How I’ve worked to make the Postal Service stronger

How I’ve worked to make the Postal Service stronger

Friend ­­––

In Michigan and across the country, the United States Postal Service is part of the fabric of our communities. For nearly 250 years, seniors, small business owners, veterans, and so many Americans have relied on this trusted institution and its dedicated employees to deliver medications, financial documents, letters to loved ones, and more.

But, for years, burdensome policies forced the Postal Service to cut costs and threatened postal workers’ ability to deliver mail on time.

That is why I championed the Postal Service Reform Act – which was signed into law just over a year ago – to make the first reforms to this institution in more than 15 years.

Recently, the Postal Service launched a new website where every American can see data about mail delivery times for their community. This performance dashboard – which was required by my historic law – will help Michiganders see if their mail is on time, and will make this institution more transparent and accountable than ever before.




Click here to access the USPS service performance dashboard!


My bipartisan law saved the Postal Service nearly $50 billion to put them on a stable financial footing and help protect reliable mail delivery. It also requires the mail to be delivered at least six days a week, so the Postal Service can help Americans in every part of the country stay connected for years to come.

While this law was historic, more needs to be done to bring the Postal Service into the future. I secured significant funding for the Postal Service to purchase a new fleet of electric delivery vehicles to help keep postal workers safe. Because of these efforts, the Postal Service is already buying trucks that will be efficient and cost effective in the long run, including vehicles being built by Ford Motor Company and members of the United Auto Workers.

Going forward – I will continue working to ensure a strong Postal Service for years to come, so that every American and Michigander can continue to rely on this critical institution – now and in the future.


Thanks for reading,

Gary Peters
United States Senator for Michigan

Gov. Highlights Opening of Nearly 700 New Child Care Programs

Gov. Highlights Opening of Nearly 700 New Child Care Programs

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May 25, 2023

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Highlights Opening of Nearly 700 New Child Care Programs, Celebrates Progress on One-Year Anniversary of Caring for MI Future

State on track to surpass goal to open 1,000 child care programs by the end of 2024, lower costs for families and help them access child care that meets their needs. 


LANSING MI – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that 687 child care entrepreneurs have opened new child care programs and an additional 1,829 center- and home-based programs have expanded to service more children—lowering costs and expanding access to quality child care for Michigan families. Today is also the one-year anniversary of Caring for MI Future, a comprehensive strategy with a goal of opening 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024. Michigan is well on track to continue expanding child care options, helping parents go back to work knowing their kids are safe and cared for, and lowering their costs.


“Investing in high-quality, affordable child care lowers costs for working families, helps parents go back to work, and ensures kids have a safe place to grow and develop,” said Governor Whitmer, “A year ago, we launched Caring for MI Future and set a goal of opening 1,000 new child care centers by the end of 2024. Today, less than halfway through 2023, nearly 700 new child care licenses have been issued, putting us well on track to keep expanding child care options in every region and driving down costs for families. Let’s keep working together to improve accessibility, affordability, and recruit, train, and retain early educators that live and work in their communities.”


“Child care keeps Michigan working,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Thanks to child care entrepreneurs and the Caring for MI Future team more families can now go to work and school knowing their children are safe, happy, healthy, and learning. We’re not done. Demand for quality child care is still high, and we need more professionals to enter the field. Our team is ready to help them succeed.”


“I am pleased with the tremendous progress towards our goal of 1,000 new child care facilities by the close of 2024. Our team at LARA has helped nearly 700 new child care entrepreneurs realize their dream of starting their own business and another 1,829 child care entrepreneurs expand their existing child care business.” said Orlene Hawks, director of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. “Over the past year we hosted webinars and child care access fairs throughout the state, connected people with start-up funding, in-person and virtually, teaching, training, troubleshooting, and learning with Michiganders that have committed their lives to creating safe spaces for children to learn and grow.”


“Because of the opportunity provided by LARA and Our Strong Start (OSS), my dream of over 20 years of owning a child care center has become a reality. Because of the grants and help of OSS, I was able to pursue and accomplish this dream,” said Tenisia Evans, owner and operator, Boss Baby Early Learning Center. Evans had owned a home-based child care since 2007 and opened her center in early 2023.


About Caring for MI Future: 

Caring for MI Future is a statewide effort to help child care entrepreneurs open new or expand existing child care programs. In May 2022, Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist set a bold goal to open 1,000 new child care providers by the end of 2024. At the same time, they announced Caring for MI Future—statewide effort to help child care entrepreneurs open new or expand existing child care programs.


With the Michigan Departments of Education and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the state invested $100M million in federal Child Care Development Block Grant funds, managed and overseen by the Michigan Department of Education, to improve access to affordable child care options and create sustainable systems to support the current and next generation of child care business owners.


Through Caring for MI Future, entrepreneurs have access to resources to launch and expand their businesses. Entrepreneurs can learn more at and contact an Our Strong Start Navigator to learn which resources are the right fit for their goals. To date, providers in nearly every county of the state have participated in Caring for MI Future, including:

  • Our Strong Start (OSS): LARA’s team of navigators continue to support entrepreneurs as they establish or expand their business. LARA’s team has helped all 687 new facilities and 1,829 expanded facilities with a variety of assistance including developing business plans, accessing grant funding, and navigating the licensing process. Our Strong Start has received 9,758 unique visitors to our website and have worked with 2,647 child care entrepreneurs.   
  • Facility improvement grants: The state has awarded $10.8 million towards 963 facility improvement grants in 67 counties. An additional, 2,242 applications are submitted and being reviewed. These funds are available to help entrepreneurs renovate facilities.
  • Startup funding: The state is supporting entrepreneurs before and after receiving their child care license, including:
  • 882 pre-licensure grants for child care entrepreneurs in 66 counties
  • 196 start-up grants for child care entrepreneurs in 41 counties (available after receiving their license)
  • Business development tools: Since May 2022, 738 child care entrepreneurs have participated in professional development to strengthen their business plan and set their program up for success, including 1:1 consultations, trainings, webinars, workshops, and communities of practice.
  • Support recruiting and developing staff: Forty-two counties are engaging in workforce efforts to recruit, train, and retain talented early educators to live and work in their communities with grant funding from Caring for MI Future.
Gov. Whitmer Signs MOU with Australia

Gov. Whitmer Signs MOU with Australia

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May 25, 2023

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Signs MOU with Australia to Continue Growing Economy & Opportunity


LANSING, Mich. – Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Michigan and Australia reaffirming our commitment to collaboration in the automotive industry, future mobility, and the transportation sector.


“Michigan is excited to work alongside Australia to continue growing our automotive, maritime, and sustainable forest bioeconomy industries, fight climate change head-on, and collaborate to make mobility cleaner and safer,” said Governor Whitmer. “This MOU will build on Michigan’s longstanding, shared heritage with Australia and help us to collaborate to create opportunities for safe, equitable and sustainable transportation options. Right now, Michigan’s unemployment is 3.8%, below 4% for only the third time since the 1970s and we have added 61,000 jobs year over year. With effective collaborations like today, we can keep growing our economy and building the future.”


“Signing the MOU enables ongoing bilateral cooperation across the Australian and Michigan automotive and technology sectors and policy makers,” said Minister King. “It promotes emission reduction outcomes, improves collaboration in future transport technologies, and enhances supply chain connectivity.”




The MOU signed by Governor Whitmer and Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King increased collaboration between Australia and Michigan to get ready for more accessible, safer, and more connected transportation in the future. It will support the continuous collaboration between Australian and Michigan policymakers and the automotive and technology industries. This MOU will serve as the foundation for the two jurisdictions’ ongoing cooperation to ensure that the transportation industry contributes to the effort to reduce emissions. Michigan has made a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, like that of Australia. Previously, the State of Michigan and the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Andrew Broad, signed an MOU in October 2018 to work together on cutting-edge automobile and road technologies that will enhance mobility.


Areas of possible cooperation in the MOU include:

  • Sharing information on science, technology, regulations, and policies; co-hosting conferences, workshops, and meetings between Michigan and Australia and other nations.
  • Exchanging best practices in workforce development and skilled trades.
  • Creating new initiatives to address the demands of developing technologies.
  • The formation of a collaborative task team to offer guidance on bolstering Australian and Michigan technology clusters and linking important coordinating bodies


Governor Whitmer was joined for the signing by Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO, MEDC, Terri Fitzpatrick, Executive Vice President, Chief Real Estate and Global Attraction Officer, MEDC, Eric Shreffler, Senior Vice President, Market Development, MEDC, Kathryn Snorrason, Interim Chief Mobility Officer, OFME and Katelyn Wilcox, Assistant Chief of Protocol, MEDC.


Through the Australian Integrated Multimodel EcoSystem (AMES), a project of the University of Melbourne, the MOU between Australia and Michigan has advanced significantly. The MOU promotes connections between, for instance, Michigan’s Mcity and American Center for Mobility off-road facilities and AMES, which has a live test bed on Melbourne city streets. This MOU will serve as the foundation for future cooperation between our two jurisdictions ensuring that the transportation industry contributes to the effort to reduce emissions.


This MOU builds on Governor Whitmer’s commitment to cleaner, safer, and more accessible mobility in Michigan. The updated MOU between Michigan and Australia reaffirms our dedication to working together in the automotive industry, future mobility, and the transportation industry.  Accessibility, safety, traffic, and productivity benefits are possible with new and developing transportation technologies.


In August 2023, the Michigan Department of Transportation intends to send a delegation to ITS Australia, and MEDC is collaborating with ITS Australia on the possibility of holding a virtual session in advance of the event.


DNR News: Keep fire danger in mind this weekend

DNR News: Keep fire danger in mind this weekend

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DNR News

May 25, 2023
Contact: Paul Rogers, 616-260-8406 (Lower Peninsula) or John Pepin, 906-226-1352 (Upper Peninsula)

Going up north? Staying home? Keep fire danger in mind either way this weekend

Fire danger is elevated across the state, so keep fire safety in mind whether your weekend plans including heading up north, doing yard work or hitting the trails.

“Whether you’re traveling north or not, conditions are dry in much of the state. Be careful with fire, ORVs and outdoor equipment and take precautions to keep yourself and others safe,” said Don Klingler, resource protection manager for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Fire danger is high or very high statewide today, with pockets of extreme risk across the northern Lower Peninsula.

Even if the landscape looks green, vegetation still can be dry, said Keith Murphy, a DNR fire management specialist based in the Upper Peninsula.

“Due to the low relative humidity, needle moisture in pines and lack of good rainfall, certain areas of the Upper Peninsula can definitely burn,” he said. Several of Michigan’s largest wildfires in the past have started during the last two weeks in May.

Yard waste burning is top cause of fire in Michigan

Most wildfires are caused by people, and in Michigan, yard waste burning is the top offender. If a backyard fire gets away from you, call 911 immediately.

“People get out there and don’t realize how fast a fire can take off, especially if there is any breeze that can carry an ember,” Klingler said.

Check before you start your fire to make sure weather conditions allow for safe burning. In southern Lower Peninsula communities, consult local fire authorities.

Always keep fire safety in mind

Use these tips to keep your outdoor activities fire safe:

  • Keep a hose or other water source nearby when burning.
  • Prevent sparks. Keep trailer chains from dragging when you’re on the road; don’t park hot equipment on dry grass.
  • Contain your campfire or bonfire in a pit or ring and make sure you put it out thoroughly before leaving for the night. Douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again.
  • Never leave any fire, including hot coals, unattended.
  • Never shoot fireworks into the woods, dry grass or shrubs.
  • It’s illegal to burn plastic, hazardous materials, foam or other household trash. This can release dangerous chemicals into the air, causing harm to you or others. Dispose of these materials properly.
  • You can use a burn barrel with a screen on top to burn paper, leaves and natural materials.

More fire safety information is available at

Since the beginning of fire season in March, DNR wildland firefighters have fought more than 124 fires covering nearly 700 acres.

Michigan students take top honors at national bridge event

Michigan students take top honors at national bridge event

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            MEDIA CONTACT
May 24, 2023                                                                                  Dan Weingarten
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Michigan students take top honors at national bridge event

Fast facts:
– The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) held its Bridge Challenge competition May 16 in Seattle.
– Six of the 18 teams selected to participate in the event (where miniature bridges built from balsa wood and glue are tested for strength and design) were from Michigan.
– Teams from around Michigan took five of the top nine places in the national competition.

LANSING, Mich. ­- Michigan middle and high school students continued their dominance of a national bridge-building competition event in Seattle last week as teams from around the state took five of the top nine places.


Michigan students competed against other young engineers from around the U.S. at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) Bridge Challenge competition May 16 in Seattle, Washington. The teams spend months building miniature bridges, which are then judged on design and tested to destruction.


The competition has five phases: using software to design a bridge; building a physical bridge model using glue and balsa wood from pre-packaged kits; developing a portfolio; making a presentation in front of a panel of judges; and, finally, destructive testing of the bridge models to calculate their strength-to-weight ratios.


Eighteen squads competed in the national finals this year, selected from a pool of 86 portfolios. Besides Michigan, teams from California, Florida, Maryland, and Mississippi qualified for the nationals.


The competition’s goal is to develop a bridge that will carry as much weight as possible while weighing as little as possible. Students compete in separate age categories: grades 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12. Michigan teams took first place honors in all three age categories and second place in two categories.


All team members receive medals and cash prizes were awarded, with first place teams getting $1,200, second place teams receiving $900, and third place teams receiving $600.


This national contest is part of AASHTO’s educational outreach program, supported by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Since 2004, MDOT has offered the Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) program to schools. It’s a hands-on curriculum designed for integration into science, math and social science classes with the goal of encouraging kids to pursue engineering and other science-related fields.


“Keeping our nation competitive is going to require a new wave of young engineers,” said Acting MDOT Director Brad Wieferich. “And it’s clear we have some of the best right here in Michigan. MDOT is proud to support this contest. This is a great way to inspire and nurture tomorrow’s engineers and it continues MDOT’s long tradition of workforce development.”


Michigan teams have excelled at the competition for years. For the 10th year in a row, a team from Negaunee High School in Negaunee, advised by Kevin Bell, won the 11th-12th grade division of the national bridge challenge in 2019, the last time this contest was held in person before the 2023 event. The contest switched gears to become a virtual showcase in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While remaining virtual in 2022, it returned to a competitive format.

The bridge challenge is part of MDOT’s TRAC program curriculum. More information is available at


2023 AASHTO Bridge Challenge winners

7th – 8th Grade Division

1st Place: Patriotic G.A.S. – Sophia Jiang, Ananyaa Rakkappan, and Grace Zhao – Meads Mill Middle School, Northville, Mich.

2nd Place: CN^2 – Nikki Cox, Colton Rogers, and Natalee Tran – Mantachie Middle School, Mantachie, Miss.

3rd Place: TRUSSworthy Pals – Angel Adesoji, Rony Quijada, and Chiezita Uzoukwu – Chesapeake Math and IT Academy North Middle School, Laurel, Md.


9th – 10th Grade Division

1st Place: Tied Arch Titans – Joshua Lee, Jonas Yan, and Sriraam Hebbar – Northville High School, Northville, Mich.

2nd Place: Mission ImBALSAble – Katelyn Baker, Mattis Riddle, and Kamryn Van Sickle – Clinton High School, Clinton, Mich. 

3rd Place: BEHS Young Team 1 – Kelan Dennis, Guiliano Jules, and Anjan Kumar Sangam – Blanche Ely High School, Pompano Beach, Fla.


11th – 12th Grade Division

1st Place: 906 Bridge Co. – Ryan Hemmila, Thomas McCollum, and Phil Nelson – Negaunee High School, Negaunee, Mich.

2nd Place: SAB Civil Engineering – Desiree Almeida, Page Baker, and Nathaniel Sherick – LISD Tech Center, Adrian, Mich.

3rd Place: Tackticians – Adreas Aghajanian, Hayden Schricker, and Logan Weinstein – Taft Charter High School, Woodland Hills, Calif.


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Placing first in the 7th – 8th grade division was the Patriotic G.A.S. team. From left: Sophia Jiang, Ananyaa Rakkappan, and Grace Zhao of Meads Mill Middle School in Northville, Mich. They were congratulated by Acting MDOT Director Brad Wieferich.


Taking first place in the 9th – 10th grade division was the Tied Arch Titans team. From left: Joshua Lee, Sriraam Hebbar, and Jonas Yan of Northville High School in Northville, Mich. They were congratulated by Acting MDOT Director Brad Wieferich.


Taking second place in the 9th – 10th grade division was Mission ImBALSAble. From left: Katelyn Baker, Kamryn Van Sickle, and Mattis Riddle of Clinton High School in Clinton, Mich. They were congratulated by Acting MDOT Director Brad Wieferich


The 906 Bridge Co. team took first place in the 11th – 12th grade division. From left: Thomas McCollum, Phil Nelson, and Ryan Hemmila of Negaunee High School in Negaunee, Mich. They were congratulated by Acting MDOT Director Brad Wieferich.


Taking second place in the 11th – 12th grade division was the SAB Civil Engineering team. From left: Nathaniel Sherick, Page Baker, Desiree Almeida, and team sponsor Kim Benson from LISD Tech Center in Adrian, Mich. Congratulating them is Acting MDOT Director Brad Wieferich.