May 15, 2013
NPR’s Noah Adams visited “The Ridge” to see how the apple crop was faring in 2013 after the devastation of 2012. The engaging 4 minute piece looks at methods they use to battle frost and how last year’s 99% wipeout hurt farmers. It’s well worth your time, but if you’re looking for the punch-line, the crop appears to have the potential for full harvest.
The Ridge Economic Agricultural Partners (REAP) explain:
Fruit Ridge or “the Ridge” is a topographical land feature located NW of Grand Rapids, Michigan and considered to be an agricultural mecca. The glaciers of long ago left behind gently rolling slopes. The deposits were fertile clay loam soils with excellent moisture holding qualities that provided great soil and terrain for the growing of premium fruits, vegetables and the raising of livestock, including buffalo.
Approximately 8 miles wide by 20 miles long, the Fruit Ridge is regarded as one of the prime fruit-growing regions in the world. Elevations greater than 800 feet and its location (about 25 miles from Lake Michigan), creates a unique climate (ideal growing and moderate winters) for fruit production. The Ridge supplies 60% of the states (Michigan) apples. An estimated 66% of the Ridge lies in Kent County, all within 20 miles of downtown Grand Rapids.
“The Ridge” is an area of 158 square miles (8 miles wide and 20 miles long) covering 7 townships and 4 counties: Kent (Alpine, Sparta, Tyrone), Newago (Ashland), Muskegon (Casnovia) and Ottawa (Chester and Wright).
April 25, 2013
This mLive article on the historic Grand River flooding in Grand Rapids explains that April 2013 is now the third wettest month on record for the city:
Evan Webb with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids said 10.57 inches of rain had fallen in the city this month as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, its wettest month in 17 years. That should come as no surprise to West Michigan, which saw weeks of heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding and led the Grand River to crest at record levels.
Grand Rapids already had shattered its longstanding April rainfall record, but just crept into the top three wettest of any month of the year.
The No. 1 spot goes to June 1892, when 13.22 inches of rain fell. Second place belongs to September 1986, when 11.85 inches doused the city.
Webb said it is possible Grand Rapids could see enough rain to put it in the No. 2 spot, but it is unlikely with only a week and a half left in the month.
View Gary’s photo on black and see more in his Water, water, everywhere … but not a drop to drink slideshow. He writes:
All the rain we have had, and the heavy winter added to the water levels a bit around here. The floods are near records. The Grand River, which goes through the heart of the city and ends at Lake Michigan hits the flood limit at 18′. We went 3 1/2 feet over that. Many buildings flooded, many roads were covered for days, and many, many basements flooded. Our sump pump has been running non-stop for two weeks. We have been lucky… we only had about 20 gallons of water that got into the basement… though the sump pump has siphoned thousands of gallons from around our house. Many neighbors had a few inches of water in their basements. A lot of homes have dumpsters in the driveway. Pretty sad. Still… the crowds downtown looking at the floods and taking photos are amazing. People are everywhere, and most are fine.
You might also be interested in the Great Michigan Flood of 1908.
December 6, 2012
Old Leonard Street Bridge, by Peter Oosse
When I was researching last week’s post on Michigan’s longest covered bridge, I found a neat feature about the historic bridges of Grand Rapids. It looks at three bridges, the Bridge Street Bridge, the Pearl Street Bridge and the Leonard Street Bridge:
In 1879, at a time when other bridges were being replaced by wrought iron spans, a new covered bridge was erected by City Engineer William Seckel at the Leonard Street crossing. This bridge, at a length of 832 feet, earned the distinction of being the longest covered bridge ever built in the State of Michigan. This ornately portaled, lattice truss bridge served the city’s traffic until 1913.
The photo reads Old Leonard Street Bridge, Grand Rapids, Mich. Oldest Bridge in Grand Rapids, Built 1879. It’s from early 1900s by photographer Peter Oosse and you can see more shots from turn of the century Grand Rapids in the collection of William Blik at WellWooster.com. There’s a lot more Grand Rapids history there too!
Much more Michigan history on Michigan in Pictures.
October 22, 2012
The Annual Grand Rapids Zombie Dash bills itself as the most terrifying night race in the world. Much as in the forthcoming zombie apocalypse, participants are divided into 2 classes, hardy survivors who will run a 5k for their lives a 5k, and members of the zombie horde who will attempt to separate said survivors from said lives. All the details are on the web site, and there’s also a post-race concert.
The event is also raising awareness for a topic near and dear to the un-beating hearts of zombies everywhere and also Michigan citizens. They’re holding early registration where you can also register for Michigan Blood Stem Cell Program at Gazelle Sports in Grand Rapids on Friday the 26th.
According to Barbara Hile, Program Manager for Michigan Blood’s Marrow/Stem Cell Program, “Patients needing blood stem cell (marrow) transplants can only find a suitable match within their family about 30% of the time. The remaining 70% of matches are made between complete strangers via the Be the Match Registry. Therefore, the more young people who join the Registry, the more chances we have of a match for thousands of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases. A marrow transplant is often the patient’s last, best chance for survival.”
Read more at the link above or at www.BeTheMatch.org/join.
October 6, 2012
Adonna Khare, a week before the Sept. 19 opening of ArtPrize, installed her 8-foot tall, 35-foot wide drawing “Elephants,” on a second-story wall of the museum.
As ArtPrize unfolded, the artist from Burbank, Calif., continued to add daily to the original triptych, spilling over onto the museum walls with additional figures and more details, as thousands of people every day passed through the ArtPrize exhibition center.
“People would come and sit with me,” she said. “Kids would sit with me, and I could share about art.” More than three weeks later, Khare’s drawing has grown to be 14 feet tall, 40 feet wide, and her purse has grown $200,000 richer.
More art on Michigan in Pictures.
September 29, 2012
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 30, 2012: This entry was in the ArtPrize Top Ten entries announced today.
Last night the skies of Grand Rapids lit up with 20,000 fire lanterns for the Lights the Night entry in ArtPrize 2012 (ArtPrize and Facebook pages). From everything I can find, it looks to have been an incredible spectacle.
You can also see a video from high above of the fire lantern launch at mLive. See more photos from Stacy, BetsyLouWho, Jack, Lisa, Debbie, flickaway, and Kevin and please add links to ones you took or found in the comments!
September 24, 2012
The autumnal equinox happened on Saturday, making the full moon that will rise this Sunday, September 30th the Harvest Moon. It’s also known as the Wine Moon, the Singing Moon (Celtic), Barley Moon (Old English) and the Elk Call Moon.
This weekend the skies of Grand Rapids will host another interesting phenomenon, Lights in the Night. On Friday (Sept 28) this ArtPrize entry will seek to launch thousands of fire lanterns downtown. Get all the details at www.lightsinthenight.org.
September 20, 2012
ArtPrize opened yesterday in Grand Rapids and runs through October 7th. Now in its 4th year, ArtPrize is the largest art competition in the world, awarding over a half million in prizes. $360,000 of this is awarded by public vote. If you’ve never experienced a city turned upside down by art, it might be a good idea to plan a trip to Grand Rapids.
This year in an effort to become a more sustainable effort, ArtPrize has added various levels of membership that include perks like priority seating and tickets & receptions to events during ArtPrize and year round.
March 8, 2012
…at Meijer Gardens to be precise, where Butterflies Are Blooming is:
…Meijer Gardens’ most popular annual exhibition and the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the nation. March 1–April 30, visitors can escape the Michigan winter and mingle with more than 6,000 tropical butterflies flying free in the 15,000-square-foot Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.
The exhibition boasts more than 40 different species from the Far East, Africa and Central America. Each week hundreds of chrysalises arrive at Meijer Gardens and are painstakingly sorted, inspected, labeled and pinned in our sealed Butterfly Bungalow. The chrysalises are then placed in a special emergence area of the Bungalow where visitors can witness through a window their magical transformation into butterflies!
Once ready to be released into the conservatory, the butterflies are placed on plants where they acclimate to the environment and gain strength before taking to the air. It’s a wonderful place for photos and just one of the opportunities for visitors to observe the butterflies up-close and personal. Throughout the tropical environment, butterflies can be viewed drinking nectar from the flowering plants and feeding stations, lighting on the odd nose or shoulder, and congregating along the stream beds, as well as in flight all around.
September 21, 2011
“I think it’s terrifying & thrilling.”
~Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic at New York magazine on ArtPrize
ArtPrize, the radically open competition held every year in Grand Rapids that gives away the world’s largest cash prize – all decided by public vote – starts today and runs through October 9th. You can keep up with it at absolutemichigan.com/ArtPrize and also through the mLive Artprize section.
Of course there’s an ArtPrize Facebook (and Twitter & Tumblr), and an ArtPrize photo group and a lot of ArtPrize photos in the Absolute Michigan pool. For all you photographers out there, there’s a daily ArtPrize photo contest with a camera or laptop as the top prize!
ArtPrize is in its third year and truly is one of the most amazing events I’ve ever been to. If there’s any way you can make the trip to Grand Rapids, do it. You won’t be disappointed!