June 3, 2015
NPR has a feature on the upgrades to the SS Badger that allow the car ferry to continue to operate between Michigan and Wisconsin on Lake Michigan:
A slice of history sails across Lake Michigan, carrying cars between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis. It’s the SS Badger: the largest coal-fired passenger ship still operating in the United States.
For years, the ship was the focus of environmental scrutiny because of its practice of dumping waste coal ash directly into the lake. The pollution nearly stopped the Badger from steaming again — but now, the ash-dumping has ended.
…After decades of letting the Badger pollute the lake, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an ultimatum: Stop dumping or be grounded.
Finally, this off-season, the boat’s owner installed a $2 million solution: a set of blue pipes that collect ash each trip, about 500 tons per year. Once a week, that ash gets trucked to Charlevoix, Mich., for use in making cement products.
You can get all the info on the Badger right here. For an added dose of awesome in your day, check out The Steamer 43 Song by Pete Host, featuring photos of the SS Badger on Absolute Michigan. It’s from a 45 Pete recorded in the early 70s about a sailors life on the C&O carferries out of Ludington, Michigan. With his spare time aboard the Badger, he learned how to play the guitar, and in just a few months, went to Milwaukee Wis. and recorded this song.
More Michigan ships and boats on Michigan in Pictures.
October 28, 2014
October 22, 2014
If it seems to you that fall colors are more erratic this year than usual, it’s not all in your head! The Great Lakes Echo feature by Juliana Moxley titled Last winter’s cold legacy: Fall colors slower to peak explains (in part) that last winter’s extreme cold is the culprit:
The harsh 2014 winter is partly to blame, said Bert Cregg, a professor in the department of horticulture at Michigan State University.
We are still having a good fall color season in Michigan, but we are likely to see some trees in full color while others are just beginning to turn, he said.
“As you’ll recall, last winter was extremely cold — one of the coldest winters on record,” Cregg said. “The winter stress delayed leaf-out for many trees, and then the tree’s timing was further delayed by a cold rather than normal spring.”
A warming climate can also affect fall color, said Howard Neufeld, a professor in the department of biology at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Higher temperatures, altered timing and/or amounts of precipitation, changes in humidity, changes in cloud cover, increases in the length of the growing season and higher levels of nitrogen inputs in the ecosystem can all affect fall color variance.
“Increased precipitation means that light levels are most likely lower, and trees will do less photosynthesis,” Neufeld said. “With less photosynthesis, there are fewer sugars in the leaves. Warmer temperatures mean higher respiration rates, and more sugars will be metabolized.”
You can read on for lots more including an explanation of the scientific processes that impact color change.
September 24, 2014
September 3, 2014
CBS Chicago reports that after today, it’s illegal to swim in Lake Michigan until next May, and violations are subject to a $500 fine!
According to Chapter 7 of the Chicago Park District code: “Entering or remaining in the water at [Chicago Park District] beaches shall be permitted only during the bathing season.” The part district does have the authority to extend the season.
As most folks who live along the Great Lakes know, September typically offers warmer water and better swimming than June, so on behalf of the State of Michigan, let me extend an invitation to our oppressed Windy City brethren to enjoy the beaches of Michigan this fall!
August 5, 2014
The beacon shines brightly from both the North Breakwater Lighthouse and the South Breakwater Light in Ludington Michigan at night. The Milky Way and other stars shine brightly on this Lake Michigan scene.
June 18, 2014
Amy Arnold has a cool feature on the West Michigan Pike called Highway to History at Seeking Michigan that says (in part):
You may know it as old M-11, old US 31, the Red Arrow Highway or the Blue Star Highway – all names for a road that was originally called the West Michigan Pike, the first continuous concrete highway in West Michigan. Begun in 1911 as part of a strategy to bring auto tourists from Chicago to Michigan, the road was completed in 1922 and ran from New Buffalo to Mackinaw City.
…In the 1920s, an effort to create a series of connected, safe places for auto travelers to stay resulted in the development of a series of parks along the route, including seven state parks between New Buffalo and Ludington. During the Depression, Ludington State Park was the first state park in Michigan to be constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and was a showplace for the National Park Service program. The West Michigan Pike was also important in Michigan’s early conservation history. Much of Michigan’s land had been clear cut and abandoned by the lumber industry. The state incorporated highway beautification and reforestation as part of its work to create good roads in Michigan.
Read more at Seeking Michigan, and you can also check out Amy’s historical study of architectural resources along the West Michigan Pike at Michigan Beach Towns. If you’d like to retrace the route, here’s an old flyer with the West Michigan Pike route.
Also, they note that there’s an exhibit titled Yesterday on the West Michigan Pike: Photographs by Vincent J. Musi, that shows the noted National Geographic photographers photos taken along the Pike in 2008. View some right here.
More beach wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!