Another Smoking Ban Update

3 06 2008

I just read on MIRS News (I’m not going to link or copy their text here because it is a registration site) that there is a deal in the works for the smoking ban.  Sen. Bishop has said he will consider exempting the Detroit casinos and he will NOT sit on the bill.  He expects a vote after his caucus figures out what they want to do.


Ann Arbor to allow chickens in backyards

3 06 2008

How bad do you want fresh eggs?  In Ann Arbor, you’ll be able to actually keep chickens in your backyard.  No roosters.  Just hens.  I know most of you city folk are scratching your head right now wondering how you can get eggs without roosters.  Unlike mammals, eggs are fertilized AFTER the hen lays them, so no rooster is necessary to actually lay the eggs.  Rooster’s are not necessary to produce the egg.  They are necessary to produce a fertilized egg.  The eggs you buy at the store are usually unfertilized eggs.  The only place you would ever get fertizlized eggs would be a farm.

I don’t know if this is a good idea or not.  The ordinance will not allow the slaughter of the chicken and there’s no way for your chickens to reproduce so it would be a challenge to actually save money by raising chickens.  Most likely, you’re going to end up losing money.

Still, there are those in Ann Arbor who are excited

“I’d like my children to understand where food comes from. This is Ann Arbor, we’re different and we like it. We have dairies that deliver and community gardens. I’d would love to have this local food connection,” said Jennifer Hall.

Other comments during the public hearing that preceded the vote focused on the value of locally grown food and compatibility of backyard chickens with broader ideas about environmental sustainability.

Take your kids to a farm then.  I just can’t see why anyone would want to raise chickens in an urban environment.  Yes, the fresh eggs would be nice, but you’ll never be able to afford enough chickens to meet your demand.

Tim Horton’s Camp Day

3 06 2008

If you’re gonna buy a cup of coffee tomorrow (Wednesday, June 4), it may as well go towards a good cause.

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008, is a special day for Tim Hortons store owners, staff and customers. It’s Camp Day – the one day a year when every penny raised from coffee sales at participating Tim Hortons stores across Canada and the United States, will be donated to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.

What One Cup of Coffee Can Do

Every time a customer buys a coffee at Tim Hortons on Camp Day they will help send over 13,000 kids – who could otherwise not afford it – on the camping adventure of a lifetime. All children who attend the Foundation’s camp sessions are selected from within the communities where Tim Hortons stores are located. Tim Hortons store owners work closely with local youth organizations and schools to select appropriate children, between the ages of nine and 12, to attend a 10 day summer camp session or seven day winter camp session.

“Each year we are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support that we receive from our loyal customers and special guests on Camp Day,” says Bill Moir, President, Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. “Our customers like the fact that all they need to do to help deserving children is buy a cup of coffee. It’s what they already do every day – yet on Camp Day so many go above and beyond to show their support.”


Smoking Ban Bill Update

3 06 2008

HB 5074 has been transmitted to the Senate and today, it was referred to the Committee on Government Operations and Reform which is the same committee HB 4163 was referred to when it was sent to the Senate. 

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop discharged HB 4163 from committee for a vote on the floor.  At that time, the Senate ammended the bill to get rid of all exemptions.  At the time, Senator Bishop said he did not favor a smoking ban, but let the bill be called because that’s what the people wanted.  After passing the Senate, the House sat on the bill for a few days before calling a different bill, HB 5074 and using it as a vehicle bill.  They amended HB 5074 which was bill written to ban smoking in college dorms.  They struck all of that language and inserted the original language of HB 4163.  HB 5074 passed and was sent to the Senate.

How futile is this?  It took the Senate FIVE months to call HB 4163 then they changed it.  There’s only four weeks left in this session.  Does the House really think Sen. Bishop will allow another vote on the same bill they’ve already amended?  Currently, HB 4163 sits in the house.  They can still call this bill before the session ends and pass it without the exemptions.  HB 5074 sits in committee and will probably die there.  The Committee on Government Operations and Reform hasn’t met since November, so there won’t even be a committee vote on the issue.

The Detroit News ran a story this morning ont the debate.  There was one part in particular I had a problem with.

After Ohio voters approved a ban in 2006, bars in Toledo were hammered and many patrons flocked to bars just across the state line such as M.T. Loonies in southern Monroe County. Sales rose 20 percent to 30 percent and the crush of smokers prompted general manager Craig Herbster, 26, to hire six more workers.

 What about Cleveland?  What about Cincinatti?  What about Columbus?  The paper chose to pick one metro area close to a state that doesn’t ban smoking.  I’m not denying that people are doing that, but let’s look at Michigan’s case.  Obviously, people are not going to flock to Ohio to smoke because they can’t.  They can’t run to Canada.  There will be a small stretch near the Indiana border and a small stretch of the UP along the Wisconsin border that will have to deal with this for a little while. Michigan is in a unique situation that the borders of non-smoking states are relatively small.  There might be a tiny percentage of business leaving Michigan so they can smoke in a bar, but a percentage so small no one will even notice.

Eat Local!

3 06 2008

Want to eat local, but don’t know how?  I was looking through Runs With Spatula and found this link that she posted a couple months ago.  The site is called Lansing Area Localvores and they give lists of where to find local grown or produced products. Most of the products can be found at the East Lansing Co-Op, but there are other places you’ll need to go.  They encourage people to only eat food grown, raised, and produced within 100 miles of Lansing.  The website hasn’t been updated since late last year, but the list of businesses who stock local food should be pretty close to accurate.