CNS Budget – Dec. 7, 2018

Dec. 7, 2018 – Week 14

To: CNS Editors

From: Dave Poulson and Sheila Schimpf

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

Editors note that this is the last regular file of the fall semester. Next week we will move a bonus package of still-timely stories that moved earlier and that you may have missed. For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Tony Cepak at (517) 803-6841; cepak@msu.edu. For other matters, contact Dave Poulson at (517) 432-5417 or (517) 899-1640 poulsondavid@gmail.com.

Computer tablets boost inmate education and behavior

By JEREMY WAHR
Capital News Service

LANSING — Prisoners are better behaved and more of them get high school equivalency diplomas when they use computer tablets, according to the Department of Corrections. Prisoners tend to behave better to avoid having their tablet privileges revoked and because they are occupied by their contents, said Heidi Washington, director for the Michigan Department of Corrections. “These tablets also serve as a great way to manage prisoners,” Washington said. “Overall, the use of the tablets has led to a drop in misbehavior.”

And they have significant educational value which can reduce the likelihood of a return to prison. The program targets young prisoners, women and prisoners in maximum security, Washington said.

Corn yield higher as temperatures warm

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service

LANSING – A changing climate has contributed to higher maize yields in Michigan and other Corn Belt states, a new study has found. It attributes more than one-quarter – 28 percent – of the region’s higher crop yield since 1981 to trends toward overall warmer conditions, cooling of the hottest growing-season temperatures and farmers’ climate-related earlier planting and choice of longer-maturing varieties. The climate trend accounts for 15 percent of the total yield gain, said lead author Ethan Butler of the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources. Maize is “an important food, feed and fuel crop in the Midwest that is both highly productive and strongly influenced by temperature,” according to the study. It includes corn used as grain for processed food, sweeteners and alcohol, animal feed and ethanol but not sweet corn.

Critics say lame ducks make lame laws

By NICK KIPPER
Capital News Service

LANSING — Before the end of the year, Michigan lawmakers will take up some of the most controversial bills that would:

Delay the minimum wage hike of $12 per hour until 2030 instead of 2022. Exempt employers with less than 50 employees from having to provide paid sick leave. Make provisions to the anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment that passed in November
Move oversight responsibilities on a proposed tunnel to house the Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac
Bar state agencies from disclosing information about nonprofit supporters and donors. Remove regulations from 70,000 wetlands statewide. Alter same-day and automatic voting registration standards that passed in November.

Michigan districts receive federal grants to improve school success

By LANCE COHEN
Capital News Service

LANSING — Nearly $4.5 million in federal funding will be provided to 72 Michigan school districts to increase academic performance. Districts plan to use this money to address large scale problems regarding teacher retention and the recruitment and hiring of new teachers, said David Crim, a communication consultant for the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest union of school personnel. “There is a historic number of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years and teaching colleges and universities across the state are producing 50 percent less graduates than 10 years ago,” Crim said. School districts also plan to use money from this grant to fund professional development training for administrators and teachers, according to Rebekah Emmerling, a manager for the educator evaluation unit for the Department of Education. The 72 grant-receiving districts were chosen in three separate rounds from a pool of 182 applicants and the first round of 12 school districts were academically struggling partnership districts, Emmerling said.

Military service a pipeline to state prison jobs

By NICK KIPPER
Capital News Service

LANSING — More veterans are working as correctional officers in Michigan prisons, thanks to a recent state program designed to recruit them. Of the 13,500 employees in the Department of Corrections, nearly 20 percent are military veterans, including 150 who were hired since the program began last year, said Darrick Alvarez, the veterans liaison for the department.  

All applicants must complete at least 30 college credit hours in a relevant field, such as psychology, criminal justice, social work or law enforcement to be eligible for employment. However, veterans who have completed basic training and two years of military service are required to complete only 15 credits. The change was made last year to boost military applicants to a department that already has many of them.

Farm Bill threatens food supply for low-income veterans

By JEREMY WAHR
Capital News Service

LANSING — Veterans using food stamps in Michigan may lose them under the proposed federal Farm Bill, experts say. The legislation, renewed every 5 years, regulates national forestry, agriculture and nutrition policy — including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps. The most recent version of the Farm Bill expired in September. Congress is set to take up the update soon. Under the proposed updated work requirements, some veterans who use food stamps would not qualify for them, said Julie Cassidy, a senior policy analyst for the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Millennials pine for real trees

By KALEY FECH
Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan produces the third most Christmas trees in the nation and no state grows more varieties, according to tree experts. “Any farm here in Michigan may produce eight to 10 different types of trees,” said Bert Cregg, an associate professor in Michigan State University’s Departments of Horticulture and Forestry. That’s good for Michigan growers as more and more millennials opt for real Christmas trees, growers say. “Young people that want to have that wholesome experience of looking for a tree are moving towards real Christmas trees,” said Amy Start, the executive director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association based in Durand. Tree farmer Mel Koelling also has noticed a growing number of younger people out on his Mason farm looking for that perfect tree.

CNS Budget – Nov. 30, 2018

Nov. 30, 2018 – Week 13

To: CNS Editors

From: Dave Poulson and Sheila Schimpf

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

For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Tony Cepak at (517) 803-6841; cepak@msu.edu. For other matters, contact Dave Poulson at (517) 432-5417 or (517) 899-1640 poulsondavid@gmail.com.  

Correspondents, their contact information and the CNS publications each especially serves are listed here: http://news.jrn.msu.edu/about-capital-news-service/contact-capital-news-service/

Here is your file:

 

TARTCHERRIES – Embattled Michigan cherry growers got a win last month when the president revoked Turkey’s duty-free status for cherry juice. But while the move keeps Turkey from getting free access to the U.S. market, growers say the tariff is not big enough to keep away imports that harm prices.

Education Corps funding bill unlikely to pass, lawmaker says

By JEREMY WAHR
Capital News Service

LANSING — A bill that would require funding for outside tutors in elementary and middle schools is unlikely to pass, but the group will continue to receive funding from the state on a year-by-year basis. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, would have guaranteed an unspecified amount of funding to reading and mathematics instructors from the Michigan Education Corps, an initiative that uses tutors to help struggling students. The bill passed without opposition by the Senate, but it is unlikely to see further action, said Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, who chairs the House Education Reform Committee where it was sent. The program already receives appropriations and it doesn’t need to be put into law, Kelly said. The Education Corps is a group of trained professionals who assist teachers, Hansen said.