Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Michigan Lights
. . . .

Michigan Lights

Sandra Serra Bradshaw - September 29th, 2008
With 3,100 miles of shoreline, Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state in the country -- around 130 lights in all. In other words, Michigan owns about half of the lighthouses in the entire U.S.
Some are in dire need of help, others have been lovingly rescued, restored, and now serve as museums or even private homes. All remind us of our maritime past and of the men and women who manned the lights in order to keep sailors safe. In discovering lighthouses along the Great Lakes shoreline, you will find that each has its own history, its own unique allure and character.
The lighthouses are also at the center of a never-ending struggle for preserva-tion for the delight of future generations.
Most of the state’s lighthouses were built in a span of 75 years, between 1825 and 1900. They were first operated and manned by the U.S. Lighthouse Service (USLHS). In 1939, the USLHS became part of the U.S. Coast Guard Service. Today, it maintains the lights, as well as all other navigational markers in the waterways of Michigan.
The lighthouses that still shine today are no longer manned by lightkeepers since they are all automated. They are controlled by remote-control technology. The introduction of Loran-C Navigation Radio Signals, along with Global Positioning Satellites and other devices, have made navigation much safer. But, they have also reduced the need for any new lighthouses.

THE OLDEST
Today, it’s tourists, rather than vigilant lighthouse keepers, that carefully climb the 94 cast-iron steps to the top of Port Huron’s Ft. Gratiot light, built in 1829. It claims the title of being Michigan’s oldest lighthouse - and is still operating today. The light has weathered storms such as one in 1913 where waves pounded halfway up her 86-foot wall. Several ships were destroyed in that monstrous storm.
Legal obstacles and a lack of funding keep lighthouses from being preserved as part of Michigan’s legacy of maritime history and architecture.
Very few lighthouses, such as the highly renowned light at Whitefish Point on Lake Superior, still serve as beacons of mariner safety today. Saving lighthouses got easier when the Michigan Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act passed legislation in 2000, but, it is still a long and complicated process.
There are however successes: Through legislative transfer, the Great Lakes Lightkeepers Association (GLLKA) received a quit-claim deed for the isolated St. Helena Island Light Station light in the western Straits of Mackinac in 1997. GLLKA works with other lighthouse organizations, offering direction in legislative processes and other aspects.
“We’re celebrating our Silver Anniversary this year,” said GLLKA’s President Dick Moehl of Mackinaw City. “Twenty-five years of helping to save Michigan’s historic lights. We are in better shape than ever - it’s as good as it gets for restoring our lights.”
Moehl is an icon of sorts with Michigan lighthouse groups across the state. His energy and enthusiasm remain constant over the years. “I am a positive kind of guy,” he stated. “People call me a verb.”

LONG SAGA
“People realize when you are for real,” Moehl added. “We started to help St. Helena in 1985 and met with the USCG out there in ’86. When they gave me the key to the tower I thought I died and went to heaven.”
Another “icon” comes in the person of USCG-retiree Doug McCormick. He was born at the Poverty Island Lighthouse in 1914. As a youngster he helped care for the Grand Traverse Lighthouse with his father, James McCormick, from 1923 through 1938.
Vessels heading into Grand Traverse Bay needed the light to safely round the often rough waters and dangerous shoals. Boats going down Lake Michigan needed it as a reference point for heading into the often dangerous Manitou Passage. Construction began in 1852, but the tower had but a brief life and was replaced in 1858 by the present light.
Much later, in 1983, McCormick would again reside at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse as caretaker until health issues forced him to retire - during his late 80s. The lighthouse was opened to the public in 1986 and now is a museum and nautically oriented gift shop.
McCormick also lived in the South Fox Island light when his father was keeper there between 1915 through 1921. “I sure love that S. Fox island,” he said recently.
ACTION NEEDED
Saddened to see the light station’s condition while boating there sometime after the decommissionment of the station in 1959, he filmed the light in 1991. Shortly after that he said, “It’s in horrible condition, overgrown with trees, vandalized, but still solid.” Action was needed to save this light from going the way of the one on North Manitou Island, where only a pile of bricks remains to mark the site of a once magnificent tower.
“The South Fox Island Lighthouse Station is essentially unique in that since it was decommissioned in 1959 it has remained relatively untouched,” said John McKinney, president and co-founder of the Fox Island Lighthouse Association (FILA), which, since 2004, has made strides to rescue the remote light. “It provides a great opportunity for FILA to save it for the State of Michigan, which owns the light station. The project has taken on a life of its own,” he said.
In the Grand Traverse region, five lighthouses have been consolidated to form the Grand Traverse Chain of Lights group: Point Betsie, Old Mission Light, South Fox Island Light Station, South Manitou and Grand Traverse Light.
Care to help our state lights even in just a small way? Moehl offers a suggestion.
“Please let the readers know how important the license plate program is for our state,” he said. The program, introduced in 2001, gives a portion of the plate proceeds to help support the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program. The legend on the striking red, white and blue plate with the White Shoal light reads “SAVE OUR LIGHTS.”
Plates are available at your local Secretary of State or by visiting their web site at: http://www.michiganlighthouse.org/howtohelp.html.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close