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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.


Pandemic interrupts longtime Isle Royale wolf, moose study

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — One of the world’s longest-running wildlife field studies has fallen prey to the coronavirus pandemic. Since 1959, a research team has spent most of the winter observing the interplay between wolves and moose at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. But Superintendent Denice Swanke said Friday that this year’s mission has been scrapped to protect the scientists and support personnel from possible exposure to the virus. The remote park is closed from Nov. 1 to April 15 and the winter researchers use a single cabin, which wouldn’t allow for social distancing. Scientists are trying to document how a mission to rebuild the wolf population that had declined in recent years is affecting the island ecosystem.


Some in the GOP parrot far-right talk of a coming civil war

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — War-like imagery has begun to take hold in Republican circles, erupting into the open after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. Some Republican elected and party officials have rejected calls to tone down rhetoric calling for a civil war. The charged language evoking the conflict that cleaved the United States over slavery 160 years ago follows a year of civil unrest over racial injustice. Some pro-Trump demonstrators brought symbols of the Old South to the Capitol, carrying Confederate flags inside and setting up a wooden gallows ominously nearby.


Macomb gets funding to help businesses hurt by virus orders

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — Macomb County has received $4.1 million to help small businesses suffering significant financial hardships due to the coronavirus. The funding is from the state and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. through the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program. Businesses that suffered after COVID-19 virus emergency orders were issued in November and December by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services can apply for grants from 9 a.m. Tuesday through noon Friday. Priority will be given to brick and mortar businesses like restaurants, bars, banquet facilities, gyms, entertainment venues and recreational facilities. The grants can be used for payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utilities and other expenses.