Port Huron

5×5 Night in Grand Rapids

5 ideas, 5 minutes each, 5 slides each, 5 judges, 5,000 dollars

5×5 Night is a monthly event in Grand Rapids that allows 5 people to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges who decide how to award $5,000 on the last Tuesday night of every month. The third 5×5 happens tomorrow night at the Grand Rapids Ballet with an afterglow at Founders Brewery. Tomorrow night’s presenters and topics sound pretty interesting:

  • Bruce Burgess – Mull-it-Over
  • Mick Hanna – Easy Crutch
  • Phil Lund – The Mars Plan
  • William Stewart – Compression Beehive Frame
  • Charlie Wollborg – Face-to-Face > Pixel-to-Pixel

Michigan Radio has a cool interview with Rick DeVos and Bill Holsinger Robinson of Pomegranate Studios about 5×5 Night. Learn more at 5x5night.com and Pomegranate Studios.

Last month AJ Paschka got all five votes and $5000 for his very cool Weather Collage idea, but we’ll feature Landon Bartley’s more locally focused call for a Grand Rapids Sister City Window Webcam Project. You can check out all the pitches on the 5×5 channel.

Photo: Prepping for the first 5×5 Night at the GRAM by pomstudios.com.

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).

The Week for July 14-20, 2008

And so is the CSL Tadoussac by mdprovost
And so is the CSL Tadoussac by mdprovost

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” -Measure for Measure

Hundreds of years later, Shakespeare still has wisdom aplenty to share. You can pick up some of that, along with a healthy dose of entertainment at the The Michigan Shakespeare Festival in Jackson. It starts Tuesday (Jul 15) and continues through August 3rd.

There’s a whole slew of other events in our July Michigan Event Calendar for this weekend including the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Venetian Festival in St. Joseph, the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium in Grand Marais, Concert of Colors in Detroit, Michigan Storytellers Festival in Flint, the Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, Waterford’s Quake on the Lake boat race, the Ragtime Street Fair in Dearborn and the Great Lakes Irish Music Festival at Comstock Park in Grand Rapids.

The photo above is from the early stage of last weekend’s Port Huron to Mackinac sailing race. I’m told it was one of the faster ones on record – the bigger boats were actually moving faster than the Coast Guard Cutter that was going to mark their midway times – and that one boat made just two jibes! Hope the wind is at your back this week and as always, post your comments & observations below!

< The Week for July 7 – 13, 2008 | The Week for July 21-27, 2008 >

Word of the Week: Freighter

St. Mary’s Challenger by midmichphotos

The word of the week is freighter, a familiar sight all along Michigan’s shores. If there’s one site that you can’t miss, it’s Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online aka “boatnerd.com”. For well over a decade, the site has been chronicling the passage of the vessels of the Great Lakes. It features all kinds of photo galleries and tens of thousands of pages of information about the vessels.

If you’re wanting to get into shipwatching, you should probably grab a copy of Know Your Ships 2007: The Guide to Boats & Boatwatching Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway. You might also enjoy the excellent Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Detroit Marine Historical Society and I’m certain that young readers will love Mail By the Pail, the story of a Manistee girl whose dad works aboard a Laker. You can find many more at The Book Blues new & used bookstore in Marine City.

The vessel in the above photo was built in 1906 and still hauls cargo. Read its amazing tale at The Southdown Challenger on Michigan in Pictures. You can head back in time for some photos of Ladies of the Lakes from Scenes from the Past. Freighter Frank has some more photos and you can explore pictures of freighters from the Absolute Michigan pool (slideshow). One of our group members who pays extra attention to the vessels that ply the lakes is Joel Dinda. He has a great set of Lakers photos and an equally cool set of historical photos titled Borucki’s Lakers.

You will almost certainly be moved by The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, edited by Joseph Fulton. The video is a fantastic interpretation of the song that has become the anthem of thosewho have been lost to the fury of the Great Lakes.

Finally, take a little time to listed to this excellent radio feature from NPR’s Hidden Kitchens titled Freighter Food: From the Galleys of the Great Lakes. They talk with the writers of the Ships of the Great Lakes Cookbook and also talk with the cooks aboard the lakers about the importance of food to the crew and the changing character of life aboard. There’s recipes for New England Clam Chowder and Cranberry Glazed Cornish Hens with Wild Rice and some maritime music to listen to as well. Highly recommended!

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments!

The Absolute Michigan channel on chime.tv

Absolute Michigan channel on chime.tvThe chime.tv web site provides a very well thought out and high-powered* interface for viewing internet video. They also allow you to create a channel, so we created the Absolute Michigan channel on chime.tv.

The first video we’re featuring on the channel is Scuba Diving a St. Clair River wreck. The video is from Marine City, Michigan on the St. Clair River, and it is an interesting look at what it takes to dive a shipwreck in a river with a swift current and a lot of vessel traffic.

You can view more diving videos from noquartergiven and (if you’re so inclined) check out the Brethren of the Coast Diver’s Benefits Network (from video divers Rick and Deanna Saterstad) for information about them and their business.

* Even includes the ability to adjust color, contrast & brightness
link to chime.tv screenshot on Flickr (’cause Flickr asks for one and they’re really so helpful to Absolute Michigan too!)

The Huron Lightship: A Lighthouse that Floats

Lightship Huron by Darryl Wattenberg

Another view of the Lightship Huron

Lighthouses don’t move … unless they are lightships. Lightships were used in places where it was too difficult or expensive to build a lighthouse. A lightship had a bright light at the top of the mast and carried a foghorn to alert sailors when the fog was too thick to see the light.

Built in New York, the Huron lightship was launched in 1920. The 96-foot boat guarded Gray’s Reef and North Manitou Shoal on Lake Michigan, until 1936 when she was moved to Corsica Shoals near the mouth of the St. Clair River. The Huron stayed there for 34 seasons.

For the sailors living aboard a lightship life could be challenging. There was little room to move around, and high winds and storms often tossed the boat around and left the men seasick. To fight boredom, the crew played games and read books. The men also looked forward to mealtime, but the swaying boat made eating tricky. Sailors placed wet cloths under their plates to keep their meals from sliding across the table on days when the boat was rocking!

On August 20, 1970, the Huron was retired and replaced by a lighted buoy.

Today, the Huron is at Port Huron’s Pine Grove Park. It has been turned into a museum where visitors can see how a lightship crew lived and worked. The Huron is open from April through December. You can take a virtual tour of the Huron by visiting the Port Huron Museum website.

You can learn more about the North Manitou Shoal (Lightship and Lighthouse) from Life Along the Manitou Passage.

Not only did Darryl take this cool photo, he also geotagged it and provided a link to zoom to a satellite view of the location of the Huron Lightship in Port Huron. Internet, you are a pretty cool thing sometimes…

To learn more about Michigan’s lighthouse heritage, look for “Lighting the Way,” the Spring 2007 issue of Michigan History for Kids magazine. Call (800) 366-3703 or visit www.michiganhistorymagazine.com for more information.