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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Major Winter Storm in Michigan

A winter storm is ravaging the western Upper Peninsula. George Hite (author of the fantastic George's Eagle Harbor Web reports:
"What a storm we are experiencing! It's Thursday late afternoon, the first of an expected three day good old-fashioned Copper Country blizzard. Old snow and massive clusters of arriving lake effect is swirling about out my window, obscuring even the harbor waters just fifty or so feet away. The timbers of this old camp are shaking and groaning - buffeted by the gale force winds blasting in from the big lake. Temperatures, a balmy high twenties at this day's dawn, are now in the single digits, and dropping about two degrees an hour as they head to the forecasted beastly sub-zeros. My furnace and fireplace are both in winter storm mode, but the little thermometer alongside my computer says 60, no doubt reacting to the cold air being pushed through my all too porous camp door and window frames. I'm wrapped in a big comforter, with double socks and a wool cap. Exciting, but not much fun."

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, January 14, 2005

There's cold, really cold ... and then there's this morning.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver to Resign
Justice Weaver announced yesterday that she plans to step down from the Michigan Supreme Court in October. In her press release, Justice Weaver sought to call attention to what she feels are too long terms for Supreme Court judges (and too short terms for Michigan legislators) as well as problems with the vast power granted to Michigan governors (added in 1968) to fill vacancies on the court. "My hope is that with this 9-month notice of my intent to step down, the Legislature, the Governor, and the people of Michigan will think about and act upon the proper term limits ... and how vacancies on the Supreme Court are filled.
Complete Jan 13 release on Justice Elizabeth Weaver's web site
Free Press article (Not very detailed ... no idea why we're linking to it)

State Economists Confirm: Budget Cuts Needed to Put Michigan in the Black
The Holland Sentinel reports that although the $12.5 billion budget that covers public K-12 education will be in the black, state Treasurer Jay Rising said he expects the $8.8 billion general fund budget to be around $350 million short in the current fiscal year and about $750 million short in the fiscal year that starts October 1st, 2005 if adjustments aren't made.

Mackinaw City Winterfest - January 14-16, 2005
The Detroit News reports that fireworks, sleigh rides, gigantic snow sculptures, kids games and even a frozen fish toss are on tap for Mackinaw City's annual winter celebration to be held this weekend.
Greater Mackinaw Area Chamber of Commerce web site
Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau home page

Bill Cosby Urges Detroit Parents to Take Responsibility
The Detroit Free Press reports that actor and comedian Bill Cosby urged a crowd of African-American Detroiters at Wayne County Community College to be more responsible for the lives and futures of their children. Although some would say that the community's youths are out of control, Cosby suggested, "it's not what they're doing to us. It's what we're not doing."

Michael Moore Famous ... But Is He Famous Enough?
The Detroit Free Press reports that although he has won an Oscar, made two of the highest-grossing documentaries ever, written books, won a People's Choice Award for Fahrenheit 9/11, filmmaker Michael Moore can't get into his high school hall of fame (Davison High School in Flint).

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, January 13, 2005

Record high temperatures across Michigan yesterday & today, even some thunderstorms.

200 car I-96 Pileup
The Lansing State Journal has an in-depth report on a fog-induced, 200 vehicle pileup that killed 2 and closed I-96 from Webberville to Okemos for 10 hours yesterday. The photo on the LSJ front page is pretty disturbing.

Proposals Could Bring Lower Insurance Rates to Michigan
The Detroit Free Press reports that Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Office of Financial and Insurance Services Commissioner Linda Watters said Wednesday they sent a legislative panel a set of proposed rules to reduce base insurance rates and prohibit insurers from using credit scores to determine insurance rates. The Insurance Institute of Michigan responded that credit scoring allows insurers to provide discounts to about two-thirds of policyholders.

Lions Back Joey Harrington
The Detroit News reports that the Detroit Lions' President Matt Millen and Coach Steve Mariucci issued a joint statement Wednesday, calling "baseless and untrue" a published report that the franchise is considering releasing Harrington, or that such an action has been a point of discussion in the front office. This was in reaction to a story posted by Tom Kowalski on MLive.com.
MLive story: Sources say Lions considering releasing Harrington

Upper Midwest Cross Country Ski Lodges
The Detroit Free Press has a review of some great lodges & cross-country skiing destinations in the upper Midwest that includes Hilltop and River houses at Active Backwoods Retreat (Ironwood, Michigan). As for the ones that are in Minnesota & Wisconsin ... well, sometimes it's nice to travel out of state.
Read Cross-country ski, or chill, in Upper Midwest in the Freep

Technology & Intellect to Drive Michigan's Auto Future
The Detroit News reports that a group of top auto executives and industry experts who spoke Wednesday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit feel that brains, not brawn will be most important commodity in an automotive future that will see hydrogen-powered cars, people-friendly designs and computers taking over many driving functions.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Overheard over dinner: "Look at that weather map -- winter in the age of global warming".

High-speed Web Over Power Line in mid-Michigan
The Grand Ledge Independent (via WWJ's Great Lakes IT Report) reports that a ew York company is opening an office in the city to be the first in Michigan to offer broadband access to the Internet over power lines. The technology allows a broadband signal to travel on a power line and is expected to cost about $30 per month.

Oliver Farms Sharing the Wealth of the Land
The Detroit Free Press reports that Oliver Farms co-owner Charlie Oliver was honored by the Food Bank Council of Michigan for over 20 years as a donor (371,000 pounds of vegetables in 2004) and advocate. "You're only on this planet for so long," co-owner Ron Oliver said. "My mother always said to give, and you'll get back."

Detroit/Kilpatrick to Cut Wages & 900 jobs
The Detroit News reports that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is expected to announce measures including more than 900 job cuts, reductions in appointee salaries, eliminating city cars and reducing hours of bus service in an effort to stabilize the city's finances.

Barn Red Featured in West Michigan Film and Video Alliance Kick-off
The West Michigan Film and Video Alliance (WMFVA) kick-off event will be held at Celebration Cinema in Grand Rapids on Jan 20th, at 6 PM. Featured will be the new High Definition feature presentation of "Barn Red", shot in Michigan by Brauer Productions and starring Ernest Borgnine and Kimberly Norris Guerrero. Borgnine, filmaker Rich Brauer and other cast & crew will be in attendence.
West Michigan Film and Video Alliance Home Page
Barn Red Film information & high quality Trailer

2005 Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year
The Detroit Free Press has named chef Brian Polcyn's Five Lakes Grill their Restaurant of the Year. The Milford dining establishment offers familiar and delicious dishes prepared according to classic culinary principles.
Four recipes from the Five Lakes Grill in Milford
Freep's other Top Detroit Area Restaurants

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hydrogen ... it isn't just for water anymore.

GM to Michigan: Get Ready for Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Booth Newspapers report that with General Motors working to perfect nonpolluting, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles over the next five years, if Michigan wants to capitalize on the "hydrogen economy", it will need higher-skilled workers to produce and service fuel-cell vehicles.

Linking Michigan & Indiana Trails and Parks
The Detroit Free Press reports that several northern Indiana and southern Michigan counties may link up their recreational trails and parks to boost cross-state tourism.

2005 Great Lakes Issues
The Great Lakes Radio Consortium reports that the coming year will likely see some major policy decisions regarding the Great Lakes and that those involved think 2005 will be the year that some real progress on Great Lakes issues will be made.

2005 Upper Peninsula 200 Sled Dog Race - February 18-20
The Mining Journal reports that organizers of the U.P. 200 sled dog race expect a record number of mushers to compete in this year's event. The race is set for Feb. 18-20 in Marquette and Alger counties.

Hybrid Vehicles Move Beyond the "Wow" Factor
The Associated Press reports that for hybrid vehicles at this year's North American International Auto Show, the "wow" factor is over. Now automakers must work to bring the cost of hybrid engines down and convince consumers that the hybrid platform is reliable and powerful.

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Monday, January 10, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, January 10, 2005

It's 2005 ... where's my flying car??

2005 North American International Auto Show
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Chrysler 300 and Ford Escape hybrid won the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit's Cobo Hall on Sunday. The Free Press also has many more stories about fuel economy, upcoming models, concept cars & job outlook for the auto industry.
More about Car & Truck of the Year in the Freep
Complete 2005 North American International Auto Show coverage

New Michigan Legislature, Same Challenges
The Detroit News reports that the new Michigan House that starts this week will face the same task legislators have faced for the last 4 years: budget cuts in both the current budget ($350 million in the red) and next year's budget. Republicans have a 58-52 House majority and a 22-16 Senate majority.
More about Michigan budget cuts and the new House & Senate in the Detroit News

Early Treatment Effective Against Ash Borer
The Detroit Free Press reports that a study by MSU and the City of Troy has found that the best way to protect healthy ash trees from the emerald ash borer is to treat them before the pest gets established nearby. Michigan State University entomologist David Smitley said "Starting when it's first detected in your area ... that's going to give you the best chance of being successful."

Frankenmuth School Board to Decide on Bible class
The AP reports that a year ago, hundreds of Frankenmuth High School parents and students asked their Board of Education to offer a Bible course based on materials from the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (who report that 288 schools in 35 states have adopted their course outline). Now the school board must decide whether to adopt the proposed class.

Snow Day in Saline!
Saline (Washtenaw County) received 8 1/2" of snow in Thursday's storm, and the Detroit Free Press has a feature on how many of the 8,000 residents turned it into a day for sledding, snowmobiling, shoveling ... and even swimming.

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