washtenaw county

To help reach the state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 and bring a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials announced the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination on Monday, January 11.  Lisa Barry talks with Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Cerniglia about how the county plans to handle this updated vaccination plan.

Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

There's a new pilot program called "Returning Citizens Fellows Program" at Eastern Michigan University, providing support and college degree opportunities for formerly incarcerated people.  Lisa Barry talks with "On the Ground Ypsi" project manager Sarah Rigg and Cozine Welch, executive director of A Brighter Way in Washtenaw County, about the new program and the so far enthusiastic response by those hoping to participate.



Shelter Association of Washtenaw County

The Shelter Association of Washtenaw County has added a fourth overnight shelter to its list of winter locations to keep up with the demand during the pandemic.  

Jim Toy Community Center

The Jim Toy Community Center will close its brick-and-mortar office space at Braun Court in Ann Arbor by the end of January.  

Susan Cerniglia
Doug Coombe / Concentrate Media

A new year has begun, and the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Washtenaw County remains elevated.  The rollout of the coronavirus vaccine has not been as quick as hoped for, but there is reason to be more hopeful this year.  WEMU's David Fair found out why in his conversation with Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Cerniglia.  


Out of the 10 school districts that are part of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, only two currently offer in-person instruction options.  

City of Ann Arbor

During Monday night's January 4th Ann Arbor city council meeting, council will vote on a resolution that, if approved, will distribute a draft plan of the Ann Arbor Moving Together Towards Vision Zero plan to nearby municipalities and other stakeholders.  

Michelle Walters
Washtenaw Area Council for Children / washtenawchildren.org

The pandemic has created hardships across the board.  For a good number of people, it has been devastating and sometimes tragic.  Many have lost jobs and, coupled with being largely confined at home, are more stressed than ever.  That can be a recipe for child abuse.  WEMU's David Fair spoke about it with Michelle Walters, executive director of the Washtenaw Area Council for Children, whose mission is to prevent child abuse and ensure safe and healthy lives for all children. 

Eli Savit
Eli Savit / eli2020.com

Eli Savit officially takes over as Washtenaw County's new prosecutor in January 2021 but has already been meeting with community groups and planning major reforms to how the office operates and to the local criminal justice system.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Savit as his new position begins.

Donna Lasinski
Michigan House Democrats / housedems.com

Changes are coming as we mark the start of the New Year.  A new presidential administration, Congress, and state Legislature will be sworn in later this month.  Democrat Donna Lasinski is the new minority leader in the state House.  The 52nd District Representative from Scio Township is the first guest of the New Year on "1st Friday Focus on the Environment."  Along with WEMU’s David Fair and Lisa Wozniak of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Lasinski discussed the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in protecting our air, land, and water in a pandemic economy.

Wiki Commons

The Washtenaw Chapter of Families Against Narcotics, also known as FAN, says, now more than ever because of the pandemic, it’s important to reach out to friends and family who are battling addictions like alcohol or drugs.  

Rebekah Warren
Michigan Senate Democrats / senatedems.com

Since 2007, Rebekah Warren has represented Washtenaw County in the Michigan Legislature.  The Ann Arbor Democrat was first elected to the state House from the 53rd District.  After one term, she won election to the state Senate where she served two terms.  Then, after a move to a different part of the city, Warren won another session in the House, but from the 55th district.  Now, term limits will bring an end to that part of her career.  WEMU’s David Fair spent some time with the outgoing representative, reflecting on a long legislative career and looking to what comes next.

Ypsilanti Meals On Wheels

Ypsilanti’s Meals on Wheels plans to play a role in informing local residents about the COVID-19 vaccine.  

Ann Arbor Residents To See An Increase In Water Rates

Dec 22, 2020
City of Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor’s city council has approved two rounds of water rate increases. 

Washtenaw County
Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

Washtenaw County's COVID-19 vaccine program is underway.  While it is a major milestone in the fight against the coronavirus, it's just beginning, and it's hard to know what the new year will bring.  WEMU's David Fair discussed these developments with Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Cerniglia.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

With an increase in COVID-19 cases, as of now, Ann Arbor Public Schools plans to continue using a virtual learning model.  

A2Y Regional Chamber

52nd District State Representative Donna Lasinski from Washtenaw County was the featured speaker at the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Regional Chamber’s annual Impact event, held virtually this year on December 18th.

Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Secretary of Defense

Several Ann Arbor entities are now administering COVID-19 vaccines, including Michigan Medicine, the Ann Arbor VA hospital, and the Washtenaw County Health Department.  But as more vaccines become available in our community, not everyone is feeling comfortable that it is something they will want to get.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with Michigan Medicine scientist and researcher in the division of infectious diseases Dr. Jonathan Golob about the rumored vaccine side effects and how this vaccine was able to be so quickly created and approved.



Wiki Commons

The Child Care Network in Ann Arbor has seen about a 32% increase in requests for child care assistance since the pandemic started.  

Washtenaw County Health Department

The Washtenaw County Health Department plans to work with its community partners to motivate county residents, who often won’t seek medical attention, to get vaccinated for COVID-19.  

Susan Cerniglia
LinkedIn / linkedin.com

This week marked a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19.  The Pfizer vaccine has been shipped and distributed to numerous hospitals across the country, including locally.  Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Cerniglia joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the intial phase of innoculation and when vaccines could become available to the general public. 


Washtenaw County residents who qualify for medical insurance through the open enrollment marketplace, have until December 15th at 11:59 PM to register. 

Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County continues to request additional funding from government agencies, like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for local COVID-19 response. 

Alice Liao
Alice Liao

For 20 years, the Ann Arbor-based Women's Center of Southeastern Michigan (WCSM) has been providing a safe space for women and families in our region.  As like all nonprofit organizations, the events of 2020, including the coronavirus crisis, has made the center's services more valuable than ever.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair speaks to WCSM's marketing director, Alice Liao, about what the center has accomplished in 2020 and what it hopes to achieve in 2021.

Wiki Commons

Starting December 15th, businesses in Washtenaw County affected by COVID-19 can apply to receive funding through a new program led by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.   

Omari Rush
Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Just a few months into the year, life changed for everyone, including local artists, due to a global health crisis.  Lisa Barry talks with Omari Rush, executive director of CultureSource and Chair of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, about how that impacted the visual arts community and how that community will be changed in the coming years due to that impact.

Washtenaw County
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

When the new Washtenaw County prosecutor takes office, there will be some big changes in how the department operates and the impact on the community.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with county prosecutor-elect Eli Savit and community activist Trische' Duckworth part of his "kitchen cabinet" offering input and advice as he moves in to the office.


High schools in Washtenaw County will continue using a virtual learning model after the State of Michigan extended a statewide partial shutdown from December 8th to December 20th.  

Toni Kayumi
Toni Kayumi

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Ann Arbor YMCA has remained committed to serving Washtenaw County and its citizens.  The organization has been adapting to the challenges presented by the pandemic and is prepared to continue doing so for as long as necessary.  In this week's "Washtenaw United," WEMU's David Fair  spoke with Ann Arbor YMCA president and CEO Toni Kayumi about 2020, the Y's plans for the immediate future, and the lessons learned that will carry forward. 

Washtenaw County Awarded $250,000 For Youth Programs

Dec 7, 2020
Washtenaw County

The State of Michigan’s Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity has awarded $250,000 to Washtenaw County for youth development programs.