The Midwest Report – Monday, June 24, 2013

The Midwest Report is a daily news-roundup dedicated exclusively to the American Midwest.


1)   Michigan – Story One

Kids Count report: Michigan ranks last in Great Lakes states for child well-being,” written by Jonathan Oosting for MLive, and published on 06/24/13.

“One in four Michigan children — 560,000 kids — lived in poverty in 2011, and Michigan continues to struggle on several other measurements of child well-being, according to the result of a new national analysis released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The annual Kids Count report ranked Michigan 31st out of 50 states in overall child well-being in 2013, up one spot from last year but still the lowest ranking among all Great Lakes states.

The report should serve as a ‘red flag’ to legislators and other decision-makers in Michigan, according to Gilda Z. Jacobs, a former state lawmaker who now heads up the Michigan League for Public Policy, which provided local data for the Kids Count report.

‘Kids who grow up in poverty end up as adults in poverty,’ she said. ‘We really need to make significant investments in these kids if we want them to be able to have good jobs and become contributing members of society.’”

2)   Michigan – Story Two

Michigan House Democrats unveil gay marriage bills,” written by Paul Egan for Detroit Free Press, and published on 06/24/13.

“Michigan House Democrats today announced a package of gay marriage measures and said they timed the move to coincide with rulings expected this week on two related cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

One bill is a joint resolution that would amend Michigan’s constitution to allow gay marriage after it was banned in 2004 as a result of a voter initiative. A second bill would allow gay marriages formalized in other states to be recognized in Michigan.

A third bill amends Michigan’s marriage laws authorizing who may marry and a fourth measure is a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Similar bills were earlier introduced by Democrats in the Senate. The Legislature is currently on its summer recess.”

3)   Minnesota, Iowa

Gay wedding tourism? Midwest states vie for economy boost,” written by Catherine Lucey for the Associated Press, and published on 06/24/13.

“During four years as the only Midwestern state to offer same-sex marriage, Iowa has seen thousands of couples travel to the heartland for wedding celebrations that pumped millions of dollars into the state economy.

But Iowa will get some competition in the cake and champagne industry when a Minnesota law legalizing gay marriage goes into effect on Aug. 1. Some Minnesota officials are already rolling out the red carpet for gay couples in other states.

‘Weddings are a good business. That’s an exciting part of it,’ St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said. ‘We’re really seeing this as an opportunity to not only do right by the community, but the economic (benefit as well).’”

4)   Iowa, Nebraska

In Nebraska, Iowa, no immediate impact from affirmative action ruling,” written by Leslie Reed for the World-Herald Bureau, and published on 06/24/13.

“Higher education officials in Nebraska and Iowa, like their counterparts across the nation, will have to wait for a final decision on the fate of affirmative action in the college admissions process. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court returned to the lower courts a case challenging the University of Texas’ use of race as a factor in some admissions decisions.

In a 7-1 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the lower court gave the University of Texas too much deference in its ruling. The university should be required to show there are no available workable race-neutral alternatives to its policy, he wrote. The Texas lawsuit was filed by Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to the University of Texas in 2008.

Though both Nebraska and Iowa had filed ‘friend of the court’ briefs supporting the University of Texas position in the case, higher education officials in both states said the ultimate decision probably will have little direct impact on how students are chosen for admission to public universities in the Midlands.

‘It won’t impact us immediately, but there are always residual effects,’ said Georgina Dodge, chief diversity office and associate vice president at the University of Iowa.”

5)   South Dakota

“‘We are all … South Dakotans’,” written by Candy DenOuden for The Daily Republic, and published on 06/24/13.

“How do you describe a South Dakotan? Resourceful. Patriotic. Friendly. Adventurous. Resilient. Conservative. All those words and more were used by a group of area residents who gathered Saturday afternoon at the Dakota Discovery Museum for the ‘What makes a South Dakotan?’ conversational forum. Jean Patrick, local author and speaker, facilitated the event, which centered around the 40th anniversary edition of ‘What Makes a South Dakotan?’ a book released in 2012 by the South Dakota Humanities Council.

The book contains stories by South Dakotans about the people, places and culture of their home state. In response to the book, the SD Humanities Council plans to host 20 of the “community conversations” around the state…

‘This is just a time to get together, to talk, to think, to interact,’ Patrick said. ‘We are all, in one way or another, South Dakotans.’”

6)    North Dakota

Rural physician shortage will grow in ND,” written by Charly Haley for the Forum News Service, and published on 06/24/13.

“There’s already a shortage of physicians in rural areas of North Dakota. For example, Sanford Health in Jamestown has had a family practice physician position open for nearly a year, and hasn’t even had candidates to interview, said Jon Lillejord, director of Jamestown’s Sanford clinics.

And when the federal Affordable Care Act goes into full effect Jan. 1, the health care professional shortage around the U.S., including North Dakota, could get worse as more patients become eligible for care.

‘It will have an impact, but we’re not quite sure how much,’ Lillejord said. ‘It’s going to be a concern as we head forward.”

Compiled by Corey McLaughlin for Common Culture: Midwest and The Big Slice.


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Author: The Blue Route

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