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Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith.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 · A Cold Blast From the Past
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A Cold Blast From the Past

December, so far, has looked more like an old fashioned winter

Patrick Sullivan - December 23rd, 2013  
You are not imagining it. This winter has been a brutal one so far.

Just ask Patricia Ross, a 74-year-old who grew up on the Old Mission Peninsula. She remembers when winters like this seemed to come every year.

“This is more like an old-fashioned winter like years ago, you know,” said Ross, who was recently celebrating the holidays at the Traverse City Senior Center. “It’s been really cold and snowy this winter.”

For people who have lived Up North for just five or 10 years, this winter (which technically just began on Dec. 21, even though it has been here for weeks) might seem a bit jarring. It has been snowy and cold.

Extraordinarily cold, in fact. “This cold, this early and this long -- I’d have to say is a pretty big story,” said Scott Rozanski, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gaylord. “It’s pretty cold. ... Had you moved up here five years ago and you’d lived up here for the last five years, you’d say, ‘I’ve never seen it like this.’”

‘LIKE A BULLDOZER’

It has been especially cold since Dec. 6, Rozanski said.

In Traverse City, the average temperature for December through the middle of the month was seven degrees below normal, and there is no warmup in sight.

What’s more, that average temperature includes two days at the beginning of the month which saw high temperatures climb into the 50s. Without those outliers, the average temperature is actually much colder.

“The warmest it’s been since the 6th is 21 degrees,” Rosanski said. “You’ve been below freezing for 11 days.”

Will it last through January, February and March?

Rozanski said we’ll have to wait to find out.

“How well can we predicte it? Exact details are not really what an extended forcast provides,” Rozanski said. “There’s a lot of things that could happen and take place in the next couple of weeks that aren’t necessarily on the screen.”

That said, Rozanski said cold air is stubborn.

“Honestly, cold air is very bullish,” he said. “When cold air settles in, it’s hard to dislodge it. Warm air can be blown aside. Cold air just kind of comes in like a bulldozer.”

LOTS AND LOTS OF SNOW

With the cold comes snow. And lots of it. No matter what way you cut it, this year’s winter packed a heck of a wallop even before winter arrived officially on the calendar.

Towns across northwestern Michigan were well above average for snowfall in December, said Joe Charlevoix, a meteorologist for 7&4 News in Traverse City.

“It’s pretty phenomenal,” Charlevoix said. “Gaylord has already picked up more than half a season’s worth of snow, and we’re not even into winter yet.”

Gaylord gets on average 145 inches of snow per season. As of Dec. 17, the city had already seen 74 inches. Elsewhere, the numbers were above normal. Petoskey had 37 inches when they on average would have had 29. Traverse City had about 50 percent more snowfall than normal, clocking in at 34 inches a week before Christmas.

COLD AIR ON TOP OF US

Do the early signs mean a long season of skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling is ahead of us?

“You can’t really draw that conclusion yet,” Charlevoix said. “The reason being is the big pattern can shift quickly; that cold air is always there in the winter, but it’s not always on top of us.”

A lot of recent years, that cold has stayed a hundred or so miles north of Northern Michigan.

That’s because an west-to-east jet stream brings moderate temperatures across the country. Lower Michigan, during many of the last five or so winters, has gotten warmer air from the Pacific Ocean.

This year we have gotten a good oldfashioned arctic blast. And if that arctic pattern holds, the coldest temperatures could be yet to come. The coldest average temperatures in the region typically come the third week of January, Charlevoix said.

The cold is, for the most part, the reason we’ve gotten so much snow -- when that bitter cold air sweeps across the warmer Great Lakes, it brings snow.

Charlevoix, a U.P. native, said this winter so far harkens back to blustery winters of the 1980s.

“It is kind of nice to see kind of a regular winter for people,” he said.

SKI SLOPES 100 PERCENT OPEN

The cold and snow is great news for winter businesses.

Crystal Mountain opened 100 percent of its slopes earlier than ever this year, said Jim MacInnes, the resort’s president and chief executive officer.

That goes against the trend of recent years. “It used to be that early, even before Thanksgiving, we often had a chance to open, but in recent years it’s been difficult and Thanksgiving openings have been really rare,” MacInnes said.

MacInnes said his resort has invested heavily in snow-making equipment and that’s helped them take advantage of the December freeze.

They’ve also invested in a winch groomer, which enables them to move snow uphill and spread it to bare patches that were once out of reach.

MacInnes is optimistic about the rest of the season, though he won’t predict if the weather will be favorable for winter sports throughout.

“It’s really hard to predict the future of a whole winter,” he said.

MacInnes believes the artificial and natural snow base the resort is building up through December will mean a long season, though.

“Even if we have a warmup, we’re in a very resilient position right now,” he said.

A bicycle got caught in a deep freeze parked outside of the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. (Photo by Patrick Sullivan)

‘IT’S REALLY A WINTER’

Kristin Levesque, co-owner of Timber Ridge Resort, said she remembers those hardcore winters from the 1970s and 1980s.

Then she moved to Florida for a couple of decades before she returned home.

“This is my first year that it’s really a winter,” Levesque said. “I think I would have been shocked if it was my first year back and it was like this.”

The snow is great for her resort, a crosscountry skiing and snow biking hub.

They opened before Thanksgiving this year, the earliest in Levesque’s memory.

“Literally overnight Saturday we had all that snow and it was good enough to go out and groom it,” Levesque said.

She said she believes they should be in good shape now no matter what the rest of the winter brings. They’ve got a 12-inch base already, and if a thaw makes snow disappear elsewhere, the high-elevation, tree-covered trails around Timber Ridge tend to stay snowcovered further into the year.

“We typically will have snow here when you don’t have it downtown or even a few miles away from here,” she said.

 
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