WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I know that this too shall pass and all will be well in my world pretty soon, but always in the back of my mind I am wondering when will the depression come back? Will I wake up tomorrow and not be able to get out of bed? Will I go days without showering again? Will I live in my quiet bubble and shut people and activities out again? Sadly, the answer is yes. Even with medication depression is still there.”

Michigan Advance’s Susan J. Demas writes, “We’ve rethought a lot of our ideas about conservation since Yellowstone was established as the nation’s first national park in 1872. Roads were built everywhere to accommodate travelers, often with little regard for the lands that were supposed to be protected. Wildlife was fed for visitors’ amusement, but we’ve sadly learned the toll that’s taken on the parks’ first inhabitants. Stemming the flow of visitors in our busiest parks is a win-win for the environment and weary travelers who will have more space to revel in their majesty.”

A new local progressive organization called Community Equality Resources (C.E.R.) finished second in Colon’s Fourth of July parade this weekend, a feat they say is a major step in the process of “breaking down barriers” within the village and township for “members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and by extension all diverse groups of peoples within the village.”

WSV’s Lisha McCurry writes, “As a therapist, I wept for every client in the LGBTQIA+ community I’ve worked with who sat across from me in pain, in shame, experiencing self-doubt or internalized homophobia. Clients who I managed to bond with over superheroes and general nerd-dom, underdog stories and the fantasy worlds they escaped into when our real world was too much. I imagined them in that moment, seeing themselves on that screen, thinking ‘Loki’s like me? That’s so amazing.’”

Doug and Alek are joined by Watershed Voice columnist Steph Hightree for her long awaited and highly anticipated (probably) second interview to discuss raising a son with autism, how the stigma and general perception of autism has changed over the last decade, and why an emphasis on acceptance of autism should take priority over raising awareness of the developmental disorder. The trio also does a deep dive on Steph’s unique hobby and life’s work: collecting gnomes.

Michigan Advance’s Peter Ruark writes, “COVID-altered life in Michigan continues to reveal the inadequacy of many of our state’s social policies and safety net systems, and a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) demonstrates how Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance policies are falling short in providing an adequate and effective safety net for unemployed workers. The Michigan Legislature must address these shortcomings rather than chip away at UI protections as it did last week.”

Michigan Advance’s Jarvis DeBerry writes, “(Republican lawmakers) don’t think officially recognizing June 19, 1865, the day Black people in Texas learned of their freedom, costs them anything or that it benefits Black people enough for them to get worked up about. Acknowledging Juneteenth definitely doesn’t mean as much as police reform, voting rights, a higher minimum wage, Medicaid expansion or other policies that Black people have been demanding.”

No need to travel to the past or future, park yourself right here in the present to hear Lisha & Jules review Stefon Bristol’s 2019 time travel film, See You Yesterday! Badass goggles not required (but highly recommended, because…badass) to listen as Lisha questions why there’s so much swearing in a children’s movie (this is not a children’s movie), as Jules nerds out over sci-fi specs, and both of your podcasters give major props to the writers for utilizing this fascinating platform to highlight the injustices that exist in America’s past and present. Pull on those time travel backpack straps, kids, and let’s gooooooo!

Michigan Advance’s David Hecker writes, “Michigan can and should be a place where every child, regardless of race or ZIP code, has the opportunity to get a quality public education that will set them on a path to success. But we’re not there yet, and it is incumbent on all of us to do the work necessary to strengthen public schools for all students, and specifically to ensure our classrooms are safe, empowering spaces for Black, Indigenous and other students of color.”

WSV’s Zoe Thomas writes, “But most of all, the money that you have is, overwhelmingly, the best indicator of how well you will do on the SAT. If you can afford the test prep books, and the fancy calculators; if you have the luxury of time not spent working to help your family or watching your siblings, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll do well on the test. Even the motivation to study and put in the hours it takes to learn to game the system comes from monetary privilege. When you have money in the bank just waiting to pay for your college, it’s easy to find the motivation to study— everything is right there for the taking, if you only do a few more practice problems.

“But if you already know that your future consists of joining the military, attending community college, or not attending college at all, why would you study? Why work at this test when you know that even if you score a perfect 1600, there’s always going to be a giant dollar bill shaped barrier between you and a quality higher education? The answer is that you’re not, which is exactly the problem I have with this test.”

WSV’s Amy East writes, “With the first dumped feeders and somewhat pillaged barn, I got the traps back out this spring. And despite the first two catches going smoothly, I walked to the barn several days ago to be met with a scattering of chicken feathers outside the barn door. Not good. I’ll spare you the details, dear reader, but suffice it to say that it was carnage. As of this writing, I’ve lost eight chickens and we’ve dispatched additional two raccoons, and it’s not over yet. We’ve upped security measures and changed tactics, yet the ringleader is still at-large.”