May 5, 2015
Ah Spring, when a young Michigander’s fancy turns to … potholes. They are on the ballot across the state today, but if you’re anything like me, whether or not Michigan’s Proposal 1 will help fix our crumbling roads is anything but clear.
One of my favorite sites is Ballotopedia, a nonpartisan website that provides accurate and objective information about politics at the local, state, and federal level. Their entry for the Michigan Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Amendment (Proposal 1) summarizes the numbers:
Proposal 1 is estimated to cost households, on average, between $477 and $545 in additional taxes per year. Households eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit would save between $24 and $69 in taxes per year. The costs to households is contingent upon household incomes, future fuel prices and consumer choices, with those driving more or owning more cars paying more. The condition of Michigan’s transportation infrastructure costs motorists, on average, $539 to $686 per year and, according to TRIP, upwards of $1,600 in metro areas.
Read on for a whole lot more including the pro and con arguments, supporters and detractors and assessments of the truth in ad claims about the measure. A couple more resources are Bridge Magazine’s summary of Proposal 1 and Jack Lessenberry’s take on the issue from Michigan Radio that says that although voters he spoke with believe that our roads are horrible and we need to spend more:
They just do not trust their government. Several people asked, “If we vote for this, how do we know they won’t just steal the money and use it for something else?’
Many of them remember, or have heard about the promises made when the original Michigan lottery was passed in the early 1970s. The voters were told that the profits would go for education. That was a key factor in getting voters to approve legalized gambling.
But while the lottery proceeds did indeed go to education, the lawmakers took away the money they had been spending on education and used it for other things. That still rankles people, some of whom weren’t even alive at the time.
May 4, 2015
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.
May 2, 2015
May 1, 2015
April 30, 2015
Holland’s annual Tulip Time starts this Saturday (May 2) and continues through May 9th. The annual celebration features parades, music, displays of Dutch Heritage and of course tulips, 4.5 million of them!
April 29, 2015
With the ice now gone from the Great Lakes, Michigan was at Terror Level Burnt Orange until Bill Dolak went and took today’s photo. We’ll take the level back up to Hot Pink (at least for insects). The Michigan DNR page on the Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea) explains that:
This unusual plant, usually found in bogs, is carnivorous, feeding on insects that are trapped in its bulbous pitcher like leaves. Although this carnivorous plant is a common inhabitant of acidic bogs, it also is found in fens. The highly modified leaves are covered with downwardpointing hairs on the inside which keep insects from escaping. Insects that enter the leaf eventually drown, providing the pitcher plants with important nutrients. The tiny sundews also shown in this poster are also carnivorous and trap insects on the surface of their sticky leaves.
Read more about Michigan’s carnivorous plants from the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy.
More perils of Michigan on Michigan in Pictures!