The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes has released the third part of its water strategy for the state. It’s part of a 30 year strategy to ensure clean water is available across the state.
Part three of Michigan’s water plan focuses on the restoration of water quality and the protection public health.
Officials said 158 million dollars in low interest loans will be awarded to local communities to fund infrastructure projects.
Jon Allan is the director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.
“These investments help communities piece by piece make sure that we’re delivering back to the citizens clean and safe drinking water. But also clean and safe rivers, beaches, harbors, and lakes as we deal with the waste issue as well.”
Allan said communities will be reimbursed for the cost of eligible projects once they’re complete.
The state is expected to announce a fourth part of its water strategy within the next month.
Each summer, many beaches along the Great Lakes are shut down because the waters have high bacteria levels. But figuring out exactly when to close a beach is difficult, and scientists are trying out a new test that could lead to safer swimming. Continue reading →
The Saginaw Basin Conservancy has launched several major projects in Saginaw… designed to create natural beauty and reconnect residents with nature.
The conservancy is calling these “tipping point projects.”
There are four total, including a trail system at Saginaw State University, the cleaning of 10 vacant lots across the city, the renovation of 16-acres at Celebration Square, and a newly paved trail along the city’s riverfront.
Zachary Branigan is the executive director of the Saginaw Basin Conservancy. He said they decided to launch projects in the city a few years ago…
“One thing we really wanted to do is reach out the the community. So over the past year before we started these projects we did a community engagement process. That really involved us going into the community and listening and looking for projects that made sense.”
Branigan said the conservancy is performing around 300 thousand dollars worth of work in the city. He says if all goes as planned, the projects should be completed next year.
As officials continue investigating the Flint water crisis, some attention is turning to the water faucets in people’s homes.
State officials said older faucets and other fixtures can provide a significant amount of lead in water. They said lead begins to seep into the water when it’s stagnant in the faucet.
Officials are encouraging Flint residents to test their water immediately after turning a faucet on, and again after the water has run. George Krisztian is the Flint Action Plan Coordinator for the DEQ.
“Residents will be receiving a kit with two bottles in it. One 250 to highlight that the lead is coming from the fixture, and a second going to demonstrate that after the 250 mL bottle that lead should go down significantly.”
Krisztian said current water fixtures have lower lead levels than older fixtures. The state wants to collect testing data and then make recommendations to residents on whether or not they should consider replacing fixtures.
A new federal designation will make the area eligible for healthcare workforce recruitment and retention programs.
The designation indicates a shortage of personnel in the areas of medical, dental, and mental health care.
Jennifer Eisner is the spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health. She said with the designation, the Flint area can tap into programs that will help keep healthcare professionals from leaving the region…
“So this is a really good opportunity to keep physicians in Flint, and recruit those who may consider going elsewhere to practice and entice them to come to Flint and service the population there.”
Eisner said the goal is to provide more healthcare options and create better patient outcomes in the Flint community.
$12.8 million was awarded to Flint to replace some of the city buses.
Edgar Benning is the General Manager CEO of the Mass Transportation Authority in Flint.
“We are replacing vehicles that are over 20 years old, that have been refurbished and rehabbed to keep them on the road and so we’re replacing vehicles that operated on diesel with compressed natural gas transit coaches.”
Benning says the grant will allow for 23 transit coaches to be replaced.
He says the Mass Transportation Authority in Flint is moving to a 100 percent alternative fuel fleet, and this grant brings them a step closer to that goal.
School is back in session and football season is underway… and that means fall is right around the corner. But a staple of the autumn season… the beautiful color show put on by Michigan’s trees, may be delayed due to warmer than normal temperatures.
Usually, the leaves start changes at the end of September… but experts say it could be mid-October before we see those vibrant fall colors this year.
Jim Keysor is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He said some leaves are just now beginning to change.
“As the days get shorter we are starting to see colors in the leaves. Right now it seems like right now we’re on pace to be average or slightly later than average.”
Keysor said if evenings remain mild, we most likely won’t see fall colors peak until the second or third week of October… which is a bit later than normal.
Officials say a similar bill was passed last year that granted immunity to prescription drug overdose reports in minors. The new bill would expand immunity to all ages, and all substances.
Al Pscholka is a State Representative and Chairman of the house Appropriations Committee. He developed the bill and its predecessor.
“You know we should never be afraid to save a life so that’s what really started this whole conversation about expanding the Good Samaritan Act, and allowing for people to escape prosecution if it’s a medical emergency and you’re in the commission of saving someone’s life.”
Pscholka says in the state of Michigan, opioid drug overdoses kill more people than car accidents.
He says the original legislation has saved lives, and he hopes the passing of this bill will save more.