A fond farewell to Michigan Radio’s Tamar Charney and the importance of local news

Tamar Charney On the Mic

On the mic, everyone pitches in, photo by Michigan Radio

“I’ve heard many people dismiss local news as parochial ‘not in my backyard’ disputes or worse, merely coverage of the latest house fires. But there are many local stories that should, and do, become national and even international news when they are told right.
~Tamar Charney, Michigan Radio

I’ve been telling the stories of Michigan for over a decade, and one person who’s always been there digging deeper on the stories of our state that matter is Michigan Radio’s Tamar Charney. No longer, as she announced that she’s moving on to work for NPR One. Her column A farewell reflection on Flint, local news, and Michigan Radio tells why she believes that local news still matters:

…The water crisis in Flint is an example.

Michigan Radio reporters have been toiling away on this story for months. It’s taken a while for it to get traction as revelation after damning revelation came out. But eventually this ‘local’ Flint story has become international news. The problems with the drinking water have roots in racism, poverty, failures of government oversight, and our country’s aging infrastructure. These are problems shared by communities all across the nation. It’s an incident that taps into our fears about the safety of our water and of our children. It calls into question whether we can trust our government.

We look down our noses at developing countries with unsafe water. We scoff at places weighed down by corrupt and incompetent governments. We pride ourselves on our American technological know how. But here is a city, right here in the US of A, where you can’t drink the water, where government failed the people, and the technical knowledge about how to keep lead out of the water wasn’t employed.

Telling this kind of story is what Michigan Radio does. It is what local news can and should be.

There’s all kinds of cynicism about journalists. But I have to tell you, the journalists at Michigan Radio are some of the most idealistic kind hearted people I know. They got in the business because they think the world will be a better place and our democracy will work better when citizens have information. These are people committed to finding out the truth and getting answers. It saddens me that society undervalues the work journalists do and even worse, blames them for causing the problems they cover.

The Flint water problems were being swept under the rug and nothing might have been done if it weren’t for a mom, a researcher, a pediatrician, and yes, reporters. It’s a story I’m proud to say Michigan Radio has been at the forefront of telling.

In this era of vanishing local journalism, it’s good to have people like Tamar and outlets like Michigan Radio still working hard. I urge you to consider a donation to Michigan Radio.

View this photo of Tamar bigger and see more in Michigan Radio’s A Day in the Life of a Pledge Drive slideshow. You can share your photos in the Michigan Radio Photo Group as well!

Celebratory Sunset … and 10,000 Fans for Michigan in Pictures

Celebratory Sunset

Celebratory Sunset, photo by Heather Higham

For the tenth anniversary of Michigan in Pictures last week, I asked for the 200+ fans needed to take the Michigan in Pictures Facebook past the 10,000 fan milestone. With your help, it’s blown way past that mark – thank you all so much for your support!!!

View Heather’s photo from Empire Beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore bigger, see more in her Winter slideshow, and definitely follow her at Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook for much more.

More Michigan in Pictures milestones in the archives.

Ten Years of Michigan in Pictures

Ludington Lighthouse by RJE

Ludington Lighthouse, photo by RJE

10 years ago today, I posted “A Pond in Bald Mountain” as the very first photo on Michigan in Pictures. 3000+ posts later, I’m still at it. RJE has been sharing photos with me for almost all of those 10 years – thanks to him and everyone else who helps make Michigan in Pictures something that is fun and exciting for me and to all of you for staying with me for so long!

View the photo from November of 2005 background big and see more of RJE’s lighthouse shots on Flickr.

 

October Vibes in le détroit du Lac Érie

October Vibes by Camera Jesus

October Vibes, photo by Camera Jesus

Simply spectacular view of the city of Detroit.

The name of Detroit comes from “le détroit du Lac Érie” – French for the Straits of Lake Erie and referring to the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair that link Erie with Lake Huron. Wikipedia has a pretty nice writeup on the Detroit River:

The Detroit River flows for 24 nautical miles (44 km; 28 mi) from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. By definition, this classifies it as both a river and a strait — a strait being a narrow passageway connecting two large bodies of water, which is how the river earned its name from early French settlers. However, today, the Detroit River is rarely referred to as a strait, because bodies of water referred to as straits are typically much wider.

The Detroit River is only 0.5 to 2.5 miles (0.80 to 4.02 km) wide. The Detroit River starts on an east to west flow but then bends and runs north to south. The deepest portion of the Detroit River is 53 feet (16 m) deep in the northern portion of the river. At its source, the river is at an elevation of 574 feet (175 m) above sea level. The river drops only three feet before entering into Lake Erie at 571 feet (174 m). As the river contains no dams and no locks, it is easily navigable by even the smallest of vessels. The watershed basin for the Detroit River is approximately 700 square miles (1,800 km2).

Since the river is fairly short, it has few tributaries. Its largest tributary is the River Rouge in Michigan, which is actually four times longer than the Detroit River and contains most of the basin. The only other major American tributary to the Detroit River is the much smaller Ecorse River. Tributaries on the Canadian side include Little Creek and the River Canard. The discharge for the Detroit River is relatively high for a river of its size. The river’s average discharge is approximately 188,000 cubic feet per second (5,324 m³/s), and the river’s flow is constant.

Check out Detroit 1701 for a bit of the river’s history and also be sure to support the Friends of the Detroit River who are doing great work to restore this corridor.

View the photo background bigiliciousfollow Camera Jesus on Facebook for lots more and view & purchase Joe’s Detroit photos (and others) from his website.

More Michigan rivers on Michigan in Pictures!

Autumn’s Chapel

Chapel Rock in Fall

chapel rock, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Here’s a cool picture from way back in 2006 of what I think is definitely one of the 7 wonders of Michigan: Chapel Rock in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The Lucky Tree of Chapel Rock features quite a number of photos that I think can give you a pretty good understanding of this marvelous Michigan miracle.

Chapel Rock on Lake Superior has a single tree perched atop its column. By rights the tree should not be there: the small surface area of land on the top of the rock is insufficient to sustain a tree of this size.

There is hardly any topsoil, certainly not enough for an obviously thriving tree. How then does it flourish?

Look a little closer and you will see the answer – that rope on the right of the picture is not, in fact a rope. It is a system of roots, extending and stretching over the edge of the rock to the main bluff where there are nutrients and water aplenty.

Yet how on earth did the root extend over to the mainland? Did it slither in some triffid like way until it reached the other side? Is there a Little Shop of Horrors thing happening here?

Click through for the answer and some pics that make things clearer – including to my surprise one of my own! – from Kuriositas which looks like a pretty cool site.

View Paul’s photo bigger and see this and more in his slideshow.

More Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures? You bet!

Winter Is Coming … apparently tonight

North Country Girls

North Country Girls, photo by Michael

While El Niño is predicted to bring a milder winter for Michigan in 2016, it looks like things will kick off early with a chance of a dusting of snow tonight & tomorrow:

The coldest air of the season will pour into state on Friday and into the weekend. The cold air will bring widespread lake-effect rain showers to West Michigan. The rain may mix with some wet snow over parts of the state late Friday into Saturday afternoon.

A better chance of accumulating snow will be over the higher terrain of Norther Lower Michigan and parts of the Upper Peninsula.

I should add that although you may want to see it from your car with the heater cranked, color around the state is still really nice!

Michael took this last January when Detroit was locked in the grip of the White Walkers. View it background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

More Detroit and more winter on Michigan in Pictures!

Autumnal Splendor at Lake of the Clouds

Autumnal Splendor

Autumnal Splendor, photo by Eric Hackney

True confession: I was asked to share less from northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. True answer: It’s really hard to turn my back on incredible visions like this! I will try and do better tomorrow. Promise. 

Also – new design for the blog. Not finished, but at least the pics are bigger. Thoughts & comments are appreciated.

Lake of the Clouds is one of the main attractions in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. Be sure to check out this interactive map & photo presentation from the Park that includes a 360-degree panorama from the spot atop Cuyahoga Peak where this photo was taken!

View Eric’s photo bigger and see more in his Landmarks & Landscapes slideshow.

PS: There’s more photos from Eric on Michigan in Pictures