Dec. 6, 2013 CNS Budget

Dec. 6, 2013 – Week 14

To: CNS Editors

From: Eric Freedman & Sheila Schimpf 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.

LAST REGULAR FILE OF THE FALL: This is your last regular weekly file.

BONUS WEEK AHEAD: As in the past, we’ll provide a bonus week file next Friday, Dec. 13, with a selection of still-timely stories you may not have had space for earlier. In addition, CNS subscribers still can use any of our archived stories, photos and graphics.

CNS IN THE SPRING: Dave Poulson will be at the helm of CNS in the spring semester, as he was in fall 2011, while Eric Freedman handles the environmental reporting course. Our 1st file of 2014 will be Friday, Jan. 17.


WETLANDGAINS: A large gain in Michigan’s coastal wetlands between 2004-09 may obscure larger longer-term losses that are expected to continue due to development and changing lake levels. Among the most important wetlands in the Great Lakes region are Grand Traverse Bay, the Les Cheneaux Islands and the river mouth wetlands in Manistee County. Saginaw Bay is especially hard hit. We talk to DEQ, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and experts at Central Michigan University and MSU. By Matthew Hall. FOR MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, TRAVERSE CITY, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, BAY MILLS, ALPENA, CADILLAC, HOLLAND, MACOMB & ALL POINTS.

MICHIGANWORKS: Manufacturers and technology, health care and skilled trade employers in Northwest Michigan and the Eastern U.P., like those elsewhere in the state, have difficulty hiring enough “middle-skilled” workers. That mirrors a national trend where demand exceeds supply for jobs requiring more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. By Justine McGuire. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, HARBOR SPRINGS, CHEBOYGAN, CADILLAC, LUDINGTON, LAKE COUNTY, MANISTEE, HERALD REVIEW, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, PETOSKEY & ALL POINTS.

TYPHOONRELIEF: Americans are less generous in donating to relief efforts in typhoon-devastated Philippines than they were after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Relative distance may be a factor, says an official at the Red Cross’s Southeastern Michigan regional office. A Lowell resident and her relatives in Greenville and Ionia are  raising money by selling traditional Filipino dishes and other activities. By Becky McKendry. FOR MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GREENVILLE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, DEADLINE DETROIT & ALL POINTS.

MASTERGARDENER: Volunteers across the state are being trained as Master Gardeners in preparation for community service projects such as rejuvenation of Belle Isle, gardening at the Kalamazoo County Jail and harvesting food for food banks, as well as answering the public’s questions. We talk to participants from Western Wayne County and Kalamazoo County groups.  By Becky McKendry. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, DEADLINE DETROIT, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

TRANSPORTATION: A national study predicts that future air travelers will face even greater delays on holiday eves because airlines are reducing flights and cramming more people into the ones that remain, but officials at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Gerald R. Ford International Airport say they’re not worried. By Lacee Shepard. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, DEADLINE DETROIT & ALL POINTS.

GREENCHEMISTRY: Industry, universities and nonprofit groups are teaming up to make manufacturers’ use of chemicals more environmentally friendly. They include the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, DEQ, Dow Chemical, Herman Miller, Steelcase, General Motors, Grand Valley, Michigan Tech, Wayne State, Kettering and MSU. By Matthew Hall. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MARQUETTE, HOLLAND, DEADLINE DETROIT, ROYAL OAK, MACOMB, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.

ACCESSIBLEFOOD: The Michigan Food Policy Council says the state should increase access to healthy foods for more residents. An official of West Bloomfield-based Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers says Michigan should follow the lead of other states. By Lacee Shepard. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING, ROYAL OAK, MACOMB, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

ICE&MATH: Scientists have developed a technique that uses math to identify different types of ice on the Great Lakes in what could be a boon for the shipping industry, recreational boaters and the Coast Guard. A Sault Ste. Marie Coast Guard official and an Ann Arbor researcher explain. By Greg Monahan. FOR MARQUETTE, ST. IGNACE, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, LUDINGTON, ALPENA, ALCONA, MACOMB, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.

w/ICE&MATHPHOTO: Ice covers the Great Lakes. Credit: NASA  Earth Observatory.


Demand rising for middle-skilled jobs


Capital News Service

LANSING – Not everyone needs a bachelor’s degree.

A recent national survey shows that employers have trouble filling middle-skilled jobs, and it said state-run programs could do more to help.

The Michigan Manufacturers Association, or MMA, and local agencies say the same void exists around the state and they are working to fill it.

There are more than 7,000 production job openings in Michigan and that number is expected to grow, said Delaney McKinley, director of human resource policy for MMA. In the next 10 years, 50  percent of production workers will retire.

“That’s a scary number,” she said.

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State needs more markets, fresh food to reduce obesity


Capital News Service

LANSING – People in urban and rural areas need better access to healthy food, the Michigan Food Policy Council said in its new report.

Michigan faces the problem of having food accessible to markets, just not in all the right locations.

That problem prompted groups like the Michigan Food Policy Council to take action, said Jane Whitacre, its director. The council is a commission set up by the state with members representing areas such as agriculture, industry and education.

A few years ago, more than 400 food advocates convened to put together a “road map” to build Michigan’s economy by improving its use of agriculture, she said. By 2020 its goal is that 20 percent of food purchases in Michigan will be from Michigan producers and growers.

The council’s new report recommends building the capacity of Michigan’s farmers markets to allow more people to have healthy food options.

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More holiday-eve airport snarls? Maybe not at Detroit, Grand Rapids


Capital News Service

LANSING – Future travel plans will become more frustrating on the day before major holidays, the U.S. Travel Association warns, but airport officials in Detroit and Grand Rapids aren’t concerned.

An association report predicts that in the next 15 years, more than half of the world’s largest airports will face that problem due to increases in travelers. The report said in the first half of 2013, enplanements increased 3 percent, more than in past years.

Michael Conway, director of public affairs at Detroit Metro Airport, says there are fewer holiday-eve delays now.

“The waits are reducing and the reason is because there are less aircraft in the sky,” Conway said. “Airlines are reducing their flight schedules quite a bit. Therefore there’s a capacity issue.”

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Chemistry getting greener at Michigan companies, universities


Capital News Service

LANSING – A movement to make chemical manufacturing more environmentally friendly has gained steam and turned Michigan into a national leader.

The term “green chemistry” first appeared in the early 1990s, and has gained currency in policy, business and environmental circles, spurring an executive Green Chemistry Program, changes in university courses and influential business initiatives.

It’s described as chemistry that is benign toward people and the environment, whether during a product’s manufacture, consumer use or after it’s discarded.

It includes anything from corn-based plastic forks to soybean-based inks for printing on paper.

“Our program is considered a model in the country,” said Tracey Easthope, the director of the Environmental Health Project at the Ecology Center, an Ann-Arbor-based nonprofit advocacy group.

“Michigan is the only state with a directive to coordinate green chemistry efforts across the different sectors.”

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Wetlands remain in peril, experts warn


Capital News Service

LANSING – A large gain in the size of Michigan’s coastal wetlands between 2004-09 may obscure much larger, longer-term losses that are likely to continue, experts say.

The Great Lakes region gained 13,000 acres in the five-year period, according to a report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but much of the gains is due to low levels in the Great Lakes.

The report highlighted how the rate of coastal wetland loss across the United States is increasing.

Public and private efforts to preserve wetlands have also added small gains, but researchers and state regulators cautioned that those gains need to be put in the context of a long-term overall loss of wetlands in Michigan.

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Master Gardeners prepping for ’14


Capital News Service

LANSING – Anita Callender’s garden is her refuge.

“My garden is a Valium,” she said. “It is a tranquilizer. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

As the coordinator for the Western Wayne County Extension Office’s Master Gardner Volunteer Program, Callender is looking forward to January, which marks the program’s 35th year in Michigan – and another year for her to pass on her love of gardening.

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program is a gardening and horticulture education program across the U.S. and Canada, for people of all ages and experience levels. Volunteers attend a series of research-based classes for 45 hours, then complete community service projects to become certified.

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Typhoon victims got less, still need international aid


Capital News Service

LANSING – When Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda, devastated the Philippines last month, Americans sprang into action.

Just not as many as expected, according to a national report.

Compared to other recent international disasters like the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 tsunami in Japan, fewer Americans paid attention to news of the typhoon and are donating to relief efforts, according to the Pew Research Center report.

At least over 55 percent of Americans reported “very closely” following the earthquake in Haiti and tsunamis in Japan and the Indian Ocean. Only 32 percent of Americans report following Typhoon Haiyan. That has translated into low numbers of donations – with only 14 percent of Americans reporting they have donated so far.

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ID the ice? Help shipping, boaters


Capital News Service

LANSING – Think all ice is the same?

That’s not the case on Michigan’s Great Lakes. And now scientists have found out how to detect the differences – with math.

Ice covers the Great Lakes. (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)

Ice covers the Great Lakes. (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)

The development, reported recently in the International Association for Great Lakes Research, is important because it could help guide freighters through Michigan’s icy lakes, assist the Coast Guard in breaking up large ice formations and help weather scientists predict evaporation that could lead to lake effect snow.

Researcher George Leshkevich of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Ann Arbor led the study with help from Son Nghiem of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The two have developed a radar system and an algorithm to detect types of ice formations on the Great Lakes.

An algorithm is set of steps that are followed to solve a mathematical problem.

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