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GREENGLASS: The lack of an economically viable for recycled green glass remains a major weakness in state recycling efforts, as well as a frustration for environmentally minded consumers including an East Lansing woman. We hear from Michigan United Conservation Clubs, an MSU packaging professor, Michigan Recycling Coalition and experts from the departments of Environmental Quality and Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. By Hyonhee Shin. FOR LANSING, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
AGRITOURISM: The state’s agritourism industry is growing, travel and agriculture officials say. Some farmers, including one in Holland, and some wineries now rely primarily on the tourism aspects of their operations. Legislators from Croswell, Pigeon and Warren want to treat agritourism enterprises more like farms for tax purposes. By Emily Lawler. FOR HOLLAND, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LAPEER, MACOMB, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK & ALL POINTS.
w/AGRITOURISMPHOTO: Produce on display at Rochester Cider Mill in Rochester. Credit: Emily Lawler, Capital News Service.
PRESCRIPTIONDRUGS: Drug prices are outpacing inflation, and that trend puts a particular burden on elderly patients, officials in Macomb and Alpena counties say. A meals-on-wheels program that serves Livingston and Oakland countries finds some seniors cutting back on meals because of financial problems. A Wayne State economist says the federal government and drug companies need to agree on a plan that reins in medication costs. By Vince Bond Jr. FOR MACOMB, OAKLAND, LANSING, ALPENA, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
PUREMICHIGAN: Calling the Pure Michigan campaign an economic success story, lawmakers from Leland, Rudyard, Southfield, Holland, Warren and Flint suggest channeling sales tax money and a new fee on car rentals to promote tourism. A police union says the money would be better spent on rehiring laid-off troopers. Meanwhile, Michigan United Conservation Clubs wants Pure Michigan to advertise hunting and fishing attractions. By Adam DeLay. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, CHEBOYGAN, HOLLAND, OAKLAND, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MARQUETTE, CLARE, GLADWIN, CADILLAC, GREENVILLE, LUDINGTON, ALPENA & ALL POINTS.
GUNSONCAMPUS: Some lawmakers want to clarify state law so holders of concealed weapons permits won’t get into criminal trouble by carrying a firearm on community college or public university campuses. We talk to the lead sponsor from Traverse City, law enforcement officials at Oakland University and Lansing Community College, and Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Co-sponsors are from Rudyard, Alpena, Shelby Township, Kentwood and Coldwater. By Adam DeLay. FOR LANSING, TRAVERSE CITY, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, MACOMB, ALPENA, MARQUETTE & ALL POINTS.
DRUNKDRIVING: A DeWittt senator wants the state to launch a pilot project that lets so-called sobriety courts mandate interlock devices for repeat drunken drivers. MADD likes the idea. The approximately 500 participants in the sobriety court program in Traverse City are far less likely to be rearrested for DWI than non-participants. The Office of Highway Safety Planning notes that alcohol-related deaths and injuries are down but says a decline in arrests may be attributed to elimination of many road patrol jobs. By Hyonhee Shin. FOR GREENVILLE, LANSING, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
NEIGHBORHOODWATCH: Community groups in Alpena, Traverse City, Lansing, Detroit and elsewhere are banding together to combat crime at a time when police departments are shrinking. We interview local police, community activists and the state Association of Chiefs of Police. By Caitlin Costello. FOR ALPENA, TRAVERSE CITY, LANSING, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
AMTRAK: Two Amtrak routes in Michigan won a temporary reprieve with the governor’s approval of a transportation budget with a $5.7 million state subsidy for nine months. The Pere Marquette between Grand Rapids and Chicago and the Blue Water between Port Huron and Chicago experienced a slight drop in ridership last year, which the Holland-based chapter of a passenger advocacy group attributes to a slow economy. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy says the state shouldn’t subsidize Amtrak. By Jordan Travis. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, HOLLAND, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, LAPEER, SOUTH BEND, LANSING, OAKLAND, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, ROYAL OAK, MACOMB & ALL POINTS.
OLDIES: Dueling may be archaic but it could soon be legal again in Michigan, sort of. The Legislature is moving at the behest of senators from Holland, Troy and Three Oaks to erase some old crimes from the books, including kidnapping with intent to marry and prizefighting. A Wayne State professor says obsolete laws can reduce public respect for the law. By Emily Lawler. FOR HOLLAND, WAYNE, OAKLAND, MACOMB, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, ROYAL OAK, SOUTH BEND & ALL POINTS.
MEDICALMARIJUANA: The Gladwin County sheriff says law enforcement officers in the county have been well-trained on what Michigan’s new medical marijuana law allows and doesn’t allow, but confusion remains in the state, some advocacy groups claim. By Nick Mordowanec. FOR GLADWIN, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
PRISONEDUCATION: Education and training programs are building skills and morale for inmates who will return to their communities. Programs include classes so they can complete their GEDs and job training. About 300 parolees are released into Kent County each year. The Corrections Department, a prison transition expert based in Traverse City and a Michigan Works! official for Cass, Van Buren and Berrien counties talk about the programs. By Vince Bond Jr. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, SOUTH BEND, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
DRIVERSED: Driver’s education programs would be required to teach their students how to maximize fuel economy and how to choose an energy-efficient vehicle under a House proposal. Driving school officials in Lapeer and Oakland County, a Leland lawmaker, AAA Michigan and the Secretary of State discuss the idea. By Mehak Bansil. FOR OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LAPEER & ALL POINTS.
PRISONERRENTRY: The Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative is working with state agencies, community organizations and business leaders to help the transition of released prisoners. About 10,000 inmates are freed each year, and that number may grow as the state cuts its prison population. A Wayne State University criminal justice professor warns that the budget crisis may mean less money for community programming. By Quincy Hodges. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, MACOMB, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK & ALL POINTS.
HYDRILLA: Experts from Michigan and other Great Lakes states and Canada are taking steps to combat yet another foreign invader, hydrilla, a plant that reproduces like mad and crowds out native plants and wildlife. It’s spread to 19 states, including Indiana and Wisconsin, and biologists want to keep it out of Michigan. By Jeff Gillies. FOR HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, MARQUETTE, MACOMB, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS & ALL POINTS.
w/HYDRILLAPHOTO: Hydrilla, an invasive plant that threatens the Great Lakes. Credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources.