FRIDAY, March 18 — A roundup of news from around the state, provided by our partners at Capital News Service. Follow the links for the full stories.


Statewide unemployment drops below 5 percent but northern counties still struggle: While Michigan’s statewide unemployment rate dips below 5 percent, workers in the northern part of the state continue to struggle. The north didn’t benefit from the recovery of the auto industry and areas not strong in seasonal tourism are especially hurting.


Censorship of student journalism would end under Senate bill: High school journalists are pressing for greater freedom to pursue stories without interference from administrators. A bill clarifying the rights of high school and college journalists recently passed a Senate committee unanimously despite the objections of some school administrators. We talk to one of the bill sponsors, the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, the Students Press Law Center, two high school journalists, the Michigan Association of High School Principals, and the Michigan Association of State Universities.


Number of cops, crimes down statewide in 2014: A new state report says that the number of police in Michigan dropped 15 percent from 2001 to 2014. But crime also dropped during that period. Some police say that’s contrary to conventional wisdom, but police agencies are finding ways to do more with less.


Clean energy can produce jobs, economic growth, study says: A new report says that Michigan is among the Midwest leaders in clean energy jobs and that passing stronger state policies requiring the use of alternative energy can spur the economy even more. Energy policies the state adopted in 2008 are paying off and more action would continue the trend, clean energy folks say. We talk to the Michigan Environmental Council, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, and economist Charles Ballard.


New apple storage containers extend life of apples: Researchers at Michigan State University partnered with a French company to develop a new way of storing apples for longer periods without losing their freshness. The technique could benefit the state’s fruit crop.


Snyder confuses public relations with public health solutions: Commentary. The governor’s bad-PR-is-our-real-problem mindset is reflected by the deluge of press releases, advisories and pronouncements pouring from his office. The administration’s Joint Information Center has been prolific as well.


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