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Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake".
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The eyes of law enforcement are on the state Capitol over concerns about armed protests this weekend.
LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The eyes of law enforcement are on the state Capitol over concerns about armed protests this weekend.
However, it’s still unclear who is organizing the Lansing or who even plans on attending. After last week's attack in D.C., a flier began to circulate on social media that promoted armed protests set for noon on Sunday at state Capitols across the country.
The flier doesn’t specify who or what group is behind the protests.
News 8 contacted several right-wing and militia groups, stating they are not planning on coming.
“We are urging them (our followers) not to show up to whatever this planned event is on Sunday,” said Rachel Atwood of the West Michigan-based conservative group Restore Freedom.
Atwood says they only heard about the protest through a viral social media post, urging people to show up armed.
“We've reached out and communicated with every leadership organization that's associated with Trump, patriots, conservatives, anti-mandates and none of these groups had anything to do with the planning of this, which greatly concerns us,” Atwood said.
The founders of the American Patriot Council, a group that spearheaded some of the biggest armed protests to take place at the Capitol this past year, told News 8 they will be sitting this one out too.
A like-minded group called the Tyrant Response Team of Michigan will also be a no show come Sunday. The group's leadership said it was “suspicious that no one seems to know who's organizing the demonstration.”
Atwood has the same concern.
“This looks like this is a setup. This looks like this is a group that is potentially just looking for Trump supporters that they can antagonize or draw into conflict at our Capitol,” Atwood said.
The Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia had planned to attend the protest but now is telling its members to avoid the Capitol.
"Nobody can guarantee exactly what other groups are going to be doing and what are their intentions,” said Wendy Lackomar of the group.
Michigan State Police say they are ramping up security around the state Capitol, including getting help from the Michigan National Guard, ahead of a protest expected to happen this weekend.
LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police say they are ramping up security around the state Capitol, including getting help from the Michigan National Guard, ahead of a protest expected to happen this weekend.
"If you are going to come down to the Capitol and demonstrate peacefully, then we will provide that safe space for you," Col. Joe Gasper, the head of MSP, said at a Friday morning press conference in Lansing. "If you are coming to the Capitol to engage in some nefarious activity, then we are also very well prepared to address that."
MSP has already increased its uniformed presence around the Capitol, and Gasper said that will continue through mid-February. Crews put up 6-foot fence around the building Friday and boarded up the windows on the ground floor of the George W. Romney Building across the street, which houses the governor's offices.
“We are prepared for the worst but we remain hopeful that those who choose to demonstrate at our Capitol do so peacefully without violence or destruction of property,” Gasper said.
Gasper added that there are "covert" security measures in place. He would not provide information about what that means "to protect the integrity of our operational plan."
The National Guard said it was called in by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to "help protect people, facilities and key infrastructure."
Major General Paul Rogers, the adjutant general of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard, would not say which units or how many guardsmen would be in Lansing Sunday, though he said the response would be "significant and in direct relation to the requests of our partners."
He also promised it would not interfere with the guard's assistance in the state's COVID-19 response.
In the wake of a riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, federal authorities warned that protests have been planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday. An online flyer for Sunday protests across the country urges demonstrators to come armed.
The FBI said it will be in a "heightened posture" to identify extremists and alert state governments to threats.
Anyone with information about this weekend's protest at the Michigan Capitol is asked to contact the FBI at 1.800.CALL.FBI (225.5324). MSP also said anyone who notices anything suspicious leading up to Sunday can call 855.642.4847 or report it at Michigan.gov/MichTip.
The state Capitol isn’t the only building in Lansing preparing for possible violence. A walk around the block Friday revealed several buildings boarded up. Property owners said they were worried about what could happen Sunday.
“Those people, they have weapons and that’s the reason I’m not going to be here,” said Ali Kasti, owner of Sahar Delight on Washington Square a short walk from the Capitol. “I’m going to close the store and stay home, stay safe.”
Kasti said the sight of buildings boarding up in case of violence is scary.
“Downtown Lansing doesn’t need that kind of thing right now, especially what’s been going on with the pandemic,” he said.
Others were not as concerned.
“If stuff starts going super crazy, I’m probably just going to leave,” said Jack, a woman who works downtown. “I’m not brushing it off, but I’m not panicking about it, either.”
State police say they have a plan and that Lansing won’t see a repeat of what happened in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. Some are keeping their fingers crossed.
“It’s kind of tough for everybody and we have the protests over here. It’s going to be tougher for all business owners right here in Washington Square, downtown Lansing,” Kasti said.
Lansing city officials advised people to stay away from downtown on Sunday.
Citing "concern over credible threats regarding events scheduled to take place at and around the Capitol," the Republicans in charge of the Michigan Legislature announced Friday that they would cancel session next week. There had not been any votes scheduled.
“The Michigan State Police, as well as House and Senate sergeants at arms, have expressed concern over credible threats regarding events scheduled to take place at and around the state Capitol next week. With no votes scheduled on the calendar, we have decided to act in an abundance of caution by not holding session in either the House or the Senate on January 19-21. We hope everyone stays safe and respects the peaceful transition of power, and we hope legislators and staff at the Capitol take time to thank the team of police officers and sergeants who work together to keep us all safe.
“As we have said before, the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week was a terrible moment for our country. We must be better than this as a nation, and that begins this week with what will hopefully remain peaceful protests and demonstrations in Washington, D.C., Lansing and around the country.”Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake; and Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth, R-Clare
Special Agent in Charge Tim Waters out of Detroit said the FBI had opened "numerous investigations" in Michigan in connection to the riot at the U.S. Capitol and promised that those who caused damage or were responsible for violence will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Anyone with information about the riot can call the FBI at 1.800.CALL.FBI.
The IRS will open tax-filing season on Feb. 12, officially delaying the start of tax season by two weeks, the agency announced on Friday.
WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) -- The IRS will open tax-filing season on Feb. 12, delaying the start of tax season by about two weeks, the agency announced on Friday.
The tax season normally starts in late January but was delayed due to outgoing stimulus payments and changes to tax laws.
“These changes ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a recovery rebate credit when they file their return,” the agency said, according to CNBC.
The recovery rebate credit is available to tax filers who did not receive the full amount of their stimulus check.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal issued a statement on Friday saying he's disappointed about the delay but recognizes the IRS is facing unique challenges this year.
"It is encouraging that the IRS expects taxpayers who file electronically at the beginning of the season and claim refundable tax credits to receive their refunds by the first week of March," Neal said. "I urge taxpayers to complete their returns and file electronically as early as possible.”
The IRS also announced the IRS Free File program is available now if taxpayers want to start working in advance of the Feb. 14 date.
The deadline for filing your 2020 taxes is April 15.
Demand was high on opening day for Gage Cannabis, a medical marijuana dispensary in Grand Rapids.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Demand was high on opening day for Gage Cannabis, a medical marijuana dispensary in Grand Rapids.
"I saw they had the Garlic Cookie in the Cookie brand," Frank Tyson said, explaining why he drove all the way from Lansing to shop ta Gage Friday.
A long line of cars stretched out as shoppers waited for close to an hour before they could make their purchases.
The man in charge of making sure the new pot shop is a hit is Drew McCarthy, a former radio host.
"We absolutely expected this turnout here in Grand Rapids," McCarthy said.
Known as 'Big Drew' during his radio career, McCarthy had a successful stint at ESPN 96.1.
"Number one afternoon show for men 24 to 55 for a number of years," McCarthy said. "Had a great run, but everything comes to an end."
McCarthy pursued his new gig as general manager at Gage because of his familiarity with the product.
"(I) made the switch to cannabis instead of alcohol, all these pills, to treat anxiety, depression and ADHD," McCarthy explained. "Now it's a much healthier, happy me."
McCarthy plans on having a long career in the cannabis industry.
Gage is working to open more locations in West Michigan later this year.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Friday night tweeted his resignation letter to President Donald Trump, stating he will remain Secretary until the Biden administration begins on Jan. 20.
WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Friday night tweeted his resignation letter to President Donald Trump, stating he will remain Secretary until the Biden administration begins on Jan. 20.
The letter, dated Jan 12, says Azar's resignation is effective Jan. 20 at noon when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
In his tweet, Azar clarified he "is still here serving the American people at HHS" after another media outlet reported otherwise. He continued, "I believe it is my duty to help ensure a smooth transition to President-elect Biden's team during the pandemic and will remain as Secretary through January 20."
Azar noted, "I handed in my letter this week along with every other political appointee, effective January 20 at noon."
In the Jan. 12 letter, Azar cited what he called the administration's successes, including the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, which he said saved "hundreds of thousands or even millions of American lives."
But, Azar voiced concern that last week's mob siege of the Capitol building and Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud "threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this administration."
"The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power," Azar wrote in his formal resignation letter.
(Reuters reporting contributed by Eric Beech; Editing by Tim Ahmann)
Attorney Jill Zwagerman said a request for preliminary injunction was filed Friday.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Members of Michigan State’s women’s swimming and diving team are seeking an injunction to prevent the school from dropping the program.
Attorney Jill Zwagerman said a request for preliminary injunction was filed Friday.
The filing seeks to restrain the school from eliminating the women’s varsity swimming and diving team — or any other women’s teams or athletic participation opportunities.
In an accompanying brief, the plaintiffs said Michigan State is in violation of Title IX and has a history of failing to comply with Title IX’s athletic participation opportunity requirements.
A Michigan State spokesman said the school is not commenting on pending litigation.
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