March 2, 2012 CNS Budget

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March 2, 2012 – Week 7
To: CNS Editors
From: Eric Freedman &Sheila Schimpf
For technical problems, contact Brandon Kirby (kirbybra@msu.edu734-718-5292).
All articles ©2012, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Nonmembers cannot reproduce CNS articles without written permission.
SPRING BREAK AHEAD: There will be no CNS file on Friday, March 9, because of MSU Spring Break. Our next file will be Friday, March 16.
PRISONS AHEAD: On Monday, March 12, your correspondents will interview Corrections Director Daniel Heyns. Potential topics include mental health and substance abuse programs, probationers and parole supervision, prison privatization proposals and the cost of incarcerating elderly prisoners.
BIOINDUSTRY: Debbie Stabenow is pushing an initiative to bolster Michigan’s emerging bio-products industry, a move that an industry group and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says would be good for farmers. However, the state doesn’t have a targeted bio-industry program yet. Already in the industry are companies in Detroit, Charlotte, Holland and East Lansing. For news, business and agriculture desks. By Xinjuan Deng. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND, LANSING, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK & ALL POINTS.
MENTALHEALTHPARITY: Mental health advocates say pending legislation to require private health insurers to cover autism treatment should be expanded to include all mental illnesses. We hear from agencies in Lapeer, Ottawa, Jackson and Manistee counties. By Saodat Asanova-Taylor. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND, LAPEER & ALL POINTS.
HOUSINGMARKET: The Association of Realtors says “placemaking”—improving community amenities—is helping reverse the state’s housing slump in areas like Traverse City. Statewide housing sales increased in January, with a large gain in gains in Huron County and a large decline in Shiawassee County. By Jennifer Chen. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, TRAVERSE CITY, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
COLOMBIAEXPORTS: Representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and cherry and dry bean organizations are touring Colombia in search of new markets for Michigan farm products such as blueberries, cherries, soybeans, dried beans, wheat and corn. The U.S. government estimates that a new free trade agreement will increase Michigan agricultural exports to that South American country by $45 million a year. By Jon Gaskell. FOR LUDINGTON, HOLLAND, BIG RAPIDS, BLISSFIELD, MANISTEE, SOUTH BEND, THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, TRAVERSE CITY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GLADWIN, PETOSKEY, GREENVILLE, CLARE, LAPEER, BROWN CITY, ALPENA, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
FOODHUBS: Efforts are underway to link local farmers with institutional purchasers of their fresh produce, increasing revenue for growers and reducing prices for purchasers such as the Detroit Public Schools. Snyder proposes more state aid for food hubs. Michigan now has four in Detroit at Eastern Market, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Clarkston. By Wei Yu. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MACOMB, OAKLAND, TRAVERSE CITY, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
BEEDEATHS: A new study links insecticides used on soybeans and corn to massive deaths of honeybees essential for pollinating such crops as cherries and apples. We hear from the state apiarist, an Ann Arbor beekeeper and an MSU entomologist. For news and agriculture pages. By Patrick Lyons. FOR ANN ARBOR, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, GREENVILLE, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, SOUTH BEND, MANISTEE, LANSING, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, BLISSFIELD, ALPENA, PETOSKEY & ALL POINTS.
ROADCOMMISSIONS: Critics remain skeptical of a new law allowing counties to abolish their independent road commissions, questioning whether such moves will save taxpayer money or improve public accountability. Ida, Warren and Onondaga lawmakers differ, and the Country Roads Association says some consolidations may ultimately cost taxpayers money: Ottawa won’t consolidate now, Ingham will, Calhoun and Isabella are discussing it. By Patrick Howard. FOR HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
ENVIRONMENTALRULES: The Snyder administration wants to eliminate dozens of environmental rules, a move that business groups say will improve efficiency and reduce red tape without adverse ecological or public health consequences. The Michigan Environmental Council agrees that some should be scrapped, but vows to fight to retain others. By Brian Bienkowski. FOR LANSING, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.

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