Ted Roelofs

Ted Roelofs of Kentwood, has been a general assignment reporter at Bridge since 2012 and has written extensively on health care in that time as well as prison and juvenile justice reform. Roelofs spent nearly three decades at the Grand Rapids Press where he covered politics, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rural poverty and mental illness among the homeless. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Reach Ted at ted.roelofs@gmail.com

Articles

Biden win in Kent County latest evidence of region’s demographic shifts

Biden win in Kent County latest evidence of region’s demographic shifts

November 12, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

The Grand Rapids area helped fuel Kent’s economic resurgence by attracting young, well-educated professionals. Younger workers and an influx of Hispanic reEsidents are making the county more politically diverse.

West Michigan contact tracers are overwhelmed by volume of COVID cases

West Michigan contact tracers are overwhelmed by volume of COVID cases

October 30, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

As Michigan cases spike, health officials in Kent, Calhoun and Ottawa counties say they need more personnel to quickly contact infected individuals to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. And too often, the people they do reach won’t cooperate.

Michigan’s Amish seem to love Trump. But voting is another matter.

Michigan’s Amish seem to love Trump. But voting is another matter.

October 30, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Amish opposition to government regulation and abortion aligns with the political positions and rhetoric of the current president. But this small but growing conservative population in Michigan will likely stay home on Election Day.

Jocelyn Benson bans open carry of guns at Michigan polls on Election Day

Jocelyn Benson bans open carry of guns at Michigan polls on Election Day

October 16, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Jonathan Oosting, Ted Roelofs

The guidance clarifies rules for the November general election, barring openly carrying guns and allowing concealed carry, except in certain locations. Gun rights advocates call the ban a partisan Democratic effort to discourage conservative voters and vow to sue.

Michigan’s ‘constitutional sheriffs’ vow to keep voters safe at polls

Michigan’s ‘constitutional sheriffs’ vow to keep voters safe at polls

October 14, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

The ‘constitutional sheriffs’ movement is suspicious of government overreach and believes sheriffs are the final legal authority in their counties. But Michigan members of the group say they will keep voters safe if antigovernment groups try to intimidate them on Election Day.

As evictions loom, Michigan areas to vote on affordable housing millages

As evictions loom, Michigan areas to vote on affordable housing millages

October 12, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

By one estimate, more than 300,000 Michigan households may be vulnerable to eviction due to economic hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic. In places like Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo County, high rental rates and a dearth of affordable housing fuel millage proposals intended to ease the strain.

In west Michigan, is Trump endangering a Republican congressional seat?

In west Michigan, is Trump endangering a Republican congressional seat?

October 6, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Lagging statewide polls and concerns over the future of health care may boost a Democratic upstart in her battle against Meijer scion Peter Meijer.

After Breonna Taylor decision, protests still outpace legislation in Michigan

After Breonna Taylor decision, protests still outpace legislation in Michigan

September 25, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Key police reform bills were urgently drafted in June, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But they are still awaiting approval in Lansing, which one lawmaker predicted would come in this year’s lame-duck session.

Trump demonizes refugees. Biden wants more. Whose plan will Michigan back?

Trump demonizes refugees. Biden wants more. Whose plan will Michigan back?

September 15, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

President Trump has cut refugees and curtailed foreign guest workers. Joe Biden wants to restore higher admissions for people seeking to escape persecution in other countries. Michigan has a stake in which candidate prevails.

MI government removes bureaucratic mumbo jumbo from benefit renewal form

MI government removes bureaucratic mumbo jumbo from benefit renewal form

September 2, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announces simplified renewal forms for millions of residents who may need food or cash assistance or other state benefits.

Blacks far more likely to face felonies In Washtenaw County, report shows

Blacks far more likely to face felonies In Washtenaw County, report shows

August 27, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

An Ann Arbor citizens group’s analysis of court records indicates that African Americans are far more likely to be charged with high-level felonies and, at least in one judge’s courtroom, more likely to face harsher punishment.

Michigan seniors mourn the closing of activity centers during coronavirus

Michigan seniors mourn the closing of activity centers during coronavirus

August 17, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

With hundreds of senior centers largely closed during the pandemic, virtual bingo has its limits. Some seniors indicate they’d rather chance contracting the virus than face an uncertain future filled with loneliness.

$5 million in federal grants not a lot to solve Michigan’s rural opioid crisis

$5 million in federal grants not a lot to solve Michigan’s rural opioid crisis

August 11, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

One mental health official says the funds “won’t go very far at all,” as the state’s opioid overdose rates start to climb once again after the coronavirus outbreak hit Michigan in the spring.

Defund police or reform? What a city in Oregon can teach Michigan

Defund police or reform? What a city in Oregon can teach Michigan

August 11, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

In Eugene, thousands of 911 police calls involving the mentally ill are routed to a mobile crisis team that’s been on the road more than 30 years. That gives police more time and focus to handle violent crime for which they are better trained.

Getting Michiganders to take COVID-19 vaccine: ‘My trust just isn’t there’

Getting Michiganders to take COVID-19 vaccine: ‘My trust just isn’t there’

July 28, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Large numbers in the U.S., especially African Americans with an eye on history, say they’re wary of a COVID-19 vaccine. Public health leaders say much work is needed to develop public confidence in the safety of a vaccine.

As Michigan reopens, workers find that child care centers still closed

As Michigan reopens, workers find that child care centers still closed

July 21, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

A recent study found that half of Michigan’s licensed child care centers and homes remain closed, a huge impediment to getting the state’s economy moving again. And access to child care was a big problem in the state even before the pandemic.

Huge drop in Michigan vaccinations scares experts during coronavirus

Huge drop in Michigan vaccinations scares experts during coronavirus

July 8, 2020 | Ted Roelofs, Ron French

Michigan vaccinations in May were down 46 percent, raising health concerns about the flu and other illnesses. More troubling: rates for children 9 to 18 were down 66 percent, casting doubt on whether they will be allowed to enroll in school in the fall.

Michigan hospital: Our coronavirus test gives results in minutes, not days

Michigan hospital: Our coronavirus test gives results in minutes, not days

July 6, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Researchers at Beaumont Health say they are using technology they first developed to detect the zika virus. The test, which has yet to win FDA approval, is reliable, inexpensive and easier to administer, researchers say.

Michigan prison reform faces hurdles from Democrats Whitmer and Nessel

Michigan prison reform faces hurdles from Democrats Whitmer and Nessel

June 30, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

A group seeking to end mandatory minimum sentences is facing challenges from Michigan’s progressive governor and attorney general in it tries to get the issue on the November ballot. COVID-19 plays a pivotal role in the legal battle. 

Are Michigan gyms safe during coronavirus? A study in Norway suggests yes.

Are Michigan gyms safe during coronavirus? A study in Norway suggests yes.

June 26, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

A government study in May involving five indoor gyms in Oslo found that gym members practicing modest safety precautions did not increase the spread of COVID-19. Skeptics say they would like to see broader studies before accepting the findings.

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