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Civic Matters: The Solar Eclipse, Ann Arbor City Council And A Town Hall Forum On The Opioid Crisis

Every Monday morning, the executive director of the CivCity Initiativejoins WEMU's David Fair  for a conversation on topics pertinent to Washtenaw County and the city of Ann Arbor. Mary Morgan will provide news, analysis, commentary and explain the various ways residents can become more engaged. 

Mary Morgan brings a wealth of experience to the airwaves. While heading up the CivCity Initiative now, Mary was previously co-founder and publisher of the Ann Arbor Chronicle. Prior to that she served as a reporter and editor for the Ann Arbor News when it was a daily, print-edition newspaper. 

Topics included in this week's discussion: 

  • The Ann Arbor library board doesn't meet this month, but it's always good to remember that the library is a public entity and its services are supported with taxpayer dollars. That includes events like the solar eclipse party held today at the downtown library from 1-3:30.
  • The Ann Arbor city council holds its last meeting of the summer tonight, with what looks like a fairly light agenda. They have an item to renew the franchise agreement with Comcast, which expires on Sept. 30. But it  doesn't appear like there are any major changes proposed, so it won't likely be controversial in any way.
  • More events this week: Tonight, several elected officials – including Reps. Debbie Dingell and Tim Walberg, and Washtenaw Sheriff Jerry Clayton – will hold a forum to discuss local responses to the opioid crisis. The session runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Saline High School, 1300 Campus Parkway. According to data from the Washtenaw County Public Health department, opioids have killed more community members than car accidents every year since 2012. 
  • Over the next few weeks we'll be encountering people in the community who are circulating petitions for statewide ballot initiatives. One group – Voters Not Politicians – is pushing for a statewide ballot proposal in 2018 to create an independent redistricting commission. Last week they achieved a milestone when the Board of State Canvassers approved the language in their proposal to amend the state Constitution. They now must collect 315,654 valid signatures needed to put the proposal on the November 2018 ballot in Michigan.
  •  This week, you don't have to travel to Lansing to see a joint meeting of the Michigan Senate Committee on Transportation and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. It will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Library, 2901 Baxter Road, Ann Arbor. The committees will get updates on UM's Mcity and the American Center for Mobility. 

Other Engagement opportunities:

  • On Tuesday, Mary Morgan will discuss how to get more involved in civic life at a League of Women VotersBrews & Views session, 7:30 p.m. at HOMES Brewery on Jackson Road. 
  • A humorous take on local government! There is a podcast called City Council Chronicles. Each week, host Michael Karlik, who's based in Denver, watches and reviews city council meetings across the country. And it's hilarious. He describes his podcast like this: "While some people may never appreciate the concept of willingly watching multiple city council meetings, there are plenty of avid Chronicleheads. As a regular reader told me, 'there are only so many episodes of Spin City or Parks & Rec.' Luckily for us, city council meetings are the show that never ends."

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director, and host of Morning Edition Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email him at dfair@wemu.org

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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