Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for legislative updates and things to do this month, along with other community information.
I recently sponsored a bill, HB 6224, as part of a legislative package to repeal a 1995 law that protects the profits of pharmaceutical companies who knowingly manufacture or distribute harmful drugs. The state’s last-in-nation law prevents Michiganders, or the state itself, from holding pharmaceutical companies accountable when their dangerous products harm or even kill people. The plan laid out in HBs 6224-6226 not only repeals the backward corporate protections, but it makes the repeal retroactive, providing Michigan families and communities with a new tool to hold wealthy drug companies accountable. Michigan families and communities deserve the same freedom as people anywhere else in the country to seek justice against the drug manufacturers that tear families and communities apart.
The intersection of M-57 and Irish Road in Genesee County became a four-way stop on June 18. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will install additional stop signs to the intersection, as well as “stop ahead” signs, temporary rumble strips, and an update to the overhead flashing signal resulting in red flashes in all directions. Drivers can expect occasional shoulder and single-lane closures throughout the day while traffic control devices are installed. After the addition of the new devices, the intersection will immediately begin operating as a four-way stop. These new traffic control devices are expected to reduce the number of crashes at the intersection.
Health Department Warns of Increased Legionnaires’ Risk
The Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) would like to remind residents of the risk of Legionnaires’ disease as temperatures begin to increase. While Legionnaires’ can occur at any time of year, more illness is reported in summer and early fall. Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection characterized by the bacteria Legionella. A milder form of the illness is called Pontiac fever. Legionnaires’ symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, headaches and sometimes diarrhea and mental changes. Pontiac fever has similar symptoms but does not progress to pneumonia. Antibiotics are highly effective against Legionella bacteria. To date in 2018, there have been eight cases reported in Genesee County.
Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment (rivers, lakes, streams), but can also be found in man-made water supplies that aerosolize water, such as cooling towers, hot water tanks, humidifiers, nebulizers, showers, hot tubs and decorative fountains. Filtering water does not remove Legionella bacteria.
People can contract Legionnaires’ disease when they accidentally swallow water into their lungs or breathe in a mist containing the bacteria. The bacteria are not spread from one person to another person. Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not become infected. People who have an increased risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease are those who are 50 years or older, current or former smokers, and those who have a chronic lung disease, or weakened immune system from other underlying illnesses or medications. Individuals with any concerns about Legionnaires’ disease should consult their healthcare provider.
Legionella growth can occur in buildings or structures that have complex water systems, such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, hotels, and cruise ships, that are not managed adequately and where disinfectant levels are low, water is stagnant, or water temperatures are ideal for the growth of Legionella. Proper maintenance and disinfection of the water systems in which Legionella grow, including hot tubs, hot water tanks, humidifiers, nebulizers, cooling towers, and decorative fountains, are the most effective measures in preventing Legionnaires’ disease. Cleaning, disinfecting, and maintenance should be done following manufacturer recommendations.
The Genesee County Health Department encourages high risk facilities to adopt water management plans to help prevent Legionnaires’ disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a toolkit that can help building managers develop a water management plan that can be accessed online at: https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/downloads/toolkit.pdf. For more information on Legionnaires’ disease, visit www.gchd.us or www.cdc.gov/legionella.
Genesee County Health Department Issues PFAS Fish Advisory
As part of the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) effort to to address the emerging environmental contaminant perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), GCHD wants to inform and remind residents of the “Eat Safe Fish Guidelines” for fish caught from the Flint River, including Mott Lake, Holloway Reservoir and Gilkey Creek. State of Michigan officials indicate that the River is safe for general recreation, but anglers should follow these fish consumption guidelines.
PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. They have been used in non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil. Concentrations of PFAS have been found in surface water samples taken from the Flint River and its tributaries.
Scientists are still learning about the health effects of exposures to mixtures of PFAS. The health effects of PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, and PFNA have been more widely studied than other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Some, but not all, studies in humans with PFAS exposure have shown that certain PFAS may:
- affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- interfere with the body’s natural hormones
- increase cholesterol levels
- affect the immune system
- increase the risk of cancer
Recently, PFAS was tested in fish from the Flint River, including Mott Lake and Holloway Reservoir. Mercury was also tested as all fish have some amount of mercury. Guidelines have been set for these water bodies as a result of identifying elevated levels. While guidelines have previously existed for these water bodies, in April of 2018, the fish consumption advisory was updated to include the entire Flint River. The advisory can be found in the “Eat Safe Fish Guide.”
One serving size for adults is 6-8 ounces of fish (about the size of an adult’s hand) and for children it is 2-4 ounces of fish (about the size of an adult’s palm). Below are the current fish guidelines for each water body. For all other fish from these water bodies, follow the Statewide Eat Safe Fish Guidelines.
For more information about PFAS go to: https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/
Tips on How to Cut Summer Energy Use
This summer, the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) is urging Michiganders to Be SummerWise about their energy use as temperatures climb.
“There are many practical ways to cut your energy usage while also staying cool in the summer months,” said Anne Armstrong Cusack, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy. “If everyone does just a little bit it will make a big difference in demand for power, lessening the strain on utilities to meet high demand on the hottest days.”
Moderating usage will be important as demand for electricity is expected to increase in Michigan, according to MAE’s Summer Energy Appraisal. Even if the weather is near normal for the summer, electricity usage is expected to rise about 1.5 percent compared to a year ago. The report foresees residential electricity usage increasing 2.7 percent, with industrial sector usage up 1.5 percent and commercial usage up 0.6 percent.
Electricity use in Michigan traditionally climbs along with summer temperatures, according to annual figures tracked by the federal Energy Information Administration. The EIA also reports that nearly 60 percent of homes in the state have central air conditioning with more than 20 percent using a window or wall unit.
To keep a lid on bills this summer here are 10 simple tips:
- Check with your electric or natural gas utilities about energy waste reduction programs.
- Sign up for a budget billing plan that can spread out your peak energy bills throughout the year.
- Install a programmable thermostat and save an estimated 10 percent annually on cooling and heating. EIA says 56 percent of household energy use is air conditioning and space heating.
- Seal air leaks to make your home more comfortable.
- Use a ceiling fan to lower your home’s temperature by up to four degrees.
- Keep the area around air vents clean. Blocked vents make air conditioners work harder.
- Unplug cell phones, TVs, video games, and other devices when not in use, so they don’t continue to use energy in standby mode.
- Close window curtains and shades during the day to keep the heat from the sun outside.
- Use big energy users such as electric ovens, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, and other large appliances or office equipment in the early morning or late evening. Shifting the time of use will reduce the potential stress on Michigan's electric system at peak times.
- Schedule a home energy assessment to determine energy usage, where energy is being lost, and problem areas to fix.
Want more ways to save? The Be SummerWise website features information on using energy wisely, available energy assistance and weatherization programs, and preparing for and surviving power outages. Or, check out our Beat the Heat and Save tip sheet. The U.S. Department of Energy also provides low-cost and no-cost tips to cut energy use.
Events, Programs or Services in the 48th House District
International Mud Day
- Saturday, June 30 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Bluebell Beach, 5500 North Bray Road, Genesee Township
What do you get when you mix 30 yards of dirt with 7,000 gallons of water? Mud, glorious mud! Wear something old, bring a towel and come prepared to slip, slide and wallow in our mud pit! Free for all ages and abilities; pre-registration not required. For more information, please visit the Genesee County Parks website or call (810) 736-7100.
- Saturday, June 30 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Clio Area Library, 2080 West Vienna Road in Clio
Meet Patrick Harrison (a.k.a., "Lord of the Gourd") who will astound you by carving melons and other summer fruits in the most amazing way. You won't believe the terrifying characters hiding inside a plain old watermelon. No registration necessary. Just observe, ask questions and watch the monsters emerge. For more information, please visit the Genesee District Library website or call (810) 686-7130.
For-Mar on the Road: Oops We Shrunk the Kids!
- Monday, July 2 from 11a.m. to noon Buell Lake County Park, Pavilion 1, 14098 North Genesee Road, Clio
- Thursday, July 5 from 2 to 3 p.m. Bluebell Beach, Pavilion 1, 5500 North Bray Road in Genesee Township
Children ages 3-6 will get down and dirty to look at the world through bugs eyes. Those ages 7-12 are also invited to see what the world is like for tiny insects: a blade of grass can be as gigantic as a skyscraper; a log could take hours to get over. Free; pre-registration not required. For more information, please visit the Genesee County Parks website or call (810) 736-7100.
Truck Farm: Food Year Round = Gardening Year Round
- Monday, July 2 from 2 to 3 p.m. For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum
- Tuesday, July 3 from 2 to 3 p.m. Bluebell Beach, Pavilion 1, 5500 North Bray Road in Genesee Township
Children ages 3-6 will investigate how greenhouses help us grow food all year, even in winter. Children ages 7-12 are asked: How do farmers grow lettuce even in the dead of winter? Join to learn what grows in greenhouses and how they work. Free for all abilities; pre-registration not required. For more information, please visit the Genesee County Parks website or call (810) 736-7100.
Coffee & Crochet
- Tuesday, July 3 from 6 to 7 p.m. Montrose-Jennings Library, 241 Feher Drive in Montrose
Drop in for some coffee and learn to crochet. You can learn a new stitch or bring your own project from home. Coffee, a crochet hook and a small ball of yarn will be provided. No registration necessary; teens and adults welcome. For more information, please visit the Genesee District Library website or call (810) 639-6388.
Independence Day is celebrated on the fourth day of July, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. In 1870, Independence Day was declared a federal holiday. In recognition of Independence Day, my office, as well as most federal, state, and local governmental offices, will be closed on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018. We hope you enjoy a safe holiday with friends and family, whether at home or a community event such as these:
July 4th Family Fun Day
- Wednesday, July 4 from 2 p.m. until dusk (after fireworks)
Clio City Park, 402 North Mill St. in Clio
The 4th of July Family Fun Day in the Clio City Park will be on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. A variety of family activities start at 2 p.m. and end with fireworks at dusk. Please visit the City of Clio website for more information.
Montrose Township Fireworks
- Wednesday, July 4 at duskBarber Park, 11410 Seymour Road in Montrose Township
The Montrose Patriots Club will host the July 4 fireworks show at Barber Memorial Park again this year. DJ Joe Crimi will be at the park early to start the festivities with some fun tunes. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early. For safety reasons, fireworks are not allowed in the park. The township will open up the field just east of the Flint River for overflow parking for the fireworks. For more information, please contact Montrose Township.
I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.
State Representative Pam Faris
48th House District
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