Author Archives: Arielle Breen

Delta College uses ice to store energy and save money

Winter’s icy grip may have melted, but at one mid Michigan college, the ice is just starting to take hold on campus.

Delta College, in Bay County, uses a thermal energy storage system to keep campus cool.

Delta buys electricity at night and on weekends when power is cheaper. It stores the energy in the form of 8-foot by 8-foot ice blocks. Then during the day when prices are higher, the melting ice cools campus buildings. Continue reading

Grand Traverse County canine officers have new bullet and stab-resistant vests

Two canine law enforcement officers in Grand Traverse County are now outfitted with new bullet and stab resistant vests.

This is thanks to community fundraising efforts that raised more than $2,000.

Janke is a 2 ½ year-old explosives detection canine and Jax is a 1 ½ year-old narcotics detection dog at the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office. Both are German Shepherds from Poland. Continue reading

Arenac and Wexford county receive $3.4 sewer upgrades to address contaminated water

Old sewage systems have contaminated surface and groundwater in Arenac County for years, according to officials with the Michigan USDA.

This month the USDA announced more than $3 million in grants will be going to two towns in Arenac and Wexford counties to fix these systems. Continue reading

A new bill would allow for real-time access to insurance for law enforcement

A bill being considered in Lansing may make it easier for motorists to show proof of auto insurance to police. And easier for police to get up-to-date information

Legislation in the State Senate would allow law enforcement to access real-time auto insurance information.
Continue reading

MSU study shows biodegrading plastic additives are ineffective

Earth Day is just around the corner and some researchers have landfills, recycling and sustainability on their mind.

Researchers at Michigan State University recently published a study on biodegradable plastics. They found some plastics marketed as biodegradable and more sustainable don’t work. Continue reading

Isabella County organization to show film on human trafficking

Advocates against human trafficking in mid Michigan are hosting a free community film showing to raise awareness of human trafficking April 19.

Jennifer Fields is with the book club that’s organizing the event. She said after reading the book that the film is based on, her group wanted to raise awareness.

She says residents often think trafficking is a problem that happens ‘somewhere else’ or abroad. But, she says, she wants to change that perception. Continue reading

USDA grants $1.4 million to protect and restore wetland and agricultural lands

The Michigan Department of Agriculture is using a $1.4 million grant from the federal government for two land easement programs in the state.

The programs focus is on keeping wetlands and agricultural lands precisely that: wetlands and agricultural lands. Continue reading

Appeals court rules utility poles as forestry crop, not farming

Farmers are getting out for planting around the state. And some in Michigan are planting a new crop; utility poles.

Educators with the Michigan State University Extension Office said they recently started growing utility pole crops in northern Michigan.

They said this new crop is great, but, they say, in some areas, farmers are running into problems with neighbors who don’t like the crop.

Kurt Schindler is with the MSU Extension Office. He said these neighbors took the case to the state court of appeals.

He said the township wanted to prohibit the crop production, so they took their case to the state court of appeals.

“And the reason why, is the local organization NIMBY Inc was upset because utility poles are a portrait or vertical orientation and they’re trying to sell their landscape for purposes of attracting tourists as a horizontal landscape,” Schindler said.

Schindler said group wanted to draw in tourism to the area -and says the crop landscape wouldn’t be inviting to tourists.

“We’ve had a Michigan Court of Appeals case which has ruled that growing utility poles is a forestry product and thus not subject to the protections under the right to farm act. And in Joe Rural Township, there was an opposition group,” Schindler said.

He said the crop is resistant to acorn woodpeckers.

The regulations take effect, Today, April 1.

Straits raptor counters say they are seeing more birds of prey

Bald Eagle sighted in Charlevoix County. Courtesy photo.

Bald Eagle sighted in Charlevoix County. Courtesy photo.

Robins might be the traditional harbinger of spring in Michigan, but officials say birds of prey are also coming through the state right now.

Bird counters are keeping track of how many raptors are going through the Straits area. Continue reading

Newest archived Michigan death certificates available online

James Vernor certificate courtesy Image.

James Vernor certificate courtesy Image.

Death may not sound like an intriguing topic to everyone, but Michigan archivists said death certificates are filled with clues about not only family history, but also family health.

Periodically, archivists in the state post death certificates online for public access.

The Archives of Michigan has recently made certificates from the 1920s through the 1930s available to the public. Continue reading

Home heating representatives say homeowners are using dangerous methods to stay warm

According to data from the U.S. Fire Association, 130 people died in residential fires in Michigan last year.

Even though it’s officially spring, officials said homeowners are still struggling with heating their homes.
Continue reading

U.S. Geological Survey awards $9.7 million to build new invasive species lab

Anyone who fishes the Great Lakes are probably familiar with pesky aquatic invasive species, things like sea lamprey and certain gobies.

Now, officials with the U.S. Geological Survey say they are granting $9.7 million to build a new invasive species laboratory in Presque Isle county.

The construction contract has been awarded to an Alpena county company, Crittenden. The work there will focus on how to repel and remove invasives from the Great Lakes. Continue reading

Flint grassroots groups address inequity through stories

Race 2 Equity screen image

Race 2 Equity screen image

Event planners for an upcoming event, plan to come up with solutions to local racial inequity, by using storytelling to convey key issues.

March 21 grassroots groups are hosting an event in Flint called “Healing Stories on Racial Equity”.

Organizers said it will focus on unique stories related to water, housing, and criminal justice. Continue reading

DNR Fisheries officials say late March marks annual walleye egg collection

State fishing licences expire later this month. And as people look forward to spring fishing season, DNR officials say they are helping Walleye populations one generation at a time.
Continue reading

Gladwin County recognized for improving internet access

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Gladwin county officials said the county has struggled with internet access barriers for years. Now they have been awarded the latest Michigan certified connected status.

The status means the county met internet access goals and offers a variety of service providers to 95 percent of the county.

Officials said even though Gladwin is certified, they will keep improving broadband access. They said they are working on overcoming physical barriers like valleys and a scattered population. Continue reading