Feb. 10, 2017
To: CNS Editors
From: Perry Parks and Sheila Schimpf
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VIOLENCEGRANTS: Gov. Snyder’s latest budget proposal includes $4.3 million in state-administered federal grants toward preventing gender violence, but some local nonprofits are worried about losing support under the Trump administration. Many organizations are most concerned about losing the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, which allows nonprofits to hire advocates to provide courtroom support for victims in both civil and criminal cases. We talk with advocates in Big Rapids and Marquette and representatives of the State Police. Other affected communities include Three Rivers, Holland, Grand Rapids, Cadillac and Sault Ste. Mari. eBy Caitlin Taylor. FOR BIG RAPIDS, HOLLAND, THREE RIVERS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CADILLAC, LUDINGTON, TRAVERSE CITY, MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, STURGIS, MANIISTEE, CHEBOYGAN, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
TRANSGENDERBOYSCOUTS: A recent decision by the Boy Scouts to admit transgender members broke years of tradition. Advocacy groups across the state were elated with the choice, and said members of the community believe it makes a dramatic difference in attitudes. By Isaac Constans. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
STATEPOWERDEVOS: Newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she wants to return more power to the states. Education officials in Michigan offer their support for this shift, as they say the state’s education woes are partly a product of unnecessary federal intervention. They assert state educators know what’s best for Michigan’s schoolchildren, and can achieve higher educational success than the federal government. We speak with officials from the state Department of Education and the superintendent of Gladwin Community Schools. By Laina Stebbins. FOR BIG RAPIDS, LAKE COUNTY, OSCEOLA, GLADWIN, GREENVILLE, OCEANA, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS
PARKDISTURBANCES: The National Park Service is collecting data and monitoring disturbances such as fires, blowdowns and timber harvesting in Upper Midwest national parks – including Sleeping Bear Dunes, Isle Royale and Pictured Rocks – to assess their impact on the landscape. The findings are intended to help the agency better manage these public lands. National Park Service experts explain the project. By Natasha Blakely. FOR LEELANAU, TRAVERSE CITY, MARQUETTE, BAY MILLS, ST. IGANCE, SAULT STE. MARIE, CHEBOYGAN & ALL POINTS.
w/PARKDISTURBANCESPHOTO: Blowdown at Sleeping Bear Dunes during the summer of 2015. Credit: Al Kirschbaum. National Park Service
INSECTICIDES: Elected officials, entomologists and agriculture specialists are split over proposals to ban a powerful type of insecticide that can attack the emerald ash borer, a highly damaging invasive beetle, but is harmful to the honeybees essential for pollinating crops. The science remains unsettled. A Saline legislator’s proposed ban didn’t pass last year. We talk to experts at MSU and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. By Ian Wendrow. FOR ALL POINTS
NEWSAINT: On a hill overlooking U.S. 41, between L’Anse and Baraga, is the towering statue of a man who could become a saint. Frederic Baraga, Michigan’s famous “Snowshoe Priest,” traveled the Great Lakes region in the 1800s spreading the Gospel. He later became the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette. Today efforts are underway to determine if his many works make him worthy of sainthood. If granted, sainthood could be years away. But religious pilgrims and curious tourists already flock to the priest’s statue, his final resting place and to other Baraga sites. We talk to tourism officials across the UP and note Baraga’s historical activity throughout the state, including Harbor Springs, Cheboygan, Alpena, Beaver Island, Burt Lake, Grand Rapids and Cross Village. By Carl Stoddard. FOR MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, ST. IGNACE, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN, HARBOR SPRINGS, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MONTMORENCY, ALCONA & ALL POINTS.
TEACHERSHORTAGE: A Westland legislator has introduced a bill to create a teacher shortage prevention program. Teachers with eligible educational loans would be able to apply for a grant up to $1,000 for five consecutive years. The bill is designed to attract and retain educators in teacher shortage academic areas like math. At the same time, the state Education Department released a set of plans to make Michigan a top 10 education state. One goal is to identify teacher shortages and work with potential partners. By Chao Yan. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
SCHOOLFUNDING: State Superintendent Brian Whiston praised Gov. Snyder’s proposed budget, but some local districts see room for improvement. The proposed budget will continue to allocate extra money to the lowest-funded school districts, like Grand Rapids, to reduce the equity gap between those districts and wealthier ones. All high school students will also be allocated an additional $50 in per pupil spending, no matter what category their district falls in. In Grand Rapids, Snyder’s budget will provide what a district officials said is “barely a 1 percent increase” that won’t cover the cost of inflation. The Marquette Area Public Schools superintendent said the increase those schools would see isn’t able to cover increasing utility bills, wages and rises in insurance, let alone educational advancement. By Laura Bohannon. FOR MARQUETTE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND, LANSING CITY PULSE & ALL POINTS.
Feb. 10, 2017