Sept. 26, 2014 Budget

Sept. 26, 2014 – Week 3

To: CNS Editors

From: Eric Freedman & Sheila Schimpf

http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/. For technical problems, contact CNS tech manager Tanya Voloshina (248-943-8979) voloshin@msu.edu.

You can email us at cnsmsu@gmail.com.

All articles ©2014, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Nonmembers cannot reproduce CNS articles without written permission.

HERE’S YOUR FILE:

FARMLABOR: A labor shortage is forcing Michigan farmers to make tough decisions about next year’s crops, especially hand-picked peaches and asparagus. Some growers are pulling out their peach trees. Apple growers are doing fine, however. We talk to the director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Farm Bureau and farmers in Ludington and the Michigan Apple Committee. By Jordan Bradley. FOR HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE & ALL POINTS.

SCHOOLDEBT: Nearly 50 districts and charter schools face deficits, new Department of Education data shows, including Benton Harbor, Mackinaw City. Detroit, Alpena, Vanderbilt, White Cloud and Menominee. Lawmakers from Saginaw and Traverse City want to tighten regulations for high-deficit districts, but the Association of School Boards has qualms about the legislation. By Ian Kullgren. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, CHEBOYGAN, ST. IGNACE, ALPENA, TRAVERSE CITY, LUDINGTON, BIG RAPIDS, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS & ALL POINTS.

PIONEERBOOK: A new history book filled with abolitionists, railroad titans, Women’s Christian Temperance Unionists, suffragettes, graft, corruption, politics and corporate greed tells the story of 19th century Lansing. A common thread is the lives of two influential families, the Turners and the Dodges, some of whom owned mines and timberland in the UP. The author of “Pioneers, Reformers & Millionaires” is a former curator of the Michigan Women’s Historic Center and Hall of Fame. By Sheila Schimpf. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, BAY MILLS & ALL POINTS.
w/http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/files/2014/09/5831359_orig.jpg. “Pioneers, Reformers & Millionaires.”

SNAKES: Conservation biologists have built the first artificial home for snakes in northern Michigan, removing a dam on the North Branch of the Manistee near Kalkaska to do it. The project involves Traverse City-based Conservation Resource Alliance and Chelsea-based Herpetological Resource and Management. By Kevin Duffy. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN, TRAVERSE CITY, HARBOR SPRINGS, BIG RAPIDS, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON & ALL POINTS.
w/SNAKESRESTORATIONPHOTO: A restoration specialist uses a videoscope to detect snakes. Credit: Herpetological Resource and Management.
w/SNAKESMONITORINGPHOTO: A team member monitors a hibernaculum. Credit: Herpetological Resource and Management

LAWYERS: Legal fees vary tremendously across the state, with the highest in downtown Detroit and the lowest in the UP, a new State Bar of Michigan survey shows. Average hourly rates can range significantly even in similar adjoining counties such as Mason and Manistee. Many people can’t afford to hire a lawyer. The executive director of Legal Aid of Western Michigan and a Wayne State law professor discuss implications for the public and for aspiring lawyers. By Eric Freedman. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, CRAWFORD COUNTY, CADILLAC, HOLLAND, GREENVILLE, THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, LAKE COUNTY, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, BAY MILLS, DEADLINE DETROIT & ALL POINTS.
w/LAWYERSGRAPHIC: Average salaries for lawyers. Source: State Bar of Michigan.

TRACKINGINVADERS: Citizen scientists are being recruited to fight invasive and non-indigenous species through a smartphone app that lets the public report the presence of the unwanted critters. We talk to Michigan Sea Grant experts in Ottawa County and Arbor and to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network. By Chelsea Mongeau. FOR HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, HOLLAND, MANISTEE, CADILLAC, CRAWFORD COUNTY, GLADWIN, GREENVILLE, ALPENA, THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS & ALL POINTS.
w/TRACKINGINVADERSIMAGE: This smartphone app lets citizens play a role in detecting the spread of invasive species. Credit: Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.

DEERLAKE: Michigan officials and Marquette County residents hope that the U.S. State Department will act by the end of October to remove Deer Lake in Ishpeming from the list of Areas of Concern, major international toxic hot spots in the U.S. and Canada. Cleanup efforts have been underway since 1987. We hear from the DEQ, Ishpeming city manager and a leader of the local advisory council. By Celeste Bott. FOR MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS & ALL POINTS.
w/DEERLAKEPHOTO: Deer Lake in Ishpeming. Credit: Stephanie Swart, Department of Environmental Quality.

CNS

Deer Lake toxic cleanup completed, state tells feds

By CELESTE BOTT

Capital News Service

LANSING — Deer Lake in Ishpeming, classified as a major international toxic hot spot since 1987, may get a clean bill of health this year after decades of costly cleanup.

Deadbirds

This smartphone app lets citizens play a role in detecting the spread of invasive species.
Deer Lake in Ishpeming
Credit: Stephanie Swart, Department of Environmental Quality.


Environmental officials and residents of Marquette County are awaiting U.S. State Department action on Michigan’s recommendation to remove the lake from the list of Areas of Concern – AOCs – established by the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian advisory group.

Deer Lake was designated as an AOC in 1987.
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Dozens of school districts running in the red, state says

By IAN K. KULLGREN

Capital News Service

LANSING — Nearly 50 school districts and public charter schools across the state ended last year with a deficit, according to the Department of Education, prompting action from state officials and legislators.

Although the state expects many of those districts and schools were expected to eliminate or at least reduce their deficits by the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 30, 22 are projected to slip even further into the red.

One of the financially direst situations involves Benton Harbor Area Schools, which has a 50 percent deficit — meaning the district is only taking in half the revenue it needs to cover expenses— the result of bleeding enrollment that means less per-pupil state aid.
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A shortage of labor is forcing farmers to face tough decisions about next year’s peach crops

By JORDAN BRADLEY

Capital News Service

LANSING – A shortage of labor is forcing farmers face tough decisions about next year’s peach crops.

Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that some peach and asparagus farmers are resorting to ripping their crops out of the fields to replace them with crops that are easier to harvest, like cherries, which can be gathered by machine.

“We’re seeing the number of peach trees go down,” Clover Adams said, “because there just isn’t enough labor.”

Arthur Lister of Lister Orchards in Ludington grows clingstone peaches, the variety used for processing. He has had a typical experience with his peaches this year: no labor to help harvest.

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Legal fees vary tremendously across state, survey finds

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – So you need a lawyer.

If you’re in Kent County, expect to pay about $298 an hour on average. If you’re in Ottawa County, expect to pay about $278. Go to St. Joseph County and it’s $230.

But if you’re in Crawford County, the average hourly billing rate is $187, slightly above Marquette County’s $181. It’s even lower – $162 – in Missaukee County.

The Upper Peninsula’s average of $158 makes it the least costly of any region in Michigan, while downtown Detroit’s $304 ranks as the costliest.
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New book explores Lansing’s pioneer past, UP links

By SHEILA SCHIMPF

Capital News Service

LANSING – The quirky thing about local history is its ability to take an unexpected turn as soon as you get yourself deep in the diaries, scrapbooks and newspapers of those who lived before.

Elizabeth Homer, for example, started out to write a history of 19th century Lansing but sometime during the seven years she was immersed in it, she realized she was working on a national story with Shakespearean elements.

Deadbirds

Pioneers, Reformers, and Millionaires by Elizabeth Homer

Her new book, “Pioneers, Reformers, & Millionaires,” is filled with abolitionists, railroad titans, a housing bubble, women’s Christian Temperance Unionists, suffragettes, graft, corruption and corporate greed. And Cornelius Vanderbilt.

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Technology helps ‘citizen scientists’ track invasive species

By CHELSEA MONGEAU

Capital News Service

LANSING — Citizen scientists are getting recruited for the ongoing fight against invasive and non-indigenous species in the Great Lakes region.

Michigan Sea Grant and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have built an online platform that shows where people can report the presence of non-indigenous species.

Deadbirds

This smartphone app lets citizens play a role in detecting the spread of invasive species.
Credit: Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.

And the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network has built an application for smart phones that lets the user identify and track invasive species in Michigan and elsewhere in the Midwest.
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Manistee dam removal yields safe shelter for snakes

By KEVIN DUFFY

Capital News Service

LANSING – Conservation biologists have built the first artificial home for snakes in Northern Michigan.

And they removed an entire dam to do it.

Experts say the snakes need the help.

Deadbirds

A restoration specialist uses a videoscope to detect snakes. Credit: Herpetological Resource and Management

Native snakes, including the Eastern Mississauga rattlesnake and Northern water snake, require shelter from cold winters. But development threatens their habitat in what is “the greatest impact to amphibian and reptile populations and reproduction,” said David Mifsud, a wetlands ecologist at Herpetological Resource and Management (HRM) who helped with the project.
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Sept. 19, 2014 Budget

Sept. 19, 2014 – Week 2

To: CNS Editors

From: Eric Freedman & Sheila Schimpf

http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/. For technical problems, contact CNS tech manager Tanya Voloshina (248-943-8979) voloshin@msu.edu.

 You can email us at cnsmsu@gmail.com.

All articles ©2014, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Nonmembers cannot reproduce CNS articles without written permission.

MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & RURAL DEVELOPMENT AHEAD: Your correspondents will interview Director Jamie Clover Adams next Monday, Sept. 22. Possible topics include environmental stewardship, food safety, migrant labor and commodity exports.

HERE’S YOUR FILE:

STATEPOEM:  The work of a dead poet from the Northern Lower Peninsula would be immortalized under a bill that would make her “Hand of Michigan” the official state poem.  It lauds the state’s natural beauty. Millie “the Chiseler” Miller of Ogemaw County penned the piece before her death in 1998. Sponsors are from Lake City, Cadillac and Hillsdale. However, a Northern Michigan University English professor, suggests an alternative poem by a Grand Ledge-born writer who formerly taught at Western Michigan University. By Jordan Bradley. FOR LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, LAKE CITY, CADILLAC, CRAWFORD COUNTY, BLISSFIELD, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, BAY MILLS, LANSING CITY LIMITS, GREENVILLE  & ALL POINTS.

WAGEIMPACT: The minimum wage hike that took effect Sept. 1 could lead to higher consumer prices, some small business owners say, including ones in Traverse City and Marquette. However, the president of the Michigan AFL-CIO says higher earnings make it possible for workers to buy more. We also talk to the Small Business Association of Michigan. By Michael Kransz. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

BARLEY&BEER: The surge in craft beers and microbreweries is helping Michigan-grown barley slowly make a comeback, with most acreage in the U.P and Northern Lower Peninsula. There’s also significant acreage in Lenawee and St. Joseph counties in the Southern Lower Peninsula, and one of the state’s only malt houses is in Ottawa County. We hear from experts at the Michigan Brewers Guild and MSU’s Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center. By Danielle Woodward. FOR MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, CHEBOYGAN, TRVERSE CITY, HOLLAND, HARBOR SPRINGS, PETOSKEY, ALPENA, ALCONA, BLISSFIELD, BIG RAPIDS, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

            w/BARLEY&BEERGRAPHIC: 10 counties with the most barley acreage. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

            w/BARLEY&BEERPHOTO: Processing and cleaning barley seed. Credit: MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center.

SHIPWRECKS: The recent addition of four Lake Huron shipwrecks on the National Register of Historic Places is spurring a move to give similar federal recognition to more of the countless doomed ships in the Great Lakes. The Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven says Lake Huron holds 33 percent of the known wrecks,  Lake Michigan 21 percent, Lake Erie 19 percent, Lake Superior 14 percent, Lake Ontario 9 percent and Lake Clair 3 percent. We hear from officials at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena and the Michigan Historical Center. By Eric Freedman. FOR ALPENA, ALCONA, CHEBOYGAN, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND, MANISTEE, SAULT STE. MARIE & ALL POINTS.

            w/SHIPWRECKSFACTBOX: Four shipwrecks in Lake Huron added to the National Register of Historic Places.

            w/SHIPWRECKSPEWABIC: The ill-fated freighter Pewabic, which sank in 1865 southeast of Alpena. Credit: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

DEADBIRDS: When residents of St. Louis, Mich., described the death of birds in their small community, Matt Zwiernik recalled studies by another MSU scientist more than 50 years earlier. Ornithologist George Wallace’s research into how the insecticide DDT killed birds was cited by Rachel Carson in her landmark Silent Spring, which led to a U.S. ban of DDT and helped launch the modern environmental movement. Now studies by Zwiernik’s team helped secure funds to excavate 30,000 tons of DDT-contaminated dirt from the yards of 60 homes adjacent to now-defunct Velsicol Chemical Co. By Dave Poulson. FOR GREENVILLE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.

            w/DEADBIRDSIMAGE: Workers excavate DDT-contaminated soil from yards in St. Louis, Mich. Credit: David Poulson

LANDSWAP: A federal judge has rejected a challenge by environmental groups to swap 240 acres of federal land, including 6 acres of old-growth, in the U.P.’s Ottawa National Forest for 421 acres of privately owned logged land bordering Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The judge said the Forest Service had followed proper procedures in approving the land exchange. There’s no other litigation pending about land swaps in Michigan’s two other national forests, Hiawatha in the U.P. and Huron-Manistee in the Northern Lower Peninsula. By Eric Freedman. FOR MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, CHEBOYGAN, CADILLAC, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, LAKE COUNTY, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, ALPENA, HERALD STAR & ALL POINTS.

            w/LANDSWAPPHOTO: Wildcat Falls in Ottawa National Forest. Credit: Partners in Forestry Cooperative.

CNS

The rhyme’s the thing — official state poem proposed

By JORDAN BRADLEY
Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan could be the sixth state to adopt an official poem.

Written by Millie “the Chiseler” Miller, “Hand of Michigan” is short and sweet, referencing much of Michigan’s majestic Mother Nature.

“God knitted a mitten of wood, rock and lime,
Made a foundation to last through all time.
He planted his palm with Hemlock and pine,
Then blessed it with rain and sunshine.
In all the world there’s no other land
That God himself patterned from his own hand!
Michigan.”

Miller, who died in 1998, was a bit of a Renaissance woman. A poet and woodcarver known as “the Chiseler,” she inspired the Ogemaw County flag with her carving of Chief Ogemaw.
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