Detroit News. October 2, 2021.
Editorial: State lacked urgency in Benton Harbor main response
The state‘s recent announcement that it would create an expert panel to address high levels of lead in drinking water diverts from its inability to reduce the amount of heavy metals in a community’s water supply .
Six tests over the past three years show that Benton Harbor has amounts of lead in excess of the amounts allowed in its water. In a recent test, some water samples from that city contained 24 parts per billion of lead, almost double the federal response level of 15 parts per billion.
Three years is far too long for a city to have high levels of lead in its water supply, but the state agency’s emergency seemed to have subsided until environmental groups filed a claim. petition to the US Environmental Protection Agency criticizing Lansing’s response and calling for relief.
It was only after the petition that the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy began distributing bottled water to residents of Benton Harbor, the majority of whom are black or from the minority communities.
The appeal to the federal government was not the first time the agency had been made aware of the problem and called on to act, according to Nick Leonard, executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, one of the organizations listed on the petition.
“A number of petitioners met with people from EGLE in late 2019 to talk about things we thought were problematic with their response,” Leonard said. “And their response at the time was, things are under control, lead levels are dropping, we have this. And that just wasn’t the case.
The petition to the EPA appears to have prompted the agency to announce that it will invite experts to help it work on the issue of lead in water and aging infrastructure under cities such as Benton Harbor and Flint.
In addition to forming the panel, EGLE also announced the appointment of Kris Donaldson as public advocate for drinking water.
These are good moves, but they come very late. Michiganians should be able to expect more urgency from state officials responsible for keeping Michigan communities’ water free of contamination. He failed to do so for years.
Prior to the petition, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she would ask for $ 20 million to repair the pipelines in Benton Harbor, but the budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Whitmer only allocated $ 10 million for this work. .
Lansing is expected to allocate more federal relief funds to communities such as Benton Harbor, where water lines need to be replaced. It’s the kind of one-time investment that will pay good dividends for years to come.
Traverse City Record-Aigle. October 1, 2021.
Editorial: State budget a hopeful boost to recruiting workers
Federal and state budget time tends to be one of the familiar squabbles. A repeated tradition of absolute postures, late night additions and resigned beginnings of reconciliation. A new outrage – as if the showdown isn’t the same every year – is part of the ritual.
But this year’s budget jokes are a bit more costly due to the $ 150 billion in federal Cares Act funding funneled to state, tribal, and local governments.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey used a chunk to route traveling nurses to the state; she also wants to use $ 400 million to build and renovate prisons. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers wants to spend $ 80 million to update the state’s outdated unemployment system.
And while the controversy plays its dutiful role in this year’s contest by funding health services over mask warrants and abortion-related maneuvers, Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the GOP-led legislature have found common ground by doing something useful about our state’s staffing shortage.
They are still working to allocate a large chunk of federal coronavirus relief funding, but on Wednesday settled the last $ 55 billion in the state budget with carrots to hire workers in strained industries.
These include child care providers, direct care home workers, and emergency medical service providers.
This bipartisan move is a welcome effort to stem the flow of severe labor shortages in these crucial industries.
It will provide $ 1,000 bonuses to child care workers and increase the wages of “direct care” workers in nursing homes and other residential facilities.
These caregiving sectors fuel the rest of Michigan’s workforce. We’ve seen, and COVID-19 made it even clearer, that quality care for vulnerable children and adults is not negotiable when it comes to building a healthy Michigan.
Emergency medical service providers have also received a much needed boost with increased state Medicaid reimbursement that allows for additional federal funding. This, Michigan Ambulance Services Association president Jack Fisher told The Associated Press, “will increase the wages of paramedics and paramedics and recruit new people needed into the profession.”
The budget also builds future capacity through education with the continuation of tuition-free community college for older students and frontline workers.
So while we don’t expect the annual budget battles to ease anytime soon, are our politicians getting paid extra for it? – we value decisive action to take care of those who take care of us.
Le Journal des Mines (Marquette). October 2, 2021.
Editorial: Residents encouraged to influence redesign of Commissioners District
Marquette County will soon have new districts for county commissioners, as the Marquette County Allocation Commission draws proposed district maps based on data from the 2020 U.S. Census.
The new cards will be in place for 10 years and the public has the opportunity to comment on the proposed cards until Thursday, according to the Marquette County League of Voters.
In previous meetings, the committee has looked at maps with five to seven districts, but is now focusing on maps with five or six districts. The commission “hopes to hear from the public the preferred number of districts – and why – as well as preferred maps – and why,” said a press release from the Marquette County League of Voters.
Individual members of the Marquette County Allocation Commission will soon begin publishing maps of the proposed new county commissioner districts. To view the maps on offer, visit the county website at https://www.co.marquette.mi.us/newsdetail_T3_R424.php
The newly drawn districts will be used for the commissioner elections from 2022 to 2030 and are “intended to ensure that the residents of each county have equal representation on their county council,” according to Michigan State University.
State law, according to Michigan State University, sets out eight guidelines for allocation and lists them in order of importance. The guidelines under MCL 46.403 for drawing districts are:
– Single-member constituencies should be made up of “… the population closest to equality”.
– They must be contiguous, i.e. a district must be fully connected
– They should be compact and “… as nearly square as possible”.
– They cannot combine parts of a township and parts of a city unless “… necessary to meet the population standard”.
– They cannot divide townships, towns or villages unless “… necessary to meet the population standard. “
– Polling stations can only be divided if “… necessary to meet the population standard”.
– Residents of public institutions who cannot register to vote should not be included in the count.
– “Districts should not be pulled to gain partisan political advantage. “
The commission is chaired by Marquette County Clerk Linda Talsma, the other members of the commission being the county attorney, the county treasurer, the president of the Marquette County Democratic Party and the president of the Republican Party of the county of Marquette.
Comments on the proposed maps can be sent to Talsma at [email protected]
People can also attend what will likely be the last committee meeting on Friday in room 231 of the courthouse annex at 234 W. Baraga Ave. at Marquette or via Zoom.
We strongly encourage residents of Marquette County to review the proposed maps, attend the next meeting, and exercise their rights to influence the process. The way these districts are drawn will have lasting impacts on the representation of county residents on the Marquette County Council of Commissioners, which is responsible for making many decisions regarding county finances and politics based on the interests of the county. his constituents. In short, public participation in this process is important as it represents a once-in-a-decade chance to have the voices of residents heard when it comes to district to county level.
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