October 30, 2014
FOX News Detroit reports that the city of Detroit will be auctioning off hundreds of municipal vehicles on November 5th to raise money for the city:
“This is an opportunity to put out to the general public some high quality equipment and property we are hoping will generate some cash will go back to the departments and help buy equipment to serve the city of Detroit,” said Gary Brown, chief of staff.
The auction will begin on Nov. 5 and run for two days in a webcast/onsite public auction.
According to published reports there will be more than 450 vehicles including 115 automated side load garbage trucks, 79 transit buses and historic trolley cars. Also available will be 41 truck-mounted snow plows and 130 public lighting service vehicles.
Read on for more and note the picture of the trolleys – pretty sure this is one of them. I guess that’s one of the advantages of having 200,000+ photos available to choose from!! Here’s the full info from the City with links to the online auction site and information about the vehicles being auctioned.
October 28, 2014
October 25, 2014
This pic reminded me of an article I read a couple weeks ago in the Detroit News on the economic impact of bicycles in Michigan:
Bicycling pumps an estimated $668 million per year into Michigan’s economy, according to a recent report from the Michigan Department of Transportation. That figure factors in the nearly 800 people employed in bicycle-related jobs, along with retail revenue, tourism expenses, lower health care costs and a boost in productivity.
The study, “Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan,” put the spotlight on five communities to gauge how the sport affects their bottom line.
Michigan’s second-largest city, Grand Rapids, benefited most from cycling. It earned $39.1 million, nearly double the $20.7 million Detroit brings in. Ann Arbor easily grabbed second place with a $25.4 million boost.
…Grand Rapids began adding bike lanes on city streets in 2010 and now has 55 miles of bike lanes with more planned. It has a cycle track, hundreds of bike racks and an extensive trail network in the suburbs, said Suzanne Schulz, Grand Rapids’ managing director of design, development and community engagement.
“We are really trying to take a more holistic view of transportation infrastructure for the entire community because a lot of people don’t have cars,” Schulz said.
October 24, 2014
More eclipse photos on Michigan in Pictures. And speaking of eclipses, check out this awesome time lapse of the October 8 Blood Moon eclipse by Central Michigan University astronomy prof Axel Mellinger!
October 23, 2014
Tuesday was the 44th anniversary of the founding of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You may have heard the Chippewa tale that inspired the name of the park:
“Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tried and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear”.
You might not be aware, however, that “the Bear” was also an actual formation atop a dune about a mile north of the Pierce Stocking Overlook. The Lakeshore says that the formation pictured above…
…hardly looks like a bear now, for it has been changing rapidly in recent years. At the turn of the century, it was a round knob completely covered with trees and shrubs. You can still see some of the thick vegetation that gave it a dark shaggy appearance.
…For a long time, the Sleeping Bear Dune stood at about 234 feet high with a dense plant cover. However, through most of the twentieth century, erosion has prevailed. By 1961, the dune was only 132 feet high, and by 1980, it was down to 103 feet. The process is a continuing one. The major cause of the dune’s erosion was wave action wearing away the base of the plateau on which the dune rests. As the west side of the dune loses its support, it cascades down the hill. The wind, too, is a major agent of erosion, removing sand and destroying the dune’s plant cover.
You can see what the area looks like now and read more right here.
View Don’s photo background bigtacular and get daily blasts from the past in his Northern Michigan Photo Postcards – Our History and Heritage group on Facebook!
October 15, 2014
Predicting Winter Weather: Woolly Bear Caterpillars at the Farmer’s Almanac says that in 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City sought to determine the average number of reddish-brown segments and use that to forecast the coming winter weather. For eight years, he continued to try and prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that the wider that middle brown section is (and the more brown segments there are) the milder the coming winter will be, while a narrow brown band means a harsh winter.
Between 1948 and 1956, Dr. Curran’s average brown-segment counts ranged from 5.3 to 5.6 out of the 13-segment total, meaning that the brown band took up more than a third of the woolly bear’s body. As those relatively high numbers suggested, the corresponding winters were milder than average. But Curran was under no scientific illusion: He knew that his data samples were small. Although the experiments popularized and, to some people, legitimized folklore, they were simply an excuse for having fun. Curran, his wife, and their group of friends escaped the city to see the foliage each fall, calling themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear.
…Mike Peters, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts, doesn’t disagree, but he says there could, in fact, be a link between winter severity and the brown band of a woolly bear caterpillar. “There’s evidence,” he says, “that the number of brown hairs has to do with the age of the caterpillar—in other words, how late it got going in the spring. The [band] does say something about a heavy winter or an early spring. The only thing is . . . it’s telling you about the previous year.”
Read on for more!
More weather on Michigan in Pictures!
October 13, 2014
The UM Animal Diversity Web’s entry for Parus atricapillus (black-capped chickadee) says in part:
Black-capped chickadees prefer deciduous woodlands, open woods and parks, cottonwood groves, and willow thickets. They are most commonly seen near edges of wooded areas. They are a frequent visitor to backyard feeders. Black-capped chickadees nest in cavities, usually in dead trees or stumps, and are attracted to habitats with suitable nesting locations. During the winter, small flocks of black-capped chickadees can be found in dense conifer forests.
…Black-capped chickadees hop on trees (occasionally on the ground), rather than “walking.” These birds are very active during the day, and can often be seen foraging upside-down. Black-capped chickadees form monogamous pairs which usually stay together for several years. The black-capped chickadee social system has two extremes, one shown by territorial pairs during the breeding season, and the other consisting of non-breeding flocks. These are often mixed species flocks including nuthatches, woodpeckers, kinglets, brown creepers, warblers, and vireos. Black-capped chickadees perform short-distance migrations, but remain in the same general region throughout the year.
Read on for lots more including photos and chickadee calls.