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DRUNKENDRIVING: Only Montana’s drunken driving laws are worse than Michigan’s, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The group wants everyone convicted of drunken driving to have an ignition interlock requiring a breath test to start their cars, sobriety check lanes and felony charges for all those arrested for driving drunk with kids in their car. We talk to prosecutors from Grand Traverse, Marquette and Emmet counties, a defense attorney from Troy and officials with MADD. By Karen Hopper Usher. FOR MARQUETTE, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, CHEBOYGAN AND ALL POINTS..
MANDATES: Michigan is among the states required to provide the most state-mandated services with the least state funds, according to a recent national report. We talk to associations representing Michigan townships and counties and the finance manager for Petoskey who discuss how that disparity erodes local services. By Bridget Bush. FOR PETOSKEY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.
STATECRASHES: A surge in Michigan car crashes and fatalities is linked to the improving economy, experts say. Between 2012 and 2015, rashes increased by about 23,000, according to the State Police. The rise to nearly 300,000 crashes is in part because young, inexperienced drivers had the funds to hit the road more often and for longer trips. By Ray Wilbur. FOR A:LL POINTS.
OPIOIDSCHOOLS: Schools need to have on hand a drug used to counteract opioid drug overdoses, according to officials fighting what they call an epidemic. State lawmakers including a senator from Ida have proposed legislation to authorize the use of the antidote. We also talk to the School Boards Association. By Caitlin DeLuca. FOR BLISSFIELD, LANSING CITY PULSE AND ALL POINTS
WETLANDPENALTY: With Michigan’s wetlands under threat, the Court of Appeals has upheld an order requiring property owners who converted wetlands to a horse pasture without a state permit to restore the site and pay a $10,000 fine. The court rejected arguments by a Livingston County couple that their conversion of a wetland into a horse pasture was a farming operation and that the penalty for their violation was too harsh. Farming, development, logging and recreation are the major factors in the loss of wetlands, with Ottawa and Lenawee among the counties that have lost the highest percent of their wetlands. We talk to DEQ and the property owners’ lawyer. By Eric Freedman. FOR HOLLAND, BLISSFIELD, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS AND ALL POINTS.
EARTHWORMS: Believe it or not, earthworms are an invasive species in the Great Lakes region, and they have the power to change entire ecosystems. A recent study finds that an abundance of earthworms decreases the small plant matter scattered on the forest floor and can significantly change the forest, and sugar maples are especially vulnerable. We hear from experts at Michigan State University and Trent University in Ontario. By Chloe Kiple. FOR ALL POINTS.
POLLUTEDLEGACY: The St. Clair River that connects Lake Huron with Lake St. Clair has a long history of challenges as diverse as E. coli bacteria that shut down beaches, industrial pollution by PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury contamination so severe that residents are advised to limit their consumption of locally caught fish. It’s been designated an international Area of Concern by the U.S. and Canada. But progress in cleaning up the polluted legacy has been made. By Megan McDonnell. FOR ALL POINTS
w/POLLUTEDLEGACYPHOTO1:Restoration projects have made it possible for safe water recreational use in the Sarnia region of the St. Clair River. Image: Megan McDonnell
w/POLLUTEDLEGACYPHOTO2: Shell Canada’s Sarnia refueling dock on the St. Clair River. The sediment underneath the dock contains PCBs and mercury and is one of the biggest hotspots and areas of concern still on the river. Images: Megan McDonnell
w/POLLUTEDLEGACYPHOTO3: Coordinated by the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, the Guthrie Park Shore Protection Project was a $2.5-million Canadian shoreline restoration project completed in 2011 to help prevent shoreline loss and provide habitat for fish and aquatic wildlife, according to Randell. This project was funded through grants and funds by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Industry Canada/FedDev Ontario and St. Clair Township. Image: Megan McDonnell
w/POLLUTEDLEGACYPHOTO4: Across the street from the St. Clair River, Shell dock and Guthrie Park is the Shell Manufacturing Centre. The refinery opened in 1963 and produces 75,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Image: Megan McDonnell
To: CNS Editors