More services advocated for girls in juvenile justice system

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service
LANSING — The arrest rate for girls age 18 and younger has decreased significantly from 13 percent in 2011 to 7 percent in 2014, according to the State Police.

The number of girls arrested decreased from 8,835 in 2011 to 5,410 in 2013, then to 5,055 in 2014, according to Shanon Banner, public affairs manager at the State Police.

But those numbers are still significant, and few projects and programs in the juvenile system are specifically for girls, according to the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency (MCCD).
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Mandatory training proposed for security guards

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service

LANSING — The Michigan Contract Security Association is pushing to establish the first statewide training requirements for security guards.

There are 23,960 security guards serving at hospitals, schools, local governments facilities, retail stores and other locations in Michigan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are responsible for preventing theft, violence and other misconduct.

However, there are currently no unified training standards or even compulsory training for security guards in Michigan, according to the association.
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Schools face growing number of immigrant children

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service

LANSING— The number of English language learners in Michigan’s elementary and secondary schools has increased 15,784 since 2011, according to the Department of Education (DOE).

And with more immigrants settling in Michigan, more actions need to be done to help immigrant students with their English, according to the department.

Michigan has 99,500 immigrant students this school year, a significant increase from the previous year, according to the DOE. Troy, Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Farmington and Warren Consolidated Schools have a larger number of newly arrived immigrant students than other districts.

Dearborn and Detroit Public Schools have the largest proportion of English learners, DOE statistics show.
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Few Access Problems For Vets, VA Center In Detroit, Ann Arbor Say

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service

LANSING — Nationally, a majority of veterans may wait more than 30 days for their appointments with doctors, according to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, more than 90 percent of veterans in Michigan can complete their appointments within 30 days, according to VA centers in Ann Arbor and Detroit.

According to Lauren DeVol, a public information officer at the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, Michigan has more than 660,000 veterans, the 11th highest in the United States.

Of them, more than 220,000 — or 33.5 — percent live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, DeVol said.

For the VA center in Detroit, the access problem is not that serious, an official said.
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State provides training to prepare inmates for workforce

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service

LANSING — Since 2014, only 30 percent of parolees in Michigan have found a job after being released from prison. The other 70 percent are struggling, according to the Department of Corrections.

Chris Gautz, a public information officer from the department, said parolees find jobs in sectors ranging from fast food to restaurants to factories to agriculture. Some are even starting their own business.

The department provides educational resources to help prepare prisoners for their release.
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State plan to deregulate chemicals upsets environmentalists

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service

LANSING— The debate about environmental injustice has grown more serious in Michigan after the Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) recently proposed deregulating 500 chemicals.

These possible changes to the air regulations concern the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) a lot.

According to MEC, the department is going to propose a rule change requested by industry to deregulate 500 chemicals that have been subject to oversight in the past. The DEQ said the change is because the chemicals that have not been tested for their impact on public health.
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Grant will improve parking safety for truckers

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service

LANSING— Michigan expects a $3 million federal grant to expand its Truck Parking Information and Management System to provide parking information for truck drivers to increase their safety, according to the Department of Transportation (MDOT).

“We were really happy that the federal government saw this as a worthwhile project,” said Kirk Steudle, the MDOT director. “Truck parking is a very real problem.”

Chuck Simmons, safety management specialist at the Michigan Center for Truck Safety, said truck drivers have a problem finding safe and available parking, which increases the danger for them.
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Sexual Transmitted Disease still a concern among seniors

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service

LANSING — Sexuality is a sensitive word, especially when it’s brought up with the word aging.

Surveys shows that people over 65 still have sex, and their rate of them contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is increasing nationally, according to a 2013 survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The survey shows that 892,200 Americans older than 65 had chlamydia, 216,100 had gonorrhea and 12,000 had syphilis.
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Poverty challenges Michigan schools

By ZHAO PENG

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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Rural areas lack mental health professionals

By ZHAO PENG

Capital News Service

LANSING — Amid a national shortage of psychiatrists, and Michigan is among the states that lack enough mental health professionals and facilities, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“There is a shortage of service providers, psychiatrists and physicians that are able to work with people that have mental illness and prescribe medications,” said Kathleen Gross, executive director of the Michigan Psychiatric Society. “There is shortage of funding in the state for community mental health centers to provide a great deal of service to the citizens.”

The U.P. and Northeast Michigan face the most serious shortages, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Among 15 U.P. counties, 13 are designated as shortage areas. Ten of the 11 Northeast Michigan counties have the same designation.
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