April 11 2014 12:00 AM

Bat-killing fungus discovered in Michigan, causing concern for farmers, foresters and homeowners

Courtesy photo
Friday, April 4 — Each week, City Pulse runs a series of stories produced by Capital News Service correspondents at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism. This week’s topics include a bat-killing fungus discovered in Michigan; new highway construction zone safety stats; paving roads with gravel and expanded dredging projects.
  • A fungus that has killed more than 10 million bats nationwide has been discovered for the first time in Michigan. Wildlife biologists on April 10 confirmed infected bats in Alpena, Mackinac and Dickinson counties. The spread appears inevitable and could affect farmers, foresters and homeowners who depend on bats for insect control. A single bat can eat up to 5,000 bugs in a single night. By Danielle Woodward.
  • The number of crashes in Michigan highway construction zones has dropped but the number of serious injuries they produce is on the rise, according to a new report. By Ashley Weigel.
  • The legacy of Michigan’s bitterly cold winter may accelerate a county trend of converting paved roads into gravel ones. As frost deep in the ground thaws, some county officials are finding it better to go back to gravel than to continue to patch potholes. It’s a less-than-desirable attempt to buy time as state and local officials look for funds for a better fix. By Darcie Moran.
  • Congress has expanded Great Lakes dredging projects, including 14 planned for Michigan waters. Projects are planned in Cheboygan, Grand Haven, Holland, Sault Ste. Marie, Detroit, Leland. By Qing Zhang.
  • Michigan state and university officials and entrepreneurs are anxiously awaiting the results of a federal appeal that could determine how a commercial drone industry develops in the state. We talk to the drone program manager at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and state officials who are hoping to develop an industry they believe is poised for takeoff. By Greg Monahan.