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Friday, March 18, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, March 18, 2005

The population of Detroit continues to shrink, and Detroit News columnist Nolan Finley suggests that urban farming might hold the key to the city's future.

The Sound of Massive Budget Cuts
The Grand Rapids Press reports that administrators are considering taking the Grand Rapids schools to the brink of bankruptcy, closing buildings and privatizing busing and custodial work to stave off an $18 million deficit and send a message to lawmakers. However, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, R-Wyoming, said the only likely response from Lansing would be a pat on the back.

Honoring Michigan's Fallen Soldiers
The Detroit News has a feature exploring the different ways that communities across Michigan are honoring soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afganistan conflicts.

More Alkaline Leachate Found
The Petoskey News-Review reports that the EPA has found evidence of alkaline wastes like those which prompted closings of two sections of Bay Harbor's waterfront last year along the Little Traverse Bay shoreline at Resort Township's East Park. Parts of East Park were built over accumulations of cement kiln dust from the Penn-Dixie cement plant which once occupied the Bay Harbor site.

High School Basketball Fever Running High in Lansing
The Lansing State Journal reports that high school hoops fans in the Lansing area have plenty to cheer about. In State Basketball Semifinals today at the Breslin Center Holt meets Grosse Pointe North (Class A) and Haslett faces Muskegon Heights (Class B). Olivet is already in the Class C Finals and will play Unionville Sebewaing.
Complete tourney schedule from MHSAA

Helmet Law Moving Closer to Repeal
The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan's 36-year-old law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets moved closer to repeal Thursday when the state Senate voted to rescind the law. The bill will likely clear the House as well, but a veto by Gov. Jennifer Granholm is likely.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, March 17, 2005

Mitch Albom has a nice column about "the Big Girl", MSU's 6-4 Kelli Roehrig.

Hard Times for Isle Royale Moose Herd
John Flesher Associated Press reports that the Isle Royale moose population fell to about 540 this winter, down from 740 last year and 1,100 during the winter of 2002-03 according to wildlife biologist Rolf Peterson of Michigan Tech University. Meanwhile, wolf numbers jumped from 19 to 29 last season and reached 30 this year. A recent warming trend has borne a bumper crop of ticks and the balsam fir (the herd's prmary food source) is slowly dying out on the western two-thirds of the island.

Canadian Government Investigating Edmund Fitzgerald Dive Allegations
The Soo Evening News reports that the Ontario Ministry of Culture is reviewing allegations an illegal dive was made to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior. The Whitefish Point Preservation Society of Paradise, Mich., alleges that the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society conducted an illegal dive to the legendary shipwreck nearly three years ago.

Bad News from GM
The Detroit News reports that General Motors, the world's largest automaker, announced yesterday that it expects its worst quarterly loss ($847 million) since 1992 and much lower than forecast profits for 2005. The carmaker will cut merit pay raises and retirement funds and may also cut jobs and health care.

Michigan Schools Running on Empty
The Detroit News reports that many Michigan school districts have tapped their rainy day funds to avoid cutting programs, but are now running out of money. Gov. Jennifer Granholm's proposed $175 per-pupil funding increase won't be enough to stave off the budget crisis, school officials say.

Great Lakes are Vast, but Still Need Our Help
The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that the Great Lakes contain 6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water (about 20% of the earth's surface water) and that, according to Ken DeBeaussaert, director of Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes, "The Great Lakes really have been the foundation on which much of our economic success has been built". DeBeaussaert identified diversion of water to other states and countries and exotic species as two major threats.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Free Press technology writer Mike Wedland muses that he didn't really mind when a virus knocked him offline for a week.

Michigan DEQ Gets Green
The Detroit News reports that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's regional office at the old Warren Tank Plant is Michigan's first "green" state office building. It was designed with technologies like wind power, low-flow toilets, passive solar and a hardy, native plant "lawn" to save energy and water (and money) and reduce the discharge of harmful gases like carbon dioxide.

Government & Environmentalists Agree on New Mercury Limits
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Bush administration's new limits on mercury pollution from the US power plants (to be unveiled today) have forged a rare agreement between government and environmentalists: neither think they'll do much good. Mercury impairs brain development in fetuses and young children and remains in lakes and ponds for years.

Little Increase in Salaries Expected
The Detroit News reports that the American Society of Employers' 2005 Salary Survey finds that salaried employees in southeast Michigan can expect raises of about 3.5% for 2005. That barely keeps pace with the inflation rate (3% for January). The survey also found that only 30% of survey participants planned to increase hiring for '05 compared to 43% in the survey from Manpower Inc..

Signs of Spring: Robins, Buds on Trees and Harbor Openings
The UP Mining Journal reports that the brand new U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder cleared a path through the ice in Marquette's harbors and Marquette Bay. Nice photo of the ship too!

Cinderella Oakland to Dance with the Tarheels
It's fitting that we go to the Oakland Press for the story on the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies' 79-69 victory over Alabama A&M in the NCAA tourney play-in game. OU will play No. 1 seed North Carolina Friday afternoon in Charlotte.
Hard Core Sports fans will want to read MICHAEL ROSENBERG: The stage is set for unknowns from OU in the Freep!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Michigan History Magazine informs us that on this date in 1972 Fred Bear was the first person inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame (read more). Bonus Trivia Question: Did they play Ted Nugent's Fred Bear at the induction ceremony?

Plans for Bill to Regionally Regulate Ballast
The Detroit Free press reports that State Sen. Patty Birkholz (R-Saugatuck) plans to introduce a bill this week authorizing Michigan to form a coalition with the region's other seven states to regulate the oceangoing ship ballast widely suspected of ferrying exotic species to the region, rather than leaving reulation to the federal government.

Ann Arbor Film Festival - March 15 - 20
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Ann Arbor Film Festival, a showcase experimental films for over 40 years, will be held Tuesday through Sunday at the Michigan Theater.
Ann Arbor Film Festival Web Site

Survey Says ... Job Recovery
WZZM TV-13 (Grand Rapids) reports that the latest employment survey from Manpower, Inc. indicates a positive job outlook. Statewide, surveyed employers are expecting a 22% net job growth.

Michigan Faith Based Office
The Detroit Free Press reports that yesterday's creation of the Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives by Gov. Granholm has drawn both praise and concerns. The office is designed to help faith-based groups play a larger role in helping children, elderly people and poor people obtain state assistance.

Northwest Flying Low
The Detroit News reports that Michigan-based Northwest Airlines finished worst among 11 major U.S. air carriers in a customer satisfaction survey released Monday by J.D. Power and Associates. The airline disputes the findings.

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, March 14, 2005

From the Department of Disturbing Headlines, we bring you Cell-phone companies want towers in cemeteries.

Let the Sun Shine In
This week is "Sunshine Week", and Michigan newspapers like the Port Huron Times-Herald have lots of pieces regarding public access to governmental information. One problem is that while Michigan's FOIA law gives residents the right of access to many public records, stiffening fee structures and a vague description of what materials to which public bodies can deny access to the information.
Read Michigan Freedom of Information Act in the Times-Herald

Visit the Sunshine Week web site

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Scholarship
The Detroit Free Press reports that criticism from parents and lawmakers have prompted Gov. Granholm to reverse course and promise to deliver college scholarships (up to $500) for thousands of high school students who qualified while in middle school. Granholm had wanted to eliminate the grants to save $9 million, in light of the state's budget deficit.

MSU Men's & Women's Teams in NCAA Tourney
The Lansing State Journal has a pair of features on MSU's men's and women's basketball teams. The Spartan women have received the number one seed for the first time in school history and will meet Alcorn State on Saturday. The men have the #5 seed and will face Old Dominion on Friday night.
Read MSU women land No. 1 seed in the LSJ

Read MSU gets No. 5 seed, will face Old Dominion in the LSJ

Northern Michigan Wolf Search Doesn't Find Prints
The Flint Journal reports that while a two-week search for wolf tracks in northern Michigan in about 2,000 square miles between Rogers City and the north end of Torch Lake did not find a single print, Department of Natural Resources biologists say they are not really surprised. The DNR believes there are at least 360 wolves in the Upper Peninsula and that at least three must have crossed the ice somewhere near the Mackinac Bridge during the winter.

Student Art in UP Gallery
The UP Mining Journal has a feature relating how the U.P. Style Gallery in Marquette and Ewen Trout Creek Schools have struck a partnership to celebrate National Youth Art month. All this month, works of art by Ewen Trout Creek kindergarten through 12th grade students will be featured at the gallery.

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