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Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan distillers are expanding their offerings in many different ways, but recently Ann Arbor Distilling Company took a different direction than most.

Distillers’ tasting rooms cannot use any kind of alcohol not made by the distillery. That’s meant some have come up with some of their own products to imitate the ingredients in classic cocktails. Ann Arbor Distilling took that idea and is now selling it to the public. It’s called Water Hill Apertivo.

Linda Heard receives her COVID vaccine during a drive-thru clinic in Ypsilanti at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Spring Quiñones was getting goosebumps, watching one person after another walk into the middle of this large classroom-turned-COVID-19 vaccine clinic, at St. Francis of Assisi church in Ann Arbor.

“Oh my god, it’s hitting me!” she laughed. Some 200 people had appointments at this March 16 pop-up clinic for Spanish-speakers. And getting it off the ground hadn’t been easy.

Over the course of two weeks in March, Washtenaw County health officials say they leaned heavily on community leaders and activists to organize a series of specialized vaccine clinics aimed at minorities.

And based on preliminary data from the county, it may have actually worked.

It’s been more than a year since our lives were upended by COVID-19, and Michigan Radio has tirelessly chronicled the news along the way. Not just about the pandemic, but about historic flooding that displaced residents; street protests demanding racial justice; a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor; and more. 

It’s all felt like a little too much, right? 

We get it.

Courtesy Photo

It’s been over a year since COVID-19 hit Michigan and there’s been so much news to keep up with. From burned-out health care workers and grieving families, to street protests against police brutality, to violence in our state and national capitals. It's been a lot.

So we want to switch gears a little with a new series called Getting Through. These are stories and sounds of how we’re staying grounded during this chaos.

exterior of Ford Field

Michiganders in southeast Michigan can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at Ford Field. The home of the Detroit Lions will open its doors to start administering vaccines March 24.

State and federal officials say the Ford Field site can give out up to 6,000 doses of vaccine per day. A technical problem caused a delay in the launch of the website where people can sign up, but it’s up and running now.

illustration of COVID-19 related things
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

building marquee that says "socially distant but always together"
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

March 10 marks one year since Michigan’s first confirmed COVID-19 case. We want to know how COVID has changed your life this year. What’s the worst thing the pandemic has brought - and what’s the best thing?

All information from local government meetings is public. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find.

Most cities and counties in Michigan do a decent job of publishing information about these meetings online. But if you go looking for it, you will quickly find yourself in a maze of drop down menus, pdf links and videos that stretch on for hours.

Helping to navigate all this information is a big part of what local news organizations do. But we can’t be everywhere.

So Michigan Radio is trying a new approach.

Today we introduce Minutes, a new project at Michigan Radio to help make public meetings in Michigan more public.

After nearly a year of grief, vaccinations bring joy to Michigan

Mar 1, 2021
Elaine Cromie / Bridge Michigan

For much of last year, Michigan’s nurses and other frontline workers were sometimes called names, cursed at, or lied to.

They scrambled to fill staff shortages, track down masks or other supplies, and, in some cases, as the virus tore through their communities, found there was precious little they could do for thousands of the sick and dying.

Then, finally, vaccines arrived.

Ralston Smith for Unsplash

There’s the achievement gap. And now we may be seeing the rise of the “in-person learning” gap, too.

As of this month, 83% of Michigan’s school districts say they’re already offering or planning to offer at least some form of in-person instruction, according to a new statewide survey. That’s a big jump from the  64% who were planning to do so in January, according to a release from Michigan State University.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It’s freezing outside and Larry Scheer is in neoprene chest waders kicking up sediment in Boyden Creek near Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The downtown office for the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of the Chippewa Indians Fisheries Management Program is a simple, small two-story brick building.

Grand Rapids History and Special Collections (GRHSC), Archives, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In the archives at the Grand Rapids Public Library, there is a recording, made by the historian Carolyn Shapiro-Shapin in 1998.

If you live in a part of Michigan that has COVID vaccine doses, and you’re in a priority group, you might be trying to make a decision right now: Is it time to get the shots?

But if you’re someone who’s had a complicated relationship with establishment health care, it may not be so simple. Donna Allen-Brown checks all those boxes.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit artist Charles McGee has died at the age of 96. His art spans a period of more than 75 years. 

McGee’s artwork is scattered across Detroit. His work includes huge murals, sculptures, paintings, and mixed-media.


It's been seven weeks since the first COVID-19 vaccines were distributed in Michigan and, as of Monday, the state has now officially seen over one million shots in arms. 


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services tracks its vaccine distributions in a dashboard that is updated throughout the week with metrics for first and second doses, doses by county, and more. 


As of Sunday, more than 200,000 people are now fully vaccinated. 

All University of Michigan students in the Ann Arbor area are being advised to stay in place as the Washtenaw County health department tries to contain a COVID-19 outbreak.

The outbreak involves a mutation of the COVID-19 virus which can spread more easily. 

The US Capitol
Jonothan Colman / Flickr


The armed mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6 shocked many Americans, including those who migrated to this country seeking refuge from instability and violence. 

Watching the insurrection on the news, a man who is seeking asylum in the U.S. from Togo said he saw in his mind, flashes of the violence that forced him to leave his home country.

Raising a mangled finger which he said is the result of torture at the hands of the government, the man, who is a resident of the Detroit-based nonprofit Freedom House and asked not to be named due to the ongoing nature of his asylum proceedings, said he never imagined that such violence could strike the United States. 

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Plans for a mass demonstration Sunday at the state Capitol drew a large law enforcement presence, but only a small crowd of protesters.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In Flint, criminal and civil cases stemming from the city’s lead tainted drinking water crisis are converging this week. New criminal charges may be coming while many in Flint still question whether they will ever get justice.

Nearly seven years ago, government leaders here pushed the button that switched the city of Flint’s drinking water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River.  

Courtesy Michelle Matiyow

More than 13,000.

That is the tally of lives COVID-19 has taken here in Michigan as of Sunday.

We don’t talk as much about the other people we’ve lost over the past ten months.

Tracy and Matt Godbold, co-owners of The Rusty Nail in Carson City in mid-Michigan's Montcalm county. The Godbold's moved to Michigan from Arizona to take ownership of the restaurant in 2019.
Courtesy of Matt Godbold / Courtesy of Matt Godbold

It’s been a long, hard pandemic for restaurants. Michigan has banned indoor dining at restaurants twice to try and slow the spread of coronavirus -- once at the beginning of the pandemic and again in November. The second ban is still in effect through at least January 15.

With public health restrictions limiting their business for much of the past year, restaurants have struggled to stay open for business. A December study from Top Data and Zenreach indicates spending at restaurants at the end of 2020 declined 11% from January of last year. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Several hundred Trump supporters gathered at the state capitol in Lansing, as Congress began to debate on the Electoral College results.

At times the event was more religious revival than political last stand.

“Father God release the angelic hosts of Heaven on behalf of your people,” said one speaker.

Illustration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The state of Michigan has begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines, and frontline health workers and residents of long-term care facilities are first up to receive the vaccination.

Courtesy photos

More information is coming out about the potential long term symptoms of COVID-19. The CDC recently put out a list of the long term effects of the virus. And post-COVID treatment centers are growing in number.

It’s being called “Long COVID.” For people living with it, there are a lot of unknowns.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer won’t necessarily wait for January 15 to lift current COVID-19 restrictions.

That’s when a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order expires.

Whitmer said Tuesday the restrictions could be lifted sooner than that. But she says that’s only if data show there’s no major community spread following winter holiday gatherings.