CNS bonus budget, Dec. 17, 2021

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12/17/21 CNS Budget — Week 15

To: CNS Editors

From: David Poulson and Judy Putnam

For technical problems, contact CNS technical manager Eryn Ho at (616) 485-9295,

For other matters, contact Dave Poulson at (517) 899-1640;

NOTE TO EDITORS: This is our traditional end-of-semester Bonus Week budget with still-timely stories you may not have had space for earlier. In early January you’ll get our winter break package of environmental stories in collaboration with our partner, Great Lakes Echo.

 The first regular file of 2022 will come on Friday, Jan. 21.


PERFECT PAIR: A new project is connecting Michigan senior citizens living in assisted care facilities with university students who have shared interests. Emily Lerner and Rachel Alessio, while at the University of Michigan, started the Perfect Pair as a virtual project when the pandemic peaked in May 2020. It aims to reduce seniors’ loneliness and renew interest in life. We talk to an MSU doctor, former UM students who started the match project and an Ann Arbor senior/student pair. Northville, Farmington Hills and MSU references. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. For ALL POINTS.

HOMELESS SHELTER SEASON: People without a roof over their heads get more than a warm place to sleep at many Michigan shelters. They can also find a path to physical and mental health and permanent housing, which is even more important during Michigan winters. We talk to shelter officials in Big Rapids, Holland, Grand Rapids, Detroit and Washtenaw County. By Barbara Bellinger. FOR ALL POINTS.

CNS 40th ANNIVERSARY: 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of CNS, launched by the late publisher Dick Milliman to cover state government, policy and politics for news outlets across Michigan. Participating student journalists, including ones from such far-flung locations as Russia, Kazakhstan, Denmark, China, India and South Korea, practice real-world journalism for real-world audiences across Michigan. CNS has influenced the careers of hundreds of students while providing readers with coverage of their government’s activities in Lansing. It began with 10 newspapers, three of them still CNS members: Cadillac News, Holland Sentinel and Traverse City Record-Eagle. Written by a CNS correspondent and CNS director for opinion and news sections. By Danielle James & Eric Freedman. FOR ALL POINTS.

DRUG EXPERTS: While Michigan reports a record number of drug-related accidents, injuries and fatalities, police say they don’t have enough experts trained to recognize the signs of drivers who are under the influence of drugs. By Nicholas Simon. FOR ALL POINTS.

WORKSPACE: Some of the remote work brought on by the pandemic is having a long-term impact reshaping downtowns and traditional office spaces. Libraries and coffee shops will continue to be alternative workspaces, experts say. Already, collaborative spaces in Michigan libraries are seeing higher traffic, sparking a library revival. We talk to state economic developers, downtown experts  and the head of the Michigan Library Association. By Cameryn Cass. FOR ALL POINTS

FLUORIDE: Eighty-nine Michigan communities were recently recognized for fluoridating their water systems to improve dental health. But dozens of others cannot afford it or outright refuse to use it. Nearly a third of residents don’t have access to adequately fluoridated water. We talk to officials in Ludington and Benzonia. Ionia, Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Sault Ste. Marie, Three Rivers, Cadillac, Baldwin, Harrisville and Leelanau are also mentioned. By Danielle James. FOR ALL POINTS.

WOMEN POLICE: Only 9% of Michigan State Police officers are women. That’s better than 2%-8% in most other state police agencies, but worse than 13% in Vermont and North Carolina, a new PEW study finds. However, State Police plans to improve the situation by increasing the percentage of women in its applicant pool up to 20% by the end of next year. We  talk to a female police chief in Midland, a female inspector for the State Police, and the executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. By Zaira Magomedova. FOR ALL POINTS.

w/WOMEN POLICE CHART : Gender breakdown by rank of Michigan State Police in 2021

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: Even with fewer drivers on the road due to the pandemic, 2020 saw the number of accidents involving pedestrians rise 17%. Drivers rushing about for last minute holiday gifts should stay alert. We talk to officials in Southeast Michigan, Lansing, Traverse City and Charlevoix as well as the Highway Safety Planning office.By Barbara Bellinger. FOR  ALL POINTS.

AMAZON FRAUD: As consumers prepare to place their holiday Amazon orders, Michigan lawmakers are considering protections to keep fraudulent online sellers from stealing Christmas.

Online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay would have to post information about high-volume third-party sellers, if legislation recently introduced in the House passes. We talk to the Michigan Retailers Association, Amazon and lawmakers from Owosso, Marshall and Farmington Hills. For news and business pages. By Kyle Davidson FOR ALL POINTS.

PERIOD PRODUCTS: Ann Arbor may be the first city in the U.S. to mandate free feminine hygiene products in public restrooms. Meanwhile the state has exempted the items from sales tax. Both attempts to increase the accessibility of the products are aimed at improving the health of low-income residents. But whether other cities follow Ann Arbor’s lead is uncertain. We talk to health advocacy groups and state and local officials. For news and health pages. By Danielle James. FOR ALL POINTS.

NAIL SALONS: Nail technicians, most of them immigrant women, are exposed to on-the-job chemicals that pose dangers to their health, a new U-M study says. We talk to U-M and MSU experts. The research was done in the Ann Arbor area. For news and business sections. By Cameryn Cass. FOR  ALL POINTS.

MATERIALS GRANTS: State officials are encouraging countries to think of waste not as a worthless disposal problem but as a valuable resource with a new grant program to help them plan. Some counties are already changing their thinking with plans to consider giving their trash a new life. By Kyle Davidson. FOR ALL POINTS.

PRISON SENTENCES: A group of lawmakers say that Michigan prison policy fails to consider good behavior and rehabilitation when it comes to parole. They are pushing for reforms to a system they say needs greater incentives for self-improvement efforts. By Emerson Wigand. FOR ALL POINTS.

HOMELESS: Michigan students without homes will gain more than $2 million in funding from the federal stimulus package, according to the Michigan Department of Education. The one-time funding boost will give more than $100,000 to Kent, Berrien and Oakland intermediate school districts and more than $225,000 to Wayne. We interview a woman who was homeless growing up in Ypsilanti, the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan, a Lansing homeless student coordinator, the Michigan League for Public Policy and the Department of Education’s coordinator of federal funds for homeless students. Districts in Traverse City and St. Clair County received grants. By Vladislava Sukhanovskaya. FOR ALL POINTS. 

w/HOMELESS LIST OF FEDERAL FUNDS TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS: Funds to major school districts and intermediate school districts statewide listed for localization of story. Credit: Michigan Department of Education.

w/HOMELESS CHART: Showing absenteeism rates two times higher for students who are homeless. Credit: Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information

INTERSTATE PSYCHOLOGY: Joining an interstate compact that allows out-of-state psychologists to practice in Michigan could provide more mental health care for state residents. But state regulators worry it could reduce its budget for investigating complaints. We talk to an Ann Arbor area lawmaker, state regulators and national association. By Emerson Wigand. FOR ALL POINTS.

CHILDCARE: Certain child care facilities could expand their capacity under proposed legislation designed to aid employment by providing workers with more child care options. But some child advocates worry about increasing the ratio of children to caregivers. By Zaira Magomedova. We talk to a Lake Ann lawmaker, a Detroit child care provider, and two child advocacy organizations. By Zaira Magomedova. FOR ALL POINTS.

COLLEGE TUITION: More than a dozen other states offer universal access to community college, but Michigan does not, disappointing advocates who say human infrastructure is just as important as roads and bridges. We talk to the Kalamazoo Promise, the Small Business Association of Michigan and state officials. For news and business pages. By Nicholas Simon. FOR ALL POINTS.



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