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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.

Hot dog food cart
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A Michigan native and Army veteran is looking to expand his West Michigan company.

Michigan native James Meeks is the CEO of Move Systems International. The company makes and operates food carts -- like the ones hot dog vendors use on the sidewalks of New York City.

The New York-based company is investing $13 million to manufacture more of its food carts in the Grand Rapids area.

He says his military background has influenced how he does hiring.

Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom announced his retirement today.

Sundstrom has worked for the city since 1981 and has been city manager since 2009.

People at a peace vigil at State Capitol
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Peace vigils were held across the state Sunday in solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attack in Charlottesville.

More than two hundred people stood at the state capitol in Lansing. There were also vigils in Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids.

Money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Medicaid expansion is good for hospitals' bottom line and for the people using it, according to a study released earlier this week.

The Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT) found that between 2013 and 2015, hospitals decreased uncompensated care costs by 56%. Uncompensated care is the amount of care a hospital provides but never gets fully reimbursed for.

A pipe at a construction site
Sarah Cweik / Michigan Radio

There's progress being made on fixing the sinkhole in Macomb County, and officials hope that'll help put an end to some of the drama it has caused between neighboring cities. 

A new pipe is going in along 15 Mile Road in Fraser. This pipe is replacing the broken and outdated one that led to the sinkhole.

Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Flickr

Two Grand Rapids area nonprofits will use new grant money to help supply affordable housing.

The grants came from Project Reinvest: Neighborhoods, a program of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit NeighborWorks America. It awarded a $500,000 grant to both Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and LINC Up. 

NeighborWorks America is a coalition of public and private partners that want to create affordable housing for communities throughout the country.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos being shown factory equipment
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Traditional four-year universities aren't the only path to higher education and good jobs. That was the message today from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

DeVos met with Grand Rapids Community College students and faculty as a part of a nationwide tour to see different approaches to higher education. The visit was focused on apprenticeships and the need for skilled trades workers. 

Wendell Brown teaching a group of Chinese people about American football.
Antoinette Brown

The family of a Detroit native and former Canadian Football League player is hoping for word soon on the outcome of his criminal trial in China.

Wendell Brown has been sitting in a Chinese jail since getting into a bar fight last September. He waited 10 months to get a trial. He's now awaiting the judge's verdict on his assault charge.

Gavel
Flickr/Joe Gratz / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A federal judged today denied a bond motion for a Detroit-area doctor at the center of a female genital cutting case.

This motion would have allowed Dr. Jumana Nagarwala to be placed under house arrest. Instead, Nagarwala remains at the Wayne County Jail.

Shannon Smith, Nagarwala’s attorney, says the judge denied the motion because her client's international connections maker her a flight risk.

“But the court really left the door open that if we’re able to come back in with some different ideas, he may reconsider,” Smith said.

A photo of John James
Courtesy Photo / johnjamesforsenate.com

Michigan businessman and military veteran John James announced today he is running for the U.S. Senate.

The Republican Iraq war veteran released a campaign video that lists conservative stances on gun rights and abortion as some of his priorities.

James is the CEO of a supply chain and logistics company in Detroit, according to a press release from his campaign.

“Revenue has more than tripled and 100 jobs have been created under my leadership as President of our supply-chain logistics company,” James said in the release.

Wendell Brown teaching a group of Chinese people about American football
Antoinette Brown

Former Detroit high school football star and Canadian Football League player Wendell Brown faces trial today in China for assault.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Detroit needs to put more resources into its transit system, according to a recent survey.

The 2016 Downtown Detroit Perceptions Report takes a look at topics like safety, mobility and inclusiveness.

Mayor Mike Duggan handing Kiya Snapp the deed to her house after she completed the occupied buy back program
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Eighty Detroit families are regaining ownership of their homes, after nearly losing them to foreclosure.

This is the first group of families to complete the Detroit Land Bank’s “occupied buy back” program that sells Land Bank-owned homes to people rather than kick them out.

Little Caesars Arena Construction site in downtown, with a Pistons banner
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

Can $34.5 million of public money be used to reimburse two billionaires building a sports arena? That’s what a federal lawsuit will try to answer.

Poster for the Detroit Summer Fun Centers.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is partnering with the Detroit Public Schools Community District to use 16 public schools as recreation centers for five weeks starting Monday. 

The city wants to give kids more recreational choices, but it would’ve been more expensive to reopen the 16 recreation centers that were closed down between 2006 and 2013.

There are currently 11 recreation centers in the city, so adding these 16 schools during the summer brings the total to 27, where it was in 2006.

David Sanchez and his son Benicio, who has Autism Spectrum Disoder.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell spoke to some Michigan parents of children with special needs today about what a future without the Affordable Care Act would be like.

More specifically, Dingell talked about the possibility of those families losing Medicaid if the Senate Republican healthcare bill is passed.

Mayor Mike Dugan talking about Grow Detroit's Yougn Talent program with city youth
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

For the second straight year, more than 8,000 Detroit youth will be working for a city program this summer.

The Grow Detroit’s Young Talent hired 8,127 young people from age 14-24 to work for one of 530 companies across the city.

GDYT hired 2,500 more young people than in 2015 when it began, but 30 fewer than it hired in 2016.

City councilman Scott Benson has been involved with getting youth from the city’s third district, which he represents, into the program since last year.

Tax forms
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city’s effort to get more eligible Detroit residents to file their earned income tax credit is paying off, city officials say.

More than 18,000 more residents filed for the federal and state earned income tax credits in 2016 than in 2015. Liza Howze is the city’s director of legislative affairs.

She says the increase is a result of a city-led effort to get more residents to take advantage of the credit.

Protestors holding a sign disapproving the Senate Republicans' healthcare bill
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Some protestors in Detroit think the Senate Republicans' health care bill is bad for Michigan.

The group of protestors marched outside of Senator Debbie Stabenow's Detroit office despite the fact that like most Democrats, she opposes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

A program booklet from the 2017 R&B Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroiters may get yet another museum honoring the city's music legends: the founder of the Rhythm And Blues Hall of Fame wants to build a museum in the Motor City.

On Tuesday, LaMont Robinson, the Hall's founder, told city council members he's identified a city-owned building that could become the museum: it's a vacant nursing home on West Grand Boulevard,  less than a mile from the Motown museum. 

“We’re looking at anywhere from $3-$5 million [in costs,] so we’ve already started fundraising," he said. "So we just need the blessings of the city."

The Detroit neighborhood of Delray
wikimedia user Notorious4life / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The city of Detroit will get $48 million in a deal with the state related to construction of a new bridge to Canada.

The city is selling the state land in the Delray neighborhood, where the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be built.

Mayor Mike Duggan wants the money to go to a neighborhood improvement fund, job training for city residents, and air and health monitoring in southwest Detroit.

A home being demolished in Detroit.
City of Detroit / via Facebook

The Detroit Land Bank Authority will pay the state $5 million to settle complaints over how its demolition program handled invoices.

But Mayor Mike Duggan says the city will also get $5 million from the state in new demolition money.

“This gives us enough funding to go full speed ahead with the demolitions for the next year and a half,” Duggan said.

The city also reimbursed the state roughly $1.3 million for its investigation costs.

Duggan is satisfied with the deal.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Lafayette Street between Shelby and Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit was flooded with people supporting several Iraqi-American immigrants facing possible deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrested these immigrants in metro-Detroit more than a week ago.

Most have criminal records, but have already served time or paid their fines.

Carrie Heichle is the wife of one of the men arrested during the ICE sweeps.

She says her two sons are having a hard time without their dad.

An artists' vision of Little Caesars Arena.
Olympia Entertainment

The Detroit Pistons are one step closer to playing downtown again.

Despite backlash from some residents, Detroit city council has approved $34.5 million in bonds so the Pistons can move into the Little Caesars Arena downtown.

Some Detroiters are unhappy with the deal because the bonds are taxpayer funded with money originally intended for schools and parks. 

Council President Brenda Jones was one of two members to vote no on the bonds.

An artists' vision of Little Caesars Arena.
Olympia Entertainment

A federal judge has knocked down an initial effort to stop the Detroit Pistons from moving to a new downtown arena unless there’s a public vote on financing the project.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith heard arguments in a federal lawsuit, filed by activists Robert Davis and D. Etta Wilcoxon. It alleges team owners and city officials didn't seek public approval before using public funds for the project, in violation of state law.

Money
Andy / Flickr

President Trump’s proposed budget could mean trouble for southeast Michigan.

That’s the opinion of Congressman Sander Levin and more than 20 organizations in the area.

The congressman met with representatives from different organizations at risk of losing federal funding if the president’s budget is approved.

Levin says the proposed budget has very few positives, if any, for Michigan residents.

“I don’t want people to go hungry because of these cuts, I don’t want them to be in the cold without assistance for heat,” Levin said.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Friends and family members of the Iraqi-Americans who are facing possible deportation gathered in Detroit to protest. 

Mayor Mike Duggan announcing Motor City Re-Store plan on Detroit's westside
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Much of the new development in Detroit has not happened in the city’s neighborhoods.

But now Mayor Mike Duggan wants to invest in small businesses throughout the city.

Duggan announced the Motor City Re-store plan that will help improve the aesthetics of different commercial corridors in the city.

Duggan says small businesses can apply for up to $500,000 in matching grants each quarter.

“And what we want is the businesses who have been here to come forward with their ideas for improving their neighborhoods and we’ll match it,” Duggan said.

Demolition
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Detroit demolition scandal heats up after a federal grand jury issued a subpoena earlier this week.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority was tasked with handling vacant property demolitions after Mayor Mike Duggan took office in 2014.

Duggan says nobody from his office was questioned or subpoenaed.

“We have made sure that everybody at the Land Bank and Building Authority have given them all documents, and access to all people as quickly as possible,” he said.

Duggan says he and his office will continue to cooperate with federal investigators.

Kym Worthy (file photo).
waynecounty.com

Community leaders in Detroit this week are calling on Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to change the way her office prosecutes cases. They she has been too harsh on juvenile offenders and has allowed exonerated prisoners to stay behind bars.

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