Oakland Press: Farmers markets offer the best of Michigan’s bounty

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Michigan is one of the great agriculture states. We produce more than 300 different crops, including apples, tart cherries, blueberries, dry beans, asparagus, cucumbers, and many, many more. This makes Michigan second only to California in agricultural diversity.

In addition, the food and agriculture industry contributes more than $100 billion annually to the state’s economy. With 923,000 people employed in this industry or a directly related one, this sector of the economy accounts for about 22 percent of the state’s employment.

Producing these hundreds of commodities are Michigan’s thousands of farms, orchards and vineyards. And some of the best places to find your favorite produce is at one of hundreds of farmers markets across the state.

Farmers market season is in full swing, which means accessing the best of this fresh produce is now as simple as a short drive to your local market.

Oakland County is home to the Oakland County Farmers Market in Waterford, which is open year round on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In addition, there are at least 15 other markets being held this year in Oakland County with varied hours and offerings. Visit OaklandCountyMoms.com and search for “Oakland County Farmers Markets 2018” for more information.

This year, as in years past, there also will be three farmers markets at the Capitol, held on July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 20. Each year, nearly 100 vendors from all over the state travel to Lansing to attend these events. They bring a wide array of products, including all manner of produce, cheeses, baked goods, fish, soap, honey, cut flowers and more.

In addition to offering quality goods for sale, these markets showcase our state’s food and agricultural products to educate my colleagues and me on the importance of supporting farmers, ag-based businesses, and farmers markets.

Whether here in Oakland County, in northern Michigan or the U.P., at the Capitol in Lansing, or in numerous other locations across the state, there’s sure to be something for everyone in the family at a Michigan farmers market. Best of all, while you enjoy healthy, flavorful food and other products, you help Michigan growers and the local economy at the same time.

So this year, be sure to head to a farmers market near you!

This column appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

State report highlights forest health

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Thursday informed residents of a helpful source of information on the state’s forests.

The 2017 Forest Health Highlights report outlines current successes and challenges facing Michigan’s forest system, including efforts to stop invasive species.

“Michigan’s forest land is remarkably vast, covering nearly 20 million acres,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “This includes about four million acres of state forest managed by the Department of Natural Resources. Outstanding work is being done to preserve and protect our state’s forests, and you can read all about it in this report.”

Kowall said that recent efforts include work to stop invasive species such as the hemlock woolly adelgid, the battle against beech bark disease, and continued efforts to keep the maple-killing Asian Longhorned Beetle out of the state.

To access the 2017 Forest Health Highlights report and for more information, visit www.michigan.gov/foresthealth.

Reminder: Kowall to host event in Plymouth on Wednesday honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Monday reminded residents that he is sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony this Wednesday, July 25 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, is hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Plymouth to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. He encourages all interested residents and veterans to join him in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25 at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6695, 1426 S. Mill St., Plymouth.

The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled car show at the post. Kowall said no RSVP is required and to contact Vietnam veteran and VFW Post 6695 Commander Richard Adis at 734-737-9077 with any questions.

The senator will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Farmers markets offer the best of Michigan’s bounty

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Michigan is one of the great agriculture states. We produce more than 300 different crops, including apples, tart cherries, blueberries, dry beans, asparagus, cucumbers, and many, many more. This makes Michigan second only to California in agricultural diversity.

In addition, the food and agriculture industry contributes more than $100 billion annually to the state’s economy. With 923,000 people employed in this industry or a directly related one, this sector of the economy accounts for about 22 percent of the state’s employment.

Producing these hundreds of commodities are Michigan’s thousands of farms, orchards and vineyards. And some of the best places to find your favorite produce is at one of hundreds of farmers markets across the state.

Farmers market season is in full swing, which means accessing the best of this fresh produce is now as simple as a short drive to your local market.

Oakland County is home to the Oakland County Farmers Market in Waterford, which is open year round on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In addition, there are at least 15 other markets being held this year in Oakland County with varied hours and offerings. Visit OaklandCountyMoms.com and search for “Oakland County Farmers Markets 2018” for more information.

This year, as in years past, there also will be three farmers markets at the Capitol, held on July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 20. Each year, nearly 100 vendors from all over the state travel to Lansing to attend these events. They bring a wide array of products, including all manner of produce, cheeses, baked goods, fish, soap, honey, cut flowers and more.

In addition to offering quality goods for sale, these markets showcase our state’s food and agricultural products to educate my colleagues and me on the importance of supporting farmers, ag-based businesses, and farmers markets.

Whether here in Oakland County, in northern Michigan or the U.P., at the Capitol in Lansing, or in numerous other locations across the state, there’s sure to be something for everyone in the family at a Michigan farmers market. Best of all, while you enjoy healthy, flavorful food and other products, you help Michigan growers and the local economy at the same time.

So this year, be sure to head to a farmers market near you!

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Save the Date: Kowall announces Plymouth event honoring Vietnam era veterans

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Wednesday announced that he is sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Wednesday, July 25 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, is hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Plymouth to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. He encourages all interested residents and veterans to join him in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25 at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6695, 1426 S. Mill St., Plymouth.

The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled car show at the post. Kowall said no RSVP is required and to contact Vietnam veteran and VFW Post 6695 Commander Richard Adis at 734-737-9077 with any questions.

The senator will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” he said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

‘Roadmaps’ assist in Great Lakes fishing

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Tuesday reminded area residents of valuable resources to guide them when they go fishing.

“Many Michigan anglers have favorite fishing spots on one of the state’s beautiful inland lakes or rivers, but would also love to fish the Great Lakes,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “Thankfully, there are online guides that can help them in their efforts.”

Kowall said that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has developed four “roadmaps” that serve as starting points to provide new or experienced anglers with information on many Great Lakes fishing sites and times of the year when great opportunities exist.

The roadmaps focus on fishing four of Michigan’s Great Lakes — Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior — as well as the St. Clair system.

“When you want to fish one of the big lakes but you aren’t sure when or where to fish, the roadmaps are invaluable,” Kowall said. “They will tell you the best times to head out for your favorite fish, and where to go.”

Each fishing roadmap was developed with the expertise of the DNR Fisheries Division staff.

Visit www.michigan.gov/fishing and click on the link to Roadmaps to Fishing Michigan’s Great Lakes to discover new fishing opportunities this summer.

Oakland Press: Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week reminds us to be diligent

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Here in Michigan, we are blessed with a superabundance of lakes, rivers and streams, and now that summer is here, many of us have already been out boating, fishing and swimming in them.

As we enjoy our time on the water, it is important to remember that Michigan still faces serious threats to our waters that could devastate our natural resources and economy.

Aquatic invasive species present a significant risk to the ecosystem and overall health of the Great Lakes. As more and more invasions have been tracked in the region, it has become apparent that unless sweeping measures are taken, the health of the basin, its habitat and the fishery will continue to decline.

The first week of July has been designated Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week. This week is a time to remind everyone of the critical role they can play in the fight against aquatic invasive species.

Residents are encouraged to increase their understanding and awareness of aquatic invasive species and their ecological and economic impacts, and to take preventative measures to help stop the spread and introduction of these species in Michigan.

An invasive species is one that is not native to an area and whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

A few years ago, I was the lead sponsor of a package of bills, now law, that addressed continued threats posed by the illegal introduction, possession, use, transfer or sale of prohibited aquatic invasive species.

That law has increased the fines for the illegal possession of aquatic invasive species; allows for the seizure of all equipment used in the introduction, possession and sale of these species; allows for the suspension of related commercial licenses; and suspends the responsible party’s right to fish and hunt in Michigan.

More than 180 nonindigenous aquatic invasive species have been introduced to the Great Lakes, many of which are displacing native species, disrupting habitats, and degrading natural, managed and agricultural landscapes.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has reported that the invasive species bighead and silver carp are spreading to lakes, rivers and streams in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes region. They are not yet established here but are well-suited to the climate of the region.

Biologists expect that if these carp establish themselves, they will significantly disrupt the food chain that supports the native fish of the Great Lakes, diminish fishing opportunities and reduce the desire for recreational boating activities in areas inhabited by these fish.

We must remember that we are the first line of defense in preventing the accidental spreading of invasive species. If we’re boating or fishing, we can take a few proactive steps to avoid accidentally spreading invasive species, such as washing boats and trailers before leaving access areas and drying boats and equipment for at least five days before launching them into a different body of water.

We all treasure the beauty of Pure Michigan. May we do all we can to keep it beautiful.

For more information about aquatic invasive species, visit www.michigan.gov/Invasives.

This column appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Kowall encourages a safe and happy Fourth of July

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Monday wished area residents a happy and safe Fourth of July.

“Independence Day is one of the great American holidays,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “On this day we celebrate our freedom and we remember what it cost our forebears to secure it for us.”

Kowall encouraged residents to participate in Fourth of July activities, such as their local parades and picnics. He also reminded them of other traditions.

“One popular tradition is for communities and volunteers to place American flags on the graves of veterans as a tribute to our fallen heroes and in remembrance of the true cost of freedom,” Kowall said. “I encourage everyone to join with their community and celebrate the liberty we hold dear.”

Kowall also stressed the importance of safety during Fourth of July celebrations.

“Whether you are celebrating at a picnic or parade, on a river or a lake, or enjoying a big fireworks display or your own fireworks, safety should be your first priority,” Kowall said. “If you are out in the summer sun and heat, make sure to apply sunscreen — especially on children — and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.”

The lawmaker said if you are using your own fireworks, you should obey all local laws regarding their use.

“Always use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles,” he said. “Keep a bucket of water nearby, and do not experiment with homemade fireworks.”

These tips and others can be found at FireworksSafety.org.