Oct. 20, 2017 – CNS Budget

Oct. 20, 2017 — Week 7

To: CNS Editors

From: David Poulson and Sheila Schimpf

http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/

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MICHWINE: The fires in California wine country have little impact on Michigan wine sales which are continuing to climb. Even if the devastation is severe in the nation’s top wine-producing region, Michigan wine producers say it could be a few years before they see any effect — if at all. Meanwhile, Michigan wine sales and grape plantings continue to rise, putting the state squarely within the nation’s top 10 wine-producing states. By Carl Stoddard. FOR LEELENAU, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS

WAGES: Community colleges are seeking wage information from Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency to help figure out if their programs are working and how to change them so they do. But unlike the state’s universities, they are barred by law from accessing the information that they say is helpful for them to meet the needs of students. By Jack Nissen. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN AND ALL POINTS

LAKEERIE: A diverse group of Michigan organizations has formed a coalition to improve Lake Erie water quality that could be a model for fighting similar problems in Saginaw Bay and the state’s inland lakes. Farm, environmental, university, government and landscape groups are fighting unsightly algae that threatens human health. By Kaley Fech. FOR ALL POINTS

HEPATITISA – Some outstate health officials are bracing for the possible spread of hepatitis A from Detroit where there is a significant outbreak of the disease that particularly targets the homeless and drug abusers. By Stephen Olschanski. FOR ALL POINTS

SEAL: Within the next two years Michigan may offer high school graduates a chance to earn a “Biliteracy seal” to place on their diplomas. The program, already in place in 27 other states, encourages students to become fluent in a foreign language. By Jingjing Nie.  FOR ALL POINTS

 

CORPS: Michigan will allow governments and businesses to more easily access its volunteer Cyber Civilian Corps under legislation the governor is expected to sign this week. It will no longer require a state of emergency declaration to activate the group of computer security experts. The legislation also protects the volunteers from lawsuits if they inadvertently cause problems. By Jingjing Nie. ATTENTION BUSINESS EDITORS. FOR ALL POINTS.

CYCLINGPROF: A professor bicycled around each of the Great Lakes to write a book that shows how central they are to the nation’s history. Thomas Shevory’s “The Great Lakes at Ten Miles an Hour” takes readers on a cruise through friendly towns in Michigan’s Thumb and by steel plants in Sault Ste Marie while relating such stories as how trappers drove the country’s colonial economy. By Jacqueline Kelly. FOR ALL POINTS

W/SHEVORY PHOTO Thomas Shevory and

BOOKJACKET PHOTO

New CCC restores computer security, not trees

By JINGING NIE
Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps. — the CCC —  helped restore the state’s forests in the 1930s.

Now, a new CCC – the Cyber Civilian Corps – has emerged to help restore the security of local governments, companies, schools and other organizations against cyber attacks.

Launched in 2014, the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps is the first of its kind in the United States.

The team was formed by Gov. Rick Snyder and designed to assist government and industry in the event of a  massive cyber attack.

Under the Michigan Cyber Disruption Response Plan, the volunteer corps is activated only when the governor declares a state of emergency. None has been declared since 2014, and the corps never deployed.

But now lawmakers have passed a measure allowing any Michigan organization to request a corps volunteer to help itwith a cyber security problem. Snyder is expected to sign it into law this week.

It also gives volunteers immunity from lawsuits under certain circumstances.

The bill formalizes the structure of the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps, which will work within the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Right now the group has 70 cyber experts who have agreed to help.

“We’re hoping to double the size of volunteers,” said bill sponsor Rep. Brandt Ident, R-Oshtemo.

Volunteers must be information security professionals who are residents of Michigan. They must have two years experience and basic security certification.

Applicants also need to pass a series of tests  to join the team, said program leader Ray Davidson. “Exams include basic tests about networking and computer security, and two tests each in digital forensics and incident response.”

The volunteers also benefit.

“We provide ongoing training that some employers don’t provide, so it’s a win-win for employers and the employee and for us,” Davidson said. “We try and offer something they can’t get anywhere else — the training, networking and the ability to give back to the community because there are still good people in the world.”

Davidson said with the new law, the corps can be activated at a lower level of alert.

Volunteers will work with municipal, educational, nonprofit or business organizations in need of expert assistance during a “cybersecurity incident.”

“Business could request us to come in, say they get all their computers like a ransomware attack,” Davidson said.

The volunteers come from throughout the state.

The government has declared 16 industries as critical infrastructure, and the corps will try to represent them all, Davidson said.  

“We try to have people that actively work in security organizations, not just in Information Technology but computer security particularly and most of these people we get, they don’t just do security at work,. It’s their hobby also,” he said.

The bills also offers immunity for volunteers during their deployment under the Government Liability for Negligence Act. That protects volunteers from getting sued if they inadvertently cause a problem but doesn’t protect them from lawsuits if they try to do damage.

“It is a pretty standard Good Samaritan legislation,” Davidson said.

Iden said organizations can request o volunteers from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget to help them fight a cyber attack for up to 10 days.

Saving Lake Erie could help other lakes, inland and great

By KALEY FECH
Capital News Service

LANSING — A diverse group of Michigan organizations is forming a coalition to improve water quality in Lake Erie.

It’s a model that the partners say could also benefit Michigan’s inland lakes dealing with the algae that plagues Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay.

Farm, environmental, university, government and landscape groups are part of the new Michigan Cleaner Lake Erie through Action and Research partnership.

“Our short-term goal is to share information across the board,” said Jennifer Read, director of the Water Center at the University of Michigan. “Our long term goal is to have better water quality in Lake Erie.”  

Jamie Clover Adams, director of the  Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, agrees.

“Our mission is to improve the water quality of the Western Lake Erie Basin through open discussion among regional leaders that brings a coordinated perspective to existing efforts,” she said in a press release.

Partner organizations will host on-site events such as farm tours, water collection on the lake and tours of wastewater treatment plants, said Laura Campbell, manager of the agricultural ecology department for the Michigan Farm Bureau.

It will provide ways for university researchers to find farms to test new management practices and measure nutrient reduction, create opportunities for water quality monitoring or testing nutrient reduction techniques in the lake and its tributaries, and find contributors to help with project and funding requests.

The diversity of the partnership makes it unique from past ones, Read said.

“These folks have not typically all worked together in the past to any great extent.”

The water quality problems in Lake Erie are caused by algae that feed on phosphorus. The phosphorus is applied to farm fields because it’s an essential nutrient for plants, Read said.

Runoff from the fields transfers the phosphorus to the lake.

Phosphorus pollution from wastewater treatment plants also encourages algae growth.

“Some algae can be a nuisance. It clogs the beaches and it can smell,” Read said. “It’s generally aesthetically unappealing.”

And some algae threatens health.

“Some algae is poisonous to animals,” Read said. “They drink the water in the lake, and it makes them sick. It’s also harmful to people. It can cause breathing problems when people boat through it, and it can get into drinking water and make people sick.”

In 2014, Toledo was forced to shut down its water system because an algal toxin was found in the water.

Chris Sebastian, the public affairs coordinator for coalition memebr Great Lakes region of Ducks Unlimited, said rainfall is one factor that determines how much phosphorus ends up in the lake.

“Some years are worse than others for algae blooms,” Sebastian said. “That’s determined by rainfall because the more rain there is, the more runoff from farms there will be.”

Farmers, often blamed for the problem, say they hope to help find the resolution.

Campbell said, “Farmers have been working on solutions for a long time. What’s really happening now is, we’re saying we really need to focus on these areas that are having water quality problems because even though agriculture isn’t the only source, we have the opportunity to be part of the solution.”

And Sebastion said preserving the wetlands around the Western Lake Erie basin–— including shoreline north and south of Monroe — could help,

“Wetlands are nature’s kidneys,” he said. “They filter out nutrients and pollutants and keep them from entering Lake Erie. Plants in the wetlands slow down the flow of water, the nutrients fall to the bottom, and then the plants soak them up.”

Western Lake Erie has lost 90 percent of its historical wetlands to development, he said. Restoring them is worth the long and challenging process required to do it.

Improving communication is an important part of the partnership.

“We don’t want to duplicate what someone has already done,” Sebastian said. “We’re doing work on the ground, others are doing research, and it’s helpful to share our findings with one another.”

Although the new group’s focus is on Lake Erie, other areas face related problems and perhaps could benefit from a similar approach.

Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay faces a comparable and increasing algae problem that doesn’t get the same level of attention as Lake Erie, said Tom Zimnicki, agricultural policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council. Part of the problem is Saginaw Bay doesn’t have the multi-state focus Lake Erie has.

Saginaw Bay and the western basin of Lake Erie share a lot of similarities, both from types and sources of nutrients coming in but also things like depth of water and water temperature, all of which contribute to overall algae growth and water quality issues,” Zimnicki said.

“From a pollution standpoint, I think what we’re seeing in Lake Erie, we’re already seeing and we will continue to see those issues in Saginaw Bay as sort of a microcosm of Lake Erie,” he said.

While there are some smaller, local groups addressing the Saginaw Bay problem, there aren’t any efforts at the same scale asf those focused on Lake Erie, Zimnicki said.

And algae problems can be found inland, too.

“We’re definitely seeing algae issues in inland lakes and streams throughout Michigan,” Zimnicki said. “I’ve seen and heard of more common occurrences throughout the state.”

Read said the coalition’s work will likely benefit other areas because most of the people involved have connections to other lakes throughout the state.

The Farm Bureau’s Campbell said that hopefully it can provide a prototype for other communities.

“We saw it as something that could be the model for how water quality issues are addressed in other areas as well,” she said.

And because of its size, the partnership will be able to influence lawmakers, participants say.

“If one group asks for specific action to be taken, they may be overlooked. But when a coalition of this size and diversity of interests asks for specific action, that’s much harder to ignore,” Campbell said.

Outstate health officials prepare for hepatitis A cases

By STEPHEN OLSCHANSKI
Capital News Service

LANSING — The number of hepatitis A cases related to a Detroit-area outbreak is closing in on 400, prompting some outstate health officials to monitor its spread across Michigan.

It’s not a matter of if it will spread, but when it will spread, said Bay County health officer Joel Strasz.

“We’re talking about a specific strain down there that seems to be more virulent than typical cases of hepatitis A,” Strasz said. “We live in a mobile society and people travel.

“We just anticipate that this is going to come here in some form or fashion,” he said.

Hepatitis A is viral liver disease that can cause yellowing of the skin or eyes, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain and fatigue.It’s often spread through person-to-person contact and consumption of infected food or water.

Of the 397 cases tied to the Detroit-area outbreak, 320 resulted in hospitalizations and 15 people died. The outbreak dates to Aug. 1, 2016, and has predominantly affected the Metro Detroit area, including Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair counties.

Ottawa County, which has had two cases of hepatitis A, is monitoring the situation in Detroit and trying to stay vigilant in case the disease were to spread, Kristina Wieghmink, a communications specialist for Ottawa County, said.

Primarily, the county is looking at strands of the disease when cases arise and checking to see if it matches the Detroit-area outbreak. So far, it hasn’t, Wieghmink said.

But since people travel, there is always concern it could spread, Wieghmink said.

Strasz said Bay County is focused on prevention and vaccination,

“Hopefully, it’s not going to come in as great of numbers as what’s happening in Southeast Michigan,” he said. “But we’d like to anticipate that to get as many folks vaccinated as possible.”

People most vulnerable to the disease are heavy drug users, the homeless and males who have sex with males.

Recently, Bay County held an event to vaccinate homeless people.

“They’re a particularly vulnerable population that needs to be targeted,” Strasz said. “Obviously, No. 1, they don’t have homes and in a lot of cases they don’t have a free and adequate supply of sanitary facilities.”

High-stress living conditions of many of the homeless weaken their immune system, leaving them more vulnerable to the disease, he said.

“Those with history of injection and non-injection drug use, homelessness or transient housing, and incarceration are thought to be at greater risk,”Angela Minicuci, the communications director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, wrote in an email.

“No common sources of food, beverages, or drugs have been identified as a potential source of infection associated with this outbreak,” she said.

An additional 42 cases of hepatitis A unrelated to the outbreak have been reported so far in 2017 across multiple counties. Apart from the Detroit-area outbreak, Kent County and Sanilac County reported the most cases with five each. Saginaw, Ingham and Washtenaw counties each registered four cases.

Calhoun, Genesee, Isabella, Lapeer, Livingston and St. Joseph counties all registered three cases. Berrien, Hillsdale, Lake and Ottawa counties all registered two cases.

Only one case was reported in Barry, Bay, Charlevoix, Clare, Clinton, Delta, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Huron, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Montcalm and Van Buren counties.

While those cases are not linked to the Detroit outbreak, there is a possibility that strain of the disease will move.

“Diseases do not know boundaries,” Minicuci saidw.

The latest Michigan Disease Surveillance System report shows cases in 34 of Michigan’s 83 counties.

The current tally of all hepatitis A cases in 2017 stands at 439, an increase of 307 from all of 2016.

The  Department of Health and Human Services is targeting potential sources.

“Working with community partners, vaccination efforts are being implemented in targeted locations such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens and rehabilitation facilities,” Minicuci wrote. “Partnerships are also being developed with area emergency departments, county jails and state prisons.”

Bilingual Michigan high schoolers could get diploma endorsement

By JINGJING NIE
Capital News Service

Lansing — A group of people are trying to establish a prize program for Michigan high school graduates who are proficient in two or more languages.

The program is called the Seal of Biliteracy. It is a diploma seal awarded by a school, school district or county office of education to recognize students who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English.

Around the country, 27 states have adopted the program.

“This is the highest award for recognizing the knowledge of foreign language for students,” said Marzanna Owinski, a language coordinator for the Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools. The mission preserves and promotes Polish culture in America.

Owinski pitched the idea of establishment of Seal of Biliteracy to the Michigan Department of Education in September 2016.

She is now working with the Department of Education in a multi-language task force that will decide the requirements and standards for the program.

“We’re hoping to finish it this year,” she said.

“It is going to be available for students graduating as early as June 2018,” said Irma Torres, a world language consultant at Oakland Schools, who is also working with the task force.

“I’m very happy to have this in place for students who are learning another language and can achieve a certain required level of proficiency,” Torres said.

“I’m happy that the school recognizes English learners who have a second language already and I’m happy that it may also bring forward other students who are not taking a second language but can demonstrate bilingualism,” she said.

About 10 percent of high school graduates from California have received the Seal of Biliteracy on their diploma, Owinski said.

Each state develops its own criteria and guidelines. Michigan would have its unique standard as well, Torres said.

Exams for the program usually cover speaking, reading, writing and listening.

Owinski said, “Seal of Biliteracy is for all languages, which is a beauty of the work.”

Generally only a few world languages like Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese and German are taught in schools. This program gives a chance to students who know other languages to be recognized for their language ability, Owinski said.

“We have to pay attention more to languages,” said Owinski.

Owinski said Michigan imports and exports products from and to many countries. Bilingualism can open perspectives and also helps in employment.

According to a study, “Employer Preferences: Do Bilingual Applicants and Employees Experience an Advantage?” 66 percent of employers prefer bilingual candidates.

In Michigan, some districts have already implemented a local program.

In 2014, the Dearborn School District established its own Seal of Biliteracy. Detroit Public Schools and Utica Community Schools, two of the biggest  districts, also offer programs in partnership with Welcoming Michigan, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports diversity in communities.

Utica Community Schools established the Seal of Global Language in 2016. Almost 150 students graduated with a seal the first year and 174 students graduated with a seal this year.

“Utica Community Schools expects that our students attain a high level of global language proficiency. We also celebrate and honor the diversity of our students and know that these experiences are preparing them for success in a global economy,” Superintendent Christine Johns said in a statement.

The idea is also supported by organizations like the Michigan World Language Association. Public affairs liaison Julie Foss said in an email that her organization enthusiastically supports the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy and is  working with the Department of Education on the initiative.

Community colleges seek access to wage information

By JACK NISSEN
Capital News Service

LANSING —  Alpena Community College was one of five Michigan community colleges  in 2015 to make the Aspen Institute’s prestigious list of top 150 community colleges in the country.

It was a point of pride for the college’s president, Don MacMaster.

But to be considered among the top 10 schools on that list, the school needed to report where its graduates work and how much they earn. The problem: Alpena Community College doesn’t have access to that data so it couldn’t apply for top-10 status.

And unlike universities, neither does any community college or trade school in Michigan. A bill, which has passed the House, would change that.

“That was the impetus to push on the system, to get access to that data,” MacMaster said. “The legislation reflects the efforts from the community colleges to make the case for the value of what students can do.”

The information is held by Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency. Unlike universities, community colleges can’t access that data. The information can be helpful in adjusting course programs and deciding where school resources should be diverted.

“Quite honestly, this information can’t be drawn by the community colleges simply by calling their alumni and getting their information,” said Rep. Jim Ellison, D-Royal Oak. “That becomes very burdensome.”

Ellison introduced the bill  to make that information accessible to trade schools and community colleges — but not just for the sake of meeting criteria for a nation-wide award. Wage record data tells a lot about the benefits and problems that an educational or training program might have. And it can guide them to make improvements.

Supporters of the bill say the information would help them further mold their curriculum to match what industries need from the schools’ graduates.

“There are two key reasons why this data helps, said Tim Nelson, the president of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. “First off, if we’re pointing someone toward an industry, we want to know if there are even jobs out there. Then we want to be able to say how much money they could make in that job.”

Wage data helps educators understand the extent that an institution’s technical training and workforce development translate to employment, said Michele Economou Ureste, the executive director of Workforce Intelligence Network, a nonprofit agency that generates labor market data and organizes training workforce development for Southeast Michigan.

“You can’t manage unless you measure, so everything needs to be data-driven,” she said.

All public or private employer that pay a payroll tax submit salary and wage data on their employees to the Unemployment Insurance Agency. That includes whether someone is employed, where they’re employed, for how long and at what salary.

Community colleges would cross-reference this information with the names of their alumni.

It’s not just the Workforce Intelligence Network that supports this bill. Other groups representing skilled trade schools like Michigan Works! and officials from Oakland Community College and Washtenaw Community College have testified in support of the bill.

“When we’re looking at training programs at community colleges or Michigan Works! programs, one of the things we want to measure is the success of our programs,” said Bill Sleight, the executive director of Michigan Works! Southeast. “When we send someone to a community college program in welding or heating and cooling, we want to make sure that we understand what the likelihood is those folks will get jobs once they finish training.”

“If we’re investing in programs that don’t have any long-term impact, we’ll want to take a look at those programs and see what the real issue is,” Sleight said.

Because the market for skilled trades is in constant motion, work groups like Sleight’s can use the data to better predict the future of the industry and where the needs for jobs will be.

Ureste said Michigan has a shortage of skilled trade workers numbering in the tens of thousands. Jobs in robotics, information technology, welding, carpentry and lead removal are vacant.

The data can guide institutions in deciding where to redirect their resources.

“Of course workforce development should be data-driven,” she said. “With technology moving so fast, we really can’t waste any more resources on programs that aren’t necessary.”

If a community college wants the same data, it must follow up with its graduates. And the results come with a mixture of inaccurate data and no-answers.

Ellison said he isn’t sure why universities have access to such information while community colleges don’t, but he guesses it could be because they weren’t as prevalent as they are now.

The bill made it through the House with only one vote against.

If it is signed into law, not just anyone could get access the information. As with the universities, an administrative official would be responsible for the data remaining private.

Ellison says the availability of confidential information is a legitimate concern, and one that the bill takes into account.

“These public institutions already have far more sensitive information on each of us,” he said. “All this bill really does is it puts it (wage data) in one spot to see how successful schools’ programs are.”

Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association, said he is unaware of significant opposition and expects to see the bill signed before the end of the year.

Got Lakes? Try cycling around them

By JACQUELINE KELLY
Capital News Service

LANSING — As a professor of politics at Ithaca College in New York, Thomas Shevory knew that his decision to bicycle around each of the Great Lakes would lead to numerous observations of environmental and economic conditions.

But he was surprised to learn how central the lakes are to much of the development of the United States.

“I just never put it together how early exploration and settlement in what is now the U.S. occurred in the north, along the Canadian border,” he said. “I tend to associate colonial America with places like Plymouth Rock, Jamestown, the Puritans, et cetera. But it was hunters and trappers who drove the economy, and they were able to easily get around because of the lakes.”

Shevory has put together an enticing read of what it’s like to travel around the Great Lakes on two wheels. “The Great Lakes at Ten Miles an Hour,” published this fall by the University of Minnesota Press, is available online for $16.95.

Born and raised 25 miles from Lake Erie, Shevory was no stranger to the Great Lakes.  The idea that there was still so much he could explore in his own backyard didn’t even cross his mind until he was more than 6,000 miles away in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

“I had just got to thinking that we sometimes travel long distances in search of the mysterious or exotic, and that in doing so, we might miss those amazing places that are closer to home,” he said.  “And the Great Lakes struck me as being like that – not that far from me, but in many respects very mysterious.”

Shevory first decided to make a hobby out of cycling in the summer of 1989 after participating in RAGBRAI (the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), a seven-day bicycle ride across the state. Heading into its 45th year, RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world, although Shevory wouldn’t call it a true cycling tour.

“There was plenty of food and beer,” he said. “I remember some great pulled pork. It wasn’t the most vigorous cycling trip I have ever been on, and it didn’t involve much training. But it definitely sparked my interest.”

The following summer he took his first tour from his home in Ithaca to the northern border of New York. He was hooked.

In the summer of 2011, Shevory began his Great Lakes journey in Sarnia, Ontario. This first leg of his five-lake trip allowed him to see Lake Huron in a different light. Readers feel like they’re accompanying him through bike-friendly tourist towns in “the Thumb” of Michigan. They accompany him past the industrial Essar Steel Algoma plant as they cross the Sault Ste. Marie Bridge into Canada.

Shevory makes observations about the economic, environmental and historical backgrounds of each area he cycles through. Commentary about the bankruptcy of Detroit and loss of jobs in Buffalo not only gives the reader perspective about the deindustrialization of many cities but also casts an optimistic light on their revitalization with new ways to stimulate their economies.

“We know that it is not likely for these industries to be rebuilt as they once were,” Shevory said. “That’s what made it so much more inspiring that these big cities weren’t giving up and are finding new ways to develop the economy by capturing their rich histories, and bringing tourism into beautiful cities.”

As he comments on how each Great Lake played a role in the creation of the United States, he advocates for worldwide environmental stability.

Shevory’s journey ended June 27, 2014 after cycling around Lake Ontario. Each leg of the trip took two to three weeks over a three-year period.

He’s now moved on to rivers and his sights are set on the Colorado River for next summer.

His advice for aspiring cyclists: “You don’t need too much experience to start touring, but you always need to be prepared for the unexpected. Make sure you have proper clothing, and you should be able to change a flat tire or a broken chain.”

Jacqueline Kelly is a reporter for Great Lakes Echo

California fires will have little impact on Michigan wine sales

By CARL STODDARD
Capital News Service

LANSING — The full impact of wildfires in Northern California’s wine country is not yet clear.

But even if the devastation is severe, Michigan wine producers say it could be a few years before they see any effect, if at all.

Michigan is among the top 10 wine-producing states in the country. Wine sales and grape plantings have been steadily growing for years, said Karel Bush, executive director of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council in Lansing.

What happened in California “really isn’t going to have an impact on Michigan wineries,” Bush said. Most Michigan wineries use grapes grown in their own vineyards or elsewhere in the state.

Michigan has 132 wineries and 3,050 acres planted with grapes for wine, she said. “That number has increased for the last 25 years. It increases every year.”

Michigan, especially areas within 25 or so miles of Lake Michigan, offers an ideal climate for grapes, she said. That’s why wineries keep popping up on that side of the state.

The growing number of wineries isn’t  a boon just to Michigan’s agricultural economy, but also to the state’s tourism industry as millions of visitors flock to wineries and wine-tasting rooms, Bush said.

“We have all this water, all this scenery,” she said. That makes Michigan’s vineyards “a great place for tourism.”

Eddie O’Keefe, president of the Chateau Grand Traverse vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City, said the devastation in California “raises a lot of awareness, but it doesn’t directly affect us. I wouldn’t say we are competing on a head-to-head basis.”

Bad weather in northern Michigan hurt grape production in 2014 and 2015, O’Keefe said. But since then, business has been rebounding, he said.

“Sales seem to be very strong, across the board,” said O’Keefe, whose family-owned business has been making wine since 1974.

The family owns about 120 acres of vineyards and buys grapes from another 100 acres, all on the peninsula.

On average, the winery produces 25 to 30 different wines, which are distributed throughout the Midwest and East Coast, he said.

Chateau Grand Traverse also operates an inn and a wine-tasting room.

“Every Saturday in October is absolutely the busiest time of the year,” O’Keefe said.

Laurie Stabile, owner of the Mackinaw Trail Winery in Petoskey, said if grapevines in California were destroyed in the fires, it could take growers there three to five years to replant, grow and harvest the grapes and get wine back on the shelves.

But because most Michigan wineries grow their own grapes, the impact of the California fires on Michigan’s wine business will be minimal, Stabile said.

Stabile said her business will continue to expand.

“We’re growing, we’ve been growing all along. You can’t make money if you’re not growing,” she said.

Mackinaw Trail Winery grows grapes on about 70 acres, she said. In addition to its winery, it has five tasting rooms, a cider-making facility, a brewery and an event center.

The Legislature established the 11-member Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council w to promote Michigan’s wine and wine grape-growing industries. The council’s website says new Michigan wineries are starting up every year, wine grape acreage continues to grow and sales of Michigan wines are increasing.

California is the top wine-producing state in the country, making about 90 percent of U.S. wine, according to the National Association of American Wineries in Washington, D.C..

The other top 10 wine-producing states, in order, are Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Vermont, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Texas.

The rankings are based on 2014 figures, the latest available, the wine association said.

California has about 1,200 wineries in Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties, the regions most heavily affected by the wildfires, but fewer than 10 have been destroyed or heavily damaged, said the Wine Institute, which represents wineries and related businesses in California.

The three counties represent about 12 percent of California’s wine grape production, the institute said.