Uncertainty floods the future of Great Lakes’ water quality, quantity


Capital News Service

LANSING — For climate change experts, it’s a world of “ifs” when trying to predict what will happen to the waters of the Great Lakes — including a surge of algae blooms.

And while there are some educated guesses out there, not much can be said for certain.

“One thing that we do know about projections for the future is all of them, and there are no exceptions, all of them call for warmer mean temperatures,” said Jeffrey Andresen, Michigan’s state climatologist and a geography professor at Michigan State University.

Now there’s a lot to take away from warmer mean temperatures projections, but again, few things are certain. Continue reading

Bills would eliminate concealed-carry regulations

Capital News Service

LANSING — Some lawmakers are working to remove the licensing requirement for concealed pistol carriers.

Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, has introduced bills to eliminate concealed pistol license, or CPL, laws.

Cole said he doesn’t want to make it easier to obtain a gun or loosen those regulations, but he wants to ensure that “law-abiding citizens” don’t need to jump through hoops to carry a concealed pistol for self-defense.

“The idea is to promote constitutional freedom,” Cole said. Continue reading

Bill seeks to reduce penalty of expired concealed pistol license

Capital News Service

LANSING — People with concealed pistols could avoid felony charges for expired licenses under a bill introduced by Rep. Shane Hernandez, R-Port Huron.

Under current law, anyone with an expired concealed pistol license who still carries his or her concealed weapon could be charged with a felony, even if it’s only been a few days since the license expired, Hernandez said.

Hernandez said he was inspired to introduce the bill after hearing about a staffer’s friend who faced such a charge because of a recently expired icense during a routine traffic stop.

The bill would reduce that felony to a civil misdemeanor with a $330 fine if someone’s license has been expired for six months or less. Continue reading

Bills would increase sentences for animal abuse in domestic violence

Capital News Service

LANSING — Proposed bipartisan legislation to stiffen punishments for abuse to pets during domestic disputes is headed to the full Senate with the unanimous approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Supporters say the increased penalties would help prevent both animal abuse crimes and domestic violence.

“It addresses a gap in the law right now,” said Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, the primary sponsor. “The current statute doesn’t deal with the situation where someone is using the torture of an animal to torture a human being.

“The bills are as much domestic violence prevention as they are animal abuse prevention.” Continue reading

Transgender youths defend their rights against bathroom bill

Ash and M.K. Kelly in a Lansing bookstore during the interview

Ash and M.K. Kelly in a Lansing bookstore during the interview

Capital News Service

LANSING — Twins MK and Ash Kelly, both wearing wire-rimmed glasses and hoodies in navy blue, are wandering on Michigan Avenue in Lansing, jamming their hands into jeans pockets. Someone in a coffee shop recognizes them and waves enthusiastically through the window as they pass by.

MK and Ash, 20, are of some renown in Lansing, and not only because they do music and drawing. Lots of people are getting to know them from a video on Popsugar about their GoFundMe campaign to help pay for their gender reassignment surgeries, which are not covered by their health insurance. MK works in a tattoo shop and Ash is unemployed.

Sexually assigned as girls at birth, Ash came out as “non-binary” in 2014 and MK in 2015. Non-binary describes any gender identity which doesn’t fit strictly into categories of male or female. Continue reading

Big name retailers join fight against Enbridge pipeline

Capital News Service

LANSING — The chorus of voices calling for the decommissioning of a twin oil pipeline running across the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac has become more diversified.

A network of 18 businesses, all but one based in Michigan, recently announced support for halting use of the controversial pipeline.

The Great Lakes Business Network, formed in December, is supported by the National Wildlife Federation and the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities in Traverse City. It’s also collaborating with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Line 5 is a pipeline operated by Enbridge Inc. that runs 645 miles from Wisconsin to Ontario and carries 540,000 barrels of oil per day. The 4.5 mile section that crosses under the Straits spanning the Upper and Lower peninsulas is controversial. Continue reading

Feb. 10, 2017 CNS budget

Feb. 10, 2017

To: CNS Editors
From: Perry Parks and Sheila Schimpf


For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Pechulano Ali, (517) 940-2313, pechulan@msu.edu.

For other issues contact Perry Parks, perryrobertparks@gmail.com, (517) 388-8627.

Here is your file:

VIOLENCEGRANTS: Gov. Snyder’s latest budget proposal includes $4.3 million in state-administered federal grants toward preventing gender violence, but some local nonprofits are worried about losing support under the Trump administration. Many organizations are most concerned about losing the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, which allows nonprofits to hire advocates to provide courtroom support for victims in both civil and criminal cases. We talk with advocates in Big Rapids and Marquette and representatives of the State Police. Other affected communities include Three Rivers, Holland, Grand Rapids, Cadillac and Sault Ste. Mari. eBy Caitlin Taylor. FOR BIG RAPIDS, HOLLAND, THREE RIVERS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CADILLAC, LUDINGTON, TRAVERSE CITY, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, STURGIS, MANIISTEE, CHEBOYGAN, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.

TRANSGENDERBOYSCOUTS: A recent decision by the Boy Scouts to admit transgender members broke years of tradition. Advocacy groups across the state were elated with the choice, and said members of the community believe it makes a dramatic difference in attitudes. By Isaac Constans. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.

STATEPOWERDEVOS: Newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she wants to return more power to the states. Education officials in Michigan offer their support for this shift, as they say the state’s education woes are partly a product of unnecessary federal intervention. They assert state educators know what’s best for Michigan’s schoolchildren, and can achieve higher educational success than the federal government. We speak with officials from the state Department of Education and the superintendent of Gladwin Community Schools. By Laina Stebbins. FOR BIG RAPIDS, LAKE COUNTY, OSCEOLA, GLADWIN, GREENVILLE, OCEANA, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS

Continue reading

Physician assistants could expand access to health care – Table


Capital News Service

Primary Care Physicians: Ratio of population to primary care physicians in Michigan counties

Place # Primary Care Physicians PCP Ratio Z-Score
Alcona 5 2,116:1 0.45
Alger 4 2,381:1 0.61
Allegan 27 4,168:1 1.17
Alpena 28 1,039:1 -1.07
Antrim 9 2,597:1 0.72
Arenac 6 2,581:1 0.71
Baraga 10 870:1 -1.65
Barry 20 2,955:1 0.86
Bay 56 1,908:1 0.29
Benzie 6 2,905:1 0.84
Berrien 131 1,185:1 -0.7
Branch 22 1,984:1 0.35
Calhoun 76 1,776:1 0.17
Cass 10 5,191:1 1.31
Charlevoix 22 1,188:1 -0.7
Cheboygan 14 1,838:1 0.23
Chippewa 23 1,682:1 0.07
Clare 10 3,057:1 0.9
Clinton 29 2,646:1 0.74
Crawford 13 1,070:1 -0.98
Delta 24 1,538:1 -0.1
Dickinson 23 1,135:1 -0.82
Eaton 41 2,643:1 0.74
Emmet 39 850:1 -1.73
Genesee 370 1,123:1 -0.85
Gladwin 9 2,833:1 0.82
Gogebic 16 995:1 -1.2
Grand Traverse 131 687:1 -2.6
Gratiot 26 1,614:1 -0.01
Hillsdale 14 3,293:1 0.97
Houghton 32 1,132:1 -0.82
Huron 21 1,534:1 -0.11
Ingham 297 950:1 -1.35
Ionia 20 3,204:1 0.94
Iosco 15 1,695:1 0.08
Iron 7 1,645:1 0.03
Isabella 35 2,012:1 0.37
Jackson 83 1,932:1 0.31
Kalamazoo 248 1,035:1 -1.08
Kalkaska 6 2,866:1 0.83
Kent 571 1,089:1 -0.93
Keweenaw  N/A  N/A 0
Lake 2 5,693:1 1.37
Lapeer 35 2,525:1 0.68
Leelanau 7 3,107:1 0.91
Lenawee 30 3,306:1 0.97
Livingston 90 2,049:1 0.4
Luce 8 813:1 -1.9
Mackinac 11 1,006:1 -1.17
Macomb 493 1,734:1 0.12
Manistee 14 1,746:1 0.14
Marquette 77 879:1 -1.61
Mason 25 1,144:1 -0.8
Mecosta 23 1,874:1 0.26
Menominee 11 2,163:1 0.48
Midland 85 987:1 -1.23
Missaukee 4 3,763:1 1.09
Monroe 55 2,734:1 0.78
Montcalm 26 2,427:1 0.63
Montmorency 6 1,558:1 -0.08
Muskegon 115 1,487:1 -0.17
Newaygo 21 2,286:1 0.56
Oakland 1,861 662:1 -2.77
Oceana 14 1,875:1 0.26
Ogemaw 12 1,770:1 0.16
Ontonagon 2 3,161:1 0.93
Osceola 7 3,323:1 0.98
Oscoda 4 2,095:1 0.43
Otsego 15 1,609:1 -0.01
Ottawa 168 1,623:1 0
Presque Isle 2 6,531:1 1.44
Roscommon 8 3,002:1 0.88
Saginaw 173 1,136:1 -0.81
Sanilac 12 3,485:1 1.02
Schoolcraft 5 1,649:1 0.03
Shiawassee 30 2,297:1 0.56
St. Clair 81 1,981:1 0.35
St. Joseph 21 2,903:1 0.84
Tuscola 17 3,192:1 0.94
Van Buren 41 1,840:1 0.23
Washtenaw 612 579:1 -3.44
Wayne 1,162 1,528:1 -0.12
Wexford 32 1,020:1 -1.12

Worms can be too much of a good thing


Capital News Service

LANSING — Wriggly soil-dwellers may not have the bad rep of some of their invasive counterparts but they do have the power to change entire ecosystems.

“It’s ingrained into our education that earthworms are good,” said Chuck Elzinga, assistant professor of biology at Michigan State University. “But the more earthworms you have, the worse it is.”

Now a recent study has found that an abundance of earthworms decreases the small plant matter scattered on the forest floor. By eating away at what scientists call “fine root biomass,” worms can significantly change the forest. Continue reading