CHICAGO – Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez understands the public would like some answers. Just don't ask him for any when it comes to the Big Ten and expansion.
Alvarez says the decision rests with school presidents, not with the league's athletic directors. Even so, expansion was the hot-button topic as conference coaches and administrators gathered Monday in Chicago for three days of meetings.
Michigan athletic director David Brandon says "change is in the wind."
The state's budget troubles may not be quite as large as they appeared to be five months ago. State government economists say they're seeing the first glimmers of a recovery.
AUDIO: In January, the deficit for the coming fiscal year was pegged at about one and a half-billion dollars. Job losses had stabilized but the unemployment rate was still very high and tax revenues were on the decline.
Consumers Energy will have to refund a portion of an interim natural gas rate increase.
The Michigan Public Service Commission on Monday authorized a rate increase for the Jackson-based utility. But the increase isn't as big as the utility requested.
The natural gas rate increase, which took effect in November, raised the average residential customer's bill by about $3.50 a month. The company has until mid-August to file a refund proposal with state regulators.
LANSING, MI – Governor Granholm is expected to sign legislation this week that would encourage thousands of veteran school employees to retire. The plan would also force those who remain to pay more for their retirement and health benefits.
The plan would save schools an estimated $700 million as they face potentially big cuts in state funding. But the actual savings will depend on how many teachers and other school employees decide to retire.
LANSING, MI – The Lansing City council is expected to pass a budget tonight for the upcoming fiscal year. The 2011 city budget isn't expected to be much different from what mayor Virg Bernero recommended earlier this year, in spite of efforts to include a tax increase.
Timothy Muffitt has signed a three-year contract extension as Music Director of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.
Muffitt will conduct the LSO through the 2012-2013 season.
While locking up Muffitt, the orchestra also has a deal with musicians for another year. Members of the Grand Rapids Federation of Musicians Local 56 of the American Federation of Musicians recently voted to extend their contract in Lansing.