Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Books · Getting to know da U.P.
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Getting to know da U.P.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - March 8th, 2010
Getting to Know Da U.P. :Odd facts abound in new Almanac
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac
By Ron Jolly and Karl Bohnak
University of Michigan Press.
600 pages - $27.95
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of those empty places you go because you want to be alone. Or you want to hunt. Maybe you want to cross-country ski. There are lots of reasons to visit. For me it is waterfalls—making a list then finding every one of them. And it’s small lakes so blue-green and clear you think the lake must be shallow, but it isn’t. And it’s miles of Lake Superior shoreline, driving along and wondering about the gales of November and the men out on the freighters and if they are always watching the sky for storms. So many miles of forest and swamp with tiny villages and small towns, all far apart.
Ron Jolly and Karl Bohnak have just come out with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Almanac (University of Michigan Press) which answers any questions I’ve ever had about the U.P. and brings up others I didn’t think to ask. Things like: How big is that huge Santa in Christmas? Or what about that 35-foot black-powder muzzleloader in Ishpeming—what’s that about?
I can’t begin to mention all the topics covered. From landmarks to U.P. superlatives—this is a true: Did You Know? book.
For instance: did you know that Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world at 31,700 square miles? Or how about: did you know that there was a Unicorn Questing Season, complete with licenses, at Lake Superior State College until 1987? Also, from LSSU, comes the List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness still published every New Year’s Day.


GIRDING HIS LOINS
Here we go: There are almost 35,000 acres of virgin Northern hardwoods in Wilderness State Park. 75% of iron ore moved on the Great Lakes is shipped from Lake Superior and 50% of the coal. The long-time editor of Marquette’s Mining Journal was a man “whose joy it was to gird up his loins, seize a club and wade in, laying on right and left” according to an orator at his funeral in 1909.
And did you know the lowest official reading in Upper Michigan was 48 degrees below zero in Ontonagon County in January 1912? Or that the mystery writer, Charlotte Armstrong, lived up there? Or that the Rolling Stones came to play one song in Marquette in 2002?
Let’s talk about the cougar or what we, in the Lower Peninsula, have known (until recently) only as our mythical beast. The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and Central Michigan University now admits-–through DNA evidence—there are cougars in Delta, Dickinson, Houghton and Menominee Counties in the U.P. The cougars live among moose, wolves, black beer and all the other usual wildlife, making the U.P. a kind of last frontier for a stern race of people who still value their independence and individuality.
It was these Yoopers who formed the first professional hockey league in 1904, paying the players for their talents until 1907 when the Canadian professional league was established. Yoopers not only gave us the pasty, but cudighi, and TrenaryToast. Their per capita income runs from under $20,000 to $29,000, and unemployment runs high in all the counties.

SECOND EFFORT
From wealth to waterfalls, if you’ve got a question about the U.P. the answer is probably here. There are sections on education, the economy, mining, shipwrecks, culture, government, architecture, wildlife, and so much more. You want to know the name of every lake and waterfall in every county? It’s here. You want to know history and population distributions, or about the prisons and prison camps? It is all here. You will even find the number of slot machines each tribe owns.
The collaboration between Ron Jolly, broadcaster on WCTM in Traverse City, and Karl Bohnak, a meteorologist at WLUC, TV 6, in Marquette, came about because both had done previous books on Michigan. Jolly’s was the Northern Michigan Almanac (2005), and Bohnak’s, So Cold the Sky (2006), about U.P. history from a weatherman’s perspective. Editors at the University of Michigan Press brought the two men together to write an almanac of the Upper Peninsula.
The writing process began with a meeting between Jolly and Bohnak in St. Ignace. After that initial meeting the two met only once more, when Bohnak came to the Lower Peninsula on a book tour. Jolly said the almanac was put together by emails after that. “I’ve got a huge file of the email between us,” Jolly laughed. “I’m the geeky one who loves statistics and wrote about the authors. Karl’s the history buff and the weather guy.”
The book was supposed to run to 200 pages and be finished in 2005. Instead, Bohnak said, it came in at 600 pages and wasn’t finished until the spring of 2009.
The reasons the book took so long to complete, according to Jolly, was due to personnel changes at the press and Internet difficulties. Often his emails to Karl would go to spam and languish there until found, months later.
“As ’06, ’07, and ’08 passed,” Jolly said, “The information had to be updated. The process was laborious, but not that difficult.”
The biggest problem for the men, according to Bohnak, wasn’t what to put in but what to leave out.
The result is a huge, comprehensive almanac now in local bookstores. I can’t imagine heading to the U.P. again without it.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli is a novel writer whose third book in the Emily Kincaid series will be out in May of 2010.





 
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