March 3, 2022

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

I hope you all managed to grab a tasty pączki before they disappeared this week. Discovering the existence of Pączki Day when I first moved to Ann Arbor definitely brightened the end of my first long midwestern winter.

But winter’s end, with all its fits and starts of thawing and freezing, is also a harbinger of pothole season, as Bridge bemoans. This year is particularly bad, with Michigan ranking among the worst for it in the country. Stay safe out there.

This week debates continued to rage around school mask mandates, locals stood in solidarity with Ukraine, Rackham ditched the GRE, and officials warned about a suspicious mailer. Zingerman’s and Habitat for Humanity partnered to build housing, Food Gatherers and the Rotary club teamed up to fight hunger, and Ypsilanti’s cooperative orchard got new leadership.

Dayton Hare, editor

AAFD trucks outside of the Fleming Administration Building, which is slated for demolition this year. "They're taking it down," a firefighter said as he prepared to enter the building with an oxygen bottle on his back. "We're just training while we can."

The News...Briefly

Washtenaw County reported thirty-seven cases of Covid-19, two hospitalizations, and three deaths in the 24 hours ending yesterday at 10 a.m. Deaths remain high, with the toll since the pandemic began approaching 500—but new cases are just one-tenth of what we noted a month ago. The weekly test positivity rate slid again to 3.7 percent, below the statewide rate of 6 percent.

Last week’s updated CDC guidelines classify the county’s Covid level as “medium,” meaning thatmasking in indoor public settings is no longer broadly recommended,” according to the Washtenaw County Health Department’s Covid update page. WCHD spokeswoman Susan Ringler-Cerniglia cautions that this doesn’t mean “an end to the pandemic or to related recommendations. Should we see another significant variant or additional spring wave, the shift to ‘high’ would signal a return to indoor masking … [and] there is a clear recommendation to take precautions that increase protection for more vulnerable populations and high-risk individuals.

At yesterday’s school board meeting—a continuation of one suspended last week after some attendees refused to wear masks—superintendent Jeanice Swift announced that the Ann Arbor Public Schools will “continue with universal masking” as part of a “balanced and cautious approach” to maintain its commitment to in-person classes. The district is looking for a “sustained and continued decline” in case levels, Swift said, before reassessing the mandate.

Community members turned out in solidarity with Ukraine this week, the Michigan Daily reports. The anti-war vigil on the Diag was attended by more than 100 people, with speeches by mayor Christopher Taylor, congresswoman Debbie Dingell, and others. The Washington Post has compiled a list of organizations that are helping people harmed by the war.

Rackham Graduate School will discontinue GRE testing requirements for all Ph.D. programs, the Michigan Daily reports. The decision was made in hopes of making the admissions process more holistic, and is part of a broader trend in recent years that has seen other universities move away from standardized tests.

“Un-zoning” is on the table for properties around Briarwood Mall, Paula Gardner writes in Bridge magazine. The mall’s owner has floated a plan for replacing the vacant Sears store, and the proposed rezoning would encourage the type of dense, mixed use development typical of a downtown in nearby commercial areas.

Mayor Taylor is a “pal” of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, he revealed on Facebook. The two clerked together for federal appellate Judge Bruce Selya in the ‘90s, and Taylor writes that “America will be in good and just hands” if Jackson is confirmed.

County officials are warning about misleading postcards sent to some residents. The mailer claims to be a “Home Warranty Replacement” notice related to “county deed records” but is in fact a marketing ploy by an out-of-state company, and should be considered a potential scam.

Police chiefs in both Saline and Chelsea have departed recently, MLive reports. Chief Jerrod Hart of Saline is leaving tomorrow after four years of service to take an unspecified “new opportunity.” Chelsea Chief Edward Toth is retiring after heading the department since 2006. He will leave his position in August, giving officials six months to find a replacement.

An Ann Arbor man was arrested for allegedly soliciting nude photos of a minor online, MLive reports. Charges include one felony count each of accosting a child for immoral purposes, child sexually abusive activity, and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime. Authorities recommend parents talk to their children about safe internet usage and report tips on child sexual expoloitation at

The Cooperative Orchard of Ypsilanti (COrY) is changing leadership to better reflect the community, Concentrate reports. The new president and VP, Noah Rucker and Gary Bey, are the founders of the gardening organization Kingdom Builders. The orchard, which got its start in 2011, has three lines of fruit trees and runs a number of community programs.

A bit of roadside Americana on Carpenter will be the bucolic setting of a new 121-unit apartment building, Tim Athan reports in the March Observer. The developer submitted several plans to Pittsfield Township, but the one ultimately accepted preserves most of the trees and wetlands that surrounded four miniature log cabins inspired by tourist cabins Up North.

Many Christopher Taylor and classmate Ketanji Brown Jackson in 2017. On Facebook, Taylor praised Jackson’s nomination to the US Supreme Court. Photo courtesy Christopher Taylor

Marketplace Changes

Wokmandu, a new Nepalese/North Indian restaurant, opened in Ypsi last month. Owner Usha Bhandari ran the Everest Momo food cart at Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor before the venue closed; the restaurant’s menu features momos, noodles, curries, and more.

The Broken Egg has closed permanently, Micki Maynard reports in the Observer. The breakfast restaurant shut its doors at the start of the pandemic, and owner Gina Pantely announced in January that it would not reopen. After recovering from quadruple bypass surgery, Pantely says she’s considering opening a new place, and some of the Egg’s recipes can still be found at her nephew Nick Panos’ Nick's Original House of Pancakes.

Launch Trampoline Park has bounced into town, MLive reports. On top of trampolines, the business features dodgeball and will eventually have a ninja course, battle pit, arcade, and restaurant. They’re hosting a grand opening celebration this Saturday.

A pair of delicious pączkis about to be consumed. Photo: Madeline Endres.


Food Gatherers and the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor are partnering to fight hunger. From March 7 to 18 people can donate funds or non-perishable food to help the organizations meet their goal of providing 150,000 meals for children and families in Washtenaw County during the summer.

This month Zingerman’s turns forty, and to celebrate they’re teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to build better neighborhoods and communities. The company will match donations up to a cumulative $40,000 this month. Their goal is to raise $80,000, which will either be used to rehabilitate two homes or build one new one.

Things to Do

by Jennifer Taylor

4 Friday: Come out and groove to Harper & the Midwest Kind, a blues-rock band led by Peter Harper, a blues singer-songwriter from Australia, now transplanted to Grass Lake, who plays blues harp and didgeridoo. The band has an acclaimed CD, Down to the Rhythm, on the Blind Pig label. The show is part of the Green Wood Coffee House Series at the First United Methodist Church. 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.), FUMC Green Wood Church, 1001 Green Rd. at Glazier Way. $15 in advance online, by phone, or at the door. Mask and proof of vaccination required. 665–8558.

5 Saturday: Starting to work off some winter pounds? Join a timed 5-km run/walk at 9 a.m., Lillie Park South, 4365 Platt Rd. Free, but first-timers are requested to preregister.

6 Sunday: Meet cool people, get your hands dirty, and make something beautiful. Join a FestiFools community luminary and puppet workshop to get ready for FestiFools, Ann Arbor’s popular public art parade down State Street—this year on Apr. 3. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. AADL Warehouse, 265 Parkland Plaza. Free. Mask required.

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