A house for sale in Holt. The community 8 miles south of Lansing is rated as most affordable in a recent study of Michigan small cities

Some Michigan small cities more affordable than others

SMALL CITIES AFFORDABILITY: Holt and Southfield are at virtual opposite points in affordability among 39 Michigan cities, a new study says. Factors include house prices, property tax rates and systemic racism. The top five in affordability are Livonia, Troy, Allen Park, Holt and Rochester Hills. The bottom five are East Lansing, Pontiac, Flint, Saginaw and Southfield. We hear from real estate experts, residents, a Paw Paw-based MSU Extension educator and an MSU expert. By Ann Traver, Payton Wells & Hope O’Dell. FOR FOWLERVILLE, LANSING CITY PULSE, DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP! and ALL POINTS.

The Mad Hatter clothing store has been in Flint since 198

Economic health affects other indicators of livability

SMALL CITIES ECONOMIC HEALTH: Flint ranks at the bottom of Michigan’s small cities when it comes to economic health, buffeted by the pull-out of GM and other factors. The mayor and economic development director say there’s been progress and improvement and are pushing new ideas to boost the city’s status. Troy ranks #1, thanks in part to quality public schools and a diverse population. We also hear from an MSU economist, small business owners in Flint and residents in Troy and Flint. By Dina Kaur, Maggie Livingston & Caroline Miller. FOR DETROIT, CORP!, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS and ALL POINTS.

Royal Oak police patrol the city’s downtown.

Oakland County home to many of Michigan’s safest small cities 

SMALL CITIES SAFETY: Oakland County is home to some of Michigan’s safest small cities – Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Novi, Farmington Hills and Troy — and also one of its least-safe, Pontiac. Others in the least-safe category are Saginaw, Kalamazoo, Jackson and Battle Creek. We talk to police and other officials in Royal Oak and Pontiac, to a middle school student from Royal Oak and the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. By Riz Hatton, Elaine Mallon & Sheldon Krause. FOR DETROIT and ALL POINTS.

Climate challenge: Let the sun power low-income families

LOW-INCOME SOLAR: Low-income households consume three times the energy used by middle class families, and solar energy can provide them with cheaper energy. Constructing a more resistant grid and reducing energy output is crucial to ending climate change, especially in lower-income households. A Consumers Energy agricultural specialist, a member of the Public Service Commission and a solar company with offices in Grand Rapids, Wixon and Riverdale discuss . By Chloe West. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, WKTV, CORP! MICHIGAN FARM NEWS and ALL POINTS.

Trees, crops, livestock mix fights climate change

SILVOPASTURE: Growing crops, trees and livestock on the same land could help farmers battle climate change, a technique that is known as silvopasture. Extension educators in Clinton County and Cornell University and a Midland County farmer explain. By Caroline Miller. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS and ALL POINTS.

A car filled with produce from the Western Upper Peninsula Food Systems Collaborative

Community gardens help Michigan adapt to climate change

COMMUNITY GARDENS: Community gardens can provide fresh produce to people without gardens of their own and help build a sense of community, although their overall impact on climate change may not be significant. We talk with a planner at the Western U.P. Planning and Development Region based in Hancock, a professor at MSU’s Department of Community Sustainability and the managing director of Project Grow, an Ann Arbor-based community garden nonprofit. By Hope O’Dell. FOR MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, DETROIT, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, LANSING CITY PULSE and ALL POINTS.

The Big Rock Nuclear Power Plant in Monroe County was decommissioned in 1997

Nuclear power concerns outlast decommissioning 

NUCLEAR RISK: As Michigan moves away from coal and other brown energy sources, there’s growing interest in carbon-free alternatives, including nuclear energy, which now fuels 30% of the state’s electricity. Big Rock Point in Charlevoix closed in 1997 and has been fully decommissioned. Next spring, the Palisades Nuclear Plant in Van Buren County will close. Michigan also has nuclear plants in Newport and Bridgman. Among the dilemmas: what to do with nuclear waste. We talk to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists and an Indigenous environmental expert. Cameryn Cass. FOR MONROE, ADRIAN, BLISSFIELD, DETROIT, BAY MILLS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, CORP! and ALL POINTS.

Can rescue funds rescue U.P. broadband?  

U.P. BROADBAND: Could federal rescue funds rescue Upper Peninsula broadband? Poor access has long plagued economic developers, students and health care providers in the region. But local officials are exploring how to pool their federal rescue funds to boost their access to broadband service. By Kyle Davidson. FOR SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE AND ALL POINTS.

Onsted Community Schools’ on-the-ground solar panels span five acres near its athletic fields.

New solar program might help Michigan K-12 schools curb energy cost

K-12 SOLAR: A new energy cooperative is spearheading a drive to solarize Michigan schools. Energy costs are the institutions’ highest expense after faculty salaries and advocates say the sun can save them money. We talk to the Michigan School Business Officials, the Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative, a national coalition and the head of Onsted schools. By Cameryn Cass FOR ADRIAN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS and ALL POINTS

State encourages counties to convert trash into treasure

MATERIALS GRANTS: State officials are encouraging countries to think of waste not as a worthless disposal problem but as a valuable resource with a new grant program to help them plan. Some counties are already changing their thinking with plans to consider giving their trash a new life. By Kyle Davidson. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND, WKTV, CORP! and ALL POINTS.