Nessel won't investigate nursing homes, missing child endangered by mom, hate speech posted on school site

Michigan's Attorney General has said she will not investigate COVID-19 data as it pertains to nursing home deaths, following a request from Republican lawmakers and public officials to do so.

State Sen. Jim Runestad had requested Michigan's top cop take a look at nursing home data after the governor declined to release information. The GOP has pointed to missteps by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration as justification for looking into actions taken by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

"But the situation here is completely different," Nessel, replied in a letter sent to Runestad Monday. "I am aware that Gov. Whitmer's office complied with the (Department of Justice) information request and have no reason to doubt the accuracy of that response -- much less suspect intentional misrepresentations within that response."

It's true the federal government did request information last year. Whitmer's team has also said orders to open nursing homes to COVID-19-positive patients came from guidance reportedly offered by the CDC. The creation of these coronavirus hubs brought swift rebuke among state lawmakers last year. 

Since then, Republicans have hammered Whitmer over the nursing home policies and have vowed to investigate further. Last week, Macomb County prosecutor and former state Senator Pete Lucido, published a form that families with issues regarding the policy could fill out and send to police.

He also says his bills when he was still in office to create hubs at Detroit's TCF Center and two other facilities were vetoed by Whitmer. 

"Why were these hubs set up and never used, that has never been answered," Lucido told FOX 2. "We could have circumvented the death of nursing home patients and for their loved ones."

It's not just Republicans that are interested in the information, however. Investigative reporter Charlie LeDuff has also filed a lawsuit with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy to release COVID-19 death data from long-term living facilities. On a segment of Let It Rip last week, he said he wasn't accusing the governor of hiding data, but did say "they are making it hard to believe in them right now."

Nessel said suggesting that public health policy decisions by themselves should be investigated because different approaches could have resulted in fewer deaths is "inappropriate" and violates ethical guidelines.

"Though I will not hesitate to act when justified, I also will not abuse the investigatory powers of this department to launch a political attack on any state official, regardless of party or beliefs," she wrote.

Troy School District hacked, littered with hate speech

The Troy school district has pulled down its website after hackers left the site littered with hate speech and graffiti, although no sensitive data or student information was compromised.

The system's internal messenger was used to send emails to staff and some families, the district said. It also appears the hack originated from outside the country.

"The language and images used were despicable, and we strongly denounce them. We are working in collaboration with the Michigan State Cyber Response Team and an investigation is underway," said Kerry Birmingham, spokesperson for the district. Preliminary information shows that this hack generated from outside the country using a known malicious IP address and that no student information or sensitive data was comprised by the breach."

The slurs targeted several groups, including Blacks, Jews, gays, and others. The information was pulled down within 30 minutes.

How to register for a vaccine at Ford Field

After a delay in getting registration up and running, residents eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine can now schedule an appointment at Ford Field through Meijer. 

The U.S. government is helping set up a mass vaccination site at the Detroit Lions' football stadium as a pilot program it hopes to roll out in other cities as well.

Ford Field staff will have the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 people a day, for eight weeks straight. Administration of the doses will go all day, starting at 8 a.m. and going until 8:30 p.m.

Administration is expected to start next week when adults age 50 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine regardless of previous medical conditions. Click here to sign up.

Police, family searching for missing Jessica Miller

A 7-year-old left with her mom and an unknown man two weeks ago and hasn't been seen since. Her family is concerned for her wellbeing and has little idea where she is.

Jessica Miller, who lives in Lincoln Park, was last seen at her father's house before joining with her mom Kimberlee. Police say her mother is a former drug addict, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and is a danger to both herself and Jessica.

"The mother came in and Jessica was talking to her daddy, her mother took her out and that's the last I saw of her, I haven't seen her since," said her grandmother.

Child Protective Services has a court order to take custody of Jessica. If anyone knows of their whereabouts, they can call Lincoln Park police at 313-381-1800.

Mobile Wayne Health clinic takes shots on the road

Wayne Health is taking its vaccinations on the road, as part of a pilot program to increase outreach and protection in Detroit neighborhoods.

"This is what is needed for us to get beyond on the pandemic," said Dr. Phillip Levy, Wayne Health. "We have to wear masks we have to continue to social distance. But the more people that can get vaccinated the sooner we can reach herd immunity." 

On Monday, the mobile clinic pulled up to the New Bethel Church. There, they inoculated patients without them ever leaving their car. The ingenuity will help further protect some of Detroit's harder-to-reach homes. The team, led in conjunction with Wayne State University, has been conducting COVID-19 tests in a similar fashion for months.

"There's a lot of transportation challenges despite it being 'The Motor City,'" Levy said. "A lot of people don't have cars a lot of people can't get ready access to public transportation. And they have to rely on somebody to drive them to existing vaccination sites."

What else we're watching

  1. The Seeds of Knowledge Learning Center will celebrate its grand opening today, using a $50,000 match from Motor City to help get operations off the ground. 
  2.  Doctors representing medical practices around the state are gathering for a virtual zoom today to urge GOP lawmakers to work with Whitmer on releasing COVID-19 funding approved by the federal government.
  3. The state has awarded $3.6 million for 29 invasive species prevention and management projects. 
  4. FOX 2 will be streaming a colon cancer special event today at 11:30 a.m. when Deena Centofanti interviews Dr. Amalia Stefanou. Tune on on Facebook.
  5. Applications are now open to win the Pure Michigan Hunt license, which the DNR says is worth thousands. Prospective hunters that are selected could receive licenses to hunt elk, bear, turkey, antlerless deer, and waterfowl. Learn more here.

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Daily Forecast

Following a slight drizzle this morning, clouds with the sun peeking out will be around for much of the afternoon. Temperatures started below freezing today but will climb into the mid-50s by 5 p.m.

AP poll: Vaccination efforts could face hurdles as Republicans less willing to get COVID-19 shot

In this rural swath of Virginia's Shenandoah valley, former President Donald Trump remains deeply admired, with lawn signs and campaign flags still dotting the landscape. The vaccines aimed at taming the coronavirus, however, aren't so popular.

Laura Biggs, a 56-year-old who has already recovered from the virus, is wary of taking the vaccine. Reassurances from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have done little to ease her alarm that the vaccine could lead to death.

"The way I feel about it is: I don’t need the vaccine at this point," she said. "And I’m not going to get the vaccine until it is well established."

That sentiment demonstrates the challenge ahead for public health officials as the U.S. intensifies its efforts for widespread vaccinations that could put an end to a devastating pandemic that has left more than 530,000 dead. The campaign could falter if it becomes another litmus test in America's raging culture wars, just as mandates for mask-wearing were a point of polarization at the onset of the virus.