As of yesterday, the county health department reported twenty-three new confirmed cases of Covid-19, three hospitalizations, and no deaths in the previous twenty-four hours. The positivity rate, below 1% for more than a month, is back up to 1.8%.
”We are definitely worried about the impact of the virus on unvaccinated people,” emails Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia. With the Delta variant spreading and the state’s vaccine lottery fizzling, the health department is building its ground game, dispatching a mobile RV clinic to neighborhoods with low vaccination rates. The Observer’s John Hilton has our story.
A five-story hotel is approved for downtown. Iowa-based Hawkeye Hotels will build the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott next door to the Delonis Center homeless shelter at Huron and First. A Spanish-style former gas station and two houses will be razed for the 92-room hotel, which will accommodate business guests with separate work and sleep spaces. MLive
Wolverine swimmer Maggie MacNeil wins Olympic gold for Canada. The two-time Big Ten Swimmer of the Year finished the 100-meter butterfly final in 55.59 seconds, beating China’s Zhang Yufei by a mere 0.05 seconds. MacNeil is Michigan’s second woman swimmer to win gold in an individual event: Gunny Duenke did it in 1964’s 400-meter freestyle. MacNeil also won silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay earlier in the week. MLive
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell announces $2.4 million in federal funding and $600,000 in local funding to expand access to Ann Arbor’s broadband infrastructure. Ann Arbor SPARK will oversee construction of twenty miles of underground fiber optic cable to provide parts of Pittsfield Township, downtown Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township with affordable, high speed internet. Ann Arbor SPARK
Former fire chief accused of embezzlement pleads to a lesser charge. According to a Michigan State Police investigation, Chuck Hubbard diverted money from the Ann Arbor Police and Fire Benefit fund, which assists the families of deceased public safety officers. His attorney described it as an honest mistake. MLive
Voters will be asked to consider changing how city contracts are awarded. The November ballot will include a question to amend the city charter relating to “best value purchasing.” Currently, contracts to private companies for city projects are awarded to the “lowest responsible bidder.” The union-backed proposal will allow the city to consider factors such as experience, values, and skill over price when awarding contracts. Michigan Daily
The city expands its online license registration portal “STREAM” to include short-term rentals. Beginning July 31, owners of short-term rental spaces such as Airbnb can upload documents, submit payment, and download licenses from the portal. Each rental unit must be registered separately each year.
Ann Arbor turns 200 in 2024, and the AADL is already celebrating with plans to launch 200 creative pieces that illuminate all aspects of Tree Town’s history in different media, ranging from the written word to spoken word and from illustration to animation. Some will be created by library staff, some will be commissioned, and some will emerge through partnerships with local organizations. Read more here and send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An off-leash gathering at Burns Park revealed a neighborhood—and a city—divided. Paul Ward and his wife, Laura Lamps, were walking their corgi in Burns Park when two dogs came running toward them from an off-leash gathering. "Neither of us are afraid of dogs," Lamps said. "It's just when they're running at you full speed, it's very scary." Ward’s post about the “attack” on the social media site Nextdoor garnered more than 300 responses—many of them vitriolic. The Observer’s Julie Halpert has our story.
Ann Arbor Art Center receives a matching grant to expand public art downtown. AAAC follows the success of last year’s A2AC Murals project with another crowdfunding campaign. When the campaign reached its $50,000 goal, a pair of local art enthusiasts stepped in with a challenge grant to match the value of additional donations dollar for dollar. The campaign ends Friday.