Jan. 17 2014 12:00 AM

New barriers to road funding; climate change health concerns; mixed recreational effects of polar vortex; new bike signaling; and more

Source: League of Michigan Bicyclists
Friday, Jan. 17 — A new semester has started, which means City Pulse is back to running a series of stories produced by Capital News Service correspondents at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism. This week’s topics include new barriers to fixing the state’s road infrastructure, a slow-moving health crisis as a result of climate change, new signaling for bicyclists and more.
  • Once again Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants to tackle Michigan road improvements as a priority.  But state and local road officials have a new foe this year: Recent temperature fluctuations have induced an early freeze/thaw cycle of pothole-inducing weather. What’s more, heavy snowfall is sucking up road maintenance funds for snow removal. By Ashley Weigel.
  • State and local health authorities are gearing up to prepare for a slow-moving health crisis: A changing climate that brings new diseases and health worries to Michigan residents.  By Danielle Woodward.
  • In the short term, the polar vortex may harm Michigan’s popular recreational fishery as it robs inland lakes of the oxygen needed to keep fish alive. But in the long term the recent cold weather may actually help some fish thrive. Meanwhile the thick ice of a bitter winter is drawing anglers to the lake. By Darcie Moran.
  • Michigan lawmakers just gave bicyclists a new way to signal a right turn: Stick out your right arm. The move was sponsored by a Macomb County lawmaker and lifelong cyclist Anthony Forlini and co-sponsored by Upper Peninsula Scott Dianda whose district encompasses a large biking population. By Nick Stanek.
  • A west Michigan man has invented a machine that replaces ladders with mobile platforms and lets pickers harvest apples with foam buckets and vacuum tubes. It could be safer and improve productivity while addressing labor shortages. By Tiara Marocco.
  • A five-year project to restore Lake Erie’s largest coastal wetland has fish lining up to use it. The Nature Conservancy is building underwater passageways and installing pumps to link the lake to wetlands separated by dikes for 60 years. By Greg Monahan.
  • Culture and ethics weigh heavily in decisions to hunt species, including those that are endangered. That affects the pursuit of species as diverse as sturgeon, wolves and deer. By Heather Hartmann.