ICYMI: Biden endorses Duggan, Columbus Day now Indigenous People's Day, vape ban ends, and more news you might've missed

President Joe Biden and Mayor Mike Duggan. - Shutterstock / Duggan campaign
Shutterstock / Duggan campaign
President Joe Biden and Mayor Mike Duggan.

President Joe Biden endorsed Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan for a third term, calling him “one of the best mayors in America.” The endorsement isn’t a shocker. Biden endorsed Duggan for a second term and even recorded a robo call encouraging Detroiters to re-elect the mayor in 2017. Duggan was an early supporter of Biden’s presidential campaign, and the pair met several times in Detroit last year to get out the vote for Biden. Duggan is running against Anthony Adams in the Nov. 2 election, who he has refused to debate, saying Adams has resorted to “hate speech.” At a press conference last month, Adams responded that Duggan is afraid to debate him “because he is fearful of having his record carefully examined.” “It's time really to debate the serious issues impacting Detroit,” Adams said. “He throws out this trope about someone talking about hate speech, when in reality that’s a farce. If you look at my campaign issues, I am actually speaking to the issues impacting the quality of life of the citizens of the city of Detroit.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has joined a growing chorus of elected officials acknowledging Oct. 11 as Indigenous People's Day. "The success of tribal communities is inextricably linked to Michigan’s success, and we must ensure that they have an empowered voice and seat at the table,” Whitmer said in a statement. On Friday, President Joe Biden became the first U.S. President to issue an official proclamation for Indigenous People's Day. A growing number of people have called for Monday, Oct. 11 to acknowledge Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day amid changing attitudes about Columbus's genocidal legacy. In 2015, activists vandalized Detroit's Columbus statue, and in 2020 Detroit officials removed the statue.

Michigan has abruptly abandoned its two-year effort to ban the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products and now plans to take a different approach to address youth vaping, which has sharply declined. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services withdrew rules this week that were aimed at permanently banning the sale and distribution of flavored nicotine vaping products. “MDHHS is working with our legislative partners to protect youth from the addiction that can result from flavored nicotine vaping products,” MDHHS spokesman Bob Wheaton told Metro Times in a statement Friday. “Because of progress on a legislative solution, MDHHS has pulled back the rules that were to be considered by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.” Wheaton is referring to a six-bill package in the state Senate (572-577) that would raise the age requirement for buying tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. The legislation also would impose an 18% tax on flavored nicotine liquid and ban the products from being marketed to minors. In September 2019, Michigan became the first state in the U.S. to ban flavored nicotine products. Whitmer issued an executive order, saying the rise in youth vaping constituted a health emergency.

Dancing in the streets: Detroit's Motown Museum continues its planned multimillion-dollar expansion, announcing a new plan for an outdoor plaza. According to a press release, the plaza design is "inspired by a time when young Motown acts like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops and so many others, would hang out in front of Motown’s headquarters on W. Grand Boulevard." The design, by Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson & Associates, includes “a beautifully lit granite paver expanse, surrounded by colorful flowers, lush plantings, park benches, and a pop-up performance stage surrounded by a sound system playing their favorite Motown hits.” It’s the next phase of the $55 million project, which calls for expanding the museum to a nearly 50,000-square-foot entertainment and education tourist destination with exhibits, a performance theater, recording studios, expanded retail, and meeting spaces.

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