Oct. 30, 2015 Budget

Capital News Service Budget – Week 8

Oct. 30, 2015

To: CNS Editors

From: Eric Freedman, Sheila Schimpf and Andi Brancato

http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/. For technical problems, contact CNS tech manager Tanya Voloshina (248-943-8979) voloshin@msu.edu.

You can email us at cnsmsu@gmail.com

MDOT AHEAD: On Monday, Nov. 1, your correspondents will interview Kirk Steudle, director of the Department of Transportation.           Possible topics include road and bridge conditions, rail transit plans, mass transit initiatives, airline subsides for small communities and MDOT legislative priorities.

Here’s your file:

EDUCATION&POVERTY: With the impacts of the recession continuing, almost one-quarter of Michigan children live in poverty, and that’s impeding their chances at academic success. The counties with highest child poverty rate are Lake, Oceana, Roscommon, Iosco and Cheboygan. We talk to the Michigan League for Public Policy, Michigan Education Association and the Cheboygan schools superintendent. By Zhao Peng. FOR LAKE COUNTY, CHEBOYGAN, LUDINGTON, LANSING CITY PULSE, ALCONA, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

JOBLESSNESSDOWN: The recent drop in the state’s unemployment rate reflects a bounce-back in the economy and creation of jobs, especially in manufacturing. Companies are coming into the state or expanding here, such as a foreign manufacturer coming to Grayling. But joblessness rates can be misleading because some unemployed people stop looking for work, retire or leave the state. We hear from experts at Grand Valley State, the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiative, Small Business Association of Michigan, Michigan Manufacturers Association and Lakeshore Advantage. By Stephanie Hernandez McGavin. FOR HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CRAWFORD COUNTY, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, GREENVILLE & ALL POINTS.

FORESTSERVICE: DNR and the U.S. Forest Service have signed an agreement under which the state will supplement work being done by federal staff in Michigan’s three national forests: Ottawa, Huron-Manistee and Hiawatha. DNR says the arrangement will provide more forest-related job opportunities and generate timber-related revenue for the state. By Yuehan Liu. FOR CADILLAC, CRAWFORD COUNTY, GRAYLING, BIG RAPIDS, LUDINGTON, CHEBOYGAN, MANISTEE, SAULT STE. MARIE, MARQUETTE, ALCONA, BAY MILLS, ST. IGNACE & ALL POINTS.

SAFECIDER: Discovery of E. coli in a batch of tainted cider from a Clinton County cider mill is drawing attention to sanitary conditions at the state’s approximately 120 operations. Officials say the contamination incident is isolated, although an Ellsworth man got a prison sentence last year for selling adulterated cider. We hear from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and cider mill operators in Lake Leelanau and Fennville. By Michael Kransz. FOR LEELANAU, BLISSFIELD, GREENVILLE, HOLLAND, PETOSKEY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

PEOPLE’SLAWYERREVIEW: Frank Kelley, the nation’s longest-serving state attorney general, recently released his autobiography, The People’s Lawyer, co-authored by Wayne State journalism professor Jack Lessenberry. We review the book and discuss Kelley’s contributions to public service, politics and history. By Andi Brancato. FOR ALL POINTS.

w/PEOPLE’S LAWYERREVIEWCOVER: Credit: Wayne State University Press.

URBANBEES: Urban beekeeping is an increasingly popular teaching tool that also provides support for the threatened pollinators. Although it can be an expensive enterprise, it’s also a tool to teach the public about environmental topics and urban farming. We hear from the MSU-based coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative Project and experts in Minnesota and Wisconsin. By Kelly vanFrankenhuyzen. FOR ALL POINTS.

w/URBANBEESPHOTO: Urban beekeeping is on the rise, a trend that could help bees and educate the public. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

LNG-POWEREDSHIPS: LNG-powered ships on the Great Lakes could cut greenhouse emissions but conversion from other fuels faces economic and regulatory challenges, a new study says. As an example, converting the S.S. Badger that runs between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, from coal to LNG would cost around $13.7 million but reduce annual fuel costs by only $53,000.           By Morgan Linn. FOR LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, HOLLAND, CHEBOYGAN, ALCONA, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

w/LNG-POWEREDSHIPSPHOTO: Researchers calculated the costs of converting the S.S. Badger, a Lake Michigan car ferry, to be powered by liquid natural gas. Credit: Noah Coffey via Flickr.

GRANDRIVER: The Court of Appeals has rejected efforts by an environmental activist to get access to riverfront land owned by an environmental group in Jackson. The activist wants to test for contaminants in Grand River sediments there. The Grand is the state’s longest river and flows from Jackson County to Lake Michigan. Court says the Grand River Environmental Action Team owes no fiduciary duty — meaning a trust relationship — to the activist. By Eric Freedman. FOR HOLLAND, GREENVILLE, LANSING CITY LIMITS, BIG RAPIDS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.



Poverty challenges Michigan schools


Capital News Service

LANSING— Numerous studies show that poverty and income are the two best predictors of a student’s success in school. This has been proven in Michigan recently, according to education experts.

The average scores of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) are low, with 12 percent proficient in science at the bottom and 50 percent proficient in English at the top, according to the Education Department. Meanwhile, 16 percent of Michigan children live in school districts with concentrated poverty, one of the largest percentages among the states, according to a Kids Count in Michigan report by the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Gretchen Dziadosz, executive director of the Michigan Education Association (MEA), the state’s largest teacher and school personnel union, said the increase in poor students and poor school districts hurts students’ academic performance. She attributed that increase to the fact that Michigan hasn’t fully recovered from the recession.
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LNG-powered Great Lakes freighters could cut greenhouse emissions


Capital News Service

LANSING — Great Lakes shipping has the potential to go green.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) could replace oil as the fuel of choice for the freshwater ships, according to a recent study published by the Transportation Research Board. But conversion costs, declining fuel prices and processing capacity are barriers.


Researchers calculated the costs of converting the S.S. Badger, a Lake Michigan car ferry, to be powered by liquid natural gas. Image: Noah Coffey via flickr

To examine the feasibility of conversion, researchers studied the S.S. Badger, a coal-burning ferry that runs across Lake Michigan between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
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City bees pollinate urban education


Capital News Service

LANSING — Urban beekeeping is an increasingly popular teaching tool that also provides support for the threatened pollinators.

“Rooftops and balconies are great places for beehives in the city because the bees will fly above everyone,” said Meghan Milbrath, the coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative Project.


Urban beekeeping is on the rise, a trend that could help bees and educate people. Image: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Her program at Michigan State University addresses bee health and pollination across the state.
Milbrath coordinates the care of beehives at the Student Organic Farm and the Bailey Greenhouse and Urban Farm at the university. Two hives were installed on a dorm balcony last spring.
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