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Kalamazoo’s First Reformed Church demolished after 140 years

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A landmark fixture in western Michigan is being demolished after 140 years. WOOD-TV reported crews began tearing down the walls of the First Reformed Church in downtown Kalamazoo this past week week but were able to salvage some stained-glass windows and other items. The church has been vacant since closing in 2013. First Congregational Senior Pastor Nathan Dannison says not enough funding was available to cover the high repair costs. He said the church has been working with the Kalamazoo Nature Center to create a children’s playscape in the church’s place to make sure the space is designated for community use.


Michigan restaurant leaves franchise over virus restrictions

A Big Boy restaurant in Michigan’s Thumb region has lost its name after the owners refused to stop indoor dining as part of statewide restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Customers were greeted with Sandusky Diner instead of Sandusky Big Boy, which the restaurant was called for 35 years. It was one of four eateries cited earlier this week for violating state orders. Three other establishments, including one of the restaurants, also had their liquor licenses suspended. Meanwhile, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants the Republican-controlled Legislature to approve a $100 million stimulus plan for families and small businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. 


Ground broken on new $60M development in Midtown Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Ground has been broken for a $60 million residential and retail development in Midtown Detroit. The five-story, 204-apartment Woodward West is expected to open in the summer of 2022 just north of downtown. Officials say 20% of the apartments will be offered below market rate as affordable housing. Detroit-based Queen Lillian and The Platform are the project’s developers. The nearly 2-acre site is on one of the last major vacant parcels on Woodward Avenue in Midtown. Woodward West will be one of the latest developments in Detroit with construction coming less than a year after The Platform opened The Boulevard at Third Avenue and West Grand Boulevard in New Center. 


Police: Man trapped beneath car that crashed into his home

WYOMING, Mich. (AP) — A man has been hurt after being trapped beneath a car that slammed into his western Michigan home. Police in Wyoming, outside Grand Rapids, say the vehicle ran a stop sign about 1:30 a.m. Friday, crossed over the man’s yard and struck the front of his house. The homeowner was laying in his bed at the time of the crash. A portion of the home’s wall had to be removed to allow rescue crews to reach the man. He was listed in serious condition at a hospital. The car’s driver was injured and hospitalized. A passenger in the car was not hurt. The cause of the crash was under investigation.


Police: Standoff follows shots fired call at Detroit home

DETROIT (AP) — Two men have been arrested on Detroit’s northeast side after refusing police orders to leave a home believed to be the location of a shooting. The Detroit News reports that the men, ages 44 and 30, surrendered about 7:30 a.m. Friday following a nearly 7-hour standoff. Officers had gone to the home after gunfire was reported about 12:40 a.m. They found shell casings outside. About 1:20 a.m. Friday, someone dropped off a 22-year-old man at a hospital. The man had been shot and later died. The newspaper reports that his death and the shots fired outside the home were believed to be connected.


Michigan leaders encourage residents to support local shops

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State leaders are asking Michigan residents to beat lines and avoid crowds by shopping at local small businesses on Black Friday. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is encouraging shopping, eating and traveling locally through a new “Support Local” campaign in order to make sure small businesses make it through the winter. One in five jobs in Michigan are in the retail industry, according to the Michigan Retailers Association. It says that in 2017, Michigan residents spent $18.5 billion on out-of-state retailers. If residents switched one in every 10 out-of-state purchases to local stores, the state would increase by $1.2 billion in economic activity, which could create 10,600 new jobs.


New Michigan law to wipe clean misdemeanors, minor offenses

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — New legislation under Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will allow thousands of Michigan residents to get their misdemeanors removed from public record. According to the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the “Clean Slate” laws will automatically expunge misdemeanors seven years after sentencing. Felonies will be handled the same way 10 years after sentencing or the end of a sentence. Supporters say the change will allow Michigan residents to seek better employment, apply for housing and have access to previously off-limits opportunities. According to a governor’s office, drunken driving offenses, as well as crimes involving minors, vulnerable elders, assaults, forgery and embezzlement, and other more serious felonies and misdemeanors will not be automatically expunged.


Top California air, climate regulator hopes to run Biden EPA

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Mary Nichols will soon leave her job as California’s top air regulator after more than four decades of advocating for ambitious climate policies in the nation’s most populous state. In recent years, she’s been their staunch defender against pushback from President Donald Trump. Nichols hopes she can continue that work as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President-elect Joe Biden. Nichols is viewed as a leading contender for the job with support from some environmental groups and former EPA officials. But she’s likely to face opposition from Republican senators and some environmental justice groups.


Michigan agency recommends $5.4M for recreation projects

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials have selected 14 community and state parks, trails and sports facilities to share $5.4 million in federal grants. The state Department of Natural Resources says the money will come from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is supported by revenues from gas and oil development from the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly a dozen counties are expected to get funding for projects including campground developments, park renovations and improvements, accessible playground development, accessibility improvements and more.


Michigan approaching 325,000 virus cases; deaths top 8,700

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan is moving closer to 325,000 COVID-19 cases. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday reported 4,273 new daily confirmed cases, bringing the state’s total to 324,779 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Another 73 people have died due to complications from the virus. Total reported virus-related deaths in Michigan were listed at 8,761. Henry Ford Health System on Wednesday announced that five of its hospitals have been approved by the state as sites where COVID-19 vaccines can be distributed when made available.