Bath High School’s Chalkboard Project creates a welcoming environment

After weeks of seeing negative and hurtful comments on walls throughout the school, Bath High School students covered them with kind words.

The Chalkboard Project took over the walls of Bath High School in March, a project where students and teachers posed holding a chalkboard of a slur, offensive or rude comment directed at them. On April 3, those words were covered with kind, encouraging and helpful words to bury the effects of bullying and bring kindness to campus.

The START Project at Grand Valley State University’s Autism Education Center works with students across the state, including these students at Sault Ste Marie High School.

Autism diagnoses and awareness on the rise 

AUTISM AWARENESS: State health agencies and advocates are providing more resources to address autism, the nation’s fastest-growing disability. About 50,000 people in Michigan have autism. Some experts say that rising diagnoses of the illness could mean there are improved ways of recognizing and defining it. We talk to the Disability Network of Michigan, a state Medicaid official, and the director of a Grand Valley State University autism program. By Jack Timothy Harrison. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, WKTV, SAULT STE. MARIE AND ALL POINTS.

With the addition of three new all-terrain wheelchairs, the total in Michigan state parks will be 14.

More all-terrain wheelchairs added to state parks

ACCESSIBILITY: More all-terrain wheelchairs will be added to state parks, making the outdoors more accessible to people with disabilities. Parks in Emmet, Berrien and Crawford counties will feature the wheelchairs this summer. That brings the total to 14. Holland, Grand Haven and Ludington already have them. We talk to a Department of Natural Resources official, three nonprofits including one in Coopersville and the Friends of Island Lake in Brighton. By Sophia Brandt. FOR ST. IGNACE, HARBOR SPRINGS, CHEBOYGAN, CRAWFORD COUNTY AVALANCHE, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, GRAND RAPIDS, WKTV AND ALL POINTS

Bill proposes universal mandatory lead poisoning testing for Michigan’s children 

LEAD TESTING: Only 14% of the state’s 6 year old were tested for lead poisoning in 2021. Advocates say all should be. A package of bills would require testing of all children between 9 to 12 months and again at 2-3. High-risk kids, such as those living in pre-1978 housing, would be tested again at 6. We talk to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Environmental Council, Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes and a national nonprofit. By Jaden Beard. FOR DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS, LANSING AND ALL POINTS.

Ingham Committee recommends candidate for Racial Equity Task Force

Ingham County’s Human Services Committee has recommended a candidate for the Racial Equity Task Force.

The committee unanimously moved to recommend Amirika Richardson to the task force at the Human Services meeting in Lansing on April 3.

Richardson was interviewed by Ingham County Commissioner and Human Services Committee Chairperson Todd Tennis during the meeting. Richardson said  she wishes to bring the community together and collaborate with different organizations.

A family of four with homemade signs made by each family member that say "protect kids rights"

Michiganders rally together to celebrate transgender day of visibility

Dozens of community members endured rain and wind in celebration and protest as they rallied in front of the state capitol building to support transgender youth. March 31 was International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual celebration created by Michigander Rachel Crandall-Crocker in 2009. 

LGBTQ+ members and allies across the country rallied to protest legislators’ attempt to prevent transgender people from being legally recognized and from receiving gender-affirming care.