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Wednesday, April 22,2015

It´s about Thyme

New grocery store highlights changing shopping desires

by Mickey Hirten
Long gone are the days when a grocery store was a simply a grocery store. At Meijer, for example, food is just part of the shopping experience. The same with Target and Walmart, which have embraced the food and everything else mission.
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Wednesday, April 8,2015

In the name of Schuette

AG furthers political ambition through courts

by Mickey Hirten
If you´re a citizen in Michigan there are lots of things you´re are against. At least in the courts. You oppose same-sex marriage. You want to gut the Affordable Care Act. You object to President Obama´s plan to temporarily defer the deportation of 5 million undocumented immigrants. Not on your agenda? It doesn´t matter. These are the positions advanced by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in federal courts. An MICKEY HIRTEN attorney general has wide latitude to pursue actions that advance a political agenda, and Schuette´s alignment with other Republican attorneys general does just that.
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Wednesday, April 1,2015

Knapp’s awakening

After a slow start, the Knapp’s Centre is filling up, LSJ a likely addition

by Mickey Hirten
The Knapp´s Centre in downtown Lansing is beginning to fill with tenants. The Eyde Co., which owns the building, has relocated its offices there. Technology services firm Dewpoint has already expanded once and plans to take more space. The Lansing State Journal is negotiating to relocate on the third floor. And 75 percent of the upper-level apartments are leased.
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Wednesday, March 25,2015

Flawed festival financials

Common-Ground-related revenues and expenses differ in LEPFA reports

by Mickey Hirten
Lansing´s Common Ground Festival is a self-promotion machine. We already know that Jane´s Addiction (soon to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Here Come The Mummies and Grammy-nominated Alien Ant Farm will headline this summer´s showcase. Festival organizers promote what they compute as the annual economic impact to the city — nearly $4 million.
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Wednesday, March 18,2015

Constitution protects speech and religion

Government can’t punish frat’s racist song; religious beliefs a more challenging issue

by Mickey Hirten
It is easy to applaud the penalties levied on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma after its members were recorded in a video singing a crude racist chant. The local SAE chapter was disbanded by the national organization, its frat house was closed and two students, labeled leaders, were expelled by University President David Boren.
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Wednesday, March 11,2015

When government takes a life

This story has been updated to correct an error.

by Mickey Hirten
Lansing's mayor wants a police policy governing the release of officers' names. Police departments, whatever their size, are at their core paramilitary organizations governed by rules and regulations, policies and procedures. As such, it would seem reasonable to assume when de...
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Wednesday, March 4,2015

Mixed match

Michigan Prop 1 road funding ballot language bundles and confuses

by Mickey Hirten
After reading — and very likely rereading — the constitutional ballot proposal that seeks a sales tax increase to repair Michigan´s crumbling and even dangerous roads, voters should be angry that a cowardly Legislature refused to act in their interest.
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Wednesday, February 18,2015

Open government

Leveling the price of the freedom of information

by Mickey Hirten
Starting this summer, most public bodies in Michigan will be somewhat more accountable, a bit more transparent, in allowing people to discover what they do and how they do it. The so-called Freedom of Information Act — so-called because it’s studded with exceptions and doesn´t apply to the legislature or courts — was modified during the just-ended legislative session to give people a bit more leverage to press government for information.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

One party payback

Republican legislative agenda:Radical to ridiculous to rational

by Mickey Hirten
The consequence of one-party government — that is Republican — in Michigan can be found in the 78-point grab bag of “action items” release by House members last week. As you would expect after years of inbreeding, what comes out of the Republican caucus can seem normal and reasonable … until it isn´t. Granted, it´s a political document that´s broad enough to cover the spectrum of Republican thinking. And there are, in fact, initiatives that are some worthy for all of Michigan. But not too many.
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Wednesday, February 4,2015

Surveying the BWL political wreckage

by Mickey Hirten
For a politician, it´s self-inflicted wounds that hurt the most. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero surely feels the pain after his failed bid to take control of the Lansing Board of Water & Light, the city´s semi-autonomous public utility. Bernero orchestrated the ouster of BWL’s general manager, J. Peter Lark, who resisted the mayor´s push to treat the utility like other city departments. Prodded by Bernero and increasingly dissatisfied with the general manager´s performance and attitude, five BWL commissioners voted to fire MICKEY HIRTEN Lark for still unspecified causes. Bernero hinted — broadly — at changes in the City Charter to curtail BWL oversight by the board.
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