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State OKs purchase of Barker’s Island buildings for NERR

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MADISON — A Lake Superior research center is acquiring its first lakeshore facilities as the University of Wisconsin Regents approved leases Friday with the city of Superior.

Established last fall, the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve will convert a restaurant and a boat excursion business on Barker’s Island into classrooms, research labs and meeting rooms. The Lake Superior NERR will lease properties at 3 and 14 Marina Dr. from the city and buy the two single-story buildings there and a 110-foot-long dock for $850,000.

The research center is partly funded by a federal grant with a required contribution from local entities.  more...



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Nuclear waste dump idea sparks unease in Ontario

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TORONTO — A community on the shores of Lake Huron has cracked open the door to southern Ontario's becoming the permanent storage site for Canada's spent, but still dangerously radioactive, nuclear fuel.

Until now, only nine communities in remote areas of northern Saskatchewan and northern Ontario were in the running to host the $24-billion project for a mammoth underground facility.

Now, to the consternation of some, one of southern Ontario's premier tourist destinations is on the radar, although how it got there is already the subject of dispute.   more...



Environment  Other  

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Leave it to Beavers: City Says They May be Causing Power Outages

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Did the beavers turn out the lights?

A Rochester city official said this week that beavers living along the Clinton River on the city border are likely to blame for some recent power outages in the area. 

But don't rush to blame the river-dwelling mammals just yet: They're just trying to get by.

Deputy City Manager Nik Banda said DTE-contracted crews working this week to clear tree limbs away from power lines have found evidence that beavers chewing cottonwood trees were likely responsible for downed lines.  more...



Animals  Other  

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Efforts to bolster lake herring populations in Lake Huron may be stunted by deadly disease

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Algae blooms, overfishing and invasive species depleted once thriving schools of Great Lakes herring.

Now Michigan officials want to bring them back in Lake Huron. But there’s a new concern – lake herring are highly susceptibility to an emerging fatal fish disease.

Researchers found that lake herring are prime targets for Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus. It causes organs, skin and muscles to hemorrhage. The eyes of the sick fish bulge, they are covered by open sores and they eventually die.  more...



Environment  Fishing  Other  

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Flashback: Remember when they tried to make Lake Champlain a Great Lake?

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Wisconsin's bid to hijack Michigan's status as the Mitten State reminds us of a previous flap over state's rights. In 1998, Vermont got its Lake Champlain designated a Great Lake to get easier access to federal environmental funds.

To refresh your memory, we reprint an article from the March 25, 1998, Free Press about that delicious flap.

WASHINGTON -- Lake Champlain looks all washed up when it comes to being a Great Lake, but supporters of the body of water touching Vermont, New York and Quebec don't care.

That's because an agreement reached Monday by Michigan and Vermont members of Congress will make it easier for Vermont schools to obtain federal money to study the lake's environmental problems.  more...


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S.S. Badger seeks more time to replace boilers

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The owners of the S.S. Badger have asked regulators for more time to replace the coal-fired boilers that propel the ferry across Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich.

Lake Michigan Carry Ferry Inc. has asked the Environmental Protection Agency for an individual water discharge permit - rather than a general vessel permit - that the company says would give it an additional five years to retrofit the ship.

"We need more time," said Lynda Matson, vice president of customer service and marketing for the ferry.

But the Badger's competitor, Milwaukee-based Lake Express, said the move is nothing more than a delay tactic by the company to use old technology to keep operating with a lower overhead than Lake Express, which uses diesel fuel and complies with all environmental laws.  more...



Environment  Other  

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Anchoring Hand Signals

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Recently while on a trip down to check the MV Independence, a boat neighbor at the dock stopped me and asked about anchoring.  He said that many times he and his wife get into this shouting match because she’s up at the bow dropping the anchor and he’s running the boat.  She’s screaming at him to do something, but with her back turned, and the sounds of the engines, he only hears "Bob, mumph, blah, blah, @&#%!"  He said he watched us come in to a local anchorage once, and how without a word, you calmly walked to the bow, your wife took the helm, and viola’ you were anchored.  Never a word was heard between you two.  Of course my wife gave me a dirty look and said, "why can’t we do that!"    more...


Other  Technology  

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Want to properly practice shooting flares? Here’s how

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Most boaters will never fire off a flare from their boats, but it’s a good idea to know how in case you ever need to.

And properly staging a practice run is easier than you might think — you just need to let the U.S. Coast Guard know.

That’s what the operator of a 38-foot vessel named Down Time did. A flare exercise will be conducted on the boat at 11:30 a.m. today, Nov. 18, in Hood Canal. The coordinator of the exercise notified Coast Guard District 13, which then added the item to its weekly Local Notice to Mariners, a list of channel conditions, obstructions, danger areas and other on-water happenings of interest to boaters.   more...



Other  Technology  

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Compass Eye App for iPhone and iPad Helps Sailors Safely Navigate Stormy Seas

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Compass Eye app
Sailors can now use their iPhones and iPads as a multi-functional bearing compass that replaces the need for compass binoculars and professional bearing compasses for explorations and excursions. Electric Pocket Ltd announces the launch of Compass Eye, an exciting new nautical Augmented Reality app for iPhone and iPad.  more...


Other  Technology  

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Nature is Just Plain Awesome [Video]

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Wired recently posted an article as to the science behind massive flocks of starlings and why they can all instantly turn at the same time.  more...


Other  

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Coast Guard Cutter Alder delivers holiday trees to Chicago

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The Duluth-based Coast Guard Cutter Alder is taking on a new role this week, re-enacting the voyage of the legendary “Christmas Ship” on Lake Michigan.

The Alder departed Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on Tuesday morning with a load of Christmas trees bound for Chicago, according to a Coast Guard news release. After the Alder arrives in Chicago on Friday morning, the trees will be distributed to low-income families.

The journey is a re-enactment of the voyage of the original Christmas Ship, the schooner Rouse Simmons, which brought Christmas trees and wreaths from the Upper Peninsula to Chicago for many years. The Rouse Simmons, with its load of Christmas trees, sank with all hands in a Lake Michigan storm in 1912.  more...



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Sale finalized; dredging to ready Keewatin for June departure

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The sale of the ship from owner R.J. Peterson to Gil Blutrich of Canada was finalized Wednesday said Eric Conroy, the consultant overseeing the project.

“It’s a done deal,” said Conroy.

Blutrich is chairman and president of Skyline International Development Inc., a private Canadian investment and management company. He plans to have the ship towed from Douglas to Port McNicoll, Ontario, where it will be part of a renovated waterfront and tourist attraction.  more...


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Bill in Congress Would Preserve Boating Access

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ALEXANDRIA, Va., December 1, 2011 -- Working waterfronts, those parts of town at the water’s edge dotted with marine-dependent businesses like marinas, boatyards and haul-out facilities, are crucial to recreational boating. However, in some places they are struggling as municipalities grapple with development pressures and poor planning and that’s why Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine has introduced the “Keep America’s Waterfront Working Act of 2011” (H.R. 3109) in Congress. BoatUS is urging boaters to ask their Congressional representatives to sign-on as co-sponsors of the bill.   more...


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Sheila Consaul ready to turn Fairport lighthouse into a summer home

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Sheila Consaul has officially taken possession of the Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse and now the real work begins in turning the iconic structure into a summer home.

And that job will require repairing recent vandalism damage done to the building — located along the breakwater that juts into Lake Erie from the Headlands Beach State Park and Nature Preserve.  more...


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Coast Guard crew honoured

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Sharbot Lake's Jason Johnson, a Commanding Officer with the Canadian Coast Guard, and his crew were honoured last week for their work in the aftermath of a tornado that hit the Ontario town of Goderich in August.

Johnson and three colleagues from the search-and-rescue vessel Cape Discovery received the Canadian Coast Guard Distinction Award for rescuing a stranded boater on Lake Huron.  more...



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