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April 3rd, 2012
Dow and out Dow Chemical says it will lay off 900 workers and close five factories worldwide. The Detroit Free Press reports the company wouldn’t say if any of those cuts would be in Michigan. Dow is based in Midland, Mich. One of the plants that will close is in Charleston, Ill.
Decision day It’s primary day in Wisconsin. NPR reports Romney is hoping to extend his winning streak in Great Lakes states.
Broken marriage The Federal Trade Commission has blocked a hospital merger deal in the Toledo area.
Fewer people on welfare Partner station WCPN reports Ohio’s welfare rolls dropped 18 percent in one year. One reason is the improving economy. But the station reports that a bigger reason is tighter welfare rules.
April 2nd, 2012
Taking a chance A group in Michigan wants to change the state’s constitution to allow more casino gambling. According to the Detroit Free Press, the group is proposing new casinos in eight locations, including downtown Detroit and Grand Rapids.
Two politicians, two views of the economy Wisconsin primary voters head to the polls tomorrow. The Boston Herald has a look at one campaign event over the weekend that featured both Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Though they shared a stage, they both offered different views on the state of our economy.
Still on strike It’s the eighth week of a strike for about 250 Red Cross Workers in Northern Ohio. The workers help run mobile blood collection units for the charity. Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports there’s still no sign of a deal in the strike that started in February.
Engineers in demand The Detroit Free Press reports on better job prospects for engineers. At a recent engineering conference in Metro Detroit, the paper reports open jobs outnumbered attendees nearly six to one.
Drill now, drill where? Some state-owned land in Michigan could be opened up for oil and gas drilling, according to partner station Michigan Radio.
Hello, tax revenue Bloomberg News reports cities in Michigan that collect income tax are seeing a windfall this year.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: Detroit Deadline, GOP Primary Goes To Wisconsin and Baby Boomers In Ohio
March 26th, 2012
Decision day A state-appointed review team that’s been looking into Detroit’s finances will have to make a recommendation today. The Detroit News reports officials were working over the weekend to try to reach a deal that would avoid placing an emergency manager in the city.
Not the biggest race in town Wisconsin is the next state in the spotlight for the GOP presidential primary, but are people in Wisconsin really fired up? Reporters for the Gannett news service find that donations to presidential candidates dropped 50 percent this year in Wisconsin, compared to the last presidential race. One possible reason is that people are spending a lot more on statewide races.
Revisiting re-shoring The Chicago Tribune finds more evidence that some manufacturing that used to be done in China is coming back to the U.S.
Your dinner is an invasive species The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is expanding its effort to stop invasive species, and some people are not happy. The DNR now wants farmers to stop raising certain kinds of pigs. One farmer in Indiana says he’s worried the law could spread to his state.
The boomers are all right The Columbus Dispatch is running a series on how the recession has changed expectations for Ohio baby boomers. One result: there’s a baby boomer boom in college enrollment.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: A Settlement In Saugatuck, FEMA Says No To Illinois And An Iconic Cup Brand Is Sold
March 22nd, 2012
Settled in Saugatuck Officials in Saugatuck Township, Mich. have reached a settlement with billionaire Aubrey McClendon that could pave the way for new development. The proposed development has encountered fierce opposition since it was proposed a few years ago, because it would be near coastal dunes on Lake Michigan. Partner station Michigan Radio reports the settlement must be approved by a judge.
Denied FEMA has once again denied Illinois’ request for a state of emergency to be declared in the town of Harrisburg. Seven people died when tornadoes ripped through the city on Feb. 29. Partner station WBEZ reports a state of emergency declaration would open up federal grants to help pay for the recovery.
Wisconsin on deck The GOP presidential primary marches on, and after this weekend, Wisconsin is next in line to be the center of the political universe.
Modern slavery The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio says he believes there are hundreds of cases of human trafficking going on in the region at any time. It’s a problem “literally everywhere” he says, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Raise your cup A national icon is being sold. Solo Cup, based in Lake Forest, Ill.will be sold for $1 billion. The buyer is Mason, Michigan-based Dart Container Corp.
March 21st, 2012
Emergency manager out, for now The mayor and city council are back in charge in the city of Flint, and the state-appointed emergency manager is out. A judge ruled the panel that reviewed Flint’s finances violated open meetings laws. It’s the latest setback for governor Snyder’s emergency manager law. Partner station Michigan Radio reports the governor will appeal the ruling to a higher court.
Mitt’s win Mitt Romney had a convincing win in the Illinois primary yesterday, but voter turnout in the state was the lowest it’s been in decades.
Can’t stop Smith A Democratic state lawmaker in Illinois overwhelmingly won his primary race yesterday, despite being charged last week with accepting a bribe.
Just plane sad The Ohio National Guard is making its case to try to save its fleet of C-27J cargo planes. Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports that nearly 800 jobs will be lost if the plane is discontinued as planned.
March 20th, 2012
CDO woes no mo’ Five Wisconsin school districts have settled a lawsuit with an investment firm over the sale of collateralized debt obligations. The school districts say the firm sold them CDOs without disclosing the risks involved. The districts will get $22 million from the firm, according to the Wall Street Journal. And they won’t have to pay the $154 million they still owe the firm.
Et tu legislature? Ohio governor John Kasich’s plan to tax oil and gas companies seems to be stalled in the state legislature. Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports that Kasich’s own Republican colleagues are the reason for the holdup.
No protest permit Partner station WBEZ reports the city of Chicago has turned down a permit request from people who plan to protest the upcoming NATO summit. The city had previously approved a permit for the same protest route one day earlier. Protesters asked to switch the day after the G-8 summit was canceled in the city.
Gambling go-ahead Partner station Michigan Radio reports last night the Lansing city council voted to approve a new $245 million casino. The casino would be built in the city’s downtown. It still needs federal approval.
Not the Abba song, right? Wisconsin governor Scott Walker talked to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News last night. He said the recall against him is a “Waterloo” for unions.
So much for pancakes this year Maple syrup producers in Wisconsin say this is their worst year in memory, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Because of the warm weather, sap only ran for one day in some places. Usually, it runs for weeks.
Vote vote vote If you live in Illinois, it’s primary day. Here’s a guide, from partner station WBEZ.
March 16th, 2012
Wah Wah Shell has chosen Pittsburg for a new $2 billion plant to process natural gas. The Wall Street Journal says the plant is expected to create thousands of jobs. Ohio leaders were hoping the plant would be built in their state.
Whoopsie Two weeks ago, a state press release in Indiana promoted the MBC Group as an example how the state’s new Right to Work law is creating jobs. One problem: the president of the MBC Group says Right to Work played no role in his company’s decision to expand.
Big money The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on the “staggering” amount of money being spent on the Scott Walker recall campaign. The amount is more than double the amount previously spent on any statewide campaign in Wisconsin.
Calling all angels The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that angel investing in Wisconsin reached over $61 million last year.
Immigrant entrepreneurs Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a series of workshops to help immigrants launch small businesses.
Primed for the primary Partner station WBEZ reports that Newt Gingrich was in Illinois yesterday. Other candidates will be in the state today, as the Illinois primary race gets going.
Damage done It’s only property A tornado ripped through the small Southeast Michigan village of Dexter yesterday. No one was hurt.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: Ohio’s $900 Million Gas Plant, Ill. Primary And A Mining Bill That Won’t Quit
March 14th, 2012
Gassed up Ohio will get a new $900 million natural gas processing plant, as the state’s boom in shale-gas drilling continues.
You’re next, Illinois Mitt Romney’s poor showing in Alabama and Missisippi seems to have heightened the importance of next week’s primary in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports the Romney campaign just bought another $1.35 million in ads in the Chicago market.
Politics behind consent Yesterday was a big day in the city of Detroit, as Michigan governor Rick Snyder released a proposed consent agreement to handle the city’s budget crisis. Partner station Michigan Radio takes a look at the politics behind the proposal.
Mining a new strategy Even though a controversial piece of legislation to allow mining in northern Wisconsin failed to get enough votes, and the company that wanted the mine has pulled out, some state Republicans are still fighting for the cause.
Ohio gets the bronze The Labor Department reports that Ohio had the third-largest increase in jobs in January. Only New York and Texas saw more jobs created in the first month of the year.
Camera-ready Partner station WBEZ looks into Chicago’s volatile, but growing film industry.
March 1st, 2012
The Michigan primary already seems like old news. The vote happened two days ago, and the national media moved on immediately afterward, though the victor in Michigan’s race is still somewhat contestable.
On Tuesday, we asked you to tell us why you voted the way you did in the Michigan primary. We got quite a few responses, including some strong support for Ron Paul, who came in third in the primary.
Here is a sampling of what you told us:
I want the general election debate to be conducted as close to the center as possible… away from the fringes. Romney is the only GOP candidate that gives that possibility. If he is the GOP candidate, it will force President Obama to move to the center, too.
I voted for Ron Paul in the 2008 primary as well. Watching the corporate shill news anchors on Cable news literally *beg* people to vote for Santorum made me realize that the Penn. Senator was actually just another Washington-insider corporate crook. Voting for Ron Paul is a vote to legalize freedom.
I am a life-long Democrat. I listened to all the conniving about voting for this or that Republican to mess them up, but I felt this was both disrespectful and dangerous – I didn’t want to be partially responsible, for example, for a President Santorum out of a mistaken belief that he couldn’t beat Obama. I decided that I would use my vote as a way to express why I’m not a Republican by voting for the only candidate on the ballot I would ever consider, John Huntsman.
I realized that by voting for Santorum I was helping to keep the race in limbo. If Romney took a decisive victory things might settle easier and I want to be sure that no one wins easily. I am a strong supporter of Obama. I believe that the GOP has played many not-too above-water games, and as far as I am concerned, turn about (is) fair play.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: The Campaign Effect, A Not-So-Bright Ending And Your Chance To Be Like Mike
March 1st, 2012
The political campaign economy The GOP Presidential primary race is headed to Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch looks at what campaign spending means for the state’s economy. The Detroit News has a similar look at what it meant in Michigan.
Another one bites the dust Indiana-based Bright Automotive is shutting its doors, after failing to receive a new round of funding from the Department of Energy.
Soot riddance Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants are closing, partner station WBEZ reports.
Bringing the big gun Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to make a jobs announcement today on the West Side of Chicago. And the Chicago Tribune reports the mayor is bringing Bill Clinton along.
We’re #1 (and #1)! Illinois has both the top county for corn production and the top county for soybean production.
$63 million That’s how much visitors to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore spent in nearby communities in 2010.
Turning a corner? The Federal Reserve says there are some bright spots in Cleveland’s economy. Partner station WCPN Ideastream has the story.
$29 million That’s all you have to spend if you want to own Michael Jordan’s suburban Chicago home.