February 18, 2021

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This week

The state has shifted the bulk of vaccine allocation away from hospitals to local pharmacies and health departments. Michigan Medicine is telling patients to seek vaccines elsewhere. 

The county prosecutor will use hate-crime laws to protect LGBTQ people, and local farms are showcasing their upcoming CSA programs online. 

Covid lockdowns have inspired many runners to up their game. Parag Bohyar ran every street in Ann Arbor, and Skyline student Hobbs Kessler broke the record for indoor mile for a high school runner. Shut out of the gym, I went for my first run in twelve years over the summer and was going strong until temps dipped into the teens. Not too proud to sit this cold snap out!

Trilby MacDonald, editor 

Covid-19 Updates

Michigan DHHS shifts vaccines to community-based providers, sharply reducing the number of going to hospitals. Michigan Medicine spokesperson Kelly Malcom told the Detroit News that the system can deliver 12,000 doses per week, but is only getting 4,000. It has suspended first-dose vaccinations and is telling patients and staff to seek the vaccine elsewhere. 

The U-M health system’s decision to vaccinate all its workers is stirring anger on social media. Michigan Medicine spokesperson Mary Masson cites a letter from the state directing hospitals to vaccinate workers who come in contact with patients or infectious materials, as well “staff who you deem essential to the functioning of your healthcare system.” “Vaccination of our patients is a priority, and we hope to receive increased allocation from the state in order to once again begin first dose vaccinations,” emails Masson. 

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital is partnering with the Washtenaw County Health Dept. to staff a newly expanded vaccination clinic at the EMU Convocation Center. WCHD spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia emails that the extra staff will allow the clinic to vaccinate more people once supply increases

Spokesperson Laura Blodget emails that St. Joe’s also “is providing vaccine to IHA, its employed physician group, which also has the ability to efficiently vaccinate large numbers of patients.” To assure equitable vaccine distribution, it will be “standing up a process in early March that reaches out to community members in areas hard hit by COVID who also experience barriers such as internet connection and transportation to ensure they are able to access an appointment.” 

The News...briefly

County prosecutor says he’ll invoke hate-crime laws in attacks on gay and transgender people. Though LGBTQ people are not specifically protected under Michigan’s ethnic intimidation law, Eli Savit notes that “courts have ruled that similar provisions prohibiting discrimination ‘because of sex’ also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”  

Shooting in Superior Twp. leaves three injured. One of the three men shot Sunday night in the 1000 block of Knollwood Bend in Superior Township on Sunday night was later detained as the suspected shooter, police say. MLive. 

Doctors longing to spend their time with patients rather than filling out electronic health records are launching private medical practices using a new concept called “Direct Primary Care.” They charge a flat fee for unlimited visits, cutting out insurance companies altogether. The Observer’s Cynthia Furlong Reynolds has our story. 

Michigan basketball makes a comeback win in Wisconsin. Despite two weeks without a practice and twenty-three days without a game due to an athletic department shutdown, Michigan comes back from a fourteen point deficit in the first half to beat Wisconsin 67 to 59. Click on Detroit. 

Spring controlled ecological burn season starts today. Spectators are discouraged, but Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation unit welcomes volunteers and provides advance alerts to individuals with smoke-related health concerns. 

Parag Bohyar ran the length of every street in Ann Arbor. All 818 miles of them. The Observer’s Anita LeBlanc has our story.

Who Needs Ya?

There are two ways to support Mott Children’s Hospital this month.

Gaming for good. Throughout February, gamers and community members are playing video games to raise funds that will support therapeutic technology benefiting patients at Mott Children’s Hospital. More than forty streamers and creators will participate during the campaign’s featured stream festival.  

Mott’s Save A Heart Gala is going virtual to raise money for congenital heart research and to support families whose children are facing serious heart conditions. There is an online auction leading up to the live-streamed event on February 25.

Photo of Barton Dam on February 11 courtesy of Ann Arbor-based nature photographer Greg Croasdill, whose projects focus on education and nature photography. 

Marketplace Changes

Community Supported Agriculture fair moves online. At the Michigan Statewide CSA Network’s virtual fair next Thursday, families can shop for local farm subscription programs, paying upfront for a share of the harvest. CSA offerings include vegetables, flowers, meat, dairy, bread, and other farm products.

Triple A Farm Stops: Manchester’s nonprofit Acorn Farmers’ Market and Cafe is joining Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor and Chelsea’s Agricole in directly connecting farmers and customers—to everyone’s benefit. Slow Food Huron Valley’s Misty Callies has the story. 

Whimsical, curious, and beloved by its many patrons, the Red Shoes artisan gift shop is closing after the unexpected death of owner Catherine Thursby.

Play On

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra returns to the Michigan Theater with more strings to its bow. The spring season kicks off this week with a full string orchestra to perform three concerts and additional chamber music pieces. The performances will be paired with pick-up meals from local Ann Arbor restaurants. Recordings will be available for on-demand streaming until June 30. Click here for tickets. 

Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper recently dropped a hip-hop album titled Formula 734 to accompany a documentary by the same name. The album puts the kaleidoscope of inspiration, struggle, burden, and triumph that young Black men in Washtenaw County experience into lyrical form.

Unsettling Histories: Legacies of Slavery and Colonialism at University of Michigan Museum of Art. UMMA listens for the voices of colonialism in its own collection, asking why certain perspectives have been amplified and others stifled. The exhibition was inspired by the museum’s recent acquisition of Flay (James Madison), Titus Kaphar’s shredded portrait of the fourth U.S. president and slave-holder. The exhibit features American and European works in the museum’s collection from 1650-1850.

Gutman Gallery is accepting submissions from the public for its Anything Goes exhibit. Just as the title implies, artists can submit any artform using any materials they like. Click on Detroit. 

Things to Do 

By Ella Bourland

Friday: See a virtual reading of Ohio-based actor Craig Ester’s romance Earnest, Michelle, and the Rainbow (8 p.m.). It’s about two friends dancing the fine line between love and admiration. Starring Mike Sandusky and Josie Eli Herman. Tickets $5, preregistration required at the Penny Seats Theatre Company. 

Saturday: Take a hike at Independence Lake County Park to look for black-capped chickadees, juncos, finches, and other birds that winter in the area (10-11:30 a.m.). Also, learn how to make an edible snack for the birds. Free. Capacity limited; preregister for all age 2 & over at Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Sunday: Watch an online screening of local director Fred Culpepper’s new documentary Formula 734, highlighting the candid thoughts, hopes, conflicts, and worries that young Black men in Washtenaw County experience (4 p.m.). Free, but preregistration required at Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper and Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. 

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

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