Author Archives: Arielle Breen

USDA grants $1.4 million to protect and restore wetland and agricultural lands

The Michigan Department of Agriculture is using a $1.4 million grant from the federal government for two land easement programs in the state.

The programs focus is on keeping wetlands and agricultural lands precisely that: wetlands and agricultural lands. Continue reading

Appeals court rules utility poles as forestry crop, not farming

Farmers are getting out for planting around the state. And some in Michigan are planting a new crop; utility poles.

Educators with the Michigan State University Extension Office said they recently started growing utility pole crops in northern Michigan.

They said this new crop is great, but, they say, in some areas, farmers are running into problems with neighbors who don’t like the crop.

Kurt Schindler is with the MSU Extension Office. He said these neighbors took the case to the state court of appeals.

He said the township wanted to prohibit the crop production, so they took their case to the state court of appeals.

“And the reason why, is the local organization NIMBY Inc was upset because utility poles are a portrait or vertical orientation and they’re trying to sell their landscape for purposes of attracting tourists as a horizontal landscape,” Schindler said.

Schindler said group wanted to draw in tourism to the area -and says the crop landscape wouldn’t be inviting to tourists.

“We’ve had a Michigan Court of Appeals case which has ruled that growing utility poles is a forestry product and thus not subject to the protections under the right to farm act. And in Joe Rural Township, there was an opposition group,” Schindler said.

He said the crop is resistant to acorn woodpeckers.

The regulations take effect, Today, April 1.

Straits raptor counters say they are seeing more birds of prey

Bald Eagle sighted in Charlevoix County. Courtesy photo.

Bald Eagle sighted in Charlevoix County. Courtesy photo.

Robins might be the traditional harbinger of spring in Michigan, but officials say birds of prey are also coming through the state right now.

Bird counters are keeping track of how many raptors are going through the Straits area. Continue reading

Newest archived Michigan death certificates available online

James Vernor certificate courtesy Image.

James Vernor certificate courtesy Image.

Death may not sound like an intriguing topic to everyone, but Michigan archivists said death certificates are filled with clues about not only family history, but also family health.

Periodically, archivists in the state post death certificates online for public access.

The Archives of Michigan has recently made certificates from the 1920s through the 1930s available to the public. Continue reading

Home heating representatives say homeowners are using dangerous methods to stay warm

According to data from the U.S. Fire Association, 130 people died in residential fires in Michigan last year.

Even though it’s officially spring, officials said homeowners are still struggling with heating their homes.
Continue reading

U.S. Geological Survey awards $9.7 million to build new invasive species lab

Anyone who fishes the Great Lakes are probably familiar with pesky aquatic invasive species, things like sea lamprey and certain gobies.

Now, officials with the U.S. Geological Survey say they are granting $9.7 million to build a new invasive species laboratory in Presque Isle county.

The construction contract has been awarded to an Alpena county company, Crittenden. The work there will focus on how to repel and remove invasives from the Great Lakes. Continue reading

Flint grassroots groups address inequity through stories

Race 2 Equity screen image

Race 2 Equity screen image

Event planners for an upcoming event, plan to come up with solutions to local racial inequity, by using storytelling to convey key issues.

March 21 grassroots groups are hosting an event in Flint called “Healing Stories on Racial Equity”.

Organizers said it will focus on unique stories related to water, housing, and criminal justice. Continue reading

DNR Fisheries officials say late March marks annual walleye egg collection

State fishing licences expire later this month. And as people look forward to spring fishing season, DNR officials say they are helping Walleye populations one generation at a time.
Continue reading

Gladwin County recognized for improving internet access

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Gladwin county officials said the county has struggled with internet access barriers for years. Now they have been awarded the latest Michigan certified connected status.

The status means the county met internet access goals and offers a variety of service providers to 95 percent of the county.

Officials said even though Gladwin is certified, they will keep improving broadband access. They said they are working on overcoming physical barriers like valleys and a scattered population. Continue reading

As the snow melts, pollutants can flow into waterways, environmental specialists say

March 20 marks the first day of spring, and with the warm weather lately, mounds of snow are starting to disappear.

This melting is milestone in the passing from winter to spring, and environmental specialists said it also marks the passing of pollutants from snow into Michigan’s waterways. Continue reading

Grand Traverse County College faculty vote to unionize

NMC courtesy photo

NMC courtesy photo

Officials at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City said their faculty has voted to unionize.

Officials said faculty voted to join the Michigan Education Association.

Marguerite Cotto is with Northwestern Michigan College.

“This is a change in status for faculty that is not driven by questions of compensation- basic salary or wages- this is a very different type of conversation that is emerging for a desire to have a different role and scope of conversation within the college,” Cotto said.

She said the vote was 65 to 16 in favor of unionizing. One vote was not counted due to a spoiled ballot.

Cotto said students shouldn’t notice any changes from the vote.

MEA certification is scheduled for March 23.

Michigan locations in the running for best travel nationwide

Spring break may be a great time to travel, and not all travelers choose warm southern beach destinations. Some travel around Michigan.

USA Today is running a 10 Best, Readers Choice Awards contest.

Michigan has three destinations in the running.

Saugatuck, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and Seney Wildlife Refuge are in the running.

ON THE WEB
USA Today 10 Best Readers Choice Contest http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/

Suicide rates are highest in spring, CDC data shows

March 20 marks the first day of spring and while some of us are having thoughts of gardening or spring baseball- others are struggling with thoughts of suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control data in 2013, 1,295 people died by suicide in Michigan. The CDC data shows most of the deaths occurred in spring months.

Suicide prevention advocates said the post-Christmas months of low exercise, low social contact and few holidays to look forward to – leave people with mental illness exhausted and vulnerable when spring rolls around. Continue reading

CDC: Half of Americans have chronic illness, company suggests social health networking

Maybe you had a New Years resolution to spend less time on social networks like Facebook. But a different kind of social network might just be what the doctor ordered.

One network is called “My Health Teams”. It’s a peer to peer social health network that works to connect people with chronic illnesses.

The My Health Teams network offers specific social networks online for people with chronic illnesses like lupus or multiple sclerosis. Continue reading