Southwest Michigan Today: Thursday May 31, 2018

May 31, 2018

The state extends a deadline for medical marijuana businesses. Wayne State forgives student loan debt for former students who want to come back and finish their degree. The Growlers suffer their first loss of the baseball season ahead of a morning game with the rival Bombers in Battle Creek.

People who want to grow or sell medical marijuana will have more time to get their licenses – and may not need to close their shops. The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs originally told applicants that if they applied by mid-February, they’d have until mid-June to get their licenses. If they didn’t have their license by then, the shop would need to close or risk not getting their license at all. But the department recently said it might not be able to get through all of the applications by the June deadline. The department has to investigate and authorize each license – which takes a lot of time. Now applicants will have until September 15th to get their licenses without needing to close.

Officials at Wayne State University are offering to forgive some of the debt owed by former students who left without earning a degree – if they agree to return to the school. Wayne State calls it the “Warrior Way Back” program. It reduces the past debt of students who owe less than $1,500 by one-third for each new semester they complete. The idea is to bring students back who took some college classes but did not earn a degree. Wayne State officials estimate about 12,000 former students from the university are in that position and still living in Metro Detroit. (WDET

Michigan is offering $50-million as start-up money for upgrading the Soo locks in the Upper Peninsula. It’s part of a budget deal between Governor Rick Snyder and legislative leaders. They announced the earmark at a conference on Mackinac Island. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not made a priority of upgrading the locks. The estimated cost of the project is as high as $1-billion.

Environmental groups are using the large gathering of Michigan’s political and business leaders on Mackinac Island to pressure the state to shut down Enbridge Energy’s Line 5. Protestors say an oil and gas line located in the Straits of Mackinac poses a threat to the Great Lakes. Governor Rick Snyder says studies on the safety of Line 5 and possible alternatives are underway. Snyder signed an order last week to create a temporary rule that forbids dropping anchor in the straits except in emergencies. That was after a mishap where a ship dragged an anchor on the bottom of the straits. That caused a mineral oil spill and dented Line 5.

In baseball, Kalamazoo lost to Lakeshore Wednesday 12-2. The Growlers have split their first two games of the season. They will play at Battle Creek Thursday mornig. The game begins at 11:00 at C-O Brown Stadium. The Bombers game at Kenosha Wednesday night was postponed because of rain.