Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EST

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Hospital leaders sound alarms; Detroit to keep students home

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Hospital leaders warn that more than 3,000 people are hospitalized with the coronavirus in Michigan, a rate that is doubling every two weeks and is expected to soon top the spring peak of about 4,000. Unlike six months ago, COVID-19 is surging statewide, not just in the Detroit area — making it tougher for hospitals to transfer patients or staff elsewhere. Hospital executives on Thursday echoed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s calls to wear a mask, socially distance and wash hands. Detroit, Michigan’s largest school district, will suspend in-person classes next week, joining other districts that have shifted to online-only classes.

JAIL DEATH

Expert: Woman who died in jail likely had alcohol withdrawal

HARPER WOODS, Mich. (AP) — An expert says a woman who died at a Detroit-area jail likely suffered from alcohol withdrawal, disagreeing with a report that cited heart problems. Dr. L.J. Dragovic is the Oakland County medical examiner. Dragovic calls the heart theory “nonsense” after reviewing an autopsy report at the request of the Detroit Free Press. Priscilla Slater died in the Harper Woods jail on June 10, a day after the Black woman was arrested at a hotel on a drug charge. Harper Woods has been targeted by protesters who want more information. Ken Poynter resigned as mayor after making insensitive remarks about the critics. Authorities still are investigating Slater’s death.

PIZZA OWNER-FRAUD

Pizza entrepreneur charged with fraud in virus loan program

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area pizza entrepreneur has been charged with fraud in seeking more than $900,000 in government-backed loans during the coronavirus pandemic. Mike Bischoff received approximately $594,000 from lenders, according to the government. Bischoff is accused of giving false information about his payroll and the number of employees and making other misrepresentations. The 60-year-old Bischoff is co-founder of Passport Pizza in Macomb County.  The court filing is titled a criminal “information,” which means a guilty plea is likely. 

AP-US-ELECTION-2020-TRUMP-TWEET-FACT-CHECK

AP FACT CHECK: Trump tweets a tall tale of ‘deleted’ votes

President Donald Trump’s Twitter claim that an election technology firm “deleted” or “switched” large numbers of votes for him, giving many to Joe Biden, is a baseless theory that’s not grounded in real data or evidence. In a tweet Thursday morning, Trump amplified a “report” carrying the empty claims, which originated from anonymous comments on a pro-Trump blog. It builds on other baseless attacks Trump and his supporters have waged on the election tech firm Dominion Voting Systems, seeking to sow doubt in the results of the 2020 election, despite the fact that there is no evidence of widespread fraud.

TRUMP-LEGAL CHALLENGES

Trump making longshot bid to slow state vote certifications

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign is peppering states with a flurry of legal challenges aimed at slowing down the vote certification process — a longshot strategy that has almost no chance of reversing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The campaign is seeking to halt the vote count in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona until they can have partisan poll watchers inspecting the voting process to ensure “illegal” ballots are not counted. But they have presented no evidence that illegal ballots have been counted, let alone counted in so great a number that it would make a difference in the loss to Biden. 

ELECTION 2020-DETROIT CHALLENGE

Lawyers clash over integrity of election in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — The city of Detroit is urging a judge to allow the certification of last week’s election results to go forward. Attorney David Fink says any halt to the process would empower the “right-wing fire” that’s trying to cast doubt on the election. A lawsuit claims Republican challengers were removed from the TCF Center in Detroit while absentee ballots were being processed. The court filing also alleges other irregularities. Attorney David Kallman wants a judge to order an audit of Detroit’s vote and suspend any certification of election results by Wayne County until the work is done. Judge Timothy Kenny says he will decide by Friday.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan posts new record of virus cases as deaths climb

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has posted a record number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases, near 6,500. And also on Tuesday the state reported its deadliest day in 6 months, with 59 deaths in 24 hours. COVID-19, which subsided over the summer after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer imposed sweeping stay-at-home and other restrictions, has rebounded this fall. The latest average positivity rate in Michigan is 9.4%, up from 4.9% two weeks ago. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Michigan has more than doubled over the past two weeks from 2,221 to 4,855.

TWO DEAD-LAKE

Car plunges into lake, killing couple in Oakland County

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Police say two people died after their car plunged into a lake in Oakland County. The incident occurred Tuesday night at Terry Lake in Pontiac. Divers from the sheriff’s office recovered the bodies of 69-year-old Robert Grandberry and his wife, 67-year-old Cathy Grandberry, about 20 feet from shore. They lived in Pontiac. The sheriff’s office says the driver, Robert Grandberry, may have a health problem prior to the car going into the lake.

GVSU-VETERANS

GVSU grants entry to new graduates who first choose military

ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — A university in western Michigan is guaranteeing admission to high school graduates who first serve at least two years in the U.S. military. Grand Valley State University calls it the “veterans promise.” GVSU President Philomena Mantella announced the policy on Veterans Day. GVSU says it expects students to maintain solid academic performance through their senior year in high school, but grades are not the main factor in admission. Mantella says offering guaranteed admission eliminates any worry for veterans who want to go to college.

AP-US-TRUMP-LEGAL-CHALLENGES

Few legal wins so far as Trump team hunts for proof of fraud

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Loyalists of President Donald Trump have filed at least 15 legal challenges in Pennsylvania alone in an effort to reclaim the state’s 20 electoral votes. There’s also action on the legal front in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan as the Republican president insists without evidence the election was stolen from him. Yet election officials nationwide from both parties say there’s been no conspiracy. In court, Trump’s lawyers must walk a precarious line between advocating for their client and upholding their professional oath. Experts doubt the suits can reverse the outcome in any state, let alone the election. Trump aides and allies have privately admitted as much, suggesting the challenges are designed more to stoke his base.