October 28, 2021

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

This week, my mind is full of color. Four obvious ones come to mind for Saturday—maize and blue for Michigan, green and white for Michigan State. In Scotland, the prevailing colors are green for the planet and blue for the oceans, at the COP26 conference on the environment, which begins Sunday in Edinburgh. There’s also red, gold and orange, which we are (finally) seeing on our trees and are also reflected in the Diwali festival that starts Monday for our South Asian friends.
These colors seem even more vivid because of the gray skies that usually over take us when November begins (we got a preview during this week’s rain) and because the pandemic has dulled our lives. Whichever colors resonate most, I hope they will invigorate you, and lift your spirits for all your tasks ahead.

Micki Maynard, editor 

Members of the Jewett family pose with the new George Jewett Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Northwestern-Michigan football game. Jewett was the first African-American to play at each school, and also was valedictorian at Ann Arbor High (now Pioneer). Photo courtesy of WEMU-FM, where Jewett's great-grandson Michael can be heard each weekday morning and afternoon.

The News...Briefly

Covid cases: On Wednesday, the Washtenaw County Health Department reported seventy-five new cases, no hospitalizations and one death in the previous twenty-four hours. The weekly positivity rate is 4.5 percent. Only 8 percent were connected with U-M and EMU. Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosters are now available to people age sixty-five and up, immunocompromised and others with special circumstances.

Unvaccinated dismissals: Beginning November 8, any unvaccinated U-M staff member without an exemption who does not begin the vaccination process will not be allowed to work and will not be paid for the next thirty days. If they remain unvaccinated, according to the Michigan Daily, they will be terminated on December 8. Staff members with a vaccine exemption must be tested weekly. 

U-M’s endowment grows to $17 billion. Michigan says its endowment—a collection of 12,000 funds for scholarships, educational programs and academic research—grew $4.7 billion to a market value of $17 billion at the close of the 2021 fiscal year. That’s a market return of 40.6 percent, university officials told the Board of Regents, according to the University Record. Of that money, $404 million was spent on operations. Over the past twenty years, the endowment has averaged an annual return of 9.5 percent. 

Schools are closed Monday. Ann Arbor Public Schools will close Monday, superintendent Jeanice Swift said in an email to parents. Elementary school students were already scheduled to be off Friday afternoon, and schools are closed Tuesday due to election day. In a statement, Swift said it would be “a challenge” to fully staff schools on Monday, so she canceled classes. Meanwhile, parents at A2STEAM were surprised Monday when remote learning was implemented an hour before classes began, Local 4 News reported. Swift said the emergency move was due to numerous unfilled positions, which left the school unable to staff its classrooms. 

Cyberattack on The Ride. The Ann Arbor Transit Authority said that it was the victim of a cyberattack this week, causing temporary disruptions to real time bus information and information systems. Bus systems remained on regular schedules. The Ride said it was investigating the source of the attack.

Afghan journalist returns. An Afghan journalist who was a 2018-19 Knight-Wallace Fellow has escaped the Taliban and is back in Ann Arbor, Local 4 News reported. Jawad Sukhanyar’s journey took him from Kabul to Mexico City, Houston and eventually to Ann Arbor, where he will serve as a journalist-in-residence with the Donia Human Rights Center and the International Institute. Jewish Family Services is assisting refugees as they arrive. 

African-American museum opens Saturday. The African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County will be open to the public on weekends starting Saturday. Check out its online exhibit devoted to George Jewett, namesake of the new trophy which you can see above. 

Marketplace Changes

New dessert spot. Cravings Dessert Lounge, whose main store is on Ellsworth in Ypsilanti Township, has added a second location inside Ahmo’s at Maple and Dexter. Cravings is owned by Mohammed and Nasser Nemer, both members of the extended Issa family, which own the area’s Ahmo’s restaurants. Cravings’ signature dish is a kanafa bowl, a thickened milk pudding topped with fruit, walnuts, and syrup.  
Help from its friends. While it is closed for renovations, Slurping Turtle is teaming up with other restaurants. This week, Slurping-inspired duck-fat-fried chicken wings are on the menu at Side Biscuit. Meanwhile, it held a sushi pop up last week at its neighbor, Knight’s Downtown. Knight’s kitchen manager Rick Croley tells the Observer another event is set for the weekend of November 5. “We got to offer something different, and they got to keep their name out there!” Croley says. 
Closings and re-openings. Green Things Farm Collective is putting its self-service store on Nixon Rd. to bed for the winter, but you can still order online for Wednesday pickup, and see them at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Meanwhile, Go Ice Cream in Ypsilanti has re-opened its indoor parlor for the first time since March, 2020. It has been serving frozen treats, including dairy-free sorbet, and baked goods from its walkup window. Owner Rob Hess has always wanted his ice cream parlor to be a community space. 

Michigan athletes’ gear. Now that the NCAA is allowing student athletes to make money from their name, image, and likeness, the MDen has started selling gear from individual athletes. You can nab a signed photo from backup quarterback J.J. McCarthy for $100, or for half that price, get an autographed picture from starting QB Cade McNamara. 


Ask a2view

Q:  What is happening for Halloween this weekend?
A:On Sunday, the Ann Arbor District Library will broadcast a Halloween story time for preschoolers from 10 a.m.-10:30 a.m. From 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m., kids can dress in costume and skate to spooky Halloween music at Veterans Memorial Ice Arena. 

The city’s official trick or treating hours are 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. The county health department offers a number of tips for celebrating safely in another pandemic Halloween.

Things to Do

By Ella Bourland

28 Thursday: Watch the Comic Opera Guild in John Philip Sousa's 1897 comic operetta The Bride Elect (October 28-30), a satire of politics set in a fictitious country. Stars Angela Hench, Zoe Zdrojewsky, Dorothy Duensing, Thomas Petiet, Matthew Cook, Chris Grapentine, and Robert Douglas. 8 p.m. (Thurs.-Sat.) & 2 p.m. (Sun.), Riverside Arts Center, 76 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti. Tickets $18 (seniors, $15; students, $10) in advance at and at the door. Mask & proof of vaccination (or recent negative Covid test) required. 973-3264. 

29 Friday: Attend WonderFool Productions’s “YpsiGLOW Stroll + Roll,” an outdoor family-friendly festival featuring a vast array of handmade illuminated sculptures, live entertainment, and activities. Virtual program available starting at 7 p.m. on For a complete schedule and map, see here. 6-10 p.m., Downtown Ypsilanti. Free.

30 Saturday: Catch the last day of Kerrytown Concert House’s 25th annual Edgefest, listed by DownBeat as one of the world's fifty top jazz/avant music festivals. Today’s program starts with the quirky Edgefest Parade (noon) led by Scarlett Middle School band students and Edgefest artists. To tag along, bring any sort of instrument (including bells and whistles) to KCH at 11:30 a.m. and line up. For the musical lineup, see here. Noon-10 p.m., various performances at Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave, & Bethlehem United Church of Christ, 423 S. Fourth Ave. Individual show tickets $15 & $25 (students, $10 & $15) & day passes $40-$60. Tickets available in advance online, by phone, and (if available) at the door. Mask & proof of vaccination (or negative Covid test within past 72 hours) required. 769-2999.

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

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