May 2, 2014 CNS Bonus Budget

May 2, 2014 – Bonus Week

To: CNS Editors

From: David Poulson For technical problems, contact CNS tech manager Andrea Raby at or 616-914-9670.

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

BONUS WEEK FILE: This is our traditional end-of-semester bonus week file of still-timely articles you may not have had space for earlier. In addition, CNS subscribers still can use any of our other archived stories, photos and graphics.

IN THE FALL: Eric Freedman returns to the helm of CNS.


OLDERWORKERS – If you’re 55 or older and hunting for a job, good luck; Michigan is one of the worst states for your employment prospects. A new state program tries to address the problem. By Becky McKendry. FOR ALL POINTS

UNDOCUMENTED: Some Michigan universities have begun to grant in-state tuition to children of undocumented immigrants. But some do not, even though the students have lived their entire life in the state and attended Michigan schools. A bill that would grant them in-state tuition is stalled in the Legislature. By Darcie Moran. FOR HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS, TRAVERSE CITY AND ALL POINTS

TEENPREGNANCIES: The Department of Community Health reports that teen pregnancies are generally down in the state—except among 10-14-year-olds. That uptick may be only a one-year anomaly . We hear from the department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a Farmington Hills-based parent group that runs programs in high-risk areas such as Detroit, Muskegon and Saginaw. By Lacee Shepherd. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, DEADLINE DETROIT & ALL POINTS.

ROADFUNDING: Michigan’s not the only state with road woes. However, its unusual funding formula for maintenance and construction, coupled with low diesel and fuel taxes, create some unique problems. Legislators from Traverse City and Marshall are trying yet again to raise fuel taxes. We hear from MDOT, an MSU economist, the state Chamber of Commerce and transportation officials in Indiana and Wisconsin. By Darcie Moran. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MARQUETTE, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.

MICHIGANTRAILS – State officials are pushing for an interconnecting network of land and water trails in a branding campaign to boost Michigan tourism. The initiative includes broadening a trail advisory council, developing a trail app and bringing attention to them through the state’s Pure Michigan campaign. By Danielle Woodward. FOR CHEBOYGAN, BAY MILLS, ALPENA, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, CADILLAC, HARBOR SPRINGS, CRAWFORD COUNTY, BIG RAPIDS, LAKE COUNTY, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND AND ALL POINTS

MENTALHEALTHCOURTS – Lawmakers are expanding special courts for the mentally ill after a pilot program shows that they provide better treatment for offenders who are also less likely to offend again. It also saves taxpayer dollars. By Danielle Woodward. FOR MACOMB, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, DEADLINE DETROIT AND ALL POINTS

RWORD – State officials are looking at scrubbing mental retardation from Michigan laws as an offensive phrase. By Nick Stanek. FOR ALL POINTS.

CONSTRUCTION: The number of crashes in Michigan highway construction zones has dropped but the number of serious injuries they produce is on the rise, according to a new report. By Ashley Weigel. FOR ALL POINTS

w/chart of annual injuries and deaths

CHILDRENHEALTH: The Department of Community Health is pushing a pilot project to expand health centers for low-income children and youth and to provide them more mental health services. We hear from the department and School-Community Health Alliance. Senators from Ann Arbor and Saginaw are among the big supporters. By Danielle Woodward. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, DEADLINE DETROIT, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK & ALL POINTS.

BINGE: A Michigan State University researcher is studying rats for a clue to a genetic link to binge eating. Discovering it could lead to better treatment of the eating disorder. But others say the cause may be primarily environmental. By Lacee Shepard. FOR ALL POINTS

DOGS – State lawmakers are moving to repeal an outdated law requiring police to kill unlicensed dogs. The old law was meant to control the spread of rabies.  We talk to a Mackinac County animal control officer, the Michigan Humane Society and the bill sponsor. By Nick Stanek. FOR ALL POINTS.

BEERBILL: Lawmakers are considering a tax break for brewers who use Michigan-grown crops in their beer in a bid to boost farming and craft beers and promote the state. The measure recently was introduced by a Taylor lawmaker on the House Agriculture Committee who is also a home brewer applies to makers of beer, mead, wine and hard cider. By Ashley Weigel. FOR BIG RAPIDS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MARQUETTE, DEADLINE DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.


April 25, 2014 CNS Budget

CNS Budget 4-25-14

 April 25, 2014 – Week 15

To: CNS Editors

From: David Poulson & Sheila Schimpf For technical problems, contact CNS tech manager Andrea Raby at or 616-914-9670.

LAST FILE: Today is the last file of the semester.

BONUS WEEK AHEAD: Next week we will again move several timeless features from the semester that you may have missed the first time around.


MILITARYTUITION: Members of the Michigan National Guard could be eligible for $4,500 in state tuition assistance under a plan lawmakers say will move Michigan from the bottom rank of states offering benefits to the military. By Danielle Woodward. FOR ALPENA, CRAWFORD COUNTY, CADILLAC AND ALL POINTS.

WATER: Michigan farm officials are fighting an attempt by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ponds, ditches and other small bodies of water. They say it will impose unneeded costs and restrictions on agriculture, but environmental advocates say all water is connected and should be regulated. By Ashley Weigel. FOR PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY AND ALL POINTS.

HEALTHYMICHIGAN: In just three weeks the state’s Medicaid expansion program is almost halfway to its annual signup goal. The online enrollment for the program that offers health insurance to low-income residents managed to dodge the high profile glitches associated with the federal health insurance roll out. By Becky McKendry. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS AND ALL POINTS.

YIELD: Communities looking to improve their walkability are increasingly asking highway officials for signs warning cars to yield to pedestrians. But some experts say such a move provides a false sense of security and could lead to more accidents in crosswalks. Meanwhile a lawmaker is developing legislation to make crosswalk safety rules standard across the state. By Darcie Moran. FOR GRAND RAPIDS, ROYAL OAK, MACOMB, LANSING, TRAVERSE CITY AND ALL POINTS.

SCHOOL: Lawmakers are proposing a way to resurrect school districts that have disbanded for financial reasons. It turns out that some of the districts kids from dissolved districts now attend are having just as many problems. We focus on Inkster and Buena Vista. By Nick Stanek. FOR DEADLINE DETROIT AND ALL POINTS.

WOODLOSS: New research shows that when lake levels drop, woody habitats that help small prey fish hide from predators can dry up and disappear — serving those fish up on a smorgasbord to binge-eating fish. We talk to the researcher of the study, a Petoskey water policy specialist and the vice-president of the Three Lakes Association in Bellaire to explain what that means for fish and fishing. By Becky McKendry. FOR PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, MARQUETTE AND ALL POINTS.


CANVASDETROIT: From massive murals on East Grand Boulevard to garden sculptures that manage rainwater, Detroit is brimming with diverse street art. We talk to Nichole Christian, one of the co-authors of a new book highlighting Detroit’s expansive art scene. By Becky McKendry. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, DEADLINE DETROIT, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK & ALL POINTS.


GREENVERSUSGREEN: While the need is growing for more alternative energy from wind and other sources in Michigan and elsewhere in the Great Lakes region, challenges by local residents and environmental groups have delayed some projects. Lawmakers from Onekama, Kewadin, Saginaw Township, New Boston and Saugatuck want to prohibit offshore wind turbines. A Consumers Power wind project is under construction in Tuscola County. Commentary. By Eric Freedman. FOR LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, TRAVERSE CITY, ALPENA, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CHEBOYGAN, MARQUETTE, ST. IGNACE, BAY MILLS & ALL POINTS.

Dissolved districts may find way to get back in business


Capital News Service

LANSING — School districts that were dissolved may have a chance to reestablish themselves under legislation designed to address potential dissolution of more districts.

Rep. David Nathan, D-Detroit, who recently introduced the bill, said no mechanism exists for school districts to reestablish themselves. The bill would give intermediate school districts the power to elect a new school board for dissolved districts.

Schools in low-income neighborhoods have been facing deficit issues as a result of cuts to education funding and declining enrollment. Ironically, many families moved to these neighborhoods because of their public school systems, Nathan said.

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Michigan farm officials oppose federal authority expansion over water


Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan farm officials are fighting an attempt by the federal Environmental Protection agency to regulate small bodies of water, saying that a new permit process would make construction and farming more expensive and time-consuming.

It would affect “anyone who puts a shovel in the ground,” said Laura Campbell, manager of the Michigan Farm Bureau’s agricultural ecology department.

Farmers will need more permits approved by the EPA for things like nutrient applications, basic pest control and adapting new land for farming, she said.

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Lawmakers propose tuition help for Michigan National Guard


Capital News Service

LANSING — Members of the Michigan National Guard could get $4,500 in tuition assistance under a bill recently introduced by legislators.

It would set up a program where members could apply for help towards a college degree or vocational training, said Rep. Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City, who sponsored the bill.

It’s an attempt to raise the state from the bottom ranks of those offering assistance to veterans, Rendon said.

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Michigan crosswalk safety rules unclear


Capital News Service

LANSING — When a car and a pedestrian meet at a crosswalk, what’s supposed to happen?

It’s a safety question that’s left some Michigan communities requesting more signs to remind drivers to yield for pedestrians.

But some officials aren’t sure more yield signs will help, or what will.

Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, said he’s seen an unusually high amount of requests for the signs in the last year — but he’s not so sure they’re a great idea.

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Woodsman, place that limb under water in a pond or a lake


Capital News Service

LANSING – Low lake levels and wood loss are causing some fish to binge until they run out of food, according to recent research.

Photo: Lake Superior State University.

Photo: Lake Superior State University.

Jereme Gaeta, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studied the relationship between bass and perch, predator and prey, as dropping water levels altered the habitat offered by submerged trees and wood.

Fallen trees and wood create a coarse woody habitat submerged in lakes.

“Woody habitat is great for many species of fish in terms of foraging for food,” Gaeta said. “It’s a place for algae to grow and bugs to live.”

Trees in lakes can also provide shelter. But when levels drop and the lake shrinks, trees that were once submerged can end up entirely on the shore.

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Authors “Canvas Detroit” for art’s impact on the urban environment


Capital News Service

A street mural from Hygienic Dress League. Photo: Flickr/CC

A street mural from Hygienic Dress League. Photo: Flickr/CC

LANSING — In “Canvas Detroit,” a new book from Wayne State University Press, Nichole Christian and Julie Pincus profile the Motor City’s brightest and most diverse up-and-coming street artists.

From murals on boulevards to grass sculptures, their work can actively improve the urban environment and shine a light on previously ignored and abandoned cityscapes, the authors say.

Detroit is a city that needs “problem solving,” Christian says, and art won’t solve it all. But the city is fostering a wickedly creative atmosphere that is ripe for revitalization.

In a recent interview, Christian explained the importance of street art and how it can revitalize a city.

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Michigan rollout of low-income health care exceeds expectations


Capital News Service

LANSING – In only three weeks the state’s Medicaid expansion program that gives health coverage to low-income residents is almost halfway to its yearly signup goal.

The Healthy Michigan program started enrolling low-income residents for comprehensive health coverage on April 1. By April 21, nearly 140,000 people had signed up for the plan – 43 percent of the 320,000 people the state hoped would enroll by the end of the year.

Coverage under Healthy Michigan provides all services required by federal standards, such as emergency services, maternity care and mental health treatment.

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In choosing energy, every source comes with detractors


Capital News Service

LANSING — Hundreds of wind turbines line the high ridges along both sides of Interstate 80 in western Iowa, the state that leads the nation in corn-based ethanol production.

Iowa is also the state that gets the highest proportion of its electricity – about 25 percent – from wind, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Michigan has about 675 operating wind turbines overall, with the largest wind turbine array in Gratiot County north of Lansing. Construction of Consumers Energy’s 62-turbine Cross Winds Energy Park in Tuscola County began last fall and is scheduled for completion this year.

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