Virginia Gordan | Michigan Radio
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Virginia Gordan

Reporter

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.

Virginia joined Michigan Radio after a career at the University of Michigan Law School, first as Assistant Dean of Students and later as Assistant Dean of International Affairs. Before that she worked as a lawyer in Washington, DC, on the development of low and moderate income housing.

Virginia loves the state of Michigan and especially enjoys exploring its lakes (including the Great ones) as often as possible.

police car
Matt Popovich / Unsplash

Last week Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel urged members of the  public to notify local police departments  if they had complaints about violations of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order. That's because the Attorney General's office was being overwhelmed by the volume of calls.

joann fabric store exterior
wolterke / Adobe Stock

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has denied JoAnn Fabrics' request to keep its storefront operations open. 

In a letter to the craft and hobby retailer, the Department of Attorney General said the company's on-site operations are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The letter said JoAnn Fabrics should temporarily close its stores to the public to comply with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.

head shot of Dana Nessel
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning Michiganders to beware of scams related to the expected economic relief package for COVID-19.

In an urgent consumer alert issued Thursday, Nessel said bad actors are trying to trick people into giving out their personal and financial information in order to receive the one time federal stimulus payment.

State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) on the House floor Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
housedems.com

Representative Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit)  has tested positive for COVID-19, according to state house officials.

A press release from House Democrats reported Thursday that Carter is in good spirits and appears to be recovering. 

a police car focused on the illuminated light bar
pixabay

The state's labor department is not accepting complaints from workers who think their employers are violating Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order to stay home, known as the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order, that took effect on Tuesday.

Jason Moon, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said workers should contact their local law enforcement agency.

designer491 / Adobe Stock

Update: 5:46 p.m.  Jeff Donofrio, Michigan's Director of Labor and Economic Opportunity, says 55,000 people filed claims in the past three days - a 1,500% increase over the last week. 

Donofrio was on All Things Considered. He said most of the claims were from people in service industry jobs, including restaurants, but he expected claims would soon be made by people who work in all sectors of the economy as the coronavirus crisis worsens.

two construction workers
Elvert Barnes / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is asking Michigan employers to consider alternatives to layoffs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The department is urging employers who are contemplating reducing their workforce to place their workers on temporary leave instead of laying them off.

designer491 / Adobe Stock

Workers are worried about how to pay their bills in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help them, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order order Monday that expands eligibility for unemployment benefits starting immediately through Tuesday, April 14. 

A classroom.
User: LizMarie_AK / Wikimedia Commons http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Updated Thursday, March 12 at 3:32 p.m.:

On Thursday afternoon, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) suspended postseason events indefinitely. This includes the ice hockey, girls gymnastics, and lower peninsula boys swimming and diving finals, which were scheduled for this weekend.

Additionally canceled are the girls and boys basketball tournaments, which were midway through early rounds of playoff progressions. 

8 guns laid out on beige carpet
Joshua Shearn / Wikimedia Commons / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Local governments in Michigan would be barred from using public resources for gun buyback programs under a bill (H.R. 5479) that the Michigan House passed Wednesday 58-49.

The bill would not prevent a local government from using public money to purchase firearms from a licensed firearms dealer for law enforcement purposes.

Prison bars
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The rate of recidivism in Michigan has been going down gradually over the last ten years, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Courtesy of Washtenaw County

The city of Ann Arbor has detected very low levels (0.039 parts per billion) of 1,4 dioxane in its drinking water for the second time. 

Similar levels (0.030) were found about one year ago.

The city tests its drinking water monthly.

According to city officials, the curent detectable levels in the city's drinking water are not considered a health risk.

"They're very, very low," said Brian Steglitz, Ann Arbor's water treatment services manager. "And well below, over ten times lower than the EPA identified risk level." 

Courtesy of Detroit Dog Rescue

A Michigan House bill (HB 4035) would prevent local governments from banning or regulating dogs on the basis of their breeds or the breeds that animal control officers or other local officials perceive them to be. 

But the bill would allow localities to regulate dogs if the local government determines them to be dangerous or potentially dangerous.

Courtesy of whitehouse.gov

Vice President Mike Pence visited Michigan on Tuesday to tout the accomplishments of President Donald Trump and to campaign for his re-election.

Pence outlined the President's foreign and domestic policy accomplishments to a crowd of Trump supporters at a suburban Detroit hotel at a Keep America Great rally.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said on Wednesday that he is opposed to proposed legislation that would help county clerks process an anticipated spike in absentee ballots.

Ann Arbor State Representative Rebekah Warren
Oakland County Sheriff's Dept.

State Rep. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) pled guilty Tuesday to a lesser charge of misdemeanor operating while intoxicated in her drunk driving case in Oakland County.

The Democrat was originally arraigned on a misdemeanor count under what is commonly known as Michigan's "super drunk" law. That law has tougher penalties for people convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.17 or higher.

sad dog
Unsplash

The City of Detroit has announced that improvements in its animal care and control operations are exceeding initial goals.

Last December city officials promised to invest in making Detroit a safer place for people and pets.

This came four months after a nine-year-old girl was fatally mauled by three dogs as she rode her bike near her Detroit home.

Courtesy of City of Detroit

Detroit's animal care and control operations are delivering improvements more quickly and at a higher rate than initially expected, according to city officials.

They said that in 2019 there was a substantial increase in calls that animal control officers responded to, in tickets issued to pet owners, and in the number of animals released for adoption. That's compared to the year before. 

Saline High school with students in wintertime
Public Domain

Four Saline high school students have sued their school district for punishing them over racist social media posts that used the 'N' word.

The federal lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, alleges that the Saline Area Schools violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights to free speech and due process, and that the school district did not have the authority to suspend or expel them over the posts. 

Best Law / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged 34th District Court Judge David Parrott with domestic violence assault and battery.

teacher pointing at board in front of classroom full of children
Rawpixel.com / Adobe Stock

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed a $61.9 billion state budget, including what she says would be the biggest increase for Michigan classroom operations in 20 years.

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Supreme Court is postponing oral arguments in a case about whether spending taxpayer money on non-public schools violates the Michigan constitution. 

Public school groups and the ACLU of Michigan filed suit over state reimbursements to non-public schools for the costs of state-imposed health and safety requirements. They say the Michigan constitution forbids direct or indirect state support of private or religious schools.

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

If you want to weigh in on the state's proposal to regulate seven different types of PFAS chemicals found in drinking water, you have until midnight on Friday, January, 31.

Michigan Senate Republicans

A state Senate committee is considering a bill its sponsor said is intended to help prevent elder abuse in nursing homes. 

The Michigan Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee heard opposing views at a hearing last Thursday on a subsitute for SB 77. According to the bill's sponsor, Senator Jim Runestad (R-White Lake), the Committee has not yet voted on a final version of the bill, and there still could be changes.

Beaumont Health

Updated January 27, 2020 at 11:35 a.m.:

The Detroit Free Press has reported that four days after being transferred to a new facility, Titus Cromer has passed away. 

Eastern Michigan University
krossbow / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Eastern Michigan University and two former student athletes have reached a settlement in a Title IX lawsuit filed in June 2018.

The suit alleges sex discrimination in sports program opportunities at EMU. It arose after EMU eliminated its women's varsity softball and tennis teams in March 2018 to address budgetary concerns.  Two men's teams were also eliminated at that time.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of State announced on Tuesday that it has processed the first 1,000 successfully completed and notarized applications for the new 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. 

According to Jake Rollow, the department's Director of Communications, these applications were submitted between October 24 and November 30, 2019.

Registered voters have until June 1, 2020 to submit applications.

police officer issues breathalyzer on citizen
Wikimedia Commons

Updated January 16 at 4:30 p.m.:

The Michigan State Police has identified at least 52 drunk driving cases that could have been affected by breathalyzers that were not properly maintained. That’s according to testimony Thursday in a state Senate hearing.

cell phone on table
William Hook / Unsplash

The Michigan Supreme Court has adopted a significant rule change that will allow the public to bring cell phones, laptops and tablets into all state courthouses and courtrooms.

The new rule will also let members of the public use their phones to photograph state court records.

The new rule will take effect on May 1, 2020. Currently, rules for personal electronic devices vary a lot among local courts.

Ziad Buchh

About one dozen protesters gathered outside the Iraqi Consulate of Detroit Tuesday afternoon.

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