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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan has most virus cases in 2 months; Izzo backs masks

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has reported its biggest increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in nearly two months, leading Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to say she may be forced to reimpose some restrictions if the upward trajectory holds. Whitmer again is asking people to wear face coverings in public. Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo, women’s coach Suzy Merchant and University of Michigan women’s coach Kim Barnes Arico joined her at a news conference Wednesday to push mask wearing. The state health department reported 891 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths. Whitmer says Michigan is at a “turning point.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-DETROIT MEMORIAL

Detroit to hold Aug. 31 memorial day for COVID-19 victims

DETROIT (AP) — The city of Detroit will have a memorial day to honor more than 1,400 residents who have died from COVID-19. Families are being invited to share photos that will be enlarged and displayed at Belle Isle State Park on Aug. 31 as part of a memorial drive around the island. Every person, church and community group in southeastern Michigan will be invited to ring bells for 15 minutes at 8:45 a.m. A fireworks show that night will honor first responders, hospital workers and others on the front line of the coronavirus fight. 

FATAL FIRE-CHARGES

Man ordered to trial for fire that killed wife, three boys

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Grand Rapids man blamed for a fire that killed his wife and three children was ordered to trial Wednesday on involuntary manslaughter charges. Investigators said a mattress or box spring between the house and a fire pit likely fueled the house fire in February. A judge says Robert Scales was negligent. She found enough evidence to send the case to trial in Kent County court. Defense attorney Anthony Greene argued that the lack of working smoke detectors was the fault of Scales’ wife, not him. 

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-ABSENTEE-BALLOTS

Court: Absentee ballots that come after election won’t count

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has denied a request to require the counting of absentee ballots received after the time polls close on Election Day. The ruling says the deadline remains intact despite voters’ approval of a constitutional amendment that expanded mail-in voting in Michigan, which is seen as one of the battleground states in November’s presidential election. The court in a 2-1 decision released Wednesday says it is up to lawmakers to change the deadline. The League of Women Voters of Michigan and three voters sued in May, seeking a declaration that absentee ballots be counted as long as they are mailed on or before Election Day and are received within six days of the election.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MOTOWN MUSEUM

Get ready: Motown Museum reopens after 4-month closure

DETROIT (AP) — The Motown Museum is back in business. The Detroit building where Berry Gordy Jr. built his music empire reopened its doors to the public on Wednesday. It had been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Museum chairwoman and CEO Robin Terry says it was a near-sellout. Before entering the building, guests are required to fill out a health questionnaire and undergo a temperature check. If they pass these, museum representatives provide them with a sticker they must wear that reads: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered. I’m Good,” referencing the Stevie Wonder hit.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-SCHOOL NICKNAME

Saugatuck school district might drop Indians nickname

SAUGATUCK, Mich. (AP) — A school district in western Michigan is suggesting it might drop its Indians nickname. Saugatuck says the name will be discussed at a Monday school board meeting, which will be conducted by video conference. Superintendent Tim Travis and school board President Nathan Lowery says it’s time to “reexamine the use” of the Indians nickname and mascot in light of recent events. Saugatuck is in Allegan County, 40 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. The school board in Paw Paw in Van Buren County voted in March to drop Redskins.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MUSIC FEST

Woodtick, popular UP music festival, canceled for 2020

HERMANSVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A popular four-day music festival in the Upper Peninsula has been canceled due to the coronavirus. The Woodtick Music Festival in Hermansville, west of Escanaba, had planned to have 30 bands on two stages, starting July 30. It would have been the 27th annual event. On their website, Woodtick organizers say they’ve been shut down over concerns about mask compliance and adequate distance between spectators. The festival began in 1994 with a group of people cooking hot dogs, playing music and watching a Green Bay Packers game.

MOSQUITO-VIRUS

Mosquito-borne virus turns up in Ottawa County resident

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — An uncommon mosquito-borne virus has infected a person in western Michigan’s Ottawa County. The case of Jamestown Canyon virus is only the fourth confirmed infection in Michigan since 2018. Most people don’t become ill, but the virus can cause fever, headache and fatigue. The state health department says it can cause infection of the brain in rare cases. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, says summer viruses spread by mosquitoes aren’t limited to just West Nile or Eastern equine encephalitis.  

DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-COACH

Former coach’s sentencing delayed in Nassar-related case

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A water main break has forced the postponement of sentencing for a former Michigan State University head gymnastics coach for lying to police during an investigation into ex-Olympic and university sports doctor Larry Nassar. Sixty-five-year-old Kathie Klages was found guilty by a jury in February of a felony and a misdemeanor for denying she knew of Nassar’s abuse prior to 2016 when survivors started to come forward publicly. A court official says water had to be cut off to the courthouse where Klages was scheduled for sentencing Wednesday. No new date was immediately set. Nassar was sentenced in 2018 to 40 to 175 years in prison for decades of sexual abuse to hundreds of athletes.

FIAT CHRYSLER-PSA-NEW NAME

Merged Fiat Chrysler-PSA company to be called Stellantis

DETROIT (AP) — When Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler merges with France’s PSA Groupe early next year, the new company will be called Stellantis. The companies say in a statement Wednesday that the name will be used for the parent corporation, but consumer brands such as Jeep, Ram and Peugeot will not be changed. Stellantis is derived from the Latin verb “stello,” which means “to brighten with the stars.” The companies announced plans to merge in December of 2019 and say the merger should be completed in the first three months of next year. It still must be approved by shareholders at general meetings and pass antitrust and other regulatory requirements.