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Ann Arbor

KATIE RAYMOND / MICHIGAN RADIO

Ann Arbor voters will decide next week on a proposal that would raise an estimated $130 million (in today’s dollars) over the next 20 years to create 1,500 affordable housing units.

If passed, Proposal C would impose a millage on all tax-paying property owners (so, for example, that would exclude the University of Michigan), but low-income homeowners would be able to apply for a tax abatement.

 

the exterior of Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor
Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

A Black high school student has filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, alleging violations of Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act which prohibits discrimination based on "religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status" in employment, housing, education, and access to public accommodations.”

“We are alleging that she has faced — and other Black students have faced — a racially hostile environment at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor,” said Liza Davis of the Civil Rights Litigation Initiative at the University of  Michigan Law School, which assisted with the complaint.

downtown ann arbor
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor voters could see a millage on their ballot this November to increase affordable housing. The ballot language, proposed by councilmembers Chip Smith and Elizabeth Nelson, will be reviewed at the city council meeting tonight. 

 

The Crisler Center
Andy Piper / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic are scrapping plans for a 2020 presidential debate taking place in Ann Arbor this fall as planned. 

The University of Michigan was scheduled to host the second of the three debates between President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee former vice president Joe Biden on October 15.

But university officials this week withdrew from the debate hosting duties, saying it would be not be “feasible” to safely host the presidential debate as planned.

Downtown Ann Arbor
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Starting Monday, Michigan’s restaurants and bars can reopen to dine-in customers at half capacity. Business districts have welcomed the news, but as customers return, there are also concerns about spreading COVID-19.

Traverse City recently voted to close two blocks downtown to vehicle traffic to allow for more outdoor seating. And last week, the Ann Arbor City Council passed its own plan for some downtown streets.

Ann Arbor at sunset.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The city of Ann Arbor plans to become carbon neutral over the next 10 years. Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously early Tuesday morning to adopt guidelines for community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030.

The A2 Zero Carbon Neutrality plan would significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and offset the remaining emissions so that the community's overall carbon output is zero.

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

Hundreds of protesters, many of them students and young people, came out to at least two separate marches in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, marking more than a week of nearly daily protests in the city.

 

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

More than a thousand people gathered in Ann Arbor Monday for another day of protests against police brutality.

The protest began on the University of Michigan campus, where a number of speakers addressed the crowd, including Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12), state Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-53), and state Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-18).

field hospital
Jakub Janele / Adobe Stock

The University of Michigan health system is making plans for a field hospital for an expected overflow of COVID-19 patients.

Officials hope to transform an indoor track facility at U of M into a field hospital by April 9th or 10th. 

Literati Bookstore

For some small businesses, the COVID-19 shutdowns could be a death sentence. In order to survive, owners are having to quickly pivot to new ways of doing business.

line of people waiting to register to vote outside of a building
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters headed to the polls Tuesday to weigh in the presidential primary, as well as more than 200 local ballot questions across the state. The primary is also the first statewide test of Michigan's same-day voter registration rules since voters passed Propsal 3 in 2018. 

After hearing reports of long lines of voters at Ann Arbor's City Hall, we sent a few reporters to check it out.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A proposed large solar farm is moving ahead for approval. The 24 megawatt solar installation could power the equivalent of five thousand households. 

“When you add in the hydro energy that we generate, as well as the methane that we capture from the landfill, this gets the city of an obvious municipal operations government footprint — our electrical use — to about zero. Hundred percent powered with clean, renewable energy,” said Missy Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Manager for the City of Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor city hall.
Heritage Media / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The city of Ann Arbor is considering a carbon tax on internal operations that rely on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. This comes three months after the city declared a climate emergency and set a goal of carbon neutrality for the city by 2030.

These trees will have to be removed in order to clean up the bank and bed of the Huron River in Ann Arbor.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor City Council has approved $3.8 million worth of upgrades to improve the city’s water system. $3.4 million of that money will go to UV-treatment upgrades in order to combat a parasite called cryptosporidium.

Gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new federal lawsuit claims that regular protests outside an Ann Arbor synagogue go beyond free speech boundaries, and violate the constitutional rights of worshipers.

The lawsuit was filed by Beth Israel Synagogue congregant Marvin Gerber. It says that each Saturday since 2003, members of the groups Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends and Deir Yassin Remembered, led by defendant Henry Herskovitz, have protested outside the synagogue. They carry signs that the lawsuit says are “anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist,” and some that are also “flagrantly anti-Semitic.”

Men smells jar of weed
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Recreational marijuana sales started Sunday in Michigan. Several people lined up outside of one Ann Arbor dispensary for hours.

The line at Greenstone Provisions at the edge of downtown Ann Arbor stretched around the corner.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Recreational marijuana sales are expected to begin in Michigan this Sunday.

David Harns is a spokesperson for the Marijuana Regulatory Agency. He says state licensed shops are allowed to sell product that has been on the shelf and available to medical marijuana patients for at least 30 days.

dog swimming in pool
Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

On a warm, sunny afternoon last week, I went to one of Ann Arbor’s city pools knowing full well I would not be allowed to swim. As I walked in,  I spotted some serious dog paddling. But the swimmer would probably just call it paddling.

The Ann Arbor emissions testing facility
Wikimedia Commons

Environmental Protection Agency employees at a Grosse Ile facility will not be returning to work on Monday. The Large Lakes Research Station was closed on Wednesday, despite backlash from local, state, and federal politicians. The Grosse Ile workers were supposed to move to an emissions testing facility in Ann Arbor, but many are concerned about the safety of the facility, as they have yet to receive results from air quality testing.

voting booths
user eyspahn / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Members of Ann Arbor’s city council failed to override a mayoral veto on an initiative to put a proposal to end nonpartisan voting on the November 2019 ballot. The council needed eight votes to override the veto, and the council voted 7-4 for the override.

The Leslie Science & Nature Center holds many summer camps and adventure programs.
Flickr // Leslie Science & Nature Center

New results of soil testing done at the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor show elevated levels of arsenic, lead, and copper, among other heavy metals and semi and volatile organic compounds.

The center conducted testing back in May, and the results were released on June 20. 

 

Ann Arbor at sunset.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor’s 2020 budget will be on the table for a vote at the Monday meeting of the city council.

The proposed budget calls for $430 million in spending for the next fiscal year. That’s up about nine percent compared to the current budget.

hospital exterior
Michigan Medicine

Nurses at the University of Michigan hospital have voted to authorize their union to call a three-day work stoppage if the university does not respond to claims of unfair labor practices. Ninety-four percent of the votes were in favor of the authorization.

table of laptops
Marvin Meyer / Unsplash

 


In most workplaces, people are expected to do what their boss asks of them. But some worker's cooperatives are challenging the traditional office hierarchy.

The Sassafras Tech Collective, based in Ann Arbor, is the only registered tech co-op in the state. 

Issues & Ale: The Downtown Dilemma
Tue, Sept 11, 6:30-8:00 PM 
Bill’s Beer Garden
218 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(Note: Since this is an outdoor event. In case of bad weather the rain date will be Wednesday, Sept. 12).

polling place sign
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor defeated challenger Jack Eaton in the Democratic primary race for mayor Tuesday.

Taylor won with 59 percent of the vote.

Eaton is a city council member who has disagreed with the mayor about several development proposals.

Eaton's campaign also reached out to Republicans, asking them to support him in the race.

Allana St. Laurents standing in front of photographs
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is underway, and as usual, it is a huge event. This year's fair features around 1,000 artists, and will draw thousands more visitors to the city's downtown.

Stateside's Lester Graham braved the the crowds and the traffic to talk to some of the artists showcasing their work, and the people who came to see it all. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of Michigan Medicine nurses rallied outside the Ann Arbor hospital complex today.

Wearing red shirts, waving signs and chanting “Union busting, that’s disgusting,” the nurses called on hospital administrators to agree to a new contract.  

The old contract for the 6,000 nurses expired June 30.  

Sewer cover
user greg l / wikimedia commons

Nearly 300,000 gallons of sewage overflowed from a manhole into the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum this weekend, according to the city of Ann Arbor.

Some of the sewage also ended up in the Huron River, but in a statement the city said it doesn't know how much.

Ann Arbor is blaming the blockage on an uninflated sewer plug and 3,000 feet of rope.

The rope was left by a contractor who recently inspected the sewer.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a new tool that Michigan cities can use to better understand their health care needs.

The NYU School of Medicine has developed what they call the City Health Dashboard, which looks at 36 key measures and drivers of health.   

Marc Gourevitch is the Dashboard’s principal architect. He says health problems like opioid abuse and obesity are tracked on the dashboard.

“Not only looking at health itself,” says Gourevitch, “but some of the things that cause health, like housing and transportation and air quality. So we try to bring all that together.”

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