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    The Daily Michigan: Michigan-shaped maple cutting board from Michigan-Made.com

The Daily Michigan: Michigan-shaped maple cutting board from Michigan-Made.com

Today on The Daily Michigan we’re giving away a Michigan-shaped maple cutting board from Michigan-Made.com.

The fully-functional Michigan cutting board shows the distinctive mitten of the Lower Peninsula. It is made of solid Northern Hard Maple from Michigan with an edge grain in the best of butcher block tradition, featuring a food-safe natural oil finish that seals and protects the wood and provides an ideal cutting surface.

The three sisters behind Michigan-Made.com are Michigan natives who have lived their entire lives in Michigan and raised their families here. They make it easy for you to “Buy Michigan” because all their products are exclusively made in Michigan by cottage industries or small businesses!

Click here to sign up

Weird Wednesday: A Concrete Shang-ri-la

linda-godfrey The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan, when Linda Godfrey gives you a sample of what’s weird in the Wolverine State. You can report your own strange encounters at weirdmichigan.com, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/lindasgodfrey and also check out her books including Weird Michigan & Strange Michigan.

krupps-sculpture gardenIt’s that time of year when anyone with a patch of green space starts thinking about how to enhance it. How better to do that than by cruising on down to Lennon, the Lawn Ornament Capital of America.

Lennon claims that title based on Jean Krupp’s Novelty Store, a retail moniker that barely hints at what you will find there. Rows of naked concrete Davids, gnarly gargoyles, Christ figures and Labrador retrievers stand higgledy-piggledy around the vast outdoor shopping space, while shelves of gewgaws and bathtubs with pre-installed icons fill the indoor area. There is even a life-sized King Neptune ready to grace your cee-ment pond. And gnomes? Gnumerous.

kruppswOwner Jean Krupp started the business with handmade birdhouses in the 1950s and built it into the mega-landmark it has become. Last time I visited, the busy octagenarian was still hand-painting statues.

Krupp’s is easy to find at the intersection of M-12 and M-13. Look closely as you drive up and you might just catch King Neptune waving at you.

Acres and acres more Weird Wednesday from Absolute Michigan

Cyber Monday and Holiday Deals in Michigan

Screen Head by Chancellor Monnette
Screen Head by Chancellor Monnette

AnnArbor.com has a look at Cyber Monday that notes that online sales are expected to increase slightly in 2009, but that an overall dip in holiday spending may make it a wash.

Price remains the driving factor for most consumers as the national unemployment rate hovers at 10.2 percent and Michigan’s unemployment rate is 15.1 percent. For many major retailers, this means that offering free shipping is a necessity, said Larry Freed, CEO of Ann Arbor-based ForeSee Results, an online customer satisfaction firm.

“Discounts are going to be big, and free shipping’s a part of it, no doubt,” Freed said. “It’s almost a cost of entry at this point.”

Let us know in the comments if you’ve found any good online deals from Michigan retailers and check out Absolute Michigan’s Shopping section for links to thousands of online stores in Michigan!

2009 Absolute Michigan Holiday Gift Guide

Photo by Cherie S.
Photo by Cherie S.

Think Globally, Shop Locally with our Michigan Holiday Gift Guide, designed to help you find the perfect Michigan gifts online or off. Feel free to add your Michigan based gift suggestions in the comments section below!

The photo in this post was taken by Cherie S. and is titled “Don’t worry about the past, rejoice in the present and have hope for the future.” Words to live by….

Art, Books & Music
Fire Center Studio
– Ishpeming, MI
Savu has owned Fire Center Studio in Ishpeming, Michigan since 1987. While her painting and illustration is done out of her studio, her work sells in galleries and gift stores throughout northern Michigan and the midwest. Her primary gallery retailer is Michigamme Moonshine Gallery in Michigamme, Michigan. Savu’s ‘Colours of Home’ annual collectible calendar series is available at bookstores and gift shops throughout the midwest as well as on website.

Mackerel Sky Gallery of Contemporary Craft – East Lansing
Mackerel Sky Gallery of Contemporary Craft, a gallery of fine craft located in East Lansing, Michigan. Owners Tom and Linda Dufelmeier created a format for the Gallery that includes an exhibit space featuring individual artists in shows that last for approximately two months. The works of art are presented in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere allowing people from all backgrounds an opportunity to experience thought-provoking imagery by a single artist. The larger portion of the Gallery includes an eclectic selection of paper products, blown glass, jewelry, fiber, ceramics, garden accessories, fine woodworking, furniture, and lighting chosen for excellence in design and function.

Brian Vander Ark Music – Grand Rapids, MI
The lead singer of the Verve Pipe and author of the hit song “The Freshmen”, Brian has just released his debut solo CD “Resurrection”.

Fork in the Road by Eric Villegas
The new cookbook Fork in the Road with Eric Villegas (Huron River Press) is a companion to Chef Eric’s award-winning national PBS cooking show of the same title. The 192-page, hard cover, book is filled with gorgeous food & other photography that sweeps you across the magical mitten, the great state of Michigan. From north to south and east to west Chef Villegas covers the great agricultural heritage of the state in his sumptuous recipes.

Pewabic Pottery – Detroit, MI
Pewabic Pottery is a living treasure and offers visitors an exciting glimpse of a little known part of American history. Founded in 1903 during the Arts & Crafts Movement, Pewabic is nationally renowned for its tile and pottery in unique glazes. Today it is a non profit ceramic art education center which welcomes 70,000 visitors annually.

Ducksicle – Detroit, MI
Detroit’s only Chilled Poultry Rock quartet starring Tony, Helmut, Erica and the fantastischen Erik Jensen.

Elderly Instruments – Lansing, MI
The best music is the kind you make yourself and Michigan’s largest instrument seller has a wide range of instruments and accessories for the accomplished or novice musician.

Heritage Guitar Inc. – Kalamazoo, MI
Heritage manufacturers Custom Carved Hollow Body Guitars, Semi Hollow Body Guitars, and Solid Body Guitars. This is to say nothing of the countless number of custom instruments made in each of the groups previously mentioned. Banjos, Mandolins, Flat Tops, and Basses, are no longer being produced because of the demand for the guitars mentioned in the above 3 categories.

From the Vine – Exploring Michigan Wineries
Get the only book that celebrates Michigan wine country, wines and winemakers with intriguing behind-the-scene stories, beautiful photographs and interesting side features (192 page, hard-cover book).

Harry Goldson – Suttons Bay, MI
Harry says that music is now more fun than ever, because now he is playing what he wants to play in a way he thinks it should sound, and what a sound it is! Harry’s eighth album Flirtations is now available.

Earthwork Music
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond. Give Michigan music!

Glenn Wolff Studio – Traverse City, MI
Welcome to the Glenn Wolff Studio Store. The shelves are stocked with prints, original art, and music by Glenn and a few friends. Come on in and look around. We never close, and we are offering free shipping for the month of December.

Log Art Inc – Boyne City, MI
Welcome to Log Art Inc.’s Gallery which features samples of our line of fine-crafted rustic furniture and accessories. This sampling will give you a sense of the impeccable quality and craftsmanship that have come to be our trademark, “Lodge Look of Northern Michigan.” Our design and building skills are of heirloom quality and the finest made in Michigan. We welcome custom orders and enjoy working with our clients to help build their dreams.

The Art of Karen M Smith – Lapeer, MI
Original paintings are available on this website, and listed for auction on Ebay. Many paintings available at Gallery 194 in downtown Lapeer.

Michigan History Magazine – Lansing, MI
Published since 1917, Michigan History is about and a part of Michigan’s fascinating past. Every colorful 64-page issue tells the exciting stories of Michigan people and their impact on their communities, the nation and the world. Michigan History overflows with intriguing feature articles, bold illustrations and departments highlighting history-related books, travel and events six time each year.

Hollander’s – Ann Arbor, MI
Since 1991, when the store first opened, Hollander’s has become one of the leading and largest sources in the country for unique decorative papers and bookbinding supplies. It is also well known for its outstanding offerings in book and paper arts workshops. In addition, Hollander’s has grown as a retail store, specializing in stationery items ranging from journals and photo albums to cards and unique gifts.

Nature’s Way Woodworking – Alberta, MI
We design beautiful furniture and gifts made with rare birdseye maple wood. Our fine hand crafted items are locally made in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, by our very own wood turning and wood designer expert: Dave Stimac. One look at our quality wooden gifts and accessories will bring you back again and again to see what’s new in our latest line of weather instruments, barometers, clocks, dining room sets and kitchen items. Each item is a one-of-a kind work of art that you and your family will cherish for years to come.

Clothing & Jewelry
Yooper Steez – Marquette, MI
Steez: Style with ease! We believe everyone who lives in the U.P., or loves the U.P., should have a cool U.P. t-shirt. The way we see it, it doesn’t need words. Take the Nike logo for example, they don’t have “Just do it” under the swoosh. And the U.P. is the same. It has enough presence to stand on it’s own. In our opinion we expect people to recognize it, we shouldn’t have to tell them, they should know!

Aurora Borealis Designs – Leland, MI
Aurora Borealis Designs of Leland, Michigan hand crafts unique jewelry from beach glass, beach stones and silver.

Kathy Fagan Handbags – Okemos, MI
Welcome to Kathy Fagan Handbags—chic and charming bags for every occasion. Individually designed and handcrafted, each handbag exudes elegance and a touch of cheeky charm. Indulge in the chillier seasons’ most crucial and decadent accessory, the fur handbag. Made from vintage and new fur pieces, each bag is one-of-a-kind—they are true collectors’ items.

baabaaZuzu – Lake Leelanau, MI
Hats, mittens, scarves, jackets, purses and bags, posy pins, christmas stockings and more are handcrafted in beautiful recycled wool… each a work of art.

Pure Detroit – Detroit, MI
Authentic Detroit apparel + unique gifts that represent the 313. Spend an afternoon and shop in the City. Each Pure Detroit store is located in Detroit’s most architecturally significant buildings – the Fisher Building, the Guardian Building and GM Renaissance Center.

Catherine Doll – Sawyer, MI
Located in the popular Harbor Country of southwest Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan, Catherine Doll is 80 miles from downtown Chicago. Sustainable fashion created from repurposed clothing – overdyed, pieced, crushed, tied, clamped, taken apart and put back together again. Each piece is one-of-a-kind.

Food, Dining & Drink
Zingerman’s – Ann Arbor, MI
Send great food anywhere in America. Gift boxes of bread, cheese, pastry, olive oil, vinegar and more. You really can taste the difference.

Jampot – Eagle River, MI
Jampot is closed for the season. However, they currently have a full selection of jams,jellies, fruitcakes and truffles available for immediate shipping and the Christmas mail order season.

Sweetie-licious Pie Pantry – Dewitt, MI
Sweetie-licious Pie Pantry is a charming bakery cafe located in downtown DeWitt, Michigan. The vintage ambiance paired with delicious, old-fashioned food makes for a perfect dining or take-out experience. Our fare is created by infusing the best vintage recipes along with the latest taste sensations. All of our foods are homemade, made with only fresh and quality ingredients – no preservatives are ever added. We specialize in retro baked goods, but we have an amazing lunch and dinner menu as well. Simply put, everything we make is truly unique and yummy.

Vintage Michigan Club
Join the Vintage Michigan Club and discover Michigan’s best-kept secret! Enjoy your favorite Michigan wines and reward yourself with special savings. With your lifetime membership you will receive these terrific benefits:

  • Discounts at participating wineries, wine retailers, and restaurants across the state. View the list of participating businesses (PDF).
  • Complimentary Michigan Wines Corkscrew or Etched Michigan Bottle Stopper.
  • Michigan Wine Country magazine, an annual publication with maps to Michigan’s wineries, interesting articles, and all the information you need to enjoy Michigan’s wine country.
  • Monthly email newsletter with the latest Michigan wine-related information.
  • Discounts for selected Michigan wine festivals and events.

Cherry Republic – Glen Arbor & Traverse City, MI
Welcome to Cherry Republic, the land of Life, Liberty, Beaches & Pie! Over 141 gourmet food products made from Michigan cherries to sample, purchase and send as gifts. Cherry Bakery, Cherry Winery, Cherry Cafe and Retail Store. Free gift-boxing.

Leelanau Coffee Roasting Company – Glen Arbor, MI
Leelanau Coffee Roasting has wonderful gifts for all of the special people in your life… Coffee beans! French Presses! Logo Mugs! Grinders! Leelanau Coffee sells all the exciting coffee accessories to make your coffee drinking a true “up north” experience. 2008 marks our Fifteenth Year, and we are proud of our heritage, and excited about the future!

Earthy Delights – Dewitt, MI
Earthy Delights is America’s premier supplier of specialty foods to quality conscious American Chefs. We pioneered the use of overnight delivery to get fresh produce from the farm to the kitchen in the shortest time possible. We are leaders in offering wild-harvested and hand-crafted foods from small harvesters and growers to a larger audience. Now we are bringing this same selection of fine products to the adventurous home chef, using the power of the internet.

Higher Grounds Trading Company – Traverse City, MI
Roasting 100% Fair Trade and Organic Handcrafted Coffees. Check out our great coffee, gifts and gear this holiday season!

Rudy Baggs – Lansing, MI
Rudy Baggs Coffee Roasting Company roasts only world class Arabica coffee and specializes in weekly home delivery.

Pasty Central - Calumet, MI
Order Delicious U.P. Pasties and see why Pasty Central has become a primary starting point for many visitors to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Fresh from the U.P. to you! Great gifts!

Stone House Bread – Traverse City, MI
Our promise is the freshest bread in the North, made every morning with the finest organic flour—fragrant, crusty loaves with the sweet tang of sourdough. The baguettes and boules that emerge from our venerable Matador oven (built in Stuttgart when John Kennedy was president) will prompt memories of morning walks in Paris and Rome. We believe you’ll say, with celebration: Now that’s an honest loaf of bread!

Eden Foods – Clinton, MI
The finest locally grown and organic foods since 1968. Michigan organic beans, processed fruits and juices, pastas, whole grains, Edensoy, vegetable oils, vinegars, soy sauces, misos, snack mixes, teas, dried fruits, popcorn, etc. Buy on-line.

Grocers Daughter Chocolates – Empire, MI
Our artisan, hand-made chocolates and hand-dipped truffles are made with many locally grown/blended products such as herbs, spices, berries, spirits, coffees, teas and nuts. We use no artificial flavors or preservatives, and we buy locally when it is possible.

The Great American Pretzel Company – Howell, MI
At The Great American Pretzel Company ® we make the best gourmet Chocolate Covered Pretzels in America. Our products are made using only the finest milk, dark and white chocolates, the freshest pretzels and highest quality ingredients. Our beautifully packaged, made-to-order pretzels make a perfectly decedent gift for someone special or an indulgent treat for oneself. 1-866-889-5778

Leelanau Peninsula Vinter’s Association – Leelanau county
The mission of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (LPVA) is to help spread the word about all the good things happening here in our corner of paradise. Our cool-climate, Michigan wines have been winning more national and international awards and praise each and every year. Leelanau County wines and vineyard tours make the perfect gift.

Pioneer Wine Trail – Southeast MI
Southeastern Michigan’s Pioneer wine making region is a great place to spend a few hours…or a few days! The beautiful rolling Irish Hills, many lakes and Hidden Lake Gardens are right along the trail. Relax, savor our wines, stop for some antiquing and perhaps stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfast inns in the area.

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail – Southwest MI
Discover the world of wine in your own backyard by visiting our tasting rooms nestled among the rolling hills and inland lakes. We are a short ride from our harbor towns of New Buffalo, St. Joseph, South Haven, and Saugatuck. Enjoy award winning Michigan wines as spectacular as our sunsets on the beach.

Wineries of Old Mission – Traverse City, MI
Jutting north between the azure arms of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay lies Old Mission Peninsula. Situated at the globe’s 45th parallel – the ideal climate for growing varietal wine grapes – the seven distinct wineries that comprise this stunning appellation have been well recognized by international wine enthusiasts. Discover the beauty of the Old Mission Peninsula and experience its award-winning wines: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, sparkling varieties and the prestigious ice wines.

Home & Garden
Ciao Bella – Petoskey, MI
Garden and home products and services personally chosen to appeal to one’s pursuit of the well-lived life, no matter how great your dream or how small our product.

Spa & Pampering
The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company – Canton, MI
The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company is a Michigan-based producer of top quality natural soap. All of our soaps are handcrafted, in small batches, using premium ingredients and exceptional quality control. No two soaps will ever be exactly alike. Great for gifts!

Little Black Book of Beauty – Detroit, MI
Looking for a new Michigan salon or spa? Or a great skin care provider or personal trainer? Or any other hair, make up and beauty related therapy? Our guide to beauty services will help you find whatever products and treatments you’re after.

Two Bees Candles
100% Beeswax, all natural candles. Free of fragrances, chemicals, paraffin. Great Lakes area beeswax, with the natural aroma of honey from the hive.

Sports & Recreation
Old AuSable Fly Shop & Old AuSable Outdoors – Grayling, MI
Old AuSable Fly shop has Scott, St.Croix, Keystone & TFO Rods Ross, SA, TFO and Bailey Reels. Fish Pond, Pacific Fly, Logo shirts & hats, Dan Bailey Waders, Fly tying materials. Any gizmo or accessory you need! Old AuSable Outdoors is a full service fly fishing pro shop, a complete paddlesports center and a sundries shop with unique items including art, books and gifts with a Northern Michigan flair. We are located on the banks of the beautiful AuSable River.

Lee’s Adventure Sports – Portage, MI
Lee’s Adventure Sports is a family owned Southwest Michigan outdoor sports gear business that was started in December of 1954 by Bill and Evelyn Lee. Lee’s is presently located at 311 West Kilgore Road and being run by Skip and Chris Lee, the next generation. We offer outdoor sports gear product mix of camping, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, skis, snowboards, xc skis, snowshoes, canoes, kayaks, footwear, travel gear, luggage and the clothing to do it all in. Performance and quality is in all of our products.

Bay de Noc Lure Company – Gladstone, MI
Ice fishing and saltwater fishing may not have much in common, but the fishing lures found at the Swedish Pimple website can be used for both ice fishing and saltwater fishing. Ideal lures for saltwater fishing include the Swedish Pimple, Swedish Pimple Ice, Do-Jigger, Laker Taker and the Flutter Laker Taker. On your next excursion, include some of our fishing lures in your saltwater fishing tackle. You’ll be surprised at how many limit catches they produce.

Indian Country Sports – L’Anse – MI
Indian Country Sports is a family owned and operated retail sporting goods business located on the shores of Lake Superior in beautiful downtown L’Anse serving fishing, hunting, and outdoor enthusiasts since 1968.

Toys & Hobbies
Down to Earth Toys – Ortonville, MI
Why Down To Earth Toys? Over 90% of our toys are Made in USA! Offering top quality Wooden and Natural toys made in the USA.We feel that protecting your child, while also supporting America’s economy, are of utmost importance. Whether you are looking for baby toys made in USA, toddler toys, or outdoor toys… know that you have found a store who is dedicated to offering you toys that you will feel great about giving!

Enerdyne Science & Nature Store – Suttons Bay, MI
Gifts for all ages! Enerdyne’s website exists to introduce you to our science and nature store and its products. We also provide interesting information about various science/nature topics. We’d love to have you stop in and visit Enerdyne for your gifting needs!

Drueke – Ludington, MI
The Drueke Company is America’s oldest manufacturer of traditional board games. The chess boards and chess accessories that we offer are second-to-none. Our reputation for quality chess sets inspired us to produce a variety of classic games for our customers to enjoy. Our product line includes action games, backgammon, cribbage, dominos, checkers, game boxes, chess tables and wooden accessories.

Flint’s Carriage Town makes a comeback

Electric Blues by Rudy Malmquist
The Mason House c 1872 in Carriage Town by mansardroofsf

The New York Times has taken note of an area in Flint called Carriage Town that is making a comeback due to some industrious and motivated homeowners. In the midst of an otherwise impoverished area and dire economic circumstances these people are taking advantage of real estate deals and restoring the beautiful old homes that make up the area. The article Faded Glory: Polishing Flint’s Jewels also notes that as people move in businesses follow and once again becomes a community.

In a city that is synonymous with faded American industrial and automotive power, Carriage Town’s success is both unexpected and inspiring. A persistent group of long-term urban homesteaders — along with newer arrivals eager to live near a downtown showing signs of life — has restored dozens of Victorian-era houses and buildings in the last 20 years. While many Flint neighborhoods feel all but abandoned, in Carriage Town home ownership has increased 10 percent over the last decade, according to Census data.

In a worldwide recession, development projects with more than $47 million in public and private financing are in progress or recently completed in the 30-square-block Carriage Town area, including the conversion of the derelict Berridge Hotel into lofts and the ongoing renovation of the long-vacant Durant Hotel into 93 apartments and commercial space. There are even plans for a neighborhood grocery store.

But there’s no denying that Carriage Town is a work in progress, and that those who call it home must deal with challenges like speculators, abandoned houses and lack of code enforcement by the cash-strapped city.

For more images of Flin’t Carriage Town check out this slideshow from Flickr…

Eat Fresh: Support Your Local Farmers Market

Ann Arbors Farmers Market by RichardD72
Ann Arbors Farmers Market by RichardD72

As the buy local revolution continues to build steam we are seeing more and more farmers markets popping up around the state. This is a great situation for such an agriculturally based state and it shows that there is not only a great demand for the products but also a desire to support our local farmers. More importantly we all get to eat fresher, tastier healthier food which once you try you will always buy given the option. Browse the paragraphs below for information on farmers markets and their impact around Michigan.

A great place to get started is the Grown and Produced in Michigan site from the MDA and visit the Michigan Farm Market and Agri-tourism Association (MI-FMAT) whose website states:

Agriculture is part of the heritage of Michigan and is the second largest factor in our economy. Michigan farm markets, organic farms, maple syrup producers, wineries and u-pick farms and orchards are all there to welcome visitors for fun on the farm. A tour of Michigan farms could include a creamery, cider mill, petting zoo, pumpkin patch, plant nursery or a tree farm. There is nothing like a day in the Michigan countryside for fresh air, fresh vegetables or maybe a little wine tasting at a Michigan vineyard. All of these are available in a very short trip and some Michigan farm markets are even open all year long. Don’t forget seasonal treats like honey, cider and mushroom hunting.

Michigan State University hosts a great website with locations of markets around the state and also information on Michigan Food & Farming Association (MIFFS) and the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA).

Michigan Food and Farming Systems – MIFFS is a statewide, membership-based nonprofit organization whose purpose is to improve Michigan’s triple bottom line: our economy, our environment and the social well being of our communities through sustainable agriculture initiatives.

The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) was formed in 2006 as a state-wide association to promote local food consumption in Michigan by connecting more farmers to consumers through farmers markets.

Also be sure to explore Michigan farm markets at Michigan.org and visit Taste the Local Difference which has a listing of farmer’s markets in northwest lower Michigan and lets you know what’s ready to pick all spring and summer long!

Fulton Street Marketassortment

One way we’re going to help you get local is with our Absolute Michigan Map. As one of our first projects, we’ve dug up some of Michigan’s best local farmer’s markets and laid them down on our Google map of Michigan. Just look for the jug of milk and apple icon (well, at least until we change it to something else).

You can also zoom in on the photo above – assortment by yodraws, check out the farmer’s market slideshow in the Absolute Michigan pool or jump straight to Fulton Street Market on the Absolute Michigan Map.

For a ton more info and links on Michigan produce and farmers markets search Absolute Michigan keywords farmers market!

Have a suggestion for a farmers market to add? Post it in the comments!

Change a Light, Change Michigan

Changing your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can do all that.

Starting October 1st these light bulbs will be available at an unbeatable price: 99 cents at participating Meijer, Kroger, and Menard’s stores, as well as seven Lansing-area and three Upper Peninsula Ace Hardware stores. At that price, these bulbs are sure to fly off the shelves.

Thanks to grants by the Michigan Public Service Commission to various organizations, these discounted light bulbs will get into the hands of more and more Michigan homeowners. That will mean lower bills for customers, reduced need for additional electric generation, and a cleaner environment.

Governor Granholm has gotten into the spirit, too, by declaring today “Change a Light Day.”

The folks at Energy Star are encouraging people to “change a light.” Be sure to take the pledge and visit their Web site. And remember to give the “State of Michigan” credit as the pledge drive-sponsoring organization. It’s a friendly competition that Energy Star hopes will generate more energy savings and enthusiasm.

2008 Michigan Energy Fair, June 27-29 in Manistee

Spinners 1 by n8xd
Spinners 1 by n8xd

The 3rd annual Michigan Energy Fair will be held June 27-29, 2008 at the Manistee County Fairgrounds in Onekama. Billed as “one of the most comprehensive expositions of renewable energy generating equipment, home and business energy efficiency techniques, and technical workshops in the state”.

The 2007 Michigan Energy Fair hosted over 4000 attendees who viewed the products and services of over 100 sponsors and exhibitors. Check out the video below in which fair organizer Jeremy Wittrock talks about the 2007 event

The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association is bringing in several noted speakers including Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Dr. Richard Blieden, and David Konkle. Workshops will address topics including wind energy, green building, geothermal heating and cooling, home energy efficiency and energizing Michigan’s economy.

Michigan send $18 billion dollars to other states in energy costs. With activities for kids, food, music and a wide range of exhibitors, the Michigan Energy Fair is a great place to learn about how we can go about reversing this drain on our state’s economy.

Energy Fair Links

Recap of the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair

Recap of the 2006 Michigan Energy Fair

The Michigan land Use Institute reports on the 2007 Michigan Energy Fair (with video) and also on the 2006 Michigan Energy Fair.

Check Absolute Michigan keyword energy for a gigawatt more related links and articles.

Michigan Farmers Market Map

Fulton Street Marketassortment

One way we’re going to help you get local is with our Absolute Michigan Map. As one of our first projects, we’ve dug up some of Michigan’s best local farmer’s markets and laid them down on our Google map of Michigan. Just look for the jug of milk and apple icon (well, at least until we change it to something else).

You can also zoom in on the photo above – assortment by yodraws, check out the farmer’s market slideshow in the Absolute Michigan pool or jump straight to Fulton Street Market on the Absolute Michigan Map.

Have a suggestion for a farmers market to add? Post it in the comments!

Consider Planting Michigan Native Plants

Sharptail I believe by wxman1952

This year consider planting plants native to your area when landscaping or gardening. Native plants are defined as plants that existed in an area prior to European settlement. The use of native plants has numerous benefits due to having evolved over thousands of years and, as such, are adapted to local conditions. The benefits include:

  • They flourish without fertilizers or synthetic pesticides and rarely need watering.

  • They provide food and habitat for wildlife which continues to disappear due to development
  • They contribute to biodiversity
  • They keep our regions unique and help us to maintain plant species
  • Their root systems rebuild the soil and work as filtering systems.
  • Last but not least they are beautiful!

The Michigan Native Plant Producers Association can point you to nurseries, has a great plant source guide and also provides an invasive species list.

The Michigan Native Plant Producers Association comprises 10 independently owned nurseries located throughout southern Michigan. Together we grow and sell almost 400 species of Michigan native plants, including, trees, shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, and ferns.

As an organization, our mission is to benefit member businesses by creating an ethical, profitable, and ecologically sound business environment. As responsible propagators of Michigan native plants, we are committed to enhancing the diversity and health of Michigan’s unique natural heritage.

More resources:
The Department of Natural Resources
Enhancing Beneficial Insects with Native Plants – Michigan State University
Gateway to Michigan’s Native Plants
The Native Plant Nursery
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council – Northern Michigan’s Native Plants