Caroline Llanes | Michigan Radio
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Caroline Llanes

Newsroom Intern

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.

prison bars
Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Legislature has approved a package of bills that would help more people clear their criminal records of certain convictions. They now go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The seven bill package is composed of House Bill 4980, HB 4981, HB 4982, HB 4983, HB 4984, HB 4985, and HB 5120. The Legislature has given itself a period of two years to put the system in place.

Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Members of the Graduate Employees' Organization at the University of Michigan, along with other student groups, gathered last night to express their disappointment in the university's administration. They held a candlelight vigil outside of President Mark Schlissel's house, which they say was to mourn their lost faith in the administration.

Lucy Peterson is a graduate student in political science and a member of GEO. She says the evening was a great way for GEO members to affirm their support for their cause, even if they were no longer on strike.

geo members on strike
Catherine Nouhan / Michigan Radio

Members of the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO) at the University of Michigan have voted to continue their strike for another week. The university has called the strike a "profound disruption" to students' education, and has asked the Washtenaw County Circuit Court to order striking GEO members to return to work.

U of M filed a restraining order and preliminary injunction against GEO with the Wastenaw County Circuit Court. GEO leadership assured members that no individual is at risk because U of M filed an injunction, and promised to update its members as it has more information.

horses in a barn or stable
Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will be conducting aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes that spread the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus. The state has confirmed 22 cases of EEE in horses since July 31, all of which were fatal.

According to the MDHHS, this is double the number of cases in horses as compared to 2019. This years' cases were spread across ten counties.

Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Members of the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO) at the University of Michigan voted to renew their strike in protest of the school's COVID-19 reopening plans. The union has been on strike since Tuesday of last week, and that strike expired on Friday. The renewed strike will last five more days, and expire on Friday, September 18, unless an offer is put forward by the university and approved by union members.

Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the union representing graduate student employees on campus. The Graduate Employees' Organization, or GEO, has been on strike since Tuesday, protesting the university's COVID-19 reopening plans. The union's list of demands include the universal right to work remotely and greater transparency from U of M in terms of the models it used to create reopening plans.

a sign for GEO that says UM works because we do
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Undeterred by heavy rain Tuesday morning, protesters gathered around the University of Michigan’s campus, chanting and marching in protest of the school’s COVID-19 reopening plans. Today was the first day of a strike organized by the Graduate Employees’ Organization, or GEO, the union that represents graduate student employees at U of M.

The University of Michigan campus, normally packed with students, is now empty.
Katie Raymond

Members of the graduate student employee union at the University of Michigan have voted to approve a strike in response to the school’s COVID-19 re-opening plan. According to the Graduate Employees’ Organization, or GEO, 79% of its membership voted to approve the work stoppage.

DAVID MARK / PIXABAY

In an executive order issued last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said gyms and swimming pools could re-open September 9, with added health and safety measures in place. 

Some gym owners, however, are approaching the re-opening process with caution.

University of Michigan
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Faculty members at the University of Michigan are considering a vote of no confidence in response to the university’s plan to reopen.

This comes after a memo from the school’s Ethics and Privacy Committee circulated online. The memo expresses concern that the school’s reopening plan does not meet a reasonable safety standard and notes that vulnerable populations would be the most hurt by the current plan. 

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
USDA.gov

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority to provide students with free meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if they were learning remotely. This also gave the department the flexibility in distributing the food, allowing them to work with districts and community organizations. The USDA will be stopping these services at the end of the month.

In Michigan, school districts have been providing meals for students who might not have otherwise received them during the statewide lockdown.

Muskegon Lake
Muskegon County

Muskegon Lake was designated an Area of Concern by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 1985. For decades now, state and local groups have been completing a wide variety of projects in order to clean up the area and get it off the Areas of Concern list. One of the groups that’s been working on projects to restore the lake, the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Corporation, says that its goal is to have all of the projects completed by the end of 2021, and off the EPA’s list shortly thereafter.

Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 14 school-related outbreaks of COVID-19. The MDHHS did not provide the specific locations of the outbreaks, saying that “infectious disease outbreaks are not commonly announced to the media, unless there is broad risk to the general public and all people exposed cannot be notified.”

An outbreak, in this case, is generally considered to mean two or more cases with a common source of exposure. It is unknown how many cases are connected to the 14 outbreaks.

a protester at the university of michigan holds a sign that says leaders and best should test
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Some faculty and staff at the University of Michigan are worried about the influx of students returning to campus. Around 40 faculty, staff, and graduate student employees gathered in front of the administration building on Tuesday. It was the first of a planned three days of protests, asking for the administration to let faculty opt out of in-person instruction and demanding a more robust testing infrastructure for COVID-19.

Dr. Robert E. Anderson in 1973.
UM Bentley Historical Library

Ten former student athletes are suing the University of Michigan for damages related to abuse by the late Dr. Robert Anderson.

One named plaintiff, Mike Robinson, is a former basketball play for U of M and the other nine have chosen to remain anonymous.

 

Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Federation of Teachers will be voting Wednesday on whether to strike over COVID-19 related health and safety concerns.

The union, which represents 4,200 Detroit Public School employees, wants to start the school year in a completely online format.

 

kids with backpacks on going back to school
WavebreakmediaMicro / Adobe Stock

Physicians throughout the state are asking lawmakers to consider science and research when making decisions about how to proceed with education this fall. 

The Michigan state senate is expected to meet this Saturday to discuss a package of four education bills. House Bills 5910, 5911, 5912, and 5913 were approved by the state house of representatives in July. 

 

University of Michigan near Rackham and Michigan League
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan faculty and staff will soon be asked to use an app to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

Dr. Robert Ernst is the executive director of the University Health Service.

He says the app, called ResponsiBLUE, will be available in the app store in the coming days. 

a dead sturgeon on the beach of sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore on lake michigan
National Park Service

Dead lake sturgeon have been turning up along the shore of Lake Michigan. Seven sturgeon carcasses have been found since mid-July on beaches in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Vincent Cavalieri is a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service. He says to have this many dead sturgeon in such a short period of time is incredibly unusual.

University of Michigan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Update: August 11, 2020 at 3:16 p.m.

The Big Ten Conference has confirmed today that there will not be a fall sports season. It is the first of the college football's elite "Power Five" conferences to make the decision.

census letter
Enayet Raheem / Unsplash

  Census workers are beginning to knock on doors of households that have not responded to the 2020 census. In Michigan, they’re starting this canvassing in Lansing and Oakland County. Door to door efforts began August 6 and will end on September 30.

Kerry Ebersole-Singh is the Michigan Statewide Census Director. She says the most work needs to be done in Detroit, but that won’t start until next week.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig defended the actions of an officer who shot and killed a man in an incident last week.

 

Craig said the man was one of three suspects in an investigation into the shooting of four teens that took place on July 19.

A mosquito
flickr user trebol-a / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Last summer, Michigan saw its biggest recorded outbreak of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. There were ten confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne virus in humans and five deaths. Could another EEE outbreak be on the horizon this year? Public health officials say it’s tough to tell.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

A circuit court judge has ordered the Flint City Clerk’s office to process a backlog of more than 1,000 absentee ballot applications by the end of the weekend.

Thanks to Proposal 3, passed by voters in 2018, Michigan voters can vote absentee in the 40 days before an election, either at home by mail or in person at the local voters’ clerk's office. 

 

Courtesy Ben van der Pluijm

A seismometer is a device that’s usually used to measure earthquakes using vibrations in the earth. But recently, researchers have been using them to measure human movement. A global study shows that seismic noise is at an all time low, as a result of COVID-19 related lockdowns.

downtown ann arbor
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor voters could see a millage on their ballot this November to increase affordable housing. The ballot language, proposed by councilmembers Chip Smith and Elizabeth Nelson, will be reviewed at the city council meeting tonight. 

 

a red pickup truck with a sign that says NO EVICTIONS
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Community organizations in Detroit are worried about Detroit residents facing evictions as a result of COVID-19. Governor Gretchen Whitmer did not extend the statewide moratorium on evictions, which ended Thursday morning.

On Thursday, the 36th District Court extended the moratorium on evictions in the city of Detroit through August 15th. 

slemboskilaw.com/

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Wednesday that Detroit residents facing eviction due to COVID-19 can apply for legal aid and rental assistance.

The mayor said there would be $11.5 million dedicated to the program. He says the city is working with community organizations to get people help.

"We will get you to resources. United Community Housing Coalition has got lawyers for you if the landlord is evicting you in a way that is legally inappropriate, we've got good lawyers for you."

image of furniture and mattresses on curb
User wolfpeterson / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Housing advocates are asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to extend the moratorium on evictions. The moratorium was originally put in place in March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, it has been extended four times via executive order. It is now set to expire at 12:01 a.m. on July 16

 

Courtesy Fay Givens

American Indian Services, an organization that has served the Native American community in Southeast Michigan for nearly 50 years, is closing its doors this week. Since 2014, the organization has seen its budget reduced by 67 percent. 

Fay Givens is the executive director of American Indian Services. She says that COVID-19 related budget cuts were the last straw. “We’re so underfunded anyways that we could not bear one more cut.”

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