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Take a hike/Electrifying news/restoring the Great Lakes/your name here

- March 9th, 2009
Take a Hike
Gary Hoensheid, of Suttons Bay is one of three local men hiking 350 miles across Spain this month.

Hiking 350 miles through northern Spain is the goal of three local men who will walk in the ancient footprints of pilgrims.
From March 11 to April 10, Gray Hoensheid of Suttons Bay, Greg Wright, of Frankfort, and Pat Nestor, of the Traverse City area will trek across the Camino de Santiago Ancient Pilgrim Trail. The three friends will be joined by Joe Bottenhorn of Lake Leelanau for the final two weeks of their hike.
“El Camino de Santiago” is Spanish for The Road of St. James. The trail spans 500 miles from the border of France and heads west across Northern Spain, ending near the Atlantic Ocean at Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the burial place of the apostle St. James. It‘s said that St. James established the trail during his missionary work following the death of Jesus Christ.
“The Pilgrim Trail for me, at 57, represents an opportunity for reflection and spiritual renewal,“ says Hoensheid. “The tradition on a pilgrimage is to carry a rock, representing your transgressions in life. I will carry my rock throughout my trek and I will throw my rock in the Ocean at the end of the trail and begin with a fresh start,”
The hikers will pick up the trail at Burgo, Spain and walk the remaining 350 miles to the trail’s end at the Atlantic Ocean.
Hoensheid is using the hike as a fundraiser for a new 126-acre community park in the Suttons Bay area.
“Life is short and it’s time for me to go on a long walk,” he says. “I will donate $700, which represents $2 per mile of my trek to a project I strongly believe in, the Herman Center Community Park Project.”
To date, the park campaign has secured more than $475,000 in gifts and pledges toward their goal of $550,000. The committee’s goal is to raise the remaining amount by April 30 in order to secure matching funds from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Contact the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, ph. (231) 935-4066, to make a donation to the park.

ELECTRIFYING NEWS
The Michigan Legislature is charging up the state‘s effort to become a world leader in battery production.
A new bipartisan plan would grant an additional $200 million in tax credits to companies involved in advanced battery development. This is on the heels of $335 million in a refundable tax credits bill signed by Gov. Granholm in January.
State Representative Dan Scripps (D-Leland) reports that the battery tax credits will create over 40,000 jobs and over $9 billion in economic activity by the year 2020, according to the Center for Economic Analysis at Michigan State University. “The most likely scenario would see Michigan gaining nearly 90,000 jobs and over $18 billion in economic activity as result of the initial $335 million program.“
Currently, General Motors has plans for a new battery plant in the Detroit area, with a new battery technology lab being established at the University of Michigan. High-yield lithium batteries are seen as the key to powering a new generation of electric cars.

RESTORING
THE GREAT LAKES
One of the items in President Obama‘s budget is allocating $475 million in Great Lakes funding to combat invasive species, fight pollution, and control contamination.
In addition to improving the health of the lakes, the funds could help generate new jobs, says U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “According to a major study, implementing a comprehensive strategy to restore our lakes could bring $100 billion in short and long-term economic gains for our region – creating good-paying jobs throughout our state,“ Stabenow said in a release.

YOUR NAME HERE
Have you always wanted to have a ski slope named after you? Now‘s your chance: The Michigan Legacy Art Park at Crystal Mountain is auctioning the rights to name the “N-11“ slope, with live bidding on April 25 at the resort in Benzie County.
Two years ago, a group of more than 200 family and friends raised $6,000 to name “Norm‘s Way“ after a long-time ski shop owner from Grand Rapids.

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