Michigan administers its first vaccine, civil rights group sues prisons, bullets from Warren arrest hit home

An extraordinary feat took place Monday when the country began administering vaccines to its essential workers - in Michigan, Dr. Marc McClelland of the Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids received the state's first COVID-19 vaccine dose at 12:04 p.m.

It'll be some time before non-essential workers are being given the COVID-19 vaccine, with estimates placing many people on a timetable of being inoculated in the spring of 2021. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says she hopes 70% of adults will be vaccinated by the end of next year.

It's going to take an unprecedented effort to achieve. There are several links in the supply chain that must stay in sync. Production of the vaccine needs to continue and even grow as more companies work to see their treatments approved. And then there's public willingness to take two doses of the vaccine for a virus that before 10 months ago wasn't a common household phrase.

All of it combined measures up to the largest vaccine distribution rollout in the nation's history. Several hospitals have already been selected to administer the vaccine with many in Wayne County capable of keeping thousands of doses.

"We are expecting a vaccination capacity of a hundred doses a day," said Dr. Mouhammed Hammani from Wayne County Department of Health. "We also are very cognizant that this vaccine might have some uncomfortable side effects. We don't want to vaccinate everybody from one single entity at once where they're having a mild fever or are tired."

There have been reports of some people's allergies acting up after being given the vaccine. Experts however say it's a rare side effect. 

About 83,000 doses of the vaccine are expected for Michigan during phase one of the distribution. Phase two is expected to start in the spring.

"Phase two becomes everybody else. So anybody who is not included in phase one-A is going to be included in phase two," said Hammani. "We're expecting more vaccines and we're expecting that this is where the mass vaccination efforts and the provider efforts are going to be happening."

Civil rights group sues Michigan prisons over ID policy

A mugshot showing three Muslim women without their hijabs has set off a firestorm after a civil rights group sued the state's prison system over the policy that forced the women to remove their headscarves.

More than 15 Muslim and Moorish Science who are incarcerated have come forward saying they were mandated to take off the garments for booking photos. They can be seen not just on their prison ID cards but on the Michigan Department of Corrections website. 

"It's embarrassing it is humiliating and it is degrading for Muslim women," said Amy Doukore, an attorney representing the women. "The stripping of the hijab for a Muslim woman is equivalent of making a non-Muslim woman walk around topless or shirtless in front of men and then publishing them to a website."

The Council on American and Islamic Relations says the prison's policies are mainly out of step at the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Pittsfield Township. 

In the past, the group says they tried to work with the Michigan Department of Corrections to update the policy. After failing in that avenue, the team is taking a more confrontational stance.

MDOC says they are reviewing the lawsuit but do not comment on pending litigation.

Wyatt's Law takes step closer to reality

A woman and mother to a child that suffered irreparable brain damage at the hands of a previously convicted child abuser is one step closer to seeing a five-year-long effort reality.

Erica Hammel has been working since 2015 to rectify the wrongs inflicted on her son Wyatt by legislating a registry for child abusers into law. Over the weekend, the Senate passed the bill 37-1 - its the third try by Hammel to get the bill into law.

“Good legislation takes time - and this is good legislation," said Hammel.

In addition to the margin of approval, the law also received an endorsement and speech from the Senate leader.

"The had twice been convicted of child abuse in the past," said Sen. Mike Shirkey (R). "Something that Ms. Hammel would have known because she would have followed her intuition if a law such as this one had been in place.”

Next up on the docket is the House of Representatives, where Hammel feels confident after meeting with the speaker. 

Erica Hammel's son Wyatt suffered brain trauma after abuse from her then-boyfriend.

“Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, we actually did get a meeting with him, back in 2019," she said. "So I feel we have a leg up because he has already heard our story.”

The proposed list will show an offenders' name, birthdate, city, and county. All that information is already public, but this makes it easier to find. 

Bullets hit mobile homes after Warren police shooting

Residents of the Madison Oaks Community in Madison Heights say during a police incident last week when Warren officers shot a burglary suspect at a motel, they may have had some near misses in the process.

"It went through here and it went all the way through my living room," said Amanda Freeland. "And it came out the other side of my living room under my Christmas tree."

"I woke up to like, yelling and shouting." 

Freeland says had her boyfriend been in the home at the time, he would've been sitting in the bullet's path.

"If it would have been a bit further down, it would’ve hit my daughters’ room," Freeland said. "It would’ve hit her bed."

The original incident occurred last Thursday morning when police tracked a burglar to the Knights Inn Motel after watching him steal a safe. When they tried to arrest him, the suspect tried running over police in his car.

Freeland has contacted an attorney and former police chief, who say the likely outcome would be a legal complaint settlement and compensation for the property damage. 

Michigan's electors cast ballots for Biden, Harris

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's certified victory in Michigan overcame one last hurdle in the state to be finalized. On Monday, 16 state-appointed electors cast Michigan's electoral college votes.

Under normal circumstances, the customary tradition receives little fanfare. But with much of the state's constituents still unconvinced by the integrity of the 2020 election, yesterday's vote was dipped in drama. The day started with a closed state capitol due to "credible threats of violence" and a lawmaker not promising people wouldn't be hurt on that day.

But in the end, any uncertainty was waived away when Lavora Barnes, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, announced Biden and Harris's 16 electoral votes. 

"Our American democracy was founded on the principle of majority rule," Whitmer said. "Michigan has chosen a clear winner for the office of President of the United States and for every elected office up and down the ballot."

"The people have spoken."

Other Stories

1. On Monday, a judge allowed the release of a forensic audit of a northern Michigan county's election equipment. The report's conclusion is heavily disputed by state officials.
2.  It's been nearly a week since a mother was shot dead, her house burned down, and her son was badly burned inside. Family and friends held a vigil for the deceased and prayed for the recovery of her son.
3. Police are increasingly working as agents of mental health recovery among their suspects. A new partnership with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network is supposed to ease the burden.
4. Construction of a new cold storage food products building in Romulus is showing that not every city is suffering during the pandemic.
5. The UAW and Department of Justice have reached a settlement after a years-long probe of corruption and bribery at the union. 

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Daily Forecast

More of the same forecasted for Tuesday with temperatures hovering in the 20s for much of the day. Some snow could arrive on Wednesday.

Attorney General Bill Barr to leave White House just before Christmas, Trump announces

President Donald Trump announced Monday that Attorney General William Barr will leave the White House before Christmas.

“Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!” Trump wrote on Twitter. 

In a letter sent from the Office of the Attorney General posted on Twitter by Trump, Barr wrote, “I am greatly honored that you called on me to serve your Administration and the American people,”

Trump added that Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will replace Barr as acting attorney general. 

Barr in his resignation letter said he updated Trump Monday on the department's “review of voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election and how these allegations will continue to be pursued." He added that his last day on the job would be Dec. 23.