December 2, 2021

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This Week

WEMU-FM listeners are mourning the death this week of Lisa Barry, the local host of All Things Considered. She enthusiastically reported on stories across Washtenaw County, with regular features like Art and Soul, In The Public Interest, and Modern Aging. Her most recent story looked at Walter Aguilar, drum major for the Michigan Marching Band.

In a text, Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig called her “the voice of the community.” She “had a way of making you feel at ease and capturing the most important details in her interviews,” wrote Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in a Facebook post. And the University Musical Society tweeted, “Her love and support for UMS and the Southeast Michigan arts community will be greatly missed.” 

For my family, Lisa is irreplaceable. She was married to my brother Frank Maynard for 37 years, meeting him when she was at Olivet College. I’ll always remember her sense of humor, excitement for travel and her love for her sons, Benjamin, a doctor at IHA Towsley Primary Care, and Parker, an environmentalist.

Micki Maynard, editor

Snowfall during the Ohio State-Michigan game covers berries on a Northeast Ann Arbor tree. Photo: Micheline Maynard

The News...Briefly

Covid cases: There were 262 confirmed Covid-19 cases, six hospitalizations, and one death reported by the Washtenaw County Health Department on Wednesday. Last week’s positivity test rate edged up a tenth of a point to 8.3 percent, according to MI Safe Start, while the statewide level rose to 19.3 percent.

Youth vaccination progress: it’s only been a month since the CDC recommended the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for children ages 5-11, but already 41 percent of county children have received at least one dose. The statewide figure is just 15 percent.

Masked students at Burns Park Elementary School. Photo: AAPS

AAPS safety and support plan: In the wake of Tuesday’s shootings at Oxford High School, Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent Jeanice Swift reminds parents that the district has “a comprehensive emergency response plan in place.” It works closely with multiple law enforcement agencies, and regularly conducts preparedness drills and activities throughout the year. “The safety of our students and staff will always remain our top priority,” Swift said in a statement.

Students' tribute to Oxford: Pioneer high school students Cookie Baugh, Bizzy Webb and Ben Kalosa-Kenyon are organizing a Blue and Gold Day on Friday in support of Oxford students. In an email, they asked AAPS students and staff to wear blue and gold, the Oxford colors.

Michigan running back Hassan Haskins leaps an Ohio State defender late in Michigan's 42-27 win on Saturday.  Photo: Bryan Fuller Photography.

Big Ten Championship: After defeating Ohio State last Saturday, Michigan plays Iowa Saturday night for the Big 10 men’s football championship. Jim Harbaugh plans to donate his $500,000 bonus for winning the East Division crown to offset pay cuts taken by athletics department staff, according to Local 4 News. A victory Saturday could yield him another $1 million bonus.

Meanwhile, the Ann Arbor Police Department said on Facebook that it responded to just over 200 calls for service on Saturday, including fifty-three involving car crashes in the snowy weather. Seventy additional officers were on duty. Twenty-four people were evicted from the game, including ten for alcohol and eight for violating stadium rules. “While it was a long and exhausting day, we want to thank all the fans who made this an excellent Michigan Football season,” reads the post. “We look forward to seeing all of you again next season. After a little rest.”

Criminal history questions: U-M is removing two questions about job applicants’ criminal history from its applications, the Michigan Daily reports. The topic will still be explored in background checks, once a position is offered.

New AASO leader. Sarah Calderini is the new executive director of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, the group announced this week. She replaces Tyler Rand, who is joining Stages, a Houston theater company. Calderini has been a director and board chair at the University Musical Society.

AADDA director pick: The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has offered its director’s job to Jeffrey Watson, MLive reports (subscription required). Watson is the director of community and economic development in Dearborn. He was chosen from a pool of 122 applicants.

Robot farewell: We recently told you that Refraction AI’s adorable robot carriers had disappeared from Ann Arbor’s streets. What happened to them? Jan Schlain investigates in the December Observer.

Ask a2view

Q: Reader Lisa C. Young asks, "What will happen to the wood from the Tappan Oak?" She says reuse of the wood can acknowledge its history and be "a wonderful nod to sustainability."

A: On Nov. 23-24, the University took down the Tappan Oak, the tallest and oldest tree on campus, which stood at the west side of the Hatcher Graduate Library for nearly 150 years. U-M officials said the removal was necessary because the tree's trunk was completely decayed.

University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen tells a2view that "a decision has not been made yet on how we are going to use the wood."

a2view readers, feel free to respond with suggestions.


Marketplace Changes

Al Dente Pasta is sold. Monique and Dennis Deschaine, who founded Al Dente Pasta forty years ago, have sold it to German company Alb-Gold. Al Dente began on Main Street in July, 1981, in the building that now houses Gratzi, and later moved its headquarters to Whitmore Lake. Beginning with classic flavors such as egg and spinach, Al Dente’s lineup now includes low-carb and plant-based varieties as well as different pasta shapes. In an email, Monique says that with the sale complete, she and Dennis have retired.

Midnight Madness. Midnight Madness returns downtown on Friday night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Stores, galleries and eating places will be open late, with sidewalk activities for kids, caroling, and other entertainment. The Ann Arbor Police Department is hosting a free hot cocoa bar in front of Jolly Pumpkin on Main Street. See details and discounts here.

A wine shop inside Zingerman’s Mail Order. Eagle-eyed motorists on Ellsworth Road may have spotted lawn signs reading, “Wine Is Just Around The Corner” with an arrow pointing to Phoenix Drive. Kristie Brablec, the managing partner for Zingerman’s Food Tours, is operating Ground Control Wines out of her 125 square foot office next to Mail Order. She stocks between 100 to 150 wines, ranging from $18 to $120 a bottle. She launched Ground Control with her bosses’ blessing when the pandemic canceled tours. While they’re now booking again, she’s aiming to sell more wine.

Neo Papalis auction: The entire contents of Neo Papalis on East William are up for auction, according to Paradise Restaurant Auctions. Neo Papalis closed after a fire last summer. Owner Joe Sheena previously said he was waiting for city approval of a revised interior plan. But everything from pizza pans to wall signs is up for bids. The auction ends Tuesday. 

Things to Do

by Jennifer Taylor

2 Thursday: Watch U-M Theater Department students perform “Junk: The Golden Age of Debt,” Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s fast-paced 2016 Shakespearean-style history play, set in 1985, about a high-flying financier who sets out to take over a distressed steel conglomerate. With double-dealing lawyers and corporate backstabbers standing in for earls and barons jockeying for a throne, the play exposes the moral bankruptcy of a culture that prizes the power of money above all else. 7:30 p.m., Power Center. Tickets $28–$34 (students, $13) in advance online and at the door. Masks required. 764–2538.

3 Friday: Get your holiday thrift on at the Kiwanis Center’s Annual Holiday Sale of used seasonal gifts and decorations, sporting goods, kitchen items, collectables, books, jewelry, office supplies, furniture, and more. 9 a.m.–1 p.m., Kiwanis Center West, 102 N. Staebler. Free admission. 368–9738.

4 Saturday: Take the whole family to Chelsea’s 35th Annual Hometown Holiday, where you can visit with Santa, make crafty gifts, and watch a parade through downtown Chelsea (6–6:30 p.m.) featuring dozens of lighted floats and vehicles, marching bands, Santa, and more. There’s also a drop-in to a holiday pet photo booth (12:30–4 p.m., Lane Animal Hospital, 701 N. Main). Various times and locations, Chelsea. Free. 475–1145.

5 Sunday: Listen to Ypsilanti Symphony's presentation of “A New World Holiday." Adam Riccinto directs the volunteer community orchestra in Dvorak’s Symphony no. 9 (“From the New World”), along with Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival,” tunes from The Polar Express, and other holiday favorites. 3:30–4:30 p.m., Lincoln High School Performing Arts Center, 7425 Willis Rd., Ypsilanti. Tickets $12 (students, seniors, & children 12 and under, $6; families, $30) in advance (recommended) at and at the door

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

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