Brianna Smith

Brianna Smith is a freelance writer and editor in Southwest Michigan. A graduate of Grand Valley State University, Brianna has a passion for politics, social issues, education, science, and more. When she’s not writing, she enjoys the simple life with her husband, daughter, and son.


State Juvenile Detention Officer Found Guilty of Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Workers’ compensation is one of those great programs that provides financial relief to those who need it most. It’s a form of insurance designed to provide “wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence.” Unfortunately, all too often people try to take advantage of the system, like a state juvenile detention officer who was recently busted for workers’ compensation fraud.


USDA’s Food Safety Testing Disrupted By Trump’s Federal Hiring Freeze

It’s only been one week, and already President Trump has ticked off a lot of boxes on his to-do list. Unfortunately, one of those things has been to implement a hiring freeze for federal organizations, including the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So what’s the big deal? Is it possible that the media and opponents of this freeze are just blowing things out of proportion. After all, Trump probably has his reasons, like trying to reign in wasteful spending and the lot. Well, the big deal is that a federal hiring freeze has the potential to negatively impact the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).


Michigan Environmental Officials Accused of Racial Discrimination

Another instance of racial discrimination has been uncovered, this time by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s civil-rights office. It’s been discovered that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) discriminated against African American’s residing in Flint “during the permitting of a power plant” in Genesee County more than two decades ago. Since it’s construction, the Genesee Power Plant burned “wood waste and other debris from 1992 through 1994.”


$1.25M Awarded To Student Forced To Urinate In Bucket

Schools and especially teachers should be two things that students can count on to make them feel safe and comfortable. Unfortunately for one student in the San Diego Unified School District, this wasn’t the case. What happened, you ask? Well, the former student was “forced to urinate in a bucket after her request for a bathroom break was denied.” After years of battling depression, having to put up with gossip and “lewd texts,” and suffering from a suicide attempt, the student has finally been granted justice after winning a lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District, who has been “ordered to pay more than $1.25 million in damages.” The settlement comes after her initial claim seeking $25,000 was denied by San Diego Unified.


Hart Island To Increase Access for Families of the Deceased

Relatives of family members buried on Hart Island will soon enjoy “increased access to the cemetery under a modified lawsuit settlement.” Under the new settlement agreement between the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and New York City, “the number of monthly visitors allowed at the site will increase to 70 from 50” and relatives will be allowed to visit graves once a month. Additionally, the city, which actually owns the island, will offer photographs of grave sites to visiting relatives and mourners. All of this is part of a “three-month pilot program” under the agreed upon settlement.


Trump’s Agriculture Pick and His Not So Great Food Safety Track Record

President Trump has had a busy week, what with signing all of his executive orders and filling positions and everything else that goes into running a country. He’s even taken upon himself to nominate someone new as the agriculture secretary, and as is common with some of his picks, his choice has many throughout Washington raising their eyebrows. So who did he choose? Sonny Perdue, the former Governor of Georgia. If approved, he will be tasked with “helping ensure the safety and quality of America’s food supply.”


Samsung Note 7 Battery Fires Prompt Call for Better Safety Standards

Remember all those Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Fires? Well, consumers will be glad to learn that, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Samsung officials have taken the necessary steps to try and figure out what went wrong. As for the rest of the industry, the safety agency has called for other manufacturers to “set better safety standards for batteries.”


Denver Life Insurance Company Accused Of Racial and Sexual Discrimination

A Denver life insurance company has been accused of racial and sexual discrimination in a recent federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The plaintiffs include seven African American Denver “annuity wholesalers and supervisors” who’s experiences include many “blatant racial and sexual abuse incidents,” such as when one saleswoman was “ordered to get on her knees while her boss mimicked a sex act with a vodka bottle and fellow workers laughed.” Others recounted times when they were “demeaned, denied promotions and bonuses, and fired” when they spoke out against the discrimination. According to EEOC attorneys and other private attorneys involved in the case, the lawsuit aims to award the plaintiffs things like “back pay, punitive damages and future lost wages.”


NYC DOT Sued for Systematic Racism

One would think that in the year 2017, systematic racism wouldn’t really be a thing. Unfortunately, it’s still alive in today’s society, and many would actually argue that racial tensions are at the highest they’ve been in years. For example, just recently a lawsuit was filed against the New York Department of Transportation (DOT), “accusing


Renegotiating NAFTA Among Trump’s First Executive Orders

Less than a week after taking office, President Trump is set to sign his first round of executive orders, including one that would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. In fact, as early as today he plans on making the topic of free trade a focus, as a senior White