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.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Michigan Department of Corrections, alleging medical negligence and unhygienic conditions at Michigan's only women's prison. 

The lawsuit claims that prison officials failed to diagnose and treat a scabies outbreak for two years. It also says that the facility is not cleaned properly, resulting in a black mold infestation in the shower area.

An amendment added by Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a campaign finance and government accountability reform bill. The bill is aimed at reducing the role of big money in politics, ensuring fair elections, and strengthening ethics standards. It would make election day a holiday for federal workers, create a public financing system for congressional campaigns, bar voter roll purges, and restore voting rights for ex-prisoners.

DTE Energy's Pine River wind park became operational this week. The utility now has 14 wind parks and 31 solar projects in Michigan.

Dave Harwood is with DTE. He says Pine River is the latest addition to DTE's renewable energy porftolio. "Here in Michigan we're doing our part to transition our generating fleet from fossil fuels to renewable sources," says Harwood.

Urbanization appears to be decreasing the number of females in some wild bee species. That's according to a study from the University of Michigan. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver his sixth State of the City speech on Tuesday, March 5. Duggan's office has not released any details of the planned speech, but in the past, he has focused on issues like affordable housing, jobs, and education. 

Michigan has received a dizzying number of different weather-related warnings over the past two months, ranging from severe cold to freezing rain--and now, snow squalls. Most of these warnings are related to travel conditions. But what do they really mean?

Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs wants input on its rulemaking process for marijuana. The agency is setting up work groups to give suggestions on topics like licensing and allowing new facilities in communities.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order abolishing the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board.  It creates a new marijuana regulatory agency within the Department of Licensing and regulatory affairs. The functions of the licensing board will be taken over by that agency, and the board itself is abolished.

In Michigan, police can seize your property if they believe it’s involved in a crime. And they can auction it off before you’re convicted of anything. Actually, before you’re even charged with a crime.

A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has responded to comments by attorney general Dana Nessel about ongoing sexual abuse investigations. Nessel called on the church to stop its internal investigations so that police could handle sexual abuse complaints.

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.

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