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Cases surge in new COVID hot spots of Michigan, Minnesota

Hospitals in Michigan and Minnesota are reporting a wave of COVID-19 patients not seen in months. Beds are filling with unvaccinated people, and health care providers are warning that staff are being worn down by yet another surge. Michigan had slightly more than 3,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals this week for the first time since spring. Nearly all hospital beds were occupied in Minnesota. Meanwhile, some states are ignoring federal guidance and expanding boosters. Arkansas this week joined California, Colorado and New Mexico in offering them to anyone 18 or older. Michigan has the country’s highest seven-day COVID-19 case rate at 503 per 100,000 people.


Judge keeps Michigan oil pipeline case in federal court

A federal judge says a dispute over a Canadian oil pipeline that runs through a section of the Great Lakes belongs in her court. U.S. District Judge Janet Neff on Tuesday retained jurisdiction in the case between the state of Michigan and Enbridge Energy. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered Enbridge to close Line 5, which she says risks a spill in the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Whitmer wants the case heard in state court. But Neff ruled that the matter raises federal issues, including a treaty between the U.S. and Canada as well as pipeline safety laws.


Retired violin professor pleads guilty to child sex charges

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a longtime University of Michigan violin professor pleaded guilty to transporting an underage girl across states lines for sex back in 2002. The U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit said Tuesday that 68-year-old Stephen Shipps faces up to 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced. Shipps was indicted last year on charges alleging that he took a girl across state lines several times between February and July of 2002 with the intention of having sex with her. His arrest came two years after the university placed him on paid leave when former students accused him of sexual misconduct while he taught them in the 1970s and 1980s in Nebraska and North Carolina.


Buck takes shelter inside church on hunting season’s 1st day

STURGIS, Mich. (AP) — A 10-point buck sought sanctuary inside a southern Michigan church on opening day of the state’s firearm deer hunting season. Pastors at Grace Sturgis encountered the buck inside the church’s auditorium on Monday before it leapt through a window and back into the wild. A video the church posted on Facebook shows the buck wandering around the church. Pastors Amanda and Luke Eicher and Justin Wickey erected barricades in a hallway to try to keep him from the rest of the church. At one point, it climbed stairs to a balcony. The buck didn’t appear to have any gunshot wounds and was bleeding just a bit, apparently because of the broken glass.


WMU gives up lawsuit fight over vaccines for athletes

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Western Michigan University has agreed to stop opposing a legal challenge by athletes who declined to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The school says it will follow the terms of an injunction ordered by a federal judge and affirmed in October by an appeals court. It allows athletes to play their sport while also undergoing regular testing for the virus and wearing masks when appropriate. WMU began the fall season by requiring athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19. At least 16, mostly women, sought an exemption on religious grounds but were turned down. Outside the athletic department, COVID-19 vaccinations are encouraged but not required for WMU students and staff.


FBI, police appeal for tips to solve 2018 death of hunter

BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities again are asking the public for help to solve the killing of a Lansing-area hunter who was shot during the 2018 deer season. The FBI and local police made an appeal at the Rose Lake State Wildlife Area in Bath Township. Tuesday is the third anniversary of Chong Moua Yang’s death. The 68-year-old Yang went to the Rose Lake game area with a shotgun, knife and backpack. The Lansing man was later found dead, but his possessions were missing. The killing remains unsolved. A daughter, Mai Yang, says it’s possible that recovery of the missing possessions might provide clues. Anyone with information can call (517) 641-6271.


Spectrum Health in W. Michigan sees ‘dramatic’ virus spike

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The number of COVID-19 patients at a major hospital network in western Michigan is up 40% since Nov. 1 as a fall surge pounds the state. Spectrum Health is reporting 367 COVID-19 patients at its hospitals. Dr. Darryl Elmouchi says there’s been a “dramatic” increase. Elmouchi says a common trait among many COVID-19 patients is no vaccination. Hospitalizations statewide have crossed 3,000 for the first time in more than six months. Among people 16 and up, there’s a 70% first dose vaccination rate. About 63% of those 12 and up in Michigan are fully vaccinated.


Carbon monoxide killed 3 people found in Grand Rapids car

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Three people found in a car in Grand Rapids died from carbon monoxide exposure. Ruby Roberts, daughter-in-law Ellay Mae Brown and 4-month-old Zaida Ashford were discovered outside Roberts’ house on Nov. 4. Police have released few details. But death certificates reviewed by indicate that carbon monoxide from the vehicle killed them. Autopsies were performed. Funeral services for the three were held Monday. Roberts’ granddaughter, Nicole Dantzler, said she discovered them in the vehicle.


Infrastructure bill unleashes funding to address risky dams

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — States will soon be flooded with federal money they can use to repair, improve or remove thousands of aging dams across the U.S. The funding is included in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden. Though it pales in comparison to the amounts earmarked for roads and high-speed internet, the roughly $3 billion for dam-related programs is far more than they have been getting. One grant program for repairs at high-hazard dams had been receiving $10 million to $12 million each of the past few years. The infrastructure bill designates $585 million for that program. The U.S. has more than 90,000 dams.


Plane crash survivor’s mom: Dad’s embrace shielded daughter

BEAVER ISLAND, Mich. (AP) — The mother of an 11-year-old girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash on Michigan’s Beaver Island that killed her father and three others says she believes her husband protected her from more serious injuries by holding her tightly as the plane went down. Christina Perdue says Mike Perdue, of Gaylord, was holding Laney tightly when the twin-engine commuter plane crashed Saturday on the Lake Michigan island. She says in an interview broadcast Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “in my heart I know that protected her” as the plane crashed. She says Laney remains hospitalized with five broken bones.