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March 12th, 2012
A tale of two legislatures The Wisconsin state legislature is wrapping up its current session, and the two pieces of legislation that were the top priorities for Republicans at the start of the year aren’t getting done. Indiana lawmakers are also wrapping up their current session. The state’s Republican leaders had a little more success, reports partner station WBEZ.
Confirmed culprit State regulators in Ohio concluded on Friday that earthquakes near Youngstown were almost certainly caused by a waste-water well drilled by the natural gas industry. Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports the regulators announced new rules on future wells to hold the waste from fracking.
So, what now? Partner station Michigan Radio reports the review team that’s examining Detroit’s finances dodged a possible contempt-of-court charge by disbanding a sub-committee that met in private. A judge ruled the review team must hold its meetings in public. The review team has already found that Detroit will probably run out of cash by this summer.
Read all about it The Chicago Reader is up for sale, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
The elevated park A proposal would turn an unused 2.7 mile stretch of Chicago’s elevated rail line into a public park.
March 8th, 2012
Charging up, or powering down? Crain’s Detroit Business looks at hiccups in the market for electric vehicles, and wonders whether Michigan’s many new battery plants will survive. Changing Gears has looked at this question before.
Re-reconsidering housing Partner station WBEZ says the city of Chicago spent 13 years revamping its public housing program. Now the new plan is being reconsidered because of tough economic times in the city.
Peoria pandering? Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel promoted partnerships with Peoria during a visit yesterday. Emanuel says the frequent friction between his city and the rest of the state represent “the politics of the past,” according to the Peoria Journal Star.
Less college = less cost Looking for a solution to cut the cost of college? Indiana has an idea: Prohibit colleges from requiring more than 120 credit hours to get a degree. Gov. Mitch Daniels is expected to sign the restriction into law soon.
Minor detail A historic and beloved ferry based out of Ludington, Mich. may be forced to cancel its service, all because of a little arsenic, mercury and other chemicals it’s been dumping in Lake Michigan.
A Hail Mary pays off Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports that Catholics in NE Ohio appear to have won a rare victory. The Vatican has reversed its decision to close 13 churches in the area.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: Illinois Matters, “Joe The Plumber” In, Kucinich Out And A Mine Deal Falls Through
March 7th, 2012
Illinois matters! A less-than-decisive Super Tuesday means the Illinois primary on March 20th could actually mean something, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The other primary results Yesterday’s primary in Ohio wasn’t all about the Presidential contest. Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the plumber,” won his bid to be the GOP nominee for Ohio’s 9th congressional district. But he will not face Ohio’s long-serving Democrat Dennis Kucinich in the race. Kucinich lost his primary battle to Marcy Kaptur.
No more mine A controversial proposal for a mine in northern Wisconsin appears to be off the table. Yesterday, GOP senators failed to put together enough votes to approve the mine, and the company behind the plan quickly pulled its proposal.
One man’s take Michael Dell, the chairman of Dell Computers, says he doesn’t see much job growth coming in manufacturing.
March 6th, 2012
Later, G-8er After months of planning in Chicago, city leaders found out yesterday they won’t be hosting the G-8 summit after all. Partner station WBEZ reports the decision could save the city from major protests.
Mo’ money, mo’ housing Huntington Bank is pledging $100 million in loans to help build or remodel low-income housing in Michigan. Bank officials hope the commitment generates confidence in the economy and spurs more bank lending.
Minding in the mine vote A controversial piece of legislation that would open up mining in northern Wisconsin could come up for a vote today in the state Senate.
Got milk? Yes. Wisconsin dairy cows had a record year last year. One out of every eight gallons of milk produced in the United States came from the udder of a Wisconsin cow.
Super duper You might have heard something about a vote happening today. Partner station WCPN Cleveland looks at how crossover voters could affect the very tight GOP primary race in Ohio.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: “Something Wrong” In Wisconsin, Casino Plans In Michigan And A Region Digs Out
March 5th, 2012
“There’s something wrong” Wisconsin leads the nation in private sector job losses since last July, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And it’s the only state that’s lost jobs for the last six months in a row.
Rolling the dice The Detroit Free Press revealed over the weekend that a whopping 22 new casinos are being proposed in the state of Michigan. The paper finds plenty of skepticism whether that many casinos could succeed.
Nuclear option Partner station Michigan Radio reports on the effort to save a planned nuclear research facility at Michigan State University.
Importing workers CNN reports that some manufacturers who can’t find skilled workers in the U.S. have started importing them.
Police cuts Two Chicago police precincts closed yesterday. The Chicago Tribune says it’s part of a move that should save the city $10-12 million. Chicago is working to close a $636 million budget gap.
Recovery People in Ohio, Illinois and Indiana are starting the recovery process after this weekend’s deadly storms.
March 2nd, 2012
A new angle The head of the UAW says the union will try to get voters to approve an amendment to the Michigan constitution to ban Right to Work legislation. Right to Work bans employers from agreeing to mandatory union membership for their workers.
Taking them to task A new task force is declaring war on corruption in Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press. An FBI official says corruption in the city is “generational, systematic, part of the culture.”
Total recall Wisconsin election officials say recall votes will have to wait until at least June.
Some gain, still pain Illinois added jobs again last month, proof that the state is recovering – but at a “painfully slow rate,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Hold the confetti CNNMoney takes a look at manufacturing in Ohio, and says the “good times are back (sort of).”
Movies move on Interest in Michigan as a movie-making destination continues to drop. The state dramatically cut back its film incentives last year.
Happy Birthday Chicago turns 175 years old on Sunday!
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.
February 29th, 2012
New high (tech) schools Five giants of the tech world are teaming up to open six new high schools in Chicago. Students at the high schools will stay for six years, and leave with an associates degree in a high tech field.
Jet jobs Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says the state could lose 600 jobs if the Air Force moves its A-10 fighter planes away from the Selfridge Air National Guard base.
Signature move Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law say they have enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot, and let voters decide whether the law should stand. Partner station Michigan Radio reports the signatures will be turned in today for certification.
Mine on the mind Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is hitting the road to help promote a controversial mining bill. The bill would open up a new mine in northern Wisconsin. The bill passed the state Assembly, but it now appears to be headed for a close vote in the Senate.
Right to Work in court Opponents of Indiana’s new Right to Work law will get their day in court. Attempts to overturn Right to Work have failed in other states. But activists say Indiana’s law was passed in a hastily, and it contains provisions not found in other Right to Work laws. Both sides will make their case at a preliminary hearing on Monday.
Drilling down into the numbers A new study says shale gas and oil will add $5 billion to Ohio’s economy over the next two years. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the study was commissioned by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the Ohio Shale coalition. The study predicts the boom in shale drilling will happen about 10 times faster than previous studies predicted.
February 28th, 2012
Manufacturing promises Reuters asks economists whether the new political focus on manufacturing will actually create jobs. The answer is, basically, no.
Driving downloads The state of Ohio is spending $10 million to increase its broadband internet speeds tenfold between colleges and universities.
It’s over After 13 weeks, the Cooper Tire lockout in Findlay Ohio is finally over. The Toledo Blade reports that workers approved a new five-year contract yesterday. They could be back in the plant later this week.
Split opinions Yesterday, we asked “Who gets credit for the bailout?“ Meanwhile, the BBC looked into why opinions of the auto industry bailout are split, even in Michigan.
Want to become a landlord? The federal government has a new plan to auction off foreclosed homes owned by Fannie Mae and turn them into rental homes. Chicago is one of the first cities where it will happen.
Ready for a recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has decided not to challenge any of the 1 million recall signatures filed against him. That means the recall election will almost certainly move forward.
Something fishy The US Supreme Court once again declined to weigh in on the debate over what to do about Asian Carp. Partner station WBEZ has the story.
UAW speech President Obama will give a speech to UAW members at a conference in Washington this morning. The event starts at 11:45, and you can watch it live here.
Big day There’s something going on in Michigan today. What was it? Maybe Michigan Radio can help.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: Workers Need More Skills, Detroit Needs More Money And Wisconsin Needs Faster Internet
February 27th, 2012
Collared The Presidential candidates are all out talking about creating more manufacturing jobs. The National Journal looks at what that’ll take. The magazine says we’ll need more blue-collar workers with white-collar training.
Detroit’s ticking clock Detroit leaders have been furiously trying to cut costs to avoid being taken over by an emergency manager. But the Detroit News says the city is still dangerously low on cash, and could run out of money by April.
Pension predicament The new tax on worker pensions in MIchigan is either confusing people, or angering them, according to the Detroit News. The pension tax was created last year to offset a reduction in Michigan’s business tax. The change took effect in January.
Broadband dreams Wisconsin ranks 43rd in the nation for access to high-speed broadband internet.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at how to change that, and finds Chattanooga, Tenn. may be the model to follow.
Guardian angels Crain’s Chicago Business says angel investors are focused in on Chicago tech companies, hoping to find the next Groupon.
This is a new one In an interview with the Associated Press, Ford chairman Bill Ford Jr. says he’s worried about selling too many vehicles.