NEWS FROM AROUND THE STATE
Issue 99, SEPTEMBER 2003

Table of Contents

  1. Mackinac State Historic Parks Publication Reveals Soldier's Life at Fort Mackinac
  2. Michigan Land Use Leadership Council
  3. Granholm Axes Popular Internet School Reports
  4. Adoption Work Group Criticizes State's Foster Care Program
  5. State of the Great Lakes: 2002 Annual Report
  6. Due to Budget Cuts, Detroit Public Library Refocusing


(1) Mackinac State Historic Parks Publishes New Book Revealing Soldier Life at Fort Mackinac

Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP) has published a new book about the soldiers stationed at Fort Mackinac in the last half of the 19th century.

A Desirable Station, Soldier Life at Fort Mackinac, 1867-1895 is the story of more than 1,000 soldiers from around the world who lived and loved, worked and played, won honors and served jail time, ate, slept and died at Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island. The book explores the final chapter of one of America’s great forts, which was built during the Revolution, attacked during the War of 1812, strengthened to protect John Jacob Astor’s fur business and given new life with the creation of Mackinac National Park in 1875.

The book retails for $14.95 hardbound and $9.95 soft cover. It is available in bookstores and at all MSHP museum stores. The book can be ordered by calling (231) 436-4100 or by printing an order form at http://www.mackinacparks.com.

The author, Phil Porter, has a life-long connection with Mackinac Island. Porter is currently acting director and chief curator for Mackinac State Historic Parks. He spent summers on the island in his youth and began his career as a soldier guide at the fort. He is the author of seven books published by Mackinac State Historic Parks.

"Mackinac Island and Fort Mackinac are important pieces of our nation's culture," noted Porter. "The fort and island evolved from places of great military and economic importance into world-famous travel destinations. During the time period covered in this book, our nation's second national park was created on Mackinac Island. It was an exciting time for the soldiers stationed at Fort Mackinac, with light fatigue duties and many diversions offered by the growing resort community."

The book is illustrated with 70 images from the Mackinac Island State Park Commission collection, including a map from 1890.

MSHP has a long tradition of writing for publication, with over 60 titles on its reading list. Publishing is one avenue MSHP takes to fulfill its mission of presenting the historic and natural resources of Mackinac to the public.

Mackinac State Historic Parks is a family of living history museums and parks in Northern Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac region including Fort Mackinac and Mackinac Island State Park on Mackinac Island, as well as Colonial Michilimackinac and Historic Mill Creek in Mackinaw City. The sites are accredited by the American Association of Museums. Visitor information is available on the Web at http://www.mackinacparks.com and by phone at (906) 847-3328 or (231) 436-4100.

Bernadette M. Bartlett, Michigan Documents Outreach Coordinator, Library of Michigan, reports that "we have not had a good response in requesting Mackinac State Parks materials for the state depository program, although we are in a state of negotiation with them. If you really want a copy for your library, I would order them, as we can't make any promises at this point that they will appear in the depository program."

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(2) Michigan Land Use Leadership Council

On February 5, 2003, Governor Jennifer Granholm announced the formation of a bipartisan Michigan Land Use Leadership Council. The 26-member council, headed by former Gov. William Milliken and former Attorney General Frank Kelley, was charged with addressing the trends, causes, and consequences of unmanaged growth and development in Michigan (Executive Order 2003-4) and providing recommendations to the governor and the legislature designed to minimize the impact of current land use trends on Michigan's environment and economy.

The council has formulated dozens of recommendations, which will be officially turned over to Granholm on Friday, August 15th. Some she can implement by executive order, while others require legislation or voter approval.

Among them:

For more information, see Panel Urges Growth Control : Improving Land Use is Vital For the Future, an article by Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal, August 13, 2003.

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(3) Granholm Axes Popular Internet School Reports

Gov. Jennifer Granholm should think again, quickly, on her decision to end a school data service that has become a handy and useful helpmate for parents statewide. If the governor won't budge on the issue, the Legislature should force the point.

The full $2.5 million would be well worth the money. The service, provided by Standard & Poor's of New York, has become a heavily used resource for the public. Since the Standard & Poor's Internet Web site was created in 2001, it has been visited 1.4 million times, with 23.4 million pages of data scanned. In a typical week, 10,000 people visit the site. The largest share -- just over a third -- identify themselves as parents, followed by school administrators and teachers, researchers, homebuyers and "taxpayers."

No wonder. The site, www.ses.standardandpoors.com, has a wealth of information on each public school system and charter school in the state -- all drawn from reports filed with the state by the schools themselves. Visitors can check hundreds of aspects of school operation and performance: spending per student, average teacher salary, administrative cost, tax rates and debt, results of state and national tests, graduation and dropout rates, student-teacher ratios, instances of disciplinary problems and far more. Profiles of school districts include the districts' own thumbnail descriptions of themselves and their communities. Also, there are various ways to compare schools and school systems and how they are doing. A separate analysis tracks statewide trends in both fiscal and academic performance.

This service is a bargain and near-necessity, from accountability and consumer service standpoints.

For the full article, see "Killing the messenger; Granholm wrong in blocking Internet reports on state's schools"The Grand Rapids Press, Sept 5, 2003, Editorial, pA12. Note: Grand Rapids Press is available electronically at Michigan public libraries thanks to MEL/Michigan Access!

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(4) Adoption Work Group Criticizes State's Foster Care Program

A work group charged with studying court delays and other adoption process obstacles has presented its final report to Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Maura D. Corrigan and Family Independence Agency (FIA) Director Nannette Bowler. The report criticizes the state's foster care system for not doing enough to find relatives who might make suitable parents. After parental rights are terminated, people who try to adopt related children often encounter resistance from foster parents and agencies.

Michigan Supreme Court Work Group, Final Report, Sept. 2, 2003.

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(5) State of the Great Lakes: 2002 Annual Report Released

This annual report focuses on numerous issues impacting the Great Lakes ecosystem including water quality, resource management, and aquatic nuisance species. It features guest authors from education, government, and the environmental community.

The report highlights programs that address exotic species, habitat conservation, pollution prevention, and water conservation to prevent the threat of water exports. “Geography not only distinguishes Michigan on a map, but has also given us an unparalleled source of beauty and economic opportunity in the Great Lakes,” said Governor Granholm. “We must fulfill our responsibility as environmental stewards of these Great Lakes to develop policies permanently protecting the health of this unique ecosystem.”

The 2002 annual report also features articles on the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Great Lakes Legacy Act, water resources management, and the Lake Erie “dead zone.” A large portion of the report is dedicated to the topic of aquatic nuisance species including articles on Asian carp, snakehead, the Chicago dispersal barrier, and Coast Guard standards for ballast water.

The report is available online at: http://www.deq.state.mi.us/documents/deq-ogl-SOGL02.pdf. Limited numbers of hard copies of the report are also available from the Office of the Great Lakes at 517-335-4056.

Michigan Newswire, August 28, 2003

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(6) Due to Budget Cuts, Detroit Public Library Refocusing

About 150,000 suburbanites and other Michiganders who use the Detroit Public Library may soon have to pay for access to its 6.6 million books and nationally-renowned special collections.

The proposal, which has not come before the Detroit Library Commission, could affect one-third of the library system's 450,000 card holders.

It represents a major policy change at the main library, which gives all state residents many of the privileges enjoyed by Detroiters whose taxes provide much of the library's $38.1-million annual budget.

Library Director Nancy Skowronski said commissioners will be asked to consider the plan as a way to offset a $1.8-million loss in state funding.

"Our focus will now be serving the citizens of Detroit," she said. "Our clientele is going to be the people who pay our bills and our millages, and that will be the good people of Detroit. That will not be the people in the suburbs and outstate."

Michigan federal documents librarians, particular in the Detroit metropolitan area, are waiting to hear how this change in focus will impact on the Regional Depository program at DPL.

Source: M. L. Elrick, Detroit Free Press, Sept. 16, 2003.

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