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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan lets high schools, entertainment venues reopen

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is lifting a prohibition on in-person instruction at Michigan high schools. The administration also says entertainment venues such as movie theaters can reopen with capacity restrictions following a decline in coronavirus cases. Universities and colleges can let students return to campus next month, with a voluntary commitment to wait until Jan. 18 to restart face-to-face classes. Indoor restaurant dining will continue to be prohibited under the new state health department order, as will indoor sports and outdoor contact sports. The new state health department order takes effect Monday. It lasts through Jan. 15. The Democratic governor and top health officials announced it at a news conference Friday afternoon.

WRONGFUL CONVICTION-MAN FREED

Wrongfully convicted Michigan man freed after 38 years

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) — A man who was sentenced to life without parole in an arson fatality has been freed after 38 years in a Michigan prison after a woman admitted that she lied under oath during his 1983 trial. Sixty-three-year-old Walter Forbes walked out of Kinross Correctional Facility on Nov. 20 after a Michigan judge overturned his arson and murder convictions. Annice Kennebrew was the only witness to implicate Forbes in the July 1982 fire at an apartment building in Jackson, Michigan, that left a man dead. She recanted her testimony in May during a virtual evidentiary hearing. 

FISHERMAN DROWNS

Ice fisherman drowns in Upper Peninsula lake

LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A man eager to fish after seeing others at an Upper Peninsula lake apparently fell through the ice and drowned. Police say the body of 67-year-old Lon Harrand of Stephenson was recovered at Shakey Lakes in Menominee County. Harrand had stopped at the campground Thursday and saw people fishing. He went home to get his gear. The sheriff’s office says Harrand didn’t return home or answer calls on his phone.

STUDENT DEATH-GVSU

Police ask for patience in probe of Michigan student’s death

ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — Police investigating the death of a Grand Valley State University student whose body was found last week on campus are asking for the community’s patience as they await toxicology results. Campus police said Thursday that a toxicology report on 18-year-old Taylor DeRosa may not be available until “well into the new year.” The Grand Rapids Press reports that DeRosa, a first-year student from the Detroit area, was found dead by a runner on Dec. 12 near sports fields on the Allendale campus. School President Philomena Mantella said Tuesday that there is “much we do not know about the cause of her death.” 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SHERIFF DIES

Wayne County sheriff dies from COVID-19 complications

DETROIT (AP) — Benny Napoleon, the sheriff of Michigan’s largest county and a former Detroit police chief, has died. Napoleon spent weeks in the hospital with COVID-19. Napoleon was Wayne County sheriff since 2009. Tiffani Jackson says her 65-year-old father died Thursday at Henry Ford Hospital with family present. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who defeated Napoleon for mayor in 2013, says he can’t think of a local leader “more loved and admired than Benny.”  

AP-US-PORN-COLLECTION-PARENTS

Parents lose lawsuit over destruction of son’s porn stash

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A man who sued his parents for getting rid of his pornography collection has won a lawsuit in western Michigan and can seek compensation. Federal Judge Paul Maloney ruled in favor of David Werking this week. Werking lived at his parents’ Grand Haven home for 10 months after a divorce before moving to Muncie, Indiana. Boxes of films and magazines worth an estimated $29,000 were missing. The judge says “there is no question” that the property belonged to Werking and that his parents had no right to destroy it. Maloney told both sides to file briefs on the financial value of the collection.

FIAT-CHRYSLER-PSA-PEUGEOT

Fiat Chrysler CEO Manley to run Americas after PSA merger

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley will run operations in the Americas when his company merges with France’s PSA Peugeot early next year. FCA Chairman John Elkann announced Manley’s new post on Friday in a letter to employees. Manley’s role in the merged company had been a mystery. PSA CEO Carlos Tavares will run the overall company, to be named Stellantis. Shareholders of both companies will vote on Jan. 4 on the union that will create the world’s fourth-largest automaker. The merger is expected to be completed by the end of March. PSA will get six seats on Stellantis’ 11-member board, which will be chaired by Elkann. 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-RELIEF

Michigan lawmakers reinstate freeze on water shutoffs

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers have voted to freeze water shutoffs through March, reinstating a pandemic-related moratorium that was upended by a court ruling. The bill, which received final approval 96-9 in the House on Thursday, will be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The Democratic governor had prohibited water shutoffs in an order last spring. But the state Supreme Court in October declared unconstitutional a law that was the basis for the order. Separately, House Republicans voted to limit the length of COVID-19 restrictions issued by the Whitmer administration to 28 days, unless extended by the Legislature. The governor would veto that bill.

ELECTION 2020-ANTRIM COUNTY

Trump still wins small Michigan county after hand recount

BELLAIRE, Mich. (AP) — A livestreamed recount of the presidential election in a small Michigan county turned up no sign of shenanigans — only a handful of additional votes for President Donald Trump. Trump padded his Antrim County victory with 11 more votes, while Joe Biden lost one. The Republican county in the northern Lower Peninsula has been under intense scrutiny since the Nov. 3 election when initial results showed a local victory for Biden. It was attributed to human error, not any problems with voting machines, and corrected. Biden lost Antrim County but won Michigan by 154,000 votes.

UTILITY-RATE HIKE

Michigan regulators OK $100M rate hike for Consumers Energy

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan regulators have approved a $100 million electric rate hike for Consumers Energy, authorizing the state’s second-largest utility to bill the average residential customer about $9 more per month starting in January. The increase for residents is nearly 12% after factoring in other allowed adjustments. The agency said Thursday the Jackson-based utility sought the higher rates to fund upgrades to its distribution system and to meet its clean-energy goals by retiring coal-fired plants. The hike is 39% of what Consumers requested. The order also lets the utility spend more to trim trees to reduce power outages.