Voices calling for winter sports to start grow louder, tragedy strikes Mama Shu again, snowy Sunday on the way

Lawmakers listened to impassioned pleas from parents and student-athletes who have been locked out of competition for months due to a ban on some winter sports in schools over COVID-19 restrictions.

During a committee meeting in Lansing Thursday, advocates for reopening that part of the state made their case a 'Let Them Play' resolution for restarting winter sports was on the floor.

The Republican-introduced resolution received bipartisan support from lawmakers that listened in. However, the Michigan governor has said the presence of a new COVID-19 variant makes lifting the ban more dangerous due to how infectious the strain is.

To let them play, or not play, that is the (latest) question in the Covid era. A state that's been under some measure of restrictions for almost an entire year is continuing to look for space where lawmakers and constituents agree. 

At the same time, some have pointed out the double standards and redundancies of some health measures. Why should restaurants reopen if contact high school sports can't? What specific metrics would offer clarity about when they can reopen? Currently, a ban remains in effect for school sports that are in contact until Feb. 21. That's under the newest health order from the state health department.

The Michigan High School Sports Athletic Association knows what side they're on, and plan to voice their opinion with a media call later Friday.

"Each week, we see hundreds of examples of children and families competing in non-school competition, both in-state and out-of-state," Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a statement. "This not only is in violation of current MDHHS orders but sending all of these families into different states will only become an impediment to getting students back in school full-time."

Currently, girls and boys bowling, girls gymnastics, girls and boys alpine skiing, and girls and boys swimming & dive can participate. But basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey, and wrestling, are off-limits.

Results from a rapid testing pilot program found only 1% of 5,376 individuals tested positive. The group included athletes, coaches, team personnel, and cheerleaders. In a separate program that performed nearly 30,000 rapid antigen tests, 99.8% of them came back negative. 

Parents and student-athletes will be back in Lansing Saturday to protest the ban.

Tragedy strikes Highland Park's Mama Shu again

Shamayum Harris, best known around Highland Park as Mama Shu, just lost her son to gunfire Tuesday night. It's the second child she's lost to senseless violence.

Around 7:30 p.m., police say her son was ambushed when two guys walked up to him while he was in his vehicle and shot seven rounds into the hull. He then ran to a friend's house and called 911. He died after being rushed to Henry Ford Hospital.

Police Chief Kevin Coney said Shu is holding up okay "under the circumstances." As one of the city's most devoted community change agents, she is surrounded by family and friends in Highland Park.

 She first dreamed of raw and real community change after she lost her 2-year-old son to a hit-and-run back in 2007.

Flint man granted clemency after 25-year prison sentence for selling pot

Michael Thompson walked out of a quarantine facility in Jackson County as a free man for the first time in 25 years. His family was waiting in the parking lot to give him a long-overdue hug.

Thompson's Thursday release came after he was granted clemency by the governor for a marijuana crime conviction delivered back in the 1990s. He had been discovered selling three pounds of pot to an undercover informant in Flint

Despite the nature of his nonviolent crime, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison for weed possession and the firearms that police found in his home because he had prior convictions. However, those were mostly antiques locked in a gun safe.

Thompson's early release is partly due to marijuana advocacy groups working to get the attention of Attorney General Dana Nessel, who argued his sentence was "egregiously disproportionate."

Detroit tripling COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Beginning next week, the city of Detroit will begin administering 15,000 coronavirus vaccines a week, scheduling appointments between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the TCF Center.

The expansion follows in lockstep a broadening of eligibility requirements for which residents can get inoculated - a sign that health officials expect more Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses will be available in the coming weeks.

Those who can now get a vaccine include people age 65 and older, Detroit K12 teachers and employees/child care workers, city of Detroit employees working on site, USPS employees, federal and state law enforcement, members of the clergy, funeral home and mortuary workers, any health care worker who lives and works in Detroit. 

So far, the city has administered 14,966 doses but is aiming to do 10,000 a week. 

Woody Woodriffe got scammed. Here's how you don't

FOX 2 anchor Woody Woodriffe would like to believe he's privy to the cheating way so of online agitators trying to steal money. But then again, so do all of us. But then, every once in a while, it happens to you, as it did to Woody.

On Wednesday, he received an email claiming a Windows Defender Virus Protection was taking $300 out of his account to renew his subscription. He called the number in the email to cancel the subscription. 

The people on the other end promised to refund him $300, but instead accidentally refunded him $3,000 instead. What actually happened is they just moved the money from his Savings to his Checking to make it legit.

The scammer said he had to pay back the $2,700 he was accidentally refunded by purchasing gift cards and sending them the pin numbers This left Woody short $2,700 - with a virus on his computer that's harvesting his information.

Other things to note

  1. A third candidate is throwing her hat in the ring for Detroit mayor. Lawyer Sharon McPhail, who worked in former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's administration, will seek a bit for office.
  2. Johnson & Johnson, one of the pharmaceutical companies creating a vaccine to fight against COVID-19, says its 1-shot inoculation is effective but less so than the 2-shot series from Pfizer and Moderna.
  3. Wayne County has started a $400,000 partnership with area food banks to deliver assistance to residents in need. It'll be funded with CARES Act Funds. 
  4. FOX 2 would also like to give a shoutout to Clara Ruth Burks, who turned 103 today. Happy Birthday Ms. Burks!
  5. Oakland County is also vaccinating 100 Holocaust survivors at the Jewish Family Service in West Bloomfield Friday. 

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Friday is going to be cold again and this time there won't be any clouds to lock in any heat, so expect sunshine the entire day. It's going to be a snowy end to the weekend as well, so have your snow shovels in hand.

UK variant, South Africa variant, Brazil variant: A guide to known coronavirus mutations

As the novel coronavirus continues to claim the lives of Americans and people across the world, multiple coronavirus variants are now circulating around the globe, triggering alarm among scientists and health officials.

Some of the primary variants emerged in the fall of 2020, complicating global efforts to combat the coronavirus and contributing to rapid spread in major metropolitan areas, including London and Los Angeles.

There are many varied coronavirus strains circulating around the world, but health experts are primarily concerned with the emergence of three.

As a virus infects people, it can mutate as it makes copies of itself. Some mutations can be harmful to a virus, causing it to die out. Others can offer an advantage and help it spread.

"Not every mutation is created equal," said Mary Petrone, who studies infectious diseases at Yale University. "The virus is going to get lucky now and again."