Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along premiers

Rob Bliss & Jeff Barrett, creators of the fantastic Grand Rapids lip dub video premiered their Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along at halftime of the Lions game on Sunday. It was filmed in 50 Michigan cities in 7 days. It’s a pretty cool travelogue of the Great Lakes State in under 4 minutes.

Check out the finished video below and also don’t miss the behind the scenes blog from PureMichigan.org.

Winds of Change?

One thing I can tell you is you got to be free by sgs_1019
One thing I can tell you is you
got to be free by sgs_1019

A new report titled Michigan’s Offshore Wind Potential from the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University says that Michigan has the potential to become a big player in offshore wind energy:

The preliminary analysis finds that Michigan’s portion of the Great Lakes has the capacity to produce 321,936 Megawatts of electricity from wind energy, a portion of which could be developed once depth, technology, view and environmental concerns are considered. Michigan’s onshore wind potential was previously estimated at approximately 16,500 megawatts. The information provided by the new LPI report shows much more substantial opportunities for offshore wind energy.

“This result has the potential to elevate Michigan’s wind energy profile nationally and internationally because the resource available is significant,” said Dr Soji Adelaja, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor and director of the Land Policy Institute. “Michigan is one of few states with the opportunity to generate wind power from its offshore areas.”

By way of comparison, a brand-new coal plant (such as the one proposed for Midland) would produce somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 megawatts and a nuclear plant being considered for Detroit area would produce 1500 megawatts.

Speaking of coal plants, Jim Dulzo of the Michigan Land Use Institute notes in Wind Power Is Officialy Cheaper that according to none other than the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the price of new coal-fired power is now higher than the price of wind power due to the increasing costs to extract and transport coal plus the unknown cost of coming CO2 regulations. Here’s a link to the FERC’s presentation (PDF) and here’s part of what Jim says about the implications:

FERC makes the same argument-and similar cost projections-that Tom Sanzillo, an investment banking and utility regulation veteran, made for electricity generated by Wolverine Power Cooperative’s proposed “Clean Energy Venture.” Mr. Sanzillo concluded that building two 300 MW coal- and petroleum coke-burning power plants next to Rogers City was a very risky idea that would more than double local electric rates.

When will Michigan’s political leaders get this? Governor Granholm refuses to talk about the eight new coal plants proposed for Michigan-other than claiming there’s nothing she can do. Lansing lawmakers water down or hamstring the renewable energy and energy efficiency proposals the governor touts, proposals that would create lots of jobs and save us some money.

And the same crowd, Ms. Granholm included, endorses protecting DTE Energy and Consumers Energy from customer competition, guaranteeing that innovative green-energy companies head for Ohio, Minnesota, or other Midwest states that already have smart energy policies.

There’s a bunch more to read there, and it left me wondering – as the October wind howls outside – exactly what would be driving Michigan to invest in plants that will be with us for 50+ years and need to be fed by imported coal and uranium when we’ve got this wind thing going on.

What do you think?

Dig Michigan: Flint and the Tri-cities of Bay City, Saginaw & Midland

Flint/Tri-Cities is the third of Michigan’s regions that we are exploring this month. Our goal with this series of articles is to give you a little taste of some great vacation opportunities that are probably less than a tank of gas away and an idea of what is going on in the region, so if you have suggestions or questions about visiting the area, please post them in the comments!
Old Flint HDR by hemicuda82

Michigan’s Most Enduring Settlement

Wikipedia’s Flint, Michigan page says that some scholars consider the Saginaw Valley, particularly the vicinity of Flint, to be the oldest continually inhabited part of Michigan. The Flint River had several convenient fords which became points of contention among rival tribes, as attested by the presence of arrowheads and burial mounds near Flushing. The region is a microcosm for the development of Michigan, transition from lumbering in the 19th century to carriages at the dawn of the 20th and on to a prominent role in the auto industry where it became the birthplace of the UAW.

Photos from the Region

The photo above is Old Flint HDR by hemicuda8. It’s one of a number of photos that can be explored in the Flint, MI group on Flickr. Other groups from the region include Tri-cities Michigan, Saginaw, Michigan and Bay City MI. Some searches you might enjoy include Flint Michigan, Saginaw (and Saginaw River), Midland Michigan and Port Huron.

Sugar & Wind

While the beleaguered auto industry gets much of the regional press, there are a lot of other industries in the region. One of the oldest is sugar. The Michigan Sugar Company’s history page says that after loggers had cleared the pine forests in the area, the land was virtually unusable due to the massive expanse of tree stumps left behind and (eventually) sugar beets became the solution. Fast forward 125 years and once again the resourcefulness of folks in the region is being demonstrated. Michigan’s Thumb has become the seat

What is there to DO in Flint/Tri-cities?

With its enduring history and a number of wealthy patrons of arts & culture, all kinds of cool cultural attractions have been established in the region. Some of our favorites include the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum in University Center – home to the greatest collection of work from this longtime Michigan resident, the The Castle Museum of Saginaw, the Port Huron Museum and the Frankenmuth Historical Museum. The Flint Institute of Arts features work by Renoir, Cassatt & Wyeth and the Saginaw Art Museum boasts a collection of art and artifacts in excess of 2,500 pieces that 4,500 years of art history. If you never have, a walk through the Dow Gardens is not to be missed.

Hay on the water by Alanna St. Laurent
Hay on the water by Alanna St. Laurent

There’s of course plenty of auto & vehicle history at sites like Junction Valley Railroad (Bridgeport – very cool) and Michigan’s Own Military & Space Museum. Children (of all ages) will enjoy the Antique Toy & Firehouse Museum in Bay City, Crossroads Village in Flint, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum (Saginaw) and the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.

Where do I go for more?

To explore the region, check out the county pages for Arenac, Bay, Genesee, Gladwin, Huron, Lapeer, Midland, Saginaw, Sanilac, St Clair, Tuscola Counties. You’ll also want to see visitflint.org
Visit Saginaw County, Tour Bay City, The Midland CVB and Blue Water CVB (Port Huron).

Michigan Books: Alden B. Dow: Midwestern Modern by Diane Maddex

Alden B. Dow: Midwestern Modern by Diane MaddexThe first of the 2008 Michigan Notable Books we’re featuring is Alden B. Dow: Midwestern Modern by Diane Maddex, published by the Alden B. Dow Home & Studio.

This tribute to Midland native and nationally renowned architect Alden B. Dow (1904-1983) celebrates his creative and innovative designs for homes, churches, schools and government buildings, as well as his life philosophies of honesty, humility and enthusiasm. In his half-century career, Dow designed more than 600 structures, more than 100 of which were built in Midland, making the town a monument to his talent. Filled with vivid photos and design elements that reflect Dow’s own style, the book also provides a detailed tour of the Alden B. Dow Home and Studio in Midland. More information at the publisher’s page for Midwestern Modern.

More Michigan Notable Books! The Michigan Notable Books program annually selects 20 of the most notable books published in the year. The selections are reflective of Michigan’s diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experience. You can click to view more Notable Books featured on Absolute Michigan and learn more about the program at www.michigan.gov/notablebooks.