Farewell Megatron? Detroit Lion Great Calvin Johnson to Retire. Maybe.

Megatron Calvin Johnson by Chris Arace

Megatron. Calvin Johnson., photo by Chris Arace

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Detroit Lions all-time greatest receiver Calvin Johnson is apparently headed for retirement. He reportedly told his family and close friends the 2015-16 season would be the last, and told gave coach Jim Caldwell the same message the day after the season ended.  If he does follow through, he will join Barry Sanders in retiring at 30 and in having a Hall of Fame career while never making it to a Super Bowl.

Should we put an asterisk on that retirement for now? The NFL has released this awesome highlight video with the somewhat cryptic title of “Top 10 Calvin Johnson Career Highlights…So Far” – do they know something we don’t?

Back in October of 2011, Chris Arace had the opportunity to work Monday Night football for the Lions, who won 24-13 to move to 5-0. View his photo bigger, see more of his work on his website, and definitely follow him on Instagram at instagram.com/thereason.

More Detroit Lions on Michigan in Pictures!

The Soul of the Yoop

The Soul of the Yoop

Soul of the Yoop, photo by Cory Genovese

While our Great Lakes shoreline still holds some cool formations this winter, unlike the last two years this winter hasn’t had the very cold days coupled with high winds that combine to form truly spectacular ice caves. Thankfully, we can look back … and hope for a wintry turn in the weather!

Cory took this photo of one of his favorite little Lake Superior ice caves in a spring thaw in April of 2014. View the photo bigger, see more in his Yoop Life slideshow, and definitely follow him on Facebook at PhotoYoop for more great shots of life on the edge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures, and please consider becoming a patron of Michigan in Pictures.

A toast to Beer City USA … and tourism in West Michigan

Grand Rapids Brewing Co

Beer City USA, photo by Rudy Malmquist

“Being Beer City USA has definitely helped out our business. We got a lot more tourist people than we did the first year. It’s unbelievable how many people you start talking to and they’re from out of town.
~Eric Karns, Elk Brewing

WZZM TV 13 reports that 2015 was “best year ever” for tourism in West Michigan, and folks are crediting local beer, the booming art scene, and the Pure Michigan campaign for the growth in tourism:

The year 2015 was a record-breaking year for tourism across West Michigan, which means more money into the local economy.

In 2014, 113 million visitors to Michigan generated $37.8 billion dollars — and tourism supported 326,000 jobs in the state. Now, newly released numbers show that 2015 was an even better year for attracting visitors to places like Grand Rapids and the Lakeshore.

Click for more about Grand Rapids’ Beer City nod along with information about GR Beer Week (February 17- 28) which includes the sure to sell out Grand Rapids Winter Beer Fest.

View Rudy’s photo background bigilicious and click for more of his beer photos.

#TBT: Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1

Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1

Remembering the Crew of Apollo 1, photo by NASA

“You’ll be flying along some nights with a full moon. You’re up at 45,000 feet. Up there you can see it like you can’t see it down here. It’s just the big, bright, clear moon. You look up there and just say to yourself: I’ve got to get up there. I’ve just got to get one of those flights.”
-Roger Chaffee (The New York Times, January 29, 1967, p. 48.)

Thanks to longtime Michigan in Pictures contributor Rudy Malmquist for the find on this. By total coincidence, Rudy will be back tomorrow with a photo!!

The National Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian shared this photo yesterday, saying:

Remembering the crew of Apollo 1. On January 27, 1967, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee perished in a fire during a pre-launch test for what was to be the first crewed Apollo mission.

Rudy pointed out that Chaffee was from Grand Rapids, and you can read a very detailed biography on Roger B. Chaffee from NASA’s History Office.  Here’s a few choice bits about his early life … and here’s hoping that Michigan in Pictures readers can do their best to instill a love of service, science and following ones dreams in the young folk in their lives:

“On my honor, I will do my best…” are the first eight words of the Scout Oath for the Boy Scouts of America. Individually, the words are short and simple. Collectively, however, they speak volumes and serve to inspire millions of boys to strive for excellence. Lieutenant Commander Roger Bruce Chaffee was a Scout for whom the Oath was more than just mere words. He took the pledge to heart and accepted the challenge to fully live the words of the Oath. Whether he was meticulously hand crafting items from wood or training to be the youngest man ever to fly in space, Chaffee always did his best by putting one hundred percent of himself into the effort.

…Earlier in his career, Don Chaffee had been a barnstorming pilot who flew a Waco 10 biplane. He was a regular sight at fairgrounds and made a bit of extra money on the side by transporting passengers. He also piloted planes for parachute jumpers. Later, Don worked for Army Ordnance in Greenville and in 1942, he was transferred to the Doehler-Jarvis plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he served as Chief Inspector of Army Ordnance.

Don shared his love of flying with his son and at the age of seven, Roger enjoyed his first ride in an airplane when the family went on a short excursion over Lake Michigan. Although it was a relatively brief flight, Roger was absolutely thrilled. To satisfy his continued interested in planes, Don set up a card table in the living room where he and Roger would create model airplanes piece by piece. By the time he was nine, Roger would point to a plane flying overhead and predict, “I’ll be up there flying in one of those someday”.

…By the time Roger was fourteen, he had developed an interest in electronics engineering and tinkered with various radio projects in his spare time. In high school, he received excellent grades and maintained a 92 average. Vocational tests showed that Roger’s strongest abilities were in the area of science. He also scored high mechanically and artistically. Mathematics and science were his favorite subjects, with chemistry being particularly appealing. Once the family switched to a gas heating system, Roger transformed the outdated coal bin area into his own private workshop where he spent countless hours experimenting with his chemistry set. By the time he was a junior in high school, he was leaning toward a career as a nuclear physicist. As a senior, he established a lofty goal for himself: he wanted to someday have his name written in history books. Before the world’s super powers took their first halting steps into space, Roger Chaffee had shared his dream of being the first man on the moon with his closest friends.

Here’s an article about the fire, and if you’re in Grand Rapids, check out the Roger B Chaffee Planetarium at the Grand Rapids Museum.

A fond farewell to Michigan Radio’s Tamar Charney and the importance of local news

Tamar Charney On the Mic

On the mic, everyone pitches in, photo by Michigan Radio

“I’ve heard many people dismiss local news as parochial ‘not in my backyard’ disputes or worse, merely coverage of the latest house fires. But there are many local stories that should, and do, become national and even international news when they are told right.
~Tamar Charney, Michigan Radio

I’ve been telling the stories of Michigan for over a decade, and one person who’s always been there digging deeper on the stories of our state that matter is Michigan Radio’s Tamar Charney. No longer, as she announced that she’s moving on to work for NPR One. Her column A farewell reflection on Flint, local news, and Michigan Radio tells why she believes that local news still matters:

…The water crisis in Flint is an example.

Michigan Radio reporters have been toiling away on this story for months. It’s taken a while for it to get traction as revelation after damning revelation came out. But eventually this ‘local’ Flint story has become international news. The problems with the drinking water have roots in racism, poverty, failures of government oversight, and our country’s aging infrastructure. These are problems shared by communities all across the nation. It’s an incident that taps into our fears about the safety of our water and of our children. It calls into question whether we can trust our government.

We look down our noses at developing countries with unsafe water. We scoff at places weighed down by corrupt and incompetent governments. We pride ourselves on our American technological know how. But here is a city, right here in the US of A, where you can’t drink the water, where government failed the people, and the technical knowledge about how to keep lead out of the water wasn’t employed.

Telling this kind of story is what Michigan Radio does. It is what local news can and should be.

There’s all kinds of cynicism about journalists. But I have to tell you, the journalists at Michigan Radio are some of the most idealistic kind hearted people I know. They got in the business because they think the world will be a better place and our democracy will work better when citizens have information. These are people committed to finding out the truth and getting answers. It saddens me that society undervalues the work journalists do and even worse, blames them for causing the problems they cover.

The Flint water problems were being swept under the rug and nothing might have been done if it weren’t for a mom, a researcher, a pediatrician, and yes, reporters. It’s a story I’m proud to say Michigan Radio has been at the forefront of telling.

In this era of vanishing local journalism, it’s good to have people like Tamar and outlets like Michigan Radio still working hard. I urge you to consider a donation to Michigan Radio.

View this photo of Tamar bigger and see more in Michigan Radio’s A Day in the Life of a Pledge Drive slideshow. You can share your photos in the Michigan Radio Photo Group as well!

Remembering the Michigan Blizzard of 1978

Michigan Blizzard 1978

Blizzard of ’78 – Somerset, MI, photo by Bill

The most extensive and very nearly the most severe blizzard in Michigan history raged January 26, 1978 and into part of Friday January 27. About 20 people died as a direct or indirect result of the storm, most due to heart attacks or traffic accidents. At least one person died of exposure in a stranded automobile. Many were hospitalized for exposure, mostly from homes that lost power and heat. About 100,000 cars were abandoned on Michigan highways, most of them in the southeast part of the state.
~C. R. Snider, National Weather Service Meteorologist in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Today is Michigan’s 179th birthday, but it’s also the anniversary of one of the most significant storms to ever hit the state, the Great Blizzard of 1978. There’s a cool video below with a lot of photos from the storm (thanks Steve for sharing). William Deedler’s article A Great Storm is Upon Michigan says in part:

While there are several contenders for the worst blizzard ever to hit the Great Lakes in relatively modern times (since 1870 when records began in Detroit), the immense and intense Blizzard of January 26-27th 1978 must rank at or near the top along with the Great White Hurricane of 1913 (my link) with its similar track and powerfulness.

…As the Arctic air circulated throughout the storm while it made its way over Lake Huron, the lowest pressure was reached around 950 millibars or a hurricane-like 28.05 inches! “A Great Storm is Upon Michigan” read the headline of the 800 AM EST Special Weather Statement issued by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Ann Arbor that Thursday /26th/ morning. Heavy snow and blizzard conditions were extensive as wind gusts in excess of 35 mph whipped the snow into huge drifts across much of Southeast Lower Michigan. Other areas of Eastern Michigan, Indiana and Ohio reported near hurricane-force winds, heavy snow and temperatures hovering between zero and 10 above, resulting in extreme blizzard conditions. These conditions later expanded further east into Pennsylvania and West Virginia and prevailed into the night (26-27th) across much of the Eastern Great Lakes, Southern Ontario and the Upper Ohio Valley. With the storm generating copious amounts of snow and very strong winds, whiteout conditions were widespread. All land and air traffic came to a stand still in the affected regions. Several major roads were closed for at least two to three days, if not longer, while clean up got underway. Numerous NWS employees were stranded at work, home, or on the road somewhere between the two. Several employees worked double shifts into at least Friday (some longer) because of the impassable roads with others simply unable to get to work.

The Blizzard Warnings were allowed to die across Michigan during the forenoon hours of Friday, the 27th. Record 24 hour snowfall totals from the storm included, 16.1 inches at Grand Rapids, 15.4 inches at Houghton Lake and 12.2 at Dayton, OH. Snowfalls for the entire storm (25-27th) included a whopping 30.0 inches at Muskegon (some of which was Lake Michigan enhanced), 19.3 inches at Lansing and 19.2 at Grand Rapids. Snowfalls were less over Southeast Lower Michigan (mainly because of the rain that fell for a period) and included 9.9 inches at Flint and 8.2 inches at Detroit.

Read on for more about the storm.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Kelso: The Wonder Years slideshow.

 

Baltimore River Ice Curtains

Ice Curtains on the Baltimore River

Baltimore River Ice Curtains, photo by Eric Hackney

Eric took this photo on the Baltimore River, just upriver from O Kun De Kun Falls. Although it takes place about 6 miles away in Munising, this is a good opportunity to remind you about the upcoming Michigan Ice Fest (Feb 10-14, 2016). Climbers & climbing enthusiasts from around the world converge to climb, socialize and learn about this winter sport. There’s plenty of fun for newbies too including guided climbs!

View his photo bigger, check out more in his Ontanogon County Adventures III slideshow, and follow Eric Hackney Photography on Facebook.

More about O Kun De Kun Falls on Michigan in Pictures.