May 26, 2022

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

This week I’ve been diligently rehearsing for a set at the Third Place Music Fest, where a friend and I will perform a collection of songs written by a mentor of ours. The rest of the festival’s lineup is wonderful too – if anyone is interested in local, contemporary music, I’d definitely recommend you check out the remaining shows today through Saturday.

Ann Arbor and U-M both recently topped “best of” lists, city council passed a budget, and U-M named three new deans. Two new luxury developments got the greenlight, the Ann Arbor Art Center hosts an opening reception for its new gallery tomorrow, public pools are opening over the weekend, and Sonic Lunch returns next Thursday.

Dayton Hare, editor

The Ann Arbor Art Center is hosting an opening reception tomorrow for its new street-level gallery and the exhibit “Sharing Space.” Photo: Dayton Hare.

The News…Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 2,569 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, for a weekly case rate of 426.5 per 100,000 residents. Both are down slightly from last week’s numbers, which showed 2,897 cases and a rate of 474.7 per 100k. The test positivity rate also remains very high, at 15.1 percent, and the county continues to be at a “high” CDC risk level.

City council passed the city’s $525 million budget last week, the Michigan Daily reports, and decided how to allocate money from the marijuana excise tax. The budget includes funds set aside for a deflection pilot program, a public works apprenticeship program, the Office of Sustainability and Innovation, and other social programs.

Forthcoming condos downtown are set to cost $1.3 million or more each, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Developer Tom Fitzsimmons’ latest project, an eight-condo building on Miller that was approved recently by city council, will likely take about two years to build.

Last week the planning commission also approved another Fitzsimmons project, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). The five-story, mixed-use development behind the Detroit Street Filling Station, a joint venture with MAVD Development, anticipates fourteen condos above ground-floor commercial space. An interesting complication: part of the site is undergirded by a geothermal well field that helps heat and cool MAVD’s Marketplace Building across the street.

For the first time ever, Veronica Brandon’s three teenagers each have their own rooms, Julie Halpert reports for the Observer. The Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America made it possible by underwriting closing costs and folding Brandon’s down payment into her mortgage balance.

The currently-vacant U-M president’s residence is to be renovated, the University Record reports. The $15 million project will involve updates to the building’s security and accessibility features, as well as modifying the residential spaces, while attempting to preserve the house’s historic character – built as a “professor’s house” in 1840, it’s the oldest structure on campus.

U-M’s board of regents approved three new deans last week, the University Record reports. By August, Ross, Stamps, and the College of Pharmacy will be headed by Sharon F. Matusik, Carlos Francisco Jackson, and Vicki Ellingrod, respectively.

The US Supreme Court declined to hear cases seeking to limit protests outside of Beth Israel Congregation synagogue, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports. Lawsuits brought by congregants contended that the anti-Israel pickets were a violation of their first amendment religious rights, but the protesters argued successfully that to impose limits would be a violation of free speech.

Self-driving cars belonging to the Russian tech giant Yandex have vanished from city streets in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, John Hilton reports for the Observer. Ann Arbor was one of three global testing sites for the cars, but safety drivers found themselves without jobs–though not for the reason the company claimed.

Dennis and Susan Walters happily live in a below-ground berm house, Tim Athan reports for the Observer. Built in ‘81, three sides of the house are covered by soil; until a roof was added to resolve water leaks, passersby often mistook it for a hill, and walked over the top.

The US News and World Report named Ann Arbor the best place to live in Michigan, and ranked it as the eleventh most desirable city in the country. The city did particularly well on the “quality of life” metric, beating out all the national competition.

U-M is another recent winner in 2022 rankings, named the #1 best value college by Money magazine. Lauded in particular for its relative affordability for in-state students, as well as for its high quality, Michigan outpaced other esteemed public schools such as the University of Virginia or UNC Chapel Hill.

Eight Washtenaw County high schools are in the state’s top 50, according to US News & World Report. Dexter, Huron, Chelsea, Pioneer, Saline, and Skyline all fare well, but Washtenaw International comes in at the top, as fourth-best statewide.

Theresa Stager has been named Saline High School’s new principal, the Saline Post reports. Stager previously worked as an assistant principal at the school, before taking on the interim principal position after David Raft left to become “principal of operations.”

Ann Arbor public pools reopen for the summer this weekend, ClickOnDetroit reports. Fuller Park Pool has been open since mid-May, and starting Saturday people can take a swim at Buhr Park and Veterans Memorial Park too.

The Ann Arbor Art Center hosts an opening reception for their new ground-floor gallery tomorrow, featuring a joint exhibit with the U-M LSA Institute for Humanities, “Sharing Space,” Jennifer Taylor writes in the May Observer. The exhibit features “works by 13 artists on themes of ‘space, intimacy, connection, and comfort’ in a variety of media, including collage, photography, painting, sculpture, audiovisual art, fiber art, and furniture design, and runs through July 8.

Æpex Contemporary Performance hosts a festival of new(ish) music in Ypsi next week as part of the first Æpex Fest, Concentrate reports. Spotlighting works by composers of under-represented identities, the festival takes place over four days at different venues around town.

Memorial Day parades march through Chelsea, Saline, and Glacier Highlands Park this weekend. In observance of the holiday, Ann Arbor’s municipal government will be closed and curbside trash/recycling/compost pick-ups will be delayed one day.

Sonic Lunch kicks off next Thursday with a set by Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers. This summer’s music festival is the first full lineup in two years, featuring free concerts at Liberty Plaza every Thursday until September.

“After 28 years, we are saying goodbye.” bd’s Mongolian Grill on Main St. closed suddenly last week. A typed letter taped to the door thanked patrons and an orange city danger sign declared the restaurant to be unsafe. Photo: Dayton Hare.

Marketplace Changes

After more than a year’s delay, owner Michael Carosello opened his pasta store Carosello in Dexter last month, Patti Smith reports for the Community Guide. After going to culinary school in Italy, Carosello worked at a variety of restaurants before deciding to open a store dedicated to fresh and dried pastas made on site.

The owners of MoonWink’s Café in Dixboro are looking to sell, MLive reports. Josie Ann Lee and Chris Draybuck have run the cafe since 2018, but recently decided to look for new owners in order to focus on a massage clinic they also own.

Observer editor John Hilton isn’t quite sure how to go about cutting his lawn now that No Mow May is coming to a close. Photo: John Hilton.

Ask a2view

Q. Looking out at his grass waving in the breeze, Observer editor John Hilton wonders how people should approach cutting their lawns at the end of No Mow May.

A. When reached by email, Pollinator Network Ann Arbor provided this video and offered a few pieces of advice for cutting long grass: “Make sure the mower blades are sharp, make a pass over the longest grass with a weed wacker, mow at the highest level possible with [your] mower, [and] be prepared to take it slow.” As for the grass clippings, they suggest using them as mulch.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

28 Saturday: See more than 80 classic, sporty, unusual, and rare cars, trucks, and motorcycles at the Ann Arbor City Club’s 12th Annual Classic Car Show. Music. Food tent. Rain or shine. Noon-3 p.m., Ann Arbor City Club, 1830 Washtenaw. Free; small fee to show a car.

29 Sunday: Take a 50 km, 100 km, or 100 mile bike ride on the “Bløm 100-Mile Ride” sponsored by Bløm Meadworks, the Ann Arbor Velo Club, and the Ann Arbor Running Co. Ride at your own pace on mixed terrain. 7:11 a.m. (100-mile), 9:11 a.m. (100-km), and 10:11 a.m. (50-km) start times, meet at Bløm Meadworks, 100 S. Fourth Ave. Free, but you must preregister by May 28 at 7:11 a.m.

30 Monday (Memorial Day): Join in Ann Arbor’s oldest neighborhood parade, the Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association Memorial Day Parade. It’s a 6-block jaunt beginning at Greenbrier Park—and the best one in the area for young kids and their families. Followed by a brief memorial service in Glacier Highlands Park (3600 Larchmont) and a chance for kids to play at the playground. Food trucks and a visitor from Leslie Nature Center. 10:30 a.m., Frederick to Middleton to Bardstown to Windemere to Barrister. Free.

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

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