Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EST


Man suspected of ramming Michigan State Police SUV arrested

HARRISON, Mich. (AP) — A Wisconsin man suspected of ramming a Michigan State Police vehicle with a pickup truck has been arrested. State police say that 36-year-old Jonah Vaughn was arrested in Clare County on Friday, two days after he allegedly rammed the SUV into a ditch in Missaukee County in northern Michigan. Police say state troopers had pulled the vehicle and while they were talking to the driver of the vehicle, Vaughn allegedly slid into the driver’s seat and drove off. During the pursuit, Vaughn allegedly rammed the truck into the SUV with enough force to run it off the road and into a ditch.


Deer habitat improvement grants available in some counties

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Property owners in six Michigan counties can apply for Deer Private Land Assistance Network Grants. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources says the program is designed to fund deer habitat improvement projects on private land in the northern Lower Peninsula. Funds can be used to produce tangible, on-the-ground efforts that improve deer habitat and provide quality deer hunting locations in Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties. Applications are due by Feb. 28.


U of Michigan gets grants to study racial inequality

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan has been awarded two $5 million grants to fund projects that focus on addressing racial inequity. The grants are through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Just Futures Initiative competition and will be used over the next three years. They will be led by professors Stephanie Fryberg and Earl Lewis. More than $72 million in grants for 16 humanities, arts, and humanities-inflected social sciences projects across the U.S. have been awarded by The Mellon Foundation. The foundation says the initiative was designed to support “visionary, unconventional, experimental and groundbreaking projects in order to address the long-existing fault lines of racism, inequality and injustice that tear at the fabric of democracy and civil society.”


Small group of armed protesters dwarfed by police at Capitol

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A small group of gun-toting demonstrators showed at Michigan’s Capitol, dwarfed by law enforcement on high alert after this month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. About a dozen protesters openly carried guns, including some who promoted the anti-government “boogaloo” movement, a slang term adopted by the pro-gun extremist movement that is a reference to a sequel — in their case, a second U.S. civil war. A few others, who were not openly armed, wore hats supporting President Donald Trump, whose term will end Wednesday when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. State police, the National Guard and local law enforcement provided a sizable security presence at or near the 142-year-old Statehouse and other government buildings.


Heavily fortified statehouses around US see small protests

Heavily fortified statehouses around the U.S. are seeing small and peaceful protests, despite widespread fears of another burst of right-wing violence like the attack on the Capitol in Washington. As of nightfall across much of the country Sunday, there have been no reports of any clashes. During the day, crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty. Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or oppose government overreach.


Michigan to distribute $58.5 million in grants to businesses

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan small businesses and entertainment venues can apply for grants starting Tuesday to help with the economic losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month signed into law a spending plan to help repair the economic impact the coronavirus has had on the state’s economy. The package included a $58.5 million allocation for two programs to provide grants to eligible businesses. Funds from both programs can be used for payroll expenses, building expenses and other business related expenses. The grants are not first-come first-serve, but will be need-based. 


Funding to help suburb Detroit neighborhood resources hub

DETROIT (AP) — A $100,000 contribution will help support the launch of a neighborhood resource hub in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers district on the city’s east side. Jefferson East, Inc. says the funding is from AT&T and its Believe Detroit initiative. The 3,500-square-foot facility will serve as Jefferson East’s housing and neighborhood services team’s home office. It’s expected to allow the team to serve more than 1,000 area residents with services designed to keep them in their homes and apartments. Jefferson East team members are Housing and Urban Development-certified housing counselors, offering housing, financial empowerment and health and safety services through a one-stop access model. 


Michigan confirms 1st case of new COVID-19 variant

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Washtenaw County woman is the first person in Michigan diagnosed with the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7. Officials say the variant was identified Saturday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories. The woman, whose name and age were not released, recently had traveled to the United Kingdom. Washtenaw County is west of Detroit. Close contacts of the woman have been identified and are in quarantine. Officials said two new cases have been identified from close contacts, but it is not known if they are infected with the variant.


Airbnb to review bookings ahead of Michigan Capitol protests

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Airbnb says it will review reservations in Lansing ahead of expected demonstrations at Michigan’s state Capitol and may cancel bookings by anyone determined to be part of a hate group or who may have come to the city with violent intentions. The move comes as state government leaders across the U.S. prepare for potential protests ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and follows the Jan. 6 storming of U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. San Francisco-based Airbnb said Wednesday that it would block or cancel all reservations in the Washington, D.C., area during the week of the inauguration. 


Trial date set in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan governor

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge has set a March 23 trial date for six men charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor in what authorities say was a plot by anti-government extremists who were angry over her coronavirus policies. Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids set the date Friday. The six defendants face a conspiracy charge that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Five of the six are from Michigan and the other lives in Delaware. They were arrested in early October following an FBI investigation into the alleged plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home in northern Michigan.