November 04, 2021

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This Week

On Tuesday, the Washtenaw County Health Department will begin administering Covid-19 vaccines to children ages five to eleven. Appointments can be made starting Friday at this link. Local pharmacies also have begun booking shots for kids, and local school systems are expected to make vaccines available, too. 

I’ve always been fascinated by Ann Arbor’s role in the roll out of the first polio vaccine, which was announced U-M by Jonas Salk and his mentor, Thomas Francis Jr. at Rackham Auditorium in 1955. Children in Ann Arbor were among the first in the country to get it. 

My mother knew Dr. Francis when she worked at U-M Hospital, and I love looking through the photo collection at the Ann Arbor District Library, which documents the eagerness of area parents to have their children vaccinated. We’ll see if there’s as much enthusiasm among local parents and children as the Covid vaccine is rolled out here. 

Micki Maynard, editor 

A young Ann Arbor girl receives one of the first polio vaccines.
Photo courtesy AADL

The News...Briefly

Covid cases still high: On Wednesday, the health department reported 183 new cases, nine hospitalizations, and no deaths during the previous twenty-four hours. The weekly positivity rate also remains elevated, at 4.8 percent.

Election results: Chelsea, Saline, and Milan held local elections Tuesday, and Ann Arbor voters approved four ballot proposals, MLive reported. The most attention-getting, calling for  ranked-choice voting in future city elections, is largely symbolic—it’s not allowed under state law—but a union-backed plan for “best value” purchasing will change the way the city awards contracts. Pittsfield Township voters, who rejected a public-safety millage in May, approved a shorter, smaller tax.

City attorney candidate: Ann Arbor has offered the city attorney’s job to Atleen Kaur, the lone finalist. If she accepts, she would start in 2022, when long-time city attorney Stephen Postema plans to retire. Kaur is the assistant general counsel for the ZF Group in Michigan.

ER traffic jam: “It's a constant adrenaline rush," a nurse practitioner told a woman waiting to be seen at St. Joe’s emergency department. "But at the end of the day, we drag ourselves home, exhausted.” Cynthia Furlong Reynolds reports in a November Observer article.

U-M engineering professor Sandeep Pradhan with his Nissan Leaf EV. Photo by Mark Bialek

EV pioneers: An estimated 2,600 Ann Arbor residents own electric vehicles, but some face challenges in charging them, as Jan Schlain writes in the November Observer: only eleven charging stations are working on the U-M campus. Thanks to all who shared their stories.

The Great Loop: Ann Arbor residents Celeste and Tom Martin spent ten months traveling 5,600 miles on water through the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and the Great Lakes to complete the “Great Loop” in August. “Empty-nesters. Why not?” Celeste told MLive.

10 Questions for Henry Ford: The ghost of auto pioneer Henry Ford gets asked tough questions in a new film by U-M associate professor Andy Kirschner. The feature-length film premieres Saturday at the Ojai Film Festival and will be avail­able on the festival’s website November 9-14. Kirschner crafted the film from archival material found at the National Archives, Henry Ford Museum’s Benson Ford Research Center, and the Bentley Historical Library. Settings include the Willow Run bomber plant.

Congratulations: The United Way of Washtenaw County has named Jimena Loveluck, the county health department’s health officer, as its Woman of The Year. Here’s Shelley Dailey’s Ann Arborite profile. And, the Washtenaw Area Council for Children has given its Safe Kids Award to Debra Stevens, who is in her fortieth year with the Ypsilanti Community Schools. 


ACA enrollments: The county health department is offering free assistance to people enrolling in Affordable Care Act plans during the open enrollment period, now through January 15. Visit this website, call 734-544-3030, or email WHP is located at the Washtenaw County Human Services building at 555 Towner St., Ypsilanti. 

Transit input: The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority wants input on its future transit plan. Two in-person sessions are scheduled in Ypsilanti next Monday from 1-7 p.m. at the Ypsilanti Transit Center, and Tuesday from 1-7 p.m. at the Blake Transit Center. More details here.

Marketplace Changes

Crazy Wisdom store closing: Crazy Wisdom plans to close its Main St. location on February 15, owners Bill Zirinsky and Ruth Schekter said on Facebook. The bookstore business may be sold, or another business may go into the building, which is not for sale. The Crazy Wisdom Journal and a biweekly ezine, launched eighteen months ago, will continue online. “There is a relentlessness to a retail business—open 7 days a week, 360 days a year, and to the hamster-wheel aspect of staffing and management issues,” the couple wrote. ”Our own family has grown up, and we’re in our 60’s, and we’re ready to look out upon a new and different horizon.” 

Saline gets a local bookstore: Lindsay and Bill Gibson, who met as students at EMU, have opened Fine Print Bookshop on Main St. Lindsay works for the Washtenaw County Health Department, and Bill previously was employed by City Pets in the Courtyard Shops. Bill tells me the couple thought about taking over the Bookbound space there (now Booksweet), but couldn’t make the finances work, and Saline is closer to their Pittsfield Township home. He built many of the bookshelves  himself. The couple is focusing on books for children and teens, as well as board games, and hope to begin holding author events after the holidays. “Everyone who has come in has been so wonderful and open about how they want a bookstore in Saline,” he says. As busy as they are, “It’s impossible to be grumpy.”

Ika Van Dyck-Dobos and her husband Jules.
Photo courtesy of Le Dog

Le Dog anniversary: Friday marks the twenty-fifth anniversary for Le Dog at its Main St. location. Co-owner Ika Van Dyck-Dobos will be selling the stand’s famous lobster bisque to mark the occasion, co-owner Jules Van Dyck-Dobos emails us. The original Le Dog opened in 1979 in a now-vacant location on Liberty. The owners have no plans to retire, but son Miki will carry on when they do, Jules says.

Ann Arbor’s original Espresso Royale Cafe is back. Though there was no sign at press time and construction is still underway, the Michigan Daily reports Ann Arbor Roasting Company opened on State St. in October. Co-owner Manthri Srinath managed the original ERC here for its founder, the late Marcus Goller. He’s partnered with Goller’s widow, Amy McEwen Goller, and their son, Spencer Goller. For now, they’re getting their coffee from the former ERC roastery in Brighton, but there are plans to roast coffee on site. Meanwhile, ERC veterans Lisa Tuveson and Ken Pargulsk opened M36 Coffee in the former ERC on South University, while Mogi Tee is now in the Plymouth Rd. ERC, as I reported for the Observer.

Things to Do

By Ella Bourland

4 Thursday: Watch stand-up comedy by Daniel Sloss, a popular young Scottish comic, actor, and writer who uses his commanding presence and playful wit to joke about a variety of topics, from imagining Prince Andrew's sex life to mental health. Sloss had a career breakthrough in his teens when he became the youngest comedian to perform a solo show in London's Soho Theatre. Opener is Kai Humphries, a Scotland-based Geordie comic known for his high-energy delivery and hilarious, delightfully optimistic material. 7:30 p.m., Michigan Theater. Tickets $35-$91 in advance at & all Ticketmaster outlets, and (if available) at the door. Masks & proof of vaccination (or negative Covid test within past 72 hours) required for all patrons over the age of 12. (800) 745-3000.

5 Friday: See the Horizon Performing Arts perform the Reduced Shakespeare Company's acclaimed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged] (November 4-7). It’s a ninety-minute transformation of Shakespeare's thirty-seven plays into a fast-paced, hilarious, and outrageously irreverent blend of Marx Brothers-style absurdity and Three Stooges slapstick. Stars Maria Hollobaugh, John Lamb, and Vaughn Louks. 7 p.m. (Thurs.-Sat.) & 2 p.m. (Sun.), Riverside Arts Center, 76 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti. Tickets $15 (students & seniors, $13) in advance (recommended) at and at the door. Masks required.

6 Saturday: Attend Ann Arbor Stamp Club’s annual Stamp Show (November 5 & 6). Now in its forty-sixth year, it features twenty-two dealers from seven states selling U.S. and foreign stamps, covers, postcards, and collector supplies. Also, stamp packets for beginning collectors, a public Peninsular State Philatelic Society meeting (Saturday, 2 p.m.), and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Fri.) & 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Sat.), St. Luke Lutheran Church, 4205 Washtenaw Ave. Free admission. Sign-in and masks required., 761-5859.

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

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