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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN STATE

MSU to require vaccination proof or negative test for events

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University now is requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to attend athletic, music, art and theater events on the East Lansing campus. The university says proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event will be required of all attendees ages 12 and older. Persons who cannot provide the required information won’t be allowed into the venue. The policy applies to men’s and women’s basketball, hockey, wrestling and gymnastics home events. The university’s indoor mask requirement remains in effect for events and all MSU indoor spaces.  

TRAIL GROOMING-MICHIGAN

State DNR reaches deal on trail grooming in southeastern UP

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than 100 miles of state-managed trails in the southeastern Upper Peninsula will be groomed as part of an agreement between Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and the Straits Area Snowmobile Club. The DNR has said grooming was to begin as soon as there’s enough snow on them. The agency earlier had alerted snowmobilers to avoid the area as trails would not be groomed indefinitely while an agreement was being discussed. The affected trails are in Mackinac and Chippewa counties, connecting the communities of St. Ignace, Trout Lake and Epoufette. State-designated trails are open through March 31 and grooming occurs when there is enough snow on the ground.

AP-US-FLIGHT-CANCELLATIONS

Snow storms and pandemic ground flights, delay holiday’s end

Wintry weather combined with the pandemic to frustrate air travelers whose return flights home from the holidays were canceled or delayed in the first days of the new year. The tracking service FlightAware said more than 2,500 U.S. flights and more than 4,100 worldwide were grounded Sunday. That followed Saturday’s mass cancellations of more than 2,700 U.S. flights, and more than 4,700 worldwide. Saturday’s single-day U.S. toll of grounded flights was the highest since just before Christmas, when airlines began blaming staffing shortages on increasing COVID-19 infections among crews. 

WINTER WEATHER-MIDWEST

Snowfall in Midwest as winter finally hits region

CHICAGO (AP) — The winter that took its time getting to the Midwest has begun to finally arrive on the first day of the new year. The National Weather Service that the snow started falling Saturday and was expected to continue through Sunday morning. In Michigan, forecasters said the heaviest snow was falling Saturday night, with as much as 6 inches expected along Interstate 94 in west Michigan and 3 to 5 inches anticipated in the southeastern part of the state. Northern Indiana is expected to see as much as 4 inches of snow. Motorists should be particularly careful when they cross bridges, which freeze first.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGES

Taking a step back: US colleges returning to online classes

Amid a wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant, dozens of colleges are making plans to move classes online for at least the first week of the semester. Harvard University is moving classes online for the first three weeks of the new year. The University of Chicago is delaying its new term and holding the first two weeks online. Others like Michigan State are inviting students back to campus but starting classes online. Many colleges hope an extra week or two will get them past the peak of a surge. But some say it’s possible the online shift could last longer than expected.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN SCHOOLS

Michigan schools hiring hundreds of mental health staffers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Schools across Michigan are working to recruit 562 mental and physical health professionals mostly to respond to student needs related to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said this week that students will have the best chance at learning when their mental and physical health needs are met. The American School Counselor Association said Michigan ranked second worst in the United States in the 2019-2020 school year in its student-to-school-counselor ratio at 671-to-1. The association recommends a 250-to-1 ratio. The effort to bolster the number of counselors, social workers, psychologists and nurses in schools is being funded by the $17.1 billion state K-12 budget Whitmer signed in the summer.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-DETROIT SCHOOLS

Detroit schools close through Wednesday for COVID-19 testing

DETROIT (AP) — All Detroit schools will be closed through Wednesday during the first week of January so that teachers and staff can be tested for COVID-19 amid a statewide spike in cases. The Detroit Public Schools Community District announced Friday that the district was canceling all in-person, online and virtual learning classes Monday through Wednesday for the testing effort. District superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the decision announced on the district’s website was made “due to the city’s all-time high rate of infection at 36 percent.” Vitti says employees will be required to take a COVID-19 test on Monday and Tuesday and the district also encourages all students to get tested.

HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE-DETROIT

Business school in Detroit to reopen in 2022 as an HBCU

DETROIT (AP) — A business school in Detroit will be reopened as Michigan’s first and only historically Black college or university. House bills signed this week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will facilitate the reopening of the Lewis College of Business as the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design. The Lewis College of Business operated in Detroit from 1939 until 2013 and originally received its Historically Black College and University designation in 1987. The Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design has requested HBCU recognition from the state. It is expected to open in 2022 on the campus of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

BANISHED WORDS

‘Wait, what?’ quip tops school’s annual banished words list

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — The judges of a Michigan university’s cheeky annual “Banished Word List” have a message for texting and tweeting Americans: Your “wait, what?” joke is lame. The phrase topped Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula lighthearted list of 10 “winners” chosen from among more than 1,250 submissions of overused, misused and generally groan-inducing words or phrases. “Wait, what?” irritated nominators who felt the phrase intended to show astonishment or disbelief is overused. The second slot went to another misused and overused phrase: “No worries.” Nominators said it’s dismissive.

FREE PET ADOPTIONS-DETROIT

Detroit Animal Care offering free adoptions, waived fees

DETROIT (AP) — A New Year’s program from Detroit Animal Care will allow free adoptions, waived license fees and free rides home for stray pets that have microchips. The program started Friday and runs through Tuesday. Adoption events will be held each day. Detroit Animal Care says dogs are neutered and come with a collar, leash, supply of food and goody bag with treats. All dogs and cats are also microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and have had their first set of vaccinations.