Saturday, February 11, 2006
Don't You Kill That Super Bowl XL Buzz....
So seriously, its 6 days since Super Bowl XL, and I still have the buzz going. I participated in a little meeting this evening with some folks from the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau Get In The Game campaign, Detroit Synergy and other community organizations on how we can keep the buzz going. Particularly, how we can keep the 11,000 volunteers active and continue to bring new people into the city.Ray and the dWonk crew are asking for your ideas and promising a gift-o-love for the best responses so click here now and give them your thoughts.
On behalf of Absolute Michigan, we're really happy to see that folks are still working hard to preserve the SBXL momentum. Here are more articles regarding harnessing Super Bowl XL's energy.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Valentine's Day in Michigan
Be sure to check out our comprehensive Valentine's Day in Michigan feature.
DetroitWonk has a post titled Valentine's Day: Detroit is For Lovers that features Metro Detroit-related gifts for significant others. Items include a nifty "Detroit is for Lovers T-Shirt" from Pure Detroit and Motor City Makeup. They STRONGLY suggest getting your significant other something more than just lip balm and a t-shirt ... maybe our readers could offer some suggestions via the link above.
Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, February 10, 2006
Quick Hits: M Go Blog: UM students, faculty & staff get free blogs, Motown Roots: former Detroiters outfit US Olympic team, Houghton area residents attempt to set snow angel record (pretty funny)
Granholm's Proposed 2006-07 Budget Released
The Detroit News reports that public schools, research universities, home health care workers, mass transit riders and the working poor who have no health insurance are the winners in state spending plans for next year laid out by Gov. Jennifer Granholm Thursday. Losers include liquor store owners, businesses that enjoy certain tax breaks, private college students who need financial aid and municipalities hoping for an increase in the $1.1 billion state revenue sharing pot for police and fire protection, road repairs and garbage pickup.
The plan is built on potentially shaky ground -- closing a number of tax loopholes and increasing fees -- measures that are already drawing fire from key members of the Republican dominated Legislature. Add to that the fact that it's an election year with 148 legislative seats are up for grabs in November, and it's almost certain there will be a major battle surrounding the budget.
Water Withdrawal Package Passes Legislature
The Detroit News reports that a milestone in the history of environmental protection in Michigan was reached Thursday when the Legislature approved a package of bills setting up the state's first systematic controls on withdrawal of water from the Great Lakes. The comprehensive requires legislative approval of large-scale projects to divert water, sets up a $5,000 permit requirement for major water bottlers and asks Michigan businesses to report on their water conservation efforts.
Great Lakes Pollution Increasing, Michigan to Increase Water Cleanups
The Globe & Mail reports that a new report finds that despite decades of effort cleaning up the Great Lakes, industrial discharges of dangerous water pollutants into the lakes soared 23% at US companies and 13% at Canadian ones from 1998 and 2002. The finding is unexpected because companies have spent billions of dollars trying to clean up the environment, and water quality in the lakes has improved dramatically since the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In other news, The Lansing State Journal reports that the Department of Environmental Quality is planning a stepped-up effort to clean some of Michigan's dirtiest waterways. State and federal funding has picked up after a dry spell. The article also has a list of Michigan's 14 toxic hot spots.
Pistons Send Four to All-Star Game
ESPN reports that four of five Detroit Piston starters have been named to the NBA Eastern Conference All-Star team. Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace all were picked for the Eastern Conference team that will be led by Detroit coach Flip Saunders. This is the first time four players from one team have made the game since the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers.
The Michigan Land Use Institute has an excellent feature looking at how a feud in the state Capitol is blocking more than $100 million in federal transit funding for three of Michigan's largest cities. It's a part of MLUI's Growing Grand Rapids and well worth a read.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Ypsilanti "Bridge of Friendship" Collapses, Injuring 2 by ypsi~dixit
Y writes: YPSILANTI, MI--A gesture of international goodwill ended in tragedy today in Riverside Park, when a bright yellow bridge built entirely of Legos collapsed into the Huron River.
The brainchild of local poet-boxer Ygg Mulholland, the ambitious structure extended from Riverside Park's fishing dock to the river's opposite bank. "Each support pillar took 15,000 Legos," says Mulholland. "I built the whole thing in sections in my garage." The structure was placed in the Huron River with the help of Ygg's canoer brother Dave, who was spotted moored upriver at Cross Street Bridge.
Free as in beer... By Adventures of a Brit Abroad
Matt Blackcustard writes: Over on Flickr, Efo got a job lot of cheap, crappy plastic cameras and sent them out to a bunch of Flickrites, including me, the only requirement being to use and abuse the cameras however we see fit, and to post the results to the Free Camera Flickr group. This is from my first roll.
UP Divided On Forestry Bills Passed by Michigan House by Red Tape Blog
Red Tape Blog writes: Regulators would have fewer reasons to prohibit logging in state forests and private landowners would be encouraged to allow timber cutting on their property under bills approved Tuesday by the Michigan House.
The Republican-sponsored legislation, aimed at boosting the state's logging industry, next heads to the Senate. It is opposed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, environmental groups and local governments.
NY Post: Four Piston All Stars by Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Bad Boys writes: Not to be outdone by the NY Daily News, the NY Post's Peter Vecsey has revealed the entire Eastern Conference All-Star lineup ahead of today's announcement.
Will you be my Valentine, Snuffy? by NOISE PhotoBlog
Jeremy Herliczek writes: Molly, a Pug-Boston Terrier mix, poses for a photo with owners Betsy and Marty Colburn of Mason as part of a fundraiser for the Ingham County Animal Shelter. "It doesn't matter what their pedigree is, their love is just the same," Betsy Colburn said.
Rule of Laws by Find The River
Find The River writes: "Rats and cockroaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand. It is the privledge of human beings to live under laws of justice and mercy."
Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, February 9, 2006
Two more stories: West Michigan Lawmaker Proposes Smaller Legislature,Lansing's magnet school students form Lego Robotics team.
George Will Previews Michigan's 2006 Gubernatorial Election
Columnist George Will takes a hard look at how Michigan's economic crisis will impact the campaign for governor and may foreshadow key issues of the 2008 Presidential campaign. If you read nothing else today, read this.
The Torino Winter Games kick off on Saturday. In addition to listing Michigan's medal hopefuls, like skater and brand-new Michiganian Tanith Belbin, bobsledder Jean Prahm (Waterford), doubles luge Mark Grimmette (Muskegon), Red Wing's Chris Chelios, the Detroit News has a feature on the families of two more Michigan athletes and how their communities are helping them cope with the huge cost of going to the games. Olympians profiled are U.S. women's hockey team member Angela Ruggiero of Harper Woods and Bay City short-track speedskater Alex Izykowski.
Read Golden dreams: Many pitch in so Mich. families can see kids' Olympic hopes come true in the Detroit News
Michigan Takes Home Grammys
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and University of Michigan professor of composition William Bolcom won three Grammy Awards on Wednesday for best classical album and best choral performance for his epic work "Songs of Innocence and of Experience". Featured on the album were the MSU Children's Choir and several choirs from the University of Michigan. Other winners were Aretha Franklin (Best Traditional R&B Performance), CeCe Winans (Best Gospel Performance for "Pray" & Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album "Purified"), White Stripes (Best Alternative Album "Get Behind Me Satan"). Stevie Wonder (Won for Best R&B Duo Performance, Male Pop Vocal Performance "From the Bottom of My Heart").
Oakland Exec Launches SBT Repeal Effort
The Detroit Free Press reports that Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson called for a repeal of Michigan's Single Business Tax (SBT) last night in his State of the County address. He is leading a drive to raise $800,000 to fund a petition drive to get the SBT repeal on the November ballot. The tax raises $1.8 billion annually for the state, but is not a favorite of businesses as they must pay portions of it even when they don't make money. Gov. Granholm has said she is willing to look at any proposal that will help make the state more competitive as long as it includes a way to make up lost revenues.
Also see Patterson's State of Oakland County: Help me put single-business tax on state ballot — to kill it from Crain's Detroit Business
Visit the Repeal the Single Business Tax web site
Lions Hire Martz as Offensive Coordinator
The Detroit Free Press reports that the Detroit Lions have hired former St. Louis Rams head coach as their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Martz was the Rams' offensive coordinator when they won the Super Bowl, has led some of the most high-scoring offenses in NFL history and helped develop QBs Trent Green, Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Worst Band Ever? by Detroit Digital Radio
Detroit Digital Radio writes: I am trying to make up for the fact that I didn't upload a show today by giving this little piece of comedy gold to you. Go to this link to see the worst cover song ever. Thanks to Doug & Art on 1270 for pointing me in this direction. Awesome.
And I thought American Idol had bad acts!
MAKING SOLAR POWER MAINSTREAM by GLRC
GLRC writes: Solar panel technology has been around for decades-but not many people have panels on their roofs. Solar energy is the ultimate clean power source, but it's also expensive and that's kept most people away. But regulators in one state are hoping to change that. The state's Public Utilities Commission recently approved a 3-billion dollar fund to give homeowners and businesses hefty rebates if they install solar panels. It's the first program of its kind and size in the nation.
Super Bowl XL Photo Page by Michigan in Pictures
Michigan in Pictures writes: This dynamic photo from Ian Freimuth will be our first of hopefully quite a number of photos of Super Bowl XL to be posted today (and in the days to come) as people upload them.
Check Michigan in Pictures for this and other shots.
Detroit's Playlist on iTunes by DetroitWonk
DetroitWonk writes: Last week, I sent an email to the folks at iTunes suggesting they create a "Detroit" playlist, just as they had for LA, New York, and New Orleans. ...While I don't know whether it was lucky timing on my part, or if my suggestion actually caused some action, iTunes now has a Detroit playlist up.
UPDATE 11:43PM I did not notice this until Ray pointed it out to me, but the Detroit iTunes Essentials graphic has misspelled "Detroit" as "Detriot," emphasis on "riot."
Lions and Cops by dETROITfUNK
dETROITfUNK writes: Heres a cool old building that appears to have been a police station. Ive taken photos of it before, but longtime dFUNK supporter George pointed out the brilliant carvings on this structure to me awhile back. Sure enough, the statues are very masterful, and the building itself is quite nice too.
Down and Distance: Super Bowl XL Play-by-Playlooza by Super Bowl XL Detroit 2006
Barry "iPod" Johnson writes: "I watched the Super Bowl. You watched the Super Bowl. Did you see what I saw? Considering the fuss over whether Ben Roethlisberger actually broke the plane, or whether Darrell Jackson really interfered, or whether Jerramy Stevens fumbled, I'm not sure any two people saw the same game. It's like Rashomon, for God's sake.
Muskegon's Grimmette goes for Gold
Alot of fans in West Michigan will be watching the 2006 Olympics in Torino with great interest as Muskegon's Mark Grimmette will go for his third Olympic medal in his fourth olympic games. Grimmette and teammate Brian Martin participate in the doubles luge competition.
The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is the place to be to watch and cheer on Grimmette and his efforts. A Community celebration/viewing party set for February 15th at 6 PM. The event is free with donations being accepted. TV's will be setup to watch Grimmette and Martin go for the gold!
Visit Muskegon Winter Sports Complex on the web
View Mark Grimmette's Bio at NBCOlympics.com
Read Nice guys win on luge track at the Detroit News
Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Quick Hits: Analyst suggests Toyota to spurn Michigan for new plant, Piston Dale Davis to release Playas Ball movie, Lake Michigan shore trail between South Haven and Holland proposed.
Sen. Sikkema, Gov. Granholm Trade Jabs (Those of you running computers with MicrosoftTM on board will also be able to watch a video)
WOOD-TV 8 Grand Rapids reports that Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema and Gov. Granholm (just back from discussing Michigan's needs with President Bush) are exchanging salvos regarding the Governor's veto of the Senate's tax cut package. Sikkema said, "There is more than a little irony in that the governor vetoed what I think is a very important package of bills for the economic future of Michigan, and then within a few hours is in Washington asking Washington for help." To which the Governor responded: "I think there's an incredible amount of irony in the Legislature passing tax cuts that are unfounded." Can we assume that the good vibration, SBXL pact has ended?
GM Cuts Hit High, No Profit Sharing for Ford, GM Workers
The Detroit papers have extensive coverage today regarding more bad news from the auto industry. The Freep reports that for the first time in four years, Ford and General Motors union workers won't be getting annual profit-sharing checks. The Detroit News reports that GM made unprecedented sacrifices expected to assuage the UAW leaders, cutting its dividend in half, capping health care benefits for salaried retirees, and slashing the pay of Chairman Rick Wagoner and other top executives and directors.
Read GM SPREADS PAIN: Cuts pinch shareholders, retirees, execs and raise pressure on UAW for givebacks in the Detroit News (the photo of GM CEO Rick Wagoner speaks volumes)
Also see Autoworkers take more hits in the Freep
Bill to Require Large Companies to Provide Health Care Flatlining in Legislature
Jack Lessenberry says that according to State Sen. Ray Basham (Lansing), laid-off GM workers and all the other Michigan taxpayers are paying $46 million in extra taxes a year to provide Medicaid coverage for Wal-Mart workers in Michigan. Basham has introduced a bill in the legislature requiring any company with at least 10,000 workers to either provide some kind of minimal health care, or pay into a fund to reimburse the state. According to Lessenberry, the bill can't even get a hearing.
State Sen. Ray Basham's web site
Michigan Veterans Memorial Park to Add Purple Heart Memorial
The Saginaw News reports that Michigan has an estimated 60,000 residents who have received the Purple Heart. A bill introduced in the state House would extend the boundaries of the Michigan Veterans Memorial Park to provide room for the Purple Heart monument. Passage appears certain and the measure will be paid for by the Michigan Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Granholm Budget to Request Additional School Moneys for This Year
The Lansing State Journal reports that the state budget director is expected to release a proposed budget Thursday for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The K-12 part of the plan would increase spending in the school aid budget $360 million, or nearly 3%. If that increase passes the Legislature this spring, school districts would get $25 more this school year and $175 more per student next fall.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
The Camps Await... by Wrinkled Mind
Wrinkled Mind writes: Remember a few days ago I posted about about KBR/Halliburton and their prison building? It was a bit disconcerting. Want the hell scared out of ya? Have a look at this.
Fact or fiction?
Mitridate Rei di Ponto - Tuesday, 10AM-1PM, WHFR - What's Opera Doc?
What's Opera Doc? writes: Tuesdays Mozart Madness opera is a coloratura fest for the ears - Mitridate Re di Ponto, with La Bartoli, Natalie Dessay, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Juan Diego Florez, Brian Asawa, Sandrine Piau, and Helene Le Corre. Christopher Rousset conducts.
Roasted Cauliflower by Kitchen Chick
Kitchen Chick writes: Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I avoided for most of my life. My main memory is of largely tasteless florets in salads. As a kid, I thought of it as defective broccoli.
Then last a year a friend wrote about how she didn't like cauliflower until she had it roasted with olive oil and salt. I had to try it. And I loved it.
Essay: Socialism for Billionaires by Jack Lessenberry's Essays and Interviews
Jack Lessenberry writes: Most Americans are against welfare, and most corporations are against socialism. Except, of course, when it comes to themselves.
For example, most middle-class people, including me, get a form of welfare called the mortgage interest deduction.
Where in the world are Detroit Pistons fans? by Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Bad Boys writes: The map below shows just a sampling of where visitors to Detroit Bad Boys have come from over the past week. As you'd expect, a great deal of the visitors come from Michigan and the Midwest US, but I'm surprised at the number of visitors coming from Europe, and it's exciting to realize that I also have at least a handful of regular visitors coming from Africa, the Middle East, Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
Only One Alive Tonight by GR Podcasts
It's all over by Detroit BikeBlog
BikeBlog writes: Super Bowl Sunday was a total Blast. ...But nothing that good can last forever. The hastily opened shops along merchants row are holding blow-out sales and mostly closing down, the tents are almost gone and the streets are returning to their winter vaccancy. But I've high hopes that the quality businesses that joined downtown are here to stay.
Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Online Buzz: Who's Blogging? 1 in 5 teens, 7% of adults, This week's Great Lakes Town Hall guest speaker is Cyndi Roper of Michigan's Clean Water Action, What's Opera, Doc? presents Mitridate Rei di Ponto from 10AM-1PM Tuesday.
Harnessing Super Bowl XL's Energy
The Michigan media is reporting that now that visitors have left, regional and state leaders have turned their attention to harnessing momentum generated by Super Bowl XL and using it to turn around downtown Detroit and Michigan as a whole. The same challenges exist: lack of adequate public transportation & urban blight in Detroit and budget problems & lack of jobs everywhere.
One suggested strategy is to seek out more convention business, including one of the 2008 Presidential nominating conventions. However, as the Freep's Tom Walsh points out "That's not a sustainable year-round business model, except maybe for Las Vegas." Another is to revive the concept of a business improvement district (BID) to fund sidewalk and street cleaning, new landscaping, graffiti removal and roving ambassadors by taxing properties in a district based on assessed valuation. BIDs are allowed under Michigan law.
Groundwater Report Presented to Michigan Legislature
The Muskegon Chronicle has an excellent feature on a new report to the state Legislature by the Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council finds that while current groundwater pumping in Michigan does not pose an ecological crisis, future problems could arise unless more is done to protect it. Michigan industries, municipalities, farms and other businesses pumped about 730 million gallons of groundwater daily in 2000 (266 billion gallons annually). That amount represented about 2.6% of an estimated 27 billion gallons of water that flows each day into underground aquifers.
The report said the state needs to invest in groundwater research to increase scientific and public understanding, improve government management of the resource and, hopefully, prevent conflicts among competing water users. It also recommended the following definition of sustainable groundwater usage:
Sustainable use of Michigan's groundwater resources means (1) meeting the needs of the present while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and (2) recognizing that sustainable use encompasses environmental, economic, and social systems and their contribution to meeting human needs.
Read the Croundwater Council's Final report to the Legislature (1.6 MB PDF document)
More Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council information from MDEQ
Bush Budget Would Hit Hard in Michigan
The Detroit News reports that President Bush's proposed 2007 budget would cut tens of millions of dollars from numerous programs in Michigan, including $25.5 million less in block grants for jobs, housing, food and heating for the poor. The budget calls for an additional $50 million to clean up toxic sites in Great Lakes and $120 million for ethanol research (some of which would reach Michigan).
Interview with George Weeks
Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry spoke with George Weeks about changes he has seen over a half century in the political arena and his observations of the current political scene. Weeks has been in the world of Michigan politics and government for a longer period of time than just about anyone and worked for Governor William Milliken as a press secretary and top aide. He plans to retire from daily journalism with the Detroit News this spring and devote himself to writing books.
Abandoned Factory Gets New Lease on Life, Developer Gets Tax Breaks
The Lansing State Journal has an in-depth report on a developer who has transformed the former Melling Forging Co. site north of Lansing's Old Town into a business center with 11 tenants. Dan Van Acker's DJV Properties has invested about $1.5 million in the property and under Michigan's Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act, won't pay taxes on any of the improvements for 12 years.
Monday, February 06, 2006
GoDaddy's Super Bowl ads by PC Mike's E-Journal
Mike Wendland writes: It took 14 tries but GoDaddy, the Web hosting company, finally came up with a TV commercial one that ABC will agree to run during the Super Bowl.
Guy? Seriously Man, If You Hate Detroit That Much...by DetroitWonk
DetroitWonk writes: Guy Gordon over at WDIV accidentally let slip his "REAL" opinion of the City of Detroit.
Winter Wonderland by Arising Images
Arising Images writes: After church was over I took a short drive to take some pictures of the winter scenes in the area. We had a very wet snow last night that stuck to all the trees and made everything really beautiful.
Judy Hayner, Muskegon Museum of Art by Inside Muskegon
Inside Muskegon writes: This episode of Inside Muskegon features an interview with Judy Hayner, Executive Director of the Muskegon Museum of Art.
Scholastics @ CCS by dETROITfUNK
dETROITfUNK writes: Well its Scholastics time, and College for Creative Studies is again hosting the show in its new design building. Mrs dFUNK and I stopped by to take a look.
Five Things You Need to Know for Monday, February 6, 2006
News bits: Michigan has room to grow - if it focuses on tourism, Growth, pollution threaten nation's coastlines, The Future of Online Newspapers?.
Super Bowl XL Recap
Today we bid farewell to the 40th Super Bowl (or maybe we'll do that tomorrow).
New Wind Farm in Thumb will be Nation's 5th Largest
The Detroit Free Press reports that a new wind farm in the Thumb that will be the fifth-largest in the country with 180 turbines when completed in 2008. Because of its relatively flat, unobstructed farm vistas, Michigan ranks 14th among the 50 states in potential for development of wind power, a ranking that could go up even further if turbines could be built on the Great Lakes.
Business Tax Cut Vetoed, Health Plan Cost
Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Friday vetoed Republican-sponsored bills that would slice taxes for about 35,000 small businesses and keep Michigan from adopting workplace ergonomics rules. The Senate's top fiscal adviser also found that the Governor's new insurance plan for low-income residents would rely on $1 billion in extra funding from the federal government.
Also see Health plan may need $1B in the Detroit News
Michigan Stem Cell Debate
mLive takes a detailed look at the debate surrounding stem cell research in Michigan and legislation introduced by state Rep. Andrew Meisner, D-Ferndale. Gov. Granholm's State of the State speech called for fewer restrictions on stem cell research to boost investment in life sciences and aid Michigan's economy, but several prominent Republicans are not supportive of the Meisner legislation, damaging its chances of passing. Michigan currently has some of the most restrictive embryonic stem cell research laws in the nation.
Touring Detroit's Neighborhoods
"If progress has graffiti, the word is 'Tyvek'."
Last week Bob Allen, web editor of Crain's Detroit Business, decided to look beyond the heart of Detroit, get off the freeways and explore the neighborhoods that make up Michigan's largest city. His report is a great read ... so go read it.
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