U.S. Coast Guard

Investigative
10:30 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Unraveling the mysteries of the GI Bill, Coast Guard and EPA

“The programs we offer are the ones that (veterans) desire,” says Garland Williams, the University of Phoenix’s vice president for military affairs.
Credit Carlos A. Moreno / CIR

Update 10:30 p.m.

The showed has already aired on Michigan Radio. If you missed it, you can catch it again here.

Original post- 11:30 a.m.

Who’s really benefiting from the GI Bill? Why does the U.S. Coast Guard have some explaining to do? How much arsenic in our water is actually safe? There’s always more to the story.

“Reveal,” the radio show dedicated to investigative reporting, is back. Brought to you by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, the third pilot episode examines the value of a degree from a for-profit colleges reaping millions of dollars from GI Bill funds, explores the Coast Guard’s shaky safety record, exposes the backroom deals over arsenic in our water and delves into the secrecy around lethal injection drugs.

Catch Reveal tonight on Michigan Radio at 7 p.m.!

Here’s a rundown of the stories you’ll hear:

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Environment & Science
3:19 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Coast Guard tops in drunken boating arrests

Coast Guard boat crew members practice tactics for stopping small boats during a Non-Compliant Vessel Pursuit course at the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy
Credit Facebook/U.S. Coast Guard

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio – A U.S. Coast Guard station that watches over western Lake Erie led the nation in drunken boating arrests last year. 

The Coast Guard says officers with Marblehead station charged 67 people with boating under the influence in 2013.

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Stateside
4:55 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Great Lakes ice cover slows down the shipping season

Credit NOAA

The Detroit Tigers weren't the only ones to hold an Opening Day.

The Great Lakes shipping season officially opened March 25.

And, unlike Opening Day at Comerica Park, this one is much less well attended.

No surprise: The near-total ice coverage on the Great Lakes has led to a very slow start to the shipping season and a whole lot of ice-cutting for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Mark Gill is the director of vessel traffic services for the U.S. Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Environment & Science
9:28 am
Wed February 5, 2014

200-300 gallons of fuel spill into Detroit River

USCGC Mackinaw
United States Coast Guard

DETROIT (AP) — About 200 to 300 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Detroit River while a U.S. Coast Guard ship was taking on fuel, officials said.

The discharge from the Cutter Mackinaw happened Tuesday afternoon near the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The Coast Guard said the ship's crew secured the source of fuel and conducted initial cleanup operations onboard. Crewmembers also deployed a boom around the fuel to prevent further spread. A contractor is expected to finish cleanup efforts.

"We take our role as environmental stewards seriously, and any accidental discharge of fuel is regrettable," Capt. Eric Johnson, chief of the Coast Guard 9th District Incident Management Branch, said in a statement. "We are already at work mitigating any potential impacts."

The cause of the discharge is under investigation, Johnson said, and the Coast Guard wants to ensure that another spill doesn't happen.

Ice breaking work is keeping Coast Guard crews busy on the Great Lakes, and the Mackinaw was cleared Tuesday to leave for an ice breaking operation.

Transportation
8:55 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Coast Guard icebreaker back at work after crash in the Straits of Mackinac

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock (file photo)
Petty Officer 2nd Class George Degener/US Coast

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard says one of its icebreakers has returned to service after sustaining damage in a collision with a freighter in the Straits of Mackinac.

The accident happened Jan. 5 in Lake Michigan, about 20 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge.

The Coast Guard says the 225-foot cutter Hollyhock was breaking ice when it hit a hard spot in the ice. It says the 990-foot Mesabi Miner hit the Hollyhock's stern.

The Mesabi Mine sustained damage to its bow. It was hauling iron ore to Gary, Ind.

Transportation
5:29 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Coast Guard ice-breaker damaged in Straits of Mackinac crash

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock (file photo)
Petty Officer 2nd Class George Degener/US Coast Guard

MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard says one of its ice-breakers sustained significant damage in a collision with a freighter in the Straits of Mackinac. No injuries are reported.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Keith Showalter says the accident happened about 10:45 a.m. Sunday. He says the location is about 20 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge, which links Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula to St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula.

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Politics & Government
1:53 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

Helping Michigan's veterans get the benefits they've earned

The U.S. flag is flanked by the flags of the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the POW-MIA flag
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This Veterans Day, Michigan has the dubious distinction of having its military veterans among those receiving the least government benefits of any in the 50 states.

Michigan’s more than 650 thousand veterans get about $3,400 on average in benefits compared with a national average of nearly five thousand dollars a year.   

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Law
11:09 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Coast Guard offers reward in Michigan laser case

The U.S. Coast Guard in West Michigan is looking for someone who directed a green laser at one of its helicopters.
U.S. Coast Guard Facebook

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard is offering a $1,000 reward for information after someone directed a green laser at one of its helicopters during training off West Michigan.

The Coast Guard said Thursday that the laser was pointed at the helicopter the night of Aug. 17 from near Muskegon at Pioneer Park, where a group of people was seen around a campfire flashing a pattern of light signals. The Coast Guard says the people fled when a boat crew approached them.

No injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard warns that lasers can impair the vision of pilots. Cases of people pointing lasers at planes or helicopters have been reported elsewhere.

Tips in the case may be directed to the Coast Guard.

Environment
6:50 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Training for an icy water oil spill

A three-day exercise testing the U.S. Coast Guard's ability to contain oil spills on large freshwater waterways is scheduled to wrap up today near St. Ignace.    

The weather has been ideal, with a wintry blast creating the icy, unpleasant conditions Coast Guard officials wanted.   

"It's very necessary to make sure that we're ready to respond in case something does happen," George Degener, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Environment
9:26 am
Thu August 18, 2011

3 adults, 6 kids rescued from Partridge Island

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities rescued three adults and six children from Partridge Island in Lake Superior who had been on the water in a 12-foot boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the boat was "beset by weather" on Wednesday afternoon and they got a call for help via cell phone.

A crew from Coast Guard Station Marquette and rescuers from the Marquette County sheriff's department responded. A Coast Guard rescuer swam to the beach and helped the nine onto a sheriff's
department boat, and they were transferred to the Coast Guard boat.

No injuries were reported. All nine were transported to Coast Guard Station Marquette.

Lake Michigan
12:14 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Coast Guard warning Lake Michigan swimmers about rip currents

Rip current mechanism: breakers cross sand bars off the shore, the water travels back to sea through the gap in the sand bars, creating a fast "rip"
(courtesy of National Weather Service, Wilmington, NC)

Search efforts continue for two swimmers who were caught up Tuesday in rip currents off the coast of Saugatuck.     Lake Michigan’s eastern shore has seen strong rip currents this week. 

U.S. Coast Guard petty officer Lauren Jorgenson  says people swimming in the Great Lakes should be aware of the danger of currents that can pull swimmers away from the beach.  

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Great Lakes
11:24 am
Mon July 18, 2011

Coast Guard: 2 boaters found 'unresponsive'

DETROIT (AP) - The Coast Guard says divers have found two people missing since their boat capsized in Lake Michigan during the annual Chicago-to-Mackinac Island race and that the two are "unresponsive."

The Coast Guard did not indicate in its news release whether the two boaters were alive or dead.

Authorities say a Charlevoix County dive team recovered the two boaters about eight hours after the reports the boat had flipped.

The boaters' names have not been released.

The other six people aboard the sailboat WingNuts were rescued. The boat capsized early Monday near the Fox Islands, west of Charlevoix during the Chicago Yacht Club race.

Freighter aground
4:16 pm
Fri December 24, 2010

Freighter aground south of Detroit

Wikimedia Commons

A freighter carrying coal to a power plant has run aground in the Detroit River.

Patricia Baca is with search and rescue at the U.S. Coast Guard in Detroit. She says the channel the vessel was trying to navigate is a difficult one:

"It is, because it’s not navigated very often by the commercial mariners. They only go in there maybe, like, four times a year. And this happens to be one of the four times a year." 

Baca says four tug boats are trying to free the McKee Sons freighter – which got stuck early this morning near Grosse Ile. A Coast Guard investigation is under way.