Senate approves Zorn county infirmary bill

LANSING, Mich. — Monroe County would be given oversight of its county infirmary under legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn and approved by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.

“This reform would provide for greater local control and involvement in the operations of county infirmaries, including one in Monroe County,” said Zorn. R-Ida. “By giving the county board of commissioners the direct oversight of an infirmary in their county, we can give them the ability to ensure the facility is providing important and effective services to the people of their community.”

Senate Bill 569 would transfer the oversight of county infirmaries in Monroe and Midland counties from the state to the county board of commissioners in which the infirmary is located.

In Monroe County, the infirmary is the Fairview County Home, which provides shelter, food and medical care to chronically homeless residents with disabilities and has been in operation since 1878.

The bill is supported by the Michigan Association of Counties and has been sent to the House of the Representatives for further consideration.

###

Zorn, battlefield park officials highlight funding for new education center in state budget

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, Rep. Joe Bellino and River Raisin National Battlefield Park officials on Friday outlined the learning center that will be completed thanks to funding included in the fiscal year 2022 state budget.

“As a longtime supporter of applied learning, I have worked hard for four years to secure funding for this integrative center,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Once completed, the center will transform this national battlefield facility, help us preserve our history, and attract tourists to our region.

“Michigan State University projects the new education center will attract more than 600,000 visitors and serve over 100,000 K-12 students every year once it’s open.”

The new state budget includes $2 million to create 15,000 square feet of exhibits and facility modifications needed to open the River Raisin Great Lakes History and STEM Education Center, which was designed in partnership with Michigan educators.

“The National Park Service is grateful for the incredible partnership we have with the state of Michigan and for all of the work and support the state continues to provide through the leadership of Sen. Zorn, Rep. Bellino and many others,” said Scott Bentley, superintendent of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park. “The funding provided through this appropriation will advance the educational partnerships the battlefield has with Michigan schools by bringing alive the interactive exhibit concepts teachers have developed over the past eight years.”

Doug Chaffin, chairman of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park Foundation, outlined the foundation’s commitment to the park and its missions of historical preservation and education.

The goal of the center is to engage students and unpack the complex history that led to the War of 1812 in the Great Lakes, the formation of Michigan as a state, and the influence the battles had on U.S. policy.

“This is a great day for Monroe, and I look forward to seeing the center fully open and serving the public,” Zorn said.

###

Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Photowire.

Photo caption: Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, outlines the River Raisin Great Lakes History and STEM Education Center that will be completed thanks to $2 million in funding included in the fiscal year 2022 state budget. The funds will help cover 15,000 square feet of exhibits and facility modifications needed to open the integrative learning center, which was designed in partnership with Michigan educators.

**Media Advisory** Sen. Zorn, River Raisin National Battlefield Park officials to detail new education center funding

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn and River Raisin National Battlefield Park officials will hold a press conference on Friday, Oct. 1 to outline state funding approved in the newly signed state budget for a new education center at the park.

Who:
Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida;
Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe;
Scott Bentley, superintendent of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park; and
Doug Chaffin, chairman of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park Foundation.

What:
A press conference to outline the River Raisin Great Lakes History and STEM Education Center that will be completed thanks to $2 million in funding included in the fiscal year 2022 state budget signed by the governor on Wednesday.

When:
Friday, Oct. 1 at 10 a.m.

Where:
River Raisin National Battlefield Park Visitor Center
333 N. Dixie Highway
Monroe

Brief:
River Raisin National Battlefield Park preserves, commemorates and interprets the January 1813 battles of the War of 1812 and their aftermath in Monroe County. The second battle resulted in the greatest victory for Tecumseh’s American Indian confederation and the greatest defeat for the U.S. The resulting rally cry “Remember the Raisin” spurred support for the rest of the war.

Zorn has been working on securing funding for four years to build the education center, which has been designed in partnership with Michigan educators to engage students and use social and emotional learning to unpack the complex history that led to the War of 1812 in the Great Lakes, the formation of Michigan as a state, and the influence of the River Raisin battles on the formation and implementation of U.S. policy.

###

Zorn applauds grant for Morenci water infrastructure project

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday applauded the city of Morenci for earning a state grant to make water and sewer infrastructure improvements.

“Clean and efficient water and sanitation infrastructure are critical to maintaining healthy communities and helping them attract new investment and opportunities,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I applaud the local leaders in Morenci for working together with state officials to earn this grant to make these important updates and keeping their water clean and safe for area families.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) awarded Morenci a $2 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to reconstruct water and sanitary sewer mains, resurface three streets, and complete a rebuild of a lift station and iron removal filter system.

The grant requires a $478,452 local match from the city.

Morenci was one of 11 communities around Michigan to earn the funding, which is designed to support low- and moderate- income communities in making necessary improvements or upgrades to their existing public infrastructure related to water, sewer and wastewater systems.

In addition, MSF approved up to $550,000 in CDBG funds to provide administrative services to assist the communities with the compliance and administrative requirements of the awards.

###

Zorn secures local battlefield funding in 2022 state budget

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday voted to approve a balanced fiscal year 2022 budget that puts a priority on improving the lives of all Michigan families and features funding for improvements to the River Raisin battlefield.

“This budget focuses on getting people back to work, supporting our direct care workers, fixing local bridges, reducing debt and keeping our communities safe — all without raising taxes,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Along with making key investments to help people and job providers recover and build a stronger future in our state, this budget includes funding to directly enhance the lives of families in Monroe and Lenawee counties.”

The Senate approved Senate Bill 82, which is a general omnibus budget that includes $2 million for River Raisin National Battlefield Park enhancements, $3.5 million for an east-west connection tunnel in Adrian, $2.9 million for increased staff at the Monroe County Maintenance Facility to perform road maintenance, $300,000 for traffic safety during Michigan International Speedway race weekends, and $25 million for a pilot program in the western Lake Erie basin to increase the participation of agricultural lands using best management practices for water quality.

“I have been working on securing the needed funding for the battlefield for four years, and it is great to see this investment finally being made,” Zorn said. “Improving the water quality in Lake Erie and ensuring the roads are safe in the winter are also critical to the people in our region.”

SB 82 also features:
• $1.4 billion to lower rates and recruit more childcare workers,
• $190 million to repair or replace local bridges,
• $414.5 million to permanently increase wages for direct care workers,
• $95 million for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect training programs,
• $40 million for the Pure Michigan tourism campaign, and
• $33 million to train new state police troopers and corrections officers.

The plan also deposits $500 million in the state’s rainy-day fund and $150 million in the unemployment trust fund to increase its solvency due to fraudulent benefit payments.

On Wednesday, the Senate is also expected to approve House Bill 4400, which includes increases for community colleges and public universities and $86 million to reduce university MPSERS obligations — which would build on the $140 million in the already signed K-12 budget to reduce school unfunded liabilities.

SB 82 and HB 4400 complete the 2022 state budget that began with the signing of the K-12 budget in July, which provided a record level of state school funding for the current school year and boosted every school district’s foundation allowance up to at least $8,700 per student.

###

Senate approves Zorn railroad crossing safety reform

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation aimed at improving safety and traffic flow at rail crossings in Michigan.

“This is about protecting Michigan drivers as more businesses and manufacturers look at using trains to efficiently transport their products and materials,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “While using trains more can help reduce the wear and tear on our roads, it also can mean more frequent train crossings and longer delays caused by trains blocking roadways.

“This new program would help local governments and the railroad industry work together to enhance safety at railroad crossings, which could drastically reduce or virtually eliminate the chance of a deadly train-vehicle collision and improve emergency response times.”

Senate Bill 425 would create a new Local Grade Separation Grant Program to provide state matching funds for local governments and the rail industry to transform a local roadway crossing so that road traffic would travel either over or under the railroad. The program would also consider projects that improve traffic at the rail crossing without a full grade separation. SB 427 would create the Local Grade Separation Fund to reserve funds for these projects.

Michigan has over 4,000 rail crossings with public highways within the state, and in 2020, was ranked the 15th worst in the nation for the total number of collisions, injuries, and fatalities at highway-rail crossings.

In July, the Senate approved SB 529, a $1.6 billion transportation infrastructure funding plan that would use $126 million in federal recovery funds to improve safety at several intersections between railways and roadways.

###

Senate adopts Zorn resolution urging support for Cuban people’s fight against communism

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday adopted Sen. Dale Zorn’s resolution declaring support for the people of Cuba in their fight against that nation’s communist regime and urging the U.S. government and the Biden Administration to take action to protect the basic human rights of the Cuban people.

“Earlier this summer, the world saw the Cuban people courageously protesting a brutal Communist regime and demanding free and fair elections and personal liberty,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “The failed policies of Fidel and Raúl Castro have continued under President Díaz-Canel and have furthered decades of economic and personal repression.

“The people of Cuba are standing up for freedom and self-determination. This resolution is a statement that we support their fight, and we urge President Biden to do everything possible to stand with the Cuban people.”

Senate Resolution 78 says, “the people of Michigan support the right of the people of Cuba to peacefully protest to secure basic civil liberties and stand with the people of Cuba in support of their quest for democracy, liberty, and freedom.”

It also says “without democracy and free elections, the welfare of the Cuban people will continue to be structurally burdened and protests will continue. As the Communist regime continues to deprive the people of Cuba of peaceful means to improve their lives, everyday Cubans will continue to risk their lives and well-being to protest openly to demand immediate change.”

Copies of SR 78 will be sent to President Biden, the speaker of the U.S. House, the president of the U.S. Senate, and members of the Michigan Congressional delegation.

###

Sen. Zorn applauds crowdfunding effort for Milan town square project

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday said area families can help support the creation of a new town square and all-season gathering space in downtown Milan through a new crowdfunding campaign.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and local nonprofit Moving Milan Forward recently announced the campaign, which is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

Crowdfunding is the practice of raising funds for a project through small donations from a large number of people, typically via the internet.

“The proposed new town square would be a vibrant place for families to gather in downtown Milan and would help attract more people and opportunities to the community,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I applaud Moving Milan Forward and state officials for their hard work on this improvement project, and I want to remind local residents that they have about two months to help make it a reality.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by Oct. 24, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. Residents can visit www.patronicity.com/tolansquare for project details and to donate.

The proposed town square would be on one level with six large planters to provide plenty of greenery. The project would also make several important improvements to add to the space and make it more available for all seasons and times, including adding streetlights, electric lines for events, gas lines for two future fire pits during winter, sprinkler lines and stormwater lines under Tolan Square to keep the space dry.

The Public Spaces Community Places program is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from the MEDC.

###

Zorn applauds state local road work grants in Lenawee County

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday applauded Morenci and Cement City for being awarded small-town road funding grants for 2022 from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“Improving our local roads is vital to supporting family businesses and attracting new talent and job creators,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Many small towns simply don’t have the resources to keep up with deteriorating roads, and I supported the creation of this initiative in 2018 to help fund road projects in our small communities. These grants will help Morenci and Cement City improve road safety in their communities.”

The Transportation Economic Development Fund Category B, known as the Community Service Infrastructure Fund program, has awarded $3.73 million in grants to 25 cities and villages with populations of up to 10,000 people for road improvements in 2022.

The village of Cement City has been awarded a $59,069 grant toward a $118,137 project to resurface Perrin Street and Potter Street both from Lewis Road to Jackson Street.

The city of Morenci will receive a $151,208 grant toward a $302,415 project to apply a chip seal and a fog seal to Walnut Court, Lincoln Street, Clark Street, Lincoln Street, Wakefield Drive, Lincoln Street, Chestnut Street, Clark Street, Stephenson Street, Coomer Street and Page Street.

Successful projects were selected, in part, because they are paired with planned infrastructure work, coordinated with other road agencies, focused on extending the useful life of the road, and lacked other funding sources. For more information about the program, visit www.Michigan.gov/TEDF and click on “Category B – Villages and Small Cities.”

###

Senate resolution urges support for Cuban people’s fight against communism

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has introduced a Senate resolution declaring support for the people of Cuba in their fight against that nation’s communist regime and urging the U.S. government and the Biden Administration to take action to protect the basic human rights of the Cuban people.

“Cuban President Díaz-Canel has continued the failed policies of Fidel and Raúl Castro — resulting in an economic crisis and systematic repression of the Cuban people,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “As Americans we understand the value of freedom and self-determination. We are seeing the Cuban people courageously protesting the brutal Communist regime and demanding free and fair elections and personal liberty. We support their fight and urge President Biden to do everything our government can to protect them.”

Senate Resolution 78 says, “the people of Michigan support the right of the people of Cuba to peacefully protest to secure basic civil liberties and stand with the people of Cuba in support of their quest for democracy, liberty, and freedom.”

It also says that “without democracy and free elections, the welfare of the Cuban people will continue to be structurally burdened and protests will continue. As the Communist regime continues to deprive the people of Cuba of peaceful means to improve their lives, everyday Cubans will continue to risk their lives and well-being to protest openly to demand immediate change.”

Zorn said, “The Cuban people are standing up for freedom now and for future generations, and the U.S. should be standing with them.”

If adopted by the Senate, copies of SR 78 will be sent to President Biden, the speaker of the U.S. House, the president of the U.S. Senate, and members of the Michigan Congressional delegation.

###