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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
michigan.gov

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.

Master Sgt. David Eichaker / Air National Guard

The state’s prisons have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 50% of Michigan’s prison inmates have been infected by the virus.

As inmate Debra McDaniel notes, "The United States wasn't even prepared for this, let alone a correctional facility."

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Frontline workers at Michigan’s largest health care system started getting COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday.

Southeast Michigan’s Beaumont Health received 975 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two shots. It’s vaccinating the highest-priority health care workers, like respiratory therapist Tamara Allen, first.

Black Fire Brewery owner Mike Wells
Black Fire Brewery


Detroit mom still recovering from the spring wave of COVID-19

Dec 10, 2020
Nicole Vaughn, 50, is a single mom of five adopted kids. Back in March she came down with COVID-19 and was hospitalized and put on a ventilator.
Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

We’re in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19 here in the state, but the reality is some people are still recovering from the first wave back in the spring.

Adobe Stock


Keith Ladzinski / National Geographic

The cover story in this month’s issue of National Geographic takes a deep dive into the many major threats to the health of the Great Lakes. In the magazine you’ll find dramatic photos of massive algal blooms and surging floodwaters, as well as up-close portraits of invasive species that are disrupting the local ecosystems.

 Jerry Bishop is senior pastor at LifeQuest Urban Outreach Center in Grand Rapids. His ministry serves people in the heart of Grand Rapids, and he has a particular focus helping young Black men.

The virus has taken an immense toll on the community Jerry Bishop serves. Bishop says he’s presided over funerals for 21 people who’ve died of COVID. Click the link above to listen to his story.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit western counties in the Upper Peninsula hard this fall. The population of Delta County is about 36,000. There have been more than 2,500 cases of COVID-19 and 60 deaths.

Chris Anderson is with the Anderson Funeral Home in Escanaba’s downtown. He says the pandemic caught them by surprise. They did not see the surge of cases in the first wave of the infection in the spring.

The number of people in Michigan hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to rise. Already, many hospitals are stretched to their limit.

Our reporters have been speaking to frontline health care workers, and today we want to bring you the voice of Elise Pavlige. She’s an ICU nurse at Mercy Health in Muskegon, where inpatient cases have gone from less than 50 to more than 130 just this month.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A line of candles on a concrete porch. A white teddy bear. Her face, shining through in photographs. Balloons, purple and silver, let loose into the night sky.

Her name filling the air.

“Honestie!”

“Long live Honestie, my baby!”

“I love you monster!”

“We love you!”

Fourteen year old Honestie Hodges passed away Sunday, from complications of COVID-19. Friends and family held a vigil Monday night.

He had dementia and COVID. She wanted to hold him when he died.

Nov 23, 2020
Daytona Niles / Bridge Michigan

Jerry Zeiger tested positive for COVID on a Tuesday.

The next day, the hulking former engineer with late-stage Alzheimer’s is tucked under a soft brown blanket at Sue’s Loving Care, an adult foster home in Kalamazoo.

He is 73. Outside his screened window, the woman he shared truckstop coffee with on their first date teeters on a step ladder on a raw November day.

Brian Vernellis/Holland Sentinel

Eric Kumor has been a nurse for 10 years, but the last few weeks he finds himself having to gear up emotionally just to walk in the door to work.

a pumpkin pie on a table
Unsplash

Planning a Thanksgiving celebration isn’t usually a simple task—but this year, it’s bound to be particularly complicated. As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Michigan, health officials warn that even small holiday gatherings pose risks.

It’s hard to know how to celebrate. Do you brave the cold and see family from a safe distance outdoors? Host a virtual dinner? Load up on turkey and take a long, tryptophan-induced nap? 

COURTESY OF TORY KAMERLING

Mari Esther Sheets is more powerful than she seems. The cancer and stroke survivor is 55. She lives at Samaritas, a nursing home in Grand Rapids. And because she’s so young — and aware — she can speak up for other residents in the facility.

Tory Kamerling, her boyfriend, describes her as an advocate.

The couple spoke with Michigan Radio’s Will Callan about being apart during COVID-19, and what it was like when the virus overran the facility.

young people with masks drinking
Adobe Stock

Rev. Robert Teszlewicz was doing everything right. In the spring, he was off work, and followed the stay-at-home orders.

Ryan Garza for the Detroit Free Press

The Associated Press declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner of his native Pennsylvania at 11:25 a.m. EST. The AP called the race for Biden, who held a 34,243-vote lead after it determined that the remaining ballots left to be counted would not allow Trump to catch up.

Updated November 4 at 9:34 a.m.: Michigan voters have approved Proposal 2, which amends the Michigan Constitution to protect electronic data and communications in the same way the law protects your home and papers from unsreasonable search and seizure. 

graphic showing that proposal 1 passed
Lester Graham, Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Updated 9:25 a.m. at November 4, 2020: Proposal 1 has passed. 

Terry and Brady Hessbrook
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

We wrap up our Voter Voices series with a father and son who don’t see eye-to-eye on politics.

Brady Hessbrook is the senior starting quarterback at Ithaca High School, and a first-time voter. His dad Terry Hessbrook is the head football coach.

They spoke with Michigan Radio's Tyler Scott about politics and enjoying one last playoff-run together after football was almost cancelled because of COVID-19.

Khadijah Brown
Courtesy of Khadijah Brown

We’ve been talking to folks across the state to hear what’s on their minds this election season in our series Voter Voices.

For performing artist and activist Khadijah Brown, policing is very much on her mind as she heads to the polls.

Earlier this year she co-founded a group called Uplift Kalamazoo to help the Black community and address systemic racism in the city.

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