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VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOLS

Over 80% of Michigan schools offer some in-person classes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than 80% of Michigan school districts planned to offer some form of in-person instruction this month, which represented a more than 20 percentage point increase over the previous month amid a decline in the coronavirus’ spread. Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative said it is the largely monthly increase since the start of the academic year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has strongly encouraged schools to provide a face-to-face option by March 1. Just 15% of districts planned to be fully remote this month, down from 35% in January.

ELECTION-THREATS

Georgia man charged with threatening Michigan judge

DETROIT (AP) — A Georgia man has been charged with threatening a Michigan judge after she said absentee ballots arriving after the Nov. 3 election still could be counted. Clinton Stewart of Douglas, Georgia, is accused of leaving a threatening voicemail for Judge Cynthia Stephens on Sept. 18. He claimed “activist judges” were favoring Joe Biden with decisions to make it easier to vote through the mail. Stephens would have allowed the counting of Michigan ballots that were postmarked by Nov. 2, but her decision was overturned by a higher court.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-US SURGE

States rush to catch up on delayed vaccines, expand access

HOUSTON (AP) — States are scrambling to catch up on coronavirus vaccinations after bad weather last week led to clinic closures and shipment backlogs. But they’re also gearing up to administer even more shots as the supply increases. A limited supply of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines hampered the pace of vaccinations even before extreme weather delayed the delivery of about 6 million doses. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that states can expect about 14.5 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine this week, an almost 70% increase in distribution over the past month. The stepped-up efforts come as the U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpassed 500,000.

FLINT WATER

Judge needs more time for thorny issues in Flint water case

DETROIT (AP) — A judge says he needs more time to research whether Genesee County, Michigan, is the proper place to charge a former Michigan governor in the Flint water scandal. Judge William Crawford II says he’s unsure whether he can make a decision about the work of a senior judge who served as a one-man grand jury and returned an indictment against Rick Snyder. Managers appointed by Snyder to run Flint switched the city’s water to the Flint River in 2014. But the water wasn’t treated to reduce corrosion, resulting in lead contamination. Snyder’s lawyers want two misdemeanors to be dismissed. They argue that the Republican worked in Ingham County, not Genesee County, so the Flint indictment can’t stand.

DETROIT CRASH-COWS

Detroit highway ramp reopens after livestock trailer crash

DETROIT (AP) — A major interstate ramp near downtown Detroit has reopened after a livestock trailer with 38 cows overturned. Some animals had to be killed. The trailer crashed Monday when the driver was on a southbound Interstate 75 ramp from I-94.  Authorities cut a hole in the trailer to get access to the cows. It took hours to clear the scene. Some animals had to be euthanized. Lt. Mike Shaw of the state police says sometimes “it’s the most humane thing you can do.”    

POSTAL SERVICE-ELECTRIC VEHICLES

USPS selects Oshkosh Defense to build greener mail truck

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service says it has chosen Oshkosh Defense to build its next-generation mail-delivery vehicle. It’s part of an effort to make the USPS more environmentally friendly by switching a portion of its massive fleet to electric vehicles. Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense will assemble 50,000 to 165,000 of the new Next Generation Delivery Vehicles at its existing U.S. manufacturing facilities. Oshkosh will get an initial $482 million in the contract, which the USPS described as the first part of a multibillion-dollar 10-year effort to replace its delivery vehicle fleet. It’s a big miss for the electric-vehicle startup Workhorse Group, which put in an all-electric bid for the vehicles. Workhorse’s stock fell more than 47%.

AP-FBC-WISCONSIN-CEPHUS-LAWSUIT

Ex-Wisconsin receiver Cephus sues school over 2018 expulsion

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Former Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus is suing the university over a sexual assault investigation that resulted in his temporary expulsion in 2018. Cephus seeks unspecified damages in his federal lawsuit filed Tuesday. He accuses the school of breach of contract and of violating his due process rights. Cephus was suspended from the Badgers football team in August 2018 and was expelled from the University of Wisconsin for violating its nonacademic misconduct code as part of a Title IX investigation following his arrest on sexual assault charges. He was reinstated after being acquitted at trial. A university spokesman says the school is confident that it followed appropriate processes.

FREEWAY SHOOTING-THREE DEAD

Police: 3 dead after shootout between vehicles on freeway

DETROIT (AP) — Two people were fatally wounded during a shootout involving two vehicles on a Detroit freeway and a third person was struck and killed by another vehicle while running away. State police say authorities began receiving calls shortly after 10 p.m. Monday about shots being fired between two vehicles in the express lanes of westbound Interstate 96. A man driving one of the vehicles was shot and killed at the scene. A woman in that vehicle also was shot and pronounced dead at a hospital. Police said a person who ran from the second vehicle involved in the shooting, jumped a median wall and was struck on the freeway and killed by a third vehicle.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-AID

Michigan health aides to lose $2 raise without legislation

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — At least 85,000 nursing home staff, home health aides and other direct care workers will lose a $2 hourly pandemic pay raise next week if the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer don’t enact COVID-19 relief aid. Disability advocates are sounding the alarm as lawmakers return to session. Some caregivers first got the wage hike last April through an executive order. The increase was extended in July to nursing home workers and others under a bipartisan law. Whitmer wants to keep the $2 increase intact through September 2022, noting the workforce is plagued by low wages and high turnover.

MISSING TEEN-FATHER

Judge orders dad to trial in death of daughter in ’89

ALLEGAN, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan man has been ordered to trial in the death of his 14-year-old adopted daughter who disappeared nearly 32 years ago. Brenda Bowman testified that Dennis Bowman revealed the burial site in 2020, before he was extradited to Virginia for a different murder case. Aundria Bowman’s dismembered remains were discovered under a concrete slab outside the couple’s home in Allegan County. Dennis Bowman told police that Aundria died in 1989 after he pushed her down stairs. In Virginia, Bowman is serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a woman back in 1980.