Midwest Memo: Thursday, April 21, 2011

The cost of gasoline in Chicago as of April 21, 2011. Photo by Micki Maynard.


If you need gas for the Easter holiday, you might want to fuel up now, because prices are supposed to go even higher. The average gas price in Michigan is expected to jump between $4.05 and $4.15 a gallon. As you can see from this picture, gas prices in Chicago are well passed the $4.00 a gallon mark.

Check out how much gas prices have gone up in the last month in the region:


Michigan Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by GasBuddy.com

Michigan teachers who go on strike could have their teaching licenses revoked for up to two years. That’s if a bill considered by the Michigan House Education Committee on Wednesday becomes law. Teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan, but there have been instances in which unions have walked out. Republicans say there need to be strong punishments in order to prevent teachers from striking, but Democrats say this proposal is too harsh.

It turns out that the vast majority of the 64,000 Michigan residents who use medical marijuana use it for aches and pains instead of ailments like Alzheimer’s or glaucoma. According to the Detroit Free Press, 45,000 of those patients got their prescriptions from just 55 doctors from a total of more than 2,000 doctors who wrote any medical marijuana prescriptions. Michigan’s medical marijuana law was passed in 2008.

Earlier this week Standard & Poor’s came out with an unusually grim outlook for the U.S. economy. The credit rating company says the U.S. does not have a good enough plan to address its rapidly mounting deficit. That meant a dip in stocks, and a poor outlook for America’s future borrowing. WBEZ’s Eight Forty-Eight took a look at what all this means.

Scalping tickets is nothing new, but now Ticketmaster is getting on board with the organizations re-selling concert tickets. The ticket giant is introducing variable pricing later this year. That means if a concert is really popular and looks like it’s selling out fast, ticket prices may go up. But if ticket sales for a concert are lingering and it looks like there are a lot of empty seats and you love the obscure band playing that particular concert, you may be in luck as ticket prices drop.

Illinois house shoppers could be getting a free new car with that hefty new purchase. The offer to give away up to ten 2011 Chevy Cruzes (worth $17,000) or comparable upgrades from Sunset Ridge Estates in Antioch, Richmond, and Spring Grove is intended to overcome the weak housing market.

Looking for a job in Ohio? Your best bet might be in the tech industry. According to dice.com, a website dedicated to IT job openings, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus saw some of the highest percentage of increases in IT job postings on their website. WCPN’s Bill Rice points out that a percentage increase is not the same as having the most job openings.

Banks aren’t terribly popular these days, but some Midwesterners say their favorite bank is First Merit, based in Akron, Ohio. It has the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the area. In Cleveland, Huntington Bank took that honor, beating out Charter One, Chase, and PNC. That’s according to analysis by J.D. Power and Associates. 

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