In the News
Absentee ballots began to arrive over the weekend.The Observer’s Jim Leonard has our story. Lawmakers in the state House and Senate approved a bill that gives clerks ten hours on November 2 to prepare absentee ballots for counting. Michigan Legislature. On September 14, a judge ruled that ballots postmarked as late as election day must be counted, but Republicans are suing to reverse the ruling, and voters are encouraged to return their ballots by mail or dropbox in City Hall’s north and south vestibules as soon as possible.
U-M is boosting its Covid-19 testing capacity to 6,000 a week, aided by a saliva test developed by a university spinoff. The U-M’s enhanced Covid-19 dashboard shows 141 students diagnosed last week, up from 96 the week before. On Monday, just over 100 were either quarantined after testing positive, or isolated after exposure--a critical tool to limiting infections that got off to a rocky start.
A U-M junior died by suicide. In an interview with MLive, his father spoke about Ian MisKelley’s struggles with depression. Despite success in school and sports and his loving family’s best efforts to support him, he said, his son was tormented by “a demon lurking under the surface.” The Garrett Halpert Memorial Fund at the U-M Depression Center is working to create Garrett’s Space, a holistic mental health center and supportive community for young people struggling with depression. If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, find help here.
An affordable housing millage is on the Nov. 3 ballot. With redeveloping city-owned lots a key part of the plan, the city running a survey about four sites: the large parking lot at Ashley and William, the smaller ones at Main and William and Fourth and Catherine, and the large but flood-prone former city yard on N. Main near Summit. The first of three virtual engagement sessions will be on Thursday from 6-8 p.m. Also, see Events for a roundtable discussion this Saturday on the affordable housing millage.
Arts group protests lack of COVID-19 aid. The Arts Alliance tracked more than $5.56 million in local public emergency grants to small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by Covid-19, including the Michigan Small Business Relief Program Grant, the Michigan Small Business Restart Grants, the Washtenaw Small Business Emergency Relief Fund, and the Washtenaw United Way COVID-19 Community Relief Fund for Nonprofits. It found that no funds were allocated to arts organizations.
As of September 30, the cumulative total of laboratory-confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in Washtenaw County stood at 3887, with 40 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours (as of 9/30 at 11 am.). Returning students have not caused the spike in cases that many anticipated.
An affordable health clinic lost a staffer to Covid, gained a new headquarters and future clinic. The Observer’s Grace Shackman has our story.