August 6, 2020

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In the News

Just two years after losing his city council majority, mayor Christopher Taylor won it back. In a record turnout, candidates Taylor endorsed made a clean sweep of the August 4 Democratic primary

Lisa Disch, Linh Song, and Jen Eyer beat incumbents Anne Bannister, Jane Lumm, and Jack Eaton in wards One, Two, and Four. Travis Radina and Erica Briggs kept the Ward Three and Ward Five seats held by retiring Taylor allies Zach Ackerman and Chip Smith in friendly hands. That will give the faction we call the Activist Coalition a six-five majority over the Back-to-Basics Caucus. (Sam Firke calls them “The Strivers” and “The Protectors.”) 

The mayor was as surprised as anyone at the decisive outcome. If you voted in the council race and are willing to tell us for whom and why, email (We won’t use your name or quote you without your permission.)

On the criminal justice ballot, Eli Savit got more votes than his two opponents combined and will be the next county prosecutor. In the non-partisan circuit court race, Tracy van den Bergh and Nick Roumel move on to the November 3 general election.

Seventeen years after it disappeared, the Ann Arbor Tenants Union is back. "We started actively organizing during the pandemic," emails Ozge Savas, the group's spokesperson. The Observer’s Eve Silberman has our story.

U-M suspended voluntary workouts for four sports after 12 athletes and one staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The affected sports are ice hockey, field hockey, swimming and diving, and volleyball. Michigan Radio. 

The Big Ten Conference announced a tentative 10-game football schedule for U-M’s upcoming season. It’s still unknown if fans will be able to attend games.


Shopkeepers in Ann Arbor’s downtown look for new ways to reach customers in a season of uncertainty. “This is modern day war-time,” says Bivouac President AJ Davidson. The Observer’s Jan Schlain has our story. 

Bao Boys enlivens the Yard of York, mingling flavors from Brazil, South Korea, and Los Angeles inside a sweet, pillowy Chinese bao bun. The food truck opened its doors on July 1 with a menu of fried rice and wheat flour bao buns stuffed with various fillings. Click On Detroit. 

Late summer for Ann Arbor-based printer and retail chain Underground Printing is usually buzzing with activity. But this year, instead of churning out school-themed swag and filling custom orders from universities, their production facility has switched to a different product: charity T-shirts. The Observer’s Micheline Maynard has our story. 


Friday: Learn how to play disc golf (6 p.m.) at Independence Lake. Stream a film (anytime through August 31) from the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival, an annual showing of documentary and feature films on Jewish themes.

Saturday: Sing songs, tell jokes, and play instruments online with members of Known Obstacles (10:30 a.m.), a band for kids and adults with special needs led by Steve Osburn of Oz’s Music Environment. Spectators welcome. 

Sunday: Play online improv games with Ypsi Improv (2 p.m.) and listen to the Ron Brooks Trio play bebop rooted jazz in Kerrytown Concert House’s Live @ The 415 series (4:15 p.m.).

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

Notable Nonprofit: Friends in Deed

By Maggie McMillin

Low-income residents of Washtenaw County face more transportation, housing, and technology challenges than ever before. With an adventurous urban rappelling fundraiser, Friends In Deed hopes to stay flexible and continue meeting the needs of the community. The Observer’s Maggie McMillin has our story.

Play On

By Stephanie Sorter

826michigan, which celebrates their fifteenth anniversary this year, just released a book written by Ypsilanti Community High School students. Part memoir and part narrative photo journal, Because No One Else Could Do It explores all the different stories high schoolers have to tell about who they are and where they come from. The Observer’s Stephanie Sorter has our story.

Britney Leedy, a photography student at YCHS, created a series of pictures representing what a panic attack feels like. Photo: Britney Leedy

The Helpers

By Ella Bourland

Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s county-wide donation drive “Safe Schools Washtenaw” is collecting PPE and monetary contributions to help more than 46,000 students and faculty return to in-person instruction. The level of state and federal support to procure supplies for school’s eventual reopening is unclear at this point. Facial coverings, gel hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, facial tissues, and disposable gloves can be dropped off every Wednesday in August, noon–3 p.m., at WISD Teaching and Learning Center, 1819 S. Wagner. 

Election move out. Last Sunday, the Bird Center moved 162 injured and recovering birds from the nonprofit bird hospital on Mary St. to a house in Dexter. The city-owned building is a polling site, and as part of the lease agreement, each time an election rolls around a caravan of cars moves all birds, enclosures, incubators, oxygen products, cleaning supplies, and food to a temporary site. The birds returned to Mary St. yesterday. “Move, feed, unpack. Then repeat.”

For more news on local businesses and people that are helping the community, click here.

The Bird Center has been at full capacity the entire 2020 season, likely due to homeowners spending more time observing life (and injury) on their property during the pandemic. Above are cliff swallows and one barn swallow.
Photo: Andrea Aluto
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