June 23, 2024

Platte River Park, A Natural Resource Treasure, Opens in Benzie County

HONOR, Michigan — From the place where it slips out of Lake Ann in Benzie County’s northeast corner, Platte River haunts a landscape of forest and open fields, steals past this village of 330 residents, crosses a mighty and silent wetland, fills a big lake, and then, nearly 30 miles from where it started, reaches a curved sand inlet where it empties into Lake Michigan. One of the 49 blue ribbon trout streams in Michigan’s …

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CommonGrounds Community-Owned Cooperative Building Project in Traverse City, Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – As owner of Higher Grounds Trading Company, Chris Treter enjoyed strong demand for his company’s coffee even as he confronted a related challenge brought on by the surging popularity of this Lake Michigan city. New hires couldn’t find affordable places to live. “Traverse City is becoming Myrtle Beach meets Hilton Head,” said Mr. Treter. “A place catering to a population outside the region. Our workforce can’t live here anymore.” Treter’s solution, …

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Jo-Anne Rosalyn Schneider’s Sparkling Life

Of all the facets that God and heritage cut into the diamond that was Jo-Anne Schneider’s stylish life, the one I always found memorably amusing was her quick, unreserved assessment of everything. I call them Joanyisms. Years ago, for example, I bought an old farmstead in the forest of northern Michigan, close to the Great Lake. It was a place to spend summers and eventually to establish a home in what I considered a glorious …

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Conservation Programs Cost $Tens of Billions But Farm Nutrient Pollution Gets Worse

VENICE, LA. —  Kindra Arnesen is a 46-year-old Louisiana fishing boat operator who spent most of her life among the pelicans and bayous 20 miles upstream from where the Mississippi River ends at the Pass A Loutre State Wildlife Management Area on the Gulf of Mexico. Clark Porter is a 62-year-old farmer who lives close to Reinbeck, Iowa where he spends one part of his day as an environmental specialist for the Iowa Department of …

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New Report Sparks Questions and Controversy Over Possible Causes for Iowa “Cancer Crisis”

Amid increasing scrutiny of a potential link between Iowa farm chemicals and cancer, a new report is generating controversy as it blames rising cancer rates not on the toxins used widely throughout the state, but on something else entirely: binge alcohol consumption. The Iowa Cancer Registry, a health research group housed at the University of Iowa, reported on February 20 that Iowa has the second-highest and fastest-rising incidence of cancer among all states. An estimated 21,000 new …

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“Best Management Practices” Aren’t Best and Don’t Work to Curb Farm Nutrient Contamination

America’s immense, productive, polluting, and disease-generating farm sector is a big target for reform and improvement. It has been every year since Earl Butz, the Secretary of Agriculture during the Nixon administration counseled farmers to “plant fence row to fence row,” and “get big or get out.” Congress complied with changes in farm policy that encouraged payment of subsidies for field crops that eventually were uncapped, promoted ethanol from corn as a substitute for gasoline, …

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Cancer-Related Disease and Deaths Spur Actions to Fight Farm Chemical Contamination in Corn Belt

When directors of the public water utility in Des Moines, Iowa, went to court in 2015 to try to stop toxic farm nutrients from contaminating the city’s drinking water, they knew the federal lawsuit they filed would be seen as not just a desperate step to protect public health, but also a brazen act of defiance that would provoke a ferocious response from Iowa’s powerful farm and political leadership. As they anticipated, a cohort of agricultural interests …

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Mercedes Lilienthal’s Epic Rally – Writer, Driver, Navigator, Wife

The Alcan 5000 is a peculiar sort of motorized competition undertaken in the dead of winter from Washington State to Anchorage, Alaska with stops through Canada’s northern territories and the Arctic Circle. If it’s not as familiar as the Iditarod, the classic Alaskan sled dog race, that’s because the Alcan 5000 does not measure speed even though it also crosses immense distances over some of the planet’s most rugged territory. Rather, the Alcan 5000, which …

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Austin Frerick’s “Barons” Uncovers A Second Systemic Farm Scandal – Antitrust Waivers

Two years of investigation into the causes and myriad health and environmental consequences of America’s dangerous industrialized farm practices finally enabled me to develop the one-line elevator explanation of what’s really going on. Essentially, U.S. agriculture is a rogue industrial enterprise financed with hundreds of billions of public dollars and operating without constraint within the laws it contorted for its own benefit. The consequence is that agriculture is the worst water polluter in the nation’s …

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Toxic Terrain’s Dogged Reporting

The essential purpose of project investigative journalism is to engage readers with new information about a subject of relevance and importance. In doing so, journalists seek to prompt changes in policy and behavior that benefit the public interest. As Upton Sinclair once said of his dogged journalism about the filth and danger of Chicago slaughterhouses: “The source and fountain-head of genuine reform in this matter is an enlightened public opinion.” Those who’ve followed my work …

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