March 6, 2021

On Beautiful Fall Day Central Lake Is Shuttered For Business

CENTRAL LAKE, MI – There is no sprawl in Central Lake, a northern village of 942 residents in magnificent  Antrim County. At this time of year rows of feed corn await harvest and the green white pine and multi-colored hardwood forests pour down the hillsides to the deep blue waters of the lake that gives the village its name. (see pix above and below) Central Lakes possesses an asset all-too rare in American communities – …

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The Temptations in Northern Michigan

Though Detroit’s become a signpost for where the rest of America is heading unless we change our ways right quick, there was a time when it was vital. So vital, in fact, that Detroit produced music so blazingly good that it became a sound track of the American empire at its height. That, of course, was the sound of Motown. Last night The Temptations performed here in northern Michigan.  One of the premier groups that …

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Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion at Interlochen

In 2004, as “Prairie Home Companion” neared its 30th anniversary, the New York Times said Garrison Keillor, the live Saturday night radio show’s host, was “stapled to something bigger than he is.” That’s about as apt a description of Keillor’s contribution as I’ve read. Last night, Keillor and all of the Prairie Home Companion crew broadcast the show from Kresge Auditorium at the Interlochen Center for the  Arts here in northwestern Michigan. It was a …

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At Last, Spring in Northern Michigan

BENZONIA, MI — Just as the first flying flakes of snow in October signal the onset of winter here in my hometown, the emergence of the snow white petals of the forest-dwelling trillium are a strong forecast of summer’s welcome warmth. No more so than this year. It’s been an unusually cold and wet spring. The ice didn’t come off Crystal Lake until well into April this year. On April 19 and 20 it snowed …

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Village at Grand Traverse Commons in The NY Times

In 2003, just before major construction began to transform Traverse City’s 19th century psychiatric asylum into the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Ray Minervini told me that within a decade or so the development would be a mixed use neighborhood with 800 residents, 1,000 jobs, and more than $100 million in residential, retail, and office development. That and other details were published in Traverse Magazine. Today I updated that original article in the New York …

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Marty Lagina and the Pursuit of A Clean, Green Economy

Nearly 13 years ago, in a first floor conference room of the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City, Marty Lagina and Frank Mortel sat side by side across a large wooden table, glowering at me through narrowed eyes. Lagina (with wife Olivia above) was the founder and chief executive of Terra Energy, an independent that had grown to become the most active driller and one of the largest producers of natural gas in Michigan. The …

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Lake Michigan Nears Lowest Level Ever Recorded

  Tom Kelly, who directs the Inland Seas Education Association in Suttons Bay and is among the state’s foremost authorities on the Great Lakes, showed me a number of very interesting graphs earlier this week about the falling water levels in the Great Lakes. Much of the nation’s attention this summer was directed to Lake Superior, where evaporation, much lighter winter snows and unusually dry spring and summer seasons had produced miles of shoreline nobody had ever …

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Michael Moore Directs A Downtown Smash

  On Monday night Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning director, best selling author, and one of the nation’s most vociferous detractors of the Iraq War and the Bush White House, was in the newly renovated lobby of the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City complaining about the lights. “It’s all wrong,” he said, pointing to the ceiling where fluorescent lights shined brightly from fixtures where he wanted dimmer incandescent bulbs. “They didn’t have bright fluorescent lights in 1949.” On Saturday night, November 17, …

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Blissfest: Things Michigan Does Well

  BLISS TOWNSHIP — There are a few things that Michigan still does very well. Its three big universities — Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State — and network of smaller public colleges and universities, are terrific. Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City compare with anyplace in America as great places to live and do business. And we have Blissfest, the affirming, heartening folk/blues/acoustic music festival founded in 1981, and ever since has held the second weekend in July, on a …

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