FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2022
Contact: [email protected]
Gov. Whitmer Lowers Flags to Honor Fallen Detroit Firefighter Shayne Raxter
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and across all public buildings and grounds to be lowered to half-staff on Friday, September 23 to honor and remember Detroit Firefighter Shayne Raxter, who passed away in the line of duty. The flag lowering will coincide with the one-year anniversary of Raxter’s death.
“Shayne Raxter was one of Michigan’s courageous firefighters who put his life on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “His commitment to service with the Detroit Fire Department is inspiring. As we remember this fallen hero today, my heart goes out to his loved ones and the entire police department. Let’s keep working together to keep our communities safe.”
Firefighter Shayne Raxter was a dedicated public servant within the Detroit Fire Department. He was committed to his duties and was an avid protector of his community. Raxter was also a devoted husband, to his wife Elissa, and father to his sons Benjamin and Noah.
“Shayne was a stellar example of the selflessness and dedication our firefighters demonstrate each and every day on the job,” said Detroit Fire Commissioner Charles Simms. “It was a pleasure and honor to have him as a member of the Detroit Fire Department, and I know the entire DFD family joins me in remembering Shayne’s life and legacy.”
The State of Michigan recognizes the duty, honor, and service of fallen Detroit Firefighter Shayne Raxter by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments, and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.
To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.
Flags should be returned to full staff on Saturday, September 24, 2022.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2022
Contact: [email protected]
Gov. Whitmer Makes Major Investment in Veteran Suicide Prevention
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a $1.2 million investment in veteran suicide prevention programs, improving the health and well-being of Michigan’s more than 550,000 military veterans and their families. This represents the largest investment in veteran suicide prevention outreach since at least the year 2000 and likely the largest in Michigan history according to available data. The investment was announced today following a roundtable discussion with veterans and veteran advocates attended by Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II and Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) Director Zaneta Adams.
“Veteran suicide remains a persistent problem in Michigan and nationwide, and we must use every resource and tool we have to protect the lives of our former service members,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today’s investment will expand funding for suicide prevention efforts in Michigan and build on the ongoing efforts of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to keep veterans and their families safe and healthy. In the last bipartisan budget I signed, we made the largest investment in veteran suicide prevention in over 20 years because the brave men and women who fought for our country deserve our strong support in both our words and actions. I will work with anyone to ensure that they have high-quality mental and physical health care and economic and educational opportunities. Let’s keep delivering for our veterans and their families.”
“Michigan veterans are the best of us, and we owe our best effort and investment to support themand their families,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “This funding is a step forward in our efforts to end tragic suicides among Michigan’s veterans and build a Michigan where every veteran and their family can find opportunity, access healthcare, and thrive. Governor Whitmer and I are grateful for the partnership of the MVAA in funding this holistic approach to connecting veterans with resources and we are committed to continuing to Stand Tall for veterans in Michigan.”
“The funding will support the ongoing efforts of the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among Service Members, Veterans and their Families,” said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams. “Effective veteran suicide prevention strategy involves a holistic approach. We know that connection to health care and other resources reduces suicides for veterans, so when we help a veteran with housing needs or emergency grant assistance, we are part of the prevention. But we need help from everyone. From barbershops to banks to schools to hospitals to churches, we should all take part in preventing suicides among veterans and their families through the Michigan Veteran Connector initiative.”
According to the latest available data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 704 Michigan veterans died by suicide from 2016-19, an average of 176 suicides annually over four years.
The issues that can start a veteran spiraling toward crisis include housing and employment challenges, substance abuse, and lack of mental health supports for combat PTSD. A critical first step is getting our former service members to identify as veterans and understand the benefits and resources that are available to them. The MVAA, through its new Michigan Veteran Connector initiative, will connect with organizations and businesses across the state in hopes of getting their help in reaching veterans. By simply asking customers if they served in the military and, if so, referring them to the MVAA’s 1-800-MICH-VET hotline, these Veteran Connectors can ultimately help veterans get linked to the resources they need to thrive.
Another way the MVAA and Governor’s Challenge is addressing veteran suicide is by stressing safe gun storage and free gun locks through the VA. Nearly 70% of veteran suicides are the result of firearm injuries. In addition, the suicide prevention team is promoting the VA’s easy-to-remember new Crisis Line number; veterans can now simply dial 988 and press 1 to be connected to a crisis counselor.
Michael Torrez’s Story
Combat veteran Michael Torrez, 42, of West Branch, called the Crisis Line several times to help battle buddies and for his own suicidal ideations. Torrez, a former tank crewman who served two tours in Iraq, lost five friends in battle and three more to suicide after they returned home. At one point following his discharge in 2012, Torrez was homeless and used alcohol to cope.
But Torrez would find hope through VA housing and work therapy programs and by meeting his wife, fellow Army veteran Angela Torrez. Now the couple give back to their fellow veterans. Angela is completing a master’s degree in social work specializing in suicide prevention and the couple also serves as peer mentors for other veteran couples.
“A lot of veterans of the Operation Iraqi Freedom era have a bad taste in their mouths about the agencies and programs that are supposed to help them,” Angela Torrez said. “I try to advocate – yes, things have gone wrong in the past, but they’re improving, and here’s how you get help. It seems like a constant battle for veterans, and they may feel like they don’t have the energy to work through it all. But if they have that support system by their side, they can find hope just like Michael did.”
If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 988 and press 1; text 838255; or chat online confidentially at www.veteranscrisisline.net.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2022
Contact: [email protected]
Gov. Whitmer Kicks Off First Michigan Parents’ Council Meeting
Event kicks off first-ever parents’ council, which will center parent perspective in policymaking process, formalize how parent recommendations are included in education budgets
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer kicked off the first meeting of the Michigan Parents’ Council, an advisory group she established to more formally bring parents into the education budget process for the first time in Michigan history. The council will build on Governor Whitmer’s inclusion of the parent perspective in the education budget she signed for the current school year. The council includes parents from across Michigan, as well as parents of students with a variety of educational needs. The council will convene a series of regional parent roundtables to gather input.
“I am so excited to kick off the first meeting of the Michigan Parents’ Council,” said Governor Whitmer. “Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers, and by more formally bringing their perspective into the policymaking process, we can help our kids tackle unfinished learning and get on track for long-term success. Earlier this year, I signed a historic, bipartisan education budget, and I look forward to the work the Michigan Parents’ Council will do across our state to ensure the recently delivered resources are used effectively and we deliver an even bolder education budget next year. Let’s keep working together to put our kids first.”
View Governor Whitmer’s remarks by clicking the following image:
Michigan Parents’ Council
The governor made 11 appointments to the Council, an increase from the original seven appointments because of significant parent interest. The Council includes appointees who represent various communities and reflect the wide range of experiences and perspectives from across the state. Appointees include parents of children in public, private, and home school learning environments, children in early childhood learning programs, and elementary, middle, and high school students. They also include parents of children with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), children who speak English as a second language (ESL), and children who are in foster or kinship care.
In addition to the 11 appointees on the Council, the following parents will participate on behalf of the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Executive Office of the Governor:
Appointees will lead the council and convene regional roundtables with families across Michigan to bring in as many voices as possible. The council includes the governor’s K-12 policy advisor and a designated representative of the Superintendent of Public Instruction from the Michigan Department of Education.
The first meeting of the Michigan Parents’ Council will be held virtually tomorrow, September 20.
In the following weeks, the council will convene roundtables of parents and family members across Michigan to strengthen partnerships between parents and schools. They will share input from the roundtables directly with the governor’s team and state superintendent. The council will submit a report to the governor highlighting major themes from the roundtables and summarizing proposals for inclusion in the governor’s 2023 budget recommendation by December 9, 2022.
The executive order establishing the council can be viewed here.
FY 2023 Education Budget Investments
The recently signed bipartisan education budget can be divided into six key sections: students, mental health, learning supports, student safety, school infrastructure, and teacher recruitment.
For our students, the highest state per-pupil funding in Michigan history—$9,150 for every kid, in every public school district. Additional support for the nearly 200,000 special education students and 710,000 at-risk students in Michigan. Expanding funding for career and technical education programs by 27%.
2) Mental Health
Dedicated mental health dollars for every student in every school. Increasing funding for teen centers, district mental health grants, and TRAILS, which offers training to school mental health professionals so they can better serve students with evidence-based services.
3) Teacher Recruitment
Funding MI Future Educator Fellowships, which pay up to $10,000 in tuition for 2,500 future Michigan educators a year, $9,600 stipends a semester for student teachers, and Grow-Your-Own programs that help districts put support staff on no-cost paths to become educators.
4) School Infrastructure
$250 million for school construction and renovations, helping them build or refurbish classrooms, labs, and libraries.
5) Learning Supports
An expansion of before and after-school programs to keep kids engaged. The budget offers every kid in Michigan tutoring to help catch up and get on track for long-term success, and resources for districts to develop learning pods for academically at-risk and economically disadvantaged students.
6) Student Safety
Dedicated school safety dollars for every student in every school. Funds to hire more on-campus school resources officers, create an intervention system for at-risk students that brings together law enforcement, schools, and mental health professionals, and establish a school safety commission.
Governor Whitmer’s Education Investments
For four years in a row, Governor Whitmer has worked across the aisle to make the largest education investments in Michigan history—without raising taxes. Since taking office, the governor has tripled the number of literacy coaches, closed the funding gap between schools, boosted state per-student investment to an all-time high, and helped districts hire thousands of teachers and on-campus mental health professionals.
The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration’s education accomplishments can be found here.
Today’s edition includes our latest from “1st & Goal” and “Title IX at 50” plus big news from the golf community and on MHSAA postseason attendance from 2021-22. We’re also especially proud of three of our Student Advisory Council members as they starred in a Title IX celebration video with Bally Sports Detroit.
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AROUND THE STATE
All winning streaks eventually end. And in mentioning them, it is more in recognition of what was accomplished than what is now over. A couple of those endings took center stage during Week 4.
Tracey finished her senior gymnastics season this past winter with one of the most successful Finals weekends possible. On Friday, she helped Rockford to its first team championship since 2017. At Saturday’s Individual Finals, Tracey earned the Division 2 title with an all-around score of 36.325.
At a certain point, the competition catches up. And that’s where the Sturgis High School varsity girls golf program — the winningest team at the school over the last decade — finds itself in 2022. A young squad without a senior on the roster is slugging it out this fall in a Wolverine Conference that now boasts plenty of parity.
The LPGA Professionals have named Saline High School golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak as its national Coach of the Year. Williams-Hoak was among national award winners who were selected by the LPGA Professionals’ executive committee from a pool of Section Award winners, which were voted on by officers of those regional sections.
After two school years requiring limited tournament attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021-22 school year saw a total of 1,327,633 fans attend Michigan High School Athletic Association postseason competitions for which attendance is recorded.
Upcoming MHSAA Tournament Schedule
Boys Tennis (LP) · Finals: Oct. 14-15
Girls Golf (LP) · Finals: Oct. 14-15
Boys Cross Country (UP) · Finals: Oct. 22
Girls Cross Country (UP) · Finals: Oct. 22
Boys Cross Country (LP) · Finals: Nov. 5
Girls Cross Country (LP) · Finals: Nov. 5
Boys Soccer · Finals: Nov. 5
Girls Swimming & Diving (LP) · Finals: Nov. 18-19
Girls Volleyball · Finals: Nov. 19
Football 8-Player · Finals: 18-19
Football 11-Player · Finals: 25-26
Michigan High School Athletic Association Newsletter
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