Month: October 2013

New Enhanced, Customer-Driven Campsite And Harbor Reservation System To Launch Friday

The Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) new and improved central reservation system (CRS), which manages state park and harbor reservations, opens this week. Reservations for camper cabins, mini-cabins, rustic cabins and yurts can be made online at www.midnrreservations.com starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 1. Customers will have access to limited features of the enhanced website prior to Nov. 1, including the ability to create their own customer profiles. Customers are encouraged to explore and become familiar with the flow of the new reservation screens before the launch date. Important transition dates include: Oct. 31: Reservations cannot be made online or through the call center during this transition period; however, state parks can register walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis. Nov. 1: The new CRS system (both the website and the call center) opens at 8 a.m. (Eastern) for a one-year reservation window on camper cabins, mini-cabins, rustic cabins and yurts only. Nov. 1-2: State park and select state forest campsites and harbor slips cannot be reserved but will be available at the facility on a first-come, first-served basis. Nov. 3: The system opens to facilities with a six-month reservation window. These include campsites at state parks, select state forest campgrounds and harbor slips. The CRS website URL – www.midnrreservations.com – and the call center phone number – 800-44-PARKS – will not change. Once the new CRS is...

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Tormented by PTSD – The Story You May Never Hear

PORTLAND, OR — Every veteran has a story. The tragedy is that most of those tormented by PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) cannot share theirs without re-traumatizing. Image and video hosting by TinyPic “That is why we are not hearing many stories from veterans, though they all have them,” says Welby O’Brien, author of LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD. “Those of us who love our vets are learning to honor and respect them as well as their story. To not exploit it. Nor to run from it. But to honor and respect them.” Even many who say they might tell their story, often cannot, explains Welby. However, these small “windows of tolerance” can lead to healing. She states, “It’s just hard to tell what effect sharing will have on the individual. It may stir up all the tormenting emotions and plunge them deeper into the dark pit, or it could be a positive step in the direction of emotional healing—so many factors are at play. Including how safe they feel at the moment.” Recently Welby’s husband Frank, a 100-percent disabled Vietnam Vet with PTSD, found a window of tolerance to share his story… the morning a blast took out half his platoon, including his best friend, in the exact spot he had stood just seconds before. “Chances of you seeing Frank tell his story...

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New Stretch of US-131 Opening Soon in Constantine

After more than nine months of construction, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is preparing to open the new stretch of US-131 in Constantine by Friday, Nov. 1. The new bridge over the St. Joseph River and nearly 5 miles of new highway between Garber Road and Dickinson Road are expected to be ready for traffic by the end of this week. The $18 million project began in February and is expected to improve the efficiency of the US-131 corridor, a key commercial north-south corridor through west Michigan into Indiana. In addition to the new roadway, six new intersections were constructed at Stears Road, Riverside Drive, North River Road, Millers Mill Road, Youngs Prairie Road, and Zerbe Road. The project created cul-de-sacs on Stears Road, west of the bypass, and Birch Street and Millers Mill Road, east of the bypass. After the new stretch of US-131 is opened, construction will be completed on the tie-ins between the new road and what will now be the US-131 Business Route (BR) through the village of Constantine. Crews also will be working on the US-131 BR intersection at Broad Street, improving drainage, traffic and pedestrian signals, sidewalks and crosswalks. The additional construction is expected to be completed by Nov. 15. There will be a detour for the US-131 BR/Broad Street work, but all lanes of the new section of US-131 will be...

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Federal Report Confirms Naturally Reproducing Grass Carp Found in Lake EriE

In the past three years the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received increased reports of grass carp being captured in Lake Erie by commercial fishermen. These fishermen have also reported seeing more of this species, as well as specimens of varying age and size indicating there may be a naturally reproducing population in the lake. This assumption has been confirmed by a recently released U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report. USGS has determined grass carp, a species of Asian carp, are naturally reproducing within the Lake Erie basin. Grass carp do not present the same ecological risk to Michigan’s waters as bighead carp or silver carp, although they are a species of concern because they feed on aquatic plants and can significantly alter habitat required by native fish. Grass carp have occasionally been found in Michigan waters since the late 1970s. Grass carp captured in Michigan’s waters of the Great Lakes were thought to be the result of fish movements from other states where stocking genetically altered (triploid) fish for aquatic vegetation control is allowed. Triploid fish are sterilized through a heat-treating process when their eggs are developing. Several Great Lakes states allow the stocking of triploid fish because they believe the fish have a low probability of reproduction, although the sterilization process may not be 100-percent effective. Given their potential for negatively affecting fish habitat, the state of...

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Snyder Signs Unemployment Insurance Reforms

LANSING, MI – Gov. Rick Snyder today signed a package of bills that reforms unemployment insurance in the state, which will help ensure financial assistance gets to those truly in need and improve the process to help reduce fraud.   “These are necessary updates to make sure Michigan is in line with federal requirements,” Snyder said. “They will also help strengthen the unemployment insurance system by reducing fraud.”   The main bills in the package prioritize the prevention and recovery of improperly paid unemployment benefits, bringing Michigan law in line with federal regulations. The measures provide the state with a greater ability to reclaim payments made as a result of fraudulent claims. Additionally, they authorize the state Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) to charge an employer for failing to provide required information, and change how recovered funds are credited.   House Bills 4950, 4951, 4953 and 4954 provide the specific updates to meet federal standards.   HB 4950, sponsored by state Rep. Frank Foster, requires employers who fail to provide timely and accurate information to the UIA that result in improper payments to be charged for those payments. It is now Public Act 142 of 2013.   HB 4951, also sponsored by Foster, revises the way money recovered from unemployment benefit fraud investigations is allocated. It requires 15 percent of the amount recovered in the form of fraud penalties to...

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