January 8, 2021

Prosecutor ends cash bail, professor makes MLK mosaic out of LEGOs: Ann Arbor top headlines Jan. 2-7

Prosecutor ends cash bail, professor makes MLK mosaic out of LEGOs: Ann Arbor top headlines Jan. 2-7

ANN ARBOR, MI – With so much national news coming out this week, it’s easy to forget that a lot news happened in the Ann Arbor area as well.

Here are some headlines you might have missed this week.

Washtenaw County prosecutor rolls out new policy to end use of cash bail

Following through on a campaign promise, newly elected Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit has rolled out a policy seeking to end cash bail.

Savit, who started on the job Jan. 1, issued a 20-page policy directive to his staff Monday, Jan. 4, setting new standards for seeking pretrial detention of criminal defendants.

15,000 LEGO bricks become Martin Luther King Jr. mosaic from Eastern Michigan University professor

Last summer’s protests have inspired Aaron Liepman to honor one of the most important figures in the fight for racial justice.

Liepman, an Eastern Michigan University biology professor, decided to create “Revolutionary,” a black-and-white mosaic of LEGO bricks celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dedication, family love is legacy of Ann Arbor firefighter who died of cancer at age 45

Craig Sidelinger never gave anything less than his best when it came to being a firefighter or a family man.

By his early 40s, he had done more with his life and seen more of the world than most people twice his age, his wife Julie Sidelinger said.

“He was a wonderful husband and an amazing father,” she said. “He was always an explorer ready to find the next adventure.”

Mayor’s refusal to censor Violin Monster’s F-bombs sparks Ann Arbor council debate

The first Ann Arbor City Council meeting of the new year included an airing of grievances and debate over whether to allow public speakers to drop F-bombs.

The drama started after Zachary Storey, a street musician better known as Ann Arbor’s Violin Monster, addressed council at the virtual Zoom meeting Monday night, Jan. 4, criticizing Council Member Jeff Hayner, D-1st Ward.

Commenting on Hayner’s past public criticisms of MLive and attempts to suppress a public speaker at a recent council meeting, Storey raised concerns about what he viewed as repeated attacks on First Amendment rights.

Governor appoints experienced public defender to Ann Arbor’s 15th District Court judge seat

A new judge is taking the bench in Ann Arbor.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has appointed attorney and lifelong Ann Arbor resident Miriam A. Perry to serve in the city’s 15th District Court.

Ann Arbor Police Department getting its first all-electric Ford Mustangs

The Ann Arbor Police Department is adding a couple all-electric Ford Mustangs to its patrol fleet.

City Council OK’d the $93,926 purchase of two 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles at its last meeting in December.

Washtenaw County ramping up COVID-19 vaccination efforts after ‘slower’ start

Vaccination efforts are expected to increase in Washtenaw County this week as a new shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive, health officials said.

The health department began using the 1,950 doses of vaccine it received on Dec. 17 to vaccinate those who are vaccinating others, as well as long-term care facilities, EMS and frontline heath care providers not already being vaccinated through their hospital or organization.

University of Michigan student’s spring semester is all online, so she’s headed to Hawaii

As many University of Michigan students prepare for another remote semester due to the pandemic, one student has decided the perfect place for spring semester classes is — Hawaii.

An Ann Arbor man is running every street in the city

Ann Arbor resident Parag Bhoyar has run hundreds of miles of city streets since June. And, in less than 60 miles, he will have ran across every single street in Ann Arbor.

It’s a feat Bhoyar credits to a number of factors, including his health and well being, as well as his desire to learn more about the city his family has called home for almost a decade.

Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard chaplain placed on leave pending investigation

Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard chaplain Father Richard Lobert has been placed on ministerial leave “pending the outcome of an investigation.”

Lobert’s leave was confirmed by school President John DeJak in a message sent to families on Dec. 18.

DeJak did not offer details regarding who was conducting the investigation and could not be reached for further comment Wednesday, Jan. 6.

Remote or in-person? Washtenaw County schools chart return after winter break

Most of Washtenaw County’s school districts are planning for the return of students in a hybrid format this month after going remote to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ ban on in-person learning at high schools expiring on Dec. 18, a number of county districts have indicated they plan to offer some form of in-person learning in the coming semester.

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