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THREE DEAD-FAMILY

Autopsies may provide answers in deaths of 3 from Bay City

WEST BRANCH, Mich. (AP) — A northern Michigan sheriff said there are many “unanswered questions” after the bodies of a man, a woman and their young son were found over the weekend in a wooded area. The bodies were discovered Saturday by a snowmobiler in Ogemaw County. Sheriff Brian Gilbert says all three were outside a pickup truck, which appeared to be stuck on a rock. Autopsies are planned Wednesday. Amanda Pomeroy, Douglas Dougherty and son Jacob lived in Bay City and were reported missing on Jan. 16. The boy was under a year old. 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Whitmer mum on health chief’s resignation, sports ban

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is refusing to discuss the circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of Michigan’s health director during the coronavirus pandemic, including whether she asked for his resignation. The Democratic governor also declined Monday to set a date for the return of youth contact sports, despite growing pressure after her administration extended the ban through Feb. 21. Robert Gordon, who issued COVID-19 restrictions after Whitmer’s powers were upended by an October court ruling, resigned Friday as director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. The governor named Elizabeth Hertel to succeed him.

CAPITOL BREACH-MICHIGAN

US: Man at Capitol riot hit cops 10 times with hockey stick

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Detroit are disclosing more details about the alleged acts of a former Marine from Michigan who was at the U.S. Capitol riot. Authorities say Michael Foy of Wixom struck police at least 10 times with a hockey stick during the Jan. 6 attack. A judge says the 30-year-old Foy will remain locked up while facing charges in Washington. Prosecutor Hank Moon says Foy took multiple swings at police and subsequently crawled into the Capitol through a broken window. Investigators have the hockey stick. Foy is charged with assault and other crimes.

AP-US-WINTER-WEATHER

Foot of snow blankets parts of Midwest, disrupts travel

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A major winter storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of Nebraska and Iowa, disrupting traffic and shuttering some schools, while blanketing other parts of the middle of the country. There were early closures of several coronavirus testing sites on Monday in Nebraska and Iowa, and both states saw 12 or 13 inches of snow in places by Tuesday morning. At least 4 inches of snow was expected into Tuesday across most of an area stretching from central Kansas northeast to Chicago and southern Michigan. Elsewhere in the U.S, a storm buried northern Arizona in snow on Monday while sending flurries to the outskirts of Las Vegas and Phoenix.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN SCHOOLS

Michigan asks for a waiver of standardized testing for 2021

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Department of Education again has asked the U.S. Department of Education to waive standardized testing for the 2020-2021 school year so Michigan teachers can focus on making sure students are caught up in their education. State Superintendent Michael Rice says in the request that Michigan can’t safely and uniformly administer a fair standardized test. Standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year was waived for Michigan, but U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told states to expect testing to come back for the 2020-2021 school year. Rice is appealing to new President Joe Biden’s administration. 

HOMELESS CAMP-FIRE

Fire, explosions at Kalamazoo homeless camp; 1 person hurt

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — More than a dozen small propane tanks exploded at a homeless camp in southwestern Michigan when they were mishandled near an open fire. The fire was brought under control in 10 minutes Sunday by Kalamazoo firefighters. One person had minor injuries. The camp has many tents. Scott Brooks, the Kalamazoo fire marshal, says an improvised adaptor on one of the propane tanks failed, causing an explosion. Due to the intense heat from the fire, other small propane tanks exploded. Katrina Davis was delivering soup and witnessed the fire. Davis says it was “unbelievable.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINATIONS

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. 

INVASIVE SPECIES-MICHIGAN

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.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-WASHTENAW COUNTY

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 TAXES-DETROIT

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.”