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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.

The Rapid bus station
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids officials must wait for federal money before continuing with a $70 million transit project.

The Obama administration promised the city nearly $57 million for the project, but Grand Rapids didn't receive any of that money during the 2017 fiscal year.

The Michigan Department of Transportation pledged to match the federal grant with $14 million for the project, but the Federal Transit Administration hasn't approved the grant.

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

Residents in Kent County might have to wait a bit longer before they know all of the health effects of the chemicals in their groundwater.

A study about the effects of PFAS exposure is being delayed while Kent County officials get help from federal health experts.

Shredded dollar
TaxCredits.net / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The community mental health provider in Kent County wants the state to expedite the process of figuring out how to adequately fund its mental health programs.

Scott Gillman, the CEO and Executive Director of Network 180, the community mental health authority in Kent County, says that people switching to the state’s Healthy Michigan program is the cause for the lack of funds.

Network 180 lost about $9.7 million over the last two years because several people switched from having Disabled, Aged and Blind status on their insurance to the Healthy Michigan program.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Some West Michigan residents are being advised to keep their water running this winter.

Kalamazoo and Muskegon Heights issued frozen water advisories this week.

Solar panels on a roof
wikimedia commons

More Michiganders participated in state's program to generate on-site renewable energy in 2016 compared to 2015.

The Michigan Public Service Commission's annual report on renewable energy found that 427 more electric customers joined the state's Net Metering program.

Apples
USDA NRCS Photo Gallery

Meijer stores are voluntarily recalling some products containing sliced apples due to potential health risk.

Fresh Pak Inc., a fruit company in Detroit, issued a recall on its products with sliced apples last week.

Rogue River
Trout Unlimited

More Kent County residents will have their private wells tested for toxic chemicals after the state expanded its testing zone this week.

Wolverine Worldwide manufactures shoes for brands like Hush Puppies and Merrell. The company is believed to be the source of the groundwater contamination.

a police squad car
Flickr user Scott Davidson/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Grand Rapids Police Department says it will not discipline the officers involved in handcuffing an innocent black girl earlier this month.

The department launched an internal investigation after the 11-year old-girl was held at gunpoint, searched and handcuffed at her home.

A cup for spare change and a cardboard sign
BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

The Grand Rapids City Commission last night voted down a controversial proposed panhandling ordinance.

The ordinance was billed as a pedestrian safety law, but it would have allowed police to give costly tickets to people panhandling at certain intersections at specific times of day.

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Grand Rapids School Board wants to send every high school student in the city to college tuition-free.

The school board applied for Promise Zone designation with the Department of Treasury this week.

A group of protestors outside of Congressman Bill Huizenga's office in Grandville
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A group of protestors want Congressman Bill Huizenga to support the DREAM Act for Christmas this year.

The protestors stood outside of Congressman Huizenga’s office in Grandville, hoping he could be persuaded to see the issue as urgent.

Erin Brockovich speaking to West Michigan residents at town hall meeting
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Consumer advocate and environmental activist Erin Brockovich wants West Michigan residents to join a class action suit against shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide.

Brockovich held a town hall meeting Saturday to let residents know what work she has done and plans to do for them.

Grand Rapids city officials putting shovels into the ground
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids broke ground on the $38 million dollar biodigester sludge treatment system that could help Grand Rapids reach sustainability goals.

A biodigester is like a mechanical stomach. It takes in organic waste and converts it to renewable energy.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says the city wants to be using 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2025.

“It's creative ideas like this that will help us get to renewable energy goals, but also be a positive force on the environment,” Bliss said.

Grand Rapids Police Department
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Community members are speaking out about the latest incident of police using abusive force in Grand Rapids.

Last week, an innocent 11-year-old black girl was held at gunpoint, searched, and handcuffed.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

West Michigan's Plainfield Township wants to make sure the toxic chemicals polluting some private wells don't contaminate its municipal water system. So it's adding a filter to the water treatment plant.

The township's board of trustees approved plans for a $400,000 filter that would remove toxic chemicals called per- and polyflouralky substances – or PFAS – from the water.

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

A West Michigan lawmaker wants the CEO of a major shoe manufacturer to testify in front of state House oversight committee.

Wolverine Worldwide, which is based just north of Grand Rapids, is believed to be responsible for groundwater contamination in northern Kent County.

Headquarters of the Inner City Christian Federation in Grand Rapids.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A non-profit in Grand Rapids has purchased more than 177 properties for affordable housing.

The Inner City Christian Federation finalized the deal earlier this week.

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some national law firms filed a class action lawsuit today against Wolverine Worldwide and 3M Corporation over a toxic chemical plume in West Michigan.

The suit alleges that Wolverine dumped harmful chemicals in the environment. It also alleges that the company didn't do enough to fix the problem.

A "no trespassing" sign from the House Street site boundary.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

People in northern Kent County have been dealing with the recent discovery of groundwater contamination for the past several months.

Some residents still have questions about what caused it and how it could affect their health.

Gov. Rick Snyder
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder spoke to members of the Michigan Farm Bureau at its annual meeting in Grand Rapids today.

Snyder says proposed trade policy changes in NAFTA between the U.S. and Canada could help the farming business.

Recycling symbol
Alan Levine / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Kent County is closing its recycling facility temporarily. But this is a good thing in the long run, according to the Department of Public Works.

Kristen Weiland, marketing and communications director with the Kent County Department of Public Works, says the facility is shutting down so the county can install new equipment.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

A new civics program is designed to help people new to Grand Rapids adjust to the city.

The Our City Academy program focuses on how to navigate the city and how to find important city and county facilities.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence's website

Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence’s Chief of Staff, Dwayne Marshall resigned today following multiple sexual harassment allegations.

Congresswoman Lawrence says her office will “move forward with an investigation focused on the current and future climate of our workplace.”

Recyclign bin in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Kent County Department of Public Works met with community members Tuesday night to gather feedback on sustainable waste management plans.

Currently, the county recycles only 10% of its waste. The rest ends up in landfills.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive directive yesterday to deal with PFAS and PFC contamination around the state.

Snyder has established a task force called the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, which will coordinate efforts by local, state and federal agencies to keep residents safe from these chemicals.

Recycling symbol
Alan Levine / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Kent County wants community input on a plan to recycle more of its waste.

The Kent County Department of Public Works says 75 percent of its waste can be recycled into usable products, but it currently only recycles about 10 percent.

The department wants to build a business park that would help reduce the amount of waste in county facilities while helping emerging businesses save money on raw materials.

Grand Rapids bus
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People who rely on the buses to get around Grand Rapids can be at ease for a while -- 12 years to be exact. 

The transit millage renewal passed tonight. It received more than 22,000 "yes" votes. The initiative won by around 8,200 votes. 

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lead poisoning in Kent County is up nearly 31% from 2014 to 2016.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 615 children in the county had elevated blood-lead levels last year.

Paul Haan, executive director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, a non-profit that tries to help children stay healthy by avoiding harmful housing conditions, says drinking water isn't the cause for the increase in Kent County, but lead-based paint is.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

A group of nurses at an Oakland County hospital filed a lawsuit today against their employer.

Nurses at the Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital claim a shortage of nurses and support staff is creating dangerous situations for patients.

East Rockford Middle School
Rockford Public Schools

One West Michigan school community can feel more at ease. Water samples from East Rockford Middle School were tested, and show no signs of toxic chemicals.

The chemicals that were tested for are known as PFAS, and they are often used to waterproof leather goods.

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