May 19, 2022

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

Last weekend I made it out to see Detroit Opera’s staging of Anthony Davis’s “X: The Life and Times of Malcom X,” the first performance of the work since the ‘80s. Carried along by insistent rhythms, the music was well performed and distinct from any other opera I’ve seen. I’d recommend anyone with an interest in new(ish) opera or in Malcom X to try to catch one of the remaining shows this evening or Sunday afternoon.

This week ex-president Schlissel’s apology letter was published, a coda to the firing saga that started in January. On campus, Saturday saw a pro-choice protest, while in town the city announced plans to install EV charging stations and construction began on a large housing development on the west side. A teenager was killed in Ypsi Township, and a man was arrested in Ann Arbor for a series of store break-ins.

Dayton Hare, editor

The front atrium of the newly-renovated High Point School, which is hosting a community-wide open house today from 5:30 to 7:00. Photo: Ashley Kryscynski.

The News...Briefly

Washtenaw County is now at a “high” CDC Covid community level. For weeks the county had remained at a “medium” level despite rising case numbers, but late last week crossed the threshold to the higher designation. An up-to-date two-week snapshot for the county was not available in time for publication, but in the 24 hours ending at 10 a.m. this morning, there were 181 confirmed cases, seventy-three probable cases, five hospitalizations, and no deaths.

Former U-M president Mark Schlissel apologized to the university community for “poor judgment” and the “appearance of impropriety,” the University Record reports. Schlissel was fired in January over an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, though the ex-president’s apology letter states that the relationship was “never physical.” The letter was part of a settlement granting Schlissel a faculty position, retiree health insurance, and nearly a million dollars in payments.

David Stringer describes how he fell prey to phone scammers in the May Observer. Convinced he was suspected of bank fraud, the retired Huron High teacher was taken for $1,700 before he was saved by a clerk at Meijer.

Scio Township’s political woes continue as administrator David Rowley departs, James Leonard reports for the Observer. Hired in November, he fell out with supervisor Will Hathaway and his board majority when they rejected what Rowley saw as urgently needed improvements to Scio’s financial management. The administrator gave notice last month.

The first Ann Arbor Summer Festival events kick off tomorrow with a free pop-up concert by the Heather Black Project at South Maple Park (attendance limited, preregistration recommended). Live Here Now pop-ups continue weekly until A2SF’s ticketed events and free Top of the Park–back after a two-year hiatus–take over on June 10. See the complete lineup here.

Ann Arbor is installing eighty electric vehicle charging stations at seven parking structures around town, more than doubling the number of EV charging points in its parking system. Usage will be free during the staggered installation process, but following completion users will be charged for the power they use.

Construction began on a nineteen-building apartment development on the west side, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Approved in 2018 after two previous plans faltered, the 20-acre site next to Grace Bible Church will have 253 luxury apartments and townhouses, making it one of the biggest west side developments in years.

Ann Arbor’s population has grown significantly wealthier in the last year, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The median income of a four-person family has jumped up by $11,000 to $117,800 this year, the largest annual increase ever, further pressuring lower-income residents being pushed out by rising housing costs.

A protest supporting Roe v. Wade occured on the Diag last Saturday, the Michigan Daily reports. Speakers included representatives of pro-choice organizations and US rep. Debbie Dingell, US senator Debbie Stabenow, and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. While Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban is still on the books, on Tuesday a judge suspended its implimentation in the event of Roe’s overturn, ruling that it likely violates the Michigan state constitution.

A teenager was killed in Ypsi Township last Saturday, and his suspected killers were arrested, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Nineteen-year-old Laryus Dottery was fatally shot around 2 a.m. near the BP Dairy Mart. One of the two teenage suspects also suffered a gunshot wound, and police apprehended the pair after checking area hospitals.

A man was arrested for a string of store break-ins, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The man was on probation after breaking into six Ann Arbor stores in October: Friday, he was arraigned on charges stemming from three more break-ins last week.

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra plays its season finale Friday. The concert, featuring Beethoven and Dvořák under the baton of guest conductor Andreas Delfs, is the last before the orchestra announces its next music director in the coming weeks.

Saturday is Saline Township’s Spring Clean Up Day, the Saline Post reports. From 8 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. at the township hall residents can drop off household rubbish, old furniture, appliances, and more.

Also Saturday, Habitat For Humanity coordinates the West Willow neighborhood beautification project in Ypsi. Volunteers will paint, garden, build a Free Little Library, and bring a dumpster to assist residents with large item disposal.

An EMU golfer is close to qualifying for the US Open, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Last week Blaise Vanitvelt shot a 1-under 69, earning himself a spot on the final qualifying round June 6.

“I don’t completely understand how we got to this point,” Scio supervisor Will Hathaway says of administrator David Rowley’s departure. “I thought we were communicating clearly.” Photo: Mark Bialek.

Marketplace Changes

The Common Grill lives on after Peas & Carrots Hospitality purchased the restaurant, Shelley Daily reports for the Observer Community Guide. After Craig Common announced his retirement in February, patrons mourned the impending loss of the local institution. Not long after, Peas & Carrots swooped in with an offer to carry on his legacy, keeping the grill open for the foreseeable future.

Real Irish is stepping away from retail for now, the Observer’s Micki Maynard reports. Owner Stuart Marley closed the shop for several months early in the pandemic, and the time away allowed him to start focusing on online sales. He plans to open a new store by Christmas on Ann Arbor’s south side. As we noted previously, Real Irish’s former location is now Olympia Skate Shop.

Underground Printing moved its headquarters from Ann Arbor to Ypsi Township, Concentrate reports. The custom T-shirt maker made the change in late April, and its new space gives the company, which has around 200 employees at the facility, more room to expand.

David Stringer recounts how he was saved from losing even more money to scammers by a Meijer clerk. Photo: Kim Stringer.

Ask a2view

Q. “Why has the old Arby’s on Washtenaw been empty for so long, and are there any plans to do anything with it? It feels like a great spot in a well-trafficked area, and I’ve been surprised that it’s been empty for almost a decade now!” Jon Michael Darga wrote in an email.

A. Arby’s is just one of several former fast food buildings sitting empty, as I report in the May Observer. According to the Observer’s Micki Maynard, when she inquired about it she was told that the lack of parking or a drive-thru made it an unviable location for a national chain, a key difference from other buildings that have recently reopened after temporarily closing.

Things to Do

20 Friday: Watch a podcast being made or see some standup at the two-show Blind Pig appearance of cerebral, oddball, genuinely funny NYC-based comedian Chris Gethard. The early show is a live taping of Gethard’s Earwolf podcast Beautiful Anonymous, and the late show is a stand up set. 7 & 9:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 & 9 p.m.), The Blind Pig, 208 S. First. $20 in advance at, $25 at the door. All ages admitted. Mask & proof of Covid vaccination (or negative Covid test within 48 hours) required. 996-8555.

21 Saturday: Hear traditional Scottish music played on both traditional and nontraditional instruments, including guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bouzouki, whistles, bodhrán, and banjo by North Sea Gas, an acclaimed Edinburgh trio. 8 p.m., Acoustic Routes, Stony Lake Brewing, 447 E. Michigan Ave., Saline. $20 in advance at & at the door. 316-7919.

22 Sunday: Bike down to Bikeapalooza and take part in a new-rider clinic, get your face painted, see a chalk art demo by TikTok sensation David Zinn, and see some cargo bike demos. Refreshments, T-shirt giveaways. Noon–2 p.m., 350 S. Fifth Ave. parking lot at William (the old YMCA lot). Free.

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

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