Retirees bring grievances to Schor’s home
Nearly 100 retired city employees gathered at Lansing Mayor Andy Schor’s house on Moores River Drive last week to protest a series of changes to their healthcare plans set to take effect next year. They took Schor to task over broken campaign promises in which he previously vowed never to solve current budgetary problems on the backs of former employees. The upcoming benefits changes are expected to cut the city’s ballooning unfunded liabilities by about $8 million annually, while also creating additional out-of-pocket expenses from higher copays for office visits and prescription drugs for about 1,300 former employees.
Suit over transgender policy dismissed
A lawsuit against Williamston Community Schools by conservative parents has been tossed out of a federal courtroom. Four parents filed the lawsuit in 2018, claiming that added protections for students based on sexual orientation and gender identity had only worked to “silence and punish” their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Judge Hala Jarbou held that the parents failed to state a claim by only naming unfounded and hypothetical consequences to the district’s anti-discrimination policies. The suit is expected to be refiled after some type of tangible damages can be assembled.
Firefighter inpatient care issue resigns
The Lansing Fire Department announced that a firefighter had resigned “before discipline could be imposed” after being found to have violated state EMS protocols and departmental policies stemming from a “patient care issue” that took place in August. The press release doesn’t mention many details, except to note that an investigation began on the same day of the incident and involved “inappropriate restraint of a patient.” Fortunately, the press release notes, the patient was not harmed. Still, the firefighter was placed on administrative leave and later found to have violated an unnamed departmental policy. Although the firefighter resigned, the investigation was still turned over to the Lansing Police Department and the Michigan State Police to determine if criminal charges are needed. A Lansing Police Department officer was also present during the encounter. His actions are reportedly under review for internal policy violations but not for any alleged criminal issues.
COVID-19 still ‘trending upward’ here
Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail is continuing to cite a “slight gradual trend upward” in COVID-19 cases this week as county officials tallied nearly 5,000 cases to date, including 1,204 active cases and at least 70 deaths. At least 82 people are also now hospitalized with coronavirus in Ingham County, including at least 19 in intensive care and nine on ventilators. Most of those cases are tied to Michigan State University and East Lansing. Vail said McLaren and Sparrow also tracked 40 virus-related visits on Sunday.
Across Michigan, nearly 188,000 cases and 7,400 deaths have been confirmed since March, including more than 2,500 cases and 28 deaths combined in Eaton and Clinton counties to date.
In recent days, just over 5% of COVID-19 tests in Ingham County have come back positive, reports show. Vail said that “isn’t horrible,” noting she would be “nervous” at rates like 7-10%.
A new state order requires restaurants to collect contact information from customers to trace them in case of an outbreak. Restaurants, bars and other venues have also been limited to six people at most at a table. The state also reduced to 50 people the maximum size for indoor gatherings such as weddings, parties, and banquets in nonresidential settings without fixed seating. It had been 500.
Dog seizure closes animal shelter
After more than 30 dogs were taken from a home in the the 5600 block of Marsh Road in Meridian Township last week, Ingham County Animal Control temporarily halted taking in others animals. While the seized dogs were reportedly not in bad condition, their living conditions were “pretty deplorable,” a spokesperson said.