August 05, 2021

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

This week

As Covid numbers tick upwards, we are looking at the possible return of mask mandates, event cancelations, and a rollback of hard won freedoms. Vaccine hesitancy defies politics, age, gender, race, education, and economic status. My best friend, who lives out of state, is more afraid of possible side effects of the vaccine than of Covid. She has had two terrible cases of the virus so far, but her mind is made up. I, for once, am speechless. 

Trilby MacDonald, editor 

“If you end up watching any of the women’s wrestling competition at the Olympics this week, you should know that the entire sport owes its existence to this little girl, 9-year-old Tricia McNaughton of Ann Arbor,” writes Buddy Moorehouse in a post to the Ann Arbor Townies Facebook page on August 1. Read Moorehouse’s full post here

The News...Briefly

Covid-19 cases are still low but increasing quickly, with thirty-two new confirmed cases, three hospitalizations, and one death as of Tuesday morning. Most concerning is the rapid climb of the weekly positivity rate, which jumped to 2.6 percent last week.

U-M is requiring all students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before the start of the fall term, president Mark Schlissel announced Friday. The requirement applies to Michigan Medicine and all three U-M campuses. The decision comes in response to a rise in cases across the country caused by the more contagious Delta variant. Michigan Daily 

LynxDx started off with only four employees in February 2020, with the goal of developing a better test for prostate cancer. A pandemic pivot to Covid-19 testing drove the U-M spin-out company to more than 140 people. Now, with vaccination rates rising, LynxDx is back at work on a more accurate test that could spare patients painful and unnecessary biopsies. The Observer’s Ken Garber has our story. 

AAPS responds to fierce backlash and a lawsuit from parents with an announcement that  “COVID-safe, smaller cohort” before- and after-school care will be available five days a week at eight schools, and after school enrichment classes will be held at all elementary and K8 buildings. County commissioners discussed offering the AAPS some of the $71 million in American Recovery Act funds to attract more applicants with higher wages, and expand the extended-care program to all schools. AAPS is currently hiring for these programs. 

First and Ashley will switch to two-way traffic next week. The adjacent streets—Ashley was originally Second St.—were converted to one-way in preparation for a proposed downtown bypass project in the late 1960s. Amid neighborhood opposition, voters turned down a levy for the project, but the paired south- and north-bound streets have sped traffic past congested Main St. ever since. The project also includes a protected bikeway on First from Kingsley to William, and via the William bikeway to the U-M Diag. 

Advisory bike lanes are coming to S. First and W. William. Already in use on Granger, a single center lane for cars is flanked by bike lanes on either side. When drivers traveling in opposite directions meet, they’re supposed to move into the bike lanes to pass each other—after yielding to any bikes that are there. Joe Bollinger, co-owner of bike shop Sic Transit, is dubious. “The protective bike lanes on William and First are great,” he says, but “anything short of that is a waste of energy and potential. I don’t think it’s possible to put a protective bike lane everywhere but if you build enough arteries you can get to 90% of where you want to go.” 

Grace Bible Church’s 34,000-square-foot expansion proposal will have a public hearing at planning commission this month. The church on S. Maple wants to add a 30,870-square-foot building with a gymnasium, youth classrooms, a common area, and a parking lot. The church will open the spaces up for community events such as blood drives, sporting programs, and recovery groups. MLive

The City of Ann Arbor introduces new Equitable Engagement Steering Committee. The thirty members are charged with “working to unite community members and representatives of local organizations who are committed to advancing equity.” After an orientation in August, the committee will invite community input. For a complete list of the members, click here. 

The Taste of Ann Arbor food and music festival will return September 19 on Main and Liberty streets downtown, closing Main Street from Washington to William streets, and Liberty Street from Ashley Street to Fourth Avenue. The event could be canceled if Covid-19 cases spike sharply. MLive

Sonic Lunch returned today with free concerts every Thursday through September 2, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Liberty and Division.

Can you guess which popular county park is home to this Buddha? Email with your answer. All right answers will be entered into a drawing for a $10 Zingerman's gift card. 

Marketplace Changes

Antonio’s Coney Island reopens after burglary. The mom-and-pop with a delicious Central American twist on Washtenaw Ave. in Ypsilanti Township was burglarized and vandalized the weekend of July 17. The pop-up community launched a GoFundMe campaign that’s seeking to raise $10,000 to help owners Irene Serrano and Miguel Martinez rebuild. 

Underground Sounds makes another move. The vinyl record store, which moved from its longtime Liberty St. location to the former Peaceable Kingdom on Main St. in the fall, recently moved again to Washington St. The space on Main was “too roomy,” says owner Matt Bradish, who now gets half of his business from online sales. The pandemic created a new wave of vinyl fans, and business is good. "You have to be home to enjoy it," he says. The Observer’s Micheline Maynard has our story. 

Iorio Gelato joins the Original Cottage Inn. Siblings Nick and Mary Lemmer have moved their ice cream shop into pizza and Italian food restaurant, and will expand their offerings to include Italian pastries. Their new partner’s liquor license opens up the possibility of boozy gelato and milkshakes. The Observer’s Micheline Maynard has our story.  

Perfumes and Gifts by Shalimar closes after eight months. It was the fourth business to occupy the location at 305 S. Main in as many years. 

Things to Do

By Ella Bourland

5 Thursday: Take a hike led by Washtenaw Audubon Society members to learn the basics of identifying birds based on habitat, markings, and sounds. Some binoculars provided, but bring your own if you have them. 6 p.m., meet at Argo Park Livery, 1055 Longshore (preregistration required). Free. 

6 Friday: Visit the 24th Annual Milan Bluegrass Festival (August 5–7), featuring leading regional and national performers. Today's headliner is Nashville-based guitarist-singer Jimmy Fortune (8 p.m.), a former member of the popular Statler Brothers country-pop ensemble. Also today, the young traditional bluegrass quintet Tennessee Bluegrass Band, ICM 2018 bluegrass album of the year winner Dave Adkin, Florida traditional bluegrass singer-songwriter Amanda Cook, and the Malpass Brothers, a North Carolina-based classic country-inspired duo discovered by Merle Haggard. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. or so, KC Campground, 14048 Sherman Rd., Milan. Day passes $40 in advance, $45 at the gate ($35 after 5 p.m. on Thurs. & Sat.; on Fri., $45). Three-day pass, $85 in advance; at the gate, $100., 439–1076.

7 Saturday: Participate in the Jim Toy Community Center’s Ann Arbor Pride, an annual LGBTQ community celebration online for the second year in a row, with livestreamed music, drag and burlesque performances, & more. Headliner is VINCINT (8 p.m.), a queer L.A.-based pop singer-songwriter known for his dynamic and charismatic performances that range in style from gospel-backed belting to the soft croon of a whispery falsetto. 10 a.m.–9 p.m. or so, online at Free. 

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

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