Three Counties Create Land Banks To Fight Blight

Three additional counties in Michigan now have county land banks to combat blight.

The State Land Bank Authority says Dickinson, Eaton, and Huron counties have created the authorities to help get unproductive properties back on the local tax roll. State Land Bank interim director Jeff Huntington called the additions a positive step toward revamping vacant land in the Upper Peninsula, mid-Michigan, and the Thumb.

Senate Republicans Will Negotiate With Governor

It appears there will not be a plan put forth by majority Republicans in the state Senate on coming up with money to fix Michigan’s roads.

Instead, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says they will work with Governor Whitmer and the House Republicans on a solution to put two-and-a-half-billion dollars a year into roads. He said this week he believes the Democratic governor is evaluating several alternatives from the GOP to her proposed 45-cent per gallon fuel tax hike, and is optimistic an announcement might be just weeks away.

Nearly One-Third Of Wine Shipments Into Michigan Illegal

New data from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association finds nearly a third of all the wine shipped to consumers from out-of-state suppliers came in illegally in the first quarter of the year.

Association president Spencer Nevins says that’s about 130-thousand bottles, and it’s hurting the state’s wine industry, and is also a public health concern. He says the Michigan Liquor Control Commission is working to crack down, but adds it’s like playing whack-a-mole, as the out-of-state companies will briefly shut down, and then start back up with a new name.

Michigan Sues Over Federal “Public Charge” Rule

Michigan is one of 13 states suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over the expansion of what’s called the “public charge” rule.

State Attorney General Dana Nessel joined the lawsuit led by the attorneys general of Washington and Virginia, with the suit saying Homeland Security broke federal immigration law along with violating the Welfare Reform Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. At issue is the change announced by President Trump this week that migrants seeking to legally enter the U.S. will not be allowed in if they’re likely to receive any local, state or federal public benefits.

No More Tokens For Tolls

Starting September 10th, the Mackinac Bridge Authority will no longer accept bridge tokens to pay the toll to cross between the Upper and Lower Peninsula.

The tokens have been issued and used for years, but the new policy w as adopted in July by the MBA. The authority said yesterday it will take effect a week after Labor Day. The commemorative tokens will still be sold, even if they will no longer be legal tender for the toll.

Long Hard Road for Michigan Farmers

The extremely wet spring that wiped out chances for much of Michigan’s corn and soybean crops will have long-lasting impacts.

That’s the consensus of agriculture leaders testifying before a joint hearing of the state House and Senate Agriculture committees at Michigan State University yesterday. New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows 19-point-four-million acres of farmland had no crops this year nationwide, with over 73-percent being in Michigan and eleven other states in the Midwest. The Michigan director of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency says it’s the highest amount of unplanted acres since they started keeping those records in 2007.

Car Crashes Into VFW

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4581 in Norway has significant damage after a SUV drove through the building Sunday evening.

According to Norway Police, the 22-year-old driver was arrested on operating under the influence of drugs. A 23-year-old female passenger was transported to the Dickinson County Healthcare System for unknown injuries. No one was inside the post at the time. One side of the VFW is demolished.

Fuel Prices on The Rise

Michigan’s average gas price is down eleven-cents a gallon from a week ago to two-dollars-64-cents according to Triple-A.

The decline means an average 15-gallon fill-up costs 40-dollars, down seven-bucks from when prices peaked in May. GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan put out an alert Sunday evening that Michigan’s prices would be jumping to between two-69 and two-79 a gallon this week. In Ironwood fuel is already averaging 2.79 a gallon.

Line 5: More Supports Missing

Enbridge Energy says the portion of its Line 5 oil and natural gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac that does not have supports has grown.

The unsupported span is now 81-feet long according to the Canadian firm, six-feet longer than what is allowed under an easement agreement with the state. The MichiganDepartment of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy was notified by Enbridge yesterday, and the company notes it applied for the approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put in more screw anchors and supports in March 2018. That permission has not been granted.

Lock In Winter Propane Prices Now

Michiganders who rely on propane to heat their homes in the winter are being encouraged to start shopping around now for the best prices.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says if prices can be locked in months ahead time, people can save significant amounts of money as opposed to waiting until demand spikes when cold weather arrives. An estimated 320-thousand homes in the state use propane as their primary heating source, and Michigan leads the nation in total residential propane consumption.