Jocelyn Benson photo
Patrick Center / WGVU

Michigan’s new redistricting commission is set to begin taking public comment as it weighs how to draw the boundaries for 13 congressional and 148 legislative districts that will last for a decade.

The series of 16 hearings will start Tuesday in Jackson and end July 1 in Grand Rapids.

The panel — which has four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents — will create the maps instead of the Legislature doing it because voters approved an anti-political gerrymandering constitutional amendment in 2018.

An Upper Peninsula sheriff in Michigan’s smallest county is making a public plea for more mental health treatment after a young driver smashed a car into trees to try to end a life.

A Facebook post, with a photo of the crumpled car, has been shared more than 6,000 times this week, more than three times the population of Keweenaw County.

Absentee Voter Drop Box photo
Associated Press

Senate Republicans on Wednesday relaxed legislation that would have prohibited the use of absentee ballot drop boxes on Election Day, instead proposing to close them at 5 p.m. — three hours before Michigan polls close.

The change, which did not appease opponents, was announced as the GOP-led Senate Elections Committee held its third hearing on measures in a 39-bill package, parts of which would restrict the absentee voting process.

Michigan Capitol Building photo
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

The Michigan House voted unanimously Tuesday to curb the size of severance deals for state officials unless they limit the state’s legal exposure and details are made public.

The move curbing the size of severance deals came after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration faced scrutiny over $85,000 and $155,000 payouts made to her former health and unemployment directors.

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

Michigan late Tuesday lifted an outdoor mask requirement except in gatherings of at least 100 people and in organized contact sports, and said teen athletes no longer must undergo regular COVID-19 testing if they are fully vaccinated.

Under a revised pandemic order that takes effect Thursday, the state also eased caps on outdoor event sizes and said vaccinated people are not required to be masked at indoor residential gatherings even if others are unvaccinated.

Patty Corkery, President/CEO, Michigan Credit Union League photo
Rick Weaver / Michigan Credit Union League

In January, online gambling and sports betting launched in Michigan. In February, the state’s Problem Gambling Hotline received five times the number of callers seeking addiction help than it did the previous year. Michigan Credit Unions are also being negatively impacted by online gaming.

Most debit cards offer a courtesy pay, a mini loan should the card holder spend beyond their limit so that it’s not declined.

Great Lakes Piping Plover photo

In the late 1980s, the Great Lakes Piping Plover was nearly extinct. There were only 10 known pairs. Slowly, the endangered species has made a comeback. There are 67 pairs today. One those couples calls Muskegon State Park home. WGVU stopped by where two new nesting areas are being established.

Barry Croft mug shot
Delaware Department of Justice / Associated Press

Charges have been added against three defendants involved in the 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor.

Federal prosecutors have added charges against three of six people accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr. and Daniel Harris are charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. It's related to a discussion to blow up a bridge near Governor Whitmer's second home in northern Michigan to hinder police. The role of the bridge in the alleged plot was disclosed by authorities months ago.

House panel adopts first ethics bill

Apr 28, 2021
Road sign right and wrong

There was action today in Lansing toward setting stricter ethical standards for legislators.

A bill adopted by the House Committee on Elections and Ethics with bipartisan support would ban lawmakers from voting on bills that would benefit themselves, family members, or business associates. It’s not clear what the penalties for violating the standard would be.

But Republican Representative Andrea Schroeder said this would move Michigan in the right direction.

Registered Nurse Monica Quintana dons protective gear at William Beaumont hospital photo
Carlos Osorio / Associated Press

Eric Gala passed up an opportunity to get a coronavirus vaccine when shots became available in Michigan, and he admits not taking the virus seriously enough.

Then he got sick with what he thought was the flu. He thought he would sweat it out and then feel back to normal.

Before long, the 63-year-old Detroit-area retiree was in a hospital hooked up to a machine to help him breathe. He had COVID-19.

A controlled burn that turned into a 6,100-acre wildfire in Michigan was 32% contained Saturday and not growing, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said.

The fire was in Iosco County, which has part of the Huron-Manistee National Forests, roughly 80 miles north of Bay City.

Some residents were urged to evacuate Friday, but those warnings were subsequently lifted, said forest spokesman Joshua Veal.

“There are no reports of structures lost. They’re still evaluating,” Veal said. “The forward spread is stopped. The fire is not growing.”

Novel coronavirus graphic

Michigan’s seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases has fallen by more than 1,200 in a week, a sign that the outbreak may be subsiding in a state where infection and hospitalization rates remain highest in the country.

The state health department on Wednesday reported nearly 5,600 cases and 45 deaths in the most recent 24-hour period.

That brought the seven-day case average to 5,742 — down from the third surge’s peak of around 7,000 on April 13. The seven-day average of tests coming back positive, 13.4%, was down from 15.5% a week before.

Cole Bond, left, and Mike Jack, from Fence Consultants of West Michigan, put up barricades in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Cory Morse | MLive.com / Associated Press

Michigan’s second-largest city placed concrete barriers around the police department Tuesday as it prepares for protests when a verdict emerges in the trial of a former Minneapolis officer.

Grand Rapids had some of Michigan’s worst violence last May after the death of George Floyd. Police cars were set on fire, businesses were damaged and downtown windows were smashed. The National Guard was summoned.

Unlock Michigan boxed petition signatures delivered to the Michigan Department of State Bureau of Elections in Lansing, MI. Oct. 2, 2020 file photo
Rod Sanford/Detroit News / Associated Press

A group trying to repeal an emergency powers law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used for months to issue coronavirus restrictions cleared a key hurdle Monday when the Michigan elections bureau said it collected enough petitions.

Recycling symbol
wiki commons

A group of environmental, political and business leaders in Michigan announced an initiative Monday to invest in recycling infrastructure and eventually triple the state’s recycling rate.

The NextCycle Michigan initiative has committed $97 million since last year in state and private funds to recycling projects with partners such as Goodwill Industries, Keurig Dr. Pepper, Henry Ford Health System and Meijer. These funds are to be used to support efforts to recycle products and divert materials in manufacturing from landfills.