A tragic reminder for drivers from Kalamazoo

I sincerely hope that everyone who reads today’s post remembers that three-quarters 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 if you are not vigilant. I would also add that I am in no mood today to hear about the cases where cyclists violate the rules of the road. That does not happen in 3/4 of car/bike fatalities including this one…

Grand Rapids Ghost Bike

Ghost Bike, photo by Patrick Goff 

Today’s picture shows a ghost bike, a white-painted memorial for a bicyclists who was killed or struck while riding on the street. Accompanied by a small plaque, they serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place at their location and as enduring statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.

The city of Kalamazoo now has need for a host of ghost bikes after the deadly bicycle crash on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 where five bicyclists died when a pickup truck hit them on Westnedge Avenue. Four more cyclists were seriously injured. That link has photos from last night’s Ride of Silence and also the horrible damage to the bikes.

Kalamazoo Strong is taking donations to help the victims and families of this tragedy.

View Patrick’s photo of a ghost bike from Grand Rapids bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Here’s a video from the Ride of Silence…

Another Day, Another Mass Shooting

Something in the Air

Something in the Air, photo by Brian Wolfe

Another day, another mass shooting – this time in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Beyond right and left, can we all agree that we need to figure out why we’re the only nation in the world who has this tragic problem and work on actually addressing this problem?

I’m guessing bolstering our gutted mental health system is a great place to start.

View Brian’s photo from Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park background big and see more in his Black & White slideshow.

O Tree, Live Forever

Kalamazoo Tree

O, tree, live forever, photo by Bill Dolak

Bill writes:

This tree in the Al Sabo Preserve in Kalamazoo County is a frequent subject and accessory for local photographers. I have images of it from the days I was still putting film into my SLR.

Regarding the Al Sabo Preserve, the Texas Charter Township Parks & Rec page says:

The Al Sabo Land Preserve was established in the early 1970’s in order to protect the groundwater supply of the Atwater wellfield. The 741 acres were purchased in the late 1960’s and a master plan was developed for its use as a passive recreation nature preserve. The City of Kalamazoo passed an ordinance that would ensure its protection as a water resource. The wetlands and sandy soils serve as a recharge area for the area’s groundwater.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Al Sabo, Michigan slideshow.

December 1st … Back into the Woods Day

Sit for a Spell

sit for a spell, photo by Doug Jonas

Longtime readers may know that I celebrate December 1st as “Back into the Woods Day” because for my money, the hardest 15 days for the year for the non-hunting lover of the outdoors in Michigan are November 15-30th. Enjoy as you will – orange clothing not required!

The photo was taken in Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Experimental Forest in Augusta, midway between Kalamazoo & Battle Creek:

Established on abandoned agricultural land, the 716-acre Kellogg Experimental Forest is known worldwide for research on tree breeding and genetics, planting techniques, and plantation establishment and management. Much of the research that developed the Spartan spruce, a hybrid that combines the color and drought resistance of a blue spruce and the softer needles and rapid growth rate of the white spruce, was done at the Kellogg Forest. The forest is open to the public for biking, hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, and has several interpretive trails.

Click for visitor information and there’s also some videos of what researchers are up to that show some of this beautiful spot.

Doug says this was an enchanted afternoon in the woods, with sun, shadow, snow and reflected sky. View his photo background bigilicious and click for more of his great Michigan photos.

More winter wallpaper and lots more parks & trails on Michigan in Pictures!

The Great Michigan Earthquake of 2015

Its the Strt of the Breakdown

It’s the Start of the Breakdown, photo by Cherie

If I had a photo of the aftermath of Saturday’s 4.2 magnitude earthquake centered near Kalamazoo available to me,  I’d post it here. Since I don’t, here’s the kind of damage you wouldn’t see. mLive offered some facts about Michigan earthquakes, saying (in part):

When a 4.2 earthquake struck Michigan on Saturday, May 2, the common reaction was: Earthquake? In Michigan? Seriously?

The surprise was not misplaced. Earthquakes in Michigan are rare and tend to be minor. In fact, Saturday’s quake was the state’s most powerful earthquake since 1947.

The quake occurred about 12:20 p.m., with an epicenter about five miles south of Galesburg in Kalamazoo County.

Michigan has “very small probability of experiencing damaging earth­quake effects,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency says.

In fact, most tremors felt in Michigan originate elsewhere.

Michigan normally does not have earthquakes, the state’s emergency preparedness web page says. “However, we can suffer effects from earthquakes in neighboring states that have a higher likelihood of them.”

Michigan’s strongest earthquake on record occurred on Aug. 9, 1947, about 35 miles from the epicenter of Saturday’s quake.

The 1947 had a magnitude of 4.6 and was centered near Coldwater. It damaged chimneys and cracked plaster over a large area of south-central Michigan and was felt as far away as Muskegon and Saginaw and parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Read on for some more facts about Michigan earthquakes.

View Cherie’s photo background big and see more in her slideshow.

Our votes remain

Grand Army of the Republic

Grand Army of the Republic, photo by Bill Dolak

The price of our democracy has been very high. Here’s hoping you can spend a little of your time today investing in it.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Cemetery slideshow.

Bikes pumping up Michigan’s economy

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, photo by Bill Dolak

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.

Read on for more or dig into the full study from MDOT.

Bill took this shot on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. View it background bigtacular and see more in his Michigan: Kalamazoo County slideshow.

More bikes and bicycles and more fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!