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 lime,
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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Business owners say minimum wage could push up prices

By MICHAEL KRANSZ

Capital News Service

LANSING — Some Michigan small businesses that pay employees more than the state’s minimum wage say the recent increase could drive costs up for their customers.

It rose from $7.40 to $8.15 on Sept. 1 in the first of four phases leading to $9.20 in 2018 for workers who don’t get tips.

Mike Valle, owner of Valle’s Village Market in Marquette, said the increase could translate into a price-hike domino effect, even though he is already paying employees more.
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More federal recognition sought for Great Lakes shipwrecks

By ERIC FREEDMAN

Capital News Service

LANSING – Deep below the chill waters of northwestern Lake Huron, four doomed ships have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

While nobody other than SCUBA divers are likely to see them up-close, their history and their tragedy are now increasingly accessible to the public.

Shipwrecked

The ill-fated freighter Pewabic.
Credit: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.


The new official recognition of their importance is expected to spur efforts to list more of the Great Lakes’ hundreds of shipwrecks on the National Register, which the National Park Service describes as “the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” whether publicly or privately owned.

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Dead birds spur cleanup of longstanding DDT contamination

By DAVID POULSON

Capital News Service

LANSING — When residents of St. Louis described the death of birds in their small mid-Michigan community, Matt Zwiernik recalled studies by another Michigan State University scientist more than 50 years earlier.

“It was exactly as George Wallace described it,” said Zwiernik, director of the university’s Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory. “They had tremors and seizures and they were fluttering on the ground as if they had a broken wing or were taking a dust bath.”

Deadbirds

Workers excavate DDT-contaminated soil from yards in St. Louis. Credit: David Poulson

And they soon died.

Wallace was the MSU ornithologist whose research into how the insecticide DDT killed birds was cited by Rachel Carson in her landmark book Silent Spring. The book led to a U.S. ban of DDT and is credited with helping launch the modern environmental movement.
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Burgeoning beer brewers good for Michigan barley farmers

By DANIELLE WOODWARD

Capital News Service

LANSING – Michigan-grown barley is slowly making a comeback, thanks to the state’s burgeoning craft beer industry.

“The number of breweries is growing, the amount of beer they are producing is growing and the amount of barley they use is proportional to that,” said Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

Barley&Beer

Processing and cleaning barley seed.
Credit: MSU Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center.

However, Graham said, “There has not been much barley production in Michigan since the mid-eighties. There is interest for it in Michigan, and I’ve been working to encourage the reemergence of that as a viable business.
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Judge OKs national forest land swap in the UP

By ERIC FREEDMAN

Capital News Service

LANSING – Rejecting objections by two environmental groups, a judge has cleared the way for the U.S. Forest Service to swap 240 scattered acres of federal land in parcels for a 421- acre piece of privately owned land in the Upper Peninsula bordering Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bell ruled that the Forest Service had followed proper procedures in approving a controversial land exchange in Ottawa National Forest.

Wildcat Waterfalls

Wildcat Falls in Ottawa National Forest
Credit: Partners in Forestry Cooperative

It is the only Ottawa National Forest land swap to be challenged in court, said Ian Shackleford, the forest’s acting public affairs officer.
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Sept. 12, 2014 CNS Budget

Sept. 12, 2014 – Week 1
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.

FIRST FALL FILE: This is the first file of fall 2014. We look forward to working with you, our new correspondents and our new tech manager.

MICHIGAN ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL AHEAD: Your correspondents will interview MEC President Chris Kolb next Monday, Sept. 15. Possible topics include alternative energy, brownfield redevelopment, environmental legislation and impact of climate change on Michigan waters.

HERE’S YOUR FILE:

CIVILRIGHTS: With elections drawing nigh, hot topics are fighting for the spotlight at the Capitol, including civil rights protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While leaders of the Republican majority say there will be no vote before the Nov. 3 election, Democrats from Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Metro Detroit are among the sponsors of legislation to add sexual orientation to the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. We hear from opponents and supporters of the measure. By Jordan Bradley. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, DEADLINE DETROIT, LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

COURTCOSTS: Local courts are struggling with an unexpected revenue gap – some more than $1 million this year — after the state Supreme Court ruled that judges have no legal authority to assess court costs on defendants convicted of crimes. Manistee County, which stands to lose $200,000, has cancelled pay raises and reduced health insurance coverage. The biggest losers include Ionia, Ottawa, Wayne, Kent and Allegan counties, while Missaukee County will lose only $45,000. The Association of Counties is pushing a committee-passed bill sponsored by lawmakers from Livonia, Stevensville and Brighton to fix the problem. By Michael Kransz. FOR MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GREENVILLE, HOLLAND, BIG RAPIDS & ALL POINTS.

w/COURTCOSTSTABLE: 10 counties facing the largest loss in court fees. Source: Michigan Association of Counties.

FARMLAND: More crops were planted in the northern Midwest this year than last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Michigan farmers planted 300,000 more acres of principal crops in 2014 than in 2013, including soybeans and corn. Major factors include weather and commodity prices. Lenawee, Allegan and St. Joseph counties are in the top 10 for corn. Soybean acreage is up in Alpena and Cheboygan counties. We hear from MSU Extension, Michigan Agri-Business Association and USDA experts. By Lacee Shepherd. FOR BLISSFIELD, HOLLAND, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN & ALL POINTS.

w/FARMLANDCORN: Top 10 corn-growing counties. Source: Michigan Corn Producers Association.
w/FARMLANDPHOTO: Organic soybean farm. Credit: J.E. Doll, Michigan State University.

FOODBENEFITS: Michigan’s anti-fraud efforts should be ramped up to improve the integrity of the $73-billion-a-year Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps), a federal report says. States’ ability to detect, minimize and punish fraud has failed to keep up with the rapid growth of the program. Part of the study involved Detroit and Grand Rapids-area recipients. We talk to the Department of Human Services and Michigan League for Public Policy. By Eric Freedman. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING CITY PULSE, DEADLINE DETROIT & ALL POINTS.

w/FOODBENEFITSTABLE: 10 counties with the most SNAP recipients. Source: Department of Human Services.

BIRDING: If you ask about their favorite birds of the region, they almost always have one response: “That is a really hard question.” Suggestions include the Kirtland’s warbler, least bittern, Henslow’s sparrow, barn swallow and cerulean warblers. We talk to the Michigan Audubon Society, an MDOT wildlife ecologist and an MSU zoology doctoral student. For news or outdoors pages. By Chelsea Mongeau. FOR CRAWFORD COUNTY, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, PETOSKEY, HOLLAND, BIG RAPIDS, ALCONA, ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, GLADWIN, GREENVILLE, SAULT STE. MARIE, MARQUETTE, ST. IGNACE & ALL POINTS.

W/BIRDERSKIRTLAND’SWARBLERPHOTO: Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
w/BIRDERSLEASTBITTERNPHOTO: Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
w/BIRDERSCERULEANWARBLERPHOTO: Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

LEAKINGTANKS: A Berrien County oil company, one of its officers and an affiliate owe the state more than $800,000 for failing to clean up three sites with leaking underground storage tanks. DEQ’s Southwest Michigan office says the bill may rise if the state has to do the long-delayed work. By Eric Freedman. FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.

CNS

No immediate action planned on sexual orientation bill

By JORDAN BRADLEY

Capital News Service

LANSING—While leaders of the Republican majority in the Legislature say there will be no vote on the issue before the Nov. 3 election, Democrats have introduced a proposal to add sexual orientation and gender identity or expression to the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

The law already applies to discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, religion, sex, age, marital status, height and weight.

Sponsors of the Democrats’ bill include Sens. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, Glenn Anderson of Westland, Steven Bieda of Warren, Virgil Smith of Detroit and Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing.

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Counties struggle after losing court revenue

By MICHAEL KRANSZ

Capital News Service

LANSING — A Michigan Supreme Court decision cutting a major source of funding for local courts could cost some counties more than $1 million, unless the Legislature reinstates their ability to assess court costs in criminal cases.

The decision struck down a long-standing practice that reduced local courts’ reliance on taxpayers after the Supreme Court concluded that they lack the legal authority to collect the money.

Kirtlands Warbler

Source: Michigan Association of Counties

The estimated yearly loss ranges from $1.9 million in Clinton County to $45,000 in Missaukee County, according to the Michigan Association of Counties.
Manistee County Treasurer Russell Pomeroy said the loss of funding places him, and other local officials, in uncertainty as they reconfigure their budgets and wait for legislative action.

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