Category Archives: State Government

This week is Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week in Michigan

P1000474The awareness week is scheduled in the fall because we are approaching the winter months when water heaters, furnaces, and other fuel burning entities are more frequently used.

Jennifer Eisner is the Public Information Officer with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“Carbon monoxide is very hard to detect, the warning signs would include flu like symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. So if you start to have sudden, severe flu like symptoms there is the potential that it’s carbon monoxide poisoning so it’s very important that you leave the area immediately and seek medical attention.”

Eisner says infants, the elderly, and people with heart or lung disease are at greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and typically show symptoms earlier.

She says if you notice symptoms it’s important to leave the area and immediately seek medical attention.

The Michigan State Police is getting two million dollars from the federal government

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The state police is getting two million dollars from the feds. Some of that money will go toward paying overtime for testing rape kits. Some of it will help fight a growing methamphetamine problem. And some of it will go toward a new patrol boat for the Port of Sault Ste. Marie.

Nancy Bennett is with the state police.

“This allows us to do things that might be outside of our budget. And it really – they use them as incentives for getting projects started. If you have grant funding and things work really well then the agency is much more likely to incorporate that into their regular operating business.”

One of the grants will be used to fight methamphetamine production and use in the state.

Matt Opsommer is with the Michigan State Police. He said the grant is especially important in southwest Michigan.

“While heroin is, and rightly so, getting a lot of attention nationally as well as here in Michigan – heroin and opioids. We’re also seeing a comeback of sorts of methamphetamine.”

Michigan has launched a consultation program that enables health professionals to ask questions about HIV

file0001466200438The program allows medical professionals to consult experts on HIV.

Dr. Norman Markowitz is a staff physician in the division of infectious diseases at Henry Ford Hospital. He says the number of people affected by HIV has remained consistent for years.

“There’s still 40 to 50,000 new cases in the United States. 14% of people or so don’t know their diagnosis so there’s still a lot of work. Although virus and HIV can be managed successfully in most cases there are still individuals who one who do not know they’re infected and two who don’t have access to care that’s out there.”

Markowitz says the program launched this month.

For more information on the program or to request a consult, visit the Henry Ford Health System website.

Pinconning awarded 500,000 grant to fund wastewater plant repairs

The city of Pinconning has received a grant of 500 thousand dollars to repair their wastewater treatment plant.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded the city with a ceremonial check last Friday. City officials said they will begin calculating the full cost of the project in November.

William Jasura is the city manager for Pinconning. He said the the water waste plant needs a lot of repairs.

“The wastewater treatment plant was built 20 years ago under a 40 year bond. We just had a lot of equipment wear out.”

Jasura said they will be replacing screw pumps, and ultraviolet disinfection system, digester cover and plug valves, and many more pieces of equipment. He says it means a lot to the city and the grant will help increase productivity and efficiency.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. awarded eight other grants, totaling seven million dollars in grants to repair water infrastructure across the state.

Enbridge responds to delay for Line 5 supports

Mackinac-01Enbridge Energy is reacting today to a state decision that delays company plans to install new supports on its Line 5 pipeline.

In June, Enbridge Energy, which owns Line 5, reported four spots that required additional support because of erosion.

The Department of Environmental Quality approved supports for those four spots, but delayed action on 18 others that Enbridge requested.

Environmental groups said they’re hopeful this means the government is getting serious about a line shutdown.

But Michael Barnes, a spokesperson for Enbridge, said that’s not how he sees it.

“We think that we’re all working towards the same thing and that’s to protect the straits and keep energy flowing into Michigan.”

Officials with the DEQ said they will delay a decision on the 18 additional supports until two studies on the risks of the pipeline and alternative ways for transporting the oil are completed. Results of those studies are expected early next year.

Advocates and lawmakers gather to raise awareness for special education

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley speaks on the Capitol steps about special education reforms at the rally.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley speaks on the Capitol steps about special education reforms at the rally.

While most of the rallies these days are focused on presidential candidates, a different kind of rally took place Wednesday on the State Capitol lawn. Parents, lawmakers and advocates gathered to raise awareness for the needs of special education students.
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Massasauga rattlesnake officially a threatened species

The only venomous snake species found in Michigan has been listed as threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

State officials said over the past few decades, there has been a 40 percent decline in the massasauga rattlesnake population. The loss of snakes, they said, is directly tied to a loss of their habitat.

Dan Kennedy is the Endangered Species Coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He said the massasauga is most often seen in southern Michigan

“So they’re typically found in open wetlands, like marshes and wet prairies, or low line areas of rivers and lakes. They tend to want to be away from you and are typically docile. They are not like a regular rattlesnake.”

Kennedy said the DNR and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service are partnering to develop a recovery plan for the species.

In the interest of full disclosure the DNR is an underwriter for CMU Public Radio.

Statewide conference looks to address contaminants on Great Lakes beaches.

Environmental groups and experts from around the state are gathering in Marquette this week to talk about Michigan’s beaches. The Great Lakes Beach Association Conference will highlight efforts to detect E. Coli faster, and survey beaches quicker.

Shannon Briggs is a toxicologist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

She says keeping Michigan beaches clean and safe is a priority. “Michigan has great beaches, all across our state, and most of these beaches are in places that are tucked away in smaller communities. We want to keep those beaches open and  clean because those beaches are attracting other visitors and tourism.”

Click here to link to conference webinar information.