Michigan Business, Economy & Tourism

From classic cars to travel, energy and food, we bring you the stories of the people who fuel our economy and the policies that shape it.

David Cassleman

Throughout this series, we’ve heard from a number of listeners concerned about the cost of housing in northwest lower Michigan.


Almost nothing is happening that would improve the situation for people struggling to find an affordable place to live.


Builders and developers are building new homes in the region. But they’re more expensive homes, and they’re being built in or near Traverse City, where land is the most costly.

But a developer named Bryce Gibbs has a new house on the market for $89,000, and his future plans include building historic replica homes that are affordable.

Paul Maritinez/Flickr

Last week Governor Rick Snyder signed off on a long-awaited roads funding deal. The laws will raise more than $1 billion a year by 2021. The money will go towards repairing the roads and bridges in Michigan that have been neglected for years.

"This is the largest investment in transportation in Michigan in the last 50 years," Snyder said this month.

But many in the state are not happy with the final product, which includes a gas tax hike and higher car registration fees.

Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta explains the mechanics of the deal:

Aaron Selbig

Soon it will cost more to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In January the entrance fee will go from $10 to $15, and the annual entrance pass will increase from $20 to $30. Camping fees will also increase. 

Merrith Baughman, ​park ranger and chief of interpretation and visitor services, says the National Park Service wants more consistent fees across the country. 

Fiat Chrysler Automotive's UAW members vote this week on whether to ratify the second contract put before them. The first tentative contract agreement went down to resounding defeat, forcing the union and FCA to try again.

Much of the opposition to the first deal was fired up on social media. At the same time, the union was widely viewed as having stumbled badly on its social media presence defending the deal.

They're not letting that happen this time.

David Cassleman

There aren’t many businesses left in Thompsonville, and one of the few that remains is closing.

Paul’s Party Store is a place to grab a gallon of milk or buy a pack of cigarettes. But you can also find a more hard-to-find item, like balsamic vinegar.

The store is a small, blue pole barn. It used to be a fishing shop — you can still find fishing gear for purchase — and it’s retained the feel of a tackle shop, dark with a concrete floor.