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The poop on feeding waterfowl

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Feeding bits of bread to ducks and geese at St. Paul's Lake Phalen is lots of fun. You get to see the beautiful birds up close, and you are happy to give them a treat. But this story is about the results of all that fun.

For one thing, those results end up all over the park paths; you might have stepped in them yourself.

And as a reader recently pointed out to the Watchdog, another result of feeding waterfowl is that vegetation along the lake's shoreline has been ruined. It's not only bad for the environment, but for the birds themselves, said Nathan Johnson, St. Paul Parks and Recreation natural resource specialist.  more...

 



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Ferry slips off blocks at maintenance site

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Crews who planned to spruce up Rochester's high-speed ferry expect to examine the ship today after it slipped off wooden blocks intended to support it in a dry dock Monday.

The Spirit of Ontario, a 1,400-ton catamaran expected to shuttle passengers across Lake Ontario between Rochester and Toronto, traveled Monday to the Port Weller Dry Docks, just west of Niagara Falls near St. Catharines, Ontario, where it was expected to undergo routine maintenance, minor repairs and a new paint job.    more...

 



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Spring early due to global warming

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WASHINGTON -- Every four springs, the state bird, the robin, arrives in Michigan a day earlier.

Endangered woodpeckers in North Carolina are laying their eggs about a week earlier than they did 20 years ago.

And some of Washington, D.C.'s signature cherry trees bloom about a month earlier than they did a half-century ago.

The first signs of spring are appearing earlier in the year, and a study released Monday by Stanford University says man-made global warming is clearly to blame.

Mother Nature has rushed spring forward by nearly 10 days worldwide, on average, in just 30 years, the study shows.   more...

 



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  • I just don't buy all this 'Global Warming' crap coming from the liberal side of...more
    - [kunnath]

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UK and Halsey-Lidgard Sailmakers Merge

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UK Sailmakers and Halsey-Lidgard have merged to become UK-Halsey Sailmakers. The new organisation will now have 51 lofts and service centres in 20 countries. It will be headquartered in City Island, New York.

A statement issued by the company said the merger will make UK-Halsey one of the largest sailmaking operations in the world, and that the new company will combine their respective expertises to create a broader market base.

"UK with its leadership in string sails (loadpath laminates) is strong in production monohulls while we've really been in much larger yachts and multihulls," said Andy Halsey, President and owner of Halsey-Lidgard. "But both companies have lofts where the customer deals with knowledgeable sailmaking professionals."   more...

 



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A Reader Responds

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The level of female participation in the sport has grown exponentially over just the past few years. Has there been much male-backlash?

BA
Male backlash - exactly what is that? Is it a glorified kind of self flagellation? Frankly, it seems to me that the traditional sexist overtones that have characterized sailing in the past are fading. Women are certainly starting to be recognized for the job they can do, and the skills they have. And socially…..I really can't picture an après sailing party with a bunch of guys dancing by/with themselves.

The female numbers are definitely up in lots of areas: high school and collegiate sailing; big boat stuff like PHRF, IMS, class OD and handicap racing; and there seems to be an increased interest by women in women only events as well. It is good to see. It certainly seems that more women are sailing and are doing well - not only in crewing roles but as drivers as well. There are more of opportunities out there than ever before, but there is still a long way to go before we see real equity across the board.   more...

 

Response...

The "traditional sexist overtones" won't fade when there is a dominating “boy’s club” feel writen in sailing related information and news. For instance, an article “The Port Huron Yacht Club - PH100 / Put-in-Bay Race Week,” cites: “Gentleman, The West Marine Annual I-LYA Bay Week Regatta... Don Bartels, Race Chairman” Although addressing just “Gentleman” is subtle, it is a constant reminder that some members of this sport look at sailing as a man’s arena. This kind of “boy’s club” atmosphere in this day and age is truly ironic, especially when Ellen McArthur recently became the fastest sailor to make it around the world solo (as stated in another article “Solo Against the Sea”). I get a little frustrated sometimes, especially when it comes to one of my loves: sailing.  Erica.



Sailing  

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  • In response to Ericka...Yes, old traditions die hard. But, everyone should know...more
    - [storm]

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The Doublehanded Sailing Association

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Hind-Hornet spring regatta results for 2005

2005 HIND/HORNET                      
Class: Multi    Division: 1  Distance: 17.1nm  19.7sm   Start Time: 11:15
  Sail                                    Time    Finish  Corrected  O/A
  Num  Boat Name        Skipper    Rate Allowance  Time   Elap Time  DIV CLS
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    14 FELIX            COVERT-SIS   21  0:05:59 13:29:08   2:08:09   1   1

 Class: PHRF 1A  Division: 1  Distance: 17.1nm  19.7sm   Start Time: 11:15
  Sail                                    Time    Finish  Corrected  O/A
  Num  Boat Name        Skipper    Rate Allowance  Time   Elap Time  DIV CLS
 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 25497 CARINTHIA        KERN         51  0:14:32 13:40:27   2:10:55   2   1
 15006 MERLIN           AMSLER       51  0:14:32 13:46:03   2:16:31   5   2
   346 VAPOUR TRAIL     STEYN        96  0:27:22 14:01:30   2:19:08   8   3
   570 CUJO             MCCLIMENT    96  0:27:22 14:01:52   2:19:30   9   4
 25539 JUST IN TIME     BELLO        72  0:20:31 14:04:31   2:28:60  20   5
 48309 JALEPENO         PARKES       75  0:21:23 14:09:57   2:33:35  24   6
 15172 POP'AYE          POPENAS      81  0:23:05 14:15:17   2:37:12  25   7
more results...


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The Bertram 360 Open/Express scores a hit.

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Designing a new model for a production builder, particularly a legendary marque such as Bertram, is tricky business. If it is too close to the brand's existing boats, the designer will be criticized for lack of originality. If is differs too much, the brand's loyalists will cry foul.

Bertram, the sole American yard among Italian boatbuilding giant Ferretti Group's 17 shipyards, faced that dilemma when they decided to extend the lower end of their line with a boat in the mid-30-foot range. The solution was the new Bertram 360, which is being offered in two versions, open and express. Both are the work of the Bertram and Ferretti in-house engineering groups in collaboration with Ferretti's stylist of choice, Zuccon International.   more...

 



Boat Reviews  

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Michigan State Ferry Album

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MDOT,Mackinac,mac1861,ferry_photosWhen the Mackinac Bridge opened to traffic on November 1, 1957, car ferry service between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace ended. In 34 years of service, the ferries operated by the Department of State Highways carried approximately 12 million vehicles and more than 30 million passengers across the Straits of Mackinac.

Most travelers, including many who made regular crossings, viewed the passing of the state ferries with mixed emotions. The new $100 million bridge came as a blessing and a necessity, boosting tourist traffic in the Upper Peninsula and helping economic development. Driving by auto high above the blue waters of the Straits is a memorable experience. But the leisurely five-mile ferry trip was a thrill of its own. For many passengers, it was their only experience aboard a ship.


The majestic panorama of the Straits, with Mackinac Island in the background, is one that few who stood on the decks of the ferries will forget. Even more exciting were the winter crossings aboard the icebreaker Vacationland as it crunched through massive ice floes as if they were paper boxes.   more...

 



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Summer Album

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MDOT, Mackinac, MackinacSummer, Summer_Photos

Activity at the Mackinac Bridge takes a dramatic turn when the first wave of summer travelers hits the highways of Michigan to participate in the popular St. Ignace Car Show in late June. From then until early September, a constant stream of automobiles and trucks will cross over the bridge and a steady flow of pleasure boats, sailboats and freighters will pass under the bridge. Enjoy our summer album.   more...


 



Nav and Harbors  

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A Tale of Two Bridges, Spanning Blue Waters

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Throughout history people have been challenged by a desire to get to the other side of a natural or manmade obstacle. It is no wonder then that a fascination about building bridges exists. Constructing monumental bridges, in particular, raises questions about how its designers and builders have managed to span large distances without the structure falling down. Most of us have approached these immense engineering marvels puzzling over the story behind the bridge’s construction.

At 6,535 feet long, the Blue Water Bridge over the St. Clair River, between Port Huron, Michigan, and Point Edward, Ontario, posed unique construction challenges during the 1930s. Nearly sixty years later, construction of a second bridge just south of the first presented a rare opportunity to compare past and present experiences for these two structures.   more...

 



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Tough times for tourism

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TRAVERSE CITY - Diane Hansell remembers the first season at her five-room bed-and-breakfast overlooking Crooked Lake, when guests often visited twice a year and she regularly took in overflow visitors sent from other lodges.
      That was just five years ago, in 2000, but now it looks like the good old days.
      "(It) was a pretty good year," Hansell said. "Since then, everything has been down from the previous year."
      "You can weather a couple of bad years, but three or four in a row makes it difficult," she says.
      Her experiences reflect a Michigan tourism industry trying to awaken from a multi-year slumber that has experienced largely flat growth since the peak tourism season in 1999. An industry that used to grow 3 to 4 percent statewide in a typical year expanded by less than 1 percent last year, squeezed by a sluggish economy, high gas prices and fickle weather.   more...


 



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Coast Guard Rescues 3 Men From Lake Michigan

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Three men were rescued Saturday night after their boat capsized four miles off the coast of Kenosha.

At the time, the lake temperature was about 48 degrees, and the waves were between 2 and 3 feet.

The men were in the water for about 20 minutes and experienced hypothermia, but they survived.

"You know you're wet, you're cold, but I wasn't scared because I knew the Coast Guard knew where we were. They answered our call, and I knew they would find us," Reid Nehls said.   more...

 



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LAKE EFFECTS: Changing budgets, policies threaten water quality

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In a state as defined by its lakes as Michigan is, the ripple effects of federal action on water quality can build to mighty effect. Goals for the Great Lakes will never be achieved if current trends continue to diminish both the dollars and the policies aimed at long-term improvement.

The U.S. House, for example, appears poised to chop even more money out of the program for low-interest loans that help communities finance major projects such as upgrades to their sewage treatment plants. This year's funding is only about four-fifths of last year's; now the appropriations committee has slashed another fifth for next year. In dollars, that represents a drop from $1.35 billion to $850 million in just two years.   more...

 



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Invasive species called 'significant' ecological danger to United States

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 CLEVELAND -- Calling the threat of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes one of the most significant and urgent ecological issues facing the United States, the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said that aggressive federal action is needed to stop the introduction and spread of these aquatic invaders from ballast tanks of vessels entering the lakes, including ships declared to have no ballast on board.

"Because aquatic invasive species are so damaging to the ecosystem and so difficult to eradicate once established, preventing their introduction must be the primary focus of federal action," said ODNR Director Sam Speck, in written testimony presented at a public meeting held by the U.S. Coast Guard. He urged the Coast Guard to exercise its full authority in aggressively and decisively combating this threat.   more...

 



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Condom control — at a price

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Case closed on the great condom cleanup caper.

After spending more than $1.8 million for a temporary system to catch stray condoms slipping through the Jones Island sewage treatment plant - including having a full-time worker at $52.15 an hour manually skimming errant condoms from the final wastewater treatment tanks - the sewerage district is declaring its effluent condom-free.

Pretty much, anyway.

"We are fairly confident we are capturing a majority" of the spent condoms before they can reach the Milwaukee Harbor and Lake Michigan, said Bill Graffin, spokesman for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

"If we need to take more steps, we don't know what they would be," he said.   more...

 



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