MICHIGAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION AHEAD: On Monday, Sept. 29, your correspondents will interview MEA President Iris Salters. Likely topics include state aid cuts for public schools (K-12), federal No Child Left Behind law impact, school district budget cuts, school district innovations, status of charter school movement, education-related legislation, pluses/minuses of new Michigan Merit Curriculum.
HERE’S YOUR FILE:
ANIMALWELFARE: Poultry and pork industry groups have reached a compromise with animal welfare activists to limit restraints on pregnant pigs, veal calves and egg-laying poultry. A Lapeer County representative, who co-sponsored the original legislation but opposed the approved version, says it reflects the views of a “radical organization” that threatened to launch a ballot initiative if the Legislature failed to act. The Farm Bureau and the sponsor, from Jackson, said they accepted the compromise. Top poultry-producing counties are Ottawa, Allegan and Ionia. Top pork-producing countries are Allegan, Cass and Ottawa. The measure awaits the governor’s signature. By Mehak Bansil. FOR HOLLAND, GREENVILLE, SOUTH BEND, LAPEER, OAKLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
BRAINDRAIN: As young professionals continue to leave Michigan, efforts to stop the “brain drain” are threatened by cuts in state spending on higher education, including the Michigan Promise scholarship program. We hear from a Traverse City senator, Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, and the Cool Cities program which has projects in Cadillac and Traverse City. A new Web site helps Michigan students find internships in the state. By Adam DeLay. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, CADILLAC, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
PROMISENMU: Republicans and Democrats at Northern Michigan University disagree about health care, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, abortion and taxes, but one thing has united them: threats to eliminate the $140-million-a-year Michigan Promise Scholarship Program. A legislator from Marquette says that if savings are needed, he’d prefer basing the scholarships on need rather than eliminating all funding. By Emily Lawler. FOR MARQUETTE & ALL POINTS.
RENEWABLEENERGYLOANS: The Legislature is moving to make $10 million in federal stimulus money available for revolving loans to promote renewable energy. That’s good news, according to an Alpena company that casts components for wind turbines, but an Alpena Community College faculty member doesn’t see the new loans having much impact. A Saugatuck senator sponsored the bill with colleagues from Grand Rapids, Canton, Gaines Township, Monroe, Troy and Traverse City. By Caitlin Costello. FOR ALPENA, HOLLAND, LANSING, LUDINGTON, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN & ALL POINTS.
PUBLICTRANSIT: Public transit ridership increased by 6 percent last year in the state as motorists drove fewer miles, resulting in significantly reduced greenhouse gas emission and fuel consumption, according to a report by Environment Michigan. SMART in Southeast Michigan, MAX in West Michigan and the Rapid in Grand Rapids are carrying many more passengers. The Oakland County Road Commission warns of tighter budgets for road repair. The Michigan Environmental Council said fewer cars on the road may reduce smog levels and alleviate the asthma rate. By Vince Bond Jr. FOR OAKLAND, MACOMB, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, ROYAL OAK, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
VETERANS: Groups that provide services to Michigan military veterans face a $1 million cut in state funds in the upcoming fiscal year, following a similar cut this year. Organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars say that means staff layoffs, making it more difficult to assist veterans in need. All Senate Republicans and three Democrats from Roseville, Burton and Bay City voted for the cut. By Quincy Hodges. FOR LANSING, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
TABLESSREGISTRATION: Senators from Troy, Lake Leelanau and Sturgis want to do away with those pesky license plate tabs, saying computer technology makes them obsolete. The secretary of state likes the idea but says the Legislature should wait until next year to act. By Jordan Travis. FOR OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, SOUTH BEND, CADILLAC, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
PROMISESCHOLARSHIPS: A promise is usually recognized as an assurance between separate parties, but in Michigan, not all promises are always kept, say education experts and students opposed to proposed funding cuts for the Michigan Promise scholarship program and other financial aid to college students. We hear from the Community College Association, a Michigan State official and student, lawmakers from Lansing and East Lansing, and the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. By Nick Mordowanec. FOR LANSING, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
ROADREPAIRS: The St. Joseph County Road Commission is waiting for legislative action to provide more federal stimulus money for local road and bridge projects. The commission has been dealing with reduced funding for several years. Several Southwest Michigan lawmakers are among the sponsors. By Hyonhee Shin. FOR STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, SOUTH BEND & ALL POINTS.
LAKELEVELS: Answers to Great Lakes climate questions may show up in an unlikely place — the rings of trees growing in the Pacific Northwest. Researchers at College of Wooster are using tree rings as climate indicators to reconstruct fluctuating water levels in Lake Erie over the past 265 years. DEQ says lake levels depend on a variety of factors including precipitation, diversion, groundwater, surface runoff and dredging. Lake Erie is at record high, and water levels in Lake Michigan are also high. By Rachel Gleason. FOR OAKLAND, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, PETOSKEY, TRAVERSE CITY, LUDINGTON, HOLLAND, MARQUETTE, SOUTH BEND & ALL POINTS.
LAKELEVELSPHOTO1. Tree rings. Credit: College of Wooster.
LAKELEVELPHOTO2: Researchers core a tree as part of their study of climate change and Great Lakes water levels. Credit: College of Wooster.