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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Michiganders Can Apply Now For Home Heating Help

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018   

LANSING, Mich. — Many Michiganders are experiencing a bit of sticker shock as they open their energy bills after a few bitter cold months, but assistance is available to help keep the light and heat on this year. The state is now processing home-heating credit applications for low-income households for the 2017 tax year.

Whitney Skeans, a customer assistance manager with Consumers Energy, says tax season is a good time to apply for the credit, although those who don't make enough to file a return are still eligible. She says this is one way to help vulnerable residents to be proactive about their finances.

"It is based strictly on income and household size, so it is one of the few assistance options for your heat costs and your energy that do not require you to be past due on your bill," she explains.

The average credit last year was about $171. Applications are available on the state's website, at all public libraries, Secretary of State offices, and many post offices. More information on the credit and on free tax-preparation resources can be found by dialing 211.

Skeans says it's important to remember that winter is far from over, despite this week's warm-up. She says the deep freeze in December and January, combined with the way the holidays fell, made for bigger bills for many customers.

"This is the perfect time of year to have additional cash in your pocket to cover some of the higher heating costs that we've experienced through this winter," she adds.

Michiganders can apply for the credit through the end of September. The credit can be used to pay for all types of primary heating fuels, including natural gas, propane, electricity, and even firewood


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