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Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake".
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The Grand Rapids Griffins are hosting their annual Great Skate Winterfest this weekend to raise money to help kids play hockey.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Griffins are hosting their annual Great Skate Winterfest this weekend, benefiting the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Skaters were on the ice at Rosa Parks Circle downtown starting around noon. The Winterfest also includes ice sculptures, winter sports demonstrations, silent auctions and a family activity tent.
The main event is the 24-hour skate with players and coaches that anyone can join.
“You’re never going to run the bases with Miguel Cabrera. You’re not going to walk the fairway with Tiger Woods, but you can come down to skate alongside any Griffins player, and these guys very soon are going to be Red Wings,” Griffins spokesman Randy Cleves said.
The 24-hour skate was set to begin around 10 p.m. Saturday after the team faced off against the Belleville Senators.
Te Grand Rapids Griffins Youth Foundation pays for kids from low-income families or other at-risk conditions to play hockey.
Uncertainty abounds over whether the Democratic governor and a tax-averse Legislature can agree on a plan.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — There is a ray of good news as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer prepares to renew her push for major new spending to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges: Republican legislative leaders say addressing the funding is a priority for them, too.
But beyond that, uncertainty abounds over whether the Democratic governor and a tax-averse Legislature can agree on a plan. Whitmer is expected to make roads a focus in her Jan. 29 State of the State speech after GOP lawmakers last year rejected a proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax hike phased in over a year. Details will follow the day after, before she presents her budget Feb. 6.
Whitmer this past week signaled that it may take pursuing a number of revenue-raising options given the magnitude of the problem, and later said she will push to “triage” the roads — a suggestion that she could potentially scale back her original $2.5 billion ask.
“We have to bend the curve, or this asset is going to get beyond repair,” she said Friday.
The portion of lane miles on state trunk lines — I-, U.S.- and M-numbered routes — in good or fair condition is projected to continue declining, from north of 70% now to about 44% by the end of the decade.
Observers are tempering expectations for what is achievable.
Former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema, a Republican, was among a bipartisan group of four ex-legislative leaders to call last year for a 47-cents-per-gallon fuel tax increase over nine years to raise $2.5 billion for road and bridge work.
“There’s sort of a fundamental political reality that everyone concerned about this issue has to accept. Although the need clearly requires significant new revenue, that’s a difficult or a steep political hill to climb,” he said, noting it was no “accident” that two of the previous three governors borrowed money to help fund additional transportation spending.
Sikkema said Whitmer and legislators should consider settling on keeping the infrastructure from deteriorating further, rather than improving it. That would still require a significant boost in spending that bonding alone likely could not generate.
Whitmer’s 2019 plan would have brought in $2 billion more for roads, including $1.5 billion to bring 91% of pavement on those state trunk lines into good or fair condition by 2029. She also sought to end the practice of shifting general funds to the transportation budget — a key component of 2015 road-funding laws.
The Michigan Department of Transportation has said it needs at least $1 billion more just to keep I, U.S. and M routes from declining much further.
Speculation is that Whitmer will sell bonds to pump new dollars into the $5 billion system, as it is unclear if Republicans will get behind any tax increase, particularly before the November election.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican, said bonding is “one of my last options,” but he will not take anything off the table at this point. He also did not rule out considering if the 6% state sales tax should be raised or expanded to services, suggesting it would be “sustainable.” He has questioned relying on gasoline taxes as a long-term solution because vehicles are becoming more efficient.
“We’re still paying off bonds that were issued when Gov. (John) Engler was in place for roads that have been replaced twice since,” Shirkey said. “I’m not saying no. I’m just saying we shouldn’t get all excited about that being the first solution.”
GOP leaders last year never publicly released an alternative to Whitmer’s proposal. They based many of their private counterproposals on ending the sales tax on fuel and passing an equivalent per-gallon gas tax increase, which would boost revenue for roads but reduce it for schools and municipalities. Whitmer opposed going that route or delaying the elimination of debt in Michigan’s teacher retirement system to free up money.
“I will not have a conversation about new revenue and I don’t want to talk about bonds until every single penny that’s paid at the pump in taxes goes towards roads,” said House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Levering Republican.
One unresolved issue is Whitmer’s attempt to unwind the automatic earmark of income tax revenue to roads that began in 2018. The $325 million transfer is scheduled to rise to $600 million in the next fiscal year. Whitmer blocked an additional one-time $375 million shift proposed by Republicans in the recent budget impasse.
“It paralyzes you from addressing other needs” like K-12 schools, higher education and environmental protection, Sikkema said. He said moving away from tapping the $10.7 billion general fund for road and bridge repairs should be a priority. “What happens when the economy goes south and you’re still using the general fund for roads?”
A developer is looking to build a 24-story building in downtown Grand Rapids across from Van Andel Arena.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A developer is looking to build a 24-story building in downtown Grand Rapids across from Van Andel Arena.
Wheeler Development Group wants to construct a mixed-use building on the site of what is now a city-owned parking lot off Ottawa Avenue at Fulton Street.
It would contain more than 100 apartments, several condos, a parking garage, along with retail and office space. Of the apartments, up to 20% would be priced for households making below the area’s median income according to a plan provided to the City Commission.
>>PDF: Proposal and renderings
Developers will ask the City Commission to approve the project next week.
Buying the plot of land would cost the developer about $2 million and construction would cost $55 million. If the project is approved, construction could start this fall and take a little more than two years.
Events are scheduled across Michigan to honor the work and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Events are scheduled across Michigan to honor the work and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and recognize the federal holiday named after the civil rights leader.
Eastern Michigan University has kicked off a week-long series of events at its Ypsilanti campus, including the MLK Gospel Fest on Saturday and a speech Monday by Terrence Roberts, one of nine black students who helped desegregate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.
Southfield will hold its 35th annual Southfield MLK Peace Walk Celebration on Monday.
Members of the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program at Wayne State University will board up 10 vacant houses Monday near a Detroit school. More than 100 volunteers are expected to participate in the service project.
The Muskegon Museum of Art is holding its annual Free Community Day on Monday. Activities will include screenings of the updated “Black Man” documentary.
Activist, educator and author Angela Davis will deliver the 34th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium keynote memorial lecture Monday at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium.
The Grand Rapids Griffins extended their point streak to six games but fell to Belleville in a shootout Saturday night.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Griffins extended their point streak to six games but fell to Belleville in a shootout 4-3 Saturday night at Van Andel Arena.
Dominik Shine put the Griffins on the board first with a goal a little over three minutes into the second period.
After Belleville tied it, Dennis Cholowski notched a power play goal to send the Griffins into the third period with a 2-1 lead.
Evgeny Svechnikov gave Grand Rapids a two-goal cushion with a wraparound goal in the third period.
Belleville was able to score two to force overtime. The Griffins had a couple chances in overtime as Michael Rasmussen and Matt Puempel each hit the post with shots.
It went to a shootout and Belleville was able to record the victory.
Grand Rapids is back in action Wednesday night when it hosts the Iowa Wild.
Ada Township hosted an outdoor meeting to give residents a chance to weigh in on plans to redevelop Leonard Park.
ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Ada Township Parks and Recreation hosted an outdoor meeting Saturday morning to give residents a chance to weigh in on a plan to redevelop Leonard Park.
Warmed by fire pits and hot drinks, residents gathered inside Ada Covered Bridge to look at the plans and suggest their own ideas.
“We always want to hear from the residents as well as the general public that uses this and what would really help them have better use of the park,” Parks and Recreation Director Mark Fitzpatrick said.
Goals include making Leonard Park more easy to walk through and access from the river, improving accessibility to people with disabilities, better utilizing green space, and upgrading the ballpark and electrical system.
Fitzpatrick said the work could cost anywhere between $150,000 to $400,000 over about three years.
The township will host another public meeting on the redevelopment next month and then finalize the plan before April 1.
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