BY ANTHONY RIZZO
Spring is here in Michigan; the sun is out and the weather is finally beginning to warm up.
But the sun is not the only thing coming out to play this week. Professional baseball teams across the state and their seasons are underway.
Brad Golder is the play-by-play broadcaster for the Great Lakes Loons.
He said the baseball culture spreads through the community and thrives with the nice weather.
"We obviously see a huge increase in attendance when the weather is warm, when the weather is sunny because people enjoy being outdoors with the better elements." Golder said.
Golder said anywhere within the region there is a strong support and fever for baseball.
BY JAKE NEHER
Michigan Public Radio Network
Student athletes who show signs of concussion must be removed from games immediately under a law that takes effect Monday.
The state will also have to educate coaches, parents, and student athletes about head injuries.
State health officials plan to roll out a new education and awareness program this week. They say the most important part of the new law is raising awareness about the dangers of multiple head injuries, especially in young children.
Amy Teddy is with Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor. She said the new law seeks to educate entire communities about how to protect kids.
"This is really not just about coaches. This is a shared responsibility of anyone that has an invested interest in student athletes." Teddy said.
The new law reflects standards already used by the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Schools have until the end of June to fully implement the new requirements.
BY AMANDA HARRISON
High school sports teams may be getting some new players now that an order from the US Department of Education mandates the disabled students be allowed to participate.
Geoff Kimmerly is with the Michigan High School Athletic Association. He says the details of the expansion are still unclear.
"We feel pretty good about our member schools already doing that, doing the things that they can to make sure everyone has a chance to be involved. What this does to affect schools on a local level we'll see but we feel already that they're doing a pretty good job of giving opportunities to everyone." Kimmerly said.
However Kimmerly said some schools might have to create alternative teams for disabled players, which he said could create a cost issue.
BY CONSUELO MCABOY
As the Detroit Tigers fight for a playoff berth, the Houghton Lake library will host an evening of Tigers baseball talk on Monday.
The event is centered around Dr. William Anderson's book, "The Glory Years of the Detroit Tigers 1920-1950."
The book includes the twelve year span when the Tigers won four American League pennants and two world championships.
Donna Alward is the Library Director. She said the book gives a great overview.
"It really gives you a look at what was going on in Detroit during those years and what was going on in the world and how it affected all of the things in Detroit."
Alward said the author will be available for comments after presenting the book.
She said refreshments will be served and the event is free of charge.
By Jesi Munguia
The 41st annual Special Olympics Michigan, held in Mount Pleasant last weekend was bigger than ever.
2,600 athletes from all 83 counties took part in the competition, 150 more athletes than the event had last year.
Tuesday is an even bigger day for Special Olympics Michigan, Governor Rick Synder signed into law House and Senate bills to allow taxpayers to easily donate money to the Special Olympics Michigan athletes.
The legislation allows individuals to donate a contribution to Special Olympics Michigan on their annual state income tax return. The income tax check-off will be active for the 2012 tax year and 2013 fiscal year.
Organizers for Special Olympics Michigan say that the legislation for the bills have been in the process since last June, Kimberly Purdy is their spokeswoman...
"This will put us in front of millions of taxpayers. Giving them the option to make a voluntary contribution to help provide more programs to more athletes. It's important for us to continue to reach out there's so many children and adults with intellectual disabilities that we have yet to reach. So this income tax check off box will allow us to increase our funding which will then allow us to increase our programs and reach out to more of those athletes."
The legislation was sponsored by Senator Rick Jones and Representative Kevin Cotter.
By David Nicholas
After Tuesday night's first round or "play-in" games, the NCAA Men's Basketball "Field of 64" is set.
As games tip off at noon Thursday, fans will be following the action with brackets in hand, bragging rights and probably a friendly wager or two at stake.
Central Michigan University professor Tim Otteman said this "socially acceptable" rite of spring could lead to gambling problems...
"The NCAA estimates that one out of every ten Americans fills out a bracket. And so this activity is very prominent out there, again it's the start of an activity that could lend to potential problems, and people see it as socially acceptable and harmless."
Otteman said studies have shown an increase in sports gambling in the last 20 years based on the easy access to information the Internet has provided.
He said the constant information allows people to believe it offers a better opportunity to win because it is, in his words, a "gamble based on skill, not a gamble based on chance."
And for college students, Otteman said, it becomes an even bigger gamble because of the risk of developing a larger sports gambling habit.
By Amanda Harrison
Hunters and anglers are being asked to participate in a survey on ways to improve hunting and fishing digests, you may know them better as hunting and fishing guides.
Kelly Siciliano Carter is the pubic outreach and engagement manager for the DNR wildlife division.
She said the digests can be confusing.
"So the hunting and trapping digests and what we call the fishing guide as well are filled with lots of free information and a lot of laws or regulations that people need to follow and they can be pretty cumbersome. So we're trying to understand what do people really need and how should we be presenting it so that they can understand it and they can go feeling pretty confident they understand the rules and regulations related to hunting and fishing."
Carter said after the surveys are completed focus groups will be held. The revised digests and guides will be available next year.
To reach the survey visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/MichiganFishingGuide
By Rick Pluta
The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered a lower court to decide whether the Michigan High School Athletic Association discriminated against a former exchange student from South Korea. The M-H-S-double-A is being accused of discrimination for refusing to allow the student to play football.
Sang Woo Robbins sat on the bench this past football season, which would have been his third year of playing for the Hudson Tigers. Robbins came to the U-S in 2009 as an exchange student, but decided to stay, was adopted by his host family and became a naturalized citizen. The high school athletic association, though, continued to treat him as an exchange student, which means he is only eligible to play for one year. The rule is supposed to discourage schools from recruiting exchange students to build championship sports teams.
That's when the state Department of Civil Rights got involved and sued the athletic association for discrimination based on race and national origin. Everyone is hoping for a decision before the fall, which will begin Robbins' senior year and football season.
Copyright 2010, MPRN
By Laura Weber
Governor Rick Snyder was expected to attend the Michigan-Michigan State college football game this past weekend in East Lansing. Snyder got all three of his degrees from the University of Michigan and is known to be a passionate fan. But he said most of the people who work in his executive office are graduates and fans of Michigan State University. He said the in-office rivalry heated up this week when employees in the office asked him to pose for a picture with them.
"And as I proceeded to the room where the photo was being held, I was able to observe Sparty lurking in the hallways. I was being set up to have Sparty sneak up on me."
The student newspaper at Michigan State University publisher the picture of the M-S-U mascot handing Snyder a football.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is a Michigan State fan, and was also expected to attend the weekend's game.
By Chelsea Hagger
Michigan could soon require more protection for amateur mixed martial arts fighters. A bill that would add regulations to the fighting industry was approved by a state Senate committee Thursday.
The bill requires amateur mixed martial arts fight promoters to be licensed with the state. It also calls for promoters to ensure a medical professional is present at a fight and that fighters are in the same weight class.
Chris Jones works for Representative Dave Agema, who sponsored the proposal. Jones said the legislation will help protect the fighters.
"A lot of people out there who are holding these events without any protections for fighters. And the whole goal of a fighter getting into this sport is to become a pro."
Fight promoters said they want their fighters to be protected.
Copyright 2010, MPRN
By Amanda Harrison
Hunters can expect a good season this year. The D-N-R released a statement yesterday saying the deer population is stable.
The D-N-R is encouraging hunters to familiarize themselves with the most recent regulations as they prepare for the season.
Brent Rudolph is the Deer and Elk Program Leader for the D-N-R. He said there is one significant change.
"The most important difference for specifically the 2011 deer season, compared to last year, is that hunters can now bait again in the majority of the Lower Peninsula."
Rudolph said there is still a ban in Northeastern Michigan.
Details on the changes in regulations can be found at www.michigan.gov/deer
By Laura Weber
Former N-B-A player and one of the "Fab Five" at the University of Michigan, Jalen Rose, told lawmakers at the state Capitol Wednesday parents need more school options for their kids.
Rose sponsored a charter academy that opened in his hometown of Detroit.
Rose said when the school opened this fall, most of the incoming freshmen could not read at a ninth-grade level. He said the school selects students based on a lottery, rather than test scores, so every kid would have a shot at getting in.
Rose said he focused his attention on education after retiring from the N-B-A a few years ago. He said as a retiree in his mid-30s he told himself.
"I have to do something, because I can't run, jump, and I can still shoot, but, you know what I mean."
Rose said though sports are a great motivator for students, not everyone can play professional basketball. He said every student should be given the opportunity and tools to work in a job they love.
© Copyright 2010, MPRN
State officials say 2010 was the safest year on record for Michigan hunting seasons.
"The 2010 hunting season in Michigan turned out to be one of the safest hunting seasons we've had on record. We only had 14 incidents reported to us -- that included three fatalities. We had 19 accidents in 2009," says Mary Dettloff, a spokesperson for the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
She says although there were also slightly fewer hunters, the decrease in accidents is due to more attention to safety.
"The decrease in hunting accidents we attribute more to the fact that we do have a requirement that you take hunters safety if you're born after 1960, and also the hunter orange law, which has really helped reduce the number of fatalities we've had over the years. If you go back, we had easily ten times as many folks getting killed before the hunter orange law was put in place."
Dettloff says the state began recording hunting accidents more than seventy years ago. She says the number of incidents has consistently dropped over the past several years. Most accidents occur in deer seasons, which are most popular.
The state's Department of Natural Resources and Environment says this year's firearm deer season seems to be on par with last year's.
Early estimates from the DNRE suggest the harvest in the UP and in the southern lower peninsula was up as much as 10% over last year.
Numbers in the northern lower peninsula, though, seem to be down about 5-15%.
The DNRE's Mary Dettloff says statewide, there were fewer hunters this year compared to last.
"On the number of licenses sold this year, we did see about a four percent drop. And that tracks historically with anytime we have a Monday opener, we generally see a decline that year in the three to four percent range in the number of licenses sold."
Dettloff says hunting license sales are generally higher when opening day falls in the middle of the week, or on the weekend.
She says the deer population appears to have recovered from the two harsh winters before this season.
The DNRE plans to release final harvest figures in the spring, after all deer hunting seasons conclude.
As an Emmet County man recovers from being attacked by a black bear, state officials remind outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of those animals -- particularly in situations involving a mother and her cubs.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is investigating why the mother bear and her three cubs attacked the hunter Saturday night. Mary Dettloff is the DNRE spokesperson.
"He attended a family party prior to going hunting, and there was fried food served at the party. We think that because he was in the presence of food being cooked, and the fact that it was fried food, probably the scent on the clothing that he was wearing under his camouflage hunting gear is what lured the bear to the treestand."
Dettloff says the hunter did everything he was supposed to do when a mother black bear and her three cubs approached his treestand.
"He tried to scare them off, which is what you should do. We don't know what happened in all these split-second decisions you have to make in a situation like that, but he could have killed the bear and been perfectly justified. He wouldn't have gotten in any trouble with the DNRE, because it was a situation where he was being threatened -- and he could have killed the bear if he had to."
Dettloff says the hunter made the right choice before heading out to tell his fiance and father where he would be hunting, and that made it easy for them to find him when he didn't return from his treestand by nightfall.
The hunter received minor surgery for a bite to his calf, and treatment for wounds on his thigh and shoulder.
According to Dettloff, it's uncommon for black bears to attack -- but she says the mother probably attacked because she perceived a threat to her cubs when the hunter tried to scare them away.
BY RICK PLUTA
Capital Bureau Chief, Michigan Public Radio Network
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has issued an official proclamation declaring that Detroit Tiger Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game Wednesday night. That is not the way it will appear in the record books because of an umpire's wrong call in the ninth inning. The governor says Gallaraga and Tigers fans were "robbed."
"Bottom line is it was a perfect game," said Granholm. "We all know it was a perfect game. I'll declare it a perfect game for whatever that's worth."
The umpire has acknowledged that he should have called a player out at first base, instead of safe, which denied Galarraga his perfect game. According to baseball rules, the umpire's decision is final and cannot be changed after the fact.
There have been only 20 perfect games pitched in the history of major league baseball. It would have been the first Detroit Tigers history.