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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.

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 PFAs, 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.

military veterans
John M. Cropper / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The problem of homelessness among military veterans in Kent County has been solved, according to several organizations that have been working to find housing for them.

The county had more than 400 homeless veterans when the collaborative effort began in 2015.

gavel
Blogtrepreneur / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Judges are required to suspend your driver's license if you're unable to pay court debts in Michigan, one of just five states to do that, according to a new report. 

The Legal Aid Justice Center's nationwide report says the practice unfairly punishes poor people by taking away their ability to drive legally. Some states are beginning to rethink this practice.

According to the report, about 100,000 people in Michigan currently have their licenses suspended for inability to pay court fees.

Art is supposed to have a message – at least that's what several folks attending the annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize festival are saying.

The ninth annual ArtPrize festival officially starts today in downtown Grand Rapids. There are exhibits in more than 170 venues throughout the downtown area.

Several of the exhibits have politically charged messages at this year's open art competition.

One such piece,"Immeasurable Numbness" by Rachel Nanzer, illustrates the polarizing messages of "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter."

Blueberries
Andrew Malone / Flickr

Ten undocumented immigrants were rounded up Tuesday in what immigrant advocates say is the first major farm labor camp raid in Michigan since President Trump took office.

The ten workers were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcment officials Tuesday night at their labor camp near Hart, roughly 40 miles north of Muskegon.

The nine male farm workers are currently in ICE custody in Youngstown, Ohio. The lone female farm worker arrested in is Calhoun County, Michigan. It's unclear whether the workers will be deported.

Protestors standing outside of the Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A group of around 50 protestors in Grand Raids made it clear today that they aren't fans of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. 

The group chanted outside the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Michigan State University's new Grand Rapids Research Center.

Brian Turner / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This post has been updated on 9/20/2017 to include a response from Jumana Nagarwala's attorney, Shannon Smith.

A federal judge has granted bond to a Detroit-area doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation on young girls.

Doctor Jumana Nagarwala has been behind bars since April, after being arrested for her alleged involvement in the genital cutting procedure performed on two young girls from Minnesota.

The Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University will soon have an even bigger presence in West Michigan.

The MSU Grand Rapids Research Center is opening on Wednesday after two years of construction and more than a decade of planning.

MSU already has its College of Human Medicine’s Secchia Center medical education building in the city.

Asian carp jumping out of water
michiganoutofdoors.com

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public meeting in Muskegon last night on its $275.4 million plan to keep invasive fish species out of the Great Lakes.

A recent study found that electric barriers and complex noises, like the sound of boat motors, are the most effective ways to keep certain fish away. So the plan to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan includes both.

Grand Rapids Police Department
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that the city of Grand Rapids must release recordings in connection with the crash of former Kent County assistant prosecutor Josh Kuiper.

The recordings are phone conversations between police officers who investigated the crash. In those conversations, officers appear to be trying to avoid arresting the prosecutor for drunk driving. 

Town hall panel meeting at Rockford High School
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Uncertainty lingers in West Michigan following an informational town hall meeting about contaminated well water.

State and county health official know the toxic chemicals discovered in Belmont and Plainfield Township are often used in leather goods.

Rockford High School
http://www.rockfordschools.org/high-schools/rockford-high/

A public town hall meeting will be held in Rockford tomorrow night to discuss contaminated groundwater.

The toxic chemicals were discovered by county health officials last month in private wells in Belmont, about 10 miles north of Grand Rapids.

Ambassador Bridge
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

The Canadian government has given final approval for expanding the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The U.S. approved the permit for a new bridge last year.

Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal speaking at the podium
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids School Board voted today to take a formal stand against President Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – or DACA.

DACA protects many young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Flickr user EthelRedThePetrolHead / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Kellogg wants to make its West Michigan plant more sustainable, but that could mean more than 200 employees will be laid off.

The cereal company released a statement saying its effort to be more efficient is a part of its national initiative to better meet production needs.

More from the statement:

Rapid bus driver's union member being arrested at board meeting
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Things got heated at a board meeting for a Grand Rapids bus company over union contract disputes.

One union member was arrested for trespassing, according to Grand Rapids Police officers, after inciting chants against the board members.

Reverend Joan Ross recording in her studio
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s North End neighborhood is changing.

It's in a part of the city that's adjacent to the residential and retail boom that's drawn so much attention to Detroit in recent years. As that development moves outward from downtown, things are starting to look a little different around here. 

Joan Ross is a reverend and community organizer who works in the neighborhood. And like a lot of people who've worked or lived in the city for a while, she's thinking about what those changes mean.

Bill Huizenga answering a question
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Congressman Bill Huizenga is accustomed to lively town hall meetings. The meeting he held in Muskegon was no different. 

Hundreds of Huizenga's constituents attended the meeting. He was booed several times for supporting President Donald Trump and challenging the government's place in providing healthcare.

Huizenga says he supports Republican ideals more than any one person.

“What I support is a conservative philosophy that understands where people are coming from. It's not about one person,” Huizenga said. 

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

Grand Rapids will be looking at candidates from across the country to find a new city manager.

Greg Sundstrom announced last week that he will retire from the position at the end of the year. 

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says Sundstrom was vital to the city's financial turnaround. 

“So my hope is that we have someone to replace Greg to build on what he's done, but then also bring new ideas and look at where do we still have to improve and how do we get there,” Bliss said.

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