Stabenow works to amend tax laws


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced legislation yesterday amending our tax laws.  The bill makes it clear that both companies using contract manufacturers and the contract manufacturers themselves are eligible to claim tax deductions that reward domestic manufacturing activities in the United States. Senator Stabenow’s legislation would clarify tax law section 199. It provides companies with a 9% deduction on their income from domestic manufacturing activities, making U.S. manufacturing a more attractive investment. Under current tax law, it is unclear whether a company using a contract manufacturer or the contract manufacturer itself is eligible to claim the deduction.  

Chief Barnett presents Annual Report to City Council

The Ludington City Council met last night. The Jaycees Freedom Festival was approved. Brent Bosley was approved as assessor for the City of Ludington and the City renewed the Stearns Park Concession agreement with Stacy Sutton for 5 more years.


Chief Barnett presented the City Council with the Ludington Police Department annual report. Total activity decreased from 2015 to 2016 by 2,394. Traffic citations saw a slight increase, while complaints investigated, arrests and parking violations all decreased. There was also a decrease in person and property crimes. Chief Barnett noted a significant decrease in drunk driving arrests and cited, among other reasons, a shift in social norms as the reason for the decrease.  Chief Barnett also noted a vacancy in the department that has not been filled. He discussed the challenge of attracting officers to the Ludington area as new recruits are enticed by larger cities, such as Grand Rapids, as they work to replace their retiring police force.


Last nights meeting was the first discussion of ordinance changes in the 4th ward. The changes are the result of a review of the zoning ordinance to ensure the master plan is being followed. Michael Krauch, Council member for the 4th ward said, “I think it's just going to modernize the uses we can have, particularly in the Washington Street corridor down by Copeyon Park. We’ve got multiple commercial buildings that because of the way the permitted uses in that particular zoning district were laid out you had to get some really niche businesses that could go in there. [This will] allow those building owners and business owners to be more general in their application.”


The meeting concluded with the confirmation of Nick Krieger to the Mason County District Library Board and to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Community goes wild for Reach Out and Read

The 2nd annual Foraged Feast put on by the Spectrum Health foundation occurred on Saturday. More than 100 were in attendance at the benefit for the Reach Out and Read pediatric Literacy Program.

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Attendees enjoyed a meal made from wild game as auctions went on through the night.

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The idea for the feast and co-hosts of the night was Dr. Reum and Dr. Autrey.

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Kaley Peterson, Director for the Community Foundation spoke about the impact the dinner and auction will have on the program. “This is really funding operations for the program. We’re using all the money raised tonight to purchase the books. So this doesn’t go to overhead for salaries or staffing, this goes for the materials; the books that we give the kids.” The Reach out and Read pediatric Literacy program prescribes reading to families and provides them with a book at their appointment.

President Trump's budget makes waves on the Great Lakes

As a part of President Trumps budget cuts, the Great Lakes Restoration Initive has been elimnated, cutting an estimated 3200 jobs from the EPA. Representative Bill Huizenga responded to the budget by saying, "While there are serious and necessary reforms that I support in President Trump's budget proposal, there are also areas where I have significant disagreements with the President. For example, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a critical program that works to preserve the Great Lakes for future generations."


"The health and vitality of the Great Lakes is instrumental to having a productive Great Lakes economy that creates good-paying jobs and sustained economic growth." Continued Huizenga, "Ultimately, it is Congress that has the constitutional authority to determine which programs are funded. In an era where federal spending must be prioritized, I believe the GLRI, which has a history of proven results and strong bipartisan support, should continue to be a national priority. As co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, I am planning to have active conversations with both the Administration as well as my colleagues on Capitol Hill about the importance of the GLRI as Congress continues the appropriations process."

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Senator Stabenow also responded saying, “The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has always received bipartisan support and continues to be absolutely critical to protecting our Great Lakes, including fishing, boating, hunting, and fighting invasive species.  Our Great Lakes economy creates 1.5 million jobs and are part of our Michigan way of life.”

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Based on the President's recommendations, the House and senate budget committees will set targets for spending and tax revenue and then the budget will be sent to the floor for a vote.

Representative Vanderwall's bill passes

Rep. Curt VanderWall’s FOIA Bill, requiring more transparency in government passed 108 to 0 yesterday. The Bill opens the Michigan Legislature and the executive office to the new Legislative Open Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act.


 Representative Vanderwall spoke about the purpose of the bill, saying, “We were elected to work for them and this is just an opportunity for them to double check to make sure that we’re doing exactly what we’re saying we’re doing.” Public response to the bill has been positive according to Representative Vanderwall, “Folk are saying, we’re proud that you’re bringing some legislation together to allow us to actually see what’s actually happening with our legislators in lansing and I feel it’s their right as citizens and constituents of the State of Michigan to be able to know what we’re doing.’ The bill passed as a part of a multi-bill package.

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