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Friday, April 15, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, April 15, 2005

1.5 million Michiganians hadn't filed their taxes as of April 8th. Are YOU a tax procrastinator???

Macomb Fastest Growing County in Michigan
The Macomb Daily reports that according to U.S. Census Bureau figures, Macomb County added more people than any other county in Michigan from 2003 to 2004 to 822,660 (a .9% increase). Wayne is the Michigan's largest at 2,016,202 (11th in the US) followed by Oakland at 1,213,339 (30th) while Macomb remained 59th largest in the country.

U Mich Museum Reconstructs Mastodon Skeleton
From the "cool tech" department, the U of M News Service reports that by combining 13,000-year-old bones with 21st century auto manufacturing techniques, scientists and exhibit preparators at the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History are reconstructing a male mastodon skeleton for an exhibit that opens to the public May 21.

Teens Driving, Mom & Dad Watching
While we're on the subject of technology, the Detroit News reports that with so-called "black box" technology, parents can follow their teens in real time to find out how fast they're driving, where they're going -- even whether they're signaling before turns. The article also reviews several car monitoring devices.

Michigan May Require Permits & Ballast Water Treatment for Ocean Ships
The Associated Press reports that Michigan might require permits for oceangoing ships beginning in 2007 in an attempt to slow the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes. Permits could require ships to treat their ballast water to kill exotic species.

Kennedy Opens St. Clair Alternative Energy Symposium
The Port Huron Times-Herald reports that environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said America's air and streams are facing greater pollution threats from big corporations and the Bush administration, and the national media isn't doing enough to educate the public. His remarks were made in a Thursday night kick-off speech for St. Clair County Community College's 3-day alternative-energy symposium.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Detroit Zoo's baby polar made its photo debut yesterday.

Michigan Unemployment Rate Drops but Remains Terrible
The Lansing State Journal reports that Michigan's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% for the month of March, the lowest rate in nearly a year. Even with the improvement Michigan is still well behind the national unemployment rate of 5.2%.

Downtowns Are Hot With Home Buyers
The Detroit News has a feature looking at how revitalized downtowns such as Plymouth, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Birmingham, Rochester and Mount Clemens are becoming increasingly attractive to home buyers.

Protecting Michigan's Waters, Arguing About How to Do So
The Detroit Free Press reports that while Michiganders know the need to protect the Great Lakes (containing one-fifth of the world's supply of freshwater) from threats such as pollution and diversion, Michigan Reps Bart Stupak (D, Menominee) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R, Brighton) are fighting about what that looks like. Stupak is pushing an Federal ban on drilling for oil and natural gas in or under the Great Lakes while Rodgers feels the matter should be left to the state.

Faith Based Spending Continues to Grow
The Detroit News reports that President Bush's plan to divert federal dollars to religious groups is taking hold in Michigan, where faith-based spending on social services rose to $65.9 million last year, up 7.1 percent from 2003, and is likely to continue to grow.

Salmon, Trout & Smelt Fishing Update
The Detroit News fishing report says that according to the DNR, cooler temperatures have seemed to slow Michigan trout and salmon fishing a bit. There have been very few reports on smelt activity around the state. Ideal water temperatures are 42 to 44 degrees, and the best hours are between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Cooler temperatures will delay the run.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:31 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Internet2 is 20,000 times faster than normal broadband, a feature that has landed some MSU students in hot water over alleged pirated movies and music.

Michigan Economy Ranks Dead Last
The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that a new national report finds that Michigan ranks dead last among the states in economic momentum. The report ranked states on growth in three key areas: personal income, employment and population, setting a national average at 0. Nevada, which ranked first with a score of 3.66. Only Michigan (-1.45) and Alaska (-1.29) scored below a -1 on the index.

Wild Fire Season: Drier & Earlier
The Associated Press writer John Flesher reports that state personnel had responded to 104 fires statewide through last Sunday that burned a combined 578 acres. On the same date a year ago, 47 fires had burned 170 acres. The DNR says that 2/3 of these have been caused by people burning debris in their yards and that it's been more dry than last spring.

Lake St. Clair Report
The Macomb Daily reports that a newly released federal report on improving water quality in Lake St. Clair is the most comprehensive of its kind, but it has created barely a ripple of impact. The over 200 page document (from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) has 110 recommendations on how to fight pollution and other problems facing the lake. As a result, few officials have digested it.

Pledge of Allegiance in Michigan Schools
The Lansing State Journal says Michigan lawmakers are one step away from joining 35 other states and making it mandatory to offer the Pledge of Allegiance. The House could take up a bill requiring all public and charter schools to allow time to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill passed the Senate unanimously & wouldn't require students to say the pledge if they or their parents objected.

Granholm Will Nominate Flanagan for State Education Supt.
The Detroit News reports that Mike Flanagan, who heads the Michigan Association of School Administrators, has agreed to be nominated for the top job at the state Department of Education by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Flanagan is also former superintendent of the Wayne County intermediate school district and the Farmington Hills school district.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:27 AM 0 comments links to this post
Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Lansing State Journal tells us that on this date in history (April 12, 1945), President Franklin D. Roosevelt died. The article also has local reactions and a PDF of the paper's front page.

New Passport Rules not Popular in Sault Ste. Marie
The Soo Evening News has a story stating that new passport requirements for U.S. and Canadian citizens entering the U.S. will almost certainly have a chilling effect on several aspects of everyday life along the border. Sault Ste. Marie derives a great deal of income and tourist traffic from Canada, residents and business owners there are concerned.

New Mt. Pleasant Jobs Good ... Too Good
The Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun reports that the city of Mt. Pleasant won't qualify for a break in a federal loan used to finance the University Park technology park because the jobs created there were too good. The park led to the creation of more than 500 high-end manufacturing and technology jobs, but less than the required 30 low-income jobs.

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Give 'Em $39 Million
The Detroit Free Press reports that Toyota, (once public enemy #1 in Michigan) is expected to receive $38.9 million in tax breaks from the State of Michigan for its proposed engineering and testing operations near Ann Arbor. The incentive would be offered as part of Toyota's planned $11-million purchase of a 690-acre site off U.S.-23. in York Township.

Hmong Immigrants Struggle in Michigan
Today's Detroit News has a story looking at the difficulties many Hmong immigrants are having in making the transition from southeast Asia 17th century lifestyle to 21st century southeast Michigan. The Hmong (concentrated in Detroit, Pontiac and Warren) are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in Michigan and a third of the group lives in poverty.

Teaching Farming in Michigan Schools
The Muskegon Chronicle has a feature story on the agri-science program at Montague School wherein elementary students work with high school mentors and spend one session a month in a new greenhouse funded by a bond issue.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:20 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, April 11, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, April 11, 2005

You might want to listen to this report on the Cougar Survey in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the controversy it has generated from IPR News Radio.

Democrats Seek Drug Liability Reform
The Detroit Free Press reports that State House Democrats plan to announce a three-bill package today that would repeal the state's 1996 law that shields drug makers from liability if their product was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The measures will face opposition from House Republicans and have drawn negative comments from Pfizer, who employs thousands of workers around the state

Dearborn High Students Make Feature Film
The Detroit News has a nice feature on the making of Exposing Joe, a movie made in the directed study and advanced video classes held at Dearborn High School. The movie will premier Tuesday (Apr 11) at 7 PM at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.
Visit exposingjoe.com (official movie site)

360 Degrees of Michigan
Detroit Free Press technology writer Mike Wedland has a feature on a web site showcasing panoramic exhibitions of Michigan attractions from Mackinac Island to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes to Michigan lighthouses and the North American International Auto Show.
Visit 360michigan.net

Michigan Coalition Seeks to Protect Block Grants
The Michigan Land Use Institute has a feature detailing how the Michigan Coalition for Community Investment, a coalition of Michigan governmental associations and citizen groups, is urging state and federal officials to publicly oppose Bush administration proposals to sharply cut federal block grant funding. The article is very detailed and has lots of links to Coalition member web sites.

McDowell Named Head of Northern Michigan Task Force
The Petoskey News-Review reports that Rep. Gary McDowell, D-Rudyard, has been named to head a newly created task force to focus on the specific needs of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The task force will conduct a series of hearings across the region about economic development, jobs and tourism, health care and prescription drugs, education, water protection and trash.

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