Climate change: a tourist trap

By JACK NISSEN

Capital News Service

LANSING — In 2015, Crystal Mountain Lodge in Thompsonville was saved by an unlikely rescuer: summer.

For the first time, strong summer business bailed out the Northern Michigan ski resort due to the previous mediocre-at-best winter.

“From a traffic standpoint, we are now a 50/50 split,” said Brian Lawson, a public relations representative at the ski lodge located in Benzie County southwest of Traverse City “We have as many people here in the summer, if not more than we do in the winter.”

That’s a recent development for the resort and representative of the volatility of an industry facing the impacts of climate change. There’s more.

The relationship between weather and visits to the North Shore region in Minnesota was recently analyzed to see how it impacts how people decide to spend their time. Continue reading

Climate change tinkers with animal relationships, survival

By JACK NISSEN

Capital News Service

LANSING — How climate change manipulates relationships among organisms and ecosystems remains largely a mystery.

The only predictable is that species that do well in warmer conditions might have an advantage over species that do well in colder conditions, said Hank Vanderploeg, a researcher with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Scientists are beginning to explore what kinds of changes species will be experiencing as the colder months begin to grapple with warmer temperatures. But they don’t yet know how all the rules of the game fit together.

It is an ecological experiment taking place, said Jeffrey Andresen, Michigan’s state climatologist and a geography professor at Michigan State University. Keeping up with what is happening is one thing, but making predictions is difficult. Continue reading

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

By JACK NISSEN

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

Will the whole country descend on Michigan?

By KAREN HOPPER USHER

Capital News Service

LANSING — Some Michiganders smirked when a Popular Science video suggested the state would be a good place to live in 2100 to escape the consequences of climate change.

As if it isn’t already!

But the magazine’s broader point was climate change. Between oceans flooding coasts, wildfires torching the West, mosquitoes spreading disease and nasty storms leveling cities, the continental U.S. will be in rough shape by 2100. But Michigan and northern Wisconsin and Minnesota are going to be relatively unburdened by climate change.

Or so the magazine says.

A little warmer, sure, but not on fire or underwater, unlike those other places. Continue reading

What to expect from climate change

By JACK NISSEN & KAREN HOPPER USHER

Capital News Service

LANSING — The planet got hot, fast. Each of the last three years set records in terms of mean global temperature over the past 150 years.

On average, the Great Lakes region is 2 two degrees warmer than it was in 1912, according to the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessment, which is produced by the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. By 2100, average temperatures could increase by 11 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s rare, but the planet’s overall climate has changed rapidly in the past. Volcanic explosions and meteor impacts did the trick then. This time around it’s us. We’re using too many fossil fuels, which puts more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and heats up the planet faster than before, according to the fifth assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Continue reading

Capital News Service Bonus Budget – May 5

Bonus Week, May 5, 2017

To: CNS Editors

From: Perry Parks, Eric Freedman and Sheila Schimpf

http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/

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 or Eric Freedman, freedma5@msu.edu.

THIS IS BONUS WEEK: Here is our end-of-the-semester file of stories that you may not have had space for in the past few months but remain timely.

SUMMER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PACKAGES: Again this summer, CNS plans to move three packages – in June, July and August — of Michigan environmental stories in partnership with Great Lakes Echo.

Here is your file:

(New story) DEERDISEASE: As the Department of Natural Resources expands educational efforts about chronic wasting disease, a bipartisan bill to raise awareness and prevent spread of the disease is moving through the House. The bill would increase the fine for importing deer carcasses or parts into the state, to $500-$2,000 from the current  $50-$500. The goals are both to reduce the likelihood that chronic wasting disease will spread among Michigan deer and to raise awareness about the seriousness of the problem. The bill unanimously passed the House Committee on Natural Resources in late April. A Marquette representative is the main sponsor. We also speak with DNR officials and an Iron Mountain lawmaker. By Laina Stebbins. FOR ALL POINTS

LAWYERLAWMAKERS: Legislators work every day to make and amend laws, but how many have a background in the field? Thirteen lawmakers — of 148 in both House and Senate — have worked as lawyers, according to the Michigan State Bar. That accounts for less than 10 percent of the state Legislature. It’s a slight drop from 17 lawyer-legislators in 2013-14, and 22 a decade ago. A Shelby Township representative is one of the 13 lawyers in the current session, and he believes more lawyers should be roaming the Capitol. We talk with him, a non-lawyer lawmaker and a law professor. By Laura Bohannon. FOR ALL POINTS.

DRIVERLESSCAR: As Michigan accelerates toward leadership in emerging driverless car technology, industry experts say its workforce needs to catch up. Gov. Snyder signed legislation approving the sale and use of autonomous vehicles when they’re ready. But analysts note significant gaps in skills among workers who could be developing driverless technology. They call for big changes in education and training programs to fill looming jobs that haven’t been fully created yet. We talk with a member of the state’s autonomous vehicle task force, a robotics educator at the University of Michigan and a workforce development manager in Oakland County. By Chao Yan. FOR ALL POINTS

MICHIGANVACCINATIONPUSH: Michigan recently launched a campaign to encourage vaccinations. So far, the program has been well received by members of the medical community, although there is some dispute as to why people don’t get vaccinated in the first place. As Michigan hopes to improve its standing in immunization rates, members of the campaign, local health centers, and physician associations chime in on how to do so. By Isaac Constans. FOR ALL POINTS.

AGINGDAMS: Roads and bridges aren’t Michigan’s only infrastructure problem. Less visible – but just as hazardous if not properly maintained – are the state’s 2,600 dams. Just as deteriorating roads and bridges can cause significant damage, aging dams in high-hazard locations have the potential to do great harm to the environment and to human life. The Otsego Township Dam on the Kalamazoo River is one. Officials at DEQ and DNR say keeping up with these aging dams is a cost and logistical nightmare. By Laina Stebbins. For ALL POINTS

RELIGIOUSFREEDOM: Some religious leaders are questioning the necessity of a House bill aimed at further protecting their First Amendment rights. The bill would allow ministers, clerics and other religious practitioners to refuse to marry couples who violate their religious beliefs. We talk to the bill co-sponsor from Potterville, a youth pastor from Three Rivers, a rabbi from Kalamazoo and the executive director of a Kalamazoo LGBT resource center. By Caitlin Taylor. FOR ALL POINTS.

MIDWIFELICENSING: Midwife associations were pleased when Gov. Rick Snyder signed new midwife licensing legislation into law at the beginning of the year. The law requires midwives to apply for a license with the newly created Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery, operating through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. We talk to LARA, president of Michigan Midwives Association, vice president of Friends of Michigan Midwives, president of the Michigan Affiliate of American College of Nurse-Midwives and a health policy nurse from Dorr Township. By Caitlin Taylor. FOR ALL POINTS.

PUREMICHIGAN: Long before “Pure Michigan” lured tourists and vacationers Up North, images of pristine forests and sparkling streams were doing the same thing — even if what they would see was neither pure nor pristine. The current Pure Michigan campaign echoes themes used by railroad and steamship companies and tourism promoters in the 1800s to entice urban dwellers, who arrived to a landscape changed dramatically by lumbering, mining and agriculture, a new study says. However, environmental devastation also helped create demand for environmental protection in the Northern Lower Peninsula and U.P. We talk to the author, who grew up in Grand Rapids, and to a historian at Northern Michigan University’s Center for U.P. Studies. By Eric Freedman. FOR ALL POINTS.

Wildlife officials, lawmakers fight deer-killing disease

By LAINA STEBBINS
Capital News Service

LANSING — As the  Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expands educational outreach about chronic wasting disease, a bipartisan bill to raise awareness and prevent spread of the disease is moving through the state House.

The bill would increase the fine for importing deer carcasses or parts into the state, from the current range of $50-$500 to a new range of $500-$2,000. The goals of the increased penalty are both to reduce the likelihood that chronic wasting disease will spread among Michigan deer and to raise awareness about the seriousness of the problem.

The bill unanimously passed the House Committee on Natural Resources in late April. Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, is the main sponsor, as well as the committee’s minority vice-chair. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 CNS Budget

April 28, 2017

To: CNS Editors

From: Perry Parks and Sheila Schimpf

http://news.jrn.msu.edu/capitalnewsservice/

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.

BONUS WEEK AHEAD: This is the last original file of the semester. Next week (May 5) we will move a bonus file of stories that moved previously this semester but remain timely.

SUMMER ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS PACKAGES: Again this summer, CNS plans to move three packages – in June, July and August — of Michigan environmental stories in partnership with Great Lakes Echo.

Here is your file:

MAYDAYACTION: On May Day, workers and immigrants will rally to protest President Trump’s immigration policies under the slogan “Rise up.” The seven Michigan cities scheduled to participate are Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Pontiac, Battle Creek and Rochester. The action in Michigan is primarily sponsored by Michigan United. Other pro-immigrant groups are also supporting the event. By Chao Yan. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.

Two stories on pay equity: Continue reading

Bills would eliminate concealed-carry regulations

By LAURA BOHANNON
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

By LAURA BOHANNON
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