Friday, May 12, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006: Five Things You Need to Know
The Center for Michigan. I encourage anyone who feels similarly to do the same.
I could also use a new keyboard.
Governor Announces Expanded Health Plan
MITECHNEWS.COM reports that yesterday Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced an expanded $1 billion Michigan health care plan to cover 1.1 million uninsured state residents, supported with $600 million in new federal funds. Granholm said the state is negotiating with federal officials for a waiver, good for 10 years, to run the Michigan First Health Care Plan, which she said is similar to the universal health care program in Massachusetts and would provide assistance automotive industry and other employers struggling with soaring insurance costs. Though the aim of the Michigan plan is also universal coverage at an affordable cost, among the key differences is the Michigan plan would not mandate that everyone obtain health care insurance.
Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis issued a single-sentence response: "A press release is not a plan." To which I have to respond "My God can you politicians please quit bickering and get to work solving a problem or two????!!!!" ("????!!!!" is intended to convey extreme frustration with the he said/she said public discourse that is paralyzing Michigan)
Interview with Governor William Milliken
Lessenberry then reflects on Milliken and how he thought government should be an active force which could make a positive contribution to the lives of Michigan's citizens.
Read Interview: William Milliken from Michigan Radio
Also see Essay: Passionate Moderate
William G. Milliken: Michigan's Passionate Moderate from University of Michigan Press
Michigan Vacations On the House? (well, the Senate)
The AP reports that Sen. Gilda Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) has proposed $75 tourism vouchers for anyone who filed a Michigan tax return last year. The "Our State Michigan Vacation Program" vouchers could be used at any hotel, motel, inn or resort in Michigan, and could then be claimed against the business's state tax bill. Jacobs says it would boost the economy and reward families for traveling in their home state.
Ari Adler, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema of Wyoming, said the hit to the state budget could be "quite large." Note: this is the Majority Leader of the party in favor of scrapping the $1.9 billion Small Business Tax without a replacement
Read State senator wants to give $75 tourism voucher to taxpayers in the Traverse City Record-Eagle
Mother's Day in Michigan (and elsewhere)
MySpace and Social Networking Under Fire
"I'm very against it. I think there needs to be more done about MySpace, trying to get it shut down if we can."
An incident in southeast Michigan leads to more MySpace bashing, and this Freep article has some good links and information about how to become aware of what your child is doing online.
Read WIDE-OPEN WEB SPACE: Danger of social-networking sites lies in what youths post and others' motives in the Detroit Free Press
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Five Things You Need to Know for Thursday, May 11, 2006
Google Search Battle: Granholm v DeVos (Dick wins the search battle but Jennifer trumps him in news mentions). 9 year old hits hole-in-one (I'm still waiting).
First Six CAP Loans Announced
Yesterday the first six Michigan businesses to receive loans under the re-established Capital Access Program (CAP), part of the 21st Century Jobs Fund initiative, were announced. The program is designed to help smaller firms obtain access to capital that might not otherwise be available through traditional lending. Recipients were Primera Plastics in Zeeland, Clear Ridge Optics in Harrietta , Two Bean Coffee Co. in Dexter, House of Cabinets and Tile Gallery in Mt. Pleasant, Michwave Technologies of Grand Rapids and Borck Family Chiropractic in Hudson. The article also has a list of Michigan banks participating in the program.
Ads not Enough to Boost Tourism
Booth Newspapers columnist Rick Haglund writes that Michigan's tourism industry, which already contributes $17.5 billion a year to the state's economy and provides nearly 200,000 jobs, needs to be further promoted to turn the state around. University of Michigan economist George Fulton says snazzy television ads alone won't boost the industry. In a recent paper, Fulton says Michigan could do supplement the attraction of the Great Lakes with more restaurants, cultural activities and recreational facilities like theme parks that "would allow Michigan to take advantage of its enormous natural asset."
Michigan has the highest hotel vacancy rate of any state in the nation.
Michigan Film News
The Metro Times has a nice feature on Ann Arbor's Cinema Slam that offers a mix of regionally produced shorts (many from the University of Michigan's film school) and films solicited from festivals and the internet.
Michigan Theater and Sundance Institute have announced the Michigan Theater's participation in The Sundance Institute Art House Project, a new national initiative that pairs Sundance Institute with 14 art house cinemas across the country. Beginning on May 19, the Michigan Theater will showcase 25 recent and classic films from the Sundance Film Festival, a core program of Sundance Institute. The Michigan Theater has added three films with Michigan ties, "The Upside of Anger," "Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Roger and Me," to its series.
Michigan's Youth Population Grows ... via Immigration
mLive reports that Michigan had about 176,500 fewer residents between the ages of 25 and 34 in 2004 than in 1994 (a decline of about 12%), but had about 46,400 more residents between the ages of 18 and 24 in 2004 than in 1994 (an increase of about 5%). The increase was mainly attributed to immigration. Michigan's overall population was estimated at 10.1 million in 2004, up about 5% from 1994.
Job Outlook Bright for West Michigan Grads
WZZM TV-13 Grand Rapids reports that a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers predicts college hiring will be up 14.5% from last year. Graduates here in West Michigan are feeling the improvement in the job market, especially in technology, accounting, finance, nursing and health sciences.
Down Home Tour by ypsi~dixit
Y. writes: IS THERE ANYTHING MORE TEDIOUS than ritzy home tours? Ooh, granite countertops. Wow, mahogany trim--how cool that you care not a whit for the environment. Geez--sweeping staircase. You have a higher number of dollar bills than I do. Therefore, I am impressed (suppresses yawn).
Read Alternative Home Tour Proposal
Fairy Doors on NPR by Ann Arbor is Overrated
AAIO writes: The fairy doors make it on to NPR (thanks, Brandon!) "It's bound to spread beyond Ann Arbor," says their creator.
Read Fairy Doorz and check out the pictures too!
Japanese Restaurant Review by Kitchen Chick
Kitchen Chick writes: Cherry blossoms bloom in Spring, and Ann Arbor's newest Japanese restuarant is no exception. Cherry Blossom Japanese Restaurant opened two weeks ago in the former Chi Chi's location on State St. past I-94. The owners are not new to the restaurant business. They also run the original Cherry Blossom restaurant in Novi, and this experience shows in both menu and service.
Read Cherry Blossom Japanese Restaurant
Toxins in fertilizer ending up in food by GLRC Environment Report
GLRC writes: An ingredient in many anti-bacterial soaps is ending up in fertilizer for food crops. The ingredient is toxic when ingested and scientists are worried it will migrate from the fertilizer into the food we eat. The GLRC's Lester Graham reports.
Read TOXINS IN ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP FOUND IN FERTILIZER
Bill Russell passes torch by Detroit Bad Boys
Detroit Bad Boys writes: Bill Russell presented Ben Wallace with Wallace's fourth Defensive Player of the Year trophy in five years last night. Afterward, Russell had some interesting comments about any comparisons between he and Wallace.
Read Bill Russell passes the torch
Detroit from Windsor [photo] by Michigan in Pictures
michpics writes: HDetRoit, photo by UrbanTiki.
Detroit, Michigan. As viewed from Windsor, ON, Canada.
Better viewed large, and on black.
BEST viewed at original size.
"HDR" is High Dynamic Range and you can read all about it in this Wiki article about HDRI. They show some sample images, but for my money, UrbanTiki's collection of HDR images absolutely blows them away.
Read HDetRoit. Be sure check out UrbanTiki's Flickr site
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006: Five Things You Need to Know
Grab bag: Michigan's state parks are starved of funding, Yesterday's Detroit Free Press had a column by sportswriter George Puscas remembering a little of his 65 year career, Engler talks about Michigan's economy.
New Urbanism in Northwest Michigan
The Michigan Land Use Institute has a special report that documents how rising gas prices, escalating traffic congestion, and a rapidly growing population eager for a more sensible, healthier lifestyle are fueling that interest in walkable neighborhoods. The feature looks at how New Urbanism can curb the rapidly worsening sprawl in northwest Michigan (the state's fastest growing) and also help to pre the scenery and natural resources essential to its economy.
Read Going to Town: New Urbanism Arrives in Northwest Michigan in the MLUI
Also see Regional New Urbanism Resources
St. Clair Students Tune In
The Times-Herald reports on the efforts of the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency, by which all county schools now have the ability to take their students to different worlds without ever leaving their classrooms. It's an interesting look at the potential future of education where students can visit zoos, question experts and observe procedures like open-heart surgery.
Read Students connect to the world without leaving the classroom in the St. Clair Times-Herald
Delphi Asks to Scrap Contracts, Unions Fire Back
The Detroit News reports that in the first day of hearings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Delphi Corp. asked for the authority to scrap its contracts covering 33,000 blue-collar workers. Unions and other stakeholders. The UAW and other Delphi unions claim the parts supplier is using bankruptcy as a tool to reduce labor costs.
Read DELPHI, UAW CLASH in the Detroit News
Protecting the Lake Sturgeon
The Traverse City Record-Eagle has a feature about researchers and volunteers who are working with the Black Lake population of lake sturgeon - Michigan's lone naturally reproducing inland lake sturgeon population. The volunteers include Sturgeon For Tomorrow, who patrol the river banks for poachers. Sturgeon are an ancient fish that haven't changed since the time of dinosaurs whose numbers have been drastically cut by dams, poaching and over-fishing.
Read Guardians of an ancient fish in the Traverse City Record-Eagle
Small Business Insurance Bill Debated
The Lansing State Journal reports that a bill being debated in the Senate, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act, would give small businesses greater bargaining power with insurance companies by allowing them to band together in health care associations that cross state lines to offer affordable insurance to workers. Michigan's Insurance Commissioner Linda Watters opposes the legislation because it would supercede Michigan law that prohibits small-business health plans from marketing their product to companies with healthier workers and not to companies with workers with pre-existing conditions.
Read Bill might cut small-business health insurance costs in the LSJ
Volunteers help wildlife by GLRC Environment Report
GLRC writes: There is growing concern about the loss of wildlife habitat. For decades, development has been spreading into areas that were once home to many different kinds of animals. The land has been cleared or altered so that a lot of the food sources have disappeared. The government has tried to set aside some parks and preserves, but biologists say many species of wildlife need much more space. The GLRC's Lester Graham reports that's why more and more groups are approaching private landowners.
Read or listen to SIGNING UP LANDOWNERS FOR WILDLIFE CORRIDORS
When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again [podcast] by gr.podplaces.com
formerly Grand Rapids Podcasts
Listen to When Johnny Comes Marching Home - by Hutch
Lake Express High Speed Ferry interview [podcast] by Inside Muskegon
Inside Muskegon writes: This episode of Inside Muskegon features an interview with Kay Collins from with the Lake Express Muskegon to Milwaukee High Speed Cross Lake Ferry, a commentary on the interview and information on contacting Inside Muskegon.
Listen to Inside Muskegon #24: Kay Collins
Spring Wildflowers by Find The River
Shupac writes: At this time of year, the woods are a feast for both the eyes and the nose.
Read May Flowers
Lion's Whistle Blowers by Out of Bounds
Greg Eno writes: When Alex Karras was a rookie defensive tackle for the Lions in 1958, he was surprised that he made the team, because he played so poorly.
"I was always drunk," Karras said.
Read Lions' Whistle Blowers Probably Not Long For Detroit -- And Can You Blame Them?
Frank J. Hecker House by dETROITfUNK
dETROITfUNK writes: AIA describes this structure as French Renaissance Chateau style. Designed by Louis Kamper and built in 1891. 49 rooms total - this building is now home to law offices. Former Smiley Brothers piano store. Originally home to Colonel Frank J. Hecker, who now resides in Woodlawn Cemetery.
An interesting feature of the home, is that the main floor walls are retractable to allow for ballroom style dances and partys.
Read Frank J. Hecker House and check out the photos of this gorgeous home!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Tuesday, May 9, 2006: Five Things You Need to Know
Fuel Economy: revised fuel bill is more favorable to the auto industry
General Motors: creative accounting allows GM to turn first profit since 2004
Detroit: Penske named chair of Downtown Detroit Partnership
The Pistons' D: Ben Wallace wins 4th Defensive Player of the Year award in last 5 Years
How Michigan Cities Rank for Business
MITECHNEWS.COM reports that the Detroit metropolitan area was ranked No. 59 on Inc. magazine's 2006 list of Best Large Cities to do Business, while Ann Arbor, metro Grand Rapids, Lansing and Flint cracked the Top 100 for medium-sized markets. The best small cities included Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Holland, Niles-Benton Harbor, Monroe, Jackson, and Bay City. The Inc.com feature includes this really cool interactive map. It's interesting to note that NONE of the top ten cities of any size are located in the Midwest.
Read Michigan Cracks Best Cities To Do Business List From Inc Magazine from MITECHNEWS.COM
Check out The Best Cities for Doing Business from Inc. Magazine
At the Eye of the Revenue Sharing Hurricane
Revenue sharing is essentially a local government rebate on sales tax collections. Although one part of the revenue sharing formula is determined in the state Constitution, at issue in the budget process is the statutory share Ð the level actually appropriated by the Legislature through the annual budget process. Generally that amounts to roughly a third of $1 billion sent to local governments annually.
Read A Republican Champion For Cities and Towns from the Michigan Land Use Institute
Cox Talks About Suit Versus Tobacco Companies
Lessenberry then wonders whether the state will ever be able to afford to let us quit smoking or wind up pushing cigarettes so the state can get its cut. It's probably silly to think of the state pushing cigarettes ... right?
Read/Listen to Interview: Mike Cox from Michigan Radio
Read Essay: Deadbeat Tobacco
DeVos Endorsed by Michigan Chamber
The Lansing State Journal reports that Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos picked up the endorsement of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. The chamber said it had chosen DeVos over Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm because of his experience as president of Ada-based Alticor Inc., parent company of direct sales giant Amway Corp., which has operations in China and India and exports to 80 countries. Granholm campaign spokesman Chris De Witt said it's no surprise that the chamber, which represents more than 6,800 employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce, is backing the Republican challenger.
Read Chamber supporting DeVos' run for governor in the LSJ
Hey Detroiters: Write an Essay, Win a Bike
Model D reports that Detroit has been named as one of 11 BikeTown USA cities for 2006. The program (sponsored by Lipton) will donate bicycles to 50 Metro Detroiters based on the submittal of a brief essay that describes how winning a BikeTown bicycle would change the entrant's lifestyle. BikeTown is affiliated with Bicyling magazine and is targeted to more inexperienced riders.
Read Detroit named a BikeTown USA from Model D
Entry form and more info at Bicyling.com
Woodland Wildflower photo by Michigan in Pictures
michpics writes: Spring Beauty, photo by oakwood.
Diane Constable writes:
Aptly named! One of Michigan's first spring woodland wildflowers to bloom.
Up Close and personal - this blossom is about the size of a penny-and yeps please view large!
Read Spring Beauty and check out this wildflower photo!
hybridCARS.com by PC Mike's E-Journal
Mike Wendland writes: Had it with those $3-a-gallon gas prices? My NBC-TV High Tech Talk segment this week looks at a Web site that will tell you everything you wanted to know about hybrids and even how much you can save in fuel costs over your present ride.
View the video clip of Mike's segment for NBC-TV High Tech Talk this week
FutureGen coal-burning power plant by GLRC Environment Report
GLRC writes: We're hearing more and more these days about global warming and how human activity is believed to be changing the climate. A lot of the blame has gone to pollution from coal-burning plants that produce electricity. Now, the U-S wants to build a plant that would capture and store the pollution… if it can find the right site. The GLRC's Julie Grant reports.
Read or listen to CAPTURING CARBON DIOXIDE FROM COAL PLANTS
Read or listen to CAPTURING CARBON DIOXIDE FROM COAL PLANTS (short version)
Ben Wallace Wallpaper by Need4Sheed
Natalie writes: New Ben Wallace Defensive Player Of The Year Wallpaper
Check out these wallpapers!
Monday, May 08, 2006
Monday, May 8, 2006: Five Things You Need to Know
Opinions, bad days everyone has them: Stupak, Stabenow on Gas Prices (Northern Express), Recycling could bring jobs & money to Michigan (Oakland Press), You (Cavaliers) had a bad day (Cleveland.com - thanks Detroit Bad Boys).
Probing Michigan's Billion Dollar Tribal Casino Industry
Part two analyzes the structure of payments from the tribes to neighboring communities and there's also an article about recently introduced federal legislation from Rep. Mike Rodgers that would double funding for the National Indian Gaming Commission (the agency that monitors the roughly 400 tribal casinos and gambling operations nationwide). Rodgers says that the lack of state and federal oversight of Michigan's tribal casinos, combined with the amount of money flowing through, "is trouble waiting to happen if it hasn't happened already."
Read SPECIAL REPORT: TRIBAL GAMING: State is losing a casino jackpot in the Freep
Read TRIBAL GAMING: Casinos' neighbors: Give us our fair share
Read TRIBAL GAMING: Better U.S. control sought
Also see The 9 tribes that run casinos in state
Penske, Bing to be Tapped for Detroit Redevelopment
Read Penske, Bing to lead Detroit rebuilding from Crain's Detroit Business
Downtown Detroit Partnership web site
Phone, Cable Companies Battle Over Michigan Broadcasting
The Lansing State Journal reports on the battle between phone and cable companies being conducted over the airwaves. Michigan legislators are considering a bill that would help phone companies roll out new video services to compete with cable. AT&T and other backers say streamlining would stimulate competition in Michigan, where all but about 50 communities have just one cable provider but cable providers and local governments warn that the measure would keep the state from requiring service to everyone in a community in exchange for a licensing agreement - a requirement in existing contracts. You can view competing industry "advocacy" sites below.
Read Phone vs. cable debate takes to the air in the LSJ
Michigan Cable Companies' advocacy site
National phone companies' advocacy site
MI Boating Industry Pinched by High Gas Prices
Boating is a $3.9-billion industry in Michigan, employing some 51,000 people.
Read It's a nice day for boating. Let's not go in the Freep
Michigan Boating Industries Association web site
Teens Looking for Work Face Competition
The Detroit News reports that students looking for summer jobs are facing stiff competition from more experienced workers for traditional summer jobs. Patrick Anderson of Anderson Economic Group LLC in East Lansing said "Anytime the unemployment rate among adults is 6 or 7 percent, summer laborers are going to have a hard time finding jobs." The number of 16- to 24-year-olds with jobs or searching for them dropped from 127,000 in 2004 to 118,000 in 2005.
Read Students are losing summer jobs race in the Detroit News
Farewell tour for Cutter Mackinaw by GLRC Environment Report
GLRC writes: The historic Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw has docked for the final time. The vessel is scheduled to be decommissioned at the beginning of June, after more than six decades of service on the Great Lakes. The GLRC's Sarah Hulett visited the ship on its farewell tour of the lakes, and has this report.
Read FAREWELL TOUR OF HISTORIC ICEBREAKER
Conservation easement on trout stream by Find The River
Find The River writes: From the Bay City Times, 5/5/06:
Nearly two miles of one of Michigan's best trout streams will remain forever wild.
Anyone who can appreciate long stretches of riverbanks with nary a cabin or dock owes thanks to the owner of this land and the Headwaters Land Conservancy of Gaylord.
The landowner, Arnold Ochs of Traverse City, put a conservation easement on the two miles of the North Branch of the Au Sable River south of Lovells.
Read A Conservation Hero, and Your Chance to Be the Next
Cow tipping kicked up a notch by neadfiles
neadfiles writes: What used to be on the same level as cow tipping and which often peaks during high school graduations, has now escalated to more serious vandalism in our neighborhood. Anyone who has ever lived in a semi-rural area is keen to "mail box baseball". The tools of the trade are:
Read Mailbox Baseball
Finarthur Building photos and commentary by dETROITfUNK
dETROTfUNK writes: This particular building is apparently off limits to photographers. I was unable to do more than you see here - it seems that admirers of classic architecture and history are also suspect of being part of alQaeda. If you like to look at something wonderful, it MUST mean you also want to blow it up.
Read Forbidden Fruits and check out the photos!
Rapid Transit & Road Construction linked? by Red Tape Blog
Red Tape Blog writes: On April 20, Democratic Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and the Republican leaders of the state House and Senate completed weeks of negotiation and reached a signal agreement on building roads and financing rapid transit. For the first time in Michigan's history, the governor and the lawmakers tied rapid transit financing and road and highway construction together. They reached agreement on an infrastructure development pact that saw highways and transit as equally critical pieces of the state's development strategy.
Read Road and Highway Construction and Rapid Transit Financing Finally Linked in Michigan?
Snow Owl photos by Curly's Web Log
Curly's Web Log writes: Traverse City- After a year of futile chasing around after a couple of snow owls I finally found caught up to one today. I thought they would be up to the artic circle by now but this one stayed behind.
Read Finally a Snow Owl
American Heartbreak [podcast] by GR.podplaces.com
Listen to The Last Of The Superheros - by American Heartbreak
LCI Web Development
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