Battle Creek

Arts & Culture
4:16 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Tower without power now has power again

Battle Creek's Heritage Tower
(Courtesy of Skyscraperpage.com)

Update 4:15pm

The power is back on at Battle Creek's Heritage Tower. 

Consumer Energy shut off electricity to the building due to a dispute with the 80 year old building's owner. 

The power outage affected wireless and 911 service in part of Battle Creek.   

The utility issued a statement after restoring power to the tower:

"Consumers Energy understands how important it is to the city of Battle Creek to have a fully functioning 911 system and cellular telephone service. Finding a solution to this issue was a priority for us, and we worked closely with the local officials and many others to find this temporary solution."

 

Original Post   4:48pm

A power outage this week could force the last tenants out of Battle Creek’s Heritage Tower. The owner apparently failed to pay the building’s utility bill.  

The 80 -year-old Heritage Tower is acknowledged as an Art Deco gem. But in recent years, various problems have left the 19-story building largely vacant.

Cheryl Beard is with Battle Creek Unlimited. She says the economic development group is willing to work with the owner to help bring the city’s iconic downtown tower back to life.

“If the owner is interested in selling…maybe we look for parties that are interested in acquiring it. If that’s what they desire,” says Beard, “Or with coming up with a plan for redevelopment and searching for tenants.”

Efforts to contact the Florida business that owns the Heritage Tower have been unsuccessful.

Economy
9:53 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Pentagon plan will cut deep into the Michigan Air National Guard

A Pentagon report says planned Air National Guard cuts would eliminate about 850 jobs at Michigan's Selfridge and Kellogg bases, drawing criticism from Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin and others from the state's congressional delegation.

The Detroit News quotes an Air Force report saying Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Macomb County's Harrison Township would lose 724 jobs with the relocation A-10 fighters.

It says Kellogg Air Guard Station in Battle Creek would lose a net 122 jobs.

Democrat Levin says he's asked the military to give him "the methodology and justification for these plans." He says he'll question the Air Force secretary and chief of staff in committee March 20.

Harrison Township Republican Rep. Candice Miller calls the cuts "a step in the wrong direction."

Economy
10:04 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Michigan's Kellogg Co. stepping in to snatch up Pringles

The Pringles Brand might become part of the Kellogg Company.
user thedeliciouslife Flickr

The Battle Creek based Kellogg Co. is moving to make more inroads into the snack world.

The company plans to purchase the Pringles brand, according to the Associated Press:

Kellogg has popped up to buy the Pringles chip brand from Procter & Gamble for $2.7 billion after a similar deal with Diamond Foods was derailed by accounting problems and an executive shakeup at Diamond.

The addition will help Kellogg with its goal of becoming as big globally in snacks as it is in cereal. The Pringles business will add to Kellogg’s stable of snack brands that include Keebler, Cheez-It and Special K Cracker Chips.

In a statement, Kellogg President and CEO John Bryant said:

"We are excited to announce this strategic acquisition. Pringles has an extensive global footprint that catapults Kellogg to the number two position in the worldwide savory snacks category, helping us achieve our objective of becoming a truly global cereal and snacks company. We are delighted to welcome the employees of the Pringles organization to Kellogg. Their collective passion and commitment has resulted in Pringles' well-deserved acclaim as one of the most recognized brands in the world."

Kellogg says it expects to complete the Pringles acquisition during the summer.

Politics
4:01 pm
Sun February 12, 2012

Michigan congressman raises concerns about defense spending

Air National Guard logo

The budget President Obama delivers to Congress this week will spend about 8 billion dollars less on the Defense Department.  That's going to directly affect two Michigan Air National Guard Bases.

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Battle Creek
10:59 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Battle Creek city commissioners approve health care exemption

Battle Creek is opting out of a new state law that requires local government employees pay more for their health insurance. And it’s not alone. The Michigan Municipal League says about a third of the cities it surveyed plan to exempt themselves from the law requiring an 80/20 split on health insurance costs.   

The law allows a temporary opt out. And there are many reasons.  

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Environment
1:01 am
Thu October 20, 2011

New Kalamazoo River oil spill cleanup plan due today

Cleanup crews work to remove oil from the Kalamazoo River near Battle Creek in August of 2010.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Nearly 15 months after an oil spill fouled miles of the Kalamazoo River, the pipeline’s owner is submitting an updated cleanup plan to the federal Environmental Protection Agency today.  

The July 2010 pipeline break spewed more than 840 thousand gallons of Canadian tar sands crude oil into the Kalamazoo River.   Hundreds of workers have spent the past year removing contaminated soil, sucking up submerged oil and rehabbing endangered wildlife. But the work is far from over.  

A company spokesman says senior Enbridge officials spent Thursday reviewing and revising the new cleanup plan, that the EPA demanded after the company missed an August deadline.  

The new plan will detail how Enbridge plans to complete the removal of submerged oil in the Kalamazoo River,  remove oil and contaminated soil beyond the river bank and how they’ll reassess their cleanup plans in 2012.  

Enbridge officials estimate the cleanup will eventually cost the pipeline company $700 million.

Environment
7:01 pm
Mon September 26, 2011

Estimated cost of cleaning up Kalamazoo River oil spill rising

Oil spill cleanup workers on the Kalamazoo River near Battle Creek in August, 2010.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The new estimate was part of paperwork Enbridge Energy filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.   The company says it’s revising its estimated cleanup costs, from $585 million to $700 million.  That's about a 20 percent increase.   

 “The cleanup cost to date includes some additional work around submerged oil….and those recovery operations….and just some more active remediation of the impacted environment." says Terri Larson,  an Enbridge spokeswoman,  "So there are a few factors that are at play within that expected increase.” 

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Environment
9:26 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Kalamazoo River oil spill update: A lot of work accomplished, but still more to do

Dozens of people turned out for last night's EPA public meeting on the Kalamazoo River oil spill in Marshall
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Dozens of people who turned out for a public hearing in Marshall on the cleanup of last Summer’ s oil spill in the Kalamazoo River left without hearing the news they wanted to hear….that the river will soon reopen.  

More than 766 thousand gallons of crude oil have been recovered during  the past twelve months.   But there are still large deposits of  submerged oil in three different parts of the river.

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Oil Spill
4:01 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Oil spill update meeting scheduled for this week in Marshall

This week, the federal Environmental Protection Agency plans to hold a public meeting to discuss what’s happening with the Kalamazoo River oil spill.  More than year ago, a ruptured oil pipeline spewed more than 800 thousand gallons of crude oil that eventually made its way into the Kalamazoo River. 

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Politics
1:58 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Airport projects halted in Michigan, other states

Contractors at airports in Traverse City, Kalamazoo, and Battle Creek have been ordered to stop work by the FAA.
user thienzieyung Flickr

Update 1:58 p.m.

In a press release, the Federal Aviation Administration says they had to order contractors at airports around the country to stop working after Congress failed to pass legislation that reauthorized funding on 'critical airport modernization projects.'

The deadline for the FAA funding extension passed last Friday night.

U.S. Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood is quoted in the press release:

“Construction workers across America will lose their jobs and local communities will be hurt the longer this goes on. Congress needs to pass an FAA bill to prevent further economic damage,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is no way to run the best aviation system in the world.”
 
“Unless Congress acts quickly, more work on projects critical to our nation’s aviation system will come to a halt. Work is stopping on construction and planning projects, NextGen system testing, and airport certification.  The list goes on and on and this is just the beginning,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.
 

Here's a list of airports affected by the stop work orders.

The FAA says "nearly 4,000 FAA personnel, many needed to oversee various aspects of these projects, were furloughed on Saturday" and that the work-stoppage could "significantly increase the ultimate costs of construction for taxpayers."

12:21 p.m.

KALAMZOO, Mich. (AP) - Obama administration officials say contractors have been told to stop work on airport modernization projects across the country including the Kalamazoo, Traverse City and Flint areas because Congress has failed to pass legislation necessary for the work to continue.

Officials said Monday that stop-work orders have been issued for dozens of major projects.

The Federal Aviation Administration says they include a $14.4 million tower construction project at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, an $11 million tower construction project in Traverse City and a $1.9 million tower fire remediation project in Flint.

The House and Senate are at a stalemate over air service subsidies for rural communities and a Republican proposal that would make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize, among other issues.

War
4:41 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Army sergeant from Michigan killed in Afghanistan

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. military says a 28-year-old Army sergeant from Battle Creek has been killed in an enemy attack in Afghanistan.

The Defense Department said Thursday that Staff Sgt. Joshua Throckmorton died Tuesday in Afghanistan's Paktia province. The military says Throckmorton died of injuries suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Also killed in the attack were 24-year-old Spc. Jordan Schumann of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and 22-year-old Spc. Preston Suter of Sandy, Utah.

They were part of the 709th Military Police Battalion in Hohenfels, Germany.

Economy
3:01 pm
Sat May 28, 2011

Free gas giveaway in Battle Creek Sunday

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Sunday afternoon in Battle Creek a religious group plans to help about 20 poor families gas up their cars and trucks.  The group,  Free Gas USA, is providing 50 dollars-worth of gasoline to pre-selected families. 

Reverend William Stein founded Free Gas USA in 2008.    He says having some form of transportation is essential for struggling families. 

Environment
4:45 pm
Tue December 7, 2010

Enbridge oil spill sickened hundreds, according to a new report

Clean up workers along the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek in August, 2010
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new report finds last July’s massive oil spill in mid-Michigan sickened many people, but the long-term effects of exposure to the spill is unclear. 


The Michigan Department of Community Health worked with local health departments in Calhoun and Kalamazoo Counties to compile data on people who were affected by the Enbridge Energy oil spill.

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BUSINESS
9:52 am
Mon December 6, 2010

Kellogg CEO steps down

Kellogg's is the worlds leading producer of cereal.
Ben Alman creative commons

I just spoke with a food industry analyst who says Kellogg's next CEO will face challenges right from the start. 


 Erin Swanson is a food industry analyst with Morningstar Financial.  She says the challenge is to speed up development of new Kellogg products.



“Kellogg has been challenged over the past several months, or year by intense competitive pressures.”  


 


 


Battle Creek's big employer is undergoing a big change. David Mackay is stepping down as Kelloggs CEO.

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