The Michigan Historical Center has approved four new historical markers for the state. Anyone who has travelled in Michigan has probably seen the green and gold signs, but what does it take to get one of these markers?
The cast aluminum markers are used to commemorate places and people that were significant to Michigan history.
People in a community that see a need for one of these markers send in an application to the Michigan Historical Commission. If the commission approves the application, the community moves on to writing the text that will appear on the sign.
Sandra Clark, Director of the Michigan Historical Center, said the markers can be about anything, or anyone historically significant.
"Some of them are about people who have done significant things in Michigan some of them are about events, some of them are about buildings, some about places, so its a wide variety and we're looking for things that mean something to the state or to a local community." Clark said.
One of the markers recently approved is for the Holy Cross Catholic Church on Beaver Island.
The church was consecrated by Father Frederic Baraga, who was the travelling preacher for the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula. Services in the church were given in Gaelic for the immigrant Irish community until the 1890's.
Now that the text has been approved, the respective communities will purchase the markers and they will be placed and dedicated.
Central Michigan University's School of Music is known for the high caliber musicians and teachers it graduates each year. At the end of the Spring semester on campus, a collage concert is presented as part of the school's anual gala fundraising event. Coming up is a conversation with Dr. Salma Ghanem, Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at CMU and CMU Public Radio's Susan McTaggart-Dennis detailing this year's activities.
As an only child, Linda Pastan spent a lot of time, alone, with books. By the age of twelve, she wanted to do more than read, she wanted to interact with the characters and ideas she was seeing on the pages. This was the beginning of her illustrious career as a major American poet and essayist. Earlier this week, when she appeared at several events in the Central Michigan area, she came to our studios and talked with CMU Public Radio's Susan McTaggart-Dennis.
Linda Pastan has written over twelve books of poetry and a number of essays. She is the winner of the Dylan Thomas Award and the Pushcart Prize, and served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1991 to 1995. These are among the many accolades that have distinguished her, professionally. Her work also appears on the Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, heard on CMU Public Radio.
A Saginaw museum has earned national recognition by becoming accredited, something only six percent of the nation's museums have done.
The Marshall M Fredericks Sculpture Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Marilyn Wheaton, the museum's director, said earning accreditation took three years of preparation and another three for the application process.
She said at one point, the review board questioned the museum's mission statement. Wheaton said she was taken aback by that. But the statement was focused solely on Fredericks, and didn't reflect the other areas of the museum.
"Now we're focused on the work of Marshall Fredericks and the archives, which are very important for researchers, our temporary exhibitions, which we have three or four annually, our publications and all the educational programing that we do here." Wheaton said.
Wheaton said earning that accreditation has improved the museum, increased staff knowledge and made it a better organization.
Next time on Central Stage, the CMU Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Andrew Spencer, brings us a program of works that will include a composition by CMU's Dr. David Gillingham; the Concerto for Piano and Percussion Ensemble. Andrew Spencer describes the concerto.
Join us for this exciting performance of David Gillingham's Concerto for Piano and Percussion Ensemble, featuring faculty pianist Dr. Alexandra Mascolo-David and the CMU Percussion Ensemble, this week on Central Stage, Thursday at 3 p.m..
Traditional Chinese medicine has used bear bile for thousands of years to treat a wide range of aliments. This widespread practice in Asian countries has created a thriving and inhumane market that has led to the lucrative business of bear farming. Next, Dr. Sue Ann Martain talks with veternarian and founder of Animals Asia Foundation, Jill Robinson. Robinson has been a pioneer of animal elfare in Asia since 1985 and has recently released a sensitive and insightful look at the issue through her children's book called Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears.
That was author and animal activist, Jill Robinson, talking with Dr. Sue Ann Martin. Robinson's new book, Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears, published by Sleeping Bear Press in Ann Arbor. The book will be reviewed for the Children's Bookshelf for the week of March 27; Reviews are aired Wednesday at 2 p.m., Fridays at 7:05 a.m. and also at 4:01 p.m..
The text edition of the Children's Bookshelf, along with questions and related activities for each book review, and a podcast, is available on our website at www.wcmu.org. Just follow the links through wcmu.org to radio to wcmu on iTunesU.
All Michigan public libraries are partnering with cultural attractions across the state, promoting its diverse history.
The Michigan Activity Pass allows library-users to reserve and print passes to cultural attractions, all over the state.
Things like the Detroit Institute of Art, the Buick Auto Gallery in Flint, and the Children's Museum in Marquette.
Jim Flury is the Technical Services Manager of the Library Network.
"We recognize that the arts are a valuable resource in the state of Michigan and that Michigan has a lot of really great cultural attraction, cultural institutions. And the fit between libraries and museums justs seemed a natural one." Flury said.
Flury said, the Michigan Activity program kicks off in May.
He said there are some 400 libraries and 50 cultural attractions on board.
A northern Michigan Indian tribe has made up its mind on same-sex marriage. The first gay couple in the state's history were married Friday.
The Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians wed the couple immediately following the bill-signing.
The tribal council voted narrowly in favor of the move, 5-4.
The tribe had voted against allowing same sex marriage several times before, including a unanimous decision in 2007 and a 5-4 vote last year.
Mel Kiogima, a Tribal Legislative Leader, has consistently opposed the measure .
"I'm generally opposed to it mainly because it's an unnatural occurrence that occurs between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. And also, it is immoral. And then also, it's a big deviation from the norm of the rest of society." Kiogima said.
At least two other U.S. Indian tribes recognize same-sex marriage.
Michigan's state constitution currently bans same-sex marriage.
You can, of course, find a lot of art forms in museums, abstract paintings, portraits, sculptures, photographs.
And now in Sault Ste. Marie, you can enjoy an exhibit of doodles.
Lines and curly cues, swirls and volutes, they're all there in the art gallery at Lake Superior State University. And they're all the work of one man, who's been doodling for more than half a century.
James Moody is well known on the campus of LSSU.
He's been teaching humanities, history and geography here for 41 years. And for even longer than that, he's been doodling.
"I have no idea why." Moody said.
He said it started in grade school
"I probably wasted quite a bit of time making small designs" He said.
About 50-years ago, he began saving his creations.
Now, the art gallery in the Kenneth Shouldice Library on the campus of LSSU, is displaying Moody's doodles; or as they're known: Moodles.
Professor Moody gave me a guided tour of his creations.
"Now these are Volutes you see, or spirals. And that volute shape which I like of course." Moody said.
"You'll see over here in individual letters, E's. That's perhaps the most carried away I've gotten in terms of a letter, M. In terms of gothic architecture." He said.
Professor Moody creates his doodles for friends. He does a lot of monograms and borders that he puts on the sides of letters.
He said this is the first time his Moodles have been on display.
"Very few people know I do it. This was, what would you say i was thinking, should I really reveal the quiet sort of private part of my life. Which these are, I mean my friends that receive them know about them but i don't think, for the most part. And they've never seen this array okay, they've seen individual ones or groups of them if they happen to stop by the house." Moody said.
During my visit, Professor Moody spoke of his doodles with pride
"Each one is the best thing that came on the block and perspective." Moody said.
"I don't know that any of these help me balance the cosmos." He said.
They may not balance the cosmos, but studies have shown that doodling can help people concentrate.
"Yeah, I could agree to that. If you're sitting at the table and you're working away on a doodle and there's something you're kind of processing. I could see that, cause if you're thinking about, if it's a class or a trip or whatever. I could see that." Moody said.
Professor Moody said he has thousands of doodles at his home, although, after moving to a new house five years ago, he can no longer find his very first. He prefers to doodle with a ballpoint pen; markers and pencils don't give him the crisp, clean lines that he likes. But for all his years of doodling; the swirls, lines and volutes. He said he's no artist.
"I can't draw. Drawing and being artistic is not my calling but I can, these, this is something I can do that I enjoy. And if it has artistic quality it's the accidental by-product." Moody said.
Through the years, Professor Moody's doodles have been transformed into note cards and onto the face of a grandfather clock. There are also countless letters graced by his work.
He said he hopes people find the LSSU exhibit entertaining. When it ends later this month, the Moodles will go back into his collection, not to be seen again. Like a meteor flashing across the sky, he said.
But while the public display will end, Professor Moody's said his work will not.
"I'll probably keep doodling until I can't hold the paper in my wheelchair." Moody said.
The exhibit, Moodles, is on display in the library art gallery on the campus of Lake Superior State University through March 15.
Some of Professor Moody's doodles can be found here.
Cultural shows have always piqued people's interest.
These days, you can find a wide variety of shows dealing with foreign cultures and customs.
Now, next month a new cultural show that will be sailing into your living rooms about.. Vikings.
The British culture is probably the one you tend to see depicted the most on television. Based on ratings, anything British usually guarantees a hit.
That's Downton Abbey, the highest-rated Drama in PBS History.
The series depicts the lives of a family and their servants during the 1900s.
But not all cultural shows are so prim and proper
The 2007 film, "300" depicts the ancient era of Spartan cultures.
Now, a new cultural series is coming in March to the History Channel about Vikings.
I think a program like the Vikings can serve a really good educational purpose.
Dr. Monty Dobson is on the faculty at CMU. He's a viking historian. He said cultural series have been a long time trend in media.
"I think in terms of Hollywood and the production of film and popular media. That historical eras are cyclical. Fifteen years ago we had the obsession with Queen Elizabeth and all things elizabethan and you had multiple movies, documentary series, and HBO television series about Henry the 8th. And I think with the vikings and early medieval period were kinda entering a period where that seems to be in fashion and that people are interested." Dobson said.
Dobson said he first became interested in medieval Europe while working on his master's thesis at CMU. He later went on to the University of York where the viking culture piqued his interest.
Dobson's class is the first medieval viking class at CMU.
"My own class that I'm teaching this semester on the viking, is nearly full. Which is phenomenal for a place that's never really had a medieval class scheduled. My students are interested because they see these things in film and they wanna know more so to me that's exciting. And that's where I think popular film and popular culture can really be used as a teaching tool, because it hooks peoples interest. Once they're in the classroom, then we can talk about things that are reflective of the actual culture and how the popular media either get's it right or get's it wrong." Dobson said.
When you hear these viking sounds you can't help but think of vikings at battles.
Dobson said, depicting the Viking culture can be challenging. Because it's removed enough from modern society to be remarkably different.
He said there are some good docudramas that depict vikings accurately while other popular viking shows don't, like the movie Thor.
"You get really camped up sword and swashbuckling kind of films where the warriors are running and jumping and fighting for 30 minutes with armies of thousand. These guys would've had 70 to 80 pounds of tools and equipment. The reality of early medieval battle is not doing backflips with your sword it's several short periods in the day of intense brutal fighting and then people going and laying down to rest because they're exhausted." Dobson said.
Dobson said the popularity of movies like The Avengers and Thor, created an interest in Vikings. However, these movies are meant solely for entertainment.
Docudramas like the upcoming Viking series coming out on the History Channel, he said, should be held at a higher standard in terms of accuracy.
"I think with the History Channel with what they did with the hatfields and the McCoys and what seems to be there programming direction. They're trying to do historically accurate dramatizations and something like that I think we really should expect to adhere to a high level of historically accuracy." Dobson said.
Next Summer Dobson said he'll be working on a viking documentary of his own that focuses on their trade networks.
His goal is to visit archaeological sites to show how the vikings achieved their wide spread trade networks through Europe, Iceland, Greenland and modern-day Russia.
At its peak we were starting in fourth grade, so it's fourth four through twelve. Ms.Via would go around to the different elementary schools in the different towns. And then they would join together in the middle school and it exploded, it was just really successful. And I think that's a testimony to the community support and really her enthusiasm for bringing that culture into the community.
The school started losing money.
Ya' know, there just faced with the hardship of, 'ya know, look. This is the reality of our budget and theres just not space. So what is there that we can cut, and unfortunately for Chippewa Hills, it ended up being the strength program.
Ya' know it's something worth fighting to get back.
And the president, his name is Ryan Gilbert, he's CMU alumni, lives in New York, and he is organizing this entire movement from New York. That's how dedicated he is to this.
"Our goal is to raise the funds to bring back this program." Gilbert said.
A one hundred percent cut from the curriculum.
It's basically being treated as a sports program right now, an extracurricular activity. But the Chippewa Orchestra Society is looking to bring it back as a class.
Our goal is, we estimate about 7,000 dollars annually to run this program.
And that would fund fifth through twelfth grade program with a full-time teacher, and that would be our complete running cost.
Right now, we have generated 20,000 dollars of that.
I think that number, 20,000 dollars is extraordinary for this area between Mount Pleasant and Big Rapids basically, all that money has come. And that really says something, you know, the community has stepped up and says, 'this is really important to us, we're willing to generate you know, twenty grand in about three or four months, towards that and I really think that that really says something about the community support for this program.
It's fun to be in band and orchestra, you have the power, and it's a family in orchestra for me, because it is a tradition that's been there and you keep that tradition so I feel like it's a family for me.
My brother was, he played the violin in fifth grade and I actually really liked the teacher that was there, Kyle Nester, and my mom said if I can spell Chello, I could play it. So that's how I started.
It's been proven that band and orchestra make kids smarter like, we have the higher grades, higher attendance and stuff, it brings smarter kids and kids that know how to fundraise money and stuff because that is what have to know how to do.
The numbers in the orchestra because by having to have extra time after school, kids have sports and stuff that is bring priority to them, so if we had it in school, we'd have more time and more people. So it's more of a time and people issue.
That actually does happen. There's a lot of kids that would be in Orchestra if it was an actual class because they have sports and stuff and things that actually become more of a priority to them than orchestra does.
I would say 99 percent of those students it's come down to well, I'm already committed to this sport or look, I live on a farm, I really have to go home and help with my chores or times are really tight here, and the reality is I don't have gas to get to and from rehearsal and you know, the bus is free and so I just need to go home or theres health issues in my family and I have a doctors appointment and I just really can't make it.
The unfortunate reality is that this will continue and if we don't reinstate it into the school, this afterschool program just isn't sustainable.
After this year if we can't that money that we need it's going to make it even harder to restart and do it over again.
After this year if we can't that money that we need it's going to make it even harder to restart and do it over again and you're not going to have enough kids to do it again you're not going to have enough kids to have a program. So if we can't get it this year then there's really no point in return, I think.
Yeah, there's actually a lot of us who are going to be going to play music in college or music education, so it is a strong thing to be in the music program at our school.
You know, who knows? Maybe this will be a more common thing, where these big expensive orchestra programs someday, you know, maybe this is just a foreshadowing of, you know, I hope not, I hope not, we aren't the only ones that are going to be funded privately, I know that there are other programs that are.
For a long time, through the eighties and they were truly a hallmark program, you know, this is what high school strings should be. And truly a model for the state.
And so the idea is to have this collage concert where these groups from all around the state, really, are coming together and they're saying, 'it is worth fighting for to keep the arts in the school curriculum.
It will be really exciting and everything from Vivaldi to you know, we will have the theme from Shaft, you know everything will be there.
It will be really exciting and everything from Vivaldi to you know, we will have the theme from Shaft, you know everything will be there. And so the musical experience will be very diverse, and very exciting for anyone who comes.
It's rough, I mean you only have a couple kids, and it's hard to get. It's more personal, but to get it together is the hard part, because you only get a couple kids on one part. So it's kind of rough to get together.
You know, every week we may have 15-17 students there.
And we only meet once a week.
And so the full string section isn't really being represented.
I'm kind of skeptical, I'm not sure if we're going to do good, what the outcomes going to be.
And we'll reach a point there during the summer where the Orchestra Society will say, 'look this is what we have here.' We either do or don't have the full seventy thousand. But it will be basically be you know, how can we make this work? What can we do with the money we've generated? hopefully we've generated the full seven thousand and we can go ahead with hiring a full time teacher, and if we don't, we'll reassess.
Doing this kind of thing. Like I've never done this before, I've never been in the paper, this is really stepping forward into like, Public Broadcasting and stuff, and I love it!
Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, is one of my favorite shows, I like Prairie Home Companion after church on Saturday night and I really liked Car Talk when it was here. I mean, just the programs and Acoustic Cafe and stuff, I just love your guys shows.
It was really fun, like I was skeptical going in, but like I had tons of fun being able to play. I got blisters on my fingers because I don't usually play it for three hours straight, but I had a ton of fun.
I would just encourage everyone, if you support the arts in the schools, which I truly believe most people do. It's hard to say, 'no I don't,' you know? So if you're a supporter, I just really encourage you to come out to the concert, and just see what we're all about.
Brian Vander Ark returns to the Midland Center for the Arts on Friday, February 22nd. He'll be backed by members of his band The Verve Pipe, his wife Lux Land and Nashville-based duo Channing & Quinn. Our own Rick Westover sat down with Vander Ark and talked about his career as a solo artist.
Brian Vander Ark shares his experiences with up and coming bands through a blog on his website brianvanderark.com, experience he garnered through early success with The Verve Pipe and four solo albums released in the past six years. Magazine is his latest and was recorded with the aid of famed producer Bill Szymczyk. Szymczyk is a Michigan native in his own right, raised in Muskegon, and has an incredible resume with credits for The Eagles, B.B. King, The Who and many others. Truth be told, this isn't even Vander Ark's first album recorded with the legendary producer.
Brian Vander Ark performs at the Midland Center for the Arts on Friday, February 22nd. He'll be backed by a full band featuring members of The Verve Pipe, his wife Lux Land and Nashville-based duo Channing & Quinn. More information for the show can be found at MCFTA.org. You can find our full conversation and more performances at WCMU.org. Special thanks to Steve Gilray and Dan Hubble with the Woodshop Studio in Mt. Pleasant for hosting and recording our conversation and to Heath Hetherington, Chris Holtz and Bob Johns for capturing it all on video.
Central Michigan University has dedicated a new display commemorating the history and culture of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
Frank Cloutier is a spokesman for the tribe. He said he's happy with the relationship the tribe and the university has built over the years.
"It's a perfect depiction or representation if you will of a university that gets the culture of its people, that realizes we're not mascots, we're human beings with a very rich, proud culture." Cloutier said.
The exhibit focuses on the tribe's history, and its relationship with nature. It can be seen in the CMU Events Center.
As we get closer to Martin Luther King Day, January 21 many people are reminded of the strides the civil rights leader made for our country.
Ferris State University is recognizing those strides with three days of activities this year.
Ferris will hold it's annual Freedom March on MLK Day. It'll also host service projects and events during the week.
Some of those events include a student run symposium to discuss contemporary issues, and a guest speaker presentation on race and culture.
Sandy Gholston is with the university.
"The MLK celebration is not just for the campus and the university community but it's really for the greater community as a whole. So we really hope that people will see the awareness of the MLK celebration and be willing to come out and support it." Gholston said.
Gholston said all events are free and open to the public.
College Theater's "Super Bowl" comes to Saginaw Valley State University this week as the school hosts the 45th Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. SVSU, the smallest of the schools in the Midwest region, has been tapped as host for the third time in five years for students from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Competitions in acting, stage management, set design, writing and more will bring some 1,200 students to the SVSU campus and some $2.8 million in economic boom to the Great Lakes Bay Region.
CMU Public Radio's David Nicholas spoke with Ric Roberts, Associate Professor of Theater at SVSU. Roberts said the event is focused on college age talent.
As Roberts noted, the Temple Theater is hosting some of the performances, tickets for those shows are available through their web site, www.templetheatre.com
The city of Mt Pleasant will soon have a Youth Choir.
Two CMU graduate students are organizing a group for kids in grades three-through-six that they hope will help fill a niche in the community.
Organizers say they hope to have at least 50-children in the new Choir. Their first informational meeting isn't until tonight, but they say already the response has been overwhelmingly positive
Theresa Fabiano-Schumacher is one of the organizers.
She said she noticed a number of community groups in Mt Pleasant for things like sports, dance and gymnastics, but nothing for kids who want to sing.
She said the choir will supplement school offerings.
"School music programs are fantastic. Obviously, I'm a music educator, so I have nothing nothing bad to say about our school music programs, other than they don't have the time to offer all the opportunities that most music teachers would like to offer their students.:
Fabiano-Schumacher says the choir is open to all youth in grades three-through-six, whether or not they live in Mt Pleasant.
Michiganders who like to read about Michigan have a list of 20 new books to choose from this month.
The Library of Michigan has released its 2013 list of Michigan Notable books.
That's a list of 20 books, most by Michigan authors, that celebrate Michigan's people, places and events.
Randy Riley is the Michigan Notable Books Coordinator.
He said the list helps authors by introducing more people to their work. It spurs cultural tourism because people enjoy traveling to places they read about, and it's a boon for people who love to read.
"People are always looking for it, we're all so busy, you know, what are good things to read? So when you create a list that has 20 possibilities, there's usually something for everyone on that list."
Riley said Michigan is one of only a few states that recognizes state books and authors every year, and the only one that sends authors on a statewide tour.
Earlier in our series, A Season of Greetings we talked about Christmas, as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Today we'll be looking at a different holiday born from the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Amanda Harrison shares the story and celebration of Mawlid an-Nabi
The birth of Muhammad was first recognized by the people of Mecca and Madina. It falls on the 3rd month of the Muslim calendar.
Dr. Hugh Talat Halman is a professor of religion at Central Michigan University. He said stories and poetry are shared this time of year as a sort of reflection.
"The poetry tends to describe some of the prophet Muhammad's birth. So his Mother had a dream that a tree extended out of her back and the tree spread all over to all the corners of the universe. This is one of the miracles in terms of a dream narrative of the prophet Muhammad." Halman said.
The dream, Halman said represents Islam's spread across the world.
The majority of Muslims celebrate the prophet's birth. But Halman says some people are "reticent to encourage the celebration of a holiday centered on a human figure, even if that figure is Muhammad."
This time of year is filled with holiday spirit, and for many, holidays come from a religious base.
But today in our series, A Season of Greetings, we're looking at a holiday with a cultural base.
Kwanzaa is a week long celebration of African American heritage.
Dr. Pamela Johnson is a religion professor at Central Michigan University. She said Kwanzaa is based around seven core principles including faith and unity.
She said the principles of Kwanzaa helps enrich a person on a more personal level.
"You have an opportunity to involve yourself in nobiling rituals that will help to elevate and dignify your personal character and your community character, to make commitments to practice these principles and I think that's the best part of Kwanzaa." Johnson said.
But Kwanzaa isn't all about oneself. It's still the time for families to get together for a traditional meal and exchange gifts and stories.
The cookies have been nibbled, the stocking have been hung and children will soon be looking under the tree.
Christmas is the most popular celebration of the winter holidays as much for the secular and cultural traditions as for the religious significance.
Today in our series, A Season of Greetings, Amanda Harrison shares the story of the first Christmas.
Over 2-thousand-years ago the Bible says the son of God was born to the virgin Mary, in a manger, in the city of David, Bethlehem.
Scott Crary is the minister of His House in Mount Pleasant.
He said God chose to announce Jesus's birth to shepherds as a way to show God's connection with people.
"The angels appeared and said to these men, and when the angels first appeared they were so scared and one of the first things they say is don't be afraid, we come to tell you something amazing, the son of God is born, come to this place and see the person who is going to be the king, who is the king of the universe and here he is." Crary said.
Crary said God placed a star directly above where Jesus was born so all in the world could see its light and know he was born.
Today marks the end of the Mayan calendar; and speculatively speaking, it makes sense to pick the shortest day of the year to "end the world."
Traditions surrounding this day are some of the oldest we have on record.
Today in our series, A Season of Greetings, Amanda Harrison shares the ancient pagan holiday of Yule.
In ancient times pagans used the darkness and cold of winter to share stories of the supernatural.
Dr. Laurel Zwissler is a professor of religion with Central Michigan University. She said family and friends would get together to cheer themselves up and to stay safe from what they believed lurked outside.
She said the basis for the stories had an astronomical twist.
"The focus of the holiday is on the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year and welcoming the sun back. There tends to be an emphasis on candle lighting or on doing a yule log ritual, something that invokes fire and sunshine and life and welcoming that back into the world." Zwissler said.
Zwissler said the Yule log ritual is the ceremonial burning of a tree stump.
Pagans today still celebrate the holiday in the same way many other holidays are celebrated, with family and friends over a big meal.
This week, Petoskey High School students are participating in their fifth annual Poetry Out Loud contest. Poetry Out Loud, is a nation-wide endeavor that encourages America's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and public recitation. This national initiative, which began in 2006, has had a significant impact on one northern Michigan high school, and Toby Jones has the story.
"Sanctuary" by Jean Valentine. People pray to each other. The way I say you to someone else, respectfully, intimately, desperately. The way someone said you to me, hopefully, expectantly, intensely..."
Nathan Bohn is one of over 700 students at Petoskey Public High School who has been immersing himself in and memorizing poems over the last couple weeks. With the help of their English teachers and classmates, students in all four grades have been trying to qualify for the school finals, in which they would compete for the right to move onto the state level competition in East Lansing on February 22 and 23.
English teacher and department chairman Glen Young reflected on the value of Poetry Out Loud at Petoskey High School.
U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins once said that "high school is where poetry goes to die." And at Petoskey High School, we're hoping to keep poetry alive and vital. Poetry Out Loud meets the content expectations both at the state level and the national level, and it has infused students with confidence. It's been both a model for both reading and writing in the classroom, and we've seen improvement in both areas.
The fruits of this annual contest, now in its seventh year nationally and its fifth year at Petoskey, have been significant. Certainly, the program has helped students enhance their public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and experience the beauty and the joy of poetry. But to have as many as 700 students out of a total student population of 1000 participate as almost unheard of.
We've been able to involve so many students because all of the English teachers have been committed from the beginning, and the rest of the staff has been supportive. We'll have 400 people in the auditorium listening to the building wide performance every year.
One Petoskey High participant is Nathan Bohn. He is a junior and this is his first time in Poetry Out Loud.
Poetry Out Loud for me has just been a great experience. I've never done anything like this before but, I mean, the poem I'm reading has given me different level of thought and self expression that really has been something pretty new for me.
So Nathan's next step is to stand up in front of 400 people in a life audience and then all of his fellow students at Petoskey High School watching the performance on closed-circuit television.
Before a couple weeks ago, I really couldn't see myself doing anything like standing up in front of my entire student body, reciting something that I'd just memorized a few days ago. But going through it, I'm really confident that I'll be able to.
As the Petoskey School finals unfolded this past Wednesday afternoon, it turns out that while Nathan Bohn did a terrific job with his poem, he did not advance to the State finals. A senior by the name of Elizabeth Webb did. But Nathan has no regrets and is grateful for the overall experience of Poetry Out Loud.
I'm just happy that I could do it. It was a great experience, something completely new, and I feel like I've learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence in doing this and I'm just glad I could be a part of it.
For the past six weeks, NPR has promoted its latest Three Minute Fiction contest, asking people to write an original story about a real or fictional U.S. president.
Now, NPR recently picked a winner from Ferris State University.
Ferris State University's Communications Officer, Marc Sheehan is the winner of this award.
His piece was called "The Dauphin" and was a fictional tale about a man taking care of his father suffering from dementia, who thinks he is Spiro Agnew, a fictional president.
Sheehan's win was announced on NPR's All Things Considered the Sunday before the presidential election.
"The winner of Round 9 of Three Minute Fiction is Marc Sheehan of Grand Haven Michigan who wrote the story the Dauphin"
Sheehan said the idea for the piece came to him fairly quickly.
"Part of the piece was based on real experience. I had tried at different times to write about my father who had passed away, and when I tried to write about that in more realistic terms, it never turned out very well," Sheehan said.
"And for some reason when it got wedded to this more kind of surreal idea of someone who believed they were someone they weren't, wedding that to something that I already tried to do led me to kind of an emotional place in the piece that I hadn't been able to get to before." He said.
Sheehan's piece will also be published in the next edition of the Paris Review.
Over the past week we've looked at several Winter holidays. Today we conclude our series, A Season of Greetings, by talking with the host of Interfaith Voices, Maureen Fiedler, about the costs and benefits of Christmas becoming more secular and how other holidays are been adapting to it.
People celebrate the holiday season in many different ways. Earlier this week, Host of Interfaith Voices Maureen Fiedler, told me she didn't have concrete plans for Christmas.
"But I'll tell you what I'm thinking of doing is going to a soup kitchen and serving people in need because that seems to me like a really good way to spend some of Christmas day." Fiedler said.
In ancient times people didn't celebrate Christmas but rather the winter solstice. The ancient pagans spent their holiday with family and friends as a way of coping with the cold and darkness.
As Christianity spread believers adopted pagan holidays as a way of getting them to convert.
Interfaith Voices host Maureen Fiedler said Christians chose December as the day to celebrate Jesus's birth for that same reason. But she said there's another reason for the timing.
"I believe that feast was placed at this time of year because it's the perfect time to celebrate new life, new light, ext. And of course if you're in northern Europe it replaced the Yule, or Yuletide as it was called at that time and that was also a time of celebrating the beginning of new life." She said.
Fiedler said Christmas has become the dominant holiday in western culture. Leaving people of many other religions feeling either left out or adapting to the Christmas customs.
"So if you're Jewish and you celebrate Hanukkah, which is actually a very minor feast day on the Jewish calendar, and that's what you celebrate at this time of year, you feel overwhelmed and so yes, a number of Jewish people began gift giving mainly so their children didn't feel left out of this major gift giving celebration." She said.
Some Jewish families have also begun getting a Christmas trees and hanging wreaths.
"The culture just screams out Christmas, you can't go down the street without seeing, lights, without seeing evergreens, without seeing decorations and so forth. So I think a lot of people who don't celebrate Christmas do feel left out actually." She said.
But Fiedler said the celebration of Christmas has expanded beyond a religious day of reflection and into more of a cultural holiday.
"Ever since corporate America decided it was a good time to make a profit, I think Christmas has grown into what has become a shopping holiday, probably, or the Christmas season at least is a shopping holiday." She said.
Many holidays this time of year have adapted to the gift giving tradition including Kwanzaa and Mawlid an Nabi.
Fiedler said, at least for Christmas, this shift hasn't always been for the better.
"Unfortunately, I think for a lot of people, Christmas has lost its religious significance. I dare say there are a lot of people in our society who probably, vaguely know, that this is the time Jesus was born, or we remember that Jesus was born but its significance doesn't go much beyond that." She said.
With this shift, some people, may feel that "Christ" is being taken out of Christmas. People who feel this way, Fiedler said, may also disapprove of businesses using the term, Happy Holidays.
"I mean there are people who try to say that there is some kind of a war on Christmas because people say happy holidays, I think that is utterly ridiculous. It's an attempt to try to be inclusive of whatever people celebrate." She said.
And as we've seen this week in our series, A Season of Greetings, no matter the race, religion, or culture, everyone can find a reason to celebrate this time of year.
Based on the response to the premiere the documentary "Purple: Organized Crime in a Small Town," Central Michigan University will be hosting a viewing Tuesday on Campus.
The film tells the story of organized crime in the small town of Clare.
The premiere took place this summer at the city's movie theater. The theater holds 400 people. 1,500 people turned out for the show.
The documentary was produced by CMU professor Benjamin Tigner. He said he was interested in exploring how the Purple Gang operated in a small town rather than a big city.
"For the most part people didn't even know they were here they had no idea what was going on and that was part of what attracted organized crime to small towns is their ability to maintain some level of anonymity. Other people contend that they knew exactly what was going on and knew who these people were but as long as these people were generous with the money they were bringing into town." Said Tigner.
Tigner said even small towns provided enough anonymity for organized crime. He said people kept quiet as long as they got their share of the money. Where it came from didn't matter.
The Otsego County Library, for the first time, will host an event known as The Big Read.
The library was one of 78 organizations nationwide to receive a grant for the program.
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture.
The library will focus on the book The Great Gatsby. Their goal is to get the whole community to read the book, and they've ordered 300 copies of the book to make that possible.
Jackie Skinner is the Public Services Librarian at Otsego County Library.
"We chose The Great Gatsby because there's a new movie that's coming up starring Leonardo DiCaprio and so we thought that this would be a big draw for our younger people in the community and hopefully be interested in reading this extraordinary work of literature. And also people that have read it before maybe they can revisit and appreciate it a little bit more."
Skinner said, the Otsego library received a grant of 64-hundred dollars to fund the project.
Consumers Energy is making awards of $125,000 grants to communities in Michigan to Celebrate the company's 125th anniversary...
Traverse City's historic State Theatre is one project that was selected. Volunteers are renovating and restoring the front of the facility that was built in 1949.
Dan Bishop is a spokesmen for Consumers Energy...
"Basically this will be help to restore the soffit lights outside of the theatre. This was a major fundraising initiative by the state theatre so not only Consumers Energy but the local rotary clubs other individuals made contributions to restore this theatre to it's glamour and wonder."
Other projects selected to receive grants include The Bay City Commitment College Resources Center, The Saginaw Community foundation with a project to restore the city's Deindorfer Woods Park and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to support its Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.
With Native American history being an integral part to American society, this upcoming week will place a special focus on how the Native American population has been affected throughout the years.
This Saturday marks Michigan Archaeology Day. It's an annual event, drawing hundreds of people to the Michigan Historical center in Lansing to analyze history and share ideas.
Dr. Sarah Surface-Evans of Central Michigan University will present at the event.
She said her topic is about life at the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School.
"The topic itself is significant because it's the first project of its kind to be conducted at this boarding school. It's also a project that was really developed and designed in concert with the Saginaw Indian Chippewa Tribe and is part of their much greater and broader effort to preserve the site as a national historic site and also to educate the public about the atrocities that happened at boarding schools like it and all over the country."
With that idea in mind, this upcoming Monday, CMU celebrates Indigenous People's Day.
Anita Heard is with the Ziibiwing Center.
"Our history is not taught very often in public schools and I think it's really important that folks come to understand not only the boarding school era and the historic trauma that people suffer but also the effects of all the federal government Indian policies and how it affected families, communities, and many of the policies have been changed but it's still affecting generations today."
Heard said the purpose of the day is to celebrate Native American resistance to colonialism.
Alma College is now home to an important Scottish symbol, a Tartan Day Stone.
Mike Silverthorn, with Alma College said, The Scottish American Society decided to house the stone at Alma because of it's rich celebration of Scottish heritage.
"The community of Alma hosts the Heritage festival on Memorial Day weekend every year, bringing thousands of Scottish Americans to Alma for our festival. Plus the Scottish heritage here at Alma college, it makes us a logical choice." Said Silverthorn.
Silverthorn said the Tartan Day Stone has some Michigan symbols, things like a robin and a white pine that celebrate the state. The carvings are done in the ancient Scottish style used by the Celtic people.
Calling all aspiring high school poets. Registration for this year's Michigan Poetry Out Loud program is beginning next month.
Students from around the state have a chance to participate in the state level competition. They have a chance to win $200 and a paid trip to Washington D.C. The winner's school will receive a $500 stipend to go towards poetry books.
The winner from the state level goes onto the national competition in Washington D.C.. Students there have a chance to win a 20 thousand dollar college scholarship.
Judith Dworkin is a program officer for the Michigan Humanities Council.
"Poetry out loud is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. By encouraging youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Students master public speaking skills, build self confidence and learn about their literary heritage."
Dworkin said the competition is open to all high school students in the state of Michigan.
The application deadline is October 26. All poems must come from a list put out by the National Endowment for the Arts.
A local art center is promoting the importance of local food markets through a photo contest this summer.
The contest accepts photos of food in three categories, from the farm, the market, and the table. The idea is to showcase how food is grown, marketed, and prepared. The Crooked Tree Art Center will create an exhibit of selected photos.
Valerie St. Pierre Smith is the program director for Crooked Tree.
From Farm to Frame Right Moments Through The Lens is a photo contest that's part of a greater goal. Its purpose is really to raise awareness and interest in the socioeconomic benefits to local food.
The photos must be taken in Emmet or Charlevoix Counties.
The contest will continue taking entries until September 14th.
This week, until June 21, over 300 Hemingway devotees, scholars, and enthusiasts are gathering in Bay View, Michigan, a Chautauqua on Little Traverse Bay, for the 15th biennial international conference of the Hemingway Society.
As the 15th Biennial Conference of the Ernest Hemingway Society kicks off this week, Petoskey and Bay View will join the ranks of such cities as Paris and Pamplona on the international landscape of Hemingway scholarship and literary tourism. Hemingway has such deep roots in Northern.
Michigan that Emmet County was the perfect choice for this year's conference, the theme of which is "Hemingway Up in Michigan."
Co-Site Director for this year's Hemingway Society conference, Charlotte Ponder, explains the society's decision to meet in Bay View...
The biennial gathering prides itself on meeting in sites all over Europe and the United States that were of particular importance to Hemingway and his work...
Hemingway is not only an extremely important American author, he has an enormous international following as well. This year's conference will welcome scholars and enthusiasts from as far as Japan, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, France, and Spain. And of the 310 pre-registered participants, 87 are from Michigan. Charlotte Ponder reflected on what brings this broad and diverse group together and what the Society's purpose is...
While the International conference of the Hemingway Society is a gathering for its members, several of their events each day are open to the general public. For a complete schedule of this year's Hemingway conference, visit
Thanks to a grant for the performing arts, a Cuban music group is coming to Michigan next year.
A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts was given to The Dennos Museum Center to bring the group here.
Eugene Jenneman is Executive Director for Dennos. He said the endowment will help cover performance costs.
"So the idea behind the National Endowment for the Arts grant was to generate enough grant support to cover the cost, or a portion of the cost of bringing the group here and touring them through the state so the performing fees at any one location would be within the budget for smaller performing venues to be able to handle."
The Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts said, "These grants are ensuring that across the nation, the public is able to experience how art works."
Jenneman said Tiempo Libre will bring Latin culture to places that might otherwise not experience it.
Small town Michigan and plastic surgery; the two end up linked in a new book called "In Stitches." The author, Dr. Anthony Youn, was raised in Greenville, Michigan. He went on to become; first a cosmetic surgeon and then an author.
He'll visit the Houghton Lake Library Saturday to discuss his book, his childhood and his career.
Dr. Youn said a major reason he became a surgeon was the pressure put on him by his father; a man he affectionately describes as a "Tiger Dad". That's taken from the so-called "tiger mother" who accepts in her children, nothing but the best.
Dr. Youn said one of his big concerns writing the book, was the potential reaction of his father.
"I was absolutely terrified of how he was going to respond. I thought he was going to kick me out of the family, he'd call me up yelling. Because there are parts of the book that are very revealing about his personality. In the end he loved the book and he said something that I thought was very poignant. He said, you know Tony, I look at my family as if I'm the one who kneels in the dirty water of the river to allow my children to step over me to reach the other side. So he really looks at himself, and I think a lot of parents do, as being a conduit for a better life for his family. And because he grew up in this small, dirt poor farm in Korea, that really was what he was in the end."
Dr Youn will be speaking at the Houghton Lake Library Saturday at 2:00pm as part of the Michigan Notable Books Author Tour 2012.
Ferris State University is using February to host its month long celebration of the Festival of the Arts.
The event features musical performances,acting,visual arts, and this weekend, a book reading.
Author Rebecca Thaddeus will read from her book "One Amber Bead". It's a story of two Polish cousins during World War Two.
One lives as an immigrant in Chicago, the other watches as her homeland is devastated by war.
Thaddeus said she's often participated in Big Rapids' events, and helped at the Festival of the Arts. She said her book reading will fit right in.
It gives it a different perspective, I've been involved with a number of things at the Festival of the Arts and they've been very, very well attended. And it's nice to see the variety of things; the sculpture, the paintings, the music, the theatrical performances. And also a book reading or two fits pretty well into that.
Rebecca Thaddeus will read and sign "One Amber Bead" Saturday at 2:00 at the Great Lakes Book and Supply in Big Rapids.
The Bay View association in Emmet county is gearing up to host the biennial gathering of the International Hemingway Society in June.
The Organization was founded in 1965 by Ernest Hemingway's widow Mary.
Its goal is to promote the works and life of the late author.
This June between 450 and 500 Hemingway scholars and devotees will congregate in Bay View, along the beautiful shores of Little Traverse Bay, to celebrate the great Michigan author, Ernest Hemingway.
The international society meets every other year, alternating between a domestic and an international locale, each with some significance to Hemingway's life and work.
Bay View was chosen because when Hemingway was a child, his family vacationed in Walloon Lake every summer.
Bay View was a frequent stop on the Hemingway family's Northern Michigan itinerary.
Larry Ternan is the Bay View Board President
Bay View looks forward to hosting the Hemingway conference. It's an opportunity for the Bay View/Petoskey/Harbor Springs community to be exposed to scholars from around the world and to enjoy new ideas. We invite the community to join us in June.
The gathering is slated for June 17-21 on the Bay View grounds. A complete schedule of events is available at HemingwaySociety.org.
For nearly three decades, violinist Anne Akiko-Meyers has been recognized as one of the world's premiere concert artists, with regular appearances in prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, the Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl, among many others. Her recording career is equally as robust and recently I had the opportunity to talk with her about her current release, Seasons...dreams. Born and raised in Southern California, Akiko-Meyers began her formal studies at the age of four, but her exposure to music came long before that!
Violinist, Anne Akiko-Meyers talking about her current release, Seasons...dreams. Her next CD, also on Eone, is called Air - The Bach Album is available next month.
Coming up tonight at 10 PM, CMU Public Television will air the first installment of "The Michigan Experience: The American Civil War Years."
Filmmaker Rodney Brown's project a series of planned documentaries uncovering the stories, many untold, of the role that Michigan played in the Civil War.
CMU Public Radio's David Nicholas spoke with the film's producer/director on Friday...
Rodney Brown's broader vision is to produce a series of installments and support materials for use in the classroom. The beginnings of that part of his project, along with more information about the films is available on the web site, http://www.imichiganproductions.org/tme.html
While making contact with Rodney Brown, David came across author Larry Bramble. He is a retired horticulturist in southeast Pennsylvania, and also an avid historian. His work on his family history took him to the story of ancestors who fought in Michigan's Civil War regiments. Bramble's account of Michigan's Civil War role is told in the new book, "For Liberty..."
Larry Bramble's book "For Liberty" is published by Lulu, information on www.lulu.com
As part of their European conquests, the Soviets under Joseph Stalin collectivized farmlands as a means of control.
When Hungary was taken over by the Soviets in 1945, farmland was collectivized and farmers there were labeled with the derogatory term, "Kulak." Those farmers endured some of the most severe persecution under Stalinist rule.
A farmer's son, Julius Fabos, escaped to America, found a career in landscape architecture that kept him tied to the land and taught for 35 years at the University of Massachusetts.
His new memoir, "Son of a Kulak" recounts his life under Soviet oppression and the experiences of his fellow Hungarians.
Julius Fabos is now a professor emeritus from the University of Massachusetts.
His memoir, "Son of a Kulak," has been published by iUniverse. Information about the book is on their web site, www.iuniverse.com
Earlier this month, Traverse City author Doug Stanton visited the CMU campus.
He is the author of two New York Times Best Sellers (2002's In Harm's Way and 2009's Horse Soldiers) He is also the found of the National Writers Series. Since 2009, they have welcomed thirty-five writers in for evenings Stanton describes as a chance for the writers to "come alive."
Thursday night, the NWS welcomed Jeffery Eugenides and on the 24th, David Sedaris will be the guest.
When Stanton sat down in our studios with David Nicholas, he talked about the impact the series has had on northern Michigan and about the legacy he hopes it create for the future...
Jeffery Eugenides, author of "Middlesex" was at the Lars Hockstad Auditorium Thursday night at 8 pm. David Sedaris comes to the Traverse City Opera House on Monday, October 24th at 7 pm both events part of the National Writers Series. More information about the series can be found at www.nationalwritersseries.org
Author Doug Stanton visited the Central Michigan University campus this week.
The Traverse City resident has two New York Times Best Sellers to his credit and he is also directing the National Writers Series 40 noted writers have come to northern Michigan to talk about their works.
Stanton spent time in our studios with CMU Public Radio's David Nicholas and the two talked about the changing landscape of how people access books and other media.
Stanton said the art of writing hasn't changed for him and most of the writers he knows just the means by which people get to his work...
"So here's the thing about writers, writers want to sell a book, ten books, in every outlet and store they can, every drug store, every chain store, every independent book store which have been the lifeblood of writers for so many years because that's how we make a living. If I don't sell books, if they don't sell books, we don't get to write another one. I mean we're employing ourselves, we're supporting families, it really is a job. So, I think, from a writer's standpoint then, if you're buying my book on a download, on an electronic platform, that's okay."
Stanton's National Writers Series will welcome Jeffery Eugenides and David Sedaris later this month.
Refurbishing abandoned buildings is becoming a trend in Michigan. Ferris State University is following the trend by encouraging community members to give their opinion on how buildings in the Big Rapids area should be reused.
Professor William Culpepper is head of the project. He said graphic design students were assigned buildings this week and were stationed at the buildings to solicit the input from the public.
Professor Culpepper said engaging the community in dialogue is the first step toward the ultimate goal...
"Getting the community civic leaders involved and actually having somebody occupy these spaces would be the ultimate end result. Where actually a tenet moves into these spaces based on conversations that the projections initially started."
Culpepper said residents had the opportunity to draw out their ideas on 'projection screens'.
Four Big Rapids area buildings hosted the students in locations that included abandoned schools and restaurants.
The Michigan Film Office said incentives to support movie-making and video production are in a state of suspended animation. The director of the office released a statement Friday. It said there are no rules to determine who should qualify for the incentives once the state's new fiscal year begins Saturday.
Film Office Director Carrie Jones said there will be no new applications accepted until the Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder outline how the incentives are to be awarded. She said there are no rules covering the how the state intends to handle the program in the new fiscal year. The governor has pulled Michigan out of the business of awarding generous tax credits. And he's dramatically reduced how much money the state will commit to support movie-making. But the film office said there are too many questions on how that money might be used. So the office approved one final half million dollar credit for a college basketball film to shoot in Detroit, Ann Arbor and East Lansing, and called it quits until the Legislature acts.
problems are pretty well documented. But just in case, here's a rundown:
murders, arson, blight, poverty, massive police layoffs and the dubious honor
of being named one of themost violent
cities in the country.
And then of course there's Michael Moore's 1989
movie Roger and Me...which basically memorialized Flint's decline on the big
screen. A movie Stephen Zacks would rather forget:
know Michael Moore and they know Roger and Me and so you respond to that
question for your whole life. You keep answering the question: What's wrong
other comment he hears a lot is - oh Flint! Right, I think I've driven by it on
the highway. So Zacks - a Flint native who now lives in New York - has moved
back to his hometown temporarily to start a new, city-wide public art project.
But he wants to be clear about one thing:
not a project to try to save Flint. It's a project to collaborate with people
who live in Flint. Trying to find areas of the city are underutilized and where
people who live in those neighborhoods would like to see something happen, and
we're trying to make them happen quickly.
The goal is to create a bunch of temporary art
installations around the city...whether it's in abandoned buildings or along the
river or in someone's front yard. Create almost a kind of critical mass of
small projects....that will maybe, just maybe get the people in Flint to start to
see their city differently.
Zacks is talking to anyone and everyone for the
project. Local and national artists, community organizers, neighborhood
associations, business owners. He even pitched the idea to Flint Mayor Dayne
Waling...who seems to like the idea:
would be wonderful if this project creates such strong new memories and new
attachments that our community refers to these now vacant sites as the place
where that really cool installation was put in as opposed to that's where
people went to work and the factory closed and we hit all these bad times.
and Zacks met for coffee and talked about the project for about an hour. The
two kicked around ideas for potential sites for the installations...the vacant
lot known as Chevy in the Hole, Atwood Stadium...
Another space to
think about on Grand Traverse and University, one of the long time problem
loitering spaces, former grocery market and parking lot, is being greened, so
all of that is being removed...
When I asked the Mayor if he really thought something like this could make a
difference in the city...he didn't give a definitive yes, but he said he's open
have tried to really keep that open door to new ideas b/c obviously the old
approaches aren't working in Flint anymore.
of the money for the Flint Public Art Project will come from grants. Zacks
launched an online fundraising campaign to bring in money that way, too. And while
the projects main focus is on temporary art installations... Stephen Zacks hopes
something more permanent will come out it:
would like for there to be a landmark that is really integral to the place that
emerges from the project. Where you'd see a sign from the highway that says,
says that'll all depend on how much community "buy in" there is for the idea.
Which is where they might have their work cut out for them. Cade Surface is a
student at U of M Flint and he' helping Zacks with the project. He says he's
already gotten some flak from folks in town:
heard its Auto World 2.0.
the now defunct indoor theme park in Flint
think sometimes people around here - including myself - can be kind of cynical
of people from outside coming in with their ideas because we have had that come
in before and it hasn't worked. Doesn't mean it's a reason to stop trying!
says yeah it might be a pie in the sky...but it also just might work.
Film industry advocates said they hope a plan to be rolled out this week will succeed in partially restoring incentives to lure movie, T-V, and video production to Michigan. As we heard from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, they said the state's new 25 (m) million dollar cap on incentives is too low to lure big productions that will make Michigan a viable movie-making destination.
Chris Baum works with Michigan Film First and Film Detroit to market the state to the movie industry. He had said the state's built a reputation among filmmakers for its scenic locations and reliable production crews.
"There's an awful lot of stuff that's working in our favor, and we can be a little less generous now that we've given them a taste of Michigan because we know they want to come back."
Baum says the state needs to spend at least 100 (m) million dollars a year to attract movies. He says the film subsidy may not be a short-term gain in tax revenue, but it's already helped launch a long-term diversification of the state's economy.
But critics of the subsidies said it's not fair to take that kind of risk with taxpayer dollars, especially when the state is emerging from a decade of budget troubles.
The exhibit "Voices: Extraordinary Women of Midland County" is now open at the Midland Center for the Arts. CMU Public Radio's Patricia Emenpour continues her series of reports on the exhibit with a conversation with Dot Hornsby. Hornsby is a Midland native who learned to fly to help her deal with the loss of her husband and then founded an aviation camp that has helped Midland youth also discover a love for the skies.
By PATRICIA EMEMPOUR CMU Public Radio's Patricia Emenpour continues her series of reports on the exhibit "Voices: Extraordinary Women of Midland County". She talks with Gladys Butcher, a secret code-breaker for the United States during WWII. Her work was so sensitive that she kept it a secret even from her husband for 50-years. It came to light only after the federal government de-classified her mission.
By PATRICIA EMENPOUR The Midland Historical Society presents the exhibit "Voices: Extraordinary Women of Midland County". It features two galleries of powerful stories, engaging photographs and videotapes, and interesting personal artifacts of hundreds of Midland women, past and present.
• From Native Americans and pioneers to contemporary women • Untold stories that capture the imagination • Features the stories of 120 Hidden Heroines submitted by the public. • Learn about Midland women you know in the community and others known nationally and internationally.
CM Public Radio's Patricia Emenpour offers an overview of the exhibit, and gives examples of some of the women whose stories are presented. The exhibit was formed in large part because while men's historical contributions are well documented, many women also played an integral part in forming the Midland community and yet their stories are largely unknown.
Photo: A snowman burns last year on the campus of LSSU in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Lake Superior State University.
Setting something on fire may be one of the clearest ways of illustrating frustration with it -- so when folks at Lake Superior State University set a ten-foot snowman on fire, you can bet they're ready for winter to be on its way.
LSSU Public Relations Director Tom Pink says the snowman-burning has become quite the event.
"There's free hot dogs and pop; our student radio station is playing music. When Bill Rabe started it, there were several English professors in the group, so there was always poetry. Lately I should say there's not as much poetry as there used to be; it seems people are more shy. They just want to see the bonfire."
Pink says the snowman is generally eight to ten feet tall, made of paper and a wire frame. He says it usually burns pretty quickly.
"We try to have a little introduction at the beginning, and tell people about the history, and within a couple minutes of getting into that, there are usually some people telling us to just burn it."
Pink says the snowman has occasionally been made to resemble goalies from opposing hockey teams, and once, during the Iran Hostage Crisis, it resembled the Ayotollah -- although he says they wouldn't do that again.
He also says a German tradition inspired LSSU's celebration.
"It was started in 1971 by Bill Rabe, the same guy who came up with our list of banished words, and he and his group, the Unicorn Hunters, came up with the snowman burning. He was aware of it through a German tradition, and he thought it would fit in here, because by the time spring arrives, people around here are usually pretty sick of winter."
University presidents, retirees, and students have all gotten to light the snowman in the past. LSSU's physical plant crew builds the snowman, and experiments with different methods of igniting it -- from matches and lighters, to model-rocket engines, according to Pink.
He tells us LSSU says goodbye to winter a few days early this year, since the first day of spring actually arrives on the weekend, on Sunday.
An art museum that opened two years ago during the recession wants to expand. It's broadening its art contest and adding an expanded winners exhibit.
Starting this summer, The Mackinac Art Museum will host a contemporary art and photography contest.
Phil Porter is the director of Mackinac State Historic Parks. He says both professional and amateur artists are encouraged to send their Mackinac-related works to the museum, where they will be judged by experts in each field.
Porter says first, second, and third places will receive a cash prize and an opportunity for their work to be displayed at the museum.
"One of the things we wanted to do was to use this facility to also display contemporary art, and in doing so to show that Mackinac continues to inspire artistic creation and then put those pieces on display. And also by having changing displays it keeps attracting the visitors to come to the Mackinac Art Museum and seeing all that we have to offer there."
Anyone 18 or older is eligible. Contemporary art entries must be postmarked by May 16th and photography entries by June 1st.
More information about the contest is at mackinacparks.com.
Late last summer, Michigan State University's Wharton Center for the Performing Arts assumed administration of operations, booking, and finances for the City Opera House.
Bob Hoffman is a Public Relations Manager at Wharton Center, and had been managing PR for the opera house. He says marketing and public relations for the opera house are best handled by a full-time staff member in Traverse City.
"You really need a PR and marketing person that's based up there. I'm in Lansing, so it's hard for me to go out and meet with the local press up there. It's hard for the marketing person who's down in Lansing to do that. And those jobs should be up in Traverse City, because the opera house is part of the Traverse City community. So we hired a local person in Traverse City to perform those jobs."
Kristi Dockter assumed that role. In addition to public relations, she also manages day-to-day operations at the City Opera House. Although the opera house did eliminate two full-time positions, Dockter says two other full-time staff members were hired last fall, including a development director and a technical director. She also says part-time hours have increased.
Wharton Center's Bob Hoffman says other changes at the City Opera House include offering subscription-based ticket sales. He says that model allows subscribers to purchase tickets for any show as soon as the season is announced, before tickets are offered to the general public.
"What Wharton Center has that's successful is we have a subscription model, where people subscribe to the season. That's one thing that we brought to the City Opera House, as well. You can subscribe to the season -- you can pick out three or more shows and actually get your tickets right away. Subscribers get an opportunity to purchase those tickets before they go on sale to the general public when the season's announced."
This model has helped Wharton Center be successful at a time when many of the country's arts venues aren't doing very well, according to Hoffman. He says the subscription model has been successful so far at the City Opera House.
He says there's also more emphasis on volunteer involvement at the City Opera House, in addition to the staffing changes.
"Those key volunteers are going to be instrumental in helping spread the word of the City Opera House. You know, when you look at the State Theatre, they do a great job with their volunteers, and we want to emulate that model, as well. We want some key volunteers to step up and help out at the opera house, and help make the opera house just as successful."
Hoffman says those volunteers help in different ways, including posting fliers and ushering.
The State of Michigan turns 174 next Wednesday, and the Michigan Historical Museum plans to celebrate the anniversary on Saturday with events at the Michigan Library and Historical Center in Lansing.
Historic artifacts are expected to be on display, including President Andrew Jackson's letter notifying Michigan of its statehood. Several activities are also planned, says Michigan Historical Center Director Sandra Clark.
"We will have demonstrators of everything from spices to how they did surveying when they were dividing up the land at the time. And at 1 o'clock, we have a very special speaker there: Don Faber, who has done a lot of work on Stevens T. Mason, our first governor, and the Toledo War, that was the kind of seminal event of our becoming a state."
Clark says progress toward statehood slowed when Michigan claimed a strip of land including Toledo, which was already part of the State of Ohio.
"So the Toledo War is not a war in which people die, although there are skirmishes to try to claim that little strip of land that includes Toledo. But it is a lot of negotiation and debate, and it doesn't get resolved until early 1837."
That conflict ended when Michigan gave up its claim to Toledo, and instead claimed the western portion of the Upper Peninsula.
Clark says the celebration highlights Michigan's unique character.
"And that's a desire to shape our own future. We could have sat back in the 1830's and waited until the federal government was ready to say, 'Yes you've got enough people; yes, you're ready to become a state.' We didn't do that. We said, 'This is something that is good for our economy, and it's good for our citizens.' So we went after it."
People throughout the state plan to use their spare time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to put the activist's words into action.
Michigan Community Service Commission spokesperson Elyse Walter says the holiday is a perfect opportunity to volunteer -- since a lot of people don't have to go to work or school.
"What the essence of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service asks is that you actually find a way to spend the day doing something that is considered service. So finding a way to not just spend it off and enjoying your leisurely activities, but finding a way to give back to your community through volunteerism."
Walter says you can find local volunteer activities at a federal website, MLKDay.gov. She says feel free to volunteer on your own project, too.
Several Michigan universities also are planning events beginning Monday.
Ferris State University's annual "Tunnel of Oppression" exhibit is meant to make people aware of injustice around the world.
Michael Wade is the Assistant Director of FSU's Office of Mulitcultural Student Services.
"The exhibit is comprised of a lot of images, as it relates to oppression throughout the world. It's a great educational tool, for participants to see how widespread oppression takes place throughout the world."
Event organizers call it "a day on, not a day off."
Keisha Janney is the Assistant Director for Cultural Programming in CMU's office of Minority Student Services. She says events at CMU include a brunch and an annual walk through Mount Pleasant.
"We will have a peace march and vigil, and it'll take us through campus and end in downtown Mount Pleasant, with some remarks by our university president. It's not a day off of work, it's a day on to celebrate, to give service and acknowledgment to things that really changed our nation."
Janney says it's important to turn Dr. King's messages of service and justice into action.
An annual list from Lake Superior State University tells us which words or phrases were among this year's least popular.
LSSU's "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness" has been released in time for the New Year every year since 1976.
LSSU's John Shibley helped compile the list this year. He says the university takes nominations from the public to determine which words should be banished.
"One phrase that's floated to the top since October, during the Senatorial race and debates out in Nevada is 'man up.' 'Harry Reid had to man up,' is what Sharon Angle said, so that's floating to the top. And a lot of nominators think that's sort of sexist, even considering that a woman said it to a man during a debate."
Shibley says election years generally provide a lot of good material for the banished words list. He says another popular nomination were some terms made infamous by Sarah Palin.
"'Momma grizzly,' related to Sarah Palin. Another word, or Palinism -- which is another word that's been nominated as well, Palinism -- but, 'refudiate.'"
Words made popular in social networking and text messaging received a lot of nominations, too, according to Shibley.
"'Facebooking,' using Facebook to keep in touch is 'Facebooking,' and the horror of horrors -- if you're ever 'defriended,' [and] 'K,' just the letter K, for 'okay' or 'I agree with you.' K, capitol K."
"Defriended" of course referring to someone severing Facebook ties, Shibley says.
Five awards from the Michigan Festivals and Events Association are among the latest recognition for this summer's Tall Ships Celebration in Bay City. Bay City's Tall Ships organization has also received local and national awards, in addition to the most recent statewide honors.
Tall Ships promotional materials, including a print ad, website, poster, and event guide, were recognized at last month's Festival and Arts Association convention. Several of the materials were first place in their categories.
Shirley Roberts is the Event Coordinator for the Tall Ships Celebration in Bay City.
"We believe the awards really recognize the strategic investment the Tall Ships Celebration Board of Directors has made consistently in creating a very high-quality and very positive image for the event, and therefore for the community and the region."
Roberts says the event's awards will likely make Bay City an attractive host port for Tall Ships Celebration in the future.
"It just more firmly plants our community and our region in the minds of people around the world who are interested in Tall Ships events. And in particular, I think this means we will have a place in the schedule for the Tall Ships for many years to come."
According to Roberts, about 100,000 people came to July's Tall Ships Celebration, spending more than $10.2 million in the Bay City region.
You know this year's trendy word that you just can't stand, any time you hear it or read it? Or the phrase that people keep using that drives you nuts?
John Shibley and Tom Pink from Lake Superior State University's public relations office want to know about it.
They're compiling LSSU's annual "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, or General Uselessness."
John Shibley says the list is fun, and it says a lot, too, about how we relate to language.
"It's the vehicle for conveying identity, and oftentimes, it runs us. People are frustrated by that, and they take a time out, and they drop us an email or a card, saying, 'These are the words or phrases that bother me, because I feel backed into using them. They're too fashionable, too over-used.'"
He says election years often produce some great words that are just waiting to be banished.
"We're coming out of midterm elections, things become very partisan, very political, and there are a lot of talking points. That phrase has shown up on a list one year; I think it was three years ago."
Farmers, processors, and consumers say they're still feeling the effects of a pumpkin shortage last year.
The shortage is easing this year, but it's affected an important Thanksgiving staple -- the pie.
Mary Saomonowicz owns Mary's Pie Shop in Lexington, over in the thumb.
Mary says she came across several cans of pumpkin pie filling this fall that simply weren't up to snuff. She says not even her 25 years of pie-making experience could save this filling.
"And I made my pie filling, and I always taste my fillings before I put them in the pies, and it tasted horrible. It was enough to gag you. You just couldn't eat it, and there was nothing you could do to save it. I can usually add some of this or some of that, make it taste better, taste good -- and I couldn't do it. I threw it out."
She not only threw it out. She called the processor -- in Oregon. Mary says the company blames the poor pumpkin product on a bad growing season. It's seems there's a shortage of processed pumpkin this year.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
At least one pumpkin farmer we talked to in Mount Pleasant says customers are taking matters into their own hands. They're asking for pumpkins to prepare themselves.
Bill Miller of Papa's Pumpkin Patch in Mount Pleasant says a pumpkin shortage that started last year has left fewer cans of prepared pumpkin filling on grocery-store shelves.
"I've had a lot more people ask for specific baking pumpkins. A lot more people have asked for them, because they can't find them in the stores. We do grow a number of different varieties that are designed for cooking."
Miller says one Illinois farm in particular has typically produced a lot of the pumpkins that are processed into canned filling every year.
He says the poor growing conditions hit that farm hard and limited the crop -- and the supply of pumpkin pie filling.
However you make your pie, Mary Saomonowicz has a suggestion:
"That's great if they make it that way, from pumpkin from the fields. That's super. But I'm just saying about the canned pumpkin -- just be aware, and taste it before you make it."
Michigan's first governor, Stevens T. Mason was interred for the fourth time on Oct. 27 at Detroit's Capitol Park.
He died in 1843 when he was 33-years-old.
Mason was originally buried in New York, and was moved to Michigan's former Capitol site in Detroit many years later with support from his surviving family, said Michigan State Capitol Building Historian Kerry Chartkoff.
She said reinterring Mason allows people to celebrate his impact. Mason was the youngest governor in America at age 24 and was given the title of Michigan's Boy Governor.
"We can't say what the future holds, and perhaps the Boy Governor will be moved yet again, but we have to look at it not as a sad thing, but as a time of renewal of remembrance, or remembering who he was and what he did and why he was interred here in the first place," Kerry said.
Mason was a key figure in getting Michigan Territory admitted into the Union after the bloodless "Toledo War" boundary dispute with Ohio.
A state commission plans to produce a film documentary commemorating the role that Michigan played in the War of 1812. The group plans to release the film in 2012.
Michigan's Bicentennial Commission for the Commemoration of the War of 1812 has launched a fundraising campaign to support the documentary. The commission is looking to raise about $130,000.
Commission chairman Phil Porter says many people would be surprised to learn about Michigan's involvement in the War of 1812.
"In fact, it was a crucial battlefield, as British and American forces battled for control of this area during the war. The three major battle areas were down in the Monroe area, in Detroit, and then at Mackinac. In fact, one of the very first battles of the War of 1812 was the successful British capture of Fort Mackinac in July of 1812."
Porter says the film is expected to air on television and to be shown in classrooms.
"The project, including the curriculum materials and everything, is about a $130,000 project. The would roughly create a 55-minute film that would be suitable for use on television, but also in classrooms, as well."
In addition to producing the documentary, Porter says the commission plans to support and coordinate other organizations' efforts to commemorate the War of 1812.
Michigan students could soon be able to earn school credit for learning about Native American languages and cultures, under legislation approved by the State Senate last week.
The bill would make it easier to teach Native American language and culture in schools.
It would allow tribal elders to instruct students on those topics without first becoming certified teachers.
State Senator Mike Prussi sponsored the legislation.
"The tribes have tribal elders who are very fluent in their language and culture, but they don't have conventional teacher certifications," said Prussi.
That means under current law, students can't receive credit for classes taught by non-certified tribal elders.
According to Prusi, his legislation changes current law "to allow (schools) to use the tribal elders, even though they don't have certification, but it allow them to teach Native American language and culture classes."
He said students learning about Native American language and culture woudl receive credit for a foreign or world language under the Michigan Merit Curriculum.
The State Senate passed the bill 34-0. It still must be approved by the House.
CHEBOYGAN -- Two pieces of history sailed into Cheboygan on Thursday. They're hand-built replicas of the Nina and the Pinta, of Christopher Columbus fame.
Kyle Friauf, current captain of the Nina, explains what brings them to northern Michigan.
"This makes a very convenient stop, as we're rounding through the Great Lakes. We're on our way into the river systems, the Mississippi River. We travel around; we're traveling museums, and this is what we do."
Captain Friauf says visitors who come aboard get first-person perspective into what it was like to sail over five hundred years ago.
"We're here through Sunday. We're open 9 AM til 6 PM everyday. It's a great opportunity to come and stand on the decks, and imagine yourself out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with 27 or 32 of your closest friends - perhaps enemies - and imagine what life was like to be a sailor in general."
The ships will return to the region.
"We will be back in the Great Lakes next year. I don't know what ports are planned yet at this point. The Tall Ships are coming behind us, as well, here in the Great Lakes, so they're fun to see," says Captain Friauf.
The Tall Ship Celebration begins in Bay City on July fifteenth.
Captain Friauf says the Nina and the Pinta are now making their way to the Mississippi River.
You can find a link to more information about the Nina and the Pinta here. Information about the Tall Ship Celebration can be found here.
The state allows native languages to satisfy Michigan's high school graduation requirements. Tribal leaders hoped that would help save native languages from extinction . "The Potawatami language is classified as an endangered language, it's a dying language." Ken Meshigaud is the tribal chairman of the Hannahville Indian Community in the Upper Peninsula.
He says now there's another problem - pretty much the only people left who are fluent in native languages such as Potawatami are elders who don't have state-issued teaching certificates.
"Not many schools or colleges offer Potawatami language as a major or a minor in their college degrees, so this is one avenue that we think will work."
The bill would allow tribal elders who are fluent to be certified by the state as language instructors who would expose younger generations to dying tongues. There's no word on when the state Senate might vote on the bill.
Best-selling author and humorist, David Sedaris will share a new collection of stories when he performs at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw next Tuesday. Our own Rick Westover spoke with him and learned more about his first success on NPR.
I was lucky enough to speak with David Sedaris for 45 minutes and thought I might share more of my conversation with him from earlier this month. In this first segment, we learn Sedaris is a night owl. We also hear more about his diary, forthcoming book and new found love for the iPod. --RW
David Sedaris has become a familiar voice on This American Life and a staple on the New York Times Best-Seller list, thanks in large part to his wickedly humorous observations. Our own Rick Westover had a chance to speak with Mr. Sedaris, in advance of his tour stops through Michigan, and discovered the beginning of an incredible career.
Dr. Robert Melson is a retired professor, former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and Holocaust survivor.
He will compare the experiences of individual victims of two genocides in particular.
"Both in the Armenian genocide and in the Holocaust, people were targeted for being who they were: Armenians in one case, and Jews in the other. And you really can't help who you are. I mean, I am who I am, and you are who you are, and if somebody decides to kill you for who you are, you're in a lot of trouble."
Dr. Melson says this trouble is common to victims of all genocides, and their survival often depends on sheer luck and the help of decent people.
He says perpetrators of genocide rationalize their crimes with a distorted sense of duty.
"The question came up, you know, what about killing women and children, and people who are really not combatants. Their answer would be, 'Well it's war, we have to do this kind of business.'"
As its name implies, Women's History Month looks at women's achievements in our past.
"We have always tried to focus on actual parts of women's history, especially the move to the vote, the civil rights movement, the backlash movement, and those kinds of things," but it's not only concerned with history, says Dr. Brigitte Bechtold.
She is the chairperson of CMU's department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, and a founding member of CMU's Network for Women. She has also served as director of Women's Studies.
Dr. Cherie Strachan is an associate professor of political science at Central Michigan University.
"People don't realize how much progress has been made. We sort of lose sight of the fact that women were deprived of an independent public status."
Dr. Strachan says those achievements include voting and access to personal credit.
Today, though, certain gender inequities persist.
"Pay equity is still far from being achieved. That's for a variety of reasons, despite the fact that we have the Equal Pay Act and we have a system that organizes litigation around equal employment opportunity. But between these two pieces, we still are lacking pay equity," says Dr. Bechtold.
According to Dr. Strachan, "Women still only earn seventy-five cents on the dollar, so men typically out-earn women."
She says pay inequity exists between men and women with the same job classification.
"There's a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart for engaging in that kind of practices. We saw the Lilly Ledbetter case that required an act of Congress to say that she had the right to sue her employer, despite issues with the statute of limitations, because she was underpaid compared to male employees doing the exact same job."
According to Dr. Strachan, the current economic downturn has left more men out of work - and more women assuming breadwinning status for their families. She says this will raise awareness of the pay gap.
In addition to the pay gap, Dr. Strachan says gender inequity is evident in the home, too.
"Women still do seventy percent of the house work, and women with small children do twice as much childcare, typically, regardless of whether both parents work outside the home. A lot of the laws have been changed, but norms and expectations of what women should be responsible for and how those roles are negotiated still need to be addressed."
She points to domestic violence as the ugliest form of this inequity.
"The leading cause of death during pregnancy is still partner abuse - being abused by your partner. I think people find those kinds of facts and figures surprising."
"There is too much violence against women, and that is a symptom of a society that doesn't see women as equals of men," says Dr. Bechtold.
According to Dr. Bechtold, though, those inequalities are gradually fading.
"I know a lot of men who help in the household and do tasks that maybe similarly-situated men wouldn't have done a hundred years ago. So things are changing."
Dr. Bechtold says some of her own experiences contribute to her concern for gender equity.
"I have obviously lived through the sixties and the women's rights movement, and at the same time, have lived in a household where a partner did not necessarily live up to an equitable distribution of work."
Dr. Strachan agrees.
"Political science is very male-dominated. I had a very high undergraduate GPA - I had a 3.96. Other people with a 3.96 GPA would get tapped, would get encouraged, 'Gee, have you thought about becoming a college professor or going on to get a doctorate.' No one ever said anything like that to me, so the ideas about who I wanted to be, and what kind of career I wanted to have, that had to come from me. And I don't think that's the case for men who had comparable experiences."
In pursuing gender equity, both women agree that men must also embrace it.
"I feel that if you're going to be a person who advocates for equality, you should also live equality in your personal life," says Dr. Bechtold.
Dr. Strachan says embracing equality gives women the chance to make their own choices.
"The goal would be that your gender does not define how you think of yourself. And it also, quite simply, doesn't characterize what other people think we're capable of accomplishing. That gender does not constrain your life choices."
Continued efforts toward pursuing gender equity include Violence Against Women Awareness Month, which takes place in October.
Filling out brackets to track the basketball tournament is popular, but betting on the tournament is illegal.
Tim Otteman is an assistant professor in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services at Central Michigan University.
He says sports gambling is illegal in Michigan, regardless of the amount involved.
"In most states, it's a misdemeanor, where you would be looking at up to a year in jail and a thousand-dollar fine, if you are just the one placing the bets. If you're the one operating the betting opportunity, that's seen in a much different light, and in most states, you'll see that be potentially prosecuted as a felony."
According to Otteman, sports gambling is legal only in a few states, including Nevada.
Otteman's research addresses the development of illegal sports-gambling habits.
"I just finished looking at fourteen college students, from a variety of places, who are intimately involved in the activity, and how they got involved. And every one of them got introduced by Super Bowl Squares or NCAA tournament brackets."
According to Otteman, avoiding gambling on the basketball tournament is an easy way to prevent the development of an unhealthy habit.
Last weekend, Boyne City held its annual Harvest festival downtown and residents, merchants, local farmers and visitors all seemed to agree, Boyne City seems to be bouncing back.
"It's created a real buzz in downtown and with the Boyne Country Books converting in with a new owner now at Local Flavors the bookstores back into the swing of things it's also a focal point for ticket sales in downtown. There's just a whole feeling in downtown Boyne City that's just got that vibrant feel and folks are excited".
By all accounts, last year didn't exactly start on a positive note: the bookstore closed. Lester's barbecue, the Dilworth Hotel and another restaurant shut down. Lexamar, an auto parts manufacturing company, laid off 90 workers.
"I mean the economy here is bad as it is everywhere and its worse now than it was a couple years ago as it is everywhere".
That's Jim Baumann, Executive Director of the Boyne City Chamber of Commerce. He says these days there's something new going on in town.
"I think Boyne is almost an anomaly. We've got a 12 million dollar development that's shopping and retail and hotel. When everybody else is closing down three new art galleries this past summer so things are looking pretty good for Boyne City".
At the Harvest Festival this past weekend, pumpkins and apples were piled high the smell of hot cider and fresh donuts filled the air even the musicians performing on street corners praised this little town on the shores of Lake Charlevoix.
"What a beautiful fall day in northern Michigan, it's a reason to believe".
Chuck Fowler, pastor of Boyne City's church of the Nazarene, was manning the cookie and coffee station on one of the street corners.
"Well you know I think a lot of that has to do with just the spirit of Boyne City, it's a small town it's very resilient and the type of people here are just the type of people to get it done".
This past Saturday night there were two sold out music concerts the band Orpheum Bell had a CD release party at a new art studio. Blissfest's Gandolf Murphy concert was held at one of the city's newer restaurants called 220. Lake Street. Artist Tony Williams and his wife musician Robin Lee Berry are co-owners of the newly opened Freshwater Studio art gallery.
"So we decided to bring some concerts in and try to make it more than a cultural center than just an art gallery. We're also doing art demos - glass blowing and wood carving".
The three new art studios, a new bookstore and a new gourmet deli all of this helped inspire the creation of Boyne's new arts district named after Manhattan's SOHO district. Liz Glass at Lake Street Market came up with the idea.
"I said jeez it's getting to be like SOHO down here and then later that night it occurred to me that we could make the same kind of word out of South Boyne and so this is SOBO the arts district of Boyne City".
She designed a colorful SOBO logo and SOBO hats and t-shirts. Glass is feeling a sense of optimism too,
"I think to a large degree yes we're hurting from just the economy in general but we're holding it together I think better than some places have been able to".
Boyne's unemployment rate went from 17 percent in March to 13 percent in August a normal seasonal change however the population in the city has dropped over the past ten years from 3,500 to about 3000 but Jim BOW -man at the Chamber of Commerce says the new project on the waterfront scheduled to open this summer should bring new jobs and new residents.
"We do have development coming in that will mean jobs"
Baumann says a 40 thousand dollar cultural economic development grant and upgrading Boyne's parks and streets is helping the city too he says Boyne has learned from other Northern Michigan town's mistakes.
"One good thing about this twelve million dollar development is we have here is that the first phase is self financed by the developer."
One more item that's helping Boyne the farmer's market is a big draw as well and has found even more success at its new home at a lakefront park. In fact, the city is now considering expanding its new culinary identity there's even talk of using the slogan 'boyne appetit "to bring food lovers to town.
For CMU Public Radio, I'm Mary Ellen Geist in Boyne City.
A photo exhibit at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey is bringing glimpses of other cultures and other ways of living to Northern Michigan, and getting rave reviews. CMU Public Radio's Mary Ellen Geist visited the exhibit and spoke with the artist.
Can a photo change the way you look at life? Chip Duncan is hoping the answer is YES, " 9-11 was a turning point on so many levels.. but it didn't need to be a turning point on fear. We really don't need to be afraid of the rest of the world. Because the vast majority of people are not extremist on anything. They're just trying to take care of their families. They're just trying to get by, and so when I say that I say "YES" to things, I look at fear as a spiritual issue"
Duncan is an Emmy award winning photojournalist , filmmaker, and adventurer, who has filmed, photographed, and reported as well as worked for several charity organizations in more than 30 countries. His theory of saying "YES" to the possibilities presented to him, in essence embracing a positive spin on life, is something he hopes people will take with them after they leave this exhibit:
"The exhibit and the photos in the book have a lot in common. in that what I was trying to do. Everyplace I went, I was look for images of hope. That could be very simple. It can just be putting an image in the book of a Muslim man smiling. Because since 9-11 in particular, but in general we tend to look at people we are unfamiliar with as threatening. That could be in a neighborhood in Chicago or Miami, or it could be international..
Though he began his career as a journalist before he became a filmmaker, he is now taking his still photos as he travels the world, and writing books, too. The photos and his just-published book of his photographs and writings from his many journeys portray people he met as he traveled to Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Africa. Gail DeMeyer, visual arts education director at Crooked Tree Arts Center, is the curator of this exhibit called "Images of Humanity and Hope".
"Hopefully, it'll empower people to think, not just within their own homes but to think outside, even if it's on a local or statewide scale. I hope they realized they can help the world, help people to make the world a better place; in a small area or in a large arena.."
The exhibit of Chip Duncan's photos and his book called "Enough to Go Around" will be at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey until Wednesday, November 11.
BY MARY ELLEN GEIST In an historic stone building across from the well known restaurant called Legs Inn, rugs in rich vibrant colors and in soft muted earth tones in all shapes, sizes and designs hang from the walls. And big bins of freshly wasted wool shorn from sheep raised on Northern Michigan farms are being prepared to be dyed with Eco-friendly colors.
On any given day seven days a week you can hear the truddels moving up and down on rows upon rows of wooden loons and shuttles whispering through a warp. The weavers here are local artisans some of them carrying on hundreds of years of their ancestors traditions, others are just beginning the trade after taking courses at this store.
In the back room Sheila Petoskey Shalako, a descendant of Chief Petoskey for whom the city of Petoskey is named labors over a rug in rich dark green and brilliant blue wool yarns the design depicts a fox hunting down a bird.
"I'm filling in the big picture I look at each of these little pieces as like a puzzle piece, because each one is going to be a different color."
Passing down Native American traditions is an iatrical part of this store's mission.
"Oh, I did a pattern of Ojibway beadwork that was flowers mostly it was a floral pattern."
Former executive director of Cross Village Rug Works Mandy Anderson explains how this unusual non-profit cottage industry was born,
"In about March of 2007, MaryAnn Van Lockeren and Cheryl Reed were sitting saying what can we do to help Cross Village because Cross Village formulated a township survey and a master plan in '03-'04 and three parts in that master plan that they really, that Sheryl and Maryann felt were very important to focus on were economic stimulus, agricultural preservation or preservation of open spaces as well as historical preservation of the area because this is the longest continuously settled area in Michigan."
Cross Village Rug Works is local in every way,
"A big reason that the community is involved is because we are supporting the economic development of this area by providing these materials and this area for people and this training we're allowing people in the Cross Village in the greater Cross Village area to stay here and work."
Even the dying process employs local teachers, local artists and uses local plants.
"The natural dyes that we did are from plants native to this area so it's like bear berry and that's willow twigs it's amazing the things that we get from it."
One of Cross Village Rug Works goals is to be a self-sustaining economic engine with up to thirty artisans by the year 2011.
What's called the punch needle method makes Cross Village Rug Works able to make photos and other custom made artwork come alive.
"It starts with a photo and then it gets transferred on to paper and then it gets blown up on a projector and then it gets redrawn on the monks cloth and you work from the back so it's difficult because you have to draw everything backwards."
Anderson is stepping down from her position to move to Alaska.
"The idea of Rug Works itself has been from the very start has been pretty astonishing and to be able to be apart of that and learn along with that is pretty incredible."
Karen Darton is taking over as executive director.
"We have twenty artisans now close to twenty and they're all local and myself."
Darton says new products are on the way,
"We've had such a tremendous response we're selling things really quickly so now we need to keep that up and make more,"
And new ways to pass on this tradition are being created,
"Also our web presence, develop that so when people are not in Cross Village they can still order from us and see what's new".
As Cross Village Rug Works weaves the old and the new into a beautiful design. For CMU Public Radio, I'm Mary Ellen Geist in Cross Village.
Here at Tvedten Fine Art, a gallery on third street in Harbor Springs, owner Margaret Tvedten is getting ready for the upcoming event a kind of 21st century happening.
"The artists and the writers will come to the gallery either Friday night or Saturday morning to get their canvases or papers marked that there fresh and haven't been painted on and then they'll go out on Saturday the eighth and paint or write or whatever they're going to create and bring it back to the gallery by 4 o'clock."
For painters it's a bit like plain air painting on steroids.
"We'll hang it and then we have the opening that night and on Sunday as well and all the works will be for sale and whatever is sold 20% will go to the conservancy and the Tip of the Mitt."
For writers a challenge too, writing poetry and pros with a strict timeline.
"But I have to say the writers were the funniest about because they just didn't quite know what to make of writing outside and having it done that day every writer I spoke with was kind of freaked out about it and didn't quite know what they were going to do."
Tvedten makes sure each work is created the day of the event,
"When you're trying to do something on the spot as you mark the canvas or the paper so it is evident that it is blank to start with and then the artists go out that day and they'll work on that canvas and it's still visible when they bring it in that it was indeed the blank piece of paper or canvas that morning and now its got the painting on it. And it was so fun last year because people would come in and say oh this is a nice show and I'd say yes it was all created today and they'd say what".
Many artists and writers who participated last year say they were introduced to protected land they'd never seen before and some say the imposed deadline made them more prolific than they ever imagined they could be.
"A big piece of it is the uniqueness of the landscape,"
Gail Gruenwald executive director with the Tip of the Mitt watershed council says one of the most exciting results of Fresh Paint/Wet Ink,
"The artists and the writers then learn about the efforts to protect resources in Northern Michigan and this just one of those avenues and it's also a fun way to promote protecting resources instead of coming to lectures or whatever to actually see the kinds of things that can be generated it promotes the organizations it promotes the works it shows the reasons the beauty of the area you know its all good the kind of synergies and the way these two things can work together".
Tom Bailey executive director of the Little Traverse Conservancy says artists, and writers and lovers of the natural world seem to go hand in hand.
"The idea is to take what the landscape has to offer in the form of these protected properties that we've conserved that people in this area have given a piece of their livelihoods to conserve you know they've donated money they've donate time they've donated land and we have these beautiful places that are protected and we have the idea is to have the artist capture what they see there what they encounter there what they want to take away from there and portray it in the show for people to buy for their homes. And some people who may live away from this area maybe they are here seasonally or something you know they want a piece of the North Country to take home with them and this is a good opportunity to do it. Likewise the writing is to capture what is inspired on these protected properties these places that special in this area."
Bailey describes some of the spots where Wet Paint/Fresh Ink artisan writers will be creating their work,
"Somebody could go down to the McCune preserve on the Minnehaha Creek that's not very far away and there's Stutsmanville bog, the Round Lake preserve, the South Round Lake preserve, the Fochtman preserve I mean fortunately the Fisher preserve we have a number of nature preserves right within a close radius of Harbor Springs here where these artists and anybody who wants to can see anything from Great Lakes shoreline and sand dunes to deep forests to streams running through the forest to grassy hilltops I mean all of the richness of the environment that is around Harbor Springs is captured in these various protected properties".
Tvedten has an ultimate plan for the creations that come out of this annual event,
"Well I've always like supporting local charities and organizations and so it just seemed like a natural to do this. I like the idea of having the writing part of it because of this concept of doing this coffee table book down the road the best of the best of all of these shows".
For more information call Tvetden Fine Art Gallery, for CMU Public Radio I'm Mary Ellen Geist in Harbor Springs.
A world debut photography exhibit is running in Owosso this weekend, in conjunction with the Train Festival.
When you think of steam locomotives, the first thing that comes to mind may not be beautiful art. But the work of O Winston Link may change that. Link was a photographer who took a particular interest in steam locomotives in the late 50's. His work documents the end of an era. Today he's recognized as one of the great photographic talents of the 20th century. And his work is on display in Owosso - in conjunction with the International Train Festival.
Gordon Pennington of Owosso owns the collection of works that Link developed and printed by hand. The artist originally made them a gift for his son.
This is the first time the portfolio has been on public display and Pennington says it's worth your time just to see the work of a master photographer.
"In fact there is a photograph of Link with his array of lighting equipment. His flash arrays were extraordinary. And this is the thing that really catapulted him to international fame because he was so meticulous in arranging... well he had a background in engineering, and this contributed to the, I think the creativity and excellence with which he approached the subject."
The Link collection is on display through July 30. Information is at railroad society (dot) com.
Two days and nearly 20-thousand people. That's the count so far for the International Train Festival 2009 in Owosso.
The old fashioned steam engines were running today, taking visitors on rail trips and effectively trips back in time.
Doyle McCormick is the long-time engineer of the popular 4449 in from Oregon. He says the appeal of the steam engines is ubiquitous and generational.
"There's a generation out there that remembers when these were in regular service it takes them back to their childhood. There's another generation that followed them that heard the tales from their parents. And then there's a third generation and the fourth generation. The fourth generation has never seen anything like this."
The Train Festival runs through Sunday. Organizers are expecting when all is said and done upwards of 30,000 people will have passed through the train yard in Owosso.
The event is a fund raiser for the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso which is required to conduct an expensive inspection on its own train the 1225.
In Owosso, Michigan this weekend, thousands of train fans from around the country have turned out to see the objects of their affection.
Right now I'm standing in the rail yard of the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, and this is a virtual "who's who" of steam locomotives. Right in front of me is 4449 from Oregon. This is the train that, back in 1976, served as America's Freedom Train for the bicentennial. And just a short ways down the track, I can see the 1225. That's the locomotive that served as the model for the train in the movie "The Polar Express"
"The minute that we pull that locomotive out there on the turntable I always look up at it and I'm like ' Oh my God, that thing is huge"
Greg Udolph is with the Steam Railroading Institute - known as SRI- in Owosso Michigan. He wanders among the locomotives. The enormous trains dwarf him. Some top 400 tons of steel. The big drive wheels are as tall as he is.
Udolph's group of mostly volunteers works out of a non-descript brick building in one of the nation's most recessionary states. In spite of that the group has pulled together one of the biggest train shows in a generation.
"In this case, we're kind of lucky that the economy's is kind of down , because railroads don't have as much traffic on them as they do normally. And it opened up a spot for us to bring the special train across the country".
He's talking about the 4449 - The Daylight. Billed at the most famous steam locomotive in the world. It took two-weeks to get here, traveling across the country from Oregon. It's the first time in three decades the engine's been East of the Mississippi and some hard core fans couldn't resist seeing it. They even rented rail cars to ride along every mile.
You know, there's a term for train fans with this kind of passion. No, not nuts. Foamers.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'll be a foamer from now until my last day. you'll be a what? A foamer. What's a foamer? A foamer is a rail fan term basically for people who literally foam at the mouth when they see a steam locomotive, so... and you're proud to say you're a foamer? Yeah"
Kim Lazar and TJ Gaffney from the Steam Railroading Institute say the foamers are converging from all 50-states and more than a dozen foreign countries. And they're thrilled to have them. SRI needs to raise upwards of half-a-million dollars to complete a federally mandated inspection of its locomotive. The group needs to ultrasound the steel and examine more than 3000 bolts. If parts are needed they likely will have to be made from scratch. And all that takes money.
SRI decided to fore-go the bake sales and launch an international event instead.
The festival is expected to bring 30,000 people to this quiet community whose population is normally half that. The economic impact is expected to easily exceed a million dollars.
So foamers unite. More than 3100 tons of steel and steam sits in the train yard through this weekend in Owosso, Michigan.
The Popular World of Mixed Martial Arts will not be coming to Crawford County. MMA representatives proposed the idea of having cage fights to Crawford County Officials, but the idea was denied rather quickly.
CMU Public Radio's John Ketchum has more.
Crawford County decided to decline the offer from Team Takedown and New World Karate to have a Mixed Martial Arts bout at the Crawford County Sports Complex. Dave Stevenson is the chairman of the Crawford County Board of Commissioners. He says it just was not to appropriate to hold a violent sport like cage fighting on the same grounds where things like little league baseball are played.
"Eveyrone I think or most in the state of Michigan is hurtin for the big dollar but it's not a mistake our board would like to make. We just did'nt feel that cage fighting was important for thatr location when we're trying to encourage family and youth to come out."
The Mixed Martial arts event in Grayling would have been the eight in the region; covering Kalkaska, Gaylord, and Grayling.
It's an outdoor garden filled with unusual musical instruments that help teach kids about science, history, industry and music. It makes it's official debut this Friday. CMU Public Radio's Mary Ellen Geist reports from a unique exhibit at Raven Hill Discovery Center in East Jordan.
Today Governor Granholm issued the executive order eliminating the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries.
The move will save the state an estimated two-million dollars a year. In the meantime, local public libraries are watching the state reshuffling to gauge how it will affect their operations. Sheila Bissonnette is the Library Director at the Pere Marquette District Library in Clare. She says she's hoping the state will be able to salvage the Michgian e-library.
"There really is not a way where locally in our library I could ever recreate that. Because we've pooled resources for the whole state so it would be like taking a step back 20-years an trying to recreate something that we've worked so hard to develop"
Coming up tomorrow, the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will hear testimony on a legislative package to transfer programs from the Department of History, Arts and Libraries to the Michigan Department of State.
LANSING -- The state House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning to rescue the department of History, Arts and Libraries. A House subcommittee voted last week to cut spending for the department by more than 10 percent.
But Governor Granholm wants the department to be broken up, and its entities absorbed by other state departments.
State Representative Shanelle Jackson chairs the subcommittee that oversees the budget. She says getting rid of the department would hurt all Michigan residents.
"You can't know where you're going if you don't thoroughly understand where you came from," Certainly the arts have a life-changing affect on many of our youths' circumstance."
Jackson says she understands that to keep the department, cutbacks will need to be made. State Senators also want to keep the department intact. Jackson says the House plan won't cut as much as the Senate plan.