April 29, 2022, CNS Budget — Week 15
To: CNS Editors
From: Eric Freedman and Judy Putnam
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FILING SCHEDULE: This our last regular weekly file until the fall. However, next Friday, May 6, we’ll have our traditional end-of-semester Bonus Week with still-timely stories we previously moved but you may have lacked space for. We also plan at least two packages this summer of Michigan environmental stories in collaboration with our partner, Great Lakes Echo.
HERE’S YOUR FILE
DISABLED VOTERS: Legislative efforts in Michigan and elsewhere to tighten voting requirements, reduce access to the polls, shorten voting hours and reduce the periods for early and absentee voting have a disproportionate adverse impact on people with disabilities, according to disabilities rights and voting rights advocates. The Legislature is considering bills to make it harder to get absentee ballots and to require voters to physically sign applications for absentee ballots. We talk to Disabilities Rights Michigan, the Ann Arbor city clerk who is an officer of the Association of Municipal Clerks and a Democratic lawmaker opposed to the proposed legislation. Sponsors include legislators from Fort Gratiot, Howell, Six Lakes, Wolverine, Three Rivers, Adams Township and Portland. By Hope O’Dell. FOR FOWLERVILLE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND LANSING CITY PULSE, DETROIT, ALCONA, CHEBOYGAN, ALPENA, HILLSDALE, IONIA and ALL POINTS.
COASTAL GRANTS: A new round of $1.1 million in grants from the Michigan Coastal Management Program is earmarked for 17 projects and initiatives to local governments, universities, environmental groups and associations for coastal protection and restoration. We learn about projects in Marquette, Petoskey, Bay City and Hancock. Other recipients include the Allegan County Road Commission, Michigan Technological University, the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority and Huron Pines in Gaylord. By Lindsay M. McCoy. FOR MARQUETTE, SAULT STE. MARIE, BAY MILLS, IRON MOUNTAIN, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, TRAVERSE CITY, LEELANAU, ALCONA, ALPENA, MONROE, HOLLAND, OCEANA COUNTY, BENZIE COUNTY, PLANET DETROIT, MANISTEE, LUDINGTON, CHEBOYGAN, DETROIT and ALL POINTS. Editors: a list of all 17 grant recipients is here.
CONSERVATION PROJECTS: Legacy pollution from agriculture and industry threatens the health of Michigan’s watersheds. The Huron River Watershed Council is working on projects in a key Metro Detroit watershed. Meanwhile, the governor has released her administration’s MI Health Climate Plan. The state’s approximately 30 similar groups include River Raisin Watershed Council (Adrian), Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (Petoskey), Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay (Traverse City), Middle River Grand River Organization of Watersheds (Lansing) and Crystal Lake & Watershed Association (Beulah) We also hear from the Department of Environment, Energy and Great Lakes. By Hope O’Dell. To editors: A full list of watershed organizations can be found here for localization. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, PLANET DETROIT, MONROE, ADRIAN, BLISSFIELD, BENZIE COUNTY, MANISTEE, PETOSKEY, HARBOR SPRINGS, TRAVERSE CITY, HOLLAND, LEELANAU, GREENVILLE, BIG RAPIDS, IONIA, WKTV and ALL POINTS.
SAND & GRAVEL: The first-ever study of miners working at Michigan’s sand and gravel mines found none with silicosis but a higher rate of asthma than other production workers, as well as a risk of shortness of breath and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The state has more than 3,500 surface miners, 1,200 of whom participated in the MSU-led study. Allegan, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland, Roscommon and Washtenaw counties all have five or more sand and gravel mines. We hear from the study’s lead author, the Michigan Tech mine safety director and the Okemos-based Michigan Aggregates Association. By Jada Penn. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, WKTV, DETROIT, FOWLERVILLE, HOLLAND, MARQUETTE, IRON MOUNTAIN and ALL POINTS.
SMALL BUSINESSES: Two years into the pandemic, small businesses in the state report that some challenges have become more acute, with highest concerns about inflation, supply chain disruptions and difficulty finding and keeping employees. A new Small Business Association of Michigan survey finds that owners feel more pessimistic about the short-term prospects but are optimistic about the long-term future. We hear from SBAM, a Hamtramck chocolate shop and a new Lansing coffeehouse. By Sydney Bowler. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CORP! LANSING CITY PULSE, DETROIT and ALL POINTS.
UNDERSTANDING AUTO TECH: As automakers add more high-tech safety features to their vehicles, some drivers are having difficulty understanding the new car technology and need training, an American Automobile Association study shows. Between 2019-20, total traffic collisions in Michigan dropped 22%, but the number of fatal crashes rose 12%, according to the State Police.We hear from AAA, the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor and AARP. By Jack Falinski. FOR ALL POINTS.
NATURE TIME: People feel better mentally if they connect with nature, a factor that is contributing to a boom in state park visitation. A new Canadian program provides free admission to people who are prescribed nature by their physicians, but Michigan isn’t ready yet to go the free route. Every home in Michigan is within a one-hour drive from at least one state park. We hear from the DNR and a Rochester clinical social worker specialist. By Cameryn Cass. FOR ALL POINTS.
w/NATURE TIME PHOTO: Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise in the Upper Peninsula. Credit: Pure Michigan.
LEAVING CONGRESS: Michigan’s congressional delegation will look different next year, due largely to redistricting and intra-party fights. The loss of one U.S. House seat, the awkward retirement of one of the chamber’s most senior lawmakers and a messy primary battle for a suburban Detroit seat mean at least three of the state’s 14 incumbents won’t be back on Capitol Hill. That has implications for Michigan’s clout in Washington. Leaving for sure are Fred Upton of St. Joseph, Brenda Lawrence of Southfield and either Haley Stevens of Rochester Hills or Andy Levin of Bloomfield Township. Others could lose in the August primary or November general election. Pundit Bill Ballenger discusses. By Eric Freedman. FOR DETROIT, HOLLAND, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, MANISTEE, WKTV, LUDINGTON, OCEANA COUNTY, LAKE COUNTY, CADILLAC and ALL POINTS.
w/LEAVE CONGRESS UPTON PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, Michigan’s longest-serving representative, will not run for another term. Credit: U.S. House of Representatives
w/LEAVE CONGRESS LAWRENCE PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, will not seek a fifth term after redistricting. Credit: U.S. House of Representatives