Catherine Shaffer | Michigan Radio

Catherine Shaffer


Catherine Shaffer joined Michigan Radio in 2014. She works in the newsroom and specializes in stories related to the life sciences, health, and technology. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Master’s from University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan Radio, Catherine has worked as a freelance writer, mainly in focusing on biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, since 2001. She is also an award-winning fiction writer. When not at work, Catherine enjoys being in the outdoors and practicing yoga.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder signed two bills into law that weaken voter initiatives to raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave for workers. Republican legislators passed the initiatives into law in September to prevent them from going on the ballot. That allowed them to extensively amend the measures.

Yue Liu and Michael G. Rossmann, Purdue University /

A child from Oakland County has been confirmed as the second case of acute flaccid myelitis in Michigan in 2018. The first case, confirmed earlier this month, was a child from Wayne County.

satellite map of Michigan, the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

A council of eight Great Lakes governors approved changes to the Great Lakes Compact last week. But mayors and environmental groups say that the updates don't go far enough to prevent water withdrawals from the Great Lakes basin.

Former Racine, Wisconsin Mayor John Dickert says his group asked to defer the changes until next year. That's when the council will flip from a Republican to a Democratic majority.

The University of Michigan Union
Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan's updated sexual misconduct policy is expected to include a ban on faculty members having romantic or sexual relationships with undergraduate students. The policy also would prohibit faculty from having romantic or sexual relationships with any graduate or professional student in the same discipline or academic program as themselves.

Rick Fitzgerald is a spokesman for UM.

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Nearly half of people covered under Michigan’s Medicaid expansion said their health improved immediately after enrolling. For those whose health improved, they were four times as likely to say that they were doing a better job at work. That’s according to a study by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. 

Flickr user/Images Money /

Michiganders could get a better deal on health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but only if they enroll by the December 15th deadline.

Deb Nystrom / Creative Commons

The state Senate's Natural Resources Committee is expected to vote soon on a bill deregulating Michigan's small wetlands. Senate Bill 1211 would remove protections from about fifty percent of Michigan's wetlands, according to the Michigan Wetlands Association.

They say the bill could lead to loss of habitat for wildlife, and increased flooding in developed areas of southern Michigan. The bill increases the size of a wetland that would be protected by regulations from five acres to 10 acres. It also redefines which lakes and streams qualify as wetlands. 


A pair of bills introduced in the state Senate on Thursday would prohibit marriage of children under sixteen. Current Michigan law does not set an absolute minimum age for marriage. The new bills, SB1255 and SB1256, would set that age at 16. And they would require the consent of both parents for 16 and 17 year olds, rather than one parent alone.

prison bars
Flickr user FatMandy /

A federal judge in Ann Arbor ordered the release of a Haitian asylum seeker who's been in detention for two years. Ansly Damus had already been granted asylum by an immigration judge. But immigration authorities kept him in detention while they appealed the case repeatedly. 

Flickr/barbaragaillewis /

A proposed bill under consideration by a Michigan Senate committee would roll back protections for Michigan's wetlands. The bill would increase the minimum size of a regulated wetland from five to ten acres. As well, it modifies the definition of regulated streams and regulated lakes in the state of Michigan. 


A new study from the University of Michigan shows that blooms of harmful cyanobacteria in Lake Erie are so tough they can survive the winter.

Gassing up at the pump.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gas prices this week are the lowest they've been in two years for the Thanksgiving holiday. On average, prices around the state are $2.49 a gallon--12 cents lower than last week. That's according to a survey of 4200 gas stations by AAA Michigan.

Nancy Cain is a spokesperson for AAA. She says the low prices will help motorists budget their holiday travel.  "We got low crude oil prices and very ample supply, there's no gasoline shortages anywhere. So that's translating into good news at the pump," says Cain.


A new survey by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital suggests parents who decline flu vaccinations for their child are getting information from unreliable sources. Nearly a third of parents polled were not planning to have their children vaccinated for the flu.

Dr. Eden Wells
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Genesee County judge will decide on December 7th whether Michigan's chief medical executive Dr. Eden Wells will stand trial for alleged crimes related to the Flint water crisis. Dr. Wells has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for not informing the public promptly about an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease.

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr

The U.S. Senate passed a bill that will maintain the way ballast water discharges are regulated under the Clean Water Act. Ballast water released by ocean-going ships is a major pathway for the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes.

James Russo /

A service has been held at a Michigan cemetery for the cremated remains of about 20 military veterans found in a closed Detroit funeral home.

A police escort on Monday led hearses bearing the remains from the Detroit area to Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit. They were given a 21-gun salute and taps was played.

marijuana leaves
user eljoja / flickr

Pinckney is one of the first communities in Michigan to vote on an ordinance prohibiting recreational marijuana businesses.

The Pinckney village council voted Monday evening on an ordinance to prohibit marijuana establishments within the village limits. The ordinance passed unanimously.

Brendan standing in front of artoo detoo and a monster painting
Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio

Detroit artist Brendan Patrick lost his vision, and nearly his life, to cystic fibrosis. Now he's making the most of the time he's been given by creating art and raising awareness of his disease.