Oct. 25 2013 12:00 AM

SNAP cards at farmers markets; a rejected contamination suit on the Pine River; tighter regs on mobile dental clinics; mechanical harvesting; and more

Allen Street Farmers Market in Lansing.

Friday, Oct. 25 — Each week, City Pulse will run a series of stories produced by Capital News Service correspondents at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism. This week’s topics cover SNAP card use at farmers markets, a contamination suit rejected by the state Court of Appeals, tighter regulations proposed for mobile dental clinics and more.

  • A record number of farmers markets are accepting SNAP cards this year, the Michigan Farm Market Association reports, including ones in Holland, Cadillac, Lansing and Marquette, but the one in Park Township is among those that say it’s too much bother. By Becky McKendry.
  • The Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate a contamination suit by homeowners against contracting and trucking companies involved in the cleanup of toxic sediment from the Pine River next to the defunct Vesicol Chemical in Gratiot County. The river flows through Mecosta, Isabella, Montcalm, Gratiot and Midland counties. The court ruled that the plaintiffs waited too long to sue the contractors and that the truckers are protected by the no-fault vehicle insurance law. Homeowners plan to go to the state Supreme Court. The EPA and state are paying about $350 million to clean the Superfund site. By Eric Freedman.
  • A proposal would more tightly regulate mobile dental clinics, a move that backers say would help ensure the quality of such services for disadvantaged children. Critics say it would raise the cost and paperwork of care. Sponsors include lawmakers from Rockford, Taylor, Petoskey and Byron Center. We also talk to dental service providers in Oakland County. By Matthew Hall.
  • A shortage of workers for farmers and orchards has spurred growing interest in Michigan for mechanical harvesting of such crops as blueberries and asparagus. We talk to the Farm Bureau and a South Haven farm machinery company. By Lacee Shepard.
  • Grand Valley State University has signed a reverse transfer agreement with Kalamazoo Valley Community College, its 25th with two-year institutions across the state including Alpena, West Shore community colleges and Northwestern Michigan College. Such agreements let some students who transfer from community colleges to four-year universities to “transfer back” enough credits to earn an associate degree. We talk to presidents of Alpena and Kirtland community colleges. By Stephen Ingber.
  • A proposed state constitutional amendment would require community colleges to charge in-district tuition to military veterans and active-duty members of the military, regardless of where they live. The Michigan Community College Association says the change would cut badly needed revenue to colleges without benefiting veterans because the federal government pays their tuition. We hear from the Alpena and Kirtland Community College presidents and Michigan Community College Association. Sponsors include lawmakers from Dearborn Heights, Calumet, Detroit, Six Lakes and Taylor. By Stephen Ingber.
  • A new proposal would let local governments regulate but not ban carrier pigeons within their borders. Sponsors are from Dearborn, Evart and Battle Creek. We speak to the Michigan Municipal League. By Lacee Shepard.

All articles ©2013, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Nonmembers cannot reproduce CNS articles without written permission.