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Friday, May 13, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, May 13, 2005

It would be great if the guy who created this Field of (Whiffle Ball) Dreams lived in my neighborhood...

France Lends Support to Salvage of Shipwreck
The Grand Rapids Press reports that Steve Libert of the Great Lakes Exploration Group believes he has the wreck of the Griffin. The vessel of French explorer Rene Cavelier LaSalle disappeared in 1679 and was the first European trade ship on Lake Michigan. He is getting support from France against the state of Michigan as he seeks salvage rights to the wreck site.
US Coast Guard training ship Pride of Michigan's page on The Griffin

Great Lakes Higher than Last Year, Below Long-Term Average
The UP Mining Journal reports that according the International Lake Superior Board of Control, although Lake Superior's level is three inches above last year, it remains two inches under the long-term average for the beginning of May. The levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron are about 11" below the long-term average for this time, up 6" over last year.

Immigration Drop May Cost Michigan
The Detroit News reports that immigration rates to Michigan (and the rest of the US) have slowed since 2001 as potential emigrants were confronted by tougher security restrictions, longer delays and a sagging national economy, according to government estimates. Immigration to Michigan dropped 5% from 2001 to 2004 and may cost Detroit and other cities millions of dollars in federal aid.

New Legislation to Create Health Care Accounts
The Lansing State Journal reports that a bipartisan coalition of state reps unveiled legislation that would allow Michigan residents to set aside money for retirement expenses in a tax-deductible account. The Long-Term Health Care Savings Accounts would allow purchase of long-term health insurance and payment of long-term health care costs for the account holder and spouses, parents & children.

Michigan Affordable Housing Conference - May 16-18, 2005
The 7th annual Michigan Conference on Affordable Housing will take place May 16, 17 and 18 at the Lansing Center. This year's conference is the largest of its kind in the nation and will focus on the six main areas of Michigan's affordable housing issues: Community Economic Development, Ending Homelessness, Multi-Family Development, Homeownership, Preservation and Organizational Development.
Visit housingconference.org for details & registration information

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, May 12, 2005

Controversial "Real ID" provisions (national, machine readable ID card with personal info attached) have slipped through Congress (attached to Iraq troop funding and tsunami victim relief) and now heads to President to sign.

Michigan Wines Bring Home the Gold
The Detroit News reports that Michigan wineries did well at the 10th annual Great Lakes Great Wine Competition. The state collected one double gold (Black Star Farms Arcturos Cabernet Franc NV) and 11 golds (Bel Lago, Black Star Farms, L. Mawby, Peninsula Cellars (2), St. Julian (3) & Tabor Hill (3)) of the 55 golds awarded.

Canadian Garbage Tax Legislation Shelved
The Canadian Press reports that Republican Rep. David Palsrok, chairman of the state's house environmental committee, will not take up Democratic legislation aimed at curbing the amount of Canadian trash coming into Michigan by increasing the dumping fee to $7.50 US a ton from 21 cents, saying that the higher fee would be passed on to business and residential customers in Michigan.

Michigan Has Difficulty Overseeing Charter Schools
The Detroit Free Press has an interesting feature about charter schools run by private companies like Charter School Administrative Services (CSAS), many of which have poor scores on standardized tests and high teacher turnover. Michigan has over 200 charter schools serving more than 80,000 students, but Michigan laws make it difficult to oversee the private companies that run 3/4 of the schools.

Volunteer Keepers Get Big Sable Ready
The Detroit News has a feature on members of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association who are getting the 138-year-old Lake Michigan beacon ready for the 35,000 people expected to visit it this season.

Huron County Part of Rural Broadband Study
The Huron Daily Tribune reported that Huron County is part of a $400,000 Michigan State University research project funded by the USDA under the National Research Initiative program is currently attempting to determine how high-speed Internet access might affect rural communities across the country. Huron was chosen for the Michigan study because of a broadband Internet access project by USDA.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:39 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Our latest feature from Michigan History Magazine is Roadside Lighthouses.

Study Finds Poor Children Don't Get Lead Poisoning Followup
Newsday Magazine reports that a study found that Michigan children who are poor often don't get the medical follow-up & testing they need for lead exposure. The study involved Michigan children in the Medicaid program whose blood tests showed levels of lead that could harm mental function and 54% had follow-up testing within six months.

Islamic Building Boom in Detroit Area
The Detroit Free Press reports on a number of southeastern Michigan Muslim building projects including the 92,000-square-foot Islamic Center of America and the nearly 50,000 sq. ft expansion of the American Moslem Society in Dearborn.

Detroit "in the black"
The Detroit News reports that in the black ... productions & film, llc, a group of Detroit businessmen and actor Clifton Powell (co-star in "Ray") have a plan to produce low-budget independent films in Detroit, targeting African-American audiences. Their first film will be "Blackjack", the story of an attorney who strives to get a casino license in the city of Detroit.

Low Water Levels, Hurricanes Impact Boat Insurance
The Port Huron Times-Herald reports that lower-than-average water levels in the Great Lakes over the past few years have caused more boats have run aground and damage their hull or propeller. At the same time, marine insurance companies are making it more difficult to pay for those kind of repairs and there are worries that last winter's hurricanes could cause a rise in rates.

Sparty to Take 1/2 Million Dollar Trip
The Lansing State Journal reports that the statue of Sparty, the mascot of Michigan State University will likely be moved to Spartan Stadium today (a privately-funded cost of $500,000). The statue has stood at the intersection of Kalamazoo & Chestnut for 59 years and a new bronze statue will be sited there later this year.

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# posted by farlane @ 10:14 AM 0 comments links to this post
Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mine Shafts of Michigan from MTU is well worth a look!

13,000 Jobs Tied to Michigan Military Bases
The Detroit News reports that the jobs of more than 8,000 civilian employees and contractors and 5,000 part-time military and civilian positions are tied to the Michigan military installations. The Department of Defense is expected to announce base-closing recommendations this Friday and politicians are lobbying hard to protect the Detroit Arsenal and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

Engler, Detroit Politicians Exchange Attacks
The Detroit Free Press reports that in a talk before the Detroit Economic Club, former Michigan Governor John Engler attacked Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the Detroit City Council and Detroit schools on Monday, saying they are dragging the city down economically. Detroit reps fired back that the Engler administration used all the state reserves and didn't leave anything for the new governor.

Mature Video Game Regulations Face Challenges
The Detroit News reports that while Gov. Granholm and state Republican and Democratic lawmaker are moving towards legislation that would ban the sale or rental of violent or sexually explicit games to anyone under 17, First Ammendment challenges and even parent attitudes may prove an obstacle.

DNR to Hold Michigan Wolf Management Meetings
The Soo Evening News reports that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will hold meetings to take public input on a management plan for Upper Peninsula and Michigan wolf population in Newberry on Thursday and Friday at Lake Superior State University. The population currently is around 400 adult animals and future meetings will be held in Marquette, Clare, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor & Gaylord.

Michigan Program Launched to Assist Uninsured
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (pharmaceutical companies, doctors and other health care providers, patient advocates and community leaders) launched the Michigan chapter yesterday. The program a single point of access to more than 275 public and private patient assistance programs, including more than 150 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.
Visit the Michigan Partnership for Prescription Assistance web site

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# posted by farlane @ 11:42 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, May 09, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, May 9, 2005

Check out the Flint: Vehicle City photo galleries from Michigan History Magazine!

Report: School Facility Funding Needs Work
The Detroit News says that a report released today by the Education Policy Center at MSU finds that poorer Michigan school districts are not providing the facilities students need, despite high tax rates, while richer districts often exceed the needs of students and have low tax rates. The report suggest steps the state may consider to help districts provide better facilities.

Forest Service Moves Ahead on Mason Tract Drilling Plans
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that, despite appeals from advocacy groups and individuals (including the family that donated the land), the U.S. Forest Service reaffirmed its decision to allow natural gas drilling near the Mason Tract, a 5,300-acre natural area along the South Branch of the AuSable Rivers. The Mason family will now appeal to the Bureau of Land Management.

Michigan Businesses Turn to Blogs
Today's Lansing State Journal has an in-depth look about how Michigan businesses from small realtors to General Motors are utilizing blogs to promote their business and interact with potential clients. The feature also offers a basic primer on the blogosphere.

MEAP Results Released
The Michigan Newswire has the results of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test (MEAP). Among the highlights: 4th grade students meeting or exceeding Michigan reading standards increased 3% over 2004 and 7th graders increased 12%. The Freep reports that math test scores for 4th graders and elementary a slight decline for 8th graders.
Read Math scores worry educators in the Freep
Full Winter 2005 MEAP Test Results

School Consolidation a Difficult Road
The Detroit Free Press had a weekend feature on the obstacles for school consolidation including post-merger tax hikes and funding changes and community attitudes. In the 1950s & 1960s, mergers took the number of districts from almost 5,000 to less than 650. Michigan now has 552 traditional K-12 districts along with some 200 charter schools.

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