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Grant opportunity available for MI food pantries

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, United Dairy Industry of Michigan and Blue Cross Complete are offering a unique grant opportunity for Michigan food pantries. This grant opportunity will improve the ability of local food pantries to provide nutrient-rich fresh food options that require refrigeration, such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

The program includes two grant categories:

o Food Pantry Infrastructure Grant: Food pantries may apply for up to $2,500 in funds to improve pantry infrastructure in support of the distribution of dairy foods and fresh produce. Examples of infrastructure requests to support dairy include coolers, transportation and maintenance of refrigeration equipment, among other things.
o Dairy Foods Grant: Food pantries are also eligible to apply for up to $500 in dairy match funding. If a food pantry purchases dairy foods from their food bank or a local retailer, they can receive matching funds to purchase additional dairy foods. Eligible dairy foods include milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese.

Grant applications for the 2022 calendar year are due Sept. 30. Applications may be submitted online. Visit the Food Pantry Grant Program webpage for more information.

Free ‘Back to School’ newsletter available

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The 2022 edition of my free Back to School newsletter is now available for download on my website. You can download your copy at

I believe that every Michigan student should have access to a world-class education. That means students should have options whether they are pursuing a path to college or a career in a skilled trade. Families must be empowered to make the best decision for their kids’ needs and circumstances.

Under the leadership of the Senate, K-12 school funding has gone up every year for more than a decade, and in 2021 we were able to equalize funding among K-12 schools. That means for the first time since the passage of Proposal A in 1994, every school in Michigan received the same minimum amount per student.

This year, we have once again passed a bipartisan education budget that invests in our highest priority: our children. As our students prepare to head back to the classroom, I am pleased to share this Back-to-School report and highlight a few of the important school- related issues we have been working on in Lansing.

Best wishes for a great school year!

New law makes it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom

Public Act 184 of 2022 alleviates much of the red tape that makes it difficult for retired teachers and other school employees to return to work at a Michigan public school. The new law provides more flexibility and reduces the cost for Michigan school districts facing a teacher shortage, particularly in critical shortage areas.

These changes, recently signed into law by the governor, would not affect the retiree’s pension or health care benefits as long the retiree waits at least 9 months after retiring to return to work.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the country for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown. The campaign runs from Aug. 17 through Sept. 5 to increase awareness of the dangers of impaired driving. In 2021, more than 9,000 traffic crashes in Michigan involved alcohol resulting in 505 deaths and over 6,500 injuries.

Michigan drivers are reminded that if alcohol and/or drugs are part of a late-summer celebration, plan for a safe ride home.

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Be on the lookout for spotted lanternfly

MDARD is asking Michigan residents to be on the lookout for spotted lanternfly, an invasive species that poses a serious threat to our agriculture and natural resources. The insect feeds on grapes, apples, hops, stone fruits, and hardwood trees, and has the potential to wreak havoc on Michigan’s agriculture industry.

Live insects have not yet been found in Michigan, however, MDARD and the USDA have confirmed five cases of dead spotted lanternflies found in packaging materials or objects shipped from other states.

While spotted lanternflies cannot fly long distances, they can lay eggs on nearly any surface like cars, trailers, or firewood. MDARD is asking travelers to check out the map of confirmed spotted lanternfly locations and to inspect vehicles, firewood and outdoor equipment for signs of the insect or their eggs.

If you find a spotted lanternfly egg mass, juvenile or adult, take one or more photos, make a note of the date, time and location of the sighting, and report it to MDARD via email at [email protected] or by calling 800-292-3939. If possible, collect a specimen in a container for verification.

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Back-to-school safety tips

Supporting our schools is critical to our future, and it remains one of my top priorities. I continue to work to increase our investment in our schools so they can prepare our students for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

With Labor Day nearly here, students have either already started school or are preparing to return to begin a new school year.

One of the most essential parts of a successful school year is safety. If your students ride the bus, take the time to make sure they know the proper safety procedures for getting on and off the bus. If you drive your children to school, be sure to give bus drivers plenty of room, be prepared to stop, and watch out for children in parking lots and crosswalks.

Senator Ed McBroom
7200 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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