Several weeks ago I wrote about the public health emergency declared in Flint, MI related to the state of their drinking water. And now, in January, we are seeing all kinds of news articles with national attention about the fall-out. However, I see just the same political games being played and no heads on the table taking the responsibility. I read that the Flint police force and the National Guard are now distributing water bottles and filters throughout many of the neighborhoods. Because even if you re-connect to the Detroit water source – you still have to use the damaged pipeline which CONTINUES to leach lead and other dangerous chemicals into the water supply. You think? Again, did anyone think about how to really fix the issue or just take some random action that appears that someone is finally paying attention to the disaster?
Flint now has the attention of the highest levels of national media. There is even concern that Legionnaires’ disease is spiking in the area and may be related to the water. This irresponsibility will have lasting impact on theses residents especially the children that consumed this water for almost 2 years. I want to know who is at the root of the issue and how can we keep them from making similar decisions with such dire ramifications.
Flint began using the Flint River as its water source in April 2014 under the direction of Darnell Earley who was the appointed emergency manager of the city of Flint. Of course he denies any responsibility? Why should an emergency manager have to second guess decisions? Because that is why there was an “emergency” in the first place. How can you say “It did not fall to me to second guess or to invalidate the actions that were taken prior to my appointment” really – you would think he was put in place to second guess EVERYTHING!!
The emergency manager in charge during the implementation of the switch is still serving Michigan’s residents. What might he be up to now that’s he’s in charge of Detroit’s school system. Has he proven to be a good decision maker? Does he have the best interests of the people he is supposed to represent in mind? Does he even give a damn about the condition he left behind in Flint? I think fault needs to be found and those responsible should be forced to consume this water for the next two years as the residents had to do who were ignored for so long.
And where is the progress with the Detroit Public School System? Where now, teachers have been organizing sick-outs to highlight their concerns with the lack of progress and condition of schools in Detroit. And can Governor Snyder please just answer the questions he is asked about his knowledge and the states lack of action on this issue? Shame is what they should all be exhibiting.
So what started as an idea to save $5M is now costing over $10M in water testing, filters, and distribution of water. Along with $6M to switch the system back to Detroit which isn’t helping the water supply and likely many more MILLIONS to move it again when the new system is ready.
Water is the most precious resorce we have. We must do everything in our power to protect this commodity. Let’s see where we go on other water issues including the aging oil pipeline under our great lakes. Wake up Michigan!
FLINT DRINKING WATERMICHIGANMICHIGAN EMERGENCY MANAGERMICHIGAN GOVERNORPURE MICHIGAN
A visit to the Eastern Market has always been a part of our seasonal routines. Something we’ve included for fresh spring vegetables, flats on flower day, summer produce, the bounty of the fall harvest, and fresh holiday wreaths and other greens. From attending with my parents, bringing my own family here, and now back again on our own, we’ve always enjoyed a visit to this vibrant area of our beautiful Detroit.
At this time of year you can select from beautiful wreaths and Christmas trees along with the standard fruits, vegetables, and many other food items. Make sure and try some pierogi and salsa, McClure’s pickles, several pie choices, meats, honey, maple syrup, spices, a crazy mushroom selection, amazing hot tea, bread, warm chestnuts, and even knit hats and gloves.
There are also food trucks on the outskirts of the market. One you surely don’t want to miss is the beignet truck – really even better than in New Orleans. Try it with powdered sugar and bacon if you really want something unique and very tasty.
Eastern Market in Detroit is the largest historic public market district in the country covering 43 acres. On some Saturday’s, like flower day, more than 40,000 people shop here. Detroit’s outside markets were consolidated to this location in the late 1800’s when the original sheds were built and the Eastern Market name began.
The area surrounding the Eastern Market has recently begun a comeback and is helping to broaden the area into a vibrant neighborhood that is constantly expanding. The Detroit City Distillery on Riopelle, just one street behind Vivio’s is a unique place with intriguing craft cocktails. For night life, you can go to Bert’s Marketplace to relax and listen to the awesome Jazz music.
I highly recommend a Vivio’s Bloody Mary to start your morning – Warms you up just enough to brave the chill at this time of year. The Germack Pistachio Company is also a stop if you want the area’s best nut selection. Also, have to mention Supino’s pizza, which if you haven’t tried it, make it a must do for your next visit.
Even if you’re not in need of many of these items, a trip down to experience the atmosphere is well worth the effort. Here’s a website for more information about Eastern Market.
Exit 254 (Grayling) if you’re heading North and Exit 259 (Hartwick Pines Road) if you’re heading South are the I-75 exits for Grayling, MI. If you’ve traveled from Southeast Michigan to the Traverse City area, you’ve also likely traveled through Grayling. Grayling is unique in its exit structure because you can only exit going North at the 254 exit and can only return onto the freeway heading south at this exit. It is one of the business loop exits in Michigan.
Grayling is where most northbound traffic heading for the Traverse City area will pick up I-72 for the Western trip away from I-75. There are several hotels and lodges in Grayling that offer a nice place to break up any long road trips or vacations. Grayling and the surrounding Crawford County is an outdoor paradise. Approximately 70% of the land in Crawford County is government owned and allows public access to partake in outdoor activities to satisfy a wide range of sportsmen and sportswomen.
Summer activities include camping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, biking, and golfing. The AuSable River and the Manistee River offer the best locations for canoeing and kayaking. The places to see to get fitted up for a river trip are Borcher’s or Penrod’s right on the business loop.
Winter activities include hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, sledding, and nearby skiing. The trails here are plentiful and provide miles of trails to explore. When the snow is deep, the town is well prepared to accommodate winter sports enthusiasts.
Hartwick Pines State Park is something everyone should experience. The old growth white pine forest includes trees over 120 feet tall which shows visitors what these trees looked like before logging began in Michigan. Wellington Farm, USA is a 60-acre museum that portrays life from the Great Depression era. A Blacksmith Shop, Carpenter Shop, Saw Mill, Grist Mill, and Barnyard are all part of the park.
There is a 50’s diner on Michigan Avenue called Dawson and Stevens Classic 50’s Diner that includes a soda fountain and over 10,000 pieces of Coca Cola Memorabilia in their Bottle-Cap Museum. Definitely adds a unique option for visitors.
Don’t forget to include a stop at Paddle Hard Brewing downtown, also on Michigan Avenue. The micro brews here are worth the stop and for the wine drinkers in your group, they are connected to a winery and art gallery that are both worth a visit.
As you can see, Grayling has lots to offer all year long. This city truly represents Northern Michigan’s year round hospitality.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It occurs during my favorite season and there is no better place to find some spooky fun than it our great state of Michigan! The crisp cool days and chilly nights that grace us during this season provide the perfect setting for Halloween Happenings and some great Fall Fun!
For everyone – you can experience one of the best Halloween events across the country right here in Dearborn with the Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village. This is a stroll for treats through the grounds that are decorated with over 1,000 jack-o-lanterns. Characters, including the Headless Horseman, wander the village and add to the ambiance. Make sure you don’t miss the part of the walk across the covered bridge. This was always a favorite with the kids! You can take a break in the Eagle Tavern for a drink and snacks. This event sells out really early so you might have to make a plan for next year!
For younger kids – a great choice for not so scary fun is a trip to Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, Michigan. Here you can take the Ghost Train Express for a ride through the woods, trick or treat throughout the village, and catch a family friendly magic show. This is a great way to get outside and have some fun.
If your plans include a trip up north to catch the colors and you are close to Wolverine you can get a pretty good scare at the Scream in Wolverine. You can catch both Kurt and Burt’s House of Horror and the Swamp of Terror. This haunted attraction draws a bigger crowd than most other attractions at this time of year and even requires a release form to participate. Scary Stuff!!
Some additional Northern Michigan options include trick or treating on Mackinac Island, Halloween parties and Castle Farms in Charlevoix, and an awesome Fall Festival at Pond Hill Farms, just to name a few more.
Back in the “D” you can always catch a wide range of scary from the not- so at the Zoo Boo to the crazy scary of Erebus in downtown Pontiac. You can tell by the myriad of choices that this holiday holds a special place in the hearts of many more Michiganders than just myself. Enjoy the season!
Exit 136 (Birch Run/Frankenmuth) if you’re heading North and Exit 144 (Bridgeport) if you’re heading South are your exits to reach the town of Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth, MI is a bit of old Bavaria right in the heart of Michigan. Home to under 5,000 permanent residents, this community welcomes over 3 million tourists every year. The shopping, lodging, dining, and area attractions offer a wide variety of activities to satisfy all age groups.
One of the main attractions, especially at this time of year, is Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland which bills itself as the World’s Largest Christmas Store. It is difficult to describe the absolute year round dedication to Christmas the store has even staying open 361 days of the year. Bronner’s is definitely something to see. Pick out a new ornament or just wander around the interior and exterior to kick off your holiday spirit.
Some more unique activities available include a ride down the river on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat, a day traversing the aerial trails at The Adventure Park, or taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. Close by is golf, museums, wine and beer tasting, and lots of shopping options and lodging choices including indoor water parks. The Frankenmuth Corn Maze is also in full swing right now!
Frankenmuth hosts several festivals and special events throughout the year. You can catch the Bavarian Festival in June, Oktoberfest in September, and several others all year long. Coming up yet this year include Michigan’s Big Country Fest this weekend and the Scarecrow Fest on October 24th.
And of course the chicken dinners - The two locations you can select are Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth or Bavarian Inn Restaurant. There is a long history with these restaurants and if family style chicken dinners are your thing, you shouldn’t be disappointed. The buttered noodles are my favorite. For other dining options – try the Frankenmuth Brewery. Beautifully set along the river with a great menu and fantastic beer selections. This is Michigan’s oldest brewery and my favorite place in town! Fun in Frankenmuth awaits!!
If you haven’t noticed the booming beer, wine, and distillery explosion happening all around you, it’s time to get out there and try a “crafted cocktail” at one of these amazing establishments. Although some places have a long history, the recent popularity of local breweries, distilleries, and wineries has expanded far and wide in Michigan. There are so many new options that you’re never far from a place to relax and enjoy one of these locally crafted libations.
Michigan boasts over a hundred breweries, a hundred wineries, and over 30 craft distilleries. This business is providing a much needed boost to Michigan’s tourism industry and the local farmers and producers providing the raw ingredients to make these cocktails.
Most of these establishments are using locally grown ingredients. The grains and fruits needed to craft the unique offerings are often locally grown and delivered directly to the breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the area. The unique Michigan climate and harvest contributes to the clever flavor combinations offered in these brews, wines, and cocktails.
Some of these recently visited in the far corners of our state include:
Round Barn Winery, Distillery, and Brewery, Baroda – here you can take your pick of a glass of wine, a crafted cocktail, or a crafted brew. The setting is just stunning along with the grounds. If you’re lucky enough to get a day you can enjoy your drink outside, you’re truly lucky!
Vierling Brewery, Marquette – this is a long established brewery and is getting a renewed shot of popularity along with all the growing interest in the microbrew frenzy. This brewery is downtown Marquette on the bay. Just a beautiful area all around and makes Michigan proud to have the UP as part of our great state.
Black Star Farms, Traverse City Area – this is truly an operating farm with many locations throughout the Traverse City Area. This is what Michigan tourism is about. They offer a bed and breakfast, dining options, a winery, distillery, and will provide a perfect setting for your special event.
Jolly Pumpkin, Detroit – the Detroit scene is growing continuously in this area of interest and the Jolly Pumpkin’s decision to open this year on Canfield in Detroit is a welcome addition. The style of this place is welcoming and their crafted beers and cocktails are excellent. Again – welcome to the “D”!
Back to our interstate journey along I-75. If you venture far enough north you’ll get to Exit 310 Indian River, Rogers City. This exit is between Gaylord and Mackinaw City and is often the gateway to the inland waterway, the Lake Huron strip, and several wilderness areas providing many adventures to pick from.
The world’s largest crucifix is only a couple miles from this exit and attracts thousands of visitors each year. It is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. The Cross in the Woods offers outdoor Catholic services on summer weekends.
Indian River is also the best place to catch a river ride on the Sturgeon River – either by Kayak, Canoe, Tube, or even a fool-proof river raft for larger groups or the less adventurous. See Big Bear Adventures to hook yourself up for whatever type of trip fits your fancy. Their main store also offers a putt-putt, bumper boats, ropes course, a sub-way, and other staples.
The 310 exit is also a loop exit. You can venture down the main street and if you’re northbound, hop back on I-75 at exit 313. Taking this option you will pass Chillermania. This book store contains the American Chillers, Michigan Chillers, and other book series of author, Jonathan Rand. If you’re a parent of elementary age students in Michigan it is likely your child has had some exposure to this book series and/or author himself.
Food options beyond the fast food exit staples include Christopher’s Restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and recently added dinner on some summer evenings.
The Inn Between is a perfect spot to boat/people watch on nice days. Right at the Indian River Bridge downtown, you can come by car or boat and see what the relaxed northern atmosphere is all about.
The Indian River Golf Club offers tee times and the Greenside Grill for lunch or dinner.
Vivio’s is the place for pizza or Italian fare. Open at 5pm for dinner all year long. Add a glass of Chianti to complement your meal. Old time charm is abundant here.
For anyone looking for a unique experience. Wakefire Cable Park offers an outlet for your wakeboarder even if you’re not pulling a boat.
As you can tell, many options await at this peaceful little town at the center of the Inland Waterway. If you’ve passed this town by on your way to Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Roger’s City, or anywhere this gateway leads you, make a point to look around next time you’re close.
By: Queue Murphy
I have so many good childhood memories of this place! It is a great place to take your children anytime of the year, but especially during the spring, summer and fall color time. When I was a kid, it was not a National Park and you could take dune buggy rides to the top and camp on the dunes under the bright moon and stars. That changed and it became a National Park. It is breathtaking - from the Pierce Stocking Drive through ancient forests, to the huge Dune climb, that looks easy from the bottom until you get to the top. My kids, friends, cousins, Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents, parents, have all climbed it and raced to the bottom. When you get to the top, you get breathtaking views of Little and Big Glen Lake - two lakes created by glaciers!
Swimming in Lake Michigan off of the dunes is breathtaking - as they say in Michigan: No salt, No Sharks, No Worries! How can you go wrong?
A great site to look at before you visit or camp is here: http://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm. But take care, there are bears and mountain lions, snakes....well, wildlife!
There are also many ranger talks throughout the week and you can learn how to track skat (poop), hear ghost stories, learn about shipwrecks and see the brilliance of the stars at night!
One night after hearing a ranger talk on local ghosts, we went to a house in thompsonville and in the middle of the night, the car kept starting - the dog hid under the bed and my husband kept getting up to hit the remote and turn it off. That has never happened to us again - we think the ghosts followed us home! Ooooh spoooky!
In all of its majesty, these areas still have to be respected as it is a a wildlife area, but you and your family will never forget it!
Traveling Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has been a longtime favorite pastime in our family. You seriously feel like you’ve entered an entirely different state when you cross the Mackinac Bridge. The only other entry points are along the large Wisconsin land border or across the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Once a significant destination for French Canadian, Swedish, Finnish, and other immigrants looking for work in the mining industry thru the 1920’s, the area’s economy is currently supported mostly by logging and tourism. The Upper Peninsula has almost 30% of the total land area of the entire State of Michigan but only 3% of Michigan’s population. This population temporarily soars in the summer months of July and August when tourists flood the peninsula to partake in the many recreational opportunities and the pure beauty of the area.
If you’re into water sports and don’t mind a chilly body of water – the U.P. has thousands of miles of Lake Superior shoreline to enjoy. I list a few more favorites here but this only scratches the surface……
Tahquamenon Falls – Upper and Lower and the hike between (don’t miss the boat to the lower falls for a summer swim!!) (There are more than 300 additional waterfalls to investigate across the UP)
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – From land or from water this area is truly a national treasure and one you won’t want to miss. If you can get a glimpse from the water either on one of the Munising boat tours or a personal Kayak, you’ll get a whole new perspective of this impressive shoreline.
Porcupine Mountains/Lake of the Clouds – Takes a bit more effort to reach this area but the remote surroundings, the beautiful lake nestled in the mountains, and the dense forest is surely something to experience.
Sault Ste. Marie Locks – Amazing experience to travel through the locks where the water level drops 21 feet between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Local maritime history abounds.
Marquette Black Rock Cliffs – At the tip of the Presque Isle Park in Marquette – jump into the refreshing Lake Superior waters from high atop the cliffs before relaxing along the beach.
Mount Bohemia – Hancock/Houghton – Some of the best snow skiing awaits you in this area and the summer water sports are luring more and more guests to the shores of the lakes and rivers.
And…………..Lighthouses, Snowmobiling, Hunting & Fishing, Breweries, Beaches, Lakes, Wildlife, and SO MUCH MORE!!
And never pass up a U.P. Pastie when hunger strikes – more on this later!!
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