Bryce Huffman | Michigan Radio
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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, 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.

Leather straps
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A West Michigan shoe manufacturer thinks they aren't the only ones to blame for PFAS polluted groundwater. 

Wolverine Worldwide has been at the middle of the groundwater contamination in northern Kent County since the state began warning residents about high levels of PFAS being found in their private wells. 

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team released the findings from the independent PFAS Science Advisory Committee appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The 90-page report includes analysis of the causes and effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as well as 17 recommendations to the state in its ongoing response to PFAS contamination.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Residents in two West Michigan townships with PFAS contamination could end up paying to be connected to city water.

Officials from Plainfield and Algoma Townships say shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide ended talks that included a plan to pay for the city water extension, but a representative from the company denies ending the talks.

Grand Rapids police chief and city manager
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Chief of Police officially announced his retirement Thursday.

David Rahinsky has been a police officer for more than 30 years, and has been chief in Grand Rapids since July 2014.

Grand Rapids Police Department station
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Police Department updated its Youth Interactions Policy on Monday.

The previous policy was made after officers handcuffed and arrested an unarmed 11 year old black girl last December.

Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Two commonly found PFAS compounds can potentially cause male infertility, according to a recent study.

A study published last month in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that PFOA and PFOS, two of the most commonly found PFAS compounds, can lower sperm count and cause smaller penis size.

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

Northern Kent County residents say they're eager to learn more about a new PFAS chemical exposure study.

Representatives from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Kent County Health Department talked to residents on Tuesday night about the study and how they can participate.

Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids
By WMrapids - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43948673

A West Michigan woman says she raised more than $11,000 this past weekend to afford a heart transplant after Spectrum Health rejected her from its transplant list.  

60-year-old Hedda Martin says Spectrum Health sent her a letter last week recommending she fundraise $10,000 for immunosuppressive drugs.

 

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Legalizing marijuana could have unintended consequences for public schools in Michigan.

Earlier this month, Michigan residents voted to pass a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for people 21 and older.

Woman handing books to kids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Kalamazoo Public Schools wants every student to see someone who looks like them in a book. That's why it's adding books to school classrooms to reflect the diversity of its student body.

It launched the initiative Tuesday at Woodward School for Technology and Research, where school and district officials hope the effort will engage more students in reading.

KPS is starting with just second and third grade classes for now.

Wendell Brownstanding at the front of a classroom
Courtesy of Antoinette Brown

Former Canadian Football League player and Detroit native Wendell Brown will be released from Chinese jail next fall.

Brown was coaching American football in Chongqing, China when he was arrested after an alleged bar fight in September 2016.

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

U.S. Senator Gary Peters is holding a Senate field subcommittee meeting on PFAS Tuesday.

Representatives from the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, Department of Environmental Quality and some local officials will testify at the hearing.

Attorneys speaking at meeting
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Attorneys from the ACLU and Michigan Immigrants’ Rights Center presented a resolution to Kent County’s Board of Commissioners Thursday.

The resolution would ensure that no county resources go to helping ICE detain immigrants living in the county.  

Teacher working with young students
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio


People smoking marijuana
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Recreational marijuana advocates were lighting up and passing joints in Detroit after a ballot proposal passed to legalize pot.

Proposal 1 allows marijuana to be regulated like alcohol.

Michigan residents over 21 years old will soon be able to buy, possess, use, and grow marijuana.

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

Residents of a town near Kalamazoo join a federal class action lawsuit against 3M and Georgia-Pacific over PFAS contamination.

The lawsuit alleges that both companies played a role in the high levels of industrial chemicals that were discovered in the city of Parchment’s municipal water in July.

MDEQ map
Department of Environmental Quality

Residents living in Cascade Township near Grand Rapids want more state action on PFAS contamination there.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality began investigating the contamination from Lacks Enterprises, a West Michigan auto parts supplier, at its former plating facility in August.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A company that employs substitute teachers unexpectedly shut down operations in Michigan on Monday, leaving several school districts around the state scrambling to find solutions.  

The Professional Educational Services Group sent a letter to all its Michigan employees that they were terminated on Monday. The letter states that the company has been "actively seeking capital to keep operations going."

Residents standing outside police station
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids residents gathered on Sunday to talk to the police chief and other city officials about incidents involving innocent and unarmed black kids being put in handcuffs or held at gunpoint.

Community members showed up outside the Grand Rapids Police Department downtown to protest the department's actions, but it later became an open community forum to talk with representatives from the department and the city commission.

classroom
Flickr user Ben W

Grand Rapids wants to get more young people of color to consider working in the hospitality and tourism industry. So the city’s public school system is opening an academy that focuses on this field.

The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, which will be housed at Ottawa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, will be open to students starting next fall.

Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

Has Attorney General Bill Schuette done enough to fight PFAS contamination in Michigan? Some people don’t think so.

Tracy Breihof, a Belmont resident who lives near the Wolverine Worldwide House Street PFAS dump site, spoke at an event on Wednesday organized by the Michigan Democratic Party. She says PFAS doesn’t seem to be a priority for Schuette.

Kent Hills Elementary in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids Public Schools is investigating a teacher who allegedly assaulted an eight-year-old student.

This is the second time Robert Spaeth has been accused of physically hurting a student.

Federal, state, and local officials sitting at a roundtable meeting
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Officials from the EPA, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services met in Kalamazoo to discuss PFAS chemicals, but only a handful of selected speakers could ask questions and share their thoughts.

Many of the speakers, including officials from Ann Arbor, Parchment, and Oscoda, want the EPA and other federal agencies to move faster to solve the issue.

PFAS sites in Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

UPDATE: This story was updated at 3:53 p.m.

This week, the Environment Report is looking at industrial chemicals called per- and polyfluoralkyl substances – or PFAS. 

People all over Michigan have questions about these chemicals that are being found in their drinking water.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The EPA is keeping its promise to Michigan residents by holding a meeting in Kalamazoo on Friday to talk about PFAS contamination, but it’s not the meeting residents expected.

For starters, there won’t be a public comment period at the meeting, which will be held from 1-3 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Expo Center on Friday.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids
Photo courtesy of the Gerald R Ford International Airport

Congress has passed legislation to allow airports to stop using foam containing PFAS chemicals.

Under current law, commercial airports must use firefighting foam that contains toxic chemicals known as PFAS. However, Congress wants that to change.

DEQ map of Parchment
MDEQ

The state will get help from Georgia-Pacific to help investigate the source of PFAS contamination in the city of Parchment.

The Department of Environmental Quality says Georgia-Pacific never owned or operated the paper mill in Parchment near Kalamazoo. But the company has a corporate relationship with the mill’s former owners.

The former Wurtsmith Air Force base.
Mike Fritcher / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Congressman Dan Kildee and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow want to help veterans who were exposed to industrial chemicals known as PFAS.

That’s why they introduced legislation September 28 to help those veterans and their families get the healthcare they need.

U.S. Senate chamber
US Senate

More than 20 Michigan residents attended a U.S. Senate hearing on PFAS chemicals in Washington D.C. Wednesday.

Michigan Senator Gary Peters, who convened the hearing, has asked for faster action from the federal government to clean up groundwater that's contaminated by the chemicals.

Police officers standing inside the yellow tape at Kalamazoo's Bronson Park
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Bronson Park sits across from Kalamazoo’s City Hall. Tuesday night it was full of people, music and tents.

But by Wednesday morning, it had police officers standing behind yellow caution tape that surrounds the park.

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