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Friday, October 14, 2005

WJR-AM new flagship for Spartans

The Lansing State Journal reports that MSU officials have announced that Detroit-based WJR 760-AM, the most powerful radio station in the state, will be the flagship station for MSU sports under a five-year agreement. WJR has broadcast University of Michigan sports for nearly 30 years.

Score one for the Green & White, eh Mom?

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# posted by farlane @ 4:40 PM 0 comments links to this post

Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, October 14, 2005

Off the Couch is getting you ready for the Halloween season (also check our collection of Michigan Haunted Houses).

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# posted by farlane @ 9:09 AM 0 comments links to this post

Goodwill, Dell Launch Michigan Computer Recycling Program

The Lansing State Journal reports that Goodwill Industries (in conjunction with Dell) is accepting old desktop and laptop computers, monitors, printers, scanners and parts and peripherals. The program is free at each of the state's 73 Goodwill stores and will refurbish and reuse some machines, strip and sell others for parts, and completely recycle others. Organizers want to divert from landfills the 3.3 million pounds annually of computers and electronics (much of it hazardous).

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# posted by farlane @ 9:08 AM 0 comments links to this post

The Michigan Mortgage Monster

The Detroit News reports that realtors and mortgage bankers in southeast Michigan report that they're seeing more and more homeowners discovering the dangers of alternative mortgages. With Michigan home prices flat and even declining, homeowners who owe more than the property is worth unable to lower payments by refinancing, and owing money to the bank if they sell. The article provides an excellent overview of the merits of fixed rate loans, adjustable-rate loans and other alternatives.
Also see Mortgage discounts may be scaled back in the Detroit News YIPE!

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# posted by farlane @ 9:07 AM 0 comments links to this post

Gas Prices Put the Brakes on Summer Tourism

The Detroit Free Press reports that high gasoline prices and a poor state economy put a drag on Michigan's summer travel season. 4 in 5 consumers said they traveled less or the same amount in 2005 due to high gas prices and economists are concerned that winter tourism will be similarly affected. At $16 billion annually, tourism is the state's second largest industry.
Also see Travel Barometer Report Labor Day 2005 from Travel Michigan

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# posted by farlane @ 9:06 AM 0 comments links to this post

Michigan Retailers Recognized for Community Contributions

The Michigan Retailers Association has selected their 2005 Michigan Retailers of the Year, honoring retailers whose community involvement is integral to their business. Selected were Golden Shoes of Traverse City ("Boots For Kids" program), Kalamazoo's Gazelle Sports (a charter member of Girls on the Run), and Bronner's Christmas Wonderland of Frankenmuth (large donation to the Frankenmuth school district).
Gazelle Sports web site
Bronners web site

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# posted by farlane @ 9:05 AM 0 comments links to this post

Fashion Gets Competitive

Forget Fantasy Football and check out this Detroit News profile of the latest in online fantasy sports, the Fantasy Fashion League. The roster includes three clothing designers, three fashionable celebrities, a shoe designer, handbag designer, jewelry designer and celebrity fashion designer and participants win points if their players are mentioned in fashion magazines or their wares appear on celebs at award shows.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:05 AM 0 comments links to this post
Thursday, October 13, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, October 13, 2005


Farm Credit Bill Passes Michigan House

AP Writer Amy F. Bailey (via the Record-Eagle) reports that legislation aimed at preserving Michigan's dwindling farmland by offering tax credits to farmers in eligible areas passed the state House 89-14 yesterday. The bill that would allow farmers to receive credits for their income tax or single business tax load if their property taxes are more than $5 an acre and now goes to the Senate.

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# posted by farlane @ 10:07 AM 0 comments links to this post

Bottled Water Would Be Allowed Under Compromise

AP Writer John Flesher (via the TC Record-Eagle) reports that bottled water from the Great Lakes basin could be shipped elsewhere for sale unless prohibited by state law under a compromise water protection measure crafted by the National Wildlife Federation and the Council of Great Lakes Industries. The compromise is drawing fire from some who fear it sets a precedent for diverting water.

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# posted by farlane @ 10:06 AM 0 comments links to this post

Lyme Grass Threatens to Displace Dune Grass

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that lyme grass (an invasive species) is spreading and threatens to displace native dune grass (marram grass). Lyme grass has bigger seeds, tougher blades and a stiffer seed stalk and has been spotted at the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area north of Ludington, at Mount Pisgah near Holland, and at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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# posted by farlane @ 10:05 AM 0 comments links to this post

New Geography Center Planned for WMU

The Detroit Free Press reported that a multimillion-dollar private donation is helping Western Michigan University create a new geography center. The Upjohn Center for the Study of Geographical Change will preserve the work of past explorers & scientists (including digitally preserved maps and aerial photography from around the nation) and will provide a center for research on geographical change.

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# posted by farlane @ 10:05 AM 0 comments links to this post

Governor Takes Jobs Message on the Road

WZZM TV-13 Grand Rapids reports that Gov. Jennifer Granholm visited Battle Creek yesterday to talk with folks about the "economic hurricane in Michigan," and to tout her jobs plan. The governor to seven cities this week.
Also see Granholm goes on road pitching plan to create jobs in the Lansing State Journal

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# posted by farlane @ 10:03 AM 0 comments links to this post
Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Michigan Agricultural Tourism Commission Formed

We had to go all the way to South Bend for this story from the Capital News Service reporting that two of the state's largest industries, agriculture and tourism, will be connected and promoted through the Michigan Agricultural Tourism Commission. Joining agriculture and tourism can help farmers escape from boom-and-bust cycle of food production and soaring property values and taxes.
Also see Ag Director Appoints Nine Members to Agricultural Tourism Commission from the Michigan Department of Agriculture

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

Cool UP Summit

The Great Lakes IT Report tipped us off to the 2005 Michigan Cool U.P. Summit, to be held Oct 17 at NMU in Marquette. The Summit is organized by the Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance (UPEDA) and will bring together entrepreneurs, educators, industry experts and government officials. You can also vote for the Cool U.P. Awards.

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

West Michigan Trails Group Launches Campaign

The Grand Rapids Press reports that a regional organization called the West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition is launching a campaign to raise $5 million over the next three years to supplement state, federal and local foundation grants. The initial goal is a $26 million, 140-mile expansion of West Michigan's bike trails with a long-term goal of over 300 miles of interlinked bike paths.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:31 AM 0 comments links to this post

Tips for Cutting Winter Heat Costs

The Detroit News has a nice feature offering 10 actions you can take to reduce your winter heating bill. One shocker is that fireplaces can vent as much as 24,000 cubic feet of furnace-heated air to the outside. The article also has a raft of links to further energy-saving information.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:30 AM 0 comments links to this post

Bill Would Provide Later Nights for Bars

The Cadillac News reports that Sen. Michelle McManus (R-Lake Leelanau) has proposed a bill in the Senate to allow special late-night permits for bars, clubs and any facility that sells alcohol. For $1,500 per year, an establishment could purchase a license to stay open until 4 AM. It's hoped that it could generate revenue for the state and provide a boost for businesses, that cater to tourists.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:28 AM 0 comments links to this post
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Details & Fallout from Delphi's Bankruptcy

Crain's Detroit Business has a detailed feature on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on Saturday of Delphi Corp., the nation's largest auto supplier. The filing was precipitated by a failure to reach agreements with the United Auto Workers union and former parent General Motors Corp. on a relief package and triggered by October 17 bankruptcy law changes.

Meanwhile, Detroit Free Press business writer Tom Walsh writes that Delphi Corp.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy is injecting a new sense of urgency into ongoing efforts by Michigan CEOs, state economic development leaders and think-tank researchers to transform Michigan's obsolete industrial culture into one driven by knowledge and innovation.
Details on filing at delphidocket.com
Read TOM WALSH: State needs to face its reality in the Freep

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# posted by farlane @ 9:27 AM 0 comments links to this post

Great Lakes Restoration Up in the Air

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has a feature from AP writer John Flesher. An EPA official stated Friday that despite an internal document suggesting money for new programs won't be available, the Bush administration remains committed to a wide-ranging Great Lakes restoration project. The Chicago Tribune reported that the memo said federal officials have "serious concerns" with a blueprint released last summer that proposes spending $20 billion over 15 years to fix problems such as invasive species, toxic spills and sewer overflows in the lakes.
Also see Great Lakes: Washington can't ignore funding needs from the Detroit Free Press
USEPA Great Lakes Collaboration site

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# posted by farlane @ 9:26 AM 0 comments links to this post

Radio Series Looks at Threats to Great Lakes

Yesterday the Great Lakes Radio Consortium started a ten-part series called "Ten Threats to the Great Lakes" that explores dangers facing the world's largest body of freshwater. The first says that aquatic alien invasive species in the Great Lakes now cost the economy an estimated five billion dollars a year and that the cost is largely born by the taxpayers of the region. Two other programs are available (see links below).
GLRC: Ten Threats: Natives Bite Back
GLRC: Ten Threats: Predicting New Invaders

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# posted by farlane @ 9:25 AM 0 comments links to this post

Agricultural Fund Has Limited Money Available for PDRs

The Detroit Free Press had a feature yesterday looking at a new state program that will let local governments purchase the farmers' land development rights. The Michigan Agricultural Preservation Fund has $1.3 million available for Purchase of Development Rights and farmers may apply to their county or township (assuming the municipality has signed on).

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# posted by farlane @ 9:24 AM 0 comments links to this post

Profiling Michigan Senator John Dingell

The Detroit News has a feature looking at the political legacy of the Dingell family. John D. Dingell Sr. was a member from 1932 until he died in office in 1955 and his son, John D. Dingell Jr., succeeded him and is the longest-serving House member and the third-longest-serving in history. Great feature with great photos and links
Congressman Dingell's web site

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# posted by farlane @ 9:24 AM 0 comments links to this post
Monday, October 10, 2005

Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, October 10, 2005


Cuts in Auto & Homeowner Insurance Rates Proposed

The Detroit Free Press reports that Gov. Granholm and Democratic lawmakers are proposing a 20% cut in home and auto insurance premiums. A recent report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners found that Michigan has the 10th highest average auto insurance rates in the country and the highest in the Midwest. Rates are 15% more than the national average and 32% more than the Midwest average. The insurance industry calls the proposal unnecessary and politically motivated.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:21 AM 0 comments links to this post

Free Preschool Proposed, Funding Source Unknown

The Bay City Times writes that for years, the federal Head Start program and the Michigan School Readiness Program have given preschool training to 4-year-olds from poor families, but that middle class families are often left out. Scientific studies have shown that key parts of the brain develop before children ever enter kindergarten. House Democrats are proposing free preschool for all (but admit they don't know where the money will come from).

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# posted by farlane @ 9:21 AM 0 comments links to this post

Made in Michigan Chosen by DeVos Campaign

Detroit News political columnist George Weeks has a thoughtful look at the branding of businessman Dick DeVos as the "Made in Michigan" candidate for governor (highlighting Granholm's Canadian birth) and how it will play with voters. With polls showing that over 60% of likely voters say Michigan is heading in the wrong direction, it may be that slogans won't matter much.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:20 AM 0 comments links to this post

Maple River Watershed to Receive Conservation Grant

The Lansing State Journal reports that Federal dollars are expected to help farmers protect the Maple River watershed. The watershed, which contains portions of Clinton, Gratiot, Ionia, Montcalm and Shiawassee counties, was named to the 2006 Conservation Security Program and contains 1,789 farms with 405,796 acres and is one of only two state watersheds selected.

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# posted by farlane @ 9:20 AM 0 comments links to this post

Peer-to-Peer Music Primer

Michigan lawyer John Hermann represents several defendents in suits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against users of file sharing software (peer-to–peer or p2p). That's enough grounds for us to link this excellent feature that explores the murky waters of digital copyright. It is partisan, so visiting the RIAA site is recommended as well.
Also see RIAA: a defense lawyer's view from p2p news
Recording Industry Association of America web site (see Anti-Piracy & Legal Cases)

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# posted by farlane @ 9:18 AM 0 comments links to this post
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