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community weblog - [ Gov Affairs ]

New law aims for smooth ride

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ROCHESTER -- Just when you thought it wasn't safe to go back in the water... New York made personal watercraft users attend boating school.

"It's a good thing," says A.J. Handler, the personal-watercraft race promoter from Penfield, whose event will be the featured attraction at the New York State Summer X Games Aug. 21 and 22 at Ontario Beach Park.

"It's made them (boaters) more responsible, which is really good. It's good for us as an event organizer, too. We're not looked at as the bad guys."   more...

 



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Measure would protect bluffs

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Loaded with rare plants such as Canadian buffalo berry and home to endangered songbirds such as the cerulean warbler, 2 1/2 miles of bluffs and ravines on the North Shore are on their way to protection from development at Ft. Sheridan, thanks to a provision tucked into a national defense-spending bill.

Sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who lives near the bluffs, the proposal outlines their transfer from the Navy, which owns them, to Openlands Project, a non-profit land conservancy based in Chicago.

"It's the first step toward making our dream a reality," said Openlands Associate Director Joyce O'Keefe, who said at a news conference Monday that she envisions a public park on the site. "It is an opportunity to see an ecosystem like they have never seen before."   more...


 



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Detroit will share water data

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The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has agreed to share more financial information with suburban communities that are irked by water rate increases, but the move won’t derail a lawsuit from the city of Warren.

“This is just a mechanism for giving me the bad news more efficiently,” said Warren City Attorney George Constance. “The underlying cause is cost control, and the crux or our lawsuit is legitimate management.”

The agreement to reveal the departmental budget was developed by a special water rate policy committee established by U.S. District Judge John Feikens, who put Warren’s lawsuit on hold pending a committee recommendation. Warren claims Detroit overcharges for water.    more...

 



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Free fishing reels in local anglers

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PhotoAvid anglers will have company Saturday and Sunday on Michigan waters, and fishing stores are reeling in the benefits.

The state Department of Natural Resources is offering its annual free-fishing weekend, when anyone can drop a line without buying a state license.

Started in 1986, the event is intended to introduce people to the state's fishing opportunities.

The event has caught the attention of Mike Wallace of Macomb County's Washington Township. He'll take his 4-year-old daughter, Isabel, out on Anchor Bay.   more...

 



Fishing  Gov Affairs  

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Ruling allows beach property owners to draw a line in the sand

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Two very large "no trespassing" signs mark the stretch of Lake Michigan beach that Grand Haven Township resident John Mackay and an association of about 30 other homeowners have paid the price for exclusive access to.

It's a stretch of beach that has turned out not to be so private.

Last summer, after battling with loud late-night high school parties and cleaning up the public's trash, Mackay put up the warning signs at the end of the trail and the top of the 45 wooden stairs leading down to the beach.

"Nobody minds the people who just walk by," he said. "It's the people who spill over from the public parks and set up towels and stuff that we mind. If you want access to a private beach, pay for it. It's a pain to have to be the bad guy and shoo people away when you're trying to relax with your family."   more...

 



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Battle-ready PM launches $125M waterfront plan

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Prime Minister Paul Martin came to Toronto yesterday to announce $125 million to spruce up the waterfront just days before he is expected to call an election in which his majority government hangs in the balance.

Promising to deliver "tremendous benefits" to Toronto residents, Martin pledged the funding for new parks and sports facilities along the water's edge.

The Prime Minister is hoping the "benefits" of this funding announcement start with the Toronto Liberals, some of whom are in a tough fight to keep their seats in the expected June 28 vote.   more...

 



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Granholm agrees to federal purchase of Humbug Marsh

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Gov. Jennifer Granholm has agreed to allow the federal government to purchase the Humbug Marsh, 400 acres of environmentally sensitive land along the lower Detroit River.

The Democratic governor said Friday that the federal Migratory Bird Conservation Commission will formally consider at its meeting early next month the purchase of the marsh as part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.    more...

 



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Lakefront plan will challenge Clevelanders

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Cle veland didn't come up with its mean, ugly lakefront by accident. It worked hard through decades of bad planning and self-inflicted wounds to get eight miles of chain link and concrete on the Lake Erie shoreline.

Now, however, the city has the best chance in years to turn things around. Under Mayor Jane Campbell, Cleveland is embarking on the third and final phase of the biggest lakefront planning effort since the end of World War II.

But big changes mean that Clevelanders face a test of character: Will those who own a piece of the lakefront, literally and figuratively, block anything that alters the status quo? Or can warehouses, highways and ore piles make way for housing, parks and cultural attractions?

 We're about to find out.  more...

 



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Bill could give lakefront owners control of shore

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Children throw pebbles in Lake Erie. A couple takes a walk with their dog. A man fishes from the shore. A woman walks along the beach and swims.

None of them owns property along Ohio's 262-mile Lake Erie shore.

And except from public parks, all of that access would become trespassing if a bill heading for Gov. Bob Taft's desk becomes law.

"I think it would give a home-owner the ability to put up a fence all the way to the water's edge," said state Sen. Kevin Coughlin (R., Cuyahoga Falls).

Sam Speck, director of the state Department of Natural Resources, said he does not want any loss of public access.  more...

 



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Online watercraft renewal underway

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Michigan's nearly 1 million registered boat owners can now renew their watercraft registrations online with the Michigan Department of State.

The Web-based program will provide watercraft owners with the convenience of renewing from home or office 24 hours a day. Michigan residents can also renew watercraft registrations by touch-tone telephone or mail, or at Department of State branch office. Online and touch-tone renewal options started March 1 and end Aug. 31, 2004.

"It may be winter now, but warmer weather and the boating season will be here before you know it," Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said. "I encourage all boat owners to take advantage of renewing online."

Registration decals are mailed within seven to 10 days, Land said.

Colorful "Don't be left at the clock," inserts included with the notices remind customers of the convenience of online and touch-tone renewal, Land said. Instructions and the personal identification numbers needed to login to the system are also provided in the notices. Payment is by VISA, MasterCard or Discover credit cards.

All watercraft on Michigan waters, including privately owned lakes and waterways, must be registered except:

  • Watercraft 16 feet or less, propelled by oars or paddles, and not used for rental or commercial purposes.

  • Non-motorized canoes and kayaks not used for rental or commercial purposes.

  • Rafts, surfboards, sailboats, and swim floats.

  • Watercraft registered in another state and used only temporarily in Michigan.

    Registrations expire on March 31 in the third year of issuance. For more information, call (517) 373-2520.
  • more...




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    North Bass sale worries officials

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    PORT CLINTON - The state of Ohio is buying the pristine North Bass Island to preserve forever, but upset county and township officials fear the purchase will leave them short of tax money by next year.

    Funds for roads, fire protection, and the hard-to-reach island’s tiny airport will all be greatly reduced when the state finalizes its purchase of 589 acres this year, taking 87 percent of the island’s acreage off the tax rolls.

    "We’ve got financial issues that are real," Monica Drake, executive director of Put –In-Bay Township Port Authority, told state officials at an Ottawa County Commissioners meeting yesterday. Several local leaders asked state officials to pay for 87 percent of government services on North Bass.  
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    Ohio sportsmen can get fishing, hunting licenses over Internet

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    Sandusky- Gov. Bob Taft did it and so can you.

    The Ohio Division of Wildlife joined a legion of states to offer fishing, trapping and hunting licenses and deer and turkey hunting permits over the Internet. Taft logged on Monday to purchase the first fishing license, paying an extra four bits for the on-line convenience of purchasing his $19 resident fishing tag.

    The Ohio Division of Wildlife finally coordinated its licenses and permits last year so they all expire on March 1. Sportsmen with a credit card and social security number can re-stock their license holders at www.ohiodnr.com.

    The downloaded license must be printed out. No other license will be mailed to sportsmen.  more...

     



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    Mills unveils ambitious plan to revitalize the waterfront

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    A plan to speed up the greening of Toronto's waterfront with new federal dollars leaves unresolved some deep-seated political disputes and rivalries.

    The report, released yesterday by Toronto-Danforth MP Dennis Mills, identifies more than 30 projects -- new parks, sport and recreation facilities, a United Nations peace university and water-quality improvements -- that could move ahead quickly with $78-million in new money from Ottawa.

    As well, Mr. Mills called on the federal government to release $200-million of its previously committed $500-million for waterfront renewal to spur public use of the largely underdeveloped lands between Dufferin and Leslie Streets.   more...

     



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    Online Watercraft Renewal begins March 1

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    Image of boat on water

    February 26, 2004

    Secretary Land reminds customers, 'Don%u2019t be left at the docks'

    In spite of ol%u2019 Man Winter%u2019s cold grip on Michigan, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land today announced that boat owners can renew their watercraft registrations online beginning March 1 at www.Michigan.gov/sos.

    The Web-based program provides watercraft owners with the ultimate convenience of renewing from their homes or offices anytime of the day or night. Residents may also renew watercraft registrations by touch-tone telephone or mail, or at a branch office. Online and touch-tone renewal options end Aug. 31.   more...




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    Natives lay claim to local waters

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    Shoreline Beacon — The Chippewas of Nawash and Saugeen First Nation have filed an extensive claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, asserting ownership over parts of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.
    According to Chief Randy Roote of Saugeen First Nation, the two bands are claiming aboriginal title to the lands under the water beginning 18 kilometers south of Goderich, west to the American border, north around the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, east to the middle of Georgian Bay and south to Nottawasaga Bay.
    If the claim is successful, it could give the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, of which both local bands belong, exclusive ownership rights over the waters in question. However, Roger Townshend, legal counsel for the bands, said it will be years before the claim is heard in court.   more...

     



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