Michigan

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Michigan had the country’s fifth-highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the last week and is among 14 states where infections rose over the past two weeks, a trend that may be tied to the increasing prevalence of a more contagious coronavirus variant, health officials said Wednesday.

The Contest shipwreck, Whitehall, MI Dec. 10, 2018 file image made from video and provided by WXMI-TV
WXMI-TV / Associated Press

A change in Lake Michigan water levels has revealed a shipwreck from the 1880s that is visible in western Michigan for the first time since 2018.

Experts believe it’s the wooden spine of the Contest, said Craig Rich, director of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association.

The wreckage is along the shore in Muskegon County, near where the White Lake channel meets Lake Michigan.

In 2018, major parts were seen for the first time since 1974, a result of changes in lake current, water levels and sand. Now the wreckage is visible again.

mi.gov

The Republican-led Legislature voted today to send Governor Gretchen Whitmer a new round of COVID-19 response bills that are very similar to versions she’s already vetoed.

This is the latest episode in the ongoing the back-and-forth between Republicans and the Democratic governor over her use of emergency powers – and her ability to use them again the future.

   Republicans say the governor’s abused her authority and slowed the recovery from COVID, while Democrats such as Senator Curtis Hertel say the GOP majorities have turned the crisis into a partisan fight.           

COVID-19 vaccine photo
Courtesy cidrap.umn.edu

A nurse staffing COVID-19 vaccinations at a downtown Detroit convention center has been detained by police for suspicion of stealing two doses of the Moderna vaccine. Detroit Chief Operating Officer Hakim Berry says the woman was stopped Monday after another staff member at the TCF Center saw her take two syringes. The nurse is employed by a firm that contracts with the city. Berry says no one missed getting vaccinated. Detroit police officers are among about 200 people staffing vaccinations at the center.

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Michigan State Police say a Tesla on autopilot crashed into a Lansing-area state trooper's patrol car early Wednesday. Police said neither the trooper nor the 22-year-old Lansing man who was driving the Tesla were injured in 1:10 a.m. crash on Interstate 96 in Eaton County. WLNS-TV reports that the crash occurred as the trooper was investigating a collision between a car and a deer. Police said the trooper's patrol car's emergency lights were activated when the Tesla drove into the patrol car.

Dana Nessel photo
Dana Nessel / mi.gov

Joshua Docter has been charged with one count of terrorism and one count of using a computer to commit a crime. Each count is a 20-year felony offense. The 21-year old Holland, Michigan man made death threats in January using a social media platform against President Joe Biden, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

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The state Senate Oversight Committee held its first hearing today on legislation to expand Michigan’s open records laws to cover the Legislature and the governor’s office.

Going back years, similar efforts have stalled. And, a brewing petition campaign says this is too little, too late.

   “We’re going to the ballot.”

   Lonnie Scott is with the group Progress Michigan. He says there’s too much missing from this package, including a look at who lawmakers are meeting with.

City of Wyoming Twitter logo
Twitter

The Wyoming [re]Imagined Master Plan was approved by its City Council on March 1st. After months of community input, the [re]Imagined Master Plan is a framework for investment, reinvestment and growth.

Jocelyn Benson, Michigan Secretary of State
mi.gov

Michigan's secretary of state is aiming to have Michigan join most of the rest of the country in expanding public information requests to the governor and Legislature. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is kicking off Sunshine Week on Monday by laying out a government transparency plan in which she asked the Legislature to take up the measures. Michigan is one of two states that exempts the governor's office from Freedom of Information Act requests and is one of eight states that exempt elected legislators.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Wikimedia.org

An old furniture factory in Grand Rapids could become the home of 750 apartments, and many of them would be small "micro units." Developers of the Sligh Furniture building hope to appear before the Grand Rapids Planning Commission in the months ahead. More than 440 apartments would be "micro units" ácovering 475 square feet, according to documents presented to a board that reviews economic development. MLive.com reports the project is led by Detroit-based Sturgeon Bay Partners.

voting sticker
Vox Efx via Flickr | CC BY 2.0 / Flickr.com

Legislation working its way through the Michigan Legislature aims to clean up the state’s voter registration rolls.

The measure calls for those who haven’t voted since the November 2000 election or who have “placeholder” birthdates in the state’s voter rolls to have their registration marked as challenged until they respond to a mailing from the Secretary of State’s office.

Michigan farm photo
michigan.org

Seven farmland preservation programs in Michigan will share $1.8 million in grants.

The funding awarded by Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development along with the Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund Board will allow the programs to close on permanent agricultural conservation easements.

The grants cover up to 75% of the costs for purchasing the development rights on agricultural land. It also helps pay for some of the closing costs associated with the conservation easements.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, March 2, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Allegations that New York intentionally manipulated data regarding COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes has led Republicans to demand an investigation in Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — early in the pandemic — told such facilities to admit or readmit COVID-affected residents under certain conditions.

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

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday set policies regarding severance agreements with departing state employees, letting such deals continue despite criticism of payouts to some top administration officials that included confidentiality clauses.

The executive directive specifies that Michigan’s executive branch cannot agree to deny the existence of a deal or withhold its details. The measure also allows payments for something other than services rendered if the worker waives potential legal action, and the state determines it will mitigate financial risk and protect taxpayer money.

Flint Water tower photo
Associated Press

A former state official charged in the Flint water scandal asked a judge Friday to give him an opportunity to hear the evidence that led to an indictment.

Rich Baird, who was a key adviser to then-Gov. Rick Snyder, said he’s entitled to challenge the charges at a hearing known as a preliminary exam, where a judge decides if there’s probable cause to move the case forward.

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