Gov. Gretchen Whitmer adds to calls for road commissioner to resign after racial slur

Editor’s note: Details of the incident could be offensive to some readers.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking for a commissioner to resign following a racial slur he made at a recent meeting.

The incident sparked response from Whitmer, who recently declared racism as a public health crisis in Michigan.

“Gov. Whitmer believes that Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle must resign immediately,” said Tiffany Brown, spokesperson for Whitmer’s office. “His comments are atrocious. The governor has been very clear – there’s no place for hate and racism in Michigan.”

The other members of the Leelanau County Road Commission also asked for his resignation Friday, posting a letter on Facebook aimed at Eckerle, who reportedly said the racial slur at a commission meeting Tuesday. The resign letter says:

“We do not condone the racist comments that you made in the Leelanau County Road Commission meeting room on Aug. 4. We will not tolerate any kind of racism in our meeting room or in our organization. This behavior has had a serious effect on our excellent road commission, and we are asking that you resign immediately.”

More: What kills bald eagles in Michigan? Most comprehensive study ever has the answers

More: Lake Superior State University among 1st in Michigan to test campus living during pandemic

Ecklere was asked at the meeting why he wasn’t wearing a mask and he responded by saying, “Well this whole thing is because of them n—— down in Detroit,” according to an article posted to the Leelanau Enterprise’s website.

When chairman Bob Joyce told him he couldn’t say that, Ecklere said he could say whatever he wants and blamed Black Lives Matter for “taking the country away” from people, the Enterprise article reports.

National Education Policy-2020 will make students future-ready, take India to greater heights: Modi

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged education leaders of India to lay the road map for the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020 saying the policy will make students future-ready and take the country to new heights in the 21st century.

The target of NEP 2020 is to keep students future-ready and to lay the foundations for new India, the PM said while addressing a conclave on NEP’s higher education reforms organised by the Education Ministry.

The Prime Minister said NEP aimed to make India powerful, take it to greater heights, empower students and afford them opportunities to grow.

Terming the ongoing ideological debate on the policy as “healthy”, the PM said the good part was “no one had accused NEP of bias.“

He said it was natural for some people to ask how such a radical reform would translate on the ground.

“All eyes are on the implementation of NEP now and a new era in dialogue between stakeholders is set to begin. All of you should lay a roadmap for implementation of NEP, convert the policy into action and set timelines. I assure you complete political backing and will,” the PM told the heads of higher education institutions.

He said it had become imperative for the Indian education system to transform itself given the changing world order and new global education standards.

“So far the Indian education system had not seen any major reform. Students remained trapped in the rat race to become doctors or engineers or lawyers. Their interest, ability and demand had not been mapped. It was important to free the system of this rat race and inculcate creative and innovative thinking in students. NEP does that successfully by taking a holistic view rather than think in silos,” said the PM in the presence of space scientist K Kasturirangan, who led the NEP drafting process that took four years of consultations.

The PM also commented on the mother tongue issue saying there can be no debate on the fact that children learned better in their mother tongue and should preferably be taught till class 5 in mother language as recommended by the NEP.

Emphasising dignity of labour the PM also said Indian students must learn to respect all forms of labour for which the NEP takes the necessary steps.

“We have to think how a culturally rich India came to discriminate between people. Our students must respect the sacrifice farmers and labourers make towards nation-building. Dignity of labour has been stressed in NEP,” he said adding that the document equally emphasises the dignity of teachers who will create and shape good global citizens.

The PM said NEP seeks to create global citizens who are rooted in Indian culture and values.

Listing reforms including a reduction in school syllabus, academic credit bank and multiple entry and exit in colleges, the PM said the students will now have the freedom to choose a course and leave it to pursue another if they want.

“We are entering an era where a person won’t be stuck to one job for years. He would need to reskill and upskill himself. NEP addresses this and rids higher education of regimented streams by encouraging flexibility to learn,” Modi said assuring autonomy to colleges that advance NEP goals.

The PM also said the new NEP will shift the focus of students from “what to think” to “how to think “ citing the two questions that confronted the government when preparing the policy — does the existing education system inspire students towards curiosity- and creativity-driven life; does the existing system empower youth and society.

“Everyone knew the answers to these questions. NEP 2020 engaged these questions seriously and addressed them successfully,” said the PM telling the education ministry to show resolve to implement the policy which he said was not a mere circular but a harbinger of the dreams of millions of Indian students.

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker opens camp with focus on ‘rep chart’

It is an interesting turn of a phrase at a pivotal moment in Michigan State football history.

The transition from Mark Dantonio to Mel Tucker began Friday with the Spartans’ first practice under their new coach, nearly six months after he was hired. Tucker has promised players “a clean slate” going into his debut, but the lack of hands-on experience with his new personnel is forcing him to approach preseason camp with a different, much simpler mantra than his predecessor.

“Obviously, when we start practicing, we have to have organization and guys are going to be in groups,” Tucker said Thursday on a video conference call. “But instead of a depth chart, I’m going to call it a ‘rep chart.’ And it’s going to be fluid, and it’s how we’re going to rep today, and it will change day-to-day, and it will also change within a practice.”

Tucker’s first practice, which is closed to the media due to COVID-19 restrictions, went for more than two hours. The Spartans will hold a second practice in helmets, jerseys and shorts Saturday, then break out shells Sunday and Monday. They will take off Tuesday before holding their first full-pad practice Wednesday. 

“The first day went great. It felt good to be out here with the players and all the coaches,” Tucker said Friday, according to a MSU release. “Really good enthusiasm. Guys were really into it. I thought we got a lot of work done, we had really good tempo. I’m excited to see the film. …

“A couple of the periods, we’re going to need to slow down some of the periods, but the periods where we were going fast, our guys looked quick and they knew what to do, and they were running to the ball. So today was a solid day, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

MSU has several holes to fill, but the group with the biggest need for reps is at quarterback, where the Spartans must replace Brian Lewerke, the program’s all-time leader in total yards.

Rocky Lombardi returns with the most experience (16 appearances; three starts), but he has struggled since his debut against Purdue in 2018. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound junior went 26-for-46 for 318 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in beating the Boilermakers in place of an injured Lewerke. But in his other 15 appearances, Lombardi completed just 38% of his passes (49-for-129) for 494 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions.

The only other QB with experience is 6-5, 222-pound redshirt sophomore Theo Day, who took all of six snaps last year and whom Dantonio pulled mid-drive from his final appearance against Penn State. Day was 2 of 3 passing in that game for 12 yards.

The other two scholarship quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Payton Thorne and newcomer Noah Kim, have yet to see the field, though Thorne (6-2, 197) comes from a family of football coaches and impressed the previous staff last fall.

“At this point, what’s going to be important is what we do with the reps that we get moving forward,” Tucker said Thursday. “And I believe that we have enough time to get our players, our quarterbacks and everyone else, the reps that they need to put their best foot forward, to compete for jobs, and to be prepared for the season.”

MSU’s inefficiency on offense the past two seasons was a big reason the Spartans ended Dantonio’s 13-year tenure with consecutive 7-6 records. A large reason for that were injuries up front, and offensive line is another spot where juggling the reps will be critical.

The offensive line’s continuity took a hit Friday with senior right tackle Jordan Reid opting out this season — he’s the only player to start every game the past two seasons. However, Tucker inherits a group of nine other linemen with starting experience but also a history of injuries that cost the Spartans 43 games collectively a year ago. MSU used nine different combinations on the line in 2018 and seven groupings a year ago, which greatly contributed to the inconsistency around them.

The loss of Reid puts more pressure on new offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic to find the combination that meshes best with veterans Matt Allen, A.J. Arcuri, Luke Campbell and Kevin Jarvis (returning from a season-ending injury), along with youngsters J.D. Duplain, Devontae Dobbs, Nick Samac and Matt Carrick.

“Every drill that we do – whether it’s an individual drill or a group drill or a team drill, or a scrimmage – everything we do will be filmed and graded by the coaches, and every player will get a grade on every drill,” Tucker said. “And we’re going to work really hard to teach, motivate and develop our guys. As we see our guys perform more, and we’re able to evaluate them more, we’ll be able to create a depth chart going into the season.”

At wide receiver, first-time college assistant Courtney Hawkins will need to develop replacements for Darrell Stewart, Cody White and perhapssophomore Julian Barnett, who moved to the defensive side of the ball  — unless he becomes a two-way player. The Spartans have a load of young talent at wideout, including returnees Jalen Nailor, C.J. Hayes and Tre Mosley as well as tantalizing transfer Jayden Reed, a freshman All-American at Western Michigan in 2018 before sitting out last year. At tight end, sophomore Trenton Gillison emerged late in the season after MSU lost Matt Dotson, who returns as a senior.

On defense, Jacub Panasiuk opting out and planning to redshirt like Reid means Tucker must replace the entire starting front four. The Spartans also lost two starters at linebacker (Joe Bachie and Tyriq Thompson) and three in the secondary (Josiah Scott, David Dowell and Josh Butler). While linebacker Antjuan Simmons and safety Xavier Henderson return as starters, there are only a handful of backups – defensive tackle Naquan Jones, cornerback Shakur Brown, linebacker Noah Harvey and defensive end Drew Beesley among them – who have significant in-game experience on defense.

On Friday, the reset button was hit and competition began anew. Now Tucker must begin shaping his vision for the Spartans into a reality. Should there be a season, it is less than a month away – with plenty of work to make up for in a short window for Tucker to begin shaping his offseason vision into a reality with the Spartans.

“We have a hungry football team, and our players know that they have to compete,” Tucker said. “They’re going to get what they deserve, what they earn. It’s a daily process. There’s no room for complacency. No one really cares what you did last week, no one really cares what you did yesterday – it’s about what have you done for me today? And that’s what you’re going to be evaluated on.”

Contact Chris Solari: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.

India’s COVID-19 management marked by rising recovery rate, falling fatality rate: Centre

New Delhi, August 7

India’s COVID-19 management is marked by “two significant achievements” of continuously rising recovery rate among coronavirus patients and a case fatality rate that had remained much below the global average, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

While the recovery rate among coronavirus patients had risen to a record high of 67.98 per cent, the fatality rate had gone down to 2.05 per cent, it said.

“These two in tandem have enabled a higher and rising difference of more than 7.7 lakh between the number of recovered patients and active cases in India,” the Ministry said.

With 49,769 patients recuperating from the disease in 24 hours, the number of recoveries has jumped to 13,78,105 on Friday.

Also read: India reports record 62,538 coronavirus cases; tally crosses 20 lakh

“The recovery rate has increased from 51.08 per cent on June 15 to 67.98 per cent on August 7, while active cases, which comprised 46.06 per cent of the total COVID-19 caseload on June 15 now account for 29.96 per cent,” it said.

“Ramped up hospital infrastructure and emphasis on efficient treatment of hospitalised patients through the standard of care incorporated in the Clinical Treatment Protocol issued by the Centre, have effectively ensured improvement in the recovery rate,” the Ministry added.

It said the average daily recovered cases (seven-day moving average) had increased from around 26,000 cases to 44,000 cases in the past two weeks.

“Sustained efforts by the Centre, states and Union Territories through focused and coordinated containment, widespread testing combined with supervised isolation and effective treatment have ensured the decline in the percentage of active cases and rise of the percentage of recoveries,” the Health Ministry said, adding: “In a testament to the consistent and coordinated efforts of the Centre and the state and UT governments, India continues its track record of testing more than 6 lakh COVID-19 samples each day for the fourth successive day.”

Expanded diagnostic lab network and facilitation for easy testing across the country have given a boost, and with 6,39,042 tests conducted on Thursday, India has done 2,27,88,393 tests so far.

With India’s cumulative testing rising from 1.2 crore on July 14 to 2.2 crore as on date, the COVID-19 positivity rate has seen an increase from 7.5 to 8.87 per cent during the same period, the Union health ministry said on Friday.

The seven-day moving average in daily tests conducted has significantly improved from around 2.69 lakh on July 14 to around 5.66 lakh on August 6.

“Although a higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as Delhi experience has amply shown, it will eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, tracking and timely clinical management,” the Ministry underlined.

Registering a record 62,538 cases in 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 tally galloped past 20 lakh on Friday while the death toll climbed to 41,585 with 886 people succumbing to the infection in 24 hours, the Ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed. PTI

Shubhankar tied 110th after Round 1 of English Championship

Hertfordshire (UK), August 7

Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma carded an even-par 71 in the opening round, an effort that placed him tied 110th and in danger of missing the cut at the 2020 English Championship here.

Sharma hit a couple of birdies on the first two holes but was then unable to maintain the tempo at the Honbury Manor Marriott Hotel and Country Club course.

The Indian’s erratic round comprised four birdies and an equal number of bogeys.

The front nine turned out to be quite eventful for Sharma as he picked up three strokes – on the 1st, 2nd and 6th holes – but dropped as many. His back nine was made up of a birdie and a bogey each.

Last week in his first appearance since the COVID-19 forced break, Sharma missed the cut at the Hero Open.

As many as seven players, three of whom had completed their round, shot a 7-under 64 to share the lead.

The group included Australian Jason Scrivener, who played in the same group as Sharma and Gavin Green (69).

There were 11 players, eight of whom had completed their rounds, carded 65 each.

Last week’s winner at the Hero Open Sam Horsfield had a rough day with a 2-over 73 and was tied-126th.

Scrivener finished a career high 32nd in the 2019 Race to Dubai Rankings after seven top-10 finishes.

Lee missed the cut during the first two legs of the UK Swing at the Betfred British Masters and Hero Open but made a superb run of birdies around the turn to move into contention.

Lee won the ISPS Handa Vic Open on home soil in February.

Former world No. 1 Lee Westwood and Thorbjorn Olesen led a group of five players at 5-under. PTI

Not many countries willing to accept Zakir Naik: Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad

Kuala Lumpur, August 7

Malaysia was looking for a country except India to send Zakir Naik, but not many countries are willing to accept the controversial preacher, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has said.

Naik, a 54-year-old radical Islamic preacher wanted by the Indian authorities for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to the largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency when Mahathir was the prime minister.

Claiming that the fugitive Islamic preacher “would not be safe from the Indian public”, the 95-year-old politician, who is eyeing a comeback, said he would like to send Naik to some country “where we feel he will be safe”.

 “For the time being he (Naik) can stay here but we would like to send him to some other country where he would be safe. Unfortunately, not many countries are willing to accept him,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by the WION news channel.

When asked whether he would extradite Naik if he becomes the Prime Minister of Malaysia again, Mahathir said, “Well, we would like to send him to some country where we feel he will be safe”.

He once again refused to send Naik to India, saying “at this moment we feel that he would not be safe from the Indian public”.

Naik has been banned from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country after his controversial remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese last year.   

When Mahathir was the prime minister he had said that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi did not request the extradition of Naik during a bilateral meeting in Russia in September 2019, a claim contested by India which has sought the extradition of the fugitive preacher. PTI

Gov. Whitmer extends coronavirus state of emergency through Sept. 4

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday extended Michigan’s state of emergency through Sept. 4, amid continued high daily case numbers, ongoing pushback from Republican lawmakers and an accelerated petition drive to sharply curtail her emergency powers.

The state of emergency had been set to expire at the end of the day Tuesday.

Michigan’s state of emergency should not be confused with the stay-at-home order, which Whitmer lifted June 1. A state of emergency does not by itself place any restrictions on Michigan residents, but it authorizes the governor to issue orders placing such restrictions, such as ones requiring mask-wearing or limiting restaurant capacity to 50%.

“We are in a crucial time in our fight against COVID-19, and we must do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis from a second wave,” Whitmer said in a news release.

“I will continue to use every tool at my disposal to protect Michiganders from the spread of this virus. I want to remind everyone in Michigan to wear a mask, practice safe physical distancing, and do everything in your power to fight COVID-19.” 

Friday’s extension of the state of emergency is the latest in a series of extensions Whitmer has made unilaterally since May, when the Republican-controlled Legislature declined to grant an extension under the Emergency Management Act of 1976.

That refusal left Whitmer with only one major legislative tool in her toolbox — the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945, which does not require the Legislature to sign off on a state of emergency.

Unlock Michigan, a group with strong ties to the Republican Party, has collected more than 100,000 valid signatures in the last three weeks on its way to a goal of 500,000 signatures, in a bid to repeal the law, spokesman Fred Wszolek said Friday.

Under Michigan’s provisions for citizens’ legislative initiatives, iIf the group submits more than 340,000 valid signatures to the Legislature within the required time frame, the House and Senate could vote to repeal the Emergency Powers of Governor Act and Whitmer would have no veto power to stop the repeal.

Wszolek said Unlock Michigan expects to submit the required signatures before the end of October, and possibly sooner. More than 68,000 activists have asked for signature kits, he said.

Whitmer has expressed increasing concern about high coronavirus case numbers in recent weeks, though she said this week that new cases appear to have reached a new plateau, with daily cases in the 600s and 700s. Whitmer announced no new restrictions on economic or social activities at her news conference Wednesday.

Instead, she continued to urge adherence to measures announced earlier, especially stressing the wearing of masks.

Republican leaders have slammed Whitmer’s orders as arbitrary and contradictory, most recently her July 29 announcement that the size of gatherings and indoor service at bars serving alcohol would be dialed back Up North, at the same time she announced Detroit’s three casinos would be allowed to open at 15% capacity.

“Same day Governor allows Detroit casinos to reopen, she orders Northern Michigan and UP to go backwards,” House Speaker Lee Chatfield said on Twitter.

“Science? Data? Sorry, but this seems more like political science.”

More: Republican state senator who sought repeal of emergency law tests positive for coronavirus

More: Gov. Whitmer declares racism a public health crisis in Michigan

Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, announced Aug. 2 that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, after hosting an Unlock Michigan signing event on July 18 that he said drew 580 people from 21 Michigan counties.

The signing event was billed as a drive-through, but Barrett acknowledged Friday that many exited their vehicles and mingled outdoors after signing the petition at a table. Photos taken at the event show Barrett, not wearing a mask, standing a few feet away from others in attendance, and in one case, reaching out to shake the hand of another man, who was also not wearing a mask.

Top-10 players Svitolina, Bertens withdraw from US Open

New York, August 7

Women’s world No. 5 Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens, ranked seventh, on Friday joined a growing list of players withdrawing from this month’s US Open due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Men’s defending champion Rafa Nadal and women’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty have opted against travelling to New York to play the hardcourt Grand Slam as well as the Western & Southern Open that will work as a warmup for the US Open.

“I understand and respect all the efforts they are putting to make it happen in a safe environment, but I still don’t feel comfortable to travel to U.S. without putting my team and myself at high risk,” Ukrainian Svitolina, who reached last year’s semi-finals in New York, said on Twitter.

The United States has close to 5 million cases of COVID-19 and almost 160,000 people have died, according to a Reuters tally.

“The situation around COVID-19 is still worrying and the health of everyone and the control over this virus is priority,” said the 28-year-old Bertens on Instagram.

The US Open organisers (USTA) are creating a ‘bio-secure bubble’ in New York to hold the tournament from August 31 without spectators. But concerns remain about whether players would face mandatory quarantines upon returning home from the US Open.

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray, who won the US Open in 2012, said on Monday that players travelling to New York needed assurance that they would not face mandatory quarantines after returning to Europe.

“Our Prime Minister indicated yesterday that we should be quarantined for 14 days after coming back from the States,” Bertens said.

“Of course we respect this as a team and this would disturb our preparation for my beloved clay court tournaments in Rome and Paris.”

The Italian Open is scheduled to be held in Rome from September 20 ahead of the French Open Grand Slam in Paris a week later. Reuters

Pilot among 16 killed after Air India Express plane with 191 on board overshoots runway at Kozhikode

Kozhikode, August

A pilot was among 16 dead when an Air India Express flight from Dubai with 191on board crash landed at Kozhikode International Airport on Friday evening, police sources said on Friday.

“The mishap occurred at 1941 hrs. No fire was reported at the time of landing,” a statement from Air Indian Express said.

Police sources said 16 people were killed in the accident.

Also read: Pilot of ill-fated Air India Express plane was ‘Sword of Honour’ winner

The Civil Aviation Ministry said the flight IX 1344 operated by B737 aircraft from Dubai overshot runway at Kozhikode at 7.41 PM on Friday. “No fire reported at the time of landing,” it noted.

There were 174 passengers, 10 Infants, two Pilots and five cabin crew on board the aircraft, the ministry added.

It had been raining heavily in Kozhikode throughout Friday.

“As per the initial reports rescue operations are on and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care. We will soon share the update in this regard,” the ministry said.  “Help centres are being set up in Sharjah and Dubai,” the statement said.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S Puri said the flight overshot the runway and went down 35 feet into a slope, and broke into two.

He added: “We are in touch with local authorities. Relief teams from Air India & AAI are being immediately dispatched from Delhi and Mumbai. All efforts being made to help passengers. A formal enquiry will be conducted by AAIB”.

Kozhikode airport is a tabletop airport.

NDTV said several passengers were wounded and were being treated at hospitals across Kozhikode and Malappuram. According to information from Kozhikode medical college, those who are seriously injured have been admitted there.

The condition of a mother and child injured in the accident was very serious, Health minister K K Shailaja said.

A statement issued by Rajeev Jain, Additional Director General of the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Media unit said: “Air India Express flight IX 1344 operated by B737 aircraft from Dubai to Calicut overshot runway at Kozhikode at 1941 hrs tonight. No fire reported at the time of landing.  There are 174 passengers, 10 infants, 2 Pilots and 5 cabin crew on board the aircraft.  As per the initial reports rescue operations are on and  Passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care. We will soon share the update in this regard”.

The airline also said that the aircraft apparently overshot the runway.

Air India Express Flight No IX 1344 from Dubai to Calicut skidded off the runway.We pray for well being of passengers and crew and will keep you updated as and when we receive further updates.Our helplines 056 546 3903, 0543090572, 0543090572, 0543090575,” the Indian Embassy in Dubai said  in a tweet. 

Air India Express has only Boeing 737 planes in its fleet.

Television reports said the rescue operation was under way.

Captain Deepak Sathe, one of the two pilots who died in the crash, was a former Indian Air Force fighter jet pilot. He was former MiG 21 pilot with Indian Air Force’s 17 squadron (Golden Arrows), Ambala. The squadron went to the Kargil War in 1999. Capt Sathe was an instructor at the Air Force Training Academy.

Wing Commander Deepak Sathe

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said police and firefighters had been directed to take all measures for rescue and relief operations.

“Have instructed Police and Fire Force to take urgent action in the wake of the plane crash at the Kozhikode International airport (CCJ) in Karipur. Have also directed the officials to make necessary arrangements for rescue and medical support,” Vijayan said in a tweet.

Chef Shell’s owner apologizes for Facebook comment suggesting Gov. Whitmer kill herself

One of the owners of a downtown Port Huron restaurant was apologetic Thursday after facing some backlash over a controversial Facebook comment about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Mark Wrubel, who co-owns Chef Shell’s, suggested the governor could “go and kill herself” and do the state “a huge favor” in a comment thread on a public St. Clair County page Wednesday.

By Thursday afternoon, Wrubel posted an apology on his personal Facebook, which was also shared by the restaurant on its public page. Wrubel, who wasn’t immediately available for comment early Thursday evening, wrote he’d been “under a lot of stress” because of the impact the coronavirus has had on the business community.

“With people making decisions that are beyond our control, it has created a lot of stress in my life and has affected me personally, as I am sure it has many of you,” he wrote. “I am afraid of losing everything, and it has caused me to really stress out.

“Emotions got the best of me yesterday. I am sorry for making comments about our governor. I had a thought that made it on to Facebook. This pandemic is hurting all of us, but please hear me, this was not my heart and I do not stand behind that statement.”

While plenty of commenters to Chef Shell’s Facebook share of the statement indicated they’d no longer be giving the restaurant their service, others were more forgiving — touching on freedom of speech issues or a willingness to have a dialogue.

One commenter suggested donating funds to benefit mental health organizations in response to other comments about cyberbullying prompting suicide. The Chef Shell’s account responded, adding the restaurant donates 10 percent of its sales every Tuesday to a local nonprofit and would “do a day” for St. Clair County Community Mental Health soon.

Co-owner Shell Wrubel also wasn’t immediately available for comment late Thursday.

Earlier this summer, she had discussed the difficulty of coping with COVID-19 as a business in an interview with the Times Herald as the restaurant prepared to reopen to a limited dine-in capacity.

The restaurant shared reference to Mark Wrubel’s statement in other public comment threads where local Facebook users discussed the issue.

In his post on Thursday, he also asked for forgiveness.

“I cast all my worries and anxiety on my lord and savior (and not Facebook) because he cares for me,” Mark Wrubel wrote. “… Please, pray and send encouragement as I need to get through this. Thank you for your understanding and compassion.”

Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.

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