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Friday, June 03, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, June 3, 2005

You'll want to check out the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts and Be a Tourist in Your Town this weekend!

Michigan Homeowners Insurance Rates Rise Sharply
The Detroit News reports that Michigan homeowners have seen their annual insurance premiums rise 85% since 2000 ($430 to $797 annually) according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan in Lansing. Michigan residents are paying at least $100 more than the national average due to increased flood claims and rising rebuilding costs.

DeVos Announces Candidacy
The Associated Press via the TC Record-Eagle reports that former Amway/Altair president Dick DeVos announced yesterday at the the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island that he will enter the 2006 Michigan governor's race.

Michigan Teaching Programs Good, But Teacher Job Market Poor
The State News reports that due to local and state budget cuts, many recent teaching graduates from Michigan universities are entering a difficult job market and considering moving away to find opportunity. As teaching programs in Michigan rank among the highest in the nation, recruiters from other states and cities in need of teachers are flocking to Michigan.

Verizon Testing Broadband Wireless
Detroit Free Press technology writer Mike Wedland reports that Verizon has been quietly testing EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized), a new wireless broadband system that covers not just Oakland County but pretty much all of southeastern Michigan. Wedland speculates that it will be available in the metro area by the end of the summer and all over Michigan in 2006.

Regulators Upset Over Dow Dioxin Studies
The Detroit Free Press reports that state and federal regulators say Dow Chemical Co. conducted secret dioxin studies in violation of their operating license. The testing occurred in 2003-05 and the company is required to have such work approved by regulators. Dow countered that the studies will help to create a better a cleanup strategy for the Tittabawassee River.
Also see Dioxin Q & A in the Freep

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# posted by farlane @ 9:07 AM 0 comments links to this post
Thursday, June 02, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, June 2, 2005

Remember the Marquette Moose? The Mining Journal reports that she has taken up residence Marquette's Park Cemetery (nice photo as well).

Survey Says: School Cuts Coming
The Detroit News reports that a survey of more than 200 districts by the Michigan School Business Officials association finds that 50% expect to be forced to lay off teachers and other staff, expand class sizes and reduce programs next fall even if they get the $175 increase in school funding proposed by Gov. Granholm.
Also see Students feel impact of cutbacks

Lansing Area Graduates in the Spotlight
On the brighter side, the Lansing State Journal profiled the top ten graduates at Lansing area high schools in May. A photo, school highlights and future plans are listed.

Soo Locks Sesquicentennial: Summer 2005
The Soo Locks consist of two canals and four locks: Davis Lock, Poe Lock, MacArthur Lock, and the Sabin Lock (now closed) that allow vessels to cross the 21-foot drop of the St. Mary's River between Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron. The Locks opened in 1855 and have their 150th birthday celebration all summer.

Telecommunications Competition Flattens in 2004
The Detroit Free Press reports that a Michigan Public Service Commission report found that 2004 had the smallest increase in the number of local telephone companies competing for customers since monitoring began in 1999. The situation could be worse next year when smaller telephone companies will have to use their own equipment to provide service instead of leasing them from large companies.

Pre All-Star Game Volunteers Needed
The Detroit Free Press reports that several hundred volunteers are needed for a cleanup day on Saturday, June 25. The cleanup has been scheduled to tidy up downtown prior to Major League Baseball's All-Star game at Comerica Park on July 12.
More info at theworldiscoming.com

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# posted by farlane @ 11:20 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bill to Post Actual Movie Start Times Introduced

From the "getting serious about things that aren't" department comes this story that state Senator Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) has introduced legislation Tuesday that would require theaters to post two start times: one for the beginning of advertising, previews and public service announcements; and one for the start of the movie.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:16 AM 0 comments links to this post

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, June 1, 2005

This Detroit Free Press editorial recommends that you Feed your neighbors by buying Michigan produce. Amen.

Surfing the Great Lakes Movie
The San Diego Union-Tribune has an article on "Unsalted: A Great Lakes Experience," a documentary that filmmaker Vince Deur hopes will expose what could be the nation's best-kept surfing secret: great waves can be found in the Midwest. About 500-750 people surf the lakes at least once per year, with most of the activity about equally divided between Lakes Michigan and Erie.
Visit the web site for Vince Deur Productions

UM Students Building Solar House
The Detroit Free Press reports that students at the University of Michigan will construct a house made of solar modules they hope will be a blueprint for a more energy-efficient lifestyle in the future. Though the prototype will cost $500,000, the house is designed to be mass-produced and could cost $150-200,000.

Garden Information in the Palm of Your Hand
The Lansing State Journal reports on a new hand-held device called a Personal Science Assistant that allows visitors to the 4-H Children's Garden at Michigan State University can call up photos of certain plants, look at close-up shots of stems, seeds, roots and and access information on ways the plants are used, whether it's for medicine, makeup, art or eating.
Visit the MSU 4-H Children's Garden web site

Looking to the Bottom of the Great Lakes
The Canadian Press reports that a biologist from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is searching the bottom of Lake Michigan for bacteria and fungi that develop anti-bacterial chemicals that could be developed into life-saving drugs for humans. Yi-Qiang Cheng and Melissa Barman have identified bacteria and fungi that appear promising.

Email Survey Says...
Free Press tech columnist Heather Newman reports that a new survey from America Online shows that Detroit-area users check their email an average of four times a day, spending about an hour each day. Detroiters are a bit more likely to have more than one e-mail address (80%-77%) and to check e-mail in the bathroom (5%-4%). The majority (of 200 surveyed) check peronal email at work.

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# posted by farlane @ 8:58 AM 0 comments links to this post
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sources: Larry Brown Would Accept Cleveland Cavs Job

ESPN.com reports that Larry Brown has told two league sources that he plans to take the Cavaliers' offer to become their next team president. According to the sources, Brown said he would accept the position after the Pistons' season is over.

This picture is worth a thousand words

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# posted by farlane @ 11:55 AM 1 comments links to this post

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I find myself VERY upset about the beautiful weekend weather we had. It's not about the weather itself (which was great), but the terrible forecast really had an impact in the number of travellers. Come on, weather people, how about a little optimism??!!

Michigan Among the Worst for Small Business
The Detroit News has a feature that looks at how Michigan's focus on the auto industry and large corporations has created an environment that fails to support the kinds of small businesses and entrepreneurs vital to a vibrant economy. Michigan is the only state where total small business payroll grew less than 10% between 1998 and 2002 and about 1,500 more small firms closed than opened.
Visit the Michigan Small Business Association (PDF of report - 2 MB)

Michigan Bald Eagle Update
The Detroit Free Press has a feature from the Muskegon Chronicle on bald eagle efforts. There are an estimated 400 breeding pairs in Michigan -- almost as many as there were in all of the lower 48 states in the early 1960s. 40 chicks have been banded this spring and levels of PCBs and mercury, while decreasing overall, are higher in eagles living along the Great Lakes.

Huron-Manistee National Forest: Open for Drilling
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that a 15-year oil and gas development plan issued by the U.S. Forest Service would prohibit oil and gas drilling on just one half of one percent of the 970,000 acres in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Conservation organizations are hoping for more protection but to date the agency has received less than 1000 comments from the public.
Huron-Manistee National Forests Home Page

Muskegon Car Ferry to Become Museum, Convention Center
The Lansing State Journal has an AP feature on the efforts of a team of volunteers who are working to convert the SS Milwaukee Clipper, a 101-year-old former cross-lake car ferry into a seasonal attraction featuring a museum and convention center.
Visit the SS Milwaukee Clipper web site (great photo gallery!)

Michigan Asparagus Harvest Looking Good
The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan ranks third in the nation for asparagus production, with 15,000 acres under cultivation at an annual value of $15-$20 million. The harvest is expected to be good even though a warm April followed by snow and cold weather damaged some of the crop. Fun fact: asparagus can grow an inch an hour.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:32 AM 0 comments links to this post
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