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.

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.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

The state's Medicaid expansion has substantially improved access to primary care and preventive services for enrollees. That's according to two recent  studies of the Healthy Michigan Plan by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Judge's gavel
Flickr user Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A 33-count federal indictment was unsealed Thursday charging City of Taylor mayor Richard "Rick" Sollars with conspiracy to commit bribery along with Taylor community development manager Jeffrey Baum and real estate developer Shady Awad. The indictment also charges Sollars and Awad with seven counts of bribery each, and it charges Sollars and Baum with 18 counts of wire fraud.

An artist's rendering of the planned Beaumont/UHS mental health hospital.
Beaumont Health

The ground-breaking ceremony for Beaumont Health's new mental health hospital took place Monday. The hospital will be located on eight acres of vacant land across from Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn.

PFAS foam on the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week, the state began collecting PFAS-containing firefighting foam, known as Class B AFFF, that has been held in inventory by fire departments and commercial airports across Michigan.

According to Scott Dean, the spokesman for the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART), the effort is part of the state's $1.4 million plan to collect and dispose of about 35,000 gallons of the foam.

For the first time in 15 years, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a staff of three in its contemporary art department.
Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts millage renewal is slated to appear on the March 10, 2020 ballot in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

Voters in each county will decide whether to renew the 0.2 millage that helps fund the DIA. That's 20 cents per $1,000 of taxable value.

The ten-year millage was first passed in 2012. If voters approve the millage renewal in March, it will continue through 2031.

Elderly woman
Borya / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bill (S.B. 110) is working its way through the legislature that would help incapacitated adults whose caretakers are cutting them off from family and friends.

The bill would allow a court to appoint a guardian for the limited purpose of supervising the incapacitated individual's access to people they want to see or talk to.

Wayne State University

Judge Damon J. Keith died Sunday at the age of 96. The Detroit native, one of the nation’s longest-serving federal judges, was a tireless champion of civil rights and civil liberties.

A Michigan State Police file photo.
Michigan State Police

The Michigan Supreme court ruled unanimously on Monday that a passenger in a car may challenge a police search of his personal property found in the vehicle. And it overruled its  2007 decision in People v. LaBelle that barred passengers from challenging a search of a car in which they were traveling. 

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