HAPPY MONDAY and welcome to our third edition of A2 Outlook, where we break down what’s happening in Ann Arbor and deliver it straight to your inbox.
We’re Dominick, Shannon and Sarah, reporters at The Michigan Daily, and we’re excited to give you this week’s scoop!
Thank you to everyone who has sent us feedback so far! Please continue to email us with news tips and comments about the newsletter, and make sure to share this link with others to subscribe!
WILD WEATHER: Southeast Michigan faced heavy rain Friday. Dearborn and Detroit bore the brunt of the storm, but some areas of Ann Arbor received as much as five inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.
Several Ann Arbor residents reported water in their basements, and streets in some areas flooded.
EQUIPMENT ENHANCEMENT: City Council unanimously approved a more than $900,000 purchase order to upgrade AAPD body cameras and tasers on Monday.
The new tasers will be yellow, and the body cameras will automatically record when an officer’s taser is drawn. According to AAPD Chief Cox, tasers were deployed by officers twice in 2020 and four times in 2019.
The Council also unanimously approved an ordinance to implement changes to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission. From The Daily’s reporting:
“The ordinance would institute three structural changes to ICPOC: ICPOC would recommend new candidates for appointment to the existing commission for approval, ICPOC would be able to work on complaint cases before police internal investigations end and the number of ICPOC information managers would be increased from three to five.”
An ordinance was also unanimously passed that makes race-based discrimination against hair texture and style illegal in Ann Arbor.
CONTENTIOUS COMMENCEMENT: Two weeks ago we covered AAPS Superintendent Swift’s decision to remove a Skyline High School graduate’s image from the AAPS Facebook page and edit the commencement video because the graduate carried a “Free Palestine” flag across the stage.
The action was controversial, and Swift published a new statement Thursday, saying she has met with the student and Arab American and Jewish community leaders.
“I recognize that in the interest of maintaining the commencement as a neutral event, my decision to edit the official video, unfortunately, had the unintended consequence of causing confusion and harm to the individual student, her family and to all those in our community who value the display as a representation of heritage, culture, and identity,” Swift wrote. “I sincerely apologize for the harm that was caused by my decision.”
AAPS re-added the student’s picture to the Skyline graduation album and restored the original commencement video on Facebook … The re-added picture
COVID CLASS CHOICE: This fall, AAPS will be offering virtual class options for elementary students, including both asynchronous and synchronous formats as part of the school’s reopening plan.
ROYAL REINVENTED: M-36 Coffee Roasters, a coffee company founded by two former Espresso Royale employees, is planning to open a location in July in the space formerly occupied by the South University Ave. Espresso Royale.
GOATSCAPING: This week, goats will be brought to Broadway Park to help alleviate overgrown areas of poison ivy, honeysuckle, buckthorn and other invasive plants. The goats will remain until July 6.
THERE’S A NEW BIRD IN TOWN: A baby peregrine falcon recently hatched on the U-M campus and was named “Big Flappo Jr.” through online submissions. The original ‘Big Flappo’ was a falcon and one of many “unofficial campus mascots” beloved by the student population.
A QUICK UPDATE: Skyline High School senior Hobbs Kessler ran in the Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore. this past week and finished eighth in the semifinals of the 1500 meter run, just seconds short of making the final. This was Kessler’s first race as a professional Adidas-sponsored athlete.
MASK DISMAY: Around Ann Arbor, mask requirements in many local shops and businesses remain intact despite statewide orders being lifted. Some business owners expressed to MLive their disappointment with the lifted restrictions and said they hope the community will continue to mask up to prevent spread of COVID-19.
We value your opinion! Each week we will pose a question and share reader responses in the following edition.
This week’s prompt: How do you feel about City Council’s approval of a more than $900,000 AAPD purchase order for upgraded tasers and body cameras?
The upgraded tasers will be yellow instead of black, and they will automatically trigger body cameras to record when they are drawn by officers.
Last week’s poll: After statewide COVID-19 restrictions are lifted this Tuesday, do you plan on wearing a mask in indoor public spaces when not required?
Washtenaw County reported one new COVID-19 case in the past 24 hours and 40 cases in the past two weeks. More than 65% of Washtenaw County residents aged 16 and over have received at least one vaccine dose.