November 23, 2022

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you all have tasty plans for tomorrow. We’re in your inbox a day earlier than usual so we all can focus on celebrating the holiday.

This week, MSU players were charged in connection to the post-game tunnel incident, TheRide announced it will receive funding for a new express route, a judge dismissed a FOIA lawsuit against Ann Arbor, and Washtenaw County commissioners voted themselves a raise. City officials are considering “bike lane bounties,” a flood prevention basin is nearly complete, and the city administrator has been tasked with speeding up development of public restrooms downtown.

The U-M football team protected their undefeated record, if only just, and Huron High’s varsity football coach announced his retirement. Food Gatherers hosts its largest annual fundraiser next week, numerous local organizations are offering free meals for Thanksgiving, and Giving Tuesday is next week.

Dayton Hare, editor

"I’ve often seen people gathered around the bus stop in the front, and when I was younger, a few friends and I conducted a toiletry drive for the residents," writes Nikki Lama. "But like most people, I didn’t know what goes on inside." Photo: Mark Bialek.

The News...Briefly

New Covid cases appear to be continuing at about the same rate we’ve seen since the beginning of October, but the county’s weekly data will update tomorrow.

Seven MSU football players involved in the Michigan-MSU game tunnel incident were charged with assault today, the Detroit Free Press reports. All seven were part of the group suspended since the fight weeks ago, and the players are variously charged with felonious assault, aggravated assault, and assault & battery. No Michigan players were charged.

Since its 1982 founding, the Delonis Center has grown to become a multifaceted homeless shelter that served 1,200 people last fiscal year, Nikki Lama reports in the November Observer. Lama got to know staff and residents and learned about how the center works, discovering the ups and downs of running such an operation and the challenges residents still face.

Affordable housing advocates rallied downtown Saturday to draw attention to homelessness, MLive reports. The Hustle for Housing Rally and March started at Liberty Plaza and ended at the Delonis Center homeless shelter, which has seen a “scary” 30 percent uptick in numbers for nightly winter shelter programs.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization rallied on the Diag last Thursday ahead of contract negotiations, the Michigan Daily reports. The union is asking for a massive increase in the minimum full-time equivalent salary, from $24,053 to $38,537, along with eliminating copays for mental healthcare and establishing an unarmed emergency response team on campus.

A divided Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners voted to give themselves raises, MLive reports. At the start of their new term, commissioners will see an additional $9,000 in their salary, a 38 percent increase, a move which was decried by union leaders pushing for pay increases for county employees.

A judge tossed out a lawsuit alleging that Ann Arbor failed to comply with a FOIA request by refusing to provide unredacted copies of records related to Tom Crawford’s departure as city administrator, MLive reports. The plaintiff, former city attorney Bruce Laidlaw, argued that the city responded improperly blacked out text in an investigation report; the city maintained that the redaction was needed to protect people’s privacy.

Councilmember Travis Radina was elected mayor pro tem Monday, according to a press release. A Democrat who has been representing Ward 3 since 2020, Radina will replace his Ward 3 colleague Julie Grand, who did not seek reelection this year.

TheRide will get $2.1 million in federal funds via SEMCOG, according to a press release. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments is distributing the money as part of its Carbon Reduction Program, which called for agencies in the region to submit project proposals. Among other things, the funds will go towards an express bus between Ann Arbor and Ypsi.

City officials are weighing the pros and cons of a “bike lane bounty” on illegally parked vehicles, MLive reports. Other municipalities trying to expand their cycling infrastructure have tried similar measures—and some New Yorkers have turned reporting violations into a lucrative side hustle—but some Ann Arbor officials worry about the effects of a system that doesn’t solve the root issues and encourages people to narc on their neighbors.

City council asked the city administrator to fast track development of public restrooms downtown, MLive reports. Responding to concerns about people relieving themselves in public spaces, council wants to make sure people downtown—regardless of ability to patronize business—have access to somewhere dignified and sanitary to go when nature calls.

Curbside collection of trash, recycling, and compost won’t occur tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday, the city announced. Thursday’s normal pickups will be bumped to Friday, and Friday’s bumped to Saturday. Municipal offices will be closed tomorrow and Friday as well.

Better late than never—the new protected bike lane on Catherine-Miller opened to cyclists this week. Photo: Dayton Hare.

The Churchill Downs Park flood mitigation basin is almost complete. It can contain millions of gallons of water in the event of a major storm, protecting the neighborhood from flooding. Photo: James Leonard.

A $3 million flood mitigation basin at Churchill Downs Park is nearly done, MLive reports. The transformed landscape can retain more than 3 million gallons of water in the event of a major storm, protecting the flood-prone neighborhood that was left without adequate stormwater controls when it was built decades ago.

A new city program supporting those at risk of becoming entangled with the justice system is taking referrals, Concentrate reports. Supportive Connections originated as a collaboration between several city officials, including then deputy city attorney (and now newly-elected judge) Arianne Slay and city administrator Milton Dohoney Jr. It plans to support substance abuse programs, provide education applications or materials, transportation, and engage in other means of deflecting vulnerable populations from turning to crime.

U.S. News and World Report rankings lost another high-profile program when U-M Law bowed out of the rankings this week, the Detroit News reports, claiming the “rankings no longer serve the public interest.” The school joins other prestigious law schools in withdrawing recently, including Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. In the 2023 rankings, U-M landed the number 10 spot.

The Wolverines eked out a 19–17 win over Illinois at their final home game of 2022, the Detroit Free Press reports. Kicker Jake Moody saved the team’s skin with a string of fourth-quarter field goals, avoiding an upset and preserving the team’s unvarnished record as they head into Saturday’s matchup with Ohio State.

Huron High varsity head football coach Antaiwn Mack resigned last Thursday, MLive reports. Mack said he was stepping away after four years with the program to find his next challenge, whether that be at another high school or at a college. Over his tenure, Mack helped turn the program around from a 0-41 team into a playoff contender.

Memories of a place persist long after the place itself is gone, Jacqueline Stickney reminiscences in the November Observer. In the ‘50s, Stickney and her sister spent two formative years growing up in a now-demolished N. Main St. house that was once home to Neff’s Bait Shop.

In 1944, Ann Arbor resident Vernon Jensen spent months evading the Nazis after his B-17 was shot down, Cynthia Furlong Reynolds recounts in the November Observer. The Daughters of the American Revolution recently recognized the veteran’s service, and his escape with the help of Yugoslav partisans. Vigorous to the end, Jensen passed this week at age 99.

Annie Rubin believes the way to improve the world is to bring out the divine that lives within us, Jan Schlain reports in the November Observer. That’s the mindset she brings to her work as president of bookstore-technology company Edelweiss, which she runs with her husband John. “Our work for change must be integrated into everything we do—race, climate, LGBTQ+ rights—all of it must be addressed not separately from work, but through our work and in our work,” she says.

Gwyneth Guidinger, Thomas Ehinger, shift manager Allison Housner, and Yasmine Bouzit. For many employees, Bitty & Beau’s is their first job. Guidinger says she was “a little nervous, but I’m already used to it … You get to talk to people, and we have fun every day.” Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Marketplace Changes

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, a café with a cause, opened in September on S. Main downtown Main, Davi Napoleon reports in the November Observer. The franchise from North Carolina is dedicated to employing staff with a variety of disabilities, and is designed to facilitate social interactions and create a welcoming environment.

The brunch spot First Watch opened for business on Oak Valley Dr. last month, Dave Algase reports in the November Observer. It’s the tenth Michigan location for the Florida-based franchise, with a menu ranging from healthy to hefty.

The newest location of a Texas-based Brazilian steakhouse chain, Texas de Brazil, is set to open in Briarwood Mall next spring, according to a press release. The restaurant will offer southern Brazilian cuisine in all-you-can-eat portions. There is already one location in Detroit.

Vernon Jensen returned to the U.S. on Mother’s Day 1944, and immediately called home. “My mother said it was the best telephone call she ever received.” Ten days later, he married his high school sweetheart, Bonnie Canning, in Muskegon. The 99-year-old passed away this week. Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Helpers

Food Gatherer’s hosts its biggest annual fundraiser, Rockin' for the Hungry, Nov. 29–Dec. 3. With the goal of raising a million meals to fight hunger in the county, the organization will collect food and funds outside of the S. Maple Kroger while doing a live radio broadcast with 107.1 FM personalities, including DJ Martin Bandyke, who is retiring after 40 years. Listeners can donate online, in person, or by phone at 734-606-0753.

Several local organizations and businesses are providing free meals for those in need this Thanksgiving, ClickOnDetroit reports. The Original Cottage Inn, Trinity Health Michigan’s Chelsea Hospital, the Delonis Center, St. Paul United Church of Christ, and Hope Clinic will all be offering food for community members.

After we mentioned a GoFundMe for the victims of a fire last week, a reader reached out about one set up for an acquaintance battling a rare cancer. You can find details of that fundraiser and many other worthy causes Ann Arborites are raising money for online.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

25 Friday: Duck into the Michigan Theater for a screening of classic Warner Brothers Cartoon Shorts, starring Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck on the big screen. 11:30 a.m. Tickets $7.50. Later in the day, sing along to the classic backstage musical “White Christmas” starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. The film’s Irving Berlin songs include “White Christmas,” “Sisters,” “Snow,” “The Old Man,” and more. 7:30 p.m., Michigan Theater. Tickets $11–$16.

26 Saturday: See Encore Musical Theatre Company’s production of “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” based on the 1983 movie comedy about a boy living in 1940s Indiana who longs for a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Music and lyrics by U-M alumni songwriting team Pasek and Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land). Runs Nov. 25–Dec. 18. Today, 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Encore Maas Mainstage, 7714 Ann Arbor St., Dexter. Tickets $52–$54 in advance and at the door. $20 student rush tickets (if available) an hour before showtime.

27 Sunday: Support local artists and pick up some gifts at the Sunday Artisan Market, a juried market of local handmade arts and crafts, now in its 31st year. Every Sun., 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Farmers Market Pavilion, Kerrytown. Free admission.

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

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