Week of 4.24.17

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JVS Trade Secrets

“And life goes on,” said Connie Holzer, honorary chair and keynote speaker at the JVS Trade Secrets fundraising dinner. (It attracted record attendance - 560 @ $150 and up – to the Troy Marriott.) Holzer’s unique business experience did not even begin until her car dealer husband of 52 years died when she was 70 years old. Although the economy was in the dumps, she mortgaged the home where she had raised six children, got concessions from their 130 employees, and rebuilt the Tom Holzer Ford dealership into the 4th ranked regionally and 10th ranked nationally. “You are never too old to begin a new life,” she concluded. Women to Work recipient Kimberly Baker, whose fairytale life crashed when her husband went to jail for tax fraud, praised Judy Richmond and the JVS computer program. She attended it on a scholarship. “And now..because of people in this room... I can feed my kids,” Baker said, apologizing for her tears. The venue provided ample space to display the event’s traditional pick-your-own-prize raffle of 62 items, the main cocktail hour diversion.
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This weeks social light photos…

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oakland confidential

May 2017

MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO NOWHERE: A budget proposal by the Trump administration may be the final blow to plans for a regional mass transit system for southeast Michigan. A proposed Regional Transit Authority (RTA) millage failed in November 2016, when voters in Oakland and Macomb counties rejected the four-county millage, while passing in Wayne and Washtenaw counties. Deal was, it had to win in three of ...more»
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Human waste sludge on farms


BIOSOLIDS
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(click for larger version)
03/28/2017 - Farmer Dave Blakney and his son, Chris, started growing row crops about 17 years ago on their 300-acre farm in Huron Township, but it was more recently that Blakney said he learned about the availability of "biosolids," as an alternative to traditional fertilizer for some crops. "It's very good. Nitrogen is the main interest. It usually has about 190 pounds of nitrogen per acre, and that's very good. The fertilizing quality is excellent," Blakney said. "It's free. No charge, typically."

Created from the sludge leftover during the treatment of sanitary sewage, the term "biosolids" was coined in 1991 by the wastewater treatment industry. Sewage sludge is formed from the leftover organic and inorganic materials settled out of wastewater after the screening process. However, sludge may undergo additional treatments that allow it to be used recycled and applied to farm fields for crop production as fertilizer, as well as other uses.

Many in the agricultural and wastewater treatment industries say the use of biosolids provides several benefits to cropland while recycling waste materials that would otherwise be disposed of in landfills or incinerated. However, the idea of growing crops in fertilizer derived from human waste is harder for other people to swallow, particularly for those with health and safety concerns about biosolids.

Statewide, about 85,000 tons of biosolids from 175 different wastewater treatment plants was applied to about 18,000 acres of agricultural land in 2016, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). Of that amount, about 32,163 tons came from the Great Lakes Water Authority wastewater treatment plant in Detroit, with more than 2,000 additional tons of biosolids applied to farmland from wastewater treatment plants in Oakland County, according to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which oversees the state's biosolids program. Overall, the state estimates biosolids provided a value of about $14 million to farmers in 2016.

At Blakney Farms – which produces corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, and houses a cow-calf operation with breeding bulls and a handful of horses, hogs and chickens – Dave Blakney said biosolids are applied to about 125 acres of land used for growing corn for livestock feed.

"We use it just before we plant," Blakney said of the type of biosolids applied to his cropland. "They apply it to the fields, and we plant a few days after. We had used it on about 125 acres this year. Our first usage was about five years ago."

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