Daily Briefs

Republican senator: Let high schools decide about opening


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker pressed a top state health official Thursday to lift an order closing all Michigan high schools to in-person instruction due to the coronavirus, saying the decision should be left at the local level.

"Let the parents decide. Let the school systems decide whether they're open or whether they're closed," Sen. Kim LaSata of Berrien County's Bainbridge Township told Robert Gordon, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, in a joint House-Senate hearing.

High schools and colleges are two weeks into a minimum three-week period in which they can only provide virtual classes under Gordon's order, which was backed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to control spiking COVID-19 cases statewide. Before then, they had the option of face-to-face or remote instruction similarly to K-8 schools, which are not covered by the directive.

Gordon said there is significantly more risk of the virus spreading in high schools than in lower grades, and the educational loss from no onsite schooling is more detrimental to younger students than high schoolers.

"I fully agree with you that reopening schools should be our priority, and we are eager to do all we can to reopen schools," he said, urging GOP legislators to reverse course and codify a mask requirement into law. Earlier in the meeting, he said: "The only way we will get folks comfortable statewide with reopening schools is if we get the virus under better control."

 

Wolverine Watchmen cases continue in court
 

Nearly two months after their arrest, court hearings are proceeding in the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s cases against members and associates of the Wolverine Watchmen who face felony charges following law enforcement’s unveiling of an alleged domestic terrorism plot that included storming the Capitol building and kidnapping elected officials.

A bond hearing for two defendants – William Null, of Shelbyville, and Michael Null, of Plainville, both 38 – was held Wednesday in Antrim County 86th District Court before Hon. Michael Stepka.
Judge Stepka reduced bond for each defendant to $250,000, 10 percent surety. They were expected to make bond and be released from custody on Thursday. Both defendants are each charged with one count of:

• Providing material support for terrorist acts – a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine; and

• Carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony; felony firearm – a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively.

A probable cause conference in Jackson County 12th District Court for another defendant, Peter Musico, 42, of Munith, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday.

Other Jackson County defendants – Joseph Morrison, 26, of Munith, and Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford – have a probable cause conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18. 
Court dates are subject to change.

Along with the expected release of the Nulls, defendants Bellar, Musico and Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville, have made bond and were released from law enforcement custody. All other defendants remain in custody.


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