State and local partners plan statewide trail

LANSING — State officials are partnering with Michigan’s communities to create the Iron Belle trail, a 1,200-mile pathway starting in Detroit and ending in the western Upper Peninsula. “We’ve found out trails invigorate communities, and it’s a place for people to go and visit, it’s good for local economies, it’s good for public health, so there’s a lot of benefits,” said Paul Yauk, the Department of Natural Resources Interim State Trails Coordinator. The Iron Belle trail — first introduced by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012 — is actually two trails. Both a 774 mile biking trail and a 1,200 mile hiking trail will start at Belle Isle Park in Detroit and end in Ironwood. The DNR created a route based on existing trails in Michigan, Yauk said.

Fired Mackinac Bridge worker can sue over lost promotions, court rules

Capital News Service
LANSING – A former toll collector is entitled to a trial on claims that the Mackinac Bridge Authority wrongfully denied him a promotion because he’s African American, a federal appeals court has ruled. However, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals refused to reinstate a claim that the authority discriminated based on race when it later fired Terrance Fuller for wrongfully collecting unemployment benefits. The authority, whose members are appointed by the governor, sets policy and tolls for the bridge linking the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The Department of Transportation (MDOT) maintains and staffs the bridge. The authority hired Fuller in 2004 as a temporary part-time employee.

Five rest stops closed for winter travel

Capital News Service
LANSING — The Department of Transportation plans to keep open 76 of its 81 rest areas, and says most of the closures are for safety reasons. Five rest areas are shutdown until April. They are the St. Ignace rest area on southbound I-75; Ludington rest area on northbound US-31; Topinabee rest area on northbound I-75; Hebron rest area on southbound I-75; and Hart rest area on southbound US-31. James Lake, MDOT communications representative, said, “Three of the rest areas were closed because of safety concerns dealing with ice and steep inclines or declines on ramps to enter or exit, and the third has too many stairs that could become quite slick.”
Lake said most rest areas are on flat terrain.