Emmons applauds Harrison for earning grant for downtown park project

Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons on Friday congratulated the city of Harrison for earning a state grant to enhance its downtown area.

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has approved a $281,800 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for infrastructure improvements needed for the Downtown Square Park project.

“Helping revitalize our downtowns is about helping communities attract new jobs and economic opportunities,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “This is great news for the people of Harrison, and I applaud the local leaders for their hard work to make this project a reality. The addition of the downtown park will help Harrison bring new visitors to the downtown area and stimulate private investment and economic growth.”

The city plans to construct a town square park in the downtown that will consist of many outdoor recreational and seasonable activities for all ages, including a band shell, sitting area for entertainment events, a splash pad for summer, and an ice rink for winter.

The city of Harrison will contribute $236,875 toward the project.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, on behalf of the MSF, administers the CDBG program, which utilizes funds received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Each year, Michigan receives approximately $30 million in federal CDBG funds for various projects throughout the state.

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Emmons applauds state grant for downtown Alma renovation

Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons on Tuesday congratulated Alma College and Alma Opera Block, LLC for earning a state grant to transform some existing buildings in downtown Alma into residential housing.

“This is outstanding news for Alma residents and Alma College students,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “This performance-based grant will help us accomplish two goals: Revitalization of our communities and enhance the ability of our colleges to prepare Michigan students for success.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a $1.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant to Alma College and Alma Opera Block, LLC to redevelop the Wright Opera Block in downtown Alma.

The renovated buildings will offer residential housing for Alma College students and include space for retail or commercial businesses on the first floor.

“The grant will pave the way for a total capital investment of $5.2 million in downtown Alma, create more than 40 full-time jobs and put historic buildings back to productive use as student housing and retail space,” Emmons said. “I applaud the local leaders for working together with Alma College and state officials to make this exciting opportunity a reality.”

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Emmons welcomes Greenville pastor to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, welcomed the Rev. Bob Winter and his wife Anne to the Michigan Capitol on Thursday. Winter serves as pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Greenville and delivered the invocation before Senate session.

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Editor’s note: The above photographs of Emmons with Winter are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorJudyEmmons.com/Photowire.

Video of Winter’s invocation will be available later at www.SenatorJudyEmmons.com/Video.

Emmons applauds Merrill Technologies Group for investment in Alma and Saginaw

Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons on Thursday congratulated Merrill Technologies Group for being awarded a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) to help expand their operations in Alma and Saginaw.

“This is great news for the communities of Alma and Saginaw and for the entire region,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “As a result of this performance-based grant, mid-Michigan will see $3.75 million in private investment and the creation of more than 100 jobs.

“I applaud the Merrill Technologies Group for its continued dedication to our state and the local and state officials who worked together to bring these new opportunities to Michigan.”

Merrill Technologies Group offers engineering design, machining, fabricating and integration manufacturing services for a wide variety of industries, including defense and alternative energy companies.

The company’s Merrill Fabricators business unit, located in Alma, has been awarded a new contract to manufacture and paint high-speed rail car shells and plans to expand its existing operations in Alma and Saginaw.

In support of the project, the company will receive a $408,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Indiana.

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Emmons supports area projects in Natural Resources Trust Fund bill

Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons supported three area projects in the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) bill signed by the governor on Thursday.

“Making Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family can also help us attract new talent and jobs to our region,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “For 40 years, the Natural Resources Trust Fund has helped us achieve these goals by improving our parks and recreational opportunities and enhancing people’s enjoyment of Michigan’s great outdoors.”

Senate Bill 76 authorizes the trust fund to support 27 acquisition projects and 87 development projects. Matching funds of $40.1 million bring the total investment to more than $87.7 million.

The bill uses $228,400 to improve the Lake Station Trailhead on the Pere Marquette Rail Trail in Clare County and $296,000 to make improvements at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Stanton, which will serve as a trailhead for the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail.

“Both of these trailhead projects will better enable residents to spend quality time outdoors with their families and give outdoor enthusiasts more access to the trails for walking and biking,” Emmons said. “The veteran’s park development includes adding maps, exercise stations, bike racks and a bike repair station for people to use; and the Lake Station project will highlight the area’s historic railway depot building and nearby coal tower as part of a four-season trailhead.”

SB 76 also directs $300,000 into construction of 11.8 miles of asphalt pathway as part of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park from Leroy to Reed City.

“The project continues an effort to create a safe and accessible trail connecting nearly three dozen communities from Cadillac to Grand Rapids,” Emmons said. “This scenic rail trail is a wonderful asset to West Michigan — offering residents and visitors a unique chance to enjoy the outdoors and see the small-town charm that makes our state so great.”

The NRTF is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The trust fund is constitutionally restricted for natural resources improvements and land acquisitions across the state.

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Sen. Emmons applauds Wright Plastic Products for investment in Sheridan

Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons on Wednesday congratulated Wright Plastic Products for receiving a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) that will help them make important investments in its Sheridan facility.

“This performance-based grant will help attract more than $5 million in private investment in Michigan and create 40 jobs, which is great news for the people of Sheridan and the entire state,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. I applaud the Wright Plastic Products Company and local officials for working together to create jobs in Michigan by making this expansion a reality. It is an illustration of the impact we can have in improving our state through teamwork.”

Wright Plastic Products provides a variety of custom plastic parts in the automotive, recreational vehicle, defense and consumer markets.

As a result of its planned $5.8 million expansions to facilities in St. Clair and Sheridan, the company was awarded a $160,000 Michigan Business Development Program (MBDP) grant. The company will add three multiple-shot injection molding machines to each facility.

“Michigan was chosen over a competing site in Tennessee for this investment,” Emmons said. “With this grant, we are attracting new jobs and opportunities while also getting a more than 3,000 percent return on our investment.”

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Bills banning female genital mutilation signed

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation to help end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan.

“A strong message has been sent to the world that Michigan will not tolerate this attack on women and little girls,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “A recent case in Southeast Michigan, where little girls as young as 6 years old were mutilated by local doctors, was a disturbing act of barbarism and a violation of human rights.”

Senate Bills 337 and 338, sponsored by Sen. Margaret O’Brien and Jones, ban the practice of FGM in Michigan. SBs 368 and 369, sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker and Sen. Judy Emmons, ban the transportation of girls for an FGM procedure.

“Michigan will protect all girls and women from this horrific act,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “Female genital mutilation has no place in our state, and I am proud that Michigan stands with two dozen other states in outlawing this oppressive procedure that permanently devastates so many young lives.”

The bills are now Public Acts 70-73 of 2017 and make each crime a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“This barbaric procedure has no accepted health benefits and is only performed to exercise control over young women,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “We owe it to our girls to give law enforcement and prosecutors every available tool to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The new laws stemmed from a case in which Michigan-based doctors were arrested and charged for allegedly conspiring to perform FGM on minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The impact of the savagery we are fighting is tremendous,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “These traumatic procedures are usually performed without anesthetic, and victims can have ongoing psychological and physical health consequences, including infection, pain and even death.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FGM refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly excising or infibulating the genitals of any girl under 18 years of age.

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Emmons applauds brownfield approval for new soybean processing plant in Ithaca

Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Judy Emmons has announced that a nearly $130 million soybean processing plant will be built in Ithaca following approval on Tuesday of a brownfield tax capture.

“This is great news for the people of Ithaca, area farmers and the entire state,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “While this project will help create 74 jobs and generate $129 million in investment, its largest positive impact will be in our agricultural community. Once completed, this new facility will help make Michigan’s food-processing industries more competitive and reduce costs for Michigan farmers.”

The County of Gratiot Brownfield Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday received Michigan Strategic Fund approval of $12.2 million in local and school tax captures for brownfield activities at the ZFS Ithaca development project. ZFS Ithaca is an affiliate of Zeeland Farm Services, a family-owned-and-operated business with 65 years of service to the agriculture and transportation industries.

ZFS Ithaca plans to construct a new soybean processing plant and grain shipping facility at a 435-acre site in the city of Ithaca.

Emmons said that that project is expected to boost the percentage of Michigan-grown soybeans processed in-state from 10 percent to as much as 60 percent. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, that could result in savings of 25 to 40 cents per bushel for Michigan farmers by reducing transportation costs of sending soybeans to out-of-state processing facilities.

“I applaud the local leaders for working together with state officials and ZFS Ithaca to make this tremendous project possible,” Emmons said. “I also want to thank ZFS Ithaca and Zeeland Farm Services for making a multi-million-dollar commitment to mid-Michigan and the entire state.”

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Bills to stop female genital mutilation soon heading to the governor

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation to help end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan will soon be sent to the governor.

“Female genital mutilation is a horrific act of barbarism inflicted on young girls throughout the world and even here in Michigan,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The recent case in Southeast Michigan, where little girls as young as 6 years old were mutilated by local doctors, was sickening and evil. It was a violation of human rights that cannot — and will not — be tolerated.”

Senate Bills 337 and 338, sponsored by Sen. Margaret O’Brien and Jones, would ban the practice of FGM in Michigan. The bills would make the practice a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“With this legislation, we are taking a stand to protect all Michigan girls and women from this disturbing act,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “Female genital mutilation has no place in our state or anywhere else, and I look forward to seeing Michigan join 24 other states in outlawing this oppressive procedure that permanently devastates so many young lives.”

SBs 368 and 369, sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker and Sen. Judy Emmons, would prohibit someone from transporting a girl to have this procedure carried out. Under the bills, the crime would be a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“This barbaric procedure has no accepted health benefits and is only performed to exercise control over young women,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “We need to give law enforcement and prosecutors every available tool to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The bills stem from a recent case in which Michigan-based doctors were arrested and charged for allegedly conspiring to perform FGM on minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“These bills would target those responsible for transporting young girls to be mutilated,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “The impact of the savagery we are fighting is tremendous. These traumatic procedures are usually performed without anesthetic, and victims can have ongoing psychological and physical health consequences, including infection, pain and even death.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FGM refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly excising or infibulating the genitals of any girl under 18 years of age.

The House approved SBs 337-338 and 368-369 on Thursday. The bills will now return to the Senate to be enrolled and sent to the governor.

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Senate OKs Emmons’ bills to help keep kids in school

Sen. Judy Emmons

Sen. Judy Emmons

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Judy Emmons’ legislation that would help stop students from skipping school and outline ways to address truancy.

“We know that success in school and in life begins with consistent attendance in class, which is why we must help reduce truancy throughout our state,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “A stark illustration of the value of getting an education is that nearly half of the people sent to Michigan prisons in 2012 did not graduate from high school.

“Unfortunately, a major problem we have in addressing truancy is a lack of standard definitions for truancy and absenteeism — and, therefore, no reliable data on the prevalence of the problem or what school actions are working to reduce it.”

Senate Bill 105, sponsored by Emmons, would require a school board’s annual report regarding expulsions to include data about suspensions, truancy, chronic absence and disciplinary absence.

SB 103 would define chronic absenteeism and truancy in state law. “Truancy” would be defined as missing 10 unexcused days in a school year, and “chronic absenteeism” would be defined as being absent for at least 10 percent of the scheduled school days in a school year, including excused and unexcused absences and absences due to disciplinary reasons.

The bill would also prohibit a child from being suspended or expelled solely for truancy or chronic absence from school.

“Simply sending students home because they skipped school is an example of a punishment that does not solve the problem and can even make it worse,” Emmons said. “Students who miss school are more likely to struggle academically and drop out of school altogether, and the long-term impacts on both the dropout and society are tremendous. These measures would outline proactive steps for dealing with truant students while understanding that many students miss class for reasons beyond apathy, like dealing with problems at home or being bullied at school.”

SB 104 would require a school district to notify a child’s parent to attend a meeting regarding the child’s attendance irregularity while also allowing a superintendent to consider the reason for the child’s absence and lesser interventions before requiring a meeting with a parent. SB 106 would extend the family court’s exclusive jurisdiction to a juvenile who was found to be truant.

SBs 103-106 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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