A vaccination form with a plant in the background

Students advocate for vaccinations as some hold out

As COVID-19 grips the state of Michigan worse than any other in the nation, health officials have called for a vaccine surge to reduce the spread. While this request has seemingly been rebuffed by the federal government, residents all around East Lansing are eager to return to normal, as various groups deal with their new normal in different ways.

As religious attendance in Michigan decreases, churches close

CLOSINGS: Places of worship are closing as the proportion of Americans who formally belong drops. Factors include rising costs of maintenance and increased mobility that makes it easier for worshippers to pick and choose congregations. We talk to a St. Joseph pastor from the Southwestern Baptist Association and the Michigan Conference United Church of Christ. For faith and news sections. By Sheldon Krause, FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.

The ceiling of Shea Campbell’s apartment in Detroit.

Disabled tenants in Detroit say they face significant problems, neglect

HOUSING WOES: A Detroit wheelchair-using tenant in federally subsidized housing says life is a nightmare with a plague of bedbugs that leaves her sleeping in the bathtub and other problems that neither the property owner nor government agencies have resolved. Such experiences are commonplace for tenants with disabilities, she and a former tenant say. We also hear from the Disability Network of Wayne County-Detroit. By Sheldon Krause. FOR DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

Sheep graze under the shade of solar panels in Lenawee County, an example of agrivoltaics.

Crops grown under solar panels and pollinator habitats could be wave of the future

SOLAR FARMS: A new report about combining solar power and farming has advocates saying the practice could take hold in Michigan, boosting productivity of crops while also providing much-needed refuge for bees and other pollinators. We talk to an MSU expert, and an extension educator in West Olive For news and agriculture pages. By Sheldon Krause. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.

Social districts hope to draw summer crowds, stimulate local economies

SOCIAL DISTRICTS: So far, 39 municipalities are taking advantage of a law allowing them to create social districts where visitors can consume alcohol outdoors. The intent is to help bars and restaurants recover from pandemic-related losses and to lure local residents and visitors downtown. They include Petoskey, Ludington, Sturgis, Three Rivers, Cadillac, Wyandotte, Dundee, Adrian, Northville and Mount Clemens. Officials from Greenville and Petoskey and the Michigan Restaurant and Hospitality Association discuss. By Sheldon Krause, FOR GREENVILLE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, IONIA, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, BLISSFIELD, CORP! STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, DETROIT, CADILLAC, MONROE AND ALL POINTS.

Plants improve pandemic experience

Some students say that plant ownership has benefited them during the pandemic. As Michigan’s coronavirus cases continue to rise, some Michigan State students are eager to be quarantined with their favorite house plants. House plants can serve various purposes to their owners – catching flies, improving air quality, to just decorating the room. Raven Nelson’s plant collection.  Photo Courtesy of Raven Nelson. Raven Nelson, a sophomore at MSU, began caring for plants in the past year.

Online Model UN changes experience, increases access

MODEL UN: Central Michigan University will host its annual Model United Nations for high school students April 9-11 — virtually rather than in person because of the pandemic. MSU and U-M recently did the same. Participants debate world issues and crises, real, historic and imaginary, from Jurassic Park and Dungeons and Dragons to international arms and the Holy Roman Empire.A Dearborn teacher says the online format made the conference more accessible and affordable for her students. By Sheldon Krause. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY LIMITS & ALL POINTS.

Michigan ranks average in reliance on federal funding, report says

FEDERAL SPENDING: Michigan ranks in the middle of states based on their reliance on federal money, a new analysis shows. That includes a lot of federal dollars in pandemic-related relief. We talk to a Northern Michigan University political scientist, the Department of Technology, Management & Budget and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in Midland. By Sheldon Krause. FOR MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, CORP! GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.

Pandemic boredom drives students to make crafts

As many of us have found ourselves with excess free time in the last year, some have turned to hobbies that they might not have considered previously. Some students have turned to arts and crafts for physical creations, as the pandemic continues to keep most activities online. Finn Hopkins, a senior studying international relations, started pursuing physical crafts to keep himself busy. “I think probably the biggest thing was that I live alone, so once everything moved online and we were quarantining, the isolation was there,” he said. “So I spent a good chunk of the first bit of quarantine binging Netflix, doing all of that fun stuff, and then after a while that just wasn’t cutting it, I was so bored.

‘We now have a seat at the table:’ Michigan tribes embrace new Interior secretary

INTERIOR SECRETARY: What do Michigan’s tribes want from the new secretary of the Interior, the country’s 1st Native American Cabinet member? We hear from Northern Michigan University’s Center for Native American Studies, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. The state is home to 12 of the 574 federally recognized tribes, including the Bay Mills Indian Community, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan (Gun Lake), Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. By Shelden Krause. FOR BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, MARQUETTE, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, HOLLAND, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, PETOSKEY, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, HARBOR SPRINGS, XXX AND ALL POINTS.