August 26, 2021

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

This week

Trilby MacDonald is enjoying some well-deserved vacation time, so Observer editor John Hilton and I are filling in this week.

I have bittersweet feelings as I write this, knowing this is my last week at a2view. By Monday, I'll be starting my senior year at the U-M. Watching the freshmen move in, I am in awe of how fast time flies.

I am hopeful that I can salvage a sliver of normalcy for my last year - and hope that those freshemen will have a completely different college experience than I did.

I'd like to thank Trilby for her mentorship this summer. It has truly been a remarkable experience, one that I will never forget.

Kathryn Pentiuk, summer intern

"Taking flight," developer Bill Kinley wrote when he shared this photo on Facebook August 18. Artist Jake Dwyer's work on Kinley's Phoenix West Building is one of the Ann Arbor Art Center's growing collection of A2AC Murals. 

The News...Briefly

Covid 19: On Wednesday morning, the Washtenaw County Health Department reported 47 confirmed cases, 2 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths in the last 24 hours. Since last spring 28,086 country residents have been infected, 1,664 hospitalized, and 308 died, a mortality rate of 1.1 percent. With the far-more-infectious Delta variant accounting for 99 percent of new cases, infections are projected to increase for the next four to six weeks. To curb vaccine breakthroughs, cancer patients and others with compromised immune systems can now get a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Hundreds of U-M students were stranded
when their new apartments weren’t ready in time. Tenants of “The One,” a heavily promoted luxury rental complex on Pontiac, told the Michigan Daily that developer Trinitas Ventures notified them of the delay only days before they were scheduled to move in. Though many signed a letter demanding rent concessions, they’re up against a lawyer-heavy company: Trinitas sued the city to force approval of the project, and according to the Daily, is helping tenants with temporary lodging only if they agree “to absolve The One and its parent company from any wrongdoing."

The Ann Arbor Public Schools and the U-M resume in-person classes this week. What will that look like, and will it be safe? AAPS superintendent Jeanice Swift says she’s “confident that it’s going to work” - but med school prof Tim Johnson has chosen not to return to the classroom. The Observer’s James Leonard and Jan Schlain have our feature

Though big names like the K-pop group BTS and country star Garth Brooks have postponed tours due to the rising Delta variant, local venues are going ahead with scheduled shows. Both the Ark and the Michigan Theater have instituted safety protocols that require both masks and proof of vaccination, but Jason Berry, who books acts for the Blind Pig, emails that among the music bar’s audience, “No one cares. Shows doing the same as pre-covid. Much moreso, in fact.” The Pig is holding a three-day “grand reopening extravaganza” this weekend.

The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday to ban “gay conversion therapy.” The city isn’t aware of anyone locally trying to change clients’ sexual orientation or gender identity, but co-sponsor Travis Radina hopes the gesture will spur action in Lansing, saying, “It’s time for Michigan to join the 20 other states that have already banned this practice.”

Much controversy has arisen since Ashley, First, and W. Kingsley returned to two-way traffic.  From angry Facebook rants to cars driving the wrong way, it seems that everyone has something to say about the changes. Take our survey to let us know what you think.

Elsewhere in traffic, U-M dorm move-in is underway, with parts of Observatory, E. Ann, Washington, Thompson, and Madison temporarily converted to one-way traffic. University police and security guards are overseeing the traffic alterations, which continue from 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. through Sunday.

Artist Carlye Crisler says there’s a “pretentious” name for what she does--plein air--but she just calls herself a “street painter." Navigating downtown streets on her electric tricycle, the seventy-one-year-old cancer survivor seeks out interesting storefronts, signs, and even overhead wires, which she calls “sky jewelry.” The Observer’s Eve Silberman has our story.

Marketplace Changes

With the harvest in full swing, corn, zucchini, and tomatoes are everywhere right now. But all farmers' markets are not alike: our visits to four turned up sellers at each you'll find nowhere else nearby, from west Michigan wines to bagels from Grass Lake. The Observer's Micheline Maynard and LR Nuñez share their finds.

The Kouza family is evidently rethinking another of its N. Main restaurants. After turning tequila bar Agave into the lively Chapala Mexican restaurant, they've replaced the signs for their cigar bar, Siris. Though its website hasn't caught up yet, the new signs announce "Havana," "Ann Arbor." and "tapas.

Reader Ed Vielmetti emails that Kasoa African Market at Ellsworth and Platt is "Closed, completely empty. No sign to say goodbye even but a for lease sign."

To "ensure listings ... please submit payment by September 20, 2021." The letter from the "U.S. Domain Authority" looked like a notice to renew the registration of, but Observer business manager Amber Lamkin emailed that she was "[p]retty sure this is a scam." Sure enough: an online search turned up many warnings against paying the seemingly official bills. Anyone who falls for them will pay dearly: not only is that domain registration already paid through 2026, it costs just $12 a year. The "U.S. Domain Authority" wanted $289.
The new Observer City Guide includes glimpses of life around town. Lakshi Narayanan describes her move from a home off Newport Creek to a condo in Uptown Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township's new mini-downtown. 

Things to Do

26 Thursday: Visit Chelsea's 84th Annual Community Fair (Aug. 24 - 28), with rides and concessions, a bingo tent, livestock shows, truck and tractor pulls, demolition derbies, the Chelsea Fair Parade (Sat. 1 p.m.), and "Nature's Creation of Life," an exhibit of calves, piglets, lambs, and chicks, some likely to be born during the fair. Complete schedule with event times available at 10 a.m.-10 p.m. or so, Chelsea Fairgrounds, Old US-12 at Old Manchester Rd., Chelsea. $10 daily admission; $30 5-day pass (students, veterans, & seniors age 65 & older, $20; kids age 10 & under, free). 475–1270 during fair week,

27 Friday: Catch a sound installation of aleatoric music by the local Regenerate! Orchestra as part of the Third Place Music Fest (Aug. 25 - 28). Orchestra members - stationed at different spots within Bandemer Park, using timers to coordinate their parts - perform a program inspired by the autumnal equinox and the spring solstice that features long meditative tones. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on; masks encouraged. 7–8:30 p.m. or so. Meet at Bandemer Park, 1352 Lake Shore, but come and go as you please throughout the performance. $3, $5, or $10 pay-what-you-can. Festival passes ($20, $40, or $70 pay-what-you-can) available.


28 Saturday: Follow local historians and former factory workers on the tour "Ford Village Industries" about the eccentric first Henry Ford's quixotic vision of reviving small towns with tiny factories. Also, local violinist Henrik Karapetyan performs a program of Jewish-influenced songs. 10 a.m.–2 p.m., meet at Manchester Village Hall, 912 City Rd., Manchester. $15 per person; preregistration recommended at

See local guitar genius George Bedard host "Jump Blues: Big Brother to Rock 'n' Roll," his 8th annual History of American Music show. This music “of the '40s and early '50s was, along with country, one of the main tributaries leading to rock 'n roll", says Bedard. "We will thread the show through Big Joe Turner, whose career spanned the boogie-woogie and Kansas City jazz of the '30s to the early rock 'n roll era, and whom I had the honor to play with". Bedard is joined by pianist Mark "Mr. B" Braun, a horn section led by Chris Smith, bassist Pat Prouty, and drummer Rich Dishman. 8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.), Ark, 316 S. Main. Tickets $20 (proof of vaccination and masks required).


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

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