July 9

7/9/20 – Supreme Court rules in contraception case

(FOX News) – The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement for employers to provide insurance coverage that includes contraception — in a victory for Little Sisters of the Poor, the Catholic group that has been at the center of the national debate over the mandate. The court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Trump administration and the Catholic charity that cares for the elderly in two related disputes against Pennsylvania, which sued over the validity of a rule from the Trump administration that allowed religiously-affiliated groups and some for-profit companies to opt-out of providing […]
July 9

7/9/20 – Mel Trotter Ministries is in CODE RED

When the heat and humidity rise to dangerous levels, Mel Trotter Ministries goes into a “Code Red” policy which extends extra grace and support to individuals and families who are in crisis. This policy includes: 24 hours of cooling center options inside the building Cold water at every entrance On-site medical staff to assess for heat related illness Lifted curfew times, access to evening shelter earlier than the normal schedule Removing previous restrictions to enter shelter for people who have violated rules A team conducting outreach to people who are living in camps, bridges, and other areas of the city […]
July 9

7/9/20 – Gov. Whitmer prevents Michigan water service shut offs through end of the year

LANSING –(Mlive) –  Michigan residents will be safe from water shutoffs through December 31, 2020. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order on Wednesday that extended a prior order requiring that water services be reconnected to residences that had their service shut off. The order was issued as a safety measure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Whitmer said in a statement that the extension is “the right thing to do.” “As Michigan families grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 on public health and our economy, our administration is taking proactive steps to ensure that no one has to worry about having access […]
July 9

7/9/20 – West Nile virus now found in mosquito samples in 4 Kent County zip codes

KENT COUNTY, MI –(Mlive) –  Kent County health leaders say mosquito sampling now shows four zip codes where West Nile virus was found in mosquitos. Health officials on June 30 said they discovered the virus in two zip codes — 49504 and 49525. On Wednesday, July 8, sampling also showed it in zip codes 49506 and 49316. Health officials said it was reasonable to assume the virus is in other areas as well. “The best thing you can do to avoid West Nile virus is to avoid being bit by a mosquito” according to a post on the Kent County […]
July 8

7/8/20 – Agricultural Safety Grants for Michigan

 The state of Michigan just announced $15 million in relief funding for our state’s farms and food processors. The funding is set to help ease the risks from the coronavirus and its effects on Michigan agriculture. The money comes from the federal CARES Act. Michigan’s food and agriculture sector has been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 virus and this grant will help further economic recovery in the state. Food processors statewide will be provided with grants ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 each, totaling about $10 million. The other $5 million will go to farms with grants as low as $10,000 […]
July 8

7/8/20 -GR city commission votes to reallocate $400k

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids City Commissioners approved a proposal to reallocate more than $396,000 of the police department’s budget. The money will be used to create a civilian chief to assist the police chief, create a civilian public information officer in the chief’s office, and create a position in the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability. The commission had originally planned to vote on a plan to reduce the police department’s budget by $9 million but City Attorney Anita Hitchcock said the way the budget amendment was brought forth violated state and local law. The majority of […]
July 8

7/8/20 – Michigan sues U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos over school coronavirus funds

(Mlive) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday announced Michigan was spearheading a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over the distribution of funding under a federal coronavirus relief package. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act allocated $13 billion in emergency education funding to states to support school districts, according to a document from the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor. The funding was allocated for things like sanitizing schools, purchasing educational technology and training teachers to use online tools. But state officials say the […]
July 7

7/7/20 – Blackout Day spotlights Black-owned businesses

Tuesday , July 7th, is Blackout Day 2020 .   Thousands of Black Americans plan to stand in solidarity about where they spend their money. Organizers say it’s a call for action and bring awareness.    Black people plan to refuse spending money on anything  and those who do need to buy something are encouraged to only spend their money at Black-owned businesses. The idea of Blackout Day stems from the year-long Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 when African Americans in Alabama refused to pay for a bus ticket until they were allowed to sit anywhere, not just the back of city […]
July 7

7/7/20 – Supreme Court decisions

WASHINGTON — States can require members of the Electoral College to cast their votes for the presidential candidates they had pledged to support, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday , curbing the independence of electors and limiting one potential source of uncertainty in the 2020 presidential election. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring electors to vote as they had promised, but recent court decisions had come to opposite conclusions about whether electors may disregard their pledges.    The ruling supports the states that currently punish electors who vote contrary to the popular vote.   The Supreme […]
July 7

7/7/20 – Organizer of Michigan sandbar party could face charges after hundreds gathered in lake

CASS COUNTY, MI — (Mlive) – Police are pursuing charges against the organizer of a July 4 sandbar party after a viral video showed a crowd of hundreds gathered in Cass County. Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke said the party on Diamond Lake in Cassopolis over the Fourth of July weekend violated the governor’s restriction on large gatherings. After a video from the party in Cassopolis went viral on social media and the gathering drew criticism from many. The sheriff’s office can issue tickets and make arrests for incidents of underage drinking or operating a boat while intoxicated, but there was […]
July 6

7/6/20 – Water temperatures surge on Great Lakes in last 5 days

(Mlive) – Days in a row of full sunshine, hot afternoon temperatures and light winds have caused the water temperatures on the Great Lakes to rapidly warm up in the past week. Some areas on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron have actually warmed up nearly 20 degrees in the past week. That’s a big warm-up for water on some of the world’s largest lakes. Of the major cities, the biggest jump in water temperatures I found was near Chicago, with a 16.2 degree rise in water temperatures. There was an upwelling of cold water being pulled to the surface last […]
July 6

7/6/20 – Ferris State wants students to live alone to slow the coronavirus on campus

(Mlive) – Michigan colleges continue to prepare for the fall semester and what it will look like with more restrictions due to COVID-19. Ferris State University is offering students single rooms in residential facilities at the price of a shared room in an effort to promote social distancing. A single room will cost $5,450 for the 2020-21 school year. School officials want to lessen the density of students in residence halls to reduce the chances of spreading the coronavirus. “Having two students share a bathroom is much safer than four,” said Bryan Marquardt, director of Housing and Residence Life, in […]
July 6

7/6/20 – Traverse City baseball team pauses season after players test positive for coronavirus

TRAVERSE CITY, MI — The Traverse City Pit Spitters have paused their season to allow for coronavirus testing among the team after players tested positive, the team announced. The team’s 2020 schedule was put on a brief hold with a goal of restarting on Friday, July 10, according to the news release from Northwoods League, a summer collegiate baseball league. After players tested positive for COVID-19, the team consulted with the Grand Traverse County Health Department to set up additional testing and reassess the season, General Manager Mickey Graham said. “We knew that this was going to be a challenging […]
July 6

7/6/20 – Swimmer dies after being struck by boat on Gull Lake

GULL LAKE, MI –(Mlive) –  A man was fatally struck by a boat while swimming in Gull Lake on Sunday afternoon, according to police. Emergency personnel were dispatched at 1:44 p.m. Sunday, July 5, to Gull Lake in Ross Township for a boating accident, according to a news release from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office. The man who was struck by the boat was brought to shore for life-saving measures, but was pronounced dead from his injuries on the scene. The investigation is ongoing, and the name of the victim is being withheld until family is notified. The operator of […]
July 6

7/6/20 – Large crowd packs July 4 lake party in Cass County despite coronavirus restrictions

CASS COUNTY, MI –(Mlive) –  A large July 4 party on a Cass County lake where it appears social distancing and masks were in little use has social media buzzing over the potential spread of COVID-19. Video shared from Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, approximately one hour southwest of Kalamazoo, shows hundreds of people near a stage on a shallow sandbar in the lake. A man who identified himself as an organizer — but refused to provide his full name — told MLive Sunday, July 5 that such a gathering has taken place for nearly 30 years around the Independence Day […]
July 3

7/3/20 – More COVID-19 testing information available

-If you want to get a COVID-19 test, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new resource for those looking for testing locations. MDHHS says anyone can call 2-1-1 and learn where their closest testing location is and schedule an appointment. You can also access resources at michigan.gov and the online information will include which locations have no costs, no doctor ordered needed or for those who are uninsured. You can also reach the Coronavirus hotline at:  888-535-6136.
July 2

7/2/20 – Enbridge allowed to reopen portion of damaged Line 5 in Straits of Mackinac

LANSING, MI — (Mlive) -Some oil may resume flowing beneath the Straits of Mackinac that separate Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas, an Ingham County judge ruled Wednesday, July 1. The ruling overturns a June 25 restraining order issued by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge James Jamo that ordered Canadian-based Enbridge to halt use of it’s Line 5 pipeline, which suffered damage to a support on June 18. The pipeline, which traverses the bottomlands of the Great Lakes before cutting through the Lower Peninsula to Canada near Port Huron, is made up of an east and west “leg.” . Jamo’s ruling […]
July 2

7/2/20 – Whitmer shuts down indoor bar service in most of Michigan

(Mlive) – Michigan bars in most of the Lower Peninsula are once again prohibited from serving alcohol indoors under a new executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. After months of closure under the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, Michigan bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen with limited capacity and additional safety measures on June 8. Under the new order issued Wednesday, bars can serve patrons outdoors, but not inside their establishment. The order applies to establishments that earn more than 70 percent of their gross receipts from alcohol sales. Bars in Northern Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City […]
July 1

7/1/20 – Michigan eases restrictions on long-term care facility visits

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday eased restrictions on visits to nursing and other residential facilities that were imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Two orders signed by MDHHS Director Robert Gordon that are effective immediately allow exceptions to the restrictions as long as the facilities meet specific safety requirements. “We are glad Michigan can now allow visits in some circumstances, but we continue to urge caution and require safety precautions like wearing masks during visits,” Gordon said in a statement. One order applies to residential long-term care facilities such as nursing […]
July 1

7/1/20 – Michigan Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Governor’s Emergency Powers

MIDLAND, Mich. — The Michigan Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will hear the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s case challenging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s unilateral extension of emergency powers. The clients are three medical practices that were unable to provide necessary care and a patient who was unable to receive care. While the governor eventually lifted the ban on nonessential medical procedures, the case’s argument against the governor’s use of emergency powers remains relevant and the state’s highest court will now review this important issue. The case was originally filed in federal court on May 12 and in conjunction with the Miller Johnson law firm. […]
July 1

7/1/20 – Controversial Civil War statue will remain at township park in West Michigan

OTTAWA COUNTY, MI —(Mlive) –  A controversial Civil War statue is staying put in an Allendale park. Following a week of passionate debate regarding the future of the life-size statue in a veterans display, the Allendale Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to keep the statue in the township’s Veterans Garden of Honor. The board’s action June 30 came after a long board meeting of public comment last week featuring competing viewpoints, a letter from the Grand Valley State University president recommending the statue be moved and a protest at the statue Saturday. The monument depicts a Union and a Confederate […]
June 30

6/30/20 – Fresh Express issues recall

Fresh Express, out of an abundance of caution, has issued a voluntary recall of branded and private label salad products produced at its Streamwood, IL facility that contain iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and/or carrot ingredients due to a possible health risk from Cyclospora. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 200 illnesses have been reported in connection with a current outbreak of Cyclospora occurring in primarily Midwest states. Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal infection caused by the Cyclospora parasite. A person may become infected after ingesting contaminated food or water. Common symptoms include severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, body aches and […]
June 30

6/30/20 – Grand Rapids school board approves $10.6M budget cut for next year due to coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – (Mlive) –  The Grand Rapids school board unanimously approved its 2020-21 budget, which includes a cut of $10.6 million, due to projected reductions in state funding following the COVID-19 pandemic. For weeks, school leaders have been preparing the district community for the cuts in staffing, pay and programming, but took the closure of school buildings and Montessori changes off the table. “I think that’s probably the most sobering if not somber vote that I’ve had to take in my nine years or so on the board,” school board member Raynard Ross said. More than 100 district […]
May 21

5/21/20 – Split Decision for Governor and Legislature

The Governor and Legislature can each claim a win in the court of claims. Judge Cynthia Stephens issued her ruling today in the case of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders and if she overstepped her authority.  The judge’s decision shows she believes lawmakers had a legitimate case and the right to bring the case forward.  But she also ruled the Governor has the right to declare a state of emergency, just not the right to circumvent the legislature. Either way this case is expected to be appealed.
May 20

Expired: 5/20/20 – Governor issues emergency declaration after Midland-area dam failures, urges evacuations

MIDLAND, MI –(Mlive) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an emergency declaration late Tuesday and sent the National Guard to help after two dams failed in the Midland area after heavy rains. She also urged residents in evacuation zones to get out immediately. “Please, get somewhere safe now,” she said in a 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 19 press conference. About 10,000 people in the city of Midland are being evacuated, along with the village of Sanford, Edenville and Dow Chemical. Officials also are trying to evacuate areas of Tittabawassee Township, Thomas Township and Saginaw Township, she said. The first dam to fail […]
March 17

COVID-19 Resources

MISC. INFORMATION – (Mlive) – There is help for West Michigan businesses and workers.  A coalition of business associations and local governments announced the launch of a website that provides information to West Michigan businesses and workers who have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.     The website, covidwm.org, was created by the West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition. -(Mlive) – Michigan seniors can get free meal delivery, daily wellness checks during the coronavirus outbreak.  Residents 60 and older are eligible for home-delivery or pick-up meals during the outbreak. Fill out the form here. Seniors can also request a daily wellness-check phone calls. […]
March 13

3/13/20 – List of Schools/Agencies Offering Food Assistance

List of Schools/Agencies offering food assistance during this State of Emergency in Michigan.   Battle Creek Battle Creek Public schools is working on plans to provide meal services to students in need.  To stay up to date, visit – https://www.battlecreekpublicschools.org/   Grand Rapids Kids Food Basket will continue to offer meals to kids through various outlets.  Visit – https://www.kidsfoodbasket.org/emergencyresponse/ Grand Rapids Public Schools is working on ways to continue food services to kids in need.  “Resources to address student nutrition and food insecurity are being considered and future updates will be provided. We are seeking direction from the state and […]
March 13

3/13/20 – Governor Bans Gatherings Over 250 People

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order banning all gatherings in Michigan over 250 people.  The ban goes into effect at 5pm today and will last until April 5th at 5pm. Here is the Executive Order. The Governor says the order does not extend to businesses involved in manufacturing or industry, mass transit or grocery shopping. Whitmer’s order states – “This prohibition does not abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution under these emergency circumstances.”
March 13

3/13/20 – Several Sites in West MI Identified Where CoVid19 May Have Turned Up

Oakland County’s Health Department has identified multiple sites in the state and West Michigan where people who may have had the CoVid-19 visited.  The department wants to remind people that these are just some of the possible known locations visited.   March 1, 2020 Detroit Metropolitan Airport, 9000 Middlebelt Rd, Romulus, time and location to be determined March 4, 2020 Detroit Metropolitan Airport, 9000 Middlebelt Rd, Romulus, time and location to be determined March 5, 2020 Burger King, 27700 23 Mile Rd, Chesterfield Township, 12:15-12:35 p.m. White Castle, 27760 23 Mile Rd, New Baltimore, 12:15-12:35 p.m. Hobby Lobby, 4715 24th […]
March 5

3/5/20 – Grand Rapids Enacts New Pneumatic Gun Regulations

(City of Grand Rapids) — The ordinance, which goes into effect April 1, regulates pneumatic guns, other non-firearm projectile weapons and imitation firearm toys. It was approved by the City Commission in December as part of the City’s safe community strategic priority. The ordinance is designed to prevent the fear, confusion and unsafe situations that pneumatic and imitation weapons can create. “This elevates our commitment to community and police working together for a safe community,” City Manager Mark Washington said. “It also promotes mutual respect between youth and police.” Pneumatic guns and imitation firearms have contributed to public safety concerns […]
February 14

2/14/20 – No ‘Plan B’ for Olympics; questions over Chinese presence

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Olympic organizers and the International Olympic Committee say there’s “no case for any contingency plans or cancelling” the 2020 Games because of the fast spreading virus that has caused one death in Japan and about 1,400 in mainland China. A full Chinese delegation is expected when the Olympics open in just over five months. But officials were unclear if Chinese athletes will be able to participate in the remaining 19 test events in Japan. The head of the IOC inspection team heading a two-day visit to Tokyo says he believes many of China’s Olympic athletes are […]
February 14

2/14/20 – Someone’s Getting Seniors Personal Information

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog plans to launch a nationwide probe into how telemarketers may be getting hold of seniors’ personal Medicare information, a red flag for potential fraud and waste. An official with the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office tells The Associated Press that the audit will be announced next week. It follows a narrower probe which found that an electronic system designed for pharmacies to verify Medicare coverage was being used for what appeared to be inappropriate searches. Investigators say sensitive information can get out even when a Medicare beneficiary thinks he or she is […]
February 14

2/14/20 – PFAS Levels Safe But Residents Still Concerned

Despite tests that demonstrate PFAS levels are safe in Portage, some residents are not convinced. State and county health experts met with residents last night to discuss the tests around a monitoring well where higher than normal PFAS results were found.  While wells were found to have safe levels for PFAS, well below safety recommendations, some residents were concerned for both their health and property values. Some residents wanted more regular testing in order to monitor the expansion of any possible contamination zone.  They feel the recommended action wasn’t strong enough to notify them of any potential ground contamination. Several […]
January 1

1/1/20 – Time To Go, ‘Ok, Boomer?”

Lake Superior State is out with its 45th annual list of words or phrases that should be retired. At the top of the list: quid pro quo. The Latin phrase got new life during the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. The school each year invites the public to nominate words and phrases that seem tired or annoying through everyday speech, news coverage and more. The latest list has more than a dozen, including “artisanal,” “influencer,” “living my best life” and “chirp.” And in a baby boomer revolt, it’s apparently time to scratch “OK, boomer.”