University of Michigan seal

The University of Michigan will be in-person instruction this fall, have nearly 80% of residents halls open and allow fans back into athletic events, the university announced Friday.

This reopening of campus since students went online last March is based on the presumption that all faculty and staff that are planning on getting vaccinated will be able to before classes begin Aug. 30, university communications said in a news release.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, February 24, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Michigan announced Friday that all residents age 16 and up will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on April 5, nearly a month before the May 1 date pledged by President Joe Biden.

People age 16 to 49 with certain medical conditions or disabilities will qualify starting March 22, when 50- to 64-year-olds can begin getting shots under a previous announcement. Two days later, March 24, a federally selected regional mass vaccination site will open at Detroit’s Ford Field to administer an additional 6,000 doses a day for two months.

Grand Rapids Community College logo

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Grand Rapids Community College’s instructional composition was roughly 80% on-campus learning and about 20% online. Today, it’s the opposite. The pandemic has revealed a “new normal” heading into the fall 2021 semester.

“I don’t think we’ll ever go back to 80% on-campus, 20% online because of what we’ve learned about the needs of our students, and what our students have been able to accomplish.”

Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University photo

January may have been the peak performing month in west and southwest Michigan’s pandemic-induced economic recoveries.

“This is because of course, we always get a whole bunch of pent up demand that comes in after the recession has pretty much been declared to be over.”

Fireworks photo
Thomas Hawk via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

A Lake Michigan community in southwestern Michigan is canceling a popular fireworks show months before the July 4 holiday.

Organizers said the spread of COVID-19 would be too risky, despite the availability of vaccines. The South Haven show usually attracts 50,000 people to the area.

“Out of an abundance of caution, city leadership decided to cancel the show this year with hopes to resume in 2022,” City Manager Kate Hosier said.

The summer fireworks show requires work months before the event, especially to obtain a federal permit to use a Lake Michigan pier.

2021 Amway River Bank Run logo
Amway River Bank Run

The Amway River Bank Run is a right of spring. Since 1978, the River Bank Run is held the second weekend in May. But this year, the 44th annual downtown Grand Rapids race will move from May 8th to October 23rd.

The decision is based on participant health safety. Amway River Bank Run race director David Madiol said, “We feel delaying this year’s event to allow more participants and volunteers to be vaccinated will give us the chance to offer a safer and responsible in-person event.”

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

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a $67 billion budget that she says would aid the state's pandemic recovery by solidifying new programs to attend community college for free, expanding child care assistance and boosting local bridge repairs. The Democrat's annual spending blueprint was unveiled to the Republican-led Legislature on Thursday. She ácalled for $570 million to address learning loss and K-12 enrollment declines on top of a $162-per-student, or 2%, increase in base aid for most traditional districts.

Seidman College of Business logo

The West Michigan economy took a positive leap in January. Is it the beginning of the end of the pandemic-induced recession?

New orders, production, purchases and employment indexes all rose dramatically in January.

“This doesn’t necessarily indicate that this trend is going to continue.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer State of the State Address, January 27, 2021 photo
Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Governor Gretchen Whitmer made a peace offering to Republicans in her 3rd State of the State address Wednesday evening. That’s as Republicans have ramped up their resistance to her COVID-19 restrictions.

The speech was delivered from the quiet of Whitmer’s Capitol office instead of before a live audience.

The governor tried to quell opposition to her orders that closed schools and restricted gatherings and business activities. Whitmer defended her actions, but also looked to the year ahead.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, January 22, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will seek “common ground” with the Republican-led Legislature in her State of the State address, pitching a multibillion-dollar pandemic relief plan that would prioritize coronavirus vaccinations and additional aid to schools and businesses amid the crisis.

West Michigan economy poised for strong growth in 2021

Jan 15, 2021
Paul Isely photo

While 2020 came with record levels of unemployment and businesses closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, local economists are predicting that West Michigan’s economy will rebound with strong growth in 2021. It’s dependent on the federal government injecting $3 trillion into the economy and the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution photo
Jake May/The Flint Journal / Associated Press

Even as vaccines are being rolled out to battle the coronavirus, wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula say they want to kick any trace of it from the English language.

“COVID-19” and “social distancing” are thrown in with “we’re all in this together,” “in an abundance of caution” and “in these uncertain times” on the school’s light-hearted list of banned words and phrases for 2021.