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Decisions made by Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency to address the unprecedented volume of unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic made the state more vulnerable to fraudulent claims, according to an outside review of the UIA by Deloitte & Touche, LLP. The report was commissioned by the state's Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) in July and released Wednesday. 

FOIA
Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has settled a lawsuit over the use of private emails by state officials to conduct government business. The deal was announced on Wednesday by Attorney General Dana Nessel and the group Progress Michigan.

Progress Michigan sued in 2016 after discovering then-Attorney General Bill Schuette and his aides using private accounts to communicate with each other about government business. The result was a protracted court battle between the liberal group and the Republican attorney general over whether that violated Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

Flickr Creative Commons/Sanofi Pasteur

Several “hundreds of thousands” of doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed to Michigan as early as mid-December, according to the state health department, with one health system publicly predicting Moderna’s vaccine will arrive in early January. 

PAUL TAYLOR / Getty Images

This is normally one of the busiest times of the year for Michigan restaurants and bars. 

Not this year.

The state health department’s three week ban on indoor dining to curb a surge in COVID-19 cases is forcing many to turn to takeout orders to survive.

But takeout orders are straining many restaurants.

Attorneys for the state of Michigan say a restaurant industry lawsuit is attempting to substitute a judge’s opinion for that of public health officials on COVID-19.

Last week, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association filed suit against the state’s order banning indoor dining for three weeks. 

Rep. Haley Stevens smiling in front of an American flag
U.S. House of Representatives

Today on Stateside, recently re-elected Democratic Representative Haley Stevens (MI-11) explains what’s next in the process of getting COVID-19 vaccines to Michiganders and talks about the presidential transition process. Plus, a conversation about the lasting influence of jazz legend Yusef Lateef. 

COURTESY OF HENRY FORD HEALTH SYSTEM

Researchers at the University of Michigan say that as many as two thirds of older adults in the U.S. would like to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

In an October survey, the university’s National Poll on Healthy Aging heard from 1,556 Americans between 50 and 80 years old about their opinions on immunization against the coronavirus.

Depending on the wording of the question, as many as 66% of respondents said they would get vaccinated. But only 20% said they would do so as soon as a vaccine became available.

Junkyardsparkle / Wikimedia Commons

A third-generation family-owned Big Boy restaurant in Sandusky, Michigan is staying open for in-person dining, despite the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' three week ban on indoor dining and drinking in Michigan's restaurants and bars. Restaurants and bars may stay open for outdoor dining, carry out and deliveries only under the November 15 order.

The temporary ban took effect on November 18 with the goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19 as it surges across the state.  

bottles of vaccination sitting in a box on a table
Canva

Ford Motor Co. has purchased a dozen ultra-cold freezers to store a COVID-19 vaccine that, once available, will be distributed to employees on a voluntary basis.

A Ford spokeswoman says the freezer purchase is the first step in a broader vaccine distribution plan. General Motors hasn't bought any freezers for vaccine storage but said it's taking steps to make a vaccine available to its employees.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Enbridge has taken its legal battle to federal court to keep oil flowing through its dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac. 

The suit is intended to counter an effort by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) to revoke the company’s easement to operate the pipeline. The easement dates back to 1953.

Earlier this month, Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources informed Enbridge of plans to revoke the easement, citing numerous issues. At the same time, the state also filed a motion in Ingham County Circuit Court to enforce the revocation of the easement.


Today on Stateside, a conversation with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) about making mental health accessible and the future of the Senate under President-elect Biden. Plus, a look at the history of some notable Black Michiganders—from the pre-Civil War era to the suffrage movement.

woman takes a photo in the mirror of her and her two kids getting ready in the bathroom
Courtesy of Danielle Dix

For many people, 2020 is an ongoing collision of difficult, stressful situations. As COVID-19 cases surge in the state, Michigan Radio is talking to Michiganders about how the pandemic is affecting their lives.

Danielle Dix works the third shift at a West Michigan hospital. The Grand Rapids mom has a second job in retail. All the while, she's trying to keep her two children on track in online school.

android phone on wooden table
Clay Banks / Unsplash

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says her office is investigating threats against election officials in Wayne County, where two Republicans voted against certifying the results last week before reversing course.

Monica Palmer, the chair of the county's canvassing board, told state canvassers that she was sent graphic text messages threatening her daughter and saying "my entire family should be fearful for our lives."

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A line of candles on a concrete porch. A white teddy bear. Her face, shining through in photographs. Balloons, purple and silver, let loose into the night sky.

Her name filling the air.

“Honestie!”

“Long live Honestie, my baby!”

“I love you monster!”

“We love you!”

Fourteen year old Honestie Hodges passed away Sunday, from complications of COVID-19. Friends and family held a vigil Monday night.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

By any gauge, 2020 has been a difficult year. But the residents of Sanford can claim they’ve had it tougher than many.

Back in May, many lost their homes as floodwaters swept through the Midland County town.

web image of four people sitting at tables in government building
Michigan Board of State Canvassers Zoom Meeting

Today on Stateside, we talk about the Michigan Board of State Canvassers meeting to certify this year’s general election results. Also, reimaginging the look and feel of dinosaurs with a National Geographic explorer.

Norman shinkle sitting at a table in front of an american flag
Michigan Board of State Canvassers Zoom Meeting

Following a marathon meeting on certifying the statewide results of the November 3 election, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted to certify the results in a 3-0 vote with one abstention.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

General Motors says it will no longer support the Trump administration in legal efforts to end California's right to set its own clean-air standards.

CEO Mary Barra said in a letter Monday to environmental groups that GM will pull out of the lawsuit and it urges other automakers to do so. She said the company agrees with President-elect Joe Biden's plan to expand electric-vehicle use.

He had dementia and COVID. She wanted to hold him when he died.

Nov 23, 2020
Daytona Niles / Bridge Michigan

Jerry Zeiger tested positive for COVID on a Tuesday.

The next day, the hulking former engineer with late-stage Alzheimer’s is tucked under a soft brown blanket at Sue’s Loving Care, an adult foster home in Kalamazoo.

He is 73. Outside his screened window, the woman he shared truckstop coffee with on their first date teeters on a step ladder on a raw November day.

Nurse Kate Beauchamp wearing PPE.
Courtesy Kate Beauchamp

More than 3,800 people in Michigan are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Deaths from the virus are rising as well. As cases continue to rise across the state, we’re talking with folks who have been personally impacted by the pandemic.

Among those hardest hit are health care professionals.

The Lansing capitol dome with a blue sky behind it and trees in front of it
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

From personal calls with a Wayne County canvasser, to meeting with Republican state lawmakers in Washington, the president's strategy questioning Michigan's election, which President-elect Joe Biden won, continues as time runs short.

At the Michigan Board of State Canvassers meeting on Monday, two Democrats and two Republicans will meet to certify the results of Michigan’s election. Unofficial results, which have been certified by all of Michigan’s 83 counties, show President-elect Joe Biden with a lead of more than 150,000 votes, more than 14 times the margin by which President Donald Trump won the state in 2016. 

Construction area with hard hat sign
benjamin sTone / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM / cropped from original

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it will do more inspections in response to outbreaks of COVID-19 in construction and manufacturing. It says it wants to make sure businesses are following COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Michigan Election Law

The Board of State Canvassers is scheduled to meet on Monday to certify the results of Michigan's November election.

The Board has a very limited role in elections, which is essentially to confirm the math from voting documents submitted by the Michigan Secretary of State, and certify the results, according to election experts.

Courtesy of Kate Madigan

Consumers Energy has reached a one percent cap on rooftop solar customers established by the state's energy law. 

The utility says it plans to ask the Michigan Public Service Commission to allow it to voluntarily increase the cap to two percent, so that additional customers will be able to get permits to install solar panels on their homes.

Environmental groups are pleased by the utility's plan, but they say reaching the one percent cap is a wakeup call. DTE Energy has not yet reached its one percent cap.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

On Monday night, the Flint city council is scheduled to discuss a settlement of lawsuits linked to the city’s water crisis.

Between 2014 and 2015, improperly treated river water caused Flint’s drinking water to become contaminated with lead.

The Flint city council is scheduled to meet behind closed doors to discuss the city contributing $20 million to a $641 million settlement. The council may also vote on the plan when it meets.

Cheers for the Holidays
Virtual Craft Cocktail Evening
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
7:30 PM - 8:45 PM

While most holiday parties and gatherings may be on hold this year you can still celebrate the season with your friends at Michigan Radio!

Join the hosts of Michigan Radio’s popular Cheers! segment, Lester Graham and Tammy Coxen, for an evening of holiday craft cocktails - in the comfort of your own home. 

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The leaders of the Michigan Republican Party and the Republican National Committee are asking the state Board of Canvassers to delay the certification of election results.

In a letter, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and state GOP chair Laura Cox asked the canvassing board to adjourn for 14 days to allow for an audit of Wayne County's election results.

The Board of State Canvassers is set to meet on Monday.

JOHN MCDONNELL / FLICKR HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

State regulators say they've rejected an appeal of a bottled water company's plan to pump more water in western Michigan. The head of Michigan's environment department says she can intervene only "under very limited circumstances." Liesl Clark says they're not present in the dispute involving a grassroots group and Nestle's Ice Mountain operations. In April, an administrative law judge upheld a state permit, which allows Nestle Waters North America to pump 400 gallons a minute from a well in Osceola County. That's a 60% increase.

Michigan capitol building
Pkay Chelle / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Legislature’s Republican leaders led a delegation of GOP lawmakers to meet Friday with President Donald Trump.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and at least four other Republican lawmakers are in the group.

The Kent County Health Department has issued a new health warning as new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.

In recent weeks, Kent County has frequently had the most new daily confirmed cases of the virus of any county in the state. Health officer Adam London says more than 15% of COVID-19 tests in the county now come back positive.

“Our local infection rates have reached dangerous levels,” London said, in a release.

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