Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Six O'Clock News - Overstimulated Republicans Edition

  • Senate Republicans are poking around MDOT, asking for a list of the road construction projects up for funding from the stimulus. Wonder why they didn't just ask the governor since she was the one handling all requests. Hmmmm. How curious. MDOT told them to talk to the Governor's Office. Today, the entire list of requests went live at the Michigan Recovery & Reinvestment web page. Dig in everyone. Now watch for the Republicans to complain a lot about this, that, the other project - unless it is in their district, of course. Or, maybe they will do the honest thing and publicly denounce the new roads and job creation that will come to their constituents. Yeah. That's the ticket.

  • Debbie Stabenow will be in Grand Rapids tomorrow to talk about the stimulus at the Van Andel Institute. They are in the midst of a LEED- certified expansion, and she will talk about her Green Collar Jobs Initiative. Thank you, Senator, for stopping by. Show us what the Republicans turned down.

  • Training for some of those green collar jobs will be done at Kalamazoo Valley Community College - they are starting the first wind turbine technician course in the country.

    The 26-week academy will be based on a European certification standard and train people to work on the utility-grade turbines that are found on wind farms.

    There is a similar program to it in Alberta, Canada, but when this program launches in October through KVCC's Michigan Technical Education Center, it will be the only one like it in the United States, said Jim DeHaven, vice president for economic and business development for KVCC.

    "People are going to be coming from all over the country to get into this class because the waiting list is so long in Alberta," DeHaven said.

    In addition to the wind turbine course, the college is also "contracting with Entegrity Wind Systems Inc. to become the company's U. S. workforce-development headquarters". KVCC recently installed its own turbine at the college, and the company will train in "sales and service personnel in marketing its products, and certify workers in the installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of its 50-kilowatt, 145-foot turbines like the one at KVCC." You know, jobs.

  • More green news and the jobs that come with it, GM announced they have plans for two more electric models based on the Volt's powertrain. GM received a tax credit incentive along with Ford yesterday for Advanced Battery development - the first credits awarded since the state passed the legislation in January. GM plans to expand it's hybrid and plug-in models from 6 in 2008, to 14 by 2012, to 26 in 2014.

  • The Michigan Campaign for Justice wants to see the state do more to help secure competent legal defense for the poor. Forty-three states spend more per-capita on indigent defense than Michigan. Not only is it the moral thing to do, it might help reduce our prison population if people had better help. Budget issues stand in the way.

  • Michigan fish news. The northern pike in Long Lake have changed color, from dark green with spots to a light color with a "chain link" pattern. Fish experts are scratching their heads, having never seen this before. Meanwhile, a crucial link in the food chain, the amphipod species known as diporeia, has all but disappeared from Lake Michigan due to quagga mussels. This is hurting the whitefish population, as well as the fish that serve as dinner for salmon, trout and other sport species. When do we get that money to clean up the Lakes again?

  • A shout-out to one of my fellow photogs - David Trumpie has a nice gallery of pictures from the State of the State Address at Dome Magazine. He had better floor access than I did. Lucky bastard.

  • A sad note - Owosso native, MSU alum and pro football player Brad Van Pelt passes away from a heart attack at the age of 57. Van Pelt spent most of his 14-year NFL career with the NY Giants, and was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While at MSU in 1972, he won the Maxwell Award, the first time a defensive player had been honored with an award to recognize the "best player in college football".