Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT
Michigan lifts outdoor mask requirement for crowds under 100
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is lifting an outdoor mask requirement except in gatherings of at least 100 people and in organized contact sports. It also says teen athletes no longer must undergo regular COVID-19 testing if they are fully vaccinated. The revised pandemic order takes effect Thursday. Vaccinated people are not required to be masked at indoor residential gatherings, and outdoor gatherings can be larger. More than half of Michigan residents ages 16 and older have gotten at least one shot.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-DETROIT DOOR KNOCKING
Detroit educating residents on where, how to get vaccines
DETROIT (AP) — Teams of canvassers from Detroit’s health department have been fanning out across city neighborhoods to educate residents on where to get free COVID-19 vaccines. Detroit’s door-to-door campaign is the latest in its efforts to connect residents to vaccination sites across the mostly Black city. Various campaigns also are underway in Black and other communities of color across the U.S. to persuade people that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Detroit has been urging people to get vaccinated against the virus that has already killed more than 2,000 of its residents. Only about 31% of Detroit adults have received at least one dose.
Michigan House votes to limit state severance deals
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan House has voted unanimously to curb the size of severance deals for state officials unless they limit the state’s legal exposure and details are made public. The move Tuesday comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration faced scrutiny over big payouts made to her former health and unemployment directors. Under legislation sent to the Senate, state employees would be limited to 12 weeks of severance pay unless a higher payment serves the best interests of the state based on litigation risk. Lawmakers, other elected state officials and appointees could get no severance pay unless it contains legal costs.
Gov. Whitmer among 7 awarded for courage by JFK Foundation
BOSTON (AP) — Seven people who risked their own health and safety to help and protect others during the coronavirus pandemic will receive Profile in Courage awards next month from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. The foundation on Tuesday said the recipients include Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer along with a grocery story owner, a delivery driver, a nurse and an activist. They will be honored along with U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney during a virtual ceremony later this month. The Utah Republican in March was named the recipient of the annual award created by the family of the late president for public figures who risk their careers by embracing unpopular positions for the greater good.
Teen baseball player dies after collision at second base
BATH, Mich. (AP) — A teenage baseball player has died nearly two weeks after he was knocked unconscious during a collision at second base. The Lansing State Journal says Cooper Gardner, a junior at Bath High School, died Sunday at home. The school says on Facebook that Cooper suffered a brain injury on April 21 during a game between Bath and Portland St. Patrick. Coach Michael Collins says Cooper was trying to catch the ball and tag a runner at second base when he was struck in the head in a collision. A GoFundMe page described it as a “freak accident.” Cooper’s teammates, family and friends gathered Monday at the baseball field, about 15 miles northeast of Lansing.
Government seeks 2-year prison sentence for ex-UAW leader
DETROIT (AP) — Prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison sentence for a former president of the United Auto Workers. The government says Dennis Williams led “two lives,” as a leader of a blue-collar union who also had a taste for premium champagne and California villas. Williams pleaded guilty last year to an embezzlement scheme that turned union dues into a pot of cash for golf, lodging and fancy meals. Williams will be sentenced May 11. Williams has tried to portray himself as a reluctant participant. But the government says he devised ways to conceal the spending. Williams is seeking a prison sentence of a year and a day, which would qualify him for good behavior credits.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOL DISPUTE
Parent sues school district, says she lost job over opinion
ROCHESTER, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit parent who has been outspoken about getting kids back inside schools has filed a lawsuit. Elena Dinverno says she lost her job after a Rochester school board member complained to her employer. Dinverno says she faced illegal retaliation for expressing free speech. Her attorney, Deborah Gordon, says a school district has “zero business” policing Dinverno’s speech. Dinverno has participated in Facebook groups that were in favor of reopening Rochester schools for in-person instruction. She says frequently questioned the school board’s decisions. The Rochester district isn’t offering a detailed response, saying only that the allegations are false.
Police identify man, woman shot to death at Lansing home
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Police in Lansing have released the names of a man and woman shot to death at a home over the weekend. Police on Monday say the bodies of 39-year-old Harley Owens and 29-year-old Kelsey Coon-Lennon were found early Saturday morning by officers responding to a report of a shooting. Coon-Lennon and Owens both lived in Lansing. Police say that no arrests have been made.
DETROIT COUNCILMAN CHARGED
Detroit councilman resigns, pleads guilty to misconduct
DETROIT (AP) — Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland has resigned from office and admitted in court to accepting an illegal cash campaign contribution. The Detroit News reports that Leland pleaded guilty Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court to misconduct in office and his attorney later announced that Leland also stepped down from his elected post. Sentencing is scheduled for June 7. Court documents have said the contribution was $7,500. A prosecutor said last year that the cash was to influence a vote. A federal grand jury also indicted Leland in 2018 on corruption charges tied to $15,000 in bribes and free auto body work. Defense attorney Steve Fishman says Leland is expected to face no jail time and the separate federal case was expected to be dismissed.
ANCHOR STRIKE-POWER CABLES
Company begins replacing underwater cables damaged by anchor
PEWAUKEE, Wis. (AP) — The company whose underwater power cables were damaged by an anchor strike in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac says it’s beginning to install replacements. A ship anchor in April 2018 struck three of American Transmission Co.’s six cables, which moved electricity between the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. Two were severed and another was seriously damaged. About 600 gallons of insulation fluid leaked into the straits, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. It will take about seven months to finish removing the old cables and lay the new ones.