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Wednesday, January 14,2015

Bye, bye, City Market

The time has come to get Lansing government out of that business

by Mickey Hirten
Isnīt it finally time for Lansing to close its struggling City Market? It hasnīt worked and will not work. The city needs to cut its losses and move on. Thereīs an alternative. The city should develop a weekly farmers market in its underused Lansing Center. The long concourse, fronting Michigan Avenue, is an ideal location. More on this later.
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Wednesday, January 14,2015

Briefly

by Mickey Hirten
General Motors introduced its new Lansing-built Cadillac CTS-V at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With a 640 hoursepower engine, the CTS-V has been called the most powerful Cadillac ever built. ... There is a new manager for GMīs Lansing operations. Mike Trevorrow, ...
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Wednesday, January 7,2015

Lows and highs

Legislature punts on roads and funding

by Mickey Hirten
As legislators prepare for their mid-January return to the Capitol — the Republicans empowered and the Democrats weakened — itīs worth remembering the just-ended lame duck session: What the old Legislature did and what it didnīt do. It can stumble either way, and when it comes to hard choices and leadership — that is, fixing our roads — it did both.
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Tuesday, December 23,2014

About time

Antiquated political opposition to relations with Cuba predictable

by Mickey Hirten
In a more rational world, the U.S embargo of Cuba, modified last week by President Obama, would have ended generations ago. Certainly, it was what the Cuban people hoped for in 1978. President Jimmy Carter, sensing the futility and ineffectiveness of U.S. policy, pried open the Kennedy-era boycott door ever so slightly. I slipped through as a reporter to cover a trade mission from Baltimore and other east coast cities.
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Wednesday, December 17,2014

Arrests and searches

Blacks and Hispanics caught up in traffic stops

by Mickey Hirten
In a recent column on race relations and policing, I recounted statistics on traffic stops by the Lansing Police Department that could have suggested profiling. Itīs a subject worth exploring in greater detail, and because Lansing keeps detailed statistics on traffic stops, information that includes tracking race, age, outcomes and more.
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Wednesday, December 10,2014

Free speech and terrorism

MSU case raises questions about Michigan’s post 9/11 laws

by Mickey Hirten
Michigan State University student Michael Matthew Mullen, arrested last month for allegedly threatening to shoot up a school, is charged with terrorism. In a post on the social media site Yik Yak in November, Mullen supposedly wrote, "I'm gonna (gun symbol) the school at 12:15 p.m. today.” There are enough school shootings, enough mentally ill, chronically angry, psychotic people with guns that police acted swiftly to apprehend Mullen. But terrorism?
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Tuesday, December 9,2014

BWL the polluter

BWL’s poor responses to the ice storm and a plant accident may be forgivable, but failing to abate mercury pollution is another matter entirely

by Mickey Hirten
You have to wonder sometimes how the people who run Lansing Board of Water and Light sleep at night. We learned last week that the utilityīs Erickson plant installed equipment in 2007 that would drastically reduce the amount of toxic mercury is spews out over Lansing and nearby communities. But it hasnīt turned it on to save money and, well, because it didnīt have to.
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Wednesday, December 3,2014

Racial divide

Mid Michigan’s arrest numbers suggest all is not well

by Mickey Hirten
White people like me often look at racial progress in America as significant and sustainable. But as we confront what has happened, and is still happening, in Ferguson, that sense of progress isnīt how America looks if you are black. President Obama, ever cautious dealing with racial issues, acknowledged a problem that is not unique to St. Louis during a White House meeting on Monday, noting a “simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color.”
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Wednesday, November 26,2014

Thanksgiving

Itīs about the mall, not the meal

by Mickey Hirten
For many of us Thanksgiving has timeless qualities. It is our national ritual: family, turkey, football ... and shopping. This most American of holidays is becoming this most American of past times — shopping. Whether you find it appalling — which I do — or feel that itīs an ideal way to kick start the holiday season, hour by hour each year, commerce is overtaking consumption.
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Wednesday, November 19,2014

Keeping it real

Mid-term election voters couldn’t relate and Dems ignored their base

by Mickey Hirten
With the election season just a bad memory I had resolved to move on. Honest. That was until last weekīs Capitol Issues Forum and a talk with polling guru Ed Sarpolis, who served up answers to questions I hadnīt even considered. It was, after all, an odd election: A convincing sweep by Republicans, except for the U.S. Senate; a beatable incumbent governor who won; and lackluster campaigns.
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