April 28, 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 enjoy our nearly eighty-degree day this week. It felt as if we’d leapfrogged right over spring and straight into summer. For my part, this week I managed to catch some wonderful concerts, including the MoodSwing Reunion show at Hill and a Big Thief concert in Royal Oak.

At city hall, administrator Milton Dohoney presented a $525 million budget, and city council extended hours for the downtown social district and allocated another $15 million for street repairs. The Wednesday Farmers Market and summer street closures for restaurants are both starting up next week, and Ypsilanti bestowed the honorary title “Black Lives Matter Boulevard” on a downtown street. On campus, U-M’s women’s golf came home Big Ten champions and football player Aidan Hutchinson is expected to be a top pick in the NFL Draft.

Dayton Hare, editor

Downtown street closures return for the summer next Thursday. 
Photo: Main Street Ann Arbor.

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,763 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday. The weekly case rate per 100,000 residents rose to 335, and the test positivity rate to 9.3 percent. Worst hit again are elementary aged children, at 751 per 100k, up from 480 last week. The county remains at the “medium” CDC risk level.

U-M is making masks optional in classrooms and on its buses starting Monday, the Michigan Daily reports. Masking in class will still be required in the Law School and Medical School until the end of term, as well as at Michigan Medicine, but the move brings most instructional spaces in line with the university’s decision last month to lift the mandate in most spaces, despite rising case numbers across the county.

TheRide is asking voters for one of the largest property tax hikes in recent years, MLive reports. On the ballot this August is a proposal to increase the 0.7-mill tax last approved in 2014 by 1.68-mill for five years starting in 2024. The tax would raise an estimated $22 million in the first year to maintain and expand local transit services, but faces opposition from officials in Ypsilanti Township, the county’s second-largest community.

The ballot for August’s partisan primaries is official, MLive reports. Eleven candidates are competing for city council seats, all as Democrats but largely split between factions supporting and opposing mayor Christopher Taylor, who is facing off against former council member Anne Bannister in his own re-election bid. A dozen Democrats and half a dozen Republicans are competing for their parties’ nomination to the county’s redrawn Michigan House and Senate seats, and two Republicans want to challenge incumbent US rep. Debbie Dingell in the new 6th Congressional district.

The city’s proposed $525 million budget includes a number of new initiatives, MLive reports, including more money for road maintenance, equity and sustainability measures, a re-examination of city zoning, a potential Sustainable Energy Utility, affordable housing, and more.

Ann Arbor landlords are finding workarounds for the city’s new early leasing ordinance, the Michigan Daily reports, including charging prospective tenants a $2,000 “holding fee” and warning tenants that if they don’t “reserve” their unit months in advance, it may be rented to someone else.

A Medication Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, ClickOnDetroit reports. Five drive-thru locations will accept pills, capsules, and patches from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Needles, syringes, liquids, or lancets won’t be accepted.

City council extended hours at downtown’s social district, MLive reports. Since December, people have been allowed to walk around designated areas with alcoholic drinks from 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Now it’s legal from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.


The Ann Arbor Farmers Market will be open on Wednesdays starting next week. Photo: Stefanie Stauffer.

The Wednesday Farmers Market on Detroit St. will return next week, ClickOnDetroit reports. The year-round market operates two days a week May through December, but only once a week January through April. The Wednesday hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

City council unanimously allocated $15 million for street repairs, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Last year’s pavement ratings found a fifth of major roads and two fifths of neighborhood streets in poor condition.

Ypsi has given the title “Black Lives Matter Boulevard” to a downtown street, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). E. Washington St. near city hall was decorated with a BLM mural last year, and its new honorary title mirrors similar renamings by institutions around the country in the wake of the civil rights protests ignited by the 2020 murder of George Floyd.

The U-M women’s golf team returned Big Ten champions for the first time ever, the Michigan Daily reports, with sophomore Monet Chun bringing home an individual championship to boot. The women’s team placed second at the Big Ten last year, but this is Michigan golf’s first win since the men won in 1952.

U-M football player Aidan Hutchinson is the best player in the NFL Draft, according to Pro Football Focus. Until recently ranked #1, Hutchinson now sits at the #2 spot, and PFF thinks that if the Jacksonville Jaguars pass on their opportunity, the Detroit Lions should jump at it. According to Observer writer Craig Ross, “while other players may have a higher ceiling it is unanimous that [Hutchinson] has the highest floor and he is the best bet to be a productive NFL player.”

The Standard is one of many landlords finding creative workarounds for the new early leasing ordinance, according a Michigan Daily report. Photo: John Hilton.

Marketplace Changes

Alpha Diner has changed its name back to Alpha Koney Island Ann Arbor, Micki Maynard reports (priority access) for the Observer. Owner Marwan Al-Rabie says customers from his long-time location in Oak Valley Center were having trouble finding him in his new spot on Jackson Rd. He also brought back some old favorites to the menu, including his rendition of Hippie Hash.

Third Mind Books is slated to open for business June 4, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Occupying half of the longtime Arbor Brewing space on E. Washington, it will emphasize collectibles by authors of the Beat Generation, a mid 20th-century literary movement famous for classics such as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

29 Friday: Play cards for a good cause at the “Euchre Change a Life!” euchre tournament. Proceeds benefit Haitian children. Bring a partner or get paired up. 6:30-9 p.m. (check-in closes at 6:15 p.m.), 2|42 Community Center, 648 S. Wagner. $20 at the door.

30 Saturday: Hear U-M grad Aaron Tan, winner of the 2021 Canadian International Organ competition, perform on the First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor’s 41-stop Karl Wilhelm Organ. The program includes contemporary African American composer-organist David Hurd’s Partita on “Detroit,” as well as Baroque music by Bach, Bruhns, Alain, and Muffat. 7 p.m., First Congregational Church, 608 E. William. By donation. 358–4189.

1 Sunday: Celebrate May Day, a traditional start of summer, as well as international worker’s day, with the singing and boisterous traditional English dances of Ann Arbor Morris. You have to get up early to do it. 6:15-7 a.m., U-M Nichols Arboretum (lookout above the main valley near Geddes Rd. gate). Free. a2morris@umich.edu. 717-1569. 

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

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