April 14, 2017
To: CNS Editors
From: Perry Parks and Sheila Schimpf
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RELIGIOUSFREEDOM: Some religious leaders are questioning the necessity of a House bill aimed at further protecting their First Amendment rights. The bill would allow ministers, clerics and other religious practitioners to refuse to marry couples who violate their religious beliefs. We talk to the bill co-sponsor from Potterville, a youth pastor from Three Rivers, a rabbi from Kalamazoo and the executive director of a Kalamazoo LGBT resource center. By Caitlin Taylor. FOR THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND, STURGIS, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
WORKINGPOOR: A new report by the Michigan Association of United Ways found that nearly 40 percent of Michigan households, or 1.53 million, are living in poverty or among the state’s working poor. The cost of basic necessities has increased since 2007, further squeezing these families. Economic experts say this is part of new reality for workers, especially those with less training and fewer skills. Making education more affordable and increasing the minimum wage are among the suggestions for solving this problem. By Chao Yan. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, TRAVERSE CITY, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
CHILDSUPPORT: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently debuted a public child support calculator. Aimed at shedding light on what can be a difficult process, the calculator has the potential to lessen conflict involved with child support cases — although only in some cases. While the calculator will give parents a better estimate going into the process, the formula itself has not changed, and cases of self-employment can still be problematic. State officials and a Traverse City family lawyer share their views on the new project. By Isaac Constans. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, LENAWEE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
LAWYERLAWMAKERS: Legislators work every day to make and amend laws, but how many have a background in the field? Thirteen lawmakers — of 148 in both House and Senate — have worked as lawyers, according to the Michigan State Bar. That accounts for less than 10 percent of the state Legislature. It’s a slight drop from 17 lawyer-legislators in 2013-14, and 22 a decade ago. A Shelby Township representative is one of the 13 lawyers in the current session, and he believes more lawyers should be roaming the Capitol. We talk with him, a non-lawyer lawmaker and a law professor. By Laura Bohannon. FOR ALL POINTS.
AGINGDAMS: Roads and bridges aren’t Michigan’s only infrastructure problem. Less visible – but just as hazardous if not properly maintained – are the state’s 2,600 dams. Just as deteriorating roads and bridges can cause significant damage, aging dams in high-hazard locations have the potential to do great harm to the environment and to human life. The Otsego Township Dam on the Kalamazoo River is one. Officials at DEQ and DNR say keeping up with these aging dams is a cost and logistical nightmare. By Laina Stebbins. For STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS
SALT&DISEASE: Salt blocks are potential transmitters of tuberculosis between cows and deer, research from MSU shows. A new study found that an infected deer or cow can leave TB on the salt block. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has labeled Montmorency, Alcona, Oscoda and Alpena counties as “modified accredited zones,” so they’re not counted as tuberculosis-free. The USDA cattle program reports only the results of cattle testing, not tuberculosis in deer, and that confuses those wondering which counties have the disease. We hear from the lead researcher, USDA and DNR. By Ben Muir: FOR ALCONA, MONTMORENCY & ALL POINTS.
w/SALT&DISEASEPHOTO: Salt blocks licked by TB-infected cows might be passing the disease to deer. Credit: Ben Muir
SUBMERGEDPREHISTORY: Deep below the surface of Lake Huron, 50 miles from Alpena, scientists have found long-submerged evidence that prehistoric peoples strategically hunted caribou thousands of years ago. Searching 50 miles offshore from Alpena, researchers discovered “drive lanes” — in effect, runways of death that channeled unwitting caribou into the clutches of hidden hunters — and stone hunting blinds where hunters awaited their prey. The findings date back 8,350-9,000 years when water levels were unusually low, according to a study by U-M and Canadian archaeologists. The findings are relevant to current climate change-related fluctuations in Great Lakes water levels. By Eric Freedman. FOR ALCONA, MONTMORENCY & ALL POINTS.
DAIRYFARMING: New research from MSU is behind a developing computer model to help make pasture dairy farming more sustainable while considering the environmental impact of livestock farms and how climate change affects them. A central goal of the model is to help pasture-based farmers optimize milk production. It considers farm economics, water and energy use, and carbon dioxide emissions. Among the counties with the most dairy farms are Mecosta, Allegan, Gladwin, Missaukee, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ottawa and Ionia. For farm & news sections. By Ian Wendrow. FOR BIG RAPIDS, HOLLAND, GLADWIN, GREENVILLE, CADILLAC, LUDINGTON, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
COPS&DOUGHNUTS: What started as a simple rescue mission for nine Clare police officers has turned into breakout business success. The nine officers, who made up Clare’s entire police force, learned that a longtime bakery and doughnut shop in their hometown was about to close. So they joined forces and bought the business in 2009. Today it is called Cops & Doughnuts and is drawing customers from all over the world. The company also has rolled out other shops, called “precincts,” in Ludington, Gaylord, Bay City and South Bend. We speak with an owner, a Clare employee, and economic development officials in Ludington and Clare. FOR LUDINGTON, MONTMORENCY, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MANISTEE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS
w/COPS&DOUGHNUTSPHOTO1: Melissa Mills greets customers at the Cops & Doughnuts shop in Clare. Credit: Carl Stoddard
w/COPS&DOUGHNUTSPHOTO2: Cops & Doughnuts’ “headquarters” shop in downtown Clare operates at the site of a previous, longtime Clare bakery. Credit: Carl Stoddard
w/COPS&DOUGHNUTSPHOTO3: Colorful confections fill a display case at Cops & Doughnuts in downtown Clare. Credit: Carl Stoddard