Friday, Sept. 13 — Each week, City Pulse will run a series of stories produced by Capital News Service correspondents at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism. While reports cover the entire state, some will be focused on the greater Lansing region.

This week’s edition features a pair of stories relevant to the Lansing region:

A bipartisan cohort of lawmakers wants to once again give public schools the option of starting before Labor Day, modifying a 7-year-old ban imposed at the behest of the tourism industry. We hear from the lead sponsor from Lansing, the chair of the House Tourism Committee from Presque Isle and the MEA. Cosponsors include legislators from East Lansing, Troy, Marquette, Dearborn Heights, Grand Rapids, Saline and Redford Township. By Sheila Schimpf.

Acting at industry urging, a Lowell senator wants commercial trampoline parks to warn patrons of the risks of the sport and to force users to be more cautious. We hear from the Lansing Area Safety Council and Sky Zone, which operates in Kentwood and Canton with plans for facilities in Shelby Township, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Novi. Another commercial operator is in Troy. By Matthew Hall.

And elsewhere in the state:

Amtrak passenger counts are up and some Michigan trains are accommodating bicycles and Wi-Fi users. Ford hired 1,400 workers to build Fusions at its Flat Rock plant. Yet a new book by a Kalamazoo author shows the glory days of railroading – new lines in U.P., Thumb and Western Michigan, for example, and passenger service to take Midwestern city dwellers to resorts in Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Alpena, Mackinaw City and Traverse City – are long past. And the auto industry’s World War II boom in Michigan where it made essential contributions to the war has gone dramatically bust as well, a Wayne State author explains in his new book. By Eric Freedman.

Richard Hitchcock of Allegan went missing in 1990, like as many as 8,000 or so Michigan residents each year, and the painful mystery of his fate remains unsolved for his family. The State Police Missing in Michigan program, which recently met in Bath, helps families in such situations. We interview Hitchcock’s cousin, from Kalamazoo, and detectives from the State Police and Allegan County Sheriff’s Department. By Lacee Shepard.

High-speed Internet is creating educational opportunities at northern Michigan schools. We hear from officials at the Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle ISD and Eastern U.P. and from an Ann Arbor nonprofit firm that got a $103 million federal grant to install 2,300 miles of fiber-optic cable in the UP and northern Lower Peninsula. By Stephen Ingber.

Michigan rural counties are losing $229,491 in federal timber payments because of the budget sequester – money that would be used for such purposes as rural schools and roads, wildfire prevention and environmental projects. Affected are counties such as Alger with land in the U.P.’s Ottawa and Hiawatha national forests and Huron-Manistee National Forest in the northern Lower Peninsula. By Eric Freedman.

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