State ramps up dental exams for kindergarteners 

DENTAL: For the 2024-25 school year, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to expand statewide a pilot program that gives free dental examinations to children entering kindergarten. The Whitmer administration proposes to spend $4 million next year, but advocates say that’s not enough. The Michigan Oral Health Coalition, Michigan Association for Local Public Health and Michigan Dental Association explain. Includes references to Petoskey, Detroit and Grand Traverse, Chippewa, Oakland, Ottawa, Marquette, Leelanau, Mason, Emmet and Cheboygan counties. By Theo Scheer. FOR PETOSKEY, DETROIT, LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, SAULT STE. MARIE, LUDINGTON, HARBOR SPRINGS AND ALL POINTS.

Schools adapt to free meals for all students

SCHOOL MEALS: School districts are adapting to the mandate to offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students, regardless of income. The state is paying for the initiative. They say hungry students don’t learn well, and that students who can’t afford to pay for meals feel stigmatized. We talk to school lunch experts in Marquette, Oakland County and Traverse City. By Alex Walters. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, DETROIT, MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS AND ALL POINTS.

Rep. William Bruck, R-Erie.

Lawmaker wants baby boxes at fire stations to protect unwanted newborns

A lawmaker from Erie wants to allow baby drop boxes at fire stations to speed the process of adoption of unwanted newborns who are left there anonymously. Neighboring Ohio and Indiana already have baby drop box laws. Cosponsors include lawmakers from Osseo, Milford, Lake Odessa, Clare and Shelby Township. The Michigan Health and Hospital Association opposes the bill. By Sophia Ceru. FOR MONROE, ADRIAN, BLISSFIELD, HILLSDALE, DETROIT, CLARE COUNTY, IONIA, GREENVILLE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, LUDINGTON, LAKE COUNTY, COLDWATER AND ALL POINTS.

Feds warn Michigan to improve speed, accuracy of food assistance program

SNAP DELAYS: USDA has criticized Michigan for delays and errors in handling applications for SNAP food benefits for low-income residents. One result is increased demand on already-stressed food banks. Whitmer and the governors of neighboring Ohio and Indiana have received warning letters from Washington. We talk to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the National Center for Budget and Policy. By Alex Walters. FOR DETROIT, MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, HILLSDALE, COLDWATER, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MONROE, BLISSFIELD, ADRIAN, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Lansing homelessness rates continue to increase, despite state decrease

LANSING, Mich.—There are at least 515 unhoused people in Lansing on any given night, according to a report from The National Allegiance To End Homelessness. Organizations like City Rescue Mission of Lansing and The Congregation of Every1 (COE) show that it takes a lot of people to help a lot of people. 

“Last year, we provided 365 meals every day. So that’s a little over 133,000 meals last year,” said Laura Grimwood, senior director of community engagement at The City Rescue Mission. For 113 years, The City Rescue Mission of Lansing has prided itself on providing “food, shelter, and hope” to those who need it most. They have a number of locations that offer a variety of services, such as a dining room on Michigan Avenue that offers food to anyone who may need it, a men’s shelter, a women’s shelter and The Outreach, which is designed to help individuals who may struggle in a typical shelter environment.

Angela Gabridge is the executive director of MiGen, a Ferndale-based nonprofit focused on elderly LGBTQ+ people.

New resource centers for LGBTQ+ seniors ‘guaranteed to be welcoming’ 

LGBTQ+ SENIORS: Two new Metro Detroit senior centers are focused on older LGBTQ+ residents, filling what advocates say is a need for services they may otherwise not get. We hear from a Ferndale-based nonprofit and the UP Area Agency on Aging. By Alex Walters. FOR DETROIT, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, IRON MOUNTAIN, ST. IGNACE, CHEBOYGAN, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS.

Aaron Kinzel is a lecturer in criminal justice studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the co-founder of the nonprofit Second Chance Battalion.

Programs help convicts clear their records, find jobs

CLEAN SLATE: Michigan’s Clean Slate initiative has automatically set aside 1,394,000 convictions for around 907,000 ex-offenders, State Police figures show. An upcoming expungement fair is scheduled for Detroit. We talk to the co-founder, from Monroe County, of a nonprofit group, the executive director of Safe & Just Michigan and a criminal justice professor at Northern Michigan University. Includes reference to U-M. By Anish Topiwala. FOR MONROE, DETROIT, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, IRON MOUNTAIN AND ALL POINTS.