Newly emerged monarch butterfly.

Butterflies race for state insect status

BUTTERFLIES: Three butterflies are racing to become Michigan’s official state insect – and the black swallowtail is ahead, at least politically. The Michigan Garden Clubs and a House committee are among its fans, but the Karner blue and the monarch aren’t out of the running yet. Lawmakers, including ones from Meridian Township, Muskegon and Pontiac, are split. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR ALL POINTS.

State pushes to expand free pre-K programs

FREE PRE-K: The governor is pushing to expand free pre-K programs for 4-year-olds. We hear from the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement and Potential, the Wayne Regional Education Service Agency and a Wyoming legislator who is enthusiastic about its potential benefits. By Sophia Ceru. FOR GREENVILLE, WKTV, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

Black-legged tick

Climate change makes ticks a year-round pest in Michigan

TICKS: Climate change is transforming the patterns of disease-carrying ticks, raising public health concerns as winters become warmer and spring weather arrives earlier. We talk to an MSU researcher, an East Lansing dog groomer and an Oakland Township veterinary technician. By Gabrielle Ahlborn. FOR PLANET DETROIT, DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

The Vicksburg Union Depot in the past.

Southwest Michigan train depot chugs onto National Register of Historic Places

HISTORIC DEPOT: A 1904 train depot in Kalamazoo County has arrived on the National Register of Historic Places. The last Grand Trunk Western passenger train stopped at the Vicksburg Union Depot in 1972 and freight service was discontinued two years later but 60 freight trains a day still rumble by the restored depot. By Eric Freedman. FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, COLDWATER AND ALL POINTS.

A student in the PRIME program at Grand Haven High School.

Michigan manufacturers work to expand engineering training to high schools

PRIME PROGRAM: The Michigan Manufacturers Association plans to expand its PRIME program that teaches high schoolers skills and technologies that are badly needed by the manufacturing sector. We talk to the association and a Grand Haven High School teacher. Among other participating high schools are ones in Alpena, Hancock, Rudyard, Pontiac. Cheboygan, Grand Rapids, Three Rivers and Bay City, with Traverse City slated to join later this year. By Sophia Ceru. FOR CORP!, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND, IRON MOUNTAIN, SAULT STE. MARIE, MIDLAND, DETROIT, THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, MARQUETTE, CHEBOYGAN AND ALL POINTS.

Controversial loan program benefits Michigan colleges 

COLLEGE LOANS: Five Michigan colleges have taken advantage of a USDA loan program for rural and agricultural areas to finance new buildings and facilities. Alma College’s president says the $39.4 million it borrowed has paid off in rising enrollment. Others are Adrian University of Olivet, Glen Oaks Community College and Bay Mills Community College. The Michigan Association of Independent Colleges and Universities says the benefits are visible on participating campuses. Some rural borrowers nationally haven’t seen the expected benefits, however. By Elijah Taub. FOR ADRIAN, BAY MILLS, MARQUETTE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS AND ALL POINTS.

The fall 2023 orientation for international students at Oakland University.

Universities strive for more growth in international student enrollment

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Enrollment of international students at Michigan’s public universities is rising after a pandemic-related decline, bolstering the state’s economy and diversifying perspectives on campuses. We hear about Ferris State, Oakland and U-M. By Anish Topawila. FOR BIG RAPIDS, DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, IRON MOUNTAIN, MIDLAND, CORP, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.

Advocates work to fix shortage of mental health professionals, social workers serving rural schools

K-12 MENTAL HEALTH: Michigan school districts face a shortage of social workers and other mental health professionals, and small rural districts have an even tougher time recruiting and retaining them. The Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency talks about the impact in that region. We also hear from the Michigan Association of School Boards, state Education Department, Michigan Association of School Social Workers and Michigan League for Public Policy. By Anish Topawila. FOR ALPENA, ALCONA, MONTMORENCY, BIG RAPIDS, CLARE, GLADWIN, CHEBOYGAN, CRAWFORD COUNTY, MIDLAND AND ALL POINTS.