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Friday, January 28, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, January 28, 2005

Gaylord (Otsego County Airport) set a record low of -26 degrees this morning ... raise your hand if you're glad you decided to skip that flight.

Proposed Michigan Business Tax Changes Announced
The Detroit News reports that Gov. Granholm presented a major business tax reform plan yesterday. The proposed tax shift calls for a cut in the Single Business Tax and a reduction in the alternative tax paid by small business. The state would lower payroll tax (weighted more toward profits), allow credits for plants, equipment and research and development, and hike taxes on insurance companies.

Ann Arbor Folk Festival - This Weekend
The Detroit Free Press has a feature detailing the lineup for this weekend's Ann Arbor Folk Festival (the Ark's major fund-raiser, held at Hill Auditorium January 27th & 28th). The lineup includes the Indigo Girls, Lansing's Steppin' In It, Keb' Mo, David Jones and many more.
The Ark web site

Special State School Board Meeting on Watkins' Future
The Lansing State Journal reports that the state Board of Education has a special meeting this weekend to discuss the future of State Superintendant of Schools Tom Watkins. Gov. Granholm has called for Watkins' resignation, but the 8 member board (which appears evenly split) has sole authority.

Honeypot Spam Traps
We may be crossing the line of what is Michigan news with this one, but since Michiganians have email & web sites and suffer from spam, we'll go with it. detrit Free Press tech columnist Mike Wedland has an article on Project Honey Pot. The system generates e-mail addresses that are captured by email harvesting "bots". When the address is spammed, the spamming server is identified and cut off.
Project Honey Pot web site

Michigan Economy Lost Ground in 2004
The Michigan Business Activity Index (compiled by Detroit based Comerica Bank) gained 2 points in December, to close at 108 for 2004, compared with a revised 106 reading in November. This was slightly down from 2003 (114, 2.2%).

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# posted by farlane @ 8:54 AM 0 comments links to this post
Thursday, January 27, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, January 27, 2005

It's pretty darn cold where I am this morning, but in Pellston the "Ice Box of the North", it was -22 ... I'm certainly not going to go there and argue about who deserves that title today.

UP Wind Energy
The Mining Journal has a feature on a new project through the Michigan State University Extension (with a great map showing wind strength) that seeks to educate Upper Peninsula farmers in the feasibility of wind power. The project, titled Integrating Wind Energy Resource Information into the Michigan State University Extension System, is funded by the Michigan Energy Office and the U.S. Department of Energy and is offered across the state.

Michigan Company Will Fire Smokers
The Detroit News reports that the decision by Weyco Inc. (an Okemos-based medical benefits administration company) to terminate workers who wouldn't stop smoking (period) drew national attention yesterday. The news story includes reactions from smokers, other such policies, health costs and raises questions of personal freedom.

Lansing Blizzard of '67 Remembered
The Lansing State Journal remembers the blizzard of January 27, 1967 today. Over 2 feet of snow fell in the worst blizzard in Lansing history, closing businesses, collapsing roofs, stranding motorists and causing a state of emergency to be declared.

MSU & U of M Hoops Clash Tonight
15th ranked Michigan State hosts the University of Michigan at the Breslin Center tonight. Wolverine guard Daniel Horton and maybe Spartan forward Paul Davis will be out. Read more on the MSU v. UM Game in the...
Free Press

Detroit News
State News (MSU)
The Michigan Daily (UM)

By Car, Snowmobile or Boat...
The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association and the Office of Highway Safety Planning have unveiled a new campaign "Drunk Driving is Drunk Driving, No Matter What You Drive" to remind recreational vehicle users that the penalties and social costs of "sledding, boating or driving" under the influence of alcohol are significant.

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# posted by farlane @ 10:05 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I don't know about you, but that hole in the St. Clair River makes me really nervous...

Michigan Business Tax Overhaul to be Proposed
The Detroit News reports on Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposed new business tax system, expected to be offered today. The plan would purportedly cut the Single Business Tax rate from 1.9% to 1.2%, tax profits more heavily and offer a 35% tax credit for capital investments.

Rocks Proposed to Slow St. Clair Leak
The London Free Press (Ontario, Canada) reports that the Georgian Bay Association (a Great Lakes advocacy organization) recommends dumping rocksinto the St. Clair River at Sarnia would help to slow the loss of water that has been lowering the level of Lake Huron. An eroded hole at the bottom of the river (see yesterday's story) is suspected to be the cause of lowered water levels in Lake Huron & Lake Michigan.

Ski Areas Close to Metro Detroit & Ski Voucher
The Detroit Free Press has a great rundown on ski areas that are close to the metro Detroit area. They also point you to the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association where you can print out a voucher good at most Michigan ski areas for lesson, lift ticket and equipment ($30 for adults and $20 for children ages 7-14, good until Jan 31, 2005).
Michigan Snowsports Industries Association web site

Major Increase in Michigan Venture Capital Investment
The Great Lakes IT Report reports that venture capital investment in Michigan companies was up to $78.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2004 according to the most recent Money Tree Survey. Investment in Q3 was just $13 million and $22 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. 2004's total was $148.1 million as compared to $92 million for 2003.

Saginaw Snowshoer to Trek over 600 Miles
WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids) reports that a one-legged Saginaw County man with a weak heart is trying to trek 660 miles around the state on snowshoes. Doug Finkbeiner started his hike January 15th.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:51 AM 0 comments links to this post
Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Still looking for that elusive first comment in our blog...

Grand River Ice Jam Continues to Grow
WZZM TV 13 of Grand Rapids has a pair of features on the ice jam along the Grand River that is backing water up all the way to Comstock Park. The National Weather Service says heavy snow and bitter cold temperatures over the weekend caused the ice jam to make a big leap east all the way through Grand Rapids to Comstock Park.
More on the Grand River Ice Jam

Blame St. Clair River Dredging for Low Water Levels
The Detroit Free Press reports that a study released Monday by W.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers of Toronto finds that Lake Michigan and Lake Huron have permanently lost a foot of water because of erosion in the St. Clair River caused by dredging and other activities. "It's like a drain hole at the bottom of a bathtub," said Rob Nairn of W.F. Baird.

Michigan Chambers Speak Against Rasing Minimum Wage
In response to a legislative proposal unveiled by House and Senate Democratic lawmakers to hike the state minimum wage to $7.15 per hour and tie future increases to the rate of inflation, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce said that raising the state minimum wage will increase the cost of doing business in Michigan and reduce low-skill, low-paying jobs. Michigan's minimum wage rate is currently $5.15 an hour, the same as the Federal rate.
Statement by the Detroit Regional Chamber opposing increasing minimum wage

SCO Refused by Michigan Court of Appeals
This story comes all the way from Utah and reports that the Michigan Court of Appeals has refused a bid by Utah's SCO Group to resurrect its Linux-related lawsuit against auto giant DaimlerChrysler. SCO is pursuing lawsuits against IBM ($5 billion), Novell, Autozone and RedHat that claim its Unix code has been illegally incorporated into the freely distributed Linux. Leaders in the pro-Linux open source community hailed the Michigan ruling as a possible portent for the SCO-IBM case, expected to go to trial this coming fall.

Interview with Snow Boat Inventor Harry Haney
The Detroit Free Press has an interview with Harry Haney, inventor of the snow boat - a 14-foot floating snowmobile that could be a lifesaver (or at least a snowmobile saver) for ice fishermen.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:01 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, January 24, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, January 24, 2005

If you aren't reading ypsi~dixit, you're missing some great Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti history!

Interlochen to Build Film School
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the Interlochen Center for the Arts plans to build a $4 million film studies center. The Aaron and Helen L. DeRoy Center for Film Studies will contain a film studio, editing and production areas, student living areas and a movie screening room and curriculum will include production, screenwriting, film history and aesthetics, editing, sound design, acting and cinematography.

Great Lakes Water Levels Up
The Detroit News reports that water levels in the Great Lakes are as much as 16 inches over last year's mark -- good news for boating, shipping and shoreline property owners.

Snowboarding Movie to Include Mt. Bohemia Footage
The Detroit Free Press has a feature on part of a snowboarding movie that is being shot at the Keweenaw Peninsula's Mt. Bohemia that will be released in the fall. The filmaker feels that additional footage of the Upper Peninsula (from Keweenaw towns and the area) will differentiate the video from others on the market.

Saturday Storm Report
The Detroit Free Press reports that a weekend winter storm dropped a foot or more of snow in some parts of Michigan, delayed the start of Detroit's first annual Motown Winter Blast by three hours and in Ottawa County, added to a six-mile ice jam on the Grand River that flooded about 50 homes in a 15-mile area with up to 6 feet of freezing floodwaters.

Watkins & Granholm Continue to Fight
The Detroit Free Press reports that State schools Superintendent Tom Watkins and Gov. Jennifer Granholm continue to trade jabs. A spokesman for Granholm said Watkins has demanded "a large cash settlement" in return for his resignation. Watkins' attorney, George Ward, said Watkins only asked for the terms of a 1-year extended contract. Watkins is paid $168,000 a year, plus benefits.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:27 AM 0 comments links to this post
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