Southwest Michigan Today: Monday April 22, 2019

Apr 22, 2019

Controlled burns are scheduled to begin at WMU’s Asylum Lake property. A case of mumps is confirmed at the Calhoun County Jail. WMU earns a berth in the NCAA men’s tennis tournament by winning the Mid-American Conference championship. 

Western Michigan University officials say prescribed burns are scheduled to begin Monday at the Asylum Lake Preserve as part of the management of the land there. The university says 30 acres of prairie and up to three acres of wetland will be burned beginning Monday, weather permitting. Western says the carefully managed fires are necessary to promote the health of native vegetation.

Calhoun County health officials say a case of mumps has been confirmed at the county jail. Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxon says they have worked to segregate anyone in the jail who had contact with the mumps case. He says MMR vaccinations are being provided to people who had not previously been immunized. The health department says there have not been any cases of mumps confirmed outside of the jail population in Calhoun County.

(MPRN) There is a new state department in charge of environmental protection in Michigan starting Monday. That’s under an executive order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The new department’s director Liesl Clark says the state still has to deal with the Flint water crisis, and PFAS contamination of drinking water. Clark says the new department will also focus on environmental justice and identifying new threats.

(WDET) The U.S. Census Bureau reports Michigan’s population increased between the summer of 2017 and the summer of 2018. The Bureau finds immigrants are responsible for about half of that growth. Immigration has become a hot button political issue the U.S. Supreme Court will consider this week whether citizenship should even be a question on Census surveys. But new data from the Census Bureau indicates immigrants made up a substantial part of the recent 20-thousand person rise in Michigan’s population. Kent County reportedly had the largest year-over-year population increase in Michigan…gaining about 45-hundred people.

(WCMU) Air Force officials have announced they’re planning to visit the former Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda this week. They’ll be speaking with local residents and lawmakers about contamination that the Air Force caused. The former Wurtsmith Air Force base is one of the many sites of known chemical contamination in Michigan. That contamination was caused, at least in part, by Air Force operations. The Air Force has been criticized by both state officials and Congressional representatives for not making cleanup at the base a priority.

(WDET) A federal judge says residents in Flint can sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to notify citizens that the city’s water could be tainted with lead. Flint’s water was contaminated in 2014 after the city began using its river for drinking water. A group of Flint residents sued the EPA for allegedly mishandling the crisis that erupted after the city began using the Flint River without properly treating the water system’s pipes. The lawsuit was filed in 2017. The federal government wanted the suit dismissed…arguing it was immune from liability. But U.S. District Judge Linda Parker’s opinion says that the EPA knew the Flint River was highly-corrosive and was well aware that it posed a significant health risk and that state and city officials were not warning residents that their water could be laced with lead.

(MPRN) Lawmakers at the state Capitol have made changing the state’s criminal justice system a priority this session. Two packages of bills are close to the governor’s desk with crucial votes taking place earlier this week. One would raise the age for when a person is automatically considered an adult for certain crimes from 17 to 18. Another would change the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

Western Michigan has won the Mid-American Conference Men’s Tennis Championship for the second straight year. The Broncos defeated Northern Illinois Sunday in the championship of the MAC tournament. With the conference championship, Western earns an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. The Broncos will find out their first round opponent on April 29th.

In baseball, Western Michigan split a double header at Bowling Green Sunday. The Broncos rallied for a 4-2 win in the second game after the Falcons took the opener 4-3. Western will begin a three game series at Central Michigan on Friday.