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Friday, April 29, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, April 29, 2005

In 'What, Me Worry?', NY Times Op-ed writer Thomas L. Friedman delivers a thought-provoking response to this Bill Gates message: "American high schools are obsolete. By obsolete, I don't just mean that our high schools are broken, flawed and underfunded. ... By obsolete, I mean that our high schools - even when they are working exactly as designed - cannot teach our kids what they need to know today.

MEAP Writing Scores Lower
The Detroit News reports that the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) office has pulled back the results of the MEAP writing tests. Scores were alarmingly low on the statewide fourth and seventh-grade writing tests this year, prompting education officials to decide the exams were probably just too tough for students to handle. Overall, statewide averages on the writing test was more than

MSU Tourism Center Projects Modest Growth in Travelers
The Michigan State University Tourism Resource Center reports that a tourism research team feels that after four consecutive difficult years, Michigan's tourism industry will experience modest growth in 2005. Their report projects that the number of Michigan travelers in 2005 will increase by 2 to 3 percent over last year, and travelers' spending will increase by a similar amount.

State Forest Management Strategy Touted
The Soo Evening News has a thoughtful piece on a Rich & Karen Serfass's cutting strategy for their 200+ acre UP woodland parcel. They feel that if the State of Michigan would increase cutting on the lands it holds throughout the region, it would help to stimulate the local economy by providing work for local folks and put money back into the state coffers to help balance the budget.

Arthur Vandenburg Honored
The Grand Rapids Press reports that although a 9-foot bronze statue of Arthur Vandenberg was unveiled yesterday in Grand Rapids, most residents have no idea who he was. The Grand Rapids native and longtime senator from Michigan was a key player in forming the United Nations, forged support for the Truman Doctrine and NATO and is something of a legend among students of American foreign policy.

College Deadline Looms for Michigan Seniors
The Lansing State Journal has a feature reporting on the difficult decision many Michigan high school seniors are making right now: which college to attend. Students must let colleges know by Sunday if they plan to attend so spaces can be opened to other interested students.The article also offers some helpful tips that this year's juniors would do well to consider.

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# posted by William Stevens @ 10:51 AM 0 comments links to this post

Sorry about yesterday and...

I'd like to introduce Steven Johnson, who will also be working to compile Five Things.

# posted by farlane @ 8:52 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Michigan History Magazine sent us a brief feature on Chief Pontiac's Rebellion that tells of the charismatic Odawa leader's rebellion against the British at Fort Detroit.

DNR Announces Plans to Trap UP Wolves
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced plans Tuesday to trap and kill as many as 20 of the Upper Peninsula's growing population of gray wolves this summer. DNR employees will use lethal methods only for wolves that have preyed on livestock or pets and are a threat to continue such activity.

Narrowing Streets for Skateboarding
The Detroit News has a feature that looks at the inherent conflict between skateboarders and community leaders & business owners and how regulations restrict skating access. The article points out that academics who study American childhood say this just one more example of the way public space -- where kids can just be kids -- has shrunk over the years.

Northwest Michigan Jobless Rate Improves
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that the unemployment rate for the 10-county northwest Michigan area fell by six-tenths of a percentage point in March, improving to 8.7% (an increase of 900 workers) over the 9.3% rate posted in February according to the Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

A Look at Michigan State Symbols
The Lansing State Journal has a look at our 14 state symbols and past and current efforts to expand Michigan's somewhat modest official things. Three bills to add the cherry as the state fruit and the replace the robin with the Kirtland's Warbler as state bird, and to create the post of official state poet laureate are in the Legislature now.

Credit Score Ban Overturned
Crain's Detroit Business reports that a Barry County judge has blocked new state rules that would have prohibited insurance companies from using credit scores to set rates. In an opinion issued Monday, Circuit Judge James Fisher said the rules were illegal as an attempt to rewrite the insurance code through administrative rulemaking and being "contrary to the insurance code".

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# posted by farlane @ 11:55 AM 0 comments links to this post
Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, April 26, 2005

It appears that the 1st Annual Motor City Music Conference was a great success.

Military Recruiters Falling Short in Michigan Schools
The Detroit Free Press has an interesting feature on the mission to recruit about 80,000 fresh recruits for the U.S. Army this year, almost 2,400 of them from Michigan that is failing to meet quotas. Little known clause in the No Child Left Behind Act: Every high school that gets federal money must allow military recruiters the same access to students as they give college & job recruiters.
Also see this peripherally related story about the Army-sponsored eCYBERMISSION contest

New Wave in University Housing
The State News has an interesting feature on the rise of gated communities that provide hotel-like living experiences for students with amenities including a 50-seat movie theater, indoor tennis courts, sand volleyball and even a golf simulator. The article also explores the challenges of cities as they try to lure students back to downtown areas.

Oakland County Wireless Internet Plans Unveiled
The Detroit News reports on the reactions of Oakland residents & business leaders as well as technical experts to plans to construct a $50-100 million wireless Internet network to blanket the over 900 square mile county. County leaders propose partnering with private technology firms to build the network using some 2,400 publicly owned access points and pledge that no public monies will be needed.

Michigan Shoreline Access in the Courts
WZZM TV-13 Grand Rapids has a reprint of a Detroit News story (couldn't find it on detnews.com!) that explores how courts increasingly are being asked to settle battles over access to 11,000 inland lakes and four Great Lakes (the second-largest shoreline of any state). Recent interpretations of law from Michigan's courts favor property owners' rights over public interest in water access.

Upper Peninsula Business Leaders Hopeful for 2005 Tourism Rebound
The Soo Evening News reports that two eastern UP business leaders, Sault Area Chamber of Commerce Director Virginia Zinser and St. Ignace Mayor Bruce Dodson, see reasons for a tourist season turnaround after a poor year in 2004. Both voiced the hope that high gasoline prices may bode well rather than ill for the make-or-break summer season as visitors choose to stay in-state.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:35 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, April 25, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, April 25, 2005

Hybrid vehicle sales grew 81% in 2004 and the Detroit News has a list of the top 15 states for hybrid vehicle registrations. Let's see, Michigan is number ... well, we're not on the list.

Winter Returns, Not Welcomed by Farmers & Gardeners
Michigan received an unwelcome encore of winter this weekend as over a foot of snow fell in the northern Thumb and 10-13 inches in Detroit's northern suburbs. The late-April cold could damage farm crops, destroy spring blooms and slow the growing season and has farmers & gardeners playing the wait-and-worry game.
Also see Wintry blast throws curve at farmers in the LSJ

Alternative Energy Conference Energizes the Blue Water Area
The Port Huron Times-Herald reports that organizers of a symposium on alternative forms of vehicle fuel and electricity achieved their goal. Renewable energy has been a buzz topic in light of escalating gas prices & concerns about fossil-fuel supplies and the area is feeling it has the potential to attract businesses interested in alternative energy.

Michigan Cougar Book Review
The Flint Journal has a feature on Lake Ann, Michigan author Bob Butz's new book Beast of Never, Cat of God that chronicles the search for Michigan pumas and the debate between those who believe the state harbors wild pumas and the skeptics.
Visit Lyons Press site for Beast of Never, Cat of God book information

Michigan Youth Engineering and Science Expo
The Great Lakes IT Report passed along the news that the second annual Michigan Youth Engineering and Science Expo (sponsored by Michigan Tech) will be held Wednesday, October 26, 2005 at Ford Field. The all-day event is designed to bring together the scientific departments of the state's universities, its science-based employers, and students (tickets are apparently free!).
Sign up for the Great Lakes IT Report

Governor Issues Energy Efficiency Directive
Last Friday, in recognition of Earth Day, Governor Granholm issued an executive directive designed to make Michigan government more energy efficient and save tax dollars in energy costs. The order directs the Department of Management and Budget (DMB) to reduce energy use in all state-owned and operated buildings 10 percent by 2008, and to reduce grid-based state energy purchases 20% by 2015.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:23 AM 1 comments links to this post
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