2011 Dark Sky Park programs

Emmet County is organizing monthly Dark Sky events at the Headlands, under the leadership of Mary Stewart Adams, a Harbor Springs resident and night-sky expert.

The events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. Click here for a schedule of 2011 programs.

 

2012 budget approved; positive fund balance predicted

The 2012 Emmet County budget was approved Dec. 15 by the Emmet County Board of Commissioners, who lauded County Controller Lyn Johnson and Finance Director Cynthia Van Allen for drafting a spending plan that keeps the county in the black during tight financial times.

In 2012, General Fund revenues are expected to be $19.716 million, with expenditures estimated at $19.671 million -- resulting in a $44,522 positive balance expected by year end. The Board also approved the amended 2011 budget, which shows in the past year the county brought in $20.282 million, with expenditures of $20.216 million, for a net of approximately $65,000.

For members of the public interested in reviewing the budget, please call (231) 348-1704.

Dec 6, 2011 -- Celebrating community champions in Emmet County

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All those recognized during the event gather for a photo opp.

The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce's 20th Annual Breakfast for Champions event took place on the morning of Dec. 6, at Odawa Casino. The event recognizes area business and community leaders for their contributions to the greater community -- and there were many to recognize on Tuesday morning.

The award recipients were: 
Architectural and Design awards:
Jones Landing park, Bear Creek Township; Bear River Valley Recreational Area, City of Petoskey; Kilwin's world headquarters, Petoskey; Steve Selden, historic renovation downtown Petoskey; downtown Pellston streetscape improvement project; Petoskey Surgeons; Pretty Woman Boutique, downtown Petoskey. 

Athena Award: The Rev. Sherry McGuffin, Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, Petoskey

Chairman's Award: Dave Kring, Dave Kring Chevrolet-Cadillac

Chamber Mission Award: Harbor Brenn Insurance Agencies

Service Excellence Award: Grain Train Natural Foods Market, Petoskey

Ambassador of the Year: Jill Harris

Entrepreneur of the Year: Kirsten O'Keefe, owner of the Twisted Olive cafe, Petoskey

Keynote speaker was Roger Curtis, president of Michigan International Speedway in Brookyn, in Southern Michigan. His message reflected the similiarities between running a racetrack and being part of a thriving community, such as Petoskey. "We sell memories," Curtis said.

Toys for Tots collection ramps up in final days til Christmas

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The Marine Corps League's annual Toys for Tots collection drive is under way, with the Christmas holiday just a few days away. Jim Alton, Director of Emmet County’s Department of Veterans Affairs and a former Marine, said there are many families in need this holiday season.

Toys for Tots accepts new, unwrapped toys for children birth through age 17 at more than 100 collection drop-off sites throughout the area. There is a box in the county building, 200 Division St., Petoskey, near the VA office (G-92); the county building is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monetary donations can be taken to the Salvation Army in Petoskey or Alton at the VA office. 

Toys for Tots program is overseen locally by the Northern Michigan Marine Corps League No. 690. The league handles everything from putting out boxes, collecting toys and then helps with distributing them to area children. Each year, about 270 families contact the Salvation Army for help. Families with children in need of a toy this holiday season should contact the Salvation Army at (231) 347-3531. For more information on where or how to donate, contact the VA office, (231) 348-1780.

Toys for Tots get huge boost from Petoskey Masons

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Petoskey Mason Scot O’Neill presents a van-load of toys to Jim Alton, Emmet County Director of Veterans Affairs.

(Submitted by the Petoskey Masonic Lodge)
This year marks the fifth that the Petoskey Masonic Lodge has been privileged to aid the Toys for Tots program. What began as a simple desire to give to the community has turned into an event the Masons look forward to each year. The Lodge makes an amount available to spend locally to purchase gifts for children.

This year Scot and Lori O’Neill enjoyed choosing gifts, using the measure of what they thought their own grandchildren might enjoy. The toys are selected so if it is the only gift it will be something one child can enjoy – a scooter, doll stroller, hot wheel set or jewelry kit. Teens are not forgotten. For them it might be make-up, jewelry, soccer ball or football. But this is only part of the annual event.

As a way to involve more people from the community, the Masons provided free hotdogs during the Christmas Open House on Dec. 3rd. On Lake Street in front of the temple building Petoskey Masons handed out hot dogs and provided a donation jar clearly marked for the Toys for Tots campaign. This year the community contributed $460. |
Together these donations of toys and money will provide 100 children in the community a gift under the Christmas Tree. In total, the Masons' donation amounts to more than $1,100.
For more information about donating to Toys for Tots, see the article below!

 

2011 Recycler of the Year: Circuit Controls Corp.

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Emmet County Recycling Director Elisa Selzter (center) is pictured with CCC staff.

Circuit Controls Corp. named Emmet County Recycler of the Year for continuing its long-time commitment to the environment and achieving zero waste

Emmet County has awarded Circuit Controls Corporation (CCC), a subsidiary of Yazaki North America, its 2011 Recycler of the Year award for achieving zero waste in its facility.

CCC, a tier-two automotive supplier located in Petoskey, produces connectors for wire harness manufacturers throughout the world. This year they will manufacture seven billion connectors, while creating near zero waste in the process.

“CCC’s constant efforts to improve their processes to make them less wasteful are very impressive,” said Emmet County Recycling Director Elisa Seltzer. “They’re systematic about it and it has really paid off, both on their bottom line and in their disappearing waste dumpsters.”

To read the complete article, and to learn about past winners of the Recycler of the Year award, click here.

Dec 2-4, 2011 -- Open house this weekend at McGulpin Point Lighthouse

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Please note: Due to the weather, previously scheduled sleigh rides planned for Dec. 3 have been canceled.

Emmet County's Parks and Recreation Department is joining in the spirit of the holiday season with a festive open house planned at McGulpin Point Lighthouse.

The lighthouse will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 2-4, and it will be decorated in seasonal decor, with refreshments served. There is no charge to enter the lighthouse.

For more information, call (231) 348-1704. McGulpin Point is open from May 15-Oct. 15 daily each year, and there is never a charge to visit.

The weekend coincides with Christmas in Mackinaw City events, which include the community tree lighting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2. Click here for more details about Christmas in Mackinaw.

Recycling Department's 10,000 pound challenge!

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10,000 pounds in 10 weeks!

Recyclers challenge community to collect 10,000 pounds of cartons now through Jan. 22

Residents of Emmet, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties have been able to recycle coated paper cups and cartons — like milk cartons and juice boxes — for over a year. But at the Emmet County Recycling Center, where the recyclables are sorted in preparation for their use by factories in the region, staff say they aren’t seeing many cartons in the bins. So to raise awareness of carton recycling, Emmet County Recycling is issuing a challenge to their friends and neighbors: collect 10,000 pounds of cartons in 10 weeks.

“People in northern Michigan are great recyclers — for example, we know that well over 80% of Emmet County residents recycle with us — so we’re pretty sure it’s just a matter of getting the word out that cartons are recyclable. It’s a whole new material that previously wasn’t recyclable,” said Elisa Seltzer, director of Emmet County Recycling.

The “10,000 Pounds in 10 Weeks” campaign is being supported by a matching grant from the Carton Council. The Carton Council is a group of carton manufacturers seeking to increase recycling of cartons across the United States. The 10-week challenge runs now through Jan. 22, 2012.

Click here to read the complete article and to get more details!

Remember our servicemen and women this holiday season

Thousands of U.S. servicemen and women will be on active duty in locations around the globe during this holiday season. Emmet County Veterans Affairs Director Jim Alton and his "chief of staff" Rick Wiertalla are asking residents to remember these military personnel stationed and at war in foreign countries. “This county has a lot of men and women serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world,” said Alton. 
The Veterans Affairs office helps coordinate care packages and gift items that can be sent to U.S. troops. Alton said troops particularly appreciate food items (nonperishable and nonalcoholic) such as dried fruits and beef jerky. Personal care products are also appropriate items to send. “Even sending cards to our troops to let them know they are cared about is important,” Alton added.

A list of desired items (and not accepted items) is available by clicking here. To coordinate a care package to Emmet County troops or other U.S. servicemen and women, contact the Veterans’ Affairs office at (231) 348-1780. The office is also asking residents to provide the names/addresses of their loved ones so they may receive a care package.

November/December newsletter 
now available!

The November/December issue of the county's bimonthly newsletter is now available for download. To download the PDF, click the newsletter at right or click here to access the current newsletter and past issues.

The newsletters contain timely information from many county departments. The public is welcome to make suggestions for newsletter content as well. If there's something you'd like to read about Emmet County, a specific department or program, contact Beth Anne Piehl, Director of Communications and Web Development, at (231) 348-1704 or email bpiehl@emmetcounty.org.

To have a printed version of the newsletter mailed to you or a friend, contact Piehl.

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Holiday fun around the North this weekend!

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Santa waves to the crowd during the 2010 holiday parade in Petoskey.

Tis the season in Emmet County! Communities around the North have a festive weekend planned to kick off the holiday season, with parades, open houses & tree lightings. Here's what's coming up this weekend, Nov. 25-27:

Friday, Nov. 25
Cross Village Tree Lighting
Harbor Springs Annual Tree Lighting

Saturday, Nov. 26
Harbor Springs Home of the Holidays

Petoskey Holiday Parade
Bay Harbor Holiday Open House

 

Nov. 4, 2011 -- Flags lowered Nov. 4 in honor of Petoskey native, SEAL Heath Robinson

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder ordered U.S. flags throughout the state to be lowered to half-staff in honor of U.S. Naval Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson on Friday, Nov. 4, at the request of the family. Flags should be returned to full-staff on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Robinson, 34, of Petoskey, was among 30 service members killed on Aug. 6 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Their helicopter was shot down by enemy forces in Afghanistan’s Wardak province.

“My sincerest condolences go to Senior Chief Robinson’s wife, daughter, family members and friends at this time of great loss and sorrow,” said Snyder. “His sacrifice and service for our nation will always be remembered.”

Robinson was assigned to SEAL Team THREE from March 6, 2000, to April 12, 2002. After completing one tour, he transferred to SEAL Team SEVEN from April 12, 2002 to April 2, 2004. He began a rigorous selection and training course with Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG). Nine months after beginning this training process, Senior Chief Robinson was selected to be a NSWDG Operator and completed numerous deployments.

Robinson was a highly decorated combat veteran with numerous awards including the Bronze Star Medal with Valor (4), including one for extraordinary heroism. A memorial fund has been set up in memory of Senior Chief Petty Officer Robinson. Donations can be forwarded to the Navy Federal Credit Union in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

October 2011 -- Air Service Task Force survey under way

Area residents who are frequent travelers are encouraged to participate in a survey hosted by the region’s Air Service Task Force (ASTF). The ASTF is a committee of chambers of commerce and visitor’s bureaus from St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Cheboygan, Indian River, Harbor Springs and Petoskey. The committee has existed for more than 20-years to advocate for quality commercial and general aviation service at the Pellston Regional Airport.

Carlin Smith, administrator for the task force, says the survey has 14-questions and will take less than five-minutes to complete. He says the survey includes a place to offer comments, questions, and concerns. “Those comments will be collected and shared with airlines’ officials and elected leaders as a method to let them know the thoughts and ideas of people who use the airport,” Smith said. He added that the survey also collects information about the preferences of those who fly regularly and about the level of service they receive at Pellston.

The survey can be accessed through mid-November at the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce Web site by clicking here. For additional information, contact Carlin Smith, President, Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce, (231) 347-4150 or carlin@petoskey.com.

Oct. 28, 2011 -- 250 attend Headlands Challenge Dark Sky Park event

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The sky above the Beach House, photographed with a fish-eye lens.

At least 250 guests took part in the third-annual Headlands Challenge on Friday night, Oct. 28 -- daring the dark by walking the 1.5-mile road to the Beach House under deep, dark and clear skies.

The free program was offered by the county as part of its monthly Dark Sky Park programs at the Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park located about 2 miles west of downtown Mackinaw City. This fun, annual challenge is intended to acquaint guests to the spacious and pristine park during the dark, in an effort to build appreciation for and understanding of the night sky above.

Dark Sky Park program director Mary Stewart Adams, dressed as "Destiny," spun fortunes for each guest at the entrance to the Beach House. Inside, visitors enjoyed refreshments and stories by Adams before walking back to the Headlands entrance.

The next Dark Sky Park program takes place Nov. 18. It will focus on Night Sky Photography, with local photographic expert Robert de Jonge leading guests through the tricks of accomplishing incredible night-sky photography. The program takes place during the Leonid Meteor Showers as well.

Click here for more information about this and December's Dark Sky Park event.

Click here for 2012 Dark Sky Park program topics and dates.

 

Oct. 28, 2011 -- Dare the Dark! Headlands Challenge set for tonight

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Mary Stewart Adams, dressed as "Destiny" at the 2010 Headlands Challenge event.

Free Dark Sky Park event from 8-10 p.m. Event takes place rain or shine.

The spookiest time of year can be the most beautiful, too! Emmet County will host the third annual Headlands Challenge event at the Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, on Friday, Oct. 28.

Dare to walk the 1.5-mile, pumpkin-lighted path from the Headlands entrance to the Beach House, where Destiny will be waiting to tell fortunes from the stars. Refreshments and storytelling will also be part of this free, family-friendly event that takes place from 8 to 10 p.m.

Prior to the start of the Headlands Challenge, visitors can enjoy a bonfire, cider and donuts and trick-or-treating at Heritage Village, just across Wilderness Park Drive from the Headlands entrance. Heritage Village will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. with costumed docents handing out treats in the school and the pest house. There is also no charge for this family-friendly event.

To read more about the event and for further information, click here.

Oct. 26, 2011 -- Elisa Seltzer: Outstanding Citizen of the Year!

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Photo courtesy of Mark Flemming/Harbor Light Newspaper

Emmet County's Recycling Director, Elisa Seltzer -- dubbed "Recycling's equivalent of a rock star" recently by a local newspaper -- has received another significant award for her work to establish and continually expand the county's recycling operations.

On Wednesday evening, Oct. 26, she was named the Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Harbor Springs Chamber of Commerce. The award is the chamber's highest annual honor, "recognizing an individual for their lifelong contribution of time, talent and resources for the betterment of the greater Harbor Springs area."

Seltzer was lured to the awards' ceremony by her staff, who told her that her presence was requested in recognition of her recent state Recycler of the Year award, presented at the Oct. 13 Board of Commissioners' meeting by the Michigan Recycling Coalition.

The Outstanding Citizen of the Year award presenter, Peter Olson, associate dean at North Central Michigan College, commended Seltzer for her community leadership in establishing such a successful recycling program in this rural area.

Seltzer established the county’s recycling program 20 years ago, when she was hired to head it and the county’s Department of Public Works. She lives in Harbor Springs with her husband, Steve Johnston, and daughter, Kylah Johnston.

 

Oct. 21, 2011 -- McGulpin Point Lighthouse wins state Beautification award

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Accepting the award are (from left) Joanne Welihan, KMB member from Cheboygan and the nominator of McGulpin Point; Laurie Gaetano, county Parks and Rec Director; Lyn Johnson, Controller; and Bob Eldridge, KMB executive director.

Emmet County and McGulpin Point Lighthouse were honored Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, by the Keep Michigan Beautiful organization for efforts to restore and beautify the lighthouse and its surrounding acreage.

Each year, Keep Michigan Beautiful -- an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful -- recognizes efforts around the state to beautify properties, gardens and structures, including those that preserve the state's rich history. McGulpin Point received the organization's highest honor, the President's Plaque, during the group's annual awards luncheon, held this year at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.

McGulpin Point Lighthouse is located about 2 miles west of Mackinaw City. It was purchased in 2008 by Emmet County after being in private ownership for 100 years. The lighthouse was an operational Aid to Navigation for vessel traffic through the Straits of Mackinac from 1869 to 1906, and last year was once again listed as a navigational aid by NOAA.

"We are truly  honored to be recognized by Keep Michigan Beautiful for our ongoing beautification efforts at McGulpin Point," said Lyn Johnson, County Controller, who accepted the award on the county's behalf. "The foresight of the Board of Commissioners to purchase this property, and continue to restore it to its early origins, should be commended. Each year, we are welcoming more than 20,000 visitors to the property -- a testament to the public's interest in our history and the people, places and events that shaped our past."

Oct. 19, 2011 -- Airport manager: GA expansion necessary

With an eye toward current and future space needs at Pellston Regional Airport’s General Aviation building, Airport Manager Kelley Atkins has proposed the next step in ensuring a first-class experience awaits all air travel passengers who visit the Emmet County airport.

At the Oct. 13, 2011, Board of Commissioners’ meeting, Atkins received unanimous board approval to hire engineering firm Mead and Hunt to conceptualize and design a new general aviation terminal building for private aircraft, pilots and passengers.

If it moves forward in the coming years, the building project would be paid for by grant dollars culled from fees paid by commercial air travelers.

“We are cramped in the summertime as general aviation traffic picks up considerably,” said Atkins, who noted increased interest in visits to Pellston, such as a flight club that brought about 30 planes in for a day-trip in September. “We want to be able to continue providing a world-class experience for pilots and visitors to Emmet County, at the gateway to our county – Pellston Regional Airport.”

Atkins also noted that the presence of Lakeshore Aviation charter flights is not the only factor in the decision to expand the structure. While the charter service has added increased passenger traffic to the facility, many of the flights have been sparsely filled. “Lakeshore Express is not our only obligation. We have numerous general aviation aircraft and corporate jets that utilize this facility, and we are simply outgrowing the space in this building,” Atkins said.

To read the complete article, click here.

October 2011 -- Elisa Seltzer receives State Recycler of the Year award

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Elisa Seltzer (center) accepts the award from Kerrin O'Brien. Emmet County's Commissioners are also pictured (from left) Paul Hramiec, Larry Cassidy, Dan Plasencia, James Tamlyn (chair), Jack Jones, Shawn Wonnacott and Les Atchison.

Elisa Seltzer, Director of Emmet County Recycling, received Michigan’s highest honor for recycling professionals on the evening of Oct. 13, 2011, at the Emmet County Board of Commissioners’ meeting. The MRC Member of the Year Award from the Michigan Recycling Coalition was presented by the coalition’s executive director, Kerrin O’Brien.

In brief remarks, O’Brien noted that Seltzer is consistently looked to as one of the experts in the state on recycling programs and policy, especially for rural areas. “The state of Michigan does not make it easy to start a recycling program. What Elisa has built in Emmet County is unique in Michigan: a convenient recycling program accepting over 50 different materials in a rural area.”

In accepting the award, Seltzer pointed to the contributions of her staff and Emmet County’s elected officials. “And, I would especially like to thank the residents of Emmet County for their wholehearted support of recycling. Over 80% use our programs and their enthusiasm drives our efforts,” she said.

To read the complete article, click here.

Seltzer was also recently featured on TV 7&4 News and in the Harbor Light newspaper; click here to read the article!

Oct. 16, 2011 -- Airport manager: GA Building improvements necessary

With an eye toward future space considerations at Pellston Regional Airport’s General Aviation building, Airport Manager Kelley Atkins has proposed the next step in ensuring a first-class experience awaits all air travel passengers who visit the Emmet County airport.

At the Oct. 13, 2011, Board of Commissioners’ meeting, Atkins received unanimous board approval to hire engineering firm Mead and Hunt to conceptualize and design a new general aviation terminal building for private aircraft, pilots and passengers.

If it moves forward in the coming years, the building project would be paid for by grant dollars culled from fees paid by commercial air travelers.

“We are cramped in the summertime as general aviation traffic picks up considerably,” said Atkins, who noted increased interest in visits to Pellston, such as a flight club that brought about 30 planes in for a day-trip in early September. “We want to be able to continue providing a world-class experience for pilots and visitors to Emmet County, at the gateway to our county – Pellston Regional Airport.”

Atkins also noted that the presence of Lakeshore Aviation charter flights is not the only factor in the decision to expand the structure. While the charter service has added increased passenger traffic to the facility, many of the flights have been sparsely filled. “Lakeshore Express is not our only obligation. We have numerous general aviation aircraft and corporate jets that utilize this facility, and we are simply outgrowing the space in this building,” Atkins said.

While Lakeshore Express’ owner recently stated to the media that he didn’t see a need for facility expansion, Atkins noted: “The Lakeshore Express folks don’t fully understand our needs as a county facility; they are running a private business, not an airport. We need to meet the needs of a very diverse clientele: General aviation pilots, corporate jets and charter operations – plus the accompanying passengers -- and commercial pilots who use the facility in between flights at the main terminal.”

The current General Aviation building, located near the under-construction Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Facility, dates back several decades. It includes offices, conference room, a waiting room area with couches and fireplace, plus a bunkroom, bathroom and shower for pilots. Atkins’ office is also in the building, as are offices for staff who handle the airport’s main operations.

“We will always strive to present a first-class, first-impression to our visitors in Emmet County, and we will continue to stay on top of funding opportunities that will help support that mission,” said Atkins. “These kinds of improvements provide tangible economic benefits to our county – they bring in more general aviation pilots looking for leisure destinations. And when they have a good experience here, they tell their friends and it gains momentum. We are excited at the prospects of this new building project at PLN.”

Oct. 12, 2011 -- Sheriff Wallin celebrates 30 years with Emmet County

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Emmet County Sheriff Peter A. Wallin was honored by county staff Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 12, in celebration of his 30-year anniversary with Emmet County. Sheriff Wallin first joined the county staff as a road deputy on Oct. 12, 1981 and was later appointed to the position of Undersheriff by then-Sheriff Jeffrey P. Bodzick. Sheriff Wallin was appointed by a three-member board after the death of Bodzick in June 2002. A feature on Wallin and his years of service to Emmet County will appear in the November/ December issue of the county's bimonthly newsletter.

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Sheriff Wallin with his wife, Juli.

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Colleague and friend, Veterans Affairs Director Jim Alton, congratulates Wallin with a gift and a handshake.

Oct. 10, 2011 -- Scouts in Court

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The Honorable Charles Johnson explains court procedures to Cub Scouts Pack 5 from Petoskey.

Cub Scouts (Webelos) with Pack 5 from Petoskey visited the 57th Circuit Court on Friday, Oct. 7, and learned the operations of the court system from the Honorable Charles Johnson.

The Scouts held a mock trial, where two students were accused of talking out of turn in class. Their "teacher," Pack leader David Farley, took part in the trial and testified in front of the scouts and the jury, made up of several of the scouts and their siblings. Johnson also spent time explaining the various courts in Emmet County and their roles in ensuring a safe community.

Click here for more photos of the scouts' visit to court.

Oct. 3, 2011 -- McGulpin Point wins state Beautification Award

Keep Michigan Beautiful announced this week that McGulpin Point Lighthouse has been awarded a President's Plaque for beautification efforts at the Northern Emmet County park property.

The president's award is the group's highest honor. It will be presented to Emmet County representatives at the organization's awards event on Oct. 21 in Grand Rapids.

Keep Michigan Beautiful annually recognizes programs, projects and activities that substantially contribute to beautification, clean-up, environmental enhancement, site restoration and historic preservation projects in Michigan.

McGulpin Point was an operational lighthouse from 1869-1906, after which is became privately owned. Emmet County purchased the structure, plus its 10.5 acres and 400 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, in 2008. Since then, it has been renovated to period decor inside and out, trails have been improved by Boy Scouts and volunteers, and era-specific items have been donated that enhance the historic experience.

The lighthouse is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 16. It will reopen for a special trick-or-treating weekend, Oct. 28-31 (same hours). It reopens for the season each year May 15. There is never a charge to visit the lighthouse.

Oct. 2, 2011 -- It's National 4-H Week

4-H members and volunteers across the nation are celebrating the 4-H youth development program's 108th birthday during National 4-H Week, now through Oct. 8. This year's theme is "Join the Revolution of Responsibility!"

There are currently nearly 7 million members and more than 600,000 volunteers enrolled in the youth program. In Emmet County, 1,240 youth are reached through 4-H, plus 120 adult volunteers and 62 teen leaders take part. To learn more about local 4-H Clubs and opportunities, contact the MSU Extension Office in Emmet County, at (231) 348-1770, or email msue24@msu.edu.

A special section was recently published in the Petoskey News-Review, detailing local 4-H opportunities. It was developed by Diane Brazier, Emmet County 4-H Program Coordinator, and Beth Anne Piehl, Emmet County Director of Communications/Web Development. Click here to download the 2011 National 4-H Week section.

Sept. 29, 2011-- Housing rehabilitation, emergency repair loans available soon for County residents

On or about Oct. 5, 2011, Emmet County will request the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) release Federal funds under Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 for the following projects:

-- Home Rehabilitation Loan Program with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds of $200,000 
Emmet County’s 2011 Home Rehabilitation Loan Program will assist in the rehabilitation of seven owner-occupied homes at an average per unit cost of $20,000. These homes will be brought into compliance with HUD’s Housing Quality Standards in addition to addressing local code when applicable.

An additional four homes will be assisted with an emergency repair for a maximum total amount of $24,600. In this case, only that emergency repair will be brought up to local code.

The assistance for both of these activities will be in the form of interest-free loans. Terms will be based upon income and match contributions. A lien will placed on the property for all loans. Emmet County homeowners at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) will be served.

An Environmental Review Record respecting the aforementioned project has been made by Emmet County which documents the environmental review of the project. This Environmental Review Record is on file at Emmet County Finance Office, 200 Division St., Petoskey, MI 49770. The records are available for public examination and copying upon request between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please contact Cynthia VanAllen at (231) 348-1714 for further information.

Emmet County will undertake the project above with CDBG funds, with Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

Anyone interested in learning more about the loans or how to apply should contact Jonathan Scheel, Housing Rehabilitation Specialist with Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, at (231) 347-9070, or (800) 443-5518.

September 2011 -- Witness to History: Vic Fornes, WWII Marine

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Vic Fornes, at his seasonal home in Mackinaw City.

Web Editor's Note: Each month, Emmet County recognizes an area veteran for his or her service to our country in this Witness to History series. If you have a veteran suggestion, contact Beth Anne Piehl, Communications and Web Development Director, at (231) 348-1704, or bpiehl@emmetcounty.org.

By Beth Anne Piehl

Almost 70 years later, Vic Fornes can still see the starving child, shoulder-deep in the garbage can, desperate for food.

He was in Nagasaki with the 2nd Marine Division, a month after an atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945, that decimated that region and Hiroshima days prior. Working to secure any armaments that could be salvaged, Fornes noticed the child digging through the trash to eat, and despite a loathing for the Japanese after Pearl Harbor and the atrocities he’d experienced in war, Fornes could not turn his back.

His purpose that day may have initially been as a soldier, but his purpose as a human being, he said, came first.

“I couldn’t stand to see it,” said Fornes, throat thick with emotion. “The druggist and I, we put our money together and we bought him some food. We let him get some fish and eggs. It was such an example of how human nature can be. I was instilled by the military to hate those people after Pearl Harbor. But after that situation, I broke down. What else could I do?”

The toll of war, soldiers say, can make itself known in ways predictable and unexpected, even nearly seven decades after the fighting has stopped.

“There are a lot of things that are still very clear,” said Fornes, 85, on his porch overlooking the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City. His wife of 62 years, Helen, glides in a rocker nearby, looking out at the Mackinac Bridge as Fornes recounts stories from his time in the service during World War II.

To read Fornes' complete story, click here.

September 2011 -- Letter from Register of Deeds Michele Stine regarding foreclosure fraud

Due to recent incidents of potential foreclosure fraud and improperly filed property documents related to the national scandal surrounding so-called "robo-signing" by companies such as MERS and DOCx, Emmet County Register of Deeds Michele Stine has written a letter to the residents of Emmet County explaining the circumstances and what they should do if they need assistance. To read Stine's letter, click here.

 

Sept. 9, 2011 -- Fly-in group visits Pellston Regional Airport

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Kelley Atkins (yellow shirt) accepts the proclamation from the MAA (photos courtesy of Jack Jones)

More than 25 private planes flew in to Pellston Regional Airport on Friday, Sept. 9, to visit Northern Michigan and stop for lunch. Airport Manager Kelley Atkins said the planes, members of the Michigan Airplane Association, hailed primarily from southern Michigan and Canada.

“A couple of the people had previously been to our main terminal and decided it would be a great place for the group to visit,” said Atkins.

The county provided lunch before being presented with a proclamation certificate signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, recognizing the value of aviation in the state of Michigan. It was presented to Atkins by Bob Kelly, from the MAA, and it states the aviation generates $20 billion in economic impact in the state of Michigan. Pellston Regional Airport generates about $35 million in economic impact, Atkins noted.

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Aug. 29, 2011 -- Fair Week wraps

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The grandstands were packed Saturday evening for the final event of the week: Demolition Derby!

It's a wrap: Fair Week 2011!

The Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair has wrapped a week of family fun and grandstand excitement with sunny skies and crowds from around the region and the state. A wrap-up of the week's attendance and events, from Fair Manager Agnes Shaw, will be posted soon.

For photo albums of the past week's events,
click here! Photos include Saturday's Demolition Derby, Friday's AutoCross races, dressage show, Tough Truck Contest, Dog Agility, Monster Trucks and the Carnival!

Aug. 26, 2011 -- A Fair-y Tale proposal -- at the Fair!

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Beau Fuller gets a "Yes!" from his girlfriend, Stephanie Clavier.

Stephanie Clavier was in the market livestock arena Thursday afternoon getting ready to auction off her swine when the auctioneer announced to the crowd that she would be receiving a special award.

She turned to see her boyfriend, Beau Fuller, enter the arena. In front of the packed arena in the T-barn at the Petoskey Fairgrounds, Beau got down on one knee and asked Stephanie to marry him.

The crowd erupted in cheers when Stephanie said “Yes!” 

“He was acting a little weird beforehand,” Stephanie said, with a laugh. “I was confused with the award announcement, and I didn’t hear them say his name. When I saw him, though, I knew something was going on.” 

Just a couple minutes prior, Beau had slipped a note to the announcer asking him to make time for his special request before Stephanie showed her swine. Even his mom, Dawn Fuller, was only brought in-the-know just an hour or so before the proposal.

Beau, 20, and Stephanie, 18, are both East Jordan High School graduates who met several years ago in 4-H, in Charlevoix County’s Country Kids Club. Beau got Stephanie interested in showing swine, and their relationship grew through the years through their shared hobby. 

To read the complete article, click here.

Aug. 20, 2011 -- ‘7th Night of the 7th Moon’ is next Dark Sky program at the Headlands Aug. 20

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Perseid meteor shower activity peaks in August.

The next in a series of monthly programs at Emmet County’s Dark Sky Park at the Headlands will take place Saturday, Aug. 20, beginning at dusk.

“The 7th Night of the 7th Moon” program will inaugurate the season of intense meteor activity. Sunset is at 8:41 p.m.; guests should arrive around 8:15 p.m. to locate a viewing spot. The event is free and open to the public.

Follow the signs that read "Dark Sky Viewing" through the park.

The county’s Dark Sky Park program director, Mary Stewart Adams, will lead visitors on a tour of the night sky events. Adams, who heads all Dark Sky Park programs, weaves together celestial tales with educational programming for an unforgettable experience under some of the darkest skies in the country.

In May 2011, the Headlands, a 600-acre property two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City, was named just the sixth International Dark Sky Park in the U.S., and the ninth in the world, by the International Dark Sky Park Association in Tucson, Ariz.

Adams said the program on Aug. 20 will focus on the 7th night of the 7th moon, which is a sacred, romantic time in Chinese lore that involves the constellations Lyra and Aquila. This time of year follows the start of the annual Perseid meteor showers, which peaks Aug. 12 but is diminished by the full moon this year.

The Headlands is open 24 hours a day, free of charge. No camping is allowed, but dark-sky gazers are welcome to stay as late as they’d like. It’s advised to dress for weather 10 degrees cooler than you expect; bring a blanket and chairs if desired. The Dark Sky events are intended for naked-eye observation, but telescopes and binoculars are also welcomed.

Additionally, Emmet County is looking to begin an email service that will inform those who register about night-sky events and viewing opportunities above the Headlands and Northern Michigan. If you are interested in signing up for this free service, please email Emmet County Director of Communications and Web Development Beth Anne Piehl at  bpiehl@emmetcounty.org. Call (231) 348-1704 for more information about this or the monthly Dark Sky Park programs.

Aug. 12, 2011 -- CNN posts tribute to SEALs killed in helicopter crash, including Petoskey native

CNN has compiled an online tribute to the 30 U.S. military personnel who were killed Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, when their helicopter was downed by insurgent forces in Afghanistan. Among those who lost their lives was Petoskey native Heath Robinson, 34, a 1995 Petoskey High School graduate.

To view the online memorial at CNN, click here.

Emmet County officials express their sincere condolences to the family of Robinson, a Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer. Once memorial plans for Robinson are announced by the family, they will be posted on this Web site.

Aug. 11, 2011 -- Looking ahead to the Headlands' future

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More than 40 people attended the strategizing session.

Local residents shared a number of innovative ideas for potential future structures at the Headlands, during a recent public strategizing session hosted by the county in Mackinaw City.

County officials called the meeting last week to talk about what the public would like to see at the Headlands, in light of International Dark Sky Park designation awarded to the property in May. Since then, public usage of the property has increased tremendously, and the county is considering what types of structure could potentially suit the needs of the community.

Part of the discussion centered on the Beach House, which is falling into disrepair. The county is considering either renovating the structure to allow for increased public usage, or razing it and building a new structure.

Some of the ideas presented by the public, the county and its architectural/engineering firm AECOM, included: A building designed to accommodate 350+ people tha could be partitioned for multiple groups/smaller groups; outdoor pavilion/gathering area; amphitheater; planetarium or observatory; nature center; museum and a performing arts center.

To read a synopsis of the entire meeting,click here.

Aug. 10, 2011 -- Offer your input on Emmet County's northern parks Aug. 10

Emmet County officials are hosting a strategic planning meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011, to gather public input on the future of Emmet County’s northern parks, including the Headlands, now an International Dark Sky Park.

Officials are looking at one of the houses on the property, the Beach House, and considering whether to raze it due to maintenance issues.

In addition, the county would like the public’s opinion on what type of structure(s) could potentially be built at the Headlands, such as a nature center, observatory or conference facility, which could accommodate more public gatherings and programs. An outpouring of public interest in utilizing the Headlands and its facilities following the Dark Sky Park designation is a major catalyst for the discussion.

Currently, the Beach House and Guest House are rented out to the public for weddings, gathering and other events.

Evening facilitator will be Dr. William Anderson, former dean of Westshore Community College. Anderson is currently the chair of a task force that is leading the creation of a Ludington/Mason County Cultural economic development plan that has been designated a pilot project for Michigan by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Past clients of Anderson’s include the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation, West Michigan Tourist Association and numerous industries, schools, chambers and more.

The meeting will take place beginning at 6 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of Mackinaw City Public Schools, 609 W. Central Ave., Mackinaw City. Emmet County leaders hope all interested community members will attend. For more information, contact (231) 348-1704 or email bpiehl@emmetcounty.org.

Aug. 1, 2011 -- Fair Time Magazine

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2011 Fair Time magazine now available for download!

It's almost time for the 106th annual Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair! The fun-filled event at the Petoskey fairgrounds takes place Aug. 20-28.

To help fair-goers navigate the week of activities, the 2011 edition of Fair Time magazine is now available for download. In it, you will find schedules of daily and weekly events, fun fair photos and advertisements from fair supporters. New this year, there is also a coupon for $2 off gate admission of $5; it can be found on page 3. Print and clip and bring it with you during fair week.

Click here to download the 2011 Fair Time magazine.

The printed edition of Fair Time will be inserted into the Petoskey News-Review on Friday, Aug. 12. It will also be available around the area and at chambers of commerce. For a free copy, call (231) 348-1704 or email bpiehl@emmetcounty.org.

July 30, 2011 -- A Northern Michigan first: Recycle your unwanted latex paints

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For the first time in Northern Michigan, Emmet County Recycling is hosting a latex paint recycling event. The pilot collection will take place 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 30, at the Emmet County Drop-Off Center, 7363 Pleasantview Road, Harbor Springs.

All latex paints in any condition will be accepted from both residents and businesses. The collected paint will be recycled into new paint by epaint recycling of Battle Creek. Called “Everybody’s Paint,” the product’s Michigan-inspired colors include Petoskey Stone, Apple Blossom and Mackinaw Green, plus 11 others. It is sold at Habitat for Humanity Restores as well as other retailers.

There will be a $1 per gallon can fee, to cover packaging, shipping and recycling costs. These prices are per can, regardless of the can’s fullness.

CRITICAL NOTE: All other paints and finishes - for example oil-based paints, aerosols, polyurethane, varnish - are recycled through a different process, the Household Chemical Drop-off. There will be a Household Chemical Drop-off at the same location on the same day BUT AN APPOINTMENT IS REQUIRED to bring these and other hazardous materials. Call (231) 348-0660 for an appointment or more information.

For complete details from the Recycling Department, click here.

July 30, 2011 -- International Hemingway Society conference coming to Petoskey in 2012

The Hemingway Society is planning its international conference in Petoskey in 2012, marking the first time the group has held its yearly event in this area that influenced many of Ernest Hemingway's writings.

The conference will be held June 17-22, 2012, providing Hemingway enthusiasts with a chance to see and experience the Northern Michigan area that was so integral to Hemingway's youth. The author spent summers on the shores of Walloon Lake with his family. After he returned from World War I, Hemingway also resided in the Petoskey area from May 1919 until the fall of 1920.

It is expected to draw as many as 300 participants from around the United States and abroad. Programs will take place in the Bay View Association and around the area, with lectures and activities planned. An opening reception will be held at the Perry Hotel in Petoskey. Tours of local sites with Hemingway ties, concerts at Bay View and a boat tour around the Straits of Mackinac are planned as well.

Mike Federspiehl, president of the Michigan Hemingway Society, said in a recent news interview, that with many of the 300 guests, their spouses or traveling companions staying in the region for the six-day conference, it "should have a very positive economic impact on the region."

To read what is planned and find out more about the group, click here.
 

July 29, 2011 -- International Hemingway Society conference coming to Petoskey in 2012

The Hemingway Society is planning its international conference in Petoskey in 2012, marking the first time the group has held its yearly event in this area that influenced many of Ernest Hemingway's writing.

The conference will be held June 17-22, 2012, providing Hemingway enthusiasts with a chance to see and experience the Northern Michigan area that was so integral to Hemingway's youth. The author spent summers on the shores of Walloon Lake with his family. After he returned from World War I, Hemingway also resided in the Petoskey area from May 1919 until the fall of 1920.

It is expected to draw as many as 300 participants from around the United States and abroad. Programs will take place in the Bay View Association and around the area, with lectures and activities planned. An opening reception will be held at the Perry Hotel in Petoskey. Tours of local sites with Hemingway ties, concerts at Bay View and a boat tour around the Straits of Mackinac are planned as well.

Organizers will also give the general public opportunities to learn about Hemingway's time in Northern Michigan and how it influenced him, through an exhibit at the Petoskey Public Library's Carnegie Building and a documentary to be screened at the Crooked Tree Arts Center.

Also, the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, Bay Harbor Foundation and Michigan Hemingway Society are cooperating to arrange for a new set of markers to help identify Petoskey-area locations that were significant to Hemingway.

Windemere, the Hemingway family cottage on Walloon Lake, will be among the tour destinations available to conference participants, with proceeds benefitting the Little Traverse Historical Soceity.

Mike Federspiehl, president of the Michigan Hemingway Society, said in a recent news interview, that with many of the 300 guests, their spouses or traveling companions staying in the region for the six-day conference, it "should have a very positive economic impact on the region."

For more information on the Hemingway Society conference, go online to www.mhs2012.com.

 

July 17, 2011 - 'Black Moon and More:' July 17 Dark Sky Park program

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'Born of the Sun' image by Robert de Jonge

Unique, educational and fun programs will take place each month at the Headlands, now an International Dark Sky Park in Emmet County.

The next event, “The High Constellations of Summer, the Black Moon and More” will take place this weekend, on Sunday, July 17, beginning at 9 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Leading the program will be Emmet County’s Dark Sky Park Program Manager, Mary Stewart Adams, a Harbor Springs night-sky expert and celestial storyteller. Adams said sunset is at 9:25 p.m. that evening, so guests should arrive around 9 p.m. to select their night-sky viewing spot.

The program will focus on the definition of a black moon, and how often it occurs in our calendar, and also the visible constellations of summer. Adams regularly weaves stories of celestial lore regularly into her programming.

Adams advises visitors to bring a blanket or chair if desired, and to dress for weather 10 degrees cooler than expected due to the park’s location on the Lake Michigan shoreline. A hot dog roast over a bonfire will be provided. Dark Sky events are intended for observational astronomers (amateur and professional), but visitors may bring binoculars or telescopes if they prefer. All Dark Sky events are held rain or shine. In the case of inclement weather, an indoor program will take place inside the Beach House.

Visitors should gather at the Beach House. Follow the signs through the park to the structure. The Headlands is located two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City on Wilderness Park Dr. Call (231) 348-1704 or email bpiehl@emmetcounty.org for more information or directions; questions about programs can be directed to Adams at (231) 838-8181, or starmare.adams@gmail.com.

Click here for additional 2011 programs.

June 21, 2011 - Celebrate International Dark Sky Park designation with Emmet County!

A celebration of prestigious International Dark Sky Park designation at the Headlands will kick off programming at the northern Emmet County property.

The party will take place from 5 p.m. until after dark on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 – the first day of Summer. The open-house will be free of charge for the public.

A couple of items to note ... 

Weather: The event today will take place rain or shine; an indoor program inside the Beach House will be held to acquaint visitors to the night sky above the Headlands in the event of rain.

Shuttle: Shuttle service from a parking area across the street from the Headlands entrance will bring visitors to the Beach House from 5-6 p.m. and 9:30-10:30 p.m. for those who prefer to not walk, and after limited parking inside the park reaches capacity.

Throughout the evening, numerous family-friendly events are planned, including music (5-10 p.m.), food and beverages. Kids can make paper-plate flying saucers, with a contest to see whose flies the farthest; and there will also be a night-sky coloring contest. Prizes will be awarded. A "Name that constellation" contest will be suitable for all ages.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., trail tours of the 5 miles of Headlands trails will be offered by Little Traverse Conservancy staff, who will also be displaying Discovery Paks filled with educational wildlife items. From 7-8 p.m., a program will take place detailing the history of the park, the efforts to achieve International Dark Sky Park designation, and also details about how the county will move forward in its dark-sky programming.

Also, join naturalists from the Straits Area Audubon Society for an introduction to birds and bird nests. The Audobon group’s hikes, combined with a hands-on family activity suitable for adults as well as children 10 years and older, will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and another from 6:30 to 8 pm. Loaner binoculars, bird books, and bird check lists will be available.

Outdoors at dusk, a bonfire will be lighted for all to enjoy. The sun sets at 9:32 p.m., and a special ceremony marking the location of the sunset to the horizon will take place along the Lake Michigan shore; in the event of rain, remarks will take place inside the Beach House. Afterward, Adams will wrap the evening with a bedtime story tied to the stars above.

This event will take place rain or shine. Call (231) 348-1704 for more information.

June 15, 2011 - Showcasing Emmet County to state leaders

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Rodney Stokes (right) pauses for a photo with Commissioner Jack Jones (center) and Bear Creek Supervisor Dennis Keiser, at Jones Landing.

Emmet County was pleased host to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board and Department of Natural Resources staff members June 14-15 for their Spring meeting.

During their visit, the board members toured a number of properties that have received grant funding from the organization over the years. Leading the tour were officials from Emmet County and local governments.

On Tuesday evening, the group gathered in Bear Creek Township at Jones Landing, a new park and beach facility with public access to Walloon Lake. On Wednesday, the group's meeting was held at the Emmet County Fairgrounds Community Building, where those seeking grant approval gave presentations before the board.

Since the Trust Fund began offering grants, Emmet County has received more than $15 million in awards for land acquisitions that have led to numerous recreational opportunities. Examples of projects funded include Spring Lake Park, Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga, Cecil Bay and Headlands acquisition and Resort Township's East and West Parks.

Click here for a photo album of the group's visit and tour of the county.

Click here to watch a video of properties within Emmet County that have been developed thanks to Trust Fund grants.

June 15, 2011 - Nature hikes, programs set for summer at Pet-O-Se-Ga

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The Cedar Creek is one of Petosega's most beautiful features.

The Emmet Conservation District will be hosting special programs at Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga during summer 2011, at no charge to participants. The programs present opportunities for campers and the public to learn about the camp’s natural environment, including the birds and animals who call Pet-O-Se-Ga home. 

Hikes will begin at the pavilion. Click here for the schedule for June-September.

Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga is located on the shore of Pickerel Lake in Alanson. The 300-acre park includes 90 camp sites with electricity and water, modern restrooms and showers, five rental cabins, playground and open field game areas.

For more information about the camp, call (231) 347-6536.

June 10, 2011 - Local Revenue Sharing Board announces spring 2011 grant awards

New emergency response vehicles and equipment and recreational asset improvements received the bulk of funding from the recent round of Local Revenue Sharing Board grant awards.

The board, which distributes funds collected from gambling profits at Odawa Casino in Petoskey, recently announced funding for 15 local projects, totaling $170,000. 

“Our most important goal is public safety, and it is both multi-jurisdictional and collaborative when we consider the larger picture. We try to give back to communities who may spend funds because of the casino’s location,” said Robert Wheaton, Supervisor of Resort Township and chairman of the three-member LRSB. “Some of the other criteria we consider include additional revenue sources of applicants, future maintenance abilities and users of projects.” 

Also serving on the board are Dan Plasencia of the Emmet County Board of Commissioners, District 4, and Dennis Keiser, Bear Creek Township Supervisor. A unanimous vote is required for each grant award. 

“Grant awards cover a wide spectrum of community needs which may not be addressed by local entities because of limited resources, but which have been identified as desirable projects to pursue,” said Plasencia. 

The 2011 spring LRSB grant award recipients are:  
- City of Petoskey Public Safety: $25,000 to replace and refurbish two firetrucks.
- Harbor-Petoskey Area Airport Authority: $4,000 to clear trees obstructing the approach indicator. 
- City of Petoskey Parks and Recreation: $10,000 for trail link work from East Park to Bay Harbor. 
- Petoskey public schools: $3,900 for participation in Michigan Youth in Government. 
- Bear Creek/Little Traverse/Littlefield townships: $15,000 toward work on the rail-to-trail from M-119 to Alanson. 
- Resort/Bear Creek Fire Department: $4,500 for a dry hydrant on W. Gruler Road. 
- Resort Township: $18,000 to upgrade Walloon Lake access sites. 
- Resort Township: $4,000 for the 2011 senior all-night party committee.
- Bear Creek and Resort Townships: $22,200 toward fire suppression in township halls.
- Emmet County District/Circuit/Probate Courts: $9,000 for security-metal detectors.
- Emmet County: $15,000 for wayfinding signage along the Little Traverse Wheelway.
- Emmet County: $18,000 to move a structure from Mitchell Street to Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga.
- Springvale Township Fire Department: $10,000 to replace personal protection fire equipment.
- Cross Village Township: $6,000 to add tourist amenities at boat ramp (i.e. tables).
- Village of Alanson: $5,400 to replace obsolete street and stop signs. 

In commenting on the awards, Plasencia noted “The impact of Revenue Sharing Grant awards advancing the trails system impacts the entire community, combining recreational enjoyment, healthy lifestyle and increasing public safety off the roadways.” 

“The Pet-O-Se-Ga project demonstrates how an older structure can have new life. “The thoughts behind creating a muti-function, universally accessible, registration building and gift/camper supply store, and consolidation of Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga’s water supply system, shows how a recycled building can become a valuable asset to the community at a fraction of the cost of new construction,” Plasencia said. 

The Local Revenue Sharing Board was established in 2000 when the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians was permitted to open a casino in Petoskey. Part of the compact with the state of Michigan required the tribe to give back 2 percent of net electronic gaming revenues (i.e. slot machines) to local communities. The revenue sharing mandate was enacted in part to account for increased public safety needs and also because the tribe’s casino property was taken off the local tax rolls. 

The Revenue Sharing Board has used a number of criteria in determining where the money is distributed. First, the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department and the Resort-Bear Creek Fire Department receive one-eighth of the total to account for costs incurred directly related to the casino. Secondly, local school districts and North Central Michigan College receive payments in lieu of taxes; and lastly, any funds that remain are “discretionary” as the board determines. 

“The board seems to be most in favor of public safety and recreation, and we’re interested in how the casino affects the local units of government, so the units closer to the casino are most likely to be the most affected. However, the 2 percent has been distributed throughout the county,” said Keiser. 

If discretionary funds are available in the future, applicants must apply through a governmental unit, such as a township, city, village or county; the money will then be received by that local unit and distributed to the recipient.

June 1, 2011 - Hugh Winnell: World War II vet a witness to history

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Hugh Winnell holds a photo of his squadron, posed near a fighter plane in Okinawa.

By Beth Anne Piehl

 
Hugh Winnell says he’s had two lives: The one he had before World War II, and the one he’s lived afterward, for the last 66 years. 

The 87-year-old Petoskey resident still vividly recalls in equal parts his exuberant youthful days at Petoskey High School and the intense, life-changing years as a fighter/dive bomb pilot during World War II.

“I think quite a few of us veterans feel like we have two lives,” said Winnell, 87, and a lifelong Petoskey resident who lives on the land near downtown that was originally his family’s farm. “The war is the pivotal part of your memory. I think of the war as maybe happening last week, it’s that vivid.” 

Winnell is a reminder of that rare generation made up of kids who had barely turned their tassels before climbing aboard aircraft carriers and fighter jets, seemingly fearless in the face of the Japanese and Hitler in WWII. Their patriotic fervor led them from tiny communities like Petoskey onto the world stage; thousands wouldn’t return, though Winnell notes all of his classmates who enlisted upon their graduation in 1941 came home alive.

They enlisted just a few months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. From here, his story reads like an excerpt from high school history class.

To read Winnell's story, click here.

Each month, Emmet County will recognize an area veteran for his or her service to our country. If you have a suggestion for a veteran to feature – young or old, man or woman, friend or relative – please contact Beth Anne Piehl, Communications and Web Development Director, at (231) 348-1704, or bpiehl@emmetcounty.org.

May 7, 2011 -- First Annual Community Little Traverse Wheelway Cleanup Day!

The Top of Michigan Trails Council has helped organize a two-county cleanup day for the Little Traverse Wheelway. The council is looking for individuals and families to help prepare the paved trails system linking Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs for the summer season.

The cleanup will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, May 7. Sponsors for the cleanup are Top of Michigan Trails Council, 4-H Youth Development and the city of Petoskey, along with Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

Volunteers are asked to preregister for the event by calling Jeff Winegard, Top of Michigan Trails Council executive director, at (231) 348-8280 or emailing him at ed@trailscouncil.org.

On the day of the event, volunteers should check-in at one of three sections and will be assigned an area and task. Possible tasks include: litter pickup, clearing branches, minor pruning and trail edging. Trash bags will be provided.

Locations for check-in at 10 a.m.:

* Charlevoix County Section -- Meet at MDOT Roadside Park on U.S. 31

* City of Petoskey Section -- Meet at East Park (park near Bay Harbor)

* Emmet County Section -- Meet behind Glen's Market (north) parking lot near the trail

Things to bring: Drinking water, appropriate clothing (rain or shine event), work gloves, boots, long-sleeved shirts; hand shears, loppers, pruners, rakes, motorized trimmers, gas leaf blowers (with gas), brooms and flat shovels. Motorized tools are to be used only by the owner. You are responsible for keeping track of your gear and using it safely.

Things not to bring: pets, unsafe equipment, chain saws or motorized vehicles (tractors/ATVs). Vehicles will not be allowed on the trail.

If you would like to learn more about being a member of the Top of Michigan Trails Council call or email Jeff Winegard at the Trails Council at 348-8280 or ed@trailscouncil.org. If you would like to join a new 4-H Blueways and Greenways Trails Project as a youth representative (age 12-19), contact Melanie Chiodini, extension educator at (231) 627-8815, or via email chiodin1@anr.msu.edu for more information.

April 29, 2011 -- Smart Commute Week inspires Brutus woman’s fitness focus

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Nancy Salar takes a walk through Pennsyvlania Park, downtown Petoskey.

2011 Emmet County Smart Commute Week is June 6-10 

Nancy Salar was establishing a regular fitness regimen of walking and running when the first annual Emmet County Smart Commute Week was announced in June 2010.

She toyed with the idea of joining her colleagues on an Emmet County team committed to fitness-focused commuting for the week, but hesitated a bit at the distance she’d have to bicycle into work – 12 miles each way from her home in Brutus to the county satellite location on M-119, where she worked in the Planning and Zoning Department. 

Salar committed to it, and the fitness focus changed her life. Read the rest of Salar's story and find out how to register for Smart Commute Week by clicking here. Information is also available about registering Commuter Cup Challenge teams, prizes, free breakfasts and more.

April 25, 2011 -- Brentt Michalek leaving post in May

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Brentt Michalek will leave his position May 18, 2011.

Brentt Michalek, Emmet County’s Planning, Zoning and Construction Resources Director, will be returning to his native Wisconsin to take a similar position in Sauk County.

Michalek has been the county’s planning and zoning director for the past six and a half years. He leaves a list of accomplishments during this tenure here – including an award-winning master plan, several successful and large grant awards and important efforts to manage medical marijuana operations and sexually oriented businesses.

“They are the accomplishments of everybody in my office and throughout the county. They are things we have all worked on and accomplished together,” said Michalek. “We’ve done many things to help further Emmet County – none of which would be possible without the support of the Board of Commissioners.” 

Click here for the full story.

April 22, 2011 -- Emmet awarded for Dark Sky Park efforts

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Board of Commissioners Chairman James Tamlyn accepts the award from Mary Stewart Adams.

The Outdoor Lighting Forum on Thursday afternoon awarded Emmet County for its efforts to preserve the dark sky and limit pollution at the Headlands park property, located in the northwest tip of the county.

The county and its Dark Sky Park committee are currently awaiting word on International Dark Sky Park designation at the Headlands. The county Board of Commissioners has supported, through unanimous resolutions, this designation and also has amended the lighting ordinance to prevent light from diluting the night sky above the Headlands.

In presenting the award to board chairman James Tamlyn, the event moderator, Mary Stewart Adams -- also a Dark Sky Park committee member -- applauded the county's dedication to preserving the night sky.

"There are only four such Dark Sky Parks in the nation," Adams said. "This award recognizes the county's dedication to protecting one of the last great resources."

To read about other OLF awardees and to see more photos from the lunch event, click here.

April 20, 2011 -- Emmet County to be awarded for Dark Sky Park efforts

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Carolyn McKellar

NASA ambassador will be featured speaker at event   
   
Emmet County leaders and Dark Sky Park Committee members will be awarded by the Outdoor Lighting Forum this week, for efforts to achieve International Dark Sky Park recognition and preservation at the Headlands park property.

County representatives will be given the award during the OLF’s 8th annual Outdoor Lighting Design Awards Luncheon Thursday, April 21, at the City Park Grill in Petoskey. The event will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m., and the public is invited to attend (cost is the purchase of lunch).

The luncheon will also feature guest speaker Carolyn McKellar, a Traverse City native who is now a NASA Solar System Ambassador and 1st Chairperson of the Northern Michigan College Astronomical Association. She will speak on “Astronomy for the Rest of Us.”

The public luncheon is hosted to promote awareness about conscientious outdoor lighting, and to celebrate businesses, individuals and communities that make use of outdoor lighting that is safe, effective and aesthetically pleasing.

For more information about the event and Emmet County's Dark Sky Park efforts, click here.

April 18, 2011 - Emmet County to be honored for Dark Sky Park efforts

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Carolyn McKellar

NASA ambassador will be featured speaker 
Emmet County leaders and Dark Sky Park Committee members will be awarded by the Outdoor Lighting Forum this week, for efforts to achieve International Dark Sky Park recognition and preservation at the Headlands park property. 

County representatives will be given the award during the OLF’s 8th annual Outdoor Lighting Design Awards Luncheon Thursday, April 21, at the City Park Grill in Petoskey. The event will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m., and the public is invited to attend (cost is the purchase of lunch).
 
The luncheon will also feature guest speaker Carolyn McKellar, a Traverse City native who is now a NASA Solar System Ambassador and 1st Chairperson of the Northern Michigan College Astronomical Association. She will speak on “Astronomy for the Rest of Us.” 

The Headlands, a 600-acre parcel of Lake Michigan property, is located two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City. It is owned and operated by Emmet County. Recently, the county submitted application for dark-sky park designation to the International Dark Sky Park Association in Arizona. The group is awaiting word on whether the designation will be awarded. 

The county Board of Commissioners has lent its support to the effort in the past year with two resolutions supporting the application and designating the Headlands as a dark sky park. 

For more information about the county’s Dark Sky Park efforts, click here. 

 The public luncheon is hosted to promote awareness about conscientious outdoor lighting, and to celebrate businesses, individuals and communities that make use of outdoor lighting that is safe, effective and aesthetically pleasing. 

The Outdoor Lighting Forum is the outgrowth of years of concern over issues of poor outdoor lighting. The Forum came into being 12 years ago with the goal of demonstrating efficient lighting throughout the community, which ultimately results in lighting only needed objects or places, and does not broadcast light into areas where it is not needed or wanted. The results are cost savings, increased security, more aesthetically pleasing communities, and protection against wasteful lighting of the night sky. 

This year’s event marks a milestone, with the Forum recognizing Mary Lou Tanton’s 12 years of service. Also being honored at the luncheon with awards are photographer Robert deJonge, the Rehmann Group, Ian and Sally Bund and Peggy’s Gardening. 

The guest speaker at Thursday’s luncheon, McKellar, is a rising name in astronomy circles. As a student at Northwestern Michigan College, McKellar is 1st chairman of the Astronomical Association and one of the youngest Solar System Ambassadors for NASA. McKellar will also visit and present to the astronomy students at Petoskey Middle School. 

To RSVP to the luncheon, contact Mary Stewart Adams at (231) 838-8181, or starmare.adams@gmail.com. Stewart notes that the luncheon is well-timed with the annual, global Earth Day celebration on April 22.

March 20, 2011 - Emmet County's 'Big Rock Challenge' featured in the Boston Globe

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The Boston Globe features Emmet County's "Big Rock Challenge" in its Sunday, March 20, 2011 issue, with a headline reading, "Rocking out: Vying for attention and tourist dollars, a historic landmark in Michigan lays down a challenge to our own Plymouth Rock."

The feature is a result of a friendly, light-hearted challenge Emmet County's Historical Commission initiated with Plymouth, Mass., regarding the famed Plymouth Rock. The county looked to promote its own historic, mammoth rock on the Straits of Mackinac at McGulpin Point Lighthouse, which pre-dates Plymouth Rock by several years and is several times larger.

The article about "Chi-Sin" -- the Odawa words meaning "big rock" -- and a photo of the landmark, appear online on the Globe's home page. To read the article, click here.

To read more about the big rock at McGulpin Point, and McGulpin Point Lighthouse, click here.

March 1, 2011 - Emmet Conservation DIstrict offering wildlife packages

(From Cydney Steeb, Emmet Conservation District)

Living here in Northern Michigan, we are fortunate enough to see beautiful wildlife all around us. In past years feeding wildlife was popular not only for hunters trying to draw in that big buck, but also property owners who just wanted to see them close up or wanted to help them through the winter. Due to disease concerns in our deer population, “bating” as it is call is now illegal in Michigan except for the UP.

Disease concerns are not the only reason people should avoid feeding deer. A deer’s digestive system is easily upset by the consumption of large quantities of apples and corn instead of its natural browse of acorns, grass, twigs and others assorted plant material in its natural habitat. Also when a group of deer congregate at a daily feed pile, they often fight for dominance of the pile, causing injuries to weak members of the herd or even excluding them from eating.

If you want to see more wildlife around your property and want to support their wellbeing, consider positive conservation measures to enhance your property. Like humans, animals need food, shelter, water, and a place to raise their young. By adding native plants, shrubs and trees to your landscape you can provide the kind of environment wildlife need to thrive.

This year, with the help of a few wildlife experts, the Emmet Conservation District is offering wildlife packages for both large and small property owners who want to improve their property for wildlife by providing more food and shelter. If you’re a city dweller, instead of a packet, you can choose from a variety of individual shrubs that produce berries sure to entice our beautiful local bird populations, when added to the landscape. 

The Ruffed Grouse food and cover upland packet will include a mix of native shrubs and crabapples which are also good for other wildlife. These plants are best planted along a woodland edge or pine plantation, or mixed in and out of hardwood openings. Species included will be Manchurian and Dolgo Crab, Arrow Wood, Maple Leaf, and Black Haw Viburnum, Washington Hawthorn, and Silky Dogwood. The Ruffed Grouse lowland packet will include native shrubs that are more suited to wet or heavy soils. This package includes Elderberry, Highbush Cranberry, Silky Dogwood, Nannyberry, Black Haw Viburnum, American Hazelnut, and Washington Hawthorn.
The deer and turkey packet contains a mix of Oak and fruit trees including Dolgo Crabapple, Kieffer Pear, American Plum, Swamp White Oak, Gamble/Burr Oak cross, Burr/English Oak cross, and Scarlet Oak. The Oak crosses were selected because of reports that they will produce acorn in less than 10 years and Swamp White Oak in as few as four years. 

Prices for the wildlife packets range from $50-$181 depending on the size of the property you have to plant. Call the Emmet Conservation District (231) 439-8977 to request a catalog by mail or go to their web site www.emmetcd.org. 

Another way to encourage wildlife is to leave a brush pile or two for smaller animals and birds to hide in from predators or to nest in. These brush piles also provide shelter during our harsh winter weather.

Feb. 24, 2011 - Charlevoix County Clerk was instrumental region-wide

Former Charlevoix County Clerk Jane Brannon passed away Tuesday, Feb. 22, of natural causes. She was 59.

Brannon served in the Charlevoix clerk's office from June 6, 1973 to Dec. 31, 2008, first as deputy clerk and as clerk beginning March 24, 1980. Colleagues and friends said she was dedicated to her job and to Charlevoix County.

Emmet County Controller Lyn Johnson also said that Brannon was instrumental in the formation of the CCE/9-1-1 authority, which encompasses Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet Counties. The CCE Authority is considered a model around the state and country for its collaborative approach to providing emergency services and how the counties work together, Johnson noted.

He also said Brannon was instrumental in development of the CCE Office of Emergency Management and was an active member of the Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair Board, on which she served for many years.

"Jane was dedicated to making sure this area had the best emergency response services. Because of her efforts, today our joint 9-1-1 center is held up as a model for other communities around Michigan and elsewhere," Johnson said. "She was also very involved with the fair. She was terrific lady and she will be missed."

There are no services planned for Brannon at this time. Memorial contributions can be mailed directly to the Charlevoix County Humane Society, 614 Beardsley St., Boyne City, Mich., 49712.

Jan. 4, 2011 - Bay Bluffs 2010 Year in Review

Diana Bailey, Executive Director of Bay Bluffs, Emmet County's Medical Care Facility, presented a year-in-review report to the Board of Commissioners at their Jan. 4, 2011, Administrative Meeting.

In her report, Bailey noted the care center's census remains high, at 97 percent, which will help the facility earn a State of Michigan Certificate of Need for future expansion.

In addition, she said she continues to receive positive feedback from the community and residents about the home-like care given at Bay Bluffs. She also told the Board about an unexpected gift from an area resident who had no ties to the facility; the resident bequeathed a portion of their estate totaling approximately $200,000 to the facility for operations.

Emmet County contributes approximately $200-250,000 to the care facility each year for operational expenses and other budgetary needs.

To read Bailey's full report to the board, click here.

Bliss Polo Club takes to the fields in Emmet County

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The Bliss Polo Club, formed in the tiny community of Bliss in Northern Emmet County, hosts polo matches through the summer months in dedicated fields near the Bliss General Store. In recent years the club's members created the fields and fencing for hosting the sporting event.

On Sunday, July 17, 2011, the Bliss Polo Club hosted the Upatoi Green, a visiting team from Georgia. Upatoi Green defeated the locals 9-7.

The club has a Facebook page -- Bliss Polo Club -- which includes game times, dates and more information.

For additional photos from the July 17 event, click here.

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Sunset sail

A yacht taking part in the 103rd Chicago-to-Mackinac  race sails past the Headlands park property in northwest Emmet County Sunday, July 17, under a hazy evening sky.

On shore, a group of about 45 people gathered for the Dark Sky Park program at the Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park. Led by Mary Stewart Adams, the program featured "The Black Moon and the High Constellations of Summer."

Next weekend, the Ugotta Regatta continues the sailing racing season. The Little Traverse Bay Yacht Club, Harbor Springs, hosts the regatta following the second of either the Chicago to Mackinac or the Port Huron to Mackinac race. The Ugotta takes place July 29-31st. For more information on the regatta and related festivities, click here.

The next Dark Sky Park program will take place Saturday, Aug. 20. Click here for more details.

Super 5-in-1 Recycling Saturday is Oct. 1

You can recycle over 50 materials and drop-off garbage at the Emmet County Drop-off Center six days a week year round. But on Saturday, Oct. 1, you will be able to practically “drop everything” there as the Emmet County Department of Public Works will offer four special disposal and recycling options at once. The events will run from 9 a.m. to noon.

The extra materials to be collected include latex paint to be recycled, unwanted medicines for disposal, sensitive papers to be shredded (then recycled), and plant plastics to be recycled. Also, household chemical drop-off will take place on this same day BUT APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED and can be made by calling (231) 348-0640.

In addition to the events from 9 a.m. to noon, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Recycling Center is planned for 1 p.m. The tour is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available by calling 231-348-0640 or emailing recycle@emmetcounty.org. This is the last tour being offered this year.

For information about Saturday's events, click here.

Summer 2011 -- Thousands of motorcyclists tour Emmet County

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More than 4,000 motorcyclists from around the country rolled through Emmet County as they attended 
a weekend Hog Rally for Harley and other motorcycle riders at Boyne Highlands. The group traveled 
north through the famed Tunnel of Trees (M-119) to Cross Village, where they had lunch at Legs Inn 
restaurant (pictured).

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Summer 2011- Vintage car club visiting the area

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Dozens of members of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America rolled into Emmet County Sunday, June 5, as part of a week-long visit to the region. About 75 vehicles and their drivers and passengers gathered Sunday evening for a welcome reception at the Petoskey-Bay View Country Club.

The club members arrived from all over the United States, with unique license plates accompanying their classic rides. For more photos, click here!

Special trick-or-treating hours set for Oct. 28-31!

Shipwrecked pirates will take over McGulpin Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City in October for a family-friendly trick-or-treating weekend that is free and open to the public.

Trick-or-treating will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Monday, Oct. 28-31. Kids are encouraged to come in costume.

McGulpin Point Lighthouse is owned and operated by Emmet County. It is located two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City on Headlands Park Drive. For more information about the lighthouse, call (231) 348-1704 or email bpiehl@emmetcounty.org.

There is never an admission charge to the lighthouse. McGulpin Point will close for the season Oct. 16 (and reopen for the special trick-or-treating weekend). It reopens for the season in May each year. September and October hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Recycling program praised in Petoskey city survey

Emmet County’s recycling program received high praise from residents of the city of Petoskey in a recent survey of services, assets and operations. Among the numerous city services included in the survey, the recycling program was ranked the highest. It was among the highest-ranked amenities and features in the city overall as well.

Additionally, in comparison to survey results from hundreds of other cities around the country, the recycling department’s operations were ranked “much above” those benchmarks.

“We’re thrilled that city residents see the benefit of our recycling program, and that they rank our service so highly,” said Elisa Seltzer, Emmet County DPW Director. “We would like to thank the city for partnering with us to provide curbside recycling collection, and city residents for being such avid recyclers. Without so many committed citizens, our recycling program would not be as successful as it has become.”

Among respondents, 51 percent ranked the recycling program as excellent, while 36 percent ranked it good, for an 86-percent positive rating. Other utilities such as power, sewer, drinking water and garbage collection, were also on the list. None received a higher ranking than recycling.

The survey also asked residents about their recycling tendencies. In the last 12 months, 55 percent of respondents report recycling more than 26 times, 14 percent report 13 to 26 times, and 13 percent recycled 3 to 12 times. In comparison to the national benchmark, Petoskey residents recycle “much more” than their counterparts around the country.

The National Citizen Survey was developed in cooperation between the National Research Center and ICMA, a professional association for local government administrators. It gauges attitudes in participating communities about municipal services, economic opportunity, public trust in government and additional areas of inquiry.

The survey was mailed to 1,200 Petoskey households, each of which was contacted multiple times to invite a response. The 443 surveys completed represented a rate of 41 percent. Results were released in November, and Petoskey residents ranked their city “much above” national benchmarks in terms of overall quality of life, city parks, snow removal, ease of bicycle travel and walkability.

“We are one component of the many services provided in the city of Petoskey and Emmet County overall, and we all work together to make this an extremely special place to work and live,” Seltzer said. “We will continue to strive to provide a cutting-edge recycling program that meets the needs of residents throughout the county.”

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Home for the Holidays at Harbor's open house Dec. 10
There aren't many places in America that can rival the look and feel of downtown Harbor Springs during the holidays. The Harbor Springs Chamber of Commerce and downtown merchants are inviting visitors to share in the holiday spirit found throughout the town during the annual Downtown Merchant Holiday Open House, set for Saturday, Dec. 10. The open house takes place from 6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy a fun-filled day of shopping and an unforgettable evening of music, sleigh rides, hot and cold refreshments and yummy holiday treats and hors d'oevres. For additional information about the community, visit the Harbor chamber's Web site at www.harborspringschamber.com, or call (231) 526-7999.

Also this weekend, visit the third annual Winter Fantasy Art & Gift Show at the Emmet County Fairgrounds, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Join local artists and gift vendors for this third annual event, with concession available by the Petoskey High School Bowling Team.

Cecil Byrd: Army Air Corps & Air Force Veteran of three wars

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Cecil Byrd, of Petoskey

Web Editor's note: Each month, Emmet County features the story of a local veteran. Please remember Veterans Day is Nov. 11, 2011 -- thank a veteran for his or her service to our country, and remember those who gave their lives.

By Beth Anne Piehl
Emmet County Director of Communications 

For a farm boy who grew up running barefoot in bib overalls, and who never traveled much outside his rural Illinois community, Cecil “Cec” Byrd is still amazed at the path his life took as an Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force pilot, serving during three wars in the skies over multiple continents and spanning myriad missions.

“I never even learned how to drive a car before enlisting,” recalled Byrd, 89, of Petoskey. “And here I was, flying planes.”

Cec, as he’s known, was raised on farmland in Northern Illinois, 100 miles west of Chicago in a town named Polo. His parents were raised in the foothills of Tennessee; they moved to Illinois in 1914 looking for work. Cecil was born in 1922.

It was a quiet life, and one that led Byrd in search of greater adventure. To that end, World War II presented opportunities to young men like Byrd, who at age 18 enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He recalled a time in Montgomery, Ala., where he was sent for pre-flight training at age 19, anticipating what lay ahead.

“I lay there actually feeling glad about World War II coming along to rescue me from my degradation. What a terrible thought, but I didn’t start the war and I welcomed the opportunity ahead of me,” Byrd wrote, in a voluminous memoir he has penned over the years, titled “In Search of Wings.”

It takes many pages indeed to tell the story of this farm boy-turned-aviator who flew during some of the greatest battles in U.S. history. 

To read Byrd's complete story, click here.

To read past Veterans' Features, click here.

Special holiday open house, sleigh rides at McGulpin Point

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Emmet County's Parks and Recreation Department is joining in the spirit of the holiday season with a festive open house planned at McGulpin Point Lighthouse.

The lighthouse will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 2-4, and it will be decorated in seasonal decor, with refreshments served. Additionally from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, horse-drawn sleigh rides will be available to guests. There is no charge to enter the lighthouse or to take part in the sleigh rides.

For more information, call (231) 348-1704. McGulpin Point is open from May 15-Oct. 15 daily each year, and there is never a charge to visit.

The weekend coincides with Christmas in Mackinaw City events, which include the community tree lighting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2. Click here for more details about Christmas in Mackinaw.

Next Dark Sky Park program is tonight: Christmas Star, Mayan Calendar

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December is ideal for stargazing, given the cool, clear nights and the brilliant dark of the season. The constellation Perseus peaks overhead, quite near Cetus the whale and the Pisces fish, just in front of a group of fascinating superclusters. Each of these constellations belongs, in history and myth, to the birth mysteries that are celebrated in this season.

They will be topics of discussion as well at the next Dark Sky Park program at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park on Friday, Dec. 16, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Guest House (note: NOT the Beach House). The program, "The Christmas Star, the Venus Transit and the Mayan Calendar," will take place under the Geminid Meteor Showers.

Dark Sky Park Program Director Mary Stewart Adams said the evening will also serve as celebration of the past year's efforts to protect the night sky in Emmet County, and she will offer insight about what to expect in the night sky for 2012, which includes consideration of the end of the Mayan calendar and the rare Venus transit across the sun.

The event is free and open to the public. It will take place indoors and out, so dress for the weather and bring red-filter flashlights if you prefer. 7 to 10 p.m., which includes the program and stargazing. Light refreshments.

For more information about the park and what to expect, click hereFor 2012 Dark Sky Park programs, click here

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Holiday Recycling Made Easy
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Gift boxes? Yes. Wrapping paper? No. Popcorn tins and paper cups -- ho ho ho! The dos and don'ts of holiday recycling have been clearly spelled out in a colorful chart by Emmet County's Recycling Department Staff.

Did you know that greeting cards cannot be recycled but cookie tins can? Find out what to do with all your holiday containers and supplies by clicking here!

 

McGulpin Point wins state Beautification Award

Emmet County and McGulpin Point Lighthouse were honored Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, by the Keep Michigan Beautiful organization for efforts to restore and beautify the lighthouse and its surrounding acreage.

Each year, Keep Michigan Beautiful -- an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful -- recognizes efforts around the state to beautify properties, gardens and structures, including those that preserve the state's rich history. McGulpin Point received the organization's highest honor, the President's Plaque, during the group's annual awards luncheon, held this year at Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.

"We are truly honored to be recognized by Keep Michigan Beautiful for our ongoing beautification efforts at McGulpin Point," said Lyn Johnson, County Controller, who accepted the award on the county's behalf. "The foresight of the Board of Commissioners to purchase this property, and continue to restore it to its early origins, should be commended. Each year, we are welcoming more than 20,000 visitors to the property -- a testament to the public's interest in our history and the people, places and events that shaped our past."

Fly-in at PLN Sept. 9

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Kelley Atkins (yellow shirt) accepts the proclamation from the MAA (photos courtesy of Jack Jones)

About 20 private planes flew in to Pellston Regional Airport on Friday, Sept. 9, to visit Northern Michigan and stop for lunch. Airport Manager Kelley Atkins said the planes, members of the Michigan Airplane Association, hailed primarily from southern Michigan and Canada. 

“A couple of the people had previously been to our main terminal and decided it would be a great place for the group to visit,” said Atkins. 

The county provided lunch before being presented with a proclamation certificate signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, recognizing the value of aviation in the state of Michigan. It was presented to Atkins by Bob Kelly, from the MAA, and it states the aviation generates $20 billion in economic impact in the state of Michigan. Pellston Regional Airport generates about $35 million in economic impact, Atkins noted.

 

 

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