October 13, 2022

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Last week, two men in Washtenaw County were arrested in separate homicide investigations. State St. reopened to traffic after months of construction, sporting a newly-curbless design, and Liberty’s downtown weekend closures are set to finish for the year at the end of the month. A federal labor judge ruled that Starbucks illegally fired a local union organizer, and consumers who purchased produce from a farm in Homer should throw it out.

Santa Ono takes office Friday as the 15th president of the U-M, which set another enrollment record this fall. The Wolverines carry a 6-0 record into Saturday’s home game against Penn State, and assistant coach Mike Hart is on the road to recovery after a mid-game medical emergency last weekend.

Dayton Hare, editor

A stretch of State St. reopened with a new curbless design after months of construction. Photo: John Hilton.

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 860 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, down from 992 last week. There are 113.7 cases per 100,000 residents, down from 142.8 last week, and the test positivity rate is 9.3 percent. The CDC community level is still “medium,” and will update at 8 p.m. tonight.

An Ypsilanti man was charged with murder last week, MLive reports, after the family of the man’s ex-girlfriend called for a welfare check. She wasn’t home when police looked for her, and authorities believe that a body found by firefighters in Flint after they extinguished a blaze at a vacant house is hers. The man is being held without bond and is charged with open murder and using a firearm in a felony.

Saline and Michigan state police arrested a man being investigated for an Ohio homicide, the Saline Post reports. The man, a suspect in the killing of three-year-old Declan Hill in Sylvania, Ohio, surrendered to law enforcement at his relatives’ home on Saturday.

An Ypsi Township man rushed into a burning building to save his neighbor, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Off-duty sheriff’s deputy D. Bates pulled his neighbor out after learning that the man had gone inside and not returned. The neighbor was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Santa Ono starts work as U-M’s 15th president tomorrow. The former president and vice chancellor of the University of British Columbia takes the reins from interim president Mary Sue Coleman, ending the interregnum that started with Mark Schlissel’s firing in January.

U-M sets another enrollment record. Fall 2021 saw the Ann Arbor campus top 50,000 students for the first time, and this year it added nearly 1,000 more: Data released last week show that at the start of the 2022 academic year U-M had 51,225 students. LS&A remains by far the largest unit, with 21,384 students, followed by Engineering (11,051) and the Ross School of Business (4,362).

A court ruled that Starbucks illegally fired a local worker for union activities, Bloomberg reports. A National Labor Relations Board judge determined that the company must offer reinstatement and back pay to Hannah Whitbeck and host a meeting on workers’ rights, where they must read a notice affirming that her firing broke the law.

City council heard calls for more effective suicide-prevention barriers at city parking decks, MLive reports. While recent years have seen the installation of chain link fencing around upper levels, resident Peter Eckstein urged the DDA to implement something less easily circumvented; last month, a 24-year-old man died after he climbed around a fence at the Fourth and Washington structure.

The newly-curbless State St. reopened to traffic Saturday, MLive reports. The result of four months’ construction and ending the first phase of the project, the redesign creates a more flexible space that will allow businesses to treat portions of the road as an extension of the sidewalk and makes the area more pedestrian-focused. Next April until Labor Day, phase two will close the street from North U to Washington to finish the project.

The Maple Rd. bridge over the Huron reopened yesterday after renovations were completed, significantly ahead of schedule.

Consumers who bought Kuntry Gardens produce should throw it out, the Michigan Daily reports. According to a press release Monday from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, fields on the Amish farm could have been accidentally contaminated because raw, untreated human waste was deposited near farm equipment last spring.

Michigan football triumphed again last Saturday with a 31-10 win over Indiana. This Saturday at noon they’ll face off with Penn State at the Big House.

U-M running backs coach Mike Hart is “trending in a positive direction” after he suffered a seizure at the Indiana game last Saturday, the Detroit Free Press reports. The all-time leading rusher for the Wolverines, Hart has been the program’s running backs coach for two seasons. “I would like to thank everyone for their support, messages, and prayers,” Hart said in a statement Monday.

A group of locals who are children of Holocaust survivors banded together to keep their parents’ stories alive, Cynthia Furlong Reynolds reports in the October Observer. The Ones Who Remember: Second-Generation Voices of the Holocaust began as a project between congregants at Ann Arbor’s Temple Beth Emeth more than fifteen years ago. “As amazed as I have been by the horrors my parents endured,” said one, “I have been equally astounded by the miracles that enabled their survival—the extraordinary acts of courage, devotion, and resilience.”

A new multi-dimensional art exhibit opens at CultureVerse on Main St. tomorrow, ClickOnDetroit reports. Kara Thomas’s “Dimensions” features tangible and intangible art blending tech, ceramics, and fine arts. The venue is another cultural venture from LLamaSoft founder Don Hicks, who is also behind the Blue LLama across the street.

Downtown’s weekend dining street closures on Liberty, Main, and Washington conclude for the year Oct. 31.

More than 400 volunteers formed a human chain to move books into the Ypsi District Library’s newest branch last weekend, MLive reports. When it opens in November, the Superior branch’s collection will include approximately 2,000 volumes that were passed hand to hand by the volunteers.

Ticket To Paradise, starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, has an advance screening at the Michigan Theater next Thursday. The local connection: U-M film grad Daniel Pipski wrote the script with director Ol Parker. Pipski will be on hand for a post-showing Q&A.

NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! kicks off their tour at the Michigan Theater next Friday, Current reports. The beloved standup comedy quiz show features contestants guessing between genuine and fake news stories. The performance will mark the group’s first tour since 2019.

“The pandemic kind of spurred all kinds of new thinking about what are we going to do about gatherings and social community,” says Prentice 4M CEO Margaret Poscher. Logan vet Thad Gillies is culinary director at Venue. Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Marketplace Changes

Venue, a new dining/coworking hybrid space, opened its doors on Stadium, Micky Maynard reports in the October Observer. The 30,000 square foot venture in the old Lucky Market/Kroger space features five different menus, and hungry coworkers can order delivery from an app to have the food brought directly to them.

Palgong Tea opened in Woodland Plaza, Shelley Daily reports in the October Observer. The family-owned bubble tea franchise takes over the old Espresso Royale location and is only the second U.S. location for the Korean company.

Ann Arbor Muffler has reopened after a long closure prompted by an arson last year. The shop on Jackson Ave. offers lifetime guarantees on mufflers, in addition to a variety of other maintenance work for cars.

Argus Farm Stop and the city’s Office of Sustainability host the Local Food Festival today at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. The free event will showcase restaurants, chefs, and others who prioritize local ingredients, and food and drink will be available to purchase.

BRAG—the Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor—hosts its annual Remodelers Home Tour next weekend. Tickets for the Oct. 22-23 event, featuring eight homes in Ann Arbor and Plymouth, are on sale now on the Observer’s ticketing website, a2tix.    

Jewelry store Austin & Warburton closed its doors after thirty-five years, MLive reports. Husband and wife Craig and Brenda Warburton bought the store from Jack Austin in 1985 and became well-known for Brenda’s custom-made pieces. Now, the couple has decided it's time to retire.

A couple hoping to open an Ann Arbor-area winery and vineyard are a step closer to achieving their dream, MLive reports. The business received a conditional use permit late last month, and owners Brian and Lori Herron are hopeful they will receive the additional permissions they will need to be operational at the Dexter Ann Arbor Rd. site by 2024.

Joy Wolfe Ensor, Julie Ellis, Rita Benn, and Ruth Wade edited memoirs by children of Holocaust survivors. Courtesy photo.


Senior Living Week starts Monday. The Housing Bureau for Seniors’ expo at Washtenaw Community College will feature educational presentations and vendors, free flu and pneumonia shots, an unused medication drop off, and counseling on medical bills, health insurance, and Medicare’s open enrollment period.

The Blue LLama hosts a fundraiser for Mentor2Youth on Tuesday. Tickets, available online for $150-$500, include a multi-course tasting menu and a performance by jazz guitarist John E. Lawrence. Ypsi-based M2Y provides academic support to youths and helps develop positive habits through mentorship.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

14 Friday: Hear renowned composer-trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’s jazz symphony “All Rise” in a University Musical Society production. U-M music professor Kenneth Kiesler conducts the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the U-M Symphony Orchestra, the U-M Choirs, and the UMS Choral Union. Rarely performed since its 1999 premiere due to its considerable scale, All Rise pulls from Stravinsky as much as Ellington and Mingus in its hefty 106 minutes, resulting in what AllMusic’s Richard S. Ginell once called “the most fascinating and enjoyable of Marsalis's concert pieces.” Part of Marsalis’s UMS residency. 8 p.m. Hill Auditorium. Tickets $18–$86 ($12–$20 students) in advance at tickets.ums.org, at the Michigan League, and (if available) at the door.

15 Saturday: Watch EMU theater students in “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s classic 1953 drama, set during the Salem Witch Trials, that’s widely seen as an allegory for McCarthyism. When a minister’s flirtatious daughter exacts a stinging revenge after a run-in with her employer’s jealous wife, an entire community is engulfed by paranoia and mutual recrimination. Lee Stille directs. Oct. 14–16 & 21–23. 7 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.) & 2 p.m. (Sun.), EMU Legacy Theater, 124 Judy Sturgis Hill Bldg., Ford St. (off Lowell from Huron River Dr.), Ypsilanti. Tickets $12–$18 in advance at EMUtix.com and at the door.

16 Sunday: Paddle Gallup Pond at Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation’s “Trick or Treat on the River” to enjoy the fall colors and gather candy from costumed characters at stops along the way. Paddlers are encouraged to come in costume. Kids must be at least a year old. Call ahead if rain is forecasted. Noon–5 p.m., Gallup Park canoe livery, 3000 Fuller Rd. $22 per boat. a2gov.org/trickortreat, 794–6240.

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

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