Nov. 21, 2014 Budget

Nov. 21, 2014 – Week 11
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From: Eric Freedman & Sheila Schimpf
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THANKSGIVING WEEK: We will have an early file on Tuesday, Nov. 25, because of the holiday.

HERE’S YOUR FILE:

GASTAX: As lawmakers debate how to fix the state’s crumbling roads, local voters are more willing to pay higher property taxes to help fund road maintenance. As of the Nov. 6 election, voters in 28 counties have approved road millages. We talk to officials in Grand Traverse, Gladwin and Cheboygan counties and the Country Road Association. Counties that approved millages this year include Ottawa, Arenac, Keweenaw and Kalkaska. By Ian K. Kullgren. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, GLADWIN, CHEBOYGAN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND, MARQUETTE & ALL POINTS.
W/GASTAXTABLE: Eight counties that approved road millages in 2014. Source: County Road Association of Michigan.

ETHANOL: New research suggests increased ethanol fuel use could be dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Michigan. Scientists found ethanol use is reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the state by nearly 1.4 million metric tons each year, the equivalent of emissions from 294,000 cars. There are nearly 200 gas stations that sell ethanol, including E85 fuel — the third-highest in the county behind Minnesota and Illinois. Growers harvested a record 348,750,000 bushels of corn in 2013. Lenawee, St. Joseph, Montcalm and Ionia counties are among the 13 that harvested more than 9 million bushels in 2012. By Ian K. Kullgren. FOR BLISSFIELD, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.

KURDS:: Turkish Michiganians say the Turkish government should act more decisively to help the largely Kurdish residents of the Syrian border town of Kobani in their fight against ISIS. They criticize the slow pace of Turkey’s humanitarian efforts. By Duygu Kanvar. FOR ALL POINTS.

LINGERINGPESTICIDES: Pesticides, mostly from farm runoff and yard use, remain a concern for fish and aquatic insects in many streams and rivers in urban and agricultural areas, a national study warns. However, the study looked for only about half the 400 pesticides used in agriculture, and funding for continued monitoring has shrunk. The U.S. Geological Survey research includes long-term testing on the River Raisin and the Clinton and Black rivers. By Eric Freedman. FOR BLISSFIELD, CADILLAC, GREENVILLE, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, PETSOKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ALPENA, CRAWFORD COUNTY, GLADWIN, HOLLAND, BIG RAPIDS & ALL POINTS.

CNS

Ethanol use in Michigan cuts greenhouse gas, study finds

By IAN K. KULLGREN
Capital News Service

LANSING — New research suggests increased ethanol fuel use could be dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Michigan.

A study by scientists at Michigan State University shows ethanol use in the state is reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 1.4 million metric tons each year, the equivalent of emissions from 294,000 cars.
Ethanol fuel production, meanwhile, has nearly doubled in the past seven years, from 276 million gallons in 2007 to 452 million in 2012.

The findings suggest ethanol could serve as one tool to slow global warming, experts said.
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Pesticide levels in rivers may threaten fish, insects

By ERIC FREEDMAN

Capital News Service

LANSING — Pesticides, mostly from agricultural runoff and yard use, remain a concern for fish and insects in many of the country’s streams and rivers, warns a national study based in part on research done in Michigan.

Although levels of pesticides usually didn’t exceed benchmarks for human health, their potential to harm aquatic life is likely underestimated, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey, part of the U.S. Interior Department.

That’s because the agency can afford to monitor “less than half of the more than 400 pesticides currently used in agriculture, and monitoring focused only on pesticides dissolved in water.”
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Where rubber hits road, new taxes fix them

By IAN K. KULLGREN

Capital News Service

LANSING — As lawmakers wrangle over how to fix the state’s crumbling road system, one group is increasingly volunteering to foot the bill: Local taxpayers.

More than a third of counties now have local property tax increases in place to help fund road maintenance.

In 2006, voters in 12 counties had approved local road maintenance levies. That number has now risen to 28 as of this year, when eight passed new increases in the August primary and November general elections.

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Source: County Road Association of Michigan.


Although the taxes are expected to bring in millions of dollars in additional road funds each year, local leaders say it will barely make a dent, even if the House passes a bill in December to double the gasoline tax.
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Turkey should help Syrians, Turkish students here say

By DUYGU KANVER

Capital News Service

LANSING – The Syrian town of Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish city by the Turkish border, has been under assault by the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) since mid-September, leaving about 800 dead and 300,000 displaced from their homes.

While airstrikes led by the U.S. have supported ongoing resistance by Kurdish forces in the region, Kurds say Turkey’s collaboration by opening its borders with Syria and Iraq is central to saving Kobani.

“We ask for nothing from the Turkish government but this,” says Ruken Sengul, a Turkish Kurd postdoctoral fellow in the Armenian Studies program at the University of Michigan.
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