Ted Roelofs worked for the Grand Rapids Press for 30 years, where he covered everything from politics to social services to military affairs. He has earned numerous awards, including for work in Albania during the 1999 Kosovo refugee crisis.

The price of Michigan’s cash bail system

Critics say locking up criminal defendants before trial because they can’t post bond screws the poor while needlessly raising jail costs borne by taxpayers. Is there a better way?

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Among rural Trump supporters, an America that has lost its way

Voters in rural areas of northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula say they have found their blunt savior in Donald Trump. Some are bracing for a fight if he loses.




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Young voters feel they’re ‘screwed either way’

Among Michigan millennials, Clinton may be the favorite, but with heavy sighs over politics as usual.




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Is college still worth the cost? Usually

In spite of rising tuition and loan debt, experts say a college degree still looks like a wise financial investment for most Michigan students, if they choose wisely.

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Michigan prosecutors defying U.S. Supreme Court on ‘juvenile lifers’

The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed states that only “rare” circumstances should keep juvenile offenders in prison for life. Despite this ruling, prosecutors across Michigan have filed petitions seeking to hold most juvenile lifers behind bars until they die.




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In prison for decades, one juvenile lifer’s quest for redemption

Convicted of a Macomb County murder in 1992, Bosie Smith, now 41, has earned consistent praise for his leadership from prison staff and even a former warden.




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Missing in action: Michigan’s primary voters

Dozens of state House primary races will likely shape both parties for years to come. And yet 4-in-5 voters are expected to stay home on Aug. 2.




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As hunting wanes, selling Michigan to a new outdoors generation

Critics say the state must better promote a $19-billion industry built on biking, kayaking and other pursuits to attract young adventurists, and residents. More REI than Cabela’s.




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Blue-collar Duluth transformed by outdoor tourism economy

A once-declining industrial city now breathes new life by banking on its outdoor recreation assets




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Michigan balks at rule shortening full-contact practice for high school football

A new guideline recommends no more than 90 minutes of hitting a week to reduce brain injury, but official policy still allows up to six hours. That’s six times what Ohio and Wisconsin allow.




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Live free and die: Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law four years later

In 2015, Michigan recorded the highest number of motorcycle deaths in 30 years, with an average of 14 more deaths annually since a law requiring helmets was dropped. Lansing has no interest in revisiting the helmet law.




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Asleep at the desk: How school begins for many Michigan teens

It may be the the simplest way to improve academic achievement. But starting school later in the morning is a surprisingly tough sell.




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What happened when one Minnesota school district let high schoolers sleep in

An hour delay paid off in achievement and attendance. So why aren’t more schools following that lead?




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Bipartisan bill to make governor, lawmakers subject to open records law in doubt

After disclosure of government incompetence in Flint, there were passionate calls for Michigan to join 48 other states in making the governor and legislature subject to the state’s public records laws. But House and Senate leaders remain reluctant.




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Building a better school board

Districts across Michigan struggle to field candidates for school boards. The job can be time consuming, nerve wracking, and is often unpaid. Would proper training for new board members help?




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Threat of environmental injustice extends beyond Flint

Whether it’s lead paint in older homes, airborne pollutants from factories, or the everyday stress of life on the margins, poor and minority communities in Michigan too often bear the brunt of environmental peril.




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In an improving economy, Michigan workers’ part-time blues

Even as Michigan's unemployment rate falls below 5 percent, some 300,000 workers seeking full-time jobs are stuck with part-time paychecks.

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In replacing lead lines, what Michigan can learn from Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin, the nation’s first city to replace all lead service lines, discovered that to keep residents safe it had to replace all lines, not just part of them.




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