Gyms, sports can resume across Michigan
After months of state-mandated closures, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reeled back some coronavirus safety restrictions last week and announced that gyms could reopen statewide. Organized sports can also resume this month — just as long as people wear face masks. Whitmer’s administration allows but still recommends against contact-heavy sports like football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, field hockey, boxing and martial arts.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association Council still voted to reinstate sports last week. Whitmer’s order allows typical fall sports like volleyball, soccer and swimming to start this week. Meanwhile, Michigan now tracks more than 107,000 COVID-19 cases and 6,500 deaths, including more than 2,800 cases and 62 deaths reported from the Greater Lansing region.
More spending proposed for Lansing Police
Budget priorities en route to Lansing Mayor Andy Schor’s desk could call for more training and more social workers at the Lansing Police Department. And that could spell police investment rather than police divestment as activists continue to push for meaningful police reforms.
The Lansing City Council’s Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion met last week to draft the budget priorities, which are due to Schor next month as he crafts a budget by March. The proposal could also include a grant writer to assist community organizations across the city.
Notably absent? An actual reduction to LPD’s $46.5 million budget, something that has long been part of a rallying cry repeatedly echoed by Black Lives Matter activists in recent months.
East Lansing cop cleared of excessive force
The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office denied a warrant request last week from Ingham County to charge East Lansing Police Officer Andrew Stephenson with criminal charges after videos appeared to show him kneeling on a suspect’s neck during an arrest he made last year.
Stephenson, who was accused of excessive force, was also cleared of any alleged wrongdoing in May after a Michigan State Police investigation determined he was entirely justified in using force to apprehend two Black suspects — one on Dec. 29, 2019, and another on Feb. 9, 2020.
McLaren spending extra $150 million on new hospital
A nearly half-billion-dollar development from McLaren Health Care is set to swell to about $600 million this year after the health system announced last week it would invest about $150 million more into its towering complex still being built near Michigan State University just off US-127.
The headliner for the new hospital project will still include a state-of-the-art cancer center, which broke ground this summer. The additional investment will allow for expansion, more spacious rooms for patients and a facility designed specifically to study and treat tumors.
Hundreds of loans delayed for MSU law students
Nearly 400 law students at Michigan State University are still waiting to receive student loans this week as officials grapple with federal fallout stemming from the Larry Nassar investigation.
A merger between MSU and the formerly independent College of Law hit a hiccup with the U.S. Department of Education stemming from Clery Act violations related to Nassar and the subsequent sanctions levied against MSU. As a result, MSU still cannot technically add loan-eligible locations without federal approval, which includes its integration with MSU Law.
Until the federal government rubber stamps the merger, that means students still don’t have access to their loan money. MSU officials said they hope to have the issue resolved this week.