June 23, 2022

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

For my part, I took advantage of the unusually warm weather this week to engage in some classic summertime activities. Last weekend I had a leisurely tube float down the river, and yesterday I rode a bike along the B2B trail to Ypsi for the first time. If you’d like to share your own favorite summer outdoor activities email me. I may include some tips next week in advance of the 4th of July weekend.

This week AAPS made masks optional, Ann Arbor is limiting the accepted items for curbside recycling, and Avalon Housing received $1.5 million to fund affordable housing. U-M is raising its student and temporary employees’ minimum wage, and nurses demonstrated during contract negotiations. The city is recruiting volunteers during National Pollinator Week, and Food Gatherers started up their Summer Food Service Program.

Dayton Hare, editor

G. Love took to the Liberty Plaza stage this afternoon as part of Sonic Lunch
Photo: Dayton Hare

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,151 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, down a bit from last week’s 1,243. The county remains at a “medium” CDC risk level, which it entered last week. Data on the weekly test positivity rate and cases per 100,000 residents, compiled by MI Safe Start, is unavailable because the organization is changing to a Tuesday/Friday update schedule.

The county health department began offering Covid vaccines for children six months through four years old today. A parent or guardian must be present, and vaccinations are by appointment only. The move follows the CDC and FDA approval and recommendation of the vaccine for the age bracket last week.

Ann Arbor Public Schools made masks optional indoors in the wake of the county's risk level being downgraded. The district says it remains  “mask friendly.”

The state unemployment agency’s shortcomings during the pandemic have put residents through “unemployment hell,” Jan Schlain reports for the Observer. Asked to provide the same information over and over again, some recipients were asked to repay funds they had long since spent. Now, a court of claims judge has ordered the agency to halt collection efforts for those appealing an overpayment, MLive reports.

A Michigan Supreme Court judge denounced the handling of a Washtenaw criminal case, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Jacob LaBelle was convicted of shooting a delivery driver by a jury, only to be granted a new trial and then have the case sent to peacemaking court. In an opinion accompanying a June 10 order dismissing an appeal, justice David Viviano wrote that the case’s handling “shows a blatant disregard for the jury’s service and raises troubling questions about judge-shopping, favoritism and unequal treatment.”

Michigan Medicine nurses marched last Thursday to gain support in contract negotiations, the Michigan Daily and Michigan Advance report. U-M’s contract with 6,200 nurses is set to expire June 30, and the union wants enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios, increased wages, hazard pay, and other changes.

U-M is extending its $15 minimum wage to temporary and student employees, the Daily reports. The increase from $9.87 an hour goes into effect July 1.

Packard Rd. between US-23 and Carpenter closes Monday for repairs. Work is expected to last eight weeks and a detour will be posted.

Two I-94 ramps from Huron St. in Ypsi are closed until at least August, the city announced. Nighttime lane closures continue tonight and tomorrow to install safety equipment below the bridge in preparation for its reconstruction, which will add a safe crossing for cyclists and pedestrians.

Avalon Housing was awarded $1.5 million in tax credits for a planned 50-unit affordable housing project, the nonprofit announced in a press release. Meanwhile, the Thrive Collaborative held a ceremonial groundbreaking last Saturday for its adjacent 99-unit, net-zero energy development, Veridian at County Farm.

Ann Arbor is limiting the items it accepts for curbside recycling. Shredded paper and scrap metal now must be delivered to the Drop-Off-Station on Ellsworth, and the only plastics accepted are rinsed and dry 1, 2, and 5 bottles, tubs, and containers. It’s asking residents to put out their carts next week even if they don’t need to be emptied so crews can add stickers explaining the rules.

Northfield Township’s County Clean-Up Day is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Whitmore Lake High School. Households can dispose of appliances, scrap metal, bulky waste, electronics, tires, and household hazardous waste.

Brian Marl announced he’s running for a sixth term as mayor of Saline, the Saline Post reports. In office since 2012, Marl said his priorities for another term include economic recovery, filling vacant storefronts, and bringing new jobs and services to the city.

The documentary Welcome to Commie High plays tomorrow at the Michigan Theater as part of Community High School’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations and All-Class Reunion, Eve Silberman reports for the Observer. The film traces Community’s evolution from the “free school” movement of the ‘60s and 70s to a “rigorous academic college preparatory magnet school.”

After losing his sight over the last few years, bibliophile Ed Surovell is determined to give away his private book collection, Bridge reports. Over the last year the veteran realtor has donated around 400 books, many of them rare, to Ann Arbor libraries. The gift is valued at about $300,000 already, but Surovell is determined to keep going until his 10,000-book collection is winnowed down to the couple dozen.

Steve Latta and Mark Michaels — researchers, conservationists, and punk fans — joined forces in 2019 to track down the near-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker, the pair report for the Observer. Together, they hope to prove the continued existence of the bird, of which there has been no undisputed sighting since 1944.

A pair of hatchlings were born to the peregrine falcon couple who took up residence atop North Quad in 2017, MLive reports. U-M staffers who manage the nesting box installed at the top of the building have named the baby birds Conor and Norah.

Conservationists Mark Michaels and Steve Latta teamed up in 2019 to track down the rare ivory-billed woodpecker. Photo courtesy of National Aviary.

Marketplace Changes

Noori Chicken will replace the Belly Deli on South University Ave. according to signs in the window. When the Vietnamese sandwich shop suddenly disappeared last February, it was an open question what might take its place. Noori, a Korean fried chicken chain, aims to open later this summer.

Reader Eileen Hoekstra emails that a new restaurant is coming to the Village Center on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. The spot left vacant by the 2019 bankruptcy of Performance Bike will be the latest location of First Watch, a Florida-based breakfast/brunch restaurant. When reached for comment, a First Watch spokesperson said they are “​​working hard to get things finished” in time for a projected opening date in “early Fall 2022.”

Thrive Collaborative hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking last Saturday at their new sustainable development, Veridian at County Farm. Photo: James Leonard.


Food Gatherers’ Summer Food Service Program started Monday. The program sponsors twenty-three sites across Washtenaw County to help feed children who rely on reduced price meals during the school year.

National Pollinator Week started Monday, and Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation unit is seeking volunteers for two sessions Saturday to remove aggressive non-native plants, which frees up resources for native plants that pollinators visit.

Ask a2view

Q. Susan Bryan writes that her “family’s favorite restaurant Seoul Garden has been ‘closed for renovations’ for a few months now. Are they really renovating? Are they coming back? We bought takeout from them all pandemic, and were surprised and worried when they were ‘temporarily’ closed. Inquiring minds, and tastebuds, want to know.”

A. Seoul Garden’s closure was, thankfully, temporary. Co-owner Min Kyu tells the Observer that “after shutting down for renovations during COVID, we finally reopened. It would be awesome to get this word out to the people of Ann Arbor.”

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

24 Friday: Catch some smart, edgy observational comedy at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase by Kentucky native, NYC-based comic David Waite, whose topics include  television, heroin, and history. Preceded by 2 opening acts. Alcohol is served. 7:30 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.) & 10 p.m. (Sat.), 212 S. Fourth Ave. $15 reserved seating in advance at etix.com before 6 p.m. the night of the show; $17 general admission at the door. 996–9080.

25 Saturday: Geek out at the 5th Annual Michigan Pez Convention, a show and sale of vintage and collectible Pez candy dispensers that runs June 23–25, with the main on Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Wyndham Garden Ann Arbor, 2900 Jackson. Free admission on Saturday only.

26 Sunday: Take a city-naturalist-led Summer Nature Walk through the 40-acre Bluffs Nature Area, a glacially formed ridge above the Huron River and N. Main St. with a wide variety of native species. Dress for the weather and bring water. 1–2 p.m., meet at the entrance on Sunset Rd. near Wildt St. Free. Preregistration required. 794–6627.

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

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