n To the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor for stepping forward to offer free open-heart surgery for Nguyen Duyen, a Vietnamese exchange student. Nguyen, 17, feared she’d have to leave her host family in Mancelona, owing to the heart defect discovered in September. U-M will pick up the medical tab. Surgery is scheduled for Friday, and Nguyen’s mom will fly in from Vietnam to be with her, said Jody Garchow, her host mother. Nguyen was unaware she had problems until a nurse heard a heart murmur during a routine sports physical.
n To the Nature Conservancy, which will has purchased most of an uninhabited Lake Michigan island that provides crucial stopover habitat for migratory birds, assuring it will remain permanently undeveloped and protected. St. Martin Island is part of a chain stretching between Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula and Michigan’s Garden Peninsula. Millions of sparrows, warblers and other species stop to take a break and feed there before continuing their journey south during fall migration and north in springtime. More than 100 species have been documented on the island.
n To Traverse City Central High School’s Black & Gold student newspaper, which has been awarded a “Spartan,” the state’s highest award for high school newspapers. This Spartan is for the 2012-2013 school year, and is on top of the several dozen awards the staff and paper had won for last years’s work. Co-editors were Katie Stanton and Miranda Winowiecki.
n To Northwestern Michigan College students who made it to the semifinals of a statewide entrepreneur competition called the Innovation Competition. Laurie Curtis, the daughter of Kewadin apple farmers, created an apple washing and size-sorting system called FARM GRADE that can be used by small- and mid-size farms. Dakota Porter, 18, and his brother, Garret, 15, devised an LED-lighting kit that allows people to custom-decorate their own sports equipment, such as snowboards. Jason Roggensee, a Leelanau farmer, invented a tarp-like bag that can be dragged off-road by a vehicle and transport up to 400 pounds. Christopher Schmidt pitched an idea to use drones to help farmers monitor fields and electric companies inspect power lines.
n To the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board for approving a $2.5 million grant to preserve about eight acres on Old Mission Peninsula with beach access. Other area acquisitions include: 59 acres in Peninsula Township to expand Bowers Harbor Park; $270,000 to Garfield Township to expand the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve; $1 million to acquire Strombolis Lake, a 20-acre property that contains four small glacial lakes; and 240 acres in Benzie County along Dair Creek, habitat for steelhead, wood turtle, box turtle and bald eagle.