Shirkey discusses concert to benefit the Hillsdale County and Branch County senior centers

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, discussed an upcoming concert to benefit the Hillsdale County and Branch County senior centers.

Critically acclaimed vocalist Helen Welch will perform “Superstar” on April 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater. The concert will celebrate the magic and music of the Carpenters.

The PSA can be found on Shirkey’s website at

Shirkey: Pilot program improving kids’ nutrition, eating habits

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey said Thursday that an incentive pilot nutrition program serving K-12 students in Hillsdale, Jackson and other counties across the state is working.

“The 10 Cents a Meal program is a wonderful example of the success that can happen when local communities are involved and invested,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Because of this project, kids are eating healthier and local farms are benefiting.”

The 10 Cents a Meal initiative is a state-funded competitive grant pilot reimbursement program for schools to improve daily nutrition and eating habits for children. It provides up to 10 cents per meal in matching funds for schools, enabling them to invest in Michigan’s agriculture by purchasing Michigan-grown fruits, vegetables and dry beans.

Hillsdale and Jackson counties are part of Prosperity Region 9, one of three regions participating in 10 Cents a Meal.

“I am delighted that our local farmers are able to provide students with nutritious food and that the kids are enjoying it so much!” Shirkey said.

The number of districts that received grants, and the students they serve, has roughly doubled — from 16 school districts and 48,000 students last year to 32 districts and 95,000 students this year.

For more information on the program, visit

Shirkey discusses Michigan farming and agriculture week

LANSING, Mich. — In a recent public service announcement on National Agriculture Week, state Sen. Mike Shirkey spoke about the importance of Michigan farming.

“Agriculture contributes more than $100 billion yearly to Michigan’s economy,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “National Agriculture Week allows us to recognize this contribution and celebrate the richness of our agricultural traditions.”

National Agriculture Week runs from March 18 through March 24.

Select the Video link at right to view Shirkey’s PSA.

Shirkey reads to Reading students for March is Reading Month

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey recently visited students at Reynolds Elementary School in Reading as part of March is Reading Month.

Shirkey emphasized the importance of reading and read aloud to the students from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.

“Reading is the key to learning, and it is great fun,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “If you can read … you can do just about anything!”

Notes: For a print-quality version of this or other Shirkey photos, click the image or select Photowire, at right. A video of Shirkey reading to Reynolds Elementary School students is available by clicking the Video link at right.

Shirkey bill would allow schools to retain Labor Day waiver

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey introduced a bill on Thursday that would ensure that schools granted waivers to be in session before Labor Day would not be required to reapply for the waiver every year.

Current law bans schools from starting before Labor Day, but the Department of Education grants waivers in some cases, allowing an early start to the school year.

The waivers must be renewed every year, but under Senate Bill 885, the waivers would carry over from year to year until a school notifies the department that the waiver is no longer needed.

“Most schools retain the same or similar calendars every year, so it makes sense to enable them to retain these waivers every year,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “My measure would take this decision out of the hands of the department and give it back to the schools, where it belongs.”

SB 885 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education for consideration.