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Wednesday, August 26,2015

It ain't pretty

Mid-Michigan lagging far behind in natural amenities

by Mickey Hirten
    Other than copywriters in the “Pure Michigan” spin shop, no one familiar with Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties would rate them high on “natural amenities.” But who knew that they were among the least attractive counties in the country? Th...
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Wednesday, August 19,2015

Up close and personal

American Community Survey may be intrusive, but it's necessary

by Mickey Hirten
The letter arrived at our home a few weeks ago from the United States Department of Commerce. My family had been chosen, actually required by federal law, to complete the American Community Survey. At least it wasn't from the IRS. About 3.5 million Americans get similar notices each ...
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Wednesday, August 12,2015

The compensation gap

A local preview of the SEC-ordered CEO-to-worker ratio

by Mickey Hirten
In an era where pay to workers has hardly budged, the compensation paid to chief executives has soared. CEOs in 1965 earned about 20 times the typical worker. By 2013 CEOS earned about 300 times that amount, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal leaning advocacy group. ...
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Wednesday, August 5,2015

Nature knows best

Chronic Wasting Disease could thin deer herd

by Mickey Hirten
The warnings began in May: “State confirms first case of wasting disease in wild deer.” And where was ground zero for this news? Suburban Meridian Township of all places. What followed the announcement were grim updates on the disease. Just last week a second deer in Meridian tested positive prompting the rallying call for more hunting. Thatīs right. To save deer we need to kill them.
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Wednesday, July 22,2015

Slanted survey

Union poll on BWL a scare tactic

by Mickey Hirten
At some point, when Lansing looks at the costs and benefits of selling the Board of Water & Light, it will need a survey assessing peopleīs feelings. But the poll released last week by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers isnīt it. Rather, it was a political warnin...
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Wednesday, July 8,2015

On their own

Gannettīs newspapers, LSJ included, cut loose

by Mickey Hirten
It happened without fanfare or public notice, but last week was significant in more than 100 communities, five of them in Michigan, most notably here in Lansing. The ownership of their newspapers shifted to a new company with an old name: Gannett. It owns the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press, USA TO- DAY, newspapers in 33 states, Guam and in England. And as of last Monday, itīs on its own. The old Gannett was a combination of newspapers and television stations. TV was the cash cow; print was the dead weight. Management gambled that separating the two very different businesses would increase the value to shareholders, so it did what other large newspaper/television companies have done —divorce.
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Wednesday, July 1,2015

Supreme Court rulings

Schuette shot down on health, marriage decisions

by Mickey Hirten
Any way you look at it, last week was a professional smackdown for Michiganīs attorney general, Bill Schuette. To be sure, many Republicans were disappointed, some bitterly so, by the U.S. Supreme Courtīs decisions upholding the essence of the Affordable Care Act and the ruling allowing same-sex marriage in all states. But few on the losing end of the two decisions were as vested in both cases as Schuette.
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Wednesday, June 24,2015

Mike Rogers Inc.

Former congressman taps into a lucrative life

by Mickey Hirten
So whatīs been happening with Mike Rogers since he left Congress in January? Heīs gone into business. What business? Mike Rogers Inc. And it seems to be doing very well. He has founded an institute that promotes national security. He is an executive producer and the host of an ei...
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Wednesday, June 17,2015

‘The issue is solvency’

County officials concerned about Lansing Township finances

by Mickey Hirten
Itīs been a long and bitter battle between Ingham County and Lansing Township, but the $12 million construction project to address flooding in neighborhoods and at business in and around Wood Street and Lake Lansing Road should begin this summer.
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Wednesday, June 10,2015

Flint and the faithful

Diocese of Lansing asks for help for struggling city

by Mickey Hirten
That many of Michiganīs cities are struggling is well known. Detroit is the nationīs poster child for a city in decline. On the west side of the state, Benton Harbor is near collapse. The state imposed emergency managers on Pontiac and Highland Park. But what I didnīt realize was the...
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