Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Starting next month, more than one million Michigan residents on the federal food assistance program will have more to spend on groceries. The boost is part of the federal economic stimulus package.

On April 1, eligible families will automatically receive a 13.6 percent increase in their food assistance benefits.

That works out to about $80 more each month for a family of four.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Artists and leaders of local arts groups gathered Wednesday to discuss how to lobby for greater state funding.

In her budget, Governor Jennifer Granholm proposed a cut of $7.5 million in mini-grants to arts organizations.

State representative Joan Bauer of Lansing told the group how to reach legislators on the appropriate sub-committees about restoring the mini-grants.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (MPRN) - Environmental groups are preparing to battle Governor Granholm's proposal to scrap Michigan's wetlands protection program and turn it over to the federal government. They will meet at the state Capitol today to make their case to lawmakers.

Michigan is one of just two states to issue its own permits for developing on or near a marsh or stream.

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (MPRN) - Law enforcement officials and judges are pushing Governor Granholm to continue funding mental health courts. The Governor has proposed cutting the funding from Michigan's 2010 budget.

The coalition says the court pilot programs offer irreplaceable treatment for mentally ill, nonviolent offenders, at a bargain to taxpayers who would otherwise pay for their incarceration.

Lansing, MI – LANSING (WKAR) - The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation is denying the request of seven auto insurance companies who've asked permission to enact rate increases.

The state says those companies are using discriminatory tactics. The disapproved insurers include such names as Progressive and Michigan Millers.

Insurance regulator Ken Ross says those companies use credit scoring to determine how high to set their premiums.

East Lansing, MI – A local state representative is forming a taskforce to look at the feasibility of building a Magnetic Levitation, or MagLev, train system between Lansing and Detroit.

Brighton Republican Bill Rogers says the high-speed transportation system would be the first of its kind in the United States. Rogers says the MagLev rail system would revolutionize transportation in the state.

Rogers says the system he envisions would be privately funded and operated.

Lansing, MI – LANSING (AP) - Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she is "getting close" to a deal with Michigan's public universities to provide some tuition relief for students and families headed into next school year.

Granholm wants universities to freeze tuition rates in exchange for some of the federal stimulus money headed Michigan's way.

But the Democratic governor has run into opposition because she proposed a 3% cut to university state aid for the budget year that begins in October.

Lansing, MI – LANSING (AP) - The Senate Fiscal Agency says state coffers are taking an even bigger hit than expected as tax revenues fall.

According to the agency's February report released Wednesday, tax collections for the month fell almost $100 million short of earlier estimates.

SFA senior economist Jay Wortley says the decline was "much worse than expected."

The national recession has worsened Michigan's economic woes, pushing unemployment up to 11.6% and causing residents to cut back on spending, which hurts state revenues.

Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - The cost of visiting a state park or recreation area could go down next year for Michigan residents. House and Senate leaders say the Legislature will adopt a plan soon to dump the $24 annual windshield sticker and the $6 daily entry fee.

Instead, park users would pay $10 for a license plate that gives them access to state parks, recreation areas, and boat launch sites.

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MSU Today

The Spartan Football team is headed to the December 28 Holiday Bowl in San Diego California to play Washington State.

“When I think about the Florida bowls that some people have been bugged about, it’s ‘been there-won that,’” says Scott Westerman, who leads the Michigan State University Alumni Association. “We’ve been to the Citrus Bowl. We’ve been to the Outback Bowl. We have not been to San Diego since the Carrier Classic. We’re calling it East Lansing West.”


Conservation Visions

For internationally renowned conservationist Shane Mahoney, “the beauty of conservation is that every individual can make a contribution.”

Mahoney, founder and president of Conservation Visions, was recently on the MSU campus to deliver the annual Boone & Crockett Lecture, hosted by the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.  I spoke with him a few hours ahead of his talk, “Conservation Matters: The Secrets of Leadership,” during which he drove home the importance of a personal commitment to a conservation ethos.


From NPR News

Discrimination in the form of sexual harassment has been in the headlines for weeks now, but new poll results being released by NPR show that other forms of discrimination against women are also pervasive in American society. The poll is a collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

For example, a majority (56 percent) of women believe that where they live, women are paid less than men for equal work. And roughly a third (31 percent) say they've been discriminated against when applying for jobs because they are women.

Andrea Sutton, a mom in Firestone, Colo., was trying to put her 3-year-old son Daniel down for a nap, but he wasn't having it. It was January, too cold for him to burn off much energy outside, and he was restless. She read him some books to settle him down and then left him to fall asleep.

She returned with her 4-year-old daughter a little while later to check on him. They found him hanging from the cord of the window blinds, wearing like a necklace the V-shaped strings above a wooden knob that lowers when the blinds go up.

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET:

Actor and former NFL player Terry Crews filed a lawsuit last week stemming from an encounter at a party in 2016 when he says a high-powered Hollywood agent groped him.

Crews tweeted about the assault in October, prompted by the women who came forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment and the backlash they faced.

MORE FROM NPR

Station News

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A new, fun, engaging way for kindergartens to learn math and for researchers to explore how students learn launched this week in the Lansing School District.

On Monday, Nov. 13, kindergartners at Lansing's Kendon Elementary School each received a PBS KIDS Playtime Pad loaded with educational games.

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