July 15, 2021

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

This week

After a dry spell, Washtenaw County got too much of a good thing and was declared a national disaster area. Residents and businesses impacted by flooding can apply for local, state, and federal funding to help them bail out. 

County residents have the chance to give their two cents on how the Board of Commissioners should spend $71 million in federal stimulus money. 

The Art Fair is here! We have a story on how the organizers managed to pull off the city's biggest event at the last minute, as well as details on what to expect.

Taking a year off from everything has made me appreciate what we have like never before. Where I once may have rolled by eyes at Art Fair traffic, I can hardly wait to see the streets filled with art, music, and people once again. 

Trilby MacDonald, editor 

David Zinn is busily populating Ann Arbor’s streets with kookie creatures. He’ll be hiding a special group of his famed chalk drawings at the Art Fair, and clues where to find them will be posted to social media. The Observer’s Anita LeBlanc caught the artist in the act on Monday at the Westgate branch of the AADL. 

The News...Briefly

As of Wednesday morning, there were eleven confirmed cases, no hospitalizations, and no deaths in the previous twenty-four hours. Last week’s positivity rate was 0.9 percent.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is back, though with fewer artists and for just three days. Governor Whitmer’s mid-May announcement lifting capacity limits set off a wild scramble to relaunch the city's biggest event annual event. The Observer’s Jan Schlain has our story. 

Washtenaw County is added to Michigan’s Emergency Declaration due to widespread flooding, giving residents access to state and possibly federal funds. County commissioners allocated $500,000 in bridge funds to help impacted residents until those funds become available.

After a successful intervention with the Michigan Public Service Commission (a2view June 17), Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township will move forward to develop a twenty-four megawatt community solar pilot project in partnership with DTE. The plan includes 65 acres of ground-mounted solar panels on the former city landfill off Ellsworth and Stone School Rds., and twelve acres of floating panels on a pond behind the Wheeler maintenance facility. DTE customers will have the option to buy in through the MIGreenPower program.  

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners releases a list of projects that could benefit from $71 million in federal stimulus money, and a survey for county resident input. Projects under consideration include broadband infrastructure, affordable housing, sustainability, childcare, and financial planning. 

Ann Arbor State Sen. Jeff Irwin and Rep. Yousef Rabhi introduce bills that would ban toxic chemicals from the manufacturing and sale of food packaging in Michigan. Ann Arbor’s Ecology Center released a report that found PFAS, BPA, and phthalates in food packaging used by six restaurant chains in Michigan. Click on Detroit

The Ann Arbor Potters Guild celebrates its 70th birthday with ten original sculpture towers inspired by native plant species. The pieces are on display in Matthei’s Great Lakes Garden, which “recreates the habitats of the region and the plants that are endemic to these habitats,” explains spokesperson Joe Mooney. Thirty-three of the guild’s forty-five members were involved in making the towers, which will be on display until October 3. 

Huron High School and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary will have new principals this fall. According to press releases from AAPS, Ché Anthony Carter, a Huron grad himself, most recently was principal at Clague Middle School. King principal Koren Clinkscale was principal of Redford’s Beech Elementary School. 

U-M computer science professor Peter Chen faces trial in sexual misconduct case. After a preliminary hearing on July 1 found probable cause, Chen’s case was bound for trial in the 22nd Circuit Court. Chen is charged with the sexual penetration of an eleven-year-old member of a robotics team in 2017 and 2018; he denies the allegations. Michigan Daily 

Marketing agency submits renovation plans for historic building on 4th Ave. Hook, which has offices in Ann Arbor and L.A., wants to spend $1.7 million to renovate the interior and add two back floors and a rooftop deck onto 920’s Art Deco-style Land Title Building. MLive

Book Nook

Ann Arbor baker delves into the delicious details of how to make the perfect frosting. Bernice Baran of Baran Bakery whisks up a new recipe book Frosted that takes bakers through their burning questions like how to salvage a broken buttercream, how to make the perfect meringue, and why there are so many types of frosting.

A Collection of 101 stories and poems by black women, Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now includes a short story by Ann Arborite Sonya Carol Vann Deloach about gardening by her mother’s side in Detroit. As she plants a garden of her own during last year’s pandemic quarantine, Deloach reflects on the love and care her mother showed for her family through the crunchy cucumbers, spicy arugula, and other delectables she grew under her kitchen window.

 "Zooming in on Nature" by Brigitte Lang, Denise Kabisch, Jim Schulz, and Sally Goldberg of the Ann Arbor Potters Guild. The tower is part of an installation at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, on display until October 3.
Photo taken on June 23, 2021 by Jeri Hollister.

Marketplace Changes

Stray Hen opens for breakfast and lunch in the former Babo Market at 403 E. Washington. The third restaurant in the Chicago-based franchise company offers a “personal touch” on classic American fare. Co-owner Chris Fronimos says he will add menu items and dinner as staffing allows. He notes that Stray Hen is owner-operated, and believes his “face to face, shoulder to shoulder” presence in the restaurant motivates his employees and appeals to customers. The Ann Arbor website is under construction, but they’re open 8a.m.-4p.m. every day. 

Rocket Fizz, a retro candies and novelties franchise, is coming to Main St. this August. The shop will feature more than 500 flavors of soda and 1,500 varieties of candy, including classics, new flavors, and imports from Europe, Mexico, Canada, and Asia, as well as gag gifts, toys, and wall décor. Co-owner Tom Holmer is excited to be in Ann Arbor. “We are so blessed to have fallen into this. I used to work in the automotive industry where everyone is mad because their car is broken, but when you are selling candy, everyone is happy all the time. It’s much bigger than that for us. It’s knowing the impact we’ve had on the community and bringing joy to people even if it’s just for 20 minutes.” Facebook


The Westside Farmers’ Market is now open every Thursday from 3-7 pm in the Zingerman’s Roadhouse parking lot on Maple Rd. at  Jackson Ave.  

Casa Dominick’s, closed since April 2020, has reopened. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 812 Monroe St. 

Owner Bill Martin reports that Casey's Tavern will reopen August 4. 

Things to Do

By Ella Bourland

15 Thursday: Stroll around the Ann Arbor Art Fair (July 15-17), our perennial three-day tent city within a city that houses more than 1,000 artists, from Michigan and around the nation, in three separate fairs. Also, live music, presented by the Ark, at the corner of Main & Liberty and State & South University at various times TBA throughout the fair. Other activities TBA. There will be no art activity zone or other large activities that encourage people to gather closely. Masks encouraged. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Thurs. & Fri.) & 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (Sat.), downtown Ann Arbor. Free admission.,, 

16 Friday: Participate in Ann Arbor Summer Festival & UMMA’s online event, “A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call by 600 Highwaymen” (July 13-18). NYC theater artists Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone—the duo behind the Obie-winning company 600 Highwaymen—curate this virtual interactive performance art piece in which two randomly chosen ticket holders speak on the phone and, guided by an automated voice, follow a scripted set of prompts. The questions start out silly ("Name the yellow-colored items around you.") and progressively get more intimate ("What's a detail you think someone wouldn't notice in a person they admired?"), encouraging storytelling, triggering imagination, and nurturing empathy. After an hour of connecting, or not, the phone call finishes in the same fashion as the beginning: with an instruction to hang up. Suitable for ages 16 & up. 5:30-6:30 & 7-8 p.m., 8:30-9 p.m. (Tues.-Fri.), and 2:30-3:30 & 4-5 p.m. (Sat. & Sun.). Tickets $10 (students, $5) online at A2SF. 

17 Saturday: Eat a chicken dinner at Manchester’s 68th annual Chicken Broil. About 9,000 chickens are cooked over nearly five tons of charcoal in four 100-foot-long broiling pits. Dinner includes half a chicken, dinner roll, homemade coleslaw, radishes, potato chips, and a beverage. Ice cream, water, and pop available. Also, a classic car show and live music by local soul, blues, and country quintet Billie Lewis & the Soulbacks. Drive-through service available. 4-8 p.m., Alumni Memorial Field (Vernon & Wolverine), Manchester. Shuttle from Riverside Intermediate School, 710 E. Main. Tickets $11 in advance at most downtown Manchester businesses, and other locations listed on their website; $12 at the gate. 320-2620.

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

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