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Jan 6, 2014

Big freeze grips United States, disrupting travel and business

CHICAGO/CLEVELAND, Ohio (Reuters) – A blast of Arctic air gripped the vast middle of the United States on Monday, with the coldest temperatures in two decades threatening lives, forcing businesses and schools to close and canceling thousands of flights.

Shelters for the homeless were overwhelmed and oil production could come to a standstill as the severe cold, described by some meteorologists as the “polar vortex” and dubbed by media as the “polar pig,” brought temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius).

Dec 16, 2013

Regional water deal elusive for Detroit emergency manager

DETROIT (Reuters) – In bankruptcy and looking for cash, Detroit would like to lease its water utility to raise as much as $9 billion to fund basic services long term, but talks with neighboring suburban counties are stalled.

County officials say they are stuck over the price tag and estimates of repair costs, likely delaying plans by Detroit’s emergency manager to deliver a financial restructuring plan early next month.

Dec 11, 2013

Amid slight data, Michigan’s right-to-work law fight rages on

LANSING, Michigan (Reuters) – When Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in December 2012, conservatives hailed it as a sign the Rust Belt state was “open for business,” union workers decried the law as “union busting” and labor leaders vowed to use it to quash Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s reelection bid in 2014.

A year later, the impact of the law remains up for debate.

Conservatives say it has already made Michigan more attractive to businesses, but it could take years before the economic benefits can be measured. Unions and Democratic opponents are pronouncing it a failure because unemployment has gone up. And in the gubernatorial race, it does not seem to be a central issue – at least not yet.

Dec 11, 2013

After long fight, new bridge for Detroit may be in sight

DETROIT, Dec 11 (Reuters) – A decade ago Les Cadman stopped
making improvements to his small house in Detroit’s declining
Delray district because it stood in the path of a proposed
bridge to Windsor, Ontario, the bustling Canadian city just
across the Detroit River.

“Why bother fixing the place up when it looked like it would
become a tear down?” asked Cadman, a former trucker, still spry
at age 83.

Nov 20, 2013

For Illinois tornado survivors, relief is just being alive

, Nov 20 (Reuters) – After breaking her leg
late last year, having a double mastectomy in the summer and
seeing her house destroyed by a tornado that swept through
Washington, Illinois, on Sunday, Kim Wright said her luck was
due to change.

“They say bad luck comes in threes and I’ve had my three,”
Wright, 56, said on Wednesday, standing in the pulverized
wreckage of what just three days ago had been her home. “I’m due
now for some good fortune.”

Nov 20, 2013

Residents of tornado-hit Midwest city regroup amid looting

WASHINGTON, Illinois (Reuters) – Residents of a central Illinois city hit by a powerful tornado worked feverishly on Tuesday to salvage belongings from the rubble of their homes, as an over-burdened police force tried to stop looting.

Authorities doubled to 1,000 their estimate of homes damaged or destroyed in the fast-moving storm that hit Washington, a town of 15,000 located 145 miles southwest of Chicago, on Sunday. Winds reached up to 200 miles per hour (322 km per hour), and many houses were reduced to piles of sticks.

Nov 20, 2013

Decision time for Tea Party movement in U.S. political contests

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) – After a string of setbacks and losses, the insurgent Tea Party movement is at a crossroads, between learning to live within the Republican Party or pursuing its fight against those it sees as not conservative enough.

The choice is an easy one for Tea Party activists, who vow to keep up their campaign to vote out of office those Republican politicians they say have betrayed the tenets of the conservative cause – smaller government and less federal spending and taxes.

Nov 19, 2013

U.S. Midwest assesses storm wreckage, damage may be $1 billion

WASHINGTON, Illinois (Reuters) – Residents of a small central Illinois city hit by a powerful tornado were allowed back to comb through the wreckage of their homes for personal belongings on Tuesday, two days after the deadly storm caused an estimated $1 billion in property damage across the Midwest.

Authorities doubled to 1,000 their estimate of homes damaged or destroyed in the fast-moving storm that hit Washington, a town of 15,000 located 145 miles southwest of Chicago.

Nov 4, 2013

Why run for Detroit mayor? Winner may have real chance for change

DETROIT (Reuters) – Detroit, saddled with $18 billion in debt, has filed for bankruptcy. Crime is rampant, and the city cannot provide its depleted population with basic services. So why would anyone want to run for mayor, especially when a state-appointed emergency manager has all the power anyway?

“That’s a question I get asked all the time, because some people do wonder why they (the candidates) would want the job,” said Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. “But there is an opportunity here to achieve things that no mayor has been able to do for the past 30 years.”

Oct 30, 2013

Detroit city manager seeks $9 bln from suburbs for water dept

DETROIT, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn
Orr has asked suburban counties surrounding the city to pay $9
billion over 40 years to assume partial control of the Detroit
Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), an offer that Oakland
County Executive L. Brooks Patterson called unacceptable.

Oakland County is home to around 1.2 million of the DWSD’s
roughly 4 million customers.

    • About Nick

      "Nick Carey is a Chicago-based, British-born journalist who has covered everything from the near-collapse of the Big Three automakers to the U.S. housing crisis. Nick is currently on general assignment, reporting on the human impact of the recession. He previously spent ten years working in central and eastern Europe."
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