Feb. 24, 2017
To: CNS Editors
From: Perry Parks and Sheila Schimpf
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SPRING BREAK AHEAD: There will be no CNS file on Friday, March 10, because of the MSU spring break. We will have a regular file next week and will resume on Friday, March 17.
Here is your file:
CITIZENOVERSIGHT: By restoring previously-abolished DEQ citizen oversight commissions, recently proposed legislation would provide what advocates view as a much-needed additional level of accountability over the state agency. Proponents argue these commissions could prevent another environmental crisis like in Flint by giving community members a voice in the decision-making process. We speak with a DEQ spokesperson, the executive director of FLOW, a sponsor from Flint, the Sierra Club conservation chair and the MCWC president. By Laina Stebbins. FOR BIG RAPIDS, LAKE COUNTY, OSCEOLA, GLADWIN, GREENVILLE, OCEANA, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS
WATERSAMPLINGBILLS: Bills in the House and Senate would tighten water sampling practices to improve detection of dangerous elements such as lead. Among the changes proposed would be to eliminate ‘preflushing’ when taking a water sample. Opponents of the practice say running water before testing it does not match how people actually consume water day-to-day. We talk a sponsor from East Lansing, the Sierra Club and a water health expert at MSU. By Laura Bohannon. FOR ALL POINTS
AFRICANAMERICANCOMMISSION: Sen. Rick Jones has re-introduced a bill to create an African-American affairs commission focused on better serving African-Americans in the state. We talk to Jones, the chair of the Traverse City Human Rights Commission, and the president of the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP about what the bill might mean for the state’s largest minority group. By Caitlin Taylor. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, HOLLAND, THREE RIVERS, STURGIS & ALL POINTS.
CYBERSCHOOLFUNDING: The governor’s proposed budget pledged more state money to education, but that doesn’t apply to all schools. Under Snyder’s proposal, online charter school funding would be reduced to 80 percent of the per-pupil subsidy that physical schools receive. About $22 million would be transferred from publiclly funded cyber schools to conventional brick-and-mortar institutes, a foundation grant exchange that has created controversy among Michigan educators. Officials from the Department of Education, advocacy groups and school personnel address the issue. By Isaac Constans. FOR MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
BIRDINGTRAILS: The Northwest Lower Peninsula is a paradise for birdwatchers. Piping plovers, on the endangered species list, and the snowy owl nest there in the winter. The region is a stopover for thousands of birds on their way to breeding grounds. The Petoskey Regional Audubon Society, with local conservancies, plans to celebrate the launch the Sunset Coast Birding Trail later this year. Lisa Hoyt, membership director at the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the trail provides new opportunity to bird lovers. The trail starts in Mackinaw City and follows a coastal corridor through Emmet, Charlevoix and Antrim counties. It joins six existing trails in the Upper andLlower peninsulas, plus a new one planned for Southeast Michigan later this year. We speak with tourism and conservation officials in Petoskey and a representative from the Michigan Sea Grant. By Chao Yan. FOR PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, CHEBOYGAN, ST. IGNACE, MONTMORENCY, SAULT STE. MARIE, MARQUETTE & ALL POINTS.
VETCEMETERIES: More than 640,000 veterans live in Michigan, and nearly all are entitled to a benefit reserved for them — burial at a national cemetery with military honors. But many Michigan veterans are unaware of that benefit or many others available to them. In Michigan, burials are provided at two national cemeteries operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: The Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township, about 15 miles south of Flint, and the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, about six miles west of Battle Creek. We talk to cemetery administrators and veterans groups around the state. By Carl Stoddard. FOR THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, GREENVILLE, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
w/ CEMETERY1: More than 30,000 military veterans and their spouses are interred at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township. Photo: Carl Stoddard/Capital News Service
w/ CEMETERY2: Volunteers place wreaths on grave markers at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township. Photo: Carl Stoddard/Capital News Service
COUNTYFAIRS: County fairs, which are traditional tourism and entertainment draws for 4.5 million people annually around the state, are competing for a share of $300,000 in Department of Agriculture and Rural Development grants to improve their buildings and facilities. We hear from officials at the department and from the fair in Calhoun County. By Talitha Tukura Pam. FOR GREENVILLE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.