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AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN-PROTEST

Thousands protest Michigan governor’s social distance order

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Thousands of flag-waving, honking protesters drove past the Michigan Capitol to show their displeasure with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. They don’t like her orders to keep people at home and businesses locked during the coronavirus outbreak. The protest, called “Operation Gridlock,” was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition. Coalition member Meshawn Maddock said Whitmer’s orders are “just a disaster.” The governor said the rally threatened public health because protesters were close together without masks. Whitmer said the stay-at-home restrictions are necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Michigan’s cases rose about 4% to 28,059. Deaths from COVID-19 increased by 153 to 1,921. 

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

‘Sick and Tired’: Thousands roil Capitol over Whitmer orders

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Thousands of flag-waving, honking protesters drove past the Michigan Capitol to show their displeasure with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. They don’t like her orders to keep people at home and businesses locked during the coronavirus outbreak. The protest, called “Operation Gridlock,” was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition. Coalition member Meshawn Maddock said Whitmer’s orders are “just a disaster.” The governor said the rally threatened public health because protesters were close together without masks. Whitmer said the stay-at-home restrictions are necessary to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Michigan’s cases rose about 4% to 28,059. Deaths from COVID-19 increased by 153 to 1,921. 

OBIT-RAPSON

Cal Rapson, beloved labor leader in Flint, dies, union says

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — Cal Rapson, a retired leader in the United Auto Workers and labor activist in the Flint area, has died. The union announced Rapson’s death Wednesday. A cause wasn’t disclosed. Rapson was a college student when he spent the summer of 1965 working at a General Motors engine plant in Flint. By 2010, more than 40 years later, he retired as a UAW vice president who had negotiated with GM, General Dynamics and other major companies. UAW President Rory Gamble says Rapson was a “fighter” for America’s working families. 

REDISTRICTING-MICHIGAN

Appeals court refuses to block Michigan redistricting panel

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A federal appeals court has refused to block the creation of a Michigan commission to draw seats in Congress and the Legislature after the 2020 census, denying lawsuits filed by Republicans who claimed eligibility rules violate their constitutional rights. An amendment to Michigan’s constitution took redistricting out of the hands of lawmakers and placed it with a 13-member commission. Many partisan elected officials and their family members are barred from getting a commission seat. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a judge’s decision to not grant an injunction to the Michigan Republican Party.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-DETROIT-FINANCES

Detroit facing fresh fiscal woes with coronavirus closures

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit’s fiscal future faces a new daunting foe in the coronavirus. The city barely survived the 2008 economic meltdown and was humbled by a 2013 bankruptcy. Now, the state-forced shutdown of its three casinos, auto plants and other businesses to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus is projected to cost Detroit $348 million in taxes and other revenue over the next year and a half. Mayor Mike Duggan on Tuesday announced some layoffs, pay cuts for other employees and and a reduction in some services. He warned that Detroit could be subject to a return to state oversight if action isn’t taken quickly.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GOVERNORS-REOPENING

US governors grapple with relaxing virus restrictions

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After a month in crisis mode, governors across the U.S. face their next challenge in the coronavirus pandemic: When and how to lift restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and return to something approaching normal life. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday called it a “transition from surge to suppression.” This week, two separate groups of states, in the Northeast and along the West Coast, announced compacts to work together on lifting shelter-in-place restrictions and reopening some businesses. Governors say the ability to test for the virus and trace infected people’s contacts is essential.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ABORTION PROTEST

Detroit drops ticket against abortion protester during virus

DETROIT (AP) — The city of Detroit has agreed to drop a misdemeanor ticket against a man who was accused of violating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order while protesting outside an abortion clinic. Detroit and the governor agree that Andrew Belanger’s conduct was not illegal. A settlement was approved Tuesday by a federal judge. Belanger was ticketed on March 31 while protesting outside Scotsdale Women’s Center in Detroit. He said eight police cars and 15 officers were at the scene. Belanger and anti-abortion allies sued, saying their First Amendment rights were violated.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-WHITMER-RESTRICTIONS-PUSHBACK

Republicans decry Michigan governor’s latest stay-home order

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to toughen rather than relax what already was one of the country’s strictest stay-home orders is hitting opposition in her home state. Republicans who backed her moves initially are now ratcheting up their criticism of the Democratic governor. GOP lawmakers and allies in the business community say certain operations can operate again if they adhere to social distancing guidelines. Those include golf courses, marinas and landscaping companies. Others in rural areas say the restrictions should no longer be imposed statewide when the coronavirus is far more concentrated in the Detroit area . Whitmer says she’s saving lives.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-REPUBLICANS

Powerful GOP allies propel Trump effort to reopen economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leading Republicans say the coronavirus shutdown cannot go on. Behind President Donald Trump’s effort to accelerate the U.S. economic re-opening during the pandemic is a contingent of GOP allies eager to have his back. It’s a potent alliance of big money business interests, religious freedom conservatives and small-government activists. They are reminiscent of the tea party rebellion a decade ago, and are gaining currency as a counter-point to the health professionals who warn of potentially deadly consequences from easing coronavirus restrictions too soon. Democrats warn that jumping ahead of public health guidelines could have disastrous effects. 

FATHER-SON MISSING

Fisherman’s body found; son still missing in SE Michigan

SOUTH ROCKWOOD, Mich. (AP) — Police say the body of a man has been recovered near the mouth of Lake Erie, more than two weeks after he and his 6-year-old son disappeared while fishing in southeastern Michigan. Police were informed about the discovery Monday and confirmed the identity of Justin Oaks of Rockwood. The body of Jaxon Oaks hasn’t been found. On March 29, father and son were in a 14-foot boat in the Huron River, between Lake Erie and an Interstate 75 overpass. The boat was found on April 5.