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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, the Detroit-area doctor involved in the female genital mutilation case, and residents concerned about a massive sinkhole in Macomb County. 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.

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

A West Michigan lawmaker wants the CEO of a major shoe manufacturer to testify in front of state House oversight committee.

Wolverine Worldwide, which is based just north of Grand Rapids, is believed to be responsible for groundwater contamination in northern Kent County.

Headquarters of the Inner City Christian Federation in Grand Rapids.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A non-profit in Grand Rapids has purchased more than 177 properties for affordable housing.

The Inner City Christian Federation finalized the deal earlier this week.

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some national law firms filed a class action lawsuit today against Wolverine Worldwide and 3M Corporation over a toxic chemical plume in West Michigan.

The suit alleges that Wolverine dumped harmful chemicals in the environment. It also alleges that the company didn't do enough to fix the problem.

A "no trespassing" sign from the House Street site boundary.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

People in northern Kent County have been dealing with the recent discovery of groundwater contamination for the past several months.

Some residents still have questions about what caused it and how it could affect their health.

Gov. Rick Snyder
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder spoke to members of the Michigan Farm Bureau at its annual meeting in Grand Rapids today.

Snyder says proposed trade policy changes in NAFTA between the U.S. and Canada could help the farming business.

Recycling symbol
Alan Levine / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Kent County is closing its recycling facility temporarily. But this is a good thing in the long run, according to the Department of Public Works.

Kristen Weiland, marketing and communications director with the Kent County Department of Public Works, says the facility is shutting down so the county can install new equipment.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

A new civics program is designed to help people new to Grand Rapids adjust to the city.

The Our City Academy program focuses on how to navigate the city and how to find important city and county facilities.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence's website

Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence’s Chief of Staff, Dwayne Marshall resigned today following multiple sexual harassment allegations.

Congresswoman Lawrence says her office will “move forward with an investigation focused on the current and future climate of our workplace.”

Recyclign bin in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Kent County Department of Public Works met with community members Tuesday night to gather feedback on sustainable waste management plans.

Currently, the county recycles only 10% of its waste. The rest ends up in landfills.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive directive yesterday to deal with PFAS and PFC contamination around the state.

Snyder has established a task force called the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, which will coordinate efforts by local, state and federal agencies to keep residents safe from these chemicals.

Recycling symbol
Alan Levine / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Kent County wants community input on a plan to recycle more of its waste.

The Kent County Department of Public Works says 75 percent of its waste can be recycled into usable products, but it currently only recycles about 10 percent.

The department wants to build a business park that would help reduce the amount of waste in county facilities while helping emerging businesses save money on raw materials.

Grand Rapids bus
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People who rely on the buses to get around Grand Rapids can be at ease for a while -- 12 years to be exact. 

The transit millage renewal passed tonight. It received more than 22,000 "yes" votes. The initiative won by around 8,200 votes. 

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lead poisoning in Kent County is up nearly 31% from 2014 to 2016.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 615 children in the county had elevated blood-lead levels last year.

Paul Haan, executive director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, a non-profit that tries to help children stay healthy by avoiding harmful housing conditions, says drinking water isn't the cause for the increase in Kent County, but lead-based paint is.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

A group of nurses at an Oakland County hospital filed a lawsuit today against their employer.

Nurses at the Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital claim a shortage of nurses and support staff is creating dangerous situations for patients.

East Rockford Middle School
Rockford Public Schools

One West Michigan school community can feel more at ease. Water samples from East Rockford Middle School were tested, and show no signs of toxic chemicals.

The chemicals that were tested for are known as PFAS, and they are often used to waterproof leather goods.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Facebook and a Grand Rapids tech company are partnering to train 3,000 Michiganders in coding and digital marketing over the next two years.

Grand Circus has already been working to train people in these skills for the past five years, but now students can get free scholarships to the 10-week boot camp.

Protestors picketing outside of Grand Rapids City Hall before a city commission meeting
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A group of protestors picketed outside Grand Rapids City Hall ahead of a City Commission meeting tonight.

The protestors’ message: No contract for bus union members, no votes to support the transit millage on the upcoming November ballot.

The King's College

The DeVos family will hold public and private services to honor the late Helen DeVos, who died on Wednesday, October 18. 

The Grand Rapids philanthropist and conservative political donor died from complications of a stroke after being diagnosed with leukemia at age 90. 

Reverend Fred Wooden
Unitarian Universalist Association Website / https://www.uua.org/offices/people/w-frederick-wooden

A minister and community activist in Grand Rapids wants to represent Michigan's third congressional district.

The preacher of the progressive Fountain Street Church in downtown Grand Rapids announced that he hopes to become the first Democratic candidate to represent the district in over 40 years.

Map from the MDEQ of affected area
MDEQ

More people in West Michigan might be getting their drinking water tested for chemical contamination.

The state has added 300 homes to its investigation, about 10 miles north of Grand Rapids.

Saugatuck Dunes
Norm Hoekstra / Creative Commons

Some Michigan residents are saying no to a potential development along the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a public meeting last night to hear from residents about a proposed development project along dunes on Lake Michigan.

East Rockford Middle School
Rockford Public Schools

A West Michigan shoe manufacturer is sending bottled water to East Rockford Middle School. 

An old dumpsite for shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide is believed to be responsible for a chemical leak in the area that could pose health risks. That dumpsite is within a mile of the school.

About 800 students are drinking bottled water until groundwater test results come back.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

A West Michigan shoe company is supplying whole-house water filters to some residents affected by water contamination near Grand Rapids.

Chris Hufnagel is with Wolverine Worldwide, the company believed to be responsible for the toxic chemicals, called PFASs, that were discovered in private drinking wells.

Protest banner in "funeral march" for public education
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Critics of U.S. Secretary of education Betsy DeVos held what they called a funeral march for public education today in Grand Rapids.

DeVos, a Grand Rapids native, has been criticized for supporting school choice, and most recently for rescinding Obama-era sexual assault guidelines for college campuses.

"A. Lincoln" by Richard Schlatter, one of the winning pieces in this year's Grand Rapids ArtPrize
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Downtown Grand Rapids will surely be less busy now that the ninth annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition is over.

Artists from all over the world come to West Michigan to share their art. But only two artists each year are grand prize winners.

Both Seitu Jones and Richard Schlatter will take home $200,000 for their pieces "The Heartside Community Meal" and "A. Lincoln," respectively. 

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Grand Rapids Public School District could lose more than a million dollars due to a drop in enrollment.

Michigan schools are funded based on the number of students – or per pupil funded. So, fewer students mean less money for the district.

Police
J J / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Grand Rapids Police Department wanted to mirror the community it serves. Now, the most diverse recruiting class in years has been sworn in.

Dave Rahinsky, chief of police for the Grand Rapids Police Department, says the diversity was intentional.

Prison bars
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Sentencing people to prison instead of probation can have some long-lasting effects, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan.

It found that if you're convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison rather than probation, you're more likely to go back to prison.

The Holland Energy Park
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The city of Holland opened its new energy park today, and that means cleaner and more sustainable energy for the city, according to the Board of Public Works.

The $240 million facility is a power plant surrounded by a nature park, but it aims to be much more.

Map from the MDEQ of affected area
MDEQ

The shoe manufacturing company believed to have contaminated groundwater in two West Michigan communities still doesn't know exactly how it happened.

Chris Hufnagel is with Wolverine World Wide, the shoe company believed to be the source of the toxic chemicals.

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