Facing uncertainty, Michigan begins to re-open

Mackinac Bridge by Daniel L

Mackinac Bridge by Daniel L

Yesterday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order allowing for the reopening of retail, business & office work that can’t be done remotely, and restaurants and bars with limited seating for northwest Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

The two regions are both in the northern part of the state—specifically, MERC regions 6 and 8, as detailed in the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy. The partial reopening will take effect on Friday, May 22. Cities, villages, and townships may choose to take a more cautious course if they wish: the order does not abridge their authority to restrict the operations of restaurants or bars, including limiting such establishments to outdoor seating.

…“The data shows that these regions in Michigan are seeing consistent encouraging trends when it comes to the number of cases, deaths, and the percent of tests that are positive for COVID-19,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “It’s important to note that these businesses must take special precautions to protect Michiganders. I also encourage everyone to continue to wear a mask in public, maintain a 6 foot distance from others, and to remain vigilant in washing their hands often. This will help prevent a second surge in cases in our state.”

All businesses that will reopen in regions 6 and 8 must adopt the safety measures outlined in Executive Order 2020-91. That means they must, among other things, provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions. Restaurants and bars will also have to limit capacity to 50% of their normal seating, to keep groups at least six feet from one another, to require their servers to wear face coverings, and to follow rigorous disinfection protocols.

Read more at Michigan.gov and please stay safe AND keep others safe by wearing a mask. In addition to it being the law, you wearing a mask reduces the chance of infecting someone else by almost 70%!

Lots more in Daniel’s massive Michigan photo gallery on Flickr.

TONS more about the Mighty Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures.

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An easy ride at Little Sable Point Lighthouse

Little Sable Point Lighthouse by Kevin Povenz

Little Sable Point Lighthouse by Kevin Povenz

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has a bunch of information about the history of Little Sable Point Light:

Congress appropriated $35,000 for the project, and 39 acres of land were selected on which to construct the new Light station. The construction of a light at Little Point Sable was destined to be a daunting task, since the location was distant from any area of supply, and there was a total absence of roads to the site. Work began in April 1873 with the construction of a dock at the beach and temporary housing for the construction crew.

A pile driver was towed to the point, and in accordance with Poe’s plan, 109 one-foot diameter pilings were driven into the sand to a level nine feet below the surface in order to form a solid base on which to build the tower. Twelve feet of cut stone was then carefully laid atop the pilings to provide a solid base for the tower’s brickwork. The brick walls had a thickness of five feet at the base, tapering to a thickness of two feet at its uppermost. With the advent of winter, the crews were removed from the point, and work had to wait for the next spring.

…Being built of a particularly hard and durable type of brick, the decision was made to leave both the tower and ancillary structures in a natural, unpainted condition, since it was expected they would withstand the rigors of the weather without deterioration. This was no doubt a decision which sat well with Keeper Davenport, as painting was an activity in which the authorities held considerable stock, and he found himself in the enviable position of not having that millstone around his neck every year!

…It did not take long before mariners began complaining that the natural brick coloration made the tower difficult to see during daylight hours. As a result, the tower was painted white on September 24, 1900, and thereafter, keepers assigned to the tower would be stuck with the drudgery of the annual painting ritual.

…With the station unmanned, the Coast Guard began to see the ancillary buildings as a liability, and in the first half of 1955 a crew arrived at the station and demolished everything but the tower.

The tower remained in its white painted condition until 1977, when once again seizing the opportunity to reduce the ongoing maintenance costs associated with constant painting, a crew arrived at the station, and sandblasted the tower. Once again, James Davenport’s easy ride was exposed to the light of day!

More from Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light.

Kevin took this back in July of 2016. See many more great shots in his Lighthouse gallery.

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

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The Wreck of the Westmorland

The Wreck of the Westmoreland by Chris Roxburgh

The Wreck of the Westmorland by Chris Roxburgh

Chris Roxburgh is a diver and photographer who is one of my favorite follows on Facebook. About this photo he writes:

The Westmorland shipwreck located in a 200’ deep unpublished location in Lake Michigan. After many wreck hunters tirelessly searched for this vessel rumored to have whiskey Barrels and gold that was being delivered to the garrison army on Fort Mackinac. She sank on December 7th 1864. When she was finally found in 2010 by Ross Richardson the mystery was unlocked to her final resting place.

The Westmorland was one of the first 200 foot long steam powered ships in the Great Lakes and at first was called a “propeller” since they used a prop instead of sails. She hauled many tons of grain and meat across the Great Lakes. With a crew of 34 she steamed into rough seas with over 20’ waves and a violent snow storm all while leaking from the night before. As the crew made a bucket brigade trying to keep the engines out of the water they could not keep up with the ever increasing flow. Once the water stopped the engines she could not keep straight into the waves. The lifeboat Davits you can see in this picture where used to lower the boats Into the water as she sank. Out of the 34 crew fifteen went down with the ship and two succumbed to weather on the shore of Platte Bay as the others walked 40 miles to a nearby town.

I was very excited to dive her because only a handful of trusted divers have been given the opportunity to visit this site. Dusty Klifman and I decided to plan this deep dive last week as the opportunity with perfect weather on Lake Michigan arrived.

Follow Chris through his Facebook page and definitely check out this video from Blueyes Below of him diving the wreck & also click through for more videos!

See lots more Michigan shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures and support me on Patreon if you can.

 

May the 4th be with Michigan!

"Midnight Light" Frankfort, Michigan by John McCormick

“Midnight Light” Frankfort, Michigan by John McCormick

May 4th is known as Star Wars Day – May the Fourth be with you – an annual celebration of one of our shared modern stories. If you’re up before dawn tomorrow, you can step out to see if you can see Eta Aquariid  meteors in the east. Earthsky notes that the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquariid meteors to fall before dawn on (or near) May 5. However, this shower has a rather broad maximum, so just as many meteors may be flying on the mornings after.

John took this photo of the Frankfort Light back in September of 2017. See it and more in his Starry Night gallery and be sure to follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook!

Here’s a supercut trailer to get you in the mood!

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Facebook Friday: Dive into the UP with PhotoYoop

Shredder Schettin by photoyoop

Shredder Schettin’ by PhotoYoop

One of my favorite Facebook follows is Cory Genovese aka PhotoYoop. He took this photo a couple days ago in some wild Lake Superior surf and writes:

Wait, that’s not right…I mean Schetter Shreddin’! ;)

A few rounds in Superior yesterday. The Zoo was close to as heavy as I’ve been in. Thankfully, our little South break was not. 4′ – 6′ 8/10ft 7secs air -1c sea 1c

Definitely follow him on Facebook and view & purchase photos at photoyoop.com!

Lots more surfing pics on Michigan in Pictures!

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Get Outside (virtually) with WMT Cams

Retired Fishing Boats by Andy Farmer

If you’re anything like me, not being able to ramble off to all corners of Michigan is probably grating on you. To help a little with cabin fever, the West Michigan Tourist Association’s live webcam gallery features a great collection of webcams all along the west side of the state. One of these is the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce’s Harbor webcam, and you can view that one and more at the link!

While this photo isn’t quite the view, I thought it was too beautiful not to share! See it and lots more in Andy’s Beaver Island, MI gallery.

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Sunset Sunday from Fishtown

Fishtown Sunset by Gary Ennis

The folks @PureMichigan on Twitter thought that this photo of a summer sunset in Leland’s Fishtown by Gary Ennis was a perfect fit for their #SunsetSunday hashtag! I can’t help but agree!!

If you’ve got a soft spot in your heart for this historical treasure, I urge you to check out the Fishtown Preservation Association’s Campaign for Fishtown to raise the funds to resolve critical infrastructure and drainage issues & rehabilitate three shanties: The Village Cheese Shanty, Carlson’s Fishery and the Morris Shanty as well as to replace all docks,  address accessibility, and other site issues. The high water has exacerbated an already desperate situation – click through to see how you can help!

You can follow Gary on his Instagram for more great shots!