Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. EDT
Mayor: Coronavirus ‘starting to weaken’ in Detroit
DETROIT (AP) — The mayor of Detroit said the coronavirus is “starting to weaken” in Michigan’s largest city. But Mike Duggan also pleaded with residents to keep the momentum going by wearing masks and avoiding large groups. Meanwhile, health officials reported Wednesday that Michigan has had nearly 20,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 959 total deaths from the disease caused by the virus. There were fewer new Michigan cases and deaths reported Wednesday than on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a local leader in northern Michigan has asked the governor to bar people from traveling back and forth to their second homes, saying it puts year-round residents of vacation communities at greater risk.
Enbridge seeks permits to build Great Lakes oil tunnel
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Enbridge is seeking state and federal permits to build an oil pipeline beneath the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. The Canadian company filed a permit application Wednesday with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Approval from both is needed for the project to go forward. Enbridge wants to drill a tunnel in bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac to replace an underwater segment of its Line 5 pipe. It carries 23 million gallons of oil daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-WOMAN’S PLEA
Nursing home resident who died had asked Alexa for help
CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (AP) — A nursing home resident in western Michigan who died from COVID-19 complications repeatedly asked her Amazon Echo for help with pain. LouAnn Dagen died Saturday after arriving at Mercy Health St. Mary’s hospital in Grand Rapids. Her sister, Penny Dagen, discovered recordings and shared them with WOOD-TV. LouAnn Dagen was 66 years old and lived at Metron of Cedar Springs. Penny Dagen said her sister was getting medicine to help with pain. She said LouAnn was taken to the hospital when her oxygen and blood pressure dropped. The nursing home said last week that 31 residents and five staff members had tested positive for the coronavirus.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GENERAL MOTORS
US to buy 30,000 ventilators from General Motors
The federal government will buy 30,000 ventilators from General Motors by the end of August for $489.4 million. GM says it will cover its costs but won’t make a profit on the devices, which will cost the Department of Health and Human Services just over $16,300 each. HHS says in a statement that the ventilators will be distributed to where they are needed most to treat coronavirus patients. GM will start by delivering 6,132 ventilators by June 1. On March 18, GM began working with Seattle-area ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems to increase the company’s production. The automaker is retooling an electronics factory in Kokomo, Indiana, to build the devices.
Michigan lawmakers extend emergency declaration in pandemic
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Michigan Legislature has lengthened Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus emergency declaration by 23 days, through April, rather than adopt the 70-day extension she had sought. Republicans say they had to vote Tuesday to keep Whitmer’s emergency declaration from expiring. But Democrats say it would not have lapsed because she issued a declaration last week, meaning legislators did not have to vote until April 29. Lengthening Whitmer’s emergency is important because the original declaration is the basis for roughly 30 subsequent executive orders, including those telling people to stay home and closing schools and businesses.
Census sends paper forms to laggards as Midwest sets pace
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — If you’re a census slacker and haven’t yet filled out the form for the 2020 head count, the federal government is trying another way to get in touch with you. Starting Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau is mailing out millions of paper forms to homes whose residents haven’t yet answered the once-a-decade questionnaire. About a month into the start of the 2020 census for most U.S. residents, the self-response rate is approaching half of all households. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are setting the pace with response rates over 50%. Alaska, West Virginia and New Mexico are lagging with response rates ranging between a quarter and a third of households.
Judge: Man wrongly convicted can take Detroit cops to trial
DETROIT (AP) — A judge has cleared the way for a trial or financial settlement in the case of a Detroit man who spent 25 years in prison for a wrongful conviction. Desmond Ricks was released in 2017 after proving that a gun seized from his mother couldn’t have been used in the fatal shooting of his friend in 1992. Ricks claims he was framed with fake or falsified evidence. Federal Judge Paul Borman ruled last Thursday that retired police sued by Ricks don’t have immunity in the lawsuit. Ricks hopes the city of Detroit will agree to settle the case.
U. of Michigan reaching out to ex-athletes about late doctor
CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan is sending a letter to thousands of former student-athletes, asking them to speak with investigators from a law firm it hired to lead a probe into a deceased doctor accused of molesting people. The Ann Arbor school says Tuesday the letter is going out to most of the 6,800 former student-athletes who were on campus between the mid-1960s and the early 2000s. Many men say they were molested by Dr. Robert E. Anderson while seeking treatment for various injuries. Anderson died in 2008. He worked at the university for decades until his retirement in 2003.
James raises $4.8M, Peters $4M in Michigan’s Senate race
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James of Michigan says his campaign has raised $4.8 million in the last three months. The fundraising total topped first-term Democratic Sen. Gary Peters despite Peters raising $4 million — his biggest quarterly haul to date. James is the president of an automotive logistics company and he out-raised Peters for the third straight quarter. Peters’ campaign said Tuesday that its fundraising was powered by a surge of small-dollar donations, with 94% at $100 or less. Neither campaign released how much money it has on hand. The quarter closed a week ago, but campaign finance reports aren’t due until April 15.
DIVISION 3 ALL-STATE BOYS
Terry repeats as AP Division 3 Player of the Year
Jalen Terry of Flint Beecher earned The Associated Press Division 3 Player of the Year award for the second straight season, as chosen by a panel of Michigan sports writers. Beecher was No. 1 all season in AP’s Division 3 rankings and Terry was a big reason the Bucs had a 20-2 record and were in the district finals when the MHSAA suspended the season because of COVID-19. He averaged 20.4 points, 6.5 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 steals while making the All-State first team for the third straight year. Courtney Kemp of Ravenna was selected as Coach of the Year.