Friday, December 02, 2005
Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, December 2, 2005
Look who's talking: Michigan Senator Carl Levin, Former Piston coach Larry Brown, Martha Stewart (new Buick spokesperson).
International Shipping on the Great Lakes: Does Cost Outweigh Benefit?
Red Tape Blog reports on a controversial study by two Michigan transportation experts that says the ecological and economic costs of international shipping on the Great Lakes far outweigh its benefits. The study estimated a $55 million a year value for overseas shipping on the lakes. By comparison, one estimate puts the total cost of just zebra mussels for the past 20 years at about $2 billion.
Read Authors defend study on Great Lakes shipping value in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (free registration required)
With Wages & Benefits Falling, Michigan Workers Doing More with Less
The Detroit News takes a look at some of the tens of thousands of Michigan workers who are downsizing their lives to keep from going broke as employers scale back pay and benefits or cut jobs entirely. With Delphi floating cutting UAW hourly wages from about $27 to as low as $10, workers in airline & other industries seeing salary cuts as high as 25% and GM retirees now paying for insurance, doing more with less appears to be a skill Michiganians will need. Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future Inc. says "Declining wages is the biggest story in Michigan for the next five years".
Michigan Energy Centers Pushing for More Efficient Future
The Lansing City Pulse reports that unlike California, with its corporate tax credits for solar roofs, or New Jersey, with its clean energy rebates, Michigan residents receive few incentives. Nonetheless, state energy organizations are working to create awareness about efficient and renewable energy and how it can save people money.
Michigan Energy Demonstration Centers
More Gas Rate Increases Granted
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a 47% increase in Consumers Energy's gas-cost recovery program for the year and a similar increase for Monroe-based Aquila Networks. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has argued that Michigan utilities should delay their recovery increases until after the winter and then spread them out over a 12-month period to soften the blow.
Also see Heating cost increases sad but necessary in the Detroit News
Mining Rules Hearings Well Attended
The Mining Journal reports that as many as 300 residents attended the public hearing on new mining rules at Northern Michigan University. Many proposed changes and offered opinions to the Department of Environmental Quality. The new rules will regulate precious and polymetallic mining in Michigan. Iron mining will continue to be governed by decades-old regulations.
Also see Rules will regulate nonferrous mines in the Mining Journal
Thursday, December 01, 2005
The Client whose Mouth is Bigger than their Stomach by The Greatest American Lawyer
The Greatest American Lawyer writes: I have to admit these last several weeks I have been thinking a lot about such issues as client budgets, how to end up with a client base full of perfect clients, how to fire a client, and whether or not a lawyer has a duty to represent a client who has clear rights, but, the lawyer just simply does not want to represent. I have also been thinking a lot about what a large percentage of society simply can't afford legal services let alone litigation.
Rogue Taxidermy by ypsi~dixit
ypsi~dixit writes: PALOMINO OR RAINBOW TROUT? Even as this battle rages, who knew fish taxidermists could be so jocular?
Absolute Michigan thinks maybe they're modeled after the jackelope.
Cake Batter Ice Cream by Austerman.com
Austerman.com writes: Had the opportunity to try Cake Batter Ice Cream from Cold Stone Creamery the other day. Oh my... is that gooooood!
You can send it to the AbsoluteMichigan Team for a second opinion!
Stirring The Garbage: Sometimes Ya Gotta Do It by Out of Bounds
Out of Bounds writes: Way back in the early 1970's, the Pistons were coached by Earl Lloyd, a former Piston player and the first black man to step on an NBA court as a player. When the Pistons were going thru a rather messy internal squabble, Lloyd was asked about it. "I'm not talking about it. When you stir up the garbage, it stinks more."
IAD - Internet Addiction Disorder by PC Mike's E-Journal
PC Mike writes: Is this really a disorder? Or media hype? Whatever, I'm pretty sure I have it.
Next thing you know, this will be used as a legal defense!
Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, December 1, 2005
On the road: Battle for the left lane, microwavable highways?, St. John's Bicycle Band.
Appeals Court Rules Ice Mountain May Continue Bottling
The Associated Press (via the Traverse City Record-Eagle) reports that the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that Ice Mountain Spring Water is entitled to make "reasonable" use of available water resources in Mecosta County. The court did find the current 400-gallon-per-minute withdrawal rate unreasonable and has sent the case back to a trial judge to determine the appropriate pumping levels.
Winemakers, Distributors Reach Wine Shipping Accord
Crain's Detroit Business reports that Michigan wineries and distributers reached an accord yesterday and the Senate Economic Development, Small Business and Regulatory Affairs Committe has set up a structure and rules for in-state and out-of-state wineries to ship up to 1500 cases per year to Michigan residents. The measures move to the full Senate and then to the House for (expected) approval.
Michigan Small Business Owners Down on State Economy, Up on Own Businesses
The Detroit Free Press reports that of 351 small-business owners polled in November by the Michigan chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, 34% described business conditions as "poor" or "very poor," up from 31% in a similar survey three months ago. However, almost half described prospects for their own businesses during the next several months as "good" or "very good".
The Lansing State Journal has a feature on the documentary God's Water. Mark Ducker of Wild Rose Pictures of East Lansing says the film tells the story of the Marion Medical Mission & Tom Logan, who are hoping to impact the 4,000 children who die every day due to a lack of access to safe drinking water. The group has installed almost 850 wells in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia this year.
Wild Rose Pictures web site
Notown? Detroit's Hometown Music Takes Back Seat to Stones
The Detroit News reports that the NFL's announcement Monday that the Rolling Stones will entertain during the Super Bowl XL halftime show at Ford Field on Feb. 5 has many Motown fans angry over the snub to Detroit's hometown music. The NFL responded that Motown will be featured in the pregame and that halftime performances are rarely tied to the host city.
Read No R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Motown halftime in the Freep
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Greenpeace nails Kennedy as phony by Detroit News Politics Weblog
George Bullard writes: Robert Kennedy Jr. and uncle Ted are dubbed enviro phonies for opposing plans to build clean wind power five miles off Cape Cod. The Kennedys are for clean power, but not if it ruins the view from summer homes -- an angle picked up in PBS news coverage Tuesday.
Michigan Tackles Sulfide Mining by Red Tape Blog
Red Tape Blog writes: With three weeks left for Michiganders to officially sound off on the state's regulation of sulfide mining, environmental groups have organized a statewide round of briefings and public hearings on the issue, with Lansing's event scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the Lansing Center.
TEN THREATS: BREAK IN THE FOOD CHAIN? by Great Lakes Radio Consortium
GLRC writes: Some of the life in the Great Lakes has been hit hard by industry and trade. Pollution and invasive species have hurt some of the native plants and animals important to the food chain. While popular game fish might be the first to come to mind, it's a little organism at the bottom of the food chain that has biologists and fishing experts most concerned.
The Future of the American Auto Industry by The Spartan Podcast
The Spartan Podcast writes: Our guests make sense of the recent General Motors workforce reduction announcements, talk about the growth of foreign auto production on U.S. soil and discuss what public / private partnerships can do to re-vitalize the Michigan economy.
Just Lose, Baby! by Motown Sports Revival
Motown Sports Revival writes: It is time for the Lions to revert to draft mode. There is no point in winning any more games this season. They won't make the playoffs and nobody cares how many wins you have if you aren't a playoff team. Momentum doesn't span over the off-season either.
Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Mooching Around: Iron Mountain says: We will be proud of Steve forever Favorite UP son, LSJ: Forget fantasies of Mooch to MSU Debunking our favorite rumor?, Dre Bly: Fix team or let me go.
MEA Opposes Teacher Health Care Pooling
WLNS TV reports that Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill that could change the way school districts provide health care coverage for their employees. Supporters say it gives the state's school districts more options for health care but the Michigan Education Association (MEA) opposes the proposed changes, saying the legislation will not benefit Michigan school districts.
Read Senate Bills 895-898 are risky approach to school employee health benefits from the MEA
Also see Lawmakers still seeking reform in teacher health care programs from mLive
Fresh Morels in Wintertime?
The Detroit Free Press has a feature on Diversified Natural Products of Scottville, a company that grows morel mushrooms indoors (once thought impossible) and now employs 56 people. Marketed as Midsummer Exotics, they are the largest supplier of fresh morels in the midwest and also grow oyster, shiitake, black poplar and cinnamon nameko mushrooms.
Diversified Natural Products web site
Tons of food gifts from Earthy Delights
Michigan Mail Order Gifts
The Detroit Free Press has a mail order guide with a great selection of food & wine gifts from all over the state of Michigan: bread, cheese, pies, pasties, cookies & candy I better eat some breakfast
Chili Recipes, Warming Both Belly & Pocketbook
A wet snowy day is a good time to review three Lansing State Journal recipes for chili: Black Bean, Slow Cooker Chicken Chili and a spicier one with chipotle peppers. The article also reports on a recent Nielsen survey that suggests rising gas prices and higher home heating costs will have folks eating out less often and doing more at home.
More Women Judges in Michigan
The Detroit Free Press reports that there are 49 women among 214 circuit judges statewide, and in the Oakland County courthouse, half of the 23 circuit, family and probate court judges are women. That trend is expected to continue as the old guard of mostly male judges statewide face mandatory retirement at age 70.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Snowmobile Thiefs Caught by Local Cross Country Skier! by A Nordic Ski Racer
Contributor Justin Andre writes: Local Sheriff's Department, State Police and DNR officers were stumped early this morning as two snowmobile thief's were wandering about in the Nordic ski trail system. Local skier Steve Seager was just arriving at Hanson Hills Recreation Area for his morning 100K ski when he noticed a Michigan State Trooper sitting in the parking lot. Being a concerned citizen Steve figured he would wake the officer up so that he could be back to the station for his shift change. The officer told Steve that they had tracked two stolen snowmobiles to the Recreation Area.
Colour Blind by dETROITfUNK
Some black and whites to ponder.
The ball don't lie by Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Bad Boys writes: With the game tied, 35-35, Detroit's Rasheed Wallace protested a foul that was called against him on Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut.
Sprucing Up by Find the River
Find the River writes: While I haven't missed a tree terribly, there are times I wish we had one, usually on Christmas day. Often we don't do a whole lot to celebrate, aside from cooking a big meal and going to church. In most years, I feel out of step with the season.
A very creative way to shorten their commute... by MESH DiaWebLog
MESH writes: "Four Saudi women teaching in a remote village school have married their driver..."
Ron by the Snowsuit Effort
Snowsuit Effort writes: "I'm homeless because I got to drinking."
Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, November 29, 2005
News from our neighbors: Canada's government falls in a no confidence vote Cool that a govt's fall can be no big deal, Snowstorm slams Great Plains 6' high snow drifts?? Not at all cool
Republicans to Push Simpler Business Tax Plan
The Lansing State Journal reports that the Republican controlled Legislature will push a revised plan to lower business taxes by $500 million over four years, with cuts targeted to help the manufacturing sector. Manufacturers would receive a 15% credit for taxes they pay on equipment and computers starting Jan. 1, and a 100% investment credit in 2007 and 2008 if they bring jobs into Michigan.
Michigan Mining Rules Hearings
The Lansing City Pulse reports that with three weeks left for Michiganders to officially sound off on the regulation of sulfide mining in Michigan, environmental groups have organized a statewide round of briefings and public hearings on the issue. There are public meetings in Escanaba (Nov 29), Marquette (Nov 30) and Lansing (Dec 7).
Schedule of DEQ Public Hearings on New Mining Rules
Proposed Mining Rules from State Office of Administrative Hearings & Rules
Michigan Shadow Towns (RealAudio required)
Michigan Radio takes a tour of some of Michigan's ghost towns with Gene Scott, author of the new book Michigan's Shadow Towns. Scott describes villages (128 in 64 counties) that have experienced near or total demises generally caused by local economic failures and one or more significant declines in population. We couldn't find anywhere to purchase it online!
Also see Michigan Shadow Towns Published from the Michigan Humanities Council
Battle Creek Receives Million Dollar Homeless Assistance Grant
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that the Michigan State Housing Development Authority will grant $10 million to facilitate housing projects for the "chronically homeless" in 8 Michigan communities. $1 million of those dollars will go to the Cereal City. The Greater Battle Creek Homeless Coalition must match with $250,000 and is considering options including a leasing program, rehabilitating vacant historic properties and new construction.
Michigan State Housing Development Authority site
Mariucci Fired, Jauron Interim Coach
The Detroit Lions fired Steve Mariucci yesterday after a 15-28 run. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, who had a 35-46 record as head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1999-2003 (including one 13-4 Coach of the Year season in 2001) takes over. Mitch Albom says the Lions are elephant burial ground of coaching, pointing out that no fired Lions head coach has ever held a head coaching job again.
Read MITCH ALBOM: Millen decides: Arrivederci, Mariucci in the Freep
Read Blame it on Mooch: Ax falls on coach in third year in the Freep
Monday, November 28, 2005
Lions Fire Mariucci
Fox Sports reports that the Detroit Lions have fired head coach Steve Mariucci. The as yet unnamed sources said they believe defensive coordinator Dick Jauron would be the team's interim head coach, but that has not yet been confirmed. Mariucci had two more seasons left on a five-year, $25-million contract signed when he was hired in 2003.
Also see Mariucci out as Lions' coach from ESPN
Secret Santa: An Interesting One, For a Change by ypsi~dixit
ypsi~dixit writes: Sign up today for an envelope full of weird, unexpected delights from a complete stranger.
The Problem with Football Seating by Mike Hulsebus Photography
Mike Hulsebus writes: We've got "good" seats, by which I mean close seats. The problem with having seats close to the action is everyone high up tries to cram down into your seats; pairs of people will invite their three friends from row 76 to come down and cram in.
Shackin' up by Upper_Lower
Upper_Lower writes: The Bay City Times reports on a fellow that knows a thing or two about putting together a deer blind: First thing Darga did was sink four telephone poles in concrete and start building up. And up. And up some more. He didn't stop until the four-story structure reached 36 feet at its peak. From the top deck of the blind, set on fertile farmland just north of this small Presque Isle County town, the views are spectacular.
Michigan Webcams from WeatherMichigan.com by Super Bowl XL Detroit 2006
Super Bowl XL writes: "Welcome to our collection of webcams across Michigan. You can select images by location, region, or choose full graphics mode to display all available webcams..."
AdSense: Not for me. by :neadfiles
neadfiles writes: AdSense is has become the new, irritating 'flash banner'. Instead of having a blinking, shaking, moving banner to get my attention, bloggers now load large amounts of Ad Sense links, sometimes disquised as content, and it's hard to tell where the blog ends and advertising begins.
Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, November 28, 2005
News Bites: Drew Sharp wonders why Mooch is still employed, Moore weighs in on Flint closings, Audio story on Kalamazoo Promise.
Michigan's Rural Areas Provide Almost 2x the Military Recruits
The Detroit News reports that military records show that Michigan's military recruits come disproportionately from the state's most rural areas. In Michigan's 45 most rural counties (60% of people living in rural areas) about 7 of every 1,000 young people ages 18-24 enlisted last year compared to 4 of every 1,000 in urban areas.
Michigan Schools Face Counseler Shortage
The Detroit News reports that at a time when Michigan leaders increasingly tout the importance of more students graduating from college, Michigan students are getting less counseling than those in all but a few other states. There was one counselor for every 619 Michigan students in 2004, far below the recommeded ratio of 250-1. Michigan schools aren't required to have counselors.
Service Taps Wisdom of Experience
The Detroit Free Press has an interesting feature on the Elder Wisdom Circle, an online advice service that relies on about 200 senior citizen advice-givers (between 60 - 97 years of age) across the country. The article profiles a few Michigan members and the free service looks pretty interesting.
Visit the Elder Wisdom Circle web site
2005 Tourism Roundup
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that 2005 was a poor year for tourism with room occupancy rates below 50% (characterized as "pathetic"). The state estimates tourism is a $16 billion a year industry in Michigan and generates more than 180,000 jobs. Michigan's top 5 desinations were Traverse City, Frankenmuth, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Mackinaw City.
Michigan Shopping Report: Early Numbers Look Good
The Detroit Free Press reports that Thanksgiving weekend provided a strong start to the holiday shopping season but that shoppers in the Midwest spent the least ($269.53 on average). Clothing and accessories again topped the gift lists this year, with 49.2% of people surveyed saying they bought these items. Books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games were second, with 46.7%, and electronics ranked third, with 36.7%.
The Daily Tribune follows the bouncing name of J.L. Hudson, which became Marshall Field's in 2001 and will become Macy's in 2006. The Lansing State Journal adds a report on "Cyber Monday" (which is apparently today) saying that 40% of consumers with Internet access at work plan to shop online using their office computer today.
Read Shoppers gobble up bargains, skip malls in the Detroit News
Read Shopping times are a-changin' in the Daily Tribune
Read Retailers upbeat after hot shopping weekend in the LSJ
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