Michigan Business & Economy

First on Stateside, Gov. Rick Snyder joined us from the Mackinac Policy Conference, followed by Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

The prevalence of social media has changed a lot in our world, and in the wake of graduation season social media may affect job prospects for applicants. Having social media profiles that are professional may be the key to landing a job. 

University of Michigan researchers have developed a new app for smartphones that can detect mood swings in bipolar patients via voice analysis, so that patients can get the help they need. 

In the midst of all of the recalls, General Motors is approaching its five-year anniversary of declaring bankruptcy. 

*Listen to the full episode above. 

Doug Kerr / Flickr

A popular road into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore could experience delays all summer. The Michigan Department of Transportation is replacing a bridge along M-22 in Benzie County. 

An average of 2,000 people use the bridge daily. 

James Lake is with MDOT.

"We’re going to have one lane open at all times," he says. "And we’ve got traffic alternating with the temporary traffic signal. While you may have to wait for that signal to clear, it should be a delay of more than five, 10 minutes at the most."

As Temperatures Warm, Lake Superior Has Yet To Melt

May 29, 2014
Ellen Airgood

It was a warm Memorial Day weekend on the shores of Lake Superior, but no one would have guessed it based on views of the water Saturday.

“The first day I could wear shorts and a t-shirt, and then the ice had all blown back into shore,” says Ellen Airgood. The author of South of Superior runs a diner in Grand Marais with her husband.

Airgood says anglers aren’t thrilled, but a lot of tourists have been “tickled” by the sight. Some have even been testing out the waters. She shared some photos from a road trip she took along the shore Wednesday evening. 

Peter Payette

Visitors to the public beach in Empire will pay to park this summer. The Empire Village Council last night stuck with its plan to charge visitors $1 an hour.  Citizen-led petition drives both for and against the measure failed to change any minds on the council.

Many supporters of the idea are village residents whose taxes maintain the beach and more than 80 parking spaces. Those opposed say it will overburden parking spaces in the village’s business district or keep tourists away altogether.

Michigan To Raise Minimum Wage

May 28, 2014
Paul Maritinez/Flickr

Michigan’s minimum wage will rise to at least $9.25 an hour by 2018. Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation Tuesday night just hours after it was approved by the state House and Senate. The new state law comes as a petition campaign is about to file signatures to force the wage floor even higher.

JPMorgan Chase Announces Detroit Investment

May 21, 2014

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General Motors' recall problems continue to mount. On Wednesday, the automaker announced it was recalling 218,000 additional vehicles from its Chevrolet Aveo line.

The daytime running light system in the dashboard of cars from the 2004 to 2008 model years can overheat, melt and cause fires, The Associated Press reports.



Michigan lawmakers are debating a big aid package for Detroit, nearly $200 million. The city has been in bankruptcy court for almost a year. And until now, the state hasn't been willing to help it with anything that could be called a bailout.

While Michigan Governor Rick Snyder supports the current deal, many of his fellow Republicans appear to be balking, especially after a threat of political retribution from the Koch Brothers political network.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports.

General Motors is recalling another 2.42 million vehicles for four separate issues, the company said in a press release on Tuesday.

According to NBC News, that brings the total number of GM vehicles under a recall to 13.6 million.

Not that long ago, things like robot vacuum cleaners or self-guided lawn mowers seemed like science fiction. Now, nobody bats an eye at a robot scooting around the living room. 

So how long will it be before we're getting around in cars that don't need drivers?

Just a few years, according to Google. 

The company has developed a prototype which is apparently now ready for its biggest test: the demands of the city. 

Justin Webb, who's with Stateside partner BBC, went for a test drive at Google headquarters, and joined us to describe the experience. 

Hit the jump to see what it looks like to be in a driverless car by watching Google's video. 

Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

Three weeks after a state panel voted on new Right to Farm rules, there’s still a lot of confusion about what’s allowed and not allowed for people raising chickens, goats, bees and other livestock in residential areas.

Jamie Clover Adams is the director of the state Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. She sat down with Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta to explain where things stand. Adams says this is not the final word on backyard livestock rules in Michigan – they will be reviewed and very likely updated again in 2015.


NPR's Business News begins with the price of a safety defect. This is a developing story today. General Motors has agreed to pay $35 million in fines for violating federal safety laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has been investigating GM's handling of a recall of 2.6 million cars due to faulty ignition switches. They were linked with a number of deaths as you may recall. The agency wanted to find out how long GM new about the problem and whether the recalls could've come sooner.

Job growth in professional and financial services offset layoffs in Michigan’s auto industry to push the state’s unemployment rate down for the eighth month in a row. The new rate of 7.4 percent is one-tenth of a percentage point below where it was last month. And it’s one and a quarter percent below where it was a year ago.

Governor Rick Snyder says the numbers also show more people are looking for work.

Peter Payette

A new meeting hall opens in Traverse City this week, one that’s nearly 130 years old. The new room at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons was once the chapel for the Northern Michigan Asylum.

For asylums built in the late 1800s, the chapel was a focal point for community life. In Traverse City, the chapel is connected to the center of the largest building on the campus, Building 50, where many patients once lived.

The hospital closed in 1989. The Minervini Group has been renovating these buildings since 2000, filling them with homes, offices and shops.

Downtown Traverse City Expected To Get Free Wi-Fi

May 13, 2014
Svrdr / WikiCommons

Starting this summer, the streets of downtown Traverse City should have free Wi-Fi.

It’s a project of the Downtown Development Authority and Traverse City Light and Power. The Light and Power board will vote on authorizing the wireless system and Aspen Wireless as the contractor. A 10-year contract is expected to be approved Tuesday evening. 

DDA executive director Rob Bacigalupi says the project was driven by visitor expectations. 

Detroit’s finances would be under the scrutiny of an appointed board for as long as 20 years after the city’s bankruptcy under a new package of bills before the Legislature.

The bills outline the state’s role and its conditions for committing almost $200 million dollars from the state’s “rainy day” savings to Detroit’s bankruptcy settlement. That money would help preserve retiree pension benefits, and ensure the assets of the Detroit Institute of Arts aren’t auctioned off as part of the bankruptcy.

Sara Hoover

Cremation is on the rise, and more families are turning online to buy urns. The trend has sparked business for Traverse City company Stardust Memorials and local potters Phil Wilson and Gretchen Palmer.

Their story is featured nationally for Marketplace. Listen to the full story.

Lorax / WikiCommons

Traverse City Commissioners voted yesterday to replace some parking meters with electronic pay stations.

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) made the request partially because thieves stole $70,000 from parking meters two years ago. They had copied meter keys and also broke open meters to gain access. Annual parking meter revenue is approximately $650,000.

The 12 pay stations will be installed in five downtown parking lots and one block of Front Street. The particular block has not been decided yet, but the DDA is considering between Cass and Park Streets.

File photo.

Climate change is making Michigan farmers more vulnerable to dramatic weather shifts, according to a report released this morning by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. It claims climate change is no longer a future threat, but a reality now.

Arnold Ferry Line is up and running.

The company started running passenger boats to Mackinac Island Friday, along with the other two ferry services to the island, Shepler’s and Star Line.

The fate of Arnold Line came into question in March when a barricade briefly appeared in front of its main dock.

Arnold has had financial difficulties recently and sold that piece of property to hotel developers. So far, it has not worked out a deal with the new owners to allow ferry passengers and horses to cross from the dock to Main Street.

Opponents of a controversial housing development in Traverse City prevailed last night with the city commission. The proposal to allow four houses where only three can be built under current zoning rules came up one vote short.

Most of the public comment came from residents of Slabtown Neighborhood who were against the proposal. Many said it would make traffic problems worse along West Front Street. Some said that there was no good reason for the change.



It's a big day for Fiat Chrysler. The Italian-American automaker will outline a strategic plan for the next five years.

The marriage between two once troubled companies, Chrysler and Fiat, has surprised many in the auto industry by thriving - not just surviving. Now, the company is looking to build on its strengths, as Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

Last Chance For Cadillac's Ice Rink

May 2, 2014
Tom Carr

The people who skate and play hockey at the Wexford Civic Center are now managing it.

Known as the Wex, the county-owned facility was in danger of closing before a citizens' group offered to run it.

Wexford County commissioners voted Wednesday to let volunteers oversee, market and raise funds for the ice rink and auditorium.

Mike Figliomeni, spokesman for the group known as Boon Sports Management, thinks people will notice a positive change.

Peter Payette

Munson Healthcare broke ground today on a new cancer center in Traverse City.

The man who donated $5 million to the center, Casey Cowell, praised Munson for the new venture. Cowell says the region is “extremely fortunate” to have Munson based in Traverse City.

Bob Allen

New rules proposed for oil and gas drilling in Michigan are getting a mixed response, at best, from watchdog groups. The rules would apply to a type of drilling often referred to as “fracking.” Critics say the proposed changes continue to favor the oil and gas industry over neighbors and the public.

The official line in Michigan has long been that drilling for oil and gas is well-regulated and done safely, but many people are not convinced.

Hal Fitch directs the state’s supervision of the oil and gas industry and says they are responding to those concerns.