Quality of Life

Michigan is a great place to live. Bridge will report that fact often — and on potential threats to the assets that make it so.


Michigan to Democrats: Tariffs hurt, but we aren’t sold on Medicare for all

July 25, 2019 | Chastity Pratt

A few days before the second round of Democratic presidential debates, a new poll by the Detroit Regional Chamber shows confidence in economy and worries about tariffs.

Payday blues: Rural Michigan and the quick-cash debt hole

June 26, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

With interest rates that can top 400 percent a year, payday lenders sprout in small-town Michigan. Bipartisan legislation in Lansing would rein in lending practices, but there’s no guarantee it will get a hearing.

How one Michigan credit union is helping ease customers from payday loans

June 26, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

After debt, a second chance for rural borrowers through a capped loan program and community education

It’s tax day, Michigan. Take this quiz or face an audit

April 15, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Okay, we totally lied about the audit. But it wouldn’t kill you to learn more about Michigan’s taxes and exemptions. Test your smarts with this quiz.

As measles outbreak spreads, Michigan anti-vaxxer group hits Lansing

April 11, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan health officials say 39 residents have contracted the highly contagious disease. But groups opposed to mandatory vaccines are asking lawmakers to preserve their freedom on whether to vaccinate children.

Rich cities lose out as Wayne County cuts waste in programs to help poor

April 9, 2019 | Chastity Pratt

For years, Wayne County was slammed over its handling of community development block grant funds. Now, the county is changing how it distributes money in hopes of steering more toward poor cities and reducing costs.

The federal shutdown hit Sleeping Bear Dunes. So volunteers rushed in.

January 24, 2019 | Jacob Wheeler

Michigan’s majestic national park had to shutter its visitor’s center and curb popular snowshoe hikes. But a hardy group of park angels is hauling trash, cleaning toilets and helping maintain the park during the shutdown.

Federal shutdown gets real in Beer City: Michigan summer ales in jeopardy

January 18, 2019 | Alexandra Schmidt

This year’s new seasonal brews may never hit the shelf, and some smaller breweries along West Michigan’s “Ale Trail” fear their openings may be at risk. Thanks, Washington!

As cities rush to sell off utilities, Wyandotte boasts 3 city-run systems

September 27, 2018 | Dan Jones

Cities across the nation are selling off utilities to raise cash for other needs. But Detroit’s downriver neighbor still runs its electrical, water and cable systems, sparking community pride.

Canada geese are as annoying as hell. In Alpena, that’s a death sentence.

September 11, 2018 | Mike Wilkinson

Pooping, squawking and bullying, Canada geese are back from the brink of extinction and irritating much of Michigan. Alpena has a big surprise for them.

In Charlevoix and Petoskey, pricey housing leaves businesses without workers

August 28, 2018 | Riley Beggin

Picturesque views of Lake Michigan draw tourist crowds but push out the workers who make shoreside cities run.

Message from marijuana country: We love legal pot. Will Michigan?

August 16, 2018 | Mike Wilkinson

For three weeks, I traveled the marijuana highway from Colorado to California and up to Washington. Most like the taxes pot provides and shrug off worries about legalization. But it’s not a cure all.

Support legal pot in Michigan? Know the latest health risks (and benefits)

June 27, 2018 | Riley Beggin

The latest research shows pot is less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol, but it’s not without health risks. Here is what you should know before Michigan votes on legal weed.

More pot and lower taxes if Michigan marijuana vote passes this fall (slideshow)

June 27, 2018 | Alexandra Schmidt

The Michigan marijuana initiative would allow customers to possess more pot and pay lower taxes than most states that legalize recreational marijuana. Bridge compares state laws.

What’s legal, and what isn’t, under Michigan recreational marijuana plan (slideshow)

June 27, 2018 | Alexandra Schmidt

Legalizing recreational marijuana would not mean a free-for-all. Here are the legal limits if the measure passes in November.

Traverse City grows as local workers search for a place to call home

May 31, 2018 | Riley Beggin

Michigan towns that rely on tourism like Traverse City are flourishing. But high housing costs paired with low wages leave many local workers scrambling for a place to live.

Despite opioid problems, small-town Hastings, Michigan ‘a good place to be from’

May 11, 2018 | Ted Roelofs

Southeast of Grand Rapids, Hastings is battling opioid addiction and other challenges as it maintains its easy-going character. Bridge pays a visit during its 2018 Truth Tour.

A Northern Michigan town waves as I-75 drivers barrel past

May 4, 2018 | Lindsay VanHulle

West Branch wants to become a destination for tourists and new businesses. Residents plead for more job training. And the town may even ditch its Victorian past. (With slideshow)

Plans on track for passenger train from Ann Arbor to Traverse City, group says

April 17, 2018 | Chastity Pratt

Booming tourism in Traverse City and interest justifies daily passenger trains from Ann Arbor through stops to Up North, study shows.

Michigan’s riding high. But a downturn is coming and the safety net is frayed.

March 22, 2018 | Mike Wilkinson

A peak economy is the perfect time to expand job training and assistance. Instead, state officials are squandering the good times, experts warn.