May 6, 2021

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This week

Even as they surge terrifyingly in other parts of the world, new Covid cases continue to go down locally, and AAPS announces in-person high school graduation ceremonies next month. After seeing throngs of unmasked U-M graduates in the streets last weekend, I am hopeful that celebrating teenage graduates will demonstrate more reserve. 

Local agriculture is one industry that has done well in the pandemic. Farm  share subscriptions (CSAs) are full, and a 150-year-old family farm is permanently protected from development. 

Two major hospitals announce new initiatives this week: Michigan Medicine launches a Covid long hauler clinic, and St. Joe's a Lifestyle Medicine program. 

It's been well over a year since I've been to a theater, and my favorite movie Moonstruck is playing this weekend at the Michigan Theater. I'm so excited to go see it on the big screen for the first time!

Trilby MacDonald, editor 

Covid-19 Updates

Case rates continue to drop locally. As of this morning, there were sixty-five new confirmed cases, five hospitalizations, and three deaths in the last twenty-four hours. Last week’s positivity rate was 3.6 percent.

Michigan Medicine opens clinics for Covid long haulers. A multidisciplinary team at Domino’s Farms will evaluate and create treatment plans for the estimated 10-20 percent of Covid patients who suffer long-term symptoms, including organ damage. A pediatric clinic will operate at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where doctors “have seen more than a dozen cases of kids and teens with persistent COVID symptoms, including respiratory issues and fatigue, months after even mild cases of COVID.” Michigan Medicine 

Washtenaw County Health Department resumes use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, offering the single-shot immunization at mass vaccination sites and pop-up vaccine clinics. 

Click here to find out where to get vaccinated now.

The News...briefly

Court plans to order new cleanup and monitoring for Gelman dioxane plume, but judge Tim Connors expects Gelman to appeal the decision. Connors also rejected Gelman’s argument that local governments, which last year rejected a proposed settlement, lacked standing to intervene in the case. Mlive

The Ann Arbor Public Schools will spend $50 million to replace Mitchell Elementary and redesign Pathways to Success alternative high school. Mitchell, which has seen enrollment increase since adding an International Baccalaureate program five years ago, will be the first AAPS elementary school to have a new building in fifty years. The project will break ground in 2023, and construction and design costs are estimated at $31 million. Pathways to Success is a high school campus for students matriculated in AAPS who require an alternative academic environment. Originally an elementary school, the campus will be redesigned for an estimated $19 million. MLive (subscriber exclusive)

AAPS moves forward with in-person high school graduation. In observance of current restrictions on public gatherings, ceremonies will be held outdoors at the Huron, Pioneer, and Skyline high school stadiums between June 1-7.  Seating will allow for social distancing between families. AAPS

City Council asks MDOT to help reduce crashes on the M-14 bridge over the Huron River. The state says it’s working on a traffic backup warning, but the only immediate solution would be to close the eastbound ramps to and from Barton Dr. Meant to be temporary until a new interchange was built farther east, they became permanent when a planned extension of Huron Parkway was abandoned. In the last two years, there have been multiple crashes involving commercial trucks on the bridge, including one fatality. MLive (subscriber exclusive)

Detours for Liberty and Ashley through May for streetscape improvements. Vehicles traveling northbound on Ashley Street and westbound on Liberty will be detoured through May 15; eastbound traffic on Liberty will be detoured until May 31. The city is partnering with the Waze traffic app for updates on all summer construction and special events closures. a2gov

A 150-year-old farm is permanently protected from development. The 158 acres of rolling fields, forest, and wetlands in Grass Lake are owned by brothers Tom and Jim Irwin. By preserving the farm, the brothers are honoring the wishes of their late father, Richard, who preserved a portion of the farm in 2008. Legacy Land Conservancy

It’s a big year for small farms, as people shocked by empty store shelves early in the pandemic turn to community supported agriculture. After selling out early last year, small organic growers are adding new options, including “hybrid” offerings that incorporate prepared foods—everything from honey and maple syrup to homemade bread and quiche. The Observer’s Cynthia Furlong Reynolds has our story.

Eight Wolverines selected for NFL draft. Last year’s record was less than stellar at 2-4, but the NFL appreciates the talent of coach Harbough’s team. Eight players were drafted in Cleveland between April 29 and May 1, putting U-M in the top five schools in the number of athletes chosen. Michigan Daily

Cinetopia remains paused for 2021. The Michigan Theater-based film festival plans to return in 2022, when festival goers can again gather in close proximity to talk about the exciting and strange films they have just seen.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System launches Lifestyle Medicine program. The whole-patient program is designed to improve overall health and even reverse symptoms of chronic illness through changes in diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, risky substance use, and social connections. Patients meet individually, in groups, and in “culinary medicine” classes with doctors and dietitians. No referral required. St. Joseph Mercy Hospital


Marketplace Changes

Designer consignment shop Top Drawer, garden center Lodi Farms, and the Beer Garden all have new owners. For almost twenty years, Greg and Sheena Wilson have owned Canopy Landscapes. Ready for a new challenge, they dreamed of expanding their landscaping business to include a garden center. When Dan and Jane Riddle advertised for new owners to take over Lodi Farms, the Wilsons picked up the phone. The Observer’s Micheline Maynard has our story

Who Needs Ya?

The House that Beer Built. For the last three years, Corner Brewery and HOMES Brewery have united with Habitat for Humanity to help build a house for a local family in need. This year, Corner Brewery is selling pin-up houses for a donation, and HOMES has tap selections and other specials whose profits go to the project. Show your support in the breweries or click here to make a donation. 

Unusual Pet Contest- choose the winner!

We have a gorgeous lineup of wonderfully odd contestants. Click here to vote, and look for the winner in next week's a2view. 

Trillium in Ford Heritage Park. Photo taken on May 1, 2021, by Trilby MacDonald. 

Play On

The Vocal Arts Ensemble has never seen a season like this. But funky, far-reaching concerts are their specialty, and the limitations imposed by the pandemic pushed the group and musical director Benjamin Cohen to new creative heights using technology to bring singers together virtually. This Sunday’s free concert will be no exception. The Observer’s Trilby MacDonald has our story

Things to Do 

By Ella Bourland

6 Thursday: Stream the Flores Exhibit, which features video readings by various artists, lawyers, advocates, and immigrants of the sworn testimonies of children held in detention facilities at the U.S./Mexico border. Followed by a virtual group discussion. 6:30-8:30 p.m., for URL preregister at Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice. Free, but donations accepted.

7 Friday: Watch Detroit-based comic Connie Ettinger, a self-styled "recovering lawyer," deliver fast-paced observations on an array of annoyances from slow bureaucracy to the persistence of road construction. Preceded by two opening acts. Masks required, except when eating or drinking. 7:30 p.m. (Friday & Saturday) and 9:30 p.m. (Saturday only), 212 S. Fourth Ave. Tickets $15 reserved seating in advance, $17 general admission at the door (capacity reduced), 996-9080, Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. 

8 Saturday: Tour the grounds of Waterloo Farm Museum’s 19th-century homestead, featuring the Seybold family’s 10-room farmhouse, outbuildings, and live blacksmith demonstrations. Masks required. Part of a regional event that also features free admission at several Jackson-area museums. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Waterloo Farm Museum, 13493 Waterloo-Munith Rd., Grass Lake. Free. (517) 596-2254. Waterloo Farm Museum. 

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

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