Nov. 26, 2013 CNS Budget

Nov. 26, 2013 – Week 13

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

All articles ©2013, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Nonmembers cannot reproduce CNS articles without written permission.

IN-DEPTH & LAST REGULAR AHEAD: Our last regular file—coincidentally also our third in-depth file—will be Friday, Dec.6. As in the past, we’ll supply a Bonus Week file on Dec. 13 with still-timely stories from the fall that you may not have had space for earlier.


AQUACULTURE: Efforts to expand Michigan’s aquaculture industry are being hampered by government regulations, environmental concerns and lack of financing. Most fish farms are in the northern Lower Peninsula. We talk to the president of the Michigan Aquaculture Association, from the Cadillac area, and experts from Sea Grant in Marquette, MSU and Battle Creek. By Matthew Hall. FOR CADILLAC, MARQUETTE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, HARBOR SPRINGS, TRAVERSE CITY, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, HOLLAND, ALCONA, LAKE CITY, HERALD REVIEW, ST. IGNACE & ALL POINTS.

DENTALGRANT: A $1.3 million federal grant will expand dental care for children in Mecosta and Genesee counties by putting dental hygiene students from Ferris State and U of M in schools with high numbers of Medicaid-eligible or low-income students. The SEAL! Michigan program already has at least one participating school in 19 other counties, including Marquette, Alpena, Ottawa, Alcona, Ingham and Wayne. By Becky McKendry. FOR BIG RAPIDS, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, MARQUETTE, ALPENA, HOLLAND, ALCONA, CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.

POACHING: The illegal shooting of a black bear in Manistee County is evidence that poaching remains a problem in the state, DNR officials say. Michigan United Conservation Clubs wants tougher penalties for those who hunt, fish or trap illegally. A bill with tougher penalties for poaching big-antlered deer is on its way to the governor, with sponsors from St. Clair, Traverse City, Evart, St. Joseph and Grand Ledge. For news and outdoors pages. By Lacee Shepard. FOR MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, CADILLAC, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, ALPENA, ALCONA, BIG RAPIDS, PETOSKEY, GREENVILLE, HERALD STAR, LAKE COUNTY, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, ST. IGNACE, HARBOR SPRINGS & ALL POINTS.

POWERPLANT: The Court of Appeals has approved air stack emission permits intended to reduce emissions from DTE’s coal-fired power plant in Monroe. The decision rebuffs the Sierra Club, which claimed the permit violates the federal Clean Air Act. By Eric Freedman. FOR BLISSFIELD, DEADLINE DETROIT, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK & ALL POINTS.

RAINCOLLECTORS: About 700 Michigan volunteers monitor rain and snowfall to assist such agencies as the National Weather Service. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network makes it quick and easy work to measure precipitation and provide data used in predicting storms and floods. We talk to the state climatologist and a Mount Pleasant participant. By Erik Stiem. FOR ALL POINTS.


Black bear shooting highlights poaching problem


Capital News Service

LANSING – A bear-poaching incident in Manistee County has shed light on a continuing poaching problem throughout Michigan.

“A poacher is nothing more than a criminal. If someone goes into a department store and steals a blender, that would be the same thing as someone who goes into the wild and steals a deer,” said Dean Molnar assistant chief of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) law enforcement division.

“They’re a criminal. They’re not ethical, licensed hunters. They’re taking away from the public.”

Hunting is an ethical sport that’s used to manage resources, said Molnar, as well as a recreational sport and a critical management tool for wildlife biologists to maintain healthy animal populations.

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Federal funds help expand dental care for children


Capital News Service

LANSING – Smiles in Michigan will soon be a little brighter – and healthier – thanks to a recent federal grant.

The Department of Community Health will use a $1.3 million grant to expand oral health programs in Mecosta and Genesee counties. The grant is from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

In Mecosta County, the funds will expand the SEAL! Michigan program that places hygiene students in elementary and middle schools to provide sealants and dental education.

Partnering schools include dental hygiene programs at Ferris State University and the University of Michigan.

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Study identifies obstacles to aquaculture expansion


Capital News Service

LANSING – Better rules for sustainable fish farms could provide the state with a $1 billion a year industry, according to the Michigan Sea Grant, a coastal conservation research group.

The fish farms, collectively known as aquaculture, are few so far, but Michigan’s abundant system of inland lakes, Great Lakes and fresh groundwater means there’s large potential for growth, researchers said.

“Michigan probably has the best resources available for this,” said Christopher Weeks, a Michigan State University fisheries and wildlife researcher. “The demand for seafood is projected to rise. The Chinese market alone is expected to increase their consumption by 300 percent by 2030.”

Fish farms work sort of like traditional farms, only fish are raised instead of livestock and crops, and tanks are used instead of fields.

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Court OKs DTE power plant permits


Capital News Service

LANSING – The Court of Appeals has upheld state permits for DTE Energy Co.’s modifications of its coal-fired power plant on the Lake Erie shore in Monroe, despite objections by a major environmental group.

In a unanimous opinion, the court rejected the Sierra Club’s challenge to permits issued by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2010 and 2012.

The work has been underway during the Sierra Club’s appeal of a lower court decision in favor of the utility, said Randi Berris, a DTE senior media relations specialist.

It’s part of a 10-year, $2 billion overhaul of the state’s largest power plant, she said. It was built in the 1970s.

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Volunteers keep tabs on rain, snow


Capital News Service

LANSING – It has a long name, but the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) makes quick and easy work of measuring precipitation.

Rainfall and snowfall have long been difficult to monitor. But that’s less of a problem now, thanks to a simple rain gauge and citizen participation, said Jeff Andresen, the state climatologist and coordinator of the Michigan chapter of the national group known as CoCoRaHS.

Anyone can join. The only requirements are a rain gauge and an enthusiasm for the environment, said Andresen, who is also an associate professor of geography at Michigan State University.

The gauge is a 14-inch-tall-by-4¼-inch wide cylinder containing a measuring tube that holds up to an inch of fallen water. The measurements go by increments of one hundredth of an inch. It’s easy to read and observers record their data online, preferably every morning, Andresen said.

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