Here are what we think are some of the more important stories to come out of Grand Rapids and Michigan in the past 24 hours:
- And, things wrap themselves up in a neat little package – Michigan Liberal has perhaps the last word on the controversy surrounding Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and his canceled speech in Grand Rapids. When the Kent County GOP canceled it over Huntsman’s stance in support of civil unions, the DeVos family stepped in. It turns out that there may have been a practical reason for that–Huntsman was being consider to be Ambassador to China, a country where Amway has aggressively expanded in recent years.
- Rep. Scripps and House Dems Introduce Health Care Package – The Michigan House Democratic Caucus has introduced a health care reform package that allegedly will guarantee access to health care by requiring insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions, reign in costs, ban unfair market practices, and insurance every child in Michigan by expanding the MiChild program. I’m not sure that this will do all that much to help cover all of the uninsured people in Michigan, but we’ll have to see.
- Spurning Coal, Manistee Rides the Windspire – After rejecting a coal plant five years ago, Manistee is now a part of Michigan’s renewable energy future. Mariah Power is manufacturing its Windspire home wind turbine in the city.
- Detroit juries losing color – In Wayne County, African-Americans are 42% of the population, yet they made up only 27% of the jury pool in 2004–that number has since fallen. Michigan Citizen has a great exploration of the issue.
- Appeals court to hear Pinkney defense – This Michigan Citizen article is a good summary of the case of Reverend Edward Pinkney. Pinkney is a Benton Harbor community organizer who was convicted in 2007 on trumped-up charges of voter fraud. Pinkney has an upcoming court day here in Grand Rapids and supporters are invited to attend.
- Hoekstra co-sponsors “Christian heritage” resolution – Representative Pete Hoekstra has taken a break from supporting torture in order to co-sponsor a resolution celebrating the United States’ so-called “Christian heritage” in Congress. It’s hardly a pressing issue and numerous historians have shown the resolution to be severely flawed.
- Stabenow parties like it’s 1989 – Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has joined with conservative Republican Senators to sponsor a resolution that seeks a federal amendment to ban flag burning. This has come up numerous times since the Supreme Court overturned state-level bans on the practice in 1989.
- Amway celebrates golden anniversary with deep local roots and a global reach – This is the start of the Grand Rapids Press’ coverage of Amway’s 50th anniversary. As expected, this series will be full of a lot of hype with three days of major stories on the company. Surprisingly, this first article does focus a lot of attention on various lawsuits that the company has been a part of over the years–although the overall tone is positive. There was nothing in the article on how the fortunes made by Amway founders Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos have been used to support conservative politics or how they have sought to use their money to influence public policy.
- Twitter takes flight with lawmakers – The Detroit Free Press looks at politicians in Michigan who are using Twitter and how they use it. I suppose this is a good time to plug the MediaMouse.org Twitter account @mediamouse.
If we missed anything, let us know in the comments.