business

Business
11:40 am
Wed May 20, 2015

LSJ reporter on BWL’s settlement with former GM

The Lansing Board of Water and Light's Otto E. Eckert Station.
Credit Wikimedia Commons/Paul R. Kucher

Four months of negotiations between Lansing’s Board of Water and Light and the utility’s former General Manager, Peter Lark, concluded last night.

BWL commissioners agreed unanimously to settle with Mr. Lark for $650,000 after his January dismissal “for cause” by those same commissioners.  A dismissal “for cause” implies employee misconduct.  Current State gets an update from LSJ reporter Steven Reed, who has covered the BWL since the 2013 ice storm that eventually led to yesterday’s agreement.  

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Business
12:44 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

“Two Men” founder to tell her story at Startup Grind event

Two Men and a Truck founder Mary Ellen Sheets
Credit Courtesy Startup Grind Lansing

Few if any Lansing success stories compare with that of Two Men and a Truck. The moving company began in 1985 as an after school endeavor with an advertising budget in a ceramic dish.  Today, founder Mary Ellen Sheets leads a company whose revenue clears $300-million annually. Two Men and a Truck has locations in 39 states and four countries. It has completed roughly five million moves. It also donates about two and a half million dollars in moving services annually.

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Environment
12:02 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Mason residents debate proposed oil drilling

Dr. Jack Carmichael of Mason (left) and Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) discussed proposed oil drilling.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

There’s no shortage of talk in Michigan about renewable energy sources. But despite all our efforts to go green, our state is still very dependent on fossil fuels. Recently, a Traverse City-based oil and gas company has been looking at an area in and around the city of Mason as a possible drilling site.

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Economy
12:02 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

500 million cars and counting: GM reinvests in Delta, other U.S. plants

GM CEO Mary Barra (right) and Chevrolet's Alan Batey (left) presented veteran Trent Brining with the keys to a 2016 Malibu to celebrate the automaker's 500-millionth vehicle.
Credit Courtesy © General Motors

General Motors has been around for 106 years, and they’ve built a lot of vehicles. In fact, that number has recently surpassed 500-million. Half a billion Chevys, Cadillacs, and, of course, Lansing-built Oldsmobiles, and others. It's an amazing number. That’s far more than any other car company.

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Business
11:28 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Businessman from Dubai brings Toastmasters message to EL

Integrity. Respect. Service. Excellence. For its 313,000 members around the world, those are the stated values of International Toastmasters. Toastmasters’ focus is on developing communication and leadership skills in its members.

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Business
11:33 am
Fri April 3, 2015

State chamber CEO in sync with Snyder on RFRA, talent development

There are few issues of public importance in Michigan that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce does not weigh in on. The state chamber is the advocate for businesses and job providers across the state. It assists more than 6,000 member employers, trade associations and local chambers in the legislative, political and legal process.

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Economy
11:30 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Does Michigan need an economic “grand bargain?”

Last week, the organization Business Leaders for Michigan gathered in Lansing for one of its periodic Leadership Summits. The group’s mission is advance strategies to make Michigan a top ten state for jobs, personal income and a healthy economy. According to Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh, those in attendance which included the CEOs, Chairpersons and Senior Executive of Michigan’s largest companies and Universities, spent a good deal of time lamenting the lack of a cohesive economic growth agenda for the state.

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Business
11:27 am
Tue March 17, 2015

New LSJ columnist returns to journalistic roots

Judy Putnam (right) of the Lansing State Journal, with Current State guest host Sue Carter.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

A well-established policy advocate in Lansing is beginning a new chapter in her career this week. Judy Putnam has been the communications director of the Michigan League for Public Policy for seven years. This week, she returns to her roots in journalism as a columnist for the Lansing State Journal.

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Business
11:08 am
Wed March 11, 2015

At MSU, former Missouri Lt. Governor rallies small farmers to fight Big Ag

Joe Maxwell
Credit http://www.humanesociety.org/

Michigan State University has always been known for its strong Agriculture and Natural Resources programs. The university is in the midst of its 100th annual ANR Week, which showcases the sciences of farming and environmental stewardship. One recent conference highlighted farm sustainability into the 21st century.

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Business
11:27 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Seafood Summit explores future of Michigan aquaculture

You might not guess that Michigan is a haven for seafood, since we’re so far from the ocean,  but Michigan has long had thriving commercial fisheries, and aquaculture of fish and shrimp has grown by leaps and bounds in the last thirty years. So, what does the future hold for the state’s seafood industry? That’s the focus of the first annual Michigan Seafood Summit taking place tomorrow at MSU’s Kellogg Conference Center.

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Business
12:40 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

The cubicle wasn’t designed to make you miserable

Credit Flickr - Katy Warner

The cubicle gets a pretty bad rap. The boxy workspace has become almost synonymous with isolation and corporate drudgery. But that’s not what its creator Robert Probst intended when he launched his innovative “Action Office” design in 1964.

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Economy
12:45 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers keep commerce flowing

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Neah Bay (WTGB-105) at port in Algonac, Michigan. The boat was built in 1979. It's one of several icebreakers that operate each winter on the Great Lakes.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Winter is still holding a firm grasp on Michigan and much of the country. In a state surrounded by fresh water, it’s imperative that the Great Lakes and the rivers which feed them are kept open for commerce. That’s the job of the United States Coast Guard, which operates several icebreaking ships on the lakes.

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Business
11:49 am
Fri February 27, 2015

“Damned” exhibition eyes new home in Hell (MI)

This sign welcomes visitors to Hell, Michigan.
Credit http://www.gotohellmi.com/

You’ve probably seen the picture come across your Facebook or other social media at some point this winter. A sign that reads “Hell” with icicles hanging off the bottom. Don’t worry, it’s not a sign of the end times, it’s just pointing you in the direction of Hell, Michigan, a small community northwest of Ann Arbor. While Hell might be frozen over, it’s a hot commodity on the real estate market, and for the price of $999,666, you could own a piece of it. But, you’ll have to beat Anthony DVS to do it.

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Business
12:55 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Passenger rail plan would link Ann Arbor, Traverse City

Credit http://www.mlui.org/

Earlier this month, the Michigan Land Use Institute floated the idea of a new passenger train service from Ann Arbor to Traverse City. It’s a complicated process, but it appears that one of the biggest components is getting people excited about it.

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Business
12:35 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

MI farmers speak out on road funding, ethanol, water use

Credit Wikimedia commons

It’s still too cold for spring planting, but the legislative issues Michigan farmers care most about are heating up again. Yesterday, dozens of crop producers from across the state met in Lansing for the annual Lansing Legislative Seminar, sponsored by the Michigan Farm Bureau. Farmers met in conference sessions to talk about a number of current issues, and many had a chance to speak one on one with their local lawmakers.

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Economy
12:57 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Lansing region pursues more particle acceleration businesses for Lansing

Economic developers often refer to Michigan State University’s FRIB as a “game changer.” The $730-million nuclear science facility, set to launch in around six years with around 400 employees, will be the most powerful rare isotope research site in the world. It will explore the physics of atomic nuclei, with potential applications in medicine, defense and other areas. But what other economic impacts might stem from FRIB and from Niowave, another established particle acceleration firm based in Lansing?

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Business
12:53 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

U-M study anticipates impact of driverless cars

Credit Flickr/Department for Transport

Gradually, Ann Arbor is becoming known for a remarkably futuristic technology: the self-driving car.

This spring, work is expected to wrap up on a 32-acre “driverless town” on the outskirts of the city. There, Google and others will be testing vehicles featuring an array of cutting edge technology.  

One goal is a driverless vehicle not only programmed to follow a particular route, but also to avoid all kinds of less predictable developments: mistakes by other drivers, changes in the road surface, weather and so on.

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Business
11:23 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Michigan native takes the helm at National Geographic

National Geographic Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg met with MSU students during a visit to East Lansing this week.
Credit courtesy MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences

For generations, National Geographic magazine has brought images of the world, both stunning and subtle, to millions of people. It’s parent organization, the National Geographic Society, was founded in 1888 by 33 men whose ranks included John Wesley Powell, the explorer who led a famous expedition to the Grand Canyon in 1869. Today, National Geographic continues its scientific and educational mission in the digital age. Susan Goldberg is the magazine’s editor in chief.

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Business
11:42 am
Thu February 5, 2015

More venture capital driving Michigan startups

Credit Flickr - Keith Cooper

Business watchers in Michigan are heralding some good news in the start-up world. A new report released by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP finds venture capital investment in Michigan was up nearly 100-percent in 2014 from the previous year.

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Environment
11:29 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Report finds obstacles to advanced energy in Michigan

Credit Flickr - Jeff Kubina

Barriers have developed that are standing in the way of advanced energy use in Michigan. That’s according to a report released recently by Michigan’s Institute for Energy Innovation. The institute says its report is the first serious effort to identify those barriers.

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Business
11:29 am
Mon February 2, 2015

East Lansing tops college football towns

Credit Photo: Melissa Benmark / WKAR

This post-Super Bowl Monday gives the New England Patriots NFL bragging rights for the coming year. But who’s number one in the combined professional and college football world? According to the personal finance-social media network WalletHub, it’s East Lansing.

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Business
11:40 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Detroit Auto Show 2015: Printed cars and Cadillacs

The Local Motors printed car at the Detroit Auto Show.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

All this week, we’ve been taking you to the Detroit Auto Show to see what’s new, what’s groundbreaking, and what’s just plain fun. On the main floor of the auto show, you can see a massive 3D printer, and it’s printing a car. And if you venture to Hall E in the Cobo Center, you can see the finished product.

Current State's Scott Pohl talks with Lee Herge, Chief Operating Officer of the Chandler, Arizona based Local Motors.

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Business
11:24 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Detroit Auto Show 2015: the transformation of Cobo

New video boards grace the Cobo Center exterior.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

If you’ve been going to the Detroit Auto Show over the years, you know that Cobo Center has undergone an enormous transformation. A $279-million dollar multi-year renovation is nearing its end. Inside, the changes have included new uses for the former Cobo Hall, the former home of the Detroit Pistons and numerous rock concerts. Fixing Cobo up was crucial to keeping the Auto Show in Detroit, but lots of other convention business is heading to the Motor City as a result.

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Business
11:20 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Detroit Auto Show 2015: the electrics

The Chevy Bolt electric vehicle on display at the Detroit Auto Show.
Credit Mark Bashore/WKAR

The Detroit Auto show is in full swing in downtown Detroit. Two very different automakers are grabbing a lot of the electric vehicle attention at the Cobo Center this week. Current State's Peter Whorf has the latest on the electric cars on display at the North American International Auto Show through Sunday.

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Environment
11:14 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Are companies downplaying environmental performance?

Dr. Tom Lyon, University of Michigan Dow Chair of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce
Credit http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/

Companies sometimes try to look more environmentally friendly than they are, but a new study indicates they might also downplay their “green” achievements, depending on who’s listening to their message.

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Business
11:47 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Startup Grind Lansing aims to give entrepreneurs a boost

Michael Labriola of Digital Primates is Startup Grind Lansing's first speaker this week.
Credit http://www.digitalprimates.net/

A national organization designed to inspire and educate entrepreneurs is coming to Lansing. It’s called Startup Grind. The Lansing Startup Grind will hold its first meeting on Thursday night. Startup Grind was formed in 2010 and has grown to 150 cities in 65 countries.

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Business
11:35 am
Tue January 20, 2015

New Buick convertible, concept car shown off at Detroit Auto Show

The Buick Cascada is on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Credit WKAR/Peter Whorf

What’s made in Poland and is named after the Spanish word for waterfall? It’s the newest convertible from Buick, the Cascada, unveiled this week at the Detroit Auto Show. The North American International Auto Show is in full swing at Detroit’s Cobo Center this week. Current  State will bring you all the latest these next few days in our NAIAS series.

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Business
11:40 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Detroit Auto Show 2015: trucks lead the way

The Chevy Colorado is the Motor Trend 2015 Truck of the Year.
Credit WKAR/Peter Whorf

More than one auto writer has taken to calling the Big 3 automakers “truck companies that also make cars”. Trucks and SUVs have become the most successful categories for automakers in recent years, particularly for General Motors and Ford.

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Business
10:06 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Michigan's Christmas tree industry competitive, always changing

Credit Flickr - gerrybuckel

There’s nothing quite like the scent of a freshly cut Douglas fir to put you in the Christmas spirit. Strapping one to the top of your car and taking it home to string with lights and homemade ornaments is a holiday tradition for a lot of families. But Christmas trees aren’t just a place to put the presents under. They’re also a multi-million dollar industry.

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Economy
11:12 am
Mon December 8, 2014

MI retailers push for sales tax fairness

Many online retailers, like Amazon, don't collect the state sales tax from customers in Michigan.
Credit Flickr - Carl Malamud

Last week we learned that e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday 2014 topped $2-billion. That’s up more than 15-percent over last year. Big box giant Walmart and online powerhouse Amazon saw sizeable surges in their bottom lines. But the reports are not welcome news for everyone, including traditional brick and mortar retailers in Michigan.

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