DNR offers $1 million to improve wildlife habitat

WILDLIFE GRANTS: The DNR plans to award about $1 million in wildlife habitat grants this year under a program that was sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. We talk to DNR program manager and past grant winners Lenawee Conservation District and Michigan chapter of the National Turkey Federation. Past grants went for the federation’s habitat work in Oceana, Lake, Newaygo, Barry, Muskegon, Manistee, Alcona, Crawford, Oscoda, LIVINGSTON and Otsego counties. For news and outdoors pages. By Kirsten Rintelmann. FOR BLISSFIELD, MONROE, CRAWFORD COUNTY, OCEANA COUNTY, MANISTEE, ALCONA, LAKE COUNTY, LUDINGTON, FOWLERVILLE AND ALL POINTS.

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.

In 2018 goldenrod shimmering in the summer sun reclaims what had once been a golf course in East Lansing.

Needed: wild places in urban spaces

URBAN GREEN SPACE: An abandoned golf course near the the edge of the MSU campus had been shrouded by tallgrass and sparkling goldenrod, filled with asters and milkweed that lured birds every summer, with sycamores and willows shading the shore of the Red Cedar River. Now that sanctuary is gone amidst development, and its disappearance is a reminder of the importance of urban greenspace. Commentary. By Marshall Lee Weimer. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Resin shortages add to high cost of home construction materials

RESIN SHORTAGE: The February mega-freeze in Texas disrupted production of resin, a key component of construction materials, and the resin shortage is boosting prices for new homes. The Home Builders Association of Michigan says some people are delaying projects as a result. The Michigan Manufacturers Association says its members haven’t had any major problems, and GM says it’s working with its suppliers. By Kristia Postema. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP! AND ALL POINTS.

Advancements in electric buses making green transit more accessible

ELECTRIC BUSES: More public transit systems and school districts are acquiring, or at least considering, electric buses to replace their polluting diesel fleet. Technology has improved electric buses since Traverse City’s troubled experiment with a hybrid electric 15 years ago. Federal lawmakers, including U.S. Reps. Levin and Tlaib are backing legislation to help fund the switch. We talk to Benzie Transport, MDOT and KALAMAZOO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Clare County Transit and the Capital Area Transit Authority have received federal grants. By Chloe Traofatter. FOR BENZIE COUNTY, CLARE COUNTY, LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, TRAVERSE CITY, MANISTEE 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.

Tribal eagle rescue center eyed for Harbor Springs area

TRIBAL EAGLE AVIARY: A tribal aviary north of Harbor Springs will be the first of its kind east of the Mississippi River. A local raptor rescue-and-release nonprofit organization in northern Michigan and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of the Odawa Indians planning to open an eagle aviary and rehabilitation center. The buildings will be known as the Migizi Aviary and the Wings of Wonder Rehabilitation Center. By Meghan King. FOR BAY MILLS, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, TRAVERSE CITY, SAULT STE. MARIE, MARQUETTE, LEELANAU, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington.

Lighthouses plan to pursue restoration plans

LIGHTHOUSES: Lighthouse boosters and planning to kick off this year’s restoration projects, including necessary fundraising. They include Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse and Muskegon Breakwater Light. By Kristia Potsema. FOR HOLLAND, MANISTEE, ALCONA, OCEANA, MONROE, LUDINGTON, HARBOR SPRINGS, MARQUETTE, HARBOR SPRINGS, LEELANAU, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, SAULT STE, MARIE, OCEANA, BENZIE, ST. IGNACE AND ALL POINTS.

Skilled worker shortage leads to efforts to strengthen future workforce

TRADES: The Michigan construction and manufacturing industries already face a shortage of skilled workers, and that shortage is likely to worsen. Associated Builders and Contractors West Michigan chapter, Downriver Career Technical Consortium and Michigan Workforce Development Institute talk about efforts to attract more young people to the skilled trades for well-paying jobs. Includes references to Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Saginaw, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Flat Rock, Madison Heights and Detroit. For news and business sections. By Kristia Potsema. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP!, DETROIT, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, GREENVILLE, IONIA, MONROE AND ALL POINTS.