Category Archives: Causes

Earth week events encourage “hands on” learning


This is Earth week. It’s dedicated to restoration and conservation efforts.

There are several Earth-friendly events taking place this week at Central Michigan University, including one “hands-on” event.

It’s called “Pick up the Chip”.

It’s a service project aimed at cleaning trash from around the Chippewa river, and part of the Earth-week focus to reduce pollution and teach future generations responsible ways to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Rachel Ochylski is one of the organizers.

She said, “We really wanted to show the community that you don’t have to live near an ocean to care about marine animals and conservation of their habitat, and you can make a difference here in Michigan and right here in Mount Pleasant.”

Ochylski said event organizers hope to educate people on the importance of habitat conservation and reducing pollution.

Pick up the Chip is scheduled for Friday at noon at Mt Pleasant’s Island Park.

ON THE WEB
Pick up the Chip
https://www.facebook.com/events/1391153861208674/

Paws for Freedom: one dog’s rescue story from Iran to Saginaw

Captain
Pets take on roles; they’re family members, best friends and sometimes – targets.

Captain has been all three. Today he lives with a family in Saginaw. He was adopted out of Iran. A place where dogs have been outlawed for over thirty years.

Jeff Popovich tells us about Captain, his new family and his remarkable journey:

Despite missing a leg, Captain runs effortlessly to greet, Reza Saffarian.

Saffarian is an Iranian-born American citizen who adopted Captain from his home country two years ago.

He said, “We are just happy to be able to help an animal that had probably been put down overseas if that was not, you know if that was not for the circumstances.”

Dogs have been outlawed in Iran since the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s.

It wasn’t until 2004 the country’s first ever animal shelter was founded. It’s called Vafa. That means loyalty in Farsi, the official Persian language in Iran.

Saffarian said animal activist groups like Vafa have been busy trying to improve the fate of dogs in Iran.

He said, “They were instrumental in identifying these dogs and bringing them in, and sheltering these animals.”

The shelter adopts dogs to safe homes in other countries through their website.

Saffarian said, “We were able to look on their website, read the stories of these dogs, and be able to hook up some of these dogs and he was one of those few, and I think they would tell you that, he was one of the few fortunate dogs to be able to get adopted out of nearly 500 dogs.”

Saffarian decided on Captain because he says he felt the dog would be overlooked by other families looking to adopt because he is missing a leg.

He got in touch with the Vafa representative who handles adoptions to the US.

A few weeks later Captain was on a plane to Boston.

Once he was in the US, his journey continued to Saginaw through a volunteer group called The Liberty Train.

That’s an all volunteer organization dedicated to rescuing and transporting animals to homes across the country.

Laura Harper is transport coordinator and founder of The Liberty Train.

She said, “We get drivers to pick up a dog at one location then they transport them to the next location and pass them off to the next driver and so on and so forth until they get where they’re going.”

Harper said it’s a humbling experience working with so many people that are so willing to help.

She said, “When I get to the end of the week and I know that I’ve got wonderful people like Team Iran and Team US/Canada or the Vafa shelter and all the other rescues that we work with it fills my heart. It keeps me going knowing that there are good people out there.”

Back in Saginaw, Reza Saffarian said he’s grateful to all the people who were involved in Captain’s rescue and transport.

When Captain arrived, the Saffarians were concerned about his stump. It had not been properly amputated when he was still in Iran.

Saffarian said, “So we put him through a surgery shortly after we got him, and ever since I think he has…his life has taken for the better.”

Since his rescue, Captain has adapted to the English language.

He’s also picked up on things that American dogs take for granted, like climbing stairs and even playing with toys.

Saffarian said, “We are delighted…we are really delighted. And I think somehow he appreciates that too you know you saw how he comes to the door and greets us, and how he sticks by me. I think he understands that maybe he is somewhat lucky.”

Captain went from being a target on the streets of Iran to a full fledged Saffarian family member.

Aside from being one lucky dog, Captain’s journey is one example that possibilities are endless.

ON THE WEB

Vafa Animal Shelter
http://vafashelter.com/main/


The Liberty Train
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Liberty-Train-and-Rescue/161898060592344

Another million for Michigan waters

The Michigan DNR has awarded one-and-a-quarter million dollars to 7 projects through its Aquatic Habitat Grant Program.

Friends of the Shiawassee received the single largest donation, $365-thousand, for their dam removal project.

Gary Burk is the Board Director for the Friends, he says the project is important for a number of reasons.

“We were actually approached by the State as to whether we could be a local agency to help direct grant dollars and project management for the removal of that dam. There’s a number of reasons for the removal. It’s a deteriorated structure, and we’d like to restore connectivity to the river. Plus, there have been some drownings at the dam.”

For a full list of the projects that were awarded grant money from the DNR visit their website here.

New veteran assistance coalition forms in mid-Michigan

veterans 11-13-13Mid-Michigan area veterans and their families will soon have a new support network to turn to.

The Great Lakes Bay Veteran’s Coalition aims to provide assistance to members of the military, veterans, and their families. 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

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

Tittabawassee river cleanup update

Tuesday night the EPA will give an update on cleanup work along the Tittabawassee River. It’s part of the at the bi-monthly Community Advisory Group meeting’s.

The current portion of the cleanup is focused on the floodplain of the river. It requires certain areas of soil to be removed and replaced.

The public is invited to the meeting and the local community group is looking to recruit new members.

The meeting is scheduled for the Tittabawassee Township Memorial Park Building in Freeland and begins at 6 PM.

Earlier this year the EPA estimated the entire cleanup would be completed in 2018.

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

Debate and controversy surround proposed nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron shore in Ontario

Kincardine

Controversy surrounding a proposed nuclear waste dump that would be built near the Lake Huron Shoreline in Ontario is heating up.

The main issue surrounding Ontario Power Generation’s, or OPG’s, proposed nuclear dump can be boiled down to three things.
Continue reading

Debate and controversy surround proposed nuclear waste dump near Lake Huron shore in Ontario

Kincardine
Ontario Power Generation, or OPG, has talked themselves hoarse defending their proposal for a nuclear waste storage facility near Lake Huron.
Continue reading

New policies attempt to address the vaccination issue

vaccinationState health officials are just over a month into enforcing a new policy aimed at informing and providing parents with education on vaccinations.

The state is ramping up efforts to increase vaccination rates after Michigan ranked fourth-highest in the nation last year for vaccination waiver requests. Continue reading

Habitat for Humanity receives funding for affordable housing

Stack of MoneyLow income families struggling to find affordable housing are receiving some help from a state grant.

Habitat for Humanity Michigan was recently awarded a grant of 1.1 million dollars to help Michigan families find homes. Continue reading

Groups around Saginaw County plan to host human trafficking awareness event

Think human trafficking doesn’t exist in your zipcode? Think again.

That’s the message behind an awareness event in Saginaw County Feb. 11.

Advocates against human trafficking said, often people think of trafficking as a distant problem. But, they said, trafficking is everywhere, and they hope to inform residents- starting in Freeland.

According to the 2013 State of Michigan Report on Human Trafficking, officials don’t know how many people are trafficked in the state. Continue reading

Fifth-grader enrollment for emergency preparedness program grows

schoolsMore schools in Michigan are enrolling their fifth graders in a state program that aims to prepare them for emergencies.

It’s called Student Tools for Emergency Planning, or STEP. It’s a curriculum that helps teachers prepare students for emergencies like tornadoes, flooding and storms. Continue reading

Community officials to gather in Clare to sign child abuse investigations protocol

State officials said most child abuse investigations in Michigan involve children between the ages of 7 and 12.

Officials in Clare County said they’re working to make investigations less stressful for abused children by working together.

Police, health care officials, and child advocacy officials are planning to sign a new child abuse investigation protocol Jan. 23. Continue reading

Organization seeks volunteers to Walk For Warmth

If staying active was a new year’s resolution, then an upcoming fundraiser may be right for you.

It’s called Walk For Warmth. Volunteers raise money by walking for donations. The money goes to local heating assistance funds.

Three Walks for Warmth are planned this month. One each in Isabella, Montcalm, and Gratiot Counties. Continue reading

Latest developments in college campus sexual assault claims

white houseThe issue of sexual assaults on college campuses isn’t new.

It garnered national attention last year after a list was released revealing a federal investigation of dozens of colleges for their handling of sexual abuse claims. Continue reading