Made in Michigan proposal could save breweries money

By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING — Let the Germans make our beer? Michigan legislators say “no thanks” with a proposal to support the state’s own talented brewers. Rep. Doug Geiss, D-Taylor, introduced a bill in the House recently, nicknamed the “Michigan farm to glass” bill, which could give Michigan brewers, winemakers and mead makers a tax credit for using crops grown or produced in the state. The goal is to usher in a closer association between the farmers who grow the ingredients and the brewers who use them, Geiss said, and to help encourage use of Michigan crops with the surge of beer, wine and mead makers. Other states have proven that promoting the use of their crops increases the use of local hops, mead, wheat and other alcohol-related crops, said Geiss, a home brewer and a member of the House Agricultural Committee.

Old tires could build pothole-resistant roads, solve disposal problem

By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING — Old tires may pave the way for new Michigan road repairs. Gov. Rick Snyder proposed spending $1.3 billion on road repairs in his first State of the State Address in 2011.  So far, no one has found that kind of funding. But the Muskegon County Road Commission and other groups are investigating how to more cheaply fix Michigan roads with tires in a way that benefits the entire state. The advantages: repairs can be cheaper, make roads more pothole-resistant and help the state get rid of a tire disposal headache. The Muskegon County Road Commission won a $327,513 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s scrap tire market development grant to explore the solution.

Bill would remove ban on new state property

By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING- A bill that would uncap the amount of land the state owns and manages is being met with some opposition. Sponsored by Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, the bill would raise the 4.626 million acre cap on land and allow the Department of Natural Resources to acquire more. The change would be allowed because the department has a new plan for purchasing and selling land. The state cannot own more land than it does today, according to Brad Garmon, director of conservation and emerging issues for the Michigan Environmental Council. He said the cap is inhibiting the department’s abilities to do its job.

First the Arctic vortex, then the thaw, now potholes

By ASHLEY WEIGEL
Capital News Service
LANSING — While most of the immediate effects of the Arctic vortex storm have passed, potholes may continue to appear for many weeks. The thaw following the storm has created jagged potholes across many main roads in Michigan. This is common, as the freezing and thawing of pavement causes this to happen every year. Potholes are no small matter. The Michigan Department of Transportation spent $8.2 million in the 2009 fiscal year on pothole repairs alone, and the number of potholes this year is steadily increasing.