Top Ann Arbor headlines Oct. 3-8

ANN ARBOR, MI – From Washtenaw County Health Department officials issuing a mask mandate to the now nullified mandated issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency order, to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases at the University of Michigan triggering a review of the situation, a lot has been going on in the Ann Arbor-Area.

a close up of a sign: File photo. Signs remind members to use face masks in common areas at Back Office Studio, 13 E. Washington St. in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

© Jacob Hamilton | Hamilton/
File photo. Signs remind members to use face masks in common areas at Back Office Studio, 13 E. Washington St. in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

Here are some headlines you might have missed.

Washtenaw County issues mask mandate, restaurant capacity limits to replace Whitmer orders

People in Washtenaw County will still be required to wear a face covering, eat at half-full restaurants and keep gathering sizes low, as ordered by the Washtenaw County Health Department on Monday.

Health Officer Jimena Loveluck issued four public health emergency orders on Oct. 5 as the question of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s length of emergency orders’ implementation is in question. Many of Whitmer’s emergency orders were invalidated Friday when the Michigan Supreme Court called them unconstitutional. Local health officials can still issue mandates during public health emergencies.

University of Michigan’s increase in COVID-19 cases triggers review

With more than 100 cases in each of the last three weeks, the University of Michigan said two of its response metrics have been met, thus triggering an ongoing review of the situation.

According to an Oct. 5 update on UM’s COVID-19 dashboard, the university met two of its response metrics: exceeding five days of increase in new infections (using a seven-day average), and Washtenaw County disease levels exceeding 70 new cases per million.

Bicyclist killed in crash with car in Ypsilanti area

A Belleville man was killed Sunday night when he was hit by a car while riding his motorized bicycle along an Ypsilanti Township road.

Emergency crews were called at 7:21 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, for a crash involving a car and a pedestrian in the area of Stony Creek Road and Swallow Lane, south of Merritt Road near Rolling Hills park.

The preliminary investigation indicates the bicyclist, 27, entered the roadway and was hit by the car, driven by an 18-year-old Carleton man, traveling north on Stoney Creek Road.

Mom accused of fracturing 3-year-old’s skull charged with abuse

A mother accused of putting her 3-year-old son into a permanent vegetative state when she fractured his skull faces felony child abuse charges.

Rhianna Nichole Bryant, 37, is charged with two counts each of first-degree child abuse for causing significant physical harm to her son, now 4, in her Ypsilanti Township home Dec. 18, 2019, court records show.

Professors explain why 2 ZIP codes account for nearly 40% of Washtenaw County COVID-19 cases

More than 1,300 of Washtenaw County’s 3,412 COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 1 have come from two ZIP codes — 48197 and 48198 — which cover Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township and portions of Superior, Augusta, York and Pittsfield townships.

Two Eastern Michigan University professors have sought out why that disparity exists and suggest remedies for eliminating it if control over the spread of COVID-19 can be gained.

Ann Arbor accelerates plans for downtown central park as some argue it’s ‘designed to fail’

It’s been over seven months since an Ann Arbor task force recommended next steps for advancing the vision for a downtown central park and civic commons.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays, Ann Arbor officials renewed their commitment to the effort Tuesday, Oct. 6, even as some argued it’s “designed to fail.”

‘It’s just not safe,’ Ann Arbor mayor says of Halloween trick-or-treating

With the COVID-19 outbreak ongoing in the community, Ann Arbor officials say they’re getting lots of questions from residents about Halloween.

Their response: Expect this year to be different and follow health guidelines.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traditional Halloween activities like trick-or-treating present a high risk for spreading the virus.

Some Michigan schools revert to no mask requirement for younger students after court ruling

Brad Bezeau points to the success Manchester Community Schools have had in implementing in-person learning four days a week.

No COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the district through the first six weeks of the school year, Bezeau said, pointing to efforts it has made to inform students and their families of the safety measures and protocols put in place to keep them safe.

Those safety measures included strongly recommending – not requiring – that students in grades K-5 wear masks in the classroom, while requiring those younger students to wear face coverings in common areas and while riding the bus.

Miami-based parking rental, reservation service expands to Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor residents and visitors may soon be able to find parking through a mobile application.

Miami-based Prked, an online and mobile parking app that allows users to search for a spot or rent out their privately-owned parking spaces for an extra income, is expanding to Ann Arbor, although a date hasn’t been announced yet.

‘Healthy Streets’ initiative ending outside downtown Ann Arbor

An initiative to reconfigure roads to promote distancing during the coronavirus pandemic is ending in some areas outside of downtown Ann Arbor.

The Ann Arbor City Council approved the Healthy Streets initiative in July, allowing leaders to repurpose parking or travel lanes to accommodate spaces for pedestrians and cyclists or establishing barricades to allow only local traffic to access neighborhoods.

Police union’s refusal to cooperate a barrier to holding officers accountable, oversight chair says

After a standoff with City Council and the city’s police oversight commission, Ann Arbor’s main police union has a new collective bargaining agreement.

The Ann Arbor Police Officers Association last week ratified the union contract council unanimously OK’d Sept. 21, City Administrator Tom Crawford told council this week, saying it’s good news and good to have it in place now.

Council rejected a previously proposed contract in July, directing city staff to renegotiate with the police union for reforms requested by the oversight commission.


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