WKAR

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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In Michigan
1:47 am
Tue April 14, 2009

GI Bill provisions changing

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Michigan congressman Mike Rogers is alerting veterans that changes to the G-I Bill could help them or a family member get a college education.

The biggest change to the G-I Bill is this: if a veteran chooses not to use the education benefit, it can be transferred to a spouse or a child.

The change takes effect August first, in advance of fall classes at colleges and universities.

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In Michigan
9:34 am
Mon April 13, 2009

Granholm to sign unemployment benefits extension

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Governor Granholm is to sign legislation this morning that will extend unemployment payments for laid-off workers by seven weeks.

Michigan's jobless workers currently qualify for up to 18 months of benefits.

The federal stimulus package offers states with high unemployment rates more funds to extend those payments even further.

Michigan which has the nation's highest jobless rate - almost 12 percent.

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In Michigan
9:34 am
Mon April 13, 2009

State urges wildfire precautions

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - Michigan's spring wildfire season is arriving.

State forest officials say the greatest wildfire risk is usually between mid-April and Memorial Day.

Dead leaves, grass and sticks are drying out quickly.

New, more fire-resistant growth hasn't developed yet.

And as the weather improves, homeowners are cleaning yards and burning the waste.

Michigan DNR officials say stands of pine trees are most vulnerable to wildfires.

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In Michigan
6:15 am
Mon April 13, 2009

Republican lawmaker calls for 2-year budget

East Lansing, MI – Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
A Republican lawmaker says planning the state budget over a two year period instead of one could help reduce spending.

State Representative John Proos says the state doesn't give local governments enough time to evaluate programs, and to adjust their budgets when the state cuts spending.

Proos says he would like the state to adopt two-year budgets before the next governor takes office in 2011.

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In Michigan
6:07 am
Mon April 13, 2009

Governor signs jobless benefits extension

East Lansing, MI – Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
Governor Granholm has signed legislation that extends payments to unemployed workers by seven weeks.

This is the second time this year the payments have been extended.

The extension will allow some laid-off workers to collect benefits for up to 79 weeks.

That's almost 20 months.

State officials estimate as many as 200,000 people may qualify for extended unemployment benefits this year.

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In Michigan
2:27 am
Mon April 13, 2009

Frazz cartoonist talks about creating a character

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - VIDEO EXTRA - Cartoonist Jef Mallett, author of the syndicated comic strip, "Frazz," talks about creating a character.

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In Michigan
1:49 am
Mon April 13, 2009

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych dies at 54

In Michigan
1:48 am
Mon April 13, 2009

Stabenow says health reform proposal possible

Kalamazoo, MI – Kalamazoo, MI (MPRN) - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says she believes lawmakers could vote later this year on a health care reform proposal.

The Michigan Democrat was in Kalamazoo today to address the Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Stabenow says interest groups representing business, labor, consumer groups and the insurance industry are working together on changing the nation's health care system.

She says that shows that compromise on major issues is possible.

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In Michigan
9:45 am
Fri April 10, 2009

Two killed in Michigan community college shooting

Dearborn, MI – Dearborn, MI (AP)

Police say two people have been killed in what they believe was a murder-suicide at a community college in Dearborn.

Deputy Police Chief Gregg Brighton says Henry Ford Community College was locked down in the early Friday afternoon shortly after a 911 call came in of shots fired.

Officers responded after 12:30 p.m., set up a perimeter around the fine arts building and as officers entered they heard another gunshot.

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In Michigan
9:33 am
Fri April 10, 2009

Hoekstra calls for elimination of tax

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra says one of the state's three main taxes has to go.

He says he'd like to get rid of either the business tax, income tax or sales tax to fix Michigan's economy.

But he says he wouldn't eliminate a business tax in favor of a more complicated graduated income tax.

Hoekstra appeared on the Michigan public television show "Off The Record."

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In Michigan
9:32 am
Fri April 10, 2009

Cockrel appeals Cobo decision to state court

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel has asked the state Court of Appeals to clear the way for transferring the downtown Cobo Center from the city to a regional authority.

The mayor is embroiled in a fight with the city council, which is trying to block the deal. A judge in Detroit just upheld the council's position.

Council members say the city wasn't getting enough for giving up the convention center that is home to the North American International Auto Show.

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In Michigan
4:27 am
Fri April 10, 2009

MI gives more money in tax breaks than it takes in

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A new report shows Michigan gives more money away in tax breaks than it collects in revenue.

There's a $10 billion discrepancy between how much the state gives away, versus how much it brings in, according to the report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Sharon Parks is president of the Michigan League for Human Services.

She says state legislative committees need to discuss the costs and the benefits of the tax breaks being handed out.

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In Michigan
4:24 am
Fri April 10, 2009

Report: Warming hurts corn crop

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) - A new report says climate change is hurting Michigan corn farmers.

The study by the group Environment America says global warming is stunting corn growth.

And state environmentalists says that's costing Michigan farmers $32 million in lost crops.

Lucinda Hohman is with Environment Michigan.

She says there's no single solution.

But she says a first step would be to shift from burning coal to generate electricity to using wind and solar power.

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In Michigan
4:30 am
Thu April 9, 2009

Patterson drops out of Gov race

Ann Arbor, MI – Ann Arbor, MI (MPRN) - The 2010 race for Michigan governor is barely underway and a leading
candidate says he has decided not to run.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced Thursday that
he will sit out the race.

He says he can't set aside his responsibilities as county
executive to mount a statewide campaign.

Bill Ballenger is the editor of Inside Michigan Politics. He says Patterson was a definite contender for the GOP nomination.

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In Michigan
4:29 am
Thu April 9, 2009

Michigan sites, including EL, may bid for World Cup

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The organization governing soccer in the United States has invited three Michigan venues to express their level of interest in hosting potential World Cup matches.

U.S. soccer is bidding to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

U.S. Soccer included Ford Field in Detroit, Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, and Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor among 70 venues they would like to consider.

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In Michigan
4:18 am
Thu April 9, 2009

Lansing Council sets public hearing on ramp sale

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The Lansing City Council has set a public hearing on a proposal to sell a city parking ramp to Lansing Community College.

This is the second time the sale of the ramp has come before the council for a vote.

Last September the council rejected a plan to sell the North Capital Ramp to the college for $2.7 million.

Councilmember Eric Hewitt voted against the deal last year and says he'll vote against it again.

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In Michigan
4:11 am
Thu April 9, 2009

Burned Iraqi boy to receive surgery in Lansing

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (AP) - Burned Iraqi boy to receive surgery in Michigan
AP

A badly burned Iraqi boy has arrived in Lansing with the National Guard physician's assistant who brought him to Michigan for medical treatment.

Major David Howell and the 12-year-old, Mohammed, were honored Thursday with a welcome ceremony at the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The boy was an infant when he was badly burned along the left side of his face, head and body by an exploding oil lamp.

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In Michigan
11:23 am
Wed April 8, 2009

MSU Golfer To Play In The Masters

MSU golfer Jack Newman
Scott Pohl/WKAR

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (WKAR) - The Masters golf tournament tees off Thursday at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

One of the amateurs invited to play in the first major tournament of the year is Jack Newman, a junior on the Michigan State University golf team. It's the first time a golfer from MSU has qualified to play in the Masters.

WKAR's Scott Pohl reports.

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