August 12, 2021

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

This week

Amid a new wave of Covid infections, nature reminds us of her ultimate power with a fantastic storm causing power outages across the county.

A partnership of local conservation organizations lands a massive federal grant to protect farmland, and an impressive restaurant opens in a newly renovated Civil War-era building Ypsilanti. 

Trilby MacDonald, editor 

Josiah reads a comic from Vault of Midnight's Free Comic Day, celebrating its twentieth anniversary this Saturday, August 14, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Limit five comic books per person, while supplies last. Photo by LR Nuñez.  

The News...Briefly

The Delta variant spreads quickly among the unvaccinated, reversing months of progress. On Wednesday morning, the Washtenaw County Health Department reported 41 confirmed cases, 4 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths in the past twenty-four hours. 

With “substantial” community spread, WCHD recommends residents resume wearing masks indoors, and the CDC issues a new eviction moratorium. Beginning Monday, EMU requires masks in on-campus residence halls, U-M requires masks in all campus buildings, and Ann Arbor requires masks in all city buildings. Health department walk-in clinics are seeing a substantial increase in vaccinations.

“Currently, the vaccines are still effective (meaning at preventing most hospitalizations/deaths) against variants,” emails WCHD spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia. But six of the twenty-three county residents hospitalized for Covid in July were fully vaccinated. The total number of cases among fully vaccinated people is still unknown. “We’re seeing around twenty percent now, but it’s not clear if that’s an accurate proportion over time,” says Ringler-Cerniglia. 

At the time a2view went to press there was not yet an estimate of the number of people without power in the county. In Ann Arbor, it’s easier to talk about who has power than who doesn’t. A north-south corridor along Main and State has power, and power is spotty in the cities of Ypsilanti, Saline, and Dexter. DTE’s outage map shows additional outages in vast swaths of the adjoining townships: Ann Arbor, Superior, Ypsilanti, Pittsfield, Lodi, and Scio. 

The city is opening a relief station at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School for those impacted by last night’s storms. The station will be open today until 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Water and light snacks will be provided as well as charging stations for electronic devices.

A bag of marijuana, a wad of cash, and a single bullet ruined the lives of four families in 2017, Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Patrick Conlin said. Nineteen-year-old Xavier Payne was convicted by a jury in June of slaying Brandon Cross in a botched robbery at Glencoe Hills apartment complex when he was sixteen. He later solicited the murder of his codefendant’s parents while he was in the Washtenaw County Jail awaiting trial. He was sentenced to life in prison. MLive

​​Chemical spill cleanup in the Eberwhite Elementary School parking lot and woods is complete. Asphalt sealant washed into the surrounding areas last week during a parking lot project. Officials from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy will inspect the site and work with AAPS to ensure similar incidents don’t occur again. MLive

DTE embarks on a two-year, $20 million power grid update to ready parts of the First and Fifth wards for the shift to renewable energy. Over 200 poles and 30,000 feet of overhead conductors will be rebuilt in Water Hill and Kerrytown, power circuit capacity will be increased, and two power circuits will be added to aid in the shift to all-electric buildings and cars. MLive (subscriber exclusive)

The Wolverines took home eleven medals from the 2021 Olympics: three gold, five silver, and three bronze. Swimmer Maggie MacNeil was the brightest star, leaving Tokyo with a gold, a silver, and a bronze medal. U-M athletes have won a total of 185 Olympic medals between 1900 and 2020.

A $7.4 million federal grant will protect 2,000 acres of farmland in the Huron River and Raisin River watersheds. Nine Southeast Michigan land conservancies led by the Ann Arbor Greenbelt won the funds through the Lake Erie Conservation Partnership. With their matching contributions, they'll spend $12 million over five years to conserve farmland, protect water, and restore wetlands. The Observer’s Trilby MacDonald has our story. 

Taste of Ann Arbor has been canceled. The Main Street Area Association announced Monday that staffing shortages and concerns over the pandemic led to the decision to cancel the event for the second year in a row. 

Ann Arbor SPARK’s annual forum a2Tech360 will offer a mix of in-person and virtual events. The weeklong series of lectures, workshops, and demos attracts a variety of participants, from artists and activists to entrepreneurs, investors, and the curious all wanting a view of the leading edge of tech in our region. The week culminates in Tech Trek, an afternoon street fair where entrepreneurs demonstrate their inventions to the public.

Eastern Michigan University hires a new director of public safety. Deputy chief of police for Washtenaw Community College Matthew Lige was chosen for his “community-oriented approach to policing,” said EMU President James Smith. Lige previously served in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti police departments. MLive (subscriber exclusive)

Ranked-choice voting could return to Ann Arbor. A proposal on the November 2 ballot would allow voters to list candidates for mayor and city council in order of preference. Introduced with mixed results in NYC’s July mayoral primary, RCV reduces the pressure on lesser-known candidates to bow out in favor of ideological allies. The Socialist Human Rights Party persuaded voters to pass a version of it in the 1970s, resulting in the election of the city’s only black mayor, Albert Wheeler, but the experiment ended after one contested election. MLive

Fall and winter ice hockey and skating classes announced at Veterans Park indoor ice rink. Tuition and registration information is available here. Classes begin September 20.

“I go to the woods to find peace and healing among the trees and flowers. Magic to me, is the discovery of human kindness in the smallest of gestures. I was filled with gratitude and joy when I discovered this Buddha tucked inside the trunk of a tree on one of my walks at County Farm Park,” writes Nancy Biehn. One of eleven readers who correctly identified last week’s mystery image, Biehn won our drawing for a $10 Zingerman’s gift card. 

Ask a2view

Caller Connie Hunter Belda inquired about when the Geddes Road Water Main Project would be completed because “nothing has happened for weeks.” According to an August 3 update, the 16” water main has been installed and water standard tests are underway. Once the tests have been successfully completed, the contractor will put the new water main into service. Work will continue through September.

A portion of the main dining area of Thompson & Co in Depot Town, featuring a wall sculpture made by local artist Adrienne Nickels from an oak tree that had grown inside the building when it was abandoned.

Marketplace Changes

After decades of neglect followed by a grueling five year, $10 million renovation, Ypsilanti’s Civil War-era Thompson Block reawakens to a new life as the restaurant and bar Thompson & Cowith market-rate lofts on the upper floors. The restaurant and bar celebrates its first day of business this evening. The Observer's Trilby MacDonald has our story. 

After a brief, disastrous run as Loves Furniture, the former Art Van store on Eisenhower is now Bob’s Discount Furniture. Animation buffs are excited to see ads featuring a Claymation version of founder Bob Kaufman popping up on local media. The Observer’s Micheline Maynard has our story. 

Things to Do

By Ella Bourland

12 Thursday: Listen to Michigan crime writer Stephen Mack Jones and mystery writer James R. Benn discuss (via Zoom) the latest installment in Jones' August Snow series, a hard-boiled thriller in which this Detroit ex-cop goes up against a secretive real estate empire to protect his Mexicantown neighborhood. 7 p.m., online at Free, but donations accepted. 585-5567.

13 Friday: Drive down “Michigan’s Longest Garage Sale” (Aug. 13-15) all along US-12 between Detroit and New Buffalo, stopping at a string of sales in homes, farms, businesses, parking lots, and fields. Saline’s Rentschler Farm Museum gift shop is also open (Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. only, 1265 E. Michigan Ave.). For a detailed map, see US-12 Heritage Trail. Various times & locations. Saline Area Historical Society Fundraiser

14 Saturday: Kids age 12 & under invited to compete in Ann Arbor Track Club’s “Kids Run,” featuring 400-m, 800-m, and 1-mile runs. Also, a 100-m dash for age 5 & under only. Post-race refreshments, medals, and other goodies. 3 p.m., Creekside Intermediate School, 2615 Baker Rd., Dexter. $10 in advance at

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

Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward

Tell a friend about a2view

Question, comment, or tip? Email us at

For Sponsorship and Advertising information 


Did this email get forwarded to you? 
Sign up to receive a2view direct to your inbox.

Copyright © 2021 Ann Arbor Observer, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.