April 14, 2022

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

Well, the weather may have been a little dismal yesterday, but on the upside, my cat, Cleo, has been enjoying the sharp uptick in bird and squirrel levels outside my window, and the Monarch butterflies are on their way back.

Ann Arbor’s recent administrative turmoil continues to play out, with former administrator Tom Crawford sending the city a cease and desist letter. City council voted on a $15 million wastewater plant project, and brick sidewalks downtown are being replaced with concrete. A hearing was set for a former sheriff’s deputy accused of sexual misconduct, and Jon Vaughn revived his protest against sexual misconduct policies at U-M. The university announced every bathroom on campus will be stocked with menstrual products, the hockey team lost their Frozen Four showdown, and the spirit team took home two titles.

Dayton Hare, editor

Cleo is pretty sure she's spotted a bird out there. Photo: Dayton Hare

The News...Briefly

Starting this week, we’re taking a longer view of Covid case numbers. Instead of the most recent 24-hour period, we’ll be sharing the Washtenaw County Health Department’s latest “two-week snapshot,” which evens out day-to-day volatility.

This week’s snapshot ending 4/13 indicates 269.3 cases per 100k and a “Medium” CDC Community level, an increase of cases but not level from last week’s 213 per 100k. MI Safe Start gives this week’s test positivity rate as 7.5 percent.

Ex-city administrator Tom Crawford accused the city of “unjustified defamation” in a cease and desist letter, MLive reports. Crawford resigned under pressure last July after an investigator found that he made insensitive remarks around race and sexual orientation in the workplace. Crawford’s attorney argues that by releasing a follow-up report in January, “the city allowed the investigator to play not only the role of investigator, but prosecutor, judge and even jury,”  damaging Crawford’s ability to find a new job in the public sector.

A former Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputy accused of sexual misconduct will have a hearing April 25, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The man faces two felony counts for allegedly asking a female inmate to show her breasts in exchange for pizza. The woman is now suing the deputy and the county for violating her civil rights. He is one of several police officers statewide charged by Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel’s Public Integrity Unit; last week,  a different Washtenaw deputy pleaded guilty to the “disorderly person-jostling” for using an unauthorized neck hold while removing an inmate from a cell in 2020. 

City council approved contracts for a $15 million wastewater plant project, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The plant is designed to process 30 million gallons of sewage a day, and one key component of the plant’s equipment – the headworks system, which screens out debris and grit during the first stage of treatment – is so old that repair parts are no longer available.

City council last week endorsed “No Mow May,” a new pollinator-saving initiative, MLive reports. Residents are encouraged to refrain from lawn mowing through May, as dandelions and other wildflowers are a crucial early food source for bees coming out of winter, and bees, in turn, are essential to the proper functioning of the global ecosystem.

A team of Ypsi high schoolers is in the top ten in the NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge, Concentrate reports. Making it this far already qualifies them for $12,000 scholarships, but if they win they would each receive a full-ride to Sullivan University in Kentucky. Yesterday they presented a menu featuring jerk chicken tamales, roasted veggies, and a dessert to astronauts; the winning menu will be prepared and delivered to the International Space Station.

Ypsilanti residents are invited to get involved with planning the city’s bicentennial celebrations next year, Concentrate reports. The city hopes to have a seven- to fifteen-member  commission in place by mid April, but there will be many other ways to be involved.

Michigan Medicine has become reliant on the 340B drug discounting program over the last decade, Ken Garber writes (priority access until April 28) for the Observer. Without its savings the system would have run a deficit last year, and now, with those discounts imperiled, the health system plans a $52 million facility in Dexter to double the number of prescriptions it can fill in-house.

Jon Vaughn has re-established his protest camp outside of the president’s house, the Michigan Daily reports. The former football player and Anderson survivor previously camped outside of the president’s house for more than 150 days to protest U-M’s sexual misconduct policies. His previous camp was removed by the university last month.

All public restrooms on U-M’s main campus will be stocked with free menstrual products, the University Record reports. The university ran a pilot program last month stocking main floor restrooms with the products, and the logistical lessons learned will inform the rollout to the rest of U-M’s facilities.

The U-M spirit team took home two titles last Friday, MGoBlue reports. Competing at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) & United Dance Association (UDA) Collegiate Cheer & Dance Championship, the team placed first in the Coed Division IA and Game Day competitions for the second season in a row.

Last Thursday U-M hockey fell short against Denver in their Frozen Four matchup. Now, the Daily reports, four members of their star-studded team are departing for the NHL after signing contracts over the weekend.

The Newton of Ypsilanti opens for business this week, offering a menu by chef Allison Anastasio. Photo: The Newton of Ypsilanti.

Marketplace Changes

The Newton of Ypsilanti, an inn and restaurant in a historic Victorian house, opens tomorrow. Suites in the inn will be available as a bed and breakfast, while chef/co-owner Allison Anastasio provides meals with an emphasis on handcrafted foods and local produce.

Last week we reported the opening of Fowling Warehouse Ypsi Ann Arbor, the inventors of a football/bowling hybrid game. But, as reader Sharon Banker-Terry points out, we erroneously stated that the business is taking over the former Ypsi-Arbor Lanes space – it’s actually across the street on Washtenaw.

The clothing boutique Laurel & Jack opened on Main St. last month, MLive reports. The store offers collections for men, women, and children, with an emphasis on bright colors and unusual pieces.

Adventures in Homebrewing closed its Ann Arbor store late last month, MLive reports. The homebrewing store is still selling equipment and ingredients to brew beer, wine, liquor and soda online.

The brick sidewalks on the north side of Washington were replaced with concrete this week. Photo: Dayton Hare. 

Letter of Recommendation

Reader and ICU nurse Madeline Dahl emails to thank Pizza House for being “consistent and reliable” throughout the pandemic. “Having a consistent late night food option has helped us night nurses get through” the tough times of Covid-19, she writes.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

14 Thursday: Be wowed by the music and vision of Joyce DiDonato, celebrated lyric-coloratura mezzo-soprano, and the “perfect 21st-century diva—an effortless combination of glamour, charisma, intelligence, grace, and remarkable talent,” according to a New York Times critic. Tonight’s University Musical Society show, Eden, is her most recent experiment, a dramatic staging of music about nature with accompaniment by the renowned historical performance orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro. The program includes works by Charles Ives, Rachel Portman, Handel, Cavalli, Gluck, Mahler, Wagner, Valentini, Marini, and Mysliveček. 7:30 p.m. Hill Auditorium. $15–$72 (students $12–$20). Preregistration required at ums.org or 764–2538. Mask and proof of vaccination required.

15 Friday: See the Purple Rose Theatre Company’s world premiere of “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Ghost Machine,” Livonia playwright David MacGregor’s drama that imagines the Victorian sleuth, aided by Dr. Watson and Irene Adler, solving the disappearance of world-changing inventions by clients Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. 8 p.m., Purple Rose Theatre, 137 Park St., Chelsea. Mask and proof of vaccination required. Tickets $25-51 in advance at PurpleRoseTheatre.org or by phone, and (if available) at the door. Discounts available for students, seniors, teachers, military personnel, and groups. 433–7673.

16 Saturday: Watch more than 200 performers show off a variety of South Asian music and dance styles in Michigan Sahānā’s “That Brown Show: Run It Back.” This annual competition features Indian classical music and dance performances by U-M student & other Hindustani and Carnatic ensembles. 7 p.m. Michigan Theater. Mask and proof of vaccination (or negative Covid test within past 72 hours) required. Tickets $12-20 in advance at mutotix.umich.edu, MichiganSahana.com, or at the door.

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

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