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In Michigan
6:05 am
Wed April 22, 2009

Mich. behind in sending $75 unemployment checks

Lansing, MI – Michigan's jobless workers could get an extra $75 next week.

The state was supposed to give an extra $25 a week to jobless workers starting Feb. 23, thanks to the federal recovery package.

But it took until the week of March 16 to include the extra money in unemployment payments.

The state's just finishing up computer programming that will get the three retroactive $25-a-week payments to jobless workers for Feb. 23 to March 13.

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In Michigan
6:41 am
Tue April 21, 2009

Lansing schools could sidestep turnaround proposal

East Lansing, MI – Mark Bashore, WKAR Radio News

Existing efforts to improve academic performance at Lansing's three public high schools could exempt them from a new state turnaround proposal.

A measure introduced in the state legislature would empower the state to supervise chronically failing schools.

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In Michigan
6:33 am
Tue April 21, 2009

Michigan launches enhanced driver's licenses

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

Michigan residents can begin applying for new enhanced driver's licenses designed to allow smoother travel between the U.S. and Canada.

Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said Tuesday the optional licenses will meet more stringent Homeland Security border requirements going into effect this spring.

The licenses cost $45 and also allow smoother land or water travel with Mexico or the Caribbean.

Passports still will be needed for air travel.

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In Michigan
6:30 am
Tue April 21, 2009

GM, Chrysler to get $5.5B more in government loans

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

A federal report says the U.S. government will loan General Motors Corp. up to $5 billion more to make it through June 1, and Chrysler LLC could get up to $500 million more by April 30.

The report on the bank bailout program released Tuesday by a special inspector general says the money will be made available for working capital as both companies try to meet government restructuring demands.

GM already has received $13.4 billion in government loans, while Chrysler has received $4 billion.

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In Michigan
1:42 am
Tue April 21, 2009

House calls for state to take over failing schools

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Democrats at the state Capitol will introduce legislation today to require charter schools be offered as alternatives to failing public schools.

The legislation would allow a school turnaround chief to decide which Michigan schools are failing.

Parents in those districts would be able to choose to send their kids to a public school taken over by the state, or a nearby charter school.

Ed Sarpolis is with the Michigan Education Association teachers union.

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In Michigan
12:42 am
Tue April 21, 2009

Public Transit advocates lobby Lansing

(East Lansing, MI) – Supporters of public transportation visited state legislators in Lansing Tuesday to lobby for more investment in bus, light rail, commuter rail and high-speed rail systems in Michigan.

Business and local government leaders say the state could loose up to $120-million in matching federal funds starting next year, if the legislature does not increase state funding for public transportation.

Clark Harder is with the Michigan Public Transit Association.

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In Focus Today
8:05 am
Mon April 20, 2009

Wharton Center releases 2009-10 schedule

(East Lansing, MI) – The Wharton Center for Performing Arts at Michigan State University has released its schedule for the coming season.

The highlight is the return of "Phantom of the Opera" next May and June.

The Broadway Series includes "White Christmas," "Young Frankenstein," "A Chorus Line" and "South Pacific."

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In Michigan
7:03 am
Mon April 20, 2009

Prices at Wharton Center to go down

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI -- Michigan State University's Wharton Center is cutting some prices for events next season.

Wharton Center Executive Director Michael Brand says producers have cooperated to help lower ticket prices for the 2009-2010 season.

He says that includes the Broadway Series and music programs.

Brand says there will be more marketing of discounted tickets for students, and family ticket promotions.

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In Michigan
7:00 am
Mon April 20, 2009

Budget chief says deal is close on deficit plan

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI -- The Legislature returns to the state Capitol this week following a two-week spring break.

But legislative leaders and Governor Granholm's did not take a hiatus from budget negotiations.

Legislative leaders say K-12 schools and Medicaid are safe from budget cuts for the rest of this fiscal year.

But everything else is on the table as they try to wrestle down a $785 million deficit.

Robert Emerson is Governor Granholm's budget chief.

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In Michigan
6:23 am
Mon April 20, 2009

Detroit Free Press wins Pulitzer for mayoral story

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

The Detroit Free Press has won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for obtaining a trove of sexually explicit text messages that brought down the city's mayor.

The award was announced Monday after one of the most depressing years the newspaper industry has ever seen, with layoffs, bankruptcies and closings.

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In Michigan
3:44 am
Mon April 20, 2009

Michigan plan would crack down on failing schools

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP)

Chronically failing schools would be supervised by a state-appointed turnaround specialist under terms of legislation introduced by two Michigan House Democrats.

Schools would be considered failing if a large majority of students don't meet proficiency requirements on standardized math and English tests. Schools also would have to fail to meet federal No Child Left Behind standards for four straight years.

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In Michigan
3:41 am
Mon April 20, 2009

GM exec says 1,600 will lose jobs in next few days

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

A top General Motors Corp. executive says 1,600 workers will lose their jobs during the next few days as the automaker tries to cut costs and restructure to stay in business.

GM North America President Troy Clarke says in an e-mail to workers obtained by The Associated Press that the layoffs are needed to ensure GM's long-term viability.

Last month GM began cutting 3,400 U.S. salaried jobs as part of the 47,000 job cuts that it will make worldwide by year's end.

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In Michigan
1:43 am
Mon April 20, 2009

New enhanced license to be unveiled

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land will debut Michigan's new high security driver's license Tuesday.

The new license will also double as a passport for North American international travel.

Travelers returning to the U-S from Canada, Mexico, or Caribbean countries will soon need either a passport or a state-issued I-D that has more information than the standard driver's license.

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In Focus Today
8:39 am
Fri April 17, 2009

Dental clinic struggles to help underserved patients

(Lansing, MI) – An estimated 50,000 people in Ingham County do not have dental insurance, and most of them cannot afford to pay for dental care. Health officials say those numbers are rising, as more and more people lose their jobs.

The Carefree Dental Clinic in south Lansing offers free or low-cost dental care to those who qualify.

But the demand is much greater than the clinic can handle.

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In Michigan
6:04 am
Fri April 17, 2009

School Board tables vote on closings

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI -- The Lansing School Board Thursday night postponed a controverisal decision on whether to close two elementary schools.

The recommendation by school superintendent T. C. Wallace at first appeared to be headed for defeat.

A majority of board members indicated while they were not against closing schools, they would need more information before voting to shut down Moores Park and Grand River Elementary schools.

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In Michigan
5:24 am
Fri April 17, 2009

US awards Michigan $236 million for water project

Traverse City, MI – Traverse City, MI (AP)

Michigan is getting $236 million for water infrastructure projects under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced this week it was awarding the money to Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality.

The cash will pay to improve drinking water and wastewater treatment systems, control runoff pollution and improve watershed and estuary management programs.

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In Michigan
3:54 am
Fri April 17, 2009

Mich. deficit could near $800M as revenues falter

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP)

State economists say Michigan is looking at a potential $785 million shortfall that won't be entirely erased with money from the federal recovery act.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop of Rochester said Friday the general fund shortfall has lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration looking for places to cut the budget.

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In Michigan
3:49 am
Fri April 17, 2009

GM CEO says bankruptcy probable but not preferred

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Fritz Henderson says bankruptcy isn't the company's preferred option, but it's still probable, given the restructuring goals GM must meet to get more government loans.

In a conference call with reporters Friday, Henderson said GM is
working on two parallel plans: one that involves bankruptcy and one
that doesn't.

GM has already received $13.4 billion in aid, and it must meet strict requirements to cut labor costs and debt by a June 1 deadline.

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In Focus Today
9:46 am
Thu April 16, 2009

Vacancies impact a busy Lansing commercial strip

(Delta Township, MI) – The recession has hit Michigan hard: from the nation's highest jobless rate to daily fears of bankruptcy for the flagship automobile industry and a high home foreclosure rate. Now, some fear business foreclosures may climb. The recession is having an impact on one of mid-Michigan's busiest commercial strips.

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In Michigan
6:30 am
Thu April 16, 2009

GM preparing to make official bond exchange offer

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP)

General Motors Corp. says its preparing to launch a public bond-exchange offer that would let the company start slashing its debt, even without an agreement from a committee of large institutional bondholders.

The Detroit automaker has been working on a plan to wipe out
most of its $28 billion unsecured debt by June 1 to avoid
bankruptcy.

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In Michigan
6:26 am
Thu April 16, 2009

General Growth bankruptcy includes Lansing Mall

East Lansing, MI – Mark Bashore, WKAR Radio News

America's second-largest mall company filed for bankruptcy Thursday and that has repercussions for Lansing.

General Growth Properties' has over 200 holdings across the country.

It's not seeking protection for all of them, but it is for the Lansing Mall.

Analyst Joel Bloomer of Morningstar Equity Research says that's not a sign that the Mall isn't generating cash.

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In Michigan
6:24 am
Thu April 16, 2009

Employers face COBRA deadline

East Lansing, MI – Kevin Lavery, WKAR Radio News

Employers in Michigan have until Saturday to tell workers about a new health care assistance program that will pay part of their premiums after they've been laid off.

The new assistance is part of the federal COBRA program.

It pays 65% of a worker's employer-sponsored coverage for up to nine months.

The benefit applies to workers who involuntarily lost their jobs from September 1, 2008 through February 16, 2009.

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In Michigan
3:16 am
Thu April 16, 2009

Michigan Militia holds annual tax protest

Michigan Militia Tax Blast features an open gun range.
Rob South/WKAR

Bancroft, MI –

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In Michigan
6:17 am
Wed April 15, 2009

Country Club of Lansing fights foreclosure

East Lansing, MI – Mark Bashore / Kevin Lavery, WKAR Radio News
Lansing's most historic private club may be struggling for survival.

According to a notice published in the Ingham Legal News, the Country Club of Lansing is in default of a $6.7 million loan.

National City Bank holds the 101-year old club's loan.

The club is scheduled to auctioned May 7 at the Ingham County Courthouse.

Country Club of Lansing officials did not return calls seeking comment.

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In Michigan
1:46 am
Wed April 15, 2009

Mich. unemployment rate jumps to 12.6% in March

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP) - Michigan's unemployment rate jumped to 12.6% in March, up from 12% the month before.

The higher number is likely to keep Michigan in the spotlight as
the state with the nation's worst unemployment rate.

The national unemployment rate in March was 8.5%.

The state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Development said Wednesday that the weakness in the auto industry along with the national recession have "severely affected" Michigan's labor market over the past year.

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In Michigan
1:45 am
Wed April 15, 2009

Tax protesters gather at Capitol

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - An estimated 4,000 people were at the state Capitol Wednesday to protest taxes.

The gathering was one of many so-called "tea parties" held around the state and the nation.

The Capitol protest attracted people from across Michigan.

Many of the protestors waved signs, banners, or flags.

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In Michigan
9:40 am
Tue April 14, 2009

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych is dead at 54

(Detroit, MI) – Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych is dead.

His body was found underneath a truck on his farm in Massachusetts Monday. Authorities say they believe his death was an accident.

Fidrych earned his nickname because of his curly hair, his gangly frame, and his quirky mannerisms such as talking to himself on the mound, though it looked like he was talking to the baseball.

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In Michigan
9:31 am
Tue April 14, 2009

New production studio coming to Allen Park

(Allen Park, MI) – The Detroit suburb of Allen Park is expected to be home to a new $146 million film and television production complex.

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report details are expected to be announced today. Project spokesman Roger Martin says the studio will employ thousands of skilled workers.

The complex is expected to occupy the site of a former technical center for auto parts maker Visteon Corporation.

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In Michigan
5:24 am
Tue April 14, 2009

Allen Park getting $146M movie production complex

Allen Park, MI – Allen Park, MI (AP)

Local officials say upward of 3,000 skilled and non-skilled jobs could be created when a $146 million film and television production complex is completed just outside Detroit.

Unity Studios Inc. President Jimmy Lifton says groundbreaking in Allen Park is expected within two months, with production starting in October.

The project was announced Tuesday.

The complex will be built on 104 acres of land that once housed an auto parts manufacturing site.

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In Michigan
5:15 am
Tue April 14, 2009

MEDC approves tax breaks for battery companies

East Lansing, MI – Mark Bashore, WKAR Radio News

Plans to create a 21st century battery industry in Michigan are accelerating.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation Tuesday gave the green light for up to $400-million in tax breaks to battery-related companies to grow their operations in the state.

MEDC executive Doug Parks says the four companies work on a variety of applications.

A number of states are competing for advanced battery manufacturing.

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