May 20, 2021

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

This week

Summer temperatures and the partial lifting of the mask mandate have many feeling lighter and more optimistic. We added some color to our layout this week. Tell us what you think!

I'd like to welcome intern Kathryn Pentiuk to the a2view team, who comes to us from U-M. See her article on the Michigan Flower Growers' Cooperative below. 

Trilby MacDonald, editor 

Covid-19 Updates

Numbers are back down to where they were in February. As of this morning, there were thirty new confirmed cases, four hospitalizations, and one death in the past twenty-four hours. Last week’s positivity rate was 3 percent. 

Washtenaw County Health Department mass vaccination and pop-up vaccination sites remain open, and local pharmacies offer walk-in and scheduled vaccination appointments. Click here to find the one nearest you and make an appointment. 

TheRide is providing free transportation to the WCHD vaccine site at the EMU Convocation Center, Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A-Ride and FlexRide trips to the vaccine site are also free. The free rides are made possible by CARES Act funding. TheRide

The News...Briefly

City Council approves $470 million budget for fiscal year 2021-2022. Administrator Tom Crawford’s plan cut several public safety positions, and council members also eliminated funding for the deer cull, redirecting some of the savings to preliminary design work on the Center of the City downtown park. Budget additions included an equity and inclusion position and additional funding for affordable housing. MLive (subscriber exclusive)

Ann Arbor Public Schools won’t offer childcare next year. AAPS says that because its before- and after-school programs involve large groups in a common space, they can’t operate safely until the vaccine becomes available to elementary students. Parents are circulating a petition asking AAPS to reverse the decision, calling it inequitable. Click on Detroit

Parent group wants public release of an investigation into racial hostility at Pioneer High School after a student filed a civil suit. The investigation was prompted by student allegations of racist and discriminatory behavior by faculty. The report will be available for the district to review on May 21, and parents are petitioning for the public release to take place simultaneously. Michigan Daily

Eastern Michigan University receives $40 million in federal stimulus, half of which will be allocated to students. Both public and private colleges have received money from the CARES Act. Washtenaw Community College received $4,968,890, with $2,484,445 for students to apply for as needed, and the U-M received $25,244,052 with $12,622,026 designated for student needs. For a complete list of the Michigan colleges that have received aid, click here.  

Defendants with minor offenses can participate in probation-based programs without a guilty plea. A criminal conviction can trigger the loss of employment, housing, and even deportation. The pre-plea diversion will build on the LEAD program, which came into effect this year and allows police officers to send offenders to mental health and substance abuse treatments rather than booking them into jail.

Juneteenth is now an official holiday in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The local NAACP’s celebration of the reading on the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas, held in Wheeler Park since 1994, will this year start with a march from Fuller Park to Wheeler, followed by two hours of virtual entertainment, including talks and more. “In my judgment, total freedom remains a work in progress,” NAACP Ann Arbor branch president William Hampton told MLive.

Bald eagle rescued from fishing line. Reported missing by fans who follow his family’s popular nest cam, he was found tangled in fishing line and rescued by a Humane Society of Huron Valley staff member. He sustained minor injuries and will be rehabilitated at the Howell Nature Center before being released in Ann Arbor. Michigan Radio

Marketplace Changes

Literati Bookstore reopens. After fourteen months of online shopping, virtual events, curbside pickup, and delivery, the beloved bookstore reopens to the public. “Masks and kindness required,” according to an email announcement. The store is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and Sundays beginning June 6 from 12-5 p.m. Curbside pickup and delivery are still available. The coffee shop remains closed until further notice. 

Knight’s restaurant opens Southside Market, a take-out only restaurant and catering business at 3660 Plaza St. Dr., featuring soups, salads, and other popular menu items from Knight’s Kitchen and Catering, plus cut meats, a full deli counter, fresh baked goods, and desserts. 

The Hands on Museum reopened on Wednesday with “pod rentals” for groups up to twenty-five people. General admission hours will resume on May 25, 26, and 29 with discounted tickets made possible by a local supporter. Preregistration and masks required.  

Volunteer chaplain William Simmons embraces a Hope Clinic client.

Who Needs Ya?

For those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for health insurance, basic healthcare is a luxury they can’t afford. Hope Clinic helps fill that gap, providing free health services to thousands of people each year. Mental health and dental care are the areas of greatest unmet need, and Hope is launching a capital campaign to double its oral, mental, and behavioral health services. The Observer’s Trilby MacDonald has our story. 

Leucojum, tulips, and ranunculus grown by Adrianne Gammie at Marilla Field and Floral. 

Locally Grown

The Michigan Flower Growers’ Cooperative has launched its 2021 season with a resumption of retail store hours and expanded delivery service. The co-op was founded in 2016 by local growers looking to break into the wholesale market. Pandemic-induced labor shortages have reduced global flower supply, and local growers are happily struggling to keep up with demand with armfuls of anemones, ranunculus, peonies, and more. The Observer’s Kathryn Pentiuk has our story. 

Things to Do

By Ella Bourland

20 Thursday: Steam cabaret songs and stories by local pianist-composer R. MacKenzie Lewis and singer-actor David Moan. The program includes songs by John Mulaney, Tom Lehrer, Cole Porter, Flight of the Conchords, and more. 5:30 p.m. Free, but donations accepted, online at Kerrytown Concert House. 

21 Friday: Visit the exhibit “What Feels Real: Art in the Time of Impossible Disconnect,” featuring various works in all mediums responding to virtual realities, the disappearance of shared standards for truth, and other everyday incongruities. Artists represent Michigan, California, Tennessee, Canada, and the U.K. Also, on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. only, two performances ($40): a thirty-minute dance by local Mary Spieser-Schneider's group nowyouseeme, which features three to four masked, amorphous costumed dancers highlighting body language. And a short-film screening of L.A.-based writer-director Ben Kujawski's drama Do You Think Jesus Like Hard Boiled Eggs? Masks required. 4–6:50 p.m. (Friday) and noon–6:50 p.m. (Saturday); fifty-minute viewing sessions with twenty people in the gallery at a time. StudioStudio, 1946 Packard. $25 per person (kids under age three, free), preregistration required at the Hosting. 

22 Saturday: All kids invited to join a Zoom open stage to sing songs, make music, tell jokes, and more. 3:30 p.m., free online at Oz’s Music Environment. 

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

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