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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan urges masking indoors, vaccines as COVID-19 surges

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Faced with spiking COVID-19 infections, Michigan health officials have issued a public health advisory recommending that everyone over age 2 wear a mask at indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status. They pleaded Friday with people to get the vaccine, a flu shot and, if eligible, a booster coronavirus shot. The step comes before the holidays, when families will gather inside in a state with the country’s highest seven-day case rate. More than 70% of Michigan infections, hospitalizations and deaths were among the unvaccinated or those partially vaccinated over the most recent 30 day-period for which there’s complete data.

HOFFA SEARCH

FBI looks at land near NJ landfill for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — The decadeslong odyssey to find the remains of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa apparently has turned to land near a former New Jersey landfill that sits below an elevated highway. The FBI says it obtained a search warrant to “conduct a site survey underneath the Pulaski Skyway.” The work was done in late October. An FBI spokeswoman, Mara Schneider, declined to offer any details. Hoffa was last seen in 1975 when he was supposed to meet with reputed mob figures at a suburban Detroit restaurant. The latest effort appears to be tied to interviews given by a man named Frank Cappola. He says his father, Paul Cappola, explained how he buried Hoffa’s remains in a barrel in Jersey City in 1975. Both Cappolas are deceased.

HOFFA SEARCH-TIMELINE

Events in disappearance of former Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa

The FBI’s confirmation Friday that it was looking at a former New Jersey landfill as a possible burial site for former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa is the latest development in a search that began when he disappeared in 1975. It’s a search and investigation that so far has turned up many leads with no resolution. Hoffa was last seen when he went to a suburban Detroit restaurant to meet with a reputed Detroit mob enforcer and alleged New Jersey mob figure.

RACISM LAWSUIT-HIGH SCHOOL

Parents of Black student allege racism at Michigan school

The parents of a Black student have filed a $150 million lawsuit against a suburban Detroit school district over allegations of death threats and racial discrimination against their daughter and other Black students. The federal lawsuit filed Thursday by Cedric McCarrall and Carmen Davidson-McCarrall also alleges that officials at Bloomfield Hills High School said a white teacher’s decision to place a noose around the neck of a Black doll and dropping it over a railing was a science project. The lawsuit follows a walkout last week by some students at the mostly white school north of Detroit protesting its response to racist messages on walls and on social media. The Associated Press left voicemails and emails Friday seeking comment from the district.

DOG ATTACK-ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER

Saginaw-area animal control officer attacked by dogs, bitten

BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities were trying to identify the owner of two dogs that attacked an animal control officer in the Saginaw area. MLive.com reports that the officer was bitten Nov. 5 in a Buena Vista Township neighborhood after a resident reported being nearly attacked by two pit bulls outside his home. Two officers were attempting to catch the dogs when the attack occurred. Saginaw County Animal Care & Control Director Bonnie Kanicki says the wounded officer used a catchpole to fend off one dog, but was bitten on the leg by the other dog. Both officers then used repellant spray to stop and capture the dogs. The wounded officer was treated at a hospital emergency room and later released.

WATER FUNDING

Whitmer proposes $300M in water funding for communities

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing $300 million in water spending to help local utilities address elevated lead levels, plan for pipe replacement and connect users of contaminated wells to the municipal supply. The governor said Thursday that the funding will expand her $500 million MI Clean Water Plan, some of which has been authorized since it was unveiled more than a year ago. The new funds, which would come from U.S. pandemic relief dollars, will need to be approved by the Republican-led Legislature. She says there’s a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to use the federal dollars to “make lasting investments in our water infrastructure.”

MICHIGAN UNEMPLOYMENT

Audit: Michigan unemployment error overpaid $3.9 billion

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A scathing audit has found that in processing 5.4 million unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, shortcomings in the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Office caused $3.9 billion in overpayments. The audit released Thursday says the state will likely not recoup that money. That is because the fault lies solely on the agency and not the claimants. The mistakes led to 648,100 Michigan residents receiving letters this summer saying that they’d have to reapply for eligibility, according to the audit. Of those claimants 347,437 who had previously been marked as eligible for benefits are now ineligible.

SENIOR CENTER FIRE

Residents evacuate safely while fire destroys senior center

ALGONAC, Mich. (AP) — First responders broke windows to help some residents escape a fire in a building at their housing complex in southeastern Michigan. The fire at Rolling Brook Senior Living in Algonac was reported shortly before noon Thursday. St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King said all of the approximately 24 residents were able to evacuate safely. King says first responders needed to break windows to free some of them. Algonac Fire Chief Joe Doan says the blaze started outside the main entrance in or around a garbage can, and the cause is under investigation. He says the building was destroyed.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PRISONER RELEASED

Prisoner’s early release over COVID-19 fears is reversed

DETROIT (AP) — A federal appeals court has stepped in and reversed a decision to release a Michigan man from prison because of COVID-19 fears. The court pointed to Roger Sweet’s record of violence against women and abuse of children. The 73-year-old Sweet had seven years remaining on a 21-year sentence for sexual exploitation when a judge ruled in his favor in April. She acknowledged that his crimes were “abhorrent” but said chronic health conditions made him vulnerable in the pandemic. Sweet has finished a state prison sentence for the murder of his first wife but is being investigated for the death of his second wife.   

MOTHER SLAIN-DRIVEWAY

Man arrested in slaying of Detroit mother in her driveway

DETROIT (AP) — A man who had been charged and released on bond in connection with a domestic violence case has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a Detroit mother who had just returned home after dropping her two children off at school. Detroit police said Thursday that the 45-year-old man was taken into custody after being wanted for questioning in the slaying. He has not been charged as of Thursday evening. Police Chief James White said Wednesday that the shooting occurred about 9 a.m. in the woman’s driveway on the city’s eastside. Police said the pair had been in a relationship.