Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category

Water Monitors Need Their Funding Renewed

In Community Alert, E Beach, Environment, Fishing, Open Season, Water, Wildlife on May 6, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Links: To view a summary of Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps)  accomplishments,  click here.

To download a sample letter of support for MiCorps, and the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program click here.

Please visit for more information about MiCorps, and the Cooperative Lakes
Monitoring Program.

To view a list of Mi House and Senate Natural Resources and Appropriations Committee members, click here.

To find out the name and contact info for your State Senator, click here.

To find out the name and contact info for your State Representatives, click here.

Candidate Says Water Management, Passenger Rail, Internet Access Will Help NoMI Folks Stay and Succeed

In E Beach, Environment, Fishing, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Politics, Transportation, Water on April 1, 2016 at 11:28 am

Meet the Candidate: Lon Johnson


1st Congressional District

Image from WIkipedia

Image from WIkipedia

Lon Johnson spoke at the Bayview Grille in Frankfort to a group of potential supporters on March 29 from 6 to 7 pm. Here are selections from his remarks, arranged by topic. Meet the Candidate is nonpartisan and offers any candidate a place for long-form policy presentations. Invite this reporter to your next meet and greet! —Emily Votruba,


The American worker stacked up against anyone in the world can win. Our economy is becoming more and more interconnected worldwide, and we have to be able to compete. But I don’t think [the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)] trade agreement hit the right marks on currency manipulation, sovereign banking, labor protections—we have to be on somewhat equal footing with the rest of the world, and when that doesn’t happen, we have what we saw with NAFTA, where our manufacturing went away. I don’t believe in protectionism, but I do believe in fair trade. The fact that, first off, [TPP] was negotiated in secret, I think was wrong.


We need real tax reform. Right now we’ve got companies parking their money offshore to avoid paying taxes. We’ve got hedge-fund executives paying a lower tax rate than somebody who works to pay rent. In our country what moves us is capital and labor: capital finances things and labor makes things for a living. For the American economy to work you need a fine balance. One can’t be over the other. When that happens things get off kilter very fast. When you look at the economy today you see the stock market [going up], you see our GDP [going up], you see our worker productivity through the roof. But what’s happening with wages? Stagnant or falling. And that’s a result of tax policies put together by Congress. We have to rethink our tax policy.


We need to keep Northern Michigan and the UP both beautiful and prosperous. We have to strike that balance, and we can strike that balance. Before we do that we have to realize what our greatest assets are here. We’ve been blessed with incredible beauty, beautiful land, beautiful lakes, beautiful rivers. These are our assets. But we have to extract from them in a responsible way. We have to continue mining and logging, but in a responsible way. Fracking is a prime example. I’m opposed to fracking. We really do have gold underneath our feet: natural gas. We need that natural gas. It is a perfect fuel as we move into renewable energy, away from carbon-based; but we’ve got to extract this gas in a way that’s responsible. And pumping thousands of unknown chemicals into the ground, the water displacement, the earthquakes—to me it just doesn’t seem sound. And until they can show us how we can move this gas out of the ground 100 percent safely, then I just don’t think it’s worth the risk.


It’s a 63-year-old pipeline that’s running through the Straits of Mackinac. It starts in Canada, runs through the UP, cuts across the Mackinac Straits and down through the heart of Michigan to Sarnia. I’m not opposed to pipelines. Pipelines are the safest way to move oil. But there are smart places to put pipelines and not-so-smart places. A 63-year-old pipeline that hasn’t been independently inspected, independently verified to be safe, in the Mackinac Straits with its associated currents is just not a smart place to have a pipeline. So we call for this pipeline to be shut down until it’s independently inspected and proven to be 100 percent safe.

If we were to move to build a new pipeline I would oppose putting a pipeline in the Great Lakes. Enbridge has enough capacity to move oil without Line 5. I was on the phone with an engineer on the way over here who said we could keeping moving propane along Line 5. This pipeline carries three things now: natural gas liquids, synthetic oil, and light crude. We can shut the oil down and still continue to move the propane, which will nullify the argument that Enbridge and the Republicans will use against us, that we’re going to drive up the cost of home heating fuel. A propane leak would do nowhere near the environmental damage that an oil leak would.

At four o’clock today at my office Mary Hess called. She’s a commissioner in Alpena. And we have a resolution right now that we’ve been pushing all around the state opposing Line 5. And it went before the commission today in Alpena and it tied 4 to 4. One person can make a difference. What we’re trying to do is get 50 towns/municipalities/counties in northern Michigan to pass a resolution opposing Line 5 so we’ll have better moral authority to put before the governor. And if you don’t think local people matter at that point, there’s your answer right there.

The fact is, this governor [Snyder], and the people of Michigan, need a clean-water win. Let’s give him one. If we make him a hero on Line 5, fine, let’s do it.


There are our Great Lakes. When you don’t show us the results of your testing, if you’re not prepared to operate 100 percent transparently, in my mind you’ve forfeited your right to move in our Great Lakes. It comes down to who do you trust. In this case we’re being told this pipeline is safe by the same people who told us the Flint water was safe. Literally the very same people. And the same people who own Enbridge, this pipeline, were responsible for the largest inland oil pipeline disaster in the history of the United States, right here in Michigan, into the Kalamazoo River. So bottom line is, who do you trust? Corporate and government officials who have very limited, short-term objectives, or the people? I’m going to side with the people all day long and twice on Sunday.

What the Line 5 debate is really about, is what do we believe is the future for Michigan? I believe it’s our credibility with freshwater. Our ability to lead in that marketplace. If we have another Flint, if we have another Kalamazoo, that credibility is gone.


The last thing I want to do in Congress, and this is the most important, is we have to create a place here in Northern Michigan where our families can stay and succeed. We’re losing too many of our kids and grandkids to downstate for job opportunities, for education opportunities. It doesn’t have to be that way. Everyone should always have the option to travel and leave the state, discover the world, and come back, but it shouldn’t be mandatory that you leave here so you can succeed.

We in Northern Michigan have a long proud history of leading the world. In the 1700s, we led the world in international trade—the fur trade. Why did the French come and settle this area? Fur. Then we led the world in mining. Copper and iron ore: We helped win the Civil War. Then what did we lead the world in? Lumber. Our lumber built the American West. You can track our lumber DNA all the way out to San Francisco. What’s next? We still have the same assets. We still have great people. We still have land, the most beautiful in the world, we still have the Great Lakes. But we need to use them smartly.


I want to do three long-term things that I think will start to create that place where people can stay and succeed. One: we need to restore passenger rail service to Northern Michigan. All the consultants downstate say don’t say that, don’t talk about it. We used these lines for decades to export lumber. For decades we used them to export value away from us. Now we need those same lines to bring value to us. As long as they go home on Sunday…[laughter]. Now, think about this: the hard work has already been done. Let’s get these tracks turned on. I’m not talking about billion-dollar bullet trains, but regular old 55-mile-an-hour passenger rail service moving from Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor and Detroit, bringing people to us. It can be done.


The second thing we need is high-speed internet and mobile cell phone service in all our communities. You look around, you have one bar on your phone. My wife and I literally fight over the WiFi. We’re massively moving toward an economy where people can live and work wherever they want. Nearly a third of the workforce is already there. When people can live and work wherever they choose, where are they going to go? Where it’s beautiful. And that’s where Northern Michigan can compete and win. But we’re just not ready. Why not? Because our members of Congress aren’t fighting as hard as our forefathers did when they fought the electric companies. The Rural Electrification Act changed America. What members of Congress did is they went to utility companies and said we’re going to give you a right to exist on our public airwaves and our public land, but in return you have to wire up rural America—because there was no money in that for them. So Congress struck that deal and that’s how we got wired up.

We need members of Congress who will fight just as hard. The template is already there. Internet service, cell phone service is every bit as important as electricity. We need to wire up the north. We need a member of Congress who’s going to work with other rural legislators to get this done—march into the FCC’s office, march into Verizon, AT&T, and compel them to invest in this and get this done.


The last thing I want to do, and this is the most long term: We need to position Northern Michigan as the world’s thought leader on the use and protection of freshwater. We have a competitive advantage over every other state and over every other country: 21 percent of the world’s freshwater is right here. I’m not talking about selling our water. I’m not talking about that. But in our lifetime, water will become the most valuable natural resource in the history of the world. Who better to protect that and show the world how to use it than us?

And you might ask well, how does that help us make money? Let me tell you how. At Stanford University, in the ’60s and the ’70s, some smart people got together and said you know what, computer science, computer engineering, that’s going to be the future. So they increased their curriculum in computer science at Stanford, which produced graduates who stayed in Palo Alto, which created what? Silicon Valley. Which created Google. Amazon. Microsoft. They created a whole new economy. And in our lifetime, water will become the number one natural resource. Right now millions of dollars are being spent on the use and protection of freshwater. Factories are trying to figure out how they can use less water, farmers are trying to figure out how to grow more product using less water. The military is trying to figure out how to move more troops and use less water. Cities are trying to figure out how to better manage their water and wastewater. This is a billion-dollar market, and we are losing to Israel and Saudi Arabia and Arizona and Alabama. We need to create a freshwater institute and show the world how to better use and protect water. And from that, thousands of jobs can be created.

None of this is Buck Rogers/George Jetson stuff. But you need a member of Congress who will sit down and get this done. All these things require cooperation between corporations and local governments, state governments, the federal government and even international governments. Your member of Congress is where that starts.

We have to show people in very simple terms. People are busy. They’re not ignorant, they’re not stupid, but we have to educate people about our water. You create a post on Facebook and show that a barrel of oil and its price, $39 or whatever the latest is, and you show a barrel of freshwater: it’s higher. It’s $45. You have to put it in very simple terms that people can understand. Our water is now more valuable than oil. That’s what a member of Congress does. We have a lot of education to do. We all were taught in 8th grade geography class the value of our water, but sometimes as we go through life here seeing it constantly, we think “We have plenty of water.” We become complacent.


The problem we have right now in Congress, and it’s more acute on the campaign trail, is that we can’t even have a conversation. If you mention even the word “guns” there are organizations who will take it as an intrinsic threat to their organization, not just to their issue but their organization. And they come down on these candidates with two and three million dollars in television ads, not necessarily about guns but about anything they can. The question is, how do I get elected and have that conversation both within my district and Washington? It starts with demonstrating to the voters of this district that I believe in the 2nd Amendment, first off. I’m a lifelong hunter. I was in Iraq as a civilian. I’m no stranger to what a weapon can do.

But whether you carry a weapon in war or for self-protection or for hunting, you also carry with you a set of values. And those values are primarily about responsibility, respect for that weapon. The problem is that around the country, others don’t carry those same values. Here in northern Michigan if I see a guy walking down the street with a shotgun on his arm I don’t think twice about it. In other areas of our country that’s a problem.

I’m not opposed to having the conversation. I’m not opposed to background checks. I think we also have to have an underlying discussion about why people are feeling the need to carry so many weapons. What is happening in our country? I’m not here to defend or attack anyone. But because our Congress does not address this issue in a holistic way these shootings are proliferating, and people figure well, if my government can’t protect me, my police force can’t protect me, I’m going to carry a weapon. Which creates a whole other series of problems. I’m willing to have the conversation to solve these problems.

When you cut mental health—and I’m not putting gun violence all on mental health—but when the federal government is cutting the states, the states are cutting the counties, the counties end up warehousing people in jails. Because they don’t know what else to do with them. They’re putting these folks who have serious problems into county facilities, and they’re coming out after three days, a week, after it’s been adjudicated they’re no longer a threat to themselves and others. These are people with serious paranoid delusions, and if they can get access to a weapon it’s like throwing gas on a fire. We have to have a holistic approach to the problems of these mass shootings.

I believe in bringing it local, local, local. We used to have gun boards in the state of Michigan. The county would determine whether somebody had the right to carry a concealed weapon or open carry. Just because a person hasn’t been arrested three times doesn’t mean they should be carrying a weapon. The sheriff knows whether someone’s a threat to the community or not. It’s like the old draft board. The draft board was made up of people from the community who understood who was a conscientious objector and who wasn’t. The solutions to our problems on the gun front will only come from districts like this one. When you elect people from districts with a high percentage of gun ownership. Because I can go to the gun community and say look, I hunt, I fish. No one is going to come to my home and take my gun. And I’m never going to vote for someone to do the same to you. But we have to have a conversation about how do we stop this. Right now, the minute I even mention having a conversation, organizations come in with millions of dollars spreading absolute lies.

What we need to discuss with voters here in the 1st district is what we’re going to do to provide real solutions for our communities. Jobs. Passenger rail. Internet service. Shutting down this pipeline. We need to show what we’re going to do for people specifically. If we just say “we’re going to fight for the middle class” without giving specifics, we will get beaten by these organizations coming in and saying I want to take away your guns. We have to show the voters what they get when they vote for us. And that is: a place to stay and succeed. My biggest complaint about past campaigns in this district is that we’ve listened to consultants who’ve said, just give them poll-driven, nebulous nothing. And that’s how we lose. We have to go out there and show voters precisely who we are and what we’re going to do.


I think Trump is going to be the nominee. And I think it’s going to tear [the Republican] party apart. And I don’t say that gleefully. We need a two-party system for politics to function. The whole party’s going to melt down. And that is a terrific advantage for us. But I don’t say that gleefully. This country is going to pay a price for years to come from Donald Trump being our nominee. I was in Iraq in ’05 as a civilian. I didn’t live in the Green Zone. I didn’t live in an army base, I didn’t live on a FOB or in any government facility. I lived downtown in a city of half a million people, and my neighbors were Muslims. I chose to live next to a mosque because I thought they would help protect me. And they did. When I’d walk out I’d see my neighbor out there playing with his kid, whatever, and I didn’t have to worry, because he knew what I was doing and we had a shared sense of mission. My colleagues right now doing the same job in Muslim countries all over the world, they now have to wonder what did Trump say last night that’s going to get them in trouble or get them killed. What Trump is saying right now is nothing but recruitment for Al Qaeda. This is dangerous stuff that he’s doing. This country will pay a heck of a price for his language for many years to come. I think decades.


Our campaign finance system needs to be torn down. Citizens United needs to be overturned. That’s going to take a lot of citizens’ involvement. But we have to overcome this. Millions of dollars, probably billions have poured in to our government, to our campaigns—we’re marching toward an oligarchy. I just read that we have about 158 families that are controlling the entire Republican presidential primary process. There’s the Koch brothers and 157 other families. We’re driving toward an oligarchy and we need to do better.

The 1 percent: people who run Wall Street and fund a lot of our political activities. They are looking at the demographics of our country and they’re wondering how they can win. They have been slowly grabbing the reins of power. In the last four years, look what has happened. Repealing parts of the Voting Rights Act. Citizens United. Redrawing the lines. Voting rights violations. Voter ID laws. Emergency managers. Fewer polling places. This is all by design. It’s all designed to tell you: You don’t count. Don’t bother giving $5 to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, because the Koch brothers are going to come in with a billion. Don’t bother running for office because we’re going to throw an emergency manager in there. Don’t bother voting. It’s all compounded to tell you to give up. Don’t participate.

One person can make a difference. The first race I worked on, in 1992, we beat an incumbent Republican member of Congress with $110,000. It was three of us, we were all in our twenties in the back of a house. The other candidate was 35 years old. Then in 1994 we won a race by 113 votes. In 2000 I was in Miami sitting at the recount tables. One person can make a difference. Let me show you how. Throw something up on social media and see how many likes you get. You’ve influenced the opinion of however many people. And that’s how this works. You have an idea, and no matter how crazy you think that idea is, there’s someone else out there who’s had that same idea. And you can then create change.

People don’t see a difference between one party and the next. It’s all corporate-bought politicians and they say forget it, it doesn’t matter. That’s why Bernie Sanders is gaining real traction. We have to show people that the system isn’t broken, and where it is, it’s your responsibility to fix it. [The big-money interests] rely on you saying “Screw it.” They want you to walk away. They win when that happens.

This is the best chance in decades to win this seat. We have an open seat. We have a three-way Republican primary, and they’re all pretty equally matched: We’ve got a three-star general out of Watersmeet, we have a current state senator from the UP, and a former state senator from Traverse City. Which means they’re going to beat the heck out of each other and be broke and banged up come August. And we’re going to have presidential year level turnout. Turnout is always a problem for Democrats, but it’s less so in a presidential year. I think we have one of the best issues of any race in the country, and that’s Line 5. It’s something all voters can care about and both Casperson and Allen are on record saying Line 5 is fine and can stay there. There’s a clear difference between the parties on this.

To win, all of us are going to have to do two and three times more than what we’ve ever done. We cannot afford to lose. If we lose this seat, Casperson or Allen will have it for 20 years. This is our moment right now. A democratic member of Congress helps with other seats. The downstream organizational value to a member of Congress is enormous. We’ve got 32 counties. We’re building an organization in every county. We have 1,500 endorsements. We’re going to ask you to make a contribution, put up a yard sign, make phone calls. We have 396 towns. That’s 4,000 elected officials just at the municipal level that we need to be in touch with.

One enormous advantage we have this year is that there’s no governor’s race and there’s no senate race. So people will vote for president and then next line underneath that is congressional. There’s always dropoff as you move down that ticket, but right now we’re the first after the presidential race.

I go to bed and I wake up with one number in my head: 1,881. That’s what Gary McDowell lost by. We can make up that number of votes. But we have to raise more money, go to more counties, get more endorsements, put up more yard signs. It’s going to take a heck of a lot of work. We hope to have yard signs by June. We have to raise $60,000 for signs. We have a website called

We’ve got a real shot. Let’s not waste this opportunity. Let’s go win. Ψ



Benzie Emergency Management Seeks Feedback on Its Natural Hazards Draft Plan

In Agriculture, Community Alert, E Beach, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Fishing, Gov't Watch, Green Elbertians, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Public Safety, Transportation, Water, Weather, Wildlife on January 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Get back to Frank Post, our county emergency management coordinator, by email or phone asap! (, 231-882-0567)

Read and download the draft plan here: 2015 Hazard Mitigation Plan

More information is available at the Region 7 website.

Swim for Mitch and His Favorite Places This Labor Day Sunday

In Community Alert, Environment, Fishing, GOOD NEWS, Open Season, Water on August 27, 2014 at 11:09 am

By Ann Sinclair


Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 5.01.47 PM

Greetings to All!
In honor of my dear friend Mitch Stevenson, who passed on August 22, 2013, I thought I would go for a swim.  And since I’m still rehabbing my shoulder, I prowled around for a revised route, and have landed on crossing Little Glen Lake, located on the edge of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. My pal Marilyn and I scouted start and finish points along the lake shore this past weekend, and my Google map tells me my chosen route measures about 1 mile.
Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 10.51.54 AM
So I’m thinkin’ that perhaps you would like to join in.  You can swim with me (my pal Joanna is getting ready to go), or float alongside in a kayak, canoe, innertube, pontoon, or fishing boat. I will have kayaks accompany us so no other boats run anyone over, but if that isn’t up your alley, you can simply send a tax deductible donation to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) with “Mitch Swim” in the memo line—easy.  I’m throwing a $10 figure out there, but whatever is comfortable for you is the perfect amount. And if a donation isn’t in the cards at the moment, no worries. You can send great thoughts and encouragement this coming Sunday morning, August 31, at approximately 7:30 am EST.  The only things that will reschedule this swim are lightning and/or gale force winds.
I’ve chosen GTRLC because this land is Mitch’s home, and the Conservancy works hard to protect these woodlands and coastline. Mitch loved wilderness and the life it supports, and spent as much time as possible in the woods and on the water.  The organization does great work, and every little bit from us helps—even coins found in your sofa. Here’s a link to a list of the nature preserves GTRLC has set up; you may have visited some already, or will plan to once you see the list.
Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 10.54.24 AM
If you’re interested, write a check for a tax deductible donation to:
Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy—please write “Mitch Swim” in the memo line—for tax purposes and tallying the final amount.
And send to:
3860 N. Long Lake Road, Suite D
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
231-929-7911 or 888-929-3866
I will buzz them up mid-September to see how we did and let you know grand total—together we will help preserve more natural habitat—a page out of Mitch’s playbook! Spread the word if you like.
It is with honor and respect that I make this crossing for Mitch; this world is a better place because he was with us. Ψ

Crystal Lake and Cold Creek

In Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Environment, Fishing, Health, Infrastructure and Planning, Public Safety, Water on April 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm

April 15, 2014 2:30 pm

Volume of water moving through outlet is reduced, shore line lowered. Sheen still present.


Reduced flow through outlet


Sheen still present, note center blob appeared just before this picture was taken.

April 14, 2014 6:25 pm

Sheen oozing up from submerged shore continues to be flushed through the outlet.


Sheen blob rises up…


… and dissipates.

April 14, 2014 12:20 pm

A significant amount of water was moving through the pond as the inlet and outlet boards had been removed. With the high volume of water, residual sheen from a hydraulic fluid leak should have been flushed to the booms or downstream. Sheen seemed to be percolating up along the shore, upstream of the outlet water control structure.  Could the increased water flow be pulling material out of the soil?


High volume of water through the outlet


Sheen detail upstream of outlet


April 12, 2014 4:10 pm

Dan Hook, Village of Beulah reported by phone that two boards have been removed from the outlet water control structure and that the sheen seems to be significantly reduced. Current pictures should be posted tonight or early tomorrow morning.

April 12, 2104 1:50 pm

As of 11:25 pm, with removal of the first board from the inlet and outlet water control structures and the resulting increased water flow through the pond, there is still sheen on the surface, possibly more than before the boards were removed. Read yesterday’s update below for implications. Photos by Dan Kelly.





IMG_1440  IMG_1443

April 11, 2014 8pm

On Sunday April 6, 2014, a chemical / oil sheen was seen flowing into Crystal Lake from the Cold Creek settling pond.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a draft report on April 7, which provides an overview of the situation. Until the situation is resolved, find ongoing updates and answers to frequently asked questions here.

Who is the dredging contractor?

The Village of Beulah’s dredging contractor is Biotech Agronomics of Beulah, and the company representative is Kevin Bonney.

The DEQ took water samples,  why aren’t the samples being tested to determine exactly what the chemical / oil is? Wouldn’t that help identify the source?

The DEQ’s priority is to determine the appropriate response, which may or may not require the samples or source to be immediately identified. The first phase was to have the contractor deploy oil absorbent booms. Preliminary inspection of the sheen samples by Greg Goundy on site and by his colleagues at the DEQ Cadillac office suggested that the sheen could be either diesel fuel or hydraulic fluid. The dredging barge did not appear to be leaking hydraulic fluid into the pond, but Kevin Bonney stated that there had been a hydraulic fluid issue prior to the barge’s launch, so the next phase was to remove the barge from the pond.

If the sheen disappears, removing the barge was the correct response and analysis of the sample is not needed – the sheen was hydraulic fluid. If the sheen persists, then the barge was probably not the source and the samples might then be analyzed to provide further clues.  Unfortunately sample analysis is expensive and may not provide enough data to identify exactly what the sheen is.

If the sheen is not hydraulic fluid from the barge, what is it?

The sheen could be 1) an oil related consumer product discarded in or near the pond, eg used oil filter or mostly empty quart oil bottle,  2) legacy contamination from 20th century industrial activity (eg trains, fuel depot) migrating towards the pond through ground water, 3) other.

Is there still a sheen on the pond?

Yes, as of 3:00 PM April 11, there was a sheen on the south edge of the pond, west against the stop logs (boards) of the outlet water level control structures and swirling just downstream of the outlet water control structures. The barge was removed on the afternoon of April 10.

What’s the next step?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires that the boards be removed from the inlet and outlet water control structures so that fish can travel up Cold Creek. With the consent of the DEQ, the boards will gradually be removed by the contractor, starting at approximately 9:00 am on April 12. Oil absorbent booms will remain to catch sheen pulled downstream by the increased flow. Changing flow could effect the situation. If the sheen seems to persist or grow during the day, the barge may not have been the source and further action will be required. Citizens are encouraged to visit the pond and monitor the sheen during the day.

Check out these Facebook profiles for pix, comments and movies.

Lee Sprague
Robert Bushway

Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

In Agriculture, Breaking, Fishing, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Open Season, Water, Wildlife on April 11, 2014 at 7:30 am



DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incidentDRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 2 DRAFT preliminary DEQ report on Cold Creek incident page 3

DRAFT Preliminary DEQ Report on Cold Creek Spill

Audio of April 10 regular Beulah Village meeting.

County’s Development Plans for Point Betsie—What’s Going On?

In Community Alert, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Fishing, Gov't Watch, Infrastructure and Planning, Water on August 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Well, this Alert writer doesn’t know. But here’s a letter to the editor of the Record-Patriot that appeared this week. We obtained it from Suz McLaughlin, who received it from the letter writer. McLaughlin said Mr. Zetterberg and his family own property near Pt. Betsie and the family created the Zetterberg Preserve many years ago, which is now monitored by the Nature Conservancy. Alan Zetterberg also once served on the board of the Friends of Betsie Bay.—Emily Votruba

To the Record Patriot:
The future of historic and scenic Point Betsie is in jeopardy.
This unique and beautiful piece of “pure Michigan” has been treasured by Benzie County residents and summer visitors alike for decades.

Now, the county, through its Parks and Recreation Commission, has begun consideration of possible future development of the end of Point Betsie Road.

This development could include a large expansion of unneeded parking space using the end of Lake Michigan Road as a model.

The small road end at Point Betsie cannot support such an expansion. Such development would bring devastating and possibly irreversible environmental and ecological consequences for years to come.

While perhaps well intended, these discussions are ill-conceived and threaten to destroy the very essence of why people want to visit Point Betsie in the first place.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse compound itself has been wonderfully preserved and restored, with the support of Benzie County, through the tireless work and financial support of the Friends of the Point Betsie Lighthouse and its hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers and supporters (including grants intended to protect the area) since its transfer to Benzie County in 2004.

Likewise, the surrounding sand dunes, interdunal wetlands, boreal forests and sandy Lake Michigan beaches were preserved, initially, through a gift of 71 acres of land to The Nature Conservancy in 1988 and added to since then by others who value the unspoiled natural habitat, landscapes and sunsets which are enjoyed year after year by locals and visitors alike.

Already, the small public beach and the surrounding area are showing signs of the inevitable wear and tear of too much public pressure on this very small space.

To subject this fragile and precious natural resource to any unneeded and unwarranted over-development would be a grave mistake by the Parks and Recreation Commission and county commissioners.

Alan C. Zetterberg
Princeton, N.J.

Council Contemplates Selling Old Library…And Much, Much More

In Breaking, Community Alert, E Beach, Fishing, Gov't Watch, Historic Elberta, Infrastructure and Planning, On and off the Apron, Politics, Public Safety on August 15, 2013 at 11:19 pm

It was another nearly three hour meeting, with lots of decisions made and some deferred. President Reggie Manville was back, after a three-meeting absence. Employee benefits were discussed and a vote was taken on Linda Manville’s proposal that employees begin contributing 20% toward their health-care premiums. This motion was voted down three to two (Reggie Manville, Ken Holmes, and Joyce Gatrell voted no; Diane Jenks and Linda Manville voted yes). Absent from this meeting were Jennifer Wilkins and Matt Stapleton. The question of whether Reggie Manville, a member of the employee relations committee and the husband of one of the employees, Laura Manville, should have recused himself from the vote due to conflict of interest.

Corey Toms, the new DPW assistant, will start work on Monday. Apparently there was some communication glitch whereby no one formally told Toms he had been hired right away, so instead of starting in two weeks from the hire date, it will be three.

The safety/parking situation along M-22, especially near the Duck’s Head, was discussed. A preliminary plan was drawn up to create better visibility from side streets entering 22. Council discussed asking MDOT to reduce the speed limit to 25 through the Village and add crosswalks.

Council voted to get a commercial appraisal and survey of the Old Library Building and its lot in preparation for possibly selling it. This evening’s meeting was actually a public hearing on that subject, but no notice was posted in the post office, just in the Record-Patriot, and only the usual-suspect members of the public were present for discussion. Joyce Gatrell herself, a member of the municipal buildings committee, seemed confused at the beginning of the meeting, saying she didn’t know the hearing was tonight.

More listener notes to come …. —Emily Votruba

Benzie County Water Festival 2013! (Video)

In Community Alert, Culture Bluffs, E Beach, Education, Fishing, GOOD NEWS, Green Elbertians, Kid Stuff, Open Season, Politics, Water on April 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm


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For the third year in a row, the Benzie County Water Festival convenes this coming Friday at Benzie Central High School from 3:30 pm to 9 pm.

This year’s theme is: “Under The Surface,” focused on youth and lesser-understood impacts to our water resources. Once again it brings Michigan musicians, panel discussions, speeches from water luminaries, interactive multimedia projects and presentations, artisan foods and beverages, visual art, children’s activities, and connections to local campaigns and projects. Admission is free; donations go toward future events.

The festival opens with a Water Science Fair at Benzie Central High School during the school day. At 3:30, local organizations will set up displays alongside the student projects and the Dread, a band made up of BCHS students, will take the stage.

Kids’ activities will be ongoing from 4:30 until 6:30 and will include a do-it-yourself water harp, a hydrogen fuel cell car, a watercolor mural, a video station, a stream table, and yes, the live amphibian display returns this year: you can gently meet and hold live Michigan frogs, snakes, and salamanders.

At 5:30pm, Tom Kramer emcees this year’s panel discussions, beginning with Kurt Luedtke of Luedtke Engineering, who will address the recently passed legislation to dredge Betsie Bay.

At 6:00pm, the panel discussion switches to water used for fracking with activist Peggy Case, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, and journalist Keith Schneider of Circle of Blue.

Stick around for a pizza dinner, available for purchase from the after-school SEEDS program.

At 7:00pm, keynote speaker Hans VanSumeren, one of the most highly regarded underwater vehicle pilots in the nation and director of NMC’s Water Studies Institute, takes the stage to discuss his career as an underwater research innovator and how to encourage young people to enter water studies programs.

‘s role in water stewardship for the future.

At 8 pm, premier Benzie-based Americana band the Fauxgrass Quartet will begin their energizing set.

This is sure to be another deeply local, deeply informative, deeply fun festival, with an appeal as broad as that of water itself.

Learn more at the festival’s webpage and Facebook page.

Below, Jon Maue shares his video coverage of last year’s festival.

A Tale of Two Species

In Fishing, Open Season on April 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm

By Westley Allen

I stand here on this riverbank, pondering the answers to life as I watch my cold breath escape my lips, my focus on the bobber floating downstream. I am here in an attempt to clear my mind, and to catch a fish. I am pursuing a fish as marvelous as the environment it inhabits. A steelhead is my target today. While waiting for the sign that a steelie has been enticed by my offer of artificial eggs, I start to wonder how steelhead make it through life. I begin to make comparisons, my life with that of a steelhead.

Steelhead are not native to these parts, and neither am I. Steelhead are an anadromous fish originally found in streams linked directly to one of the coasts. I on the other hand can trace my roots back to Cincinnati, Ohio. Steelhead parr—baby steelhead—tend to have difficult lives ahead of them. Peril lurks around each corner, making each day a little harder. They must deal with predators and dangerous weather and water conditions. As for me, I’ve had just as difficult a life. Things such as physical, mental, and verbal abuse lurk in my past.

As immature steelhead begin to mature, they grow smarter and larger. With these two attributes comes a greater sense of confidence. The steelhead become less timid and rely on their size and mental acuity to fend for themselves and to feed. When steelhead grow closer to the age of maturity they begin to be compelled by natural instincts to return to where they were born. As I have progressed through life, I have grown, both mentally and physically as well as emotionally. I have become more confident after dealing with many trials and tribulations. I have certainly learned to deal with my emotions. I must admit that I do not feel the need to return to where I was born, but I do feel the urge to go out and broaden my horizons. I realize that fish do not consciously intend to explore their surroundings, but as for me, I have a yearning to obtain as much knowledge as possible.

There is one thing that I have in common with steelhead in all aspects and that is that I am content with living a simple life. My life thus far has been anything but intelligible. I could describe my life as a trivial journey. I just want to find myself in this world. Steelhead must complete their life journey as do I, by any means possible. If we happen to meet up at some point in our lives, then let this meeting be as ingenuous as the path that led us to each other.

As my thoughts begin to clear and my focus is drawn back to the river ahead, my measly little bobber stands upright, fighting against the swift current. It takes me a few seconds to process what is happening. I’ve finally been rewarded for my patience. I have become the one peril that this steelhead had not learned of yet. As I land the gorgeous chrome steelhead and release it, I can’t help but think that in some way, we have both taught each other a valuable lesson. With the steelie swimming out of my sight I come to the realization that this is how life is meant to be. Simple. Ψ

Westley Allen is a senior at Frankfort–Elberta High School. His previous essay for the Alert was on Great Lakes restoration and appeared in the June 22, 2012 issue.

Westley Allen is a senior at Frankfort–Elberta High School. His previous essay for the Alert was on Great Lakes restoration and appeared in the June 22, 2012 issue.