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COVID-19 vaccinations underway; Michigan football cancels last game; Ann Arbor Folk Fest lineup

Happy Friday!

It was a historic week around the U.S. as the first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations began. Here in Ann Arbor, healthcare workers received the first doses at Michigan Medicine and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Michigan Medicine received an initial shipment of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech vaccine on Monday morning while VA Ann Arbor received 1,000 doses. As the healthcare systems receive more shipments, they will continue to vaccinate certain groups in phases, starting with medical staff and those living in long-term care facilities.

On another note, it must be the holiday season because this week’s newsletter features so many feel good stories. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. This is one incredible community we live in.

Have a great weekend,

– Meredith (@meredith_A4)

What’s been happening:

🏈 Michigan football has canceled its final game against Iowa over COVID concerns within the program. Meanwhile, National Signing Day proved to be a success for the Wolverines. Michigan signed 20 players and currently owns the No. 12 class in the nation. (A4)

📝 More than 120 physicians have signed a letter urging Ann Arbor Public Schools to restore some form of in-person instruction in the new year. (MLive)

👮 The Ann Arbor Police Department is hiring police officers and police service specialist cadets. (A4)

📉 According to projections, the city of Ann Arbor could lose up to $9 million of its budget next year depending on what city officials decide to fund. (MLive)

🧪️ The University of Michigan recently released updates to its Winter Term plan during the pandemic. New measures include mandatory weekly COVID testing of on-campus undergrads and shifting nearly 90% of courses online. (A4)

🎸 The Ark revealed the lineup for its 2021 Ann Arbor Folk Festival this week. Here’s how you can get tickets to watch the virtual event. (A4)

🤝 Michigan Medicine and Food Gatherers have joined forces again to host their third food drive during the pandemic. Get involved. (A4)

❤️️ Rehabilitation center for adults with serious mental illness, Fresh Start Clubhouse, was nearly dissolved at the onset of the pandemic. Now, it is branching out to become an independent nonprofit to serve even more Washtenaw County residents. (A4)

🧇 These U-M students are trying to bring Michigan’s first Waffle House to Ann Arbor. This story is part of a series with an entrepreneurial course at the university. Stay tuned for lots more innovative projects from this talented group. (A4)

🧹️ The founder of Operation Face Shield Ann Arbor this week personally delivered cleaning supplies to the Lakota tribes in South Dakota — a community that has been hit hard by COVID. (A4)

🙋 Members of the Michigan Marching Band have become virtual “pen pals” with isolated older adults during the pandemic. (A4)

🎅 Even though this year is unlike any other, it didn’t stop Santa and Mrs. Claus from virtually visiting pediatric patients at Mott Children’s Hospital. (A4)

Good to know:

🎶 The family that raps together survives quarantine together. See why this local family went viral for their fun videos. (A4)

🎹 A U-M student and volunteer at Arbor Hospice will be performing a virtual piano concert on Christmas Eve for free. Here’s how you can tune in. (A4)

🎻 Speaking of holiday concerts, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra will be performing its annual Holiday Pops for free online. More details here. (A4)

☕️ ‘Tis the season of giving. Now through Dec. 23, donate items for homeless veterans while getting your coffee at these Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea locations. (A4)

🍝 Want to know which restaurants are offering pod/igloo outdoor dining right now? Here’s a list. (A4)

Feature interview of the week:

“Treasure Mart has been in my life since I was 10. I started working full-time during the summer of 1974, and then I got sucked in and never left.”

– Elaine Johns, owner of The Treasure Mart in an interview with A4 from January. Johns passed away on Nov. 21 after battling ALS.

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