View from back of church up main aisle toward altar

Detroit Catholic LGBTQ group grapples with isolation beyond COVID-19

As Detroiters self-isolate to prevent the spread of  COVID-19, the Archdiocese of Detroit has isolated a longstanding  LGBT Catholic advocacy organization, ordering it off Catholic grounds. Bishop Gerard Battersby wrote a letter which was sent to all diocesan clergy on March 9 forbidding Dignity/Detroit gathering on archdiocesan grounds. “Dignity/Detroit has long operated its ministry in the Archdiocese of Detroit while rejecting some of the church’s teachings on sexual morality,” Battersby wrote. “These teachings, though challenging, promote human flourishing and bring joy when received with open hearts. This situation is thus a source of sadness, for those who reject the teachings deprive themselves of the blessings that come with living a life in Christ.”

Dignity/Detroit, an affiliate of DignityUSA, has been active in the city since 1974.

COVID-19 forces restaurants to rethink business model

Michigan restaurants don’t look as they used to before COVID-19. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order leaves restaurants with only one option to continue the business, and that is through carry-out orders. 

Without customers at their tables, hundreds of restaurants across the state have placed their employees on furlough. For the remaining few, hours have been shortened. Some have temporarily closed until the order is lifted. Some will never open again. 

Portage, Michigan

At Red Lobster in Portage, Michigan, 17-year-old Sarah Sweers is a hostess who worked part time after school and on the weekends.

Three high school basketball players in uniform.

From backyard to the big court: East Lansing High’s Aaliyah Nye makes a name for herself on and off the basketball court

Alabama resident LaQueena Douglas would wake up at 5 a.m. and check on her three daughters. She’d expect to find them sleeping, which would be true for two of them, but not for Aaliyah Nye. Nye, now a senior at East Lansing High School, has taken basketball much further than the mini court she once had. During her four years at East Lansing, she has made a name for herself as the team’s top defender and finished as the runner-up for Michigan Miss Basketball 2020.

First grade girl holds learning packet.

Charlotte students, staff adjusting to COVID-19

Lacy Jewell, like many seniors at Charlotte High School, said that in the past few weeks, she’s learned to not take anything for granted. She said she’s been dreaming about end of high school experiences,such as prom and graduation, her whole life. “I would give anything to go to school at 7:30,” Jewell said. “I think we’re all realizing that we’re not going to take the little things for granted anymore.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order April 2 to close Michigan schools for the remainder of the school year. Since then, Charlotte Public Schools has been providing  students with academic preparation from afar.

Holly Tiret's cats Sophie (left) and Luna (right)

Reaching out during the pandemic; the benefits of fostering an animal and helping local shelters

The effects of isolation in a time of crisis can be overpowering, but many have found companionship in their family and pets. Others have reached out a hand to foster an animal. 

Michigan State University student Kelly Leary noticed shelters and nonprofits had lost their volunteers due to the shutdown. 

Kelly LearyKelly Leary’s foster cat, Flash

Leary found herself lonely after her apartment roommates had left for their permanent residences, so she decided to foster Flash, a 20-pound, 8-year-old cat. “My mental health has improved. Before fostering I was very lonely and had cabin fever,” Kelly said. “I am an extroverted person, so it has been hard being in my apartment by myself.”

Flash, nicknamed Thickcums, had surgery recently after being rescued on the side of a road, Kelly said, describing him as a dog-cat; chill, talkative, outgoing and super affectionate.

Sudden loss of sports stirs feelings, emotions, values

The Coronavirus pandemic has practically shut down the world and society is facing it with the loss of one of its greatest attractions. Sports give society an anchor during difficult times. This time, sports are not there. The world of sports has been placed on pause and changed the everyday life of many people. To Emily Carless, student-athlete at Western Michigan University, it means the loss of a potential championship.

‘Local government is where the rubber hits the road:’ how local governments are responding to COVID-19

In Michigan, all eyes are on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to see how she responds to the COVID-19 outbreak. But when it comes to searching for an end to the pandemic, it’s local governments that are on the front lines, said Mason Mayor Russell Whipple.

“This problem will not be solved by the federal government, or the state government, or even the county government,” he said. “It’s going to be solved by local governments, because local governments are going to be the ones that have to actually deal with the day-to-day. We take directions from the state and county health departments. But we’re the ones that make it happen.”

The gender pay gap: a real issue improving slowly

To earn as much as men in comparable jobs make in a year, women have to work that full year — and then until March 31 of the next. That is what the National Committee on Pay Equity calls Equal Pay Day. The gender pay gap continues to widen, especially for women of color. Carole Leigh Hutton, vice president of business development and marketing at Inforum, strives to create equal opportunities for all women in leadership. 

“Providing equal opportunities across all genders is a solution to the problem,” Hutton said. “If we look at racial/ethnic lines among the gender pay gap, it is worse for African American women and even worse for Hispanic women compared to white women.

Michigan residents package free meals for families in need

Following Michigan’s K-12 school closures and stay-at-home order, efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve presented greater challenges to food-insecure families. School districts, small businesses and organizations responded to the crisis with an abundance of free food-distribution services and support. On March 20, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Lansing School District staff and volunteers including MSU professor Robert Kolt to distribute donated school supplies and sack lunches at Sexton High School. 

“It breaks my heart to think that because school is closed there might be a kid who doesn’t get to eat anything that day,” said Lansing Board of Education president Gabrielle Lawrence. 

The Lansing School District established 22 food distribution sites for students and families to receive lunches Monday through Friday during Michigan’s K-12 school closure. “I’m so proud of our district for being able to offer these food services to families as we’re going through this unprecedented crisis,” said Lawrence. 

According to Whitmer, about 750,000 children in Michigan qualified for free and reduced cost lunch this year. While school districts are not required to provide free meal programs during the state-mandated closure, hundreds of districts initiated drive-up, pickup and bus-delivery services for the remaining part of the K-12 school year. 

Angela Mercer, administrative assistant at the Van Buren Public Schools, said, “Students need structure.