FRIDAY, Oct. 7 — A roundup of news from around the state, provided by our partners at Capital News Service. Follow the links for the full stories.
Heavier storms threaten states aging drains: Global warming is threatening Michigan’s already aging system of drains with severe weather producing heavy rains. Local drain commissioners are trying to figure out how to brace for the deluge.
Small coastal communities spiff up their resumes: Small coastal communities are laying the groundwork to bring cash to their waterfronts and to further tourism and other economic development. Four communities last year participated in a program that helps to develop five-year plans for their waterfronts: Ontonagon, Pentwater, Au Gres and New Baltimore. Two more — St. Ignace and Rogers City — will go through the process in October.
Old voting machines come with a cost: When Michigan voters cast ballots Nov. 7 they’ll be lining up at voting machines that are up to 15 years old in some places. The average age of the state’s machines ranks 46th in the nation. Aging machines can cause inaccurate tallies and long voter lines. Help may be on the way with new funding for old technology, but it won’t be in time for this election.
State works to improve payments to county child care programs: County programs that help abused and delinquent children get late state payments, according to a recent audit. Efforts have increased to reduce the time lag but along the way new questions have come up about which expenses are reimbursable. County officials are talking about a new handbook.
State groups dispute how downtowns spend special millages: A dispute has erupted between the state groups representing counties and downtowns over the way tax money is spent to improve downtowns. Michigan Association of County officials say some special millage tax dollars that could be spent on senior citizens, veterans and other causes get diverted into a popular tax strategy for helping downtowns.
Clock is ticking on dark stores: A delay in changing tax math for big box stores could cost local governments millions of dollars, according to supporters of a bill to reform the ominously sounding dark store tax exemption.
Police recruiting not a problem in U.P. but retention a statewide issue: Recruiting Michigan police officers is not a problem in the Upper Peninsula, but statewide local departments are struggling to hang onto officers suffering from low wages and benefits.
Drones may fight invasive species with cameras: Michigan Tech researchers are tackling the problem of invasive aquatic plants that can grow so thick and tall that they can hide the world’s greatest lakes and impede boaters – and they’re using drones as part of their efforts.
Ancient mounds show how people lived before Columbus: Hidden beneath some unremarkable ground in southwest Michigan lie answers to the state’s ancient past. This and similar earthworks sites tell us how ancient hunters and gatherers interacted with their environment in a time before written language documented how they lived. Unlike the majority of mounds across Michigan, these survived development, agriculture and human curiosity.
Experts from Israel, Great Lakes compare big water: While Lake Michigan is fighting a potential carp invasion, managers in Israel are dumping them into the Sea of Galilee. That’s just one of the differences in managing two of the world’s largest lakes that emerged during a recent conference between lake managers from Israel and the Great Lakes region. The Sea of Galilee — or Lake Kinneret — and Lake Michigan differ greatly in size, but experts from both areas shared common experiences and found ways of learning from each other at the Michigan State University conference.