In the News
With Covid-19 cases rising again, Governor Whitmer halted plans to move Lower Michigan into Phase 5 of her Safe Start plan, which would have allowed fitness centers to reopen after the July 4th holiday. After more than 170 infections were traced to an East Lansing bar, she also suspended inside service for bars downstate. New cases of Covid-19 in Washtenaw County remain low, but "the bad news is we all think there will be another wave," warns Michigan Medicine physician Valerie Vaughn.
Campaigns for the August 4 Democratic primary elections are in high gear, and the race for county prosecutor is the one to watch. Hugo Mack, Eli Savit, and Arianne Slay all promise to transform the criminal justice system represented by retiring prosecutor Brian Mackie. (Slay’s sticker on the cover of the July Observer was a paid advertisement.)
The League of Women Voters – Ann Arbor Area is hosting forums for candidates running in the Aug. 4 primary election. Ann Arbor city council contests are already online, with county, state, and federal races following throughout July.
The Washtenaw County Board of Health declared racism a public health crisis. Washtenaw ranks 80 out of 83 counties in Michigan for income inequality, and the “COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated existing racial inequities and further highlighted racism as a root cause of poorer health,” the resolution states. African Americans make up 12.7 percent of the county’s population and 33 percent of coronavirus cases.
The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners voted on July 1 to create a Commission on Aging to ensure that the needs and desires of senior citizens, which make up 18% of the county’s population, are reflected in the Board’s budget and policy decisions.
At the seventh annual Breakfast of Champions event held by Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness, Ann Arbor Housing Commission executive director Jennifer Hall was honored as the 2020 Public Policy Champion. Hall led the $65 million public-private redevelopment of Ann Arbor’s public housing complexes, adding 58 new apartments and dedicating over 25% of these units to individuals experiencing homelessness.
Last issue, we noted U-M and EMU’s plans for the fall semester. We should have included Washtenaw Community College’s fall plans as well. In a letter to the community posted June 26, WCC president Rose Bellanca described a fall schedule where most classes will be online, though classes with a lab component will be offered in a hybrid format. Separately, WCC announced a tuition freeze for the 2020/2021 academic year.