Connect Communities to Improve BroadbandToday there are major differences between the availability, performance, and price of broadband in different parts of our state. This summer I have been working with a non-profit organization called Connect Michigan to bring providers and various community members together to increase access, adoption, and use of broadband right here in west Michigan.
Our communities have a unique opportunity to capitalize on workforce development resources that will help us overcome challenges to improve worker training, education, and help us create jobs. In order to accelerate the availability and use of technology, I brought together stakeholders groups from Oceana, Newaygo, and Muskegon counties earlier this year for an initial Connect Michigan kick-off meeting. Local providers shared their business plans and discussed ways that community members can help accelerate the expansion of services.
Since this initial meeting, I have organized validation testing in the northern areas of Muskegon County including Holton and Blue Lake Township. I met with local leaders to test internet speeds and have found that many speeds are slower than reported. By drilling down to the regional and local levels and organizing validation data, our local communities are able to facilitate community technology planning and encourage providers to invest.
Yesterday, I attended a meeting at the Fremont Area District Library to customize the local assessment process for Newaygo County. Tom Stephenson, Connect Michigan's Community Technology Advisor, shared information about the FCC's $100 million Rural Broadband Experiments program and how our communities can apply for these funds.
Connect Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan Public Service Commission, has engaged in comprehensive broadband planning and technology initiatives as part of a National effort to map and expand broadband. I look forward to continuing to work with Connect Michigan and each Community Planning Team in my district to address the specific broadband needs in our communities.
August 16 Health Screening EventOver the last three years, I've been working diligently to assist people within the 34th senate district in many capacities. Health and wellness challenges are critical issues facing our area.
Earlier this year, I was able to assist Health CARE and Hackley Community Care in Muskegon County with gaining a Health Care Innovation Grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health. This grant will allow preventative health screenings to be offered and assist people in maintaining conditions they may have.
Our area of the state ranks near the bottom of Michigan's health rankings. Unfortunately, a high percentage of the public lives with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, COPD and others. By being proactive in taking care of our health, the cost greatly decreases.
The first screening event of this grant will be held on Saturday, August 16th. It will be at the First Congregational Church in Muskegon as a part of their community breakfast hosted by area churches. Health Care volunteers will be doing blood pressure and diabetes screenings. They will also be doing referrals for medical follow-up and referrals for eligibility assistance. The morning will begin at 9:00am. They will continue based on the amount of people who attend.
The 4-H Busy Bee's, a youth outreach program through Health CARE, will provide special activities for kids. If you know of anyone who would benefit from attending this screening, please be sure to let them know.
Saturday, August 16th
First Congregational Church, Muskegon
Highlights from Senator Hansen's Recent ScheduleI continue to be honored to represent the constituents of the 34th district. I've had the opportunity to recently visit with many different groups and participate in various district events taking place in our communities.
Yesterday, I attended a dedication ceremony at the Silver Lake State Park for a new historical marker at the Little Point Sable Lighthouse, built in 1874. There are great volunteers in the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association who are working to preserve this beautiful piece of our community's legacy.
I always enjoy visiting the Muskegon Summer Evening Recreation Program at Muskegon High School. I recently got to talk with a lot of youth who love being able to play basketball, swim, and workout in the weight room. It's a great program for our community and helps keep our youth active during the summer.
I had so much fun last week as a Guest Chef for Eat Healthy Muskegon at the Muskegon Farmers Market. Their goal is to support our community's health and support our local food producers by teaching how to prepare simple, fresh, and healthy recipes. I helped make fruit salsa with farm fresh ingredients that we found around market. It was delicious!
Last week I helped deconstruct a home in the Silver Lake Area that is scheduled for demolition. We took out anything that was able to be resold at the Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity restore or sold for scrap. Thank you to all of the volunteers who worked really hard today!
Recently I was honored to be presented the Arthur Wunsch Advocacy Award from Newaygo County Mental Health. This award was created to recognize passion and dedication in the promotion of consumer involvement, empowerment, and the reduction of stigma for those who suffer with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness. I'm humbly honored, and feel truly blessed to work with such great community agencies.
Another exciting event took place in Fremont which included a press conference for the Gateway Project. The start of construction is very exciting especially because I've worked so hard with other local leaders to see this project to fruition. It's a creative solution to the changing demands for senior citizen affordable housing and it will restore the beauty of the old Fremont High School.
Last month, I visited another important job provider in Oceana County - Abre Farms in Walkerville. We toured their facility which hires between 80 and 250 people seasonally. They're currently finishing asparagus processing and will be switching to green beans, peas and cherries in the next few weeks. I love quality Michigan produce.
At my visit to McLaughlin Grows urban garden in Muskegon, I met with some of the students who help maintain the garden. They harvest what they grow and with the help of an experienced chef they prepare lunches for themselves and other summer school students. They enjoyed pasta with a pesto made from greens that came straight from the garden. It's a delicious learning experience.
Last month, I put my scuba skills to the test and went on a dive with Doug Harmon to clean up Crystal Lake in Fremont. As we all enjoy the water this summer, please remember to leave our Pure Michigan resources cleaner than when you arrived so we can all enjoy them for many years to come.
Senator Goeff Hansen's Boating and Fishing UpdateI am pleased to send along this report, including legislative news, license information, festival dates and more. I hope you find it useful as you and your family make lifelong memories in Michigan's great outdoors.
Pure Michigan Spring/Summer Travel Guide
Start planning your next Pure Michigan getaway with the new 2014 spring/summer travel guide today!
The 2014 Pure Michigan Travel Guide highlights fascinating sights to see, intriguing places to go and great activities to participate in throughout Michigan.
Senator Goeff Hansen