Saturday, March 18, 2006
GM & UAW Near Delphi Solution
The Detroit Free Press reports:
General Motors Corp., Delphi Corp. and the UAW are close to an agreement on a massive job-cutting plan to offer retirement packages to thousands of blue-collar workers, people familiar with the talks said Friday ...
Friday, March 17, 2006
Falling: Tiger Stadium & Trees, Rising: Inventors & Detroit
took in a little baseball, Pewabic Pottery in Detroit turned 103 and President Bush affirmed he understood Michigan's trade concerns.
Down notes for the week included news that the Michigan budget could see a major hit from decreased tobacco payments (though we can take comfort that less people smoking will probably reduce our health care bill), word that this might be the end for Tiger Stadium, and announcement that a bill before the Senate could adversely impact Michigan's forests.
There was more silver lining than cloud, however, with good news like a nearly $300 million boost to Detroit's economy by Super Bowl XL, a study that found Michigan's economy can support a biodiesel plant, and the Freep and MAKE Magazine shone a light on Michigan's Inventors.
Michigan History Magazine looked back on Madame Cadillac's arrival in Detroit and the Michigan Walk of Fame picked the first 12 Michiganians to be set in concrete. Meanwhile, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick looked ahead to "Next Detroit" in his State of the City address.
Looking for fun stuff to do? Get off the couch with the MSU Fringe Festival (Mar 19) or get your Irish on in Bay City, Lansing and Muskegon.
Have a great weekend.
And do yourself a favor and click on the beautiful photo from Sarah Steffens.
Tough town, tough dogs
We don't want no stinking sissy dogs
You think Detroiters have a tough attitude? You should see what's in our backyard doghouses.Also see The 96th and 97th annual Detroit Kennel Club Dog Shows, March 18th & 19th on Absolute Michigan's Off the Couch, Michigan Entertainment, Events & Festivals
Five Things You Need to Know for Friday, March 17, 2006
News Bits: Key senator says Great Lakes cleanup plan too costly (AP), Are Michigan governments too secret? (Detroit News), No wolves found in Northern Lower Michigan (TC Record-Eagle), Spain's NeoGen moving jobs to Lansing (LSJ).
Bill Could Have Grave Implications for Michigan's State Forests
The Public Interest Research Group in Michigan, a lobbying group, has an interesting article urging (at least) a look at House Bill 5453, a bill passed by the State House and headed for the Senate. The bill would require the state to put the trees in our state forests up for sale every ten years unless it would be illegal or unsustainable to do so.
In opposition to the bill, PIGRIM stated:
The public has a tremendous interest in our state forests: they give us places to hike, places to hunt, and places to take our kids camping. They are also a vital economic engine, not just because they provide timber to harvest, but also because they serve as the backbone of our twelve billion-dollar tourist economy. PIRGIM opposes HB5453 because it mandates that our state forests be managed in a way that serves the single interest of the timber industry, rather than the multiple interests of the public.Read Protecting Our Wild Forests from PIRGRIM
Also see PIGRIM'S Testimony before the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, and Tourism Committee on HB5453 (from March 16, 2006)
House Bill 5453 and associated information from Michigan.gov
$8500 Car (and Chinese Car Maker) Coming to US
Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Co. says it plans to start selling an $8,500 sedan - far below the currently cheapest $12k Chevy Aveo - by the fall of 2008 and might locate a small US headquarters in Michigan. Geely (pronounced Jee-lee) would be the first Chinese automaker to import cars for sale in the United States.
Read Watch out Big Three -- the Chinese are coming from mLive
Geely Global web site (I was tempted to mock their English, but it's far better than my Chinese)
Study Concludes Michigan Can Support Biodiesel Plant
The Michigan Department of Agriculture announced the results of a study assessing the state's ability to house a biodiesel plant. The MDA-sponsored report concludes that with an investment of $7-12 million, a stand-alone, five to ten million-gallon biodiesel plant could be built in one of several locations, including Bangor, Zeeland, Gratiot County and several other sites. "Today's results are further confirmation that our efforts to make Michigan a hub for cleaner burning fuels, as well as a leader in alternative energy and bio-technology, are on target," said MDA Director Mitch Irwin.
"We're looking forward to having some in-state production. Last year 3 million gallons of biodiesel were brought into Michigan from other states, so some in-state production is needed to help fulfill Michigan's growing demand for biodiesel and to help both the economy and Michigan's soybean farmers," said Gail R. Frahm, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee Executive Director and one of the investors in the feasibility study. "With users such as schools, MDOT, the postal service, state and national parks, city fleets, farmers, and MANY others, biodiesel is here to stay and we hope to help continue to grow the demand."
Read National Study Says Biodiesel Plant Feasible in Michigan from Michigan.gov
Also see Biodiesel Feasibility Study Executive Summary (576k Adobe PDF)
Live Podcasts of Michigan Sports Championships (and NCAA Video, Because it's Friday)
The Michigan High School Athletic Association has launched the MHSAA Internet Broadcast Network. The network features LIVE podcasts of state tournament volleyball and basketball games, archived broadcasts of state hockey and even a couple historic broadcasts like the 1959 Lansing Sexton vs. Hamtramck Class A Boys Basketball Final.
MHSAA Internet Broadcast Network
March Madness on Demand from NCAA - FREE Live & Archived videos (doing our part to destroy productivity)
Congressional Ethics Reform Stalling?
Michigan members of Congress took more than $200,000 in private trips - permitted by Congressional ethics rules as long as they have a work-related purpose. Jack Lessenberry interviews Craig Holman of Public Citizen's Congress Watch "Craig, what do you think about lawmakers accepting free trips from interest groups?" Holman says that as the public is losing interest, reform is losing steam.
Read/Listen to Interview: Craig Holman from Michigan Radio
Also see Essay: Feeling Perky from Jack's Blog
Thursday, March 16, 2006
ARTWORK IN PLYMOUTH-CANTON SCHOOLS: Masterpiece murals
Patricia Montemurri of the Detroit Free Press reports on a unique ongoing art project that recreates masterpieces as murals in Plymouth-Canton high schools. I seem to remember at best a badly painted mascot on my high school's walls along with the ever present student graffiti.
On the walls of Salem High School, students can lose themselves in the lush jungles of Henri Rousseau, the mesmerizing blooms of Georgia O'Keeffe or the bounty of Diego Rivera's flower peddlers.
Girls HS Sports Court Case - an Interview by Jack Lessenberry's Essays and Interviews
Jack Lessenberry writes: Yesterday a federal appeals court panel in Cincinnati heard oral arguments in a case that has dragged on for years. At issue is whether girls get to play their sports at the same time of year that boys do. The Grand Rapids-based group Communities for Equity first sued the Michigan High School Athletic Association over this issue in 1998. Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry spoke with Ann Arbor attorney Jean Ledwith King about this case and the work she's been doing for the last 35 years to make sure girls get a chance to play.
Draw a Pig by neadfiles
neadfiles writes: This is a nice diversion. Go to http://drawapig.desktopcreatures.com/ and use your mouse to draw your pig on a "whiteboard". Then answer several questions about your final work of art and get some insightful answers about your personality. Your picture gets added to the "gallery" and a link is generated so you can share it with your friends.
Mod Podge and paint and... [photo] by The Adventures of a Brit Abroad
Matt writes: All analogue baby.
Swedish Moon Colony by From the Earth to the Moon
From the Earth to the Moon writes: [as reported in The Speculist] "Sure, it sounds like a cheesy skin flick from the 70's, but they're serious..."
You can read the article in its entirety at PhysOrg.com
Test your Pistons knowledge by Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Bad Boys writes: Be sure to check out The Great Pistons Quiz in today's Free Press. Don't let the first couple of questions ("match the nickname to the player" type stuff) fool you - it gets pretty tough. Both Ian and I scored 37 out of 47 - can anyone beat that? Post your score in the comments.
Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, March 16, 2006
Michigan Blog Watch ... with only one really about Michigan: The Detroit People Mover Blog - People Movers are blogging now?? (thanks Great Lakes IT Report), Power of the Purse Blog by Fara Warner (GLITR again), Dean Esmay blogs about good things that the United States is doing in the Middle East (Dean's Blog), Wonkette makes fun of Debbie Stabenow (and Stabenow makes it easy to do) - mean, with inappropriate language in the comments.
The Walking Project (requires RealAudio)
For several days we've been sitting on this fascinating story by Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra on The Walking Project. According to their site:
"The Walking Project is a performance, mapping and cultural exchange project collaboratively developed with US and South Africa-based artists during a series of residencies in Detroit and KwaZulu-Natal from 2003 through 2006.
The project explores 'desire lines' or paths made by people who walk across fields in South Africa and across vacant lots in Detroit - and what connects them."
The Walking Project blog
Also see The Walking Project: Desire Lines, Walking and Mapping Across Continents from Community Arts Network
Spotlight on Michigan Inventors
American Inventor debuts tonight on ABC (link), so Heather Newman of the Detroit Free Press is taking a look at four Michigan inventors featured in the new book "Makers: All Kinds of People Making Amazing Things in Garages, Basements and Backyards" by Bob Parks of MAKE Magazine (book information & ordering). Profiled in the book are:
Super Bowl XL Earnings & Spending Announced
The Detroit News reports that according to the just-completed study by a St. Louis research firm for the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, hosting Super Bowl XL provided a $273.9-million economic boost to the Detroit area. While that number is on the lower side, it was a huge boost for the normally empty February for Detroit. The biggest beneficiaries of Super Bowl spending were the region's hotels, the casinos and other entertainment spots, and food and drink providers. who nabbed 54% of the $170 million in direct spending by out-of-town visitors.
Crain's Detroit Business reports that the Super Bowl XL Host Committee announced its emerging-business program generated $10.1 million in spending through 300 contracts - the most in the program's history with the National Football League. In addition, the host committee report said that more than $2 million is expected to be donated to nonprofits in the tri-county area from sanctioned charity events.
Read Super Bowl emerging-business program total: $10.1 million in spending in the Crain's Detroit Business
Information about the Emerging Business Program from the NFL
Detroit Radio Vet Named Michigan Public Media Director
The Detroit News reports that veteran Detroit radio executive Steve Schram has been named interim director of Michigan Public Media at the University of Michigan. Schram has held the two top radio jobs in Detroit. rom 1996-2002, he was vice president and general manager for Clear Channel's seven Detroit-area radio stations and from 2003-2005, he was senior vice president and director of sales for Infinity (CBS) Broadcasting's six-station Detroit cluster. Currently Schram heads up his own company doing media consulting and is also a co-founder of Keener13.com.
Michigan Public Media letter of March 15, 2006
Keener13.com web site
UM Student Wins Tuba Seat with Philly Orchestra
MSNBC reports that 21-year-old University of Michigan senior Carol Jantsch is the first woman (and perhaps the youngest person ever) to earn a tuba seat with a top-five U.S. symphony. She will join the Philadelphia Orchestra in December.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Saunderson gives local promoter techno blessing
Detroit techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson has endorsed Jason Huvaere, director of operations for Ferndale-based electronic music event promoters Paxahau, to produce this year's Memorial Day techno fest. Huvaere has been in discussions with city officials trying to work out logistics of putting together a festival on Hart Plaza May 27-29. Detroit city officials say they are talking to several groups and expect to make a decision on who will helm this year's event as early as this week.
Wikipedia has a complete rundown on the evolution and history of the festival here.
McAfee Virus update causes major screwups by PC Mike's E-Journal
PC Mike writes: Man, heads will likely roll over this.
An update sent Friday by the anti-virus software company McAfee mistakenly caused hundreds of legitimate files to be erroneously labeled malware and be rendered inoperative. It took the company five hours to catch the screwup, during which customers all over the world started to encounter major problems. For many users, the Microsoft Excel program wouldn't even open as a result of the messup.
Need4Sheed's Natalie on Quite Frankly w/ Stephen A. Smith
Natalie writes: I just received the best email ever and I would like to share it with you.
".....The reason I am contacting you is that we just found out that current NBA star and stand-out power forward Rasheed Wallace, is scheduled to appear LIVE in the studio of ESPN's - Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith on Thursday, March 16 at 3:00 pm. with.html
We would like to extend to you and your website FREE tickets to attend the show. We realize that this maybe short notice, but it would be a great opportunity for some of your forum members to get together and meet up for an exciting sports show. The tickets are open to you and your interested members, family members, friends, and co-workers.
Women's History Month by Red Tape Blog
Jon writes: The Library of Congress Wise Guide: Women's History is currently profiling "American women pioneers," as well as posters, photographs and prints, and books and pamphlets covering the suffrage movement. The Wise Guide portal changes subjects monthly, featuring different areas of interest in the Library.
Frivolous Lawsuits by Rougblog
Rougman writes: The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform is circulating an internet petition to put an end to frivolous lawsuits.
Some of the suits they are questioning:
Woman walking track sues railroad
Injured Kmart Shopper [my personal favorite]
A woman sues Lowes Garden Center, claiming she was attacked by bird
Ghetto Sandwich by dETROITfUNK
dFUNK writes: [about one of his photos] Ghetto sandwich and a beer - mmmmmmm...Ghetto flavored!
Five Things You Need to Know for Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Great Lakes in the News: DNR, Feds plan to control populations of the double-crested cormorant, a federally protected migratory bird that is causing problems in Northeast Michigan due to its growing numbers, Coast Guard to look at impact of dry cargo sweeping, Yellow perch may be making comeback in Lake Michigan.
Inagural Inductees for Michigan Walk of Fame Announced (includes brief bios of the inductees)
The Lansing Principal Shopping District and the Michigan Historical Museum announced the names of the 12 inaugural inductees to the Michigan Walk of Fame yesterday. The 2006 inductees are Jeff Daniels, Herbert Henry Dow, Thomas Edison, President Gerald Ford, Henry Ford, E. Genevieve Gillette, Ernie Harwell, W.K. Kellogg, Rosa Parks, Fannie Richards, Helen Thomas and Stevie Wonder. These Michiganians were selected from 450 nominees submitted by residents of all 83 Michigan counties throughout fall 2005 and will be inducted into the Michigan Walk of Fame at a tribute celebration at the Michigan Historical Center on Thursday, May 25. Each inductee will also be honored with a bronze plaque embedded in the sidewalks of downtown Lansing featuring a star containing the inductee's name and a description of his or her achievements.
"The Michigan Walk of Fame was created to honor state residents, past and present who have made significant contributions to the state, nation or the world," said Kevin Green, executive director of Lansing Principal Shopping District. "The Michigan Walk of Fame is the nation's first statewide 'walk' honoring citizen achievements."
Forum Seeks Path to Better Future for Michigan
The Detroit Free Press has a report on yesterday's "Where Do We Go From Here?" conference. Recommendations included developing a blue-ribbon advisory commission to tackle specific economic problems, a comprehensive review of tax and spending policies, a major effort in civic education so the state's citizens can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of public policy and evaluate options and make educated decisions, lifelong learning programs to help Michigan's workers cope with a changing marketplace and reform of the Single Business Tax.
In a related article, Free Press columnist Tom Walsh lays out a compelling case challenging classic assumptions about Michigan including feelings that our wages (nearly average) and tax rates (29th among the 50 states) are too high and that our schools are not producing quality students.
Also see TOM WALSH: Think tax, wage cuts can fix state woes? Think again in the Freep
Add your comment to "How to fix Michigan's economy?" at the Freep
Read papers presented at the conference from The Center for Michigan
Kilpatrick Uses State of Detroit Address to Tout "Next Detroit"
The Detroit papers have reports on yesterday's State of the City address by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who declared boldly, "We are in a position where we either transform or die - Detroit, we're not dying on my watch." He attacked absenteeism among city workers and also set the stage for a war on rising benefits. He also introduced his "Next Detroit" vision which include ...
Read STATE OF THE CITY: Tough times will create 'Next Detroit' in the Freep
Read Mayor slams absentee workers in the Detroit News
NextDetroit.org - hey look, something's there
Preserve America Grant to Develop Shoreline Heritage Route
The Muskegon Chronicle reports that an $80,000 federal Preserve America grant to Michigan's State Historic Preservation Office will help develop a 170-mile historic route along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the Indiana state line to Ludington. One of the first activities will be a survey of historically significant attractions and features in each community. State officials will look for sites related to exploration and settlement, maritime heritage, lumbering, architecture, agriculture and ethnic heritage. Targetted communities include Grand Haven, Muskegon, Whitehall, Montague, Pentwater and Ludington and the state preservation office will help each community to develop a heritage tourism strategy to jointly market the region as a place of significant historic attractions.
Auto Healthcare: The Plans They Are a-Changin'
The Detroit News reports that Ford Motor Co. is rolling out a series of cutbacks to health care benefits for its salaried work force, including an unconventional move to charge extra to cover spouses who have access to other health care insurance. DaimlerChrysler is expected to detail changes to its health care coverage today for salaried workers and retirees today.
Also see Whee! It's The Health Care See-Saw! at Jalopnik
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Web 2.0 getting traction by PC Mike's E-Journal
Mike Wendland writes: Have you noticed all the stories lately about Web 2.0? Google just bought a Web 2.0 company that makes what could be the precursor to an online word processor that could someday rival, say, Microsoft's Word.
Trying to define just what Web 2.0 is lacks universal agreement, though generally, as this Wikipedia definition explains, it deals with interactive mini applications that can be used collaboratively, say like blogs, bookmark managers, wikis and shared online calendars. Some Web 2.0 apps also feature syndication.
Giving Gifts for Good by Detroit Essentials
Detroit Essentials writes: Now I know that the gift-giving season is over, but keep this in mind for the next birthday or holiday that rolls around: MP3 Relief hosts a music downloading site from which 100% of the profits goes to Mercy Corps, an organization that aids in disaster relief.
ELIMINATING MERCURY SWITCHES IN CARS by GLRC Environment Report
GLRC writes: Environmental groups say they've reached a landmark deal with auto and steel makers and the EPA that could prevent tons of mercury from getting into the environment in the future.
Don't Expect Fanfare When Yzerman Calls It Quits by Out of Bounds
Out of Bounds writes: There is no farewell tour, but that's by design. He isn't being showered with gifts at every NHL stop, and that too is part of the plan. Nothing, if Steve Yzerman can help it, is going to take away from the focus being on the team, and not himself.
not so fast, DEQ by Dave's Blog
Dave writes: News item:
NESTLE WITHDRAWS WATER LAWSUITS
Nestle Waters North America, which owns the embattled Ice Mountain water bottling plant in the state, has ended both federal and state lawsuits designed to protect its ability to distribute water from the plant.
Water protection legislation enacted last month effectively lifts any limitations on distribution from the plant, company officials said on announcing dismissal of the lawsuits. The law does not consider containers less than 5.7 gallons to be a diversion of water from the Great Lakes Basin.
Five Things You Need to Know for Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Numbers Game: Michigan Business Index was flat for January, Saline Man is ESPN's master of bracketology, Budget cuts fueling spread of emerald ash borer?.
Tiger Stadium on the Ropes
Detroit News reports that seven years after a century of baseball ended at Tiger Stadium, money for its upkeep and hopes it can ever be saved are running dry. Since the Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 2000, the city has paid the team's owner, Mike Ilitch, an estimated $2.5 million for maintenance and security at the old park. The city received ideas for use including plan by a St. Louis developer to retool the stadium into lofts and rentals, and a separate proposal to use the space for a sports, residential and office complex featuring condos, stores, a scaled-down baseball diamond and volleyball courts were the best received, but both failed in negotiation with the city. Now it looks as if the park that opened in 1912 and has been known as Navin Field & Briggs Stadium has reached the end of the line.
Tiger Stadium's age and unique shape, crooks and crannies make it impractical to renovate. Peter Comstock Riley, a partner in preservationist group Michigan & Trumbull LLC, alleges that city officials long ago made up their minds to raze the park.
Photos courtesy Library of Congress: Briggs Stadium, Kids at a ball game at Briggs Stadium and Raising the flag at the start of the ball game at Briggs Stadium by John Vachon (1942?, LC-USW3-007071-D, LC-USW3-007089-D , LC-USW3-007093-D)
Interview with Center for Michigan's Phil Power
Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry has an interview with Phil Power that we encorage you to check out. Power discusses his "think-and-do tank" called the Center for Michigan and suggests our key problem is the fact that Michigan politics seems more focused on securing political, partisan advantage than in getting the state out of the jam we're in. They meet today, so we should have more tomorrow!
Read Jack's Essay on the Power Center
Read Where Do We Go From Here? from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Craiglist Arrives in Lansing ... How Do You Compete With Free?
The Lansing State Journal reports that Lansing has joined Detroit and Grand Rapids among Michigan cities with forums and free classified advertisements on the San Francisco-based Web site Craigslist (they actually arrived a couple of weeks ago, but who's counting). The company has an estimated annual revenue of $10 million, is partially owned by eBay, has a presence in 190 cities in the US and seems to affect college newspapers most dramatically. According to State News GM Marty Sturgeon, free Web site listings have caused event tickets and used books to disappear from the classified pages. "How do we address this new competition that's there and how do you compete with free?" she said.
Churches Turning to Technology to Deliver Message
The Detroit Free Press has an interesting feature looking at how congregations across Michigan are experimenting with ways to deliver the sights and sounds of their services far beyond their church via podcasting, internet video, toll-free audio feeds and other multimedia efforts.
Pewabic Pottery Turns 103
The Girl in the D blog reported this weekend that Pewabic Pottery, an organization conceived and brought to life in a small stable on John R. in detroit, celebrated its 103rd anniversary on Saturday. She also has a great feature on the history of this Michigan ceramic art education center that welcomes 70,000 visitors annually.
Pewabic Pottery web site
Read Detroit's Pewabic Pottery
Monday, March 13, 2006
What's Opera Doc welcomes Thomas Hampson
WHFR and What's Opera, Doc? will host noted American baritone Thomas Hampson LIVE on the program on Tuesday, March 14th. Hampson is in Detroit for his "Song of America" tour.
LISTEN LIVE on WHFR.FM TUESDAY, MARCH 14 FROM 10AM-1PM EST.
Michigan Gets It
Ken Jarboe at the Athena Alliance has an interesting post titled Michigan Gets It that points in turn to a Business Week interview with Michigan's governor. From the interview:
Read Michigan Governor Talks Design from Business Week
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