Category Archives: News

Tragedy Strikes Oxford

Update: Parents of alleged school shooter arraigned into custody after going missing in southeast Michigan and each have been placed under $500,000 bond on charges related to manslaughter.

Shots rang out in the hallways of Oxford High School this week, leading to the senseless deaths of four students and injuries to several more.

Hanah St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin and state Myre were the four deceased victims of the attack and students at Oxford High School.

Michigan Herald Tribune has made the editorial decision to not name shooters in mass casualty violence but the alleged perpetrator is a 15 year old student and was taken into custody five minutes after shots began to ring out.

He has been charged as an adult.

Local Winter Color Guard Programs Dazzle at Jenison High School

Five teams representing 4 winter color guard programs put on an exhibition of their skills on Saturday night at Jenison High School.

The first routine of the night was run by Jenison High School Junior Varsity. The squad performed to a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I wanna dance with somebody” recorded by the artist Ben Rector. They put on an excellent show with members of the team ranging from 6th graders to seniors in high school.

The second team to take the floor was Kent City High School. Audible gasps of awe were heard throughout the gymnasium when the team unfurled their extravagant and colorful sky themed mat, which contained all the splendor and color of a sunset on Lake Michigan. Their performance dazzled and shined just as brightly with their heartfelt performance to Lauren Daigle’s hit song, “You Say.” Despite having a team of just twelve, the Eagles managed to fill the mat with soaring flag tosses, rifle spins, acrobatics and contemporary dance working together for a wonderfully choreographed performance.

Hudsonville High School took the floor next and the colorful spectacle continued. Hudsonville performed, donned in vibrant spiral body suits. Their production in 2021 is titled “What’s Going On?” and seeks to represent the duality of our public and personal lives to the tune of a medley of Adagio for Strings and Axel F. The performance was spectacular and an absolute tour de force that filled the mat from edge to edge with movement, color and artistry.

Things quickly took a turn towards the dark side when the Jenison High School varsity color guard team took the floor in black hooded robes and incorporating black masks in a way that came across equal parts pandemic prophylactic and consummate costume. The thirteen member team brought all the attitude and drama that one would expect for a program titled, “The Witching Hour.” The tension continued to build, behind the soundtrack of work produced by Peter Gundry, until the climactic moment that a plume of smoke fired from the cauldron at the center of the mat and a performer arose from the bubbling brew clad in all white as part of a stunning quick change maneuver.

The swan song for the evening was brought courtesy of Caledonia Independent, a conglomerate representing multiple schools in West Michigan. Their 2021 program is titled “Rococo,” an ode to the late Baroque period in the 18th century, which has become an important era of influence among artists and musicians in recent years. They performed in black and gold attire with designs akin to the Baroque style that set their scene along with music by Camille Saint Sans. While they had the tough job of following the entire series of splendid performances, they were up to the task and ended the evening with a beautiful and well produced routine.

All teams seemed overjoyed to be performing after a year of cancellations and disappointment. No matter the theme or experience, every routine could be felt by those in attendance as each squad poured their heart and soul into the exhibition of their talents.

Breaking: Police Swarming campus at SVSU

The Saginaw Valley State University student newspaper is reporting that police were called just after 8pm on Thursday night regarding a faculty member in distress at the school’s Science West building. Police remain on campus as of Friday morning and little else is known at this time.

Police spokespeople have issued a directive to students and staff to avoid the following buildings: Science West, Pioneer Hall and Zahnow Library. Police have ruled out the involvement of any SVSU student at this time and the ongoing issue seems to be limited to just the lone faculty member.

We will update this story as more details are released.

Biden & Peters Claim Victory in Michigan

Just four years after a surprising upset in the Mitten state, Joe Biden has seemingly pulled the state back into the Democrat column. Senate incumbent candidate, Gary Peters, also pulled off a hard fought battle with challenger, John James to claim reelection.

The battle appears far from over, though, as legal challenges have already been raised and messy counts in Shiawassee and Antrim counties cast doubt on the credibility of the electoral process.

Biden appears to have largely been the beneficiary of massive increases in voter participation from the expansion of absentee and early voting. Voters who seldom turn out on Election Day were able to cast ballots with unprecedented ease this cycle, leading to celebration by some and criticism by others.

The election is still being held in limbo as several states hang in the balance around the country and even more court battles begin. Stay tuned for more unbiased election news in the coming weeks.

President Trump Draws Overflow Crowd in Final Push for the Mitten State

Thousands huddled in freezing rain at Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport from the early hours of Tuesday morning to well into the afternoon. Pulling into the airport, one may have been forgiven for thinking they were arriving at a Big Ten tailgate party. Despite the frigid temperatures and wet conditions, attendees made the long walk from the parking lot to the security line with a pep that didn’t match the weather. They carried blankets, donned stocking caps and perhaps surprisingly, a majority wore masks.

The crowd filed in through rigorous security and temperature checks for hours and eventually filled the event space to capacity and overflowed into the streets and parking lots on both sides of the hangar apron. The feeling that one was at a sporting event continued once inside the gates, as Trump regalia and vendors were as abundant as team gear at a football game, displaying that Trump has managed to carry over his branding expertise to a realm that has seldom been seen as “cool.” It was impossible to wonder, how much of the Trump brand will stick as the GOP prepares for a post-Trump era in the coming months or years. It was undeniably a Trump rally, rather than a Republican event and the crowd seemed to match. Scores of young people, UAW members, racial minorities and all other demographics of the American landscape were in abundance like no Republican event would have expected before Trump.

Supporters flooded into the seats, carrying hot cocoa, pizzas and other concessions before being met by a wall of sound streaming from the fingers of Detroit rock legend, Ted Nugent. Nugent shredded out a walloping Star Spangled Banner, before giving older folks in the crowd a taste of nostalgia with the opening riff of his hit song, Stranglehold. Chants of “Four More Years” & “USA” broke out throughout the morning and on one occasion, several rounds of the Wave went around the packed crowd.

When we covered the Bernie Sanders rally in Grand Rapids on a clear spring day just as Covid began spreading across Michigan, we remarked how young the crowd was with some 80% being 30-something or below and the rest seeming to fall well into the retiree category with very few between the two demographics. Yesterday, we were again surprised to see just how many young people braved miserable elements to attend a political rally, though describing it as such seems to be a diminishing misnomer for the atmosphere present on Tuesday. Tuesday’s crowd appeared very evenly distributed across all ages and both men & women. Perhaps the most surprising element of the day was just how energetic the crowd was and how widely distributed the ages of attendees were on Tuesday. We have covered scores of Republican conferences, conventions and other rallies over the years and none felt or looked like the gathering at the Capital Region International Airport.

As the attendees found their seats and settled in for the rough ride of rain and cold temperatures, they were greeted by election hopefuls Paul Junge, who is in a race against incumbent Rep. Elissa Slotkin, and John James, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Gary Peters.

Both candidates highlighted several areas they believe their opponents have broken promises, with Junge notably accusing Slotkin of reneging on a promise not to impeach the president if elected. Slotkin, Junge argued, folded under pressure from Democrat leadership to impeach the president last January. Likewise, John James targeted Peters’ claims to be a defender of the Great Lakes and clean drinking water, while he stated asian carp risk invading Lake Michigan and Flint pipes are still leaching lead. James also attacked Peters’ attendance record at committee hearings and meetings, as well as his voting history.

James ran previously against incumbent, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, but looks to be faring much stronger in 2020 as his name recognition and brand have been rising in recent years. His race with Peters is sure to be a telling one on the future direction of Michigan politics and give some insight to his political brand going forward.

The festivities hit a fever pitch as Air Force One arrived just behind the stage and Donald Trump rose up the stairs to cheers and cellphones recording his ascent as Lee Greenwood’s I’m Proud to be an American blasted from the loudspeakers. Trump, always the showman, clearly reveled in the moment and made a protracted entrance, more akin to the WWE than a political rally, making his way to every part of the stage and addressing every corner of the audience with waves and fist pumps.

It did not take long for Trump to win over the rain soaked crowd, making jokes about the weather and his “people” asking if he’d like an umbrella or a hat, but telling the crowd he insisted on joining them in the elements as they had to wait longer than expected for his plane to arrive. Though two teleprompters framed either side of the podium, bearing the seal of the President of the United States, Trump’s remarks often felt more like riffing off bullet points from the screens. Trump covered various topics from his appointment and approval of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney-Barrett, economic success since 2016, trade deals with China & the USMCA and targeted several areas of disagreement with his opponent, Joe Biden.

The president also made sure to drop his signature line about the corrupt media that got boos from all in attendance before Trump called out to Fox News’ John Roberts and chuckled that Roberts has been fair. The comment drew wide swathes of the crowd to laugh, turn around and wave to Roberts. While Trump has attacked media that he believes has treated him unfairly, he has also found ways at doing so in a less aggressive way than in the past several years. It is also important to note that his campaign staff was very gracious to media in the crowd who had been in the elements since early in the morning, unsolicitedly giving out hand warmers and coffee to shivering reporters.

The president also made sure to target Biden on everything from allegedly corrupt dealings brought to attention in recent weeks by reporting in the New York Post, to flip-flopping multiple times on fracking and other fossil fuels abolishment, weakness towards China, Russia and North Korea, immigration policy and perhaps most effectively in regards to trade policy & social security/medicare; mirroring arguments and even playing tape of the Biden/Sanders Democrat Primary Debate. Trump seems willing to reach across the aisle to disaffected Sanders voters who feel the Democrat establishment pushed their candidate out of the race once again and even picked their preferred candidate to the one selected by voters in running Kamala Harris as VP. Harris was famously run out of the campaign before California even voted when fellow Democrat presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard, highlighted a series of blistering rebukes against the Senator. That moment was too much for Harris’ campaign to fend off, but a few months later, she was propped back up with a vice presidential selection by a Biden campaign that has already eluded to the fact she is the de facto candidate.

Trump waved to the crowd and boarded Air Force One to cap the day with two additional rallies in Wisconsin and Nebraska. Biden, conversely, called a lid on all in-person campaign and media events for the final ten days leading up to the election. Update: Biden has since announced he will be hitting the campaign trail once again and will campaign with Barack Obama in Michigan this Saturday.

Trump to Visit Michigan Tuesday & Harris to Attend Campaign Stops Sunday

President Donald Trump will deliver remarks at what is being billed as a Make America Great Again Victory Rally in Lansing, MI at the Capital Region International Airport. Michigan Herald Tribune has requested media credentials to cover this event.

Democratic vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, will also visit the Mitten State this week in separate stops in Troy, Detroit and Pontiac. Michigan Herald Tribune has requested media credentials to cover this event.

Both contenders visiting in the closing days of the 2020 election cycle should come as no surprise, as Donald Trump was able to shock pollsters and likely Hillary Clinton, herself, in grabbing the state in 2016. Michigan is geared up to be hotly contested again in 2020 and will also be interesting to watch as Republican Senatorial candidate, John James, hopes to unseat incumbent, Gary Peters, in a race that has drawn extremely close and been marred by Peters’ recent refusals to debate on a widely available media outlet.

Michigan to Host Dueling Visits from Presidential Candidates this Week

Michigan will receive visits from 2020 hopefuls, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, this week.

The former vice president arrives to deliver remarks at 1:15 pm today in Warren, MI and the president will hold a rally for supporters in Freeland, MI tomorrow at 7 pm.

The visits mark the kickoff of what is sure to be a busy push by both parties in the Mitten State between now and election day. Michigan was a hotly contested race in 2016 and appears to be tightening once again as discontent towards democratic Governor Whitmer’s coronavirus response has reinvigorated republicans and some independents. 2020 also appears poised to test whether years of anti-Trump sentiment can hold long enough and strong enough to flip the state that went red just four years ago.

Stay tuned for our coverage of both candidates and their remarks this week and throughout election season.

Governor Whitmer Refuses Widespread Calls to Open New Sectors

Governor Whitmer announced Wednesday that no determination would be made regarding the reopening of gyms, theaters, bowling alleys and high school sports.

Whitmer insinuated an announcement would be coming in the next few days, though she gave no indication what data or science would be available or different to make a new determination.

In the meantime, Michiganders continue to wait for relief and answers, as athletes take the field again this afternoon across the state with no new information.

Governor Whitmer to Hold Press Conference: Fate of Gyms, Theaters and Sports Expected to be Addressed

Governor Whitmer has scheduled a press conference this afternoon at 2:30 pm. A day after theaters, gyms owners and athletes across the state hoped to hear good news, it appears their wait may be coming to an end.

The announcement was expected yesterday afternoon, but the governor and other officials announced that no decision had been made at that time.

Today’s press conference seems most likely to give an answer in either direction and many expect that gyms, theaters and indoor high school sports will be able to resume following Labor Day weekend. Stay tuned for more coverage of the governor’s press conference this afternoon.

New Reporting Suggests Many Positive Coronavirus Cases May Not Be Contagious

Reporting by the New York Times last week highlighted a possible answer to the unique presentation of the coronavirus in human subjects.

Since March, most governmental steps have largely been based on the believed ever-present threat of asymptomatic spread of the virus. Information pouring in from across the globe during the rapidly developing situation created a bevy of responses to fears that were later alleviated or amended.

Americans stopped washing their groceries, landscapers were allowed to work and new evidence may suggest that pervasive asymptomatic spread may be next in line to be cooled by better evidence and understanding of the threats posed by covid-19.

Fears of asymptomatic spread in Germany began after an article was published and later retracted in the New England Journal of Medicine that highlighted spread from a Chinese visitor to the country. It later came to light that researchers had not spoken to the Chinese visitor directly regarding whether she had been experiencing symptoms. She had. The Germans interviewed by the researchers commented that they did not think she had been and the foundation for one of the greatest elements of our response was seeded: contagious asymptomatic spread.

This possibility was particularly frightening and caused states and nations across the globe to test with far greater sensitivity than would be the case with other viruses. It also spurred governmental orders for mandatory universal masking, self-quarantine, social distancing, school closures, statewide lockdowns and many other measures which have largely diverged from traditional viral mediation techniques; primarily, vaccinate & stay home if you are sick.

Instead, widespread belief that the virus could be carried unbeknownst to an individual, while still being contagious, has led to some of the most unique responses in modern history.

We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all. We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making. It’s really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue.”

Dr. Michael Mina, Epidemiologist, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, New York Times

However, new reporting supports what some critics have been clamoring about since the spring, namely that PCR testing (the testing method responsible for the lion’s share of tests run in the U.S. and around the globe) has utilized a far greater sensitivity and lower viral threshold for diagnosing a positive test than may be useful for determining public policy.

French Epidemiologist Didier Raoult remarked last spring (further reading) that he believed an appropriate threshold of 33 was necessary to detect the virus at contagious levels. Instead, many states have opted for far more sensitive thresholds of 37 to 40. That may not seem like much to a layman, but in practice, these differences in sensitivity skew the number of active and even contagious cases by 40 to a staggering 90%.

In other words, if a state registered 100 positives tests, as little as 10 may be currently active or contagious level infections depending on that state’s chosen testing threshold. Though his assertions were dismissed nearly 6 months ago and his support for hydroxychloroquine became controversial as the Trump administration began to publicly support hopes of the drug being used in treatment, the tide seems to be turning his way.

These findings may explain several phenomenon surrounding our early speculation regarding the virus. First, it may suggest an answer to the question of why this virus appeared peculiarly unique in its ability to linger in the body and deliver positive tests weeks to even months after symptoms had subsided in some or never arrived in many others.

This may be a reason to take other recent news coverage of outbreaks on college campuses with a grain of salt as well. The assumption has been that these outbreaks stemmed from students’ return to campus after just a single week at college, but may in fact be casting a clearer picture of community infection from a month or more before kids returned to school.

In short, the tests may be so sensitive that they pick up trace amounts of the virus, even when subjects are neither sick, nor actually contagious. Furthermore, subjects may not be asymptomatic in spite of the virus, but because of such low viral loads that symptoms and contagious levels never develop. Thus, it may be that the long perceived uniqueness of Covid-19 is more of a feature than a bug, resulting from the way governments and public health officials have approached, tested and handled it from the onset.

In the case of other viruses, viral loads must be present in significant amounts to return a positive test. Positive tests in those cases often overlap very strongly with contagious levels of the given virus. It has been widely assumed, as witnessed in the measures undertaken by states across the country, that a positive Covid-19 test should be understood to mean that a person is contagious.

Protocols have recommended that the positive individual and those they have recently come in close contact with for 15-minutes or more should self-isolate for 14 days.

These elements of coronavirus response have, in turn, continued to drive fears of an invisible contagion, hitchhiking without symptoms in some and attacking with deadly brutality in others. While these presumptions have underscored the nationwide coronavirus response since the spring and “15 days to slow the spread” turned to 6 months of lockdowns, shutdowns, social distancing, masking and more, that mentality may be changing.

In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained, “We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all. We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.” Dr. Mina continued by explaining that a yes or no is insufficient given the sensitivity of our PCR testing for coronavirus and suggests that the viral load is far more important than our response has suggested. “It’s really irresponsible, I think, to forgo the recognition that this is a quantitative issue.”

These findings come on the heels of information released from the CDC that details just a 6% rate of covid-19 fatality death certificates listing covid-19 singularly under cause of death and an average of an additional 2.6 underlying causes of death among the other 94% of cases. While many cases certainly developed additional comorbidities as a result of covid-19 infections, specifically pneumonia, the average of 2.6 additional causes of death per case and a median fatality age in line with normal United States life expectancy at 78 years old, data is increasingly supporting the belief that the virus poses far less risk of fatal infection to those without significant health issues or of an advanced age.

While some critics may see this as justification for their long-held skepticism, these trends appear to be a positive swing in our understanding of the virus and that is something we should all welcome.

« Older Entries