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January 27th, 2012
Party like it’s 1998 Ford is reporting its highest annual earnings in over a decade. The Wall Street Journal says the auto industry’s profits are part of its new math: sell fewer cars, make more money (subscription required).
Curiouser and curiouser Keeping track of Wisconsin politics gets more complicated by the day. While the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board is still busy counting recall petitions against Gov. Scott Walker, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that two of the governor’s former aids have been charged with illegal campaigning. The charges are part of an ongoing “John Doe” investigation of Walker’s staff during his time in county government. Despite the investigation and the recall threat, Walker’s poll numbers are rising.
Meanwhile, in actual economic news, the Wisconsin Assembly voted to ease the way for a proposed Iron ore mine in the state’s northern region. Republicans say it will create jobs. Democrats say the changes could lead to environmental harm.
190 Acres of transformation In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, a 190-acre industrial site represents, in microcosm, the changes facing the Midwest. Officials in the town of Beachwood are hoping to rezone the property as the industrial sector declines and other sectors grow. Officials say they want to see the property used for health care, retail and residential investment.
Obama talks higher ed President Obama will be in Ann Arbor, Mich. today to talk about his ideas for higher education funding.
January 17th, 2012
Mixed bag of jobs news: In Toledo, a company that makes solar panels is laying off 40 workers. The Chicago Tribune is starting a round of newsroom buyouts. But, in Canton, Mich., a TV manufacturer plans to hire 100 workers. The Detroit Free Press says it will be the first time a company has built TVs in the U.S. since Sony closed its last plant here in 2010.
More tourism, fewer movies: The mixed news theme continues in Michigan with a pair of stories about the state’s effort to lure out-of state business. First, the Detroit Free Press reports that interest in the Michigan’s film tax incentives dropped after the state revamped the program last year. But, partner station Michigan Radio reports the state’s tourism ad campaign seems to be paying off. In 2010, out-of-state visitors spent more tourism dollars in Michigan than in-state residents. It was the first time that’s ever been recorded.
Fracking fallout: Officials in Mansfield, Ohio are threatening to block construction of two new waste wells in their city. The wells would store waste products from “fracking,” a controversial method of drilling for natural gas. The concern is these waste wells may have contributed to a series of small earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio. Meanwhile, TV station WKBN reports a hearing on those earthquakes will be held today at Youngstown State University. WKBN will stream the hearing live on its website starting at 10 a.m. ET.
A truckload of signatures: Later today, a truck is expected to make a delivery to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. Democrats are loading the truck with 3,000 lbs. worth of documents, containing up to one million signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans. Walker’s office says the effort will cost taxpayers $9 million. Needless to say, this probably won’t be the last you hear of it.