Late Edition, March 14, 2021
Businesses on top of Covid-19 restrictions, Sunshine Week, influential family women, and more...
There’s a lot going on this week, so I’m not going to do much up here and we can jump right in.
Celebrating Women’s History Month
This week, we have a collection put together by Miriam Pickens. If you don’t know Miriam, you should! She’s quite active in the local arts community, and I know her from her monthly column that was published in the Daily Mining Gazette’s discontinued Happenings section.
Area businesses putting in the work under restrictions
While some businesses in the area have publicly flaunted coronavirus pandemic regulations, others have more quietly leaned into them to keep their customers safe. This article is an effort to recognize those businesses.
Questions asked; questions answered
Guest-writer Bruce Johanson spoke with Ontonagon Village President Tony Smydra about the firing of former-Village Manager Joe Erickson.
It’s Sunshine Week!
And while we can expect some actual sunshine this week, this is actually about sunshine laws, also known as transparency laws.
If there were a holy week in journalism, this would probably be it. Without laws requiring government meetings and documents be available to us, our jobs would be immeasurably more difficult. That said, it still isn’t easy. Michigan consistently ranks last of the 50 states for transparency. Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act does not cover the offices of important elected officials like the governor, and it makes holding politicians responsible more difficult.
Here’s an editorial from Mark Rochester, the senior news director at the Detroit Free Press. He makes the argument for stronger FOIA laws in Michigan strongly and clearly.
This week is all about recognizing and growing government transparency, mainly by strengthening the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act. I’ve previously written about how to file a FOIA request, and have relinked the series below, as well as some other resources for familiarizing yourself with these all-too-important laws.
Legislation to expand Michigan’s sunshine laws is consistently introduced, only to be paid lip service by the elected politicians it would affect, and then quietly ignored until the bill expires. This legislative session, with your support, maybe we can finally get those amendments passed.
Late Edition FOIA series:
The seminar below is aimed at public officials, but it’s open to the public, and I’ll probably attend, too. While I’m fairly familiar with the laws, COVID-19 has been a mixup, with all the Zoom meetings and distancing. And it never hurts to brush up.
If there’s any interest, I can host a FOIA request drafting workshop, too.
Hey, that’s neat
I read a lot of news on my computer, and if you do too, you might notice your eyes get tired. A tool I use to help with that is the Sprint Reader.
There are a lot of options for browser add-ons and apps, but I use the Sprint Reader Chrome extension the most. It’s simple, straight-forward, and consistently works. All I have to do is highlight the text I want to read, right-click, and activate the Sprint Reader.
Check out the gif below to get a little taste of how it works. Try to keep a soft focus on the red letter.
That’s at 400 words-per-minute, but I slowed my settings down for the sake of demonstration. Eliminating your eye’s need to move allows for faster reading and less eye fatigue. Scientifically, it’s called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, or RSVP.
There are also apps for Apple and Android available.
Aggregated News - Endorsed, not sponsored
These are articles (and the occasional podcast) I’ve found that I thought should be shared. None of the work is my own, but it comes from colleagues and organizations that I find generally trustworthy, or am personally a member of.
Click on the headline to be taken to the story.
Unfortunately, a new president didn’t mean immediate alleviation of the problems on our Mexican border. Illegal crossings have again surged, and so has detention.
Just how big of a change is the new COVID-19 relief package going to bring? AP News writers Ashraf Khalil and Alan Fram call it “a broad-based attack on the cycle of poverty.”
“Macomb County’s Peter Lucido, a Republican who has criticized Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s nursing home policies in the pandemic, urged families with concerns about a relative’s “transfer, incident or death” to submit a form to local law enforcement.” —From David Eggert
You’ve probably already guessed why.
If you haven’t already seen it, Michigan Advance did a very deep, three-part series detailing the societal conditions around the community divide surrounding Cafe Rosetta.
The state has some pretty big plans for Eagle Harbor, and the public comment period is open until March 19. Here’s a quick shot of the Phase 1 plan.
Identified only as Dan, he testified about how he became an informant on the ill-fated kidnapping plot to the FBI. Thanks, Dan.
“The Michigan Legislature, where majority Republicans have blasted Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over severance payments to top officials, on Tuesday disclosed nearly $700,000 worth of separation agreements or legal settlements over the past decade.”
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