More snow on the way

The National Weather Service is predicting up to 10 inches of fresh snow by tomorrow afternoon in parts of central Michigan.

That means motorists could be in for a slow commute tomorrow morning.

“Sometimes the safest thing is to stay home unless you absolutely have to go somewhere,” says Anne Readett, spokesperson for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. “And I know some of the warnings are inferring it might be that much snow.”

If you do have to venture out tonight or tomorrow, make sure you have an emergency kit with you. It should include blankets, a flashlight, food, water, and even useful tools like shovels.

You can check the latest road conditions online at www.michigan.gov/roadconditions.

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New Investment Could Mean Big Growth For Michigan

Hemlock Semiconductor has invested a billion dollars more into solar technology.  Some say this is a step in diversifying and transitioning Michigan’s Economy.

The investment by Hemlock Semiconductor also known as HSC will create close to 300 new jobs in Mid-Michigan.  Officials say that as solar energy progresses more and more jobs will be created. 

State Representative Andy Colouris says this could mean big growth for Michigan in years to come.

“I don’t know if you can say it’s a one for one swap, but I do think that this brings in the supply chain.  The folks who buy and wholesale the products created at HSC and the solar industry.  If we get the supply chain to locate to this then we’re in for growth like we haven’t seen in fifty years.”

Hemlock Semiconductor has announced over 4 billion dollars in solar industry investment throughout the past five years.

Hemlock Semiconductor Invests More in Solar Energy

Hemlock Semiconductor has decided to invest more in solar energy.  Officials say this investment will create new jobs in Mid-Michigan and help drive the state’s economy.

The new investment will create a total of 300 jobs throughout the state.  Hemlock Semi-Conductor is the leading provider of polycrystalline, an essential ingredient used in the production of solar cells.
Hemlock Semiconductor has decided to invest another one billion dollars to expand production of this key material
State Representative Andy Colouris says this new investment is leading Michigan’s economy in a new direction.

It’s tremendous, in most part because this is leading edge technology, this is not the combustible engine anymore.  This is not manufacturing jobs which are prone to be extinct in a matter of years.  This is real new economy and it’s right here in our home state and in our region.  This is a big deal, bigger than anyone today could even imagine. 

  Along with the recent one billion dollar venture, an additional investment of over one a billion dollars has gone into the construction of another polycrystalline facility in Tennessee.

 

 

Mayors Meet To Discuss Bridge Loan

Mayors from across the nation met on Capitol Hill this month to discuss the importance of a bridge loan for the auto industry.

 Over 25 mayors from seven different states were at the meeting.  Four of them being from Michigan.  They all argued why they think the bridge loan is critical to the economy’s future.
 Mayor Sue Osborn of Fenton connects the discussion over the bridge loan to another bridge that was built over 4 decades ago. 

 “David Steinman designed the Mackinaw Bridge.  I would like the senate and the house to look at this because when Steinman dedicated the bridge.  It was the longest suspension bridge in the world at that time and everyone said it was going to fail it wasn’t going to work.    When he did dedicate the bridge he said this is the bridge of faith.  And I’m hoping that the congress and senate house will look at this as a bridge of faith too, this loan.”

 Osborn says it is essential that the loan be given within the next two days.

More turning to food banks for assistance

Irene Little knows something about tough times.

As the Isabella County Red Cross’s Director of Emergency services, she often sees people when they have nowhere else to turn. And this holiday season has been no exception.

“We’ve seen probably about a 10 to 15 percent increase in new clients coming in,” said Little. Last month, she fed 195 families, about 20 more than during a usual month.

For now, Isabella County’s food pantry has been able to keep up with the increased demand. But Little is concerned that more people may soon be forced to turn to the Red Cross for assistance.

“If things keep going the way they are with the way it was in the newspaper,” she explained, “about the 5,000 people being laid off at Dow Chemical, a lot of those are probably coming from Isabella County to go to work there so I look for our numbers to jump with that.”

Donations often slow down after the holidays, leaving Little, like most Michigan residents, concerned about what the next few months might have in store.

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More Schools “Showing Michigan the Money”

 

More schools across the state are “Showing Michigan the Money”. 

The Mackinac Center’s “Show Michigan the Money” is a program that enables school districts across the state to allow the public to stay informed on how their money is being spent.  The districts involved place their check registers online so taxpayers can view them.
 
Some of the districts that have recently gone ahead with the program are the Bullock Creek Schools in Midland County and the Chassel Township Schools in Houghton County.

Ken Braun is the Director of the “Show Michigan the Money Project”

“This is in a nutshell just a way where school districts can have a two way dialogue with their community about how they are spending their money in real time and allow every taxpayer, every parent, every media person, anyone that wishes to to go online and have a very close idea what their district is doing with the money that they’re giving em.”

Anyone looking to know more should go to www.showmichiganthemoney.org

Charlevoix Library is Community Minded

If I say the word library, you probably think of a place to get books…logical enough. But think broader.  Libraries today are working to become more than a trove of treasured books… they want to be full fledged community centers.Case in point, the Charlevoix  Public Library.  
    

The inside of the Charlevoix library is spacious and well-lit. As you’d imagine, there are rows and rows of books. As you might not imagine, there are also aspiring Latin dancers.
(sound)

This is one of the community programs offered by the library.  They brought in all kinds of programs; things like computer training, special programs for Sr. Citizens, and now Salsa! Jim and Jane Kanine hit the floor for the first class.     She says things are going ok…

“Pretty well.  Pretty well.  We haven’t had our feet stepped on yet, so.  (amy) That’s progress?  That’s progress.  If we could get him to move his hips a little bit, I think he’d have a lot more fun.   (Amy) How are you about this hip-moving thing?   I can’t move my hips. (laughter) Nothing moves, it’s all just fused together.”

Ok, so they’re not ready for “Dancing with the Stars”. 

(Amy) You are definitely in a minority here.  We have five-men to ten-women.  Yeah and I’m something else besides a minority, I’m a disaster!”

These are not the sounds you’re used to hearing in a library, but then this isn’t your grandma’s library.Charlevoix library.jpg

“It’s different.  Libraries are different.”

Linda Adams is Program Coordinator for the library.

“It’s a busy place”

She says the library hosts as many as 50 programs every month.  For youth they offer things like Reading to dogs and night time story time. And for adults, they’ve held a French conversation circle, an investment group and a program on creative aging. The library also has what Adams describes as “a slew of computer classes” and free internet

“And for areas like this, where we’re a rural area and internet access is hard to come by and expensive.  It provides a tremendous service.  We log in 3,000-4,000 people a month on our public computers.”

The Charlevoix library is housed in an old school building.  two-years ago it was renovated for library use.  The project cost 8-point-4-million dollars. The look is all new, but this old building holds a lot of memories for people.

“The kindergarten room had a fish pond which was a really big attraction” (laughs)

Sandy Marquart is a library user and volunteer.  That old fish pond is now the periodical room.  The old gymnasium is an adult reading room.   Marquart says she loves what they’ve done with the place.

“It’s so vibrant!”

Marquart says it’s great that this library is attracting so many young readers.

“We have children who come in after school, middle schoolers especially, and they have, there’s a room down here for kids age 13-18 I think it is.  They’re very active in there with the computers and they’re in the computer lab and some of them actually study! (laughs)

Ultimately the library is hoping to attract more young readers… and more older readers… and even more Latin dancers. As they position themselves as a community center for the future.Charlevoix library.jpg