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Lead water pipes created a health disaster in Flint, but replacing them with cheaper plastic − as some cities are doing − carries hidden costs

Flint, Michigan, made headlines in 2015 when tests revealed dangerously high lead levels in its drinking water. The city had switched its water supply to the Flint River a year earlier, and corrosive water had damaged aging lead pipes, exposing thousands of people to lead contamination.

The result was a human health crisis that ...Read more

When people are under economic stress, their pets suffer too – we found parts of Detroit that are animal welfare deserts

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. households have at least one pet. More than ever before, companion animals are a part of life – particularly in cities, where the majority of Americans live.

Cities offer access to many resources, but often it’s not distributed evenly. Some scholars describe parts of U.S. cities with few or no grocery ...Read more

Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Animals with disabilities get a little help from engineering design students

SAN DIEGO — A braille-inscribed video game controller for a blind student. A splint for a cat or dog with an injured leg. An acorn that can be filled with seeds for a bird to reach with a broken beak.

These are just some of the items that 18 students at Marston Middle School in Clairemont designed over the course of three weeks this spring. ...Read more

Darrin Allen/The Marine Mammal Center/TNS/TNS

Wildlife mystery: Why are gray whales swimming into San Francisco Bay in increasing numbers?

Gray whales have been veering off their normal routes along the West Coast and swimming under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay in unprecedented numbers.

Using thousands of photographs of distinctive markings on the whales’ backs to identify them, marine scientists have confirmed that at least 71 different gray whales — and ...Read more

Jeff Sikich/U.S. National Park Service/TNS

Amid increasing mountain lion sightings, California county turns to Facebook to share info

Authorities — concerned about an increasing number of mountain lion encounters including one earlier this year that killed a man and severely injured his brother — are asking residents of one California county to turn to Facebook to spread the word.

Over the weekend, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office took to its social media channels ...Read more

SpaceX/SpaceX/TNS

Year's 1st SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch on tap Tuesday with NOAA satellite

SpaceX is locked and loaded for what would be only the 10th launch for its powerhouse Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday, scheduled to take a powerful weather satellite to space if weather cooperates.

The payload is the 11,000-pound GOES-U satellite for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, headed to geostationary orbit where ...Read more

John Meyer/The Denver Post/TNS

Colorado fourteener rules and restrictions; here's what you need to know

DENVER — Summer officially arrived on Thursday, as defined by the June solstice, which means fourteener season is fast approaching. For some hardy hikers, it has already begun.

Inexperienced peak baggers would be wise to wait a while before venturing out. Patchy snow is being reported on many trails where microspikes or crampons are ...Read more

2024’s violent tornado season has been one of the most active on record − a meteorologist explains the weather behind the outbreaks

Spring 2024 was unnerving for people across large parts of the U.S. as tornado warnings and sirens sent them scrambling for safety.

More than 1,100 tornadoes were reported through May − a preliminary number but nearly twice the 30-year average at that point and behind only 2011, when deadly tornado outbreaks tore across the ...Read more

D.A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS

Florida conchs are in hot water. Can moving them deeper revive a plunging population?

MARATHON, Fla. — The rescue mission began with a splash. Flippered and masked snorkelers rolled off a boat anchored near Marathon and into chest-high water. It didn’t take long to spot the target.

“This is what we’re looking for,” said Gabriel Delgado, hoisting a nearly foot-long shell, all elegant whorls and spires, above the lapping...Read more

US Fish and Wildlife Service/Getty Images/Getty Images North America/TNS

State kills over 80 bears in Southwest Alaska in second-year effort to boost caribou

State wildlife officials have now killed a total of 180 brown bears on Southwest Alaska caribou calving grounds in just over a year as part of a contested strategy to restore the renowned Mulchatna herd.

Shooting from a helicopter between May 10 and June 5, Alaska Department of Fish and Game employees killed 81 brown bears and 15 wolves they ...Read more

Joshua Conti/Us Space/Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire/TNS

SpaceX successful with booster replacement on Starlink mission

SpaceX was back at the launch pad Sunday with an updated rocket to finish off a Starlink mission it tried to send up earlier this month.

A Falcon 9 on the Starlink 10-2 mission lifted off at 1:15 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 amid cloudy skies with 22 more Starlink satellites for the company’s ...Read more

Joshua Conti/Us Space/Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire/TNS

SpaceX queues up Space Coast retry of Starlink mission with replacement booster

SpaceX is back at the launch pad Sunday with an updated rocket to finish off a Starlink mission it tried to send up earlier this month.

A Falcon 9 on the Starlink 10-2 mission is targeting liftoff at 1:15 p.m. Eastern during a launch window that runs until 5:03 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40. Its ...Read more

Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

Editorial: Climate change just notched a win in Europe

The European Union’s efforts to combat climate change have suffered an electoral blow. Its centrist leaders need to wake up before this setback clears the way for an environmental catastrophe.

Five years ago, voters in European Parliament elections demanded action to fight global warming. Now the “green wave” has subsided. In the latest ...Read more

Paige St. John/Los Angeles Times/TNS

A new threat to cannabis users: Smuggled Chinese pesticides

In coordinated raids last September, multiple California agencies stormed a network of illegal cannabis-growing warehouses across Oakland while state cannabis regulators singled out a salmon-colored warehouse complex surrounded by 7,000-volt security fencing.

The warehouse building — home to two licensed cannabis operations — was "highly-...Read more

Kevin Hardy/Stateline/TNS

'Time for a reckoning.' Kansas farmers brace for water cuts to save Ogallala Aquifer

JETMORE, Kan. — An inch or two of corn peeks out of the dirt, just enough to reveal long rows forming over the horizon.

Sprinkler engines roar as they force water from underground to pour life into dusty fields.

Thunder cracks. The wind whips up dirt as a trail of dark storms looms. The crashing hot and cold fronts would probably set off ...Read more

Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS

California lawmakers reject proposal to curb well-drilling where nearby wells could run dry

LOS ANGELES — Over the past several years, California’s water managers have seen a pattern emerge in farming areas of the Central Valley: Even as declining groundwater levels have left thousands of residents with dry wells and caused the ground to sink, counties have continued granting permits for agricultural landowners to drill new wells ...Read more

Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS

Fish kill reported in Biscayne Bay. Blame it on last week's heavy rains

MIAMI — If you’re in some spots in Biscayne Bay during the weekend, you might be greeted with an unpleasant sight: dead fish floating on the surface.

That’s the unfortunate aftermath of the relentless rain that South Florida experienced last week — and a reminder of much larger fish kills that have plagued Biscayne Bay in the past few ...Read more

E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/TNS

To hear the cicadas sing, enthusiasts travel from near and far

During an afternoon stroll around Morton Arboretum, near Chicago, Maria Malayter’s Apple Watch buzzed twice with an unusual notification. The screen warned her of a “loud environment” with sound levels reaching 90 decibels as cicadas chorused on the treetops.

Exposure to such levels for over 30 minutes can cause permanent hearing damage, ...Read more

NASA/NASA/TNS

NASA, Boeing delay Starliner crew's return from station again

NASA and Boeing Co. are adjusting the timeline for the return of the Starliner crew from the International Space Station, the space agency said in a blog post.

The crew will no longer return from the space station on the scheduled date of June 26 to avoid clash between Starliner’s undocking and landing and a series of planned International ...Read more

Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Ethylene oxide emissions from 2 plants could have raised cancer risks for Illinois residents, report shows

People living near two Lake County industries could face significantly greater risks of developing certain cancers, according to a new federal study based on monitoring of ethylene oxide pollution in surrounding neighborhoods.

Emissions of the highly toxic gas from Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee were responsible for long-term cancer ...Read more