Clear Air

"No, no, you're not thinking, you're just being logical." ~ Niels Bohr (1885-1962) "It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge." Enrico Fermi (1901 - 1954) "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." ~ Richard Feynman (1918 - 1988)

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Here's a roundup of parades and events scheduled for this weekend:


A parade and awards ceremony will pay tribute to local WWII veterans this Saturday in conjunction with the dedication of a National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. ... The parade is set to begin at 11 a.m., with lineup at 10 a.m. at Cedar Lake Elementary.

U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak also will ride in the parade and will give the keynote address at a recognition ceremony following the parade where surviving WWII veterans will be presented with a "Service to America Certificate of Appreciation." ... The ceremony will be held at the Oscoda Band Shell.

Other Iosco Community Events:

In Whittemore, the annual Memorial Day weekend parade will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Whittemore Speedway and will travel along M-65. Parade participants include the VFW color guard, grand marshal, outstanding citizens the Whittemore-Prescott High School Marching Band, floats, antique cars, race cars and fire departments, among others.

Other Memorial Day weekend activities in Whittemore include, on Saturday, a bazaar in the chamber hall, a memorial service there followed by the Outstanding Citizen awards, men's and women's horseshoe tournaments, fire department luncheon, NMSHA Speed Show at the chamber arena and opening night at Whittemore Speedway.


In Tawas, the 12th annual Shoreline Arts and Crafts Show will be held Saturday and Sunday in the Tawas City Park along US-23.

The Iosco County Historical Society will host its 16th annual Quilt Show in the museum in East Tawas for 10 days beginning Friday. The museum will be open for the quilt show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the first four days of the show, except Friday when it will be open until 4 p.m. The museum also will be open from 1-4 p.m. during the week and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the following weekend through June 8. Admission to the show is a $1 donation at the door.

The ninth annual Blessing of the Boats will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Tawas Bay Condominium Marina then at the East Tawas State Dock. The blessing crew this year will be Rev. Mary Delaney of Christ Episcopal Church in East Tawas and Pastor Denise Gunderson of Grace Lutheran Church in East Tawas.

Huron Shores Chorus and Orchestra will present a Memorial Concert dedicated to World War II veterans over the weekend. The concert will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday at Tawas Area Presbyterian Church, at 8 p.m. Saturday at Harrisville United Methodist Church and at 3 p.m. Sunday at Oscoda United Methodist Church.

Audie Johnson Post 211 American Legion in East Tawas will conduct a parade at 11 a.m. in East Tawas on Monday. The parade will begin at the East Tawas post office and participants will march down Newman Street to the East Tawas Harbor of Refuge where a service will be conducted with a rifle salute and wreathes floated on Tawas Bay to honor U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard dead. Audie Johnson Color Guard, Tawas Area High School band, Boy and Girl Scouts members and Tawas Area Elks Lodge members will participate in the service.


In Hale, veterans will hold their annual Memorial Day parade and services on Monday. Hale American Legion Post 422, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7435 and Vietnam Veterans of America will take part in this year's parade and services.

The parade is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. The parade route will be from the Hale Middle/Elementary School and will proceed along M-65 to the Plainfield Township Hall where a brief ceremony will be held. The parade will then proceed along M-65 to Railroad Street to Esmond Road, to Church Street and to Ainsley Street to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.

And lastly, don't forget to join us Saturday morning for our Annual Memorial Day Cleanup. Start time is 10AM and we will work till noon and enjoy a hotdog lunch afterword. Hope to see you there.

posted by Bob Adams 11:04 AM

Monday, May 24, 2004

I completely missed this important article from last week. Beach-grooming law could be detrimental to shorelines. While the Save Our Shoreline organization wants additional abilities to groom there is rising reluctance among some lawmakers allow it.

The Legislature passed the law in response to complaints from Saginaw Bay property owners who said low water levels had left unsightly and smelly patches of weeds on the exposed lake bottom.

The law lets shoreline owners do such minor beach-grooming as leveling sand or mowing weeds without a permit, and it creates pilot areas in Saginaw and Grand Traverse bays where more extensive work, including mechanical tilling, is permitted with a letter of approval from the Department of Environmental Quality.

David Powers of Bay City, representing a group called Save Our Shoreline, said the DEQ has blocked some property owners from beach work that should have been allowed.

Wilcox said Lakes Michigan and Huron seem to rise and fall in cycles of about 30 years. The recurring low-water periods allow the coastal wetlands to rebuild themselves, he said.

Donald Uzarski, of Grand Valley State University's Annis Water Resources Institute, said coastal wetlands filter out nutrients that would otherwise run into the lake, while the plants' roots hold onto sand that would otherwise be blown inland.

Dennis Albert, of the Michigan Natural Features Inventory at Michigan State University, told the committee that wetland plants generally won't grow in true beach areas, such as the windswept shores of Lake Michigan.

"Most of the Michigan shore of Lake Michigan is, no argument, a beach," Albert said. "High water, low water, it doesn't matter."

But, he said, in protected bays the sand often lies above old, fertile lake beds that harbor seeds and roots, just waiting to be exposed by low-water cycles. Albert and Uzarski are taking part in a study this summer to determine whether beach grooming along residential property has harmed the lakes.

"I thought when we passed this legislation it was a good compromise," said Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor. "Had I heard this discussion a year ago, it would have probably influenced my decision."

Added Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom, R-Muskegon: "I was surprised and troubled by what I heard today."

Committee members took no action on Tuesday. Chairperson Patricia Birkholz, R-Saugatuck, said she'll likely await the study before revisiting the issue.

Ownership and grooming control of the beach area continues to be a hot issue to follow.

posted by Bob Adams 4:52 PM

May 24-31 is Beach Safety Week.

The National Weather Service, National Life Saving Association, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Sea Grant are teaming up on the production of new rip currents warning signs and informational brochures to be distributed in 2004 -- see Water Safety and Rip Currents.

Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from shore. They can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.

Conditions that may produce rip currents include:
- unusual choppiness and breaking waves
- discolored water and sand turning over
- debris and foam moving out into the lake

posted by Bob Adams 3:47 PM

As reported here last Thursday (5/20), the recent Court of Appeals ruling on beach access has caused quite a flury of articles. Today the Grand Rapids Press wrote this article: Let's be clear: Beachcombers must be water huggers . Hightlights from this article are:

The state Court of Appeals ruling on May 13 cites earlier law that confines public access along private beaches to the water itself.

"(The law) contains no provision guaranteeing any member of the public the right to walk on a beach fronting private property along one of the Great Lakes," Justice Christopher Murray wrote in an opinion involving a Lake Huron property dispute.

The court identified the dividing line between public and private property as "the water's edge."

[T]he cottagers' association for Ottawa Beach has maintained signs at the state park boundary, stating "Holland State Park Ends Here. No alcoholic beverages. No dogs allowed."

Are signs going to become commonplace now? How about fences to the water's edge?

posted by Bob Adams 3:30 PM

Friday, May 21, 2004

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that lake levels exceed expectations.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are not only rising, they’re rising faster than normal for spring, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday.

The rise could signal a significant trend away from the low levels that have caused many shoreline problems in recent years. Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 7 inches in the last 30 days. That level is 9 inches higher than last year and only 14 inches below normal for May.

posted by Bob Adams 3:50 PM

The Oscoda Press reports that the township of AuSable is considering hiring a township manager, "... a manager would allow for greater consistency and professionalism. It would also bring grantwriting skills to the table and allow the community to grow at an even faster rate. ... Supervisor Ron Lamrock said this was studied by the board several years ago, at which time it was determined to be cost prohibitive."

posted by Bob Adams 12:41 PM

Thursday, May 20, 2004

In recent ruling, the Michigan Appeals Court reaffirmed that shoreline property rights extend to water's edge

Property owners who live along Great Lakes shores in Michigan have exclusive access up to the water's edge, the state appellate court said in a decision published Friday.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that a person has the right to walk along private property as long as they remain in the water. But where dry land begins, the property owners have exclusive use rights.

UPDATE: The Oscoda Press published a few more details:

The Court of Appeals panel -- Judges Peter D. O'Connell, Kurtis T. Wilder and Christopher M. Murray -- found:.

"As riparian owners, defendants have the exclusive right to the use and enjoyment of the land which, once submerged, has now become exposed by receding waters," the panel concluded. "Plaintiff has neither a statutory nor a common law right to interfere with that use. However, as a member of the public, plaintiff is entitled to utilize the lake bottom until it first reaches dry land, for purposes of navigating the Lake Huron shoreline."

This was a published opinion, meaning it is intended to serve as legal precedent in similar proceedings.

posted by Bob Adams 2:09 PM

Monday, May 17, 2004

Here's a important issue that we tend to ignore until it's too late -- namely our Unprotected Great Lakes . Water diversion from the Lakes is sure to become a political issue in the future. This editorial summarizes the current inadequate protections currently in place.

Michigan's worst nightmare has always been that water-profligate states in the Southwest would want to siphon off Great Lakes water. Five years into a drought that has that region arguing fiercely about who gets what, that's still an unlikely scenario.

But Michigan is unprepared for any scenario -- if not a major pipeline, then the more real possibility of drainage by a thousand pinpricks. It is inexcusable that the state's elected officials keep posturing about water instead of actually doing something.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm promised action when she campaigned. Nothing happened. ... Meantime, national and global water supply issues grow more critical almost daily. The people of Michigan must demand that their leaders think beyond themselves and get this state a decent water protection law.

posted by Bob Adams 1:28 PM

The Detroit News reports that boaters and anglers are asked to watch out for hydrilla plant.

The nonnative plant has not been found in Michigan but has popped up in New York and Pennsylvania waters. Its tangled weeds interfere with swimming, boating and even fishing because it can choke off food supplies for other aquatic life. Some researchers say it can also destroy food sources for ducks and other waterfowl.

The plant looks similar to the elodea, a plant already in Michigan, with a few key differences. Hydrilla plants have four or five leaves at each node, while elodea has three. Hydrilla leaves have visible teeth, and the leaf vein has small spines. Elodea leaves and their veins appear smooth.

posted by Bob Adams 9:04 AM

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Just a reminder that two weeks from today will be our annual Memorial Day Clean-up. This once a year event has helped shape up the complex in time for summer. Any help you could give us is warmly welcome.

TIME: 10 AM to Noonish
Meet in the parking lot at the entrance

This year we will concentrate our efforts in the following areas:

We will remove and store away the silt fencing. This fencing has been very effective stopping the sand from blowing onto our grass areas.

We will clean all the lower level gutters on all buildings and the garages.

We will clean the siding in a few areas that we missed last summer � primarily on the north end of the complex.

We will clean up the US-23 easement area by picking up dead wood, litter, and raking old leaves.

Likewise, we will clean up the beach area.

We will plant flowers and trim the bushes out front in our two birms.

Jerry Gossett has volunteered to be the cook again this year serving up his special hot dogs to one and all (they�re from a secret family recipe only available in Ohio). Lunch is at noon and gives you a great opportunity to meet your neighbors and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

Hope to see you there.

posted by Bob Adams 10:24 AM

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Cheboygan Tribune reports that U.S. 23 from Standish to Mackinaw City has been officially recognized as the "Sunrise Side Coastal Highway":

The designation came following more than two years of planning. Initiated by state Rep. Dale Sheltrown, D-West Branch, and Tom Ferguson of Michigan's Sunrise Side Travel Association in the summer of 2001, the process began with the collection of resolutions of support from local units of government along the route.

Three designation ceremonies are scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 21 in Standish, 11 a.m. in East Tawas, and 3:30 p.m. in Harrisville. Members of the general public are invited to attend.

posted by Bob Adams 10:26 PM

In another news item, plans are afoot to bring the former Bob-Lo Boat Ste. Claire back to Detroit for a July visit:

At present, the historic steamer, launched in 1910, is at Lorain, Ohio, where she is being refurbished by private owners after nearly a decade deteriorating on Detroit�s industrial waterfront. Generations of Detroiters have fond memories of riding Ste. Claire and her fleet mate, Columbia, to the down river island amusement park. The service ended in 1991.

Tentative plans call for the Ste. Claire to tie up at Wyandotte, Mich. from July 1-18 for the city's fireworks and Street Art Fair, but owners John Belko and Diane Evon of Cleveland need help with the towing fee. They are appealing to businesses and individual sponsors to help raise $35,000 in the next month.

posted by Bob Adams 10:24 PM