Rob Blackshaw, director of operations for the Michigan State Capitol Commission, walks through the Capitol’s former basement boiler room, which now contains equipment for the building’s new geothermal heating and cooling system.

Cutting-edge heating and cooling technology, 21st century style, returns to state Capitol

An obscure door tucked beneath one of the massive stone staircases outside of Michigan’s state capitol reveals yet another steep stairwell leading to a coal-fired boiler room. It was once the center of one of the most sophisticated heating and cooling system of the 19th century. Today, the same room is poised to gather heat from 272 wells sunk 500 feet below the Capitol grounds as part of a complex multi-million dollar utility upgrade. By David Poulson. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS

Lansing, East Lansing work to get online education right

Kendra Freeman doesn’t know what she should do. When the Lansing School District decided on July 17 it would move to fully virtual learning for the first marking period between Aug. 31 and Nov. 6, Freeman, a mother of a 9th grader and kindergartner, was left wondering how she was going to make it work. “It has been very tough as far as moving online,” Lansing School District parent Kendra Freeman.

Novi teacher unites students and staff online

The Coronavirus has disconnected students and staff. But one teacher decided to change that… Novi High School French teacher Nicholas LeTarte, is infamous in Novi for the countless number of videos he’s made with staff and students. So when an administrator decided to start #NoviTogether, a community where students and staff can remain connected during the school closure, LeTarte decided to join in on the fun. “I’ve found myself trying to interact a little bit more with Twitter,” LeTarte said.

Water sensors, data collaboration make Great Lakes smarter

The Great Lakes Observing System has created “Smart Great Lakes,” starting with Lake Erie, by making it easy for the public and policy makers to access data from buoys and underwater probes. Communities that rely on the lake for drinking water can get an early warning of incoming algae blooms. Organizers have a five-year strategic plan to extend the system to all the Great Lakes. By Indri Maulidor.

Clearing the air over northern Michigan pollution

Could air quality be worse in Cheboygan than in Los Angeles? That’s what it looked like when Sharon Emery checked the forecast on her smartphone. It also looked bad — high level of particulates in the air — at Mackinac Island and Cross Village. Turned out the problem was a malfunctioning air quality monitor at the U.P. ‘s Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Emery and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy tell the story. By Kurt Williams.

Retailers blame some fraud on easy resale online

To combat organized retail crime, online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist should be held more responsible in screening crooked vendors who use their platforms to peddle purloined goods, the Michigan Retailers Association says. A recent retail fraud arrest in Mecosta County also uncovered a meth operation. A Northern Michigan University criminal justice professor discusses. By Kyle Davidson.

20th Annual Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo

The 20th annual Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo was a celebration of women, entrepreneurs and bringing people together. There were over 300 businesses with products catered to women, including healthy eating. One of the businesses at the event was Vitamix, a company that manufactures blenders for restaurants and every day consumers. Every booth at the event showcased their products, ranging from cakes, hair styling tools and jewelry, but Vitamix promoted something bigger. 

“Love hearing stories about how we changed people’s lives, that they’ve gotten healthier, they’ve beat their healthy obstacles etc.,” said Nancy Spruiell, a Vitamix demonstrator. Spruiell said the blender also helps parents get their kids to eat fruits and vegetables. 

“Raising healthier kids, that’s a huge thing these days, especially with the way they make our food these days,” Spruiell said.