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Spectrum Health

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.

arm of a person laying in a hospital bed
Shutterfly/thaiview

Today on Stateside, Michigan sees a boom in the use of monoclonal antibodies to keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital. Plus, the coach of the University of Michigan's women's gymnastics team talks about a tough pandemic year that ended in a national championship. And, singer-songwriter Rachel Curtis talks about new ways of producing and releasing music during a pandemic.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Wayne County will exempt all occupied properties from this year’s tax foreclosure auction, after County Treasurer Eric Sabree requested and was granted a court order to that effect late last week.

Sabree said there are multiple reasons for his last-minute request, all related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City of Detroit

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 can be helpful, as well as potentially confusing, to have vague expressions of time such as “by and by.”

The more we thought about this expression, the more trouble we had trying to think of how we even use “by and by.”

Sure, it shows up in poetry and music, but those contexts don’t exactly lend themselves to everyday use.


A cell phone with the apps Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pulled up
dole777 / Unsplash

Some stories, there's just not a lot of gray area.

A few months ago, I was driving behind a vehicle that kept lurching from one side of the lane to the other. It was pretty bad. I thought the driver was drunk.

Finally, I passed the car, and I saw that the motorist was driving with one hand on the wheel, whilst her other hand held a cell phone aloft, the better to conduct a Facetime chat.  

She was driving about 70 miles an hour down the highway. Yikes. Not good.

A sign of the University of Michigan Central Campus
Anna Schlutt / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan is planning for a mostly in-person fall semester after the COVID-19 pandemic forced many operations to go remote. 

Part of that process is getting faculty and staff who have been working remotely back on campus for in-person work. President Mark Schlissel announced today that the school is beginning a gradual phasing-in of on-site work.

Spectrum Health

Plenty of Michiganders went to neighboring states like Ohio and Indiana to get the COVID-19 vaccine, especially when availability was more limited at home. Now, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is asking them to notify their primary care provider.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a plan for the state's reopening called MI Vacc to Normal. The plan will relax COVID-19 restrictions to the percentage of residents that are at least partially vaccinated.

Courtesy of Roberta King

Patti Kornoelje says that when her son Casey Kornoelje was a teenager, she worried about the direction in which he seemed to be heading. He had multiple encounters with law enforcement over marijuana use, which led to cannabis-related convictions and changed the trajectory of his career.

But, Patti says, sometimes certain doors open for a reason.

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

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.

Emergency room hospital
Pixabay

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.)

Jars of marijuana strands
Rob / Adobe Stock

Today, on Stateside, misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility has made some people hesitant to get a shot. We’ll talk to a doctor about how the rumor started and what she’s telling patients. Plus, in a year of social distance, one college lecturer connected to her students through letters.  

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Using asparagus in a cocktail seems odd. I mean, if you throw it in with the messy mix of garnish in a garish, way over-the-top Bloody Mary complete with celery, olives, banana peppers, and bacon, okay, it might work. But, really, asparagus as a ‘real’ ingredient in a cocktail? Sounds weird.

Well, weirdly delicious.

Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings had a couple of bottles of spirits, some concoction in a plastic bottle and asparagus on the cutting board.

Courtesy of Derrick L. Turner/Michigan State University

Forty-two years after the state of Michigan became the state of Michigan, a botanist named William Beal buried 20 open bottles of seeds to see how long they could remain viable.

A few weeks ago Frank Telewski, a professor of plant biology at Michigan State University, along with a few colleagues, continued the decades-long experiment by digging up one of those bottles on the MSU campus.

Migrant farmworkers live and work on Michigan farms during the harvest.
Craig Camp / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Each year, Michigan becomes a temporary home to tens of thousands of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, and Lupita Perales with the United Farmworkers Foundation says some of them have been arriving with unfounded fears about the COVID-19 vaccines.

It’s tough to know what kind of information those workers have gotten before their arrival in Michigan, so she’s working on distributing flyers and holding Facebook live sessions to disseminate the facts.

cartoon showing an employee, business owner, and politician
John Auchter for Michigan Radio

I usually try to stay away from sweeping generalizations — all workers good, all politicians bad — that sort of thing. But there has been so much partisan hackery lately (especially in Lansing) that I felt a need to comment, and sweeping generalization seemed to be the best angle to take.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

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.

C/O Spectrum Health

When we first realized COVID would be the biggest public health crisis of our lifetime, Governor Gretchen Whitmer came out swinging. She set up mask mandates and physical distancing recommendations. That earned her respect from many public health officials both within Michigan and around the country. 

But the governor’s message now is very different. So, what changed?

Karen Woolstrum / Unsplash

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.

Michigan Radio, NPR's largest member station in the state, is looking for a Detroit-based community engagement reporter to join our news team. You will report to the News Director.

You will serve Detroit residents whose news and information needs are not well represented. You will partner with neighborhood groups, block clubs, and organizations on stories Detroiters want told -- enlisting their participation in our storytelling process and reporting stories in service to these communities.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a look at the messaging behind Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s latest public health guidelines. Also, an athlete and coach discuss winning streaks in women’s college athletics despite the challenges of practicing amid the pandemic. Plus, a Black-led food cooperative partners with local farmers in preparation for its 2022 opening in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.

John U. Bacon / Michigan Radio

250 years ago my mom’s side of the family lived in Yonkers, New York. But being United Empire Loyalists, when the Revolutionary War started they escaped to New Brunswick, Canada. And that’s what makes me Half-Canadian Bacon.

Mom grew up in Milltown, New Brunswick, a town so small it no longer exists. It had one school building, with no lab, no gym, no school teams. 

young woman holding a cell phone
freestocks / Unsplash

Updated Thursday May 6, 2021, at 3:31 p.m.  

Traverse City students who participated in a racist social media group chat won’t be criminally charged.

In late April, local authorities began investigating a Snapchat group titled “slave trade.” That’s where some high school students in Traverse City pretended to place bids on people of color, including their classmates. 

Michigan Radio has been recognized with four regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in the Large Market Radio category. The station won awards in the Breaking News, Feature Reporting, Investigative Reporting, and News Series categories. The Murrow Awards are presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) to honor outstanding achievements in electronic journalism. The winning entries from Michigan Radio are as follows:

Sarah Sutherlin and Carmela Palamara
Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press

Advocates say they're still confident that a $2.25 pay increase for direct care workers will be included in next year's budget.

That's even though the state House Appropriations Committee did not approve an amendment for the pay increase on Wednesday.

Direct care workers take care of Michigan's most vulnerable adults, who are elderly or have disabilities or mental illness, often in the adults' homes.

Robert Stein is with the Michigan Assisted Living Association. He says many people could lose their caregivers if the pay bump doesn't stay in place.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

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.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, businesses across Michigan have succumbed to the pressures of the COVID-19 crisis, with devastating consequences for workers and our economy. A business owner and a behavioral scientist weigh in on why those who were sidelined still need help — and how the pandemic is shaping the state’s business ecosystem in the long term. Also, we meet a biologist whose team is collaborating with a colleague across 143 years.

Adobe Stock

Humans have used psychedelics like magic mushrooms, acid, or ecstasy in a variety of ways for a long time. Though the drugs remain illegal on the federal level in the U.S., interest in psychedelics is continuing to grow, as is the movement to normalize their use — particularly for therapeutic purposes.

wikimedia commons

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.

Ali Beydoun
Tyler Scott

The Paycheck Protection Program awarded about $16 billion to 128,159 small businesses and nonprofits in Michigan in the first two rounds of PPP funding. And you can use this map and database to find out who got a loan. 

Update: This article and its graphics has been updated to include smaller loan amounts. The previous version had an technical error that left these loans out.   

The federal government created the PPP through the CARES Act of 2020. It's meant to help business owners keep staff on the payroll in the wake of the pandemic and state-ordered public health restrictions – a one-two punch that slashed many businesses’ revenue. Businesses are able to apply to the program through a lender. The PPP loans were made to be forgivable and converted into grants, as long as the borrower meets all the program's requirements.

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