Over the last two years, under the leadership of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Robert Gordon, Michigan made it easier to get and keep important benefits. The state now provides additional resources to low-income individuals, seeks to treat residents with respect and has reduced pointless complexity. Many challenges remain and the department’s new leader, Elizabeth Hertel, has an opportunity to accelerate these improvements.

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I like that April helps shine a light on autism by celebrating Autism Awareness Month but what I really wish they would celebrate is Autism Acceptance Month. With one in 54 people being autistic we really need to change our focus to acceptance versus awareness. Everyone should be aware by now. Autism is here and it’s not going away. But the acceptance part is when things start to change. Acceptance starts with you. When you accept the fact that life is different now and that your child will be living a life that you may not have been prepared for, your life will become easier.”

WSV’s Aundrea Sayrie writes, “One gets weary. Not including last week, Newsweek reports that an additional 181 Black people have been murdered at the hands of police since George Floyd, and it hasn’t been a year. When Derek Chauvin’s verdict was read last week, I did not rejoice. I did not feel excitement of any sort. I was in total shock witnessing the anomaly of accountability of a police officer. This never happens.”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “It may take years to realize that you have forgotten about yourself. I know it did for me. But when you finally break out of that mom cocoon it can feel refreshing to finally do something for yourself. It can be as simple as sitting down for 30 minutes to read a book or as elaborate as taking a kid free vacation to recharge your batteries. The reason I am writing this is to remind you that in the middle of the chaos, spit up, and dirty hair, you are in fact a person. You are still you.”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “This past summer I finally started letting my daughter stay home by herself. I would be lying if I said I don’t think of every possible thing that could go wrong before I leave the house though. When does protecting them too much start to hinder their growth process? Has worry and fear taken over my life? Am I putting my child’s happiness in a bottle and locking it up until they are old enough to move out of the house? Am I taking away their ability to become risk takers or confidant adventurers all because I let my fear and worry take over my life? I think the answer is yes, at least a little bit.”

General Motors Company, which has been at the forefront of advanced powertrain research, offers just one fully electric vehicle — the Chevy Bolt. No hydrogen-powered vehicles are on the near horizon. Nevertheless, GM pushed the bar higher last month, surprising the auto industry by saying it plans to sell only “zero-emission” light-duty vehicles by 2035. That’s just 14 years, or little more than two new product cycles away.