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.

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

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency is warning the public that it is experiencing a new wave of imposter claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance

Agency officials said the UIA has flagged for potential fraud about 100,000 claims that have been filed in Michigan in less than one week since April 2.

test with bubble answers
mehmet / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Education has denied Michigan's request to waive the federal requirement of year-end statewide assessments, known as state summative tests, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That means Michigan students are going to have to take the M-STEP and several other tests this spring.

black and white photo of ron weiser
University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Board of Regents has called a special meeting on Friday, April 2, at 9:30 a.m. "to address recent events."

Sources say the Board will consider whether to censure fellow Regent and Michigan GOP Chair Ron Weiser.

The meeting comes after controversial remarks he made last week at a Republican Party gathering.

Wikimedia Commons

In a new report, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said the U.S. Border Patrol in Michigan uses racial profiling to target immigrants from Latin America throughout the state. 

According to the report, more than 96% of those arrested by the Border Patrol in the state are recorded as non-white.

Courtesy of the City of Grand Rapids

Public governing bodies across the state are facing an important deadline as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Michigan.

An amendment to the State's Open Meetings Act, signed into law on December 23, 2020, is set to expire on March 31. The amendment allows virtual public meetings for any reason.

water going into cup from faucet
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A temporary statewide ban on water shutoffs at occupied homes arising from unpaid bills is set to automatically expire on the last day of March.

The sunset provision is contained in the shutoff ban legislation that was passed by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature this past December. 

ADOLFO FELIX / UNSPLASH

It is "likely" that Michigan's emergency rule restricting most in-person office work will be extended for up to six months after it expires in mid-April, according to Sean Egan, COVID-19 workplace safety director for Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

College graduates
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A growing number of Michigan's public universities are offering free tuition programs for lower-income undergraduates.

Saginaw Valley State University announced on Tuesday that it is joining the group.

SVSU President Donald Bachand said in a written statement, "We have maintained the lowest tuition in the state for many years, but the sticker price still causes many families to think an SVSU degree is out of reach."

Hands gripping jail cell bars
maxpixel

A transgender female prisoner has sued the Michigan Department of Corrections in federal court for its failure to protect her at the all-male G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson County, where she had been housed.

The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, filed suit on March 2, 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. 

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bipartisan coalition of state representatives is reintroducing a package of eight bills that would require state officials and candidates to disclose some personal financial information.

The lawmakers said the goal is to increase transparency by helping to screen for potential conflicts of interest.

"It's critical that we have elected officials who are willing to be transparent with their financial interests and share that information with the voters in order to restore and try to rebuild voter confidence in elected offiicials," said Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids), one of the bills' sponsors.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In a surprising move, Amber McCann, a long time senior staff member for state Senate Republicans, has accepted a new position with Michigan's Department of Attorney General.

McCann is currently deputy chief of staff and press secretary for Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. She was spokesperson for the previous two Senate Republican leaders, Arlan Meekhof and Randy Richardville.

The Michigan State Capitol
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has created a new task force with the goal of preventing and eliminating systemic racism in the state's child protection system. 

Department officials say the substantial overrepresentation of children of color in the system demands what they call "a fundamental system change."

Clker-Free-Vector-Images / Pixabay

The state Bureau of Elections is continuing its probe into whether money paid by the Michigan Republican Party to former Secretary of State candidate Stan Grot violated campaign finance laws.  

Jack Rollow, spokesman for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, confirmed Thursday that the investigation would continue despite the Michigan Republican Party earlier this week withdrawing a letter sent last week to the Bureau by then-party chair Laura Cox.

Cox's February 4 letter triggered the investigation.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

Lansing District Court Judge Kristen Simmons dismissed  misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges Monday against six hair stylists.

The women cut hair in front of the Michigan Capitol in May to protest against Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders that closed down barbershops and hair salons last spring to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Picture of the Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The creation of a new, bipartisan task force to address problems in the state's adoption and foster care system was announced Thursday by Michigan Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

"The overall goal is to improve the outcomes for kids that are in the foster care and adoption systems," Albert said.

Albert said the specific agenda will be set by the task force.

He cited child welfare services, family reunification, increasing adoptions, and educational outcomes of foster kids as possible areas to be investigated.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has rolled out a voluntary COVID-19 rapid antigen testing program that will provide free weekly tests to K-12 educators who opt in.

MDHHS is providing testing supplies at no cost to any interested public or private school. The tests will be administered on site at the school.

State health officials say the testing program will help achieve Governor Gretchen Whitmer's goal of an in-person instruction option in all Michigan schools by March 1.

a classroom of empty colorful chairs
Flickr user Frank Juarez / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

Michigan's strict public health measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays have proven successful at preventing COVID cases and saving lives. These are the preliminary findings by researchers at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health.

"It appears from our models that the social distancing that Michiganders practiced after November 15th over the holiday season prevented 109,000 cases," said University of Michigan professor Marisa Eisenberg, the study's lead researcher. 

Michigan State Police

Former Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith pled guilty to one count of obstruction of justice in federal court Wednesday.

His plea hearing was conducted by video conference in front of U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker.

Smith admitted that he tried to get a friend and two of his assistant county proscutors to lie to federal law enforcement officers and to a federal grand jury in an effort to hide his own criminal conduct.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
User: frankileon / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

McLaren Health Care Corporation has agreed to pay a record $7,750,000 civil penalty to the U.S. government to resolve alleged violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The civil settlement was announced earlier this week by the U.S. Attorneys for the Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan.

The US Capitol
Jonothan Colman / Flickr

An Upper Peninsula man has been accused of participating in the January 6 storming of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. 

Karl Dresch of Calumet appeared by video before a U.S. magistrate Wednesday, one day following his arrest.

federal criminal complaint, with a supporting statement of facts, alleges that Dresch was part of an effort to keep lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden's win.

Lester Graham

Two Democratic lawmakers are introducing resolutions calling for the investigation and censure of state Representative Matt Maddock (R-Milford).

Representative Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) and Representative Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.) said each of them had formally submitted one of the two resolutions on Wednesday, and both resolutions would be officially read into the record during the House session on January 19.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Two Democratic state senators have re-introduced legislation that would ban open and concealed firearms in the Michigan Capitol Building.

The ban would not apply to state law enforcement or Capitol security.

an empty bar
Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash

State officials are praising bar and restaurant owners for their ongoing compliance with the state's emergency COVID-19 health orders.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission announced this week it has suspended 34 out of roughly 8,500 on-premises liquor licenses since September for COVID-related violations. 

The violations have included the establishment's allowing in-person dining and gatherings and failure to require face coverings for staff and patrons.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A group of Democratic state representatives said Thursday that a ban on firearms in Michigan's state Capitol building is long overdue.

They want the Michigan State Capitol Commission or the Legislature to immediately institute a ban. They said each has the legal authority to do it and has repeatedly failed to take action.

The lawmakers spoke the day after a mob of pro-Trump extremists forced its way into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.  

A hospital emergency room entrance.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Cardiac arrests outside of hospitals went up by 60% during the first 10 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic over the same period the year before. And there was a 42% jump in deaths from cardiac arrests in the pre-hospital setting.

These were some of the findings of a study of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest records of the Emergency Service Information System in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties from March 23 through May 31, 2020. 

Courtesey of Muskegon Community College

The application deadline for the state's Futures for Frontliners program is December 31, 2020. 

According to state officials, 100,000 essential workers have applied since the program was kicked off in early September. But officials hope even more will apply before the upcoming deadline.

The program offers free tuition towards an associate degree or industry-recognized certificate at community college. It also provides tuition to complete the requirements for a high school diploma.

faucet running water
Marina Shemesh / Public Domain

A temporary statewide ban on water shutoffs at occupied residences due to unpaid bills will last until March 31, 2021 under legislation signed Tuesday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The legislation also requires water authorities to restore residential service that has been cut because of nonpayment unless reconnecting to damaged pipes would risk public safety. The new law would further require water authorities to identify occupied homes within their service areas that do not have water service, and to report on these efforts.

a classroom of empty colorful chairs
Flickr user Frank Juarez / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The initial unaudited 2020 fall enrollment count is down by roughly 53,000 students from last fall's count for Michigan's K-12 school districts and public school academies.

State Superintendent Michael Rice announced the 3.7% decline Wednesday. 

In a written statement, Rice estimated that about three quarters of the decline is due, in roughly equal shares, to fewer kindergartners, more homeschool kids, and an estimated public school population decrease based on an average annual decrease of 13,000 students over the last ten years.

Women's prison
Michigan Department of Corrections

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit Monday against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Muslim and Moorish Science women who are being housed primarily at the MDOC's Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Pittsfield Township.


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