VP Kamala Harris comes to Detroit, GOP's ID requirement dies in House, Pfizer to discuss Covid booster shots

Michigan is getting its second executive branch visit in as many weeks Monday when Vice President Kamala Harris comes to town. She will be speaking in Detroit at the TCF Center.

Harris had originally planned on coming to Detroit in late June - however, severe flooding stymied that schedule and forced a cancelation. She's expected to speak at 3:25 p.m. alongside Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Congresswomen Brenda Lawrence and Rashida Tlaib. FOX 2 will stream the event live on FOX2Detroit.com and on social media. 

The VP will discuss voting rights and the COVID-19 vaccine during her first visit to Michigan. Detroit, the centerpiece to election controversy from 2020 and vaccine hesitation, is a fitting place for Harris to make her pitch. 

Part of her "We Can Do This" tour, Harris's visit is timed with the Republican-led legislature's consideration of voting bills that have become a focal point of post-election discussion in state politics, both in Michigan and dozens of other states. 

While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, has promised a veto on the 39-bill package, GOP leaders have promised to circumvent her veto with a statewide ballot initiative to give the legislature direct consideration of the bills that won't require the governor's signature.

Even as new vaccine rates continue faltering, President Joe Biden and Harris have announced a renewed push to get more of the country protected from COVID-19. Boosting vaccine rates is the best way to avoid further surges of new coronavirus infections, health officials say.

But getting residents vaccinated hasn't been an easy game. In Detroit especially, the vaccine rate is 38.34%, according to state data. That's well below the state average. 

GOP says photo ID requirement for absentee ballots is dead

Plans to add an ID requirement and implement a signature verification to Michigan's election systems won't be part of the series of voting-based bills introduced by the state GOP. Intense pushback from election clerks and voting-rights advocates was enough to leave the proposal dead.

Lawmakers in the House told the Associated Press that many Republicans opposed the Senate-passed bill that required voters to present a photo ID, their driver's license, or the last four digits of their Social Security number on absentee ballots.

"There was not support to make it more difficult for voters through the AV process," said Rep. Ann Bollin, of Brighton Township who chairs the House Elections and Ethics Committee.

It's not the only difference of opinion that the chamber's majority parties have on voting. The state Senate is poised to reject the House GOP's proposal to require in-person voters' signatures to be verified before they are given a ballot. The signatures would have to be added to electronic poll books.

Michigan man finds 160 bowling balls under his house

A Michigan man made a striking discovery under his house when he went to demolish his back stairs: about 160 bowling balls. David Olson, 33, said he found one ball buried in the sand behind cinder blocks this month and continued finding more over the following days.

"I was actually a little happy about that because it’s a little easier to roll bowling balls out of the way than to move the sand and figure out where to put all that," he told the Detroit Free Press.

Olson believes there are even more buried under his Norton Shores home. He contacted the maker of the balls, Brunswick Bowling Products, which had a plant in the area and said they were made in the 1950s. He said former employees contacted him and told him the workers used to take scrapped bowling balls to use as an alternative to gravel or sand.

Brunswick shut down the Muskegon plant in 2006. Olson said many of the balls aren’t in good shape; they don’t have finger holes and aren’t polished, according to MLive.com. He has donated some and plans to give some to the Muskegon Heritage Museum. He’ll use the rest for landscaping or to make sculptures, according to WZZM-TV.

 - Associated Press

MSP enlisted to help crackdown on street racing

Michigan State Police were asked to help Detroit police curb street racing recently, and over the weekend they had the chance to do just that. Armed with high-tech infrared surveillance on a police helicopter, state police filmed a Dodge Challenger doing donuts before speeding off.

The chopper's vantage gave police an aerial view of the scene and made tracking the suspect drivers on the freeway and their attempt at fleeing easy. During a scene Friday, the white-hot wheels of a Challenger shined on the camera, even after the vehicle had entered the freeway. 

When it ran out of gas, three people fled. Police were able to apprehend two of the suspects and are still looking for a third.

Among the initiatives that Detroit police have taken a renewed focus on in recent weeks amid an uptick in violence is street racing. Chief James White has asked for more support from the city and from its public in ending them. 

Ann Arbor nonprofit seeks Michigan's biggest trees

ReLeaf Michigan again is seeking the largest trees in the state. The Ann Arbor-based tree planting and education nonprofit is hosting its 15th biennial Michigan Big Tree Hunt contest.

The trees can be found in backyards, local parks and even along hiking trails.

Certificates and prizes are awarded for the largest tree submitted from each county, for the overall largest tree found by different age groups, and for the largest white pine.

ReLeaf Michigan says it started the contest to celebrate Michigan's beauty and create a fun way to gather information about the state's biggest trees. Submissions will be accepted until Aug. 19, 2022.

What else we're watching

  1. It's Shark Week this week and FOX 2 isn't going to wait around to tell people about it. Stick around for a live interview this morning about meal prep and feeding time for sharks.
  2. Ford is in an all-out media blitz for its new Bronco. The automaker is planning on showing off their new SUV's GOAT mode at the Holly Oaks ORV Park.
  3. Motor City Brewing Works is celebrating the grand opening of its second location today at 2 p.m.
  4. An apparently abandoned apartment building near I-75 and Clay caught fire Monday morning. Authorities said there have been no injuries so far.
  5. The boosted child tax credit will begin hitting bank accounts this week. Parents should see several extra thousands of dollars in the accounts by July 15

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Monday will be cloudy and get a little rain later in the afternoon and evening. Temperatures will still be below this year's average - but not for long as they climb later in the week.

Pfizer to discuss booster shots with US health officials Monday

Pfizer and top U.S. health officials are set to meet Monday to discuss COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

The meeting was scheduled just days after Pfizer asserted that booster shots would be needed within 12 months. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said in response that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not currently need a booster shot.

The possibility of booster shots has been a topic of discussion among U.S. health officials for months. Ongoing studies are monitoring the vaccine’s immune response beyond six months.