August 25, 2022

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

I hope you’ve all been enjoying these last few weeks of August as we creep towards autumn. I’ve been spending some time with my family down in Georgia. It’s always good to see them now that I live so far away.

In Ypsi Township, a teenager turned himself in after a killing, while in Superior Township the Ypsi District Library is building a new branch. In Ann Arbor, city council voted to approve easements for DTE gas pipelines and to request that MDOT do something about the noise from M-14.

U-M softball coach Carol Hutchins – the winningest coach in NCAA history – is retiring, and a prized document of U-M’s library collection was discovered to be a forgery. The university is loosening Covid testing requirements, and AAPS is making masks optional in schools.

Dayton Hare, editor

“Not one penny for the 200 children who become homeless each year?” Alpha House director Ellen Schulmeister asked the board of commissioners in June.
Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

The News...Briefly

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Washtenaw County Health Department reported 114 confirmed cases, 16 probable cases, seven hospitalizations, and no deaths from Covid in the previous 24 hours. The risk level remains “high,” with the weekly test positivity rate at 15.1 percent, up almost two points from last week. (The two-week snapshot hadn’t been updated at our deadline.) 

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AAPS is making masks optional in schools this Fall, according to the district’s Fall 2022 COVID and Health Guidance. Schools will “remain a mask-friendly environment,” and masks will remain mandatory in specific circumstances, such as during clusters/outbreaks, and in preschool classrooms.

U-M is easing back on testing requirements for the unvaccinated, MLive reports. Those with vaccine exemptions are no longer obligated to test weekly, though the practice is still encouraged.

A seventeen-year-old boy was shot and killed in Ypsilanti Township, MLive reports. The suspect, another seventeen-year-old boy, reached out to a violence retaliation prevention member who helped him turn himself in.

The Ypsilanti Police Department has lost five officers since the beginning of the year amid low morale and rising crime, MLive reports. Not counting chief Tony DeGiusti, who resigned last week, the departures bring the department’s total number of officers to 26, seven short of its authorized level. Officials cite officers feeling overworked as the principal cause of departure.

The Ypsi district library is building a new branch in southern Superior Township, Concentrate reports, planning for an opening date of Nov. 14. According to YDL capital campaign coordinator Chris McMullen, the county has targeted the MacArthur Blvd. neighborhood, which has a high number of single-parent homes, for “extra support and care.”

A funding shift is squeezing social service providers, Eve Silberman reports in the August Observer. The county, United Way, and Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation shut down a “coordinated funding” project, and grants from the successor New Human Services Partnership left out major players such as Avalon Housing, SOS Community Services, and the Alpha House family shelter, jeopardizing vital services.

U-M softball coach Carol Hutchins announced her retirement yesterday, the Michigan Daily reports. Hutchins, a lifelong champion of equality for women’s sports, spent 38 seasons heading up the women’s softball team. She led the Wolverines to the national championship in 2005 and retires as the winningest coach in NCAA history.

“A Watermark, and ‘Spidey Sense,’ Unmask a Forged Galileo Treasure”: That was the headline last week on a New York Times feature article describing how a Georgia State University historian discredited a prized U-M manuscript. It supposedly records Galileo’s discovery of moons orbiting Jupiter, but Nick Wilding - who also teaches a class on forgeries - found that the paper was likely manufactured 150 years later. According to the Times, Wilding suspects that the U-M’s manuscript, and another in New York’s Morgan Library, are the work of “a notorious 20th-century counterfeiter in Milan.”

Construction of a protected bike lane on Catherine St. begins tomorrow, MLive reports. Catherine will be closed between First and Division until Nov. 4. Crews will also install a water main and storm sewer for the planned affordable housing project on the city parking lot at Catherine and Fourth Ave.

The Maple Rd. bridge over the Huron River reopened yesterday, well ahead of schedule. The bridge had been closed since early July for rehabilitation, and will close again for a short period in the Fall to wrap up a few details.

Buhr Park Pool will close on Sunday due to staff shortages and mechanical issues, ClickOnDetroit reports. Buhr’s end-of-season dog swim is canceled, but pre-registration is open for the county’s Doggy Dip at Rolling HIlls on Sept. 10. Vets Pool closes Sept. 5, and Fuller Pool Sept. 18.

Goose Busters’s trained border collies reduce the number of geese in the city’s parks, MLive reports. Founder Chris Compton and his staff chase off geese from around 300 sites a day, including dozens in Washtenaw County. Compton says that when they first started, “there was probably a good 1,000 geese at any time” in the city’s riverfront parks, but that’s dropped to around 150.

City council unanimously approved easements for DTE Energy gas pipelines in two parks, Veterans Memorial Park and Virginia Park, MLive reports. The move is illustrative of the tension between the city’s 2030 carbon neutrality goal and its current energy needs: though ultimately joining his colleagues in supporting the motion, councilmember Ali Ramlawi noted that “it seems a little bit of an oxymoron to approve this and still try to wean ourselves off of natural gas and fossil fuels.”

City council approved a $853k sustainability education contract with the Ecology Center, MLive reports. Goals include “increasing the recycling rate in the commercial sector, moving toward a more circular economy, reducing waste generated, and raising community awareness about appropriate handling of recyclable, compostable and trash materials” to reduce contamination.

Council directed the city administrator to request noise abatement for M-14 from the Michigan Department of Transportation, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The excessive noise from a stretch of highway that passes near Wines Elementary – caused in part by the road’s surface material and a problem for decades – led over 600 residents to petition for the issue to be addressed.

Mayor Christopher Taylor has officiated more than 300 weddings, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Taylor began officiating free weddings, some as short as five minutes, in 2015 after the Supreme Court ruled bans on gay marriage unconstitutional. “It’s a pleasure being part of folks’ day,” Taylor said.

A trio of “citizen scientists” has put together a 100-page booklet of butterflies at Greenview Nature Area, Lisa Lava-Kellar reports in the August Observer. Co-author John Swales, who’s been making weekly counts of butterflies and skippers there since “the middle Aughts,” hopes the booklet inspires others to track fauna and flora in Ann Arbor parks and preserves.

The Dexter Cider Mill opens for the fall season tomorrow, ClickOnDetroit reports. The oldest continuously operating mill in the state, the family-owned business offers apple cider, doughnuts, and more.

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Marcy Breslow (left) and Judy Lobato have a playful competition to try to be the first to ID each butterfly or skipper—and find more than John Swales. Photo: Mark Bialek.

Marketplace Changes

Venue opens tomorrow in the former Lucky’s Market, MLive reports. A sister location to Prentice4M, Venue will contain four restaurants, a coworking space, bar, café, and a market. Customers dining in can order food from all four menus using a mobile app. The coworking space will open Sept. 1, and the market later that month.

Havana Cigar and Cocktail Lounge on N. Main St. hosts its grand opening Saturday. In the June Observer, Shelley Daily reported on the staffing-related opening delays that plagued owner Cesar Ochoa: Now, Havana’s new owner Nick Habbert wants to “get the word out” about their tapas, cocktails, and cigars.

Local canned wine company SolSummit launched in July, owner Emily Dabish Yahkind  emails. SolSummit’s three California wines - a rosé, a red wine blend, and a Sauvignon Blanc - are available at more than seventy Michigan retailers, including 11 in Ann Arbor.

Observer cover art for sale: Artist Laura Strowe is generously donating her original pastel painting of the Observer’s September cover, Four Views of the M Sign, to benefit the Ann Arbor Observer. To arrange a viewing, email Email bids accepted through midnight, September 30, 2022. Sale conditional on meeting reserve price. Art is sold unframed.

The original art for September’s cover by Laura Strowe is for sale. Email to arrange a viewing.


Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor will host game day tailgates to raise money for families impacted by cancer. The Hoover Turf Tailgates at Stadium Club, Ann Arbor, start Sep. 3. Admission is free, with proceeds from beverage sales supporting CSC’s  Sprout Love Financial Assistance Fund.

Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation is seeking volunteers for its Trick-or-Treat paddle on Oct. 16, ClickOnDetroit reports. Volunteers will pass out candy to trick or treaters canoeing on the Huron River at Gallup Park pond, and can sign up online.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

26 Friday: Bring a picnic and blanket to hear a free outdoor concert by local roots-rock quartet Billy Mack and the Juke Joint Johnnies, part of Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Concert Series. 6:30 p.m., Monument Park gazebo, downtown Dexter. Free.

27 Saturday: Join the University Lowbrow Astronomers for a look at the night sky through instruments. Participants are encouraged to bring their own telescopes, and must turn off all electronic equipment (car radios, transmitters, phones, etc.) at the observatory entrance. Canceled if sky is overcast at sunset or if the weather is extremely inclement. 8 p.m.–midnight, or as long as the sky remains clear, Peach Mountain Observatory, North Territorial Rd. (about 1-1⁄4 miles west of Hudson Mills Metropark), Dexter. Masks & proof of vaccination required. Free. 332–9132.

28 Sunday: Catch an aspiring or experienced comic from former Tonight Show staff writer Chili Challis’s comedy dojo at The Theater Shop’s “The Unclub.” Emcee is Mark Sweetman. 8 p.m. The Ypsi Alehouse, 124 Pearl St., #100, Ypsilanti. Mask and vaccination encouraged. Free.

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

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