November 24, 2021

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This Week

A2view is publishing on Wednesday this week so that Observer staff can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll return to our Thursday schedule next week.

Thank you to all the Observer readers who entered this year’s Thankfulness contest. Our winner, randomly chosen, is John Lamb. He told us that he is thankful for “being able to live and experience our beautiful Ann Arbor community.”

The Observer will make a $100 donation on John’s behalf to Just Us Club, a private charitable organization that provides programs for children and adults with disabilities. 

Here’s a selection of other responses:

On Instagram, Literati Bookshop wrote that it is “grateful for a community that supports local business during this incredibly hard time.” 

Artist Lauren Magda is “thankful for soul family (family and friends that don’t have to be related by blood to be considered family), creativity, nature, connection and intuition.” 

On Facebook,  Phyllis Valentine told us, "What can one be thankful for amidst all the turmoil, chaos, hatred, misinformation, problems, et al in our world today?  For me it's local and personal...I'm thankful that I can use my time and energy and good health to take care of myself, my family, and some of those around me.”

And Jill Shirey emailed, “I’m thankful for the care,  compassion, and spirit of teamwork from the nurses, physicians, technicians, hospital staff, and literally every individual I’ve encountered at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor while experiencing a serious illness.”

Thank you to all who shared their reasons to be thankful. From everyone at the Observer, have a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.

Micki Maynard, editor 

The News...Briefly

County Covid-19 cases. On Tuesday, there were 142 confirmed Covid-19 cases, six hospitalizations and one death during the previous 24 hours, the Washtenaw County Health Department said. According to MI Safe Start, the weekly test positivity rate was 8.2 percent--the highest we’ve seen, but less than half the  17.4 percent rate statewide.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools dashboard shows cases among students, staff, and contractors nearly tripling from November 5 to November 19. Most of the increase was among pre-K and elementary students. In response, the district closed for the entire holiday week.

Meanwhile, nearly 98 percent of city employees have been vaccinated under Ann Arbor’s vaccination mandate. The city is beginning disciplinary proceedings against fifteen employees who remain unvaccinated, MLive reports (subscription required). Employees had  three months to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

Life and basketball: Though he says he understood the reasoning for the schools’ lockdown last year, Pioneer High girls varsity basketball coach Tyrone Hicks was “disheartened” to see students cut off from one another for so long. He shares his thoughts on life and basketball in our Ann Arborite profile.

Green energy: The city is moving toward a bold green energy plan that’s never been tried before. Michael Betzold gets the story on Ann Arbor’s proposed “sustainable energy utility” in December’s Observer.

Harbaugh’s potential payout. Michigan and Ohio State, both 10-1, play at the Big House on Saturday for the Big 10 East championship. If Michigan wins The Game, Jim Harbaugh will receive a $500,000 bonus, according to the contract extension he signed earlier this year. Read more in this ESPN story from January.

Light pollution debate. In September, Ann Arbor joined a growing number of communities around the country in imposing limits on holiday lights outside homes and businesses, hoping to combat light pollution. But now that the ordinance has taken effect, some residents and shops are not happy with the restrictions, MLive reports (subscription required). Holiday displays must be turned off between midnight and 5 a.m., and can only remain up for 90 days.

Washtenaw Literacy CEO to retire: Amy Goodman plans to retire in April after 14 years with the organization, Washtenaw Literacy announced in a press release. The board will begin an executive search for a replacement in December.

New AAACF president: Shannon Polk has been named president and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the group announced. Polk, an attorney and ordained minister, has most recently led the Witness Foundation, a Delaware-based organization that identifies, trains and funds the next generation of Black Christian leaders.

Giving Tuesday: Non-profit organizations around the area are asking for support next week on Giving Tuesday. Charles Reinhart Realtors’ south office will sponsor a Chili Cook Off fundraiser from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at 500 E. Eisenhower. Suggested donations are $20 and support SOS Community Services.

Marketplace Changes

Cannelle By Matt Knio open on E. Washington
 Photo: Micheline Maynard

Canelle By Matt Knio is open: The long-awaited cafe from pastry chef Matt Knio held its soft opening last week on East Washington Street in the old Schokolade spot. It’s Canelle’s third area location, with others in Detroit and Birmingham. The shop offers a wide selection of croissants, pastries, and eye-catching French desserts. The adjoining Great Commoner Cafe has food cooked to order. Sam Abbas, CEO of parent company AFor Concepts, tells me construction took longer than expected due to the addition of the commercial kitchen (pastries and sweets come from a commissary in Warren). 

A new trampoline park. Launch Trampoline Park, a national recreation chain, plans to open on Eisenhower in December, MLive reports. Launch, which has half a dozen Michigan locations, typically offers trampoline courts, dodgeball, a climbing wall, and laser tag, as well as a cafe serving pizza, salads and desserts.

Blank Slate awards: Blank Slate Creamery received awards from the North American Ice Cream Association for three flavors, according to MLive (subscription required). It was honored for Madagascar Vanilla, Bittersweet Chocolate and non-dairy Peppermint Bark. Blank Slate staff says customers have until Dec. 19, or when its ice cream runs out, to visit the Ann Arbor store before it shuts for the winter. It typically re-opens the first week of March. Read about Blank Slate’s non-dairy lineup in my June 2020 Observer story.

Things to Do

26 Friday: Run, walk, or cheer on participants of the  2021 Border Battle 5-K, a competitive 5-km run/walk in conjunction with the U-M/Ohio State game on Saturday. Registrants can wear T-shirts designed for either team--or, for those with no team allegiance, as “Party Crashers.” Proceeds benefit North Star Reach camp for kids with serious health challenges. 10 a.m., Gallup Park, 3000 Fuller Rd. $40, registration closed, Ann Arbor Sports Commission, 483–4444.

27 Saturday: Tap your feet to the sounds of Ann Arbor’s Mark “Mr. B” Braun, who has established an international reputation as one of the most exciting interpreters of traditional boogie-woogie and blues piano. He has mastered the classics from Meade Lux Lewis and Jimmy Yancey to Brother Montgomery and Professor Longhair, and he has added several dynamic originals to the long tradition he works in. Mr. B returns to the Ark for his annual Thanksgiving weekend show. 8 p.m., The Ark, $20. Tickets are sold in advance at the Michigan Union Ticket Office and, and at the door. Proof of vaccination and masks required.

28 Sunday: Admire, play, and add to your train collection at the Southeast Michigan Model Railroad Flea Market and Show: Rails on Wheels. Display and sale of vintage and modern model trains and equipment on more than 100 tables. Also, large operating layouts, a Lego display, and a train kids can run. Food available. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. Admission $4 (kids age 11 & under, free with an adult; early bird admission at 8 a.m., $10).

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

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