Dustin Dwyer | Michigan Radio

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.

guns in holsters on two people
Lucio Eastman - Free State Project - PorcFest 2009 / Wikimedia Commons http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Talk of new gun regulations have led to a wave of gun rights advocates showing up at local government meetings in Michigan.

The gun rights advocates have spoken up in at least 10 counties across the state, asking the counties to declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuary counties.

The local resolutions are not legally binding. But advocates say they are important.

person smoking an ecigarette
fedorovacz / Adobe Stock

The state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency is recalling more than 9,000 vape cartridges by a Detroit company.

The state says 8,020 of the cartridges were never sold, and will be destroyed. The other 1,360 cartridges were sold by Plan B Wellness in Detroit.

Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center says 13 unaccompanied immigrant children have arrived in Michigan in recent months, after their parents were turned back at the southern border.  

Under the current policy, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, adults who seek asylum at the southern border have to wait in Mexico for their asylum claim to be processed.

The policy doesn’t apply to children.

courtesy Mackinac Center for Public Policy

A retired United Auto Workers employee says he was forced to pay dues to a fake local union. He’s now suing the UAW.

Jim Shake worked for the UAW as an accountant. Some UAW staff are part of local bargaining units. Shake was not. Still Shake says the UAW forced him to pay union dues to something called “Local X.”

The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station right on Lake Huron in Ontario.
user Cszmurlo / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Congressional representatives have introduced a resolution to oppose storing nuclear waste near the Great Lakes.

The resolution was introduced by Representatives Dan Kildee and John Moolenaar, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.

It’s not the first time a resolution like it has been introduced in Congress.

State Rep. Larry Inman talking to reporters
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

Federal prosecutors say they will pursue a retrial in the case of a state legislator accused of soliciting a bribe and attempted extortion.

State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) allegedly tried to get campaign contributions in exchange for changing his vote on legislation to repeal the state’s “prevailing wage” law.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Months after the strike at General Motors ended, thousands of workers are being required to work long hours to catch up on a parts backlog.

At least six GM plants – including five in Michigan – are on so-called “emergency status.”

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A former Amway salesperson is suing the company in California, saying he and other sellers should be paid as employees.

Amway says its sellers are “Independent Business Owners” who agree to be treated as independent contractors under the law.

washed away dunes and a deck perched on the edge
Courtesy of Jim Davlin

State officials are working to quickly approve permits for work along the Great Lakes to try to save properties threatened by erosion. The state received nearly 500 permit requests from October through December. That's close to half what the state received for the entire year before that.

It used to take around 90 days to get a permit for a project on the shoreline. Now the state Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) says it takes about a week.

a piggy bank, a stack of one dollar bills, and a stethoscope sit on a woodgrain table
FLICKR USER 401(K) / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

About 240,000 people in Michigan face new work requirements to stay eligible for Medicaid health benefits.

The work requirement took effect at the start of the year, and affects people enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan.

The home fell into Lake Michigan on New Year's Eve.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A western Michigan lakefront home has fallen down a sandy bluff in an area plagued by erosion.

Ford Rouge Factory Tour in Dearborn
Nicole Yeary / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One index of the Midwest economy is showing its lowest reading in a decade.

The Midwest Economy Index tracks 129 indicators in five states: Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. It’s released by the Chicago office of the Federal Reserve each month.

The reading for November was at -0.48, the lowest it’s been since 2009.

Source: https://water.weather.gov/precip/ / NOAA

Parts of Michigan ended the year under flood advisories, as the state’s rivers continue to be high from an extremely wet 2019.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for parts of the Grand, Muskegon and Saginaw rivers.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to freedom of speech, so no words – no matter how vile, dirty or dangerous – can actually be banished.

But some words or phrases are so overused, and so misused, that a lot of people wish they could.

man in car looking out windshield at traffic

Battle Creek police officers can now pull over drivers who are holding a cell phone.

Battle Creek commissioners passed the distracted driving ordinance earlier in the year, but the police department says it wasn’t enforcing it until signs went up along roads this month.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The ground is getting warmer at one of the state’s most contaminated sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency is using a process called thermal remediation to heat the soil and remove harmful chemicals at the Velsicol Chemical Corp. Superfund site in the town of St. Louis.

Darwin Smith Jr. / CC by SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

A popular state campground in West Michigan has put a hold on reservations for next year, over fears the campground could be flooded.

The Channel Campground sits on Muskegon Lake in Muskegon State Park.

Greg Sherburn is the supervisor of the park. He says normally, the campground would open up for Memorial Day weekend reservations about now. But he says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is forecasting high Great Lakes water levels into the spring.

Michigan is on pace for the slowest year of job growth since the end of the Great Recession.

The latest jobs numbers released by the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget show that Michigan has seen an increase of just 3,100 non-farm payroll jobs through November.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Defiant in the face of a historic rebuke, President Donald Trump rallied supporters in Michigan on Wednesday night as the House voted to impeach him, declaring, "It doesn't really feel like we're being impeached."

Trump took the stage just minutes before he became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

In a few short weeks, the 2010s will be over, and the 2020s will begin. It's the end of a decade (even if some people insist it's not exactly the end of the decade). Life in Michigan on the cusp of 2020 is quite a bit different than it was in 2010. Our newsroom has been reflecting on the stories that most shaped Michigan in the 2010s. Below is our list. What would you add? 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Mary Gonzalez has worked at KAM Plastics in Holland since 2017.

This summer, she got a new co-worker named Joey.

And when Joey first showed up, it put a fear in Mary Gonzalez.

“I mean, seriously it did,” she says. “‘Cause when they brought him in, he was over there and I’d go way around him.”

Aaron Burden / Unsplash

A federal program awarded $7.7 million to charter schools in Michigan that never opened. That's according to a report from the Network for Public Education.

A total of 257 charter schools in Michigan received money from the federal program. 72 of them never opened. No other state had that many unopened charter schools that received money from the Charter Schools Program.

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.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Republicans debated last night in Grand Rapids for the chance to represent their party against Independent Congressman Justin Amash in 2020.

public domain / Wikimedia Commons

Candidates running to unseat Congressman Justin Amash will debate Monday night in Grand Rapids.

Amash left the Republican Party earlier this year, after calling for an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.

Amash is running for re-election as an independent, and several people are now running against him.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Officials from the federal, state and county government will be at a public meeting in Manistee on Tuesday to talk about shoreline erosion.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee.

High water levels on the Great Lakes have caused flooding and erosion all along the Michigan coastline this year.

Birmingham Public Schools

Grand Rapids Community College is launching a new job training program to certify people to work on public water infrastructure.

The program includes collaborations with the cities of Grand Rapids and Kentwood.

Julie Parks is head of workforce training at GRCC. She says the training will make sure there are enough people to work on emerging water issues.

“You know we have PFAS in our area, we have lead in houses,” Parks says. “We need to have people who are trained to remove this and to make it safer for all of us.”

aeiral view of flooded Grand River
City of Grand Rapids / Facebook

A majority of Michigan’s rivers have more water than usual for this time of year. That’s according to measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Elevated water levels are causing issues for water infrastructure in the state.

Rachel Kramer/Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

The state has rejected a proposal to dredge 22.5 miles of the Grand River in West Michigan to open it up to power boating.

The proposal came from a group led by West Michigan developer Dan Hibma.

The group, called Grand River Waterway, commissioned an economic impact study that found the project could add $5.7 million per year to the region’s economy.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Berrien County commissioners want a disaster declaration from the state and federal governments to help cope with erosion along the Michigan shoreline.

A resolution passed last week calls for a disaster declaration for more than 3,000 miles of Michigan’s coast.