Sen. Green hosts Michigan DEQ Director Dan Wyant in Bay County

WHAT: Sen. Green hosts Michigan DEQ Director Dan Wyant in Bay County

WHO: Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville; Dir. Dan Wyant, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; Com. Ernie Krygier, Bay County; Laura Olger, Bay County Environmental Affairs

WHEN: Monday, Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

WHERE: Bay City State Recreation Area
3582 State Park Drive
Bay City, Michigan   48706

WHY: To highlight key issues affecting the environmental quality of the entire Bay region and shoreline 

DNR Invites Public Input on Forest Management in Arenac, Isabella, Clare, Gladwin and Midland Counties

The Department of Natural Resources will host an open house Wednesday, Nov. 30, to provide information and receive public comment on proposed forest management treatments for 2013 in the Gladwin Forest Management Unit. The open house will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Department of Natural Resources’ Gladwin Field Office, located at  801 North Silverleaf, in Gladwin.        

Each year, DNR personnel inventory and evaluate one-tenth of the state forest. Information gathered includes the health, quality and quantity of all vegetation; wildlife and fisheries habitat and needs; archeological sites; minerals; recreational use; wildfire potential and social factors, including proximity to roads and neighborhoods; and use on adjacent public and private lands.  Proposed treatments, which may include timber harvesting, replanting and other management activities, then are designed to ensure the sustainability of the resources and ecosystems.

The open house is an opportunity for the public to review proposed treatments and to provide input toward final decisions on those treatments. It also provides the public an opportunity to talk with foresters and biologists about issues of interest. Maps and information regarding the proposed treatments will be available at the open house, and can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/forestplan.

Each management unit is divided into smaller units or compartments to facilitate better administration of the resources. The Gladwin Unit open house and compartment review will focus on compartments in Clare, Gladwin, Midland, Arenac and Isabella counties. Townships with compartments in Clare County include Summerfield, Franklin and Greenwood.  The townships with compartments in Gladwin County include Grim, Bentley, Gladwin and Butman. Midland County includes compartments in Jerome and Greendale townships. Isabella County includes compartments in Denver Township and Arenac County includes compartments in Moffatt and Mason townships.

The formal compartment review to decide on prescriptions for these areas is scheduled for 9 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the Riverwalk Place, 777 W. Cedar Rd., Gladwin. 

Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for any of these meetings should contact Jason Hartman at 989-426-9205, extension 7640, a minimum of five (5) business days before the meeting.   Requests made less than five business days before the meeting may not be accommodated. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.  For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Green Media Advisory: Senator to attend agriculture tour through Frankenmuth, Reese, Bay City and Pinconning Friday

WHAT:

Agriculture tour through Frankenmuth, Reese, Bay City and Pinconning.

WHO:

Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville; House Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Lum; Reps. Ken Kurtz, R-Coldwater; Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth; Bruce Rendon, R-Lake City; Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon; Nancy Jenkins, R-Clayton; Ben Glardon, R-Owosso, Charles Brunner, D-Bay City; Joel Johnson, R-Clare; Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac.

WHEN:

Friday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

WHERE:

·         9 a.m. – Star of the West Milling Co., 121 E Tuscola, Frankenmuth;
·         10:45 a.m. – ADM dry bean processing facilities, 2455 Vassar Road, Reese;
·         Noon – MSU Research Farm, 3775 S. Reese Road, Frankenmuth;
·         1:30 p.m. – Michigan Sugar, 2600 S. Euclid Ave., Bay City; and
·         2:45 p.m. – Mr. Chips, 2628 N. Huron Rd., Pinconning.

WHY:

To highlight the importance of agriculture, ag-processing and agri-business to Michigan’s economy.

Bay City State Recreation Area Friends Group Wins Prestigious Award

The Department of Natural Resources has announced that the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area have been named the recipient of the National Association of State Park Directors’ (NASPD) 2011 President’s Award for a local organization.

The group was nominated for the award for its support and advocacy efforts over the last 17 years, which also includes raising thousands of dollars to purchase and install a playscape as well as a newly-opened spray park at the state recreation area. The group also works to establish endowment funds for the maintenance of these facilities, and plans interpretive and educational programming.

“Being recognized by our peers in NASPD is a significant achievement,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area, like all of the Friends of Michigan state parks groups, have helped us stay at the forefront of our profession with innovative programming, funding and facility development.”

DNR Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson accepted the award on behalf of the Friends group during a recent meeting of the NASPD. Representatives of the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area will receive the award during the Natural Resources Commission meeting on Oct. 13 in Lansing.

Friends groups are nonprofit organizations that assist parks and other public lands by fundraising, recruiting volunteers, leading restoration projects and other activities. The Friends of Bay City group is comprised of interested citizens who support environmental education and promote conservation, use, and enjoyment of the recreational facility.

“We are extremely proud of the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area and for their efforts that have earned this recognition,” said Olson. “Just as we are grateful for all of the Friends of Michigan State Parks groups. Michigan state parks face extremely difficult budgeting times while visitation continues to grow, and the Friends groups are making a major impact in helping us ensure our state parks are open and our natural resources are protected.”

To help the DNR build the first-ever spray park in a Michigan state park, the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area raised $300,000 in cash and another $150,000 in donations of labor and other non-monetary items.  Other Friends groups are hard at work dedicating time and efforts toward providing enhancements for their state parks; however, currently less than 50 percent of Michigan’s 99 state parks have active Friends groups. Those interested in learning more about how to join an active Friends group can contact that state park office for information. Those interested in starting a Friends of the Park group in their area can contact DNR Recreational Programmer Maia Stephens at stephensm3@michigan.gov for information.

The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Green votes to keep fetal remains out of dumpsters

LANSING, Mich.—The state Senate approved legislation Thursday that clarifies procedures for properly disposing of deceased fetuses in Michigan, Sen. Mike Green said.

Senate Bill 25 establishes requirements for the proper disposal of fetal remains. Under SB 54, physicians would be required to inform parents that state law mandates them to authorize the final disposition of their baby.

“It is unconscionable that babies are being thrown in dumpsters like pieces of trash,” said Green, R-Mayville. “Human life is sacred and should be treated as such, and these bills will make sure those who disrespect fetal remains are punished accordingly.”

Violators of the proposed laws would face a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for improperly disposing of fetal remains.

The measures stem from a case in 2010 where human baby remains were found in the dumpster of an abortion clinic in Eaton County. The case is still under investigation, but based on current state law no charges have been brought against the clinic.

The bills passed by a vote of 33-5 and now go to the state House for consideration.

DNR Approves Online Snowmobile Safety Course for Youth Operators

An online snowmobile safety course aimed at youth operators has received the endorsement of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It is the first online course for snowmobile safety endorsed by the DNR.

Successful completion of the online course would satisfy Michigan’s snowmobile safety education requirement for youth operators. Under Michigan law, snowmobile operators at least 12 years of age, but less than 17, are required to successfully complete an approved safety training program. Youth operators are also required to carry the safety training certificate with them whenever they are operating a snowmobile in Michigan.

The online course, offered by Fresh Air Educators Inc., provides another option for those interested in taking an approved safety course. Traditional in-person classroom courses are still offered throughout Michigan. There is a $29.95 fee to take the online course. More information on the online course can be found at www.snowmobilecourse.com/usa/michigan/. There is also a quick link on the DNR website under Education and Outreach when searching for available Recreational Safety classes in your area.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, accessible use and enjoyment of the State’s natural resources for current and future generations.  For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Green podcast advisory: Senator comments on passage of mortgage fraud legislation

LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, posted an audio podcast on his website regarding the passage of legislation that strengthens tools for law enforcement to help put a stop to mortgage fraud in Michigan.

Click here to listen to Green’s remarks.

The package creates a new crime of residential mortgage fraud and authorizes new sentencing guidelines and increased penalties for crimes such as forging deeds. Mortgage fraud will become a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The maximum penalty for violating the notary public law will also increase, from one year imprisonment to four.

The measures were sent to the governor to be signed into law.

For more information on Green, please visit his website at www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com

Green, Brunner host meeting with Bay City, MDOT over Center Ave. water leaks

LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is committed to making things right for Bay City after continued problems with water line breaks on Center Avenue, state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, and state Rep. Charles Brunner, D-Bay City, announced today, after meeting with city officials and MDOT Director Kirk Steudle.

“MDOT is dedicated to a permanent resolution and will replace the water line connections and resurface the street if necessary,” said Green. “While it may not need to come to that, Director Steudle made it clear that they are committed to working with us so that Bay City taxpayers aren’t left with the bill.”

Brunner said: “The meeting was productive and I think everyone walked away optimistic and confident that we’re headed toward an end result that’s good for Bay City residents.”

Center Avenue underwent a $4.3 million project in 2009 that rebuilt a one mile section of pavement along the main thoroughfare. During the project, state-hired contractors replaced approximately 63 water line connections underneath the road, which have experienced at least seven major leaks. The state repaired the initial leak and has reimbursed the city for additional repairs.

City officials have been concerned, however, with how the state will address the cost of any future leaks in the 56 other water connections if the project contract is closed out. After a contract is closed, there is very little recourse that can be taken against contractors for faulty work.

The two lawmakers brought MDOT and representatives of the city together to address those concerns. MDOT announced at the meeting that they are currently engaged in a legal process that will hold the appropriate contractors responsible for the repairs.

“That’s good news, and it’s the right thing to do,” said Brunner.

Green said that he and Brunner will continue to work together on Bay City’s behalf until the Center Avenue issue is resolved.

“We’ll be diligent in making sure that the state follows through on its commitments. All too often government lacks accountability, but in this instance, common sense is prevailing.”

Senate gives prosecutors teeth in chomping out mortgage fraud

LANSING, Mich.— Prosecuting attorneys will have the tools they need to help put a stop to mortgage fraud in Michigan after legislation approved by the state Senate today was sent to the governor to be signed into law.

“Michigan homeowners have it bad enough keeping up with their mortgage payments and avoiding foreclosure in this economy,” said Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, who voted for the measures. “The last thing they need are predators committing mortgage fraud, costing our hardworking families and taxpayers millions of dollars every year. Mortgage fraud is a grave and growing danger and these reforms will help put a stop to it and protect homeowners.”

The package creates a new crime of residential mortgage fraud and authorizes new sentencing guidelines and increased penalties for crimes such as forging deeds. Mortgage fraud will become a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The maximum penalty for violating the notary public law will also increase, from one year imprisonment to four.

The reforms are supported by Attorney General Bill Schuette, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and industry groups, including the Michigan Bankers Association, Michigan Credit Union League, and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

Senate Bills 43 and 249 through 252 are headed to the governor, who is expected to sign them into law.

Bay City State Recreation Area Halloween Event on Oct. 15 Takes the Scare Out of Scary Creatures

Bay City State Recreation Area’s 18th annual Mother Nature’s Halloween Trail, featuring a guided walk along a pumpkin-lighted forest trail and a chance to encounter some of nature's most misunderstood critters, will be held Saturday, Oct. 15, from 4 to 9:30 p.m.

Visitors will be enchanted and entertained in a unique way as 26 student actors, from St. Charles and Hemlock High Schools, portray bats, snakes, wolves, vultures and other animals that humans often fear and dislike. The actors, led by Teacher-Director Emily Claytor and Drama Director John Ostrander, will dramatize how these creatures earned their frightening reputation, why they have been misunderstood, and how their existence actually benefits humans and the environment.

"The trail is really fun for younger, elementary-aged children and also the young at heart.  Our goal is to dispel some of the myths and stories that make life difficult for these undervalued wildlife populations," said Department of Natural Resources Park Interpreter Valerie Blaschka. "Children love the animal actors. Many of last year's visitors had wonderful comments about the actors’ performance and how nice it was to have a Halloween event that wasn’t meant to be scary."

The event is designed not to frighten, but to educate and entertain children and their families. Halloween treats donated by area merchants and free refreshments will be provided. Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes.

For more information on Mother Nature’s Halloween Trail, contact the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center, located within Bay City State Recreation Area, at 989-667-0717. The recreation area is located at 3582 State Park Dr. in Bay City.

There is no cost for this event; however, a state park Recreation Passport is required for all vehicles entering the park.

The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.