Virginia Gordan | Michigan Radio

Virginia Gordan


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.

Mr. Music / Adobe Stock

Movie theater company Emagine Entertainment has backed off its plan to reopen a suburban Detroit movie theater on Friday after company chairman Paul Glantz received a letter Thursday from the office of Attorney General Dana Nessel that said to open would be against the law.

Mr. Music / Adobe Stock

The Emagine Royal Oak theater is planning to reopen on Friday for a weeklong Juneteenth film festival, even though the reopening would violate Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order that indoor movie theaters remain closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Whitmer's spokesperson Tiffany Brown said the Governor expects that by July 4th, movie theaters throughout the state may be allowed to open, subject to specific health and safety restrictions. That option is currrently available in only two of eight regions in Michigan.

Empty classroom
Kevin Wong / Flickr -

Forty-six west Michigan school superintendents have warned state and federal officials that school funding cuts are not acceptable.

In a joint statement released on Wednesday, the superintendents from Muskegon, Kent and Ottawa counties called on the U.S. Congress to quickly take action to provide additional aid for public education. 

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

The Detroit Public Schools Community District wants feedback on its recently released draft plan to re-open schools.

Health and safety risks are in the forefront of Michigan teachers' thoughts as they consider what public education might look like this fall with the uncertainties of COVID-19.

That's according to a Michigan Education Association survey of its 120,000 members, conducted May 14-22 and released Thursday.

mary barra
The City of Detroit

The heads of nine of Detroit's largest corporations came together at a press conference on Wednesday to jointly condemn racism and injustice that they said have been inflicted for far too long on the black community - and to speak in support of the peaceful protests that have been sweeping the nation.

In a statement, the corporate leaders condemned the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, all of whom were black.

Courtesy of Bedrock

Detroit's largest commercial real estate company is offering its retail and restaurant tenants a new form of rent relief, through an initiative called "Bedrock Relaunch." 

Dan Gilbert's Bedrock is giving these tenants the option to pay 7% of gross sales instead of paying their regular rent. 

Enbridge Energy

Enbridge said Tuesday it has found four places where protective coating has worn away on its Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

According to Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy, crews found the bare metal spots last week while preparing to install steel screw anchors. The spots are on the east segment of the dual pipeline.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign filed suit Tuesday in state court seeking an injunction that would reduce the number of signatures required and extend the deadline for the petition drive to amend the state's civil rights law

The group alleges it is impossible to collect the 340,042 signatures required by state law by May 27 due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

governor whitmer
State of Michigan

Nearly 64% of Michigan voters approve of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In contrast, support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis is more than 20 points lower at about 43%.

That’s according to a mid-May statewide poll of Michigan registered voters commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber, a southeast Michigan business advocacy group, and conducted by Glengariff Group, a non-partisan polling firm.

Empty classroom
Kevin Wong / Flickr -

It won't be back to normal in the fall for West Bloomfield public school students and their families.

The School District has rolled out a plan for the upcoming school year. It is believed to be the first in the state to do so.

Gary Jones stands at a UAW podium
United Auto Workers

Former United Autoworkers President Gary Jones was arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit on charges arising from a federal investigation into corruption in the union.

The arraignment hearing was conducted by video conferencing since federal district courthouses are closed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

Three medical practices and a patient filed suit in federal court on Tuesday challenging Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order that prohibits nonessential medical procedures during the state of emergency.

The order was put in place to make sure Michigan's health care system has enough capacity to fight COVID-19 and to prevent its spread.

Michigan State University
John M. Quick / Flickr -

Michigan State University has announced a new round of cost-saving measures arising from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

a michigan absentee ballot
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

All voting would be done by absentee ballot under a bill introduced Wednesday by State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor). The bill would end in-person voting at polling places.

Under the bill, registered voters would return their ballots by mail or drop them off at designated, local sites.

university of michigan hospital
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan's health system, will lay off and furlough about 1,400 full-time employees.

The job cuts are part of a plan, announced today by Michigan Medicine, to address a financial loss of up to $230 million projected for the fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2020. The health system expects the losses to continue into the 2021 fiscal year.

francistoms / flickr

The Michigan Veterinary Medical Association is calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to loosen restrictions on non-agricultural veterinary practices as she develops plans to open up the state's economy.

In a letter sent Monday, the group requested that Whitmer allow veterinarians to begin conducting sterilization procedures as soon as possible.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Two Michigan registered voters have sued Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in federal court, claiming that Michigan's absentee voting system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The plaintiffs, Michael Powell and Fred Wurtzel, are both blind. Powell is the president of the Michigan Affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, and Wurtzel is its former president.

Brad Gowland | Michigan Radio

The single biggest need in the parts of Detroit that have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus is food. That's according to data available in a recently released COVID-19 Dashboard put together by Michigan 211.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg held an emergency hearing Thursday morning on the state's request that he modify the order he issued Monday lowering signature requirements for certain candidates to be on the ballot in the August primary. 

Judge Berg ruled in the Esshaki case that the April 21 filing deadline be extended until May 8, that electronic signature gathering be allowed, and that the minumum signatures required be cut in half. 

Courtesy of Michigan Nurses Association

Mercy Health's Hackley Hospital in Muskegon has fired an ICU nurse after he brought media attention to safety concerns about the hospital's response to COVID-19. That's according to the Michigan Nurses Association.

The nurse's union alleged Justin Howe was fired for speaking publicly about inadequate personal protective equipment and about the need for improved screening measures at the hospital.

Samuel Stanley smiling ina blue suit in front of a brick building and trees in the background
Michigan State University

Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley announced Thursday a series of budget cuts arising from the financial strain brought on by the coronavirus.

In a letter to all university employees, Stanley said he and all MSU top executives, of whom there are about 150, will take temporary, immediate pay cuts that could last through May or June or possibly up to a full year.

absentee ballot in envelope
Nadya Peek / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is looking for people to serve as election workers for the May 5th local elections. 

Some clerks have reported that many of their regular election workers are seniors and have indicated they are not available to serve in May because of their increased vulnerability to the coronavirus.

Michigan State University sign
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Jon and Cheryl Edwards filed suit against Michigan State University in federal court in late February.  

The lawsuit alleges a pattern of sexual misconduct by the late MSU history professor Harold Marcus more than 35 years ago when they were students at MSU.  

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.

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

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.