Midwest Memo: Monday, April 25, 2011

China is investing a lot into its electric car market. Photo courtesy of Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio.

China isn’t ready to infringe on America’s growing electric car industry – yet. According to a new study by the management consulting firm PRTM, there are several hurdles ahead for China, such as the high cost of shipping heavy electric car parts. Still, China has already spent five times more than the U.S. on their electric car industry.

Michigan may be nearing a budget deal. Lawmakers drafted an early version of the state budget this weekend that included language limiting embryonic stem cell research and state universities. Governor Rick Snyder supports embryonic stem cell research, and Michiganders recently voted in support of it too.

Detroit has been called a “food desert,” a city with few healthy food options because of a lack of grocery stores. But one group, the “Green Grocer Project,” is trying to change that by working with the grocery stores that do exist in the city (about 80) to offer healthier options.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are rarely seen in food deserts, even in existing grocery stores. Photo by Katyee Riek via Flickr.

Northeast Ohioans may have a new bill to pay from the Regional Sewer District. A Cuyahoga County Judge recently ruled that the sewer district does have the right to impose fees on users to upgrade its storm water management system. That fee will cost homeowners an average of $57 annually, but could turn into thousands of dollars for businesses and school districts.

Ohio’s plan to privatize five state prisons has a lot of people worrying about how well inmates can be reformed under private operators. Supporters of the plan say they will closely watch the companies that take over control of the state prisons to make sure they run the institutions the way the state wants.

Almost a dozen films will be shooting in Ohio over the next few years. State tourism director Amir Eylon explained to Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles why studios are choosing Ohio over other states. A lot of it, unsurprisingly, has to do with 4.7 million dollars worth of tax credits.

Gary, Indiana will once again start collecting revenue from the Majestic I and II riverboat casino’s floating on the shores of Lake Michigan. That’s good news for the cash-strapped city. The casinos’ owner, Don Barden, had stopped paying the city his dues for a while, but thanks to a new agreement payments are resuming.

For the first time ever Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, will give a live press conference. The Fed is responsible for setting interest rates and regulating the U.S.’s cash supply, but it’s often unclear to the general public what really happens at board meetings. WBEZ spoke to economics professor and former Federal Reserve Board member Randall Kroszner for a little insight.

 

 

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