Schools buy local produce with state grants

Capital News Service

LANSING — More Michigan students than ever have access to fresh produce, thanks to a state farm-to-school program. The 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids and Farms program this year provided 135,000 children with locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. “I’m all about kids eating healthy food, and there’s nothing healthier than fresh produce that’s grown right in their home state,” said Diane Golzynski, the director of Health and Nutrition Services in the Department of Education. Grant-winning school districts purchase fresh fruits, vegetables or dried beans grown in Michigan. The schools report how many meals they served that contained the fresh produce.

Michigan wines, trying to crack global market, look to China

Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan’s wine industry is thriving, with more than 125 wineries scattered across the state. Many have been successful in selling their products outside of Michigan. Some get their wines onto the shelves of stores in other states, while others ship products to customers living in other states. The international market, however, has been tough to crack. “Wines face a number of challenges internationally when compared with other alcoholic beverage products,” said Allie Fox VanDriel, the international marketing coordinator for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Isle Royale wolf rescue faces longterm genetic challenge, researchers say

Capital News Service

LANSING — Relocating wolves to Isle Royale may only be a temporary solution to the island’s diminishing wolf population, according to a recent study. The population has declined rapidly in recent years. In 2010, 19 wolves lived on the island. By 2016, that number had dropped to two. The researchers used blood samples collected over the past 30 years to analyze the wolve’s DNA.

Harsh weather could lead to earlier school year

Capital News Service

LANSING — This winter’s extreme weather could be the tipping point proponents of starting school before Labor Day need. Schools across the state cancelled classes, sometimes several days in a row, due to bad weather and extreme cold. Many of those schools did not have enough snow days built into the year and had to figure out how to make up that missed time. “You see schools going quite deep into the summer, and it’s going to be hard for them to keep those kids’ attention,” said Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland. “This is going to be a heavy lift, but I think this year with all the snow days we’ve had, it might make sense to say, you know what, we need a little bit more flexibility as we go forward.”

Johnson recently introduced a bill with bipartisan co-sponsors that would leave school start dates up to local school boards, allowing classes to begin before Labor Day.

New study IDs climate change impacts

Capital News Service

LANSING — Crop-killing temperature swings, invasive species, harsh rains and water with poorly mixed nutrients are among the global warming threats to Michigan, scientists say. The climates of Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Traverse City and Montreal in 60 years could be similar to the current climate of Chester, Pennsylvania, according to a recent study by Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Robert Dunn of North Carolina State University.  

Montreal could be as much as 17 degrees warmer during the winter; Toronto could feel more like New Jersey. While some of the predicted temperature increases could be on the high side, it’s not absolutely impossible to reach them, said Brent Lofgren, a physical scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. “Most predictions are between 3 and 4 degrees Fahrenheit, as a global average,” he said.

Red swamp crayfish could be next Great Lakes invasive

Capital News Service

LANSING – The red swamp crayfish can reproduce multiple times a year. Females can carry up to 900 eggs. That means rapid population growth and possibly trouble for the Great Lakes. The species is native to the Gulf Coast region of the United States and Mexico, but it has invaded Michigan inland waters and threatens the Great Lakes.  

“This is a crayfish that when introduced outside of its native range has had big and well-documented negative effects on freshwater ecosystems,” said Eric Larson, an assistant professor in the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Department at the University of Illinois.

Fix little leaks, save big money

Capital News Service

LANSING – Energy waste reduction programs in Michigan are expected to save customers nearly $1.1 billion in utility costs, according to a recent report. The Public Service Commission report found that waste reduction programs in 2017 saved nearly 1.6 million megawatt hours of electricity and more than 5.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas. The programs help customers identify ways to conserve energy, such as tips for more efficient lighting, free pickup for recycling old appliances and cash rebates for installing energy-efficient appliances.   

Electric companies and gas utilities spent more than $308 million on the programs, according to the report. “For every dollar spent on these programs, customers can expect $3.51 in savings,” said Nick Assendelft, the public information officer for the Public Service Commission.

Study IDs climate change impacts


EAST LANSING, Mich. – People all over the world are aware of the concept of climate change. But for many, that’s all it is – a concept. A recent study, published in Nature Communications, is aimed at showing the implications of climate change for millions of people. The study by Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Robert Dunn of North Carolina State University, predicts what the climate for  540 North American cities will be like in 60 years.

Trash Import Table

Total Waste Disposed in Each County’s Landfill(s)
County Waste Volume (in Cubic Yards)

Alger 153,352
Alpena 291,000
Barry 144,209
Bay 577,999
Berrien 1,880,892
Calhoun 1,257,358
Charlevoix 61,526
Chippewa 133,098
Clare 333,963
Clinton 1,628,928
Crawford 252,118
Delta 181,309
Dickinson 139,063
Genesee 3,201,819
Huron 196,626
Ionia 298,949
Jackson 467,492
Kent 1,102,416
Leelanau 97,789
Macomb 6,178,232
Manistee 429,274
Marquette 183,838
Menominee 154,159
Midland 428,782
Monroe 1,661,879
Montcalm 653,850
Montmorency 198,271
Muskegon 358,978
Oakland 2,454,559
Ontonagon 254,077
Ottawa 2,686,069
Presque Isle 322,199
Saginaw 588,258
Sanilac 100,851
Schoolcraft 87,421
Shiawassee 690,743
St. Clair 1,408,816
St. Joseph 1,072,280
Washtenaw 4,990,699
Wayne 14,472,544
Wexford 669,530
Total Waste Disposed in Michigan Landfills from Each County
County Waste Volume (in Cubic Yards)

Alcona 7,214
Alger 35,132
Allegan 433,277
Alpena 393,504
Antrim 19,725
Arenac 36,814
Baraga 35,609
Barry 91,105
Bay 492,495
Benzie 27,175
Berrien 941,340
Branch 152,187
Calhoun 463,210
Cass 181,053
Charlevoix 179,570
Cheboygan 110,086
Chippewa 117,386
Clare 92,219
Clinton 177,273
Crawford 65,234
Delta 150,933
Dickinson 251,627
Eaton 318,026
Emmet 112,103
Genesee 1,438,422
Gladwin 59,935
Gogebic 25,497
Grand Traverse 394,170
Gratiot 173,136
Hillsdale 69,335
Houghton 79,912
Huron 151,610
Ingham 1,036,416
Ionia 135,832
Iosco 139,209
Iron 13,791
Isabella 120,202
Jackson 487,439
Kalamazoo 1,307,513
Kalkaska 113,673
Kent 2,110,561
Keweenaw 2,747
Lake 14,999
Lapeer 302,649
Leelanau 34,673
Lenawee 193,810
Livingston 377,512
Luce 7,548
Mackinac 21,568
Macomb 2,202,139
Manistee 304,629
Marquette 197,354
Mason 110,495
Mecosta 63,797
Menominee 59,697
Midland 418,802
Missaukee 51,168
Monroe 979,591
Montcalm 120,241
Montmorency 46,232
Muskegon 708,676
Newaygo 128,591
Oakland 4,314,899
Oceana 58,528
Ogemaw 27,089
Ontonagon 10,207
Osceola 49,721
Oscoda 21,959
Otsego 90,777
Ottawa 1,279,874
Presque Isle 20,336
Roscommon 72,443
Saginaw 625,870
Sanilac 97,938
Schoolcraft 71,775
Shiawassee 205,614
St. Clair 1,020,651
St. Joseph 260,176
Tuscola 105,728
Van Buren 199,915
Washtenaw 1,071,202
Wayne 11,120,894
Wexford 118,864


Michigan’s trash imports surge while low fees discourage recycling

Capital News Service

LANSING – Almost 24 percent of the waste disposed in Michigan landfills came from other states and Canada in 2018, according to a recent state report. Waste imported from Canada decreased by 7.6 percent, but that wasn’t enough to offset a 19 percent surge in discards from other states. Low disposal fees are a major reason so much waste is imported, said Christina Miller, a solid waste planning specialist with the Department of Environmental Quality. “We have properly planned our disposal capacity for many years,” she said. “By doing that, we have an increased amount of disposal capacity in the state.