September 8, 2022

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

This is my last week as an intern for a2view. Next Thursday, I’m off to Italy for two months, but I imagine I will be coming back to Ann Arbor in the near future. I have too many friends here to say farewell to the city just yet.

In crime news this week, Ann Arbor recorded its first homicide of the year at the Courthouse Square Apartments, a 100-person fight broke out at a movie theater in Pittsfield, and a man reportedly admitted to the recent Ann Arbor bank robberies. Labor Day weekend saw both Starbucks workers and EMU faculty go on strike, and the nurses’ union at Michigan Medicine authorized a strike. The Wolverines started the season strong with a victory over Colorado State, and Ann Arbor Pride in the Park returns this Sunday after two years hiatus.

Nicholas Moore

Skyline High School closed Tuesday after ethanol glycol was found ozzing through the pavement of the parking lot. The green substance leaked from the school's geothermal system. Screenshot taken from video by Samantha and Kate Chiang.

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,467 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, up from last week’s 1,284. There are 221.7 cases per 100,000 residents, and the CDC community level decreased to “medium.” The test positivity rate is 14.2 percent, up from last week’s 13.6.

In the results from our Covid survey, readers overwhelmingly said they continue to be concerned about the virus and consider covering it important. Some suggested we cover Long Covid more, and others want an investigation of pandemic related school/business closures and their economic and social effects. Others criticized the media’s handling of the disease: One reader felt the coverage “may lead you to believe that a disease with a 99.97% survival rate is killing every human on earth.” In Washtenaw County, according to available data, that number is closer to 99.43 percent — but with nearly 100,000 recorded cases, that still means 561 people have lost their lives.

A man was charged in the murder of an Ann Arbor woman last week, ClickOnDetroit reports. Patricia Falkenstern was found dead at her home in the Courthouse Square Apartments on Thursday during a wellness check: Keith Kwiecinski, a fellow resident who knew the victim, has reportedly admitted to the killing. He is being held at the Washtenaw County Jail without bond.

A man caught robbing an Ohio bank admitted to the recent Ann Arbor bank robberies, Fox2Detroit reports. Scott Kelly Hanson, who reportedly admitted to the robberies when police caught him after a car chase, is being charged with state and federal crimes.

Four people were arrested after a 100-person brawl broke out at Cinemark Ann Arbor 20 and IMAX in Pittsfield Township, MLive reports. Police were called Saturday evening to respond to reports of a large fight during the National Cinema Day $3 ticket promotion. The one adult and three juveniles detained were released pending possible charges.

An unoccupied home in Ann Arbor suffered damage from a fire last week, MLive reports. The fire broke out in the house’s attic in the middle of the night, and although a neighbor notified the fire department, the fire had time to grow and cause major damage.

A fire damaged a house in Saline last Monday, the Saline Post reports. A resident discovered the fire after investigating a “pop.” Firefighters worked for three and a half hours to put out the fire that caused around $60,000 of damage.

EMU’s faculty union went on strike yesterday, the Eastern Echo reports. The sides are split on pay and health care costs; union member Matt Kirkpatrick stated that the administration has been “raising their own salaries while trying to reduce [the faculty’s] compensation.” The Detroit Free Press reports that the university is seeking a court order to end the strike.

Last weekend workers at the Starbucks on Washtenaw also went on strike, the Detroit News reports. Sasha Anisimova organized a strike at the location last month in protest of the corporation delaying wage increases for unionized store locations; after she was fired with little explanation on Thursday, the workers immediately went on strike to demand her reinstatement.

The U-M nurses’ union voted to authorize a strike, the Michigan Daily reports. The U-M Professional Nurse Council has been working without a contract since July. Michigan Medicine spokesperson Mary Masson said the university was disappointed and that the bargaining is close to resolution with an offer that includes a 21 percent pay increase over four years and a $4,000 bonus.

City council voted 10-1 to contract two companies to conduct a feasibility study on achieving 100 percent renewable power, the Daily reports. The three options studied include economic incentives such as tax credits; a municipal utility that would acquire DTE’s assets in the city; and partial municipalization through a sustainable energy utility.

Mike Cox resigned as Ann Arbor police chief to become Boston's police commissioner; is interim police chief Aimee Metzer interested in the permanant post? "Never say never," she said. Photo: J. Adrian Wylie (left), Mark Bialek (right).

Recently-departed police chief Mike Cox thinks his successor will be “the luckiest person in the world,” James Leonard reports in the September Observer. Despite initial hopes to break the city’s recent pattern of short-term chiefs, Cox left to become Boston’s police commissioner without making it to three years in Ann Arbor. As for whether interim chief Aimee Metzer might be interested in the permanent job, “never say never,” she says.

Twenty acres on Miller Rd. owned by the late Don Botsford are finally in public hands, MLive reports. “Grampa Don” Botsford built treehouses and carved trails on the land, and sold development rights to half the property to the city and Scio Township before his death in 2011. When the rest was offered for sale last year, the city acquired it, then transferred it to the county, which will combine it with two adjoining properties to create the forty-acre Botsford Preserve.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell was instrumental in the EPA moving to classify two PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances, the Michigan Daily reports. Ann Arbor monitors PFAS levels in the city’s drinking water, and the most recent sampling, taken Aug. 1, shows the chemicals well below levels dangerous for humans, with the two newly classified chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, undetected and at 2.1 parts per trillion, respectively.

Skyline High School closed on Tuesday due to a geothermal leak, according to an email from superintendent Jeanice Swift, after a green substance was discovered oozing through a crack in the parking lot. The leak was temporarily repaired and minimal ethanol glycol escaped off-site. The school resumed Wednesday with the help of a temporary generator providing air conditioning.

Zeeb Rd. closed at the railroad tracks south of Huron River Dr. yesterday for work that will take about five days. Harris Rd. closed between MacArthur and Geddes on Tuesday and is scheduled to reopen in November, subject to change due to weather conditions.

The Ann Arbor Skatepark will install LED floodlights this fall, Current reports. City council approved the project at the expected cost of around $270,000, which will be provided by the Ann Arbor Parks Department, the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark.

The Wolverines trounced Colorado State at the first football game of the season last Saturday, the Daily reports, but quarterback Cade McNamera was taken by surprise by the “unusual” quarterback rotation, the Detroit Free Press reports (subscriber exclusive). McNamara started in last week’s game, but this weekend J.J. McCarthy will lead. The Daily believes that “the door is closing” on McNamara’s prospects to lead the team this season.

Ann Arbor Pride in the Park returns this Sunday after a two-year virtual hiatus. The free event in Wheeler Park features vendors, entertainment, food, and more. Meanwhile, on Saturday the Ann Arbor YMCA will hold its intergenerational LGBTQ+ Dinner Dance, ClickOnDetroit reports, and last Sunday hundreds turned out for Pride Outside, the Daily reports.

New southside neighhors G-Ho Park, manager of Kanbu Sushi 777, and Christy Kaledas, co-owner of The Thrivery juicery and café. Photo: J. Adrian Wylie.

Marketplace Changes

The 777 Building at State and Eisenhower saw second location openings from two familiar restaurants in recent months, Anita LeBlanc reports in the September Observer. The Thrivery, formerly known as Thrive Juicery, opened their second location in the first floor lobby, where they’re joined by Kanbu Sushi 777, which opened their first Ann Arbor location on E. Liberty in 2019.

Ann Arbor native Hailey Polidori moved her coffee popup from Austin to Michigan, MLive reports. “Hazel Coffee Co., a “mobile café” in a 1969 Red Dale trailer, is currently making appearances in Canton and Plymouth; follow the company’s social media for updates.

The American Association of University Women's book sale is this weekend at WCC’s Morris Lawrence Building. Proceeds from the three-day sale go to support scholarships and the AAUW.

Zingerman’s Deli announced a new sandwich for a cause, ClickOnDetroit reports. During September, Zingerman’s and three partners will donate a total of $8 for each “ChadWink” sold to the ChadTough Defeat DIPG Foundation for pediatric brain cancer research.

WPA workers removing trolley tracks on Catherine St, in the 1930s. The elegant building at right was the Ann Arbor Dairy, later demolished for a city parking lot. The ties surfaced during utility work for a new affordable-housing project on the corner.

Ask a2view

Q. “I checked out the utility work on Catherine St. that you reported two weeks ago, and was surprised to see old railroad ties in the excavation. What gives?”

A. Local historian Grace Shackman emails that they’re remnants of the trolley service that operated here from 1890 to 1929: There was a short stretch on Catherine “where the trolley turned from Main Street to Detroit Street on the way to the railroad station.” The tracks–but not the ties–were removed by Works Progress Administration crews in the 1930s. For more about the trolleys, check out Shackman’s 1995 Observer article on the AADL’s “Old News” website.

Helpers

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County hosts its first Big Little Fair at the Riverside Arts Center Saturday. The RAC will host free performances, dance and theater workshops, and an interactive art exhibit at the free event. BBBS is looking for mentors – learn more through their website.

On Saturday, community members are invited to help paint a mural to commemorate Friends In Deed’s forty years of service to low-income families. The 12-5 p.m. event at the organization’s building on Ecorse Rd. in Ypsi will allow community members to use a “paint-by-number” technique to contribute to the mural. The completed mural will be revealed Sep. 23.

Ypsllanti’s volunteer Pull Over Prevention Clinics are celebrating their two-year anniversary, the Detroit Free Press reports. Every second Saturday, volunteers make minor repairs on cars, and have begun to draw in other organizations that provide services and goods, such as vaccinations and free meals. The next pop-up is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Masjid Ibrahim on Ford Blvd.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

9 Friday: Catch new Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra director Earl Lee’s debut in a season-opening performance conducting Beethoven’s raucous, electrifying Symphony No. 7 and This Land, a 2019 work by the prominent young African American composer Carlos Simon. Also, acclaimed Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan joins the symphony in Rachmaninoff’s fiendishly virtuosic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. 8 p.m., Hill Auditorium. Mask and proof of vaccination (or negative PCR test within 3 days) required. Tickets $20–$90 in advance at a2so.com & the AASO office (35 Research Dr., ste. 100), and (if available) at the door. 994-4801. 

10 Saturday: See one of the longest-running comedy improv groups in the country, Chicago’s popular Second City troupe, in a rare appearance at the Ark. The troupe’s current show is a mix of sketch comedy, music, and improv that sends up and celebrates the eccentricities and imperfections of our great big dysfunctional nation. 8 p.m., The Ark, 316 S. Main. Tickets $36 (students with ID, $26) in advance at Michigan Union Ticket Office and theark.org, and (if available) at the door. 761-1451.

11 Sunday: Karl Sikkenga directs local acting company Brevity Shakespeare in a 90-minute version of “As You Like It,” Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy centered on a noblewoman who must disguise herself as a man in order to win the world’s respect. Performed outdoors with limited capacity. 8 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.) & 2 p.m. (Sun.), 210 N. Wallace at Sherman, Ypsilanti. Rain location at First Baptist Church, 1110 W. Cross. Tickets $15 (students & seniors, $10). Reservations recommended at 985-0315.

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

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