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an electric plug attaches to an electric vehicle
Chuttersnap / Unsplash

Senator Debbie Stabenow has introduced a new bill that would provide billions in tax credits aimed at incentivizing auto manufacturers to make products that would reduce carbon emissions.

The senior Democrat introduced the American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act on Monday. She says the bill would provide support to the private sector in making the transition to clean energy in legacy manufacturing communities.

A new logo for the newly formed Fiat and Chrysler company.
FCA

Fiat Chrysler officials have pleaded guilty for the company’s role in a corruption scandal.

The automaker says it did make more than $3 million in bribery payments to United Auto Workers union leaders.

The deal, reached in U.S. District Court, will require the company to pay a $30 million fine.

gretchen whitmer wearing mask at podium
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer had an online meeting Monday with Black business leaders. She asked for help getting the Legislature to adopt her budget plans – including COVID-19 response funding.

One of the big controversies is the use of a “social vulnerability index” to help ensure vulnerable populations get their share of vaccines. Whitmer has said that’s also critical to ensuring the most susceptible people can return to work.

Phil Roeder, Flickr Creative Commons

As of March 1, here’s the official state list of who’s eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine: 

  • People over 65
  • Healthcare workers
  • Long term care residents and workers
  • Mortuary service workers
  • Frontline workers, including child care and pre-K through high school staff, and workers at congregate care facilities
  • Food processing and agricultural workers

But the reality on the ground is more complicated than that, as a fragmented public vaccine rollout of unprecedented size and scale continues to expand and pick up speed.

An image of two alcoholic drinks.
user Dinner Series / Flickr

Doctors have reported high increases in hospitalizations due to alcoholic-related liver diseases during the coronavirus pandemic. A Kaiser Health News article describes admissions jumping by 30% or 50% at university hospitals across the country since March.  

 

 

And Michigan doctors are seeing it too. 

Alcoholic liver disease, or ALD, is a serious condition that can lead to a buildup of fats and the inflammation or scarring of the liver. Liver damage can lead to cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, chronic hepatitis and liver cancer. The beginning side-effects include bleeding, eyes turning yellow or stomach swelling. It can be fatal. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are weighing limitations on what kinds of messages can be placed on the state’s emergency alert system.

The system is used to send messages to Michigan residents’ mobile phones about endangered children and natural disasters.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are considering a resolution to end some restrictions on deer hunting.

The restrictions are in place in parts of the state known to have chronic wasting disease. CWD is a neurological disease in deer the state has been trying to contain.

The antler-point restrictions are meant to protect younger male deer and increase the number of older male deer in Michigan.

But critics complain the study actually threatens to spread CWD outside its current core area, which includes Kent and Montcalm counties.

DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

The city of Detroit's health department is investigating a large COVID-19 outbreak at the Whole Foods store.

Twenty-three of the store's 196 workers have tested positive so far.

Denise Fair is Detroit's Chief Public Health Officer. She calls the outbreak "outrageous," and says it raises questions about Whole Foods' internal practices.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

New research finds the annual dead zone in Lake Erie is getting a boost that makes it worse very quickly.

That dead zone begins with nutrients, phosphorus, from agricultural runoff and other sources carried by rivers to the lake. Phosphorus fertilizes algae. The plants grow fast, then die and rot. The decomposition process robs the water of oxygen.

C/O Spectrum Health

There’s been a lot of recent discussion about a tool the state of Michigan is using to help decide where to send COVID-19 vaccines -- something called the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). It’s a formula that’s one factor the state uses in allocating vaccine doses throughout Michigan.

Some elected officials, mostly Republicans, are upset about it. They say the state has no business using a tool like SVI--which takes into account a series of demographic characteristics to determine how vulnerable a population is—in the vaccine-allocation process.


Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer made an online pitch Friday to Upper Peninsula civic leaders to support her 2021 agenda, including clean energy and workforce training plans. And she asked them to hold to account politicians who fail to condemn hate and violence in public life.

The governor met with business and education leaders online instead of her usual in-person U.P. swing following the State of the State address and budget rollout.

woman in personal protection equipment talking to woman in wheelchair
Wikimedia Commons

Michiganders aged 18-64 with disabilities are currently in group 1C in terms of priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. Disability rights activists are asking the state to move them to group 1B, along with the support staff and other people who provide them care.

In a letter to the governor and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition asked Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Elizabeth Hertel to consider moving the group.

Fred Upton's official 113th US Congress photo
US House Office of Photography/Wikimedia Commons

Though former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has ended, difficult conversations and divided politics have not, particularly among conservative leaders. The Cass County Republican Party has again censured Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R-06), this time for his vote to remove conspiracy theorist and Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments.

Pevos / MLive

Today, on Stateside, an update on the dramatic turn of events on Thursday as gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide rather than face charges of human trafficking. In other news, some in the state Legislature want to change the rules around which communities get more COVID-19 vaccines.

Mussel-Phosphorus puzzle: Invasive mussels are reshaping the chemistry of the Great Lakes

Feb 26, 2021
D. Jude / University of Michigan via NOAA/GLERL Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Since the late 1980s, four of the five Great Lakes have played host to an increasing number of invasive mussels. First came zebra mussels, followed shortly thereafter by quagga mussels, both members of the Dreissenid family whose native range includes the waters around Ukraine.

Today, the filter-feeders comprise more than 90% of the total animal biomass of the Great Lakes (barring Lake Superior, whose depth and water chemistry make it a less suitable habitat for the two species of mussel).

30 years later: Mussel invasion legacy reaches far beyond Great Lakes

Feb 26, 2021
Bob Nichols / USDA

The way J. Ellen Marsden remembers it, when she first suggested calling a new Great Lakes invasive species the quagga mussel, her colleague laughed, so the name stuck.

At the same time, it was no laughing matter. The arrival of a second non-native mussel, related to the already established zebra mussel, was a major complication in what was becoming one of the most significant invasive species events in American history.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

As we come up to the one-year anniversary of the initial shut down here in Michigan, there have been plenty of headlines around our education systems and the challenges the pandemic continues to bring. These three in particular served as food for thought:

man sitting in front of telescope
MLive Media Group/Ann Arbor News. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission

This story is part of a Michigan Radio series for Black History Month on Black Michiganders who made contributions to science and medicine.

Albert Wheeler understood that in order to succeed in science and medicine, Black people needed access to quality education.

Originally from Missouri, Wheeler arrived in Ann Arbor in 1937 to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Some of his mentors had urged him to go to medical school. Wheeler felt more suited to public health.

The University of Michigan football stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, two-thirds of Washtenaw County's COVID-19 cases are affiliated with the University of Michigan. A campus health official discusses efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Also, a look at Michigan’s possible future as a haven for those escaping the worst effects of climate change.

A photograph of the exterior of Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Republican-controlled state Senate adopted a COVID-19 budget bill on Thursday over the objections of Democrats.

The bill includes money for schools, help for struggling businesses, and rent assistance.

But it also holds back some federal funds that could be used to bargain with Governor Gretchen Whitmer over COVID restrictions.

Michigan House approves change to lame duck sessions

Feb 25, 2021
State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan House backed a proposed constitutional amendment on Wednesday that would require two-thirds majority votes for bills to pass during lame duck sessions of the Legislature, if voters ultimately approve of the change.

Michigan State Spartans
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says she might be forced to close the investigation into Michigan State University and Larry Nassar if the university does not release approximately 6,000 documents to investigators.

MSU requested that then-attorney general Bill Schuette's office investigate in 2018. The university's board of trustees says the contents of the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege, and has withheld them from investigators for over two years.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

 

A group of second-graders walked to their classroom at William Ford Elementary School in Dearborn following flourescent arrows on the floor to guide them on how much distance to keep between one another. 

“Remember, as you're walking, you're looking down at the arrows and then you're getting too close,” Mariam Albachachy, a second grade teacher, tells her students as they make their way to their classroom after months of online learning. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says the state of Michigan has a lot to do to reduce the risk of future dam failures.

Last May, heavy rains contributed to the failure of two dams in Gladwin and Midland counties.  The dam failures contributed to a 500-year flood event which caused tens of millions of dollars in damage.  More than 10,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes.   The area is still recovering.

Republican state lawmakers are raising questions about the Democratic governor’s policies concerning COVID-19 and Michigan’s long-term care and nursing homes.

Since the outbreak began a year ago, about a third of Michigan's 15,453 coronavirus-related deaths were people in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

empty classroom
Adobe Stock

Many Michigan students will take some type of standardized test this school year, despite the pandemic. But there’s a lot that’s still unclear.

Michigan's third-through-eighth graders usually take a statewide assessment, the M-STEP, every year. M-STEP was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this school year has been anything but typical, and Michigan and some other states again sought standardized testing waivers from the federal government.

gretchen whitmer wearing mask at podium
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer told a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday that the country needs a national strategy to tackle failing infrastructure and climate change.

Whitmer was part of a panel that testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. During her time, the governor referred to her promise to fix roads and to address climate-related flooding events that have bedeviled parts of the state.

ann arbor public schools district office building
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

After weeks of deliberation and discussion, Ann Arbor Public Schools has set dates for a return to in-person learning, the first of which is March 25. The plan is a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning, and families still have an entirely virtual option if that is what they prefer.

During the school board meeting, which took place at noon on Wednesday, the board voted 6-0 to approve the plan. Trustee Ernesto Querijero abstained, due to concerns about the time change for the meeting being in violation of the board's bylaws.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Organizers in Grand Rapids are planning an online community conversation around defunding police, even as the city’s leaders seem to be moving on from the issue.

Commissioners in Grand Rapids got an update on reforms in the police department during a special meeting on Tuesday. GRPD Chief Eric Payne told them the department is shifting to a neighborhood-based policing model in March, and plans to shift all parking enforcement to another department in July.

Commissioners largely praised the progress, undertaken as part of a new strategic plan from the department. But GRPD leaders suggested any effort to defund the department would take away from that progress.

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