Michigan offers funds for alternative energy vehicles

CLEAN VEHICLES: Michigan is spending $30 million to help public agencies and private businesses buy low-emission freight trucks, buses, tugboats and cargo handling equipment. Beneficiaries of the program can choose electric, alternative fuel or new diesel models. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Clean Fuels Michigan based in Lansing and Mass Transportation Authority of Flint and Genesee County and the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority.explain. By Kyle Davidson. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, DETROIT, CORP! AND ALL POINTS.

Overdose surveillance system helps fight opiod deaths, experts say.

OPIOIDS: A 2-year-old surveillance system is tracking opioid overdose incidents and deaths in Michigan so health professionals can work to mitigate the problem in high-risk areas. The hardest-hit counties are Calhoun, Wayne, Ingham, Genesee and Muskegon. We hear from U-M and Health & Human Services experts and the Detroit Recovery Project. By Brandon Chew. FOR DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Eradajere Oleita displays a sleeping bag made of snack chip bags.

Chip Bag Project turns snack wrappers into sleeping bags

CHIP PROJECT: A 25-year-old immigrant from Nigeria has launched a project in Detroit that makes sleeping bags from foil-lined snack chip bags and gives them to people who live outdoors. Each sleeping bag requires at least150 chip bags and can take up to four hours to complete. Eradajere Oleita’s project has expanded into a team of millennials who collect donations and create more sleeping bags. By Asha Dawsey. FOR ALL POINTS.

East Kentwood High School students compete in the first round of the 2019 StateChamps! Esports Tournament at Lawrence Tech University.

Schools give video games new legitimacy with growing esports leagues

ESPORTS: With interest buoyed during the pandemic, a growing number of high schools are getting in on the fun of esports, giving more legitimacy to video games. More than 50 are registered with the Michigan High School Esports Federation, joining over 170 U.S. colleges and universities with varsity esports programs – including 18 in the state. We talk to leaders from the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance in Freeland, Lawrence Tech and Detroit Catholic Central High School. By Nora Mougharbel. FOR DETROIT 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.

State officials concerned about vaccine misinformation on social media

VACCINE MISINFORMATION: Attorney General Nessel and the state’s chief medical executive say misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on social media can be harmful to public health. That includes bogus claims that the vaccine affects fertility and that 5G cell phone towers can exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms. An MSU professor says research shows a correlation between misinformation about vaccines and people’s decision not to get the shots. Nessel’s office is asking platforms like Facebook and Google to take down such websites. By Brandon Chew. FOR ALL POINTS.

A new EPA app aims to help track water quality at beaches

WATER TESTING: The EPA has a new app to help monitor contamination at freshwater beaches and other water recreation spots. But Michigan is ahead of the game with the BeachGuard program it’s been using for years. Last summer’s closures included beaches in Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Macomb, Hurron and Isabella counties. We talk to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and District Health Department #10, which covers Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo and Oceana counties. By Sophia Lada. FORCRAWFORD COUNTY, OCEANA COUNTY, BIG RAPIDS, LUDINGTON, LAKE COUNTY, MANISTEE, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

Energy-intensive industries work toward smaller carbon footprint

ENERGY-INTENSIVE INDUSTRIES: Industries in Michigan that use lots of energy in manufacturing face challenges in achieving environmental sustainability, a major goal of the Whitmer administration. We talk to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, as well as representatives of the automotive, steel, cement and chemical industries. By Brandon Chew. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP!, DETROIT, AND ALL POINTS.