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Conservancy gets big ‘present’

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It was a “Christmas present” that was unexpected.

The Leelanau Conservancy learned this week that it will be awarded the largest matching grant it has ever received– some $723,800 through the State of Michigan “Clean Michigan Initiative, Clean Water Fund.”

The money will be used to permanently protect wetlands and groundwater recharge areas in the Lake Leelanau watershed, according to Brian Price, executive director of the conservancy.   more...

 



Environment  

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Proposal to build marina makes waves

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Arguing that foul water, sinking property values and snarled traffic would find permanent harbor in Evanston if the suburb builds a marina, people who live near the proposed site said this week they have collected 500 signatures on petitions and are gearing up for a fight.

"Residents of this corner of southeast Evanston are primarily condo owners, and most of us won't be purchasing a motorboat," said Ramona Meher, who formed Citizens for Lakefront Preservation to oppose the marina.


Evanston has toyed with the idea of building a marina since the mid-1960s. The most recent proposal calls for a marina east of Calvary Cemetery, just north of the Rogers Park neighborhood on the border between Evanston and Chicago.  more...



 



Environment  

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Trust fund board approves Arcadia Dunes purchase

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LANSING -- Spectacular Northern Michigan sand dunes where CMS Energy once planned a huge power plant will be preserved forever, thanks to a $4 million down payment from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. But even as they approved the first of three installments on an $11.1 million commitment for the Arcadia Dunes, along Lake Michigan in Benzie County, members of the trust fund's board of directors worried publicly about their ability to finance such large projects in the future.  more...

 



Environment  

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Shipwrecks lure divers

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Like tourists in an underwater museum, divers in the Great Lakes explore shipwrecks searching for remnants of clothes, containers of food or even floating human remains.

Divers say it’s becoming a popular hobby to journey into the thousands of schooners, steamers and other sunken ships embedded in the depths of the Great Lakes.

"It’s kind of like exploring a haunted house underwater," said Michael Haynes, who teaches diving lessons in Menomonee Falls. "You start to imagine what it was like aboard that ship. You’re touching history."

Although shipwrecks often are associated with oceans, the Great Lakes hold an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 sunken ships. About 1,000 Great Lakes shipwrecks have been identified, and about 10 new ships are discovered annually.   more...

 



Watersports  

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St. Lawrence project sparks criticism

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MONTREAL-The Bloc québécois wants to make a controversial project to widen the St. Lawrence seaway, one of the major issues in the next federal election.

Wednesday, the Bloc announced the formation of a coalition of environmental groups to make sure the project is stopped.

The M.P. for Rosemont-Petite-Patrie, and environment critic for the Bloc, Bernard Bigras, said he does not understand the government's attitude, or the way the government is siding with Americans to the detriment of the environment.   more...

 



Environment  

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EDITORIAL: How best to reduce mercury pollution

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The issue: Emissions from coal-fired power plants

Our opinion: Let's be practical. New technology and conservation are needed to help make the new regulations work.

Indiana and Illinois are among the worst states for mercury pollution, according to a new report by an environmental organization. True, but solving the problem is controversial.

Coal-fired power plants -- the source of this area's electricity -- are the single biggest source of this pollution. And being a metal, mercury doesn't travel far like some airborne pollutants do. Hence the environmentalists' concern about "hot spots" where mercury concentrations are high.  more...


 



Environment  

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Flora and Fauna of the Great Lakes Region

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This multimedia digital collection provides access to materials selected from Fish and Mammal Divisions of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology and the Fungus Collections of the University of Michigan Herbarium.   more...

 





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DENNIS CONNER

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(After attending the America's Cup venue announcement in Geneva and subsequent meetings with ACM in Valencia, DC filed a very complete report which is now posted on the Stars & Stripes website. Here are a few excerpts.)

ACM was very proud of the deal they struck with Valencia, it has been said it was a $600,000,000 commitment and includes the development of the run down area of the Valencia port into an America's Cup harbor similar to the one in Auckland New Zealand. It will also include a mega-yacht marina on an island in the middle of the harbor. Valencia will be developing the syndicate base properties in such a way that they can be utilized for alternate uses in the future, after the America's Cup. There will be a big America's Cup Village that will cater to the 10 million visitors they project will attend he Cup. 

Most of the changes in the event will raise the costs of competing and in reality limiting the number of entries. If the corporate world decides that these changes make the event more valuable to them, then maybe some sponsorships will develop. The truth is that at this stage Alinghi and Oracle have a big jump and the rest of the teams really have their work cut out for them to raise the money, assemble their teams and start the catch-up process. We still hope to be there somehow, so please do not take us out of your favorites’ list on your browser just yet.   more...

 



Sailing  

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State grant will keep Au Sable cleaner

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Trout swimming in the Au Sable River won't have to dodge cigarette butts and road salt from the city of Grayling's storm sewers much longer.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has awarded Grayling a $758,000 grant to divert or treat storm-water runoff before it flows into one of Michigan's finest rivers.

Over the next few years, the town's storm water drains will be routed into the ground or have new equipment installed to reduce the amount of motor oil, sediment and trash entering the Au Sable. Currently, such pollution dumps directly into the river through the city's storm drains, Jensen said.   more...



Environment  

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Bottler sets layoffs if judge's order stands

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With just a week until the spigot is closed, a Mecosta County bottled-water company is offering several reasons why a judge should keep the water flowing while a higher court reviews a decision that virtually would shut down Ice Mountain.

Mecosta County Circuit Judge Lawrence Root has set a Dec. 16 deadline for the company to stop drawing water from high-capacity wells in Morton Township. He said the pumping harms three wetlands and a stream.

Root will hear arguments Friday on whether to put the order on hold while the case is appealed.

The company, however, repeatedly was warned of the risks of building the $150 million factory and hiring workers while the lawsuit was moving through court.  more...



Environment  

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Tunnel blast anniversary sees progress

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Documentary tells disaster's story

Thursday is a milestone for St. Clair County. It is the 32nd anniversary of the 1971 Water Tunnel Explosion.

The blast occurred inside a 6-mile-long underground water line from Lake Huron to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Treatment plant on Metcalf Road near State Road. It took the lives of 22 workers.

For decades, the anniversary came and went with little notice. The disaster and its victims seemed forgotten.

In the past two years, however, things began to change. A committee of community members, some who lost loved ones in the explosion, is determined to honor the victims of the disaster and to ensure the Blue Water Area never forgets that date.

There is another milestone to mark the explosion's 32nd anniversary. The Price of Water, a film documentary of the tunnel explosion and the community efforts to establish a memorial, will make its debut on Comcast Cable 6 tomorrow.

The film's creation is a milestone, as well. Produced by the Public Affairs Division of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, it tells the story of the Lake Huron tunnel and of the people who gave their lives to build it. The film also speaks to the commitment of Water Department officials to cooperate with the Tunnel Committee and bring greater attention to the group's memorial efforts.   more...



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Lake Ice Warning

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In the last week several northern Michigan lakes have started to freeze over. But officers are warning folks it's not safe to be on the ice at this point. Today the Roscommon County Sheriff's Department gathered ice rescue gear in preparation for any emergencies. The department has five certified ice divers and an air boat that can travel on snow, ice and water. Last year the department spent two months looking for two snowmobilers who fell into the water while snowmobiling.   more...





Charges Filed in Clinton Drownings

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CLINTON (CBS/AP) A woman and her boyfriend were charged with first-degree murder Wednesday in the drownings of her three children in a submerged car in a lake three months ago, authorities said.

DeWitt County Sheriff Roger Massey would not comment on a motive, other than to say, "We do have a motive."

Maurice Lagrone Jr. and Amanda Hamm were charged with nine counts of first-degree murder each, Massey said.

Charges could result in the death penalty.

Lagrone was arrested Tuesday in a motel in the St. Louis area. Hamm was arrested in Bloomington Tuesday afternoon.

The sheriff said the information developed by investigators indicated that the deaths were an "intentional act."  more...



Other  

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Despite the Hype, Bottled Water is Neither Cleaner nor Greener than Tap Water

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Editorial:

"You drink tap water? Are you crazy?" asks a 21-year-old radio producer from the Chicago area. "I only drink bottled water." In a trendy nightclub in New York City, the bartender tells guests they can only be served bottled water, which costs $5 for each tiny half-pint container. One outraged clubber is stopped by the restroom attendant as she tries to refill the bottle from the tap. "You can't do that," says the attendant. "New York's tap water isn't safe."

Whether a consumer is shopping in a supermarket or a health food store, working out in a fitness center, eating in a restaurant or grabbing some quick refreshment on the go, he or she will likely be tempted to buy bottled water. The product comes in an ever-growing variety of sizes and shapes, including one bottle that looks like a drop of water with a golden cap. Some fine hotels now offer the services of "water sommeliers" to advise diners on which water to drink with different courses.   more...





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Down the River for Ducks

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The best way to beat the duck hunting crowds is by float hunting. It’s also very effective during cold snaps that freeze swamps and ponds. But there’s more to it than just pointing a canoe downstream. You need some style, or all you’ll see is the wrong end of flushed birds with few chances to pull the trigger.

Quiet Down
It all starts with the proper craft. The quietest canoes are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, a common material for durable, general-purpose boats. (Royalex is a familiar brand of it.) Fiberglass is next best, as long as your stretch of stream is free of hull-shredding rapids. Far worse are aluminum canoes, which hang up easily on rocks and often make you sound as if you’re paddling a tambourine. If you must float in a metal boat, dampen the decibels by lining it with outdoor carpeting or old carpet samples. No matter what you paddle, soundproof the rest of your gear: zipper pulls, pockets full of shells, even the tiny metal tabs on glove cuffs will produce clinks and clanks loud enough to send a preening pintail scrambling.   more...





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