Ben Thorp

Reporter

Ben grew up listening to WCMU and has become an obsessive of podcasts, radio, and the home life of Ira Glass. Ben joined WCMU in December, 2015 as a general assignment reporter. Since then, Ben has won multiple statewide awards for his reporting efforts, and had several stories aired nationally on NPR's 'Morning Edition' and 'All Things Considered.'

Ben is a native of Petoskey, and graduated from Michigan State University in 2014.

Ways to Connect

Kamil Kaczor / https://flic.kr/p/V8on7q

More than 15 million Americans may be drinking water contaminated with chemicals linked to cancer, according to a new report.

Perfluorinated compounds - or PFC’s - have already been found in Oscoda and Grayling but the report, created through a partnership between the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University, indicates contamination may be far more widespread.

The chemicals were used on roughly 600 military and air bases across the country as flame retardants, as well as at industrial sites.

Kevin Simmons / https://flic.kr/p/RVnRex

Healthcare coverage for 660-thousand Michiganders would effectively end under the new GOP health care bill, according to a new report.

The report, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says the GOP health care bill would require Michigan to pick up 582 million dollars in health care costs.

Michigan policy groups say that would effectively end health insurance for many Michiganders.

Gilda Jacobs is with the Michigan League for Public Policy. She said the bill has  implications beyond  health care.

Corey Seeman / https://flic.kr/p/EJzvUj

The Bay City commission is considering a proposal that would turn it’s two city owned bridges into toll bridges owned by a private company.

City commissioners says the city is not able to afford the six- million dollars needed to repair and maintain the Independence and Liberty bridges.

Without funding, one - or both - of the bridges may have to close.

Andrew Niedzinski is a Bay City Commissioner. He said under the proposal, United Bridge Partners would set the toll at one dollar for city residents.

Peretz Partensky / https://flic.kr/p/qwZP5f

A new survey found that 84 percent of gun owners in Michigan support permit and training requirements for people carrying concealed weapons.

The study was released just one day after a packet of bills that would remove any permit or training requirements for concealed carry passed out of committee and into the house.

Mark Kaletka / https://flic.kr/p/q1aztd

The second 100 percent renewable factory in the nation controlled by the SC Johnson Company is now located in Bay City.

The factory has been in Bay City for twenty years, and produces plastic ziploc bags.

It is the fourth of SC Johnson’s factories worldwide to achieve one hundred percent renewable energy running the plant.

Kelly Semrau is the Senior Vice President for the SC Johnson Company. She said the Bay City plant is part of a company wide trend.

Alan Light / https://flic.kr/p/bWQZR5

A new report from Michigan Future found that four year degrees correlated more closely to increased wages than tax cuts.

Officials with Michigan Future say while the state economy is doing, better wages have been stagnant.

Lou Glazer is the President and CEO of Michigan Future, which advocates for a healthy middle class. He said despite Michigan’s economy being on the upswing, wages in the state remain stagnant.

llee_wu / https://flic.kr/p/pCJGC3

The state is planning to launch a pilot program this fall welcoming owners and  their pets to state parks.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will launch the initiative in November, allowing select cabins to host up to two pets.

Maia Turek is with the Department of Natural Resources. She said national data helped push them towards starting the program.

torbakhopper / https://flic.kr/p/FYSqZH

A new survey of transgender persons in America is being called one of the biggest ever on the topic.

The survey includes a focus on Michigan, where it found the transgender population suffers from high levels of  poverty, unemployment, and psychological stress.

Of the 28 thousand  transgender persons surveyed 900 were Michigan residents.

In Michigan about one third of of transgender persons reported living in poverty, and 43 percent said they felt psychological distress.

James Marvin Phelps / https://flic.kr/p/dadn74

A series of bills introduced in the U.S. Senate this week (5/24) would give the Department of Transportation the authority to shut down the line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

The bills, introduced by senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, create stringent guidelines around pipeline safety - particularly in the Great Lakes.

The bills would designate pipelines in the Great Lakes as ‘offshore’, making companies liable for the entirety of cleanup.

Senator Peters said companies that couldn’t afford a cleanup would have their pipelines shut down.

Simon Q / https://flic.kr/p/coFp4G

The National Guard is testing residential wells in Grayling for toxic chemicals that may have leaked from the Camp Grayling National Guard base.

Jenine Taylor is with the local Health Department. She said a preliminary test of wells on the base found high levels of a chemical used in firefighting foams.

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