June 9, 2022

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

Last week I griped about the humidity, but after a quick trip down to Georgia and back over the weekend I’m thankful to have returned to Michigan’s cooler climes. I sometimes forget how lovely Ann Arbor’s springtime weather is by comparison.

In Ann Arbor this week an Amtrak train struck two pedestrians on a railroad bridge, the fire department began staffing an ambulance, and four Starbucks locations voted to unionize. In Ypsilanti a man killed himself after a standoff with police, the library did away with late fees, and a new community farming program received grant funding. The Ann Arbor West Side Art Hop is scheduled for this weekend, Michigan baseball ended their season in defeat, and the Pioneer girls’ tennis team returned home Division 1 champions.

Dayton Hare, editor

Supporters of the Starbucks union rallied
as the votes were counted on Tuesday. Photo: Dayton Hare.

The News…Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,664 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, making a weekly case rate of 300.3 per 100,000 residents, down from 2,093 and 386.3 per 100k last week. The numbers remain elevated and Washtenaw is still at a “high” CDC risk level, but this marks the fourth consecutive week of case decreases. The test positivity rate is 13.1 percent, down from last week’s 14.7 percent.

Two people sustained major injuries after being hit by a train Sunday night, the Detroit News reports. The pair were hospitalized after being struck and thrown from a railroad bridge over the Huron. Officials called it “a near double fatal incident” and strongly warned against walking on railroad tracks.

An Ypsilanti man killed himself after a standoff with police last week, ClickOnDetroit reports. Police were called after the man shot at his girlfriend because he was upset she was moving out. The ensuing standoff lasted several hours before police discovered the man had taken his own life. His girlfriend and a friend who helped her move were uninjured.

Four Ann Arbor Starbucks locations voted to unionize, the Michigan Daily reports. Part of a broader trend, the four Ann Arbor stores join over 100 other U.S. Starbucks locations to have unionized with Workers United since Dec. of last year. The South University location was the only Starbucks in town to reject unionization.

Mark Schlissel’s fall from grace in January cost him and U-M dearly, John Hilton reports in the June Observer. The apology letter he wrote as part of a settlement made public last month describes the inappropriate relationship over which he was fired as “never physical” and “entirely consensual,” suggesting the ex-president was essentially fired over a flirtation.

U-M received a $3.5 million reimbursement for costs from the Martin Philbert settlement, the Michigan Daily reports. The university’s in-house insurer paid the former provost’s victims $9.25 million in 2020; now reinsurer Munich Insurance America has repaid a portion of that.

Women who fought for Ann Arbor’s “reproductive freedom” charter amendment in 1990 are furious at the likely overturn of Roe v. Wade this month, Jan Schlain reports for the Observer. While the amendment is comforting for many pro-choice locals, a preliminary injuction won by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU will do more to protect residents if Michigan’s 1931 anti-abortion law were allowed to go into effect.

Construction to turn State Street curbless began this Wednesday, ClickOnDetroit reports. The section between William and Liberty will become the city’s first curbless street, a design that makes it easier to repurpose the parking lane for outdoor dining and special events. The first phase of construction will last through Labor Day, with a second planned for 2023.

The intersection of Pontiac Tr. and North Territorial Rd. closes next Monday for the construction of a roundabout, scheduled to last 10-12 weeks. A detour will be posted.

TheRide is offering Free Ride Weekends June 11-Aug. 28, ClickOnDetroit reports. As part of the Ann Arbor District Library’s annual Summer Game, anyone with a library card can ride the bus for free on weekends.

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra announced Earl Lee as its new music director today. The current assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony and 2022 winner of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, Lee was selected after a three-year international search that considered some 200 candidates and concerts led by the six finalists – Lee’s, last April, featured music by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and U-M grad Carlos Simon.

The Ann Arbor Fire Department began staffing an HVA ambulance Monday. The department has a six-month trial with Huron Valley Ambulance to use one of their vehicles. If the AAFD wants to operate an ambulance indefinitely, it would need to become licensed and purchase its own vehicle.

The health department is offering free vision and hearing screenings for children entering preschool or kindergarten, with appointments available until August. The screenings are required before kids start school because untreated vision and hearing problems can inhibit learning.

The city’s Solarise program has helped about 430 houses convert to solar power over the last two years, the city announced. The program has saved residents $1.3 million in upfront solar installation costs, and over the twenty-five-year warrantied lifetime of the system they’re collectively expected to save $12 million.

A new intergenerational farming program in Ypsi received grant funding, Concentrate reports. The Community Gardens Earn and Learn Program aims to start a new weekly farmer’s market in Ypsilanti Township. Part of the grant funding will go to paying youth workers to do gardening work.

Michigan baseball ended their season with an 11-9 loss to Louisville, the Michigan Daily reports. After a dramatic Wolverine comeback from a seven run deficit, the Cardinals sealed the win with four runs in the eighth inning.

The Pioneer High School girls’ tennis team won the Division 1 title Friday, the Detroit Free Press reports, triumphing over Bloomfield Hills by a single point, 33-32, and taking home all four singles crowns.

A rare duck was spotted at Gallup Park last week, MLive reports. A native to Southern Texas and Mexico, the black-bellied whistling duck’s appearance was an exciting event for the birding community—some birders even skipped work so they could see it.

The Ypsilanti District Library went fine-free last week in a move to make the library more accessible and welcoming. Calling fines for late returns “mostly punitive and minimally effective,” the library joins a broader wave that has seen some 44 percent of Michigan libraries eliminate fees, according to the Detroit Free Press (subscribers only).

The AADL Summer Game begins tomorrow. Kids and teens who read ten books get points and a free book, while adults can earn coupons to the library shop for consuming ten media of any variety. Anyone can win points by completing online challenges and finding AADL codes hidden throughout town that can be spent in the Summer Game shop to buy stuffed animals, coffee, tote bags, t-shirts, and more.

Jon Brodeur and Zack Zavisa dubbed Monty’s Public House “Your second home.” Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Marketplace Changes

The Westside Art Hop returns this weekend, Chris Hippler reports in the June Observer. The mobile art fair features artists displaying their work at their homes, porches, or studios in the Old West Side and Eberwhite neighborhoods.

Monty’s Public House succeeds Banfield’s Bar and Grill as an east-side gathering spot, Vania McAllister reports in the June Observer. Drawing inspiration from English pubs, Monty’s offers a variety of English-American fare in addition to its selection of beers.

Ted Ramsay shows his work at the Art Hop this weekend. Photo: Courtesy Art Hop.


The city wants to hire inspectors for the upcoming August election. Inspectors staff the polls on election day, count absentee ballots, or check the ballot returns at the end of the night. Pay is $13 an hour, and high school students are encouraged to apply.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

10 Friday: Observe the night sky (weather permitting) through the historic Fitz telescope and modern telescopes at U-M Detroit Observatory’s “Astronomy Night Open House,” where you can also learn about antique telescopes, and hear presentations on astronomical phenomena. 8:30–11 p.m., U-M Detroit Observatory, 1398 E. Ann at Observatory. Preregistration required. Free. 764-3482.

11 Saturday: Watch the Monitor Base Ball Club of Chelsea face off against the Wyandotte Stars in a genuinely old-fashioned ball game. The clubs play using 1860s-era rules and outfitted in 1860s-style uniforms. 1 p.m., Timbertown Park, Sibley Rd. (west off Main St. north of downtown), Chelsea. Free. chelseamonitors.com.

12 Sunday: Hear something new at the “Top of the Park,” Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s beloved summer tradition, returning for the first time since 2019 every Tues.–Sun., June 10–July 3. Tonight on the Rackham Stage, Miss Paula & the Candy Bandits (7 p.m.), a Detroit kiddie punk-rock quartet, plays nursery rhymes, movie themes, and originals. Also, NYC-based ADG7 (8:15 p.m.) performs Korean shamanic pop-folk. The music is followed at 10 p.m. by a screening of Encanto, Disney’s latest animated feature about a family living in a magical Colombian village. 7 p.m.–midnight.

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

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