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VIRUS OUTBREAK-MICHIGAN

Michigan COVID-19 deaths just shy of 12,600

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan averaged about 3,000 new coronavirus cases a day from Thursday through Saturday. The state health department also reports 265 additional deaths from COVID-19, including 211 from days or weeks ago that were confirmed through a records check. Michigan is close to 12,600 deaths since last March. More than 71,000 people in the state have received the COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 500 clinics are scheduled in upcoming weeks.

POWER OUTAGES

Utilities work to restore power in NW Indiana, SW Michigan

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — It could take a few days to restore power in parts of northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan after ice knocked down power lines. Indiana Michigan Power estimated that 75% of outages in the South Bend/Elkhart area should be restored by late Sunday with the balance by Monday afternoon. Michigan outages should be cured by early Sunday evening. There were 30,500 outages reported in the utility’s Indiana territory and 3,350 in Michigan. The city of South Bend opened the Century Center as an emergency warming site. NIPSCO also reported around 19,000 households without power. 

FIRE-POLICE ESCORT

Cops escort injured Midland officer home from hospital

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — A police officer who was injured in a Christmas Eve fire was escorted home from the hospital by his fellow officers. A line of 10 cars with Midland police and sheriff’s deputies led Tyler Hollingsworth to his home Friday. Hollingsworth and another officer were injured while trying to save a 49-year-old man who had doused himself with fuel on Dec. 24. Fire broke out in the Midland garage, and the man died. Hollingsworth’s hands are thickly bandaged. He says it’s hard to express how grateful he is for the support of other officers.

BIG TIP

Tough year ends with a big tip for Michigan woman: $2,021

PETOSKEY, Mich. (AP) — A tough year for restaurants ended in a remarkable way for a northern Michigan server. Becky Beer was working at J.W. Filmore’s restaurant in Petoskey on Tuesday when a customer with a $44 order left a tip of $2,021. The Petoskey News-Review says the tip came from a couple who wanted to remain anonymous. Written on the receipt Tuesday were the words: “JBN Tip Challenge, Just Be Nice, 2021 Happy New Year.” Beer, who has worked at the restaurant for 10 years, doesn’t know why she was singled out for the tip. Since November, Michigan restaurants have been limited again to outdoor dining or to-go orders. Beer is paying bills and putting a portion of the tip into a family foundation created after her uncle died.  

AP-US-ODD-HIPPIES-WELCOME

After 50 years, hippies welcome in an Indiana county

LAGRANGE, Ind. (AP) — Peace, love — and LaGrange. LaGrange County in Indiana has repealed a 1971 law that was intended at blocking huge gatherings like the 1969 Woodstock music festival in New York state. County commissioner Dennis Kratz calls it the LaGrange “anti-hippie ordinance.” The ordinance regulated large gatherings that lasted more than 12 hours and involved more than 500 people. The law was recently dropped as part of an effort to repeal LaGrange County ordinances that have no practical use but have been on the books for as long as 100 years. County attorney Kurt Bachman’s research lasted three years.

CULTURAL CENTER-WI FI

Free, outdoor Wi-Fi coming to Detroit’s cultural center

DETROIT (AP) — Free outdoor Wi-Fi is coming to Detroit’s cultural center. It is part of an effort to implement a comprehensive digital strategy to attract visitors to the area and encourage outdoor programming. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is providing a $500,000 grant. The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation also is supporting the effort. The wireless system will be an extension of Wayne State University’s campus Wi-Fi. The cultural center is home to the Carr Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, College for Creative Studies, Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts and other destinations.

MICHIGAN-GOVERNOR-KIDNAPPING PLOT

Delaware man in plot to kidnap governor seeks release

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A Delaware man charged with plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan is asking to be released from prison as he awaits court hearings. The News Journal in Delaware reports federal prosecutors say in court filings that Barry G. Croft Jr., is a “violent extremist” and that releasing him would be “unreasonable.”  After Croft was arrested in October, he appeared in Delaware District Court and consented to his case being transferred to Michigan, where his co-defendants are charged. Croft hasn’t been able to appear in Michigan court because of delays in prisoner transfers out of the Philadelphia federal prison where he is jailed. 

SOUTH LYON SLAYING-ARREST

Police make arrest in slaying of suburban Detroit teenager

SOUTH LYON, Mich. (AP) — Suburban Detroit police say a 19-year-old suspect has been arrested in the slaying of a suburban Detroit teenager gunned down in a shooting that also left his father in critical condition. South Lyon police say the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office assisted in arresting the suspect in Wednesday’s killing of 17-year-old Dylan Stamper and the wounding of 43-year-old Kevin Stamper. Sgt. Chris Faught tells the Detroit Free Press the suspect turned himself in early Friday and could be arraigned on charges by the end of the weekend. No additional information was immediately released about the suspect, who was being held at the Oakland County Jail.

SENTENCE CHALLENGED

No win but some support for man challenging life term

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from a man who is challenging mandatory life sentences for people who were 18 at the time of a murder. No-parole sentences are no longer mandatory for teenagers who were under 18. Robin Manning believes people like himself who were 18 should also benefit. The state Supreme Court rejected Manning’s case on procedural grounds. But the addition of a new justice, Elizabeth Welch, could change the outcome if a similar case is filed in the future. Manning has been in prison for more than 35 years for a conviction stemming from his presence during a 1984 homicide.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CAFE DISPUTE

Defiant UP cafe owner told to shut down

CALUMET, Mich. (AP) — A judge has ordered the shutdown of a cafe in the Upper Peninsula where customers have been supporting an owner who continues to serve indoor diners. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration got a restraining order against Cafe Rosetta in Calumet, a small town in Houghton County. Bars and restaurants in Michigan are supposed to be limited to carry-out service in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Cafe co-owner Amy Heikkinen, a mother of six, says she can’t afford to limit her business to carry-out orders.