FRIDAY, Feb. 19 — A roundup of news from around the state, provided by our partners at Capital News Service. Follow the links for the full stories.


Michigan traffic deaths rise, bucking decade trend: The number of Michigan traffic deaths went up nearly 10 percent in 2015, just the fourth increase in the past 11 years and contrary to a long term decline. Traffic officials attribute the rise to declining seatbelt use and to alcohol and drug abuse.


Older prison inmates run up state health costs: The number of Michigan inmates older than 50 has grown nearly 150 percent since 1998, creating growing fiscal and health care challenges. We talk to a retired warden, the Department of Corrections and two civil rights lawyers who say older prisoners are sicker and require more medical care.


First, they lure the lamprey, then they stage the battle: A newly approved biocide that uses mating odors to lure the invasive sea lamprey could help control the alien species that damages fish in the Great Lakes. We hear from MSU researchers who developed the EPA-approved compound that is being welcomed by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and U.S. Geological Survey.


State grants give vets more counselors, faster service: Almost $200,000 in state money is on its way to veterans’ services offices in 19 counties, boosting the number of counselors available to vets and speeding the time it takes to process claims. Another $50,000 could be coming by the end of the year.


Fungal diseases threatens Michigan’s walnut, butternuts: Butternut canker has decimated Michigan’s butternut trees as far north as the U.P. while another fungus, thousand cankers disease, threatens to reach the state with potentially devastating impact on black walnut and English Carpathian walnut trees. We talk to nut growers in Eagle and Waterford and a U.S. Forest Service plant pathologist.


New specialty treats mental health with first aid: The number of individuals trained in mental health first aid to help people detect early warning signs of mental illness is growing in Michigan, according to state health authorities. State grants are helping train health providers to act like mental health first responders.



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