Michigan News

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Businesses in Michigan are not required to provide paid parental leave to employees. As part of the weekly series MichMash… Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher speak with Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist about his efforts to change that.

Nearly 385,000 More File Unemployment Claims In Michigan

Apr 9, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A record 384,000 people filed initial claims for unemployment in Michigan last week amid continued punishing economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 800,000 sought jobless benefits over the past three weeks, according to figures released Thursday.

The state’s 3.6% unemployment rate could top 15% when the April employment report is released in early May.

The state has been overwhelmed by a flood of applications, and some of those out of work have had trouble applying online or by phone.

AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (AP) — A nursing home resident in western Michigan who died from COVID-19 complications repeatedly asked her Amazon Echo for help with pain.

LouAnn Dagen died Saturday after arriving at Mercy Health St. Mary’s hospital in Grand Rapids.

Her sister, Penny Dagen, discovered recordings and shared them with WOOD-TV.

LouAnn Dagen was 66 years old and lived at Metron of Cedar Springs. Penny Dagen said her sister was getting medicine to help with pain.

She said LouAnn was taken to the hospital when her oxygen and blood pressure dropped.

Number Of Michigan Unemployment Applicants Spikes

Apr 7, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Nearly 800,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits in Michigan since mid-March.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday detailed the stunning impact of the coronavirus on the state’s economy.

Only businesses deemed essential remain open and Whitmer says her stay-at-home order will be extended in the coming days.

She says more people have applied for unemployment aid in the last two weeks than in all of 2019, when the jobless rate was below 4%.

Rafi Wilkinson via AP

DETROIT — Officials in Michigan are warning that efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic could have a serious impact on relief and repairs during what is expected to be another tumultuous spring flooding season

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

The auto industry is making an effort to manufacture the medical supplies and equipment desperately needed during the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk about what that effort actually looks like.



DOWAGIAC, Mich. (AP) — Cardboard cutout wedding guests will make for a not-so-cookie-cutter wedding as a Michigan couple prepares to tie the knot during the coronavirus pandemic.

After Amy Simonson and Dan Stuglik’s wedding plans were disrupted amid the outbreak, a packaging company donated more than 100 cardboard cutouts to pose as stand-ins for the family and friends who couldn’t attend the wedding this Saturday because of Michigan’s stay-at-home order.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

EAST LANSING, Mich.  — Researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing say commercial ovens can be used to resterilize N95 masks worn to protect against COVID-19 virus infections.

Record 311,000 File Initial Unemployment Claims In Michigan

Apr 2, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Claims for unemployment benefits continue to skyrocket in Michigan during the coronavirus pandemic. A record 311,000 people filed initial applications last week.

Photo provided the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — President Donald Trump's allies are trying to contain a politically risky election year fight with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as he struggles to navigate presidential politics during a global pandemic.

Both sides have tried to de-escalate this week.

Trump's supporters in particular sought to downplay tensions that ratcheted up after Trump called the Democratic governor “Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer" and charged she “doesn't have a clue" how to handle the health crisis.

Michigan Quickly Distributing 400 Ventilators From Feds

Apr 1, 2020
AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

LANSING, Mich, (AP) — Michigan is sending half of the 400 ventilators it received from the federal government to Detroit-area hospitals facing a surge of coronavirus patients.

Health department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin says the remaining 200 breathing machines will be set aside for seven regions across that have fewer COVID-19 patients at this time.

People in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties account for 81% of Michigan's confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has identified ventilators as a critical need.



The Michigan State Emergency Operations Center has announced that a popular Michigan State Recreation Area is closing as visitors have surged  there during the 'stay-at-home' orders.

Michigan State University

DETROIT (AP) — Hundreds of new health care graduates from Michigan State University are available to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Michigan State Representative Dies Of COVID-19

Mar 31, 2020

UNDATED (AP) — Family and friends are remembering a Michigan legislator who died from the coronavirus as a cheerful battler for Detroit.

Rep. Isaac Robinson died Sunday, hours after checking into a hospital. He wasn't tested for the virus but his mother says doctors told the family it was the likely cause.

The 44-year-old Democrat was serving his first term in the state House, but he was involved with politics nearly all his life.

NEW: Michigan Gov. Whitmer Says 'Racism' Fueled Protests Over Virus Response

Mar 29, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

UPDATE (Posted May 3):  

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says gun-toting protesters who demonstrated inside the state Capitol "depicted some of the worst racism" and "awful parts" of U.S. history. Whitmer made the assertion during a Sunday appearance on CNN and before the release of the latest number of deaths in Michigan related to the coronavirus.

Detroit Convention Center To Become Makeshift Hospital

Mar 29, 2020
AP Photo/Corey Williams

DETROIT (AP) — A convention center in Detroit will be turned into a 900-bed medical site in response to the coronavirus.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

The coronavirus pandemic has been and will continue to be disastrous for small businesses across Michigan. As part of the weekly series MichMash, Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher highlight some of the local efforts to help businesses get through this crisis.

Record Numbers Of People In Michigan File For Unemployment

Mar 27, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A record 129,000 Michiganders filed claims for unemployment benefits last week amid fallout from jobs lost due to the virus outbreak.

The number of applications shattered the previous high of 77,000 in January 2009, during the Great Recession.

Applications for the week ending March 21 rose more than 23-fold from the week before and represent 3% of Michigan's total workers who are eligible for jobless benefits.

NEW: Trump Declares Major Disaster In Michigan Amid Pandemic

Mar 26, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

UPDATE (Posted March 28 at 1:30pm):

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan amid the coronavirus pandemic.


EMPIRE, MICH. (AP) — Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan has closed all of its restrooms after vandals ransacked them and made off with toilet paper and hand sanitizer, two items made scarce by the coronavirus pandemic.

Park Superintendent Scott Tucker says vandals unrolled entire rolls of toilet paper and broke plastic dispensers to steal bags full of hand sanitizer over the weekend.

The park locked all of its restrooms Monday because they lack items needed for visitors to safely use them.

Ford Steps Up To Help Produce Medical Equipment

Mar 24, 2020
AP Photo

Ford Motor Company is working with 3-M and GE to speed up production of medical equipment for health care workers and patients. 

Jim Baumbick is with Ford.

He says the equipment includes high-tech respirators and face shields for health care workers, and ventilators for COVID-19 patients to help them breathe.

New information released by the State of Michigan indicates there are now 2,295 cases of COVID-19 and 43 deaths. That's up from 1,791 cases and 24 deaths as of Tuesday, March 24th. Berrien County has 10 cases.


DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit police captain has become the second member of the department to die of complications from the coronavirus.

Police Chief James Craig said Tuesday that the captain was in his 50s. He was not believed to have any underlying health issues.

DETROIT (AP) — Benton Harbor's Carlos "Scooby" Johnson is Michigan's Mr. Basketball for 2020, a season that was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award given out on Monday honors the state's top senior basketball player.

It is given annually by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.

The 6-foot-6 Johnson signed a letter of intent to attend Butler after turning down scholarship offers from Michigan State and Michigan.

Michigan Governor Issues Stay-At-Home Order, In Effect As Of Today

Mar 23, 2020


Gov. Whitmer issues a "stay at home' order that goes into effect just after midnight and lasts 3 weeks. Whitmer says COVID-19 cases doubled over the weekend and the disease continues to spread exponentially. She criticizes the national governement's response.

She says, "Do not panic. Do not hoard."

This order means schools will be closed at least thorugh April 13.

"Our action will save lives," Whitmer said.

"Doing this now shortens the time our economy suffers."

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

DETROIT (AP) — Two men, one from Macomb County and one from Kent County, have died from complications due to the coronavirus, bringing the number of fatalities in Michigan to eight.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel announced Saturday night that a 52-year-old man with underlying health conditions died at a hospital in Clinton Township. 

In Kent County, the local health department released a statement that confirmed the death of a 71-year-old man, also with underlying health conditions. 

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE


The Michign Dept. of Health and Human Services is now reporting 3 COVID-19 cases in Berrien County. In the state as a whole, 1,035 cases have been reported. So far Michigan has seen 8 deaths from the coronavirus. 


Two people in Berrien County have tested positive for COVID-19.

South Haven Marina Closing Due To High Water Levels

Mar 21, 2020


SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — High water levels have sunk the boating season for a southwestern Michigan marina.

The Northside Municipal Marina in South Haven is closing this year due to an electrical system compromised by rising water.

Officials say anyone coming in contact with the water could be shocked or electrocuted.

Upgrades planned for the summer are expected to cost $300,000. Harbor master and assistant city manager Kate Hosier says the city is working to accommodate longtime slip holders.

AP Photo/David Eggert

DETROIT (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she has no plans to tell Michigan residents to strictly stay at home to cut the spread of the cornonavirus.

Whitmer's comments were made a day after the California governor told residents to stay inside except for essential jobs, errands and some exercise.

The governor has tried to reduce the virus by limiting crowds at popular gathering spots and closing schools. Bars, fitness clubs and theaters are closed, and restaurants can only prepare food for carry-out.

Jennifer Weingart/WVPE


Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, Michigan, has posted on Facebook that the business will make hand sanitizer.

Michigan's Dept. of Treasury is issuing guidance for Michigan residents who are experiencing unemployment due to shutdowns related to COVID-19.