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Legislation calling for a cap on the amount of land owned by the Department of Natural Resources has passed the Legislature and has been sent to the governor. Senate Bill 248, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson of Escanaba would cap the amount of land that the department can own to roughly 4.6 million acres of land, which is what it currently owns or is in the process of purchasing, plus a small cushion to provide time for them to transition to this new policy. Under the bill, the DNR could continue to acquire land for recreation purposes, such as for connecting trails or accessing other land. Property that is gifted to them would be exempt from the cap. Casperson says the measure is a step toward ensuring state resources are more effectively used for tourism and recreation purposes. The bill also requires the DNR to develop a plan for acquisition and sale of land with emphasis in the plan to be placed on lands to be available for multi-use recreation, including motorized and non-motorized uses and public access.
Legislation sponsored by an Upper Michigan lawmaker allowing police and health officials to temporarily categorize synthetic drugs as illegal and remove them from store shelves has been signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. The measure, sponsored by Republican 108-th District State Rep. Ed McBroom, allows local officials and the Michigan Department of Community Health to work with the Board of Pharmacy to quickly identify and eliminate illegal mind-altering products no matter what name or form they take by temporarily categorizing substances that pose imminent danger as a controlled substance, thereby making the product subject to existing state drug enforcement laws. McBroom developed the measure along with Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, after hearing from constituents and local school and law enforcement officials expressing safety concerns over the synthetic drugs. This is the freshman lawmaker’s fourth bill the governor has signed into law.
The DNR says all landowners within the communities affected by the recent Duck Lake Fire in Luce County are invited to attend a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, at the McMillan Township Hall in Newberry. The meeting will focus on assistance programs available to landowners for remediation of their properties following the Duck Lake Fire. Landowners who are seeking financial assistance or advice are encouraged to attend the meeting and learn if they qualify for federal assistance through the Forest Stewardship Program or the Emergency Forest Restoration Program from many local government agencies and stakeholders.
The 2012 U.P. Book Tour kicked off last night in Marquette with a special dinner with 2006 U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall. Hall is visiting the area over the next few days to take part in readings and seminars that are open to the public at NMU. The U.P. Book Tour features 40 Upper Michigan-connected writers visiting 20 towns in 15 days. The tour partners with libraries, book stores, colleges, and community organizations to bring the award winning authors to smaller U.P. communities. There is no admission charge to attend the program and listings of Book Tour events and authors can be found online at upbooktour.org.
The City of Marquette’s Arts & Culture Center says the Marquette Matters Mural Project finalists have been selected and the community can now vote for their favorite design. The public vote will decide which artist receives the project commission, which is a public art project introducing youth to mural painting, community involvement and team-building. Top design submissions are on display for those interested in voting at the Peter White Public Library’s Youth Services Department until June 25-th. Once decided by the community, the winning design will be realized by the artist and area youth during painting sessions in mid-July at the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center. The completed project will be installed at the Marquette Commons for the Farmers Market season.