HAPPY AUGUST and welcome to the eighth edition of A2 Outlook. We hope you all have been enjoying this cool weather as much as our AC units have. We’re gearing up for a musical week as Sonic Lunch returns in this last month of summer. As always, if you like our work, feel free to share this link with others to subscribe. 

Downtown Ann Arbor as viewed from above on Sunday afternoon. Courtesy of Dominick Sokotoff.

HAYNER PETITION FAILS: This week, the petition to oust CM Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1, failed to meet the 2,264 signature threshold to trigger a recall election. The petition was created after Hayner posted a quote to Facebook which included a homophobic slur.

MASK UP MICHIGAN: Masks will be required for all students, staff and visitors in Ann Arbor Public Schools this fall. Contractors and staff must also either provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing. This comes just days after the CDC issued new indoor masking guidance due to breakthrough infections of the Delta variant. 

CHANGES IN CHILD CARE: After Ann Arbor Public Schools announced it will not be providing school age child care for the upcoming school year and faced backlash from parents, the district is brainstorming solutions that don’t involve using AAPS buildings, instead providing outdoor options through its Rec & Ed department. CMs Linh Song, D-Ward 2, and Julie Grand, D-Ward 3, are working on potential city partnerships. 

COVID CASES EXPLORED: According to a preprinted study, COVID-19 outbreaks at the University of Michigan don’t appear to have significantly contributed to the Washtenaw County case rate in the Fall 2020 semester. Researchers used genomic surveillance of more than 1,600 individuals, including almost 500 students. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed, and it calls for more research on the topic.

WILD WEATHER: In the next episode of a series of extreme weather events in SE Michigan, four tornadoes touched down in the region last Saturday. While the storms were categorized as EF-1, the second weakest on the scale, many homes retained damage in the area. These tornadoes follow severe flooding in June and an increase in extreme weather fueled by climate change across the country.

GOVERNOR GRANTS FUNDS: Earlier last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 27 into law in Ypsilanti, allocating more than $384 million for child care, nursing homes and COVID-19 grants for hospitals, including $10 million for disaster relief for June extreme weather events. Some Washtenaw County residents who sustained damage from the June flooding are hopeful the bill will provide them additional support.

MICHIGAN MEDALS:  University of Michigan senior Maggie MacNeil took gold in the women’s 100-meter butterfly, and if that isn’t impressive enough, she also set the record for the Americas in the event with a time of 55.59 seconds. MacNeil also helped Canada take silver in the 4×100 relay. We’re sure this victor will receive a warm and jubilant welcome back to the Wolverine’s team. 

SAFETY ALERT: A U-M student was assaulted Thursday in downtown Ann Arbor. The victim was near Liberty St. and Division St. when she was approached by a man on his bike who punched the woman and yelled racial slurs at her. This follows a string of three assaults in the past month in downtown Ann Arbor, although officials do not believe it is connected to those prior.

“How a Liberal Michigan Town Is Putting Mental Illness at the Center of Police Reform”POLITICO Magazine

“Historic Washtenaw County schoolhouse stands as a community asset more than 100 years later”MLive 

“UMich mandates COVID-19 vaccination for all students, faculty & staff”The Michigan Daily 

“Ypsilanti sisters Tiffany Porter, Cindy Sember miss cut for 100m hurdle finals at Tokyo Olympics”MLive  

“Before and after: See Ann Arbor neighborhood block’s total transformation”MLive

“Catholic Church Fights Ann Arbor’s New EV Parking Requirements and Wins”MLive

We value your opinion! Each week we will pose a question and share reader responses in the following edition.

This week’s prompt: What are your thoughts on Mayor Taylor’s 20-year tax proposal to fight climate change that, if approved at this month’s city council meeting, will appear on the November ballot?

SONIC LUNCH RETURNS: After more than a year’s delay, Sonic Lunch is set to return to Ann Arbor Aug. 5. Townies can listen to music on Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in downtown Ann Arbor. To celebrate the return, Sonic Lunch also held a ‘Sonic Disco’ community dance party Friday night, filling Washington Street with dancing crowds and great music … This year’s lineup

THE ARK REOPENS: Another musical icon reopened this week as The Ark reopened for in-person shows on July 29 at partial capacity.  The Ark plans to return to full capacity by Aug. 22. 

SEEKING SUGGESTIONS: The Ann Arbor District Library is seeking topic suggestions for its ‘Ann Arbor 200’ project, which will celebrate the bicentennial of the city of Ann Arbor in 2024. 

Washtenaw County reported 29 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours and 177 cases in the past two weeks. More than 69% of Washtenaw County residents aged 16 and over have received at least one vaccine dose. 

News tips? Comments? Questions?
A2 Outlook editors Dominick Sokotoff, Shannon Stocking and Sarah Payne can be reached at sokotoff@umich.edu, sstockin@umich.edu and paynesm@umich.edu, respectively.

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