Decision day A state-appointed review team that’s been looking into Detroit’s finances will have to make a recommendation today. The Detroit News reports officials were working over the weekend to try to reach a deal that would avoid placing an emergency manager in the city.
Not the biggest race in town Wisconsin is the next state in the spotlight for the GOP presidential primary, but are people in Wisconsin really fired up? Reporters for the Gannett news service find that donations to presidential candidates dropped 50 percent this year in Wisconsin, compared to the last presidential race. One possible reason is that people are spending a lot more on statewide races.
Revisiting re-shoring The Chicago Tribune finds more evidence that some manufacturing that used to be done in China is coming back to the U.S.
Your dinner is an invasive species The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is expanding its effort to stop invasive species, and some people are not happy. The DNR now wants farmers to stop raising certain kinds of pigs. One farmer in Indiana says he’s worried the law could spread to his state.
The boomers are all right The Columbus Dispatch is running a series on how the recession has changed expectations for Ohio baby boomers. One result: there’s a baby boomer boom in college enrollment.
It’s a mess, basically Efforts to avoid a financial meltdown in the city of Detroit are turning into a confusing legal situation. Partner station Michigan Radio reports a judge says the state can’t enter into its proposed consent agreement with the city until he decides whether the state’s review team broke open meetings laws. And there’s some disagreement over when the actual deadline is to reach a deal.
Wasteland BusinessWeek reports on how Ohio has become a dumping ground for the chemical-laced wastewater brine that’s a byproduct of new natural gas drilling in the U.S. BusinessWeek says Ohio has 176 storage wells for the “fracking” fluids. In comparison, Pennsylvania has just six such wells.
Romney is helping business The Toledo Blade reports on how an Ohio company has benefited from a political gaffe. Ohio Art Co., the maker of Etch-A-Sketch, has seen its stock more than double since a Mitt Romney aide referenced the toy in an interview on CNN. The statement has turned into one of the biggest gaffes of the GOP primary, but Ohio Art Co. isn’t complaining. Sales of Etch-A-Sketch toys are on the rise, and company executives are trying to manage requests for media interviews.
O-H-I Am Pandering President Obama visited Ohio State University yesterday. He promised to increase drilling in the United States, but he says he draws the line at drilling in Ohio Stadium. The President also made some hand signs that won’t play well in Ann Arbor.
Hogan out Partner station WBEZ reports on the resignation of University of Illinois president Michael Hogan.
Chicago secession? A landfill operator is trying to secede his 86 acres of property from the city of Chicago, and join the suburb of Dolton. The move is an attempt to get around the city’s ban on landfills.
Emergency manager out, for now The mayor and city council are back in charge in the city of Flint, and the state-appointed emergency manager is out. A judge ruled the panel that reviewed Flint’s finances violated open meetings laws. It’s the latest setback for governor Snyder’s emergency manager law. Partner station Michigan Radio reports the governor will appeal the ruling to a higher court.
Mitt’s win Mitt Romney had a convincing win in the Illinois primary yesterday, but voter turnout in the state was the lowest it’s been in decades.
Can’t stop Smith A Democratic state lawmaker in Illinois overwhelmingly won his primary race yesterday, despite being charged last week with accepting a bribe.
Europe is so in Illinois governor Pat Quinn is heading to Belgium. That makes two Midwest governors in Europe this week.
Just plane sad The Ohio National Guard is making its case to try to save its fleet of C-27J cargo planes. Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports that nearly 800 jobs will be lost if the plane is discontinued as planned.
Downtown Detroit. Credit: David Tansey.
Over the past week, “consent agreement” became the two most important words in the city of Detroit.
Michigan governor Rick Snyder offered a proposed “consent agreement” as a way to avoid appointing an emergency manager for the city. We did our best to explain the proposal last week, and our partners at Michigan Radio have had extensive coverage.
But the governor’s consent agreement is a long and sometimes confusing legal document. The folks at Code for America seem to have found a unique way of breaking it down. They’ve published the entire proposed agreement to detroitagreement.digress.it, and opened it up so people can comment on each individual paragraph.
So far, commenting has been light, but plenty of people have questions about how certain sections of the agreement will be interpreted.
We talked to Matt Hampel, who created the website as part of his fellowship for Code for America. He and two other fellows are working with the city of Detroit on web-based apps to help the city. Hampel says the consent agreement site is kind of a side project, but the Code for America Team will have new web projects coming out over the next few months.
“We’re looking at issues of transit information, and we’re looking at building some tools around community mapping … We wanted to build online tools that make it easy to collect information about your neighborhood.”
Hampel says he also plans to follow up on the consent agreement site, as new proposals are released. You can find updates at codeforamerica.org/detroit.
Gassed up Ohio will get a new $900 million natural gas processing plant, as the state’s boom in shale-gas drilling continues.
You’re next, Illinois Mitt Romney’s poor showing in Alabama and Missisippi seems to have heightened the importance of next week’s primary in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports the Romney campaign just bought another $1.35 million in ads in the Chicago market.
Politics behind consent Yesterday was a big day in the city of Detroit, as Michigan governor Rick Snyder released a proposed consent agreement to handle the city’s budget crisis. Partner station Michigan Radio takes a look at the politics behind the proposal.
Mining a new strategy Even though a controversial piece of legislation to allow mining in northern Wisconsin failed to get enough votes, and the company that wanted the mine has pulled out, some state Republicans are still fighting for the cause.
Ohio gets the bronze The Labor Department reports that Ohio had the third-largest increase in jobs in January. Only New York and Texas saw more jobs created in the first month of the year.
Camera-ready Partner station WBEZ looks into Chicago’s volatile, but growing film industry.
Detroit is running out of money, and now it’s time for drastic action.
Officially, leaders expect they’ll be out of cash by the end of June. For the past few months, a review team has been looking at the city’s finances to determine whether the state should appoint an emergency manager in Detroit.
Today, Michigan’s governor hinted strongly that there’s enough of a problem for him to appoint an emergency manager.
But, in an effort to preserve some local control, and avoid a political showdown in the state’s largest city, Snyder has instead offered a “consent agreement” to Detroit leaders.
They’ll stay in power, in return for a state role in the oversight of financial matters.
The agreement was presented to Detroit’s city council this morning, and the city has until March 28 to respond. If it’s approved, the document could change Detroit for years to come.
Decision time in Detroit Today, MIchigan Governor Rick Snyder is expected to announce the details of a new consent agreement with the city of Detroit. Partner station Michigan Radio says the agreement would give broad, budget-cutting powers to the city’s elected officials, without appointing an emergency manager. Without drastic cuts, leaders are worried Detroit could run out of cash by this summer.
A deal gone sour The executive of Cuyahoga County is looking into a possible lawsuit over a land deal that cost the county $45 million. Some of the people involved in the deal have been convicted of corruption.
We’re number 9! A new ranking puts Chicago ninth among the world’s most competitive cities. Chicago ranked behind cities including New York, London, Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong. It ranked just ahead of Boston, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A tale of two legislatures The Wisconsin state legislature is wrapping up its current session, and the two pieces of legislation that were the top priorities for Republicans at the start of the year aren’t getting done. Indiana lawmakers are also wrapping up their current session. The state’s Republican leaders had a little more success, reports partner station WBEZ.
Confirmed culprit State regulators in Ohio concluded on Friday that earthquakes near Youngstown were almost certainly caused by a waste-water well drilled by the natural gas industry. Partner station WCPN Ideastream reports the regulators announced new rules on future wells to hold the waste from fracking.
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.
Read all about it The Chicago Reader is up for sale, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
The elevated park A proposal would turn an unused 2.7 mile stretch of Chicago’s elevated rail line into a public park.
New high (tech) schools Five giants of the tech world are teaming up to open six new high schools in Chicago. Students at the high schools will stay for six years, and leave with an associates degree in a high tech field.
Jet jobs Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says the state could lose 600 jobs if the Air Force moves its A-10 fighter planes away from the Selfridge Air National Guard base.
Signature move Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law say they have enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot, and let voters decide whether the law should stand. Partner station Michigan Radio reports the signatures will be turned in today for certification.
Mine on the mind Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is hitting the road to help promote a controversial mining bill. The bill would open up a new mine in northern Wisconsin. The bill passed the state Assembly, but it now appears to be headed for a close vote in the Senate.
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.
Collared The Presidential candidates are all out talking about creating more manufacturing jobs. The National Journal looks at what that’ll take. The magazine says we’ll need more blue-collar workers with white-collar training.
Detroit’s ticking clock Detroit leaders have been furiously trying to cut costs to avoid being taken over by an emergency manager. But the Detroit News says the city is still dangerously low on cash, and could run out of money by April.
Pension predicament The new tax on worker pensions in MIchigan is either confusing people, or angering them, according to the Detroit News. The pension tax was created last year to offset a reduction in Michigan’s business tax. The change took effect in January.
Broadband dreams Wisconsin ranks 43rd in the nation for access to high-speed broadband internet.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at how to change that, and finds Chattanooga, Tenn. may be the model to follow.
Guardian angels Crain’s Chicago Business says angel investors are focused in on Chicago tech companies, hoping to find the next Groupon.
This is a new one In an interview with the Associated Press, Ford chairman Bill Ford Jr. says he’s worried about selling too many vehicles.