FRIDAY, Nov. 23 — A roundup of news from around the state, provided by our partners at Capital News Service. Follow the links for the full stories.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving blasts Michigan’s drunk-driving laws: Only Montana’s drunken driving laws are worse than Michigan’s, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The group wants everyone convicted of drunken driving to have an ignition interlock requiring a breath test to start their cars, sobriety check lanes and felony charges for all those arrested for driving drunk with kids in their car.
Michigan among states forced to deliver the most with the least: Michigan is among the states required to provide the most state-mandated services with the least state funds, according to a recent national report.
Michigan car crashes are up; blame the economy: A surge in Michigan car crashes and fatalities is linked to the improving economy, experts say. Between 2012 and 2015, Michigan crashes increased by about 23,000, according to Michigan State Police. The rise to nearly 300,000 crashes is in part because young, inexperienced drivers had the funds to hit the road more often and for longer trips.
Court upholds $10,000 fine, restoration order in wetlands case: With Michigan’s wetlands under threat, the Court of Appeals has upheld an order requiring property owners who converted wetlands to a horse pasture without a state permit to restore the site and pay a $10,000 fine. The court rejected arguments by a Livingston County couple that their conversion of a wetland into a horse pasture was a farming operation and that the penalty for their violation was too harsh. Farming, development, logging and recreation are the major factors in the loss of wetlands, with Ottawa and Lenawee among the counties that have lost the highest percent of their wetlands.
Worms can be too much of a good thing: Believe it or not, earthworms are an invasive species in the Great Lakes region, and they have the power to change entire ecosystems. A recent study finds that an abundance of earthworms decreases the small plant matter scattered on the forest floor and can significantly change the forest, and sugar maples are especially vulnerable.
St. Clair River still battling old pollution: The St. Clair River that connects Lake Huron with Lake St. Clair has a long history of challenges as diverse as E. coli bacteria that shut down beaches, industrial pollution by PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and mercury contamination so severe that residents are advised to limit their consumption of locally caught fish. It’s been designated an international Area of Concern by the U.S. and Canada. But progress in cleaning up the polluted legacy has been made.