A Lost Lumber and Company Town – New River Michigan

On the shores of Lake Huron near the tip of Michigan’s Thumb is a well appointed cottage community that used to be a thriving company lumber town. New River Michigan as been almost erased by time and nature.

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A Vanished Town in Michigan’s Thumb

Near the tip of the eastern side of Michigan’s thumb lays a small cluster of neatly appointed cottages and mobile homes, some with a commanding view of the Lake Huron. This neighborhood is situated near a creek called New River. There is a street with a neat name, “Tip O Thumb Drive.” It describes the neighborhood perfectly. It’s almost idyllic. The question is, did someone develop this as a neighborhood during the cottage boom after World War II? Surprisingly this cottage retirement community is way older than that. It’s the site of a vanished Michigan town.



New River Michigan in 1900

An 1870 plat map shows New River with a grid of plotted streets on both sides of the river and a large dock extending out into Lake Huron. By 1900 all references to this community were gone, erased, expunged from the public record. This little “neighborhood” was once the thriving company town. However, the former town has been erased by time and nature and a bit of redevelopment


The Incorporation of New River, Michigan

The town of New River was located about a mile from Huron City and eight miles from Port Austin. From initial land grants dated May 12, 1845, to J. Spikerman and Walter Hume. Originally starting as a fishing village, the hamlet developed quickly.

In the creek at New River, fish were so plentiful that it was a common practice for early settlers to catch them in the Spring in huge nets. Often a year’s worth of fish could be put away in barrels and cured. Sturgeon was common and frequently caught. 

In the early 1900s, there are stories of local residents and farmers finding stone arrowheads and clay and stone pipes around New River creek. The local lore at the time alluded to the belief that it was once an Indian village or a hunting and gathering site for one of the many tribes that crisscrossed the region prior to European settlements.

Lumber was the Primary Export of New River in the late 1800’s

New River Experienced Rapid Growth

A sawmill was built in 1853 using the water power of New River Creek. In addition to providing a power source, the creek carried the mill’s sawdust out into the lake. (Editor Note…this contrasts with operations at Port Crescent which used sawdust and lumbering waste as a source of fuel. ) A grist mill came in 1856. By 1858, industrialists Howe & Clark employed up to 100 men and built docks for shipment of lumber.

Other men who came there in the 1850s were J. R. Chambers in 1851, John Ginn in 1853, Francis Palms, in 1854, S.  Sharpstein 1855, Thomas Donahue in 1856, and Alexander Miller in 1858. Here Cooper, Creevy & Go. used to operate an extensive salt block. However, their headquarters were in Port Austin.

It’s interesting to note that the first official deed recorded in Huron County Michigan was from Lorenz M. Mason to the County of Huron. It is for a  sum of $175 and describes what is now known as the New River Cemetery, consisting of four acres. The deed describes as being the burying ground now in use Huron township, the last vestige of this vanished Michigan town

A Typical Michigan Lumber Mill

By 1870 more lumbermen arrived, Cooper, Creevy, and Noble came and operated mills, established two salt wells; one was 1040 feet deep and the other was 1003 feet deep. These wells produced on an average of 150 barrels of salt a day. The salt was shipped to Detroit, Toledo and St. Louis. Even today it’s said that that near the mouth of the New River Creek, there are still the foundation pilings driven in the ground where the salt blocks were located.


Map Showing New River in 1858

New River was a Company Town

The company owned almost the whole village. They owned the cooper shop and made their own barrels for transporting salt, the houses in which the workers lived, their own lumber mills, and blacksmith shop. The company built and maintained a boarding house. This town had a long dock where steamers regularly stopped for freight and passengers.

There is one sad chapter in the short history of New River. On October 23rd, 1871 there was a boiler explosion at the grist mill and salt block owned by W.H. Cooper. It was 1:30 in the afternoon when the mill was just starting its operations. Suddenly, the boiler head blew up severely scalding five men and an 11-year-old boy who was in the fire room at the time. Three of the men and the boy died of their burns.

Per Mr. James Kilpratrick, a state Geologist who visited in 1937, New River had the finest grade of salt found in Michigan.  However, the salt block was discontinued in 1886 due to the economic downturn of the late 1800s. The low price of salt and the increasing costs of fuel doomed the operation. (Note The fuel was likely coal, and it was getting too expensive in the 1890s as a fuel source. Also, cheap slashing and sawdust were no longer available as lumbering operations waned. By 1865 all sawmill operations at New River had ceased. )

Lumbermen in the 1800s

One of the final acts of New River took place in 1895 at the Michigan Supreme Court. Noble vs. Thompson’s case involved the debts and mortgage and taxes of the salt block at New River.

Local lore from 1883  noted that this town had a long dock where steamers regularly stopped for freight and passengers. The small town had a store, a church, and a schoolhouse. When the salt industry declined, the town began to go down. Finally, every vestige of what had been a flourishing town disappeared.

Today all that remains of the vanished Michigan lumber town of New River is the cemetery and the salt block’s foundations, which are buried near today’s cottages overlooking Lake Huron.

Michigan Ghost Towns

Sources for Vanished Michigan Towns

Pioneer history of Huron County, Michigan by Florence McKinnon Gwinn.

History of Grindstone City Area, Grindstone City, Huron County, Michigan

33 Items to Include in Your Emergency Car Kit

Planning on taking a drive to visit some of the must-see sites in Michigan this winter? When it comes to safety on the road, we should all have an emergency kit in our cars. In order to decide what to put in your kit, you need to take into account the weather in your area (here in Michigan, we know it will often be cold and snowy!) and what items will suit your family’s needs.

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Keep essential emergency items stowed

Planning on taking a drive to visit some of the must-see sites in Michigan’s Upper Thumb? When it comes to safety on the road, we should all have an emergency kit in our cars. To decide what to put in your kit, you need to consider the weather in your area (here in Michigan, we know it will often be cold and snowy!) and what items will suit your family’s needs.

Being Prepared for An Emergency

Your car emergency kit list should be divided into three separate areas. These include (1) items you keep accessible in your car, (2) emergency items for an auto breakdown—I keep these in the compartment with my spare tire, and (3) emergency items to take with you if you have to abandon your vehicle on the road. I suggest packing the third group of items in a backpack with multiple compartments to make it easy to carry.

Aside from your emergency kit, you should always travel with a fully-charged cell phone and keep a car charger in your vehicle at all times. If you don’t have a smartphone with GPS (or a GPS system integrated into your vehicle), consider buying a stand-alone unit. And, when you live in Michigan (or any other cold, snowy climate), make sure that you have snow tires (or chains) to put on your car in the autumn. 

11 Items to Keep Accessible for Any Emergency

  • Small tool kit. This can include a multi-bit screwdriver, scissors, pliers, box cutter, tape, and Allen wrench.
  • $50 or $100 in small bills, hidden in your center console. If you’re stuck and need food or a hotel room, this stash could be a lifesaver!
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Several bottles of water
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Adhesive bandages and antibiotic cream
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or a hand-crank model
  • Umbrella and rain poncho
  • Extra medication if you have a medical condition and rely on prescriptions.
  • Extra hats, gloves, scarves, and earmuffs (or 180s)
  • Car safety hammer and seatbelt cutter. This item is one you’ll want to have within arm’s reach. Some models feature velcro straps for easy attachment.
Keep an ice scraper handy

11 Car Breakdown Items

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Three reflective warning triangles. Most kits come with one, but you should have three of them to place at 50-foot intervals to warn oncoming traffic.
  • Emergency flares
  • Foam tire sealant
  • Spare tire, tire iron, and jack
  • Jumper cables (the longer the better)
  • Tow strap rated to tow 6,000 pounds
  • 550 Paracord. It can be used for just about anything.
  • Assorted bungee cords. These are great for a loose bumper, muffler, or for tying your trunk down.
  • Shovel
  • Cat litter. If you’re stuck, cat litter works as well as sand to give you traction in icy conditions, but it’s much lighter.
  • Ice fishing supplies. If you get stuck near a lake in the winter, what better way to take your mind off the fact that you’re lost! (That’s a joke, although you certainly could bring them along if you’re so inclined.)
Be able to fix a flat tire

11 Items for A Mobile Emergency Kit

  • Hand crank flashlight with NOAA radio and USB port. This is a great multi-use tool that will allow you to hear emergency broadcasts, weather forecasts, and to charge your cell phone in the event that your car charger won’t work.
  • First aid kit and first aid manual
  • Duct tape. Astronauts take it into space as a multi-use tool, so you should take a roll on the road!
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Space blankets. These are compact and lightweight, so you might as well pack a few.
  • Non-perishable snacks. I keep protein bars in my pack and check them every 6 months or so to see if they need to be replaced. The chocolate-coated ones are fine in cold weather months, but avoid having these in your car in the summer!
  • Waterproof matches/lighter/long burning emergency candles. These are staples in any emergency kit and can be used to start a fire, provide light, and even boil water.
  • Maps and a compass. Of course, you’ll need to know how to use them. There are a number of online tutorials available if you need to brush up on your map and compass skills. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to read a map, and one on how to use a compass.
  • Loud whistle or air-horn. These can act as a beacon to help emergency workers find you if you’re lost or injured. Keep several whistles on lanyards in your pack, one for every family member.
  • Glowsticks. Not only will these amuse the kids, but they can also help you to keep track of your family in low-light situations.
  • A pack of cards, travel-size games, or a paperback book. If you’re in a situation that you have to wait out, this can alleviate the boredom.

Specialty Items

These are things that you may need, depending on your family composition. If you have a baby, you might want to keep some extra diapers, diaper rash ointment, baby wipes, and canned or powdered formula stashed in your car. If you regularly travel with a family pet, have an extra leash, some sealed dog (or cat) food, and a collapsible pet bowl in your car. 

Be Prepared for Any Contingency

A well-stocked car will save you a lot of hassle down the road! You can learn more about preparing an emergency car kit tailored to your specific needs from the Department of Homeland Security and the DMV websites. We also have tips on getting your car ready for the winter.

A Short History of the Saginaw Bay Fishery

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Editor Note: This is an excerpt of two reports that the Michigan DNR issued in 1977 and 2004. It offers a short history of the Saginaw Bay Fishery and the reasons for its collapse in the 1940s. The notes in the final part of this post reflect the situation on the Bay 15 years ago. A lot has changed in the history of Great Lakes fishing.


Saginaw Bay’s Status as an Important Fishery

The Outer Bay

Historically, Saginaw Bay supported the largest commercial walleye fishery in Lake Huron and was second in the Great Lakes to only Lake Erie.

The earliest commercial fisheries dated to the 1830s and walleye were specifically noted in catch records as early as 1858.

Saginaw Bay supported the second-largest walleye fishery on the Great Lakes until a precipitous decline occurred in the 1940s. Most of the catch was made during the spawning migration into the Bay’s shallow, inner part, but some smaller walleyes were taken during fall migration. All evidence indicates that the inner part of the Bay and its tributaries served as the major spawning and nursery grounds; the outer part of the bay and the adjacent waters of Lake Huron was the summer home of adult and subadult walleyes. Evidence was presented by Schneider and Leach (1978) that this population contributed to fisheries as far away as Thunder Bay.


Impact of Logging and Early Farming Practices

In 1864, a fall and winter fishery was initiated on the Saginaw and Shiawassee rivers, which, by the end of the 1860s, was averaging 68 metric tons of yellow perch, northern pike, black bass, and walleyes per year. These fish reportedly moved up into the rivers during storms on the Bay. The walleyes were tiny —averaging only 4 ounces —and many were wasted because they were too small to be used. By 1879 this fishery was reputedly declining because of sawmill pollution. A size limit was finally imposed in 1894, but undersized fish were still being taken 10 years later. This fishery dwindled and was closed in 1908, but as late as 1940, fingerling perch still migrated up the Saginaw and Cass rivers to Frankenmuth.

The fishery was supported by reproduction in the watershed’s rivers and on offshore reefs. River-based reproduction was lost first due to a progression of habitat degradation. Rivers were clogged with the products and waste from the logging industry. As watershed usage gave way to agriculture, sedimentation increased, further degrading the river spawning substrate.


Lumber run in Pigeon River Caseville

By the turn of the 20th Century, numerous dams were constructed, impeding spawning walleyes’ migration. As the Saginaw River system became industrialized, water was further polluted. During this time, reef-based reproduction sustained the bay’s walleye fishery. Eventually, it too succumbed to habitat loss fueled by sedimentation and reef degradation.

Saginaw River Water Quality impacts the Bay

As pointed out earlier, sawmills affected the Saginaw River fisheries as far back as 1879. The lumbering boom was over by the turn of the century, but other kinds of pollution have increased through the years. A siltation problem in the river (and to a lesser extent in the Bay), initiated by logging, was surely aggravated by intensive agricultural practices —including ditching and tiling —and by the sluggish current. Nutrients contributed by the rich soils, fertilizers, and domestic sewage, increased substantially as the Saginaw Valley developed. Populations in the four major cities in the watershed (Bay City, Flint, Saginaw, and Midland) expanded from 85,000 in 1900 to 322,000 in 1950. Bay City and Saginaw did not install primary sewage treatment plants until the early 1950s.


The Crash of the Saginaw Bay Fishery

The fishery peaked in 1942 at 930,000 kg (2,050,299 lbs) of harvest before it collapsed in 1944. Several localized walleye fisheries of Saginaw Bay collapsed around the turn of the century due to over-harvesting. Still, the overall open water fishery sustained an average yield of 458,000 kg ( 1,009,717 lbs.) from 1885 through 1950.

Herring Catch in the 1900s

Fluctuations in the Saginaw Bay fishery during this time probably represented repeated periods of overfishing and recovery. Because the fishery was sustained for such a long period, the collapse in 1944 is not attributed to the commercial fishery. Instead, the collapse is attributed to a series of year class failures resulting from habitat loss and degradation. However, the fishery’s intensive exploitation hastened the demise of the population and left it vulnerable to the effects of recruitment failures.


Alewives Take Over the Bay

Shortly after the collapse of the fishery in the 1940s, the bay was invaded by alewives. Alewives and the nonnative rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax were thought to have suppressed any possible natural recovery by preying on newly hatched walleye fry.

Alewife

Improvements to water quality in the bay, largely brought about by the passage of the Clean Water Act of the early 1970s, provided the foundation for a walleye recovery. Walleye fingerlings were stocked by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) in the early 1980s, and a sport fishery soon emerged. Over time, the walleye population and fishery grew, but with stocking at its maximum capacity and habitat and recruitment limitations still in place, the fishery eventually plateaued by the mid-1990s, well short of full recovery.


Walleye Status in Saginaw Bay Fishery in 2004

Walleye are now the dominate fish

The modern-day walleye population in the bay is supported by renewal from both stocking and natural reproduction and supplemented by immigration. Natural reproduction is limited to unimpeded portions of certain rivers, and reef-based reproduction is still lacking. Despite the three sources of walleye to the bay (limited river-based natural reproduction, stocking, and immigration), the bay’s walleye population and fishery still subsisted short of the full potential of the habitat and prey base. The bay’s ecosystem also continued to suffer from the effects of an overabundant (underutilized) prey base.


Source for the History of Saginaw Bay Fishing

Fielder, D. G., and J. P. Baker. 2004. Strategy and options for completing the recovery of walleye in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Special Report 29, Ann Arbor.

History of the Walleye Fisheries of Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron James C. Schneider Fisheries Research Report No. 1850 November 14, 1977


Walleye Fishing on Saginaw Bay



20 States Increased Minimum Wage in 2021 – What Would You Make?

20 states hiked their minimum wage in 2021. If you are wondering what you would earn making minimum wage we have this calculator for you. The result shows what your gross earnings would be in any state.

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The new year saw minimum wage hikes in 20 states and other cities. This wage hike is considered a shot in the arm for many essential and frontline workers who have no choice but to risk their health working with the public to make a living.

The largest increase was seen in New Mexico. A $1.50 hike to the state’s hourly minimum rate will increase to $10.50/hour. Increases of $1 an hour were added in Arkansas, California, Illinois, and New Jersey. Many states saw lower wage increases; Alaska, Maine, and South Dakota bumped their rate by only 0.15 cents an hour. Minnesota raised their rate a mere 8 cents, to $10.08 an hour.

Additional increases will occur in cities and several states, with most advances taking force on July 1.

2021 Minimum Wage Calculator for Any State

If you wonder what you would earn working minimum wage, we have this neat little calculator for you. Just fill in the blanks, and the calculated result reveals your gross earnings. This does not account for taxes and Social Security. Thinking of moving and want to move to a new state? Check out the results in multiple states and see the results. You may be surprised.



Even working a minimum wage job, you’re also earning credits for Social Security for disability or retirement. A person needs a minimum of 10 years of work to qualify for a social security benefit. You can check your Social Security benefits online.

The Current Federal Minimum Wage

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. This minimum hourly wage was last changed in 2008 when it was raised $0.70 from $6.55 to $7.25.

The Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 per hour is the minimum hourly pay any non-exempt worker in the U.S. can be paid for his work. The Federal Minimum Wage is applied nationally and cancels any state laws that give a lower wage rate to ensure that the local minimum wage in all states is at least $7.25 per hour.

Federal employers may not pay you under $7.25 per hour unless you or your job is explicitly excluded from the minimum wage under state or federal law.

History of the United States Minimum Wage

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed America’s first federal wage into law in 1938. The rate was $0.25 per hour. In 1950 the minimum wage had risen to $0.75 per hour. By 1968 it was $1.60 per hour. The rate was frozen at $3.35 per hour from January 1981 to April 1990. In 1997 it was $5.15 per hour. In 2009 the wage was raised to $7.25, where it remains to this day.

The Living Wage Concept

Contrast this to the other term, the Living Wage. Or the wage one needs to accommodate rent, food, utilities to live. The nationwide consensus is that one would have to earn $16.40 per hour to have a living wage. This wage varies by local, and there is a great deal of interest in its establishment.

Other Workplace and Wage Reading on Thumbwind

Flint Michigan Water Crisis History Timeline

As a result of the corrosive nature of the Flint River water and mismanagement by all of the appointed emergency managers, the Flint city government and by Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality an unknown number of children in Flint, Michigan (estimates are in the 1000’s), were exposed to dangerous amounts of lead in their drinking water over a period of 18 months.

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American Red Cross Volunteers Going Door to Door

 In April 2014 the City of Flint Michigan switched from water from Lake Huron provided by the city of Detroit to utilizing water taken from the Flint River. This was a cost-saving move under the leadership of a succession of Flint emergency managers appointed by Michigan governor Rick Snyder. As a result of the corrosive nature of the Flint River water and mismanagement by all of the appointed emergency managers,  the Flint city government and by Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality an unknown number of children in Flint, Michigan (estimates are in the 1000’s), were exposed to dangerous amounts of lead in their drinking water over a period of 18 months. Recently health officials are investigating if 87 cased of Legionnaires disease is linked to the water crisis. 10 people have died since 2014. The Flint water crisis timeline is a critical element in Flint Michigan history.

American Red Cross in Flint Michigan

Currently, there is no long-range plan to correct this problem. The American Red Cross has been coordinating 1000’s of volunteers who have been distributing bottled water door to door. Filters and test kits are also being distributed. Filters can treat up to 100 gallons of contaminated water.

Exposure to lead can have a wide range of effects on a child’s development and behavior. Even when exposed to small amounts of lead levels, children may appear inattentive, hyperactive, and irritable. Children with greater lead levels may also have problems with learning and reading, delayed growth, and hearing loss. At high levels, lead can cause permanent brain damage and even death.

Flint Volunteers After a Long Day

Quick Facts for Flint Michigan Water Crisis History

  • The population of Flint Michigan (est): 100,000
  • Households: 41,000
  • Children under 5 years of age (est.): 7,000

Flint Michigan Water Crisis Historical Timeline

A Filter, Cases of Water and Instructions were distributed

November 2011

  • Governor Snyder appoints Michael Brown as emergency manager of Flint. Brown is the first of the line of four emergency managers.

August 2012

  • Governor Snyder appoints Ed Kurtz emergency manager after Michael Brown steps down.

December 2012

  • Michigan Treasury and Flint city officials review alternatives to using Detroit City Water. Treasury reviews two options; staying with the Detroit water system and using the Karegnondi Water Authority, (KWA), a new pipeline to Lake Huron water under development.

March 2013

  • Flint City Council votes to join the Karegnondi Water Authority, which is under development. However, under emergency manager status, the vote is non-binding, and the council holds no authority.

April 2013

  • Ed Kurtz, Flint emergency manager, fails to negotiate and sign extension contract with Detroit water department citing unreliable rates. Detroit notifies city that it will end its contract with Flint in one year.

June 2013

  • Emergency manager Ed Kurtz hires Lockwood, Andrews & Newman for a plan to switch to Flint river water.
  • Karegnondi Water Authority breaks ground for water pipeline from Lake Huron
  • Emergency manager Ed Kurtz resigns

July 2013

  • Michael Brown returns to Flint to take back the role of emergency manager.

September 2013

  • Michael Brown resigns the post of Flint’s emergency manager citing family reasons.

October 2013

  • The forth appointed emergency manger, Darnell Earley steps in for outgoing Michael Brown.

March 2014

  • Emergency manager Darnell Earley refuses offer by Detroit Water Department to continue to purchase water. Notes that use of Flint River water will be temporary until KWA pipeline is completed.

April 2014

  • After receiving approval from State of Michigan regulators, City and State officials switched Flint’s water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River, immediately prompting citizen complaints about tap water quality.

September 2014

  • An internal report from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services warned that lead poisoning rates “were higher than usual for children under age 16 living in the City of Flint during the months of July, August and September, 2014.”

October 2014

  • General Motors announces it will cease using Flint water due to corrosion problems in machines due to high chlorine levels.

January 2015

  • Flint is found to violate the Safe Water Drinking Act due to high trihalomethanes (TTHM). This is due to Flint’s efforts to rid the system of E Coli contamination.
  • Flint mayor Dayne Walling announces that the Flint water is safe to drink.
  • University of Michigan’s Flint campus finds high lead levels on campus. It shuts down some drinking fountains as a result. This is considered the first report of a lead problem in Flint’s water.
  • Emergency manager Darnell Earley said Flint would not return to Detroit water, citing a $12m cost.
  • Darnell Earley resigns as an emergency manager; Jerry Ambrose steps in.

February 2015

  • Flint residents see the lead level in-home drinking water at 104 parts per billion. Far exceeding EPA’s limit of 15 parts per billion.
  • EPA begins inquiries about corrosion treatment. Michigan’s DEQ reports that a corrosion plan is in effect. This is found to be false later in the year.

April 2015

  • A Flint child is found to have confirmed lead poisoning. The source of the lead is the Flint water system. Officials shut off water to the home and connect it to a neighbor’s house with a garden hose.

June 2015

  • In a leaked memo, the EPA expresses alarm over the lack of corrosion control and high lead levels seen in resident water. Admits that they have no idea of the extent of the problem.

July 2015

  • Marc Edwards, a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech, uncovered a July 2015 memo warning of elevated lead levels in Flint kids’ blood through a public records request.

September 2015

  • MDEQ’s Brad Wurfel publicly begin stating that a study had been done on lead levels and using those results for public relations purposes as early as September 6th, 2015. Ironically, it was used to discredit high lead in water data collected by Virginia Tech.
  • Virginia Tech University researchers test homes across Flint. One sample shows lead contamination at 13,200 per billion. 5,000 parts per billion are considered hazardous waste.
  • Flint pediatrician finds lead levels in children have doubled since the switch to Flint River water. Estimates are 4% of children have elevated blood-lead levels.

October 2015

  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant reported that water at Eisenhower and Freeman elementary schools, along with Brownell/Holmes STEM academies, tested above 15 parts per billion for lead — the federal government’s safety standard. One of the schools tested at more than six times the federal limit.
  • Genesee County declares a public health emergency. Plans to distribute 1000’s water filters.
  • Michigan Governor Snyder states that Flint will return to Detroit City Water. Mott Foundation pledges $10m for the $12m conversion effort since Michigan has no emergency funds.
  • On Oct. 16, water started flowing again from Detroit to Flint.

November 2015

  • Challenger Karen Weaver has defeated incumbent Dayne Walling to become the first woman elected as mayor of Flint. Walling had been elected mayor twice previously — to a partial term in 2009 and a full four-year term in 2011.
  • Howard Croft, the department head responsible for oversight of Flint water operations,  resigns his position on November 16.

December 2015

  • In her first month in office, Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, declares a State of Man-Made Emergency due to problems with the city’s water system caused by using water from the Flint River, saying the city needs more federal help.
  • MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow launched a series of reports on the  Flint Water Crisis, bringing national attention to the crisis in Michigan and emergency managers’ failure in Michigan.
  • Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant resigns.

January 2016

  • Michigan’s Governor Snyder directs the Michigan State Police to distribute donated water and water filters to the community.
  • Snyder calls up the Michigan National Guard to assist in water distribution.
  • Health officials investigate Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in and around Flint to determine if the ongoing water-contamination crisis caused it.
  • Residents file a class-action lawsuit alleging the water was corroding city pipes and leaching lead because the state wasn’t treating it with an anti-corrosive agent, a federal law violation.
  • Governor Snyder asks the Obama administration to declare a major disaster in Genesee County and expedite federal aid to citizens affected by the polluted water supply.
  • U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, wants the Oversight and Government Reform Committee leaders to hold a hearing on lead contamination in the water in Flint, saying it’s Congress’ responsibility to address “a human-made disaster created by the poor policy decisions of elected and career government officials.
  • President Obama declares that an emergency exists in the State of Michigan and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions in the area affected by contaminated water.
  • Governor Snyder reviews the Flint Water Crisis in his State of the State address. Announces $28m in state funding and announces that all email communication on the Flint crisis will be made public.
  • President Obama remarks at the United Auto Worker’s General Motors training center in Detroit. “And I know that if I were a parent up there, I would be beside myself that my kids’ health could be at risk. That’s why over the weekend, I declared a federal emergency in Flint.”

February 2016

  • Water testing coordinated by the EPA shows samples exceeding 150 parts per billion. At this level, filters may be ineffective for the removal of lead from drinking water.
  • Congressional oversight hearings begin on the Flint Water Crisis. U.S. Marshals asked to “hunt … down” former Flint emergency manager Darnell Earley to force him to testify in hearings.
  • Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller introduces a $1 Billion emergency aid bill to replace Flint’s water system.

November 2016

  • Federal judge David M. Lawson directed the Michigan state officials and the City of Flint to deliver bottled water door-to-door to those homes without a properly installed and maintained faucet filter

March 2017

  • A lawsuit filed by the ACLU and NRDC results in Flint coming up with a plan to replace the city’s 1,000s of lead water pipes. Funding comes from the state of Michigan. The outcome also results in extended funding for complete tap water testing, a faucet filter installation, and a training program. Free bottled water will continue to be delivered through the summer months. Health programs are established for those residents affected by Flint’s tainted water.

Credits for the information provided by Michigan Public Radio, Mlive.com, US Census, US Centers for Disease Control, MSNBC, ABC News, NRDC, and various news and information services. 

Red Cross Going Door to Door

Lake Effect Snow – How Does it Happen

Lake effect snow from the Great Lakes occurs when conditions of evaporation and cold upper air currents slide over the region. Water retains on to heat more than air. This causes some open water in the Great Lakes to evaporate into the air and warm it. Rising up into the atmosphere this warm, wet air cools as it travels.

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Lake effect snow from the Great Lakes occurs when evaporation and cold upper air currents slide over the region. Water retains on to heat more than air. This causes some open water in the Great Lakes to evaporate into the air and warm it. Rising into the atmosphere, this warm, wet air cools as it travels.

The lake effect snow is explained in a simple video showing the Great Lakes region’s major areas where this type of weather pattern prevails. This pattern occurs when snow falling on the lee side of a lake, generated by cold, dry air passing over warmer water, especially in the Great Lakes region.

How Lake Effect Snow Forms

Lake Effect Snow – From NOAA

The cold, dry air, often originating from the west and Canada, moves across the Great Lakes’ open waters. As the cold air passes over the unfrozen relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, warmth and moisture are transferred into the lowest portion of the atmosphere. The air rises, clouds form and grow into a narrow band that produces 2 to 3 inches of snow per hour or more.

Wind direction is also an indicator of will receive lake effect snow. For example, heavy snow may be falling in Caseville, while the sun may be shining in Bad Axe. The physical barrier that Sand Point represents also has some impact on weather patterns on the south shore of Saginaw Bay.

Lake Effect Snowbelt Map

Lake Effect Snowbelt Map – University of Michigan

The greatest accumulations typically occur in Canada on the Bruce Peninsula and within Georgian Bay. The Upper Thumb also experiences lake-effect precipitation during prevailing southwest wind winter storms or when Saginaw Bay is significantly frozen over.

Great Lake Areas With Greatest Impact for Lake Effect Snow

  • Michigan Upper Peninsula – The Porcupine Mountains, Keweenaw Peninsula to Whitefish Point
  • Western Michigan – Traverse City, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, South Bend, and ElkhartLine 2
  • Lake Ontario & Erie –  Cleveland, Ohio to Buffalo, New York. Western New York
  • Lake Huron – Georgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula, Western and Upper Michigan Thumb

Climate Change and Lake Effect Snow

According to the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program, “snowfall has increased in northern lake-effect zones in the Great Lakes basin even as snowfall totals in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio have declined with rising temperatures. Warmer Great Lakes surface water temperatures and declining Great Lakes ice cover have likely driven the observed increases in lake-effect snow.”  As temperatures rise, resulting in a warmer Great Lakes, lake-effect zones will have higher lake-effect snowfall. Areas in the southern great lakes may see more lake-effect rain.


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