After a student-led Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club at Whitehall High School sent out an email to the student body that included resources about sexuality and identity during Pride week, that kickstarted an often-heated conversation in the small West Michigan community about where the line is between schools and families in talking about LGBTQ issues.

Doug and Alek are joined by former Central Michigan University classmate and friend Eric Dresden to discuss his 2019 cancer diagnosis, what he has in common with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and why he left the field of journalism after serving as Central Michigan Life’s editor-in-chief in college and working for publications like The Arizona Republic, Big Rapids Pioneer, and The Flint Journal.

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.

For decades, scientists have studied the effects that livestock farms with large animal concentrations in Iowa and other states have on regional water quality, as increasing amounts of waste flow into rivers and groundwater. Now activists and some lawmakers say emergency measures are needed to stop toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay, and threats to drinking water in rural communities. In some states, lawmakers worry about the future of smaller family farms.

When the pandemic arrived in Michigan last March, paramedics and other emergency medical technicians braced themselves for an onslaught of calls to bring individuals battling COVID-19 to the hospital. And while there was certainly a flood of COVID-19 patients to some hospitals, mostly in metro Detroit, calls to 911 dropped dramatically across Michigan as out-of-hospital deaths soared. Michiganders, including those facing serious illnesses, were avoiding the medical system.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Wednesday that some pandemic restrictions are being loosened. Legislative Republicans, however, continue to push for a full reopening and have threatened to hold up Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s appointees and withhold federal COVID-19 relief dollars.