Nov. 15 2013 12:00 AM

Trouble for Michigan forests, drops in the number of juveniles sent to “schools for crime,” expanding Internet access in rural areas and more

Mimosa webworm

Friday, Nov. 15 — 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 cover trouble for Michigan forests, drops in juveniles sent to “schools for crime,” expanding Internet access in rural areas and more.

  • Move over, emerald ash borer. Climate change is bringing more pests that could ravage Michigan forests, warn scientists from MSU and the University of Wisconsin. Among them: the mimosa webworm, hemlock woolly adelgid and mountain pine beetle. Some species can’t migrate north toward cooler temperatures because of soil conditions or water availability. By Jessica Batanian.
  • The number of juveniles sent to residential treatment facilities, often criticized as “schools for crime,” has dropped sharply in Michigan, a national study shows. It’s cheaper and more effective to treat them in their own communities, experts say, but more needs to be done. We hear from the Michigan Council on Crime and delinquency, an MSU expert and a policy analyst. By Matthew Hall.
  • Limited or non-existent broadband Internet access in rural areas is a major competitive disadvantage for farmers. They need better access for high-tech farming. Efforts are underway or planned to improve high-speed service in several counties, including Wexford, Mecosta, Marquette, Gladwin, Osceola and Clare. We hear from the Public Service Commission and the Farm Bureau. By Becky McKendry.
  • A federally funded early response system is helping DNR combat invasive species, including European frog bit, a plant choking the state’s waterways. DNR experts, including one based in Brighton, explain. By Lacee Shepard.
  • The Court of Appeals has upheld a $400,000 jury verdict against a Realtor and her agency for failing to disclose environmental contamination at a South Haven condo development a few blocks from Lake Michigan. Marketing materials deliberately omitted mention of cancer-causing chemicals in the soil at a former factory site. By Eric Freedman.