The Challenge

The Challenge by Charles Bonham

Charles took this shot of a heron trying to show a group of egrets who’s boss near Midland last weekend. Dive into his Flickr for more & be sure to check out his showcase!

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Midland waters receding but still very high

Kayaking During The Flood by Charles Bonham

Kayaking During The Flood by Charles Bonham

mLive has some positive news in the catastrophic Midland flood of 2020, reporting that Midland officials say the river will crest 3 feet lower than expected:

Officials stressed that although the water is receding, it will take several days and residents should remain vigilant. It’s possible “we won’t even hit the 24-foot flood stage until the end of the weekend or later during Memorial Day,” Bone said.

“It’s essentially a mess out there and it isn’t safe to drive around barriers or travel on the roads that are deemed closed,” he added. “Everybody please stay safe and do your best out there and we’ll get through this.”

Kaye said things have changed quickly since officials last addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon, when they were predicting the river to crest at 38 feet at about 8 p.m. Soon after, an updated forecast moved the flood peak back by about three feet and about four to five hours.

“At this point in time, by all models, by all indications, at least, we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ve crested…we’ve kind of plateaued right now, but we will start the descent as water starts to recede,” Kaye said. “That’s great news for the county, for the city, certainly for the residents and business owners that are in the affected areas.”

More from mLive & also check out their comprehensive timeline of the flooding. Check yesterday’s Michigan in Pictures post on Facebook for more photos of the devastation in the comments. Stay safe, Midlanders & everyone!

Thanks to Charles for this shot & see more photos including this view down Ashman Street on his Flickr!

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Midland Under Water: Record Flooding in May 2020

2020 Flooding in Midland MIchigan by City of Midland

2020 Flooding in Midland by City of Midland

“While the 1986 flood was a 100-year flood, what we’re looking at here is an event that is the equivalent of a 500-year flood. It’s something that is extremely rare, extremely catastrophic and quite dangerous.”
– Midland City Manager Brad Kaye

The Detroit Free Press reports that by the time you’re reading this, downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water as the result of two dam breaches on the Tittabawasee River:

Urging residents to evacuate and saying downtown Midland could be under 9 feet of water by Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Tuesday declared a state of emergency for Midland County after the Edenville and Sanford dams breached.

Speaking during a press conference late Tuesday, Whitmer said parts of the city of Midland, the village of Sanford, Edenville Township and Dow Chemical had been or were being evacuated. She said officials were working to evacuate residents in Tittabawassee, Thomas and Saginaw townships on Tuesday evening.

…Whitmer said at a 10 p.m. briefing Tuesday that state officials expected the worst over the next 12-15 hours with as much as 9 feet of water in downtown Midland, the largest city in the area with about 40,000 residents and the home to Dow Chemical.

“This is unlike anything we’ve seen before… but this is truly a historic event that’s playing out in the midst of another historic event,” Whitmer said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic which has led to stay-at-home orders throughout the state and the deaths of more than 5,000 people.

Several dams upstream of Midland along the Tittabawassee had either been breached or were releasing water uncontrollably after 4 to 7 inches of rain fell Sunday and Monday, including the Edenville and Sanford dams on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in mid-Michigan.

Read on for much more in the Freep & you can also tune in for a live Facebook update from the city later today. Here’s some photos & a drone video of the flooding via mLive:

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Sunset at the Cloud Factory

Sunset at the Cloud Factory by Charles Bonham

Sunset at the Cloud Factory by Charles Bonham

Charles took this photo on Friday evening at Midland’s Whiting Overlook Park. See more on his Flickr.

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Tulips at Dow Gardens

Tulips by Rhonda Bonham

Tulips by Rhonda Bonham

Rhonda caught these tulips in glorious bloom last weekend at the Dow Gardens in Midland:

Established in 1899 as a home for Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow and family, Dow Gardens now welcomes over 300,000 guests per year. Experience a dazzling 110-acre display of annuals and perennials punctuated by distinctive bridges, an award-winning children’s garden, towering pines, and delightful water features. Your admission includes access to Whiting Forest, home to the longest canopy walk in the United States.

Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens features 54 acres of woodlands, ponds, apple orchard, meadows, and stream. Guests of all ages and abilities are immersed in the forest on the nation’s longest canopy walk, 1,400 feet long, soaring up to 40 feet above the ground. The Alden B. Dow-designed Whiting home now welcomes guests as a Visitor Center. Other features include a playground, apple orchard, Whiting Forest Cafe, restoration of Snake Creek, and two pedestrian bridges.

You can see more in Rhonda’s Tulips gallery on Flickr.

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The Tridge in Midland

The "Tridge" - Midland, Mi

The “Tridge” – Midland, Mi, phto by Bluejacket

Wikipedia explains that the The Tridge is a three-way wooden footbridge spanning the junction of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers near downtown Midland that opened in 1981. It consists of one 31′ tall central pillar supporting three 180′ long by 8′ wide spokes. This apparently globally unique structure was built by Gerace Construction of Midland who add:

The walkways are eight feet, three inches wide, and the triangular observation area in the center measures 35 feet per side. The wooden decking and beams filled six train cars. Although the majority of the Tridge is wood, there are 20 tons of steel in the structure in the form of bolts and connectors. A cofferdam – an enclosed circular cell formed from steel sheet piling – was driven into the river bed and then pumped dry to keep water out while the central concrete pier was built. A causeway – essentially a road in the middle of the river – was built from concrete rubble to allow a crane to approach the center construction area.

The Kuriositas has a nice aerial view of the Tridge too!

Check the photo out bigger and see more in Bluejacket’s The “Tridge” in Midland, Michigan slideshow.

More bridges and more Midland on Michigan in Pictures!

Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland

Santa Chair

Santa Chair, photo by LadyDragonflyCC -See through my eyes!.

“He errs who thinks Santa enters through the chimney. Santa enters through the heart.”
– Charles W. Howard

The Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland was established in 1937 and is the longest continuously running Santa Claus School in the world. The school is a nonprofit and seeks to uphold the traditions and history of Santa Claus and to help its students improve their presentations of Santa Claus. A nice feature on the school in the LA Times explains that:

Howard, the school founder, was a Santa with an impressive resume that included being St. Nick for Macy’s. He opened the school in 1937 after coming across too many other Santas with frayed beards, shoddy suits and limited knowledge of reindeer. (current director Tom) Valent took over the school in 1986 and retains most of Howard’s original curriculum, along with modern additions such as contract issues and how to endure the rigors of being a mall Santa (get a flu shot and negotiate regular bathroom breaks).

…Valent’s cheerful demeanor belies the seriousness with which he approaches his mission of ensuring that Santa Claus embodies perfection, from fresh breath and clean whiskers to impeccable morals. He’s not here to get these Santas jobs — the school has no placement services. He’s here to make sure that whether they play Santa in malls or parades, or in hospitals, homeless shelters or private parties, they do it flawlessly.

“It’s a privilege to be Santa Claus,” said Valent, who has been Santa Claus himself for 35 years, from Greenland to Midland. “You’re taking on a character that stands for all good things.”

Be sure to check out their photo gallery on Facebook, and if you’re interested, the 2012 Santa School takes place October 18th – 20th and is taking reservations now.

Speaking of Santa, yesterday on Absolute Michigan we had an in-depth feature on including charities in your holiday gift plans that might give you chance to share some of that Santa spirit.

Check this out on black and in Christine’s My Favs slideshow.

43 Cents

43 Cents

43 Cents, originally uploaded by tgrabb.

This is the part where we open up a Goebels get all maudlin about the good old days when gas pump makers had no concept of 3 digit gas prices.

Ice Ice

Ice Ice

Ice Ice, originally uploaded by MattNewton.

Matt Newton took some photos this morning of the aftermath of yesterday’s ice storm in the Midland area. Check out others in this set of photos like this shot.