AAA Offers Interactive Map of COVID Restrictions In US and Canada

It’s Labor Day Weekend, and for many people, they are traveling for the first time in almost two years. Many families have not traveled since the start of the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not traveling if you are unvaccinated. Traveling is still risky, and the CDC has placed warnings on tourist destinations such as the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Aruba, and France. Travel is still tricky.

Most experts think that if you drive, you should educate yourself on community spread. Not only at your destination but also in the cities you’ll be passing through in case you need to make an unexpected stop.

Because COVID regulations and processes may differ depending on where you start and where you go, AAA has created an interactive map that outlines travel limitations within the United States and Canada to assist passengers in planning their journeys.

View the AAA Covid-19 Travel Restrictions map here.

AAA Covid Restrictions in US and Canada Map Features

This map displays the latest recent information about COVID-19-related travel restrictions inside the United States and Canada. It also includes Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case count data by county and state. The data sources are WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, national, state, provincial, county, and local governments, and Departments of Transportation. AAA GIS Data Services at the National Office in Heathrow, FL, generated and maintained this map.

Roadway Travel Checkpoints

Checkpoints will be set up along important routes where officials will stop vehicles to inspect them for the origin of travel, destination, and signs of COVID-19. Restrictions differ by state, and extensive information is available on government websites.

Border Crossing Closures

To combat the spread of COVID-19, the borders between Canada and the United States and Mexico and the United States have been closed to all non-essential travel. However, the border is still open for necessary travel.

National Land Closures

National Parks, Monuments, and Memorials that have been closed as a result of COVID-19 concerns.

Citywide Travel Restrictions

Cities in which municipal governments have enacted COVID-19 measures that are more stringent than statewide restrictions.

Countywide Travel Restrictions

Counties where local governments have enacted COVID-19 directives that are more stringent than statewide requirements.

Statewide Travel Restrictions

States in which the governor has issued statewide directives. Restrictions differ by state, and extensive information is available on government websites.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Cases

Counties – The total number of confirmed cases in the United States and Canada, broken down by county. Johns Hopkins University collects and updates this data as new information becomes available.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Cases

Counties – Number of confirmed cases in the US and Canada totaled by state. Data collected by Johns Hopkins University and updated as information is available.

Final Thoughts on Covid-19 Restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic is now well into its second year. While the survivability remains high, many of those who have had the virus are still coping with the long-term lingering effects of COVID. The best practice is to heed the advice of health professionals and your doctor.


The interactive map is attributed to AAA GIS Data Services, JHU CSSE. Automation Support: Esri Living Atlas team. Data sources: national, state, provincial, county, and city governments and Departments of Transportation; WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC, and DXY.

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Boundary Waters Canoe Area Closed Due to Fire Danger

This was the notice from the U.S. Forest Service:

The Superior National Forest is closing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, effective August 21, 2021, due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources. The closure will be in place for seven days and may be modified or extended as conditions allow. 

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness stopped issuing entry permits Saturday, closing all land, water, trails, portages, campsites, canoe routes, and wilderness entry points until Aug. 27.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is within the Superior National Forest. The area is one of the most visited federally designated wilderness regions.

This closure includes all lands, waters, trails, portages, campsite, canoe routes, and Wilderness entry points in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 

The Forest has notified permit holders and outfitters and is canceling permits today through August 27. Permit holders will be fully reimbursed. At this time, all overnight paddle, day use, and motorized day use are canceled. The Forest will reopen portions of the Wilderness and for other uses when it is safe.

We did not make this decision lightly. We understand it will have significant impacts on business and our visitors. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

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Did A Michigan Bigfoot Sighting Happen In The Thumb?

The Michigan Thumb newspaper Tuscola Today carried a story, “Bigfoot Roaming the Cass? Video Raises the Question . ” on July 21. It shows a screenshot and short video clip of the alleged Sasquatch from a person kayaking on the Cass River. The Saginaw Bay Area has witnessed many sightings over the years. Is this yet another Michigan Bigfoot sighting?

The video is under five seconds long and depicts an upright creature in the river holding something. According to sources, the video took place at the M-46 bridge in Juniata Township, Tuscola County.

Many Michigan Bigfoot Reports

According to Caro resident Wayne King, this isn’t the first time the creature has been seen in the region. King saw one near Enos Park, near M-46 and Sheridan Road, in the 1970s. It was nearly 7 feet tall and weighed well over 500 pounds, he added. King also claimed to have gathered roughly 30 other accounts of bigfoot encounters in or near Tuscola County.

California king operates the Michigan/Canadian Bigfoot Information Center. The site noted that the last sighting in Sanilac County was in 1993-94, approximately 7 miles west associated with Marlette. Reports included sightings, footprints of an apparent juvenile Bigfoot. In addition, an altercation with a large creature and three beings was witnessed leaving the scene through a field of tall corn.

Sightings have been reported from 17 Michigan counties, according to King’s website. Oscoda, Bay County, and Port Huron sightings are grouped around Saginaw Bay.

Bigfoot sightings are not uncommon, despite their rarity. According to the online newspaper the Sun, over 10,000 people have claimed to have seen the mythical being in the past 50 years.

These Bigfoot sightings in the Cass River make for an interesting story and add to the bit of folklore in the Thumb.

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Sailboat Drones Begin Fish Count in Lakes Huron-Michigan

North America’s Great Lakes are the world’s most significant freshwater habitat. The Great Lakes also support a $7 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry. It’s been challenging to estimate fish stocks. So, to overcome this problem, a pair of 23-foot sailing drones are already on the Great Lakes for a two-month exploration on the lakes and to conduct a Lake Huron fish count. The drone sailboats are owned and operated by Saildrone, a California-based company.

While there is plenty of walleye in Saginaw Bay, yellow perch stocks have been declining for years. Problems such as deteriorating habitat, climate change, plus invasive mussels endanger the health of significant species such as lake trout, whitefish, walleye, in addition to northern pike.

What Are Saildrones?


Courtesy Saildrone

The 23-foot self-navigating boats are powered by wind and solar energy and do not carry passengers. Instead, the Saildrone Explorer drones feature a 15-foot-tall wing sail and a weighted keel. They carry a cargo of science instruments, navigational and communications devices, and other equipment on their hulls.

Drones will be used to count fish. The information gathered will influence how much commercial fish fishermen can catch. The Great Lakes encourage industrial fishing, but the Michigan DNR needs to know where and how many fish are in the water before adopting standards.

First Freshwater Mission on the Great Lakes and Lake Huron Fish Count

Over seven years of operation, Saildrone’s fleet of crewless surface vehicles has proven its data collection capabilities from the Arctic to the Antarctic. These ocean drones have now reached a new nautical domain: the Great Lakes. Two Saildrone Explorers took off from Macatawa, Michigan, for a 45-day fishing mission on behalf of the US Geological Survey’s Great Ponds Science Center (GSLC).

The data on the fish population will be collected using drone sailboats and a crewed boat operated by the US Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center. Data from all three ships will be compared to assist in the establishment of commercial fishing guidelines. In addition, researchers will investigate the dispersal of fish during the day and night and the effects of invasive mussels around the food chain.

The project will be reported from time to time on Saildrone’s Twitter feed.

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Residents Of Michigan Are Eligible For A Free College Education

The State of Michigan announced a program that will give any Michigander the chance to get a tuition-free associate degree from a Michigan community college or skills certificate. The new scholarship. Michigan Reconnect is an initiative that offers a historic tuition-free opportunity. It’s available for more than 4.1M Michiganders age 25+ to earn an associate degree or skills certificate.

In Advanced Education, Michigan Lags Below Other States.

As of 2019, only 41% of Michigan’s working-age residents had an associate degree or higher, placing Michigan at 31st in the nation. According to the Michigan Community College Association, the average age of Michigan’s 365,232 residents currently enrolled at a community college is 25.7 years old. More than 36% of the students are 25 or older.

Michiganders without a college degree or training credential often face economic challenges. For example, a 2020 analysis by the American Association of Community Colleges reports the median earnings of full-time employees with a high school degree is $40,510 annually, while those with an associate degree make $50,079 per year, based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. 

The Michigan Reconnect Program

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced the $30 million Michigan Reconnect program in February 2021. “I’m proud of the hard work that has gone into creating this historic new opportunity and look forward to continuing bipartisan work with lawmakers toward our goal of ensuring 60% of Michiganders will have a postsecondary degree by 2030.”

For eligible people who desire to pursue an associate degree or a skills certificate at their local community college, Michigan Reconnect will cover the cost of tuition. More than 70 private training schools with 120 programs offering certificates. Many in high-demand careers in industries such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, healthcare, or business management participate in the program, which offers skills scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition.

Eligibility for the Michigan Reconnect Program and How to Apply

To be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, you must: 

  • Be at least 25 years old when you apply 
  • Lived in Michigan for a year or more 
  • Have a high school diploma 
  • Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelors) 

All Michigan community colleges offer Reconnect scholarships, and they are also available to qualifying people who are already enrolled in their local community college. After other state and federal financial aid has been applied, the program pays the remaining amount of tuition and obligatory fees. In addition, reconnect will cover the in-district component of tuition for people who want to attend an out-of-district community college.

You can submit applications at

Mid-Public Michigan’s Community Colleges

Delta Community College – University Center (South of Bay City)

Delta Community College serves the counties of Saginaw, Midland, and Bay as part of its district. University Center, Michigan is made up of Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University. The college has 15,000 students enrolled.

Mid-Michigan Community College – Harrison

Mid Michigan Community College (MMCC) is a public community college in Michigan with Harrison and Mount Pleasant campuses. The institution, founded in 1965, offers one- and two-year certificates and associate degrees in transfer, occupational, and health science programs.

Kirkland Community Collage – Grayling

Kirtland awards degree and certificate programs, including transfer associate degrees and areas of study in arts and sciences, business, professional programs, industrial trades, health science, public safety, and other programs. Evening and online courses are available.

Community Collages Just Outside Mid-Michigan Area

Lansing Community College – Lansing

Each academic year, Lansing Community College provides 230 associate degree and certificate programs and about 1,150 courses. The Higher Learning Commission has granted its accreditation. LCC is al training center for the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. Most of the classes in this center are located at the college’s West Campus. Student enrollment 18,000. 

Macomb Community College – Warren 

University transfer, early college, professional certification, job development, continuing education, and enrichment programs are among the college’s offerings. In addition, it offers bachelor’s degree completion and graduate-level programs It’s nationally famous University Center, which was founded in 1991.

Montcalm Community College – Sidney

Sidney Community College (MCC) is a public community college in Sidney, Michigan. Montcalm Community College, founded in 1965, has 2,080 students enrolled in 2005.

Mott Community College – Flint

MCC offers over 100 different Programs and hundreds of specific classes. Offering degree, college transfer, or career training, Mott Community College is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

St. Clair County Community College – Port Huron

SC4 offers certificate and associate degree programs. It also provides online classes as well as four-year transfer programs. Students can also acquire Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees without ever leaving the SC4 campus by collaborating with University Center partners. In addition to its main campus in Port Huron, SC4 maintains learning facilities in Harbor Beach, Algonac, Yale, Peck, and Croswell. SC4 services a substantial chunk of Michigan’s Thumb region through these regional centers.

The Michigan Thumb Region’s Hot Jobs in 2021

Skilled individuals with a certificate or associate degree from a community college are needed for the following jobs. These jobs are in high demand in Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee, and Shiawassee counties.

  • Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics – Median Hourly Wage: $ 17.08
  • Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses – Median Hourly Wage:$ 23.23
  • Machinists – Median Hourly Wage: $16.06
  • Maintenance and Repair Workers, General – Median Hourly Wage: $15.84
  • Medical Assistants – Median Hourly Wage: $14.08
  • Nursing Assistants –  Median Hourly Wage: $14.72
  • Personal Care Aides – Median Hourly Wage: $ 11.09
  • Pharmacy Technicians – Median Hourly Wage: $ 13.60
  • Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters – Median Hourly Wage: $ 33.86
  • Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers – Median Hourly Wage: $16.38

Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School Investigation

Over the four decades that the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School operated in Michigan, thousands of Native American children. Michigan’s Mount Pleasant’s Indian Boarding school is under investigation for deaths of 227 children. The search for their remains continues …

Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School Investigation

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Number of Drownings in Great Lakes Jumps in 2021, Nonprofit Says

High water levels in the Great Lakes have created many changes. Especially on Lake Huron. Of the 2021 drownings, 15 occurred in Lake Michigan, compared to 12 a year ago. Five drownings were reported in Lake Huron this season, in addition to six in Lake Erie and six in Lake Ontario. More drownings have been reported in the Great Lakes so far in 2021 than by this time last year, prompting officials to urge swimmers to practice …

Number of Drownings in Great Lakes Jumps in 2021, Nonprofit Says

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Michigan Beach Closures & Advisories

The Michigan DEQ offers an updated listing of all beach closures and advisories. Thumbwind is offing this service in 2021. The site is publishing the most current Michigan DEQ beach closures and advisories reported on the 1224 public beaches in the state…

Michigan Beach Closures & Advisories

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Governor Whitmer Declares State of Emergency in Huron, Ionia, and Washtenaw Counties

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today amended a recent state of emergency declaration to include Huron and Ionia counties due to tornado damage and Washtenaw County due to widespread flooding. 

Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Wayne County on June 26 after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding, damaging infrastructure and private property. Huron, Ionia, and Washtenaw counties were added to the emergency declaration following local damage assessments. 

“The residents of these three counties have suffered significant hardship due to the recent severe weather,” said Governor Whitmer. “Adding the counties to the declaration commits available state resources to help the communities as they rebuild and recover.”   

In Huron County, the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-2 tornado tore a 7-mile path through Port Austin, Michigan. The EF-2, the tornado damaged or destroyed six houses, two garages. In addition, one barn was destroyed, along with substantial tree damage along its path.

State of Emergency Declared

By declaring a state of emergency, the state of Michigan will make available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the disaster area as outlined in the Michigan Emergency Management Plan. 

The declaration authorizes the MSP/EMHSD to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already done in conjunction with local agencies.  

All three added counties declared a local state of emergency, activating local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor’s declaration, these counties and their communities have determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation. State assistance is required to protect public health, safety, and property to lessen or avert the threat of an emergency. 

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The site of the mysterious fort was first built in 1686 by the French. It was at a strategic choke point in the Great Lakes. Fort Gratiot was re-built by the U.S. Army in 1814 to guard the strategic junction of Lake Huron and the St. Clair river and…

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