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FREE ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALISM WORKSHOP: Reminder: You and your staff are invited but seats are limited. MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism will host a free all-day workshop in Grand Rapids on Saturday, April 1. The topic is “Covering the Grand River – Covering Any River” and includes presentations by experts from DNR, DEQ, Annis Water Resources Institute, Environmental Health News and the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council. It’s at Grand Valley’s L.V. Eberhard Center from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Free lunch and free parking. Register by email to Barb Miller at mille384.msu.edu
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HEALTHCAREMICHIGAN: The Michigan League for Public Policy projects that some 2.5 million people in Michigan could lose their insurance under the Republican proposal for replacing the Affordable Care Act. Advocates say the bill could be particularly devastating for low-income and disabled populations in Michigan. State health officials say they are still trying to convince federal authorities that the Healthy Michigan initiative is worth saving. We talk to MDHHS director Nick Lyon, a former Clinton administration health official, the head of advocacy group SAIL in Marquette, and the Michigan League for Public Policy. By Isaac Constans. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, MARQUETTE, GRAND RAPIDS, SAULT STE. MARIE, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
MARCHFORSCIENCE: Advocates in 10 Michigan cities plan to participate in the national “March for Science” on April 22, calling attention to the value of science and the protection of the Great Lakes. The event has taken on new urgency since Trump unveiled his first budget plan on March 16, proposing cutting Environmental Protection Agency spending by 31 percent and eliminating climate change programs and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. March towns include Petoskey, Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, Grand Rapids and Lansing. We talk to organizers in Petoskey, Lansing and Detroit. By Chao Yan. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, PETOSKEY & ALL POINTS.
DOMESTICVIOLENCEANIMALS: Harming or threatening to harm household pets would be considered domestic violence under a bill introduced by Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland. Advocates say abusing pets is a common way for domestic abusers to intimidate and distress their human victims. The bill would open up funding for domestic violence shelters to care for animals as well as people. We talk to Kosowski, the statewide nonprofit group Attorneys for Animals and Hope Shores Alliance, which advocates for victims of sexual and domestic violence. Local communities whose domestic violence shelters currently care for pets are also noted. By Caitlin Taylor. FOR ALCONA, MONTMORENCY, CADILLAC, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, MARQUETTE, PETOSKEY, SAULT STE. MARIE, THREE RIVERS & ALL POINTS.
VACCINATIONS: Lower percentages of Michigan parents are opting out of vaccinating their children since the state changed its waiver rules, Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon said. Now, Michigan parents need to speak with a public health provider to obtain a nonmedical waiver. In 2015, the year the changes were implemented, statewide waiver rates dropped to 3.1 percent. Preliminary 2016 data indicates a further drop to 2.9 percent, according to the MDHHS. We speak with a health official in Grand Traverse County, where waiver rates remain high. By Laura Bohannon. FOR TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
GREATLAKESFUNDING: Eliminating the $300 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative could lead to devastating natural and economic effects on coastal Michigan communities, defenders of the program said. President Donald Trump has proposed killing the initiative, along with the Michigan Sea Grant and nearly a third of funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. We talk with the director of the Sea Grant program, Muskegon tourism officials, and the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission. By Laina Stebbins. For MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND, OCEANA, LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, CHEBOYGAN, ALCONA, ST. IGNACE, BAY MILLS, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE & ALL POINTS.
SENTINELSPIDERS: Scientists have discovered that spiders along the heavily polluted Manistique River in the Upper Peninsula can serve as sentinels that provide valuable information about levels of toxic PCBs in the river bottom. Researchers from the EPA and U.S. Geological Survey explain. By Natalie Spratt. FOR MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, CHEBOYGAN & ALL POINTS.
w/SENTINELSPIDERPHOTO: The Tetragnathid (“long-jawed”) spider. Image: Ryan Otter, Middle Tennessee State University
PUREMICHIGAN: Long before “Pure Michigan” lured tourists and vacationers Up North, images of pristine forests and sparkling streams were doing the same thing — even if what they would see was neither pure nor pristine. The current Pure Michigan campaign echoes themes used by railroad and steamship companies and tourism promoters in the 1800s to entice urban dwellers, who arrived to a landscape changed dramatically by lumbering, mining and agriculture, a new study says. However, environmental devastation also helped create demand for environmental protection in the Northern Lower Peninsula and U.P. We talk to the author, who grew up in Grand Rapids, and to a historian at Northern Michigan University’s Center for U.P. Studies. By Eric Freedman. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LUDINGTON, ALCONA, MONTMORENCY, CADILLAC, MANISTEE, BIG RAPIDS, LEELANAU, GLADWIN, CRAWFORD COUNTY, GREENVILLE, HERALD-STAR, LAKE COUNTY, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, BIG RAPIDS & ALL POINTS.
WARBLERS: Little birds have tourists and birdwatchers flocking in big numbers to Northern Michigan, a favorite nesting area for the rare Kirtland’s warblers, which were once nearly extinct. Visitors come to Michigan from as far away as New Zealand specifically to spot the warblers. The bird has rebounded and can now be found even in the U.P. There are tours from Hartwick Pines State Pines and from Mio. We hear from the Michigan Audubon Society, DNR, Grayling Visitor’s Bureau, Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce and a local motel owner. By Carl Stoddard. FOR CRAWFORD COUNTY, CADILLAC, ALCONA, MONTMORENCY, CHEBOYGAN, BIG RAPIDS, MANISTEE, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, SAULT STE. MARIE, MARQUETTE, ST. IGNACE & ALL POINTS.
w/WARBLERPHOTO: The Kirtland’s warbler was on the verge of extinction 50 years ago. It breeds almost exclusively in Michigan. Credit Dan Kennedy, Department of Natural Resources
RUNWAYRACE: Runners, lace-up. In October, you’ll get the chance to race each other on an actual airport runway and maybe duck under a 747 at Grand Rapids’ Gerald R. Ford International Airport. The first-of-its-kind race in Michigan is a charity fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Michigan. By Karen Hopper Usher. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, HOLLAND, OCEANA & ALL POINTS.