pic of headband with mask attached
Kat Samardzija creator / Locker Lifestyle

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today the state is lifting mask and distancing requirements for people who are fully vaccinated. The new public health order will take effect at 9 AM tomorrow.

The new order follows new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a departure from Whitmer’s earlier plan. But in a Twitter post, she said the state will follow the guidance.

“It’s a huge step on our path back to normal.”

Gray Wolf photo

A group of scientists is urging the Biden administration to return gray wolves to the federal endangered species list. In a letter Thursday, 115 wildlife conservation experts say state governments have allowed too many wolves to be killed since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lifted protections across most of the Lower 48 states in January. The move was among Trump administration actions on the environment that Biden has ordered reviewed. Livestock farmers and ranchers say wolf numbers are too high.

Michigan State Police arm badge
Michigan State Police

Michigan lawmakers are proposing an $80 million funding increase for law enforcement, including $47 million to help recruit and retain officers at a time a top Republican says the profession has been "beaten down" by anti-police sentiment. The proposed spending will be added to a budget bill in the GOP-led House. Incentives include signing bonuses for new officers, tuition assistance to attend police academies and stipends during recruits' training. Funding would incentivize the use of body cameras and community policing.

Pic of Mel Trotter logo
Mel Trotter

Earlier today, Mel Trotter Ministries announced the Immeasurably More campaign, a $14.9 million fundraising campaign to fund the construction of a renovated Men’s shelter among other improvements.  It has been 54 years since any kind of significant renovation has occurred. 

Grand Valley State University arch photo

Grand Valley State University is organizing an effort that will reconsider how education can better serve learners of today and tomorrow.

GVSU along with five other founding institutions: Amarillo College, Boise State University, Fort Valley State University, Shippensburg University, and San Jose State University have partnered to launch a program called REP4.

Grand Valley State University

A national alliance of six colleges and universities, to be announced Thursday afternoon, aims to address issues of retention, access and equity in higher education by teaching students to design solutions for what they find to be the most pressing problems. First piloted last summer at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, high school juniors and seniors tackled questions of how to navigate the transition to college and how to connect the school experience to the real world. Students who complete the program will be guaranteed admission to any of the partner schools.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services logo
michiganhhs / michiganhhs

A state Senate committee has issued a subpoena to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for documents related to its COVID-19 response.

Specifically, the Senate Oversight Committee wants documents dealing with the management of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and other congregate care facilities.

Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) is the committee chair. McBroom said he’s frustrated with foot-dragging to get documents he requested two month ago.

Enbridge Line 5 pipeline protesters gather in Lansing

May 13, 2021
Straits of Makinac, Mackinac Bridge photo
Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

Protesters met at the Michigan Capitol Thursday in opposition to Enbridge’s Line 5 oil pipeline. The gathering takes place a day after a shutdown deadline ordered by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

‘Hey, hey, ho, ho, Line 5 has got to go. Hey, hey, ho, ho, Line 5 has got to go.’

Six months ago, Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave Enbridge Energy 180 days to stop transporting oil under the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge is defying that order, as Line 5 continues to operate.

Mary Brady Enerson is the executive director of Clean Water Action in Michigan.

Black and white photo of Dr. Robert E. Anderson
Robert Kalmbach / Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan via AP, File


Spotlight Michigan,  an advocacy and education group, is supporting and seeking justice for what they estimate is more than 850 victims of sexual assault under the University of Michigan’s former Health Service Director, Dr. Robert. E Anderson.

The group's formation comes on the heels of a report released by the WilmerHale firm, which found that school's failure to act on "countless occasions" allowed Anderson to harass, abuse and assault patients during his 37-year career.  

National Salvation Army Week is officially here and runs through Sunday. This week is set aside to remind the country of the comprehensive nature of the services The Salvation Army provides to every United States zip code. And here in Kent County, they’re asking for your help for those teetering on what they’re calling, “pandemic poverty”.

“A number of families have been faced with job and income loss as a result of the pandemic, so they are finding themselves unable to pay bills and keep food on the table.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Feb. 9, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Michigan health officials on Wednesday urged primary care physicians to enroll to administer COVID-19 vaccines, as the state prepared to quickly begin vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds following U.S. authorization.

“The most important thing we can do right now is to make vaccines available for whenever someone is ready,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive and chief health deputy, said during a news conference. “We know that patients trust their doctors and when they are ready to get vaccinated, we want you to have vaccine on hand.”

Above ground section of Enbridge's Line 5 at Mackinaw City, Mich., pump station photo
John Flesher / Associated Press

An Upper Midwestern oil pipeline continued operating Wednesday, despite a shutdown demand from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that the operator warned could lead to fuel disruptions similar to those resulting from a cyberattack on an East Coast system.

Whitmer ordered Line 5 closed last November because of the potential for a spill in a channel linking two of the Great Lakes. As her May 12 deadline arrived, Canadian pipeline company Enbridge said only the federal government has regulatory authority over its operations.

Republican election challenger photo
Associated Press

A Michigan Republican known for challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election has turned his attention to those who fact-check the claims of public officials.

State Rep. Matt Maddock this week introduced the “Fact Checker Registration Act,” which would force journalists and others who perform fact checks to register with the state and insure themselves with a $1 million fidelity bond. His legislation also would fine fact checkers $1,000 every day they don’t register.

Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University photo

The West Michigan economic recovery continued its expansion into April. While the economy is entering record territory, there are signs of headwinds approaching.

Record high statistics were collected in the April Supply Management Research survey.

“Locally here, of course, we’ve seen automotive, one of our major cyclical industries come back to pretty much full speed.”

propane school bus photo

Students in a southern Michigan school district are learning from home through Friday because of a lack of bus drivers.

Many drivers in Marshall have been quarantined because of COVID-19 exposure and there aren’t enough substitutes, Superintendent Randy Davis said.

“Because of our commitment to making sure that everyone has equal access to quality education, we’re going to go ahead and do virtual for everyone at this juncture to get through this period of time,” Davis said.

He acknowledged that families had to arrange child care with little notice.