Bryce Huffman | Michigan Radio
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Bryce Huffman

West Michigan Reporter

Bryce Huffman is Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. 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, residents dealing with ongoing groundwater contamination, and tension between the black community and Grand Rapids police.

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.

outside of Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor High School’s graduation rate dropped nearly 30% from 2018 to 2019.

At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, BHHS graduated about 76% of its seniors. Last year that number fell to just below 47%. The state average was about 81%.

generic census form
comedy_nose / flickr

State officials want people to fill out the Census this year. So there will be multiple town hall meetings across the state.

The 2020 Census in Michigan, which is handled by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office, will be working with the Attorney General’s office and the Secretary of State to hold the meetings.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Michigan could have new PFAS rules in place as early as April. That's after the Environmental Rules Review Committee approved the proposed rules Thursday.

The committee voted to approve a set of draft rules regulating the industrial contaminants, which includes drinking water standards for seven types of PFAS.

School bus
Bill McChesney / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Grand Rapids Public Schools has chosen its new superintendent.

The school board voted Monday night to select Leadriane Roby, who is currently the Assistant Superintendent in Richfield, Minnesota.  

The board says it chose Roby because it liked her experience as a teacher, and because she says she will do whatever she can to keep any financial strains on the district from affecting teachers and students in the classroom.

person holding tongs to pick up marijuana on scale
Get Budding / Unsplash

A group of more than a dozen marijuana dispensaries claim the state of Michigan violated the law by rejecting their licensing applications.

The dispensaries are trying to sell recreational marijuana in Detroit and Traverse City, but both cities have a temporary ban in place.

Nick Colvin
NICK COLVIN FOR MICHIGAN / HTTPS://WWW.COLVINFORMICHIGAN.COM/

Former Obama administration staff member Nick Colvin has decided to leave the race for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District.

Colvin announced on his personal Facebook page this week that he’s leaving the race for personal and financial reasons.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Teachers from across the state weighed in on how to stop Michigan’s teacher shortage. Finding ways to reduce the financial burden on educators is their top recommendation. That’s according to a new report from Public Policy Associates, Inc.  

The report gathered input from teachers across the state. It found low starting wages are a big part of the problem.

Caroline Cook standing on conrer talking to people
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Tour groups in Grand Rapids are braving the cold weather to learn about the city’s black history.

This tour focuses on civil rights leaders like Rosa Parks, and the works of famous black painters like Paul Collins.

Joel Langlois surrounded by supporters
Joel Langlois campaign

West Michigan businessman Joel Langlois ends his campaign to take Justin Amash’s congressional seat.

Langlois was in a crowded field of Republican candidates running for the seat currently held by the now Independent Amash.

Lake Erie at Massie Cliffside Preserve.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects Lake Erie to hit record breaking high water levels February through May.

Lauren Fry, Technical Lead for Great Lakes Hydrology with the Army Corps of Engineers, says Lake Erie’s all-time record water level for January was nearly met last month.

customer smelling marijuana at counter
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The city of Grand Rapids now has its first medical marijuana dispensary.

The grand opening of Fluresh on the city’s Southwest side Friday came more than two months after the state’s first recreational marijuana shops opened.

Ruth Ellis
Sarah Uhle

Ruth Ellis was one of the oldest openly gay black women in the world when she died at 101 years old in 2000. She was born in 1899, 36 years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, and 15 years before the First World War started.

This was a time when our country was hostile to women, black people, and gay people. Ellis just happened to be all three.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Grand Rapids Public Schools board of education is narrowing the search for its next superintendent.

The board voted Monday evening to interview five superintendent candidates.

group of faith leaders standing in a church
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A group of faith leaders gathered in Grand Rapids on Tuesday to address the lack of legal protections for LGBTQ people in Michigan.

There is nothing currently in Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act explicitly banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
WMU Archives

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but Tuesday, communities across the state and country will celebrate the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Fourth National Day of Racial Healing.

La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, says all the events are modeled after Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of racial harmony.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss at a podium
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Students who live and go to school in the city of Grand Rapids could soon be eligible to get tuition covered at Grand Rapids Community College.

The Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority is working with all 22 high schools in the city, including public, public-charter and private schools.

project plans
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A controversial development project in Southeast Grand Rapids is one step closer to getting the green light. That’s after the city’s planning commission unanimously approved rezoning for the nine acre development.

Amplify GR, a DeVos Foundation-backed non-profit group that describes itself as working to help communities improve their own neighborhoods, wants to build up to 270 residential units, retail space, and a park in the city’s Boston Square neighborhood.

Winnie Brinks
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

State officials held the first of three public hearings on Wednesday on plans to set limits on PFAS in drinking water. Certain kinds of the industrial chemicals have been linked to cancer and other health problems.

State Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), spoke during the public hearing. She said elected officials should ensure their residents have clean drinking water.

Karen Spranger
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A whistleblower lawsuit against ousted Macomb County clerk Karen Spranger recently settled for a combined $110,000, according to multiple news outlets.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is holding three public hearings this month on its plans to set drinking water standards for chemicals known as PFAS.

The public hearings are a part of the state’s plan to establish drinking water standards, sampling requirements, public notification requirements, and laboratory certification criteria.

Amplify GR development plans
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A DeVos Foundation-backed non-profit group is bringing a development proposal to the Grand Rapids city planning commission on Thursday. Some residents are excited but they also have concerns.

gary peters
Senate Democrats / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Democratic U.S. Senator Gary Peters has collected enough signatures to be on the 2020 ballot.

The Senator Peters campaign collected and submitted more than 24,000 signatures, which puts Peters on the ballot for re-election.

outside of Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The state is urging the Benton Harbor community to take a survey about the city’s school district.

The brief questionnaire is all about what the community sees in the school district and what they would like to see.

Group of immigration activists standing and holding a sign
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A small group of immigration activists blocked nearly 40 delivery vans from leaving and entering an Amazon distribution center near Grand Rapids Thursday.

The protesters want Amazon to end its business relationship with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because the agency allegedly uses Amazon technology to surveil undocumented immigrants.

Grand Rapids Police cruiser
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

About three in ten Grand Rapids residents don’t trust the city’s police department, according to an anonymous digital survey conducted by the city.

The police department is using the survey to get feedback from residents in real time. 

work being done under Mackinac bridge
Enbridge

Enbridge has told state officials it's going to pick up broken equipment from the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac ahead of schedule.

Back in September, Enbridge was taking rock and sediment samples at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. That’s when a 45-foot piece of equipment known as a grout rod – or a drilling rod – broke off at the bottom of the Straits.

Protesters holding signs in Paw Paw
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation into a southwest Michigan school district.

Paw Paw Public Schools is no stranger to controversy. The district has been under fire for its mascot name and image – the Redskins – for years. Now, the district is facing a federal investigation after the ACLU of Michigan filed a complaint back in January.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is handling the investigation. A spokesperson for the OCR said in a statement that the office is investigating “possible discrimination on the basis of race.”

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Wolverine Worldwide says it will pay nearly $70 million to build municipal water systems in two communities affected by PFAS contamination. 

The company used the chemicals to waterproof its shoes for years. The harmful chemicals contaminated the ground and entered into local wells.  The company says it will now pay to build the water systems to connect more than 1,000 properties to municipal water in Algoma and Plainfield Townships. It says the plan is part of a tentative agreement to resolve lawsuits involving the state and townships.

beware of dog sign on white picket fence
gabe9000c / Adobe Stock

Detroit city officials announced investments to improve community safety and animal care in the city. This comes months after 9-year-old Emma Hernandez was mauled to death by three dogs.

The dogs' owner was charged with murder back in August and the dogs were euthanized, but that wasn’t the first time a kid was killed by dogs in the city. In 2015, four pit bulls killed 4-year-old Xavier Strickland, pulling him away from his mother and dragging him under a fence.

Protesters standing with signs
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

More than 150 protesters gathered in downtown Grand Rapids as part of a national climate strike Friday.

They want Senator Gary Peters and other Democrats to commit to the Green New Deal.

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