Michigan News

Office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Former Sturgis Police Chief Geoffrey Smith has pleaded guilty to driving while impaired after charges in connection with an Aug. 15, 2020 incident.

(Read more in the release from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office.)

The former Sturgis Police Chief has pleaded guilty in a drunk driving case, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.  

Through Zoom, Geoffrey Smith of Sturgis, 46, pleaded guilty to driving while impaired Wednesday morning before Calhoun County District Court Judge Paul Beardslee.  

Michigan has reached a COVID-19 vaccination benchmark that will soon let people go back to work in the office in person.

On Thursday, environmental groups and Native Americans plan to present Enbridge Energy with symbolic eviction notices. They want Enbridge to abide by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.

In 2018, the Republican-led lame duck legislature prevented  minimum wage and sick time laws from getting on Michiganders' ballots by adopting the proposals and then gutting them. Now, a new lawsuit is asking a court to overturn then-Attorney General Bill Schuette's opinion that the move was legal, and implement the original proposals.

The overarching sentiment from the public comment period was the same – don’t divide my community into more than one political district.

70 residents attended Michigan Citizen Redistricting Committee's (MICRC) first public hearing Tuesday night in Jackson in-person to deliver public comment. Michael Smith repeated a sentiment that was shared often: boundaries between new political districts shouldn’t cut through existing school districts.

Minnesota-based company 3M is suing the state of Michigan over its regulations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or the PFAS family of chemicals. Michigan's regulations on PFAS in drinking water were finalized in August 2020, and are among the most stringent in the country.

Now that the FDA has expanded its emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, allowing it to be used for kids 12-15, the whole thing gets kicked over to the CDC’s advisory council on Wednesday.

The Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday to talk about best practices, or “clinical considerations and implementation” for getting this vaccine to kids.

If Line 5 is still pumping petroleum through the Straits of Mackinac on Thursday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has notified Enbridge Energy, she will consider all resulting profits to be property of the state of Michigan.

A state House committee is expected to vote Tuesday on bills that would set tougher ethics standards for lawmakers.

The package has bipartisan support and it’s expected the bills will be sent to the House floor.

The legislation would require both the House and the Senate to create bipartisan ethics committees, with the chairmanship rotating between Republicans and Democrats every six months.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that 55% of Michiganders have received their first dose of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement marks the first milestone of the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan, which would enable in-person work to resume across all employment sectors on May 24.

Detroit police chief James Craig plans to talk to reporters today amid speculation that he will retire after eight years and consider a turn to politics.

Craig told The Detroit News that he will hold a news conference Monday.

“I’m a lifelong public servant,” Craig said. “I want to continue to serve.”

The 64-year-old Detroit native has been chief since 2013. He returned home after a long police career in Los Angeles and short stints as chief in Cincinnati and Portland, Maine.

It felt like a war. And the doctors, nurses and health care workers at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing were losing.

“We’re battling out there, but no new troops are coming,” said Dr. Paul Entler, Sparrow’s Vice President of Quality and Performance Improvement.

It was March, and Michigan’s third COVID-19 surge seemed to have no end in sight: 3,000, then 4,000, eventually more than 7,000 new daily cases on average at the peak in April.

A commission has recommended salary increases of 2% a year for the governor, legislators and other state elected officials.

The State Officers Compensation Commission adopted the proposal Friday. The increases would take effect in 2023 and 2024, after next year’s elections.

But it’s not a done deal. An amendment to the Michigan Constitution requires the Legislature to ratify the recommendation. And that hasn’t happened in a while.

Black residents faced disparities in hospitalizations during the third coronavirus wave, according to data from the University of Michigan. 

The MI Safe Start Map’s latest complete data spans from March 30 to April 27. This covers the middle of the recent hospitalization peak, which came close to surpassing spring 2020’s heights. (The dashboard's disparities feature updates every Tuesday for the last week.)

COVID-19 conspiracy theories and misinformation were prominent in the Michigan House Oversight Committee’s first hearing Thursday on a bill that would preemptively outlaw government-sponsored “vaccine passports.”

The bill’s supporters expressed concern about privacy and government overreach if people are required to prove they’re vaccinated.

“Although the conversation at this point in time is specific to a COVID-19 vaccine passport, we must ask ourselves the question: if this is allowed, what might the next step be?” said Representative Sue Allor (R-Wolverine), the bill sponsor.

Federal help is on the way for restaurants, bars, food trucks, caterers and other food establishments across the country that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to help them keep their doors open.

The U.S. Small Business Administration opened up applications on Monday  for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The RRF was established under the American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.

There’s been a lot of news about the amount of plastic debris in the oceans. But plastic pollution is also affecting the Great Lakes. A study out of the Rochester Institute of Technology estimates 22 million pounds of plastic debris enters the Great Lakes from the U.S. and Canada each year.

The Michigan Senate adopted a bill Wednesday that would exempt in-person high school graduation ceremonies from gathering limits in state emergency health orders – a measure Governor Gretchen Whitmer says is unnecessary.

Senator Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) sponsored the bill. He said now is the time to adopt the bill as more vaccines are available and graduation season approaches.

Health departments in Michigan have begun turning down vaccine allocations from the state because they’re unable to find enough people willing to get the shots.

Normally, Dr. Jennifer Morse’s three local health districts get weekly vaccine shipments from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

A new federal policy announced Tuesday by the White House could send some COVID-19 vaccines earmarked for Michigan to other states where the demand is greater. The re-targeted deliveries are part of a federal effort to get the most vaccine doses to where they’ll be used. After an initial surge in vaccinations, people aren’t lining up in the same numbers. Part of that is because the people who were the most willing were the first in line.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is lifting an outdoor mask requirement except in gatherings of 100 or more people and in organized contact sports.  The revised pandemic order takes effect Thursday. 

Large outdoor events, like festivals, fairs, and golf tournaments will be able to exceed the current 1,000-person limit, so long as they post a safety plan consistent with state outdoor event regulations.

Also, anyone who is fully vaccinated and not experiencing symptoms is not required to wear a mask at residential gatherings.

Michigan is seeing progress in the fight against COVID-19.

But the pandemic continues to exact a toll.

Michigan added another 5,035 coronavirus positive cases on Monday, bringing the state’s total number of positive coronavirus cases to 849,420 since the pandemic began a year ago. That includes 17,771 Michiganders who’ve died.

Voters are going to the polls Tuesday in some communities in the state.

The May 4 elections are a hodge-podge of local issues. A total of 189 issues will be voted on in 63 counties across the state.

Most of the decisions will be about school millages or bonds.

One year ago, a 16 year-old boy sat in a cafeteria at a group home for teens in Kalamazoo and tossed a piece of bread at another boy. The adults in the room told him to stop. Smiling, he tossed another piece. An adult pushed him to the floor, and eventually seven other grown men held the boy down for 12 minutes. 

Cornelius Fredrick died two days later, his death ruled a homicide. 

A new federal program is providing money for Michigan bars and restaurants hard-hit by COVID-19.

But one industry official says more help is needed.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is providing $28.6 billion in direct relief through the U.S. Small Business Administration under the American Rescue Plan.   

The Michigan Department of Education is offering an option to help school districts deal with what State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice calls a "critical shortage of special education teachers in many Michigan school districts." 

The MDE will allow a time limited waiver that enables a district to temporarily fill a vacancy in a special education classroom with a special education teacher whose specialty area - formally called an endorsement - differs from the classroom with an open slot.

The goal is to reduce reliance on substitute teachers in special education programs.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s former cabinet-level health chief confirmed Thursday that he left over differences about the state’s response to COVID-19. That was part of former Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon’s testimony before the state House Oversight Committee.

Gordon said he was asked by Whitmer to quit because she wanted to “go in a different direction.” That was at the same time the administration was easing some COVID restrictions.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced a plan to tie the lifting of coronavirus restrictions to Michigan's vaccination rate, setting four specific benchmarks that must be reached to return to normal. As more people get shots, she says, the state will allow in-person work for all business sectors, relax indoor capacity limits and ultimately lift them.

Not all COVID-19 vaccine programs in Michigan were designed with people with disabilities in mind, says Jim Moore, the executive director of Disability Network Northern Michigan.

But his group is working with local health departments to make vaccines more easily accessible for people with disabilities. Moore says it’s a process that will help everyone.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to get her second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at a vaccine clinic in Grand Rapids.

Pages