Catherine Shaffer

Catherine Shaffer joined Michigan Radio in 2014. She works in the newsroom and specializes in stories related to the life sciences, health, and technology. Catherine earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Master’s from University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan Radio, Catherine has worked as a freelance writer, mainly in focusing on biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, since 2001. She is also an award-winning fiction writer. When not at work, Catherine enjoys being in the outdoors and practicing yoga.

Two U.S. Representatives from Michigan made an appeal for more cooperation between political parties at a forum hosted by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Activists gathered in Lansing, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ferndale to protest President Trump's national emergency declaration. Following months of clashes with Congress, and a 35-day partial government shutdown, the President declared a national emergency in order to access about $8 billion in funds to build a southern border wall. 

Protesters say the declaration is an abuse of executive power and that there is no real emergency. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has canceled the pending sale of a former correctional facility in Ionia to a private prison company, Immigration Centers of America, for use as an immigrant detention center.  

She says she could not get an assurance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the facility would not house parents who were separated from their kids.

Power outages for more than one hundred thousand Michiganders could continue for several more days. Authorities are scrambling to respond to a growing emergency.

The Red Cross has opened shelters in West Michigan for people who can't stay in their homes, and they're warning people to be careful with alternative heat sources like kerosene heaters if they hunker down in their homes. Improperly vented heaters can release dangerous fumes. Electric heaters, fireplaces, and candles could start a fire if left unattended.

The Department of Homeland Security set up a fake university in Farmington Hills to uncover what it describes as a nationwide illegal immigration scheme. Eight individuals from around the country were charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and harboring aliens for profit.

A merger between Chemical Bank and TCF is expected to add more jobs and lending resources to the Detroit-area economy. The new bank will have $45 billion in assets, and is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow federal workers to borrow money from their retirement accounts without penalty during the partial government shutdown.

A Republican congressman from Texas wants Democrats to block an official trip to Palestine being planned by U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib for herself and some congressional colleagues.

People who live in Adrian are raising concerns about their drinking water. Residents say they've been complaining to the city for months about the taste and smell of the water.

A group of Adrian residents has obtained independent lab results showing cyanobacteria in some drinking water samples.

But the city says its tests show the water is safe. 

The Ionia City Council is considering whether to approve the sale of a former correctional facility to a private prison company to use as an immigrant detention center. Immigration Centers of America made their pitch to Ionia's City Council Tuesday night.

Authorities are testing surface water from the Grand River after an abandoned plating facility in Jackson was found to have high levels of PFAS chemicals. Michner Plating joins the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's list of more than two dozen industrial sites with high levels of PFAS contamination.

Ann Arbor's deer management program is in the fourth and final year of operations approved by the city council. The deer cull starts Jan. 2.

The City of Ann Arbor has updated its deer management program to allow culling of deer on private property with written consent of the owner.  Owners of neighboring properties have already been notified. The city says residents of the area can go about their normal daily activities.

Women and scientists are making gains in the Michigan legislature in the new session starting January 1. Women are going from 34 seats to 42 in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, women gain seven seats, going from four to eleven.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner declined an offer $8 million to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. Governor Snyder offered the funds to support construction of high-tech, anti-carp features at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Illinois.

Lawmakers sent more than 400 bills to Governor Rick Snyder during the lame-duck session. But Snyder's office will no longer be taking comments on those bills from constituents by phone or through its website.