Emma Winowiecki | Michigan Radio
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Emma Winowiecki

Digital Producer

Emma is a producer and reporter for the digital news team at Michigan Radio. Her duties span all things web-related, from reporting news online to producing videos to creating maps and graphics for other reporters.

A native of northern Michigan, Emma is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a dual degree in Communication Studies and Film Studies. As such, she is a movie and TV junkie, and is always up for a game of trivia. Her other passions include reading, cooking, and taking too many pictures of her dogs: Gus and Seamus.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

This year, absentee ballots are all the rage.

Michigan voters passed a ballot measure in 2018 that allows for no-reason absentee voting. Now, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused ballot requests to skyrocket. 

Starting September 24, local clerks will begin to send ballots to the 2.39 million Michiganders who have already requested them. That beats the previous record of two million ballot requests, which was just set in August.

MSU Belmont Tower
EMMA WINOWIECKI / Michigan Radio

Update, Thursday September 23: Michigan State University has updated its online COVID-19 dashboard to reflect cases reported by the Ingham County Health Department, two days after the county's public health director revealed the health department's case count was far higher than what the university was publicly stating. 

The university notified the public of the change, says spokesman Dan Olsen, by contacting reporters Thursday morning and sending out a notice in the campus newsletter that afternoon. 

"The university’s COVID-19 dashboard now reflects the total number of positive cases of MSU students and employees reported by the Ingham County Health Department," the newsletter reads. "It does not include students and employees tested outside of the county and does not necessarily include those who self-reported a positive case to the university." 

That change means the case numbers listed on MSU's site essentially doubled overnight, from 548 cases at the start of this week, to 1,239 cases since July 27th. A spokesperson for MSU said the university is "continuing our ongoing partnership with [the health department] to report this information weekly (each Monday.)" 

Those case numbers are still slightly lower than the 1,250 MSU-related cases Ingham County Health Director Linda Vail said her department had recorded in the last 30 days. Those cases only include those the health department can verify are MSU students, faculty, or staff, Vail said Tuesdsay, and do not include secondary cases in the broader East Lansing community. 

This story will continue to be updated. 

Original post, Tuesday September 22: Michigan State University is knowingly underreporting the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among students, faculty, and staff, according to information released by the Ingham County Health Department on Tuesday.

Belmont Tower at MSU
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

More than 900 students and staff members have been added to the growing list of COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan’s schools, according to state data released on Monday. And college students account for almost 95% of all school outbreak cases.

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

The Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO) at the University of Michigan voted to end their strike late Wednesday night.

An overwhelming majority of members voted to accept U of M's second offer to the union, which included COVID relief options such as expanded options for childcare, support for international graduate students, and increased transparency in the university's COVID-19 testing protocols.

The offer also included incremental movement on GEO's anti-policing demands.

Grand Valley State University
GVSU

Updated: 4:50 p.m. 9/16/20

Students at the Allendale campus of Grand Valley State University have been ordered to remain in their residences for 14 days, with limited exceptions, following a surge of COVID-19 cases on campus.

The public health officer of the Ottawa County Department of Public Health issued the order Wednesday.

There have been 600 cases of COVID-19 reported in the GVSU student population at the Allendale campus since August 24, and the university currently has the highest number of active cases of any school in the state.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

At least 1,412 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed as part of new or ongoing outbreaks across 27 schools, according to data released by the state for the first time on Monday.

The vast majority of outbreaks (defined as two or more cases with shared exposure on school grounds) are among college students, who account for 20 of the total reported outbreaks and 1,370 of all school cases. (Two of the colleges, Adrian College and Calvin University, said their outbreaks included staff as well as students, but those numbers weren’t broken down.)

Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

The Graduate Employees' Organization overwhelmingly voted to reject an offer from the University of Michigan late Wednesday night. 

GEO has been on strike since Tuesday, canceling classes for thousands of undergraduate students. The strike is set to end Friday, but could be extended.

Larry Nassar at Eaton County sentencing
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University mostly found no violations of campus policy in a review of roughly 20 former or current staff members who were said to have received complaints about Larry Nassar, according to a report released Tuesday.

University of Michigan
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

This post was originally written on June 24. It has been updated to reflect any major changes to universities' plans for the fall semester.

After cancelling face-to-face classes this spring due to COVID-19, many universities across Michigan are gearing up to bring students back to campus this fall. But high-profile cancellations at other universities across the country may lead Michigan schools to re-think that plan. 

The epidemic is far from over. Cases of COVID-19 have started going back up since June in Michigan, and the state is still not testing at a high enough rate.

Michiganders voted in a wide array of federal, state, and local primaries Tuesday. Click here to see a breakdown of the races Michigan Radio is watching closely.

absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of things much more difficult. And with less than one week until the August primary day, voting is the latest challenge for many Michiganders.

State of Michigan

Ten years ago, Enbridge Energy’s pipeline 6B split open near Marshall, Michigan. The EPA estimated more than a million gallons of oil spilled into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. It was the biggest oil spill into an inland waterway in U.S. history.

Michigan Radio was on the ground that first week, and over the past decade, we have reported on the environmental ramifications and legal challenges that resulted from the spill.

Adobe Stock

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is toughening a requirement to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic, mandating that businesses open to the public deny service or entry to customers who refuse to wear one.

Courtesy of Jonathan Marko

Attorneys for the family of Cornelius Fredericks have released the video documenting the 16-year old's death at a Kalamazoo youth facility. Fredericks died May 1 after being improperly restrained by youth facility staff. The Kalamazoo County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, and three staff members at the facility are facing criminal charges.

The video shows at least eight people participating in holding down Fredericks after he threw a sandwich in a cafeteria.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Fourth of July is going to look a little different this year.

testing swab
Shutterstock image

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t slowing down in the United States. But in Michigan, things are starting to look up. Hospitalizations are down, the rate of case increase is slowing, and the state has been able to slowly reopen the economy over the past few weeks.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Everyone learned about Independence Day in school: on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the United States to be a free nation.

But not everyone was free. Nearly a century later, Black people remained enslaved throughout the country.

And many Americans still haven't learned about the day that celebrates their freedom: Juneteenth.

Adobe Stock

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that Michigan schools may reopen under Phase 4 of the state's Safe Start Plan. 

The governor says she is optimistic schools will be able to reopen in the fall, with proper safety measures.

“Our students and educators have made incredible sacrifices these past few months to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Whitmer in a statement. "Schools must make sure to enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families."

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

More than a thousand people gathered in Ann Arbor Monday for another day of protests against police brutality.

The protest began on the University of Michigan campus, where a number of speakers addressed the crowd, including Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12), state Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-53), and state Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-18).

Brad Gowland / Michigan Radio

Michiganders are getting back on the move.

An analysis of anonymous cell phone mobility data from the Cuebiq Mobility Index shows that movement dropped significantly in the state ahead of Gov. Whitmer’s stay-at-home order that went into effect March 24, and managed to maintain that low level of movement for approximately four weeks.

But the average amount of movement has increased since April 12, despite the stay-at-home order remaining in place.

MICHIGAN.GOV

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is continuing to slowly re-open Michigan's economy.

Her latest order will allow retail stores and auto dealerships to re-open Tuesday, May 26. It also authorizes non-essential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures to begin Friday, May 29.

Small gatherings of groups of ten people or fewer, are allowed immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing.

absentee ballot in envelope
Nadya Peek / Flickr CC BY 2.0

President Donald Trump says he wants to hold up coronavirus funding for Michigan, saying erroneously that the state had mailed absentee ballots to millions of voters. Michigan used federal coronavirus relief funding to mail applications for absentee ballots, not the ballots themselves.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says she will send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in Michigan for the August and November elections this year.

The decision was made so Michigan voters might avoid crowded polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unsplash

Retail, restaurants, and offices that cannot operate remotely can reopen in parts of Michigan starting Friday, May 22.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Monday that allows two regions outlined in the state's Safe Start Plan to reopen certain parts of the economy in time for Memorial Day weekend. Region 6 includes Traverse City, Alpena, Charlevoix, and other northern Michigan cities. Region 8 includes the entire Upper Peninsula.

Lou Anna Simon in Eaton County court
Cheyna Roth

A judge has dismissed criminal charges against former Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon arising from the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal.

Simon was ordered to trial last year on charges that she lied to police about her knowledge of a sexual misconduct complaint against Nassar. 

COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents in Michigan counties
Brad Gowland / Michigan Radio

Eight weeks ago, only Wayne and Oakland counties had confirmed cases of COVID-19. Now, there are cases in all but five counties.

And while some counties have taken a harder hit than others, it’s difficult to understand the scale of the outbreak in each county solely based on case number. So, we broke it down by the number of cases per 10,000 people.

Logan Chadde

In addition to cancelling sports, movie premieres, and the Olympics, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused a number of notable events in Michigan to cancel.

Here is a list of major festivals and events that have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the outbreak.

There's no need to race to the store and begin hoarding food. Grocery stores will remain open, and the food supply chain will remain operational.
Unsplash

This post was originally published on March 23. It has been updated to include details from the latest stay home order, which Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on May 7.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered all Michiganders to stay at home through at least May 28 in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. It extends her previous order, which was set to expire May 16. 

gretchen whitmer sitting at table
michigan.gov

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has lengthened her stay-at-home order through May 15, while relaxing restrictions so some businesses can reopen and the public can participate in more outdoor activities like golf and motorized boating.

The measure is designed to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. It immediately replaces one that was scheduled to expire May 1.

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