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VIRUS OUTBREAK-DETROIT TOURISM

Detroit tourism seeks rebound after year lost to pandemic

DETROIT (AP) — Tourism leaders in Detroit are banking on a return of conventions and business meetings shut down last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Groups and companies already are booking dates for this year and next. The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau has designed Detroit-specific packages that feature high-end hotels and swanky restaurants in an effort to attract short-term visitors from nearby states. Professional Convention Management Association President Sherrif Karamat says losses in the U.S. due to COVID-19 are estimated at $300 billion and that $1 trillion generated globally by conventions in 2019 nearly all “went away.”

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan adds 107 deaths to virus toll as mask order eased

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A records review has added 91 previous deaths to Michigan’s COVID-19 pandemic total. The state Department of Health and Human Services on Saturday also reported 16 new coronavirus deaths, pushing the statewide toll to 18,607. The updated totals came the same day that a new Michigan order took effect under which those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need to wear a mask any longer and people who aren’t vaccinated don’t have to wear one outdoors. Michigan still has the country’s highest two-week infection rate, but it has dropped significantly recently.

PELLET GUN DEATH

Michigan police say 4-year-old fatally shot by pellet gun

BLENDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Police say a 4-year-old child has died after being accidentally shot with a pellet gun in western Michigan’s Ottawa County. The child was shot Friday evening at a home in rural Blendon Township, which is south of Allendale, but Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office provided few details. The child was taken to a Grand Rapids hospital but did not survive .Officials didn’t immediately release the child’s name or gender. Information on what led up to the child being shot wasn’t immediately available Saturday.

DETROIT RIVERWALK

Work starts on final stretch of Detroit’s East Riverwalk

DETROIT (AP) — Work has started to complete the final 3.5 miles of a walking and biking path along Detroit’s east riverfront. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy says that section is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022 and link the Detroit Riverwalk to MacArthur Bridge that crosses the Detroit River to Belle Isle park. The $11 million project to complete the East Riverwalk extends along the site of a former Uniroyal tire plant. The factory was torn down in 1985. The conservancy also hopes to extend the Riverwalk another two miles west of downtown to the Ambassador Bridge.

STELLANTIS-ILLINOIS FACTORY

1,600 layoffs coming at Illinois Jeep Cherokee factory

BELVIDERE, Ill. (AP) — Some 1,600 jobs are being cut at a Jeep Cherokee factory in northern Illinois as automakers continue being plagued by the global shortage of semiconductors. The U.S. arm of Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, said Friday it was cutting one of the two work shifts at its Belvidere Assembly Plant as of July 26. The company says that could result in the layoffs of 1,641 workers. The Belvidere has been idled since late March, with Stellantis repeatedly delaying the reopening that is now not expected until at least later this month.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan lifts indoor mask requirement for vaccinated people

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is lifting a mask requirement for fully vaccinated people and says the unvaccinated don’t need to wear one outdoors. A broad indoor face covering mandate will expire in July. The announcement Friday from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people. Michigan’s order takes effect at 9 a.m. Saturday. People outside won’t have to wear a mask regardless of whether they have gotten a shot. While inside, the fully vaccinated can go without a face covering. Those who aren’t vaccinated must still wear a mask indoors.

SAVING WATER

Detroit suburbs act to conserve water, avoid rate shock

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit suburb is offering to make free house calls to help residents efficiently use their automatic sprinklers. Macomb Township in Macomb County is trying to avoid extra fees for excessive demand from the Great Lakes Water Authority. A township ordinance says lawn watering can be done only between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and every other day depending on the address. Township Supervisor Frank Viviano says many residents probably haven’t adjusted their sprinklers in years. Shelby Township has adopted similar lawn watering hours after being hit with a rate increase. It also plans to build a $12 million water tank to store water.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GOVERNOR TRAVEL

Aide: Fund created after Whitmer’s election paid for trip

DETROIT (AP) — A top aide to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says a private round trip to Florida to see her ailing father was paid from a fund that’s used for travel not covered by tax dollars. The cost was $27,521, with Whitmer personally paying $855. A lack of publicly disclosed details have dogged Whitmer since the March trip was revealed in April. In a memo to senior staff, Chief of Staff JoAnne Huls says Whitmer’s office “could have done a better job of answering questions about this trip with more clarity.” Huls says she’s taking responsibility. The governor left Michigan on March 12 and returned on March 15.       

FATAL FIRE-MICHIGAN

Misconduct could overturn conviction in fire that killed 5

DETROIT (AP) — A new prosecutor in suburban Detroit is raising questions about the murder conviction of a man who was accused of setting a fire that killed five children in 2000. Karen McDonald says she’s “gravely concerned” about tactics used by the Oakland County prosecutor’s office. McDonald said Friday that Juwan Deering’s attorney wasn’t told that three informants got substantial benefits from helping authorities at the 2006 trial. The Innocence Clinic at University of Michigan law school had been seeking a new trial for Deering, arguing that the fire analysis was based on “junk science.” McDonald says problems with the informants emerged during her review of the case.

SCHOOL RECORDS

Newspaper wins again in dispute over school records

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Traverse City school district must release a document that carried complaints about a superintendent who lasted less than three months and was paid $180,000. The Michigan appeals court affirmed a decision by a local judge in a dispute between the district and the Traverse City Record-Eagle. The district declined to release a document to the newspaper in 2019, saying it was exempt from a public records request because it was attached to minutes from a closed session of the school board. Nate Payne, executive editor of the Record-Eagle, says the court decision is a victory for transparency in government.