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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.”

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ann Arbor is temporarily halting new medical marijuana dispensaries after more than 30 recently applied for permits to operate in the city.

The Ann Arbor News reports that the city council voted unanimously Monday to impose a 60-day moratorium on issuing new permits as it considers limiting the number of dispensaries allowed in the city. Dispensaries that have already received zoning approval or that have applications currently under consideration will be exempt.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Michigan lawmakers are scheduled to discuss a measure that would prevent communities from sterilizing wild animals to control their populations.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

When you buy a bouquet of flowers for your loved one, do you know where those flowers are grown? Colombia? The Netherlands? What about right in your own community?

A new group based in Ann Arbor has expanded upon the burgeoning local food movement to include locally grown flowers. It’s called the Michigan Flower Growers Cooperative.

Once a week from spring to fall, the co-op allows growers to sell wholesale to floral designers, florists and distributors.

City of Ann Arbor Public Services Administration

Ann Arborites can rest easy that they will not be asked to volunteer to limit their water consumption over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to Robert Kellar, spokesman for the Ann Arbor Public Services Administration.

Kellar said a leak that might have led to a temporary shutdown of Ann Arbor's water treatment plant has been isolated and is getting fixed. 

Kellar said the leak was discovered last weekend in one of two intake pipes to Ann Arbor's treatment plant. 

"The staff did an excellent job. There's not a threat at this point to the quality or the use of people's water," said Kellar. "So everybody should enjoy their holiday."

According to Kellar, the possibility had always been remote that the leak might lead to temporary voluntary water restrictions. He said they were presented to Ann Arbor City Council on Monday night as part of considering a worst case scenario.

actors on stage
Lisa Gavan

 


Each time a show opened at the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, Alexandra Berneis would send an email. As the theater's executive director, Berneis had a strong relationship with Jen McKee, the local critic at The Ann Arbor News. It was a symbiotic one: invitation, access, coverage, repeat.

Then one day in January 2016, she didn’t get an email back. The critic and other colleagues lost their jobs. Mainstream arts coverage in Ann Arbor was gone.

Michigan communities have been experiencing this with increasing frequency over several years. As the internet changed how people got their news, media entities shifted and consolidated, and arts communities across the state are feeling the loss.

mollyali / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

Former AOL CEO and Revolution LLC founder Steve Case's "Rise of the Rest" will make its second pit stop in Ann Arbor on Wednesday.

“It’s really emerging as a strong startup city," Case said. "It’s sort of the center of gravity in terms of a lot of the innovation in Michigan and a lot of people are beginning to understand there are great startups there.”

Suicides prompt Ann Arbor to consider safety fencing

Oct 3, 2017
Jamie / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Ann Arbor city officials want the Downtown Development Authority to fast-track authorization to install safety fences on the top deck of city-owned parking structures. The goal is to prevent more suicides or falls from those parking garages.

The DDA is expected to vote tomorrow on the authorization.

Efforts to obtain information from the DDA about estimated costs were unsuccessful.

Google to celebrate official opening of Ann Arbor space

Sep 21, 2017
outside of building
Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Google will host the grand opening of its new Ann Arbor facility tomorrow. U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are expected to be there, along with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and state and local officials.

More than 450 Google employees will soon be under one roof in the tech giant's new Ann Arbor space. That's out of 600 total statewide, up from about a dozen employees when the company opened its first Michigan office in 2006.

Office of Public Affairs / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Unabomber was one of America's most notorious outlaws of the 20th Century. And he may have never been caught if it weren't for a little help from here in Michigan.

Premiering this past August on the Discovery Channel, the new show "Manhunt: Unabomber" recreates the efforts by law enforcement to apprehend one of the country's most wanted men at the time.

From 1978 to 1995, someone mailed or hand-delivered a series of bombs. Three people were killed and 23 others were hurt.

18 years of fear ended on April 3, 1996. That’s when FBI agents swarmed a remote cabin in Montana and arrested Theodore Kaczynski.

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