August 18, 2022

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

I’m glad to be back in Ann Arbor after spending so much time away. I’ve celebrated my return over the last few days by ordering takeout from some of my favorite restaurants and going for a bike ride.

This week a no-contact advisory with the Huron River was lifted, Ypsilanti’s police chief resigned, and a person was wounded by a gunshot in Pittsfield Township. Employees at a local Starbucks held a one-day strike, developers submitted plans for a large workforce housing project, and the Andelina Farms subdivision in Saline cleared another hurdle. Beagles rescued from a Virginia research facility were adopted locally and Michigan football was ranked number 8.

Dayton Hare, editor

The half-demolished Fleming Administration Building near sunset yesterday. 
Photo: Dayton Hare.

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,388 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, down from last week’s 1,469. The county’s CDC community level is back at “medium,” after sitting at “high” for two weeks. The weekly test positivity rate is 13.3 percent, basically steady with last week.

Long Covid still plagues many of those otherwise recovered from the virus, Cynthia Furlong Reynolds reports in the August Observer. A U-M study documents the disturbing prevalence of the phenomenon, which is characterized by persistent symptoms such as “brain fog” and fatigue long after the patient has recovered from the virus.

Blue LLama Jazz Club hosts a Long Covid fundraiser next Thursday, Current reports. The concert features the music of local jazz musician Glenn Tucker, and the $20 cover charge will be donated to the COVID-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project.

The last defendants in a lawsuit seeking to block mandatory masking have been dismissed, MLive reports. The court found the suit against county health officer Jimena Loveluck and AAPS superintendent Jeanice Swift over Covid-prevention strategies moot, because neither the county or the school district is currently requiring masks.

A person was shot in the leg at the Saline Walmart parking lot, the Saline Post reports. The two people involved were temporary employees at a nearby business. Police know the identity of the suspect and are looking for a black Chevy Malibu.

MDHHS lifted its no contact advisory with the Huron River put in place after Tribar Manufacturing spilled hexavalent chromium into the Huron July 29. Out of 146 tests, only three detected the carcinogen, none at dangerous levels. Subsequent investigation revealed that only three pounds of the chemical – not the initially feared 4,100 – spilled into Wixom’s sewers, with even less reaching the river.

The water tower at the former Gelman Sciences complex is slated for demolition, MLive reports. The tower on Wagner Rd. is the last visible reminder of the company whose wastewater discharges continue to contaminate groundwater for miles around. The contractor is seeking permits and hopes to finish the job by the end of the month. “When it comes down, it’s going to come down like a tree,” Scio Township Supervisor Will Hathaway said.

A new commercial space will replace the vacant gas station on Carpenter and Packard roads, MLive reports. Developers will remove contaminated soil and three underground gasoline tanks from the property, taking advantage of a brownfield tax incentive that will reimburse them for environmental clean-up.

A developer pitched a 252-apartment workforce housing development on Ann Arbor’s west side, MLive reports. The proposed site between Maple Rd. and Stadium Blvd. — the former office of Select Ride — would be one of the largest workforce housing projects in years if it comes to fruition, with 95 percent of the apartments accessible to people with incomes up to 60% of the area median.

Saline Township approved plans to complete the Andelina Farms subdivision at US-12 and Austin Rd., the Saline Post reports. Long delayed by political hurdles, the development is already selling its first phase, with condos in the $300,000s and single-family homes in the $500,000s.

The Ann Arbor lender Home Point suffered a $44.4 million loss in the second quarter, the Detroit News reports, as rising interest rates hit lending business hard. The company is considering reducing staff, and is "not afraid to get smaller as an organization," according to its CEO.

Employees at the Glencoe Crossing Starbucks struck last Thursday, MLive reports, becoming the second Michigan location to do so. Leaders of the one-day strike at the newly-unionized store claim managers changed the employees’ working hours to penalize them for unionizing while simultaneously rewarding stores that chose not to unionize with raises.

The U-M nurses’ union this week sued the university over contract negotiations, the Detroit Free Press reports. Nurses have been working without a contract since July 1, and have filed an unfair labor practice complaint for what they say is the university’s refusal to negotiate their workloads. They’re requesting an injunction that would require the U-M to do so.

Ypsilanti police chief Tony DeGiusti resigned Monday, MLive reports. DeGiusti served the city for eight years, and his departure comes on the heels of Ann Arbor’s own chief, Mike Cox, leaving to become police commissioner of Boston. Administrative Lt. Brent Yuchasz will take over as Ypsi’s interim chief at the end of September; in Ann Arbor, interim chief Aimee Metzer is already on the job.

A ransomware potentially breached 2,000 Ypsilanti residents’ bank information, MLive reports. The incident was discovered on April 16 by the Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority, which was able to restore encrypted data and avoided paying a ransom for the stolen information.  YCUA says it’s not aware of any misuse of customer data, but revealed the incident earlier this month to be “extra-transparent.”

Nonprofit Supreme Felons received a $1.2 million grant from Washtenaw County’s Community Priority Fund, Concentrate reports. The group, which works to reduce recidivism by helping returning citizens find housing, employment, and mental health support, will use the federally-funded grant to prepare young people for apprenticeships in the skilled trades.

A number of beagles rescued from a research facility in Virginia have been adopted in Washtenaw, the Humane Society of Huron Valley announced. HSHV sent its “Love Train” van to collect some of the 4,000 dogs released from the facility after a federal judge ruled that it had failed to provide humane care for them. Many of the beagles brought to the county have already found new homes.

Michigan football is ranked 8 in the country, ClickOnDetroit reports. After being left out of the ranking last year, the Wolverines went on to become Big Ten champions and reach the national championship. This year, the offense looks strong while the defense has some big shoes to fill after losing Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

Have we reached peak cannabisLume Cannabis opened in Ann Arbor last month – but closed four other locations around the state. Photo: John Hilton.

Marketplace Changes

Has Michigan reached peak cannabis? Even as Lume Cannabis opened on W. Liberty last month, it closed four other locations around the state, John Rosevear reports in the August Observer. But Washtenaw County remains the state’s pot hot spot: MLive reports that the latest arrival is Ypsilanti “microdispensary” Planet Jane, which opened earlier this month. 

The Applebee’s at Green Rd. and Plymouth Rd. closed, a reader informed the Observer. At Eisenhower and Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., meanwhile, another location of the bar and grill chain reopened after closing during the pandemic.

Rapid Shoe Fix in Ypsi has changed hands, the store’s landlord Brad Rowley informs us. Owner Duane Thomas recently decided to retire and sell the business to a younger cobbler.

Helpers

Arbor Hospice invites residents to create musical “legacies” to honor departed loved ones. At the free Sunday event (2-3 p.m., 2366 Oak Valley Dr.), part of its Grief Support and Music Therapy Summer Series, participants will use a heartbeat as the core of the music. Contact Margie Martin at 734-769-5821 or mmartin@arborhospice.org to register.

Ann Arbor’s Office of Sustainability and Innovations is looking for new A2Zero ambassadors. The program lasts twelve weeks, and participants will help Ann Arbor progress towards its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 by assisting a number of programs and completing a sustainability-related project.

A Huron High Schooler’s nonprofit was a featured vendor at Ann Arbor Distilling Company Aug. 7, the Michigan Daily reports. Aashna Nadarajah’s Second Helpings enables refugees and immigrants to generate income by selling food and products they create.

Some of the 4,000 rescused beagles from Virginia found new homes in Washtenaw County. Photo courtesy of the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Ask a2view

Q. Reader Joanna Schultz asks “is the Zoup on Plymouth Road closed or not? The tiny sign on the front door doesn’t give someone the sense that this particular Zoup will reopen.”

A. On Tuesday, a sign on the door announced that the location is currently open three hours a day, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I’ve seen one or two people there,” said an employee at Jimmy John’s next door.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

19 Friday: Shop the sidewalks at Chelsea’s city-wide Community Garage Sale, which runs Friday and Saturday all over town, along with sidewalk sales at local businesses. 10 a.m., all over Chelsea. hello@chelseamich.com.

20 Saturday: Dance at Pittsfield Grange’s 3rd Saturday Contra Dance. Marlin Whitaker and Carol Jacobs call to music by Susie Lorand, Josh Burdick, and friends. No experience or partner needed. Wear loose-fitting clothing and clean, flat non-slip shoes. Preceded at 7 p.m. by a lesson. 7:30–10 p.m., Pittsfield Grange, 3337 Ann Arbor Saline Rd. Mask and proof of vaccination required. Pay what you can; $10 suggested. 274–0773.

21 Sunday: See “Mischief in the Crystal Palace” performed by the Shan Puppet Theatre, one of the only puppet troupes to perform traditional Taiwanese puppet shows in the island’s ancestral Hakka language. The program features an episode from Journey to the West, a sprawling Ming dynasty epic about a mythical Monkey King who learns the secret of immortality. Followed by a hands-on Glove Puppet Demonstration at 3 p.m. 2–3 p.m., Ann Arbor District Library Downtown, 343 S. Fifth Ave. Free. 327–4200.

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