August 11, 2022

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

My summer travels draw to a close this weekend as I return to Ann Arbor, but today I’m sitting about thirty yards from the Arctic Ocean in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, a town of 5,000 that is the northernmost permanent settlement in the United States. Since I returned from France a week and a half ago, I’ve been seeing the sights of Alaska, where I’m visiting my girlfriend’s family. Beautiful though it is, by now I’m eager to come home.

Back in Washtenaw, Ann Arbor sold a property to Avalon Housing, and city council voted to investigate the possibility of taking legal action against the company responsible for the hexavalent chromium spill in the Huron. Two houses were demolished to make way for a three-story student housing development on S. Main, the former Relax Station was torn down, and demolition is imminent for the Fleming Administration Building. U-M declined to renew hockey coach Mel Pearson’s contract, and information resources staff unionized with the new U-M staff union.

Dayton Hare, editor

Sacrilege or long overdue? Opinions on tearing down the Fleming Building vary. Photo: Mark Bialek.

The News...Briefly

Washtenaw continues to sit at a “high” CDC community risk level for the second week in a row. The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,469 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, holding nearly steady with the previous two reports, and the test positivity rate dropped about two points from last week to 13.6 percent.

The Washtenaw County Health Department is providing monkeypox vaccines for eligible residents. Vaccines are limited, so the department will only distribute vaccines to people who have been directly exposed or to men, trans, or non-binary people who have recently had intimate or sexual contact with a man in an area of known monkeypox transmission. Monkeypox has disproportionately affected gay men due to what the New York Times has termed an “epidemiological accident,” but anyone is capable of carrying the disease.

City Council voted for the Ann Arbor city attorney’s office to begin investigating any possible legal action against Tribar Technologies, MLive reports. Tribar has discharged toxic chemicals including PFAS and, most recently, the carcinogenic hexavalent chromium into the Huron River. While the city does not have the authority to shut down Tribar, Mayor Christopher Taylor said, “we do have the ability to bring aggressive and appropriate action in court.” Check the city’s website for updates.

Last week Main Street Park Alliance bought a blighted Federal Screw Works property in Chelsea in the hopes of transforming it into a community park, pending the outcome of environmental testing. Check MSPA’s website for updates or to donate in support of the project.

Developers pitched a large housing project north of Ypsi to Superior Township officials late last month, MLive reports. While still “extremely preliminary,” if the current plan came to fruition it would result in 277 new units just north of Clark Rd.

Independence Lake Beach is once again closed for swimming due to E. Coli bacteria, the county health department announced. The dangerous bacteria were detected during routine testing, and while swimming is prohibited, other forms of recreation that don’t involve bodily contact with the water, such as fishing, are allowed. Check the county website for updates.

Washtenaw County is exploring the possibility of eliminating court fines and fees, MLive reports. Washtenaw is one of six local governments across the country that have joined an initiative to eliminate fees that might have compounding consequences for those who cannot afford to pay them.

City council greenlit a $286k contract to prepare construction plans for a bridge at Gallup Park, MLive reports. The proposed bridge would replace the 1976 wooden vehicle and pedestrian bridge, and council recently allocated $2.3 million in federal stimulus funds to the project.

Ann Arbor sold a Maple Rd. property to Avalon Housing, clearing the way for more affordable housing, MLive reports. The property abuts Avalon’s new Hickory Way apartment complex and contains a single-family home. A city memo states that the sale will enable Avalon to develop “at least 14 units of affordable housing on the site.”

The former Relax Station on the corner of First and Huron was torn down yesterday to make way for a five-story Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, MLive reports. The outlet also reports (subscriber exclusive) that on S. Main two rental houses were demolished for a three-story, six-unit student housing development.

After more than fifty years as the administrative center of U-M, the Fleming building is being torn down this month. Grace Shackman recounts the divisive history and legacy of Alden B. Dow’s imposing building in the August Observer.

After declining to renew Mel Pearson’s contract amidst misconduct allegations, Michigan hockey named Brandon Naurato as interim head coach, the Michigan Daily reports. A U-M alumnus, Naurato was the team’s assistant coach last year, and has 5 seasons of experience as a development coach and worked part of 3 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings.

Information resources staff unionized under University Staff United, the Michigan Daily reports. Information resources is the first “job family” to become a part of USU, which hopes to include all U-M staff.

Earhart Rd. will be closed to traffic Aug. 9–20 between Geddes Rd. and Glazier Way. Traffic will be detoured to Huron Pkwy. while utilities are installed for a new subdivision.

For the first time ever, the Michigan Tigers U15 Boys Gold soccer team won the US Youth Soccer National Championship, reader Nishan points out in an email. It’s “a major accomplishment,” Nishan writes, and the team pulled it off by winning five games in six days in Orlando late last month.

Amanda Carlisle emailed to point out that we reported the wrong margin for the Dexter schools’ recreation millage. It was defeated by a vote of 58-42 percent, not 79-21. That was the margin by which voters approved the sale of two city-owned lots to the Downtown Development Authority.

Downtown manager Lin Zhu, Tony Wu, and consultant Sam Lindenberg (not shown) are continuing what Evergreen owner Greg Guo has been doing for three decades: updating, refining, and revising the menu to match ever- changing definitions of “authentic Chinese food.” Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Marketplace Changes

Evergreen Chinese has opened a second location on W. Liberty. In the August Observer, Sally Mitani reports on the restaurant’s thirty-year history in Ann Arbor, differences between the menus of the original and Evergreen Downtown, and more.

Café Liv opened in Ypsi last July, MLive reports. Named for owner William Sloan‘s daughter Olivia, the cafe is located in a repurposed auto repair shop at the corner of Washtenaw and Washington.

The Jimmy John’s on S. State has closed permanently, a sign posted in the door announced. The sign thanked the sandwich shop’s patrons for years of support and apologized for any inconvenience.

U-M School of Music, Theatre, & Dance is holding a piano sale Aug. 14, ClickOnDetroit reports. The school is selling various models to fund the purchase of new pianos. A private appointment sale will be held from Aug. 11-13.


Friends of a bicyclist killed during a charity ride are asking for donations to the college fund of the man’s two children, MLive reports. A drunk driver killed Ann Arbor resident Edward Erickson during a Make-a-Wish fundraiser. Erickson’s friends set up the GoFundMe page to collect donations for his family.

The former Relax Station on the corner of First and Huron was torn down yesterday to clear space for a new Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott. Photo: Eve Silberman.

Ask a2view

Q. Reader Cathy Baker writes: the “temporary light and the closing of the right lane [at Scio Church Rd.] going north on S. Main has existed for more than 2 months with no activity. Any idea why it is there and why the delay in doing anything?”

A. In a note posted on Nextdoor, councilmember Jen Eye explains that the traffic signal was “damaged by a driver in May,” and though “all materials were ordered in late May,” it’s not expected to be repaired until the end of this month or beginning of next “due to supply chain issues.”

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

12 Friday: Hear an ensemble led by celebrated and delightful Detroit stride pianist & singer Alvin Waddles at the John E. Lawrence Summer Jazz Concert Series. Formerly the Ypsilanti Frog Island Jazz Concert series, now in a larger venue at Ford Lake Park, with outdoor performances by national and area jazz standouts. Veteran local jazz guitarist Lawrence opens each night by playing a piece with the featured artist. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. 7 p.m., Ford Lake Park, 9075 S. Huron River Dr., Ypsilanti. Free. 635–5446,

13 Saturday: Learn all about light, the electromagnetic spectrum, telescopes and how colorful images of the galaxy and the universe are created at “Coloring Our Universe,” a WCC Super STEAM Saturday “virtually hands-on” program (via Zoom) led by WCC astronomy professor Tiffany Fields. Geared towards middle school students, but all are welcome. 1–2 p.m. Free. Preregistration required at

14 Sunday: Whoop it up at Cafe Racer’s 12th Annual Ton-Up Motorcycle & Music Festival, a display of motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters, with awards in a variety of different categories. With vendors, food concessions, & raffles. Live music by local bands, including the local psychedelic-blues garage band Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, the surf rock band The Brainwaves, and the popular Ypsilanti sextet Black Jake & the Carnies, that calls its energetic, foot-stomping blend of punk, old-time music, and bluegrass “crabgrass.” Anyone under 21 must be accompanied by an adult. Noon—7 p.m., Corner Brewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti. $10 for bike show entries; free admission., 879-1201.

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

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