Michigan News Digest

Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today in Michigan. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-Detroit bureau at 800-642-4125 or 313-259-0650 or apmichigan@ap.org. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date. All times are Eastern.



FLINT, Mich. — Flint mother Ariana Hawk struggled to find words. Bittersweet came to mind, as did frustrated. “I literally could have cried,” said Hawk, sitting in her car after learning former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and others in his administration were expected to be charged in a water crisis blamed with causing learning disabilities in scores of children and other medical problems among adults in the majority Black city about 60 miles northwest of Detroit. Her son was 2 years old when Hawk noticed something wasn’t right with the family’s tap water. By Kat Stafford, Mike Householder and Corey Williams. UPCOMING: 900 words.


LANSING, Mich. — The new legislative session in Michigan began Wednesday with incoming House leadership calling for improved government transparency and complaining that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has eroded public trust in state government with her response to the coronavirus pandemic. House Speaker Jason Wentworth said during a news conference that the Legislature must change how it governs the state. He didn’t specify how that might happen. He also suggested more could be done to hold elected officials accountable for their missteps. “Anything that improves the transparency and accountability of government is on the table,” Wentworth said. By Anna Liz Nichols. SENT: 410 words.



LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration said Wednesday that Michigan restaurants should be able to reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 1 if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations remain stable, extending a two-month ban by an additional two weeks while letting non-contact sports resume this weekend. The plan is to allow dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew. Organized non-contact sports and group exercise classes can start Saturday. Michigan is among just a few states to allow no indoor restaurant dining and is the only one without a detailed plan on how and when reopening can occur, according to the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. By David Eggert. SENT: 300 words.


BORING, Ore. — A line formed out the door during the lunch rush at the Carver Hangar, a family-owned restaurant and sports bar, and waitresses zipped in and out of the kitchen trying to keep up with orders as customers backed up in the lobby. Indoor dining has been banned in much of Oregon for nearly two months, but the eatery 20 miles southeast of Portland was doing a booming business — and an illegal one. The restaurant’s owners fully reopened Jan. 1 in defiance of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 indoor dining ban in their county despite the risk of heavy fines and surging coronavirus cases. In Oregon, an organized effort to get businesses to reopen for indoor service starting Jan. 1 has been championed by several mayors, who formed a group to raise legal defense funds in anticipation of a court fight. Similar revolts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, California and Washington state have also gained traction, with the rule-breakers saying their industry has been unfairly singled out. By Gillian Flaccus. SENT: 1,130 words.


DETROIT — Electric vehicle fires pose safety risks to first responders and guidelines from manufacturers about how to deal with them have been inadequate, according to U.S. investigators. There are also gaps in industry safety standards and research on high-voltage lithium-ion battery fires, especially in high-speed, severe crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday. The agency, which has no enforcement powers and can only make recommendations, called for manufacturers to write vehicle-specific response guides for fighting battery fires and limiting chemical thermal runaway and reignition. By Tom Krisher. SENT: 540 words, photos.



DETROIT — The Bucks visit the Pistons. Milwaukee has already beaten Detroit twice this season. By Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos. Game starts at 7 p.m. ET.


If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to apmichigan@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.