Latest Michigan news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-MICHIGAN

Peters reports raising $7.4M in 2 weeks in Senate race

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan reports that his campaign raised $7.4 million in the first half of October. The first-term incumbent is locked in a competitive, expensive race with Republican challenger John James. Total spending is expected to top $100 million in the contest that will affect which party takes the Senate majority, which is now held by the GOP. Peters has led or been slightly ahead in recent polling. Peters’ campaign manager Dan Farough says the latest fundraising total makes “clear that the momentum and grassroots energy” is with the senator.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LAWSUITS

Whitmer signs bills to protect businesses from virus suits

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed into law legal protections for Michigan businesses and other employers that are sued by infected people despite having followed all coronavirus safety protocols. She also codified rules shielding hospitals and other medical providers from pandemic-related lawsuits except in cases of gross negligence, from late March to mid-July, in the wake of the state Supreme Court invalidating her executive orders. Another new law signed Thursday, which mirrors one of the orders, prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who stay home because they have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN STATE

Michigan State to increase in-person classes in January

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University is planning to increase in-person classes and open dorms starting in January, but will skip spring break. MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. said in a letter Thursday to students, faculty and staff that the school will offer 400 in-person classes for the spring semester, up from 40 in the fall. To accommodate students, 2,500 single occupancy residence-hall spaces will be opened. MSU was the first public university in Michigan to halt in-person classes in March and advise students to leave East Lansing and attend from home. However, the college town has seen several student—caused spikes in coronavirus cases.

FOREVER CHEMICALS-MICHIGAN

Monitoring finds PFAS in some water in Michigan community

EAST BAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — State environmental regulators are looking into whether some residents in a northern Michigan community have been using drinking water contaminated with chemicals. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that groundwater monitoring wells have returned elevated results for PFAS — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. State and local officials are hosting an online town hall meeting Monday night to explain the discovery and the planned investigation in East Bay Township. The 10 monitoring wells were installed this summer. Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy wants to test the private water wells of about 20 homes and one business, and about a half-dozen irrigation wells in the area that remain uncapped.

ELECTION 2020-DEMOCRATS

Whitmer, Dems launching 4-day bus tour with Biden’s campaign

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is launching a four-day bus tour across Michigan with Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign before the Nov. 3 election. No passengers will actually be on the bus, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats instead will travel in a vehicle caravan. The tour starts Friday in Taylor, a Detroit suburb, with a rally hosted by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell. Whitmer, a co-chair of Biden’s campaign, plans to appear at some events over the four-day period. Stops will include car rallies, sign distributions, early-voting sites, absentee ballot drop boxes and volunteer mobilization events. 

AP-US-SWM-MICHIGAN-STATE-CUTS

Michigan State dropping swimming and diving teams

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State University is dropping swimming and diving teams for men and women after the 2020-21 season. Officials say the athletic department is facing a “financial crisis” with a likely revenue shortfall of more than $30 million. MSU says no swimmer or diver will lose a scholarship if they remain as students. Counseling and mental health services will also be available. MSU says dropping the teams will improve the athletic department’s long-term finances. MSU says it has struggled to recruit swimmers because it has a “smaller than regulation pool.”

JUVENILE LIFER

Teen who was sentenced to life gets break 14 years later

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) — A man who was a teen when he helped his older brother kill a woman in St. Clair County will get a chance for parole under a new sentence. Raymond Carp was 15 years old when Maryann McNeely was killed in 2006. He was convicted and automatically sentenced to life in prison. But a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions is giving so-called juvenile lifers an opportunity for shorter terms. Judge Michael West sentenced Carp to at least 25 years in prison, which means Carp will be eligible for parole after another 11 years. Carp told the victim’s family that he’s “truly sorry” and is working to be a “better man.”

MAN SHOT-MALL PARKING LOT

Man shot, wounded in shopping mall parking lot

HARPER WOODS, Mich. (AP) — A 40-year-old man has been shot and wounded outside a suburban Detroit mall where another man was found shot to death earlier this month. Police investigating a report of shots fired Wednesday evening found the man in the parking lot of Eastland Center in Harper Woods. Witnesses told officers the man had been in an altercation with two men prior to the shooting. His condition was not available Thursday. No arrests have been made. On Oct. 8, a man’s body was found in the mall’s parking lot and an 18-year-old man was discovered wounded in a car that crashed in a nearby field.

ELECTION 2020-VOTING-ARENAS

Arenas, stadiums find new life as safer options for voting

ATLANTA (AP) — Early voting in much of the country has meant hours-long waits at many polling places, but sports venues are emerging as bright spots. Arenas and stadiums repurposed into early voting centers feature plenty of voting machines, ample space for social distancing and employees accustomed to handling large crowds. Voters casting ballots in these mega voting sites say they’re providing a safe and efficient way to vote amid the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA has more than 20 of its arenas used as vote centers, and plans to continue promoting voting after the election. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban calls it “Democracy in action.”

PAROLE-WIFE ASSAULTED

Court backs parole for man convicted of trying to kill wife

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has cleared the way for a man to be released from prison after he served 31 years for beating his wife and driving his car over her. The court reinstated a parole decision in favor of Frederick Wilkins. The Monroe County prosecutor’s office had won key rulings in lower courts to block parole. But the Supreme Court says the work of the state parole board is “entitled to deference.” Wilkins’ parole plan includes outpatient mental health care for up to six months. Wilkins, now 74 years old, was convicted of attempted murder for the 1988 attack on Linda Kudelka, who was seeking a divorce.