Capital News Service Budget – Week 13
Dec. 11, 2015
To: CNS Editors
From: Eric Freedman, Sheila Schimpf and Andi Brancato
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BONUS WEEK AHEAD: Next Friday, Dec. 18, is our traditional end-of-semester Bonus Week with still-timely stories you may not have had space for when we originally moved them.
Here’s your file:
SCHOOLPENSIONS: The Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System has a record-high shortfall of $26.5 billion and prospects of the state closing the gap appear dim. Factors include the growth of charter and online schools, whose employees don’t pay in, and the longer lifespan of retirees. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the MEA offer different takes on the problem. By Brooke Kansier. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
SECURITYGUARD: Unlike many other states, Michigan doesn’t license security guards or require training, even for those who are armed, but pending legislation would close that gap. The Michigan Security Contract Association favors such a change. A senator from Evart is pushing legislation that’s passed the Senate and awaiting House action. By Zhao Peng. FOR LUDINGTON, MANISTEE, CRAWFORD COUNTY, HERALD STAR, CADILLAC, LAKE COUNTY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
MILDWINTERROADS: If predictions of a warmer-than-average winter with below-average snowfall prove accurate, road agencies will be happy. Money they save on fuel and salt can pay for other projects, according to road commission officials in Mackinac and Leelanau counties and the County Road Association of Michigan. By Michael Kransz. FOR SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, MARQUETTE, LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CTIY & ALL POINTS.
TELEHEALTH: Telehealth can improve access to medical care, especially in rural areas, and U.S. Sen. Peters says the federal government should do more to encourage it. Munson Healthcare in Traverse City is using telecare for cancer patients. We also talk to the Michigan Health & Hospitals Association. By Yuehan Liu. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, BAY MILLS & ALL POINTS.
PHYSED: The emphasis on reading, math and science has pushed class time and money away from physical education in many K-12 schools, with potential long-term negative effects on children’s health and fitness. Michigan doesn’t require phys ed for elementary and middle schoolers. Volunteers are trying to fill some of the gap, including a nonprofit that provides free yoga and nutrition classes in 15 Detroit elementary schools. We talk to the MEA and SHAPE Michigan. By Amelia Havanec. FOR ALL POINTS.
ENGLISHLEARNERS: With immigrants continuing to arrive in Michigan from around the world, school districts are under pressure to improve chances for academic success by students who are learning English. While the Dearborn and Detroit districts have the largest proportion of students for whom English isn’t a native language, other districts face similar challenges, including Kentwood, Warren and Troy. We hear from the Education Department and school officials in Grand Rapids and Farmington. By Zhao Peng. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
JUVENILEJUSTICE: The state lacks services and programs specifically for girls in the juvenile justice system, and advocates say such initiatives are necessary. Michigan has two state-run juvenile facilities in Escanaba and Grayling, one all-male and the other coed. We also hear from the Department of Health & Human Services, Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice and the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. By Zhao Peng. FOR CRAWFORD COUNTY, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
ESLLEARNERS: If you think the new M-STEP standardized test is tough for students, imagine what it’s like for those who don’t speak English as a native language. We hear from the Education Department, Traverse Bay ISD, Michigan Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and the MEA. By Stephanie Hernandez McGavin. FOR LANSING CITY PULSE, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE & ALL POINTS.
CYBERFORENSICS: The State Police and local law enforcement agencies are building their capacity to crack smartphone data for criminal investigations. The State Police has opened cyber units in Coldwater and Marquette. We learn about it from the assistant commander of the State Police Cyber Section, the St. Joseph County and Chippewa County undersheriffs and the Marquette Police. By Michael Kransz. FOR THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, BLISSFIELD, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE & ALL POINTS.
TRUSTFUND: The Natural Resources Trust Fund is awarding $28 million for 70 public lands projects, including ones in Manistee, Antrim and Grand Traverse counties. They were selected from 179 proposals, according to DNR. The money comes from royalties on oil and natural gas drilling on state-owned land. By Yuehan Liu. FOR PETOSKEY, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
MINORITYHEALTH: More than a quarter of 2013-2014 medical school graduates from Wayne State and U-M were minorities, according to U.S. Department of Education data, and 37 percent of University of Detroit Mercy dental graduates. But the proportion of minority health professionals in Michigan continues to lag behind their proportion of state residents. By Amelia Havanec. FOR BAY MILLS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
MUSICCUTS: The continuing financial problems confronting public schools are taking their toll on funding for K-12 music classes. The emphasis on mandatory testing for core subjects of English, math and science mean fewer resources for music. And that’s bad because the arts stimulate students’ creativity. The Michigan Association of School Administrators, Oakland Schools and a Northern Michigan University education professor explain. By Brooke Kansier: FOR MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, ST. IGNACE, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
NUCLEARWASTE: New maps from anti-nuclear groups identify the types of transportation needed to haul nuclear waste across the Great Lakes region if a national storage site opens in Nevada. They show where barges could move waste across Lake Michigan and trucks and trains could move it across the region, including waste from the Palisades plant near South Haven and the closed Big Rock Point plant near Charlevoix. The Nuclear Energy Institute counters that transporting waste would be safe. By Courtney Bourgoin. FOR THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN & ALL POINTS.
w/NUCLEARWASTEMAP: Possible trucking and train routes for nuclear waste in Great Lakes region. Credit: Nuclear Information and Resource Service/ Beyond Nuclear.
WILDLIFE&DRONES: Researchers from the DNR and out-of-state agencies and organizations say drones may prove valuable for wildlife research. There are concerns, however, including uncertainty about the impact of drones on the animals being studied. By Marie Orttenburger. FOR CADILLAC, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, CHEBOYGAN, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, GLADWIN, CRAWFORD COUNTY, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY & ALL POINTS.
WATER&CARS: The controversy about elevated levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water has heightened public concern about water quality across Michigan, and a new poll shows substantial majorities favoring state testing of urban water systems and at least annual tests of water in public schools. On a second environmental issue, many Michigan voters worry about road safety if driverless cars become common, but most sound resigned to their advent. By Eric Freedman. FOR ALL POINTS.
Capital News Service Budget – Week 13