Ben Thorp

State unveils map of shipwrecks

Jan 14, 2020

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan’s history center has launched an interactive map showing the location and history of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.  

The map focuses on ships that were wrecked in Michigan waters, which means it doesn’t include wrecks like the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down in Canadian waters. 

Sandra Clark is with the Michigan History Center. She says the map includes roughly 300 shipwrecks with information for visitors about the history of wrecks and whether they can be viewed from a kayak.

Asian Carp detected in Chicago

Nov 11, 2019

CHICAGO, IL (MPRN)--   Environmental DNA tests last week were positive for Asian Carp in the Chicago River. 

Experts say additional research is needed but the DNA could be coming from a fish market. 

The positive Environmental DNA tests were cause for alarm. Officials with the Michigan DNR reiterated the urgency around installing a barrier to keep Asian Carp from reaching Lake Michigan. 

The tests were within Chicago – close to Lake Michigan – and showed multiple positive hits for Asian Carp.

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   A new report says Enbridge Energy may have misrepresented its ability to pay for a Line 5 oil spill. 

While working with the Snyder Administration Enbridge agreed to cover up to $1.8 billion in the event of a Line 5 oil spill. 

Now a study, commissioned by the Attorney General’s office, which is involved in two lawsuits with Enbridge, finds the company may not be able to cover those costs. 

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokesperson for the AG’s office.

Kirtland's warbler comes off endangered list

Oct 9, 2019

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   The Kirtland’s warbler, an endangered Michigan songbird, no longer 

needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

That’s according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The bird was among the first animals in the U.S. to be listed at risk of extinction. 

Warblers only nest in young jack pine trees found in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ontario. 

In 1974 there were 167 breeding pairs left. Today, that number is estimated at over 2,300. 

Dan Kennedy is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 

Equifax settles over data breach

Jul 23, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Monday announced that her office, along with 48 other attorneys general, have reached a settlement with Equifax over a data breach. 

In 2017 Equifax suffered one of the largest data breaches in history, impacting nearly half of the U.S. population. The breach impacted social security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, among other things. 

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is with the Attorney General’s Office. She says Equifax will pay up to $425 million to consumers and $175 million to states. 

Energy task force discusses upcoming plans

Jul 11, 2019

MARQUETTE, MI (MPRN)--   The UP Energy Task Force held its first meeting in Marquette this week to discuss energy needs in the Upper Peninsula.

At the meeting the 19-member board discussed what it hoped to tackle over the coming months.

Mike Prusi is with the Governor’s Northern Michigan Office. He says he’s interested in learning about rates.

“How did the UP end up with such disparate utility rates? Why do we pay more than pretty much anywhere else in the country?” he said.

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   Attorney General Dana Nessel is seeking legal experts to advise the state on pursuing legal action on opioids and on PFAS chemicals that are being found in water around Michigan. 

In a statement Nessel said that “manufactured chemicals -- both opioids and PFAS -- are having a devastating effect on our residents.”

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokesperson for the Attorney General. She says they are looking for experts to aid with investigations and possible legal action.

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   A new report shows three times as many PFAS contamination sites across the country than was previously reported.

The report, from the Environmental Working Group, found roughly 610 PFAS contaminated sites across the country.

In July of 2018 the group reported 172 sites. Researchers say the new report drew from a new source - meaning the data isn’t directly comparable.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of chemicals that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems including cancer.

Bill would let MI schools start before Labor Day

Apr 16, 2019

MT. PLEASANT, MI (MPRN)--   A new bill in the state house would allow school districts to start the school year before Labor Day. 

Since 2005 school districts have been required to start after Labor Day, unless they get a waiver from the state.

Republican State Representative Steve Johnson introduced the legislation. He says, especially with the growing number of snow days districts have had to take, it makes sense to allow schools to decide when they should start the year.

ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)--   New research out of the University of Michigan finds restricting tobacco sales to people under 21 could keep 11,000 Michiganders from starting the habit over the next five years. 

Legislation is already in the state House to raise the age at which people can buy tobacco products.

Dr. Holly Jarman worked on the study. She says reducing the number of smokers will have major health benefits for the state.