90 Cases Of COVID-19 Variant At Michigan Prison

Feb 17, 2021

The Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services has announced that 90 cases of the COVID-19 variant have been detected at one of the state's prisons. 

Michigan COVID-19 Deaths Pass 15,000

Feb 11, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

Michigan has surpassed a sobering milestone in the nearly year long battle with COVID-19. 

As of Thursday, the State of Michigan has tallied more than 15,000 deaths from COVID-19.

The milestone comes as the state’s COVID daily death toll continues to slump from its mid-December peak.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan since the beginning of the pandemic almost a year ago is above 572,000.  However, the number of new cases confirmed daily has been trending lower since late November.

MSP Bans Use Of 'Signal' App To Make Texts Disappear

Feb 10, 2021

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan State Police has told officers to remove a phone app that keeps no record of outgoing text messages. Col. Joseph Gasper issued the order in a memo obtained by the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper has published stories about the use of the Signal app by high-ranking members of the department. Text messages sent using Signal are gone without a trace once deleted, the newspaper reports. The use of Signal was recently disclosed in a lawsuit involving state police.

Male Polar Bear Kills Female Polar Bear At Detroit Zoo

Feb 9, 2021

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a male polar bear killed a 20-year-old female polar bear at the Detroit Zoo when he attempted to mate. The zoo says 16-year-old Nuka killed Anana on Monday after being apart for several months. Scott Carter, the zoo’s life sciences officer, says the death was “completely unexpected.” The zoo says Nuka has lived at the zoo since 2011 and bred with other female bears without harmful behavior. Anana arrived at the zoo in suburban Detroit in January 2020 and was introduced to Nuka a few months later.


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Meijer is expanding COVID-19 vaccinations across Michigan this week, with plans to administer up to 25,000 doses to people age 65 and older by week’s end. Monday's announcement comes more than three weeks after the retailer began immunizations at a limited number of its pharmacies in Wayne County. Residents can pre-register by sending a text message, going online or visiting a Meijer pharmacy. Meijer reports administering more than 20,000 doses since its first clinic on Jan. 15, primarily to seniors.

Photo Of The Week - January Kayaker

Feb 4, 2021
Chris Britton

A lone kayaker on "The Big Lake" (Lake Michigan) on a cold but calm evening is featured in WVPE's latest Photo of the Week.  Thanks to Chris Britton who captured this image on January 29th while he was at Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph.

We'd love to see what you are taking photos of.

Email Photo of the Week submissions to us at wvpe@wvpe.org.

Make sure to include your name, where you live, names of people in the photo, date the photo was taken and the location where the photo was taken.

UPDATE: Michigan To End Months-Long Ban On Youth Contact Sports

Feb 4, 2021


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday afternoon that on Monday, Feb. 8th contact sports in the state may resume as long as masks are worn or other conditions are met. 


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer has defended his decision to impeach former President Donald Trump amid criticism from voters. Meijer, a freshman, was one of just 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the deadly attack on the Capitol. He said during a virtual town hall that Trump's falsehoods and the resulting insurrection required a “significant response" from Congress. Two constituents who asked questions said they were deeply disappointed with Meijer, 33, who represents the 3rd Congressional District in western Michigan.

Lawsuit Seeks Reversal Of Michigan's Ban On Contact Sports

Feb 2, 2021

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An athletic advocacy group, hockey league and parents of athletes have sued Michigan's health director, seeking a reversal of a 2 1/2-month state ban on contact sports that was issued to curb the coronavirus. Let Them Play Michigan, a group of student-athletes, parents, coaches and school administrators, is among plaintiffs that sued in the Court of Claims Tuesday. The complaint contends that the order, which was recently extended through Feb. 21, arbitrarily and irrationally singles out and deprives athletes of their constitutional rights and freedoms. Gov.

Whitmer Campaign Fundraising Sets Record

Feb 2, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reports having a record $3.5 million in the bank for her 2022 reelection campaign, shattering what was raised by previous Michigan governors halfway through their terms. Whitmer, a Democrat whose profile has grown nationally in the past year, has collected $5.5 million this cycle, through December. No well-known Republican challenger has entered the race. Whitmer’s campaign said Monday that nearly a third of donations came from new donors in the last quarter.


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s chief elections officer has announced a legislative agenda she says will ensure fair and secure elections following a huge increase in absentee voting and unfounded accusations of voter fraud in the November general election. Michigan had its highest ever voter turnout in 2020 with about 5.5 million votes cast. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told reporters Monday that she’s looking to keep that momentum going and make it easier to vote.


After a nearly three-month “pause” due to rising coronavirus cases, Michigan restaurants are now able to offer indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Some restaurants have already reopened their doors, while others can’t afford to.

Leslie Danesi co-owns the Stray Dog restaurant in New Buffalo, which reopened its dining room Monday, Feb. 1. 



ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area health care system says about 2,700 people were able to use an online scheduling vulnerability to register out-of-turn for COVID-19 vaccinations. Beaumont Health says it has determined a user publicly shared an unauthorized pathway for scheduling that allowed 2,700 people to “cut in line.” Beaumont is cancelling all the appointments that used the unauthorized pathway. Individuals who scheduled an appointment that way will be notified via email that their appointment has been cancelled.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Michigan bars and restaurants can open their doors to customers who want to be served inside starting Monday, Feb. 1.

A recent order from the state health department allows indoor dining with restrictions.

Bars and restaurants have to close by 10pm. They can only re-open at 25% of capacity or up to 100 people.

And businesses have to get contact info from diners for contact tracing.

The state health department says there are fewer COVID-19 patients in hospitals. And the statewide test positivity rate is also declining.

Michigan's Marijuana Industry Leaves People Of Color Behind

Jan 30, 2021
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The first year of state-licensed recreational marijuana sales in Michigan saw $511 million of sales in recreational and $474 million in medical sales, generating over $100 million in tax revenue, but the state also found that the industry drastically failed to attract minority business owners. The state collected data in December that showed 79% of people interested in ownership of licensed marijuana facilities were white. Black people accounted for 3.8% while 1.5% were Hispanic or Latino.


Friday Michigan's Attorney General announced that the former St. Joseph County (Michigan) prosecutor has pleaded guilty to driving while visibly impaired. Charges were initially filed against John McDonough in May of 2020 after he crashed into a fence while driving. 

U Of M Students Asked Not To Leave Homes Due To COVID-19

Jan 28, 2021

Lansing, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan and the Washtenaw County Health Department have asked students to avoid leaving their residences to slow the spread of COVID-19 and a more contagious variant. The university saw 175 new cases of coronavirus in the student population at the beginning of the school year. The stay-in-place recommendation is effective immediately and will run through Feb. 7. The health department is asking students to limit leaving their residence to going to classes, going to get food, going to work and other necessary in-person activities.

Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has sought “common ground” with the Republican-led Legislature in her third annual State of the State address. The Democrat pitched a multibillion-dollar pandemic relief plan and other policy initiatives Wednesday night. She also touted residents’ grit in a crisis that has claimed thousands of lives. GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, stepped up opposition to her administration’s COVID-19 restrictions.

(Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

A Senate confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to serve as Energy Secretary began Wednesday.


In her opening statement, Granholm touted Michigan’s emphasis on jobs in the clean energy sector, from her time as governor to today. “This is a sector that every single state can benefit from," Granholm says. "The products that reduce carbon emissions are going to create a $23-trillion dollar global market by 2030. That is a massive opportunity.”

NEW: Man To Plead Guilty In Plot To Kidnap Michigan Governor

Jan 27, 2021


DETROIT (AP) — One of six men charged in an alleged plot to snatch Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has agreed to plead guilty to a kidnapping conspiracy. A filing about the plea was made by prosecutors ahead of Ty Garbin's appearance Wednesday in federal court in Grand Rapids. The plea agreement signed by Garbin indicates that he will "fully cooperate" with investigators. There is no agreement on his sentencing guidelines. The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor by anti-government extremists upset over her coronavirus restrictions. Six people are charged in federal court in Grand Rapids.

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Whitmer Delivers 'State Of The State' Address Tonight At 7pm

Jan 27, 2021
Photo provided by the State of Michigan


Now that 17 cases of a new COVID-19 variant have been confirmed in the state, Michigan health officials are trying to figure out how widespread it is.

The state does tens of thousands of COVID tests a day, but only a tiny fraction get sequenced to figure out which genetic variant is present. And the process takes about a week.

Washtenaw County, where a majority of those cases have been confirmed, did pop up testing over the weekend, says spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia.


DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Detroit are disclosing more details about the alleged acts of a former Marine from Michigan who was at the U.S. Capitol riot. Authorities say Michael Foy of Wixom struck police at least 10 times with a hockey stick during the Jan. 6 attack. A judge will decide Monday whether Foy will remain locked up while facing charges in Washington. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hank Moon says Foy took 10 swings at police and subsequently crawled into the Capitol through a broken window. Investigators have the hockey stick.



A Michigan county Republican party is censuring GOP Congressman Fred Upton for voting to impeach former President Trump.  


The State of Michigan is expanding the use of the Michigan National Guard and deploying nearly 300 more troops to help with COVID-19 vaccination and testing. 


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — If Michigan could administer 50,000 coronavirus vaccine doses a day, it could hit its goal of inoculating 70% of people age 16 and older by August. At the current rate, about 29,000 per day, it would not finish until a year from now. The issue is limited supplies. It is something Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and health officials hope can be addressed as new President Joe Biden takes the helm. In the first six weeks of the monumental undertaking, Michigan has gotten 182,000 doses a week — 52% of what is needed to get 50,000 shots in arms per day. 

Benton Harbor, St. Joseph Plan To Erect King Statues

Jan 24, 2021
AP Photo

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Two neighboring cities in southwestern Michigan are making a public commitment to social justice by installing statues of Martin Luther King Jr. in both communities. Benton Harbor is 84% Black, and St. Joseph is 84% white. Each city will also erect separate statues of a resident who is remembered as a social justice leader in each city. Benton Harbor Commissioner Edward Isom says art has a unique ability to enhance both communities. The goal is to have the statues up in 2022. Donations will be accepted.

U Of M Athletic Dept. On Pause Due To COVID-19 Variant

Jan 24, 2021

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The entire University of Michigan athletic department is pausing after several positive tests for the new COVID-19 variant  that transmits at a higher rate. The state Department of Health and Human Services issued the mandate Saturday, with the school saying it follows the positive COVID-19 tests for several individuals linked to the athletic department. The entire department could be in quarantine for two weeks. The 11th-ranked women’s basketball team was set to play at home against Purdue on Sunday. That was one of four athletic events the school had scheduled.


Mass vaccinations and clinical trials are converging and challenging researchers. 

Dr. Anna Lok is the assistant dean for clinical research at Michigan Medicine. The health system is part of two COVID-19 vaccine trials: AstraZeneca's, and Johnson & Johnson's.

Lok says the two trials recruited about 400 patients. Then the Pfizer vaccine became available. Then came the phone calls and emails.

Indoor Dining To Reopen In Michigan Feb. 1

Jan 22, 2021

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Starting Feb. 1, Michigan restaurants and bars can reopen for indoor dining at 25% capacity — with a curfew — and concessions can resume at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums. The state health department’s coronavirus restrictions were revised again Friday amid a continued drop in cases and hospitalizations. The order will be effective for three weeks, through Feb. 21. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had announced previously that restaurants would likely be able to serve dine-in customers after a two-and-a-half month ban. Food establishments can voluntarily take part in a new ventilation-inspection program, through which they can be certified as optimizing airflow.