Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT
Whitmer doubles Michigan’s daily vaccination goal to 100,000
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is doubling Michigan’s daily COVID-19 vaccination goal to 100,000 shots. She cites continuous week-over-week increases in allotments and an expanded number of providers that can administer doses. She calls vaccinations safe, effective and essential to getting the country back to normal. Michigan’s direct allotment of doses will total about 620,000 next week, a record. That is 12%, or roughly 66,000, more than this week and includes a substantial boost in the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Michigan, which is facing a third surge in cases, had the country’s highest rate over the past week.
RACIAL INJUSTICE-PARK ATTACK
Man pleads guilty in attack on Black teen at Michigan beach
DETROIT (AP) — A 43-year-old white man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime after a Black teen was attacked in a southeastern Michigan park and hit in the face with a bicycle lock. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Lee Mouat is expected to be sentenced June 24 after entering the plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Mouat last June confronted a group of Black teens at Sterling State Park beach in Monroe County’s Frenchtown Township, about 39 miles southwest of Detroit. Authorities say he repeatedly used racial slurs and said Black people had no right to use the beach before striking Devin Freelon Jr. and attempting to hit another teen.
Detroit gatherings under Open Meetings Act to go virtual
DETROIT (AP) — Local governmental gatherings in Detroit that fall under the Open Meetings Act must be held virtually under a public health order aimed at preventing the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. The order was issued Tuesday by Detroit Chief Health Officer Denise Fair and declares a local state of emergency through May 31. It follows an increase in COVID-19 cases and variants of the virus in the city and across Michigan. Fair says some meetings subject to the Open Meetings Act will find it difficult, if not impossible, to be open to the public without violating safety guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Michigan fines barber over Capitol protest, other violations
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and reopened his shop last spring during the coronavirus pandemic was fined $9,000 for violating licensing rules, including joining a protest where hairstylists cut hair on the Capitol lawn. Karl Manke will appeal the penalties in court. The Board of Barber Examiners on Monday accepted an administrative law judge’s findings and issued the fines for violations, including barbering on the Capitol steps — premises where he was not licensed to operate. Manke’s attorney calls the fines “ludicrous.” The state Supreme Court later ruled many of the Democratic governor’s orders during the coronavirus pandemic were issued under an unconstitutional law.
Pfizer to break ground on new Michigan production facility
PORTAGE, Mich. (AP) — Pfizer is expected to start building a new pharmaceutical production facility in western Michigan. MLive.com reports that the drugmaker will break ground Wednesday on the building on Pfizer’s global manufacturing campus in Portage. It is expected to bring 450 new jobs to the area. The $465 million facility is expected to be in operation in 2025. Pfizer says the new facility will initially manufacture the pain medicine known as Dynastat, which is supplied to several international countries. Pfizer worked with German partner company BioNTech to create a COVID-19 vaccine that won U.S. regulatory approval last year.
Couple sentenced for alcohol at party linked to fatal crash
ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan couple has been sentenced to 15 days each in a county jail after an 18-year-old who had drank alcohol during a party at their home later was killed in a crash. MLive.com reports that David and Nichole Kooistra pleaded no contest Monday in Kent County District Court to misdemeanor allowing alcohol consumption by a minor on premises at a social gathering. Each also has to pay fines and complete one year of probation. Police have said that John Holmes’ blood-alcohol content was about three times Michigan’s legal limit when the car he was driving went off a road last June, flipped and caught fire.
Big Vegas casino owners bring COVID-19 vaccines to workers
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The world’s two biggest casino companies are bringing the coronavirus vaccine to their Las Vegas Strip employees, with inoculation clinics at the Mandalay Bay resort convention center and the Rio All-Suites Hotel. Easing vaccine availability for thousands of hotel and hospitality workers comes with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas setting a July 1 date to return to in-person activities and city workers responding to the lifting of sports restrictions by re-installing basketball hoops at city parks. MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, combined, own most of the big hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.
MICHIGAN GOVERNOR-KIDNAPPING PLOT
Judge orders 3 to trial in plot to kidnap Michigan governor
Three men have been ordered to stand trial in a plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her coronavirus restrictions. Jackson County District Court Judge Michael Klaeren on Monday ruled there was enough evidence and bound over Paul Bellar, Joe Morrison and Pete Musico to circuit court. They are accused of aiding six other men who are charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer. Five more people are also charged in state courts. The FBI in October said it broke up a plot to kidnap Whitmer by anti-government extremists upset over her coronavirus restrictions.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN EDUCATION
Feds waive Michigan’s 2020-21 school accountability demands
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has received a waiver excusing the state from federal accountability procedures requiring high participation rates and progress goals measuring student success. The U.S. Department of Education said in a letter sent to the state last week that the goal of the waivers is to allow schools to focus on creating metrics to inform teachers and other stakeholders about the needs of students after COVID-19 disrupted classrooms across the state. Michigan is still waiting on a decision from the federal department on whether standardized testing will be waived for the 2020-2021 school year as well.