26 years ago in Metro Times: After Consumers Power abandoned the construction of what would have been the Midland Nuclear Power Plant, with a loss of around $7 billion, MT asks "Is Fermi Next?" Close to completion next to the ill-fated Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generation Station (Fermi 1) in Frenchtown Charter Township that experienced a partial meltdown in 1966, Fermi 2 promises to be a safer and more energy-efficient source of nuclear power. That is, if DTE Energy ever finishes it. "Fermi 2 is currently more than a decade overdue and is now tagged at $3.38 billion — 1,400 percent over the original estimate," MT writes. Midland and Fermi are the latest two in a recent series of nuclear plant closings and abandonments across the country, from New Hampshire to California, which have all proven either too unsafe, too expensive, or both. Today, Fermi 2 is up and running smoothly, despite a close brush with a tornado this summer. With the industry pushing for a new generation of nukes, there are plans to build a Fermi 3, but DTE is running into opposition from local environmental protestors. As for Midland, it was converted into a coal-powered generator, and supplies around 10 percent of the Lower Peninsula's electricity. What was happening: Jefferson Starship at Pine Knob, Second City at Michigan Theatre, Crosby, Stills and Nash at Meadowbrook.
10 years ago in Metro Times: News Hits writes, "That cheering sound you heard last week came from gays and lesbians across Michigan," as a series of proposals for anti-gay legislation fell through. There were four separate proposals, in Royal Oak, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Traverse City, all seeking to limit civil rights for gays and lesbians by repealing existing legislation and blocking any in the future. Thankfully for Michigan's LGBTQ community, the proposals either failed to get enough signatures or were improperly filed. A judge in Traverse City defended the city's decision to disregard the proposal, saying that it was illegally prepared and circulated. The masterminds behind this failed plan turned out to be the American Family Association (AFA), a conservative Christian advocacy group based in Mississippi. The AFA must be fuming now, since Judge Vaughn Walker overturned California's Proposition 8, which refused gays and lesbians' right to marry in that state. Michigan's Proposal 04-2 makes same-sex marriage illegal, but a 2009 poll shows that 63.7 percent of the populace supported same-sex civil unions, and 46.5 percent supported marriage. What was happening: Mötley Crüe at Pine Knob, Dixie Chick at the Palace, White Stripes at the Magic Stick.
4 years ago in Metro Times: Michigan is bereft of an efficient mass transit system, but a recent study says that might change soon. The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) released a report that shows that a high-speed train line is a viable option. "The analysis ... clearly indicates that reviving rail transit in Detroit and its suburbs is technically feasible and practical." The most popular plan is a commuter rail line from Detroit to Ann Arbor, with stops including key areas of the city, the airport, Dearborn and Yspilanti. There is also talk of that train being joined by a light rail line along Woodward Avenue. Conan Smith, executive director of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, certainly hopes that this will be the case. "My hope is that a rapid transit line between Ann Arbor and Detroit is on an inevitable path at this point." The Ann Arbor-Detroit line was scheduled to begin construction in October of this year, but has been delayed indefinitely due to a massive shortage of funds. The Woodward light rail project faces similar problems, so mass transit in Michigan remains more a plan than a reality. What was happening: Ted Nugent at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Grievous Angel at the RenCen, Billy Ray Cyrus at Meadowbrook.