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In this morning's Michigan news headlines...

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Brother O'Mara
Morning News Roundup, Thursday, April 12th, 2012

MI Foreclosures Decline

Realty Trac is reporting that Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is improving. “Foreclosure filings were down nearly 20% during the first three months of the year compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. The decline was even steeper compared to the same time a year ago. Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He says nationally foreclosure numbers haven’t looked this good since before the recession started in 2008. Bloomquist expects there will be a spike in new home foreclosures in the second half of the year,” Steve Carmody reports.

Ag Industry Grows

A new Michigan State University study shows Michigan’s agriculture industry has grown dramatically throughout the recession. Lindsey Smith reports:

Agriculture contributed more than $90 billion to Michigan’s economy in 2010. The economic impact of farming, food processing and the supply chain is twice as much as it was in 2004. “(Agriculture’s) critical to what’s happening in the state. And the story about our growth I think is significant versus other sectors of the state’s economy that have clearly been in decline,” said Chris Peterson, director of the MSU Product Center. Peterson says growing demand for food in big countries like China and India are a major factor in agriculture’s growth in Michigan.The latest report shows 618,000 jobs come directly from Michigan’s food and agriculture business sector.

Kalamazoo River Sheen

Officials say material apparently dumped into a storm drain has created a miles-long sheen on the Kalamazoo River. The Associated Press reports:

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports police were notified Wednesday about a possible spill near Albion. Booms were placed in the river to collect the material. Authorities say it appears the unknown material was apparently dumped into a drain at the former Union Steel site… Crews have been working to clean the Kalamazoo River further downstream since a 2010 pipeline rupture spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil near Marshall.

Zoe Clark is Michigan Radio’s Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.