Capital News Service Budget – April 24, 2015
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CORRECTION: The April 10 Capital News Service story “Migrant workers’ housing still unsafe, civil rights official says” inaccurately characterized the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s inspections of migrant workers’ housing while workers are occupying the buildings. Mark Swartz, the department’s deputy director of environmental stewardship, said the department ramped up in-season inspections in 2013 after hiring four new inspectors and has conducted some 1,800 such inspections in the past three years.
HERE’S YOUR FILE:
MIGRANTHOMEINSPECTION: The Department of Agriculture faced severe budget cuts in 2009, resulting in a reduction in inspectors to oversee on-farm migrant housing. But housing conditions are improving since the department has hired four inspectors since 2013. More in-season inspections are being done, and now officials and advocates are turning to off-farm housing, in which the majority of migrant workers reside. By Cheyna Roth. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS & ALL POINTS.
VETERANHOMEVOLUNTEERS: State Veteran Homes in Marquette and Grand Rapids depend on volunteers to maintain a high level of service for veterans. While the Marquette home’s limited staff focuses on the residents’ medical needs, volunteers have time to socialize and listen to veterans’ stories. We hear from the Marquette home’s administrator, a volunteer, a resident veteran, and the deputy director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, to learn how these volunteers improve veteran lives. FOR MARQUETTE, LANSING CITY PULSE, HOLLAND, GREENVILLE, BIG RAPIDS & ALL POINTS.
DEAFBLINDLAWS: Michigan’s deaf community needs more interpreters and support, advocates say. The state continues to experience a shortage of qualified interpreters, and a lack of funding is leaving Michigan’s deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing residents without access to proper communication and education. The director of the Michigan Deaf Association says state support is poorly structured, underfunded and understaffed. By Caitlin McArthur. FOR ALL POINTS.
HEROINRESPONSE: Health advocates say Michigan’s response to heroin and opioid abuse in the state has failed to keep up with the problem. Heroin cut with pharmaceutical opioid fentanyl is causing accidental overdoses around the state (including Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Wexford, Missaukee, Mason, Lake and Osceola), poor treatment services are failing addicts, doctors are continuing to overprescribe opioids and insurance company policies are limiting access to treatment. On the bright side, a recent overdose reversal in Traverse City by a police officer was the first in the area since legislation passed enabling officers to carry naloxone. Advocates say this proves the need for the drug to be made more widely accessible. By Caitlin McArthur. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, CADILLAC, LAKE COUNTY, CRAWFORD COUNTY & ALL POINTS.
HEROINTRACKING: A lack of official communication, outdated information and inconsistent reporting practices have slowed Michigan’s attempts to combat the continuing heroin and opioid problem, advocates say. Local coroners and examiners can provide real-time data, but the Department of Health and Human Services said their data is subject to a time-lag of approximately two years. By Caitlin McArthur. FOR ALL POINTS.
SCHOOLVACCINATIONRATES: A new bill would require school districts and daycares to make vaccination rates public, which gives parents another category to consider when picking a school for their children, said the bill’s sponsor. This public data could encourage schools with dangerously low rates to improve them. Michigan has one of the highest waiver rates in the country. By Brooke Kansier FOR PETOSKEY, ST. IGNACE, GRAND RAPIDS, BIG RAPIDS, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS
MIDDLECLASSTAXES: A Tax Day press conference by Michigan Democrats took aim at 2011’s tax shift which, they say, put more burden on mid- and low-wage families and less on businesses. Democrats are proposing to return tax benefits such as a $600 per child deduction, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for low wage workers, and repealing a tax on retirement pensions for seniors on fixed income. A new credit was also proposed to help families pay for daycare services. Michigan’s middle class has shrunk this century, and according to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts, median wages have fallen significantly as well since 2000. By Brooke Kansier. FOR ALL POINTS
ENERGYPOLICYUPDATE: Debate over Michigan’s future energy policy continues, but advocates say legislators are missing the point and the conversation needs to be broadened beyond cost efficiency to the future of the planet. Climate change has yet to be discussed in these policy debates, the Sierra Club says. Sponsors of competing energy plans, scientists, and environmental advocates weigh in. By Caitlin McArthur. FOR ALL POINTS.
MANUREENERGY: The Detroit Zoo is working on a project to transform animal waste into energy to power some parts of the zoo, which has never been done before in North America. We speak with zoo officials about how the project will benefit the zoo, as well as the community. We also speak with an assistant professor at Michigan State University who has been a consultant for the zoo since the project was conceived in 2012. By Josh Thall. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, STURGIS JOURNAL, BLISSFIELD, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
PROPOSALONEUPDATE: As the vote nears, the outlook for Proposal 1 is looking increasingly bleak. We talk to supporters and opponents, looking towards the future and what will happen if Proposal 1 passes or fails. We also look at who is pushing the hardest for passage of Proposal 1, and who is fighting against it. By Collin Krizmanich. FOR LANSING, DETROIT, PETOSKEY, MANISTEE, GRAND RAPIDS, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
DETROITRIVERCLEANUP: Cleaning up Detroit and its river could be a key in revitalizing and re-creating Michigan as a state, state officials say. “People describe Detroit as the front-door city of the state, said Ron Olson, the chief of parks and recreation for the state Department of Natural Resources. “The better Detroit does, the better the state does.” Cleanup work on the Detroit River and rivers throughout the state continues. By Josh Thall. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, BLISSFIELD, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
IRONBELLETRAIL: The state is helping communities plan new local trails that connect existing paths to create the Iron Belle trail, Michigan’s first statewide trail. State and local officials think the completed trail will increase state tourism and offer local residents new trails in their area. We hear from a Dickinson County commissioner and a Crawford County Trails Committee member about the benefits of new community trails and Michigan’s first statewide trail. FOR MARQUETTE, ALCONA & ALL POINTS.
w/IRONBELLETRAILPHOTO: Proposed Iron Belle Trail Route. Source: Department of Natural Resources
DRONEXPLAINER: With new state and federal laws about drone use, and a variety of national and international stories on the new technology, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about drones. We talk with recreational and commercial drone users, looking at drone use and new regulations and policies dealing with drones. By Collin Krizmanich. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, DETROIT, MANISTEE, GRAND RAPIDS, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN & ALL POINTS.
-w/ DRONE_EXPLAINER1: Aerial shot of MSU taken with drone by Ryan Latourette of Grand Ledge
-w/ DRONE_EXPLAINER2: Aerial shot of MSU taken with drone by Ryan Latourette of Grand Ledge
-w/ DRONE_EXPLAINER3: Photograph DJI Phantom drone equipped with GoPro camera, used to photograph MSU campus
Capital News Service Budget – April 24, 2015