BROWN BAG UPDATE - Midday News Notes
Michigan is bracing for another unemployment report.

The state's unemployment rate for September is scheduled to be released Wednesday.

Michigan has had the nation's highest jobless rate for most of the past four years. The state's unemployment rate was 15.2 percent in August.

The national unemployment rate edged up slightly to 9.8 percent in September.

Mixed results have been reported by the relatively few states that already have released their jobless reports for last month.


GRAND RAPIDS - Three small fires broke out at the old Baker Furniture warehouse on Monroe Avenue NW, destroying a vintage Mustang inside. Arson was suspected after accelerants were found on the scene.

Grand Rapids fire units were called around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to the three-story building. Officials said the fires could have been much worse, but sprinkler systems kicked on.

No one was hurt.

GRAND HAVEN - It was a packed house at Tuesday night's planning commission meeting as developer Steve Davis unveiled new plans for the Bil-Mar Restaurant, Grand Haven's only restaurant located right on the beach.

The plans call for a 35,000 square foot, three story building that would house a restaurant and 14 condos with lake view patios.

Davis said the building would be LEED certified for energy efficiency but would have a cottage look and underground parking.

Davis has a limited option on the property after owner Howard Meyer scrapped his plans for a $4 million expansion, blaming the economy. The new plans must still be approved by the city and neighbors.

LANSING (AP) - A Michigan legislative committee is considering whether to let clerks e-mail absentee ballots to soldiers and other voters located overseas.

The House Ethics and Elections Committee will debate and possibly vote on the issue Wednesday.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Vince Gregory would let the secretary of state create rules allowing local clerks to e-mail absentee ballots. Gregory, D-Southfield, is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam.

Clerks say Michigan is one of 16 states that doesn't give residents who are overseas in the military enough time to vote, according to a study by The Pew Center on The States.