Changing Gears is a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest. Each week, reporters Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland, Niala Boodhoo in Chicago and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor cover issues of interest to the Great Lakes region. Changing Gears also sponsors public events and conversations.
So, what now? Partner station Michigan Radio reports the review team that’s examining Detroit’s finances dodged a possible contempt-of-court charge by disbanding a sub-committee that met in private. A judge ruled the review team must hold its meetings in public. The review team has already found that Detroit will probably run out of cash by this summer.
Head Stop The federal government will stop sending $50 million a year to the city of Detroit to administer Head Start programs. The Detroit Free Press says the decision follows reports that city officials mishandled the money. Now, the government will try to find other organizations to run Head Start in the city.
Right to Work in court Opponents of Indiana’s new Right to Work law will get their day in court. Attempts to overturn Right to Work have failed in other states. But activists say Indiana’s law was passed in a hastily, and it contains provisions not found in other Right to Work laws. Both sides will make their case at a preliminary hearing on Monday.
Drilling down into the numbers A new study says shale gas and oil will add $5 billion to Ohio’s economy over the next two years. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the study was commissioned by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the Ohio Shale coalition. The study predicts the boom in shale drilling will happen about 10 times faster than previous studies predicted.
700 jobs short Google is celebrating its fifth birthday in Ann Arbor. When the company first opened its Ann Arbor office in 2006, it was huge news for the state. The company said it would hire 1,000 workers in the first five years. The actual number is closer to 300. (We tried asking Google: “Where are the rest of our jobs?” The search didn’t turn up anything useful.)
Natural gas extracted from shale rock, some say, is the most positive development in the nation’s energy outlook in 50 years. Ohio sits atop some of the largest deposits.
Big name oil and gas companies are flocking to the Buckeye State in a frenzy of preparation for “fracking” – that’s the innovative and controversial technology used to drill through and “fracture” the shale. It un-traps natural gas that lies within large layers of rock.
Ohio John Kasich is one of the industry’s biggest cheerleaders, saying it could be a real “game changer” for the state’s economy. This week he also said tough, new regulations are needed to make sure “fracking” doesn’t harm the environment. From our Changing Gears project, Mhari Saito and Dan Bobkoff have this overview on the new “natural gas economy.”