The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,625 new confirmed cases in the two weeks ending yesterday. The weekly case rate per 100,000 residents climbed to 308 and the weekly test positivity rate to 8.8 percent, according to MI Safe Start. With a case rate of 480 per 100,000, elementary students are hardest hit right now. The county is still in the CDC’s “medium” risk level.
In the wake of a federal court decision Monday, TheRide has suspended its mask mandate. Voluntary masking on buses is still encouraged. In Washtenaw County Circuit Court, the Ann Arbor Public Schools has been added to an anti-masking lawsuit, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Initially filed in February against the county health department, the lawsuit asserts that neither the department nor AAPS have the “statutory or legal authority” to require masks. The county’s mandate has expired, but the district’s remains in force.
Former SMTD violin professor Stephen Shipps has been sentenced to five years in prison on a federal conviction for transporting a minor across state lines for sex in 2002, the Michigan Daily reports. The sentencing is the conclusion to a decades-long pattern of sexual abuse first exposed by a Daily investigation in late 2018.
A man pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder this week, MLive reports. Duane Tyreese Hatch, who shot his ex’s new boyfriend seventeen times in her Ypsilanti apartment building last July, will be sentenced on May 10.
Ypsilanti Township is considering the purchase of automated license plate readers, MLive reports. Such systems have been used to aid criminal investigations, and most large cities have them, but critics often raise privacy concerns. Sheriff Jerry Clayton says any decision on implementation would take these into account.
The city wants feedback on the creation of a Sustainable Energy Utility. The potential utility is one avenue by which Ann Arbor hopes to meet its ambitious A2ZERO climate goals of carbon neutrality by 2030, and would create “microgrids” to share electricity from solar panels and eventually, heating and cooling via geothermal wells.
Manchester Township hosts a public hearing tonight on a proposed 160-acre solar array, MLive reports. The developers say the 20-megawatt solar farm would increase the township’s tax revenue by $4.6 million over its thirty-five-year lifespan, but approval is not guaranteed: The article notes that “neighboring Bridgewater Township leaders voting to kill draft rules that would have opened to door to utility-grade installations in the area after a wave of opposition from some residents last year.”
William St. is closed between 5th and Division until May 5 to construct a corner bump-out for the DDA's William Street Bikeway Project. Chapin St. between W. Huron and Miller will also be closed April 25-29 for water-main work.