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.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged a Detroit man for allegedly making death threats against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Robert Sinclair Tesh was arrested in April after allegedly using a social media messaging app to make the threats. He was charged with "false report or a threat of terrorism," a felony with a maximum 20 year prison sentence.

Protesters at the Michigan Capitol
Abigail Censky / WKAR

Religious leaders in southeast Michigan are calling on other faith and political leaders to condemn racist symbols displayed by some demonstrators at protests in Lansing. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered again on Thursday at the state Capitol in violation of social distancing rules to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay at home order. At an April 30 protest at the state Capitol building, some protesters displayed confederate flags, swastikas, and nooses. 

A cyanobacterial bloom on Lake Erie in 2013.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The city of Toledo has withdrawn an appeal that challenged a ruling on the Lake Erie Bill of Rights’ constitutionality. Federal judge Jack Zouhary declared the bill of rights unconstitutional back in February, calling it “unconstitutionally vague” and said it “exceed[ed] the power of municipal government in Ohio.” 

The bill was approved by Toledo voters in a special election in 2019, where it passed with 61 percent of the vote. The bill states that Lake Erie, as well as the Lake Erie watershed, possesses the right to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.”

Immigrant Centers of America is looking to build a new detention center for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in Michigan. John Truscott, spokesman for ICA, says they haven’t closed on the land, but an agreement is in place.

 

Kurt Scheurer is the supervisor for Ionia Township. He says ICE has been in contact with the township and the city for some time, asking for input on the plans. Ionia County already has a number of prisons, so Scheurer says another detention center would hardly come as a shock to local residents.

 

“Ionia is a prison town anyways," he said.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The United States Marshals Service, in conjunction with the Michigan State Police, is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of two men who are suspects in the shooting death of a security guard in Flint on May 1. The U.S. Marshals are working with the MSP to locate the suspects.

Adobe Stock

Michigan health officials say they have 3,500 volunteers trained to do COVID-19 contact tracing, one of the things considered essential to reopening the economy safely. And although those state officials can’t say how many paid staffers Michigan counties have doing this work, Michigan Radio’s analysis of three of the hardest-hit counties indicates the pool of volunteers is likely enough to meet epidemiologists’ recommendations.

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state is ramping up contact tracing for positive cases of COVID-19. That involves monitoring and testing people who have been in contact with a positive case. 

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has the capacity to process 9,500 COVID-19 tests a day. That’s between the state lab, commercial labs, and labs in hospital systems.

Someone dialing 911 on a smart phone
Adobe Stock

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments will be contacting those who test positive for COVID-19, as well as anyone those people may have had contact with. Health departments across the state, including 130 employees from the MDHHS trained to help these departments, are attempting to gather information on the spread of the virus.

Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

On April 9, Governor Gretchen Whitmer expanded her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order in response to COVID-19. Some lawmakers are worried that the expansion of that order was too restrictive.

VA hospital ann arbor
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

As Michigan prepares for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases, many hospitals, particularly in Southeast Michigan, are starting to become overwhelmed.

The TCF Center in Detroit is being converted into a field hospital, and the University of Michigan is planning to convert its indoor track field into a field hospital as well. As hospitals and health systems scramble to find more beds, ventilators, and PPE, the question comes up: could VA hospitals and medical centers function as backups during this surge?

user meddygarnet / Flickr

An employee at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit has died due to the new coronavirus. They were in their 70s. The VA did not provide any other details as to underlying health conditions due to “privacy concerns.”

This employee is at least the second known medical professional to die of COVID-19 in Detroit. 

stock photo of surgical masks on a table
Macau Photo Agency / Unsplash

Michigan’s prison factories are re-tooling to produce personal protective equipment for prisoners and staff. According to MDOC, this is to slow the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan’s twenty-nine prisons.

There are three prison factories in Michigan: a Michigan State Industries factory at Ionia Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan State Industries Print Shop and Mattress Factory at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, and Michigan State Industries garment factory at the Boyer Road Correctional Facility in Carson City. Those factories are now producing cloth surgical masks, gloves, and gowns.

fence inside a prison grounds
John McGuire for Michigan Radio

A Michigan Department of Corrections transportation officer died Tuesday due to complications from COVID-19. The MDOC did not disclose the officer’s age or if there were underlying health conditions, only that the officer worked at a facility in Detroit.

Chris Gautz is the public information officer for MDOC. He says the department is taking a lot of precautions to prevent the further spread of the virus in Michigan’s 29 prisons.

 

Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Henry Ford Health System says it’s been using the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat severe cases of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.

 

Hydroxychloroquine recently gained a large amount of attention after President Donald Trump mentioned the anti-arthritis and anti-malaria drug in his March 20 press conference as being promising. Since then, there has been much discussion as to whether the drug is actually effective in treating COVID-19.

 

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last week, Congress passed the CARES act, a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to provide relief to communities and workers impacted by the new coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to that bill, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was able to sign an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that expanded unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, 1099 independent contractors, and gig and low-wage workers.

Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

In the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic, hospitals across the state are now screening all employees before they start their shifts.

That screening usually comes in the form of a survey, where they self-report recent domestic and international travel, contact with someone who has COVID-19, and symptoms of COVID-19 like a dry cough and a fever. But are hospitals actually taking their employee’s temperatures?

 

Rep. Elissa Slotkin
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Today, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Support Act, or the CARES Act. The $2 trillion stimulus is the third piece of coronavirus relief legislation passed by Congress.

The bill contained $150 billion in relief money for individual states. It is estimated that Michigan will receive $3.8 billion in aid from the bill.

 

Brenda Jones

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones has announced her campaign for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District. Jones, a Democrat, will challenge Democrat incumbent Rashida Tlaib. She previously held the seat for 35 days in 2018, after winning the special election in the wake of John Conyers’ resignation.

detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Detroit Police Department died Monday due to the new coronavirus. The man was 38 years old and had no underlying health conditions, according to Police Chief James Craig. The man was admitted to a hospital in the metro Detroit area with respiratory issues and was subsequently tested for COVID-19, but his test results didn’t come back as positive until after his death.

downtown ann arbor
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

On Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives” order, or a “temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.” The order urges Michiganders to stay home, with the exception of essential business, in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

Update: 12:36 p.m.

The University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor announced Thursday that it has also launched an in-house test for COVID-19. No details were provided on the number of tests available.

Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak is now processing COVID-19 tests on site. Though the staff is prioritizing which patients tests are processed first, they say they have the capacity to run several hundred tests a day. Henry Ford Health System has also announced an in-house test.

Utility trucks
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s two largest energy companies will be suspending shutoffs for non-payments in response to COVID-19 and its spread in Michigan. Both Consumers Energy and DTE Energy have suspended shutoffs for senior citizens and low-income eligibility households until April 5th.

For both Consumers and DTE, a low-income eligible household is one whose income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. For Consumers, a senior citizen is anyone 65 years or older, and for DTE it’s anyone 62 or older. 

 

ann arbor city council
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Updated: Friday, February 28, 2020 2:29 p.m.

Ann Arbor Police Chief Michael Cox was put on administrative leave three weeks ago due to allegations that he created a hostile work environment and employees feared retaliation, and a separate accusation of insubordination.

Lake Erie at Massie Cliffside Preserve.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

An Ohio judge has declared the Lake Erie Bill of Rights to be unconstitutional. Judge Jack Zouhary called his decision “not even close” and declared the bill invalid in its entirety.

The bill was approved by Toledo voters in a special election in 2019, passing with 61 percent of the vote. It was immediately challenged by the Drewes Farm Collective, who said that LEBOR was a liability to its business. Drewes Farms says it fertilizes its fields “pursuant to Ohio law, best practices, [and] scientific recommendations,” but it can never guarantee that all of its runoff can be prevented from entering the Lake Erie watershed. 

water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will not use her executive powers to end water shutoffs in Detroit.

Civil rights groups, including the ACLU, petitioned Whitmer in November, asking for her to declare the shutoffs a public health emergency and to put a moratorium on such shutoffs. 

Cat with his little paws up
Tony Wang / Unsplash

Legislation introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives could make the state the second to ban the practice of declawing cats.

U-M student speaks at regents meeting
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan announced at a meeting on Thursday that it will put a freeze on new fossil fuel investments. This means that it will not make new investments in the fossil fuel industry while it studies its own investment policy.

The announcement came from Regent Mark Bernstein, right after U-M Central Student Government President Ben Gerstein discussed a Big Ten resolution, where student governments from Big Ten universities called on their institutions to freeze fossil fuel investments.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel at podium
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The president of the University of Michigan  apologized to "anyone who was harmed" by a late doctor after several former students said he molested them during medical exams at the school.

family posing with cruise ship CEO
The Muth family

Updated Monday February 17, 2020 at 3:49 p.m.:

Almost 1,500 passengers and over 800 crew members were stuck on a cruise ship in the Pacific Ocean for two weeks, after fears of the coronovirus prevented the vessel from docking at a majority of their scheduled stops. That changed last Friday when passengers were finally able to disembark in Cambodia. 

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