Michigan retailers are among those benefiting from a virus-fueled interest in board games. The same pandemic restrictions that close movie theaters, bowling alleys, bars and sporting events fuel interest in tabletop games. Interest surged in the games that can be played with family and at small gatherings surged with distribution of stimulus checks.
As the holiday season approaches, the demand for food in Michigan is at a record high because of COVID-19, according to the state’s food banks. The need for volunteers to distribute it is also at record levels. And monetary donations are up. We talk to several regional food bank officials to get a sense for the increased need for food assistance as the pandemic leads to job loss and new medical expenses.
There’s a little castle upon a picturesque riverbank, a peculiar sight, standing strong for almost a century, not in a fantasy novel or a period film set in Europe. In Owosso. It was built for action-adventure nature writer and conservationist James Oliver Curwood. For features and news sections.
Poetry can connect readers with the outdoors while the pandemic keeps them indoors, says a Western Michigan University professor. Alison Swan’s newly published book is a collection of poems about nature and the environment.
The same pandemic that restricts travel and manufacturing is having a measurably decreased air pollution in parts of the Great Lakes region, experts say. It is an impact that scientists can detect with sensors mounted on NASA satellites and that measure nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant that can exacerbate human respiratory problems such as asthma, cause acid rain and speed the creation of ozone and the pace of climate change. But sparsely populated areas like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula see little benefit, partly because they already have less economic activity and are affected by other pollution sources such as wildfire.
Federal funding helped Michigan transit agencies stay in good shape throughout the pandemic. It’s the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, 2021 that transportation authorities worry about. Concerns that the pandemic will eat up state revenues for the 2022 fiscal year have transit authorities looking for budget solutions.
The Trump administration decision to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the lower 48 states is generating controversy and threatened litigation. The Fish & Wildlife Service says the wolf has met recovery goals that make it unnecessary for Endangered Species Act protection. There are roughly 4,000 in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The superintendent of Isle Royale National Park says delisting might decrease public interest in funding the translocation of wolves to places like Isle Royale where the population is under 20 and they are needed to balance the moose population.
Stargazing is providing a reprieve from the COVID-19 pandemic, including at internationally recognized dark parks in Emmet and Cass counties. Glimpsing stars, planets and nebulae can still be done safely with access to a darkened backyard, field, park or even the shores of the Great Lakes.
The U.S. Coast Guard wants to retire its oldest cutter on the Great Lakes, the 57-year-old cutter Buckthorn based in Sault Ste. Marie. Doing so will take years, however, as the Coast Guard awaits congressional budgetary approval to begin the process of replacing up to 35 aging cutters. The Buckthorn covers between Whitefish Point on Lake Superior through the St. Marys River connecting Lake Huron to Lake Superior to Cedarville. The first replacement may not be ready until 2025, and it could take until 2030 for all the new ones to enter service.