Summertime in Michigan is perfect if you enjoy things that go fast. From the Belle Isle Grand Prix to last weekend’s Bay City River Roar, Michiganders get a healthy dose of go fast. It doesn’t stop on land and see, as a lot of aerial teams are in our skies including the cream of the crop, the Blue Angels in Traverse City all weekend for the National Cherry Festival.
Tom took this shot of the assembled mob of Santas at the 2nd annual “Santa Claus for the Cause” event last Thursday (Dec 17) in Bay City. They raised over $15,000 for a bunch of worthy charities in Bay City with sales of Santa suits. More about the event from mLive – I’ll try and give you an early heads up for this next year too!
Port Crescent State Park, Michigan, photo by Zack Schindler
…is located at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb” along three miles of sandy shoreline of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Some of the modern campsites offer a waterfront view, either of the Bay or the Old Pinnebog River channel. Port Crescent recently added a new camper cabin which sleeps six and has a scenic view of Saginaw Bay. A wooden boardwalk parallels the day-use shoreline offering many scenic vistas of Saginaw Bay. The park also offers excellent fishing, canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, and hunting opportunities.
“Where there are people, there are UFOs.”
~ William Konkolesky, Director, Michigan MUFON
The Mt. Pleasant Morning-Sun had a feature this weekend on the Michigan chapter of the Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network aka MUFON. In the article, Michigan Mutual UFO group watches the skies, MUFON Director William Konkolesky talks about his experiences and then details what a MUFON investigator does:
“We can take soil samples, we have labs that can identify anomalous readings in the soil. One of the things we would be looking for is unusual chemicals in the soil,” he said.
Konkolesky said that although the reported UFOs are often things like “airplanes and Chinese lanterns,” some investigations aren’t that simple. “More than 80 percent of the reports we get a year (turn out to be) identifiable objects and the rest are things that you can’t easily explain,”
Konkolesky said those interested in being MUFON investigators have to apply online, buy the training materials necessary to become an investigator, and pass a certification test. “Some of the things (investigators are taught) are basic things like how to identify an airplane, data collection, and how to interview a witness, just to name a few,” Konkolesky said.
Konkolesky said he understands why some may be skeptical about the existence of fully-functional life on other planets. “If you haven’t encountered the UFO phenomenon yourself, it obviously takes a lot for somebody to feel the need to take it to heart,” Konkolesky said.
My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
~Adlai Stevenson, speech in Detroit, 1952
The safety to be unpopular is a freedom we don’t always think of, but something we might well consider. It strikes me that in our relentless drive to get everyone on the same page, we’re not able to get anything done. There is a lot to be done and a lot of places we can find common ground to make our schools and communities better and protect the natural resources that make Michigan the place we love.
If it’s total agreement you’re looking for, that’s probably fascism. Democracy is messy.
Speaking of messy, you’ve no doubt noticed bigger booms over the last few days, That’s due to a new law in Michigan that allows the purchase of any federally allowed firework. The messy democratic process is already at work:
City officials across Michigan have scrambled in recent weeks to try to stymie the party in the sky — limiting when residents can set off fireworks in light of a change in state law that allows a more powerful category of explosives to be sold and used in the state.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts blasted the state law, saying “pyromaniacs” are terrorizing the community, scaring children, pets, seniors and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder with the louder explosions caused by the more powerful fireworks.
“The state has legalized these ‘consumer fireworks’ and people are going gung ho,” Fouts said. “People, who were hesitant to do illegal fireworks now are empowered.”
State legislators approved the looser fireworks legislation, which went into effect in January, to keep residents from taking their money to other states to purchase fireworks not available here. The new law forces communities to allow the fireworks on the day before, the day of and the day after federal holidays, such as the Fourth of July.
Warren, Grand Rapids, Ferndale, Novi, Birmingham, Royal Oak and other cities across Michigan are already creating ordinances to ban these fireworks during other times of the year.
Here’s hoping you have an explosively fun and very safe Fourth of July! Here’s many more Fourth of July photos from Michigan in Pictures!
At this time of year, the thought of all the people without homes weighs heavily on me. The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness is a nonprofit association of emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, nonprofit housing and service programs, government programs and concerned citizens from across the state. Visit their web site for information about organizations & events across Michigan where your money or time can make a huge difference.
While reading some of the articles on their web site, I found it surprising that families make up more than half the homeless in Michigan. 77% of families are homeless due to a lack of affordable housing, and one out of every 3 homeless persons is a child. Here’s a Michigan Radio series on homeless teens in Michigan and a Free Press feature on first-time homelessness in MIchigan that I think are worth your time.
Speaking of streets, Sean is the photo of the day editor for a cool new site for Saginaw/Bay City/Midland and beyond called 360 Main Street.
Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Traverse City, Marquette and Kalamazoo are by no means all of Michigan’s cities (or even the largest). Each, however, seems to be an anchor for its region – a center to which people look to for culture, entertainment and commerce.
October 13-15, 2008, lovers of cities large & small from Michigan and all over the country will head to Detroit for the Creative Cities Summit 2.0 (CCS2), an exploration of what our cities could become and how we can work to make them. Organizers have chosen Detroit, a city so deeply forged in America’s industrial fires that it’s been devastated by the flickering of that flame. I’m headed down there and will try to bring some of the ideas back to you through Absolute Michigan – I hope that some of you can join me there.
The Photos (left to right)
- Downtown View – Lansing, Michigan by Mario.Q
- Motor Within a City by SNWEB.ORG Photography, LLC.
- Partly Cloudy by GR58
- Old Flint (HDR) by Hemicuda82
- Traverse City, Michigan by farlane
- View from Mt. Marquette by fastbird232
- The Kalamazoo Radisson by bill.d
Creative Cities Summit 2.0 in Detroit on Oct. 13-15, 2008
CCS2 will present a dynamic and engaging conversation about how communities around the world are integrating innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, arts & culture and business to create vibrant economies. Full conference registration is $300 for the two and half day event, and there’s also a “no frills” registration that is only $100. There’s also a free “Unconference” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) on the 12th for designers, urban planners, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, students, community leaders to explore and discuss what’s possible for Detroit.
Keynote speakers include:
- Bill Strickland, MCG-Bidwell Corp.
- Richard Florida, Author Who’s Your City
- Charles Landry, Author The Art of City Making
- John Howkins, Author The Creative Economy
- Dean Kamen, Inventor, DEKA
- Majora Carter, Sustainable South Bronx
- Doug Farr, Architect and Author Sustainable Urbanism
- Ben Hecht, Pres. & CEO Living Cities
- Tom Wujec, Fellow, Autodesk
- Carol Coletta, CEOs for Cities
- Giorgio Di Cicco, Poet Laureate, City of Toronto and Author, The Municipal Mind
- Diana Lind, Editor, Next American City magazine
Breakout sessions on topics such as:
- Race and the Creative City
- Cities, Universities & Talent
- Marketing, Media and the Creative City
- Measuring New Things – ROI in the Creative Economy
- Creative (Small) Cities
- New Ideas in Urban Amenities
- Community Vitality: The Role of Artists, Gays, Lesbians & Immigrants
- Midwest Mega-region: How the Midwest Can Compete
- Transportation Innovation for Cities
- Making the Scene: Music & Economic Development
Much (much) more at creativecitiessummit.com.