Friday, December 23, 2005
Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, December 23, 2005
Five Things You Need to Know will not be published the week of December 26 - 30, 2005. We'll be back January 2, 2006 -- Happy New Year!
Happy Holidays from Absolute Michigan
2005 has been the year of the "War on Christmas", fought by everybody from Fox News anchors to the Michigan Legislature. At Absolute Michigan, we hope that whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or nothing at all, you and your loved ones enjoy it to the fullest.
PS: Please don't be scared of Santa (thanks Bob Allen). And if you really don't want to go to that Holiday party, be sure to have a good excuse (thanks MITECHNEWS.COM).
Saginaw Chippewa Indians Sue for Sovereignty
The Detroit News reports that the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit against the state, seeking a court order that would recognize the tribe's sovereignty over six townships in mid-Michigan. The tribe operates the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort and cites treaties signed with the US government that granted it sovereignty over the "historic Isabella Reservation" which they say include Wise, Nottawa, Isabella, Denver and Deerfield townships, along with half of Union and Chippewa in Isabella County.
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe web site
Takin' It to the (Detroit) Streets
Last week Metro Times Detroit had a nice feature on The Snowsuit Effort, Ryan Keberly's photoblog cataloging Detroit's destitute street community. The article tells how Keberly got started and about some of the acclaim Snowsuit.net has garnered including Time magazine's Top 50 coolest Web sites of 2005 and Webby and Bloggie award nominations.
Visit the Snowsuit Effort (a truly amazing site)
Book Presents Small Town Beauty
The Detroit News has a feature on In Drought Time: Scenes from Rural and Small Town Life, a new book by Bay City publisher Mayapple Press. The book is a collection of poetry and art that represents the beauty of the disappearing rural landscape and features the work of 21 award-winning poets appears in the volume, accompanied by illustrations.
Mayapple Press web site (online ardering & book excerpts available)
Journalism's Next Generation
The Lansing State Journal reports that some Lansing eighth-graders are taking part in a new program called Creating the Next Generation of Minority Journalists, a partnership between Michigan State University's journalism school and the Lansing State Journal. The teens each work with an LSJ or MSU mentor and learn about writing, ethics, photography, graphic design and online media.
Also see Young journalists cultivate skills in the LSJ
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Harrington gets starting nod... by Northern Michigan Detroit Sports Blog
Leelanau Sports Guy writes: This just in from the Detroit Insider...
"Joe Har will be starting QB for Saturday's game. Orlovsky 2nd string, Garcia 3rd string."
Jason by The Snowsuit Effort
The Snowsuit Effort writes: "I don't like using the restroom, so I take medicine to prevent bowel movements."
Public Library by Detroit BikeBlog
Detroit BikeBlog writes: here's a shot of a Mural from inside Detroit's equally impressive Public Library. Built in 1915 this building exemplifies the hope and pride of a rapidly growing city.
Better than Ezra by dETROITfUNK
dETROITfUNK writes: Here are a set of images from the Ezra Winter mural in the Guardian Building.
Untitled by The Adventures of a Brit Abroad
Blackcustard writes: I've been planning Christmas dinner, so I thought I'd share...
Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, December 22, 2005
Long ago: 100 Years Ago in Traverse City and Far Away: Add Planet Buffy to Solar System.
Michigan Gains Residents ... Slowly
The Detroit Free Press reports that Michigan has gained 182,380 residents since 2000, boosting population to 10.1 million people. Michigan's 1.8% growth since 2000 ranked 42nd among states. State officials said Michigan's declining birthrate, rising death rate and increased number of people migrating to other states contributed to slow growth. Mr. Stevens suggests that might be a good thing
Also see Top 10 fastest growing states from CNN
Conclusive Evidence of Cougar Attack Berrien County
The Dowagiac Daily News reports that on Dec. 2, 2005, Berrien County became the first local government unit in Michigan to issue a public safety announcement asking residents to be on the alert for a cougar (mountain lion) and take precautions. A week later, the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and local authorities investigated an attack on a Watervliet horse by a cougar that occurred on the night of Nov. 26. They found clear-cut evidence, including distinct claw marks and tooth punctures, that indicated the horse was attacked by a cougar.
Great Lakes Water Resources Compact
The Port Huron Times-Herald reports that (if it becomes law) the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact will require states to evaluate water withdrawal and its impact, implement water-conservation measures and regulate the removal of water from the basin. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin comprises 90% to 95% of the fresh surface water in the United States (20% of the world's). Water levels are dropping, and only 1% of the water taken out of the lakes is returned via precipitation.
Republican Leader Targets Teacher Pension & Health Care
mLive.com reports that Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema says he will push teacher pension and health care reform next year as he finishes his 20-year legislative career. Earlier this month, the Senate voted to approve changes in teacher health care, encouraging districts to join pools for employee health insurance and creating a statewide catastrophic loss claims pool. The legislation was tied to teacher pension reform in the House but failed to gather the necessary votes.
Captain Jackson Stumbles
The Detroit Free Press reports that starting several years ago, a masked man known as Captain Jackson patrolled the streets of Jackson's struggling downtown, rousting undesirables from dark corners, making sure merchants' doors were locked after hours, marching in local parades and collecting awards from community groups. In October, his alter-ego was arrested for drunken driving and recently the Jackson Citizen-Patriot revealed his identity, as well as that of his sidekicks: Crime Fighter Girl and Queen of Hearts. The revelation has caused the crime fighter to consider packing in his cape.
Captain Jackson's web site
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Santa Tracker ready for Saturday night by PC Mike's E-Journal
PC Mike writes: As the folks at the North American Air Defense Command have been doing since 1958 (before the Internet, even), all systems are now go to detect the entry of Santa and his sleigh into U.S. air space Saturday night on his annual Christmas Eve journey.
UFO Near Livonia, Michigan by Dr. Fong's House of Mysteries
Dr. Fong writes: A strange object was seen in the sky over Livonia, Michigan on December 12, 2005.
"A green light was observed travelling east. The object did not have any blinking or strobbing lights and was flying low...."
Could this be Santa's Sleigh on a dry run?
Secret Santa JACKPOT!!! by ypsi~dixit
Y writes: THE KINDEST OF LADIES has blessed Ypsidixit with a packet o' fun so wonderful and thrilling that Ypsidixit is speechless with gratitude and amazement.
This thoughtful person gifted me with magical items so in line with my tastes and likes it's like she's known me for decades.
Mount St. Frandor by NOISE PhotoBlog
NOISE writes: It wasn’t just people enjoying the snow on Mount St. Frandor Saturday.
Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Recommended Reading: Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema's press secretary & MSU prof Ari Adler wonders whether the media doesn't cover government because people don't care about it, or if people don't care about government because the media doesn't cover it and the Michigan roots of Chris Van Allsburg's book, The Polar Express.
Ford Releases Report on Climate Change
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Ford Motor Co. released a report yesterday about its efforts to reduce global-warming gases. The report also addresses the business implications of climate change, carbon dioxide emissions and global energy concerns, and was praised by environmental groups, who also called on General Motors for similar measures.
Read Ford Issues Climate Change Report from Ford Motor Company (get the full report)
Shoreline Property Owners File with Supreme Court
The Huron Daily Tribune that Save Our Shoreline (SOS) has filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, alleging that Michigan's Supreme Court "ignored Michigan law" in its decision in Glass v. Goeckel. In July of 2005, the Court held that the public trust doctrine protects people's rights to walk along the shores of the Great Lakes. Five US Supreme Court judges would need to agree to review the case.
Gull Lake May Be Next Intelligent Design Case
The Detroit Free Press reports that the next court test on whether public schoolchildren can be taught that an intelligent force set the universe in motion could move to Michigan after a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania district from teaching intelligent design. The Thomas More Law Center has threatened to sue Gull Lake Community Schools for refusing to allow the teaching of intelligent design.
Gray Wolf May Be Removed from Endangered Species List
The Mining Journal reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on new federal proposals to reclassify gray wolves from endangered to threatened species across several states, including Michigan. The federal goal for wolf recovery in Michigan and Wisconsin was reached about a decade ago - 100 wolves on non-reservation lands, excluding Isle Royale National Park. A state recovery goal for Michigan of 200 wolves for five years has also been surpassed and wolves are currently listed by Michigan as a threatened species.
The Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from the Michigan DNR
Bangor Angles for Bio-Diesel Plant
WMMT TV (Kalamazoo) reports that city officials in Bangor (Van Buren County) want a new bio diesel plant built in town and are working with the state on a tax package to put Bangor on even financial ground with Fremont, Indiana, another possible plant location. A Michigan Bio-Diesel plant would create 22 new jobs and add $7 million to the Bangor tax base.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Another transfer... by blackcustard
Black Custard writes (about the photo): Nikon F, Tmax 100. Inkjet positive transparency print. Transferred onto paper using Mod Podge.
Swirling Consumerism by ypsi~dixit
Y writes: THIS EVENING the entire #4 bus schedule was completely thrown off because of the hordes of frantically circling cars completely clogging Arborland. There were huge crowds at each bus stop because the buses were late, and my driver had to turn away a good 20 people at South U. and Washtenaw, assuring those poor cold people that another bus was coming in 5 minutes.
Eminent Domain Ballot Proposal by Red Tape Blog
Red Tape writes: The Michigan Legislature has become the first in the nation to adopt a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit the government from taking private property from its owner and giving it to a private interest for economic-development purposes or to increase tax revenues.
Must be Santa by the Boogie Kings - Grand Rapids Podcasts
Rockin' version of this classic.
TWO NEW MONDAY FEATURES: Quote of The Week, Obscure Factoid by out of bounds
out of bounds writes: Starting today, every Monday I will delve into the "Out of Bounds" archive files and titillate you with a Quote of the Week and an obscure factoid from the world of sports. Rinse and repeat.
Christmas Gifts of Breakdown Kits by The Lynne Show
The Lynne Show writes: Since in this day and age, no one ever really is able to fix their own cars by the side of the road, breakdowns usually involve waiting for a towtruck...sometimes for hours. So we thought that a good breakdown kit would have the stuff you *really* need when your car breaks down and not stuff like screwdrivers and other tools and stuff like that.
Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Holiday Mashup: What about Chanukah?, 10 holiday don'ts, Sault Ste. Marie tree salesman laments rise of artificial Christmas trees.
Michigan's Alternative Energy Future
Inside Muskegon's latest podcast features an interview with Dr. Imad Mahawili, Executive Director of the Grand Valley State University Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC). Dr. Mahawili talks about demonstration technologies like photovoltaic solar roof tiles and a gas combined heat microturbine. Regarding the future of energy technology, he says Michigan exports $14-15 billion annually to purchase energy (could reach $20 billion soon) and that we need to look at retaining some of that income.
Visit the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center
Michigan Workers with Disabilities Find Less Opportunity
The Detroit News reports that working-age people with disabilities in Michigan between 21 and 64 have an employment rate 37% in 2004, compared with 76% for people without disabilities. For men with disabilities, employment fell by 22% from 1989 to 2000. The article looks at some common myths regarding disabled workers and assistive technology like screen-reading and voice-activation software.
Study Contends Minimum Wage Purchasing Power Eroded
MITECHNEWS.COM reports on a new study by the Michigan League for Human Services contending that Michigan's minimum wage of $5.15 an hour is effectively worth the same ($4.25) as it was before the wage was last increased in 1997. According to the study, the minimum wage pays for less effectively than any other year except 1955, and is 32% less in real terms than the minimum wage paid in 1968. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the study said, the minimum wage paid in 1968 would be the equivalent of $7.54/hr today. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce contends that boosting the minimum wage could result in as much as an 18% drop in jobs.
Southwestern States Raiding Great Lakes for Water?
The Great Lakes Radio Consortium reports on the threat of large-scale water withdrawals from the Great Lakes and concludes that water withdrawals by Southwestern US states is very unlikely due to the energy required and that it would be cheaper to build desalinization plants.
Michigan Colleges Make Some Lectures Available Online
The Detroit News reports on how some Michigan colleges are now offering lectures in the MP3 format (for iPods and other MP3 players), allowing students to download and listen to missed lectures. In the case of the UM school of Dentistry, Apple Computer manages the download of files. Some professors feel this use of technology cheapens the learning experience.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Find the River writes: Yesterday, the NY Times reported that literacy rates are declining among college graduates.
Find the River writes: Yesterday, the NY Times reported that literacy rates are declining among college graduates.
This conclusion is drawn from results of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy conducted by the US Department of Education in 2003.
More from Fleming Creek by The Adventures of a Brit Abroad
Pinhole photography (Voigtlander pinhole, Tmax 100) images.
Nelson Smith at District by detroitarts
detroitarts writes: Nelson Smith kicks off the last show of the year at District Arts (up until Dec 31st). Smith's canvases are more than just paint on panels...they are cut outs with circuit boards, moving balls, nuts and bolts, and many other miscellaneous parts that work within the flat surface.
Birds by dETROITfUNK
Some amazing photos of birds doing what birds do!
That's what that clock is for by Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Bad Boys writes: Sometimes fans in Detroit take for granted that the Pistons have the fundamentals down cold. You know, understanding how to execute a good pick-and-roll, remembering to box out on free throws, and, uh, knowing what the clock that counts down from 24 seconds on top of the backboard is for.
Now you can e-mail the future by PC Mike's E-Journal
PC Mike writes: Think of them as e-mail time capsules. There's now a bunch of Web Sites That Let Users Send E-Mail to Future.
Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, December 19, 2005
Our Neighbors: Wisconsin Assembly approves 10% Ethanol mandate, Ohio tops in pollution, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri, Toronto looks to $27-million (Canadian) stage musical based on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings
Economists' Forecasts for Michigan in 2006
The Lansing State Journal has a feature on what several economists and industry watchers are forecasting for key sectors of Michigan's economy in 2006. Predictions include: Michigan residents' personal income will grow by 4.9% (offset by 2.4% inflation increase), flattening of interest rates, and slow hiring & restructuring forcing more people to leave Michigan to seek jobs elsewhere.
3/4 of Michigan Residents Have Computer Access Profile of EPIC-MRA's Ed Sarpolus
The Great Lakes IT Report reports that a survey by Lansing public opinion research firm Epic MRA found that 75% of Michiganians have access to a personal computer. 44% percent said they had a computer only at home, 28% said they had a computer at both home and work, and 3% said they had a computer only at work. Only 24 percent said they didn't have access to a computer in either location. Of those with access to PCs, 48% access the internet every day and 57% have some form of high-speed access.
2005 Housing & Real Estate News Recap
The Detroit Free Press has a recap of 2005 in real estate looking at major stories including rising interest rates, mortgage delinquencies (Michigan's delinquency and foreclosure rates are 50% higher than the national average, 2.8% of mortgages), slow home sales, loft & condominium developments, home improvements and "the bubble".
Anti-Takings Amendment Headed for Michigan Ballot in 2006
The Washington Times reports that the Michigan Legislature has become the first in the nation to adopt a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit the government from taking private property from its owner and giving it to a private interest for economic-development purposes or to increase tax revenues. The resolution moves to the Secretary of State and November ballot.
Michigan Tree Farmer Moves Beyond Scotch Pines
The Traverse City Record-Eagle has a feature on Jim Grant, a Leelanau County cherry and tree farmer who travels the world looking for perfect evergreen trees for northern Michigan. Gant works with almost 30 different tree varieties at his farm. The article gives an idea of what it's like to be in the Christmas tree business and looks at some of the exotic varieties Gant grows including Olympic fir and Equi-trojani from Turkey and Greece and Veitch and Nikko firs from Japan. Exotic trees typically sell for the same price as a high-end trees such as a Fraser fir.
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