Reminder: Holly event on Saturday to honor Vietnam era veterans

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, in conjunction with the Holly Moose Lodge 1168, the Agent Orange Justice Association, and special guest Congressman Mike Bishop, reminded residents on Wednesday that a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony will be held this Saturday, Oct. 20 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, said the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Holly will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. He encourages all interested residents and veterans to join his representative at the event, Director of District and Veteran Affairs Lynn O’Brien, in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

The senator said the event, made possible by the Holly Moose Lodge 1168, the Agent Orange Justice Association and the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Holly Moose Lodge 1168, 210 S. Broad St., Holly.

Contact Gregory Nealis at waynewn6@gmail.com or 248-904-3500 with any questions.

O’Brien 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.

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

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and the Holly Moose Lodge 1168, in conjunction with the Agent Orange Justice Association, on Tuesday announced that a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, said the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Holly will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. He encourages all interested residents and veterans to join his representative at the event, Director of District and Veteran Affairs Lynn O’Brien, in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

The event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Holly Moose Lodge 1168, 210 S. Broad St., Holly.

Kowall said to contact Gregory Nealis at waynewn6@gmail.com or 248-904-3500 with any questions.

O’Brien 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.

Kowall encourages members of all wars/conflicts to attend in support of the Vietnam Veterans receiving a lapel pin. 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.”

U.S. Army and Vietnam veteran Joe Mishler will be the master of ceremonies and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5587 Color Guard will post the colors. The guest speaker will be Lori Weber, member of the Children of Vietnam Veteran Health Alliance.

In addition, Joanna Lauren, daughter of a Vietnam era veteran, will perform the national anthem and lead attendees in a God Bless America singalong; entertainment will be provided by Michibillys Band; and the Holly Moose Lodge will provide a light lunch for attendees.

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 VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

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

Oakland Press: Autumn in Michigan showcases state’s stunning natural beauty

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

There’s a crispness in the air, the leaves are starting to turn brilliant colors, and you’ve retrieved your sweaters from storage.

Yes, autumn has arrived in Michigan.

The end of summer and the beginning of fall bring unique delights to Michiganders.

These include fall color tours along one of the state’s scenic byways, biking or hiking through the great outdoors, and plenty more.

Fortunately, for those looking for ways to enjoy the spectacular Michigan autumn, there are many resources to guide you.

You can visit www.michigan.org for help planning a trip to several locations in the state, from Copper Harbor at the tip of the Upper Peninsula; down to 200 miles of beach towns along Lake Michigan, starting at St. Joseph and Benton Harbor in Southwest Michigan; and plenty of locations in between.

The site includes details on places to stay, restaurants, and upcoming events, as well as a link to the 2018 Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guide, a superb travel publication highlighting spectacular sights to see and exciting places to go. The guide features articles on fall color drives, hiking adventures, family getaways, golfing, top-rated mountain bike trails and the state’s apple season.

The guide also features comprehensive information on our state parks, including details on amenities, campsites and available activities at each location.

Residents can download a free, universally accessible digital version of the guide or order a printed copy at www.michigan.org/travel-guide.

Travelers can access the interactive guide from their desktop and laptop computers as well as smartphones and tablets.

Michiganders are blessed with an abundance of natural resources. From the Great Lakes and our inland lakes; to our rivers and streams and thousands of miles of shoreline; to our sand dunes, forests, and wetlands — our great outdoors offer a spectacular array of opportunities for adventure.

In the fall, our state’s stunning natural beauty is magnified. This season, get out and enjoy Pure Michigan at its best!

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 presents certificates to State Fair scholarship winners

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, (center, red tie) and Rep. Jim Runestad R-White Lake (center, red-and-white tie) on Thursday presented certificates of appreciation to Michigan State Fair Urban and Rural Youth Scholarship winners.

Judging for the scholarships ran during the Michigan State Fair throughout Labor Day week. The certificates of appreciation were signed by Kowall, state Rep. Kathy Crawford, Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

The Michigan State Fair Urban and Rural Scholarship recognizes young people who are making a difference in cities, towns and villages by clearing, planting and harvesting garden space for their families and neighborhoods. More than 60 participants received scholarships this year.

The original Michigan State Fair debuted in Detroit in 1849 and was one of the first statewide fair events to take place in the country. It moved to its permanent home at the fairgrounds on Woodward Avenue in 1905 and was staged there until 2009, when it was discontinued due to ongoing budget issues.

In 2012, Blair Bowman brought back the Michigan State Fair, this time to Novi. Ram Truck is the major sponsor.

Note: For a print-quality version of this or other Kowall photos, click the image or select Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Spinal Column: Autumn in Michigan showcases state’s stunning natural beauty

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

There’s a crispness in the air, the leaves are starting to turn brilliant colors, and you’ve retrieved your sweaters from storage.

Yes, autumn has arrived in Michigan.

The end of summer and the beginning of fall bring unique delights to Michiganders.

These include fall color tours along one of the state’s scenic byways, biking or hiking through the great outdoors, and plenty more.

Fortunately, for those looking for ways to enjoy the spectacular Michigan autumn, there are many resources to guide you.

You can visit www.michigan.org for help planning a trip to several locations in the state, from Copper Harbor at the tip of the Upper Peninsula; down to 200 miles of beach towns along Lake Michigan, starting at St. Joseph and Benton Harbor in Southwest Michigan; and plenty of locations in between.

The site includes details on places to stay, restaurants, and upcoming events, as well as a link to the 2018 Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guide, a superb travel publication highlighting spectacular sights to see and exciting places to go. The guide features articles on fall color drives, hiking adventures, family getaways, golfing, top-rated mountain bike trails and the state’s apple season.

The guide also features comprehensive information on our state parks, including details on amenities, campsites and available activities at each location.

Residents can download a free, universally accessible digital version of the guide or order a printed copy at www.michigan.org/travel-guide.

Travelers can access the interactive guide from their desktop and laptop computers as well as smartphones and tablets.

Michiganders are blessed with an abundance of natural resources. From the Great Lakes and our inland lakes; to our rivers and streams and thousands of miles of shoreline; to our sand dunes, forests, and wetlands — our great outdoors offer a spectacular array of opportunities for adventure.

In the fall, our state’s stunning natural beauty is magnified. This season, get out and enjoy Pure Michigan at its best!

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.

Statewide program helps beautify highways

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Tuesday said that Michigan’s highway roadsides are set to be spruced up beginning this weekend.

Starting this Saturday, Sept. 22 and running through Sunday, Sept. 30, volunteer groups will remove litter and trash as part of the final 2018 Adopt-A-Highway pickup.

“The Adopt-A-Highway program enlists volunteer crews to collect debris three times a year to help keep the state’s highway roadsides clean, attractive and safe,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “Since 1990, these volunteers have collected more than one million bags of trash! The program has been a remarkable success.”

Adopt-A-Highway participants adopt both sides of a section of state highway roadside to clean up for at least a two-year period. A minimum two-mile stretch of roadway is recommended.

All types of state highways may be adopted, including two-lane roads, limited access highways, boulevards and business routes.

“About 2,800 groups clean 6,300 miles of highway each year, and sections of highway are still available to adopt,” Kowall said. “This is a great opportunity for scout troops, church groups, small and large businesses, service organizations and others. I encourage everyone to consider joining.”

Kowall said those who are interested in more information about the Adopt-A-Highway program should visit www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

Kowall: School safety grant applications due this week

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall reminded school officials on Monday that applications for school safety grants are due by noon this Thursday, Sept. 13.

“With school districts across the state increasing their focus on school safety, the Legislature provided $25 million in the fiscal year 2018 budget,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “This grant money can go a long way toward helping schools provide a safe and secure learning environment for their students.”

Application materials for the grants can be found on the Grants and Community Service Division website of the Michigan State Police, at www.michigan.gov/cjgrants. The grants will be awarded by Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Kowall said that as part of the application, MSP requires signed certification that schools have a complete and updated emergency operations plan with signoff from the school, law enforcement, and the local emergency management coordinator.

Kowall applauds $1.1M business development grant

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall announced on Tuesday that the Michigan Strategic Fund has awarded a $1.1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to KPIT Infosystems, Inc. of Novi for a company expansion project.

“This is wonderful news not only for KPIT Infosystems, but for the city of Novi as well,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “KPIT is a leading global product engineering and solutions organization focused on the auto industry, and this project will benefit many in the community.”

With global delivery centers in India, Germany, China and the United States, KPIT develops building systems and software solutions in the areas of powertrain, alternate fuel technologies and electrification, infotainment, connectivity and telematics, and autonomous driving and vehicle systems.

The company plans to grow its Michigan presence by expanding at its current facility in Novi and later leasing a larger facility nearby. The project will generate a total capital investment of $2.8 million and create 171 high-paying, high-tech jobs.

“I was delighted when I heard that KPIT chose to expand in Novi rather than at a competing site in Indiana,” Kowall said.

The lawmaker said the city of Novi has offered staff time to support the company in its recruiting efforts.

Oakland Press: Begin to save wisely during College Savings Month

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

If you’re like most parents, you are at the same time a little sad yet also excited that school will be back in session in just a couple of weeks. Summertime is wonderful, but it’s good for children to get back into the schoolyear routine.

At this time of year many parents also begin to look down the road a ways, and they wonder where their young students will go to college — and how it will be paid for.

That’s a good thing, because even if your children are very young, it’s never too early to start thinking about saving for college.

Now is a great time to do so, because September has been designated College Savings Month.

There is good reason to start your educational savings earlier, rather than later. College is expensive, and the costs seem to constantly be rising. The longer you wait to save, the more difficult it becomes.

The average annual in-state college tuition in Michigan was $13,988 for the 2016-2017 academic year, placing Michigan as the 24th most expensive state for the cost of tuition.

That’s nearly $56,000 in tuition costs to earn a bachelor’s degree — assuming the student takes only four years to complete it.

Traditional student loans end up costing much more, of course, as high interest rates are tacked on to the cost of schooling.

Valuable savings tools to consider during College Savings Month are 529 plans. These plans help families set aside money now for college expenses in the future, like tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other fees or expenses.

Michigan offers two 529 plans: The Michigan Educational Savings Program and the Michigan Education Trust.

The MESP is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan that helps families and individuals plan for the cost of higher education. A 529 college savings plan helps you save more over time. Any earnings grow free from federal tax, and withdrawals are tax-free at both the federal and state level when used for qualified higher education expenses.

The MESP enables parents, grandparents, family, friends, students and even employers to help families prepare their children for college.

The MET is the state’s prepaid 529 plan, which enables you to buy college credit hours at current rates and avoid the inflated costs of future tuition. You can get your child started on an MET plan for as low as $14 a month.

For more information on the Michigan Educational Savings Program, visit www.misaves.com. The site includes a free college savings planning calculator at www.misaves.com/tools/calculator to help get you started.

For more information on the Michigan Education Trust, visit www.michigan.gov/setwithmet.

Take some time during College Savings Month to research these programs and find a plan that works for your family!

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.

Spinal Column: Begin to save wisely during College Savings Month

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

If you’re like most parents, you are at the same time a little sad yet also excited that school will be back in session in just a couple of weeks. Summertime is wonderful, but it’s good for children to get back into the schoolyear routine.

At this time of year many parents also begin to look down the road a ways, and they wonder where their young students will go to college — and how it will be paid for.

That’s a good thing, because even if your children are very young, it’s never too early to start thinking about saving for college.

Now is a great time to do so, because September has been designated College Savings Month.

There is good reason to start your educational savings earlier, rather than later. College is expensive, and the costs seem to constantly be rising. The longer you wait to save, the more difficult it becomes.

The average annual in-state college tuition in Michigan was $13,988 for the 2016-2017 academic year, placing Michigan as the 24th most expensive state for the cost of tuition.

That’s nearly $56,000 in tuition costs to earn a bachelor’s degree — assuming the student takes only four years to complete it.

Traditional student loans end up costing much more, of course, as high interest rates are tacked on to the cost of schooling.

Valuable savings tools to consider during College Savings Month are 529 plans. These plans help families set aside money now for college expenses in the future, like tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other fees or expenses.

Michigan offers two 529 plans: The Michigan Educational Savings Program and the Michigan Education Trust.

The MESP is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan that helps families and individuals plan for the cost of higher education. A 529 college savings plan helps you save more over time. Any earnings grow free from federal tax, and withdrawals are tax-free at both the federal and state level when used for qualified higher education expenses.

The MESP enables parents, grandparents, family, friends, students and even employers to help families prepare their children for college.

The MET is the state’s prepaid 529 plan, which enables you to buy college credit hours at current rates and avoid the inflated costs of future tuition. You can get your child started on an MET plan for as low as $14 a month.

For more information on the Michigan Educational Savings Program, visit www.misaves.com. The site includes a free college savings planning calculator at www.misaves.com/tools/calculator to help get you started.

For more information on the Michigan Education Trust, visit www.michigan.gov/setwithmet.

Take some time during College Savings Month to research these programs and find a plan that works for your family!

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.