Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Visit the Mackinaw
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Visit the Mackinaw

Carina Hume - August 4th, 2008
Ten days after Pearl Harbor was bombed, the funds were allocated to build the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw. With delivery of iron ore during World War II a necessity, a reliable ship to keep the Great Lakes’ shipping lanes open was essential. The 290 ft. long cutter took three years to build, cost $10 million and was commissioned on December 20, 1944.
Sixty-two years later, in June 2006, the Mackinaw left its lifelong port of Cheboygan and found a new home in Mackinaw City, its namesake. Opened in 2007 as a maritime museum, the Icebreaker Mackinaw continues to share tales of its storied past.
“We received the ship in 2006,” says interim executive director Marilyn McFarland, “but we officially didn’t open it for tours until last year for the 2007 tourism season. We had so much work to do.”
More than $200,000 was spent getting the ship ready for visitors, including removing all of the fuel, running all communication lines and electric, sprucing up the dock, and hiring staff.
“We had to get locks for every door on the ship; we had to secure all the ladders and stairways, so that nobody could run around,” says McFarland.
“We had to secure different areas on the interior – block them off or put up half doors – to allow people to see in the room, but not necessarily go in the room. It’s a 290 ft. building that’s in the water; we have the honor of making it into a business.”

ICEBREAKER TOURS
“We hired trained staff – docents – who lead the tours,” says McFarland. “We have approximately 25 volunteers that love the ship so much, they help give tours, welcome people on board, do maintenance, and work in the gift shop. There’s a huge base that wants to help us succeed.”
Tours last around 45 minutes and are not recommended for young children. “[The ship] was made for Coast Guard personnel,” says McFarland. “You’re going through three different floors (sometimes on steep tiny ladders). It’s not for the weary.”
Secure shoes – no flip-flops or heels – are recommended, and visitors will want to have their hands free for climbing up and down ladders. The ship is not handicapped accessible.
“Visitors will come and go right into the library,” explains McFarland. “From the library, they go through the ship; they’ll see the mess hall, engine, bridge, XO’s office and different bunk areas.”
“Last year you couldn’t go on the bridge,” she continues. “That’s new this year. Everything is exactly the way it was when the Coast Guard walked off the ship. Maps are out; all the equipment is lit up.”
The museum is officially a non-profit organization, and the board of directors is currently in the process of hiring an executive director.
Unable to find a place for the ship in Cheboygan, the city contacted Mackinaw City, and luckily, Bill Shepler of Shepler’s Ferry had space on the old railroad dock to put the cutter there.
“Cheboygan graciously gave us the corporation that they had formed,” says McFarland.
Donations and museum admissions have allowed the organization to remain fiscally independent.

30,000 GOAL
“Last year we had 15,000 people (at $10 per person) through the ship, so that helped us come into this season in very good financial light,” says McFarland.
“Back in February, we had an angel gift us with $50,000 if we raised $50,000 – which we did in two months – so we have an extra $100,000 coming into the season. It’s nice not having to worry about money to advertise and where to get payroll.”
New billboards can be seen on US-31 north of Petoskey and while driving north on I-75, and brochures have been distributed in the area, as well.
“Last year we didn’t have money to advertise,” admits McFarland. “Our goal this year is 30,000 visitors.”
Although the museum’s operations have gotten off to a great start, future improvements are planned.
“Our long-term goal in five years is to have water and sewer,” says McFarland. “With that goal, we’d like to be able to host groups – like Boy Scout groups or strategic planning committees – reopen the mess hall and have overnights on the ship.”
A $5,000 grant was received from Consumers Power this summer, which will help pay for a study to figure out how it can be done.
“We consider the Mackinaw an American hero story, and we try to tell people how she helped win the war,” finishes McFarland. “We just love to tell the story and people love to hear it.”

For more information on the U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw, visit www.icebreakermackinawmuseum.org or visit the ship at the old railroad docks, next to the municipal marina, daily through September in Mackinaw City. Adults, $10; Youth, (6-17); $6, Family, $28.


 
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