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Cherry harvest begins in northern Michigan

The cherry harvest has begun in northern Michigan, a week earlier than normal. Most growers this week are harvesting sweet cherries and over the next couple of weeks will start harvesting tart. Nikki Rothwell is the Coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center. She said the weather has played an unusual role in the timing of the harvest. “We started out really cold-remember that April snow?-we started out really really cold so we thought we were about two weeks behind....

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The photographs are stunning: a giant mountain of ice towers over a tiny village, with colorful homes reminiscent of little doll houses against the stark, blue-gray landscape.

But for the people living in those houses – that beauty could be life-threatening.

"It's kind of like, if you lived in the suburbs, and you woke up one morning and looked out, and there was a skyscraper next to your house," says David Holland, an oceanographer at New York University who does research in Greenland during the summer months. "I'd be the first to get out of there."

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Michigan’s attempts to privatize prison food services is still running into problems. The legislature approved outsourcing prison food service in 2012 to cut costs. But it canceled its first contract with Aramark in 2015, after numerous problems.

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The state has released tips and statistics on shock and electrocution as a reminder that May is National Electrical Safety Month.

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  Farmers’ market season has started, and one community market is using technology to bring fresh produce to more people.

The Midland Chamber of Commerce has launched a new service that allows people to place an order from the farmers market online and have the goods delivered to their home.

Rachel Gray is the owner of Run-A-Round Errand Service. She said the service was launched to help bring fresh produce to more people.

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A case against the state of Michigan will determine whether tax dollars can be used to support private schools.

At stake is a two-and-a-half million dollar allocation in the state budget.

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There was a big rally at the state Capitol Wednesday to support improved mental health services and to oppose Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to overhaul how those services are paid for.

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A bill that would increase pay for jury members in Michigan is on its way to the Senate floor.

State officials said people often lose money on jury duty, through loss of wages and the cost of food and parking.

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A civil rights groups filed suit filed against the Michigan Secretary of State last week.

The suit argues it is unconstitutional to suspend the licenses of drivers who can’t afford to pay their fines.

Phil Telfeyan is the Executive Director of  Washington DC based, Equal Justice Under Law, which filed the suit.

He said the state routinely adds on late fees and fines and eventually suspends the license of someone who can’t pay.

This week on 'The Beat,' we're featuring some great new music from Diana Krall, Pete Siers, and Sarah Partidge. We're also hearing a new three-disc set from David Friessen, and hear from the Great Chick Corea.

Michigan House Democrats

There were tears and hugs on the floor of the state House today as colleagues got word that state Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) took his life – one day after his second arrest on a charge of drunk driving.

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Big business investors are waiting on Governor Rick Snyder to give them a break. A tax break that is – to build on blighted land.

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