June 25, 2020

Can you guess what is pictured in the photo above? Click the image above for the answer and more.
In some ways things are going back to normal as the wheels of the economy lurch into motion and life returns to the streets. But the look and feel of our neighborhoods has changed, with many beloved businesses gone for good. Beaches and even some camps are open, but with Covid cases on the rise in other states many wonder if exercising such freedoms is wise. U-M announced it has cancelled plans to host a presidential debate in October, and parents wait anxiously for news of how schools will reopen in the fall. 

Reflection and debate about racism continues in homes, businesses, and government. Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert resigned amid protests surrounding a racially charged remark she made in a city council meeting. And Sheriff Jerry Clayton responds to calls to defund the police with specifics about how his department spends its money.  

Trilby MacDonald, Editor

In the News

Ypsilanti Mayor Beth Bashert resigned on June 23 after a week of protests and calls for her resignation because of comments she made at a June 16 City Council Meeting. She announced her resignation on Facebook.

U-M announced it will not be hosting the second presidential debate on October 15, citing concerns about Covid-19. Detroit Free Press

Governor Whitmer announced on June 17 that schools can reopen in the fall if the current rate of new Covid-19 cases remains steady. Washtenaw County public schools have not yet finalized their fall plans. The Ann Arbor Public Schools are considering a modified school schedule with fewer students in classes and on buses, and a combination of remote learning and in-classroom teaching. A draft plan promises parents choosing to keep their school-aged children home the option of “a fully-virtual AAPS learning experience”  through the 2020-21 school year. 

State Attorney General Dana Nessel calls for more police oversight, including greater authority to revoke officers’licenses for violations. Michigan Radio

Overturning an order from the the Whitmer administration, a federal judge ruled that gyms and fitness centers can reopen on June 25. Whitmer plans to appeal. Bridge Magazine

The city is planning “soft closures” of parts of eighteen streets, including Arborview, Broadway, Granger, and Sunset. Non-local traffic would be banned “to provide adequate space for people to move around their neighborhood while physically distancing.” For a list,

The suffocation of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25 has led to calls for a reduction in police department budgets in favor of social services that address the underlying causes of violence and inequity in our communities. Amid calls to defund the police, Sheriff Jerry Clayton wants people to know where his department gets its money and how it spends it: Click here for the interview.


Even in the best of times, restaurant profit margins are slim. Ann Arbor’s restaurant industry has been especially hard hit by Covid-19. Click here for the feature.

Help wanted signs are popping up in shop windows across the county, and business owners are struggling to fill positions. Kroger, Meijer, and Plum Market are no longer offering workers $2/hr more in hazard pay, and it is possible for workers to make more money collecting unemployment benefits. Michigan’s unemployment rate stands at 22.7%, significantly higher than the national average of 13.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. To encourage more people to return to work, Rep John Cherry (D-Flint) proposed a bill to increase the minimum wage to $15/hr for essential workers. Bill 5801 was referred to the Committee on Commerce and Tourism. 

It’s a great time to be in the computer repair business. With so many people working from home, Ann Arbor computer repair shop Computer Alley has been busy rescuing personal computers from the many hazards of the home office. Click here for the scoop on caffeinated computers

The Ann Arbor Farmers Market is open again,  but sinks, circles, arrows, and masks make for a very different shopping experience. Read our story here.

As of June 24 the cumulative total of laboratory-confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in Washtenaw County stood at 1741 with 106 fatalities. 


By Ella Bourland & Maggie McMillin

Friday: Sample goat cheese (5:30-7 p.m.) from Idyll Farms (Northport) at home while video conferencing with Zingerman’s Deli staffers and listen to a livestream performance by veteran folk and blues singer-songwriter Chris Smither (8 p.m.), who’s known as a wonderfully lyrical and expressive guitarist with a voice which ranges from growling undertones to a keening falsetto. 

Saturday: Compete in the Cancer Support Community’s virtual scavenger hunt fundraiser, “Amazing Race” (4-6:30 p.m.), or learn the Indian folk dance garba (6 p.m.) with Garba360 creator and producer Heena Patel.

Sunday: Join a relaxed ultimate frisbee pickup game (11:15 a.m.) with the local team H.A.C. Ultimate. 

See our online calendar for more information about local events.

The Helpers

By Ella Bourland

EMU biology professor Tamara Tucker-Ibarisha and Nonprofit Enterprise at Work CEO Yodit Mesfin Johnson’s African diaspora literacy program, Black Men Read, connects storytellers with elementary school students across Washtenaw County. To donate books, see Black Stone Bookstore for a list of titles included in the program. 

Local Maurits 'Rits' Sier biked 472 miles from Ann Arbor to Marquette, backed by donors and taking pledges per mile for Detroit Will Breath, We the People Detroit, and Black Lives Matter. The bike trip concluded on June 19 after 66 hours on the road. He raised $2,458.
Sier with his bike. Photo: Gitta Sier

Making Youth Matter, a mentorship program between EMU School of Social Work and Ypsilanti Community Schools, celebrates the end of a disrupted school year by delivering “You Matter” boxes, filled with personalized photos, books, brain teasers, board games, and more, to YCS students. 

For more news on local businesses and people that are helping the community, click here.

Play On

By Stephanie Sorter

The 20th-anniversary celebration of Shakespeare in the Arb moves online. Shakespeare in the Arb created a website full of photographs and stories from past shows in lieu of live performances this year. Read the full story here
A scene from the 2015 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo: Michele Yanga
Check out these online resources for more local performing arts:  
  • Detroit Street Filling Station livestreams music on their Facebook page for people to enjoy even if they aren’t dining in person.
  • The Michigan Electronic Music Collective, a U-M student group providing a platform for DJs and fans of electronic music around Ann Arbor, continues to release their “Exposure Mix” playlists, each created by DJs and producers in the group.
  • The Ark moved their programming online, creating the Family Room Series that streams musicians while live shows are restricted. You can find upcoming events as well as recordings of past shows on their website
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