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Friday, May 20, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, May 20, 2005

Looking for something to do this weekend? How about the 2005 Selfridge Air Show (near Mt. Clemens).

Leelanau Cherry Growers Turn to Japanese Bees
The Leelanau Enterprise has an excellent feature on Leelanau County cherry growers who are working with the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Station to introduce a bee native to Japan. Researchers believe that just 250 horn-faced bees can do the pollinating work of 80,000 honey bees (!) and are active at lower temperatures than honey bees. While weather gets the attention, bees are key to yields.

Great Lakes, Great Michigan Campaign Launched
The Oakland Press reports that the coalition of environmental groups that form the Great Lakes, Great Michigan Campaign have released their platform. They hope to reform of Michigan laws and regulations to make Michigan a leader in water conservation protect Michigan's lakes, rivers and streams from nearby water withdrawals and limit large water exports.

As Gas Rises, So Does Bike Use
The Lansing State Journal has a feature reporting on a silver lining to soaring gas prices: increased bicycle use by commuters. The article includes a link to the Michigan Department of Transportation's driving cost calculator is available and several bike web sites including the League of Michigan Bicyclists.

Whole Lot of Michigan
Today's Detroit News has a feature that takes you on a whirlwind tour around the Great Lakes State with brief bits on everything from the Wolf Lake State Hatchery in Mattawan to Brighton's Meijer Skate Park (a 19,000 square-foot street skateboard park). Attractions include Battle Creek's Cereal City USA, the Tecumseh Flea Market, Midland's Dow Museum of Science & Art and your standard water parks.

Students Learn Farming Techniques of the Future
The Battle Creek Enquirer has a feature on students' use of "aeroponics" (a variation of hydroponics that involves the misting of plant roots with nutrient solution) in a new environmental sciences technology class at the Calhoun Area Technology Center greenhouse. The purpose of the class is to teach cutting-edge techniques that are expected to become commonplace in the future.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:04 AM 0 comments
Thursday, May 19, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, May 19, 2005

Freep columnist Tom Walsh argues that Michigan needs more than autos to heal our economic woes.

Unemployment Rises, but More Working in Michigan
The Lansing State Journal reports that while Michigan's unemployment rate for April rose slightly to 7% (national rate 5.2%), total employment hit its highest level since November 2001. According to the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth, about 4.78 million people were working in April 2005, up 34,000 over March.

Budget Shortfalls May Force School Funding Cuts
The Associated Press reports that House and Senate Fiscal agencies are warning in new reports that the state budget faces shortfalls, opening the door for possible cuts to universities and K-12 school districts this school year and more problems in 2006. The agencies expect school aid fund revenues to be down over $40 million from January estimates which could force a cut in per pupil money.

Efforts to Bring Coasters Back to Superior & Great Lakes
The Associated Press has a feature by writer John Flesher on the efforts of more than two dozen government agencies, conservation groups and Indian tribes in the United States and Canada are working in Lake Superior to bring back the "coasters". Coasters are brook trout that, for reasons still unknown, migrate into the big lake instead of remaining in tributary streams like other brook trout.

Flanagan New Michigan School Superintendent
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan Board of Education voted yesterday (5-1, with two abstentions) to hire Gov. Jennifer Granholm's choice, Michael Flanagan, as the new state superintendent after an all-day interview session with 3 applicants. Flanagan heads the Michigan Association of School Administrators and will replace Tom Watkins, who resigned following a feud with Granholm.

Marriage & Divorce in Michigan
The Detroit News has an in-depth feature on marriage (and divorce) in Michigan. The article has some statistics: 43% of all U.S. marriages end in divorce (down from 50% in 1981), 62,900 Michigan couples tied the knot in 2003 and some history, but the most interesting part is the views of Michiganians profiled and the reader comments regarding what makes a good marriage (and what doesn't).

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# posted by farlane @ 10:42 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Free Press YAK Corner has a nice feature for kids on Michigan's nine U.S. wildlife refuges.

Study Finds Spring Getting Earlier in Michigan
The Detroit Free Press reports that every four springs, Michigan's state bird, the robin, arrives one day earlier (grackles arrive in the UP an average of 46 days earlier than they did 26 years ago). A study released Monday by Stanford University found that in just 30 years -- an eyeblink in geological time -- spring has moved forward 10 days and states man-made global warming is clearly to blame.

Huron Mountain Club Petitions Governor to Stop UP Mine
The Mining Journal reports that the Huron Mountain Club is asking Gov. Jennifer Granholm to join its stand against Kennecott Minerals' proposal to mine for nickel in the Yellow Dog Plains (north of Marquette). Kennecott is designing a shaft to mine a hard rock ore body beneath a portion of the Salmon Trout river headwaters. Under the right conditions, sulfuric acid can be produced by such a mine.

Williamston Math Teacher Tapped as Teacher of the Year
The Lansing State Journal reports that high school math teacher Dan Schab has been selected as the 2005-06 Michigan Teacher of the Year. He will travel the country talking to students, educators and policy-makers about Michigan's schools.

Port Huron Councilman Pitches Minor League Team
The Port Huron Times-Herald reports that Port Huron City Councilman Jim Fisher has told the city Downtown Development Authority he's in the early stages of trying to bring a minor-league baseball team to town. The team would come from the independent Frontier League, a group of 12 professional Midwest ballclubs that has a team in Kalamazoo and a Traverse City team starting in 2006.

Michigan Fans Brace for Final Star Wars Movie
The Detroit Free Press has a feature on metro area Star Wars faithful who are getting ready for tonight's midnight opening of Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith. The article also features a photo gallery of Reader Photos in Star Wars Costume (the Yoda is great!).

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# posted by farlane @ 8:07 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Michigan History Magazine notes that on this date in 1673, Jesuit Jacques Marquette, explorer Louis Jolliet and five other men headed west from St. Ignace by canoe.

Court Decision Will Change Michigan Wine Shipment Rules
The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan may either have to allow out-of-state wineries to sell directly to customers or ban in-state vineyards from doing so due to Monday's 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding regulation of wine shipments. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission will lobby for banning all Internet, phone & mail wine sales, possibly driving some wineries out of business.

Toxic Emissions Drop in Michigan
The Detroit Free Press reports that total releases of toxic chemicals in Michigan declined by 24 percent from 2002 to 2003 according to the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report. Levels of certain toxins such as mercury rose 41% nationwide but dropped 24% in Michigan. Emissions of certain other persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals like PCBs and dioxin increased in the US.
Read Toxic releases decline, but worst soups persist in the Christian Science Monitor

DNR Unveils New Internet Campground Reservation System
The Michigan.gov Newswire announced yesterday that color-coded maps showing customers which campsites are available for the state park campgrounds on specific dates are now integrated into the Department of Natural Resourcess Campground Reservation System. Michigan is the only state to show campers immediately what sites are available at state park campgrounds when making online reservations.
Visit the DNR Campground Reservation System web site

Online Pilot Program for Fall MEAP Test
The Detroit News reports that about 2,000 Michigan 6th graders will become the state's first to take MEAP tests online this fall. Taking the test online will allow teachers to receive exam results within 48 hours (as opposed to weeks or months) and more quickly address students' deficiencies.

Munising Class Helps Author
The UP Mining Journal has a feature on how Munising fourth-graders are helping a Kentucky children's book author vwith a story about a young girl who visits Munising and discovers a rich history and the value of family and memories. Book illustrators will likely create final drawings based on some of the concepts created by the kids in the classroom.

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# posted by farlane @ 10:14 AM 0 comments
Monday, May 16, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, May 16, 2005

Didn't we just do this?? George Weeks reports that 2008 Republican & Democrat Presidential hopefuls are already targetting Michigan.

Difficulties in Deadling with School Violence
The Lansing State Journal has an in-depth feature on the difficulties faced by Michigan schools in identifying and heading off violence. The article identifies obstacles including lack of training and funding and the simple fact that schools are being asked to do much more than simply educate students.

Michigan Tourism & Tourism Promotion Spending in Decline
The Traverse City Record-Eagle has a feature on the 6-year stagnation experienced by the Michigan tourism industry. Statewide growth used to run 3-4% per year, but a poor economy, high gas prices and bad weather have the industry growing at 1%. Michigan spent $12.1 million in 2000 to promote tourism. $7.9 million allotted for 2005, we rank 31st nationwide, and trail Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.

UP Tourism Destinations Featured
While we're on the subject of tourism promotion, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has a feature promoting various Upper Peninsula vacation attractions including the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Mackinac Bridge, Drummond Island, Soo Locks and Keweenaw National Historical Park. The article lists a lot of nice UP web sites as well.

Custodians Next on Grand Rapids Schools Chopping Block
WZZM TV-13 Grand Rapids reports that nearly 200 custodians who work for Grand Rapids Public Schools may lose their jobs due to the School Board privatizing custodial services in an effort to save money. 225 school bus drivers have already lost their jobs to outsourcing.

Wine Take Home Bill Expected to Become Law
The Detroit News reports that a bill passed by the Michigan Legislature and headed to the governor's office for likely signing will allow restaurant patrons to take home unfinished bottles of wine. Backers feel that it the restaurant business as diners may start order more expensive bottles of wine if they know they won't go to waste & our roadways in general as folks don't have to finish bottles.

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# posted by farlane @ 7:56 AM 0 comments
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