Friday, July 31, 2020

EMUFT Lecturers Union Contract Negotiation Goes South.

Photo Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

According to a July 23, 2020 press release from EMUFT (Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers), Eastern Michigan University has disregarded an appointment structure that both sides had reportedly agreed on in recent weeks. According to EMUFT, the new structure would have meant enhanced job security for long-serving part-time lecturers.

EMUFT stated that a new structure had been worked out between teams which included input by the Department Heads and Union members. According to EMUFT President Daric Thorne, “The level of cooperation and inclusion of the various perspectives was unprecedented. Both teams kept reporting back to their constituents and managed to find a good, workable solution that would have benefited departments, lecturers and students in the long run. Now the Administration has completely discarded months of work.”

According to EMUFT, when the negotiations began in February both sides were in agreement that a respectful and cooperative process would be adhered to and would best serve the needs of all parties involved. The hope was that collaboration would lead to an improved relationship between the Administration and Part-time Lecturers. According to EMUFT , the relationship between the Administration and Part-Time lecturers has been contentious.

EMUFT feels that long-serving employees see their workload and livelihoods reduced each year. According to EMUFT, EMUFT and the Administration agreed early on in negotiations that finding a better appointment structure was one of their foremost concerns. According to Thorne,  “abandoning the work of several months is insulting and a colossal waste of time, effort and resources. Unlike their high cost lawyer and the rest of their bargaining team, our team is made up of uncompensated, volunteer members who participated in this process in good faith for the betterment of their colleagues and for our students."

According to EMUFT, "The administration doesn't want to provide health insurance, they don't want us to have reasonable pay or job security, and they want to take away our access to more affordable healthcare at the campus clinic in the middle of a pandemic. Do they care that they are impacting the
health and safety of their campus community, including putting our students at risk as well?"

On July 8, 2020, Eastern Michigan University sent out a press release addressing the ongoing negotiations. According to the press release, Eastern Michigan University stated that the university has great respect for part-time lecturers and their value to the University and students. According to a statement from the University, "Contract negotiations are often challenging and difficult. We plan to continue to work productively and collaboratively with the EMUFT to resolve these matters. In light of the current pandemic and its severe and disruptive impact on Michigan's economy and the budgetary challenges confronting organizations across our state, which have led to massive cutbacks and layoffs throughout the region, we believe our offers to the group are more than fair and justified."

Monday, July 27, 2020

Governor Whitmer To Povide Update On the State's Response to COVID-19 Tuesday.

Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

According to the State Emergency Response Center, tomorrow, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun will provide an update regarding the state’s response efforts to COVID-19. 
WHO:  Governor Gretchen Whitmer           
            MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun
WHAT: Press Conference 
WHEN: Tuesday, July 28th at 2:00 PM

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Protest and March To Stop Federal Arrests Draws Large Crowd In Downtown Ann Arbor Saturday.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Temperatures approaching 90 degrees did not stop approximately four-hundred demonstrators from protesting federal arrests that have been occurring during Black Lives Matter protests in the nation during the last few weeks. The demonstration took place in front of the Federal Building in downtown Ann Arbor Saturday afternoon. According to organizers, the goal of  the protest and march was to nonviolently protest the arrests and detention of protesters by uninvited and unidentified Federal Officers. The protesters carried signs saying Black Lives Matter, Love One Another, No Military War On the Black Community, I Can't Breath, No Gestapo, Stop Racist Police Violence and Our Constitution Is on Life Support.

Between 1 PM and 2:30 PM several speakers addressed the demonstrators in front of the Federal Building. Speakers included Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor, Washtenaw County Sheriff Gerry Clayton and Representative Yousef Rabhi. During his address to the protesters, Representative Rabhi stated, "It is not just about voting in November, it is about showing up everyday.

After the speakers finished addressing the demonstrators, the protesters began marching through the streets of Ann Arbor, as diners looked on from outdoor cafes and restaurant seating. Customers dining on the sidewalks and streets looked on silently as protesters marched by.

As protesters marched to the intersection of Liberty and Division, the marchers stopped and took a knee in silence while blocking the intersection in commemoration of George Floyd. Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May.

Photos Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Reports of A Shot Fired In Normal Park Neighborhood In Ypsilanti Wednesday Evening.

Mansfield Street in Ypsilanti between Grant Street and Sherman Wednesday evening. Photo Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

There were multiple reports of a shot fired Wednesday evening in Ypsilanti's Normal Park Neighborhood on Mansfield Street near Washtenaw International High School and Middle Academy (WIHI/WIMA).  The alleged incident occurred in front of a home at approximately 7:30 PM.

According to a neighbor, workers in the backyard of the home on Mansfield saw a vehicle stop or slow down in front of the home. Reportedly, the workers saw someone in the car hold a gun and fire one shot. According to the neighbor, the owner of the home found a shell casing in street in front of the house shortly later. The neighbor called the police department and within minutes multiple police cars responded to scene.

According to the neighbor, no bullet holes were found on the home.

This is an ongoing investigation. Stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Please Wear A Mask: Contributed To PWP By Flint Activist Melissa Mays.

By Melissa Mays.

Ok, so will those of you who refused a mask because the President wouldn't wear one please NOW wear a face covering so we can survive this pandemic and try to get lives back to normal?? PLEASE? No more politicizing mask/face shield wearing and virus safety... PLEASE. I'm tired. Maybe it's the exhaustion from the constant arguing. Maybe it's because my body has had enough and ya can't sleep well with a heart monitor on 24 hours a day because every time you roll over it yells at you. Maybe it's just because a few inches of paper, fabric or a plastic shield should not be this hard or the source of brutal fighting when it can protect so many. Maybe I'm just weary from people not giving a F about others... possibly all of the above. And remember, if you cannot wear a cloth or paper face covering, face shields are an excellent option.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Protest to Stop Federal Arrests Saturday in Ann Arbor.

Federal troops in Portland, Oregon.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

There will be a nonviolent protest of arrests and detention of protesters by uninvited and unidentified Federal Officers on Saturday, July 25, in Downtown Ann Arbor. The rally and march will take place at the Federal building located at 200 E Liberty St. at 1 PM. The protest is hosted by Jeff Gaynor and Amy Lesemann.

Over the weekend, unidentified men dressed in military clothing began taking protesters off the streets in Portland, Oregon. These special forces teams reportedly belong to the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Unit. Apparently, these special forces have been deployed by the Trump administration.

Over the weekend President Trump responded to questions from CNN about a report stating that he will send federal troops to particular cities. According to Trump, " Well, it depends on what your definition of troops is. We're sending law enforcement." According to Trump, "We're not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore and all of these, Oakland is a mess. We're not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats. This according to CNN.

This is dark, dangerous, ominous and frightening stuff. The fact that the Department of Homeland Security is deploying it's own troops into the streets of America without permission and without any discussion with mayors or governors is simply appalling, unconstitutional and quite frankly, chilling.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Art & Abolition: Liberate Washtenaw County Gathering in Riverside Park in Ypsilanti Attracts a crowd Saturday.

Photo Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Approximately seventy-five people participated in an event called Art & Abolition Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park. The event was hosted by Liberate Don't Incarcerate-Washtenaw County.

According to a statement from Liberate Don't Incarcerate, community members are gathering to learn about and contribute to co-creating a different Washtenaw County grounded in liberation and love. According to the group, over the last few months, Liberate Don't Incarcerate has facilitated spaces for visioning a world where police and prisons are not necessary. The organization strives to see a world that would provide services to meet everyone's needs and where community would have control. The art event, held at Riverside Park, provided a display of this visioning.

 People attending the event were encouraged to join in and add to the vision.

Photos Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Parola Perspective: Blown Away By the Lack of Respect We Teachers Get. By PWP Contributor Brooks Parola.

Contributed to Purple Walrus Press By Brooks Parola.

So Salt Lake has the highest numbers of COVID-19 in the state, so their schools have already announced that in person school will be severely limited in the fall.
I teach in the Granite School District just outside the city, who’s infection rate is not as high. As a result, Granite is changing almost nothing. Yes, students and staff will be required to wear masks. Students and teachers will have to sanitize work areas and shared supplies after every class, but there no plan to social distance the kids either through limiting class sizes, or having alternating days of in-person schooling. I had 37 students in my Honors U.S. History class last year.
Now, while most of my district doesn’t have as high an infection rate as Salt Lake, the area my school is located, DOES. The teachers union (weak actually) is demanding that all teachers get N-95 masks, students be social distanced through smaller class sizes and/or alternating days, and plexiglass shields placed on desks.
While I’m not optimistic that we’ll get all of these, hopefully we’ll get some of them. But when you think about how little the district is doing to keep teachers safe, I’m once again blown away by the lack of respect we teachers get. This is a fluid situation, so hopefully we’ll get some better news in the coming days. Bare minimum: they better be supplying us with N-95’s.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Civil Rights Activist and Academic Angela Davis is Voting For Biden.

Civil rights activist Angela Davis.

By Editor & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Long time civil rights activist and academic Angela Davis stated recently in an interview with RT News, that she will be voting for Joe Biden. According to Davis, "Biden is far more likely to take the masses seriously. Far more likely than the current occupant of the White House. So this coming November, the election will ask us not so much to vote for the best candidate, but to vote for or against ourselves."

In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Davis stated, "We have to persuade people to go out and vote to guarantee that that the current occupant of the White House be forever ousted."

Goodman correctly described Angela Davis as a renowned abolitionist, author, activist, professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of many books."

The stance Davis is taking should illustrate to all on the far left that a practical approach to the up-coming presidential election is what is desperately needed and that this is certainly not the time to be philosophically rigid.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Governor Whitmer to Give Update on State's Response to COVID-19 Wednesday.

Editor In Chief & Publisher Jeff Brown.

Tomorrow, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun will provide an update regarding the state’s response efforts to COVID-19.    
WHO:  Governor Gretchen Whitmer             Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II             MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun 
WHAT: Press Conference 
WHEN: Wednesday, July 15th at 3:00 PM

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Skyline Crew To Host Silent Protest In Support of Black Lives Matter Saturday In Ann Arbor.

Editor In Chief & Publisher Jeff Brown.

There will be a peaceful, silent protest in support of Black Lives Matter on Saturday, July 11th, in downtown Ann Arbor. The protest is hosted by Skyline Crew.

According to a post from an organizer, "One of our student-athletes had headed the organization of this protest to continue to highlight and support the Black Lives Matter Movement, which they felt, could start to lose momentum after the initial surge in interest a few weeks ago."

"The protest will be peaceful and silent and the group will kneel for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd."

The protest will be held at the corner of N University and S State opposite Ashley's.

Protest organizers request the following.

Please wear a mask.

Please do not block traffic.

Social distance.

Peaceful protest.

Know your rights regarding protests, source ACLU of Michigan.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Eastern Michigan University Releases Statement From President James Smith In Response To Immigration and Customs Enforcement Change In Policy Regarding International Students.

Photo Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

Editor In Chief & Publisher Jeff Brown.
Eastern Michigan University takes great pride in being a welcoming environment for international students, as evidenced by the 100 light post banners around our campus and the large 80 foot mural celebrating "You Are Welcome Here" with images of international students and flags of their home nations. The recently announced policy change by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) runs counter to our efforts to support international students, who bring great diversity of thought, culture and perspective to our campus community and to our classrooms. We are proud to have them as part of our campus community. Eastern Michigan University is supportive of the growing national effort to stop this new policy and will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of international students at Eastern Michigan University and at colleges and universities across the nation. 

James M. Smith, Ph.D
Eastern Michigan University

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Congresswoman Dingell Announces $150,000 In Funding to Local Art Organizations Throughout District.

Photo Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

Editor In Chief & Publisher Jeff Brown.

According to a Monday, July 6 press release, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) announced three local organizations will receive $50,000 each in direct funding from the National Endowment of the Arts. The funds, a part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March, will be used to support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs.

“The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the art organizations that play such a vital role in our communities,” said Dingell. “The Ann Arbor Film Festival, University Musical Society, and Arab American National Museum are a part of our community and have been deeply affected by the crisis. It is my hope and the hope of so many that the artists we all know and love can carry out their work and bring joy, culture, and beauty to us during this unprecedented time. This funding should help do just that.” This according to Monday's press release.

Below please find a list of art organizations in Michigan’s 12th Congressional District receiving funding:

Ann Arbor Film Festival, Inc. will receive $50,000.

University Musical Society (aka UMS) will receive $50,000.

ACCESS (on behalf of Arab American National Museum) will receive $50,000.

According to the press release, the funding for the direct funding comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed in March. The CARES Act provided $75 million in appropriations to the state and regional arts agencies for their granting programs. Grants of $50,000 are offered to 846 organizations across the country. Overall funding is divided near evenly between small, medium, and large arts organizations.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Parola Perspective In Brief: There's No "Independent Thinking" By Not Wearing A Mask: By Purple Walrus Press Contributor Brooks Parola.

There’s no “independent thinking” by not wearing a mask. There’s no “independent thinking” in buying into conspiracy theories. It’s utterly laughable if you think mask wearers are sheep, and you’re an “independent thinker” for not wearing one. No, you’re not an “independent thinker”, you’re the sheep. The worst kind of sheep. A sheep of the dangerous and proudly ignorant.
In fact, the sooner people stop mistaking critical thinking for so called “independent thinking”, and start believing in the importance of trusting well-educated, and well-researched *consensus*, the sooner we get back to some semblance of sanity.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Five Years Ago We United With Our Brothers And Sisters In Detroit: By Flint Activist and Purple Walrus Press Contributor Melissa Mays.

5 Years Ago we united with our sisters and brothers in Detroit and cities all over Michigan fighting against water contamination, water shutoffs, lack of access to clean & affordable water and sanitation and the Emergency Manager Law to kick off the Detroit to Flint Water Justice Journey!! 70 miles in 7 days stopping along the cities hardest hit by these austerity policies to share, plan and stand together to fight against the Profit Over People mentality that affects all of our lives... I am still SO PROUD of what we have accomplished.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Governor Whitmer Shuts Down Indoor Bar Service: Effects of Order On some Ypsilanti Establishments.

SideTrack Bar and Grill Depot Ypsilanti Thursday afternoon. Photo Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

By Editor In Chief & Publisher Jeff Brown.

On Wednesday Governor Whitmer issued an executive order stipulating that indoor bar service be shut down throughout most of the state of  Michigan due to a recent increase of COVID-19 cases. The order applies to licensed establishments that earn more than 70% of gross receipts from  the sale of alcohol. So what does this mean for local Ypsilanti establishments? It means that some of your favorites places are affected and some not so much. Here's a look at a few Ypsilanti establishments.

The Tap Room located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti announced Thursday that service at the establishment is no longer feasible. According to a statement on Tap Room's facebook page, "Due to the increased number of COVID 19 cases in Michigan, the new state service mandate no longer renders service at the Tap Room feasible for both the health of our staff and customers or the business as a whole in it's current capacity."

Over at Maiz Cantina located in Ypsilanti's Depot town, management announced that they have decided to pause inside seating temporarily. Maiz stated Thursday that they will operate with patios only for the foreseeable future. Maiz encourages customers to order carryout. According to Maiz, "In the current climate with holiday travel and rising COVID 19 cases we think this is the safest way forward right now."

 Long time Ypsilanti Depot Town establishment Sidetrack Bar and Grill announced Wednesday that barstools have been removed from both bars out of extreme caution for guests and staff which provides for greater social distancing in order to keep staff and customers safe. According to Sidetrack, "We have tons of great outside and inside spaced-out seating.

The Wurst Bar located on Cross Street in Ypsilanti made clear in a statement that their business is less than 50% alcohol sales and that they rely heavily on food coming from their kitchen. According to The Wurst Bar, "We will continue to maintain strict social distancing in our indoor seating, and continue to require all guests to wear a mask and to respect boundaries we have established."

The popular Bobcat Bonnie's located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsi responded to the governor's new order by clarifying that they continue to be open for business. According to management, "Be kind, spread the word, wear your mask, and we will make sure you have an excellent time with us!"

Photos Jeff Brown Purple Walrus Press.

Expanded seating outside of Maiz in Depot Town in Ypsilanti Thursday afternoon.
Depot Town Ypsilanti Thurday.