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Is powdered alcohol in Michigan's future?

Mar 16, 2015
Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau recently approved a powdered alcohol product called Palcohol.  Add water, and you get a rum or vodka drink.

But it can't be sold in Michigan without the approval of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. 

Flickr user Julie Weatherbee / Flickr

There's a lot of attention and talk directed at start-ups about attracting new business to Michigan.

But writer Ilene Wolff pays tribute to some venerable long-time Michigan businesses. Her story, The Century Club: Michigan firms and businesses that have truly withstood the test of time, is in the current March/April print edition of DBusiness.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

When Governor Rick Snyder was answering your questions earlier this week here on Michigan Radio, he waded into the issue of more than $9 billion in outstanding tax credits owed to businesses that stayed in Michigan and re-invested in their operations here. And that has tipped Michigan's budget into a deficit.

The program began in the Engler Administration but was widely used in the latter part of the Granholm Administration. Critics call it "corporate welfare," but Snyder disagreed with this terminology, saying the companies benefiting from this program helped create jobs.

Source booksellers

With competition from Amazon and e-readers, big box bookstores have been hit hard. Borders closed in 2011 and Barnes & Noble has been forced to close hundreds of stores.

But independent bookstores are proving to have staying power.

claus+ flcker.com

A controversial Upper Peninsula land deal appears closer to approval.

A Canadian mining company wants to buy land and mineral rights on ten thousand acres of state land in the Upper Peninsula. 

Graymont wants to mine limestone in the area northwest of St. Ignace. The company plans surface and underground mines.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Supporters of sustainable farming will meet Monday in East Lansing.

The Sierra Club’s Gail Philbin says the “Farming Our Future” conference is intended to help move Michigan away from industrial agriculture.

“We want to help farmers get the information they need to make those kind of changes,” says Philbin.

Philbin says moving toward more local, sustainable foods will be good for people’s health and the environment. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Financially struggling Michigan homeowners may face a new problem.

98,000 Michigan homeowners have Home Equity Lines of Credit that are scheduled to reset at a higher interest rate during the next four years.

Nationally, more than half the three million homeowners with these lines of credit are seriously underwater on their mortgage.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan could face an electricity shortage in the next few years.

New federal regulations are forcing many coal-fired power plants to shut down in 2016.  That will leave utilities with less capacity to generate electricity. The loss will be most noticeable on hot summer days, when demand for electricity soars in Michigan. 

moppet65535 / Creative Commons

The coalition pushing state lawmakers to give all workers paid sick days is growing. Groups backing bills introduced in Lansing last month held press conferences in Detroit, Flint and Kalamazoo Monday.

Danielle Atkinson, who directs Mothering Justice, an advocacy group for working moms, was in Grand Rapids. If passed, she says the bills would help more than workers.

“99% of restaurant employees don’t have access to one paid sick day and what that really translates into is restaurant workers going to work sick and getting everyone else sick and it becomes a public health issue,” Atkinson said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan may soon get out of the venture capital business.

The state House Commerce and Trade committee takes up legislation tomorrow that would sunset a state program that has made hundreds of millions of dollars in tax vouchers available for investment.  

Courtesy of Michigan Modern

The Next Idea

Did you know that barbecue grills, refrigerators and hospital beds were all designed in Michigan? What about the electric toothbrush and the golf cart?

These products, and thousands more, are just some of the many everyday items that Michigan’s industrial designers gave the world.

Judge OKs plan to close Northland Mall

Feb 25, 2015
via shopatnorthland.com

  

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) - An Oakland County judge has ruled that a court-appointed receiver can begin closing one of the country's oldest shopping centers.

Circuit Judge Wendy Potts says Wednesday that there are few alternatives to shuttering Northland Center in Southfield.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Rick DeVos’ venture capital fund will stop giving away $5,000 each week to people with a good business idea. The fund, known as Start Garden, has given $5,000 to nearly 200 entrepreneurs in the last three years.

“A few years ago the biggest thing that it seemed like the region needed was a lot of experimentation and to get over fear of risk,” said Paul Moore, communications director for Start Garden.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

State and federal officials hope a little extra cash will prompt more farmers to reduce runoff into their regional watersheds.

The federal government will provide $40 million to improve water quality in five key areas in Michigan, including western Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay and the St. Joseph River. The grants were announced late last month.

beaumontpete / Flickr Creative Commons

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission has proposed allowing self-serve machines that dispense up to 96 ounces of beer, wine or mixed spirit drink in a single order.

The machine "could be on a wall. It could be in a booth or built into a table," said Andrew Deloney, chair of the Commission.

Customers must place a new order for each additional 96 ounces, said Deloney, and for each order, "the server still has the same obligation to make sure that people are of legal drinking age and that they are not visibly intoxicated."

A Canadian mining company has revised its proposal to acquire nearly 10,000 acres in the Upper Peninsula. 

Graymont wants to acquire land and mineral rights in three different U.P. counties to mine for limestone.  The mining operation would include surface and underground mining.  The company says it is acquiring so much property because it plans to set up a “generational” operation that would mine the land for 100 years. 

It would be the largest sale of public land in Michigan history. 

Flickr user Mike Fischer / Flickr

As the years roll on and you move through middle age into senior citizen status, it can feel as though the world is racing past you, leaving you in its dust. Especially when it comes to finding a job.

Yet more and more people aged 55 and up are in the job hunt. The government tells us in 1992, workers 55 and older made up just under 12% of the work force. By 2022, it could be more than 25%.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

First-time home buyers in Michigan may have a harder time than people in other states finding down payment assistance.

A study finds nationally 87% of homes on the market would qualify for a down payment program available in the county where they are located.

But the report says there are fewer programs in Michigan than in most other states. 

User: Sean_Marshall / Flickr

Developers say they will turn the Wurlitzer building and the Professional Plaza building into a hotel and apartment complex, respectively. 

Detroit's historic Wurlitzer building was deemed one of the city's 'most dangerous structures' because it's been raining bricks onto neighboring buildings, such as 1515 Broadway Cafe. Comically, the cafe responded with a sign that reads 'Free coffee with purchase of Wurlitzer Building'. 

Metro Detroit has any number of problems, but finding affordable housing isn’t one of them.

In fact—by one measure at least—the region offers some of the most affordable housing anywhere in the world.

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