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A2 City News Resident Newsletter

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A2 City News is emailed to newsletter subscribers by the City of Ann Arbor. Please share comments via email o​​r call 734.794.6110, extension 41105. The current A2 City News resident newslette​r articles appear below in plain-text format.

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A2 City News, April​ 2020​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ (PDF), Volume 14, Number 4 (ori​ginally distributed April 1, 2020, via email to "re​​​​sident newsletter: A2 City News" subscribers)​​

COVID-1​9 updates

The City of Ann of Ann Arbor is asking residents to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and follow all of the directives in Governor Whitmer's “Stay Home, Stay Safe" Executive Order issued on March 23.

Per the order, all Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life, and all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they are part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.

This order does not impact the city's ability to continue to deliver critical services such as drinking water, police, fire, emergency operations, waste and recycling collection, however, some city functions have been modified to heed the order and keep city employees and the community safe.

City serv​ices

  • Per the State of Michigan's “Stay Home, Stay​ Safe" executive order, City of Ann Arbor nonessential operations and all city buildings are closed through Sunday, April 12. These measures will not impact critical services such as drinking water, waste water, police, fire, emergency operations and waste and recycling pickup.
  • All permitted events through the city have been cancelled through April 30.
  • All parks facilities are closed, and usage of city parks and natural areas is limited to activities that do not involve direct contact with others. Activities such as walking, hiking, running and cycling are still permitted. Please make sure while engaged in any of these activities to remain at least 6 feet from others who do not live with you in your household. And if you are sick, please do not visit the parks until you are well. Public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited, and in an attempt to make every effort possible to stop the spread of COVID-19, the following park amenities are closed until further notice: playgrounds/play structures, game courts (basketball, tennis, pickleball), groomed and ungroomed athletic fields, golf courses, the skatepark, disc golf courses, dog parks, BMX course and pavilions/shelters.
  • All advisory board and commission meetings have been cancelled through Sunday, April 12. Please check the city's meeting calendar for the most up-to-date information. 
  • The April 6 City Council meeting will be held in a digital format. Residents can still view the meeting live on CTN cable channels or via live webstreaming. City residents are encouraged to give feedback on agenda items via eComment. Details on other ways to participate electronically and via telephone will be on the city's website soon. Please check the published agenda for more information. All special and electronic meeting notices are online.
  • To pay parking tickets, water bills, property taxes, apply for permits as well as other customer service options, residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of online services by visiting www.a2gov.org/services.

Enforce​​​ment

Following the announcement of the governor's “Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order, law enforcement agencies have received many questions related to how citizens can report a business or individual that is violating the order. Originally, the public was directed to the attorney general's office. However, due to the overwhelming response, local law enforcement agencies are asking residents to report complaints directly by contacting 9-1-1.

While all aspects of the executive order are to be followed and law enforcement will respond appropriately to reported violations, callers are being asked to report only those behaviors that pose a credible and serious risk to public safety and that may exacerbate community spread.

Public safety leaders from each agency within Washtenaw County, including the Ann Arbor Police Department, have aligned response protocols to include the following:

  • ​Upon calling 9-1-1, dispatch will relay the complaint to local police agency.
  • Each agency will determine the severity of the violation and respond appropriately.
  • Initial response will focus on education in order to gain compliance with the order.
  • The intent is not to arrest, but enforcement action will be taken as deemed appropriate.

The city will continue to monitor this evolving situation and coordinate with local and state partners. City information is shared via the city website - www.a2gov.org/covid19 - and via social media channels: Face​book, Twitter and NextDoor
For the latest COVID-19 Washtenaw County Health Department information, please visit www.washtenaw.org/COVID19 or the Centers for Disease Control.

Quality W​​ater Matters

The April issue of A2H2O: Quality Water Matters (PDF) includes important information from City of Ann Arbor Water Treatment Services Manager Brian Steglitz regarding the steps he and his staff are taking to address staffing and drinking water safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rest assured, the city's dedicated staff is working 24/7 to deliver water that is safe to drink and vital for good hygiene.

City meet​​​ings note

The City of Ann Arbor has made the necessary adjustments to the city meetings schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic. All advisory board and commission meetings have been cancelled through Sunday, April 12. As details can change rapidly, please check the city's meeting calendar for the most up-to-date information. 

The April 6 City Council meeting will be held online. Residents can still view the meeting live on CTN cable channels or via live webstreaming. City residents are encouraged to give feedback on agenda items via eComment. Details on other ways to participate electronically and via telephone will be shared soon on the city website. Please check the published agenda for more information. All special and electronic meeting notices are online.

No wipes in the pi​​pes!

Right now, it is more important than ever to take simple steps to help maintain functionality of private and public plumbing and sewer systems.

"Flushable wipes" create blockages in household pipes and municipal sewer systems and should never be flushed down the toilet, nor should facial tissue or paper towels. Combined with fats, oil and greases, which also should never be poured down drains, these products can create enormous and expensive-to-remove "fatbergs."

2020 planned roa​​d, utility and resurfacing projects

The City of Ann Arbor is p​​​​lanning for a significant 2020 construction season with nearly 10 miles of resurfacing/restoration projects, some with utility improvements included, as well as 9 miles of capital preventative maintenance work. Residents should be aware that the city's response to the COVID-19 pandemic could interfere with current plans. A timetable for when these projects will begin and conclude is not yet available. All projects are listed online at www.a2gov.org/roadconstruction.  

Construction work will cause road and lane closures, so travelers are advised to sign up for email or text alerts, at www.a2gov.org/roads.

2020 Cen​​sus

April 1 is 2020 Census Day, bringing extra attention to the importance of being counted in our community … and presenting the perfect time to fill out your census form, if you haven't already! By now, households throughout the country have received their invitations in the mail to respond to the 2020 Census. If you haven't received a census form in the mail or if you've misplaced it, you can still respond online by using your address. You can also response to the census via phone, in English or in one of the 12 additional languages if needed. Visit 2020ce​nsus.gov to learn more and to respond online.

For information with a local focus, visit the city's 2020 Census website tailored just for students and residents of Ann Arbor.

Be counted, Ann Arbor! There's too much at stake not to be. Providing funding for roads, healthcare, food assistance and education as well as representation, our community depends on you.

Help wanted in the pa​​rks

Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation is gearing up for a busy spring and summer, and that includes assembling the very best staff. Applications are being accepted now to work in the parks, and job interviews are occurring each week. Positions include summer day camp counselors, assistant recreation supervisors, golf course pro shop staff, golf course equipment operators and mowers, lifeguards, swim instructors, swim team coach, livery attendants, crew members, cashiers and grounds maintenance technicians. See all of the parks opportunities and apply online at www.a2gov.org/parksjobs.

Gree​n Room

Watch the latest episode of Green Room on CTN.  This month features City Sustainability and Innovations Manager Missy Stults discussing the city's A2 Zero campaign, which aims for community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030.

Tune in ​​​to CTN

Though CTN production facilities remain closed for public use until April 13, CTN staff is working to keep the network functioning and our community informed and entertained.

Public access programs and forms will still be accepted and scheduled. They can be digitally submitted or dropped off in the drop box located outside CTN's main entrance. If you drop off, please send a notification to Programmer Craig Kuras at ckuras@a2gov.org. The application can be found online.

This is also a good time for city of Ann Arbor residents and non-profit organizations to consider submitting PSA or promos. CTN is also able to accept Facebook Live videos (post event) and YouTube videos to play on CTN (with online application). For details, please email mbondy@a2gov.org or call 734.794.6150 ext. 41540.

CTN will continue to record and live stream board and commission meetings as they occur, so please check the city's meeting calendar for the most up-to-date information.

Notices for the public can be submitted for the CTN Electronic Bulletin Board on Channel 19, please email CTN Assistant Manager Melissa Bondy at mbondy@a2gov.org. A logo or image may also be submitted with the message, and CTN will do their best to use visuals submitted.

Spring fire hydran​​t flushing

The city conducts seasonal fire hydrant inspection and system maintenance each year. The 2020 hydrant is scheduled to resume Tuesday, April 14, and to continue through the coming months. If any changes to the starting date become necessary, updates will be shared on the city website

As the program nears, a map will be available online to show the current hydrant-flushing areas as well as where flushing will take place next. Find the map at www.a2gov.org/annarborhydflush

Why is it helpful to know when hydrant flushing is happening in your neighborhood? On occasion during the hydrant-flushing process, the water in area homes may have an orange or rusty appearance. The discolored water does not pose a health or safety risk, but the water can cause stains to laundry. If water appears discolored, please run the cold water for several minutes to clear your lines. Do not run the hot water, as rusty water may get into the hot water tank, requiring the tank to then be drained, per the manufacturer's instructions. You should also flush your toilets once or twice. The water should run clear within a few minutes. The iron sediment in the water main being disturbed by the hydrant flushing causes the discoloration. Temporary laundry coloration caused by this sediment can be removed by using a product called “Rover."

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the hydrant-flushing process, go online or contact the City of Ann Arbor Customer Service Center, 734.794.6320. 

Tornado ​safety

According to the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, tornadoes can occur any time of year, but they are especially common in our state during the late spring and early summer months. One of nature's most violent storms, tornadoes can devastate homes and property in just seconds.

Don't wait to learn about tornadoes and how to stay safe in the event of severe weather. Michigan just observed Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan at the end of March, apt timing to remind all of the importance of being prepared.

Do you know the tornado-hazard terms? A tornado watch means tornadoes are possible. When a watch is issued, you should move near to a sturdy building allowing you to quickly take shelter there if conditions are upgraded to a warning or if you see signs of a tornado approaching. During a watch, remain alert and watch the sky for approaching storms, and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for updates. A tornado warning means a tornado has been sighted or detected by weather radar. When a warning is issued, take shelter immediately.

Find out more about tornadoes — including how to be prepared and react quickly — on the tornadoes page of the Department of Homeland Security official website, ready.gov/tornadoes. Also, review this information sheet to learn how to be prepared for a tornado (PDF). 

The City of Ann Arbor conducts routine warning siren testing March–October at 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

Work zone safety ge​​ts national emphasis

2020 National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 20-24, when motorists nationwide will be urged to use extra caution and follow construction zone laws. This year's theme is “Safe Work Zones for All: Protect workers. Protect road users." This annual spring campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHA), is held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving — always — through highway work zones.

In 2018, there were 671 work zone fatal crashes and 754 fatalities, the majority of which were motorists, with 124 deaths accounting for roadway worker fatalities. Additionally, there were a total of 94,000 work zone crashes total in 2017 — of which 25,000 were injury-involved crashes that resulted in 37,000 injuries. The FHA provides the following tips for all motorists to take to heart.

  • Plan ahead. Build in extra time to reach your destination. Find a route that will avoid work zones altogether. Visit the city's “road and lane closures" web page to stay in the know about planned road work and traffic control plans. While there, you can even subscribe to receive email or mobile alerts.
  • Obey road crews and signs.
  • Slow down.
  • Move over when passing work crews and official vehicles parked on the shoulder (it's the law in Michigan). 
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Watch for sudden stoppages.
  • Watch for large vehicles. In 2017, 50 percent of fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks or buses occurred on rural roadways.

Learn more about National Work Zone Awareness Week. ​

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Special ​​​Accomodati​​​​ons

If you know a city resident who requires this newsletter in an alternative format, please email the city communications office or call 734.794.6110, extension 41105.

All persons are encouraged to participate in public meetings. Accommodations, including sign language interpreters, may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk's office at 734.794.6140; via email to: cityclerk@a2gov.org; or by written request addressed and mailed or delivered to: City Clerk's Office  |  301 E. Huron St.  |  Ann Arbor, MI 48104 

Requests made with less than two business days notice may not be able to be accommodated.

City ​​​Missi​​on ​​

The city's ​mi​​ssion is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.​​ 

​Ann Arbor has 119,000 residents, spans 28.82 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, follow us on Twitter or become a city fan on Facebook

​City Co​​un​cil

​Go to the city’s website for contact information for council members or to determine your ward; or contact the City Clerk’s office, second floor of Larcom City Hall, at 734.794.6140.

City Ad​​​mi​​​nistration​