Economy

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Now that we’re into the new year, you might be thinking ”I’m ready to give myself a makeover.” It’s not just people who have that impulse. Entire communities plan what they’ll look like in the future, and that often means getting rid of outdated eyesores. That’s a polite description of what cities large and small deal constantly deal with: urban blight. The city of Lansing has recently received a federal grant to eliminate blighted properties.

WKAR Photo

After a mild Christmas, the new year is bringing more wintry conditions to mid-Michigan. The arctic chill makes heating our homes and offices a high priority in our lives. This month, an East Lansing non-profit is launching a pilot program to help dozens of people stay warm this winter and cool next summer.

2015 job openings reflect changing MI economy

Jan 7, 2015
Scott Pohl/WKAR

A closely-watched study predicts the creation of about 60,000 new jobs in Michigan this year.  That’s from the University of Michigan’s annual economic forecast, released recently. But only about 10-percent of those new jobs are expected to come from manufacturing, historically one of Michigan’s strongest job sectors, including here in Greater Lansing. So where are the new jobs coming from, and what trends are creating them?

WKAR/Bill Richards

This year’s Christmas holiday is bringing back unpleasant memories of last year’s intense ice storm and power outages. One year ago to the day, thousands of people in the Lansing area were without electricity because of hundreds of downed, ice-coated trees that disconnected lines.  Many residents spent days, some more than a week, without power, often at significant expense. The episode amounted to an embarassing right of passage for the capital city’s municipally-owned utility, the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Car buffs are revving up for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. More than 800,000 people attended the show at the Cobo Center last January.

The clock is counting down on the lame duck legislature at the state Capitol. Tomorrow is the last full day of the session. Lawmakers are facing a hard deadline to reach a deal to raise more than a billion dollars each year in new revenue to fix Michigan’s deteriorating roads.

Auto analyst: pay hikes front and center for UAW

Dec 16, 2014

New contract bargaining between the United Auto Workers union and American automakers is scheduled for next year. Recently, we’ve been getting a clearer picture of the union’s priorities. UAW President Dennis Williams has indicated members want to eliminate a recently introduced  feature of the autoworker landscape:  “two-tier” wages and benefits.

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.

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Michigan’s long winter months can give anyone the blues, but it’s an especially dangerous time for the homeless. Hundreds of people in mid-Michigan live on the streets, and their circumstances are diverse. In Lansing, officials are so far pleased with the results of a pilot program to move 11 people out of a makeshift camp and into permanent housing.

MI manufacturing industry seeks to close skills gap

Nov 20, 2014
www.camw.org/

The Lansing area, like much of Michigan, has been shaped by manufacturing. But the industry has taken a beating in the past 13 years. The state has lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs since 2001. After years of cuts, though, the industry is starting to make a comeback here in mid-Michigan.

Courtesy © General Motors

Cadillac has unveiled the next model that General Motors will build in Lansing. GM is showing off the new ATS-V at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

Advocates say homelessness shouldn't be a crime

Nov 13, 2014
http://mihomeless.org/

A group of pastors and volunteers for a local non-profit in Ft. Lauderdale are facing jail time and hundreds of dollars in fine after a run-in with police last week. Their crime? Passing out food to the homeless in a city park. Advocates for the homeless says these kinds of ordinances are part of a larger trend of cities criminalizing the activities of homeless people. Here in Michigan, a number of cities have ordinances restricting vagrancy and panhandling.

Courtesy Parkbelt Drive residents

Back in August, we brought you the story of an online fundraising effort aimed at bringing in enough money to pay for the demolition of a single burned-out house in Flint. Gordon Young is a Flint expat and author of “Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City”. His idea was simple: while Flint has hundreds of abandoned homes, and some neighborhoods suffer mightily from such blight, he wanted to find a house that needed tearing down in an otherwise well maintained neighborhood, one where the demolition would improve the neighborhood’s chances of thriving into the future.

Flickr - Bernt Rostad

Last week, the Michigan Department of Transportation along with Indiana and Illinois presented a proposal for passenger rail improvements on the Detroit to Chicago line. When running on time, the "Wolverine Line" takes riders from the Motor City to the Windy City in about five and a half hours. New plans hope to cut travel time considerably, and increase ridership significantly.

What are the Lansing area’s future transportation needs? Three times this week, that’s been the topic of public forums in Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. The Tri County Regional Planning Commission is holding a fourth forum this evening in Lansing.

Pages