Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Sunday Paper: July 25, 2010

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising, Michigan. Coming to a quarter near you in 2018. Pictures cannot do this beauty justice - this is something you really need to see in person. Go. You won't regret it.

How about some good news this morning?

  • Thanks to the new rigorous high school curriculum, test scores for Michigan high school students are at their "highest levels ever" in math science, reading and writing. For more details on the report, or to see the database to find out how your district ranked, click here.

  • Michigan's advanced manufacturing sector is growing, according to a new report prepared for the University Research Corridor by the Anderson Economic Group. 65% of our state's manufacturing jobs are now advanced manufacturing, meaning they "make high-tech products, develop or apply process for future manufacturing or have productivity growth rates significantly above the U.S. average." The wages are well above average as well, coming in at $64,122 a year, as compared to $40,935 for all jobs in the state.

  • Pontiac's new movie/TV studio will break ground this Tuesday. Raleigh Michigan Studios will occupy the former General Motors plant on the Center Point campus, building a new 200,000 sq. foot complex, and will hire up to 3,000 people or more in the next few years. Construction will be complete in 2011. Does anyone else find it amusing that Rakolta is a part of this? No word on whether or not the Bundys will attend the ceremony.

  • Zeeland-based Gentex, maker of auto-dimming car mirrors and other products for the aerospace industry, can't keep up with demand and is hiring at a rapid pace. Figures show "profits (are) up 179 percent and sales up by 72 percent over the second quarter of 2009". Gentex has received targeted MEDC tax credits over the years, starting with Engler in 2002, so I'm sure we won't have any complaints about their success.

  • As predicted, Ford is kicking ass and taking names. The company enjoyed solid earnings from April through June, raking in $2.6 billion for its fifth-straight quarterly profit. Chrysler also turned a profit in the second quarter, and is expecting to its initial public stock offering in 2011. Everyone is hedging their bets a bit to see where the economy is going next, but the automakers appear to be on solid ground now - so be sure to thank the nice President for saving our state's main industry. Obama will be making a tour of a few auto plants next week; Ford in Chicago and GM and Chrysler here in Michigan.

  • The Holland City Council and Board of Public Works approved leasing land for wind farms on 3,000 acres throughout Allegan county; studies will begin soon to find the best possible locations for turbines that could produce up to 130 megawatts of renewable energy. And if you missed the blast over on the side, Duke Energy, a major national player in renewable energy, is checking out the Manistee area, talking to farmers and the community about leasing land for a 101 megawatt wind farm there.

  • Warm water and beautiful weather are the combination that is attracting huge crowds to Lake Michigan beaches this summer. Ottawa county parks are enjoying a 27% increase in attendance over the chilly 2009 season, and other areas along the lakeshore are reporting similar figures. Get out and enjoy - but be careful out there. With this increased water activity, it seems we are having more reports of drownings and other mishaps, so remember, be safe. Drinking and boating don't mix, and rip currents are very dangerous. If a red flag is flying on the beach, use extreme caution near the water.

    That's it - this beautiful day awaits...