To download the budget click here.
CRANBERRIES: Michigan could see a twenty-fold increase in cranberry acreage under wetlands legislation designed to encourage growth in the industry. Most of the current 250 acres of bogs are in or around Cheboygan, the Upper Peninsula and Southwest Michigan along the Lake Michigan coast. A Saugatuck senator says the measure would encourage out-of-state growers to do business here. We also talk to the Michigan Farm Bureau and Southwest Michigan Extension. By Jordan Travis. FOR HOLLAND, CHEBOYGAN, MARQUETTE, SOUTH BEND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS & ALL POINTS.
PRISONS: Higher incarceration rates don’t already lead to lower crime rates, experts say, and too many nonviolent offenders are kept behind bars at a cost to taxpayers of $45,000 each. By Quincy Hodges. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
ECONOMICGARDENING: With Michigan’s desperate economy, small communities, including those in Gladwin, Osceola and Huron countries are looking to existing businesses to weather the economic storms with help from Saginaw Valley State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The process of “economic gardening” focuses on companies already there rather than recruiting new businesses. The Gladwin Chamber of Commerce and Gladwin County Economic Development Corp. explain how it works. By Nick Mordowanec. FOR GLADWIN, CLARE, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, CADILLAC & ALL POINTS.
COMMUNITYCOLLEGES: A Holland senator wants to give community colleges the option to switch their employees from the state public school retirement system to a contribution plan where benefits would depend on how well the stock market performs. The Michigan Education Association calls the idea financially risky, but the president of Bay de Noc Community College and the Michigan Community College Association endorse the idea as a cost-savings measure. By Caitlin Costello. FOR MARQUETTE, HOLLAND, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
ITEMPRICING: As the only state requiring item pricing, some claim Michigan is at a competitive disadvantage in keeping and attracting retailers, but new scanner technology can adequately safeguard consumers. The United Food and Commercial Workers union in Grand Rapids and the Michigan Retailers Association are on opposite sides. Senators from Fawn River Township, Algonac, Kentwood, Gainsville Township and Saginaw Township want a major change in the law, but Gov. Granholm and ex-Attorney Gen. Frank Kelley argue the current law is essential to protect the public from unscrupulous and careless merchants. By Adam DeLay. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, BLISSFIELD, SOUTH BEND, LAPEER, OAKLAND, LANSING, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
CLIMATECHANGE: Michigan federal and state lawmakers are fighting over climate change. U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing and Carl Levin of Detroit support climate change legislation that is awaiting a Senate vote. In the U.S. House, Rep. Sander Levin of Southfield voted for it, but Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia opposed it. U.S. Rep. Candice Miller of Harrison Township wants more focus on Great Lakes hydropower. Meanwhile, the state House has asked the Senate to pass the measure, while the state Senate wants it killed in Washington. By Mehak Bansil. FOR OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, MACOMB, LANSING, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
CHILDABUSE: A Constantine legislator wants to make it easier for judges to impose tougher penalties for child sexual exploitation crimes, including Internet child porn. We also hear from the Michigan Child Death Review Program in Okemos. Co-sponsors are from Allegan, Oakland, Macomb, Eaton, Clinton, Ottawa, Berrien and Grand Traverse counties. In a U.P. federal case, an Iron River man received a 33-year sentence for child exploitation crimes. By Hyonhee Shin. FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, LANSING, SOUTH BEND, HOLLAND, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, MACOMB, TRAVERSE CITY, MARQUETTE & ALL POINTS.
EARLYCHILDHOOD: Michigan could save huge amounts of money in future prison costs by investing more now in early childhood education, which can avert advocacy groups say. The Lapeer County prosecutor says it makes long-term sense to fight crime by setting children on the right path early. A Holland senator says school districts need to be more creative in using donations to maintain early childhood programs. By Vince Bond Jr. FOR LAPEER, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
ALEWIVES: Managing invasive alewives in the Great Lakes, especially lakes Michigan and Huron, is like walking a tightrope: Too many stymie native lake trout reproduction. Too few cripple the profitable salmon fisheries. We learn why from the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority in Sault Ste. Marie, Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, DNR’s Lake Michigan basin coordinator in Plainwell and the Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor. By Jeff Gillies. FOR ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, MARQUETTE, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND, SOUTH BEND & ALL POINTS.
w/ALEWIVESPHOTO: Alewife. Credit: NY D.E.C.