Senator Proos Blasts White House Inaction on Asian Carp

WSJM – RadioSilverhead Asian Carp

State Senator John Proos is putting the blame for the discovery of environmental DNA from invasive silver carp in the Kalamazoo River squarely on the shoulders of the Obama administration. The St. Joseph Republican says there has been “consistent inaction” by the White House that has resulted in the species of Asian carp to “inch closer to destroying our vital Southwest Michigan waterways.”

Proos joins Congressman Fred Upton in noting the carp, if they were to get established in the Great Lakes, threaten a $4 billion fishing and tourism industry. He adds he’s continuing to push for the closure of the Chicago locks to separate that city’s water system from Lake Michigan in order to prevent the invasive fish from getting in.

Speaking to WSJM News, Proos blasted delays by the Obama administration on separating the Chicago River system from the Great Lakes.

The Department of Natural Resources notes that just because eDNA was found in one sample from 400 taken this summer, they have no evidence there are actually silver carp in the rivers that feed the Great Lakes. Another 200 samples were taken on Tuesday, and those are now being tested.

Advertisements

Time Running Out to Apply for Antlerless Deer Hunting License

Dowagiac Hunters
Senator Proos speaks with sportsmen at the annual Sportsman’s Jamboree in Dowagiac

Hunting in Michigan’s great outdoors is a tradition for many Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors. Helping attract more hunters to Michigan than any other state, our rich hunting heritage plays a key role in our economy and way of life.

Deer firearm season is Nov. 15-30 and is the most popular deer hunting season, but it’s not the only one. In fact, antlerless deer license applications are already on sale through Aug. 15.

I encourage interested hunters to apply for an antlerless deer license. The good news is that there are no limits on the number of public-land licenses you can buy during the season until the quota is met. The bad news is that the quota has been reduced this year as a result of the harsh winter. This means that licenses may sell out.

Hunters may apply for one license in any open deer management unit (DMU). A nonrefundable $5 fee is charged at the time of application. Starting Sept. 4, drawing results and leftover license availability may be viewed at http://www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings. Beginning Sept. 11 at 10 a.m., any leftover licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Residents may apply for one private-land or public-land license at http://www.mdnr-elicense.com. Young hunters, ages 9-16, can also purchase one junior antlerless deer license over the counter until Aug. 15. No application is required.

For all but one DMU, hunters are limited to purchasing five private-land licenses. However, private-land licenses within certain DMUs can enable hunters to take advantage of the early or late antlerless firearm seasons.

The early antlerless firearm season is Sept. 20-21 in DMUs generally located in the Grand Traverse Bay area and in eastern Michigan from Monroe to Presque Isle County.

The late antlerless season runs Dec. 22 to Jan. 1 in the same DMUs as the early season, plus every county south of Ludington – including all of Southwest Michigan.

Hunting guides, including all rules and regulations, can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/hunting. In addition, the 2014 Antlerless Deer Digest can be found at local license agents or online at http://www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

And remember to always be safe. By hunting safely and legally, we all can help ensure our hunting heritage lives on for generations to come.

Consider Taking Amtrak For Your Holiday Travels

In a world where we are constantly connected, the holiday season offers us a chance to cast the worries of our everyday life aside and really reconnect with our loved ones.

If you will be traveling this holiday season to gather with family and friends, I encourage you to consider taking the train.
Amtrak is a great way for people to travel without worrying about traffic, weather or gas prices.

Riding the train offers a unique opportunity for riders to sit back and unwind as they travel, while also helping ease the pressure on gas prices and reduce road congestion.

Amtrak ridership in Michigan increased 4 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Nearly 909,000 people rode the train in Michigan last year — up from about 874,000.

Most traffic was on the Wolverine route that travels through Pontiac, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo and several cities on its way to Chicago. Michigan also has the Pere Marquette between Grand Rapids and Chicago and the Blue Water route that features stops in East Lansing and Kalamazoo as it connects Port Huron to Chicago.

With Amtrak more popular than ever, I encourage Southwest Michigan residents who are considering taking the train for the family holiday trip to make their reservations early.

Check out Amtrak.com for further information. Residents may book trips, change reservations and print eTickets through Amtrak’s eTicketing site at: http://www.amtrak.com/deals.

Amtrak continues to give Michigan families options to enjoy their travels.

Most importantly, Amtrak can help residents gather together with loved ones and enjoy the Christmas holiday.

Hunting Season is Underway

Dowagiac HuntersHunting is a tradition for many Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors. Our great outdoors offers something to interest every type of hunter — helping Michigan attract more hunters than any other state.

Our rich hunting heritage plays a key role in Michigan’s economy and way of life, and I will continue to protect your hunting rights.

Deer firearm season has begun, and I want to pass along some useful information and urge all hunters to hunt with safety in mind.

The regular firearm season from Nov. 15-30 is the most popular deer hunting season, but it’s not the only one. Archery season continues Dec. 1 to Jan.1; muzzle-loading season in southern Michigan is Dec. 6-22; and late antlerless firearm season runs from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

Hunting guides, including all rules and regulations, can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/hunting.

Hunters can use Mi-HUNT on the website to create and print customized maps on 7 million acres of public lands. Residents can also buy hunting licenses online 24 hours a day at: http://www.mdnr-elicense.com.

With firearm deer season underway, I offer two reminders. First, please hunt safely. Most hunting injuries and casualties are preventable. Please follow gun safety rules like wearing “hunter’s orange” and never mixing hunting with drinking.

Second, remember the impact of poachers on the sport and on the herd.

I supported recent bills to preserve the hunting experience by toughening penalties for trespassing on private property and for illegally killing a protected animal or trophy buck.

By hunting safely and legally, we all can help ensure our hunting heritage lives on for generations to come.

Happy hunting! I hope everyone has a safe and successful season.

State Tax Dollars Should Stay in Michigan to Support Michigan Jobs

WorkersMichigan spends more than $30 billion annually on goods and services, and using state businesses to meet our needs can improve efficient use of taxpayer dollars, boost our economy and create jobs.

That is why I co-sponsored a bill to give Michigan businesses a priority for state contracts when possible.

It’s a way to thank those who stuck it out during tough times. Most importantly, it simply makes sense.

Senate Bill 517 mirrors the “Buy Indiana Initiative” that gave a preference of up to 5 percent to Indiana-based businesses.

As we work hard to continue Michigan’s turnaround, we must support our home team. Michigan-based businesses and the workers they employ pay taxes help that support vital services like education and public safety.

We owe it to all Michigan residents that we remain responsible and efficient with their tax dollars. That includes ensuring our Michigan tax dollars first go to support Michigan companies and Michigan jobs.

The 2013 Pure Michigan Travel Guide illustrates the need for a state preference. An Iowa firm won the contract to put together the guide’s three seasonal issues, even though a Michigan-based company’s bid was $300,000 less.

I strongly support Pure Michigan because it helps attract jobs and tourists to our state. That’s why I’m so disappointed that a Michigan company and its workers were not picked to design the state’s travel guide when their bid would have actually saved the state money.

Many businesses and organizations have pledged to Buy Michigan. The state should do the same.

Tele-Town Hall a Resounding Success

Proos on the PhoneI recently held the latest in a series of “tele-town hall” meetings to discuss our accomplishments and to hear from residents about their priorities. It was a resounding success with more than 7,800 residents participating.

I strongly believe that listening to the hardworking people of Southwest Michigan is vital and irreplaceable to being a good public servant.

During the meeting, thousands of families and job providers were able to hear what we have been doing and express their viewpoints.

In addition to having 14 people ask me live questions, everyone was able to give their opinion on a series of important issues facing Michigan.

While the reforms we made are resulting in an improving Michigan economy and reduced unemployment, pocketbook issues continue to be the top priority for Southwest Michigan.

When asked what issue is most important to them and their families, 49 percent of residents cited that more needs to be done to match students’ skills sets with jobs that are in demand. I could not agree more, which is why I will continue to stress the importance of career and technical training. In fact, only 37 percent of participants believed that their children or grandchildren had access to career and technical training.

I was encouraged that 79 percent of participants said they intended to visit an agri-tourism location this fall. As an agri-tourist, you can enjoy Southwest Michigan with family and friends, while also supporting local businesses and the entire community.

Thank you to everyone who called in and listened or asked a question. Your input valuable to me, and I always enjoy hearing your opinions. If you were unable to participate in the tele-town hall and have an insight to share, please contact my office by calling 517-373-6960 or emailing senjproos@senate.michigan.gov.

Michigan’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend Set for Feb. 16-17

Ice FishingMichigan offers two weekends each year when Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors can get together and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing – at no charge.

This year’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 16-17.

The free weekend is an excellent opportunity to introduce the joy of fishing to children or to try winter fishing for the first time.

During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived, but all fishing regulations still apply.

To encourage involvement in the Free Fishing Weekends, organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations, including local and state parks, constituent groups, schools, businesses and others.

For more information on Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

The website also includes useful information about ice fishing. The article, entitled “Fishing Technique: Ice Fishing, The Coolest Sport Around,” is located under Related Resources. It features safety advice and basics on getting started and commonly used equipment.

I encourage Southwest Michigan anglers – and those who have never gone fishing – to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities this weekend.

Michigan has more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes for residents to enjoy.

If you head out on the ice or water this weekend, please remember that having fun starts with being safe.