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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.

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.

Medical marijuana sign
Neeta Lind / Flickr - http://j.mp/1spglc0

The city of Grand Rapids has voted to allow medical marijuana facilities.

The city commission unanimously voted to amend a zoning ordinance that will allow medical marijuana facilities Tuesday night.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says it was important to get the business community’s opinion on the ordinance.

“But also making sure that we were including neighborhood voice in that decision,” Bliss said.

Nathaniel Moody (left) standing next to the Grand Rapids city clerk
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids appointed a new city commissioner a bit earlier than expected.

Pastor Nathaniel Moody was unanimously voted third ward commissioner in a surprise move at Tuesday night’s commission meeting.

The vote was supposed to take place next week, but after a lengthy discussion about the city’s recently passed marijuana ordinance, the commission decided to vote in Moody.

Moody said he was surprised by the early vote, but plans to continue building on the commission's work.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The state will reimburse Kent County for some 8,000 hours it's spent working on groundwater contamination.

Downtown Battle Creek
battlecreekcvb / flickr

The state found two private drinking wells in Battle Creek with high levels of PFAS.

The Department of Environmental Quality tested wells near the Air National Guard base in Battle Creek. The state was already aware that firefighting foam containing PFAS was used on the base for decades.

PFAS have been linked to several health issues, including testicular and kidney cancer.

Scott Dean, communications director with the DEQ, says the department will continue testing.

MDEQ map
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

In response to concerns about groundwater contamination, the city of Kalamazoo told Richland Township residents Wednesday night it could extend its water system to the township. 

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

The state of Michigan could soon be taking legal action against the company that manufactures Scotchgard.

Governor Snyder asked the state’s Attorney General Bill Schuette to initiate legal action against the company because it makes products that use PFAS.

PFAS is a group of chemicals that are the source of ongoing water contamination around the state.

The chemicals have been linked to changes in liver, thyroid, and pancreatic function in animal studies.

Bill Gelineau and John Tatar
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Infrastructure spending, legalizing marijuana, and education reform were all big talking points at Michigan’s first Libertarian gubernatorial debate in Grand Rapids last night.

The two candidates, Bill Gelineau and John Tatar, both expressed dissatisfaction with the two-party system. They agree it's done more to hurt Michigan than to help.

“Because up to now we’ve had the same old same old, and if you vote for the same two parties and expect a change that’s insanity,” Tatar said.

Ever Reyes Mejia and his 3 year old son leaving the ICE office in Grand Rapids.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Three parents were able to finally see their children again today in Grand Rapids.

It had been three months since these dads seeking asylum in the U.S. were separated from their children. All of whom are under five years old.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

Some community members will have a say in who fills vacant city commission seat in Grand Rapids.

The Third Ward city commission seat was held by David Allen until he resigned last month. Allen is focusing on his job at the Kent County Land Bank.

There are ten finalists for the empty Third Ward city commission seat. A subcommittee of residents, business owners and current commissioners will interview them at city hall tomorrow from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.  

Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Flickr

Michigan members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle visited a refugee foster care facility in Grand Rapids today.

Democrats Debbie Dingell and Dan Kildee, along with Republican Bill Huizenga are urging the Trump administration to speed up the process of reuniting families separated at the southern border.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
(courtesy Michigan Attorney General's office)

Attorney General Bill Schuette is denying any wrongdoing in connection with using staff in his state office to witness sales of inherited Virgin Islands property.

Congressmen Tim Walberg (left) and Bill Huizenga (right)
U.S. House of Representatives

Two congressmen from Michigan were denied access to a site where refugee children are staying.

Congressmen Bill Huizenga and Tim Walberg represent Michigan’s second and seventh congressional districts, respectively.

The two visited with Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids today to discuss legislation that aims to reunite families that were separated at the country’s southern border.

Wendell Brown teaching a group of Chinese people about American football
Courtesy of Antoinette Brown

Former Canadian Football League player and Detroit native Wendell Brown has been sentenced to four years in prison in China.

Brown moved to Chongqing, China to play for a startup American football league, but ended up coaching players instead.  

Protestors standing by podium
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Several people in Grand Rapids protested the separation of children from their parents today.

About 150 protestors stood outside Bethany Christian Services to speak out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In April Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy on undocumented immigrants, which caused refugee families to be split up at the country’s southern border. President Trump this week announced he'd reverse the policy, and a federal judge ordered a halt to separations -- and the reunification of families that have been separated.

 

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