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State Hopes To Squash Hemlock Pest Before It Spreads

Jan 19, 2018
Hemlock woolly adelgid makes this small, cotton-like sacs at the base of the needles of a hemlock tree
Elizabeth Willhite, USDA

A bug that kills hemlock trees has invaded West Michigan. Hemlock woolly adelgid has been found in four counties: Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, and Oceana. It's a tiny bug that makes small, cotton-like sacs at the base of a hemlock tree's needles. 

Forester Ben Savoie looks closely at a dying cherry tree. The field he's standing in used to be farmland and very few species of plants are growing there.
Rebecca Thiele/WMUK

Extreme temperatures are hard on plants. They’re not used to having frost one day and 60-degree temperatures the next. But just like people will huddle together for warmth, plant species have strength in numbers. New research suggests that biodiversity — or a good variety of plants and animals — is about as important as climate for a healthy ecosystem. 

John Todd / John Todd Collection, Portage District Library

Rosamond Robbert lived in Dublin and London, then moved to the US in the 1970s. When she got to Southwest Michigan, she wondered: Why are Kalamazoo and Portage separate cities?

“Both with own taxes as far as I knew, both with their own rules, both with a board of governors and everything. And why’s that? They’re so teeny-weeny,” she says.

Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Kalamazoo County says it has some details to work out before it can start issuing ID cards to residents. The task force in charge of the program says it needs more time to get its equipment and space in order.

“We still have to get more supplies, we are moving, expanding the clerk’s office to share in the same space where the drain commissioner’s office so work still needs to be done,” Commissioner Tracy Hall said on Tuesday.

Kalamazoo County’s majority-Democratic Commission will again be led by a Democrat. On Tuesday, the 11-member Board elected Stephanie Moore as its chair. Moore is the first African-American to lead the Commission.