September 15, 2022

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

I hope you’ve all been well back in Ann Arbor as we turn the corner into autumn. I’ve spent the last little while starting classes and getting settled into my new place, despite a surprise basement flood during a torrential rainstorm last week.

An alleged child predator was arrested in Milan. A suspected Peeping Tom was arraigned after a hidden camera was discovered in a Briarwood restroom; a massive investigation is underway to identify the victims.

EMU reached an agreement with its faculty union to end the first strike since 2006. The roundabout at Liberty and Zeeb opened, while in Ann Arbor work on State St. stretches on beyond schedule. A coffee shop with a mission hosts its grand opening Saturday, and a fundraiser for ALS research takes place at Burns Park Sunday.

Dayton Hare, editor

“A wish replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope,” Ed Erickson wrote on his Make-a-Wish donation page. “And hope is essential for these courageous children, now more than ever.” When he began the 300-mile fundraiser ride on which he was killed, he’d already surpassed his $3,500 goal by $200. 
Photo: Strava

The News...Briefly

The county’s Covid-19 snapshot reports 1,739 cases in the two weeks ending yesterday, up from 1,467 last week. There are 261.4 cases per 100,000 residents, up by about 40 from last week, and the CDC community level is “high.” The test positivity rate is 15.1 percent, up from 14.2.

During its first week of school, U-M reported triple the Covid numbers as a year ago, the Michigan Daily reports. 683 cases were reported, compared with last year’s 182. As of last Wednesday, forty percent of U-M’s quarantine housing was occupied.

U.S. marshals arrested an alleged child predator in Milan on Friday, ClickOnDetroit reports. The arrest warrant was issued by the county prosecutor's office after an investigation that began in April, when a nine-year-old boy told his mother that he had been sexually abused by a volunteer mentor.

An alleged recidivist Peeping Tom was arraigned last week, MLive reports. Erric Desean Morton spent six years behind bars for secretly recording people in public restrooms and other locations during 2010-15; he is now charged with similar crimes allegedly committed since his release on parole in January. The Ann Arbor Police Department has created a tip submission form to aid in identifying people who are concerned that they may have been victims.

Grisly details have emerged about the murder of Patricia Falkenstern, MLive reports (subscriber exclusive). Keith Kwiecinski allegedly strangled his Courthouse Square neighbor with a vacuum cord, sexually assulted her after she was killed, and lived in her apartment for two days before police arrived and arrested him. They were called by a Meals On Wheels staffer who grew suspicious after Kwiecinski answered the victim’s door for the second day in a row. Falkenstern’s loved ones remember her as a devoted mother, artist, and animal lover.

EMU and its faculty have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, ending a five-day strike, the Detroit Free Press reports. The agreement’s details are not yet public, but the sides had been in conflict over pay and health-insurance costs.

Meanwhile, EMU’s campus will soon be home to a fleet of electric Spin scooters, ClickOnDetroit reports. The battery-operated scooters are hoped to help alleviate traffic congestion and aid sustainability efforts.

Rick Bancroft’s retirement as U-M’s director of hockey operations seems to have stemmed from the WilmerHale investigation of the program, the Daily reports. In the month after the law firm provided a report to athletic director Warde Manuel detailing Bancroft’s alleged mistreatment of women, U-M and Bancroft reached a settlement specifying that he would not be eligible to be rehired in the athletics program and citing his “difficulty with interpersonal communication.”

Creditors are trying to force the Ann Arbor startup JustLight into bankruptcy liquidation, Crain’s Detroit Business reports (subscriber exclusive). Investors say they want out after having sunk $1 million into the infrared light therapy device company, which they feel has failed to deliver on its promises. Founder Peter Forhan told Crain's that he thinks the technology still has “an incredible path forward."

Atleen Kaur followed a “long and winding road” from India to the Ann Arbor city attorney’s office, Ryan Stanton writes in an MLive profile. Kaur moved to the U.S. as a teenager while her sister was being treated for cancer. After her sister recovered, Kaur did a stint in community college, then studied economics at Harvard and law at Columbia before moving to Ann Arbor with her husband twenty years ago. “I’ll be honest, when I first moved here from New York, I couldn’t sleep at night — it was far too quiet,” she told Stanton.  “I was like, where are all the sirens?”

The death of Ed Erikson in June highlights both the joys and perils of cycling, Brooke Marshall writes in the September Observer. “He just found his happy place riding, and he loved win-wins,” his friend Scott Fitzpatrick recalls, but at a three-day, 300-mile fundraiser for the Make a Wish Foundation, he and another rider were killed when an oncoming driver pulled out to pass without looking. “Please, if you’re operating a vehicle and see a cyclist, slow down and give them space,” Marshall writes. “Your actions are vitally important; they could save a life.

Construction on a new traffic circle finished at the intersection of Liberty and Zeeb. After weeks of work, the single-lane roundabout opened to traffic Tuesday.

The curbless street project on State is taking longer than hoped, the Daily reports. Though the first phase was meant to conclude around Labor Day, work will stretch on for the rest of the year due to miscommunications with the contractor, city spokesperson Robert Kellar said. The road should reopen Oct. 7, but work will continue by occupying the parking spaces.

A celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the second-most important Chinese holiday, helped one newly-relocated family feel at home, Michelle Yang recounts for the September Observer. After moving to Ann Arbor from Seattle, Yang’s family celebrated the holiday with newfound friends with lanterns and round foods signifying unity, “including an unexpected round main course—Domino’s pizzas.”

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A Dos Hermanos restaurant will soon be joining the bustling grocery of the same name on W Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti, taking the place of Abe's Coney Island.
Photo: Grey Grant.

Marketplace Changes

Bitty & Beau Coffee hosts its grand opening Saturday. The shop on S. Main St. is dedicated to employing adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and offers a range of hot and cold drinks, smoothies, and food.

Kerrytown Korean restaurant Miss Kim is introducing sliding scale to-go menu pricing to fight food insecurity. For a limited time, the restaurant’s most popular items will be offered at $0, half off, full price, or “pay it forward” (1.5 times the regular price) based on what people deem affordable. The sliding scale menu will continue until funds provided by High Road Kitchens are depleted.

Abe’s Coney Island on W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsi is being replaced by Dos Hermanos Mexican Grill, reader Thomas Siterlet emails. The restaurant is an extension of Dos Hermanos’s bustling grocery store nearby. Another correspondent notes, however, that yesterday the building featured a stop work order from the City of Ypsilanti, so the opening may be delayed. 

Sonia Leung and children celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival last year. Like the traditional moon cakes and other round foods, the lanterns symbolize unity. Photo: Michelle Yang


Active Against ALS hosts a free event at Burns Park on Sunday. From 2 to 4:30, there will be food for sale, activities, a raffle, and a silent auction to raise awareness of the crippling disease and funds for research.

Non-profit Live Zero Waste hosts a free educational event about how to reduce waste this Sunday. The self-guided Trash Talk Tour starts at the Big House at 8:30 a.m. and leads participants through several locations around town to learn about recycling practices, including a tour of Recycle Ann Arbor’s new materials recovery facility (registration required).

Embracing Our Differences Michigan, the outdoor art exhibit in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti parks, closes at the end of the month, but will return next year with new work that showcases and celebrates diversity. A call for quotations and artworks is open until January.

Things to Do

By Jennifer Taylor

16 Friday: Catch “K-ArtSong: A Korean Art Song Recital,” and hear pianist and U-M music professor Matthew Thompson accompany U-M voice students and guest singers in a program of traditional Korean songs that set a poem or text to music in a way that mirrors European art songs. 6:30–7:30 p.m., UMMA Apse, 525 S. State. Free. 764-1825.

17 Saturday: Learn the basic moves of step dance at the UMS’s “You Can Dance—Outside!”. Continues with Afro-Cuban dance Sept. 25. 10 a.m.–noon. Riverside Park Pavilion, 2 E. Cross, Ypsilanti. Free, preregistration required (limited capacity). 668-8463.

18 Sunday: Attend the 2022 Kerrytown BookFest—now at Washtenaw Community College—which celebrates books and bookmaking with a huge variety of activities, talks, panel discussions, signings, and sale tables by local booksellers and publishers. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., WCC, Morris J. Lawrence Building. Free admission.

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

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