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Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006: Five Things You Need to Know

Bucks freeze in Pistons Headlights (awesome blow-by-blow account by Detroit Bad Boys), Wings all tied up.

Global Warming's Impact on Michigan

The Muskegon Chronicle has the best feature we've read thusfar exploring the many ways global warming is changing (and will change) Michigan's environment. They explore impacts including less ice cover on lakes, lower lake levels, stronger storms, more acute pollution and wilder temperature swings.

Over the next century, experts predict that average air temperatures in Michigan will rise by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 13 degrees in the summer. If the predictions hold true, summer in 2030 in Michigan will feel like southern Ohio and by 2100, summers here will be more like northern Arkansas. The Chronicle only keeps stories up for one week, so be sure to read this now!!
Read Global warming hitting home - and the future looks warmer yet in the Muskegon Chronicle

Grand Rapids Renaissance Zones a Michigan Success Story
The Grand Rapids Press had a detailed feature this weekend looking at how the city's decision in 1996 to create Renaissance Zones and forgoe millions in taxes helped to create millions in investments, redevelopment of some of the city's most depressed properties and a dramatic revitalization in some neighborhoods. Between 1996 and 2005, taxable value (about half of market value) of city Renaissance Zone properties has grown by $115 million. The article also looks at several businesses that have grown dramitically thanks to the program and is well worth a read.
Read Renaissance revisited: what Grand Rapids has accomplished in 10 years in the Grand Rapids Press

Michigan's Online Educational Experience

Ars Technica takes a look the requirement that all students take a least one "online learning course" or participate in an "online learning experience" that is part of Michigan's new graduation requirements. Michael Flanagan, State Superintendent of Public Instruction and member of the Michigan Virtual University (MVU) Board of Directors is quoted as saying "The importance of requiring all students to take an online course today can be compared to the efforts to teach young people how to use print resources in a public library 50 years ago." The article asks (and its readers respond in the discussion forums) whether today's students need help getting an online experience.

Meanwhile, the LSJ reports that a new agreement between Michigan State University and the Chinese government will create the first U.S. online K-12 and adult Chinese language instruction through the MSU-backed Michigan Virtual High School. The classes will also help students meet new high school requirements for foreign language studies.
Read Michigan to require "online courses" for high school graduation in Ars Technica
Also see Michigan's New Curriculum a (rare) Bipartisan Success Story at Absolute Michigan
Read MSU program to offer Chinese as online option for K-12, adults in the Lansing State Journal

Agreement Gives Extra $15 Million to Promote Michigan Tourism
The TC Record-Eagle reports that under an agreement between Gov. Granholm and legislative Republicans, Travel Michigan, the state's travel promotion agency, will receive and additional $7.5 million in 2006 and in 2007. The money will be used to promote Michigan as a tourist destination to out-of-state travelers and the $15 million will bring Michigan closer to the tourist promotion budgets of surrounding states. The extra money may definitely be needed as gas prices may already be having an impact on summer travel.
Read Michigan to broaden its approach to tourism in the Traverse City Record-Eagle
Also see Gas prices shudder travelers, businesses in the Traverse City Record-Eagle

More Grandstanding and Electioneering on SBT
George Weeks took a look in on what's happening with the Small Business Tax last week (we were apparently looking elsewhere). He reported that DeVos continued to sing the "job-killer" refrain while Granholm challenged House Speaker Craig DeRoche and Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema "to sign an agreement to both repeal" the SBT by the end of this year and craft a replacement that would not shift taxes to individuals or make deep cuts in vital services. Weeks agreed with DeRoche's assessment of the call as a "campaign gimmick" and added that if things worked as they should in Lansing, the three of them would sit down and negotiate an agreement that they would try to sell lawmakers.

I think it's pretty clear that things don't work as they should in the capital ... did I say that out loud??
Read Dancing to different tunes on biz tax in the Escanaba Daily Press

# posted by farlane @ 1:14 PM
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