Boating is up, and so are accidents

By AGNES BAO
Capital News Service
LANSING – Are Michigan waters getting less safe for boaters, with or without motors? The number of recreational boating accidents in the state increased from 92 in 2013 to 125 in 2016, and deaths increased from 21 in 2012 to 38 in 2016, according to the latest report from the U.S. Coast Guard. Accidents are happening on inland waters and on the Great Lakes. Last year, for example, on July 22, a 45-year-old woman was critically injured after a boat crash near Grand Haven. On Aug.

Killing cormorants legal again

By STEVEN MAIER
Capital News Service
LANSING — Culling season is coming quickly for a controversial Great Lakes waterfowl after it received a one-year reprieve. Control of the double-crested cormorant will return this spring when the bird returns from wintering along the Pacific, Atlantic or Gulf coasts, according to federal authorities. Almost all culling was suspended last year after a federal judge ruled in May 2016 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to adequately assess its impact. With that study complete, the agency can again issue permits to kill cormorants to protect property, habitat, airports, fish hatcheries and other birds. “We’re trying to balance maintaining a stable cormorant population with managing them in the place where they’re causing damage,” said Tom Cooper, a program chief for the agency’s Migratory Bird Program.

Old UP avalanche teaches new lesson to rescuers

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Dead isn’t always dead. That’s the lesson learned from the near-miraculous survival of a 12-year-old Upper Peninsula skier who was buried head-down and unconscious in an avalanche for at least three hours. Although the incident took place almost 80 years ago, a newly published study in the journal “Wilderness & Environmental Medicine” says it offers an important lesson for rescuers today. The study, based on news coverage in the Ironwood Daily Globe, recounts the 1939 experience of Henry Takala, who suffered from hypothermia, a condition with an abnormally and dangerously low body temperature. Avalanches in Michigan are “rare but not unknown,” according to the study.

Williamston City Council sees ‘spirited’ back-and-forth, developments in city manager search

What was once a calm Williamston City Council meeting turned into a heated debate within the city hall chambers, pitting the Farmers’ Market Ad Hoc Committee and the Williamston City Council. A “spirited back-and-forth” is how the newly-minted council member Daniel Rhines described it. The Williamston Farmers’ Market is set to run for May 20 to Oct. 14. It’s an annual tradition many residents are fond of — including a number of council members.

East Lansing’s government-run Farmer’s Market dealing with religious separation issues

The East Lansing Farmer’s Market is a government-run entity that has had issues with religious groups and organizations in the past. “I don’t know if you want to go as far as to say there was a church spiritual function as opposed to a public function. They were representing the church vs/ the general public. What we’ve tried to do in situations of that nature is have honor. I mean, I don’t see it as a church and state issue,” said Tim McCaffrey, the director of the City of East Lansing Department of Parks, Recreation & Arts.

Volunteer programs seek to supplement local park maintenance

Kacie Kefgen brings her kids to Harrison Meadows Neighborhood Park almost every day and runs nearby trails three times a week. Kefgen, who lives in a neighborhood near Northern Tier Trail, is one of many East Lansing residents who regularly take advantage of park and recreation sites in East Lansing. “We can see how many people use the trail from our house,” said Kefgen. “Even in the cold part of the winter, especially on the weekends, you will see people running and walking their dogs.” While many residents enjoy the local parks and trail systems, maintenance of these areas is a shared responsibility. According to Tim McCaffrey, director of the East Lansing Department of Parks, Recreation & Arts, the majority of park maintenance is the responsibility of the city organization, but volunteer work plays an important role.

Meridian Township sees higher rates of car-deer accidents than other Ingham County townships

OKEMOS — In the last several years, statistics from Michigan Traffic Crash Facts show Meridian Township in Ingham County has seen nearly double the number of car-deer accidents than the next highest number of accidents by township. Meridian Township implemented a deer management program that began in 2011, according to their website, and officials have seen a decrease in the number of accidents. Kelsey Dillon, a park naturalist for the Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department, says they keep records of car accidents involving deer because of their deer management program. “We actually monitor car accident reports very closely and we work with our police department to … get that information, and over the last …

Special Olympics brings new opportunity to students in Mason

Students with disabilities in and around Mason are getting the chance to showcase their skills and interact with other students reaching for the same goal thanks to one of Michigan’s largest Special Olympics program. Over 3,200 athletes have joined Special Olympics Michigan Area 8, competing in 21 different sports through out the Ingham and Eaton county area which includes Mason and is one of the largest groups in Michigan with one-tenth of the 27,000 athletes, according to Anne Goudie, Special Olympics Michigan Area 8 director. Getting a chance to work with others who may possess similar disabilities and develop skills they haven’t yet discovered in themselves is a big part of the reason to why this program has been so successful. Expert in special education, Dr. Steve Imber said, “In many ways I think students with disabilities want to be accepted. Playing sports can help build self esteem …