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ENERGY, LABOR & ECONOMIC GROWTH AHEAD: On Monday, Oct. 26, your correspondents will interview Stanley “Skip” Pruss, director of the Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. Possible topics include alternative energy, economic development, worker safety (and whether employers are taking shortcuts in tough economic times), impact of undocumented workers, and geographic and/or career areas with a shortage of qualified workers.
HERE’S YOUR FILE:
MINORITY: The proportion of African-American, Hispanic and Native American students at the University of Michigan has been dropping, a trend that affirmative action advocates blame on Proposal 2. The impact varies elsewhere—at Michigan State, Wayne State, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan universities. A Detroit lawyer and the attorney general’s office discuss a Nov. 17 federal appeals court hearing on Proposal 2’s constitutionality. By Quincy Hodges. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING, OAKLAND, MACOMB, ROYAL OAK, CLARE & ALL POINTS.
TEENDATINGVIOLENCE: Middle and high schools should teach students how to handle dating violence, some legislators say. Teens are often reluctant to report incidents to adults. We interview the White Pigeon and Constantine superintendents and the Michigan Education Association. Sponsors are from Ann Arbor, Leland, St. Clair Shores, Detroit, Brownstown, Bay City, Salem Township, Lansing and Royal Oak. By Hyonhee Shin. FOR THREE RIVERS, STURGIS, SOUTH BEND, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, MACOMB, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, TRAVERSE CITY & ALL POINTS.
FOSTERCARESMOKERS: Foster parents who smoke could lose a bit of their state subsidy under a proposal by senators from Texas Township and Saugatuck. They say the state has a duty to protect foster children from the health hazards of secondhand smoke. We hear from the American Lung Association and Department of Human Services. By Adam DeLay. FOR SOUTH BEND, HOLLAND, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
UTLITYFORECLOSURES: A Detroit lawmaker wants to prohibit municipal utilities from foreclosing on homes due to unpaid electric, sewer and water bills. Most foreclosures are based on delinquent mortgages or taxes. An Alpena-based housing advocacy group that serves Cheboygan County says a related problem is that tax penalties are tacked on when delinquent city utility bills are transferred to the counties for collection. The Association of Counties warns that the resulting loss of revenue would increase bills for other ratepayers. By Caitlin Costello. FOR ALPENA, CHEBOYGAN, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.
DISTRICTCONSOLIDATION: A draft commission report recommends empowering the state schools superintendent to require consolidation of local districts to save tax money. A Legislative Commission on Government Efficiency member said districts are unlikely to consolidate—even to save money—on their own because of local interests. Officials from the Manistee and the Mason, Lake and Oceana intermediate districts talk about the proposal. The Education Department says forced consolidations would be a last resort, preferring consolidating services among districts. By Jordan Travis. FOR LUDINGTON, CADILLAC, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
BIGBADBUGS: Asian longhorned beetles and sirex woodwasps and hemlock wooly adelgids – Oh my! Three invaders spotted in Ohio could soon ravage Michigan, and that could prove disastrous. Sirex has been found already in Macomb, Huron, St. Clair and Sanilac counties, and an adelgid infestation was eradicated in Harbor Springs. The Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association in Okemos and Michigan Timbermen’s Association in Newberry are worried, noting the devastating economic impact of an earlier invader, the emerald ash borer. By Emily Lawler. FOR MACOMB, LAPEER, PETOSKEY & ALL POINTS.
w/BIGBADBUGLONGHORNEDBEETLEPHOTO: Asian longhorned beetle. Credit: University of California Riverside.
w/BIGBADBUGSIREXWOODWASPPHOTO: Sirex woodwasp. Credit: Maine Department of Agriculture.
GREENSCHOOLS: New legislation would bolster efforts to encourage “green schools.” About 500 are now “green” statewide. We hear from school officials in Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties, and advocacy organizations based in Howell, Brighton and Escanaba. Sponsors are from Huntington Woods, Detroit and Howell. By Nick Mordowanec. FOR MACOMB, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING, MARQUETTE & ALL POINTS.
FORECLOSURESCAMS: In the minds of home foreclosure scamsters, desperate times call for fraudulent measures. With Michigan ranking eighth nationally in foreclosures, fraudsters can find rich pickings in the state, the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation and Michigan Foreclosure Task Force warn. An Oakland County nonprofit group counsels families facing loss of their homes. Senate Democrats want to take curb unscrupulous practices. By Vince Bond Jr. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, OAKLAND, ROYAL OAK, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
PAYGO: Michigan could get a better handle on its budget by adopting a pay-as-you-go – or PAYGO – approach, some policy experts say. The head of the House Appropriations Committee, from Detroit, likes the idea, but the concept is likely to run into strong partisan opposition. By Nick Mordowanec. FOR LANSING, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
MARINAPERMITS: A bill awaiting the governor’s OK would eliminate the need for owners of docks, piers and similar structures to renew existing permits, a move intended to save money for the Department of Environmental Quality and backed by the boating industry. New or expanded “mooring structures” would still need permits. The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey and Michigan Boating Industries Association in Livonia support the change. Only three lawmakers from St. Clair Shores, West Bloomfield and Detroit opposed it. For news and outdoors desks. By Mehak Bansil. FOR OAKLAND, MACOMB, PETOSKEY, ROYAL OAK, TRAVERSE CITY, CHEBOYGAN, CADILLAC, CLARE, GALDWIN, GREENVILLE, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, SOUTH BEND & ALL POINTS.
ALTERNATIVEENERGY: From Wixom and Muskegon to Detroit to Orion, Michigan researchers are diving into alternative energy. They include universities such as Wayne State, Grand Valley, Lawrence Tech and Michigan Tech, companies like United Solar Ovonic, DTE and Cobasys, and organizations such as NextEnergy and the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. For news and business desks. By Mehak Bansil. FOR OAKLAND, LUDINGTON, ROYAL OAK, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, MARQUETTE, MACOMB & ALL POINTS.