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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan sees record number of new confirmed virus cases

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is reporting more than 3,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the highest yet during the pandemic — amid what a top health official calls “alarming increases” in infections around the state. The 3,338 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services surpasses the state’s previous single-day record of 2,030 new cases set on Oct. 15. The state agency also reported Saturday 35 more deaths, raising Michigan’s pandemic toll to 7,182 deaths. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, says the data “shows we are continuing to see alarming increases in the incidence of COVID-19 infections in Michigan.“

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR-KIDNAPPING PLOT

‘All talk, no action’ defense likely in Michigan kidnap case

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Defense lawyers for the men accused of trying to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are likely to argue that their clients were all talk and no action. It’s the same argument that was used by members of a different Michigan paramilitary group a decade ago when they were accused of scheming to overthrow the U.S. government. It worked so well that a federal judge took the rare step of dismissing most charges against the extremist group known as Hutaree, without giving the jury a say. Lawyers not involved in the current case say it may hinge on whether a judge or jury are convinced the plot was serious.

ELECTION 2020-SUPREME COURT-MICHIGAN

Decision that ‘undermined’ Gov. Whitmer spices up court race

DETROIT (AP) — Two seats are up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. And a recent decision that torpedoed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders during the coronavirus pandemic has led to calls for political payback. The court struck down orders to control the spread of the coronavirus, saying Whitmer acted under a 1945 law that was unconstitutional. The opinion was 4-3, with Republican justices ruling against the Democratic governor. Whitmer says she was “undermined.” If Elizabeth Welch and Chief Justice Bridget McCormack win, Democratic nominees will be in the court’s majority for the first time since 2010. The Republicans are Brock Swartzle and Mary Kelly.

MICHIGAN PIPELINE

Judge: Michigan agency can evaluate Great Lakes tunnel plan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A judge says the Michigan Public Service Commission has some authority over Enbridge’s plans to build an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the channel that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. State administrative law judge Dennis Mack ruled Friday that the commission can consider whether relocating part of Enbridge’s Line 5 to the tunnel would be in the public interest. But he says the agency should not consider broader issues such as how the project would affect climate change. Enbridge is seeking state and federal permission to move a segment of Line 5 that runs through the Straits of Mackinac to a tunnel.

JAIL MAIL-ELECTRONIC TABLETS

County jail switching inmate mail to electronic tablets

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A county jail in suburban Detroit is scrapping normal postal mail delivery for inmates and switching their communications over to specialized electronic tablets. The Oakland County sheriff’s office says the move eliminates the hand-processing of incoming and outgoing inmate mail and keeps contraband and illegal drugs from entering the facility through mail. The sheriff’s office is working with Florida-based technology company Smart Communications which is providing the tablets. All inmate postal mail now will be sent to Smart Communications where it will be screened and scanned into a high-definition color copy. It then will be delivered electronically to inmates.

NEW TRIAL-JURY

2 men get new trial after deliberating jurors used internet

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan’s appeals court has granted a new trial to two men in a 2009 killing after finding that jurors used the internet to do research during deliberations. The Michigan appeals court affirmed a decision by a Wayne County judge, who said “extraneous information” influenced the jury’s decision. Derrico Searcy was convicted of second-degree murder in J.B. Watson’s fatal shooting. Darrell Ewing was convicted of first-degree murder. A juror at the 2010 trial said information shared by other jurors about gangs and gang hierarchies persuaded her to convict them. The appeals court said jurors “are permitted to consider only the evidence that was admitted in open court.”

BENTON HARBOR WATER

Benton Harbor getting grant to replace lead water lines

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A southwestern Michigan city is getting a $5.6 million federal grant to remove lead water lines. U.S. Rep. Fred Upton says Benton Harbor will use the money to replace as many residential lead service lines as possible. Upton says the city will also study the best use of corrosion control treatment in the city’s water system. A lack of proper corrosion treatment caused lead to break off in water lines in Flint. Lead and steel lines in Flint are being replaced as part of a lawsuit settlement.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

High school winter sports will start on time, MHSAA says

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan high school winter sports will start on time in November. Face coverings are required for athletes practicing and competing in basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling. The Michigan High School Athletic Association made the announcement Friday. Masks are not required for athletes in bowling, gymnastics, skiing and swimming, unless players are on the sideline and not actively participating. Executive director Mark Uyl says Michigan’s COVID-19 stats must improve if students want to play an uninterrupted season. Michigan reported 1,800 new cases Friday and 18 deaths.

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-POSTAL-DELIVERY

Battleground postal delays persist with mail voting underway

U.S. Postal Service records show delivery delays persisting across the country as millions of Americans begin voting by mail, raising the possibility of ballots being rejected because they arrive too late. Postal data covering the beginning of October shows nearly all the agency’s delivery regions missed its target of having at least 95% of first-class mail arrive within five days. Parts of the presidential battleground states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio are missing delivery goals by wide margins as the agency struggles to regain its footing after a tumultuous summer. 

ODD-DOUBLE LOTTERY LUCK

Man wins $2M after mistakenly buying extra lottery ticket

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — Some mistakes are costly, but not this one. A Detroit-area man who accidentally bought an extra lottery ticket won two $1 million jackpots. Samir Mazahem of Dearborn Heights says he was saving numbers on a lottery app after buying a $2 ticket for the June 9 Mega Millions game. He then realized that he had purchased another ticket with the same numbers. Mazahem says he was “bummed” but forgot about it until he logged onto the app. He had two $1 million winners. Mazahem says he, “couldn’t believe it was real.”