NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST 7 DAYS

City Pulse News Rewind: Another pot shop opens in Lansing

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Another pot shop opens in Lansing

The Botanical Co. became Lansing’s newest medical and recreational provisioning center when it opened Tuesday near the Capital Region International Airport at 3535 Capitol City Blvd. Door prizes and giveaways will be available this month to celebrate its grand opening.

Report: Granholm to run Energy Department

Former Michigan Jennifer Granholm may be headed to Washington. The two-term governor is President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s choice to run the Energy Department, USA Today reported Tuesday. Meanwhile, Michigan cast all of 16 of its electoral votes for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Monday in the Senate chamber of the Michigan State Capitol building as a small contingent of Trump supporters protested outside. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit filed last week by Texas that sought to invalidate the results of the election in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, further eroding any viable path forward for President Donald Trump to contest the election. Now it’s up to Congress to ratify the Electoral College decision.

Blowback continues over retiree health benefits

Dozens of former city of Lansing employees lashed out against Lansing Mayor Andy Schor at a City Council meeting this week as they prepare for upcoming benefits changes expected to take effect Jan. 1. About 1,300 employees are slated to have their benefits changed to mirror that of current employees, equating to additional out-of-pocket expenses and higher copays for office visits and prescription drugs. While the move is also expected to cut down the city’s ballooning unfunded liabilities by about $8 million annually, many have criticized Schor for welching on his campaign promise to never solve budget problems on the backs of retirees.

Spadafore to remain Council president

Lansing City Council President Peter Spadafore expressed interest last week in another year as president, largely to maintain some semblance of “consistency” after a turbulent year, he said. And it doesn’t appear that anyone else on the Council is actively interested in the job anyway. Vice President Adam Hussain said it would be “wise” to support another year under Spadafore. The Council is expected to elect its next president and vice president on Jan. 4.

Charges dropped in 2011 murder case

A Detroit man won’t face a second trial for a nearly decade-old murder after his charges were reportedly dismissed by the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office last week. Herbert Alford, 47, was released on bond earlier this year after more than 1,700 days behind bars after a rental car receipt served as an alibi that his attorneys said exonerated him in the 2011 murder of Michael Adams, reports the Lansing State Journal. Until last week, he had been set to face a jury trial.

Slotkin raises concern about Biden’s Pentagon pick

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin reportedly raised concerns last week about President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to head the Pentagon, retired Gen. Lloyd Austin. Slotkin, a former acting assistant defense secretary, said she had concerns about selecting a recently retired general rather than someone with a longer history as a civilian, reports the Detroit Free Press. Traditionally, that top Pentagon role has gone to a civilian under the belief that a military insider could lack the necessary independence to oversee military personnel. Slotkin said she has a “deep respect” for Austin — who would be the first Black defense secretary — but that his appointment “just feels off.”

Lansing to clear ‘Back 40’ homeless camp

City officials eventually plan to clear a homeless encampment off North Larch Street following concerns about health, including trash, unsupervised fires and human waste, reports the Lansing State Journal. The city hasn’t set a deadline for clearing the camp but has reportedly advised those staying there to relocate “as soon as possible” to shelters or other housing. Clearing the camp during the pandemic goes against guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that caution against breaking up camps without offering alternatives.

Lugnuts to partner with Oakland Athletics

As part of the reorganization of Minor League Baseball entering the 2021 season, the Lansing Lugnuts was invited last week to become the new High-A Midwest League affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The Lugnuts previously served as the Low-A affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2005 to 2019. Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson considers it a “promotion,” MLive reports. The A’s, meanwhile, have named Scott Steinmann, who has managed in the minors going back to 2005, to manage the Lugnuts.

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