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DNR Encourages Residents To Review Army Corps Plan To Prevent Invasive Carp From Entering Great Lakes

Comments accepted by mail, online or at public hearing Thursday in Muskegon

 The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is encouraging state residents to review the recently released Army Corps of Engineers plan for stopping invasive carp (also known as Asian carp) from entering the Great Lakes basin. Residents who want to share their thoughts on the plan can do so online at the report site, attend a Thursday public hearing at Muskegon Community College or mail their comments by Oct. 2.

“Preventing invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes, its tributaries and inland lakes is one of Michigan’s most critical priorities,” said Tammy Newcomb, the DNR’s senior water policy advisor.

“The release of this plan is a vital step forward in protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species that threaten fisheries, recreation and tourism,” Newcomb said. “We’re asking Michigan citizens – including recreation enthusiasts, anglers and anyone who values this irreplaceable natural resource – to give the report thoughtful review and share your opinions about the plan.”

The Corps last month released its plan that identifies an array of potential strategies to block Asian carp at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River in Joliet, Illinois. The Tentatively Selected Plan would cost an estimated $275 million and include such activities as the installation of underwater sound equipment, electric barriers and other measures.

The invasive bighead and silver carp pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem, the region’s $7 billion fishery, the basin’s $16 billion boating industry and other economic interests dependent on the Great Lakes and its tributaries. Silver and bighead carp are likely to compete with native and recreational fish species and are known to quickly reproduce.  Silver carp also are known for their jumping abilities and potential to cause serious harm to boaters.

Newcomb said that because the adult population of bighead and silver carp is immediately below Brandon Road, the Brandon Road Lock and Dam marks a critical pinch-point where the migration of invasive carp must be stopped.

“We want every Michigan resident to understand the real and substantial threat invasive carp pose to the economy and the ecology of the Great Lakes, and to understand the magnitude of that threat,” Newcomb said. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan lays out a series of technological solutions that can and should be taken to stop the relentless advance of this aquatic invader.”

As part of a public comment period on the plan, the Corps has scheduled:

  • A public hearing in Michigan Thursday, Sept. 14, 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Muskegon Community College Collegiate Hall in Muskegon. The meeting will feature an open house gathering, a presentation on the study and a public comment period.
  • Two public meetings in Illinois. The first took place Monday in Chicago; the second one is set for Monday, Sept. 18, in Joliet.

The report can be viewed and comments made at http://glmris.anl.gov/brandon-rd. Comments also can be mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District, ATTN: GLMRIS-Brandon Road Comments, 231 LaSalle St., Suite 1500, Chicago, IL 60604. Comments must be postmarked by Oct. 2.

For more information about the threat invasive carp pose to Michigan and the Great Lakes basin, visit the DNR website www.michigan.gov/invasivecarp.

This National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Learn the Four Symptoms to Watch For

LANSING, Mich. – In Michigan in 2017, it is estimated there will be 790 cases diagnosed, and 500 women will die from ovarian cancer. September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and while ovarian cancer does not have a screening test and can be difficult to detect early, there are four symptoms that women should be on the lookout for.

Studies have shown that ovarian cancer is not silent, but the warning signs are subtle.  90 percent of women with ovarian cancer do report symptoms, even at the early stages.  Four symptoms in particular have been found to occur most often.

If any of these symptoms are new and unusual and occur at least 12 times in one month, see a doctor, preferably a gynecologist:  significant bloating, pelvic and abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms such as feelings of frequency or urgency. Behaviors which may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer include: use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills), the surgical removal of fallopian tubes and/or ovaries, and breastfeeding.

Additionally, several factors may increase the risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Personal or family history of ovarian, breast, uterine, or colorectal cancer.
    • About 20-25 percent of ovarian cancer is hereditary. Any female who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer should be referred to a genetic counselor.
  • Increased number of menstrual cycles in a lifetime (never had children, late menopause, etc.)
  • Infertility, regardless of whether or not fertility drugs were used.
  • Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy.
  • Increasing age, although ovarian cancer affects all ages and all ethnic groups.
  • Obesity, like many health conditions, can contribute to one’s risk of ovarian cancer.

Because there is no screening test, only 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers are diagnosed early when treatment is most effective. Knowing your body and what symptoms to watch for is vital to detecting ovarian cancer as early as possible.

Michigan Education Trust plans comprehensive study on how Michigan residents save for college

Statewide, statistically valid survey will help the state’s 529 prepaid tuition plan ensure it is meeting families’ college savings needs

LANSING – With hundreds of thousands of Michigan college students now back in school, the Michigan Education Trust (MET) is preparing to embark on its own quest for knowledge by surveying state residents about saving for college.

MET’s statewide, statistically valid research effort is meant to help the state’s 529 prepaid tuition program identify Michigan families’ needs and possible roadblocks to college savings.

“We’re aiming to gather up-to-date insights and a deeper understanding into how families save for college, what they look for in a college savings vehicle and whatever obstacles they might face in building a college savings account,” said Robin Lott, executive director of MET, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The online survey will take place in late September as part of MET’s observance of Michigan’s College Savings Month. It also coincides with the Sept. 30 end to the 2016-17 MET enrollment period before the program reopens for contract purchases in December.

Among the topics the survey will address: the amount of college costs covered by parents or other caregivers; how soon they begin setting money aside for a child’s higher education; the types of savings methods used; reasons, if any, for not saving for college; and familiarity with 529 college savings plans – such as MET and the Michigan Education Savings Program – which are named after the section of the Internal Revenue Code that allowed for their creation and tax benefits.

“Anecdotally, parents and caregivers have told us over the years that they view saving for their child’s college education as their biggest financial obligation,” Lott said. “But we’ve also heard that they don’t believe they can afford to save or that they are unsure how to go about it. We’re hopeful that the survey will uncover additional information that will help us help families meet their college savings goals.”

MET is the state’s Section 529 prepaid tuition plan, which allows for the purchase of future college tuition credits based on today’s rates. Debuting in 1988 as the nation’s first prepaid tuition program, MET is preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

MET, MESP and MI 529 Advisor Plan (MAP), Michigan’s three Section 529 college savings programs, offer Michigan taxpayers a state income tax deduction on contributions and potential tax-free growth on earnings if account proceeds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

More information about MET is available at SETwithMET.com or 800-MET-4-KID (800-638-4543).

Food Bank Council of Michigan Publishes Standard for U.P. Families to Achieve Self-Sufficiency

MARQUETTE, Mich. – How much does a family of four need to earn in the Upper Peninsula to meet their basic needs? The 2017 Self-Sufficiency Standard commissioned by the Food Bank Council of Michigan has the answer.

The Standard provides measures to determine the amount of income a working family must earn to meet basic needs, including housing, child care, food, health care, transportation, miscellaneous expenses and taxes. The initiative sets standards for individuals and families in each of Michigan’s 83 countries. It ensures accurate data is available to enable Michigan residents to make progress toward economic security and financial independence.

The majority of the Upper Peninsula falls in the second highest wage group requiring $17-17.99 per hour working full time to meet basic needs. However, the eastern tip of the UP is in the lowest wage bracket at $14-15.99 per hour, making the region one of the most affordable counties in Michigan.

“It’s important for UP residents to understand that this data affects their life. The Standard is used by many, including grant-makers, legal advocates, foundations, and others, to work toward improving economic security in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” said Ken Estelle, president and chief executive officer, Feeding America West Michigan.

The Standard influences policies and programs for low-income workers. It evaluates proposed policy changes, targets resources, assists grant makers, and helps policymakers and legislators create programs for community members to reach self-sufficiency.

Results vary based on family type. For families with young children, the cost of housing and child care make up nearly half of a family’s budget. The Standard also varies based on geographic location.

“We now have a reliable tool to help individuals and families achieve economic security,” said Dr. Phil Knight, executive director, Food Bank Council of Michigan. “It is now incumbent upon all of us to put policy and practices in place across Michigan.”

The Michigan Standard requires both reducing costs and raising incomes. Reducing costs ensures struggling families have access to work supports, such as child care assistance, food benefits and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Work supports can drastically affect the speed at which a family or individual becomes self-sufficient even at the minimum wage.

Raising incomes means enhancing skills as well as increasing jobs with self-sufficient wages and career potential. The greatest key in raising incomes is adjustments in public policies, such as paid sick and family/medical leave.

The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Michigan shows that although incomes may fall above the federal measure of poverty, they are significantly lower than what is necessary to meet families’ and individuals’ basic needs.

For more information about the Self-Sufficiency Standard, visit www.fbcmich.org.

Media Invited to View NASA Spacecraft That Will Touch Our Sun

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will be humanity’s first-ever mission to explore the Sun’s outer atmosphere. Media are invited to see the spacecraft and learn about the mission from noon to 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 25, at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, where the probe is being built.

Read more here:: Media Invited to View NASA Spacecraft That Will Touch Our Sun

Public input will help Michigan Public Service Commission shape Integrated Resource Plan parameters

LANSING, Mich. – Join Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) staff members as they tour the state in September to receive public comments on developing an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) structure that electric utilities will follow in their filings with the state. Each of the MPSC Commissioners will join staff at one of three public hearings in Livonia, Grand Rapids and Marquette.

Utilities will use IRPs as they look ahead at how to meet the electric needs in their service areas. The plans will include assessments of energy waste reduction, supply adequacy, demand response, impact of state or federal environmental laws on utilities, and other issues. The IRPs (Case. No. U-18418) are required under the state’s new energy laws, which went into effect in April and are expected to result in more affordable and reliable service for utility customers throughout Michigan.

A draft plan, related information and documents are available here.

WHO: Michigan Public Service Commission, Michigan Agency for Energy and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

U.P. HEARING DATE AND LOCATION:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 19, 12-4 p.m., Northern Michigan University, University Center-Huron/Erie Room, 1401 Presque Isle, Marquette, 49855. MPSC Commissioner Norm Saari will attend.

 

Michigan Education Trust Officials to Answer Questions & Give Away Prizes at Tuesday ‘MET-athon’ September 19, 2017

Daylong Celebration will also Feature a Webinar and Facebook Live Sessions

LANSING, Mich. – In honor of Michigan College Savings Month, the Michigan Education Trust (MET) will stage a “MET-athon” from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, to answer families’ college savings questions and help them purchase MET 529 prepaid tuition contracts before the 2017 enrollment session closes Sept. 30.

The event will also feature a noon webinar, during which parents and other caregivers can pose questions to experts from MET and the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP), two of the state’s three 529 college savings programs. Webinar registration is available at MET4College.com.

In addition, those who call 800-MET-4-KID (800-638-4543) with questions throughout the day will be entered to win $50 Meijer gift cards. MET officials will announce winners during Facebook Live check-ins that will take place at 8 a.m., 11:55 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. at www.facebook.com/mieducationtrust.

And for the rest of September, MET is waiving its $25 enrollment processing fee for new contract purchases. After the current enrollment period ends, MET usually reopens for contract purchases in December.

“The MET-athon is a fun way to get last-minute information to families and others who have questions about Michigan’s 529 plans or college savings in general,” said Robin Lott, MET’s executive director.

MET is the state’s Section 529 prepaid tuition plan, which allows for the purchase of future college tuition credits based on today’s rates. Debuting in 1988 as the nation’s first prepaid tuition program, MET is preparing to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

MET, MESP and MI 529 Advisor Plan (MAP), Michigan’s three Section 529 college savings programs, offer Michigan taxpayers a state income tax deduction on contributions and potential tax-free growth on earnings if account proceeds are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

More information about MET is available at SETwithMET.com or 800-638-4543.

MI Student Aid Providing Free College Financial Aid Counseling across the Upper Peninsula

Treasury Program Go-To Resource for Learning How to Pay for College

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan families and students looking for help paying for college should save the date for one of MI Student Aid’s new financial aid traveling one-stop shops visiting this Upper Peninsula this month, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury).

Under the banner “MI College, MI Future, MI Doorstep,” Treasury’s MI Student Aid Outreach Team is visiting communities across the Upper Peninsula to educate and inform students and their families about options for paying for college. At each location, team members will provide assistance with scholarship searches, college financing strategies and state program eligibility look-ups, as well as staff a resource table with financial aid materials.

These programs are FREE and open to the public.

“Trying to figure out how to pay for college can be overwhelming,” said Anne Wohlfert, director of Treasury’s Student Financial Services Bureau. “Many college-bound students and their families don’t know where to begin. As the state’s go-to resource for college financial aid information, we will have staff available at these events to answer questions and provide guidance about paying for college.”

From Sept. 17-21, MI Student Aid Outreach Teams will be at:

Bay College Delta County College Fair
John and Melissa Besse Center
2001 N. Lincoln Road
Escanaba, MI 49829
Sept. 17, 2017
6-7:30 p.m. EST

Menominee High School College Fair
2101 18th St.
Menominee, MI 49858
Sept. 18, 2017
9-10:30 a.m. CST

Bay College West College Fair
2801 North U.S. 2
Iron Mountain, MI 49801
(When using GPS, please use 2750 North Stephenson Ave, Iron Mountain, MI 49801)
Sept. 18, 2017
6-7:30 p.m. CST

Gogebic Community College’s College Fair
Lindquist Student and Conference Center Gym
E4946 Jackson Road
Ironwood, MI 4998
Sept. 19, 2017
Noon to 1:30 p.m. CST

Michigan Technological University College Fair
Student Development Center, Wood Gym
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
Sept. 20, 2017
9-11 a.m. EST

Newberry High School College Fair
American Legion, Luce
700 Newberry Ave.
Newberry, MI 49868
Sept. 21, 2017
Noon to 1:30 p.m. EST

Lake Superior State University College Fair
Walker Cisler Center, Superior Room
650 W. Easterday Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Sept. 21, 2017
6-7:30 p.m. EST

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid or connect with MI Student Aid @mistudentaid on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Administered by Treasury, MI Student Aid is Michigan’s go-to resource for finding the financial resources needed to pay for college. For more information, contact MI Student Aid at mistudentaid@michigan.gov, 1-888-4-GRANTS or @mistudentaid on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Equifax Breach Consumer Alert

Equifax Breach – Attorney General Bill Schuette wants Michigan consumers to know how to protect themselves from becoming victims of identity theft after the Equifax breach.

With more than 4.3 million Michigan residents’ personal information at risk, it is important to know what steps you can take.

This Alert informs Michigan residents of identity theft prevention steps they can take and explains security freezes, fraud alerts, and credit monitoring.

Equifax Breach Consumer Alert

BILL SCHUETTE
ATTORNEY GENERAL
STATE OF MICHIGAN

It has been pointed out by several readers that the press release, which directly seem to reflect many of Equifax’s own public statements, doesn’t not include cautions about consumer complaints that Equifax may charge additional fees after the “free period,”  nor does the press release include cautions about concerns by consumers that auto-renew for a fee by Equifax appears to happen unless a consumer explicitly figures out how to not auto-renew.

Read additional press release on this topic:

Schuette, Other State AGs Open Investigation, Issue Scathing Letter, New Consumer Alert Following Equifax Security Breach

NASA Awards Contract for Ground Processing of Spaceflight Cargo

NASA has awarded a contract to Leidos Innovations Corporation in Houston to provide pressurized cargo packing and unpacking for the International Space Station Program.

Read more here:: NASA Awards Contract for Ground Processing of Spaceflight Cargo

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