MISP News Release: PlayCleanGo Awareness Week

MISP News Release: PlayCleanGo Awareness Week

Michigan Invasive Species Program banner

News Release

May 31, 2024
Contact: Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814

Help prevent the spread of invasive species during PlayCleanGo Awareness Week

Adopt some helpful habits you can use all year

The Michigan Invasive Species Program is joining the North American Invasive Species Management Association to promote PlayCleanGo Awareness Week, taking place this year June 1-8. The annual event aims to educate outdoor enthusiasts on the importance of stopping the spread of invasive species while enjoying the great outdoors.

“Nearly 50% of endangered or threatened fish, wildlife and plants are at risk due to invasive species, which people unintentionally spread with their boots, tires, boats, firewood, pets, horses and more,” said Joanne Foreman, Invasive Species Program communications coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources. “But the good news is, by taking a few easy steps, everyone spending time in nature can be part of the solution.”

Legs and feet of children using a boot brush to remove debris from their tennis shoes and boots.On every outdoor adventure remember to:

  • Clean footwear with a boot brush.
  • Remove invasive plants and dispose properly.
  • Pick seeds and burrs off clothes and gear.
  • Clean mud and seeds from dogs and horses.
  • Hose off bikes or all-terrain vehicles with water or compressed air.
  • Clean, drain and dry boats, and dispose of any invasive plants.
  • Don’t move firewood; buy it where you burn it.

“PlayCleanGo Awareness Week is about more than just spreading awareness – it’s about taking meaningful action to protect our environment,” added Teagan Wilmot, North American Invasive Species Management Association education and prevention manager. “Together, we can make a difference and stop invasive species in their tracks.”

Get involved

Several state parks across Michigan are hosting volunteer stewardship workdays during PlayCleanGo Awareness Week and are looking for help to remove invasive plants and protect important habitat.

June 1

  • Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County) – Help remove garlic mustard that threatens to take over the high-quality forest in Haven Hill Natural Area.
  • Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County) – Volunteers are needed to help pull garlic mustard from the beautiful dunes.

June 2

  • Ludington State Park (Mason County)– Help protect the park from invasive plants like garlic mustard and spotted knapweed.

June 7

  • Waterloo Recreation Area (Jackson and Washtenaw counties) – Join as we team up with the local Jackson, Lenawee, Washtenaw Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area to control garlic mustard.

June 8

  • Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County) – Volunteer stewards are needed to help protect habitat at this off-the-beaten-path park.
  • Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County) – Help remove garlic mustard that threatens to take over this valuable woodland.

Visit the DNR’s volunteer stewardship webpage to learn more about workday details and other ways to lend a hand.

National Trails Day

Don’t forget that Saturday, June 1, is National Trails Day – look for service opportunities on local trails and remember to PlayCleanGo to keep them safe from invasive species. Check out some amazing trails at Michigan.gov/DNRTrails.

Post your boast!

If you’re taking part in PlayCleanGo Awareness Week by cleaning your shoes, clothes and recreational gear after you play, or if you’re participating in a volunteer event, be sure to share with friends on social media.

Tag PlayCleanGo in your posts to help NAISMA see who’s joining the movement with @PlayCleanGo (Facebook/Twitter) and @Play.Clean.Go (Instagram).

Share your PlayCleanGo story using NAISMA’s photo upload form.

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Natural Resources.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Maybury: A group of 5th graders clean their shoes on a boot brush after a visit to Maybury State Park.

DNR Logo 24 bit PNGDept of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy logoMDARD Logo
AG Alerts Consumers of Nationwide Venmo Scam

AG Alerts Consumers of Nationwide Venmo Scam

Nessel Email Header

May 31, 2024

Media Contact:
Danny Wimmer

AG Nessel Alerts Consumers of Nationwide Venmo Scam

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reissuing her consumer alert about payment apps and scams following reports nationwide of scammers targeting Venmo users. The scam involves a scammer “accidentally” sending money to consumers on the peer-to-peer (P2P) service and then asking for the money back.

The Attorney General advises consumers to never send back the money. Instead, they should contact the P2P service about the error. Scammers often use stolen funds that Venmo and other P2P services will eventually flag as fraudulent. A common version of this happens when a scammer uses a stolen credit card number to deposit the funds into a consumer’s P2P account.  Eventually, the real holder of the credit card may succeed in getting that payment reversed as a fraudulent charge. This means the innocent consumer who returns the supposedly accidental deposit to the fraudster will experience a debit from the credit card company, and any transferred funds will come from the consumer’s P2P account balance.

“Scammers are constantly evolving their tactics to exploit consumers,” Nessel said. “Remember, it’s always best to use an extra degree of caution with any transaction involving someone you do not know. If you believe you have been a victim of a scam, please do not hesitate to reach out to my department.”

P2P scams can take many other forms, including:

  • Scammers impersonating a consumer’s bank to alert them about “suspicious activity” on their account and direct them to send money to themselves or “the bank’s address” to reverse a transaction or to verify the account is not frozen.
  • Fraudsters reaching out to consumers claiming to represent a fraud department or merchant and ask them to confirm information such as their bank account username and password, credit card or debit card data, or Social Security numbers.
  • Scammers posing as a legitimate business requesting a P2P payment for a product or service.
  • Scammers connecting a stolen credit card to a payment app then look for people selling big ticket items (such as a computer, tablet, or car) online. The scammers will offer to pay for the product using the app. Once the seller accepts the payment and sends the item, they’ll soon discover that the payment sent is not to a legitimate buyer, and the money collected is removed from their account. The seller is then without either the item or the money.
  • Fraudsters sending spoofed emails warning that an account is about to be suspended and that the account holder must enter their password on a spoofed webpage.

The Attorney General reminds consumers to never share their personal information, treat P2P payments like cash, and not pay for products until they receive them. Victims of a scam involving P2P payment apps can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.  To file a complaint with the Attorney General, or get additional information, contact:

Consumer Protection Team
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
Fax: 517-241-3771
Toll-free: 877-765-8388
Online complaint form

Combat the threat of Chinese connected vehicles

Combat the threat of Chinese connected vehicles



Hi there,

You may have seen U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra was in our district last week discussing important prescription drug provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. Before that press conference, though, we had a few meetings I want to tell you about.

I invited Secretary Becerra to our 7th Congressional District because of your calls, emails and letters surrounding high prescription prices, drug shortages and maternal health disparities. It’s important for federal officials to see firsthand the issues that affect Michiganders in their daily lives.

First, we met with local hospital leaders, so Secretary Becerra could hear directly from them about the issues they’re facing.  Our first priority was the ongoing shortage of lifesaving cancer drugs that has forced our hospitals in Michigan to ration care. This crisis has shown once again that maintaining a sufficient supply of pharmaceuticals is critical for not just patients, but for our national security.  This issue of supply-chains for critical items has become a bit of an obsession of mine since shortages upended our economy during the pandemic.  It’s why I co-founded the bipartisan Domestic Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Caucus and have introduced legislation, like the Ensuring Access to Lifesaving Drugs Act, to keep vital medicines on pharmacy shelves.

In our second meeting with Secretary Becerra, we met with advocates and talked about the issue of black maternal health.  Today, Black & Native American women are three to four times more likely to die from complications surrounding pregnancy & childbirth than white women. Our meeting allowed Secretary Becerra to learn about the systemic & financial challenges faced by those who’ve been in the trenches on this issue. Thank you to the doctors, midwives, doulas, & public health & nonprofit leaders who provided ways to address this issue at the federal level.

Finally, we held a press conference on the Inflation Reduction Act.  This bill sends a really clear signal to the rest of the prescription drug world that the day where you can just charge whatever you want — where there’s no transparency on the price of medication — is an era that’s coming to an end.

I am thankful to all those who helped us have a productive day discussing federal solutions that would help Michiganders.

Rep. Slotkin

Tuned-In Thursday: ‘Clancy’ by Twenty One Pilots

Tuned-In Thursday: ‘Clancy’ by Twenty One Pilots

The serious yet carefree demeanor of musical duo Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun seems like it doesn’t work on paper. Bouncing from genre to genre: reggae, pop, rap, rock, etc. – sometimes it stretches artists too thin. However, for Joseph and Dun, their elasticity is their greatest strength, fusing various different musical stylings throughout their over 15-year artistic tenure, as well as cultivating an engaged fanbase through in-album storytelling.

Twenty One Pilots’ newest outing is called “Clancy,” and hit selves last Friday, May 24. “Clancy” aims to be the closing remark on the “Blurryface” trilogy. Their departure from lighter themes a la “Scaled and Icy,” and returning to more serious topics like on albums such as the aforementioned “Blurryface” and the fan-favorite “Trench,” is a welcomed transition – fans have been wanting “darker” material for a while now.

The band, in an effort to convey their meanings of their albums better, have created a whole story in which there are several different main characters, storylines and plot-points interwoven in the songs and in the music videos.

“Blurryface” starts off the trilogy focusing on the titular character representing all of Joseph’s insecurities and faults. “Trench” focuses on the character of “Clancy” and zooms out with the “Blurryface” allegory to tackle mental illness as a whole, using a physical location (a walled city ruled by demagogues) in order to get across their message. Finally, “Clancy” takes a look at the titular character’s psyche and how it all relates back to Joseph.

While the material on “Clancy” is darker and more focused than “Scaled and Icy,” and the concentration on storytelling is promising, that does not mean that the switch between the two was a big leap.

Lyrically, the album starts out with a bang, “Overcompensate” is an obvious choice for first-track, as a deep, robotic voice welcomes the listener “back to ‘Trench.’” Joseph ties the break back to “Trench” by singing a chorus from “Bandito” in the intro.

Musically, the track takes cues from both “Blurryface” and “Trench” both with Joseph’s rapping and the bombastic production, consisting of lots of synths, racing guitar and bass lines, as well as acoustic guitar near the end. The meandering indie pop of “Scaled and Icy” seems to have officially come to and end.

The next two tracks, “Next Semester” and “Backslide” are my favorite on the record. Both songs tackle the topic of mental health and lead the listener down anxiety-riddled roads and use Joseph’s personal struggles as lyrical fuel.

“I remember/I remember certain things/What I was wearin’/The yellow dashes in the street/I prayed those lights would take me home/Then I heard, ‘Hey, kid, get out of the road!’” Joseph sings in “Next Semester.”

These dark lyrics specifically deal with the protagonist of this song reminiscing back to a time when they were a student, panicking over their academics and experiencing a mental breakdown where they could have ended up taking their own life.

The honest yet layered allegorical lyrics like these are present on a lot of the beginning tracks like “Next Semester,” “Backslide,” “Midwest Indigo” and “Vignette.”

“Rеachin’ out on my way home/You can be so cold, I’ll try again/You make me sad and second-guess myself/You can be so cold, Midwest Indigo,” Joseph sings on “Midwest Indigo.”

However, the relatability and instrumental uniqueness, along with the catchiness of the tracks, soon fades. While tracks like “Lavish,” “Navigating,” and “Oldies Station” are not terrible per se, they are not very interesting lyrically.

“Welcome to the new way of livin’/It’s just the beginning of lavish/From the floor to the ceiling/Welcome to the style you haven’t seen in a while,” Joseph sings on “Lavish,”

Joseph, by creating all of these worlds and characters, stretched himself a little bit too thin on this record. Metaphors and allegories get mixed up, storylines get too confusing, and the tightly focused beginning ends up falling apart near the last third of the track-list.

To me, “Trench” ended up being the best of all worlds – lyrically, instrumentally, and story-wise. In order to have stuck the landing, Joseph and Dun would have to have outdone the monumental “Trench,” which is a tall order to fulfill.

“Clancy” is not a failure of a record, but it is not a home run either. Hopefully whatever Joseph and Dun do next will not only hit the mark musically, but also within their complicated yet intriguing storylines.

LOCS Board of Education Hosts ‘Farewell’ Open House For Superintendent Ben Kirby

LOCS Board of Education Hosts ‘Farewell’ Open House For Superintendent Ben Kirby

LAKE ORION, Mich. – On Wednesday, May 29, 2024, the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education threw an open house for departing Superintendent Ben Kirby in the LOCS Administration Building. Kirby started with LOCS in 2020, taking over the position from Marion Ginopolis and lead the school district through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kirby’s resignation was officially accepted on April 24 during a regular school board meeting. He will continue his position with the school district through the end of June. On July 1, Kirby is expected to become the superintendent of Forest Hills Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich.

At 3:30 p.m., friends and colleagues gathered in the administration building on Lapeer Rd. to congratulate Kirby on his new position and to celebrate his accomplishments with the district.

Photo by Joe Johnson

Kirby met with several community leaders and exchanged thanks, laughs, hugs, handshakes and gratitude.

ONTV’s Lexi McKinney spoke to Kirby about his time with the school district and what his plans are going forward.

“It’s a pleasure to come to work, it’s a pleasure to be an employee of Lake Orion Community Schools,” Kirby said. “The feeling of being a ‘dragon’ is something unlike that I’ve experienced in other school districts. Everybody rallying around being a dragon, whether it’s our elementary schools, middle schools, high schools – we all have the same purpose, the same drive, the same passion – and that is what is really different about Lake Orion.”

Some notable figures at the open house included members of the Orion Board of Trustees, the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce and members of the Village Council and the Downtown Development Authority.

“I’m looking forward to figuring out what is my reason for going to Forest Hills and that’s one of those things when I got here, I knew, it didn’t take very long to figure out why I was put here,” Kirby said. “This has been amazing… It’s all about the personal side for us as a family, getting back together, I’m from the west side of the state, we knew we were going to head back there but this particular position that opened is not one that opens regularly and it was just everything just kind of lined up.”

Kirby had an eventful closing remark during our interview as a final sendoff: “I finish everything with… Go Dragons!”

For more information about the Superintendent search visit lakeorionschools.org/board-of-education/superintendent-search-2024.