Oakland County opens mass vaccine site and parents sues new student athlete testing rule

In preparation for Michigan's big expansion in vaccine eligibility next week, Oakland County is getting its own mass administration center in Pontiac.

The United Wholesale Mortgage Sports Complex in Pontiac will vaccinate between 1,000 and 3,000 people a day, although officials say it has the capacity to administer as many as 5,000 shots daily. 

Some of the Michigan government's high brass will be in attendance when the UWM Sports Complex opens today. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, Pontiac Mayor Dierdre Waterman, as well as other health experts will be there for the unveiling.

Next Monday, every adult in Michigan over the age of 16 will be eligible for a vaccine. The timing couldn't be any better for a state with the highest rate of new infections in the country. The state is armed with some of the highest daily allocations of vaccines, including a big boost in Johnson & Johnson doses.

The UWM Sports Complex was purchased by the mortgage lender a couple of years ago. In a statement from its CEO, Matt Ishbia said the company is "humbled at the opportunity to help our community in Oakland County."

"The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re proud to do our part in ensuring community members have easy access to get vaccinated and play a role in protecting themselves and their loved ones," he said. 

Oakland County's vaccine center will receive its doses from Ford Field's supply, which gets its allocation in a separate bundle from the weekly vaccine. Data from the health department shows the county pacing at a higher rate of vaccine coverage than the rest of the state, hitting more than 37% of all residents. 

So far, about 385,619 people have been vaccinated, while another 600,000 have reserved a spot on the county's "Save your spot" list.

GM backs out of meeting with Black CEOs

General Motors and CEO Mary Barra have rescheduled a meeting they were supposed to have Thursday with the leaders of several Black-owned media groups, opting instead for smaller and more intimate conversations instead of one big meeting.

The automaker and its chief executive were called out in a newspaper advertisement last Sunday for not investing enough of its marketing budget on Black-owned television. In the ad, it claims GM only spends half of a percent of all advertising spending with them.

GM disputes that claim, arguing they put up 2% of its budget and are "committed" to increasing spending to 4% by 2022 and 8% by 2025.

"General Motors keeps saying our numbers are wrong," Rolan Martin, the CEO of Nu Vision Media Inc. said. "Fine, put the numbers out. This is a very basic and simple request. General Motors should say we spend X amount of billions annually on advertising. This is the actual dollar amount that Black-owned media is getting." 

High school sports advocacy group sues state

high school sports advocacy group and some parents sued Michigan on Thursday, seeking to stop a new requirement that all teen athletes be regularly tested for the coronavirus

The lawsuit, filed in the state Court of Claims, came on the eve of the mandate's Friday effective date. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department announced the free, required rapid testing nearly two weeks ago as a way to help curb the spread of COVID-19 amid a climbing case rate.

Let Them Play Michigan, a group that pushed for the resumption of contact sports, sued along with three parents of young athletes. 

The suit alleges that a state order and related guidance on mandatory quarantines were not issued in compliance with procedural requirements and are "arbitrary and capricious." It also says they violate due-process rights.

- Associated Press

Suspect in Detroit cop's murder released on bond

A man accused of shooting his girlfriend, a former Detroit police officer in 2019, was let out on a $10,000 bond and a tether for a medical procedure. 

The family of the deceased cop is angry with the judge's decision to let Eddie Ray Johnson out of custody, terrified of what he might do next. He must return for his trial date, which could be in a year.

"He doesn't need to be out that long," said Christine Begoske, mother of former officer Elaine Williams. "Let him get his little procedure done and go back to jail. He doesn't need to be out until January, that is a long time. My daughter doesn't get to see any sunshine, I don't get to see her at all."

Williams was allegedly shot in her home in Garden City on Belton Street in June of 2019. Police say Johnson shot her five times before he shot and wounded himself. However, the suspect says he shot the officer in self-defense.

Miggy's 1st homerun a work of art

No really, it was. The Detroit Tigers sealed an Opened Day victory over the Cleveland Indians in part due to Miguel Cabrera's two-run homerun - his 488th of his career.

The Tigers Twitter feed did the work of slowing down the shot to show snow falling and Cabrera launching a pitch into the stands over right field. 

Detroit took the first game of the season, winning 3-2 - a win both the team and the city needed after the year it had. About 8,200 fans were in attendance for the chilly start to the season.

Cabrera is five homeruns shy of tying Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 28th on the career list. 

Woman arrested in connection to dead newborn discovery

Lincoln Park police have arrested a 28-year-old woman in connection to a dead newborn that was discovered behind a business in the woods on March 6.

Police say they made the arrest on March 30. The case is still being reviewed by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, however. 

Officials said earlier this month that a resident had found a bloody bag in the area of Fort Street and St. Johns Boulevard and called police. When law enforcement arrived they found the body inside. Detectives said the baby was born just prior to being put in the bag. 

A press release issued Thursday made residents aware of the state's Safe Haven laws that allow a parent to surrender a newborn within 72 hours of giving birth to an emergency medical service provider. 

What else we're watching

  1. Kuerig Dr. Pepper and a union representing their employees have reached a collective bargaining agreement that will end a strike over an unfair wage structure
  2. M-59 construction has begun in Clinton, Macomb, Harrison, and Chesterfield townships that will take place in two phases over the next two years. The construction will affect westbound traffic.
  3. City of Detroit residents can now apply for adult-use marijuana licenses. More than 400 people already received "Detroit Legacy" status that allows them to have their applications reviewed before anyone else
  4. A report from Reuters found that Ford's political action committee has resumed political donations that don't include a blanket ban on donations to Republicans who voted against certifying the country's 2020 election.
  5. The University of Michigan Regents are holding a meeting Friday morning to discuss how to respond to controversial comments made by one of its members who chairs the state Republican Party

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Daily Forecast

No forecasted temperature for the next week shows temperatures falling below 60 degrees, which is about as good of an indicator for avoiding the bitterly cold April 1 we just had. Today will still be a bit cold, however. Temperatures will reach 48 degrees with no clouds expected.

Plane used in gender reveal event crashes off coast of Mexico, killing 2

Horrific video posted online showed a gender reveal stunt gone wrong when a plane flying off the coast of Mexico crashed into the sea, killing two on board, according to multiple reports. 

Local media reported that a plane normally used as an air taxi took off from the coast of Cancun Tuesday afternoon while a family rode a boat nearby, recording the plane’s flight.

In the footage shared on social media, people can be heard shouting in excitement before the plane makes a hard turn and crashes into the ocean as onlookers cry in horror. 

"Girl! Girl!" a man aboard a boat is heard yelling in Spanish just before the plane plummets into the water, according to a report by the Washington Post.

The plane released a pink cloud as onlookers cheered before going down, the Post reported.