stimulus | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

stimulus

gary peters headshot
Gary Peters for Senate

Today on Stateside, a chat with Senator Gary Peters. Plus, how the pandemic changed the workplace and what it will look like if and when we get back in the office. And, Michigan’s history as a stronghold of the so-called “Reagan Democrat” and the new swing voters taking their place. And to top it all off, a St. Patrick’s Day cocktail. And no, it isn’t green.

Adobe Stock

Today, on Stateside, beginning April 5th all Michigan residents aged 16 and up will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. But are health departments ready for this new wave? Plus, so many of us looking forward to life after the pandemic, but how exactly do we return to normal?

black and white archive photo of two nurses wearing masks.
National Archives

Today, on Stateside, a new state budget paves the way into another uncertain year. Also, a discussion about how undocumented immigrants have been shut out of federal aid during the pandemic.

Katie Harp / Unsplash

Democrats in Congress have become divided on whether someone’s immigration status determines receiving COVID-19 stimulus checks. Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are two of the eight Democrats in the Senate who supported an amendment to the budget during last week's marathon voting session which would prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving stimulus checks.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, many Michiganders have received a second round of COVID-relief stimulus checks over the past couple of weeks — but for some, it’s not enough. We take a look at how far a one-time $600 check goes when you’re living on the edge of poverty. Also, a reporter talks us through the latest developments with Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 pipeline in the Great Lakes. Plus, the future of cash bail programs, which have come under scrutiny in Michigan.

Michigan capitol building
Pkay Chelle / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

The Legislature’s post-election “lame duck” session begins Tuesday. The current session will expire at the end of December.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has asked lawmakers to approve a package of up to $100 million dollars in a relief and stimulus package.

Republican leaders have not tipped their hand.

Courtesy: UIA

The Michigan unemployment insurance application process is back online. After crashing Monday because of the huge volume of applicants, the state added new servers. The Unemployment Insurance Agency has also added new people to take phone call applications. 600,000 people are now receiving benefits. Another 700,000 applications have been approved for payments. The agency expects the number to continue to climb this week.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Community leaders in Holland, Michigan are trying to stay upbeat about the future of the battery industry they’ve worked so hard to attract.

But the past week has been rough for advanced battery maker LG Chem. A U.S. Department of Energy audit reported the company likely wasted more than a million dollars in grant money.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A federal program that tries to get homeowners to invest in energy efficient home improvement projects is nearly over.

The program provides a detailed home energy audit for a super low price. Homeowners who want to make improvements based on the audit can take out a low interest loan.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell says the $450 billion jobs bill is “crucial” for Michigan. His comments are part of a campaign to get Congress to act on the American Jobs Act.

 “We know we have to be strong and stand on our own but we also know that we’re not able to keep up with infrastructure needs in our community,” Heartwell said during a White House press conference Friday.

Obama has been urging Congress to pass the jobs bill “right away” since he sent the bill to Congress two week ago. But so far, Congress hasn’t taken any real action on it.

Photo by Flickr user Brandon Stafford

Many homeowners just can’t afford the upfront investment to make their homes more energy efficient. And many programs meant to defray some of that cost haven’t gotten much traction with consumers.

But Sarah Cwiek reports the federal government’s “BetterBuildings” program is trying to change that. It’s just now getting off the ground in Michigan with money from the 2009 stimulus package.

Sarah visited Chris Matus at his Ferndale home on the day he was getting an energy audit from Well Home's Kent Trobaugh.

The guys set up something called a blower door test to find out where the leaks were in Matus' home.  Then they roamed the house with an infrared camera.  The screen shows a landscape of blurred colors: gold is heat, purple is cold. Matus says the whole exercise reminds him of a certain movie from the 1980s.

“It feels like we’re Ghostbusting.”

Matus is getting about a thousand dollars worth of work done on his house today. But it only costs him 50. That’s because he’s taking advantage of the U.S. Department of Energy’s stimulus-funded BetterBuildings program. Michigan got 30-million dollars—the second-biggest chunk of any state.

A new report paints a dim picture of the bridges that many Michigan motorists use every day.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says one in four of Michigan’s 44 hundred bridges are either "structurally deficient" or "functionally obsolete"

Department spokesman Bill Schreck says despite millions of federal stimulus dollars spent in the past year on road improvements in Michigan problem bridges are still in need of repair.