March 30, 2012 CNS Budget

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March 30, 2012 – Week 10
To: CNS Editors
From: Eric Freedman & Matt Hund
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.
RIDERS: Bus ridership is rising nationally and across the state in cities from Ann Arbor to Muskegon Heights to Grand Rapids—with the exception of Detroit—mass transit agencies say. Reasons include higher gas prices and high unemployment. Transit officials in Lansing, Port Huron and Bay City tell their experiences. By Wei Yu. FOR ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, LANSING, LAPEER, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON & ALL POINTS.
MOREFIRES: An unusually mild winter, insufficient snow and a shrinking number of DNR firefighters mean an unusually high risk on the millions of acres of public land in the U.P. and northern Lower Peninsula, say federal and state experts, including DNR and Huron-Manistee National Forest. The MSU Extension director for Houghton and Keweenaw counties worries about downed branches from late-winter storms that could fuel hotter fires. By Jon Gaskell. FOR MARQUETTE, ST. IGNACE, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, CADILLAC, CHEBOYGAN, GRAYLING, ALPENA, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, HARBOR SPRINGS, BIG RAPIDS & ALL POINTS.
UNSAFEKIDSPRODUCTS: The federal government recalled 24 percent fewer unsafe children’s products in 2011—including two from Michigan companies, Meijer and one in Kentwood—than a year earlier, but advocacy groups question those figures. An Ann Arbor-based organization and a legislator say Michigan should ban toxic fire retardants from children’s products. Some co-sponsors are from Southfield, Warren and Detroit. By Xinjuan Deng. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, ANN ARBOR, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK & ALL POINTS.
ENERGYMARKETACCESS: Some lawmakers want to lift the current cap—10 percent—of electricity that out-of-state utilities can provide, saying it would increase competition. Industry, utilities and unions counter that the change would leave Michigan vulnerable if those companies later pull out of the Michigan market. Sponsors include legislators from Clarklake, Saugatuck, Holland, Grandville and East Lansing. By Saodat Asanova-Taylor. FOR JACKSON, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
MASONSCHOOLSPROPOSAL: Mason County Central Schools wants the state to change the timing of state aid payments, a move that could save the district $80,000 a year in interest. The Association of School Boards and an Evart senator are cautious, saying the change could hurt many other districts that adjusted to the state payment schedule. We also hear from an Onekama legislator, Michigan School Business Officials and the House Fiscal Agency. By Patrick Howard. FOR LUDINGTON, MANISTEE & ALL POINTS.
TURKEYHUNTING: The state is rolling out its new young hunters mentoring law in time for spring turkey season that begins April 25. The DNR director and Pere Marquette chapter president of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association discuss the sport. Meanwhile, the governor will soon decide whether to sign legislation to allocate license fees to improve turkey habitat. Sponsors are from Evart, Lake Orion, Mayville, St. Joseph, Escanaba and Hart. For news and outdoors desks. By Jennifer Chen. FOR LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, STURGIS, GREENVILLE, THREE RIVERS, BIG RAPIDS, BROWN CITY, SOUTH BEND, CADILLAC, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, PETOSKEY, HOLLAND, CLARE, GLADWIN, GRAYLING & ALL POINTS.
MINING: Higher commodity prices and new technologies are encouraging new mining operations in the U.P. , with three projects in development. Environmental groups express concerns. DNR and a Michigan Tech experts explain. By Patrick Lyons. FOR MARQUETTE, ST. IGNACE & ALL POINTS.
YOUNGFARMWORKERS:  There’s widespread debate and confusion about the possible impact of proposed federal safety rules on youths who work on farms. On one side are the departments of Labor and Agriculture. On the other are critics such as the Montcalm County Farm Bureau president. By Jennifer Chen. FOR GREENVILLE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
KIRTLAND’SWARBLERS: A Grosse Pointe birder’s new book heralds the comeback and the challenges facing the endangered Kirtland’s warbler. By Alethia Kasben. FOR CADILLAC, ALPENA, GRAYLING & ALL POINTS.
w/KIRTLAND’SWARBLERPHOTO: Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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