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Some Michigan sheriffs won’t enforce open carry ban at polls

BEULAH, Mich. (AP) — Some sheriffs say they won’t enforce Michigan’s top elections official’s ban on openly carrying guns near polling places on Election Day. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel says Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s guidance is “illegal” and she doesn’t have the authority to make laws. Benson sent the guidance to clerks earlier this month, days after members of two anti-government paramilitary groups were charged with taking part in plotting the kidnapping of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Some elections officials and voter rights experts have been concerned about violence at the polls.


Michigan is an outlier in electing university boards

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — As Michigan voters look at their ballot in November they will have the unique option to elect three university governance boards. As the only state to put public university leadership roles on a statewide ballot, controversial leadership has been in the spotlight recently. Public universities’ decisions are center stage nationally due to the number of campus coronavirus cases, but in Michigan, leadership during scandals also has caused discussion at the universities and in the Legislature about possible changes to the status quo. The process of electing these boards is partisan — candidates for the three boards are selected through party conventions who run for eight-year terms. 


Northern Michigan vineyards expect solid grape crop in 2020

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Vineyard managers say a solid grape crop is expected this year in northern Michigan. Black Star Farms head winemaker and managing partner for operations Lee Lutes says that “the fruit itself, for the most part, has been exceptional.” Black Star expects to wrap up its grape harvest around the first week in November. Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery on Old Mission Peninsula, near Traverse City, is on track to finish picking around the middle of November. Brys vintner Coenraad Stassen says the fruit is just starting to ripen to where they feel comfortable to pick it.


Servicewomen killed in Alabama plane crash identified

FOLEY, Ala. (AP) — Authorities have identified the two service members who were killed when their plane crashed in a residential Alabama neighborhood. U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett and U.S. Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross were on a routine training flight Friday out of Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Florida when their plane crashed in Foley, Alabama. The T-6B Texan II aircraft crashed around 5 p.m. Friday. No one was injured on the ground. Garrett was a student aviator for the Coast Guard. She was identified by the superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Ross was later identified by the Navy.


Michigan water trails receive recreation designations

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Two water trails in Michigan have been given national recreation designations that are expected to increase public access to outdoor opportunities. The Flint River Water Trail is 73 miles long and the Shiawassee River Water Trail is 88 miles long. The U.S. Interior Department says they are among 30 new national recreation trails designated in 25 states, adding more than 1,275 miles to the National Trails System. Hiking and biking advocates say the new designations will enhance recreational opportunities across the U.S.


UP universities competing to see who’s No. 1 in flu shots

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — College students in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are rolling up their sleeves for a trophy — and hopefully better health. Four schools are competing to see which one has the highest percentage of students and staff getting a flu shot. The ongoing results are updated online. The Center for Rural Health at Northern Michigan University says the winning school will receive a trophy and bragging rights. The schools are Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech University, Finlandia University and Lake Superior State University.


Michigan sees record number of new confirmed virus cases

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is reporting more than 3,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the highest yet during the pandemic — amid what a top health official calls “alarming increases” in infections around the state. The 3,338 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services surpasses the state’s previous single-day record of 2,030 new cases set on Oct. 15. The state agency also reported Saturday 35 more deaths, raising Michigan’s pandemic toll to 7,182 deaths. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, says the data “shows we are continuing to see alarming increases in the incidence of COVID-19 infections in Michigan.“


‘All talk, no action’ defense likely in Michigan kidnap case

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Defense lawyers for the men accused of trying to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are likely to argue that their clients were all talk and no action. It’s the same argument that was used by members of a different Michigan paramilitary group a decade ago when they were accused of scheming to overthrow the U.S. government. It worked so well that a federal judge took the rare step of dismissing most charges against the extremist group known as Hutaree, without giving the jury a say. Lawyers not involved in the current case say it may hinge on whether a judge or jury are convinced the plot was serious.


Decision that ‘undermined’ Gov. Whitmer spices up court race

DETROIT (AP) — Two seats are up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. And a recent decision that torpedoed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders during the coronavirus pandemic has led to calls for political payback. The court struck down orders to control the spread of the coronavirus, saying Whitmer acted under a 1945 law that was unconstitutional. The opinion was 4-3, with Republican justices ruling against the Democratic governor. Whitmer says she was “undermined.” If Elizabeth Welch and Chief Justice Bridget McCormack win, Democratic nominees will be in the court’s majority for the first time since 2010. The Republicans are Brock Swartzle and Mary Kelly.


Judge: Michigan agency can evaluate Great Lakes tunnel plan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A judge says the Michigan Public Service Commission has some authority over Enbridge’s plans to build an oil pipeline tunnel beneath the channel that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. State administrative law judge Dennis Mack ruled Friday that the commission can consider whether relocating part of Enbridge’s Line 5 to the tunnel would be in the public interest. But he says the agency should not consider broader issues such as how the project would affect climate change. Enbridge is seeking state and federal permission to move a segment of Line 5 that runs through the Straits of Mackinac to a tunnel.