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STATE NEWS for MON 12APR21
City Area Public Schools will continue virtual learning through the end
of this week for middle school and high school students. The school
board held a special
meeting Saturday and decided to continue virtual learning this week.
This after the district had a four day pause last week because of
COVID-19 in the community. The district says when they return to
in-person classes , families are asked to screen students each morning
before they arrive at school. If a student has even mild COVID-19
symptoms, or is pending the results of a COVID-19 test, they are asked
to keep the student home.
A big push is coming to get people vaccinated against COVID-19.
The effort comes as Michigan is up to more than 738-thousand total cases
following a surge over the last
few weeks. But don't expect the state to go to a walk-up system
for shots. While some local areas are accepting walk-ups, Governor
Whitmer said on CBS's Face The Nation yesterday that the current system
is working fine...
The Governor also said the state would not be mandating students 12
years and older get a vaccination in order to attend school. She said
her administration isn't having any
of those types of conversations and it may be up to local districts.
The state reported nearly 46-thousand cases of the Coronavirus last
Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell are
visiting Eastern Michigan University's vaccination site today. The pair
is expected to discuss access to vaccines for Washtenaw County
residents. Over the past two weeks, the county has reported nearly
19-hundred cases, 71 hospitalizations and six deaths. Data from the
state shows that 219-thousand doses of the vaccine have been
administered in Washtenaw County with 86-thousand residents, about 28
percent, fully vaccinated.
The government is now providing funeral assistance to families who
have lost loved ones due to COVID-19. People who paid for funeral
expenses after January 20, 2020
for someone whose death may have been caused by or was likely the result
of COVID-19 can now apply for up to 9-thousand dollars in assistance,
per funeral. Documentation is necessary, such as an official death
certificate that attributes thedeath to COVID-19. Applications are being
accepted through a FEMA call center.
More than a year into the pandemic and the virus is spiking again
across Michigan, with case rates are up 375 percent since its previous
low on February 19th, the most of any
state. Michigan State University Epidemiologist Nigel Paneth says the
state and its residents both need to step up their game. He says we need
to return to a bit of precaution now because the numbers are going up.
While the state's elderly population has been vaccinated, Dr. Paneth
says younger people are still vulnerable.
Governor Whitmer's sudden embrace of voluntary restrictions caught
Lansing observers by surprise after a long hard year of restrictions and
bans through executive
orders. Political analyst Bill Ballenger says part of the reason can be
traced back to the change at the White House, with Donald Trump no
longer around to be Whitmer's foil.
Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido has been pushing for a
criminal investigation into the governor, whom he claims forced nursing
homes to take back in COVID
patients. Several seeks ago, he asked those with relatives who died in
the facilities to come forward. State Attorney General Dana Nessel says
there have been a few calls.
Michigan's elderly COVID death toll ranks about 29th in the nation.
weak tornado is responsible for damage to several homes south of Grand
Rapids in Gaines Township over the weekend. It damaged up to a dozen
homes in the Preservation Lakes subdivision, one losing part of its roof
while others lost pieces of siding. A couple of cars were damaged by
debris. The National Weather Service says the EF-0 tornado, the lowest
rated tornado, had winds between 70 to 80 miles per hour and lasted only
about a minute late Saturday afternoon. It tracked for about a half a
mile, spanning 65 yards in width. No one was injured.
Three people were killed over the weekend when a pickup truck
crashed and caught on fire on M-6 in Byron Township, south of Grand
Rapids. Michigan State Police say the pickup hit the exit sigh for Byron
Center Avenue and caught on fire. Firefighters rushed to put out the
fire, but could not save the people inside Saturday night. State Police
say speed was a factor in the crash.
man accused of attacking two teenage girls with a hammer and holding
them at gunpoint in Grand Traverse County has pleaded guilty to three
Brandon Reyes was facing close to two dozen charges including assault
with intent to murder. The victims were 13 and 14 years old last July
when they say Reyes tortured
them at several locations. He'll be sentenced in May.
(Police Photo: Reyes)
A man suspected of flashing students at Calvin University in Grand
Rapids and at Cornerstone University has been arrested. The man , in his
20's , was arrested Sunday morning. A couple of incidents happened at
Calvin University on Saturday and at a nearby McDonald's.
Kalamazoo Police are investigating a murder that occurred Sunday
afternoon in the city's north side neighborhood. The Kalamazoo
Department of Public Safety says the victim was rushed to the hospital
where he died. Anyone with information is asked to call police or Silent
Walmart is considering new options for their in-store restaurant
experiences. After McDonald's and Subway announced that they are closing
units in the stores, Walmart is now looking into other food prospects. A
rep for Walmart says those spaces will be filled by chains such as Taco
Bell and Ann Arbor-based Domino's Pizza. There are
currently 30 Domino's at Walmart locations.
prices in Michigan are down 5 cents compared to a week ago. Drivers are
now paying an average of $2.79 per gallon. Triple A says while prices
are declining, the state average is still $1.25 higher than this time
last year, when the pandemic sent ga s demand tumbling. The most
expensive gas is in Marquette, Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. The least
expensive gas is in Traverse City, Grand Rapids and Benton Harbor.
STATE NEWS for FRI 09APR21
you ready to travel again? Pure Michigan is counting on it. The
award-winning advertising campaign with actor and Michigan native Tim
Allen is returning in the Midwest to foster spring and summer travel
this season. A new television commercial inviting travelers to catch up
on lost time this summer will run through the fourth of July.
Travelers are encouraged to take proper precautions while safely
enjoying Michigan's great outdoors and visiting destinations across the
state while following basic health protocols and getting vaccinated.
Michigan will receive nearly 16-thousand doses of the Johnson and
Johnson vaccine as part of a partnership with universities and colleges.
The Health Department says
the vaccine will be shipped to local health departments. Officials say
the effort is intended to vaccinate students at 26 schools before they
return home for the summer. The President at Northern Michigan
University says the additional doses will protect not only the age group
that is now seeing a higher rate of infection, but it protects
communities and families across the state.
The City of Ypsilanti has declared a local state of emergency as
the city experiences some of the highest COVID-19 case numbers in
Washtenaw County. The City Council approved the declaration at its April
As of April 7th, the health department reports ZIP code 48197 has over
36-hundred confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 380 probable cases and ZIP
code 48198 has over
22-hundred confirmed cases, with 180 probable cases.
With Coronavirus cases spiking throughout Michigan, some hospitals
are postponing surgeries. Michigan Medicine announced today that it has
rescheduled a small number of scheduled surgeries this week and next
week due to the rising number of people going into the hospital with the
virus and forecasts for continued high demand for
emergency care. Michigan Medicine says it has experienced record high
emergency room and admission volumes for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19
care this week.
-Latest COVID Stats-
Michigan has now topped 800-thousand cases of confirmed and
probable cases of the Coronavirus. The state Health Department reported
just over 78-hundred new cases today along with 73 deaths. In the past
year there have been 16,400 people who have died as a result of the
virus. In addition to the new cases, the state is reporting more than
37-hundred people are hospitalized. Most are in Macomb, Oakland and St.
A judge has ordered an Oak Park man to pay 500-thousand dollars to
his ex-girlfriend for putting naked pictures of her on a porn site
without her permission. The practice is
called "revenge porn." 39-year-old Kelley Turner was accused of
harassing the woman for eight years. The complaint further alleges that
Turner published the woman's name and address, so the pornographic
content would be more likely to appear in internet searches for her.
Turner has 10 years to pay the judgment.
Manslaughter charges have been filed against five people in the
death of a Muskegon County Jail inmate Paul Bulthouse. The Michigan
Attorney General's Office has filed
involuntary manslaughter charges against four jail staff members,
Jeffrey Patterson, Crystal Greve, Jamall Lane and Sergeant David
Vanderlaan and nurse Aubrey Schotts . State prosecutors say the five
were on duty the night the 39-year-old Bulthouse suffered 17 seizures in
a jail cell before he died in April of 2019. The Bulthouse family has
filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in his death against the county
sheriff, jail administrators, guards and others alleging a cover up in
General Motors will shutdown more plants as a result of a shortage
of computer chips. GM's plant in
Delta Township, near Lansing, will shutdown the week of April 19th,
which other plants in Spring Hill, Tennessee and in Mexico will also be
closed. The Delta Township factory makes the Chevy Traverse and Buick
Enclave. General Motors has said the plant shutdowns and chip
shortage will cost the company between one-and-a-half and two billion
dollars this year.
Unemployment fraud is rampant in Michigan. About 100-thousand
likely fraudulent claims have been filed with the state's Unemployment
Insurance Agency since Friday.
The claims were flagged for identity verification and no payments were
issued. The agency says the claims are filed by criminals using
previously stolen or fraudulent
personal information. Fraudulent claims continue to plague the state
agency as the government has increased Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Airports across Michigan will receive millions of dollars for
improvements. Michigan's two U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary
Peters, announced Thursday that
Bishop International Airport in Flint will receive 2.4 million dollars
while MBS International Airport, near Saginaw, was awarded 1.5 million
from the U.S. Transportation Department. Another 1.7 million dollars
will be handed over to the Capital Region International Airport while
another five million in federal funds will split up among Ford, Sawyer
International, Houghton County Memorial, Delta County and Chippewa
County International airports. The money will be used for operations,
personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services, and combating
the spread of pathogens at the airports.
The former CEO of a mid-Michigan charity has been arrested on
fraud and embezzlement charges. The U.S. Attorney's office says 56-year
old John Lynch allegedly used money from the Holy Cross organization to
pay for repairs to his own cars, install a new roof on his Grosse Pointe
Park house, pay down his personal mortgage, and make payments on a
personal American Express account. The Holy Cross organization, which is
based in Clinton, helps and provides services to disadvantaged children,
adults and the homeless. A federal complaint charges Lynch with wire
fraud, mail fraud, and embezzling and stealing funds from an
organization receiving federal funds.
Meijer is revealing new shopping trends since the pandemic started
last year. The retailer says families are choosing easier meal choices.
Meijer sold 500-thousand hot, rotisserie chickens over the last month
alone. Home delivery and pickup services have also increased, with
people making bulk purchases to cut down on their
shopping trips. Shoppers are also looking to add some comfort to their
homes with sales of pillows, weighted blankets and candles all
increasing. And for ways to beat boredom, shoppers are scooping up
things like board games, bikes, pools, grills and fishing poles.
STATE NEWS for THU 08APR21
a jump in COVID-19 cases in Michigan , a petition is being circulated to
stop in-person school in the state until the spread slows down. M-Live
reports the petition
already has almost three thousand signatures. It's being signed by
teachers, students, and parents and has received support from groups
like the Michigan Caucus of Rank and File Educators, Black Lives Matter
Michigan and others.
Michigan's health director says the state is focusing on getting
more people vaccinated, not imposing new restrictions on the economy,
despite a wave of COVID-19 cases. Elizabeth Hertel notes that indoor
high school sports, a source of infections, are wrapping up soon, and
spring sports are outdoors. All teen athletes must be regularly tested.
Michigan lately has been No. 1 in the U.S. for new COVID-19 cases. The
health department says about 37 percent of residents 16 and older has
had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The number of
people with COVID-19 admitted to Michigan hospitals has doubled
every 12 to 14 days for three weeks.
Michigan State University is opening a Covid vaccine clinic just
for students. Starting tomorrow, students will be able to get the
Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The student-only
clinic will open by appointment inside the Pavilion for Agricultural and
Livestock Education. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served
basis. Students are asked to
bring a valid university ID, state ID, passport or driver's license.
-Latest COVID Stats-
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state of
Michigan is now 715,478 with total deaths at 16,327. The Michigan
Department of Health and Human Services
reported 8,015 new cases and 30 deaths on Wednesday.
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein has been living
in Dubai (Doo-BY) for the last two months, with no plans to return home
any time soon. The 46-year-old
says he was quarantined in Dubai for two weeks on his way to visit
Israel in January when Israel closed its borders. He was told he could
stay in Dubai or fly home, so he
chose to stay. Bernstein has been living at a hotel on the famous
palm-shaped artificial island, and says his case work has not been
impacted as court meetings are being held virtually due to COVID.
A baby is being treated for hypothermia after being left alone in
the woods in Orion Township. It started with a report of a
distraught woman ringing doorbells and hiding in the woods . Deputies
interviewing the woman eventually discovered that she had a baby.
After an all out search involving more than a dozen officers and a
tracking dog, the four month-old boy was found face-down near the Orion
Township creek. The baby will is being kept overnight in the hospital
but is expected to be fine.
The child is in the care of Child Protective Services. The mother is in
the hospital as police seek a warrant for child abuse.
nearly a year of research and field testing by deputies and pressure
from community groups, the Grand Traverse County Commissioners have
approved buying body cameras for the sheriff's department. Sheriff Tom
Bensley says 52 officers will be equipped with the body cams by this
Turkeys are causing problems in Charlevoix. The DNR says the local
turkey population there exploded this year, resulting in residents
downtown being harassed. Some are
being chased or even jumped on by the large turkeys, according to
Charlevoix Police. The DNR is asking people to stop feeding the
turkeys and to remove their bird feeders
for the time being. Turkey hunting season begins this month in Michigan
and runs through May.
enforcement agencies across Michigan are increasing distracted driving
patrols. The high-visibility enforcement effort begins today and
runs through Monday. Officers
will be looking for drivers who are eating, drinking, using a GPS,
talking to passengers and texting or otherwise using a cell phone. State
police say the fine for texting while
driving is 100-dollars. If you've already been caught once, that fine
doubles to 200-dollars.
STATE NEWS for WED
Covid-19 positivity rate in northern Michigan is the highest it's been
pandemic began. The latest reports show a positivity rate of 16 percent.
Health officials say the new surge is being driven by the younger
population, mainly because of their low vaccination rates, school
interaction and youth sports.
Traverse City Schools are now reporting more than one thousand
students are in quarantine. Grand Traverse County Health Department has
advised all middle school
and high school classes to go to virtual learning at least through the
rest of this week.
The city of Detroit plans to send workers door to door to
encourage residents to get the COVID vaccine. The Detroit City Council
has approved a contract with Detroit Employment Solutions to hire over
50 people. The effort comes after the Mayor yesterday warned of
skyrocketing COVID rates in the city. The number of people in the
hospital has tripled in two weeks. The city's vaccination rate is just
21-percent, well below the statewide average.
New restrictions go into effect today at Wayne State University
amid a surge in Coronavirus cases. All face-to-face instruction is
suspended for the next 10 days. Athletics are also being
suspended. Access to student housing and libraries will be restricted,
and the Student Center will be closed except for the vaccine clinic. The
school will reassess the situation in a week-and-a-half to determine the
next course of action.
-Air Travel Checks-
Airline passengers coming into Cherry Capital Airport will now be
offered a chance to be tested for free for COVID-19. Starting today, the
testing will be available to any traveler as they pass through the
terminal on the day of arrival. It is provided as part of the Michigan
Department of Health and Human Services' Travel Points Testing Project,
which focuses on testing for incoming travelers at ports of entry across
Michigan. To be tested, passengers will have to provide proof of
passenger travel on the day of testing
before being administered an antigen test. The free post-trip testing is
voluntary and performed on a walk-in basis.
More than $90 million from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention has been awarded to Michigan to expand vaccine programs
across the state. 75% of the total funding must focus on specific
programs and initiatives intended to increase vaccine access,
acceptance, and uptake among racial and ethnic minority communities; and
60% must go to support local health departments, community-based
organizations, and community health centers. Funds may also be used to
support hiring community health workers who perform bilingual health
Muskegon County, like Kent and Ottawa Counties have already done,
may extend its state of emergency. WOOD TV reports that's as county
officials say cases of COVID-19 have been going up for a month. It would
mean the county could hold virtual meetings for no reason because an
amendment to the state's open meetings law has expired. Mercy Health
Muskegon has declared an internal disaster, which it says allows it to
make changes in staffing and resources. The hospital has 19 COVID-19
cases, but says there have been more motorcycle accidents and other sick
Two people died in a house fire in Benton Harbor on Tuesday. The
roof reportedly collapsed and once the fire was under control, one
victim was found in the front room
and one in the kitchen. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Three Metro Detroit attorneys have been arraigned on multiple
charges accused of racketeering, forgery and obstruction of
justice-stealing over a million dollars in a 3-year period.
Genesee County Sheriff, Chris Swanson says--70-year-old Marc Fishman,
his son, 32-year-old Ryan Fishman and 33-year-old Alexandra Ichi, all of
the Fishman Group in Bloomfield Hills claimed in court documents that
they had legally served defendants in attempts to collect a debt, when
they had not.
The Mackinac Island Police Department would like to remind
visitors, residents, employers and employees that Electric Bicycles are
prohibited on the island with the
exception of those used as mobility devices for those with mobility
disabilities as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Being a
top tourist destination in the state from April to November, even in the
midst of the COVID pandemic, police are obligated to provide a safe
environment for visitors and residents whose primary modes of
transportation are walking and biking. The presence of an ever-growing
number of EBikes on the island precludes police from providing the safe
and enjoyable experience that visitors and residents expect.
STATE NEWS for TUE 06APR21
(16) Michigan businesses have recently been fined for being unsafe when
it comes to COVID-19 precautions. The violations include: not wearing
masks and not disclosing to the health department or other employees
when an employee tests positive for COVID-19. Among those cited: Brann's
Steakhouse in Onsted, Napa Auto Parts in Grand Rapids, and Hudsonville
Creamery and Ice Cream in Holland.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer is rolling up her sleeve today. The
governor is set to get her first COVID vaccination this morning at Ford
Field. She'll be joined by a group of
student ambassadors who are encouraging other teenagers to get
vaccinated. The shots were made available to anyone age 16 and
older yesterday. Teens age 16 and 17 must receive the Pfizer vaccine.
The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only recommended for
those 18 years and older.
At least 76 COVID-19 outbreaks have been associated with
educational institutions in past week. Your local health department and
school are investigating the outbreaks
and will contact you directly if were possibly exposed to Coronavirus on
the school grounds. Some school districts reporting the largest
outbreaks include Bay County with
Bay City Central High School reporting 22 new cases. Sparta High School
and Frankfort High School also top the list while many outbreaks are
reported in Traverse
City, Midland and the Holland area.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson won't testify before a
state Oversight Committee hearing on the 2020 elections. Benson says
she's concerned the hearing
could serve as a platform for misinformation on the election. This as
Senate republicans are trying to pass a bill they say will improve
election security with stricter ID requirements and a shorter deadline
for returning absentee ballots in drop boxes.
A West Michigan man allegedly put anti-freeze in the water bottle of
a co-worker several times. 48-year-old Johnny Castellanos (Cast-ee-ahn-Ose)
has been charged with poisoning someone's food, drink , medicine or
water supply. He and the female co-worker worked at Packaging
Personified in Sparta. The victim had called police in March, according
to court records, to say a co-worker had put an unknown substance in her
water bottle. She bought a camera to record her work area when she
became suspicious and caught the suspect on camera putting a green
liquid in her water bottle. She is not believed to have been
Robert Grigsby and Vanessa Phillips are due in court later this week for
a probable cause hearing on sex trafficking charges and other charges
for allegedly running a prostitution ring out of a home in Wayland and
motels in the Grand Rapids area. Unsealed search warrants show
that police believe the ring reportedly produced nearly six thousand
prostitution ads. Police say the sex trafficking ring goes back to at
least 2016. (Police Photo: Grigsby &
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says an Easter card mailed to an
inmate was laced with fentanyl. Authorities made the discovery using a "VeroVision
Mail Screener," which can detect more than 150 illegal and controlled
substances. The handmade card was found on Saturday. Charges are now
being sought against the person who mailed the card.