It’s June 10, early morning. William Wright and Chris Yahanda wake up on a beach somewhere at Wilderness State Park. A few miles away, Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. They eat breakfast with the gulls and lapping waves.
Then, as the sunrise breaks, Wright and Yahanda break out their paddleboards. They wade into the water’s shallows, kneeling on their vessels as if in prayer. Then, once the sandbar drops, they stand and use long paddles to travel south, their feet a minnow’s height from the surface. Their friend, Davis Huber, films them from a boat.
It was the second day of these three friends' 425-mile journey from the Mackinac Bridge above Lake Michigan to, eventually, the Lansing shorelines of the Grand River.
On Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a massive, $250 million investment in state parks and outdoor recreation across Michigan.
The budget proposal would direct funds to eliminate the massive backlog in state parks maintenance as more people than ever use them. The investment, in turn, would:
- Strengthen Michigan's outdoor recreation economy, which provides 232,000 jobs across the state;
- Help millions of residents and tourists alike make the most of the outdoors; and
- Free up state funds (some of which regularly went toward state park maintenance) for local communities and organizations to invest in their own park projects
In May, Consumers Energy rolled out a new summer rate for its residential customers. From June to September, Consumers residential customers will pay about 15 cents a kilowatt-hour between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 cents a kilowatt-hour at all other times.
The change prompted some scary headlines like “Consumers Energy electricity rate increases 50% during peak hours.” But the real story is this new summer rate – called a peak rate or time of use rate – is a proven strategy to help us save money on our utility bills and protect our environment. Here's how.