Unlock Michigan / Unlock Michigan

The Michigan Bureau of Elections says a petition campaign to initiate a law to curtail the governor’s use of emergency powers has gathered the signatures it needs.

The Unlock Michigan campaign wants the Legislature to vote on a veto-proof initiative. It would repeal one of the laws Governor Gretchen Whitmer used to enact emergency COVID-19 restrictions.

That law was struck down in court, but remains on the books. Also, most of the state’s COVID restrictions have been lifted.

Fred Wszolek of Unlock Michigan says that’s not enough.

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

After leading the nation’s COVID-19 daily case rate for weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday that Michigan could be seeing a drop in infections.

Whitmer has extended a pandemic order that limits business capacity and requires masks in public, but the Democrat has avoided further restrictions in place during previous surges, including suspending indoor restaurant dining. Instead, she’s urged a voluntary pause on the activities and pushed for more vaccinations from the White House, which has said it would help with other logistics but continue allocating based on population.

Novel coronavirus graphic

More than 5,500 new COVID-19 cases and 69 deaths due to the coronavirus have been reported in Michigan.

The cases confirmed Saturday by Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services pushed the state’s total to 785,307 since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago.

Of the 69 reported deaths, 60 were identified during a review of vital records.

Laptop photo

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have allowed tax breaks to internet companies that provide broadband access to underserved areas, saying in her veto letter it would cost schools millions while failing to provide up to par service.

The vetoed state House bill, together with a tie-barred state Senate bill, would have allowed companies to be exempt or defer personal property taxes on property required to establish broadband access, if the company receives funding by certain state or federal agencies.

Hospital sign

Michigan will expand the use of a COVID-19 treatment in hopes of substantially reducing climbing hospitalizations and deaths. Additional doses of monoclonal antibodies will be given to hospitals and other providers, which will be asked to add infusion sites. The treatment has concentrated doses of lab-made antibodies to fight coronavirus infections and is geared toward people who are at high risk for severe symptoms or hospitalization. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday the treatment could save lives.

Perrigo North American Headquarters groundbreaking, Grand Rapids, MI photo
Patrick Center / WGVU Public Media

Consumer self-care producer, Perrigo, broke ground Wednesday on its new Grand Rapids North American Corporate Headquarters.

One…two…three! (clapping).

“It’s not yet seen by the community what I believe is the biggest of all opportunities which is to make this the Silicone Valley of self-care.”

It’s the vision of Murray S. Kessler, Perrigo President and CEO.

“You know we’re trying to transform and we’re trying to be a much more innovative company than we’ve been. We’ve been a follower.”

Spectrum Health logo
Spectrum Health

“This temporary pause is actually a good indication that the safety mechanisms are clearly in place.”

Dr. Liam Sullivan is an infectious disease physician at Grand Rapids’ Spectrum Health. While six women receiving the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have experienced blood clotting, he says everyone should keep in mind millions of the J&J vaccine have been administered without severe reactions. That includes at Spectrum Health where its distributed roughly 4,400 doses. That’s about 5% of COVID-19 vaccines dispensed.

Grand Rapids Innovation Park rendering
City of Grand Rapids

When the Secchia Center opened in 2010, it began a new era for Michigan State University moving its medical school to Grand Rapids. More than 10-years later, MSU’s footprint along the city’s Medical Mile has expanded with the construction of the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center.

Currently under construction are the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building and Perrigo’s new North American Corporate Headquarters.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo

Health officials on Tuesday suspended the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan pending the outcome of a federal investigation into six cases in which women who received the drug developed blood clots.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced the temporary suspension of the single-dose vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended it throughout the country.

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

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has outlined her priorities for spending billions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief aid. She says the focus should be on long-lasting initiatives to help small businesses, support job growth and upgrade neglected infrastructure. Other priorities include additional public health and mental health funding, expanded access to preschool and child care, and programs to address pandemic-related learning loss.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that Michigan should “close things down” to help address surging coronavirus infections, days after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer instead urged people to voluntarily restrict certain activities.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky made the statement while explaining that the effect of vaccinations is delayed. The governor has urged the federal government to send additional doses to the state, but the administration of President Joe Biden has stuck with allocating to states proportionally by population.

picture of GR Ford Airport Logo
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The numbers of people using a western Michigan airport are approaching levels prior to the start of restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Management at Gerald R. Ford International Airport outside Grand Rapids say travel numbers are about 90% of what they were in March 2020, WOOD-TV reported.

About 60,000 people are expected to travel through the airport in Cascade Township in the next 10 days.

The airport finished 2020 with half the number of travelers it normally sees. By the end of this year, it is hoping to get closer to 70%.

Seidman College of Business aerial photo
Grand Valley State University

More than 50% of Grand Valley State University’s majors are now located in downtown Grand Rapids programs. With that in mind, the university is offering downtown living opportunities this fall.

Grand Valley State University is launching four Living-Learning Communities in downtown Grand Rapids. They’re modelled on six Living-Learning Communities located on the Allendale campus.

Kyle Boone is director of Housing and Residence Life, “And students wanted to have that same opportunity in downtown. So, we felt that it was necessary to bring a program like this downtown.”

COVID-19 testing kit photo

A high school sports advocacy group and some parents sued Michigan on Thursday, seeking to stop a new requirement that all teen athletes be regularly tested for the coronavirus.

The lawsuit, filed in the state Court of Claims, came on the eve of the mandate’s Friday effective date. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department announced the free, required rapid testing nearly two weeks ago as a way to help curb the spread of COVID-19 amid a climbing case rate that is now the country’s highest.

hard hat photo
wiki commons

Three Michigan House democrats are co-authoring legislation restoring the state’s prevailing wage law that was repealed in 2018.

Scroll through The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity website and you’ll discover a page devoted to Prevailing Wage and defines it. “Michigan's Prevailing Wage law covers construction workers employed on state financed or sponsored construction projects. Under this act the Wage and Hour Division establishes wage and fringe benefit rates to be paid construction workers on state projects.”