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Wednesday, May 27,2015

Right step

Selling BWL would resolve many problems

by Mickey Hirten
That Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will consider selling the city´s electric utility is encouraging, if somewhat wrong footed. Bernero finally acknowledges that BWL is a valuable and vulnerable asset. If the city were to face bankruptcy — implausible, but hardly impossible — a court could order it sold to pay off Lansing´s creditors. Shedding BWL could be a sound defensive strategy, but there is a more pressing and by now obvious reason to sell.
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Wednesday, May 20,2015

Two different cities

Disparity stark in Baltimore’s side-by-side neighborhoods

by Mickey Hirten
Just three weeks after rioting in some of Baltimore´s poorest neighborhoods, this past weekend´s Preakness Stakes, the city´s premier sporting event, happened without incident. I was there and as in years past, it was normal for the 2015 Triple Crown race. Baltimore is two very different cities, particularly three weeks ago. They intersect at events like the Preakness or Orioles´ games at Camden Yards, but only briefly.
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Wednesday, May 13,2015

Market makeover

Survey offers city suggestions to improve its ailing waterfront facility

by Mickey Hirten
Armed with the results from the survey it conducted this winter, Lansing is weighing a series of initiatives to reposition the struggling City Market.
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Wednesday, May 13,2015

High road on potholes

Foolishness over, pols need to step up

by Mickey Hirten
Last week´s resounding defeat of the bloated Proposal 1 constitutional amendment puts funding for repairs of Michigan´s crumbling roads back where it belongs, in the state Legislature. It won´t be easy for lawmakers to hide from the real cost this time around, which is how it should be. And it´s unlikely the House, Senate and Governor´s Office can cobble together a plan to address decades of road repair neglect with budget gimmicks. They will need to make hard money decisions.
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Wednesday, May 6,2015

High time for change

Michigan can take some pot lessons from California

by Mickey Hirten
In Sacramento, California´s capital, marijuana is marketed as openly as in the two states that have legalized cannabis.
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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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