17 at the gate). 475–3170.

13 Sunday: Hear 20th-century musical classics at Ann Arbor Concert Band’s “Celebrating the Classics” concert. Roy Johnson, a finalist for the position of the band’s new conductor, conducts this local volunteer ensemble in a program that includes Mykola Lysenko’s Prayer for Ukraine, the Suite from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, Arthur Sullivan’s Pineapple Poll, a patchwork of tunes from the Savoy Operas that, according to arranger Charles Mackerras, “pass by so quickly as to bewilder even Sullivan experts,” and more. 2 p.m., Michigan Theater. Tickets $10 (kids age 14 & under, free) in advance and at the door. Mask & proof of vaccination (or negative Covid test within past 72 hours) required for patrons over the age of 12. Attendees under 12 have a temperature check at the door. 478–7515.

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

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