September 20, 2021

HAPPY MONDAY! The Wolverines faced Northern Illinois football for the second time in football program history on Saturday and came out with a blowout score of 63-10. The Wolverines now hold a 3-0 record for the season and are set to face Rutgers this Saturday. 

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The skies were colorful over downtown Ann Arbor after sunset Sunday evening. Dominick Sokotoff/Daily. Buy this photo.

FUNGI FESTIVAL: Several hundred people gathered on the U-M Diag Sunday afternoon for the inaugural Entheofest to celebrate psychedelic mushrooms and the one-year anniversary of Ann Arbor City Council effectively decriminalizing entheogenic plants and fungi.

A crowd listens to Rick Thompson, owner of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, at the first-ever Entheofest on the U-M Diag Sunday afternoon. Anna Fuder/Daily. Buy this photo.

SHORT-STAFFED: Restaurants and stores in Ann Arbor, not unlike those around the country, are facing serious worker shortages. U-M economics professor Linda Tesar told The Michigan Daily that she expects firms will likely need to increase their public health precautions or pay workers more in order to encourage workers to apply.

TARGET ACQUIRED: In other business news, the new Target store in the State Theatre building downtown will have its grand opening on Sunday, Sept. 26, Target spokesperson Michael Wick confirmed in an email to The Daily.

AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS: Hickory Way Apartments, the first affordable housing complex funded by a new city tax, held a grand opening celebration Friday, according to MLive. Mayor Christopher Taylor and state Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, spoke at the event where community members gathered to celebrate the opening of the apartments built by nonprofit Avalon Housing.

RENTER REPRESENTATION: A proposal that would establish an official Ann Arbor Renters Commission will be considered at tonight’s City Council meeting, according to MLive. The 11-member commission would represent renters and suggest policies to the City Council and city administrator in regard to affordable housing, transportation access and economic development. 

Mayor Christopher Taylor and Councilmembers Travis Radina, D-Ward 3, Erica Briggs, D-Ward 5, Lisa Disch, D-Ward 1, and Kathy Griswold, D-Ward 2, are in support of the proposal.

POWER PREDICAMENT: In an email newsletter sent on Sunday, CM Briggs said she and CM Radina met in recent weeks with DTE Energy regarding power outages during recent severe weather. 

Briggs said DTE posed a solution of tree pruning to prevent outages, but wrote that those measures would “threaten our urban forest, weaken our healthy trees, and grotesquely redefine our streetscapes.” Community members have also expressed concern to MLive regarding DTE’s tree pruning efforts. 

“DTE stressed the impacts climate change is already having on our region and the challenges more frequent and severe storms pose to DTE’s ability to provide reliable service, but they did not acknowledge their role in accelerating climate change by failing to transition quickly to a clear energy grid,” Briggs wrote. 

These concerns come amid community efforts to implement a public power grid, as reported by MLive. Earlier this month, City Council approved a resolution that seeks a recommendation as to whether a feasibility study should be conducted for the formation of a public power utility for the Ann Arbor community.

DOWNTOWN ASSAULT UPDATE: A man arrested for a string of July downtown assaults pleaded guilty to three felony counts Wednesday. Under the deal, he faces a prison sentence of 8 to 15 years and will be required to register as a sex offender. 

$ DOESN’T GROW ON TREES: The Washtenaw County Black Farmer’s Fund has begun fundraising to support their mission to “build a more equitable and just food system” by “investing in Black Farmers who have long been denied access to land and resources,” according to their website. The fund aims to raise $50,000 by Oct. 8 to support 5 to 10 Black farmers in the region.

HOUSE FIRE UPDATE: The Ann Arbor Fire Department responded to a house fire Saturday night around 8 p.m. near Main St. and Pauline Blvd. One occupant was hospitalized for burn injuries and the structure will likely need to be demolished due to hoarding conditions exacerbating the fire, according to an AAFD Facebook post

The fire is undergoing investigation at the moment but is not considered to be suspicious at this point of time.

STADIUM SAFETY: Some community members have expressed that they feel the University’s decision to hold football games at full capacity in Michigan Stadium without the implementation of additional mask and vaccine policies threatens local public health. The University requires masks for indoor areas of the stadium, but no restrictions are in place for fans with outdoor seats. 

“I join Michigan Athletics in strongly encouraging everyone to wear a mask even when outdoors at Michigan Stadium for football games,” University President Mark Schlissel wrote in a Friday email to the campus community.

We value your opinion! Each week we will pose a question and share reader responses in the following edition. Responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.

This week’s prompt: What activities are you most looking forward to as we enter the fall season in Ann Arbor?

Last week’s prompt: How do you feel about the University’s decision to hold football games at regular capacity with no mask, vaccine or testing requirements?

“I think their decision is irresponsible. Perhaps they’re afraid of alienating fans and are just going to follow the money.” – Diane, 63, Ann Arbor

“I have had season tickets since 1975 but I am not attending any games this year at Michigan Stadium. While I am fully vaccinated, I don’t feel secure in close quarters (even though it is outside) with so many whose status is unknown. For me, the risks far outweigh the benefits.” – Constance, 78

“There is no reason not to have a vaccine and negative test (within 24 hours) mandate. Over and over, I hear media saying how great it is to have full capacity, but (the University) made sure there is no way to track every future positive COVID case back to the stadium.”  – Lawrence, 66, Westford, Mass.

“(This is) reckless and surprising. Proof of vaccination, as well as masking should be required.” – Robin, 68, Montgomery, Ohio

“At the very least, nobody who is not wearing a mask should be allowed to enter the stadium.” – Nancy, 73, Ann Arbor

“Gov. Whitmer proposes allocating federal COVID-19 funds to Michigan police”The Michigan Daily

“UMich Class of 2025: By the numbers and their hopes for college”The Michigan Daily

“U-M lecturers’ union ratifies 4-year contract with UMich”The Michigan Daily

“Ann Arbor plans to spend over $100M to ensure continued reliable drinking water”MLive

“University of Michigan to no longer send out COVID-19 classroom notifications”The Michigan Daily

The Ann Arbor District Library is holding a discussion with New York Times Reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones at Rackham Auditorium on Wednesday where she will discuss her work on The 1619 Project.

Washtenaw County reported 80 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 863 cases in the past two weeks. 72% of Washtenaw County residents aged 16 and over have received at least one vaccine dose. 

News tips? Comments? Questions?
A2 Outlook editors Dominick Sokotoff and Shannon Stocking can be reached at and, respectively.

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