Here is the latest Michigan news from The Associated Press at 1:40 a.m. EST
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan will begin vaccinating seniors and front-line workers such as teachers and police against the coronavirus next week. State officials on Wednesday announced a plan to accelerate access for people who are at least 65 years old. The state had planned to next immunize those 75 and older and essential workers including first responders, prison guards and child care providers. But residents age 65 to 74 will be included, too. Seniors can book appointments by contacting county health departments and other local vaccine clinics. Essential workers will be notified by their employers about clinic dates and locations.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A new justice made her public debut as the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments in five cases Wednesday. Election victories by Elizabeth Welch and Chief Justice Bridget McCormack give Democratic nominees a majority on the court for the first time since 2010. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the Supreme Court still is hearing cases by video conference and not in its Lansing courtroom. Welch, a Grand Rapids-area lawyer, took the seat of Stephen Markman. Markman was a conservative justice who served for 21 years but couldn’t seek re-election because of age.
ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A billboard urging the removal of a statue of a Confederate soldier in western Michigan was taken down within hours after complaints. A group of Allendale Township residents that paid for the billboard said Outfront Media removed it at the request of the property owner. The billboard said “Remove the racist Confederate statue.” It went up Monday in Ottawa County but was removed within 24 hours. The township has a statue of a Union soldier and a Confederate soldier standing with an enslaved child at their feet. Township trustees voted in June to keep the statue at a veterans parks but formed a committee to recommend possible changes.
HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) — An iconic statue that celebrates the mining heritage in the Upper Peninsula has been badly damaged by a speeding car. The bronze statue of a miner has been near downtown Houghton since 1980. The right foot and left leg were broken off in the crash Sunday night. The miner’s lunch pail was found in the snow. Houghton is looking for someone to repair it. Houghton City Manager Eric Waara says the statue is an “iconic part of the community” and a cherished piece of art. The driver in the crash wasn’t injured.