Virtual classes especially hard for 22,500 students with autism

AUTISM COVID: Online learning forced by COVID pandemic is especially hard for the 22,500 Michigan students with autism who need structure and stability. Some parents are finding ways to cope. We talk to an MSU researcher, a parent mentor in Iron Mountain and parents in the Clawson and Berkley school districts. By Taylor Haelterman & Luke Sloan. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, WKAR, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, ST. IGNACE, SAULT STE. MARIE AND ALL POINTS.

Researchers Becca Ives and Nishita D’Souza lower a container into a manhole to sample wastewater at Michigan State University.

Project begins testing sewage for COVID-19 across Michigan

COVID IN SEWAGE: Michigan is searching the state’s sewers for the virus that causes COVID-19. The $10 million project could serve as an early alarm of spikes in the disease. It represents the first coordinated statewide network of testing labs to detect the virus in wastewater. The results will be shared with local health departments so that they know where to keep an eye out for outbreaks. By Taylor Haelterman. FOR ALL POINTS

COVID-19 pandemic revealed underlying energy justice crises, study finds

ENERGY CRISIS – A new Michigan study uses the COVID-19 pandemic to help reveal existing energy crises such as costly utility bills and the dangers of energy pollution. It cites problems in rural areas and tribal nations from Michigan, but the same issues can be seen across the United States and globally. The study by a Michigan Technological University researcher was inspired by the state’s controversial pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. By Taylor Haelterman. For SAULT STE. MARIE, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN, BAY MILLS AND ALL POINTS

Patrons that walk up to a Grand Rapids Library kiosk are asked to wear masks.

Pandemic impacts library services now, budgets in long term

COVID-19 may have kept library patrons from spending hours browsing the stacks for new reads, but Michigan librarians are busy quarantining books, shipping them to eager readers and finding ways to innovate to serve the public safely. New ways of using the library such as “grab-and-go” trips are planned. We spoke to library workers in Grand Rapids, Detroit and East Lansing. By Taylor Haelterma. FOR GRAND RAPIDS, LANSING AND ALL POINTS.

Increase in attendance at U.P. State Fair can positively impact local economy

Hearing the stories of people who have attended the Upper Peninsula State Fair their entire lives, and seeing what the event means to them helps inspire future growth, said Nicole Smith, the communications director for the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, and the U.P. State Fair. In the Upper Peninsula fair stories are typically not difficult to find. Like the story of Smith’s colleague who once wore her new school shoes to the fair without her mom’s knowledge, and they ended up covered in mud. This story, like many others, is now a cherished memory to share which Smith wrote about in a column to the Daily Press that focused on reminiscing on the tradition of fair week, and the memories made there. “It’s almost a part of growing up, being a part of the state fair,” she said.

Iron Mountain Iron Mine brings tourism to Vulcan since 1958

If you’ve ever driven on US-2 through Vulcan the chances are you’ve seen the red slatted signs on the side of the road that say things like “underground mine tour, rock shop, 2000 feet” and “see where iron ore was discovered.”

Those unmistakable red signs belong to the Iron Mountain Iron Mine, where guides have been giving tours of the East Vulcan Mine since 1958, said Karen Secinaro, the general manager of the mine. “The whole thing is to tell people this is our heritage,” Secinaro said. “And this is how it all started. And, to go and look to see really how we did start, because they worked hard. These men worked very hard.”

Secinaro’s father, Eugene Carollo, is the current owner of the Iron Mountain Iron Mine and one of the three original founders, she said.