Dear Friend,

Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! Read on for legislative updates and things to do this month, along with other community information.

Rep. Faris Recognized as Michigan Health Policy Champion

This week, I was honored to accept the 2017 Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion award from the Michigan Public Health Week Partnership in recognition of my efforts to create sound policy and promote good health, particularly in response to the Flint water crisis. It was clear about three years ago that Flint’s water was dangerous. When the state and federal governments finally did act, they missed Flint water customers who lived outside the city. Because much work still must be completed before even the infrastructure damage is repaired, I will continue working hard to make sure everyone affected by the Flint water crisis has safe water and the ongoing support they will need.

Legionnaires’ Disease in Genesee County

“The Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) would like to remind residents of the risk of Legionnaires’ disease as temperatures begin to increase,” stated medical director Dr. Gary Johnson. Legionnaires’ disease is most common during warm weather. Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory infection characterized by the bacteria Legionella and can present as either Legionnaire’s disease or as a milder illness called Pontiac fever. Legionnaires’ symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle ache, headache, clinical pneumonia, and sometimes diarrhea and abdominal pain. Pontiac fever has similar symptoms but does not progress to pneumonia. Antibiotics are highly effective against Legionella bacteria. There have been two reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County for 2017.

Legionella bacteria are commonly found in the environment (rivers, lakes, streams). It is a waterborne disease, usually located in man-made water supplies that aerosolize water, such as cooling towers, hot water tanks, humidifiers, nebulizers, showers, hot tubs and decorative fountains. People get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria. The bacteria are not spread from one person to another person. One cannot become ill from swallowing water containing Legionella bacteria. However, people may be exposed to Legionella bacteria from water that “goes down the wrong pipe” (aspiration). Filtering water does not remove Legionella bacteria. People who have an increased risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease are those who are older (age > 50 years), smokers/former smokers, immunosuppressed, or who have other underlying chronic health conditions. For those who are at an increased risk, GCHD suggests the use of bottled water for drinking, cooking and brushing of teeth.

Proper maintenance and disinfection of hot water tanks, humidifiers, nebulizers, cooling towers, whirlpool spas and decorative fountains are the most effective measures in preventing outbreaks.

GCHD has worked closely with the local medical centers to provide information about Legionella bacteria and clinical guidance about Legionnaires’ disease infections. A Legionnaires’ disease fact sheet is posted on the GCHD website at GCHD continues to conduct surveillance for Legionnaires’ disease cases.

Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week

Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week is from April 16-22, 2017

Tornadoes are especially common during the late spring and early summer months but can occur during any time of the year. As one of nature’s most violent storms, tornadoes can devastate homes and property in just seconds. The average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10 to 15 minutes, which means residents, businesses and organizations need to be ready to react quickly when a warning is issued.

To be ready for a tornado:

  • Identify the lowest place to seek shelter and take cover during a tornado. If a basement does not exist, find an interior hallway away from windows, doors and outside walls
  • Find something sturdy — such as a workbench or stairwell — to get under when seeking shelter in the basement or a designated spot on evacuation maps located in each facility
  • Make sure you know where to go in all areas that you frequent and what to do in the event of a tornado
  • Stay tuned to commercial radio or television broadcasts for news on changing weather conditions or approaching storms. Know the difference:
    • A tornado watch means conditions exist for a tornado to develop
    • A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar

Be aware of the following signs that can indicate an approaching tornado:

  • Dark, often greenish sky
  • Large hail
  • A large, dark low-lying cloud
  • Loud roar, similar to a freight train

Residents are encouraged to develop a 72-hour emergency supply kit with essential items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a NOAA weather radio, important medications, critical documents and items that satisfy your unique needs. The Genesee County Health Department wants you to stay healthy and safe during severe weather. Visit its website at for more severe weather preparedness resources and information.

Severe Weather Awareness Week is sponsored by the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (MCSWA) to educate the public about the danger of tornadoes and other severe weather events, including the precautions that can be taken to save lives and protect families. The MCSWA was formed in 1991 to encourage Michigan residents to be prepared in the event of severe weather. To learn more about the committee, go to For more information about being safe before, during and after a tornado, go to Emergency preparedness information is also available at

Community Events

Make Your Own Bookmarks at Montrose-Jennings Library

Saturday, Apr 22, from 1 to 2 p.m.

Color and laminate a unique bookmark using your own design or one of our printed ones. Card stock paper, colored pencils and laminator will be provided. For more information, visit the Genesee District Library website.

Forest Township Senior Center Health Fair

Tuesday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come join us for the Health Fair and visit the many venders to see what they have to offer! Giveaways! Raffle Prizes!

Avian Adventure: Songbirds Return

Monday, May 1, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the E.A. Cummings Event Center

Warblers and many other songbirds have arrived back in Michigan. The Genesee Recreation Area is a great place to see them. Bring a pair of binoculars and our For-Mar Naturalist will lead you on a birding hike.  Free for families, all ages and abilities; pre-registration is not required.

Michigan Butterfly Network: Monitor Training (Part I)

Saturday, May 6, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum

Learn how you can be part of this statewide Citizen Science project to monitor and collect valuable information about Michigan Butterfly populations. Participants will be trained in butterfly identification, monitor protocol, implementation and data reporting. Part II is scheduled for Saturday, May 13 and you must attend both Part I and Part II to be part of the project. You’re still welcome if you can only attend one part, but you won’t be able to participate in the project. Free for all ages, suggested for children 12 and older, all abilities.

Pre-registration is required by 5/4/17[CO1] .

Hawk Hill Raptors at Davison Area Library

Saturday, May 6, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Get up close and personal with hawks, falcons, and owls in this live animal, birds of prey program.

Mother's Day Sugar Scrub at Montrose-Jennings Library

Wednesday, May 10, from 4 to 5 p.m.

Make a jar of sugar scrub to take home for yourself or to give on Mother's Day. 

Create a Pop-up Card at Forest Township Library

Thursday, May 11, from 6 to 7 p.m.

Forget store-bought cards. Make your own pop-up creation for Mother's Day or graduation. You'll also learn some cool money-folding techniques.

Genesee County Recycle Day

Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Items that can be recycled are:

  • Oil Based Paint & Solvents
  • Aerosols
  • Corrosives (Acids/Bases)
  • Pesticides / Herbicides
  • Reactives / Oxidizers
  • Automotive Fluids
  • Mercury (Elemental)
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Electronics – All Kinds
  • Old Prescriptions
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Tires – up to 7 (on/off the rim)
  • Appliances
  • Air Conditioners
  • Propane Cylinders (Up to 30 lbs each)
  • Batteries – Household & Auto

Please visit for more information.

“It is impossible to look upon the present situation of Michigan and not be impressed. It is destined soon to emerge as a great, rich state… the future of Michigan appears to be certain, defined, full of promise and expansion.” –Edward Tifflin, 1815

I hope you found this information useful. Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of any assistance.