DNR: Port Austin State Harbor partially closed for renovations

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that, due to renovations, the Port Austin State Harbor in Huron County will temporarily close for the 2012 season. A limited number of slips on the West Dock will be available for transient boaters only.

Construction is under way for the second phase of a three-phase renovation project that began in 2010. This phase of renovation is expected to be completed in December 2012. Funding for this project is generated from the Michigan State Waterways Fund. Waterways funding is derived from boat registrations, marine fuel taxes and user fees, and is, by law, restricted to uses related to land acquisition, development, operation and maintenance of recreational boating facilities. No funding for this project comes from the state’s general fund.

This phase of the renovation project includes the removal of the fixed piers on the East Dock, installation of floating docks and upgraded services, rebuilding of sheet piling on the East Dock, complete overhaul of the fuel and sanitation systems, demolition and replacement of the public restroom building, and dredging a portion of the harbor.

For the duration of the project, the closures will include the boat ramp, the East Dock slips, a portion of the West Dock slips, the fuel and sanitation system and the public restroom building. For information on availability, contact the harbor directly at 989-738-8712.

Alternative boat launching sites for smaller craft are available at the neighboring Port Austin Marina located at 119 E. Spring St. in Port Austin. Contact Chris Boyle at 989-551-1311 for facility information. The Grindstone City boat access site is expected to be available for the Memorial Day holiday weekend and through the remainder of the 2012 boating season.

The DNR Parks and Recreation Division has collaborated with the Village of Port Austin on the renovation plans. We apologize for the inconvenience, but the new renovations will make Port Austin a prime boating destination.

Port Austin Harbor management is located at 6573 State Park Road in Caseville. For more information, contact Kim Kaufmann or Rob Hamilton at 989-856-4411.

The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking “YES” for the $10 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at www.expresssos.com or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, nonmotorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. In addition, Recreation Passport holders can enjoy real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.

Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan's outdoor recreation and natural resources at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport. For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit www.michigan.gov/passportperks.

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 presents award to Travis Colwell

LANSING – State Sen. Mike Green presented Travis Colwell with the 2012 Daniel Rosenthal Legislative Intern Award on Tuesday.

Colwell, a sophomore studying International Relations at Michigan State University, has interned in Green’s office since September 2011. He is a grandson of Sanilac County native Len Richards.

“Travis has served my office and the 31st District with an impressive level of professionalism, a hard work ethic and a passion for public service,” said Green. “He has been an invaluable asset.  I am proud of his accomplishment and expect great things from him in the future.”

The award selection is made each year by representatives from the Michigan House, Senate and MSU and presented to a legislative intern in honor of Daniel Rosenthal, one of MSU’s first Legislative Student Intern Program participants in January of 1977. After Daniel’s unfortunate passing in June of that year, the Rosenthal family established the award to pay tribute to his life and to acknowledge the value he placed on his experience in the program.

A print-quality version of this and other photos of Green are available on his website at: www.statesenatormikegreen.com. Click the Photowire link.


Green Photo Advisory: Sen. Green displays student art at Capitol office

LANSING, Mich.— State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, appears with a selection of art on display in the lawmaker’s Lansing office. The art was submitted by elementary and junior high students of Mrs. Amy Baldwin at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Millington, Michigan.  The students based their art on various themes, including When I Grow Up, On the Farm, and Michigan’s Four Seasons.

To see print quality versions of this and other photos of Green, visit his website at www.statesenatormikegreen.com and click the Photowire link.


Gov. Snyder signs Sen. Green’s bill blocking lottery winners from receiving government assistance into law

LANSING, Mich.— State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, appears with Gov. Rick Snyder after Senate Bill 712 was signed in to law today. The new law requires the state Department of Human Services to apply an asset test when determining eligibility for food aid. Money received from lottery or other gambling winnings would go toward this asset total whether received in a lump-sum payment or on a monthly payout basis.

To see print quality versions of this and other photos of Green, click the Photowire link above.


Green resolution calls for Social Security reform for the terminally ill

LANSING, Mich.— A resolution was introduced recently in the Michigan Senate calling on Congress to provide expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for qualified individuals with a terminal illness.

“The resolution urges our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. to reform these programs by providing waivers to certain eligibility requirements for terminally ill patients who have fewer than six months to live,” said the sponsor of Senate Resolution 134, state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville. “Current mandatory waiting periods in the SSDI program often last longer than a patient’s diagnosed life expectancy.  Additionally, many of these patients do not qualify for SSI, even if their illness has rendered them physically unable to work and drastically changed their financial situation.”

All workers in the U.S. pay into the Social Security system. While primarily a program to help older Americans in retirement, Social Security is also a fundamental element of our country's safety net through Social Security Disability Insurance. The federal government also provides additional help through the Supplementary Security Income program, which is paid for by general revenues and is not tied to work history.

While SSDI is aimed at helping people who are unable to work due to severe, permanent disabilities, benefits are delayed by a mandatory, five-month waiting period.  While there is no waiting period to receive SSI benefits, terminal illness does not qualify.  In cases when life expectancy is less than 6 months, the resolution calls for a waiver to the SSDI waiting period and inclusion in the SSI program as an eligible condition for low-income patients.  It also recommends proper procedures for review of each case and a requirement for a concurring diagnosis, both which are steps to prevent fraud and abuse.

“These programs were put in place to provide a helping hand during difficult times in one’s life.  Terminally ill patients in these cases don’t have the luxury of time and should be eligible for immediate assistance,” said Green. “The common sense changes we’re calling for will bring timely relief to folks when they need it most.”

The resolution was referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee.


Sen. Green announces district office hours for April

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mike Green will hold constituent office hours in the district on the following date:

Friday, April 13
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Pere Marquette Depot
1904 Room
1000 Adams St.
Bay City, MI

District office hours provide residents with the opportunity to meet with the senator or a member of his staff to address issues related to state government. No appointment is necessary.

To contact Green, please visit www.statesenatormikegreen.com or call toll-free at 1-866-305-2131. The 31st Senate District includes the counties of Arenac, Bay, Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola.


Public meeting to be held in Bay City to discuss fishing regulation proposals

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Southern Lake Huron Management Unit in Fisheries Division has announced a meeting in Bay City to discuss statewide fishing regulation proposals.

The meeting will be held on Monday, April 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center within the Bay City State Recreation Area, 3582 State Park Drive, Bay City.

Several statewide regulation proposals will be discussed, including the following:
• Brook trout daily possession limits for Upper Peninsula streams
• Northern pike size and possession limits
• Muskellunge size and possession limits
• Prohibiting the recreational take of the newly listed special concern species – queen snake and western lesser siren

More specific information regarding the above statewide proposals will be available at the public meeting and on the DNR’s website, www.michigan.gov/fishing. There will also be an opportunity to comment on the proposals by email and through other public survey methods.

For more information on the Southern Lake Huron Fisheries Management Unit meetings, contact Jim Baker at bakerj5@michigan.gov or 989-686-2678.

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.