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Bryce Huffman

West Michigan Reporter

Bryce Huffman is Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter. Huffman has been serving as a reporter for Michigan Radio since Fall 2016. He has covered a variety of Michigan stories, including immigrants facing deportation, the Detroit-area doctor involved in the female genital mutilation case, and residents concerned about a massive sinkhole in Macomb County. A Detroit native, Huffman graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. He joined Michigan Radio as a newsroom intern in May 2016.

Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Teresa Weatherall Neal announced Monday that she’s retiring as Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Weatherall Neal says she came to the decision after her sister suddenly passed way in July.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting had to be relocated earlier Thursday, because protestors caused too big of a ruckus, according to county officials.

Kent County’s Board of Commissioners couldn’t get work accomplished while a group of protestors tried to reignite a conversation about the county’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Grand Rapids Police cruiser
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Could more cultural awareness help the Grand Rapids Police Department? The Grand Rapids Police Policy and Procedure Review Task Force thinks so.

The task force, which was designed to help repair the department’s relationship with the community, offered 38 recommendations to The Grand Rapids City Commission Tuesday morning.

Downtown Detroit
Mike Fritcher / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New data show the range of life expectancies for different areas in the state.

The numbers are from the U.S. Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project are broken down by census tract. Census tracts can range in size from half of an inner city neighborhood to an entire country, depending on population size.

Empty classroom
Kevin Wong / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Kent Intermediate School District wants input from parents and staff as it prepares to absorb special education and early childhood programs from Grand Rapids Public Schools.

GRPS decided to transfer these programs to the Kent ISD last month.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new study found that young adults are using more marijuana and less of other drugs.

The national study looks at drug use for teens and young adults, and specifically at how drug use has changed over time.

Lisa Lyons speaking
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Kent County Clerk and Lieutenant Governor hopeful Lisa Posthumus Lyons says voters should be focused on  what she calls a “maximum wage” rather than a minimum wage.

“We want to make sure that Michigan has policies put in place that will ensure Michigan’s hardworking men and women have the opportunity to make as much as they possibly can to help raise their families,” Lyons said.

Lake Huron
Perry Quan / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

You might want to check online before heading to your favorite beaches this holiday, especially if you plan on going to beaches in Grand Traverse or Wayne County.

Fifteen Michigan beaches are either closed or are under advisories because of bacterial contamination this Labor Day weekend.

Grand Rapids Police cruiser
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Police Department released body cam footage Friday of a stop involving two unarmed 11-year old black boys.

The video shows several police cars stopping three young men on the city’s southeast side. The oldest boy is 17 years old, while the others are 11 year-old twin brothers.

Coin box at Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Airplane passengers in Grand Rapids can get rid of some spare change and fight homelessness at the same time.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has added boxes where passengers can drop coins before going through the security checkpoint.

Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids police want to hear what high school students have to say. So the department is asking 25 students to join its Youth Advisory Council this fall.

The city’s Chief of Police says it’s important to get the youth perspective on issues. And that’s exactly what the IMPACT group looks to accomplish.

The council will meet once a month at 1 Monroe Center St NW. Students can share their experiences and thoughts about law enforcement in their community.

The department has been doing a lot to change their image within the community.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Parchment and Cooper Township residents can now safely drink their water. That’s what state and local officials are saying after water tests found PFAS levels were well below the advisory level.

Last month the state declared a State of Emergency in Parchment, a city near Kalamazoo, after high levels of chemicals known as PFAS were found in its water system.

State Representative Winnie Brinks
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters wants a much lower enforceable drinking water standard for PFAS compounds.

PFAS compounds are being found at high levels in private wells and municipal water systems across the state.

The chemicals are commonly used to manufacture plastics, paper and leather and have been linked to testicular, ovarian and kidney cancer.

Lisa Wozniak, the Executive Director of the MLCV, says the current advisory level of 70 parts per trillion isn’t safe for children.

Democrat Jocelyn Benson
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Michigan's Democratic Secretary of State hopeful wants stricter penalties for tampering with voting equipment.

Jocelyn Benson, who announced plans to improve Michigan’s election security today, says there is no evidence to suggest any state elections have been tampered with, but she says the threat is not to be taken lightly.

DEQ map
MDEQ

The state found high levels of industrial chemicals in two Kalamazoo County cities, but it’s unlikely they have the same source of contamination.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality found chemicals known as PFAS in 26 private wells in Richland Township and nearby Parchment. Both are in Kalamazoo County.

Maps from the DEQ shows that it found 13 wells in each city with PFAS concentrations above the EPA advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.  

Volunteers pass out cases of bottled water at Parchment High School.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Some Parchment residents might be using bottled water for longer than they had hoped. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality found high levels of PFAS in private wells near Kalamazoo.

More than 110 private wells have been tested, and results are in for about 102 of them. A DEQ spokesperson says the results range from non-detection to 340 parts per trillion – or almost five times the EPA advisory level, which is 70 ppt.

A mosquito
flickr user trebol-a / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Kent County health officials expect to see cases of West Nile virus before summer ends. That’s because there are way more mosquitos found with the virus compared to previous years.

County health officials have looked at mosquitos from 10 traps in the greater Grand Rapids area. They found four times as many mosquitos this year as they usually do.

The DEQ PFAS Investigation Map near Rockford, MI
From Google map provided by Wolverine Worldwide

Rates of cancer in Kent County where industrial chemicals have been found in the groundwater are not higher than they are in other parts of the state. That's according to a report state and county officials released on Tuesday.

Wave card being used on a bus in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids’ bus service wants to be more efficient and help the environment. That’s why it’s introducing a new electronic fare system Tuesday.

The new Wave cards will replace the paper tickets and change that riders usually pay with.

Downtown Area Shuttle
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Downtown Area Shuttle – or DASH bus – in Grand Rapids will have new hours starting in late August.

Beginning August 27, the DASH will run seven days a week. It will also run until 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Josh Naramore, Director of Mobil GR and Parking Services, says the decision to extend hours was about the number of people in the downtown area.

“Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 10:30 is great for a lot of things, but we’re an ever-growing downtown community with a lot more visitors and a lot more residents,” Naramore said.

Governor Rick Snyder on construction site
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Parchment residents are one step closer to being able to drink their tap water again.

It’s been two weeks since Parchment residents first learned their water is unsafe to drink. But the state of emergency status hasn’t been lifted yet.

That’s because state officials are waiting for test results to come back showing the water is indeed safe.

Earlier this week, the Kalamazoo City Commission unanimously voted to extend their water system to the neighboring city of Parchment.

kitchen sink
Creative Commons

Parchment residents now have a solution to the ongoing water contamination there.

The Kalamazoo city commission voted unanimously to approve a contract to extend the city’s water system to neighboring Parchment.

factory
Thomas Hawk / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There are about 80,000 skilled trade jobs that remain unfilled in Michigan. A new report from Grand Valley State University says this could spell trouble for the state’s economic future.  

Brian Long, Director of Supply Chain Research at GVSU and author of the study, says there aren’t enough qualified skilled trades workers in West Michigan.

“All I can really say is that the industrial world is screaming for them,” Long said.

Governor Rick Snyder on construction site
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Residents of a southwest Michigan community could soon have a permanent solution to ongoing water contamination.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Senate has voted to restore Great Lakes funding slated for drastic cuts in President Trump's budget recommendation.

President Trump’s proposed budget sought to cut the Great Lakes Restoration initiative from $300 million to about $30 million.

voting booths
user eyspahn / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A federal judge says a Republican-sponsored law to ban straight ticket voting in Michigan discriminates against African-American voters.

In his decision permanently blocking the straight-ticket ban, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain wrote that Michigan Republicans intentionally violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution when they passed a bill to eliminate straight-ticket voting. Drain had earlier temporarily blocked it.

kitchen sink
Creative Commons

Kalamazoo city water could be the best temporary solution to ongoing groundwater contamination in nearby Parchment.

The state found chemicals known as PFAS at high levels in Parchment city water late last week. It declared a state of emergency, and free cases of bottled water were made available for residents.

Parts of Cooper Township were also affected.

PFAS compounds are often used in firefighting foam and waterproofing materials. Some of the chemicals have been linked to thyroid and kidney disease.

Tech. Sgt. David Speicher / U.S. Air Force

U.S. military officials say they're willing to pay for clean drinking water for people near Battle Creek, if tests show groundwater contamination comes from its base there.

Volunteers pass out cases of bottled water at Parchment High School.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Residents have been lining up to get cases of free bottled water in a Kalamazoo County community.

The state Department of Environmental Quality discovered high levels of contaminants known as PFAS in Parchment city water late last week. The problem also affects some residents in Cooper Township on the same water supply.

Lots of people living in the area have little to no information about these chemicals aside from what they’ve heard on the evening news.

A camp for disabled kids held a dodgeball tournament Wednesday at Grand Valley State University.

A simple game of dodgeball can make a big difference for some kids. Unlike most dodgeball games at summer camps across the country, everyone playing in this game was in a wheelchair.

About 48 kids participated in the annual tournament, but friendship and support is what the camp is really all about.

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