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A farm with a wind turbine
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Republicans have introduced a new bill in the state Senate to stop what wind-rich communities are calling a "bait and switch" by utilities.

Rick Sundquist is an attorney with Clark Hill. He represents a coalition of local governments in Huron, Gratiot, and Isabella counties, where Michigan's wind parks are located.

Sundquist says communities that agreed to let wind parks in did so based on a depreciation table established by the Michigan Tax Commission. The table told them how much tax revenue they'd get from the wind parks over the years of their natural lifespan.

buckets full of cloth masks
Tami Davis

To mask or not to mask? Now that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has reoriented her benchmarks on COVID-19 restrictions to align with the CDC, questions remain with businesses and individuals about when masking is appropriate. Today on Stateside, an update on mask mandates from Lansing, a conversation with a small business owner on what she will do at her store, and a UM professor emeritus on the line between mandate and personal responsibility. Plus, we hear from a Saugatuck author on his new novel.

Three U.S. Airmen in camo standing in front of a bunch of people seated in chairs spaced out six feet apart.
Tyler Scott

As the mass vaccination in the heart of Detroit at Ford Field closes down, state officials leading Michigan’s COVID vaccine campaign are switching their focus to hyper-local in-person efforts to get more people inoculated.

70% of respondents in a new statewide survey commissioned by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported they either are already vaccinated or have plans to get their shot.  

“There is however some strong resistance among those not yet vaccinated,” said Kerry Ebersole-Singh, Director of the Protect Michigan Commission leading the states vaccine campaign.

woman gets COVID vaccine
Adobe Stock

Earlier in the pandemic, health officials were worried Indigenous populations would be hesitant to get a COVID vaccine. Now, they’re among the most vaccinated populations in the country. That's according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Michigan, community nurses say there was already a lot of trust in tribal health centers that administer the shots.

Unsplash

Michigan’s mask mandate is lifted in most situations for people who are fully vaccinated. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that last week. That was following new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But there are still lots of questions to sort through.

School administrators are wondering what this will mean for in-person classes when some students are fully vaccinated and some are not. 

During the pandemic, many of us have spent much of our time at home cleaning out closets, basements and garages, getting rid of things we no longer use or need.

Sometimes editors of dictionaries have to do the same thing. When new words are added, obsolete words get scrapped to make room.

We're talking about print dictionaries, of course: actual books with pages. Books that will keep getting bigger and heavier if cuts aren't made.


MICHIGAN.GOV

A top aide to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says a private round trip to Florida to see her ailing father was paid from a fund that's used for travel not covered by tax dollars.

The cost was $27,521, with Whitmer personally paying $855.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled on the side of The Traverse City Record-Eagle in a case about transparency. The ruling says that Traverse City Area Public Schools cannot use the Open Meetings Act to withhold documents.

mcdonaldforprosecutor.com

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald says an independent special prosecutor will investigate her own office after she discovered at least one case of what could be prosecutorial misconduct--one that could call into question a number of convictions, and has already affected the prosecution of the men accused of conspiring to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has lifted the mask mandate for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Two political strategists discuss the move and break down the latest news from Lansing. Also, an update on the sexual assault allegations against the late Robert Anderson, who was a physician at the University of Michigan for decades. And, two park rangers on what’s in store for Isle Royale this year as ferry service to the remote island resumes.

A bald eagle was rescued in Ann Arbor after being found tangled in fishing line
Howell Nature Center Facebook page

A bald eagle was rescued in Ann Arbor after being found tangled in fishing line.

The wire was wrapped around his wing, tying him to a log where he was trapped.

The Humane Society of Huron Valley made the rescue and did an initial exam. They found no major injuries.

The eagle was transported to the Howell Nature Center for further care and rehabilitation.

young people with masks drinking
Adobe Stock

Starting Saturday, fully vaccinated Michiganders are no longer required to wear a face mask inside or outdoors.

The Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s Election Commission voted Thursday to put the question of a revised city charter on the August ballot.

The charter revision question has been controversial, and sparked a battle between Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and charter commissioners. Duggan argues some of the proposed changes would drain city finances, and put it back under state control.

workers in the front yard of a home replacing lead pipes
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Biden wants to spend more than two trillion dollars rebuilding the nation’s aging infrastructure. One chunk of that would replace all lead pipes connecting homes to city water mains.

"Everybody remembers what happened in Flint, there's hundreds of Flints all across America," Biden said.

The experience of Flint, Michigan, is not only a cautionary tale about the dangers of letting infrastructure decay. But it’s also a warning about the challenges of fixing the country’s lead pipe problem.

gravel mining
Adobe Stock

Supporters and opponents of bills to remove local control over gravel mines testified at a hearing in the state Senate Thursday.

The bills would have the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy approve or deny permits, instead of villages, townships and cities.  

The sponsor of the bills, Democratic Senator Jim Ananich, admitted there were no gravel mines in his district. He also said he had not met with township officials while the bill was being drafted. 

Jamie Capp helps, from left to right, Margaret Clark, Diane Chisholm and Betty Doyle keep a balloon aloft at New Hope Valley assisted living near Saginaw. They've only recently resumed activities like this after months of isolation waiting for COVID-19 va
Brett Dahlberg / WCMU

Three women in their 80s and 90s sat around a table together last month, taking swipes at a bright yellow balloon emblazoned with a smiley face.

Margaret Clark, Diane Chisholm and Betty Doyle are residents at New Hope Valley, an assisted living facility just outside Saginaw.

Their game of keep-the-balloon-off-the-floor was overseen by Jamie Capp, who said it was a bit of physical therapy to get upper-body muscles moving and practice hand-eye coordination.

But Clark, Chisholm and Doyle have only recently been able to start playing this game again.

Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

In your travels throughout Michigan, you might have noticed small, century-old buildings bearing the word “Grange.” If you live in a rural area in Michigan, you may be familiar with these buildings and know what their purpose is. But if not, you might be wondering: what’s a Grange?

Cartoon about online gambling
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

So it turns out that rebooting an economy after the shock and lingering effects of a global pandemic is not easy. In fact, it's pretty stilted and awkward.

All this has people understandably frustrated. Many have money to spend, but with limited options. Service industries (such as restaurants, resorts, and hotels) cannot attract enough low-wage workers to staff up. And many manufactured items (such as furniture, appliances, and automobiles) are simply not available because of disrupted supply chains.

John U. Bacon

About 15 months ago, former student-athletes at the University of Michigan accused a former U of M doctor of sexually abusing them during medical exams.

The university’s leaders hired a pre-eminent law firm, WilmerHale, to interview Anderson’s patients and colleagues, examine files, and sort out what happened. They are about to award hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, and have enacted reforms to ensure this never happens again – but that's probably little consolation for the hundreds of survivors. 


blank vaccine registration cards sitting on a table
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today, on Stateside, we discuss the legality of requiring employees to get a vaccine. Plus, a doctor in training writes about her time at a Detroit hospital during the early months of the pandemic.

[Get Stateside on your phone: subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts today.]

covid vaccine card or immunization card
Marco Verch / bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Michigan House Overnight Committee met on Thursday morning to discuss a bill that would ban the state government's use of a vaccine passport. This follows last Thursday's hearing, wherein some speakers promoted conspiracy theories and misinformation.

Committee Chair Steven Johnson (R-Wayland) presented changes to House Bill 4667 today, including exempting the CDC immunization card from the definition of passport.

elderly person in wheelchair holding hands with another person
Adobe Stock

A state Senate committee issued a subpoena Thursday to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It requires the department to share tens of thousands of documents related to the state’s response to the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes and other congregate care facilities.

More than 5,000 people in those facilities have died from COVID. That's just a little less than a third of Michigan's total COVID deaths.

Adobe Stock

This week, Michigan passed the first of the COVID-19 vaccination benchmarks set by the Whitmer administration. Now that 55% of eligible Michiganders have had at least one shot, the state will lift in-person workplace restrictions on May 24.

Telephone
user mconnors / morgueFile

Operators of domestic abuse hotlines across the state say more women are calling them in crisis, as pandemic stress has led to more violence at home.

Eric Stiles, a program director with the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, says they’ve documented an increase in survivors of abuse who have called their statewide hotline in 2021, compared to last year.

The head of a major hospital in Windsor, Ontario wants Michigan to give up some of its surplus COVID-19 vaccines.

David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, has submitted an emergency application to Health Canada’s special access program. Health Canada is the country’s equivalent of the U.S Food and Drug Administration, and the program allows Canada to procure life-saving drugs abroad if they’re in short supply there.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

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.

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

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

55% of the state's eligible population has gotten at least one shot.

The benchmark achieved this week clears the way for a Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration order allowing a return to office work.

MIOSHA could give the go ahead to start by the final week of May.

crowds at Ann Arbor Art Fair
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There will be no Ann Arbor Art Fair for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

The directors of the three fairs that comprise the annual event held each July in Ann Arbor made the joint decision, saying they couldn’t find a way to make it happen under the State of Michigan’s pandemic restrictions.

Courtesy of Jackson Smith

Wishing you could just go to a concert, listen to your favorite local bands, and relax on a Saturday night? There’s a new weekly radio show, coming to you from the Beaver Island airwaves, that might just meet your Michigan music needs during this socially distanced time. Out in the middle of Lake Michigan, between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, a new low-watt radio program called Songs from the Trail is broadcasting on WVBI 100.1 FM. And it’s all about Michigan-centric music.

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