Michigans Last Known Wolverine Now on Display at Bay City State Recreation Area

Michigan’s only known wild wolverine is now on display at the visitor center at Bay City State Recreation Area.

The animal was found dead by hikers last winter at Sanilac County’s Minden State Game Area, where it had lived for much of the previous six years. The wolverine was first discovered by coyote hunters who treed it while running hounds near Bad Axe on Feb. 24, 2004.

It was the first wolverine ever verified as living in the wild in Michigan. Michigan is known as the Wolverine State because it was a center for trade in the early trapping industry and wolverine pelts from the north and west of Michigan came through the state. Biologists say that if wolverines were native to Michigan, they were extirpated about 200 years ago.

It is uncertain how the wolverine arrived in Michigan, though DNA evidence indicates it is related to animals native to Alaska.

The wolverine was mounted by Bay Port taxidermist Sandy Brown; the mount recently won an award from the state’s taxidermy association.

Park interpreter Valerie Blashcka said the display has become quite an attraction.

“It’s bringing a lot of visitors who have never been here before,” she said. “It’s really exciting.”

The visitor center, located at 3582 State Park Dr., is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

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.

Sen. Green appoints jobs expert McLoskey as district representative

LANSING —State Sen. Mike Green has appointed Jim McLoskey as his district representative for the 31st Senate District. McLoskey, the longtime director of job creation and retention efforts in Tuscola County, will begin his duties on April 15th.

“Jim is well known and well respected throughout this area of the state. He understands the needs of the Bay and Thumb regions and the unique challenges we face,” said Green, R-Mayville. “He’ll help me provide the high quality representation this district deserves.”

McLoskey has been the executive director of the Tuscola County Economic Development Corp. since 1986, after more than 10 years in radio and print journalism. He has been an active volunteer in a number of community organizations, downtown development task forces and local government boards. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1977 with a degree in telecommunications/journalism.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work for Sen. Green and to help him serve the good people of this district,” said McLoskey. “I’ve known Sen. Green to always have the best interests of those he represents in mind and I look forward to being a part of his team.”

According to Green, McLoskey will be his point man in the district, particularly on the issue of jobs.

“With his extensive experience in economic development, Jim will be a source of expertise on things we can do to bring good-paying jobs back to the state,” Green said.

McLoskey will also serve as a coordinator on constituent issues, the liaison to local government and community groups, and will attend area events and meetings when Sen. Green is unavailable.

“Representing more than 150 units of government and more than a quarter million people means I can’t always be present when invited to an event,” Green said. “Jim will be my voice and my ears and will serve all of us well.”

The 31st Senate District includes Arenac, Bay, Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola counties. For further information or to contact Senator Green, please visit www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com

Senate Republicans target unemployment fraud

LANSING — The Michigan Senate approved legislation on Wednesday to stabilize the state unemployment fund by targeting rampant waste and fraud, said Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville.

House Bill 4408 requires the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency to be more proactive in cracking down on unemployment overpayments and fraudulent claims.  The legislation also retroactively extends 20 weeks of benefits to 150,000 long-term unemployed individuals whose benefits ran out at the end of last year.

Because of key reforms included in the legislation, the extension does not place additional costs on the state.  It also reduces the state unemployment tax burden on all Michigan businesses by up to 25 percent.

“People are hurting in these tough economic times and legitimately need a helping hand,” Green said. “Yet, while Michigan’s unemployment system is bankrupt with $3.9 billion in debt, fraudulent claims are stealing half a billion dollars a year from those who really need help.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor estimates, fraud and waste cost the Michigan unemployment insurance system $475.6 million in 2009 alone. That staggering figure includes an estimated $143 million paid to individuals who were working while fraudulently collecting benefits.  A Michigan auditor general report also cited millions of dollars in payments to illegal aliens.

“Our answer for Michigan’s unemployed workers must be to bring good-paying jobs back to the state by making Michigan a good place to do business,” Green said. “We’re working hard on the number one priority: jobs. But we must ensure that unemployment benefits are there for those who truly need it.  We did that today.”

HB 4408 now returns to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Sen. Green celebrates March is Reading Month with area students


LANSING―State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, reads to students at Hughes Elementary School in Essexville as part of March Is Reading Month. Green read House Mouse, Senate Mouse, which describes the legislative process of government for school-age children. He also talked with students about the importance of reading in their lives and how valuable reading is in his duties as a legislator.

For a print quality version of this and other photos, please visit www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com and click the Photowire link.

Green Photo Advisory: Senator welcomes DEQ director to 31st district


LANSING―State Sen. Mike Green, right, and state Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant, second from right, meet with DEQ district staff in Bay City during a tour of the district office on March 11.

The leaders also met with area business heads at a Chemical Bank annual breakfast, and received an educational tour of the Karn/Weadock Generating Complex in Essexville from Consumers Energy officials. The complex employs 370 people and can generate up to 2,101 megawatts, enough power to serve a community of more than 1.3 million.

For print quality versions of this and other Green photos, please visit his website at www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com and click the Photowire link.

Green encourages participation in upcoming tax amnesty period

LANSING―State Sen. Mike Green urged constituents that owe back taxes to take advantage of an upcoming tax amnesty period, allowing them to pay without penalty.

The tax amnesty program will be available to eligible taxpayers between May 15, 2011 and June 30, 2011 and will be administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury. The department is currently developing forms, instructions, frequently asked questions, and other information useful to taxpayers, which the department said will be made available online.

“Residents that owe back taxes should definitely take advantage of this penalty-free period, and I encourage them to participate,” said Green, R-Mayville.

Key points of the tax amnesty program are:

  • All penalties will be waived, but interest charges will not be waived;
  • Payment of the total amount owed (no installment agreements), including interest, must be postmarked by midnight on June 30, 2011 in order to qualify for amnesty;
  • All state taxes administered under the Revenue Act are eligible for amnesty including, income tax, Michigan Business Tax, Single Business Tax, sales and use tax, withholding tax, tobacco taxes, and motor fuel taxes; and
  • Only taxes for return periods ending on or before Dec. 31, 2009 are eligible.

Green also reminded residents about the department's unclaimed property database.

“If residents in the 31st District think they might have unclaimed property, I would urge them to check with the department as soon as possible, as recent legislation revised the period to claim property from five years to three years,” Green said.

The state Department of Treasury has millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets from dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, valuables left in safe deposit boxes and stock certificates. Because these properties were considered abandoned and unclaimed by the bank or company entrusted with them, they are turned over to the state, as required by law. The department is the custodian of these assets and returns them to their owners (or the owners' heirs) when they are rightfully claimed.

For more information about this and other issues, visit the lawmaker's website at www.StateSenatorMikeGreen.com.

DNR to Hold Public Input Workshop March 30 on Management Plans for Port Crescent and Sleeper State Parks and Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park

The Department of Natural Resources today announced a workshop for the public to provide suggestions on the proposed Phase 1 General Management Plans for these three state parks located in Huron and Sanilac counties.

The public input workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Franklin Inn Motor Lodge, located at 1070 East Huron Ave., in Bad Axe.  The general management plans serve as a guide for future planning and use of the state parks.

Both Sleeper and Port Crescent state parks are located in Huron County on the shores of Saginaw Bay.  They offer a broad range of recreation opportunities, including camping, cabins, day-use trails and beach access.  They also protect and preserve unique natural and cultural resources within the state parks.

Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park is located in the northern portion of Sanilac County.  This park’s primary purpose is to provide public access to the historically significant petroglyphs for education and interpretation opportunities.

DNR Parks and Recreation Division staff and their planning consultant, Birchler Arroyo Associates, will present an overview of the proposed plans for each park at the beginning of the workshop.  Staff will then be available to address questions regarding each park, the planning efforts underway and, most importantly, take comments and suggestions from the public regarding the proposed plans and future development of these parks.

For more information about this workshop, the proposed plans, or persons needing accommodations to attend this workshop, contact Paul Curtis, DNR Park Management Plan administrator, at 517-335-4832 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) at least five business days before the workshop.  To learn more about these parks, visit www.michigan.gov/stateparks.

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.  To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

Non-resident motor vehicles must still display a valid Non-Resident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site, which can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.

The Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources and related economic interests for current and future generations.  To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.

DNR Hiring Now for Summer Positions at State Parks, Recreation Areas, Boating Facilities and Visitor Centers

More than 1,200 workers will be hired for summer jobs by the Department of Natural Resources in state parks, state recreation areas, boating facilities and visitor centers. Applications are being accepted now for positions such as greeting park visitors at the contact booth, selling Recreation Passport entrance permits, and performing operations and maintenance work such as mowing, landscaping, trail maintenance, janitorial and clerical work.

Summer employees are needed at Michigan’s 98 state parks and recreation areas, nearly 700 boating access sites and 16 state harbors located around the state.  Part- and full-time employment is available, with an opportunity to work up to 1,040 hours during the summer season.  Seasonal employees are paid a minimum of $7.65 per hour.  Applicants must be 18 or older and willing to work varied shifts, including weekends, evenings and holidays.

More information about seasonal jobs with the DNR can be found at www.michigan.gov/dnrjobs.

“These are great jobs for college students, individuals who are looking to re-enter the workforce, retirees or anyone who enjoys being active in the outdoors,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Recreation Division.

In addition to seasonal workers for operations and maintenance, the DNR also hires summer naturalists to work as Explorer Guides or staffing the DNR visitor centers at one of the state parks, recreation areas or fish hatcheries.  These jobs are suitable for persons wanting to gain experience in resource education.  Typical job duties may include preparing and presenting a variety of programs, hikes or tours for park visitors on topics related to the resources within the parks and hatcheries.  Training and program supplies are provided.  Explorer Guides work individually within their parks, while visitor center employees work under the guidance of a permanent DNR park interpreter.

Interested individuals should submit an employment application to the park, recreation area, boating facility, or visitor center where they would like to work.  Applicants should specify the position type — State Worker, Seasonal Park Ranger, Explorer Guide or Visitor Center.

The State of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer.  For more information about working in a state park, recreation area, or boating facility, or to download an application, visit www.michigan.gov/stateparks, under “Seasonal Information.”  Applications are also available at all state parks or recreation areas.  For more information about the Explorer Guide Program only, send an e-mail to DNR-ExplorersProgram@michigan.gov.

The Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources and related economic interests for current and future generations.  To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Senate approves Green bill to broaden focus of Jobs Fund

LANSING―Information and agricultural processing technology-based industries would be eligible to participate in the Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund under legislation approved in the state Senate today.

Sponsored by Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, Senate Bill 144 will amend the Michigan Strategic Fund Act and expand the definition of “Competitive Edge Technology” to include information and agricultural processing technology. The measure also adds a significant “catch-all” provision to include any other innovative technology.

“This legislation will encourage economic growth in Michigan agriculture and the information technology sector,” said Green. “It also greatly expands the focus of the 21st Century Jobs Fund, sending a message to all innovators and entrepreneurs here in Michigan and across the nation that we’re ready to do business.”

During his State of the State address in January, Gov. Rick Snyder called on legislators to expand the 21st Century Jobs Fund to include the agriculture industry, which represents a significant portion of the state's economy and is one of its few industries experiencing growth.

Green stated that a significant percentage of all agriculture commodities produced in Michigan are sent out of state to be processed, only to be returned to the state as a final product for consumers.

“Michigan needs to decrease our dependence on out-of-state food processors. What’s produced in Michigan should be processed in Michigan,” Green said. “But we also need to open our door to all innovators, not just those from a few, select industries. This legislation does exactly that.”

SB 144, which received unanimous support, now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.