Few voters turn out to choose mayors

From Holland to Traverse City, from Three Rivers to Sault Ste. Marie, from Cadillac to Ionia and from St. Ignace to Zeeland, voters across the state will choose mayors on Nov. 5. If past patterns hold — and without presidential, congressional or legislative races on the ballot — only a fraction of the voters in 100 Michigan cities with mayoral elections will participate. That’s despite the fact that “local governments provide many key public services that citizens care deeply about.” We interview the author of a new national study and a Grand Valley State University political scientist.

Want to get to work faster? You’ll have to drive

Getting to work every day can be a pain, but the amount of pain varies depending on where you live and how you get to your job. Traveling by public transportation such as buses often takes twice as long – or more – as driving alone. And few commuters choose the public transit option. We look at data for seven metro areas in the state, including Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, metro Detroit and Midland and talk to the Michigan Public Transit Association and MDOT.

Michigan lawmakers push for moose hunt in national park

Some lawmakers want to formally urge the National Park Service to allow a moose tag lottery hunt on Isle Royale, where a burgeoning moose population is devastating the vegetation. Hunting is illegal in the remote Lake Superior national park, and the federal agency rejected the idea of a moose hunt when it instead adopted a plan to relocate wolves – the moose’s main natural predator – to the island. Hunting is allowed at Pictured Rocks and Sleeping Bear Dunes national lakeshores. Michigan United Conservation Clubs supports limited hunting in the park.

Is Southeast Michigan the freshwater capital of the world?

A new book makes the case for recognizing Southeast Michigan as “the freshwater capital of the world.” We talk to the author, who works for an environmental group in Traverse City, and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which proposed the book. Success stories include the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and the resurgent Detroit waterfront. By Eric Freedman.

State lawmakers update old adage

An old philosphical question asks, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” A more pratical question is: “If your neighbor’s tree falls on your roof, who is responsible for the damage?” A group of legislators says Michigan needs a law to make the tree owner liable so the financial burden doesn’t rest on the adjacent property owner. By Eric Freedman.