Its a fitting exhibit for the heart of Petoskey Stone country.
This whole area was under water millions of years ago, says Joseph J. Paleo Joe Kchodl. Petoskey Stones are made of the coral which lived in the ancient seas of those times.
And amidst that coral scuttled strange little creatures called trilobites, also known as ancient marine arthropods with hard chitenous exeskeletons. They were small, wiggly creatures on the ocean floor; the largest was just two-and-a-half feet long.
Whats an arthropod?
Crawly creatures with segmented bodies and jointed appendages like crabs, crustaceans and spiders. There are one million known species of arthropods still living on earth today.
But not so for the ancient trilobites, whose heyday was in the long-ago Cambrian Period, hundreds of millions of years ago. They died off in a period of mass extinctions in the Permian Period, a quarter of a billion years ago.
Paleo Joe was bitten by the trilobite bug (so to speak) as a youngster.
Im originally from New York State which is a fossil rich area, he recalls. Michigan is also very rich in fossils. If you went out in the woods here or in New York, you couldnt kick over a rock without finding a fossil.
At the age of 10, he discovered a book on paleontology which led to a lifelong fascination with probing the secrets of the earth. Although he earned his degree in education, he studied paleontology on his own and completed a course at Caspar College in Wyoming, which is deep in the heart of dinosaur fossil land.
Paleo Joe is revved with enthusiasm for fossils and fires the listeners imagination with images of creepy-crawlies on the floor of long-dead seas. In that regard, hes perfect for school tours and presentations. In fact, 124 schools and 12,000 students have been introduced to his work over the past two years, and after he wraps up his exhibit in Petoskey hell be pushing on to Big Rapids, Bay City and Muskegon. Hes also writing a book, The Common Guide to Michigan Fossils for Petoskey Publishing.
TRIAL OF THE TRILOBITES
So, just what happened to those luckless trilobites?
They were wiped out by several mass extinctions, says Paleo Joe. And there were also changes in the climate. Theyre a creature that liked warm water and they couldnt live once the earths climate got colder.
He adds that 90% of all life on earth was wiped out at the end of the Permian Period.
It was probably a killer meteor that caused a mass extinction, throwing up clouds of dust and causing earthquakes and volcanos to erupt, he says. But I dont profess to say that it was just one thing that killed everything off. Its the same as the dinosaurs -- there were probably a number of events.
If you were calling the shots on how to fund federal programs, how would you spend our tax dollars?
That was the point of a Penny Poll held April 15 (“Tax Day“) outside the Post Office in downtown Traverse City. Members of the local Green Party handed participants five pennies each and asked them to allocate the money in a series of cups.
Karen Comella of the Green Party says that 274 participants made the following choices with their “taxes“:
27% the environment
11% international affairs
6% running the government
Comella says this is the third time the Penny Poll has been conducted over the past five years as an exercise in how our tax dollars are spent.
Downtown Petoskey is seeing a changing of the guard. Dave and Ruth Skop have purchased the old Chemist Shop pharmacy building on Mitchell Street. Owners of the Ben Franklin Crafts store in town, the Skops plan to open a new framing/print shop at the new location.
Of note, the old pharmacy building was built in the 1880s and the Skops plan to restore its facade to its original glory. They hope to open their store by Memorial Day.
AN AVALANCHE COMING
Work is winding up on Boyne Mountain‘s new Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa, with plans to open by Memorial Day.
The Lodge will be Michigans newest luxury hotel, accompanied by the Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark. This will be the third waterpark for Northern Michigan on the heels of those established in Traverse City and Mackinaw City. A ribbon cutting is planed for May 25.
Blissfest is hosting a Warmup Party to celebrate its 25th year. On Sunday, May 29, they‘ll host Donna and the Buffalo at the Holiday Inn in Traverse City.
Donna and the Buffalo is a popular folk-rock jam & dance band from New York State with several albums to the credit and a passionate following across the country.
“They are one of the most mentioned ‘best of Blissfest bands‘ ever,“ says Jim Gillespie, executive director of the folk organization. Tickets are available in advance for $15 or $20 reserved, or $20 at the door. See www.blissfest.org for
Sacred Sparks in East Jordan has an innovative idea in mind to benefit the Women‘s Resource Center (WRC) in Petoskey. On Saturday, April 30 at 2 p.m. they will host Project Bright Fire.
“Project Bright Fire is a Public Ceremony intended to create HEALING ENERGY WAVES to encircle the earth, benefiting all beings and creatures,“ states a news release.
The ceremony is a tribute to a feminine deity honored by the British, the Celts, the Welsh, and the Romans. “She was known as the midwife for the birth of Jesus, and honored in the February 2nd holiday known as Candlemas, or Imbolc.“
Donations by attendees will benefit the WRC. The event takes place at Sacred Sparks, 5070 Mt. Bliss Road, East Jordan. See
www.sacredsparks.com for info.