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.

The Four Winns boat plant in Cadillac hoped for steady growth when it struggled out of bankruptcy two years ago. Yet, after an initial surge, employment has hit a plateau. Even with auto companies having bounced back from near death to record profits, the boat business is slow to pick up.

Lampooning Michigan

Mar 8, 2012

John Kerfoot says his parents aren't exactly proud, but he's the man behind Not So Pure Michigan. His parody of the popular state promotion campaign, Pure Michigan, has attracted millions of viewers online. He joins us this week to talk about lampooning the Great Lakes State. Points North is at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Friday on IPR News Radio.

Challenges Ahead For A Proposed Lansing Casino

Jan 23, 2012

Leaders in Lansing have just made a big announcement, a partnership with an Upper Peninsula tribe that could bring a couple thousand permanent and temporary jobs to town. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a $245 million dollar casino with three-thousand slots and nearly 50 gaming tables - right downtown.

UPDATED Thursday October 20th

During the twentieth-century the scale of food production in the United States went big. Farms became vast corporations and food is sold today in huge volumes. That's why it's hard for small farmers to expand business far beyond the local farmers market. But northern Michigan keeps adding to the number of people trying. A new effort to help them recently won support from economic development officials in Lansing.

Start-up food businesses face obstacles

A three-judge federal appeals court panel is not convinced the Vanderbilt Casino is legal. It's not a final ruling on the legality of the Bay Mills Indian Community's operation.

It does mean the casino, north of Gaylord, will remain closed while the issue works its way through the courts.

Both the State of Michigan and a tribe with a competing casino in Petoskey want the casino closed permanently.

This ruling upholds another federal court ruling that shut down the facility back in March.

The Upper Peninsula Indian tribe that owns a small casino in Vanderbilt has filed an appeal in federal court. Leaders of the Bay Mills Indian Community say their casino, north of Gaylord, is legal and on Indian land. They argue a federal judge was wrong to shut the casino down earlier this week.

The preliminary injunction issued Tuesday shutters the casino, while the courts determine whether or not it's legal. Judge Paul Maloney opined Bay Mills has little chance of winning the case. But the tribe contends Maloney's reasoning is flawed.

A small casino in Vanderbilt was ordered closed Tuesday. A federal judge says the casino, north of Gaylord, is probably not legal. He says keeping it open while the courts decide for sure would do irreparable harm to a competing casino in Petoskey.

Winners & Losers
With most every court battle, there are winners and losers. Today, Vanderbilt Village President Ed Posgate feels like his town of about 500 people is on the losing end.

Vanderbilt Casino Ordered Closed

Mar 29, 2011

The Vanderbilt Casino has been ordered closed immediately. The casino is north of Gaylord, and it's owned by the Bay Mills Indian Community.

At about 9:30 this morning, Federal Judge Paul Maloney ordered the casino closed by noon. Maloney says there's a good chance the casino is not legal.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says gamblers at a small casino in Vanderbilt may be breaking the law.

In a court filing this week, the A.G. said, if the Vanderbilt casino is not legal, its customers are also violating state and federal anti-gambling laws.

The state contends the Bay Mills Indian Community's Vanderbilt casino is illegal. Bay Mills leaders disagree.

The state's brief was filed in support of a Harbor Springs tribe's attempt to have the Vanderbilt casino shuttered immediately.

Vanderbilt Casino Expansion Opens Saturday

Jan 18, 2011

A small but embattled Indian-run casino in Vanderbilt closes temporarily this week to prepare for its expansion.

The Gaylord Herald Times reports the casino will close Thursday and Friday and reopen Saturday - doubled in size.

Meanwhile, two federal lawsuits seek to have the Bay Mills Indian Community casino shuttered permanently.

Area government officials say they anticipate soon receiving their first revenue-sharing payments from the casino.

Bay Mills Responds To Lawsuit

Dec 23, 2010

A dispute over a casino opened in November by the Bay Mills Indian Community is getting more heated. In a statement today, the chair of the Upper Peninsula tribe lashed out the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

This week there were two lawsuits filed against the tribe in federal court. One is from the Little Traverse Bay Bands in Harbor Springs, the other from the state Attorney General.

Both sued to close Bay Mills' small casino in Vanderbilt.

Lawsuit Coming Over Vanderbilt Casino

Dec 21, 2010

An Indian tribe in Harbor Springs plans to file a lawsuit tomorrow to try to shut down a small casino in Vanderbilt.

The Bay Mills casino has been open, despite an order to close that came late last week from the state Attorney General.

"We'll be asking for a temporary injunction to close the Bay Mills Indian Community casino in Vanderbilt down because we feel it's illegal," says Chairman Ken Harrington, of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

State Files Suit To Close Vanderbilt Casino

Dec 21, 2010

The state Attorney General filed suit today in federal court to permanently close a small casino in the northern Michigan town of Vanderbilt.

Already last week, the state ordered the casino closed, but it remains open and now the state goes to court to demand it shuttered.

State Orders Vanderbilt Casino Closed

Dec 16, 2010

The state Attorney General has ordered the Bay Mills Indian Community to immediately close its small casino in Vanderbilt, north of Gaylord.

Bay Mills just opened the casino last month, and the Upper Peninsula tribe has faced a swarm of criticism in the move. It didn't go through the normal state and federal approval process to open.

Critics, including five other gaming tribes, call the move unfair competition.

Now the Attorney General also says the casino is illegal.

A small casino that just opened last month in Vanderbilt is already growing. The Gaylord Herald Times reports leaders of the Bay Mills Indian Community are building on to the small facility, even as questions abound over its legality.

Several other Indian nations say it is not legal and that Vanderbilt is not place Bay Mills has any historic claim to. That's a traditional litmus test with off-reservation gaming.

The state has yet to decide whether the casino is legal.

Port Huron Paper Applauds Bay Mills

Nov 30, 2010

A newspaper in Port Huron is applauding an Upper Peninsula tribe for opening a casino other tribes call "illegal."

The Bay Mills Indian Community quietly launched a small casino in Vanderbilt, north of Gaylord. It's been widely speculated that the northern Michigan casino is a test case and that the tribe really has its eye on the state's "Thumb."

Editors of The Herald Times in Port Huron say a casino would be a welcome boon to that a city with a 25 percent jobless rate, and they hope Bay Mills is victorious.

Vanderbilt Casino Controversy

Nov 15, 2010

There's a new Indian-run casino in Vanderbilt north of Gaylord along I-75. It's a small facility with just a few dozen slot machines.

Its opening came as a shock to the state, and to several Indian nations in northern Michigan who contend it's illegal.

Quiet Open
The new casino opened so quietly early this month that its nearest competitor knew nothing of it.

Cadillac Hopes Boat Market Improves

Apr 29, 2010

The City of Cadillac hopes to see the motor boat business bounce back this summer. One of its big employers, Four Winns, has a new owner, and it's begun calling back laid off workers.

The parent company is even moving another boat brand to Cadillac, Glastron.

Reports about tax incentives being offered by the state suggest thousands of new jobs could result. But for that to happen, more people are going to need to be buying boats. 

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