Extreme weather threatens aging water infrastructure

WATER INFRASTRUCTURE: Dramatic damage to water infrastructure in Texas raises the question of how well-prepared Michigan’s water systems are for extreme weather and natural disasters. We talk to the water system officials in Cheboygan and Midland, where two dams collapsed last year, forcing evacuations and causing massive property damage. A U.S. representative from Southfield is cosponsoring new federal legislation that would pour billions of dollars into water infrastructure systems nationally. By Sheldon Krause. FOR CHEBOYGAN, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.

Justice advocates praise move to close private federal prisons

PRIVATE PRISONS: President Biden’s executive order against renewing contracts with private companies to hold federal prisoners has anti-private prison advocates happy but could mean a hard financial hit to Baldwin, the Lake County community where the state’s only private federal prison is located. We talk to criminal justice experts at Grand Valley State, Oakland University and Wayne State. By Sheldon Krause. FOR LAKE COUNTY, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE AND ALL POINTS.

East Lansing Police Department faces oversight commission amid significant policy changes

After many months of increased scrutiny and renewed conversations about the role of law enforcement in American society, the City of East Lansing has formed a study committee to put in place a permanent oversight board to work with the East Lansing Police Department on better serving their community.

The Study Committee on an Independent Police Oversight Commission, which began in October following the summer’s mass protests over police brutality and misconduct, is working with East Lansing community members, officials and law enforcement to form a board to provide guidance to the police department.

“It’s the same education in a different space.” East Lansing prepares for in-person instruction

As East Lansing prepares to bring students back for in-person learning for the first time, students and teachers alike are anxious to return to normal — but many recognize that it won’t quite be the same.

After nearly a full year of remote learning, East Lansing secondary schools are planning to return to in-person instruction on March 1. Elementary schools are returning Feb. 22.

Some therapists say virtual visits should last beyond the pandemic

THERAPY: The pandemic has widened the use of teletherapry for mental health counseling. Some experts say it’s just as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy and moe convenient for many clients, especially amid the pandemic-related exacerbation of mental health problems and constraints on travel and indoor activities. It also makes therapy more accessible to residents of rural areas in the state. Health insurers may determine how much teletherapy continues after the pandemic. We talk to psychologists and therapists Eastern Michigan and Grand Valley State universities, Milford and Farmington Hills explain. By Sheldon Krause. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

‘We need true history and real history to be taught’: Black History Month education advocate

SOCIAL STUDIES: Emphasizing African American history in social studies classes is a tradition in February, Black History Month. Educators say it’s an important part of the curriculum, but the only declared GOP candidate for governor vows to cancel BHM if elected. We hear from the head of the Michigan Council for the Social Studies, from Cadillac, and an East Lansing school board member. By Sheldon Krause: FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, CADILLAC, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.

Outlook mixed on Michigan’s effort to ‘fix the damn roads’

ROADS: The governor is again pushing the Legislature for more generous funding of infrastructure projects, although her pleas have fallen on death Republican ears in the past. Advocates of more money to fix deteriorating roads, bridges and sewer lines say they hope the new Biden administration will be more generous than the Trump administration in supporting state and local projects. We hear from the Michigan Municipal League, road officials in Chippewa, Wayne and Montmorency counties and the Michigan Association of Counties. By Shel Krause. FOR MONTMORENCY, SAULT STE. MARIE, DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.