Laura Heffner

Former Student Reporter
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State legislators and the federal government are moving toward regulation of electronic cigarettes, and a local health expert says it's important to know the potential dangers of "vaping".

E-cigarettes heat up liquid nicotine to create the vapor that's inhaled. 

University of Michigan dietician Sue Ryskamp says liquid nicotine can be harmful.

"If it comes out too quickly it can result in acute nicotine toxicity, from either the direct skin contact, eye exposure, ingestion or inhalation," Ryskamp says.

Laura Heffner

Eastern Michigan University students got some help during final exams week from some four-legged friends Tuesday.

A "puppy room" was established on campus by the college's Pre-Vet Club. The room allowed students to take a few minutes out of their day to play with or pet several puppies brought to EMU by a Grand Rapids-based non-profit animal rescue.

Pre-Vet Club President Elisa Meier says getting students to take a break and play with a puppy is a valuable stress reliever for those struggling with finals.

cleanwater.org/mi

It's Earth Day, and there's a Climate Action Rally happening this afternoon on the University of Michigan campus.

Michigan Clean Water Action, Ann Arbor 350 and organizing for Action-Michigan are hosting the rally. 

Clean Water Action Campaigns Director Eric Keller says it's one of many events taking place across the state today.

"People are coming together as individuals and communities to act on climate," Keller says, "and to protect everything that the earth has to offer, and to protect the Great Lakes today."

nlihc.org

A report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition says Washtenaw County renters pay more than renters in any other Michigan county toward their housing.

The "2014 Out of Reach" report says the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the county is around $740, while a typical full-time worker can only afford to spend $665 a month toward rent without forking over more than 30 percent of their income. 

Carole McCabe is Executive Director of Avalon Housing, which operates low-income housing projects like Pauline Apartments in Ann Arbor.

Bob Eccles

The deadline  for the Yankee Air Museum to raise the amount of money needed to save part of the Willow Run Bomber Plant from demolition is about a month away now.

Dennis Norton is the the President of the Michigan Aerospace Foundation and the Founder of the Yankee Air Museum. He said it's more important now than ever for people to step up and help save the plant.

"The demolition of the plant is going on right now," Norton said. "We have only until May 1st to save our piece of it."

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

The American Red Cross was on the scene of a fire at a University of Michigan sorority house early Tuesday morning. No one was hurt and the cause of the fire at the Alpha Gamma Delta house is still under investigation.

Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

The Great Lakes pushed within a couple of points from setting a new record for the percent of frozen surface.  The 95 percent frozen mark set a record in 1979, now appears to be safe, and a University of Michigan scientist doesn’t believe there will be lasting weather impacts from the large amounts of ice, either. 

Construction
Flickr / jakelv7500

Southbound Thompson Road between Jefferson and Packard will be closed starting Monday, March 3rd through May 31st of 2015.

The bitter cold is back for another round in Southeast Michigan, raising concerns about more water pipe breaks. Ann Arbor has seen a high number of water main breaks this winter already.

a2gov.org

 With plenty of snow still on the ground and cold temperatures continuing longer than expected, Ann Arbor officials may be delayed in starting an ecological restoration program that has gotten great results over the last 20 years.

Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation Manager Dave Borneman says controlled burns are a powerful tool used to help enrich the soul, remove dead thatch, and allow diverse native plant and animal communities to thrive.  

The city targets a low impact timeframe for these burns.  Doing them in late winter or early spring means little or no people in the parks, dormant plant life and lower smoke volumes.

Crews will be executing the burns weekdays between noon and six.

More information on Ann Arbor's controlled burns can be found here.

Equality Michigan

People across Michigan are closely following the trial of a lesbian couple challenging Michigan's ban on marriage and adoption by same sex couples.  The trial began Tuesday with April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse seeking the ability to marry and adopt each other's children.  

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti Community Schools officials continue to develop plans for year round schools.  The District plans on piloting a balanced calendar in one or two buildings starting in the fall.  

Michigan State Police

Law Enforcement in Washtenaw and three other counties are looking for a suspect in a rash of home invasions that target people attending funerals. Washtenaw is among four counties where homes of the recently deceased , or their family members, have been robbed. The others are Livingston, Monroe and Oakland counties.

The University of Michigan Health System is expanding its reach with an affiliation with Allegiance Health in Jackson. A letter of intent has been signed by both health systems.

Doctor Ora Pescovitz is the CEO of the University of Michigan Health System.  She says if the partnership is finalized, Allegiance health will become part of the UMHS.  Pescovitz says, by partnering together, the two health systems will benefit from shared expertise. This will mean a higher level of care, improved quality, and improved safety as a lower cost to patients. She says both health systems are extremely excited about the potential this affiliation has.

Randy Mascharka / Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University's ROTC has received the honor of being ranked the top college ROTC program in the state of Michigan from The College Database.

College ROTC programs were ranked based on their annual tuition rate and having two or more branches represented at the school. Eastern has ROTC programs for the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Assistant Professor of Military Science at EMU, Captain Renn Moon, says Eastern's ROTC programs offer a lot of benefits for students who join:

courtesy: ypsi pride facebook

Spring clean-up and community beautification projects will be found throughout Ypsilanti on Saturday.

Ann Arbor officials say phone service has been restored to city offices this afternoon. 

Earlier today, phone services in Ann Arbor City and some Washtenaw County offices were cut and employees were not able to make phone calls in or out.  Outages were also reported in Oakland, St. Clair, and Midland Counties as well as in the western Michigan city of Wyoming. Several other states were also experiencing problems, and it's not clear if service has been fully restored to all areas.

According to Ann Arbor’s Infrastructure Management Director, Gregory Dill, the problem was caused by  a severed fiber optic cable in Indiana.