Nov. 30, 2007 – Week 13
To: CNS Editors
From: Eric Freedman & Vic Rauch
CNS CORRESPONDENT RECOVERING: Correspondent Melanie Trusty is recovering
from a pre-Thanksgiving auto accident but will be returning to CNS in January.
LAST REGULAR FILE AHEAD: The last regular weekly file for 2008 will be Friday,
Dec. 7. As in the past, however, we will provide a bonus file on Friday, Dec. 14, of still-
timely stories you may not have had space for earlier this semester.
HERE’S YOUR FILE:
IDLEWILD: In the era of widespread segregation, Louis Armstrong, Joe Louis and Della
Reese all visited Michigan’s ―Black Eden.‖ Now the state is soliciting economic
development proposals to revitalize struggling Idlewild , the resort community that’s long
confronted hard times in one of the state’s most impoverished areas. Part of the goal is to
lure tourists who also will visit Traverse City, Cadillac and Baldwin. The Department of
History, Arts and Letters and Michigan Economic Development Corp. are leading the
effort. Partners include the state departments of Agricultural, Corrections, Natural
Resources, Environmental Quality, Transportation, Travel Michigan and the National
Park Service. By Andrew F. Mutavdzija. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LUDINGTON,
CADILLAC, LANSING, TRAVERSE CITY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, UP
NORTH & ALL POINTS.
DIRTYCOALPLANTS: Michigan is looking to increase its energy capacity, but the
challenge is reaching consensus on how to achieve that goal. Environmental groups argue
that the solution isn’t approving seven proposed new coal-fired electric plants in or near
Manistee Marquette, Rogers City, Alma, Bay City and Midland. The Michigan Municipal
Electric Association warns that alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power,
and improved energy efficiency won’t be enough. We also talk to union and industry
experts. By Crystal L. Burks. FOR MARQUETTE, ALPENA, LUDINGTON, GRAND
RAPIDS BUSINESS, CLARE & ALL POINTS.
FILMTALENT: Raising incentives for film production in Michigan could increase the
number of major motion pictures made in the state and provide opportunities for local
talent to be a part of the production process. Several blockbuster successes have been
filmed here, including ―Transformers,‖ Dreamgirls‖ and ―Road to Perdition,‖ but better
tax breaks could lure more projects. A Grand Rapids wardrobe designer says that would
also provide jobs for members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage
Employees, including carpenters and lighting designers. And a Livonia prop-builder says
local talent is less costly but just as skilled as their New York and Los Angeles
counterparts. By Hayley Outslay. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING,
OAKLAND, HOLLAND, MICHIGAN CITIZEN & ALL POINTS.
MEDICAIDACCESS: Michigan’s Medicaid rolls are rising, but the proportion of
physicians and dentists willing to participate in the program is shrinking. The reason: The
Legislature has cut reimbursement rates, meaning health care providers lose money on
every Medicaid patient. An Ann Arbor woman recalls her long, painful wait for root
canals and the resulting $1,700 debt.. Midland County has only one dental clinic that
accepts Medicaid. The state Medical Society, Dental Association, League for Human
Services and Community Health Department discuss the situation. Sixty-one counties
participate or will soon join the Healthy Kids Dental program; nonparticipants include
Grand Traverse, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Mason, Ottawa and Berrien. By Jeff Riley
Jr. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, OAKLAND, ROMEO, MACOMB, TRAVERSE CITY,
LUDINGTON, HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
UNITEDWAY: The Gladwin County United Way’s annual fundraising drive is
struggling. It’s only about one-quarter of the way toward its $125,000 goal, a shortfall
blamed on high unemployment, housing foreclosures and an overall poor local economy.
That means less money for such human services charities as the Literacy Council of
Gladwin and Clare Counties, Red Cross and Salvation Army. We also talk with the
Midland-Gladwin Red Cross chapter about the impact. Meanwhile, it’s tough going in
other parts of the state as well, although the Capital Area United Way, which serves three
Lansing-area counties, expects to meet its target. By Hayley Outslay. FOR GLADWIN,
CLARE, LANSING & ALL POINTS.
CHARTERSCHOOLSSCORES: Officials at universities that issue charters to quasi-
public academies say MEAP scores are improving and often surpass scores for children
in local public schools. We talk to officials at Grand Valley State and Central Michigan
universities and hear about MEAP scores of students attending charters in Kentwood and
Lansing. By Crystal L. Burks,. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LANSING, GREENVILLE,
HOLLAND & ALL POINTS.
BINGEDRINKING: It’s no secret that many college students drink – a lot. But is binge
drinking just harmless fun, or is it a hidden problem that’s brushed aside as mere youthful
indiscretion? A Wayne State psychiatry professor warns of its hazards – including death.
Grand Valley and Michigan State are among the colleges with programs to educate their
students about the risks. Fatalities include students at MSU, Ferris State and Ball State.
By Gregory Herbert. FOR LANSING, HOLLAND, GREENVILLE, OAKLAND,
MACOMB, MICHIGAN CITIZEN, LUDINGTON, MONROE & ALL POINTS.
ROCKBOTTOM: How low has Michigan gone? And who’s to blame? With the nation’s
highest unemployment rate and a legislature unable to balance the state’s budget in time
to prevent a government shutdown, Michigan residents are voicing their disdain for a
government that some experts call ―dysfunctional.‖ We interview the editor of Inside
Michigan Politics, a Michigan State University economist and two longtime political
analysts on the state of state. By Tim Alberta. FOR LANSING & ALL POINTS.
MORTGAGESUMMARY: Buyers who get more information in advance about their
mortgage obligations, including interest rates and length of loans, may be less likely to
lose their homes in foreclosure, say advocates of legislation to require easy-to-understand
summary sheets from lenders. The measure, drafted by a Detroit senator, has co-sponsors
from Warren, Monroe, Algonac, Novi and Highland Park, among other places.
Meanwhile, the state attorney general is hosting a Dec. 13 public forum in Detroit to
help homeowners avoid foreclosure. By Jeff Riley Jr. FOR MICHIGAN CITIZEN,
GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, OAKLAND, LAPEER, MONROE & ALL POINTS.
SMOKEDOUT: When it comes to controlling smoking in restaurants, a Traverse City
lawmaker prefers the carrot—property tax breaks—to the stick—a mandatory ban. But
the American Lung Association insists the risk to patrons and employees from
secondhand smoke is serious enough to justify a state-imposed smoking ban in
restaurants. Co-sponsoring senators are from Howell, Monroe, Richmond Township
and Bay City. By Tim Alberta. FOR TRAVERSE CITY, PETOSKEY, UP NORTH,
MACOMB, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING, MONROE, BAD AXE & ALL
WILDLIFE: Major Michigan companies including DTE, Ford, GM and Consumers
Energy, participate in a Wildlife Habitat Council program that encourages businesses to
become eco-friendly. For example, an employee Green Team at DTE’s St. Clair Power
Plant in East China Township identifies and implements projects on the plant’s 1,700-
acre property. But national certification doesn’t guarantee a pure-green record, as shown
by a pending lawsuit in Canada alleging DTE is polluting the St. Clair River with
mercury. By Andrew F. Mutavdzija. FOR MACOMB, OAKLAND, MONROE.
MICHIGAN CITIZEN, ROMEO, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS & ALL POINTS.