March 14 2014 12:00 AM

New threat to osprey, nearshore water risks, bracing for spring floods and more

Osprey nest. Courtesy photo.
Friday, March 14 — 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 the interaction between wildlife and power development; the cold winter’s effects on dairy production; creative class work in schools; plus much more.
  • The osprey has rebounded in Michigan but now it faces a new threat: Workers who may remove their nests to better access the state’s burgeoning communication and power towers. The nests also weigh down towers and lines, and in some instances even cause fires. By Evan Kreager.
  • The number of pollution-related beach closings and health advisories has dropped in recent years but an MSU expert says nearshore waters remain at risk, especially in urban areas. Researchers have tested sediments in Lake St. Clair showing a deterioration of water quality during the past century. We also talk to experts in Ottawa County and Michigan Sea Grant in Ann Arbor. By Qing Zhang.
  • The long cold winter has cows slipping on the ice and catching pneumonia more often while eating more feed and producing less milk. We talk to MSU experts and farmers in Missaukee, Antrim, Menominee and Sanilac counties. By Darcie Moran.
  • Heavy snowfall and warming weather have state and local officials bracing for spring floods. We talk to state police and local emergency managers. By Danielle Woodward.
  • After solving the crisis of dwindling bees in West Michigan, and illustrating a Great Lakes ecological issue through stop-animation, how about creating an original music video to promote local geology? Instead of wading through graded homework and exam review sheets, Michigan’s Hamilton Middle School's seventh-grade science curriculum is comprised almost entirely of creative, collaborative projects. The futurePrep Connections program is a partnership between the Ottawa Area School District and local businesses. By Becky McKendry.
  • High school students could learn algebra while working with metal under legislation pending in the Senate. The proposal is to alter graduation requirements to make it easier to learn skills while attending high school. The bills are supported by the Michigan Farm Bureau and the National Federal of Independent Business and opposed by high school administrators concerned it will affect graduation rates. By Ashley Weigel.
  • The state’s landfills took in less trash last year than previously, continuing a 10-year trend, but the amount of waste from other states and Canada rose, a DEQ report shows. Factors include recycling and digitizing paper records. We talk to DEQ, Michigan Waste Industries Association and Waste Management Co. By Qing Zhang.