In the News
A grant will provide respite to Washtenaw County individuals caring for people with dementia. A $50,000 grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation provides up to two weeks of out-of-home care for dementia patients at Memory Lane assisted living. “I am so happy to be a part of it,” says company founder Joanna LaFleur. “We are in a six bedroom house with one staff person per three residents.” LaFleur's facilities have remained Covid-free, but she admits visitor restrictions take a heavy toll. “We work really hard to maintain life as usual for the residents. But It’s been really hard without family in the house.” For more information call the Area Agency on Aging 1-B at 800-852-7795.
Property owners may sue the city over short-term rental ban. City Council voted 7-4 in September to ban dedicated short-term rental properties that aren’t owner-occupied. The ban takes effect in March, and would affect between 100 and 200 housing units. Concerned that property owners may sue the city, the new council majority is looking at revising the rules. MLive
On Monday, Ypsilanti Community Schools opened a free, in-person Learning Lab at Parkridge Community Center. The lab offers academic support for qualifying K-12 students who attend online school. Groups of three to six students are led by educators affiliated with several community partners. YCS hopes to open ten or more free Learning Labs this year, with financial support from the county. Concentrate
Ann Arbor Public Schools announces plans to transition students to hybrid in-person learning. In-person classes would commence in early March 2021, pending “significant progress in vaccination of school personnel and a reduction in the overall level of community COVID infection,” according to an AAPS statement. Pre-K, Young 5’s, Kindergarten, and students with specialized learning needs will be the first groups to return.
A state program to aid restaurants, event venues, gyms, and other small businesses suffering during the pandemic was quickly overwhelmed. The $10 million Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative received more than 22,000 applications, but could fund just 650. “Some businesses have been successful in receiving CARES Act and PPP funding, but not the majority nor enough in aggregate,” says Andy LaBarre of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The programs are well intended but they are not enough and they are hard to get to.” The Michigan Small Business Development Center has a complete listing of Covid-19 business relief programs.
Wolverine coach Jim Harbaugh agreed to a contract extension to 2025, lowering his base pay to $4 million per year with a buyout clause in case U-M fires him. He needs the job security to attract new assistant coaches and high-level recruits. If the Wolverines perform well, Harborough can recoup the additional $4 million he was set to earn in 2021 under his previous deal. MLive
EMU biology prof uses 15,000 hand-painted Legos to create Martin Luther King Jr. mosaic. Aaron Liepman has been creating Lego murals since 2013. Inspired by 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, his largest project yet portrays King as he addressed the Los Angeles Freedom Rally on May 26, 1963, where he famously declared, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“These words still resonate,” Liepman says. “There is no time better than now to highlight this Civil Rights revolutionary and to work peacefully and creatively to combat injustices and work towards equity.” brickmaniac.com
Before the Civil Rights movement, there was Abolition. Learn about Michigan’s role in the fight to end slavery in Dave McCormick’s history of Ann Arbor’s abolitionist newspaper, The Signal of Liberty.
For MLK Day observances, see Events, below.