Associated Press

Cheboygan Schools mascot logo

Nearly two dozen school buses drove past the northern Michigan home of a beloved driver who died from COVID-19.

It was a surprise tribute for Dale Wiersum’s wife. He was a driver for seven years in Cheboygan, a rural district near the tip of the Lower Peninsula where buses play a critical role in getting kids to school.

“He was a friend first,” co-worker Demi Posh said. “Always giving, thoughtful, generous, sincere. There’s not enough words to describe what kind of man Dale was. Everybody went before him. Always.”

Personal Protective Equipment photo
wikimedia commons

Michigan spent $135.3 million on masks, gloves and other gear during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, when officials were racing against time — and other states — to protect medical personnel and other essential workers, an Associated Press analysis found.

The nationwide analysis found that states paid more than $7 billion for personal protective equipment and crucial medical devices such as ventilators and infrared thermometers between early 2020, when COVID-19 first emerged in the U.S., and late spring.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, December 10, 2020 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Tuesday she reduced the sentences of four men who were serving long prison terms, making them immediately eligible for parole.

Three of the four men have been in prison for more than 20 years.

Michael Thompson, 69, and Lawrence Cadroy, 65, were convicted of drug crimes in Genesee County. Lorenzo Garrett, 52, and Larry McGhee, 51, were convicted of drug crimes in Oakland County.

Michigan Bridge Card
City of Flint

Michigan residents who receive food assistance from the state can use their benefits at restaurants, officials said Tuesday.

The program could give a boost to restaurants that are prohibited from offering indoor dining because of coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

More than 300,000 people will soon be able to use their Bridge Card to buy discounted meals at restaurants, including 1,200 people who are experiencing homelessness, the health department said.

Those eligible include people over 60 and people with a disability.

Water faucet photo
Public domain image /

Water shutoffs will be banned through March under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Whitmer had issued an executive order earlier this year that protected people from having their water turned off for non-payment. But the protection was thrown out when the Michigan Supreme Court said the governor had used an unconstitutional law as the foundation for dozens of her coronavirus orders.

Dr. Larry Nassar, Feb. 5, 2018 photo
Associated Press

The Michigan judge who sentenced sports doctor Larry Nassar to 40 years in prison made “wholly inappropriate” remarks about him, but they weren’t enough to violate his rights and upset the punishment for sexual assault, the state appeals court said Tuesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the court noted that Judge Rosemarie Aquilina still stuck to the sentencing agreement made by prosecutors and Nassar’s attorneys.

Judge Douglas Shapiro disagreed with the majority and said Nassar deserved to return to court in front of a different judge.

Environmental Protection Agency seal
Environmental Protection Agency /

The Trump administration overhauled the country’s widely criticized, 29-year-old framework to eliminate toxic lead from drinking water on Tuesday, but critics charge that the new rule gives utilities far more time than before to finally replace old, lead-contaminated pipes.

The new rules come six years after the Flint, Michigan, water crisis highlighted ongoing, dangerous exposure of children and others in the city to the neurotoxin in drinking water, and the failures of officials on all levels to adequately protect local families at the time.

Flint Water Plant tower photo
wiki commons

The Flint City Council in Michigan has signed off on its portion of a $641 million settlement with residents who were exposed to lead-tainted water. Flint's insurer would kick in $20 million as part of a sweeping deal to settle lawsuits against Flint, the state of Michigan and other parties. The Flint council approved its stake early Tuesday after an hourslong meeting that raised concerns about whether residents were getting shortchanged. Most of the money - $600 million - is coming from the state of Michigan.

pic of people at Tip Up Town

A popular northern Michigan festival is switching to a February weekend because of coronavirus restrictions.

Tip-Up Town USA in Houghton Lake promotes itself as Michigan's longest-running winter festival, with a polar bear dip, snowmobile drag racing, ice fishing contest and more in Roscommon County.

The Jan. 16-17 dates have been switched to Feb. 27-28 because of restrictions on attendance at outdoor events.

Tip-Up Town began in 1950, according to the local Chamber of Commerce.

Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Governor photo
Daniel Boothe

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says Detroit's chief financial officer will become Michigan budget director.

Dave Massaron will start Jan. 4.

Chris Kolb is resigning to become vice president for government relations at the University of Michigan.

Massaron says he's "ready and eager" to work with Whitmer and the Legislature.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says Massaron put the city on a stable financial path.