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Dustin Dwyer

Reporter / Producer

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom. He left the station in 2010-2011 to be a stay at home dad, and returned to be part of the Changing Gears project, a collaboration between Michigan Radio, Ideastream in Cleveland and WBEZ in Chicago. From 2012 – 2017, he was part of the team for State of Opportunity, and produced several radio documentaries on kids and families in Michigan. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three kids.

Grand Rapids city commissioners passed a new human rights ordinance to protect against discrimination in the city

The ordinance expands the group of people who can be considered a protected class.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force

The Kent County Sheriff says federal immigration officials have decided not to renew a contract to hold its detainees at the Kent County jail.

The county stopped complying with so called “detainer requests” from Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this year.

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo / Virginia Tech

Legislators in Lansing are introducing a series of bipartisan bills that would change the state’s emergency manager laws and require more testing for lead in drinking water.

One bill (SB 395) would require water tests at “vulnerable population centers” such as child care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Parents and students in Benton Harbor are getting ready for the upcoming school year.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration had proposed closing Benton Harbor high school next year. But the state backed down from that proposal last week.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Less than three months ago, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration made an announcement that stunned the community in Benton Harbor.

The city’s school district was in a financial and academic crisis, the state Department of Treasury said. The district was $18.4 million in debt. Governor Whitmer said the district would have to close Benton Harbor High School for the 2020-21 school year.

picture of the sign outside U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Wikimedia / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Advocates are encouraging immigrants in Michigan to study the new “public charge” rule before it takes effect in October.

The rule is meant to discourage immigrants from seeking public assistance.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Muskegon residents called for a public apology and more transparency from the city’s police department at a commission meeting Tuesday night.

Those calls came after the city placed a senior officer on leave when an old KKK document was found in the officer’s home.

The officer, Charles Anderson is on leave while the city investigates.

But at Tuesday night’s meeting, members of the community say they want more of a response.

kids with backpacks on going back to school
WavebreakmediaMicro / Adobe Stock

Ah, summer.

When the sun stays up late, and so do the kids. Full of pool days, picnics and popsicles. Bug bites and backyard barbecues.

And no school.

A police car seen through the side mirror on a car.
Craig Finlay / Creative Commons

A group in Muskegon is planning to show up at a city commission meeting on Tuesday to demand accountability after an old KKK document was found in the home of a Muskegon police officer.

The document was spotted by a couple who was interested in buying the home. They shared pictures on Facebook. The city suspended the officer while it investigates.

Ebony Davis is organizing a group of residents to speak out about the issue at the city commission meeting.

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some election officials in Michigan say they want more time to be able to count absentee votes.

That would require a change in state law.

Barb Byrum is clerk of Ingham County. She says absentee ballots made up 68% of the vote in the county’s most recent election. She says that’s a significant increase compared to previous elections.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Food, music and heritage are the focus at the annual Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival this weekend.

But this year, there will also be added security.

Organizers with the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan say about 25,000 people showed up for the festival last year, and they’re hoping for more this year.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

Manufacturing in West Michigan took a downward turn in July.

That's according to the latest Institute for Supply Management survey from Grand Valley State University.

The survey of manufacturers shows that new orders "dropped substantially" last month.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Police departments in Michigan are urging people to call them when they see online claims of mass shooting events.

That’s after an online hoax spread across social media in Michigan on Tuesday.

The online hoax claimed that active shooters were going door to door in and around five Michigan cities. None of it happened in any of the cities. The hoax is based on the plot of a movie.

Vanessa Burt is an officer with the Detroit Police Department. She says spreading false information about shootings is malicious, reckless and irresponsible.

Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan is asking Governor Gretchen Whitmer to let local leaders in Benton Harbor decide what happens in their schools.

The ACLU delivered that message in the form of a letter to the governor’s office on Friday.

City Hall in Benton Harbor.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The city of Benton Harbor says lead continues to be problem in the city water supply.

The city says 12 of 47 homes tested since January of this year were above the federal action level for lead in the water.

portrait of Bryan Berghoef
Courtesy Bryan Berghoef for Congress

A pastor at the Holland United Church of Christ says he will run for the Congressional seat now held by Republican Bill Huizenga.

The 2nd Congressional district stretches along the Lake Michigan shore from Holland to Ludington. It’s a traditionally conservative district.

workers removing lead paint from extrerior of house
Jamie Hooper / Adobe Stock

Each year, thousands of children in Michigan are found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

The biggest risk factor in lead poisonings is not the water supply. It’s in the paint of older homes and apartments.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

School board members in Benton Harbor say they’ll try again to reach an agreement with the governor’s office to turn the district around.

The administration of Governor Whitmer announced a tentative agreement with the school board earlier this month, but board members said there was no agreement.

At a meeting Saturday, board members said they’re working on a new proposal

Meanwhile, interim superintendent Patricia Robinson says some teachers and parents have already decided to leave the district because of the uncertainty.

Grand Rapids' new police chief, Eric Payne.
City of Grand Rapids

Eric Payne will be the next chief of Grand Rapids police.

The city made the announcement Friday, after a months-long nationwide search. Payne is a nearly 33-year veteran of the Grand Rapids Police Department. He currently serves as Deputy Chief. He will be the department's first black police chief. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A West Michigan immigration attorney says she plans to be the first Democratic woman from the area ever elected to Congress.

Hillary Scholten announced on Monday that she’s running to represent Michigan’s 3rd congressional district, which includes Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.

The district is currently represented by Congressman Justin Amash. He announced last week he’s leaving the Republican Party to run as an independent.

Scholten made her announcement to supporters at Martin Luther King Jr. park in Grand Rapids.  

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Fifty-five bridges in the state of Michigan are closed.

In the small city of Ferrysburg, in Ottawa County on Friday, a crew of workers rolled out the orange barrels and closed the 56th.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Today is the deadline Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set for a deal to be reached between her administration and the Benton Harbor Area Schools board over the district’s future.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Members of the school board for Benton Harbor Area Schools say they plan to submit a plan to Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday to try to save the city’s high school.

The governor’s office says the district is $18.4 million in debt. She says closing the high school will save money and keep the entire district from dissolving. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Zachery Thiel pulls a package from a yellow plastic tub, scans it into the system with a beep, and pops it into an empty slot on a tall shelf to his right. When the shelf has no more empty slots, he hits a button and the shelf whirs away into the depths of the warehouse, while another slides in behind it, ready to be filled.

It takes only a second or two, and Thiel repeats it over and over during the course of his 10-hour shift at Amazon’s new fulfillment center in Romulus. 

Public domain

U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wants law enforcement to stop using facial recognition software to identify criminal suspects.

A report from the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology found Detroit is one of the first and largest cities to use the technology.

The report also says the software makes mistakes, especially when it's used to identify people with darker skin. Those mistakes can lead to false arrests. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says leaders at Benton Harbor Area Schools will get an extra week to come up with a plan to keep the district’s high school open. Whitmer took two hours of comments and questions during a town hall with residents in Benton Harbor on Wednesday.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Governor Whitmer is expected in Benton Harbor this afternoon for a town hall meeting about the city’s school district. Whitmer’s administration says Benton Harbor High School must shut down to keep the district out of financial insolvency.

Hundreds gathered in the city last night to oppose that plan.

Some drove in from around the state where schools have closed in the past.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

U.S. Representative Justin Amash says he’s not worried about losing his seat, despite facing criticism from members of his own party for saying President Donald Trump engaged in “impeachable conduct.”

Amash (R-Cascade Township) spoke during a town hall event on Tuesday night in Grand Rapids.

He also called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

"I think it would be appropriate for her to proceed with that," Amash said. 

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