Video series provides fun information about invasive species, beneficial insects, pest management, and more

LANSING – Have you ever thought about bugs and thought “ewwww?” While some insects can cause damage to our natural resources and environment, but there are lots of them that actually help our environment and farming community.

To help provide some fun information and education about bugs and insects, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced the launch of a new “Buggin’ Out” video series which includes expert interviews from entomologists, pest management specialists, veterinarians, and other scientists who love to talk about bugs.

The Department of Defense has approved a new policy to cover pet travel expenses, like pet shipping or quarantine fees, incurred by Service members during a Permanent Change of Station (PCS). As of January 1, 2024, military Service members going through a PCS within the continental United States can be reimbursed up to $550 for one household pet, either cat or dog, and up to $2,000 for moves to or from a location outside the continental United States to cover costs related to the transportation of a pet.

The Services estimate that this new allowance may be used by an estimated 227,000 Service members. Historically, Service members paid the majority of out-of-pocket expenses to transport pets when assigned to a new duty station. This policy reduces that financial burden while recognizing the important role a pet plays in a military family's household.   more...
WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of $20 million to deliver broadband technical assistance resources for rural communities, and to support the development and expansion of broadband cooperatives.

USDA is offering the funding under the new Broadband Technical Assistance Program. The program supports technical assistance projects such as conducting feasibility studies, completing network designs and developing broadband financial assistance applications. Funding is also available to help organizations access federal resources, and to conduct data collection and reporting.

When people talk about your credit, they mean your credit history. Your credit history describes how you use money. For example:

How many credit cards do you have?
How many loans do you have?
Do you pay your bills on time?

Grow good credit. How you handled your money and bills in the past will help lenders decide if they want to do business with you. Your credit history also helps them determine what interest rate to charge you.

If lenders see that you always pay your bills on time and never take on more debt than you can pay back, they’ll generally feel more confident doing business with you.
If they see that you’re late on your payments or owe more on credit cards or loans than you can repay, they might not trust that you will pay them back.

A review of NAEP scores for Michigan’s largest district confirms the need for education reform

By Molly Macek

Only one out of 20 students in the Detroit Public Schools Community District scored at a “proficient” level on the eighth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. Lawmakers are taking notice but have yet to introduce a bill that effectively addresses the problem.

Sen. Dayna Polehanki, chair of the Senate Education Committee, mentioned Michigan’s performance on the 2022 NAEP test in a recent tweet. The NAEP, or “The Nation’s Report Card,” assesses each state’s reading and math performance at critical time points. A review of Michigan’s progress on standardized tests like the NAEP is an important step in developing effective solutions.

A review of NAEP scores for Michigan and its largest urban district confirm the dire need for education reform.

By Colleen Tressler
Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Shopping for a car? With new car prices averaging more than $48,000, you may be thinking about buying used. But in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Ian, tread lightly: after a hurricane or flood, storm-damaged cars are sometimes cleaned up and taken out of state for sale. You may not know a car is damaged until you look at it closely.

If you’re shopping for a used car:

Check for signs and smells of flood damage. Is there mud or sand under the seats or dashboard? Is there rust around the doors? Is the carpet loose, stained, or mismatched? Do you smell mold or decay — or an odor of strong cleaning products — in the car or trunk?