Lindsey Smith

More than 16 million American's fought in World War II. There's only about a million of them who are still alive and they're all older than 80. Hundreds are dying each day. A non-profit group has made it their mission to honor these remaining veterans by flying them to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II memorial. The trip isn't something many veterans at this age can do — or afford — on their own. Since the first "Honor Flight" in 2005, groups in almost every state have followed suit and more than 100,000 vets have taken the journey.

In West Michigan, it's apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun: growers harvesting apples and then selecting them by hand.

Think again.

Robotic arms, computer vision and high-resolution photography are helping Michigan growers wash, sort and package apples at top speeds in the business — think 2,000 apples per minute.

With this modern technology, farmers are expanding production and getting Galas and Ginger Golds from Michigan orchards to grocery stores faster and more cheaply.



A small public school district is about to go private. The emergency manager for schools in Muskegon Heights, in western Michigan, is turning the entire system over to a charter school operator.

And as Lindsey Smith of Michigan Radio reports, that's already a model for the state's other financially-troubled districts.



This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

Benton Harbor, Michigan is hosting the Senior PGA Championship, though the economically troubled city may seem like an unlikely place to hold a golf tournament. Benton Harbor is currently in receivership. And it is home to the Whirlpool Corporation, which has moved much of its manufacturing and jobs out of town and overseas. As Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reports, Whirlpool executives are hoping the golf tournament will give the town an economic boost.

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The Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan had five unplanned shutdowns last year. It's one of the area's biggest employers, and its safety record is one of the worst in the country. Now it's trying to prove to federal regulators that it can meet their standards.

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Palisades Power Plant is tucked in between tall sand dunes in Covert Township, Mich., at the southern edge of Van Buren State Park.