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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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Wednesday, June 3,2015

Lansingīs Bush bash

Former Florida governorīs approach out of step with Republican rivals

by Mickey Hirten
Jeb Bush visited Lansing last week, not yet an official candidate for president, but clearly running. In the crowded field of Republicans heīs a strong contender with name recognition (for good and bad), lots of money and experience. But heīs competing in a field that favors extremes, and at least from his appearance here, this isnīt him. He may simply operate too far outside the right-wing bubble to succeed in the bruising Republican primaries.
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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 cityīs 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 Lansingīs 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 Baltimoreīs poorest neighborhoods, this past weekendīs Preakness Stakes, the cityīs 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 Oriolesī 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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