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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan governor says COVID-19 infections could be dropping

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — After leading the nation’s COVID-19 daily case rate for weeks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday that Michigan could be seeing a drop in infections. Whitmer has extended a pandemic order that limits business capacity and requires masks in public, but the Democrat has avoided further restrictions in place during previous surges, including suspending indoor restaurant dining. She tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” cases could be beginning to slow down. She didn’t discuss specific data and Michigan doesn’t release coronavirus-related data on Sundays. Health officials said Friday that the seven-day average positivity rate had dropped in recent days to 17.1%, but remained above a December peak of 14.4%.

NMU FACULTY

NMU faculty want raises after a one-year pay freeze

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — Professors at Northern Michigan University say they took “one for the team” during the pandemic, agreeing to a one-year pay freeze. Now they want a better deal from administrators at the Upper Peninsula school. Faculty held signs and held a rally last week to bring attention to contract talks. Union leader Dwight Brady says NMU has proposed a two-year contract with no increase in base pay along with a 1% bonus. The current contract expires June 30. NMU President Fritz Erickson says he’s looking forward to “fruitful talks.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan reports more than 5,500 new virus cases, 69 deaths

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than 5,500 new COVID-19 cases and 69 deaths due to the coronavirus have been reported in Michigan. The cases confirmed Saturday by Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services pushed the state’s total to 785,307 since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago. Of the 69 reported deaths, 60 were identified during a review of vital records. Michigan’s daily case rate has led the U.S. for weeks. Nearly 9,000 cases and 40 deaths were added Friday. The state reports on the health department website that about 2.4 million Michigan residents have been vaccinated.

WIFE SHOT-HUSBAND ARRESTED

Man shoots wife after he leaves children in car outside bar

DETROIT (AP) — A 29-year-old man who allegedly left his daughter and son — ages 6 and 4 — alone in a car while he spent time in a Detroit bar has been arrested after his wife was shot. Detroit police say the 28-year-old woman went to the westside bar about 1:15 a.m. Saturday after her eldest child telephoned and said she was afraid. She got into the car and her husband began shooting at the vehicle with two guns. She suffered a grazing gunshot wound but was able to drive away. Multiple slugs struck the vehicle. Police said the children were not struck by the gunfire. Officers arrested the husband and recovered the guns.

DETROIT FIRE-CHILD RESCUED

Official: Firefighters not told child was in burning home

DETROIT (AP) — Police in Detroit have launched an investigation after people living in a home that caught fire failed to tell firefighters an 18-month-old girl was inside. Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell tells The Detroit News for a story Saturday that firefighters rescued the toddler from the burning eastside home on April 5. Several adults were outside and asked firefighters to save dogs that were in the burning house. A firefighter noticed a crib and saw the child. Fornell says the girl was taken to a hospital where it later was learned she had “injuries inconsistent with being trapped in a fire.” Police and Children’s Protective Services were alerted. The child was placed with another guardian.

LAWMAKER CHARGED

State lawmaker charged with drunken driving, resisting cops

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A state lawmaker faces drunken driving and other charges stemming from an April 6 crash into a ditch along Interstate 96 in Livingston County. Rep. Jewell Jones, a 26-year-old Inkster Democrat in his third term, was arraigned Friday. Charges include resisting and obstructing police officers – a felony — and driving with a high blood-alcohol content of at least 0.17 %, more than double the limit. Jones also is charged with reckless driving and possessing a weapon while under the influence of alcohol. A prosecutor says he had to be “tased” and pepper sprayed. Jones’ lawyer says he’s presumed innocent.

BEANS SIGN

Beans sign, a Saginaw landmark for decades, is coming down

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — After decades above Saginaw, a landmark sign is coming down. The sign spells B-E-A-N-S with a rabbit behind it. It’s been dark since 2009 when a storm knocked out the neon lights. Thomas Mudd, founder of the Saginaw Valley Historic Preservation Society, says people in Saginaw looked up and “always associated the sign with coming home.” The building was a grain elevator but later became associated with Michigan Bean Company and its Jack Rabbit beans. The Saginaw school district is turning the property into a site for high school sports. The school district would like to preserve the sign.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan extends mask order, capacity limits amid surge

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has extended by five weeks a pandemic order requiring masks in public, limiting capacity inside businesses and capping gathering sizes. The measure announced Friday replaces one that had been due to expire Monday. It includes one change. Children ages 2 to 4 in day care facilities or camps are no longer exempt from having to wear masks, starting April 26. Even as the state confronts the country’s highest daily coronavirus infection rate, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has resisted tightening restrictions. She is urging a voluntary pause on certain activities and pushing vaccinations.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-AUTO PRODUCTION

AP source: Virus surge in Michigan slows Ram truck plant

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan’s worst-in-the-nation Covid-19 outbreak is starting to affect automotive production, with a major Ram pickup truck plant slowing its output due to a large number of absent workers. A person briefed on the matter says about 10% of the production work force at the Stellantis assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, either tested positive or is in quarantine. That’s about 600 workers, says the person who asked not to be identified because neither the company nor the United Auto Workers union is releasing details. Stellantis has brought in workers from other factories but the assembly line has slowed. Michigan continues to have the nation’s highest seven-day virus case rate, 538 per every 100,000 residents.  

MAIL VAN CARJACKED-DETROIT

Woman arrested after postal service van carjacked in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — A 40-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the carjacking of a U.S. Postal Service van in Detroit. The Wayne County prosecutor’s office says Sadie Lakisha Hawkins has been charged with carjacking, unarmed robbery, receiving and concealing stolen property and unlawful driving away of an automobile. Hawkins was expected to be arraigned Friday. A postal worker was pulled from the van Wednesday evening on the city’s westside and the vehicle was taken. Detroit police arrested Hawkins on Thursday. Court records did not list an attorney for Hawkins.