A survey reveals most states are working from development planning
statutes put together in the 1920’s. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Lester Graham reports… one group is urging states to update their laws
to help prevent urban sprawl:
A survey reveals most states are working from development planning statutes
put together in the 1920’s. One group is urging states to update their laws to help
prevent urban sprawl. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
The American Planning Association says when Herbert Hoover was Secretary of
Commerce, the Department adopted some model planning acts. Today, many state
planning laws are still based on them. Stuart Meck is a senior researcher
with the American planning association. He says local governments control
much of zoning and planning. But the state is often the most powerful
influence on development.
“Every time a state department of transportation programs a highway
widening, or puts in a new interchange, or authorizes some type of loan to
local government to build or expand a treatment plant, that has some sort of
an impact on development.”
Meck says some states are tinkering around the edges of their planning laws.
But he argues if states are going to control urban sprawl, they need to
completely overhaul their planning statutes.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.
According to the world health organization, up to twelve-million cases
of head lice are reported each year. School-aged children, between
three and ten, are most likely to get lice. At most schools, kids with
lice are sent home, where the parents are left to deal with the
problem. But as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Wendy Nelson
reports, some lice-fighting experts are trying a new, pro-active
According to the world health organization, up to twelve-million cases of
head lice are reported each year.
School-aged children, between three and ten, are most likely to get lice.
At most schools, kids with lice are sent home, where the parents are left to
deal with the problem.
But as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Wendy Nelson reports, some
lice-fighting experts are trying a new, pro-active approach:
(sound of hallway)
Beach Elementary School in Cedar Springs, Michigan, looks like pretty much
like any other elementary school.
The linoleum floors are buffed to a high shine,
and the walls are decorated with crayon drawings.
But when you look down the hallways, you’ll see a strange sight: hundreds of
black, plastic trash bags hanging from the coat hooks.
“When the kids come in, they put all of their personal belongings –
coats, hats, gloves – in the-plastic bags. That’s how their clothing is
contained so that the bugs don’t have the opportunity to crawl.”
Vicky Bishop says more and more schools are using garbage bags this way –
when you see them, it’s a reminder of the ongoing struggle they face, trying
to eliminate lice.
Experts say about eighty-percent of school districts will have a lice
outbreak this year. At this school, the trash bags are a pro-active measure,
taken to cut down on the chance that an infestation will break out.
And, there’s another pro-active step the school’s taking.
On this Saturday morning, they’ve invited families from all over the
community to a special kind of open house – a chance to get de-loused.
Nurse: “Ok, are we checking all three?”
Nurse: “Everybody! Ok!”
Families are greeted at a sign-up table. Then they’re guided through a
series of rooms, where teams of lice-fighting experts are standing by to
shampoo and comb and look for lice.
The first stop is the evaluation station.
Every family member’s head is careful checked for live lice or their eggs,
Nurse: “And the big key is to make the difference between dandruff and the
nits. The nits won’t come off, dandruff can move – see, I can easily move
it. Okay, sweetie.”
The event is called Operation Lice Be Gone.
It’s the brainchild of lice consultant Vicky Bishop.
Bishop travels around the country, visiting dozens of schools a year and
advising teachers, nurses and parents how to get rid of lice infestations.
But she says before she can get down to work, there’s big hurdle to jump –
that is, overcoming the embarrassment and shame parents feel when their kids
“The lice problem is everywhere, it’s if people are willing to talk
about it or not. And once we get them to step up and start to talk about it
and address it, get over with the denial thing, then we can finally do
something about it.”
Many people believe lice outbreaks only happen in dirty houses, to unbathed
But in fact, all types of families are affected.
Most of the parents here today say they’ve tried using everything from
over-the-counter shampoos, to home remedies.
“We went from Rid to the Robie comb. We did mayonnaise, we called the
doctor. The doctor gave us a prescription. That didn’t work, either.”
But the experts here today say you can beat a lice problem – if you’re thorough and
They say a key component to success is teaching people about lice.
They’re tiny, blood-sucking parasites that live on the scalp, and lay eggs on
strands of hair.
They’re easy to get, and a lot harder to get rid of.
After the families are treated with a lice-killing shampoo, they put on
plastic shower caps and wait a half-hour for the solution to work.
While they wait, they visit the education room.
Todd Bilinsky and his five kids are gathered ‘round a microscope, checking
out a lice, magnified forty times.
Bilinsky says the family’s had a lice problem on and off for about two years.
“Every week, I’d go through their hair – almost on a daily basis, trying
to go through their hair. They just are tired of the treatments, and I’m
tired of giving them the treatments. And then I’m never sure
further down in their lives, what all these treatments, you know, what kind
of effect they’re going to have on them.”
And that brings up another goal of Operation Lice Be Gone.
Vicky Bishop and the other lice control experts here today are trying to raise
awareness of how to get rid of lice without using
They say safer shampoos are now available that use vegetable-derived enzymes.
However, there’s some debate about the effectiveness of those products.
Here in the rinse room, a young girl is in the final stages of her lice
“Here, put your head down there, we’ll rinse the very ends of it.”
Vicky Bishop is rinsing out the shampoo and re-inspecting the girl’s hair to
make sure all the lice are dead, and all the nits are gone.
Girl: “There’s one right there, on the end of it.”
Vicky: “Let’s see if that’s a nit. Will you hand me a nit comb, please?”
About thirty people were treated here today at Operation Lice Be Gone.
But Vicky Bishop says the project was still successful, because it’s getting
the word out about the lice epidemic – letting people know they aren’t
alone, and showing them it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Wendy Nelson in Cedar Springs,
The most toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes would receive an extrafifty million dollars in clean-up funds, if a Clinton administrationbudget proposal goes through. But some environmental groups don’t wantthe money dribbled out in small doses. They argue the best thing to dowould be to spend all the cash on comprehensive clean-up projects atjust a few sites. The idea is controversial, as the Great Lakes RadioConsortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
The most toxic hot spots around the Great Lakes would receive an extra fifty million dollars in
clean-up funds, if a Clinton Administration budget proposal goes through. But some environmental
groups don’t want the money dribbled out in small doses. They argue the best thing to do would be
to spend all the cash on comprehensive clean-up projects at just a few sites. The idea is
controversial, as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’ s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
The most polluted parts of the Great Lakes are known as Areas
of Concern. There are over 40 of these hot spots in harbors and
bays, or in rivers that dump into the lakes. At many sites, the
pollution has led health agencies to tell people to be careful
about eating certain types of fish.
But that hasn’t stopped some anglers from doing their thing.
“That was the best cast I’ve
Marl and his buddy Paul are standing underneath an elevated
freeway in Milwaukee. They’re casting their fishing lines into
Lake Michigan for brown trout, perch or whatever wants to bite.
Through Milwaukee’s estuary, that’s the harbor and nearby rivers, is a toxic hot spot, Marl says he
pays little attention to fish consumption warnings.
“Whatever I catch I eat, I eat it on whatever basis I feel like eating it. If I want to eat fish
every night for a week, I eat it… doesn’t seem to affect me in any way.”
But nearby in the Milwaukee harbor, researchers point to pollution that seems to make the casual
approach to fish consumption here quite risky.
(sound of horn)
This tugboat is pushing a barge that’s about to take a load of coal from a huge coal pile at the
water’s edge. The pile is uncovered and during heavy rains or snowmelt, there’s runoff from the
coal into the harbor. Great Lakes researcher Jeffrey Foran says that’s hardly the only pollutant in
“It’s a virtual alphabet soup of pollution and we can name a few. PCBs, PAHs, contaminants from
Foran heads the Great Lakes Water Institute at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He says
there’s actually been some improvement in the surface water quality over the last couple decades.
But Foran warns the sediment in the Milwaukee harbor by and large remains toxic muck, and those
toxins make their way into the food chain. Foran says Milwaukee’s problems aren’t unique.
“If you took the problems and simply dropped the name Milwaukee harbor, you could insert those
problems into probably the majority of areas of concern throughout the Great Lakes basin.”
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on cleanup work at the various sites, but only one
project – at Waukegan, Illinois – is largely done. So environmental groups hope Congress during its
EPA budget deliberations this spring will approve the extra 50 million dollars in cleanup funds
President Clinton proposed. But Great Lakes United executive director Margaret Wooster says the
money should be targeted to just a few hot spots.
“And do the complete cleanup right. From soup to nuts kind of thing. That is the initial making
sure if there’s a polluter, polluter pays their fair share as has happened in many cases, to good
Wooster also says there needs to be good places to dump the dredged material. Then should come
monitoring to make sure the water body doesn’t become fouled again, if there are more
success stories around the Great Lakes, environmentalists believe
lawmakers will then allocate additional money to finish work on
the other sites. But the Great Lakes community isn’t completely
sold on the targeting of funds. William Smith is a citizen
advisor to the Clinton river area of concern north of Detroit.
He wonders how fast news of complete clean-ups would spread.
“And when these one demonstration projects are done,
they’re distant. You hear about them the transfer of information
is long is coming. And sure it’s nice for some harbor to go after
this. But if you’re looking across the board on the Great Lakes
it would be much better used to go after problems in individual
Areas of Concern instead of 2 to 3 separate sites.”
funneling just a million or two dollars to some of Michigan’s
smaller hot spots would move clean-up of those sites forward in a
big way. That’s because state officials would probably match the
federal funds. But whether the federal money is targeted to a
couple sites or divided evenly in all the areas, Smith does agree
with the large environmental groups on one thing. He says the
recreation and drinking water needs of Great Lakes citizens
should prompt Congress to approve the president’s plan.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Chuck Quirmbach in Milwaukee.
A million dollar fine will be used in restocking and studying
freshwater mussels. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham
A million dollar fine will be used in restocking and studying freshwater
mussels. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
A Japanese-owned company called Tennessee Shell Company has paid the first
installment of the million dollar fine. The company pleaded guilty to
illegally harvesting freshwater mussels in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and
West Virginia. The company places mussel shell material in oysters to grow
cultured pearls. Chuck Traxler is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He
says the money from the fine won’t just go into the the agency’s general
“The entire amount will be used for mussel research. This is unique
in that these funds are going to be used to help the species that was
Besides being over-harvested, native mussel populations have declined
because of poor water quality and because of invasive species such as the
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.
Russia has recently begun construction on a floating nuclear power
plant, designed to bring electricity to remote northern regions of that
country. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston
what could happen if we brought these floating plants to the Great
Okay, so on the surface it sounds like a really bad idea. Build
floating nuclear power plants, with dependable Russian nuclear
technology, and dot them along the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Sort of
like a little fleet of mini-Chernobyls-to-go. Critics are saying that
these barges will be sitting ducks, waiting for terrorists to tow
them away. And then there’s that ever-present threat to the
But I say, let’s not be hasty here. I think there’s a potential for
using these barges in the Great Lakes. First of all, they could help
us get rid of our nuclear waste problem. What Russia plans to do
with the spent fuel is tow the barges into shore every dozen years
and unload it. But I say flip it around. Take all the waste from our
land-locked plants and stick it on the barge.
This would solve no end of problems. No more worrying about burying
it in a mountain somewhere. Problem solved at a fraction of the cost.
We actually could float the stuff in the water around the barge,
which would solve another major environmental problem. There’s been
so much concern about invading species in the Great Lakes. A good
dose of radiation should render even the hardiest invader sterile.
Another problem solved.
And that’s just the beginning. The glow from all this spent fuel
would light up the water around the reactor. This would make it a lot
easier for sports fishermen to see what they’re doing. After all,
nobody’s supposed to eat the fish they catch from the Great Lakes,
anyway. If we keep the barges nice and close to the shoreline, they’d
light up those dark and dangerous beaches. We’d save on energy and we
wouldn’t have to worry about lighting bonfires. That would put an end
to all those rowdy beach parties. The glow would also help boaters
find their docks at night. No more search and rescue. Another bonus.
The more I think about it, the more I have to admit, this is one hot
idea. You gotta hand it to those Russians. I wonder what they’ll
think of next.
Suzanne Elston is a syndicated columnist living in Courtice, Ontario. She comes to us by way of the