July 14, 2022

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

It’s Bastille Day here in France. The most important national holiday in the country, it celebrates the storming of the monarchy’s notorious Parisian prison during the great revolution of 1789. Yesterday afternoon, members of my program sang “La Marseillaise” during a parade through town, and tonight, not that far down the Seine, the Eiffel tower will be illuminated by the ephemeral glow of fireworks.

Back home, U-M announced a new president and the AAPD’s chief is leaving to head up Boston’s force as commissioner. Art Fair is just around the corner, AAPS bought land for a new school, and construction on a housing development is moving forward in Northfield Township. Washtenaw Community College extended its president’s contract, and also unveiled a $13.5 million renovation to its community building.

Dayton Hare, editor

The modernist building at 2929 Plymouth designed by Alden Dow is slated for demolition. Photo: Dayton Hare. 

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,358 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, up by just over 100 from last week’s 1,228. The county returned to a “low” CDC risk level, from “medium” last week. The weekly test positivity rate is 14.7 percent according to MI Safe Start, up from 13 percent last week, and there are 242.9 cases per 100,000 residents.

Washtenaw County residents can now order free Covid testing kits through Project Access Covid Tests, ClickOnDetroit reports. People can order online, and in one to two weeks a kit containing five tests will be delivered.

Santa Ono has been named president of U-M, the Detroit Free Press reported in advance of the Board of Regents meeting where it was announced yesterday. Ono is currently president of the University of British Columbia. In 2015 he was named the most notable college president in the US by Inside Higher Ed, and is known for an active social media presence and forming connections with students. He will take over from interim president Mary Sue Coleman on Oct. 13.

Ann Arbor police chief Michael Cox has been named Boston’s next police commissioner, TV station WCVB reports. A longtime Boston officer once badly beaten by his own colleagues, he got off to a rocky start when he was placed on administrative leave for allegedly trying to influence an internal investigation, but went on to win wide respect. Though he once told the Observer that he hoped this would be his last job in policing, the chance to trade a shrinking force of fewer than 120 officers for one with more than 2,000 was evidently irresistible: after only three years in Ann Arbor, Cox is expected to assume his new role on Aug. 15.

Heroin overdoses are on the rise, James Leonard reports for the July Observer. During the pandemic, the number of heroin deaths decreased, but last year overdoses killed seventy-one people. With most victims under forty, Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia says, “it’s likely that those opiate deaths are a leading cause of death in our younger group.”

Ann Arbor Public Schools bought properties near Arborland and a building at Domino’s Farms, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The undeveloped land on Huron River Dr. will provide space for another school, while the building will be a second preschool site.

The site of a 264-unit housing project has been cleared, despite a lawsuit from neighbors, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Northfield Township approved the development of single-family houses and townhouses on the corner of North Territorial and Whitmore Lake roads last year, where workers are now installing water and sewer infrastructure. The lawsuit against the developers seeks to declare a portion the property rightfully owned by the neighbors under the adverse possession doctrine.

Former U-M football coach Gary Moeller died Monday, ClickOnDetroit reports. He spent twenty-three years with the football program, leading the Wolverines to three Big Ten titles and five bowl appearances. “Gary Moeller was a great family man, great friend, great coach, and a man of integrity and high character,” former head coach Lloyd Carr said in a statement. “I admired him, I respected him, and I loved him.” Mitch Albom shared his own memories of Moeller at freep.com.

Washtenaw Community College extended president Rose Bellanca’s contract through 2025, ClickOnDetroit reports. Last week, Bellanca unveiled a $13.5 million renovation of WCC’s Morris Lawrence Building.

Volunteers will paint a Black Lives Matter mural at Wheeler Park this Saturday, ClickOnDetroit reports. The mural is the second organized by Survivors Speak in Ann Arbor, the first being in Gallup Park. Anyone interested in joining the project can sign up here.

Independence Lake Beach reopened Saturday after being determined safe. The beach temporarily closed last week due to high levels of E. Coli bacteria. Levels are now below actionable levels, and weekly monitoring will continue.

The peculiar modernist office building at 2929 Plymouth Rd. is slated for demolition. Designed in 1970 by Midland architect Alden Dow, its single main floor and penthouse are elevated above a parking lot, prompting comparisons to a “giant toadstool. The penthouse was once the luxurious private office of information technology pioneer and philanthropist Gene Power; now, the site will become a new branch for the U-M Credit Union.

Ypsilanti’s Neighborhood Theatre Group returned last Saturday, MLive reports. After a two year hiatus, the group presented Annie Ypsi and the Case of the Biggest Wheel at the Ypsilanti District Library. Two more shows will follow this fall and next spring.

The Rolling Sculpture Car Show returns tomorrow. Featuring more than 200 classic and antique cars, the show includes music by Hot Rod DJ Surfer Joe on the corner of Main and Liberty and family events on E. Liberty hosted by the AADL.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair returns next Thursday, and a new documentary tells the story of its traveling artists, Jan Schalin reports in the July Observer. Artist Dylan Strzynski and filmmaker Padrick Ritch’s The Life We Make, currently showing at film festivals, depicts the ragtag life of the artists who make a living touring their work throughout the country.

Your Media Exchange, a store specializing in pre-streaming media, opened its doors last month. Initially owner Broc Curry looked for space in Ypsi before stumbling upon the Ann Arbor vacancy on Craigslist. Photo: John Hilton.

Marketplace Changes

Your Media Exchange, a purveyor of used music, movies, and video games, opened last month, Shelley Daily reports in the July Observer. It’s owner Broc Curry’s second location, after one in Toledo. The store deals in vinyl, VHS, DVD, and other media formats of the pre-streaming era.

New restaurant Havana can’t find the workers it needs to open, Daily reports. The restaurant is Cesar Ochoa’s second in Ann Arbor, the first being Chapala, nearby on N. Main. Although he has “explored the idea of selling it,” Ochoa says, he still hopes to be able to open this fall.

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts opened last Saturday, MLive reports. With locations across the country, the store boasts miniature donuts with a variety of toppings. The new location is inside Ahmo’s on Huron Street, and is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

19 Drips will open a second location at 2891 Jackson Road on July 17, MLive reports. Located on West Liberty, the coffee shop’s first location opened in 2019.

Give My Books’ summer sales return on July 21-23 and August 25-27, Jan Schlain reports for the July Observer. Todd Whalen runs the business, relying on donations and living by the rule, “No, we don’t buy.” Each book goes for one dollar, and the books that aren’t sold are donated at the end of the year. “Ever see those pink signs around town that say ‘Huge Book Sale’?”  Whalen asks. “That’s us.”

Artist William Kwamena-Poh is one of several featured in the new documentary "The Life We Make." Photo courtesy of William Kwamena-Poh.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

5 Friday: See the Michigan Irish Repertory Theatre’s production of “Chapatti,” playwright Christian O’Reilly’s 2014 one-act play, set in Dublin, about a depressed dog-owning man who meets an amiable and funny woman with 19 cats. The Chicago Critic called it “gentle, sublime and honest.” Adult themes. 7:30 p.m., Saline Black Box, 109 Michigan Ave., Saline. Masks & proof of vaccination (or negative Covid test) required. Tickets $20. Preregistration encouraged; limited seating. 276–7183.

16 Saturday: Hear Toronto-based artist Bonnie Devine in conversation with U-M Museum of Art staff about “The Gift,” Devine’s newly installed 40-foot mural. Devine’s artistic practice, which spans installation, painting, and writing, is rooted in the storytelling and pictorial traditions of the Anishinaabe culture. Preregistration required (space limited). 4–5:15 p.m., UMMA, 325 S. State St. Free. 647–0521. umma-program-registration@umich.edu.

17 Sunday: Swing dance in and out of the Huron River to the music of the local New Orleans-style jazz ensemble Alex Belhaj & the Crescent City Quintet at the culmination of KissME (keep it simple and swing), a 3-day festival hosted by Ann Arbor Community for Traditional Music and Dance. Bring a towel, water shoes, and swim attire. 1–4 p.m., Island Park, Island Drive. $20 (weekend pass: $45) in advance at kissmeinannarbor.com and at the door. info@kissmeinannarbor.com.

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

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