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Vaccine shortage slows Michigan’s effort to end pandemic

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — If Michigan could administer 50,000 coronavirus vaccine doses a day, it could hit its goal of inoculating 70% of people age 16 and older by August. At the current rate, about 29,000 per day, it would not finish until a year from now. The issue is limited supplies. It is something Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and health officials hope can be addressed as new President Joe Biden takes the helm. In the first six weeks of the monumental undertaking, Michigan has gotten 182,000 doses a week — 52% of what is needed to get 50,000 shots in arms per day. 


Michigan adds Beech leaf disease to invasive species list

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Beech leaf disease has been added to Michigan’s invasive species watch list and state officials are asking residents to be on the lookout for trees infested with the damaging disease. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says the disease, which has not been found in Michigan, was discovered in Ohio in 2012 and has been identified in seven eastern states and Ontario, Canada. It causes damage to leaf tissue on American beech and European and Asian beech species. Trees weakened by leaf damage become susceptible to other diseases and can die within six years.


Visitors to Ann Arbor retail sites urged to get virus test

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Washtenaw County officials are urging residents who visited two retail sites in Ann Arbor to get tested for COVID-19 after cases of a more contagious virus variant were traced to those locations. The Detroit News reports county health officials say five cases of the coronavirus variant originally identified in Britain have been identified and additional tracing continues for other possible positive cases. Officials say that as a precaution, residents should immediately get tested if they visited the Meijer store on Saline Road in Ann Arbor on Jan. 17 between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. or Briarwood Mall, located at 100 Briarwood Circle, from 1 p.m.-2 p.m.


Property tax exemptions up for eligible Detroit homeowners

DETROIT (AP) — A property tax assistance program has granted more than 10,500 property tax exemptions to eligible Detroit homeowners and officials are still reviewing hundreds of other applications. The exemptions come under a program that provides an opportunity for homeowners to be exempt from their current year property taxes based on household income or circumstances to help them avoid the possibility of foreclosure. The city approved 9,089 property tax exemptions last year. Mayor Mike Duggan says the “program has one purpose and that is to help keep Detroit families struggling to pay their property taxes in their homes and to take away the fear of foreclosure.”


Benton Harbor, St. Joseph plan to erect King statues

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Two neighboring cities in southwestern Michigan are making a public commitment to social justice by installing statues of Martin Luther King Jr. in both communities. Benton Harbor is 84% Black, and St. Joseph is 84% white. Each city will also erect separate statues of a resident who is remembered as a social justice leader in each city. Benton Harbor Commissioner Edward Isom says art has a unique ability to enhance both communities. The Herald-Palladium reports that the goal is to have the statues up in 2022. Donations will be accepted.


Man dies after crashing through frozen lake on snowmobile

WOLVERINE LAKE, Mich. (AP) — A man riding a snowmobile on a frozen Michigan lake died when his vehicle crashed through the ice. Wolverine Lake Police say the 26-year-old from Wixom was under the water for an hour before being removed by the Oakland County Dive Team at around 1 p.m. Sunday. Authorities say the victim was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Commerce Township Fire Department and the Wolverine Lake Police assisted in the rescue. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office will investigate the incident.


With COVID-19 variant positives, Michigan pauses athletics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The entire University of Michigan athletic department is pausing after several positive tests for the new COVID-19 variant that transmits at a higher rate. The state Department of Health and Human Services said Sunday it issued recommendations for the school, although not an order. The school said Saturday night its move followed the positive COVID-19 tests for several individuals linked to the athletic department. The entire department could be in quarantine for two weeks.


Michigan Mega Millions ticket wins $1.05 billion jackpot

DETROIT (AP) — Someone bought a winning ticket for the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot at a grocery store outside of Detroit. The winning numbers for Friday night’s drawing were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball of 24. The ticket that won the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history was sold at a Kroger store in the Detroit suburb of Novi. A spokeswoman for the grocery chain congratulated the winner for “waking up to life-changing news this morning.” A winner who chooses the lump sum option would get $557 million after taxes. The win came just two days after a ticket sold in Maryland won the $731.1 million Powerball jackpot. 


Boy, 3, dies after accidentally shooting himself in Owosso

OWOSSO, Mich. (AP) — Police say a 3-year-old Michigan boy died after accidentally shooting himself Friday. The death in Owosso, 35 miles northeast of Lansing, was the second in recent days involving children with guns. In Detroit, an 18-month-old boy who got access to a gun shot his 5-year-old cousin. Owosso police say the 3-year-old was taken to a local hospital but didn’t survive. No other details were released.


Rep. Meijer attracts GOP challenge after impeachment vote

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A newly elected Michigan Republican congressman who voted to impeach President Donald Trump is already drawing a GOP opponent for the 2022 race. Tom Norton, a Trump supporter, says he’ll challenge Rep. Peter Meijer in the Republican primary in the Grand Rapids area. Norton finished third in August. Norton says Meijer destroyed “trust with voters” with his vote to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Norton says he’s already collecting campaign contributions. Meijer says he knew his vote could create a backlash among Republicans. But Meijer says elected officials aren’t effective if they’re always looking over their shoulder.