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@MyKitchenTable - June 4, 2021

@MyKitchenTable: Friday, June 4, 2021

Dear Friend:

“Hope is the light at the end of the tunnel guiding the way.” – Serena Smith

I don’t believe there has ever been as much hope that the COVID-19 pandemic is finally, after a long 16 months, coming to an end. With variants and immunity changing, there might be a need for boosters and such, but it certainly appears a sense of normalcy is returning to Michigan and places across the country.

Just take a look at the latest numbers. Michigan reported just 420 new coronavirus cases and 33 deaths on Wednesday. The 7-day average is now at 412. The positivity rate was 3%. You can see the latest stats from MLIVE HERE. The numbers are certainly moving in the right direction.

The vaccination rate continues to tick up, too. In Michigan, 42.3% of the total population is fully vaccinated. The White House continues to try to incentivize folks to get the vaccine. The Administration announced an effort to get 70% of U.S. adults at least one shot by July 4th, which you can read more about HERE. Already, 63% of adult Americans have gotten vaccinated, including 73% of Americans age 40 and over.

The COVID-19 crisis has certainly shown us that we must do more as a government and with private industry to prepare for the next national emergency. As a result, the Problem Solvers Caucus is working on endorsing the passage of the Made in America Emergency Preparedness Act. The legislation authorizes the creation of a National Commission on United States Preparedness for National Emergencies. The purpose of the Commission would be to:

1. Examine and report upon the facts and actions taken relating to the COVID–19 pandemic in the United States in 2020 and private sector response
2. Investigate the origin of the COVID–19 virus
3. Investigate and report to the President and Congress on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations
4. Determine products, materials, minerals, ingredients, or equipment that is essential in the response to a declaration of a national emergency and to determine surge capacity for both physical and medical national disasters
5. Give special attention to the need for or existence of national Federal stockpile requirements and national surge capacity
6. Report on infrastructure deficiencies or capability deficiencies in hospitals and medical centers

Yesterday afternoon I was fortunate to participate in the Topping Off Ceremony of the Charles & Lynn Zhang Community Senior Center. They broke ground on this new senior center in Portage last September. This new 36,000 square foot center will be a “living room” for generations to gather, which is really so important now as we move forward post-pandemic. It will include a coffee cafe, fitness room and large kitchen. There will also be rooms for additional activities like yoga and book clubs.
I’d also like to recognize and congratulate Deputy Brandon Crosby and K9 Blek from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office after they received an Exceptional Service Award from the North American Police Work Dog Association. The award was because of their work during an incident involving a wanted suspect last March. You can read more HERE. Congrats again, Deputy Crosby and Blek, and thank you for your service!

Lastly, I’d add that dredging the SJ River hopefully begins next week as the piles of sand/gravel for construction on I-96 and I-94 and US 31 and Indiana Toll Road are getting very small at the two distribution docks in SJ/BH, which would allow a number of freighters into the harbor!

All the best,

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