May 12, 2022

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

Last night I managed to catch a Julianna Barwick show in Detroit. If you like long, meditatively looping music, I’d recommend you check her out. In a totally different vein, I’m looking forward to seeing this production of Anthony Davis’s “X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X” at Detroit Opera this weekend.

This week the city announced its wish list of infrastructure projects for federal funding, the county considered the possibility of replacing a parking lot with affordable housing, and Ann Arbor Township continues its legal battle against a proposed mobile home development. A TV-famous farm animal sanctuary opens to the public in Chelsea, a man pleaded guilty to animal abuse charges, and the Washtenaw Justice Project unveiled a new restitution program.

Dayton Hare, editor

Along with selling local artworks (and cookies!) to benefit Ukraine, TeaHaus is working with the Zen Buddhist Temple and United Help Ukraine to organize a food drive for the Rivne refugee camp in Ukraine's midwest. Website goes live Friday. Photo: John Hilton.

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 2,630 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday. The weekly case rate per 100,000 residents jumped by ninety, to 482, and the test positivity rate rose to 14.6 percent. The county still fits the parameters of a “medium” CDC risk level.

Rising Covid diagnoses prompted Emerson School to cancel classes Monday, MLive reports. The number of teachers who tested positive or had to quarantine left the school without enough instructors. The recent county-wide uptick also led Emerson to reinstate its indoor masking policy. Assistant Head of School Andy Zimmer confirmed by phone Thursday that classes have resumed their regular schedule.

AAPS is recruiting workers to staff before- and after-school programs, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The district reduced its programs during the pandemic, but announced new and redesigned positions in March to attract child care applicants as it hopes to wind its offerings back up for the fall. Openings range from part time child care assistants to full time program director positions.

A high schooler drowned yesterday after jumping from the Bandemer Park Amtrak bridge, ClickOnDetroit reports. The youth was part of a group of students jumping from the bridge when he momentarily resurfaced before slipping under again. Bystanders pulled him from the water and administered CPR before first responders arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital later in the evening.

A teenager was shot at Gallup Park Monday, MLive reports. The 18-year-old Ann Arbor high schooler received a non-life threatening gunshot wound after driving to the park with a friend. The pair were shot at by the male passenger of a dark-colored sedan in the parking lot. The suspect vehicle, driven by a female, fled the scene. Anyone with information should contact Ann Arbor Police Det. Steven Van Alstine at 734-794-6930, extension 49317.

The county board of commissioners approved a plan to combat gun violence, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive), with recommendations for local governments to adopt. Elements of the plan include creating a county-wide violence commission, investing in violence-infested places with better policing, enhancing trauma-informed healing for affected individuals, and more.

A man pleaded guilty to two counts of animal abuse, the Humane Society of Huron Valley announced in a press release. The case stems from the discovery two years ago of forty-five dogs and cats living at the man’s home, which was flooded with sewage. HSHV is now caring for the animals and looking for people to adopt them.

The Washtenaw Justice Project unveiled a new restitution program for juveniles, the Michigan Daily reports. The program is offered in partnership with the prosecutor's and defender’s offices, and is designed to help underage offenders earn money to pay restitution to their victims.

Ypsi Township is facing a dark money campaign to overturn new rules on marijuana business, MLive reports. Nearly $100,000 of unknown provenance was spent gathering signatures in March and April for a ballot proposal challenging cannabis zoning rules; when that came up short, a second petition was launched to impose a moratorium on cannabis licenses in the township. That, too, failed.

Stacie Sheldon's recently published bilingual children’s book, "The Adventures of Nimkii," follows her nature-loving German shepherd through the seasons. Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Ann Arbor announced a wish list of infrastructure projects it wants the feds to fund from last year’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $530 million list includes things from net-zero fire stations on the lower end to three $100-million-plus “mega” projects: building a new Amtrak station, replacing the water treatment plant, and funding the proposed Treeline urban trail.

The county has its eye on their Main/Ann parking lot for potential affordable housing, MLive reports. The board of commissioners voted unanimously last Wednesday to direct the county administrator to prepare a report on options to use the lot to address housing affordability.

Development on a 600-unit mobile home park is bogged down in legal battles with Ann Arbor Township, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The developer sued after the township refused to rezone the agricultural site as residential, and appealed when the suit was dismissed in October. The eventual outcome at the Michigan Court of Appeals will likely decide if the project moves forward.

The animal refuge Barn Sanctuary in Chelsea opens to the public this month, ClickOnDetroit reports. Started in 2016 as a farm animal rescue, the Barn Sanctuary became well-known as the subject of the Animal Planet show Saved by the Barn. Now visitors can take tours to learn about its mission and animals in person, though it’s already fully booked until late June.

Sunday is Huron River Day. Gallup Park will host an assortment of family-friendly river activities from noon to 4 p.m., including boating, paddle boarding, and live music, and will have live animals from the Leslie Science & Nature Center.

TheRide is planning a major overhaul of its Ypsilanti transit center, Concentrate reports. The AAATA’s 18 million expansion plan would see the current center totally demolished and rebuilt from the ground up, with space for more buses and passengers, as well as onsite staff.

Staying Power/Staying Home is back with a new multi-genre production, Concentrate reports. The youth program centered on arts activism and housing justice will present "Spoke From the Soil: When Love is a Thing Called Home,” a theatrical production about gentrification and housing instability, on Saturday and Sunday at Ypsilanti Community High School.

This summer will see a curbless redesign of S. State from William to Washington, James Leonard reports for the Observer. The three-year project is aimed at alleviating problems with standing water and providing a more flexible space by putting the road, parking lane, and sidewalks on the same level.

Stacie Sheldon is working to bring visibility to the Anishinaabemowin language, Shelley Daily reports for the Observer. Drawing on her background as a designer and user experience researcher, Sheldon co-founded to teach people about the language of Michigan and the Great Lakes watershed through lessons, stories, and songs.


A Vyshyvanka Day pop-up art auction and food truck fundraiser for Ukraine is next Thursday. Hosted and organized by YORK, StudioStudio, The Hosting, and Art for Ukraine, the celebration of Ukrainian folk traditions and culture aims to raise resources for humanitarian efforts.

The nation’s largest one-day food drive, Stamp Out Hunger, is this Saturday. Occurring for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic, the drive is organized by the National Association of Letter Carriers. To donate, simply leave non-perishable food items by the mailbox before mail delivery Saturday for collection. Donations in Washtenaw County will go to Food Gatherers.

A frequent customer at the Detroit Wing Company in his hometown of Troy, Steve Nardone decided to see what it would take to open his own franchise. Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Marketplace Changes

Sava’s plans a soft reopening this weekend ahead of its official return next week. Closed for renovations since December, the State St. mainstay is taking dinner reservations online for tonight, Friday, and Saturday, and welcomes walk-ins. The restaurant resumes regular service on Wednesday, serving dinner only for now. Micki Maynard will have more on Sava’s rebirth in the June Observer.

The New Age center Enlightened Soul has expanded into retail, John Hilton reports for the Observer. Originally a center for New Age practitioners, owner Amy Garber and business partner John Floros added a shop to Enlightened Soul last fall, where they offer raw and polished crystals, chakra candles, ornate pendulums, and more.

A Detroit Wing Company franchise opened late March on Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Maynard reports for the Observer. Specializing in chicken wings, the franchise is the latest expansion of the Detroit-founded company started in 2015. Owner Steve Nardone and partner Dominic Buccellato are just getting started, though: They plan another restaurant at the old Verizon store on Washtenaw this summer, and have acquired the rights for a third in the area.

Things to Do

12 Thursday: Witness an all-star storytelling showdown at The Moth Michigan GrandSLAM, which features the last 10 winners of the Ann Arbor StorySLAMs, the monthly open mic competitions sponsored by NYC-based nonprofit The Moth. 8 p.m. (doors open 7 p.m.), The Ark, 316 S. Main. $30 in advance at and at the door. 761-1451.

14 Saturday: Watch young local actors of the Young People’s Theater—the same cast that rehearsed this show before it was waylaid by the pandemic 2 years ago—perform “Matilda.” The musical, based on Roald Dahl’s children’s novel, centers on a precocious 5-year-old girl with the gift of telekinesis. The New York Times reviewer called the original Broadway production “a sweet and sharp-witted work …  which ... turns dark and sodden anxieties into bright and buoyant fantasies.” 1 p.m. & 7 p.m., Power Center. Tickets $15 (age 18 & under and 65 & over, $10) in advance at, and (if available) at the door. 763-8587.

15 Sunday: Enter—or just watch—the 56th Annual Manchester River Raisin Canoe & Kayak Races down the Raisin to the Mill Pond. Classes for 2-person and single canoeists and kayakers in different age categories. Trophies to the top 3 finishers in each class. Refreshments. Noon, Fellows Bridge, Sharon Hollow. $20 entry fee. Preregistration required. 330-0029.

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

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