There is a crisis in Michigan schools today that centers on one problem: Not having enough people.
In discussions with school district personnel, we are being told there has never been a more difficult time for finding people than today. All of us are searching high and low to find coaches for athletic teams, and officials, referees and umpires to administer those games in an orderly and safe way. Dig a little deeper, and school districts are desperate to find those willing to serve as substitute teachers and bus drivers. Because of this current reality, we continue to be dumbfounded over the approval of Public Act 184 this past summer. This created a new set of retirement rules stipulating that a retiring teacher or administrator cannot be rehired to serve as a coach until after a nine-month waiting period. Even more frustrating: Individuals who had served as high school coaches for many years, who retired from the classroom last June but had planned to keep coaching for a few more seasons, are being told they cannot do so. Those coaches are sidelined, and for no sensible reason.
Cheri Ritz has been the varsity softball coach at Wayland High School since 1995. Cheri has won numerous championships, and has been a model coach and great leader of students throughout her career. Cheri retired as a teacher in June and planned to keep coaching the softball team for a few more years, making a small fraction of what her classroom salary was before retirement. Under the “old” retirement law, Cheri could have retired in June and been detached from the district for 30 days, and then returned and worked for the district in any capacity as long as she was making less than 30 percent of her compensation at the time of her retirement. Under PA 184, this scenario can no longer happen.
In the state of Michigan, we have hundreds of recently-retired school people who want to continue to be some of our best coaches, making pennies on the hour for their time. Now they simply aren’t allowed to do so because of a law that had no intention of impacting coaches and school sports. Cheri is just one example. The same issue has found several more longtime, successful coaches including Northville’s golf coach Chris Cronin and cross country & track field’s Steve Porter at Milan High School. For the past few months, the MHSAA has met with the Office of Retirement Services, representatives from the Governor’s office and even the bill sponsor of PA 184. Every single conversation revealed the fact that coaches were not even part of the discussion when this new retirement law was passed. In other words, recent retirees continuing to coach were not the issue, but yet this new law now treats coaches as some sort of enemy with zero phase-in period, modification or even the ability to seek a waiver of this new law which became effective immediately on July 25, 2022. We have tried to work within the system to seek some commonsense approaches and solutions to this problem, but to no avail as of yet.
We need your help. We need you to contact the Governor’s office and your State Representative and State Senator’s offices. Let them know PA 184 needs to be fixed now. We need to find a way to let these individuals continue to coach and lead our student-athletes. Let them know our kids cannot play their games without individuals who want to coach, and let them know our kids will miss out on learning valuable life lessons if these coaches are not allowed to continue. And let them know that PA 184 could not have been passed at a worse time given our most valuable resource – people – is at an all-time low.
Key evidence was elicited by attorneys, including that Schurr was not fired due to any actions taken during the arrest or killing and instead faced termination because of charges being brought by the prosecution. It was also further determined that Lyoya disarmed Schurr of the taser and transferred it to his dominant hand while lifting Schurr ‘s feet off the ground.
Bernie Sanders follows up on Barack Obama’s visit to the Mitten state in support of Governor Whitmer’s re-election bid. The moves signal increasing nervousness about the prospects of a democrat loss in a state that the first time incumbent governor won by 10 points during the last cycle.
Below is a press release from Friends of Bernie Sanders ahead of the Sanders rally:
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Over the final two weekends of the 2022 midterm election, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is traveling across the country to make more than 15 appearances on the campaign trail.
Sanders has already made stops in Oregon, California, Nevada, and Texas, and will continue campaigning in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania this weekend to help drive turnout and excitement among young people and working class voters.
Below are details for the senator’s rally in Ann Arbor.
Saturday, November 5
6:00 p.m.EDT Our Future is Now Rally in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Rackham Auditorium at Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan, 915 E. Washington Street, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109
Business and community members in Kalamazoo say a new ordinance stinks; literally.
City leaders recently voted to put forward “equitable changes” that decriminalize public urination, defecation and littering in addition to other offenses. The move has caused backlash, most notably from business owners in the city center that have had to clean human waste from doorsteps and other publicly used areas. While human waste is certainly a pressing and even dangerous situation, littering has also increasingly become a problem as the city combats issues related to homeless in the area.
Kalamazoo follows other cities, which have taken similar actions; most notably New York City, which eased laws regarding public urination and drunkenness.
While these issues will be shaken out over the remainder of the summer, Cherri Emery, a business owner in Kalamazoo, explained in a recent interview that the trouble extends far beyond waste and trash.
She told Fox & Friends First, “It’s not just the urination part of it. The part of it that’s really upsetting to us is people approaching other people, people following some of their employees to their cars and asking them for money, and when they get to the car, and they’re still not giving them money, we had one guy that started throwing rocks at their cars.”
News broke Thursday morning that President Joe Biden, 79, has tested positive for Covid. The elder politician has received both shots of his initial vaccine and has been boosted with two additional shots.
Famously, Biden has claimed on several occasions that the vaccine keeps a person from a coronavirus infection and the associated disease, Covid-19. While the counterpoint was called a conspiracy theory, it has been confirmed that recent variants and even the original strains were not stopped from spreading based on vaccination status, but were granted therapeutic benefit in the body fighting off the virus.
The president’s team shared that Biden is experiencing mild symptoms and will be taking a regimen of Pfizer’s Paxlovid to combat the illness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.