And now to big money that's tied up in a company's pension fund. Tens of thousands of white-collar Ford retirees will soon have a big decision to make: Should they stay in the auto company's pension plan, or take their chances with a lump sum payout instead? The offer is believed to be the first of its kind for such a large, ongoing pension fund.
The Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan had five unplanned shutdowns last year. It's one of the area's biggest employers, and its safety record is one of the worst in the country. Now it's trying to prove to federal regulators that it can meet their standards.
On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Palisades Power Plant is tucked in between tall sand dunes in Covert Township, Mich., at the southern edge of Van Buren State Park.
Steelcase, the world's largest office furniture maker, is celebrating 100 years in business. But sales of the metal filing cabinets Steelcase is named for are declining - same with cubicles and other large pieces of office furniture.
LINDSEY SMITH, BYLINE: So, as Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reports, Steelcase says it's changing its identity.
Last June, the city council in Holland, Mich., voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its local anti-discrimination laws. Now an unlikely coalition is pressuring the city council to change that vote.
On Wednesday nights, Pastor Bill Freeman turns the podium of the city council meeting into a pulpit. He wants Holland to adopt local laws that would protect people from getting fired or kicked out of their homes because they are gay, bisexual or transgender.
Manufacturers are still cautious when it comes to hiring. But one Michigan company is going on a hiring spree. Gentex Corporation mostly makes car mirrors. Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reports that business is booming.
One year after an oil spill, workers are still cleaning up the bottom of the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan. An estimated 840,000 gallons leaked from a broken pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy. Life for those living near the accident site in Michigan has not returned to normal yet, and it probably won't for some time.
The recession forced many small manufacturers to adapt to survive, especially in the industrial Midwest. In Michigan, a yacht-building company started a new venture in the wind-energy industry to keep its factory open.
In 2005 and 2006, Tiara Yachts was operating at full capacity, turning out about 400 yachts per year, with most of them going for around $1 million each. To keep up with demand, the company nearly doubled its manufacturing space in Holland, Mich.