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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.

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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."

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"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.

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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.

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 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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