Category Archives: State & Region

Whitmer announces steps for school reopening in the fall

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Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 17, 2020

Governor Whitmer announced Wednesday that Michigan schools may resume in-person learning in phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan.

Schools in the state will have to follow strict safety measures for in-person learning.

A statement from Whitmer also announced that on June 30, she will release an executive order and document called “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” that will provide details on what will be required and what will be recommended for schools.

Whitmer said the need for support and flexibility from the federal government will help ensure resources for students and educators.

“Our students and educators have made incredible sacrifices these past few months to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “Thanks to our aggressive action against this virus, those who have done their part to flatten the curve, and the heroes on the front lines, I am optimistic that we will return to in-person learning in the fall. Schools must make sure to enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families. I will continue working closely with the Return to Learn Advisory Council and leaders in health care to ensure we get this right, but we also need more flexibility and support from the federal government. This crisis has had serious implications on our budget, and we need federal support if we’re going to get this right for our kids.”

The Return to School plan will align closely with the MI Safe Start Plan, she said.

Whitmer said districts, students, staff, and families must be nimble and be prepared to move backwards if there is evidence of community spread of the virus.

“The most important thing we can do when developing a return to school plan is closely examine the data and remain vigilant in our steps to fight this virus,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “I will continue to work closely with Governor Whitmer and the Return to Learn Advisory Council to ensure we continue to put the health and safety of our students and educators first. This is a big step, and we will remain flexible to protect everyone who steps foot in a Michigan school.”

The Roadmap will set the minimum health and safety requirements, although districts may choose to enact more aggressive ones in consultation with local public health officials.

These minimum requirements will apply to all schools, including traditional public, charter, private, and parochial schools.

On May 15, Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-88 creating the COVID-19 Return to School Advisory Council.

“The Advisory Council was created to identify the critical issues that must be addressed, provide valuable input to inform the process of returning to school, and to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school. The Council will act in an advisory capacity to the Governor and the COVID-19 Task Force on Education, and will develop and submit recommendations to the COVID-19 Task Force on Education regarding the safe, equitable, and efficient K-12 return to school in the Fall,” a statement from Whitmer said.

Related: Here is an end of school year update from Huron School District superintendent 


 

For the Love Bakeshop to host pop-up shop in Flat Rock June 26-28

For the Love Bakeshop & Café offers an inviting space accommodating a wide variety of dining preferences from grab and go, to a place to meet up with friends and socialize, and even offers a private dining section for parties, meetings and events. Photo courtesy Michele Bezue.


For the Love Bakeshop & Café, a vibrant new bakery cafe opening in July at the corner of Telegraph Rd and East Huron River Dr, is the latest on a growing list of eateries and small businesses revitalizing the downtown Flat Rock community. The shop is driven by a sense of purpose around fresh, local, real food. For the Love offers an inviting space accommodating a wide variety of dining preferences from grab and go, to a place to meet up with friends and socialize, and even offers a private dining section for parties, meetings and events. 

For the Love will host a pop up shop June 26–28, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily ahead of their upcoming July opening. Space is limited due to current COVID-19 regulations and guests will be served first come, first served.

The creators of For the Love hope to do more than just serve great food. From its beginnings, the shop has been designed to nourish the community in both body and spirit every hour that they are open. From staff whose mandate is to treat all neighbors with familiarity and love, to the authentic and natural food that is served, just as they would serve to their own families. Additionally, The For the Love of Neighbor program was an integral part of developing the eatery and offers a generous opportunity for guests to pay it forward when they can. Neighbors can support their fellow community members in need, by purchasing a Breakfast Break or Lunch with Love Benefit that a guest can use to pay for their meal whether they simply forgot their wallet or truly don’t know where their next meal will come from. The business will even share in the cost by offering a discount for any neighbors who choose to share the love. 

“It’s definitely something that’s close to home,” says Nichole Kahl, For the Love’s General Manager, “It’s a great feeling paying your bills on time, but sometimes your food runs out before your next check and that’s ok, it happens.  Our FTLON benefit is there to help those who are in need, in any way!”

For the Love uses Ingredients that are local whenever possible and always the highest quality and the fare is multicultural, based on the creators’ life experiences around the world. The menu includes a variety of breakfast, lunch and bakery items, handcrafted fresh daily. Gourmet sandwiches, refreshing salads, indulgent bakery goods including cakes, brownies, pastry, cookies and more are just some of what you will find on the counter and in the pastry case. An elevated coffee program includes coffee from several metro Detroit roasters, including the new Flat Rock roaster, Hooked on a Bean. For events and meetings, For the Love offers a full catering menu, which can be served in-house, picked up or delivered to your office or home. 

Menu favorites include the, always popular, Black Velvet Cake with Bruleed House-made Marshmallow and Double Cocoa Brownies that your mouth just will not believe. For breakfast, there is an unforgettable variety of bread and muffins in flavors like Morning Glory Banana and Lemon Thyme, as well as savory favorites like Bacon and Egg Brioche Buns and Kale Cheddar Sausage & Egg Muffins. The lunch menu boasts a variety of individual pizzas, scratch-made soups and sandwiches and baked treats like beef bourguignon pot pie and more.

For the Love Bakeshop & Café is located at 28773 Telegraph Rd in the former Premion building, newly rehabbed and home to several new and exciting Flat Rock businesses. The shop will open for carryout and delivery plus limited seating and events in July from 11 am – 6 pm. Keep up on progress and Grand Opening announcement at www.forthelovecafe.com and on social media on Facebook and Instagram as @forthelovecafe. Contact For the Love at 734.210.0290 and email at info@forthelovecafe.com.

Article submitted by: Michele Bezue


 

Expect occasional lane closures on I-94 between I-275 and Huron Street through fall


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 12, 2020

 

Drivers should expect occasional lane closures on I-94 between I-275 and Huron Street in Ypsilanti through fall.

MDOT says it is investing $7 million to repair 9.5 miles of I-94 from just east of Huron Street in Washtenaw County to just east of I-275 in Wayne County.

The work includes pavement repairs on the freeway and ramps, joint repairs and resealing, drainage clean-out, diamond grinding, and replacing the truck weigh scale at the Belleville Rest Area.

The work will being Thursday, June 18 at 8 p.m.

TRAFFIC DETAILS:

Eastbound and westbound I-94 will remain open with lane closures varying during days, nights and weekends.

All lanes will remain open during morning and afternoon drive times.

Single-lane closures may occur on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Up to two lanes may be closed during weeknight work from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Weekend work will occur from 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday, with one lane open.

MDOT says the road construction project is essential. Transportation workers in the field follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines to limit their risk of getting sick.


 

Whitmer signs bill into law allowing roadside drug testing for controlled substances

(MSP file photo)

Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 12, 2020

Governor Whitmer on Thursday signed Senate Bill 718 into law, amending the Michigan Vehicle Code to allow for roadside drug testing for controlled substances.

The bill establishes a one-year pilot program of roadside drug testing in five counties to be selected by the Michigan State Police.

The Michigan State Police also received authorization to conduct a second one-year pilot program involving more counties at the conclusion of the original one-year pilot program.

MSP subsequently expanded the pilot program to all 83 counties in the State. SB 718 was sponsored by Senator Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford.

Related: Michigan State Police launch second phase of oral roadside drug testing pilot program


 

Michigan drivers now have a choice in amount of personal injury protection medical coverage


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 9, 2020

Under a new auto insurance law, Michigan drivers will now have a choice in the amount of personal injury protection (PIP) medical coverage they purchase on policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020.

PIP medical coverage pays allowable expenses for medical care, recovery, rehabilitation, and some funeral expenses, and typically represents almost half of an individual driver’s premium.

Michigan is the only state where unlimited PIP medical continues to be an option.

“This is a time when Michiganders need to see rate relief, and I am pleased that these reforms will result in savings even greater than the law’s requirements,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “It’s important that drivers talk to their insurance agents or attend upcoming town halls to make sure they understand the changes coming this summer so they can make the best choices for their families and budgets.”

According to the state of Michigan, aggregated data shows that the average statewide PIP medical reductions exceed the statutory requirements, which use the average statewide rates on May 1, 2019 as the baseline. (Images are courtesy state of Michigan)
 
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The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services says it contracted with outside independent analysts to review all filed rates to confirm compliance with the law.

DIFS rejected PIP filings that used any rating factors not permitted under the new law, such as sex, marital status, home ownership, or zip code, and required companies to resubmit filings with the prohibited factors removed, the department said.

In total, DIFS said it approved 321 personal and commercial auto filings related to the law change.

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“DIFS has worked hard in extraordinary circumstances to review and approve auto insurance rates so that drivers can see the benefit of this law starting this summer,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “We are also working to educate Michiganders so they can be ready to review and make decisions about their policies and ultimately save money.”

Auto insurance premiums are individual to each consumer and may vary on driving record, miles driven, coverages selected, and other factors.

Informative resources, instructional videos and a schedule of virtual town hall events are available for drivers to learn more about the new law at Michigan.gov/autoinsurance.


 

Whitmer reopens more regions, economic sectors


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 5, 2020

Governor Whitmer today signed orders to reopen more regions and economic sectors under her “MI Safe Start Plan.”

On June 10, Regions 6 and 8 — which include much of northern Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula — will move to Phase 5 of the governor’s plan.

Phase 5 allows the reopening of salons, movie theaters, and gyms, subject to safety protocols and procedures designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

On June 15, personal services including hair, massages, and nails will reopen statewide.

Whitmer said she expects the entire state will advance to Phase 5 in the coming weeks.

The remaining regions, 1 through 5 and 7, will remain in phase 4 under today’s executive orders,

“Today marks another milestone in the safe reopening of Michigan’s economy,” Whitmer said. “As we continue to slowly reopen different parts of our state, it’s critical that we listen to the experts and follow the medical science to avoid a second wave of infections. The good news is that we are headed in the right direction, and if the current trajectory continues, I anticipate we’ll be able to announce more sectors reopening in the coming weeks. We owe it to our front line workers to keep doing our part.”

“We are still on an encouraging trajectory across the state, and while there are regional differences, we are seeing continued general rates of decline in cases and deaths,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “While we must continue to monitor the data, because of these positive trends we are able to move forward, on a regional basis, with the next phases of the MI Safe Start Plan. Although the risk levels are going down, it does not mean it has gone away. Please remain vigilant, wear your mask, practice social distancing, and remain patient as we continue to fight COVID-19 together.”

Under phase 5, indoor social gatherings and organized events of up to 50 people are permissible.

Outdoor social gatherings and organized events are also allowed if people maintain six feet of distance from one another and the gathering consists of no more than 250 people.

In addition, outdoor performance and sporting venues will be open with a larger capacity limit of 500, which will allow for some outdoor graduation ceremonies.

Governor Whitmer has issued an updated rule laying out new workplace safeguards for gyms, in-home services, hair salons, and entertainment venues.

“Following these safeguards will ensure that workers and patrons alike remain protected as the state moves to reopen,” Whitmer said.

To view Executive Orders 2020-114 and 2020-115, click the links below:


 

Bottle deposit returns to resume operations on June 15

(Photo/Google)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 3, 2020

Beginning June 15, 2020, some retailers must reopen their bottle return facilities and resume the collection of returnable beverage containers and refund of customer bottle deposits. This applies to retailers with bottle return facilities located at the front of the store or housed in a separate area and serviced exclusively by reverse vending machines requiring minimal or no person-to-person contact.

Retailers reopening their bottle return facilities must ensure those facilities comply with all state-mandated safety protocols and restrictions, including the most recent state-mandated safeguards to protect workers.

In addition, retailers may take any or all of the following steps:

-Limit the number of beverage containers that may be returned by a single individual per day to a deposit refund amount of $25, pursuant to MCL 445.572(10).
-Establish special or limited hours of operation for bottle return facilities.
-Limit the number of available and operating reverse vending machines.
-Periodically close bottle deposit facilities as needed for cleaning and supply management.
-Implement such other procedures or restrictions as each retailer may determine are necessary or advisable to promote safety and/or efficiency.
-During this initial phase, retailers must limit the volume of weekly returned beverage containers to no more than 140 percent of their average weekly collection volume for the period April and May 2019.

Consumers have the option of recycling their returnable beverage containers if they choose not to return them to a bottle deposit redemption facility.

Treasury will issue further guidance regarding additional phases of the reestablishment of the bottle deposit program in the near future.

The collection of returnable beverage containers was temporarily suspended via Executive Order No. 2020-21, issued by Governor Whitmer on March 23, 2020. The temporary suspension supported Michigan’s fight against the coronavirus by permitting grocery stores and other retailers to immediately shift employees from container collection and deposit redemption duties to other areas where they were more urgently needed, and to protect the health and safety of retailers, their employees, and all Michigan citizens.

Questions regarding the phase-in of the reestablished bottle return program can be directed to Treas_MiscTaxesFees@michigan.gov.


 

Whitmer lifts stay-home order in Michigan, allows bars and restaurants to reopen, and more


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 1, 2020

Governor Whitmer signed an order Monday that will allow retailers to reopen on June 4 and restaurants to reopen on June 8, both subject to capacity limits.

Day camps for children will also be permitted to open on June 8.

Effective immediately, groups of 100 or less will be allowed gather outdoors with social distancing.

Office work that is not capable of being performed remotely can resume, and in-home services, including housecleaning services, can resume operations.

Gyms and fitness centers may conduct outdoor classes, practices, training sessions, or games, provided that coaches, spectators, and participants maintain six feet of distance from one another during these activities.

Outdoor pools can also reopen, with restricted capacity.

Whitmer said the entire state is moving to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan.

“The data has shown that we are ready to carefully move our state into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan, but we owe it to our brave frontline heroes to get this right,” said Governor Whitmer. “While Michiganders are no longer required to stay home, we must all continue to be smart and practice social distancing, and encourage those who meet the criteria to get tested for COVID-19. If we all do our part, our goal is to announce a shift to phase five for the entire state prior to the fourth of July. Stay smart, stay safe, and let’s all do our part.”

Michiganders must continue to wear facial coverings when in enclosed public spaces and should continue to take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community. And they should continue to work from home to the maximum extent possible.

“The governor and I, along with a team of experts, have determined that our state is ready to move into the next phase of the MI Safe Start Plan. Hospitalization numbers are down, our frontline workers have PPE to last them several weeks, and the number of positive cases and deaths are declining,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “We will continue to monitor the data and work closely with local health departments to ensure Michiganders practice safe social distancing. On behalf of our health care professionals and first responders on the front lines, we must all be smart and be safe.”

Wayne County leaders weigh in:

“As the hardest-hit region in the state, Wayne County and its residents are ready to safely return to greater activity and commerce,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We continue to vigilantly monitor the spread of COVID-19 and will do so to make sure the number of daily cases continues to decline. It’s is been an extremely difficulty three months for all of us, but the social distancing measures we have put in place has slowed the spread of this disease and saved lives. Today is an important step toward returning to some semblance of normalcy, but it is important for all of to continue following that safe distancing and work directives outlined in Stage 4 of the MI Safe Start plan.”

“I appreciate Governor Whitmer for her diligence and commitment to reopening the state safely. We look forward to reopening Detroit safely and efficiently,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.


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Secretary of State branches to reopen June 1 by appointment only

 


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| May 26, 2020

Secretary of State branch offices will reopen June 1 by appointment only for essential transactions not available online in order to continue to balance the need to provide critical services and protect public health.

“While the offices were closed to the public we conducted more than 3,000 emergency appointments for essential workers and planned and implemented protocols so that we could reopen in a way that ensures the safety of employees and all Michiganders,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Customers can be confident they’ll be able to conduct their business with us safely and efficiently.”

Beginning the week of June 1, all 131 branch offices in Michigan will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for appointment only services for transactions including:

-Driver licenses and state ID transactions that must be done in person
-Title transfers
-Operator, CDL, chauffeur, mechanic and motorcycle testing
-Seasonal commercial vehicle renewal
-Branch staff will follow strict health and safety protocols, including wearing masks, standing six feet apart, using desk shields, and continuously disinfecting shared or common surfaces. -Branch doors will be locked, and each branch will have a greeter to let customers with appointments in at scheduled appointment times. A copy of the department’s reopening preparedness plan can be found here.

Anyone scheduling an appointment or receiving an appointment reminder will also be instructed on how to safely attend their appointment by:

-Arriving at the appointment alone
-Wearing a mask or homemade face covering over their mouth and nose
-Waiting in their vehicle or outside prior to the appointment time and maintaining six feet of distance when announcing themselves and their appointment to staff at the doors
-Following directions on where to stand during the transaction — only stepping forward toward the clerk when providing or retrieving documents
-Cancelling their appointment if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 within 14 days of the appointment
-Adhering to CDC guidelines when in public
I-n addition to preparing to reopen branches, the Michigan Department of State began sending updated renewal forms this week, color coded based on the type of transaction needed and with streamlined information to explain how best to conduct the transaction.

Renewal forms, which will be mailed in redesigned envelopes measuring 9.5 inches by 6 inches, come in six colors:

Red: Vehicle registration
Blue: Driver’s license
Green: State identification card
Teal: Watercraft
Gray: Snowmobile
Purple: Special plate
Instructions are provided at the bottom of each form to direct customers on options for renewing their credential, providing information on whether they can complete their transaction online, at a self-service station or by mail, or if they will need to schedule an appointment at a branch office.

A sample of the updated renewal forms can be found here. To schedule an appointment visit Michigan.gov/SOS or call 888-SOS-MICH. Advance appointments can be made up to 180 days ahead of time. Same-day appointments become available 24 hours prior to the appointment time.


 

New Michigan website provides COVID-19 risk and trend data

Seen here is a May 26, 2020 screen shot of the new MI Start Map website launched by the state of Michigan.


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| May 26, 2020

A new online dashboard launched today visually illustrates COVID-19 risks and trends in Michigan

The website provides residents with information about the pandemic status where they live and work.

You can visit the website at this link: https://www.mistartmap.info/

The website was developed through a collaboration between Michigan’s departments of Health and Human Services and Labor and Economic Opportunity, and the University of Michigan.

The dashboard data is divided into Michigan Economic Recovery Committee (MERC) regions.

“MERC regions were developed by merging Michigan’s Emergency Preparedness Regions and Michigan’s labor sheds – the major areas of the state where people live and travel to work based on U.S. Department of Labor data – so that any outbreak resulting from a return to work could be handled effectively under public health laws,” a statement from the state of Michigan said.

The COVID-19 data displayed on the dashboard represents publicly available case, death and test data analyzed to determine overall level of risk and key trends.

Graphs, numbers and trends provide a snapshot of how much virus is in a community, and whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Risk levels were developed by MDHHS and the U-M School of Public Health using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, national Guidelines for Opening America and several other leading national organizations.

“The risk levels tell us whether there is high, medium or low risk of COVID-19 spread in a community and can help highlight areas where more social distancing may be needed, or where vulnerable individuals should be particularly careful,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

The dashboard was designed and created by faculty at U-M School of Information and School of Public Health and presents risk and capacity indicators that inform implementation of the MI Safe Start Plan.

These indicators fall into three categories: epidemic spread, health system capacity and public health capacity.

Each indicator displays a level of risk. The indicators, along with other epidemiologic information, inform the overall risk level for a region.

It also incorporates on-the-ground knowledge, such as whether new cases of COVID-19 are localized to a single outbreak or represent community-wide spread.

“The U-M team is very excited to build this dashboard for the people and State of Michigan,” said Sharon Kardia, Ph.D., associate dean at U-M School of Public Health. “This precision public health dashboard is very unique as it clearly shows everyone why some regions can open up more rapidly than others.”

In addition to the risk and capacity indicators, other considerations such as the availability of mitigation measures, the risk posed by certain activities and other economic factors also inform decisions under the MI Safe Start Plan, officials said.


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