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MICHIGAN HEALTH DIRECTOR-AGREEMENT
Ex-health director gets $155,000 in separation agreement
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan Department of Public Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon will receive more than $155,000 as part of a separation agreement. The agreement revealed Monday calls for Gordon to drop all claims against the state. It also promises legal assistance in matters relating to actions he took while director. Gordon resigned in January after the Michigan Supreme Court effectively invalidated many of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gordon issued essentially the same mandates under state laws unaddressed by the court, prompting protests outside his home.
Home of NFL’s Detroit Lions hosts COVID-19 vaccine clinic
DETROIT (AP) — The domed home of the Detroit Lions has welcomed educators and school staff from southeast Michigan for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Although Ford Field can accommodate tens of thousands of fans on NFL Sunday, it hosted considerably fewer during the event. Retailer Meijer and the Michigan Education Special Services Association worked together to identify and schedule 2,600 educational employees still needing the vaccine. The Ford Field event was pre-registration only and at capacity. The educators will return to Ford Field for their second shot in a few weeks.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-DETROIT SCHOOLS
Detroit schools to return March 8 to in-person learning
DETROIT (AP) — In-person educating in Detroit’s public schools is scheduled to restart March 8 for students and teachers who choose to return to classrooms. The Detroit Public Schools Community District says the decision to reopen buildings was made in conjunction with the Detroit Federation of Teachers union and comes as COVID-19 infection rates in the city remain below 5%. The 50,000-student district says it will continue to provide an option for online learning and teaching. The district started distance learning through the end of last school year and began this academic year with a mix of in-person and virtual classes. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has strongly encouraged schools to offer a face-to-face option by March 1.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MEAT PROCESSING
Thousands of meatpacking workers to be vaccinated this week
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Meatpacking workers across the country have started receiving coronavirus vaccines and thousands more will have a chance to get their shots this week, offering some peace of mind in an industry that was ravaged by COVID-19 a year ago. Officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers union say interest in the vaccine is high among workers after the industry took a heavy toll from the virus. The major meatpacking companies — JBS, Cargill, Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods — say a number of states plan to begin vaccinating meat plant workers this week, including in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas.
Michigan ballot drive would subject gov, lawmakers to FOIA
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Advocates for open government will launch a 2022 ballot drive to subject the Michigan governor and Legislature to the state’s public-records law. Michigan is one of just two states to wholly exempt the governor’s office and is among eight states where lawmakers are explicitly exempt. Bills to end the exemptions have stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate in recent years despite having won widespread bipartisan support in the GOP-led House. Lonnie Scott, executive director of the liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan, says the “people of Michigan deserve accountable and transparent government.”
Snyder lawyers note possible conflicts in Flint water case
DETROIT (AP) — Lawyers for former Gov. Rick Snyder believe Flint residents might have conflicts that could prevent them from serving as judges or jurors in his criminal case related to lead in drinking water. Snyder’s legal team is basing its opinion on the prosecutor’s view that all Flint residents are victims. A judge is meeting with lawyers Tuesday. Snyder is charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty. Flint’s water supply was switched to the Flint River in 2014 without it being properly treated to reduce corrosion. Snyder’s lawyers noted that Flint residents stand to benefit from a $641 million lawsuit settlement over lead contamination and deaths from Legionnaires’ disease.
Detroit suburb sued after refusing to disclose names and pay
WARREN, Mich. (AP) — One of Michigan’s largest cities is being sued after disclosing the salaries of city employees but refusing to provide names. Warren paid some people in the fire department more than $200,000 last year. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation says the Detroit suburb is violating public records law and a series of court decisions. The Mackinac Center says it learned that three Warren fire department employees were paid slightly more than $200,000 last year and another three were each paid more than $190,000. But no names were released by Warren.
DETROIT POLICE SHOOTING-OHIO SUSPECT
Police shoot man suspected in Ohio slayings at Detroit motel
DETROIT (AP) — Authorities say a man suspected in three slayings in Ohio has been critically wounded during a shootout with police outside a motel near downtown Detroit. Cincinnati police said in a news release that Chante Moore is wanted in the deaths of his estranged wife and two men in Cincinnati. The 55-year-old Moore also is accused of shooting and wounding a 51-year-old man and a 17-year-old male. Detroit Police Chief James Craig says his officers were watching the motel where Moore was staying when he exited about 9:50 a.m. Monday. No officers were injured in the ensuing exchange of gunfire.
US probing engine fires in nearly 1.9M Toyota RAV4 SUVs
DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government is investigating complaints of engine compartment fires in nearly 1.9 million Toyota RAV4 small SUVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating after getting 11 fire complaints involving the 2013 through 2018 model years. The RAV4 is the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. that isn’t a pickup truck. In documents posted Monday, the agency says fires start on the left side of the engine compartment. Most of the fires happened while the vehicles are being driven, but four took place with the engine off. Investigators will try to understand better what is contributing to the fires. The vehicles aren’t being recalled but the investigation could lead to one.
FCA pleads guilty in plot to enrich Detroit union officials
DETROIT (AP) — Automaker FCA US has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting that it paid off leaders of the United Auto Workers to try to win concessions in negotiations covering thousands of workers. FCA’s conviction follows a series of guilty pleas from UAW officials. They were showered with more than $3.5 million in cash and items of value from a jointly run training center in Detroit. FCA stands for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is part of Stellantis. The head of FCA labor relations executed the scheme with five UAW officials and a spouse. General Holiefield, a union vice president, eliminated a $262,000 home mortgage in 2014 with training center money. FCA will pay a $30 million fine for its crime.