Author

Todd A. Heywood

Todd A. Heywood

Todd Heywood is an award-winning journalist with over 30 years of experience. He's worked in print, online, radio and television. His reporting has been cited by the U.S. House of Representatives as well as in the United Nations reports on HIV. He's an avid vintage Star Wars collector and lives in Lansing with his three dogs.

Slotkin vows bipartisan conversation on ‘tough and complicated’ issue of domestic terrorism

By: - February 5, 2021

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) is bringing her years of experience evaluating intelligence on the growth of extremism and militias in Iraq to bear on a national conversation about confronting homegrown terror.  The second-term lawmaker representing the 8th District was just appointed as chair of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence […]

Gilchrist presided over the Senate during the April armed protest. He says Shirkey’s meeting with militia leaders is ‘incredibly problematic.’

By: - February 2, 2021

With news that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had issued a warning about rising domestic terrorism threats and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) meeting with leaders of militias last summer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, the first Black person to hold the post, has seen the anger and hatred up close.  He calls the […]

Take 3: Shirkey’s militia confab story evolves again

By: - January 28, 2021

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) is telling another version of the story of his meeting with state militia leaders last year. The latest evolution occurred during a Monday interview with Radio Free Hillsdale, the radio station of Hillsdale College.  Shirkey made the new comments responding to the host asking about attacks leveled by […]

Updated: Lansing mayor, city employees get COVID-19 vaccine early

By: - January 26, 2021

Headline updated, 6:11 p.m., 1/26/21 About 50,000 Ingham County residents remain in a holding pattern for access to a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. But Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is not one of them.  Schor, 45, was vaccinated about two weeks ago as part of what officials at Sparrow Health Systems said was an invitation-only […]

GOP leader on having COVID: ‘The Chinese flu army sent in one of their best soldiers’

By: - January 20, 2021

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) made a racist comment this week to describe his recent battle with coronavirus.  “The Chinese flu army sent in one of their best soldiers,” Shirkey joked with JTV host Bart Hawley on Tuesday. “His name was Rona. I’m not as young as he used to be, so he […]

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey

Shirkey changes story about militia leaders meeting, state police deny involvement

By: - January 19, 2021

Updated, 8:20 a.m., 2/11/21 After facing social media backlash for his September comments about helping militia leaders in Michigan with messaging; Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) changed his story Tuesday in an interview with Bart Hawley of JTV in Jackson.  In an interview in September with Hawley, Shirkey said he met with leaders of […]

Michigan Small Business Survival Grants won’t hinge on compliance with pandemic orders

By: - January 19, 2021

With $55 million in state dollars on the table for small businesses, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) is relying on businesses to be honest about their compliance with Michigan pandemic rules and orders.  The Michigan Small Business Survival Grants are designed to assist small businesses in the state that have been disproportionately impacted by […]

New: Michigan GOP Senate leader advised militias on messaging, says they’ve gotten ‘a bad rap’

By: - January 17, 2021

Just a month before 13 men were charged by state and federal law enforcement for a far-right plot to allegedly kidnap and execute Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) had a sitdown conversation with leaders of three Michigan-based militias.  “I was in Lansing and members — the leaders, the so-called leaders […]

State, federal law enforcement plan increased Capitol activity through Mid-February

By: - January 15, 2021

In light of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, local, state and federal law enforcement officials announced Friday there will be significant increases in the number of police officers around the state Capitol building for the next week.  As the Advance first reported Friday morning, Gov Gretchen Whitmer has also activated some Michigan […]

Breaking: Whitmer activates Michigan National Guard in advance of Sunday protest

By: - January 15, 2021

A spokeswoman for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer confirmed Friday morning the Michigan National Guard has been activated in advance of expected right-wing protests in downtown Lansing this weekend. Tiffany Brown, the governor’s communications director, confirmed the Guard’s activation in a text message, and referred questions about the number of troops called up and other operational details […]

Militia group bows out, right-wing extremist groups gear up for Sunday in Lansing

By: - January 15, 2021

With images of thousands of Americans overrunning the U.S. Capitol just over a week ago fresh in mind, Lansing is bracing for potential violent, armed protests this weekend through Wednesday, when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in in Washington, D.C. Experts have warned that a coalition of militias, right-wing activist groups, white supremacists and others […]

DHHS lifts more restrictions, but Republicans threaten to halt gov’s appointments without full reopening

By: - January 13, 2021

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Wednesday that some pandemic restrictions are being loosened. Legislative Republicans, however, continue to push for a full reopening and have threatened to hold up Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s appointees and withhold federal COVID-19 relief dollars. “We are starting with a cautious approach,” DHHS Director Robert Gordon […]