November 25, 2020

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

Tell a friend about a2view

This week

As Covid cases climb ever higher, a Michigan Medicine physician is tapped to head the committee evaluating vaccine efficacy for the FDA. 

The first snow of the season lingered just long enough for a soggy snowball fight in the backyard. Take advantage of the good indoor weather to check out the Whip Jams Video Series featuring Michigan musicians tooling around pre-pandemic Ann Arbor in a car, singing their hearts out. 

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everyone! We at the Observer are thankful for you. 

Trilby MacDonald, editor 

In the News

As the weather gets colder, the pandemic keeps getting hotter. The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) recorded 180 new cases and sixteen hospitalizations on Tuesday, following a record 1,823 cases from Nov. 5 to Nov. 18. More than seven percent of those tested are positive for the virus, triple the level of a month ago. Eight county residents have died in the past three weeks, the highest toll since April. 

The U-M was caught off-guard by partying students, but nearly made it to its Thanksgiving-break goal for in-person classes. The Observer’s December issue has our feature—and fact-checks claims that students “brought the virus here.” 

The Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor taught in-person classes all semester. Compared to the AAPS, the small private school is in a "uniquely fortunate position,” explains director Sian Owen-Cruise, our Ann Arborite profile in the December Observer. 

A new drive-thru testing site uses the contactless saliva test for Covid-19 created by the local U-M spinoff LynxDx, which also does testing for the university. A partnership with the WCHD, it’s at the 2|42 Church Community Center at 648 S. Wagner Rd. The site is closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, but otherwise open weekdays to all Michigan residents, with or without insurance. Pre-registration required at

"November 2020 looks set to be the month that humanity developed the tools to turn the tide against this devastating virus," a British expert said Monday after a third vaccine passed “gold standard” clinical trials. Michigan Medicine physician Arnold Monto heads the committee evaluating the studies for the FDA; its first report is due December 10. CNN.

“We are seeing a two-track recovery from the pandemic,” says U-M economist Gabriel Erlich. “Customer-facing industries lost more jobs and have recovered more slowly than other sectors. We expect that trend to continue.” The state economic forecast from the university’s Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics predicts that by the end of 2022, jobs in higher-wage industries will exceed pre-pandemic levels, while middle-wage jobs will be down 2.2 percent and those in the lower-wage jobs will be down 8.3 percent. University Record.

Larry Hunter, former Black Panther and Ann Arbor City Councilmember, dies at 69. The Observer’s John Hinchey has this recollection from his years covering City Council: “Larry knew or seemed to know more about what was going on everywhere in town than anyone else. He would sometimes tell me to watch out for things that were going to happen, things for which there was no apparent evidence and which often sounded improbable. At first I was skeptical but he must have done that fifty times over twelve years on City Council, and he never misled me.” In 2018, Hunter recorded an oral history of his life for the Ann Arbor District Library.  Click here to read his obituary. 

Ann Arbor musician Nadim Azzam’s Whip Jams Video Series showcases Michigan musicians in a format that’s part performance, part interview, and part comedy. Inspired by Carpool Karaoke, Azzam takes an eclectic array of musical guests for drives around Ann Arbor and Detroit while talking about music and belting out songs from the artists’ playbooks. (No, that’s not social distancing: all episodes of Season 1 were filmed before the pandemic.)

Recycle Ann Arbor landed an $800,000 investment from the American Beverage Association to improve plastic recycling at the Ann Arbor Materials Recovery Facility. Facing global scorn for dumping plastic on Third World countries, the industry says it’s committed to improving recycling and reducing its use of new materials. Observer, MLive

Recycle Ann Arbor created this downloadable kids coloring page and maze of how to keep electronic waste out of landfills. Image courtesy of Recycle Ann Arbor. 


The Detroit Street Filling Station is doing what few restaurants dare to do lately - expand. When Jessica’s Apothecary moved out of the historic brick house behind the restaurant, owner Phillis Engelbert seized the opportunity. In her blog, Engelbert muses about the possibilities. “In my mind I envision a jukebox (know one for sale?) with a small dance floor in one corner and an upright piano in another corner. There may be a small bar along one edge. Murals on the walls will be lit by soft, recessed ceiling lights. Plants and more plants will be wound with twinkle lights.” 

Eat makes its own bold move. The tiny but tasty spot on Packard has added a much larger second location in the Kerrytown spot vacated last spring by Engelbert’s The Lunch Room. Both restaurants began as food carts, and when Engelbert let Eat co-owners Blake Reetz and Emilia Mauk know the space was available, they jumped at the chance. The Observer’s Micheline Maynard has our story

What we gained through the front door we lost out the back door,” says A&L Wine Castle owner Maher Jabro. According to Nielsen's market data, alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants shot up 24 percent during the pandemic. But while Jabro’s retail and curbside sales have increased, his catering business has dried up completely. “Weddings, graduations, football parties, university events are all gone,” he points out. “Overall, sales are the same.” Curbside pickup has been a lifesaver, but “we’ve shortened our hours because it takes longer to fill the curbside orders,” he explains. 

Everyday Wines in the Kerrytown Market & Shops is doing well, although owner Mary Campbell is concerned for her friends in the restaurant business. “Essentially we are taking business from them because they are not doing indoor dining,” she said sadly. At first, Campbell was selling so much wine that “I worried that people were drinking too much! But I think the reality is that people are at home more and cooking more. Where they would have gone out and shared a bottle of wine at a restaurant, they are doing that at home.” She is grateful that ”people are really trying to support the local businesses—more than I have seen in quite a long time.” 

Urban Outfitters closed on November 15. Unsold merchandise will be available for purchase at the Briarwood Mall beginning on Saturday, December 5. Enter through the dining pavilion to find the new storefront. 


By Ella Bourland

Friday: Watch Community High students and beloved literature teacher Judith DeWoskin in a virtual staged reading of The Tempest: Act 1, Shakespeare’s visionary romance about a magical island ruled by an enigmatic sorcerer and her beautiful daughter. Filled with verse and song, the play contains some of Shakespeare's most gorgeously haunting poetry. Online for free at Community Ensemble Theatre.

Saturday: See a livestream “Holiday Concert” by local boogie-woogie and blues pianist Mark “Mr. B” Braun (8 p.m.). Braun 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. Tonight he is accompanied by drummer Julian Van Slyke. Online for free at The Ark.

Sunday: Visit a local artist’s open studio and sale (10 a.m.–5 p.m.). Works include paintings, sculptures, photographs, cards, and more. Masks required and capacity limited to 6 people at a time. 802 Mt. Vernon, free admission. Sophie Grillet

Wednesday: Attend an online public meeting to discuss the proposed pedestrian tunnel beneath the railroad by Bandemer Park—a critical link connecting the Border-to-Border Trail to Dexter and points west (7 p.m.-8 p.m.).

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

Still Thankful 

With both Gov. Whitmer and the WCHD urging people to confine Thanksgiving celebrations to their own households, we asked how you’ve reimagined your holiday. One multi-generational family is trading its fifty-year in-person tradition for Zoom, while a young mom is preparing a dinner she’ll deliver from a distance. Click here for their stories. 

Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward

For Sponsorship and Advertising information 


Copyright © 2020 Ann Arbor Observer, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.