Michigan Radio
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Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

New research finds the annual dead zone in Lake Erie is getting a boost that makes it worse very quickly.

That dead zone begins with nutrients, phosphorus, from agricultural runoff and other sources carried by rivers to the lake. Phosphorus fertilizes algae. The plants grow fast, then die and rot. The decomposition process robs the water of oxygen.

C/O Spectrum Health

There’s been a lot of recent discussion about a tool the state of Michigan is using to help decide where to send COVID-19 vaccines -- something called the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). It’s a formula that’s one factor the state uses in allocating vaccine doses throughout Michigan.

Some elected officials, mostly Republicans, are upset about it. They say the state has no business using a tool like SVI--which takes into account a series of demographic characteristics to determine how vulnerable a population is—in the vaccine-allocation process.


Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer made an online pitch Friday to Upper Peninsula civic leaders to support her 2021 agenda, including clean energy and workforce training plans. And she asked them to hold to account politicians who fail to condemn hate and violence in public life.

The governor met with business and education leaders online instead of her usual in-person U.P. swing following the State of the State address and budget rollout.

woman in personal protection equipment talking to woman in wheelchair
Wikimedia Commons

Michiganders aged 18-64 with disabilities are currently in group 1C in terms of priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. Disability rights activists are asking the state to move them to group 1B, along with the support staff and other people who provide them care.

In a letter to the governor and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition asked Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Elizabeth Hertel to consider moving the group.

Fred Upton's official 113th US Congress photo
US House Office of Photography/Wikimedia Commons

Though former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial has ended, difficult conversations and divided politics have not, particularly among conservative leaders. The Cass County Republican Party has again censured Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R-06), this time for his vote to remove conspiracy theorist and Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments.

Photographers Make Kids' Wildest Dreams Come To Life

Feb 26, 2021

Atlanta photographers Regis and Kahran Bethencourt think of themselves as "dream makers."

That's because the couple makes kids' wildest dreams come true in portrait shoots. The results are conceptual, highly stylized photos of children dressed as visions plucked straight from their imaginations.

The Bethencourts hope the portraits transcend the typical images of beauty.

"We get so many amazing ideas," Kahran told NPR's Morning Edition.

Pevos / MLive

Today, on Stateside, an update on the dramatic turn of events on Thursday as gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide rather than face charges of human trafficking. In other news, some in the state Legislature want to change the rules around which communities get more COVID-19 vaccines.

Mussel-Phosphorus puzzle: Invasive mussels are reshaping the chemistry of the Great Lakes

Feb 26, 2021
D. Jude / University of Michigan via NOAA/GLERL Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Since the late 1980s, four of the five Great Lakes have played host to an increasing number of invasive mussels. First came zebra mussels, followed shortly thereafter by quagga mussels, both members of the Dreissenid family whose native range includes the waters around Ukraine.

Today, the filter-feeders comprise more than 90% of the total animal biomass of the Great Lakes (barring Lake Superior, whose depth and water chemistry make it a less suitable habitat for the two species of mussel).

30 years later: Mussel invasion legacy reaches far beyond Great Lakes

Feb 26, 2021
Bob Nichols / USDA

The way J. Ellen Marsden remembers it, when she first suggested calling a new Great Lakes invasive species the quagga mussel, her colleague laughed, so the name stuck.

At the same time, it was no laughing matter. The arrival of a second non-native mussel, related to the already established zebra mussel, was a major complication in what was becoming one of the most significant invasive species events in American history.

Updated 2:12 p.m. ET

With coronavirus infections on a steady, six weeks long descent in the U.S., it's clear the worst days of the brutal winter surge have waned. Yet researchers are still not sure how sustainable the decline is. And a small but concerning uptick in cases in the last three days has health officials on edge.

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