Schmidt supports legislation for Natural Resources Trust Fund projects in Antrim, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, and Mackinac counties

Senator Wayne Schmidt

Senator Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation allocating $27.9 million from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) to natural resources improvement and acquisition projects across the state.

The trust fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.

“The Natural Resources Trust Fund provides valuable support to numerous projects throughout the 37th Senate District, and the entire state,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “With these additional funds, parks and recreational areas will see welcome improvements, and residents and visitors of the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula will be able to better enjoy our state’s natural resources.”

Eight projects in Antrim, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, and Mackinac counties were among those receiving funds. The projects benefitting from the NRTF grants are:

  • Antrim: Milton Township will receive $464,300 for Waterfront Park.
  • Chippewa: Superior Township will receive $96,200 for Riverview Park.
  • Emmet: The Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation division will receive $200,000 for an addition to Petoskey State Park.
  • Emmet: Littlefield Township will receive $167,800 for a Hay Lake Water Access site.
  • Grand Traverse: Traverse City will receive $45,000 to improve Clancy Park.
  • Grand Traverse: Garfield Charter Township will receive $100,000 to improve the Boardman Valley Nature Preserve.
  • Grand Traverse: The DNR Wildlife Division will receive $2,475,000 to acquire land from Petobego SGA.
  • Mackinac: The city of St. Ignace will receive $280,000 for a Little Bear East Recreation Park development.

House Bill 5377 authorizes the trust fund to spend the $27.9 million for a total of 70 land acquisition and recreational development projects statewide.

The NRTF uses constitutionally restricted funds to provide financial assistance to local governments and the Department of Natural Resources to purchase land or rights of land for public recreation or protection of land because of its environmental importance or its scenic beauty. It also assists in the appropriate development of land for public outdoor recreation.

HB 5377 now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for signing.

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Senate exempts maple syrup from seasonal weight restrictions

Senator Wayne Schmidt

Senator Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — Maple syrup producers would be able to transport sap from the field to the farm without worry of exceeding Michigan’s seasonal weight restrictions under a bill approved by the Senate on Tuesday, National Agriculture Day.

“Maple syrup production is an important part of Michigan’s agriculture industry, contributing $2.5 million to our state’s economy annually,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “While maple sap is the first crop to be harvested each year, from February through April, it is not included on the list of agriculture products that are exempt from seasonal weight restrictions. Given the size and importance of maple syrup production in Michigan, and the fact that demand often exceeds supply, it only makes sense that we remove this barrier so our farmers can more easily do their jobs.”

Under law, vehicles used in the transportation of agricultural commodities are provided an exemption from seasonal weight limits on Michigan roads during the months of March, April and May, when the state’s historical pattern of freezing and thawing occurs.

Senate Bill 314 would add maple sap, maple syrup, and equipment used to produce and transport maple syrup to the list of exempt commodities.

Michigan ranks sixth in the U.S. for maple syrup production. There are about 500 commercial maple syrup producers and some 2,000 hobbyists throughout the state. Michigan produces 90,000 gallons of pure maple syrup per year on average.

SB 314 now goes to the state House for consideration.

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March is National Reading Month

Senator Wayne Schmidt

Senator Wayne Schmidt

I look forward to this time each year — not just because spring is around the corner — but because March is National Reading Month.

It brings me great joy during this month to travel throughout the eight counties of the 37th Senate District to visit classrooms and read with schoolchildren. Indeed, witnessing students’ interest and excitement in reading helps renew my own.

While reading is an activity that should be enjoyed year-round, we designate this month as a way to bring attention to the importance of reading and literacy in our lives. Reading opens our minds to imagination, new experiences and different points of view — and it unlocks a world of potential.

Literacy is perhaps the most fundamental skill necessary for a successful future. Students who are not proficient readers by the third grade have significantly diminished opportunities for success when they become adults. It is something that impacts all of us. For Michigan to reach its full potential, residents must first be able to reach their own.

That is why I have consistently worked to improve educational opportunities for Michigan students, from increasing K-12 school funding each year, to supporting early education programs and third grade reading initiatives, to more funding for online learning and at-risk students. I have also been a strong supporter of non-traditional education, including career and technical training programs. Ensuring Michiganders have access to a quality education is critical.

Regardless of a child’s educational and career goals, it is certain that reading is the key to achieving them. Developing an interest and love of reading starts at an early age, and parents, educators, and civic leaders all share in this responsibility.

I encourage you to invest in your children’s futures and read with them, not just during this National Reading Month, but all year long.

As always, if you have any questions or need information, please contact my office by phone at 855-347-8037 or email SenWSchmidt@senate.michigan.gov and my staff will be happy to assist you.

You can also stay up to date by following me at Facebook.com/StateSenatorWayneSchmidt.

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Sen. Schmidt announces March coffee hours

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Wayne Schmidt has announced upcoming coffee hours to be held with constituents throughout the 37th Senate District in March.

The senator will be available to answer questions and provide information and assistance, as well as take suggestions on issues affecting communities and businesses in the district. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to contact Schmidt, please visit SenatorWayneSchmidt.com or call 517-373-2413.

Sen. Schmidt’s March coffee hours are as follows:

Friday, March 4
9 – 10 a.m.
North Perk Coffee
410 E. Lake St.
Petoskey

3 – 4 p.m.
Johan’s Bakery
327 Bridge St.
Charlevoix

Monday, March 7
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Grand Traverse Pie Co.
525 W. Front St.
Traverse City

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Java Jones
131 River St.
Elk Rapids

Friday, March 11
11 a.m. – Noon
Audie’s Restaurant
314 N. Nicolet St.
Mackinaw City

2 – 3 p.m.
Bentley’s B-N-L Café
62 N. State St.
St. Ignace

Monday, March 14
11 a.m. – Noon
Darlene’s Restaurant
101 Second St.
East Jordan

2 – 3 p.m.
Roast & Toast
309 E. Lake St.
Petoskey

Friday, March 18
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
LSSU – Kenneth J. Shouldice Library
906 Ryan Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Timber Charlie’s
110 Newberry Ave.
Newberry

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Schmidt’s bill to allow county-to-township loans for road projects advances

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday sponsored by state Sen. Wayne Schmidt that would allow the state’s county road commissions to loan money to townships for road construction projects.

“Townships throughout Michigan — especially in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula — lack sufficient funding, in some cases, for their road projects,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “My bill would help save taxpayer dollars by letting our county road commissions provide townships loans to complete needed road projects, which could help get those road projects completed sooner, too.”

Senate Bill 729, specifically, would authorize a county board of commissioners to loan funds to a township in the county for the purpose of funding a road construction project or providing matching funds for a joint project between the county and the township.

SB 729 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

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