Senate OKs $2B in virus aid, targets vaccine distribution


Republicans who control the Michigan Senate moved Thursday to stop the state from distributing additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to more vulnerable communities, saying race and socioeconomic status should not be factors.

Democrats said the provision, included in a $2 billion coronavirus relief funding plan that was approved on party lines, is “unconscionable.”

Grand Rapids Pride Center offers therapy assistance program
Grand Rapids Pride Center

The Grand Rapids Pride Center is offering therapy assistance to the LGBTQIA+ community. Individuals can receive up to five free telehealth sessions or get help funding their co-pays.

Leslie Boker, the center's Proud To Be Healthy Coordinator, said the move comes after they saw a disparity in therapy access during the pandemic.

Ad Council

With a number of people nationwide who reportedly say they will refuse to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, officials from the Ad Council & COVID Collaborative Thursday announced a new campaign that aims to change those minds.

The campaign is called “It’s Up to You,” and officials from the AD Council say it’s the largest campaign in U.S. history that is focused on COVID-19 Vaccine Education.



Ron Clous pulled out a gun while a constituent spoke at a virtual meeting in January. A criminal complaint was filed against him that the A.G.’s office is now looking into. A rep only said the investigation is open, and didn’t say what Clous could be charged with or when they’ll make a decision.

Clous has ignored calls to step down, and the county board hasn’t punished him.

Betsy Coffia is a democrat on the commission.

She says this could have been resolved weeks ago with an apology from Clous and the board chair.

Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan
wikimedia commons

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday that many of the state’s COVID-19 data trends are moving in the right direction and suggested more restrictions could be lifted soon. But, the feud between the governor and the Legislature over the state’s COVID response has not lifted. More people are getting vaccinated and the rate of new cases continues to drop over time.

Grand Rapids city logo

Parking enforcement in Grand Rapids is being turned over from officers to civilian employees. City officials say Thursday that the move will start July 1 and is designed to free up officers for calls for service and duties requiring their police powers. Parking calls to the Grand Rapids police communications center also will transition to civilian employees. The initiative aligns with recommendations from a 2019 staffing and deployment report commissioned by the city and meets priorities highlighted in both the police department's and the city's strategic plans.

Give Seniors A Say logo

A not-for-profit representing 270 senior communities says its time the state of Michigan begins rolling back some of its COVID-19 visitation restrictions.

LeadingAge Michigan says the COVID-19 visitation restrictions imposed by the Michigan Department of health and Human Services exceed nursing home guidance issued by the federal government.

Michigan Capitol Building photo
Phillip Hofmeister via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 /

The Michigan House backed a proposed constitutional amendment on Wednesday that would require two-thirds majority votes for bills to pass during lame duck sessions of the Legislature, if voters ultimately approve of the change.

The resolution sponsored by Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth aims to end hyperpartisanship attached to lame duck sessions and to build trust with constituents by increasing transparency.

Tow truck hauling car photo
wikipedia commons

A judge has struck down portions of a Michigan towing law as unconstitutional after low-income Detroit residents shared extraordinary stories of high fees and frustration about the whereabouts of their vehicles.

The case centered on the practices of Detroit police and a towing company. The decision by U.S. District Judge Judith Levy could force changes in a law that’s viewed as favorable to the towing industry.



Grand Valley State University President Dr. Philomena V. Mantella joined three former GVSU Presidents Wednesday for a round table discussion on the Constitution.


Dr. Arend D. Lubbers, Dr. Mark A. Murray, Dr. Thomas J. Haas, and Mantella have been holding a series of conversations called “The Constitution, Elections and Democracy,” and the discussion Wednesday delved deep into the legality of the electoral college, and what changes would be made to the Constitution if it were written in the 21st century.


Hospital Beds

For the first time in nearly a year, Mercy Health Hospital in Muskegon says it has zero COVID-19 patients in its care. According to a Facebook post by hospital officials, it’s the first time Mercy Health Muskegon hasn’t had a single inpatient suffering from the coronavirus since last March.

With overcrowding and a lack of hospital beds to accommodate the number of people being admitted for COVID-19 once a vital concern to health officials, it has been a long road to get that number back to zero, at least for the time being.

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

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her administration will announce the further loosening of Michigan's coronavirus restrictions in coming days. She did not elaborate much in a Wednesday news conference, in which she again pressed the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief funding plan.

Allendale Civil War Statue photo

A committee in western Michigan has proposed replacing a statue of a Union soldier and Confederate soldier back to back with a slave child kneeling between them with an obelisk or column inscribed with phrases and viewpoints from the Civil War era. The Holland Sentinel reports that other proposals made Monday in Allendale Township include replacing the entire statue with a commemoration to Black Civil War soldier Benjamin Jones or erecting Plexiglas panes around the statue inscribed with historical context of the war. Allendale Township is west of Grand Rapids.

An elected official in a western Michigan community has apologized for posting a line of online laughs about the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. More than 300 people participated by video conference during a Middleville council meeting Tuesday. Public comment about Amanda Fisk's Facebook post lasted more than two hours. Fisk is a Middleville council member and village president. She posted a series of "HA-HA-HA" next to a news story about Limbaugh's death last week. Fisk called it a "stupid mistake." Her defenders say she has a right to free speech.

pill bottle and money photo

A Republican legislative leader and other lawmakers have unveiled measures they say are designed to lower prescription drug prices, bring parity in insurance coverage of chemotherapy and improve the quality of health care. The 15-bill package would regulate pharmacy benefit managers that run drug coverage for insurers and employers, and ban the managers from profiting by charging a health plan more than what is paid to the pharmacy.