The $3 billion fish What’s the best way to keep invasive Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes and terrorizing the sport fishing industry? A new report says Lake Michigan should be disconnected from the Mississippi River. The two water bodies have no natural connection, but they’ve been connected by a series of man-made canals. Problem is, undoing that work will cost at least $3 billion.
Plans for the Pier Chicago’s Navy Pier is planning an $85 million face-lift. The Chicago Tribune has a look at five ambitious plans for the pier. One official admits to the paper that all the plans would exceed the budget for the project. But he’s hoping to generate enthusiasm for the Pier – and maybe some donations.
Streetcars in Milwaukee A plan to put streetcars in downtown Milwaukee moved one step forward yesterday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that federal regulators say the plan will have no negative environmental impact. The question of paying for the rail line is more complicated.
Homeless, not hopeless The number of homeless children in Ohio has nearly doubled since 2006. Partner station ideastream Cleveland has a look at one program trying to keep those kids in school.
A visit from the Veep Less than a week after President Obama visited Ann Arbor, Mich., Vice President Biden will be in the Mitten State for a speech in Grand Rapids on Wednesday. Partner station Michigan Radio has the details.
Three stories making news across the Midwest today:
1. Wisconsin shipbuilder adds jobs. A northeast Wisconsin shipbuilder plans to double its workforce over the next 18 months after winning a contract with the U.S. Navy, according to our partner station WBEZ. Marinette Marine, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, will add 1,100 more employees as it builds 10 new ships under a contract for approximately $4 billion. “Seven hundred of those are hourly wage earners,” says company president Charles Goddard. “They’re union employees. They’re steel-fitters. They’re welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, they’re painters.” The ships, called Littoral Combat Ships, mark a new direction for the Navy toward smaller vessels able to navigate in shallow water.
2. Indiana will consider right-to-work law. State Republican leaders will attempt to turn Indiana into a right-to-work state during the upcoming legislative session. “I do expect an intense debate,” GOP House Speaker Brian Bosma told our partner station WBEZ. Republicans say the legislation would set Indiana on more competitive footing in enticing businesses to relocate. Such right-to-work legislation would end requirements that force workers to join unions or pay dues as a condition of employment, according to the station. Democrats fought similar legislation during the last legislative session, and dispute that there would be economic benefits. “House minority leader Patrick Bauer said, “This could be the eventual decline and fall of Indiana being an economic, viable state.”
3. Kasich touts Ohio job gains. In the past week, Gov. John Kasich has announced the arrival of more than 1,700 new jobs at three locations across Ohio. On Monday, he was on hand as material-handler Intelligrated announced it would add 200 technical and engineering jobs over three years in suburban Cincinnati. It was the third such announcement Kasich had attended this week, seemingly marking a shift in his strategy since SB5 was repealed by voters, says The Columbus Dispatch. “What that illustrates is that we’re starting to get our act together in the state of Ohio,” Kasich told the newspaper. “We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re answering the bell.”
Three must-read stories about the Midwest economy.
Obama in Western Michigan: President Obama visits Holland, Mich., today to tour a Johnson Controls plant that produces lithium-ion batteries, and discuss advanced auto industry technology. It’s his seventh visit to Michigan since taking office, and second talk about fuel economy this week.
But some critics say he should be keeping his focus on jobs. Our Changing Gears partner Michigan Radio has a roundup of the discussion of the President’s trip to western Michigan, including a commentary from the Grand Rapids Press. It asks whether incentives to fund future techology are really worth the money, given what’s happening with the economy.
Lake Michigan Only Gets A Passing Grade: Illinois Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk gives Lake Michigan a “C” when it comes to cleanliness and other environmental concerns, reports our partner station WBEZ in Chicago.
Kirk, who co-chairs the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, said water levels are decreasing, so he wants to pass a bill that would maintain and dredge harbors. (Changing Gears’ Kate Davidson reported on Great Lakes dredging earlier this summer.) He also called for increased voltage at electric barriers to keep out Asian carp, and a ban on sewage dumping in the Great Lakes.
More Jeep Jobs in Toledo? The Toledo Blade is reporting that Chrysler will invest up to $365 million and add another shift of 1,100 workers at its Jeep plant there. The deal depends on an incentive package from Ohio, which state officials have yet to approve.