Snowplowers still liable for slips on uncleared pavement

By ANTHONY HARVEY
Capital News Service
LANSING—Commercial snowplowing and de-icing companies will remain responsible for anyone who slips and falls on freshly plowed properties and parking lots. Rep. Ken Yonker, R-Caledonia, who owns Yonker’s Landscaping Inc., had introduced a bill to remove the responsibility from snowplowing and de-icing services. The Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, recently voted against passing the measure on to the Senate. Contracts drawn up by property owners generally place two responsibilities on the snowplowing contractors: to service the property when called and to assume responsibility for patrons who slip and fall on the property. Supporters were disappointed the bill didn’t move to the full Senate.

Snow delays spring corn planting, asparagus harvest

By NICK STANEK
Capital News Service
LANSING — Farmers may be off to a late start this year after snowfall and low temperatures put them behind schedule. There is good news and bad news associated with the snow. The heavy snow insulated the ground, protecting micro-organisms that are good for corn. But the high water remaining in fields could strain the industry, said corn grower Scott Lonier, owner of Lonier Farms near Lansing. “We are at the mercy of Mother Nature right now,” he said.

Snow, now field runoff, could close beaches

By ALEXANDRA HARAKAS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Even after all the snow Michigan received this winter is gone and melted, it could still find a way to adversely impact summer vacations. A new study by the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan suggests that extreme precipitation is linked to the need for beach closures. Intense precipitation may cause runoff from farm fields and increase bacteria such as E. coli in the water, leading officials to close beaches. The study focuses on 12 Great Lakes cities from May through September in 2000-06: Detroit and Grand Rapids; Buffalo and Rochester in New York; Chicago and Rockford in Illinois; Cleveland and Toledo in Ohio; Erie, Penn.; Gary, Ind.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Minneapolis. During the period studied, beaches in eight of those cities were closed for 100 days.

Yet another downside to big snow: pollution

By DARCIE MORAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Hoping for a quick thaw to escape the winter blues? Not so fast. A fast melt of accumulated snow could harm Michigan waters. The problem: Winter application of manure to farm fields. Rapidly melting snow runs off frozen ground and heads toward lakes and streams. It can carrying with it manure that sat on top of the snow.

Michigan campuses ranked for—what else?—snow

By EVAN KREAGER
Capital News Service
LANSING — Two of the 10 snowiest college campuses in the nation are right here in Michigan, according to a list published by the AccuWeather forecasting service. Michigan Technological University in Houghton at the northernmost part of the Upper Peninsula ranked first with an average of nearly 200 inches of snowfall annually. And the eighth snowiest campus is Western Michigan University, the weather service says. On average, the Kalamazoo University receives 67 inches of snow each year. Placing No.