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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

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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