This week from Capital News Service

By Capital News Service
Photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory

Long-term loss of wetlands; “middle-skilled” workers in demand; U.S. donations fewer for Philippines; and more

Friday, Dec. 6 — 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 Michigan wetlands facing long-term losses, the need for more “middle-skilled” workers, an increased statewide need for healthy foods and more.

  • A large gain in Michigan’s coastal wetlands between 2004-09 may obscure larger longer-term losses that are expected to continue due to development and changing lake levels. Among the most important wetlands in the Great Lakes region are Grand Traverse Bay, the Les Cheneaux Islands and the river mouth wetlands in Manistee County. Saginaw Bay is especially hard hit. We talk to DEQ, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and experts at Central Michigan University and MSU. By Matthew Hall.
  • Manufacturers and technology, health care and skilled trade employers in Northwest Michigan and the Eastern U.P., like those elsewhere in the state, have difficulty hiring enough “middle-skilled” workers. That mirrors a national trend where demand exceeds supply for jobs requiring more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. By Justine McGuire.
  • Americans are less generous in donating to relief efforts in typhoon-devastated Philippines than they were after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Relative distance may be a factor, says an official at the Red Cross’s Southeastern Michigan regional office. A Lowell resident and her relatives in Greenville and Ionia are raising money by selling traditional Filipino dishes and other activities. By Becky McKendry.
  • Volunteers across the state are being trained as Master Gardeners in preparation for community service projects such as rejuvenation of Belle Isle, gardening at the Kalamazoo County Jail and harvesting food for food banks, as well as answering the public’s questions. We talk to participants from Western Wayne County and Kalamazoo County groups. By Becky McKendry.
  • A national study predicts that future air travelers will face even greater delays on holiday eves because airlines are reducing flights and cramming more people into the ones that remain, but officials at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Gerald R. Ford International Airport say they’re not worried. By Lacee Shepard.
  • Industry, universities and nonprofit groups are teaming up to make manufacturers’ use of chemicals more environmentally friendly. They include the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, DEQ, Dow Chemical, Herman Miller, Steelcase, General Motors, Grand Valley, Michigan Tech, Wayne State, Kettering and MSU. By Matthew Hall.
  • The Michigan Food Policy Council says the state should increase access to healthy foods for more residents. An official of West Bloomfield-based Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers says Michigan should follow the lead of other states. By Lacee Shepard.
  • Scientists have developed a technique that uses math to identify different types of ice on the Great Lakes in what could be a boon for the shipping industry, recreational boaters and the Coast Guard. A Sault Ste. Marie Coast Guard official and an Ann Arbor researcher explain. By Greg Monahan.