Steve Carmody

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   Across Michigan local clerks are preparing for the challenges of November’s general election.

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a sharp rise in absentee voting and concerns for the health of people who will be manning the polls on Election Day.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope is the president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. He says the August primary helped prepare them for the challenges ahead.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expects results for the August primary and November’s general election will be delayed because so many voters are casting ballots.   

Still, Benson says state election workers are ready for next week's primary election.

She concedes all those absentee ballots will take time to count.

“All data would suggest that we’re talking about at least one or two days before we get results in most races in our August primary,” she says.

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is shutting down indoor bar service in Lower Michigan to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

For some bar owners it could be “last call.”

Scott Ellis is the executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.  He says the governor’s order is “devastating,” and could force 50 percent of bars in Lower Michigan to close permanently.

Jacob Carah / Detroit News

FLINT, MI (MPRN)--   The last Flint water crisis criminal defendant had the case against her dismissed Wednesday. 

Liane Shekter-Smith was an official in the Department of Environmental Quality during the time Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead.

In court Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud criticized the plea deal that's allowing her to walk free.

“This plea deal...allows the defendant to walk away without a blemish without anything on her record today,” she said.

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   President Donald Trump will be campaigning in Michigan Wednesday, on the same day Congress debates impeaching him. 

President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr will all be in the state.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer does not see a problem with the spotlight on Michigan, even with the impeachment debate going on in Washington D.C.

“The world’s going to be watching Michigan and you know what that’s a good thing,” she says.

U.P. wolf census coming up

Dec 16, 2019

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   This week, staffers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will meet to discuss the upcoming census of the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula.

Every two years state wildlife officers comb through the U.P. looking for wolves.

Cody Norton is a large-carnivore specialist with the DNR. He expects this year’s census will find a number of wolves similar to the 662 they counted a couple of years ago.

Overdose deaths decrease in Michigan

Nov 25, 2019

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   The State of Michigan has reported its first decline in overdose deaths in six years.  

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says overall overdose deaths declined by 3.2 percent in 2018.  Opioid related fatal overdoses also declined.

The decline in opioid-related overdose deaths in 2018 was largely driven by decreases in the number of deaths due to poisoning by heroin and commonly prescribed drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone.

DETROIT, MI (MPRN)--   Vice President Mike Pence brought a spirited defense of the Trump administration’s economic policies to a speech in Detroit Monday. 

Speaking to 300 members and guests of the Detroit Economic Club, Pence said the U.S. economic outlook remains strong. He accused those saying otherwise of “irresponsible rhetoric.”

The vice president said the Trump administration’s economic policies are helping Michigan’s top industry.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   House Speaker Lee Chatfield says he has asked state Representative Larry Inman to resign. 

Inman—a Republican from Traverse City—was indicted this week on federal charges, including attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe.

Chatfield says Inman’s actions are not what the people of Michigan deserve.

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   Members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation say they want as much of the Mueller report released to the public as possible.

The investigation has looked at allegations of collusion between the Russia government and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

There are reports the investigation’s findings will soon be sent to the U.S. Attorney General.

Republican Congressman Tim Walberg says the president and the American people need to see the report.