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15 posts from June 2006

Indiana's recipe for getting Honda assembly plant

This is a story from the Indy Star about how Indiana attracted Honda to make a $500 million investment in the state to build an assembly plant.  You will also notice links to a complete package of stories providing copious details about their effort.  Michigan should take note and learn.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm seems to be paralyzed, kind of like a deer stopped in the headlights of an oncoming car, when it comes to knowing how to attract jobs to Michigan.  Between now and Jan. 1, she too should take note and get in the game. 

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Gov. Granholm's failure to land Honda plant for Michigan being talked about in Aspen, CO

Gov. Granholm's dismal performance in landing the new Honda assembly plant for Michigan has been a subject of discussion here in Aspen where I am attending a conference.  Eyes roll when her name is mentioned and sympathy is expressed at our state's downward spiral as a place to work and raise a family.

What I find amazing is this cut from an interview done with Gov. Granholm by WJR in Detroit when she was in Japan trying to coax companies to get more involved in our state.  When asked by Paul W. Smith if she was meeting with Honda, she replied that she was too booked to visit the  car company.

Now we have the news that Honda is going to locate their new assembly plant in southeast Indiana.  Michigan loses to the Hoosier state one more time.  How many more times can our state afford to take a hit like this?

It would be easy to get partisan about this and start trash talking about Gov. Granholm.  But, it's clear to me that she doesn't have an "A-game" when it comes to competing with other states for new jobs.

In her television spots, she brags about how she will go any place, any time to fight for jobs.  If she had lived up to that, you would expect to see some evidence of that happening.  There appears to be none.

She used to be corporation counsel for Wayne County.  Perhaps, she might be an effective county commissioner in the Detroit area.  But, she hasn't shown that she can get the job done as governor.

I mourn for all the jobs that were lost with the Honda plant.  If Gov. Granholm was such a fighter for jobs, you would expect to see some scars on her showing that she put up a fight with the other states to get the Honda plant.  Look at her and you don't see one hair out of place.

Yeah, Dick Devos,  you are right.  It's time for a change.  I think most everybody else in Michigan feels that way too.

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Thank-you Krista and Justin for anniversary dinner at Hotel Jerome in Aspen

Img_0001_1My wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary last week.  Being empty-nesters with our kids in different states, we had a nice, but muted time observing our wedding on June 20, 1981.  It was Gladys, our Beagle-Snoopy and me. 

Our kids knew we were coming to Aspen and surpised us with a prepaid order what you want at one of the nicest places in town, the Garden Terrace at the well-known Hotel Jerome.

Hey, this place is nice.  It was first class food with first class service.  It was one of the few times that I ordered from a wine menu.  Usually, it's give me something red or white or something that goes with pizza. 

Then, we met with friends, Dan and Lara Stoelting for after dinner coffee where we drank with coffee made with a press. 

Img_0003_1 Best part of all was knowing this was from our kids.  It made this an uniquely special time.  Our kids are special.  They are a blessing from God.  Thank-you Father for our marriage and our children.

By the way, we are at a Grace Place Retreat, a ministry serving Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod pastors and teachers giving them and spouses a chance to tune-up relationships with each other and with God.  It's good, real good, I'm glad we were invited.

New member of our family: Dr. Kevin Liu, opthamologist in East Lansing, MI

I'm so close to it that I can see my 60th birthday on the horizon.  As a member of the first-class of baby-boomers I am learning that certain experiences come with being a demographic trail-blazer.

For me, it's glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve that if left untreated can result in blindness.  It's cause can be genetic and aging.  And, it can have devastating consequences if left untreated.

That's where Dr. Kevin Liu comes in.  Our paths crossed more than six years ago when my optometrist diagnosed me with cataracts.  When he told me that I had them, I choked.  I felt you had to be nursing home age to get them.  Not true.  He referred me to Dr. Liu who did lens implants in both eyes.  It went really well.  I could finally shed high prescription glasses for a really low prescription.

Then during a regular check-up Dr. Liu found that the pressure in my eyes equalled the temperature in Michigan on a late March day.  Glaucoma will be a life-long thing.  I've learned how to pop eyedrops in like a pro.

I'm learning the vocabulary of glaucoma and the questions to ask at each appointment.  I will do anything I have to to keep my vision.

Baby-boomers beware of glaucoma.  Get it checked.  Don't hesitate.

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My son, Justin, Plato, Socrates and the Republic

My son, Justin, has always been a thinker.  He's good at digging beneath the surface and looking at the big picture.

Right now, he's finishing his B.S. in information technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and he's doing an independent study on Plato's Republic which includes 10 different books.  He's really getting into it and he's helping me understand how Plato fits into ideas I've taken for granted.

But, a really cool thing that Plato couldn't do is that Justin is blogging about what he's reading.  He's using blog posts to sort out and share what he's reading and learning.  Justin understands blogs and he understands how to use them as a social networking tool.

His blog--the Confessions of an Undercover Geek--has been on the backburner last couple of weeks and he explains why--ten weeks worth of college chemistry in three weeks and most of it is online.

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Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero tongue-lashes townships; should he apologize?

Michigan's State Capital city, Lansing, is struggling big time to remain a livable place for everybody from newborns to senior citizens.  It seems like it keeps slipping and slipping.  The exodus from our city is stunning and debilitating.

Lansing public schools expect to lose more than 500 students this fall.  It means more cutbacks for an already troubled school district.  We take another giant-sized step away from being a place where people want to live.

Our city leadership seems to be an updated version of past administrations and past city councils.  Instead of the city council being a bunch of good old boys, we have added good old girls.  They thrust and parry with the mayor and he responds.

Now our mayor, Virg Bernero, picks a fight with nearby township officials.  In a speech, he cusses them out for not embracing a regionalistic approach.  Perhaps, he's talking about tax base-sharing.  He says they need to have their heads knocked together.

Put some context on this.  He's reasonably young and he's in the first-year of his first term.

How did his snarky remarks affect our local township officials?  They were insulted.  Bernero's remarks continued and only got more insulting.

Did he advance Lansing's case by this approach?  I think not.  He needs to apologize and start over.  Seriously.  If he doesn't, the only ones who will benefit will be the Realtors handling the home sales of those leaving the city.

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Has GM been cooking its books?

Detroit Free Press has story this morning about how GM's accounting practices has resulted in the company inflating its income in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.  In 2001, the story says GM inflated its reported income by 42 percent.

The story says:  Federal securities records and court filings reviewed by the Free Press show a string of accounting errors that consistently favored the company and offered investors a rosier outlook than actually existed.

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Michigan is Detroit; is that true or false?

The grand poobahs of Michigan--political, business and educational--just got done meeting at Mackinac Island.  They meet to find common ground to the huge challenges this state faces.

Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press columnist, covered breakfast remarks from Malcom Allen, a consultant specializing in helping areas brand themselves and reports that he said Michigan must start seeing itself for what it is:

  • Michigan is Detroit. We forget or seem too unfocused to care that
    outside the state, outside the country, Michigan is defined by its
    largest city. It is Motown and cars.
In addition to emphasizing our state's identity with cars, he said that every competing effort to define Michigan as anything else is an exercise in confusion and delusion.

Essentially, we need to be who we are and who we have been, the world's capital for cars.

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A tragic mix-up in the death of Taylor University student unites world in online prayer chain

The mix-up in identifying two young Michigan women who are students at Taylor University in Indiana has drawn world-wide attention.  The students who were involved in a tragic I-69 accident that killed others were mistaken for each other.

Because of the coroner's mix-up the parents of Laura VanRyn thought there daughter was still alive, while the parents of Whitney Cerak thought their daughter was killed in the accident.  It was actually the exact opposite.

Through each day's stories you could taste the pain that must be felt by both families.  My heart was heavy like a lead shield. 

Then, I saw (1) this story by David Crumm of the Detroit Free Press about how (2) people around the world were responding with prayers for the families. And, then I saw (3) the blog by the friends and families of Laura VanRynn where readers left 300 and 400 comments at each post.

Wow.  Praise God.  As we approach Pentecost Sunday on the Christian church calendar this is a real movement of the Holy Spirit.  Something bad that has happened is being used for something good.

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Lutheran schools make a difference for kids through senior citizens

Oslstrings1_2 If we asked everybody in the blogosphere who went to a Lutheran grade school to raise their hands, I bet we could fill a stadium or two with alums.

That's why I mention this post from one of our pastors, Roy Olsen, a recent graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.  He's a blogger and members of our church, Our Savior Lutheran Church in Lansing, MI are the beneficiaries.

In his post, PRO, as we call him, writes about two groups in our congregation who are at opposite ends of the generational spectrum, grade school kids and senior citizens.  At our grade school, Our Savior Lutheran School, we have an incredible music program and the grade schoolers played for the seniors at a special service and luncheon. 

Both groups loved it.  The seniors were able to witness the benefits of all the sweat and money that went into the building of the church and the school about 50 years ago.  The Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church was built on the strong value of supporting Christian day schools.

These schools have been able to move with a changing culture and adjust teaching styles and mechanisms, but never changing the message about Jesus Christ and what he did and the eternal hope that rests with him.

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"Dumb and dumber" star Jeff Daniels to sell Michigan as place to do business

Michigan born actor Jeff Daniels will be leading a national campaign to lure employers to our state.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm is using $10 million of taxpayers money to use the star of Dumb and Dumber and Escanaba in da Moonlight. 

How will Daniels resonate with the people who hold the power to make job creation decisions?  Is he the best we can do?  Who would have been a better spokesman for Michigan as a great place to do business?

I'm sure Daniels is a good guy, but he seems to excel at playing buffoon type roles.  Am I missing something?  How much is he being paid for his work?

If Dick Devos was governor, who would he have picked to be a spokesman for Michigan to job providers?

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Michigan's State Capital City--Lansing--continues steep decline

Here's another sign that the city of Lansing is in a steep decline, a rapid freefall that threatens to leave scars that it will never recover from:  Because of an anticipated loss of students this fall, the Lansing School District anticipates laying off 50 to 100 teachers.

The school district is looking at a potential $8 million deficit that could impact every part of its efforts.

There's a momentum here that will be hard to stop.  An exodus resembling what happened in the Bible's book of Numbers is happening right before our eyes.  People want out of the city, and most particularly because of the schools.

Is this something that just has to be endured or what other cities have dealt with it effectively? 

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A prayer to reflect God's grace from Dr. David Jeremiah

Earlier this year, I read Dr. David Jeremiah's book, Captured By Grace.  It very amply showed how God has given us and keeps giving us his grace.  To those who got his book online, he sends a regular newsletter.

In the latest, he offers this prayer to others to ask God for help in reflecting his grace to others.  It's worth a look-see and using in a prayer.

By the way, Dr. Jeremiah's ministry is Turning Point.

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