Summer in Michigan is a time when you’ll see a lot more bikes on the road, and I offer today’s post with the sincere hope that everyone who reads it remembers that 75% of all bicycle fatalities are caused by driver error. It’s your duty as a driver to PAY ATTENTION as you pilot a several thousand pound machine that can become a deadly weapon in an instant. GhostBikes.org shares:
Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.
The first ghost bikes were created in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003. Currently there are over 500 ghost bikes that have since appeared in over 180 locations throughout the world. (current number is well over 600) For those who create and install the memorials, the death of a fellow bicyclist hits home. We all travel the same unsafe streets and face the same risks; it could just as easily be any one of us. Each time we say we hope to never have to do it again — but we remain committed to making these memorials as long as they are needed.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham, Alabama jail, April 16, 1963
Today is the day America remembers civil rights giant Dr. Martin Luther King, and for me these words engraved on the north wall of the MLK Memorial in DC encapsulate both his work and the still incomplete journey to justice for every American, and for every person.
Are the conditions for justice for all better today than when Dr. King wrote those words? Unquestionably.
Are they as good as they can be? Of course not. As Flint, Benton Harbor, and other communities have shown, the drinkability of your water in Michigan depends in large part of the color of your skin. Three times as many Black Michiganders live in poverty and they face 7 years less lifespan on average, clearly demonstrating that a lot of the work that Dr. King championed still needs to be done.
For sure check out the Detroit March to Freedom of June 23, 1963 on Michigan in Pictures if you haven’t already. It was at the time the largest civil rights demonstration in U.S. history, with 125,000 marching down Woodward Avenue culminating in a speech by Dr. King at Cobo Hall that is recognized as his first delivery of the “I have a Dream” speech.
The annual Grand Rapids Art Prize is once again underway, running through this Sunday, October 3rd. The event was started back in 2009 & has become one of the nation’s leading public art competitions. This year nearly 900 entries are available to view & vote on. Here’s hoping you get a chance to visit!!
Google today is launching a new suite of resources for people struggling with food insecurity across the U.S. The project includes the launch of a new website “Find Food Support” that connects people to food support resources, including hotlines, SNAP information, and a Google Maps locator tool that points people to their local food banks, food pantries and school meal program pickup locations, among other things.
In an announcement, Google explains how the COVID-19 pandemic fueled a worsening food crisis in the U.S., which led to some 45 million people — or 1 in 7 Americans — experiencing food insecurity at some point during 2020. That figure was up 30% over 2019, the company noted. And of those 45 million people, 15 million were children.
While the pandemic’s impacts are starting to subside as businesses are reopening and in-person activities are resuming, many children will still go hungry during the summer months when school lunch programs become unavailable.
I’ve never spent much time in Grand Rapids, but I have seen photos of this striking bridge across the Grand River. I wanted to capture the river as the sun went down. I love watching how quickly light can change. These three photos, all very different, were taken within 15-20 minutes of each other on Saturday, 6 March 2021. The photo above is the third in the series, taken at night with most of the light in the image now comes from the lights on the bridge, hotel windows and street lights.
Image 1: Just at sunset, you can see the warm tones from the last light on the buildings
Image 2: Blue hour – the sky almost balances the surface of the river perfectly
Ayman writes: December 13, 2020 – A FedEx A300 freight plane takes off from Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, carrying the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for distribution across the US.
You love to see a Michigan company once again stepping up to help our country in time of great need! Head over to Ayman’s Flickr for more pics!
The Ada Witch has been a popular legend in West Michigan for decades. For years, people have claimed to have witnessed a paranormal classic: “the lady in white.” She’s been seen wandering around the area of Findley Cemetery and surrounding roads. But who is this mysterious “lady in white”? Over the years, this entity was given the title of the “Ada Witch,” but it’s nothing more than a nickname. Within the legend, there is nothing to support that she was a practicing witch or anything of that nature. It’s just a dramatic name that makes a good tale….
The legend says a woman during the 1800’s had been cheating on her husband. She would sneak off into the night to meet her lover. Her husband began to suspect she was up to something and pretended to fall asleep one night. After his wife got up and snuck away, he followed her and found her in the arms of another man. Rage welled up inside him and in an instant, the husband attacked the adulterous couple, killing his wife first. The two men fought until they both died from the wounds they inflicted upon each other.
For many years now, people say they have heard the sounds of a fight taking place around the Findley area, only to find no one around. The area at one point must have been open for hunting before it was developed into a residential area. There have been reports from hunters feeling a presence in the area, hearing the ghostly fight, getting tapped on the shoulder only to find no one there and even seeing a ghostly woman in white.
It turns out that the capsule is an actual Apollo Capsule, but it wasn’t a capsule that sat atop an Apollo Rocket. The capsule was made for training astronauts. But don’t let that news get you down, the capsule still has quite the history to it!
This type of capsule is known as a “Boilerplate” … built, along with dozens of other capsules, in the 1960s to test various systems on the Apollo Rockets.
BP-1227 was lost at sea in early 1970 during a routine training drill to recover the Apollo boilerplate capsule by UK-based naval units. Later that same year, the capsule that was lost was miraculously recovered by a Russian “fishing vessel.” Many believe that the fishing vessel was actually a spy boat that was tracking the capsule as part of an intelligence operation.
The capsule was taken back to Russia and in late 1970 the Russians invited the Americans to recover their capsule. On September 8th, 1970 the US Navy Icebreaker, Southwind, made a stop in Murmansk to recover BP-1227. This was the first visit to a Soviet port by a US military vessel since World War II.
After the capsule was returned, the Smithsonian Institution spent the next several years restoring BP-1227 before it was eventually given on loan to the City of Grand Rapids in 1976. The boilerplate capsule was dedicated to the people of Grand Rapids on December 31, 1976. Students from local high schools filled BP-1227 with everyday items from their lives to form a time capsule. The time capsule was sealed on the last day of our nation’s Bicentennial year and it is to be opened on July 4th, 2076, as our nation celebrates its Tricentennial.
Read on for more. About the photo, Daniel wrote: We had a huge, odd cloud float over Grand Rapids today. Wednesday October 1st, 2008. HDR from one exposure shot in raw and split out three times , re-compiled in Photomatix.
Tina Jones couldn’t believe I didn’t share the groundbreaking Grand Rapids Lip Dub of American Pie yesterday and neither could I! It was filmed in May of 2011 for Experience Grand Rapids by Scott Erickson Films and produced & directed by Rob Bliss. The YouTube page thanks a bunch of people involved and dedicates it to the late Roger Ebert, who loved movies and even named the GR LipDub “The Greatest Music Video Ever Made.” Rob (who is the musician on stage in the photo above) writes:
The Grand Rapids LipDub Video was filmed May 22nd, 2011 with 5,000 people, and involved a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, bridges on fire, and helicopter take offs. It is the largest and longest LipDub video, to date.
This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a “dying city.” We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean’s “American Pie,” a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope.
If you know Grand Rapids and the people who were making it vibrant in 2011 – many who continue today – you’ll definitely see some friends. In any case – what fun!!