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Featured Blog Posts – December 2008 Archive (24)

Conservation Subdivisions: Download the free fact sheet

LandChoices is offering a free one page fact sheet on conservation subdivisions to help spread the word about how to use innovative conservation design to preserve clean water, working farms and wildlife.

Visit LandChoices conservation subdivisions Web page
and click on the RED "Download Fact Sheet" button in the right sidebar to… Continue

Added by Kirt Manecke, Smile book on December 29, 2008 at 6:00am — 4 Comments

Reindeer Run Nordic Center Near Traverse City

I’m letting the best-kept Nordic secret in Leelanau County out of the bag here: Reindeer Run Nordic Center near Empire. It’s run by Kevin Kelly, a wild-man skier who is a national parks firefighter by vocation. (Read about Kevin).

Kelly is starting a homespun Nordic center in the pines outside of Empire. If there's snow, it’s always great for classic and Kelly tries to keep a skate trail groomed. The… Continue

Added by Elizabeth Edwards on December 27, 2008 at 4:33pm — No Comments

A Winter Snowshoe in the U.P.

My daughter and I snowshoed with friends this week. The temperature’s been hovering just above zero in the eastern Upper Peninsula so we bundled up to head out across 110 acres of open field and woods behind their house in Dafter.

The snow was perfect for big-footed creatures. Tracks remained where showshoe hares bounded across the snow, kept from sinking by their wide feet and the hard frozen layer created by a recent thaw. We shuffled through the same top fluffy layer, only… Continue

Added by Leslie Askwith on December 22, 2008 at 1:14pm — 3 Comments

Land Conservation: Time to make your year end charitable gift

The survey results are in. Charitable giving is down, according to articles from The Chronical of Philanthropy, and Guidestar.

It's that time of year again, time to make that year end charitable gift. Last December at… Continue

Added by Kirt Manecke, Smile book on December 22, 2008 at 6:00am — No Comments

Deep injection of Bay Harbor's contaminated groundwater

Last Sunday, at the Traverse City Water Festival, I heard Dr. John Richter, a longtime protector of the Jordan River Valley (and veterinarian) make a presentation about a proposal to inject liquid waste from the Bay Harbor development into a deep well in the Jordan River watershed.

The waste to be injected is groundwater that is contaminated as it filters through cement kiln dust remaining from decades of cement production at the Bay Harbor site. (Bay Harbor, for those not familiar… Continue

Added by Jeff Smith on December 18, 2008 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Zen and the Art of Snow Angel Making

I am making a pot of stew when I hear them; their faded laughter slipping in through closed windows as it carries along on the winter wind. Looking outside, I see my boys, one nine, one four, in the middle of our backyard, falling back into the heavy piles of just-fallen snow.

On their backs, they flap their arms and legs up and down at a frenetic pace. The way boys make snow angels. I watch in silence, memorizing the way they look from sky to each other to sky again.… Continue

Added by Kate on December 16, 2008 at 8:00pm — 5 Comments

Confessions Of A Local Foods Foodie

Twelve clean white eggs appeared in my refrigerator. Each was such an exact replica of the next that they looked machine-made. “Where did these come from?” I said, accusingly. "You know I get eggs every Friday from Dale." “We ran out,” said my husband, “so I got some at the grocery.” I stiffened, irritated. I've become a local foods foodie, as judgemental about buying non-local foods as anyone who's recently been converted to a new way of doing things.

Dale Kriesche is our egg… Continue

Added by Leslie Askwith on December 15, 2008 at 9:12am — 1 Comment

Looking to preserve rural character? Why large lot zoning does not work

When town planners or township officials are asked what they are doing to preserve rural character, they often reply "We've got large lot zoning".

The towns I grew up in, Farmington, and West Bloomfield, Michigan, had large lot zoning. Today they are poster childs for over development. People run away from these towns every weekend and head "up north" on I-75 to escape the madness.… Continue

Added by Kirt Manecke, Smile book on December 15, 2008 at 6:00am — No Comments

Winter: How to Thrive not Just Survive

It’s not uncommon for someone to say to me something to the effect of, “Dude, how do you get through winter up here?” The comment might come from people who have recently relocated here, deceived into thinking it’s Fourth of July weekend 52 weeks a year. Or it might come from people who have lived here for years.

I understand the question, but I also understand the solution, and lucky for you, I’m going to share it in a metaphor. This is a metaphor that I made up myself and whenever… Continue

Added by Jeff Smith on December 12, 2008 at 9:32am — 6 Comments

Cleaner, Greener, Faster

It was my intention to explore Step 2: Going Green at Home, but during this morning’s run I was consumed by thoughts of our nation awaiting the outcome of the Chief Auto Executives plea for a bail out from Washington. As I splashed past driveways and cars driving too close splashed past me the mantra I couldn’t help repeating was that we are all Detroiters. Today as we anticipate the possible loss of approximately 3 million auto related jobs, we are all Detroiters. Whether we are Southern… Continue

Added by Janelle Coolich on December 11, 2008 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

Traverse Area Bathroom Renovations

Our February issue of Northern Home and Cottage will be focused on the idea that, despite the economy, it is a good time to renovate. And it is. Lumber and other building materials are low—one lumberman told me he hasn’t seen prices this low in from 5 to 20 years. And contractors and subcontractors are so grateful for the work (aren’t we all grateful for work nowadays?) they’re apt to take some extra time to make sure you are getting what you want.

Which is how Todd Bredin and… Continue

Added by Elizabeth Edwards on December 10, 2008 at 10:46am — 1 Comment

Manistee Victorian Christmas

If any of you live up north you might know what kind of weather we are having thus far this winter. So, this last weekend, myself, a friend ,my teenage daughter and her friend left to drive south on US31 in horizontal blinding snow to see the Manistee Victorian Christmas Celebration. Along the way my friend turned to me more than once and suggested it might be a good idea to turn around. But we persisted for the 60 plus miles (almost 2 hours)and got into town with time to eat before positioning… Continue

Added by Jill on December 10, 2008 at 7:00am — 1 Comment

Hope for Traverse City Veterans?

The news this weekend was all about President-elect Obama selecting General Eric Shinseki to take over the Veterans Affairs Department. Since I interviewed Michigan Iraq Veteran Michelle Rudzitis for the story “Our Michelle” (Traverse, October 2008) I’ve tried to follow the veteran’s issue more closely, and I’ve also stayed in contact with Michelle. Neither veteran story—the national one or Michelle’s own—is a… Continue

Added by Elizabeth Edwards on December 9, 2008 at 9:06am — No Comments

Audio Recordings of the Michigan's Future Conference Are on the Web

Just a quick heads up that audio recordings of the Michigan's Future: Energy, Economy and Environment conference held at Crystal Mountain a few weeks ago are now available on the web. Check it at

The conference had a fine mix of people with very different views of what we need to do to move… Continue

Added by Jeff Smith on December 8, 2008 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments


It was so cold this past Friday that my friend, Dale’s, flowing well froze. He lives south of Rudyard and said his thermometer read minus 14 degrees that morning. The air had a frigid bite and snow squeaked as it does when it’s very cold. Flowing wells are great for people with livestock or who need ponds. They flow steadily, year around, a constant supply of fresh water from deep aquifers. Dale has a hundred chickens so needs the water for them.

But they’re not without potential… Continue

Added by Leslie Askwith on December 8, 2008 at 12:41pm — 1 Comment

Snowed In Potato Soup

Saturday's snows were wild—shoveling was a lost cause, and the drifts out the back door reached up to our golden retriever's poor belly! It's true I am never really snowed in, living in Traverse City proper. I can always throw my snowshoes on and hoof it to Tom's. After getting snow burn from sledding, soaking through my winter duds playing in the wet snow and drawing a hot bath for the family shoveler (thanks, guy), I really didn't have it in me to… Continue

Added by Emily Betz Tyra on December 8, 2008 at 12:00pm — 2 Comments

Give the gift of conservation: "Conservation Design for Subdivisions" book

Before I started LandChoices I searched for an answer to over development, or what many refer to as "urban sprawl" (I stay away from this term as studies show some people feel "sprawl" is a good thing-more jobs, new places to shop, etc.). I purchased the book "Conservation Design for Subdivisions" and it changed my life.

If I was granted one wish, it would be that development in rural areas… Continue

Added by Kirt Manecke, Smile book on December 8, 2008 at 6:00am — No Comments

How Ludington's Pumped Storage Facility Can Help Us With Wind Power Development

Something else to share from the Crystal Mountain conference, Michigan’s Future: Energy, Economy and Environment.

When people discuss the technical limitations of wind power, one of the most oft-cited is the inability to store the power that wind turbines generate. So, for example, if we had great wind during the middle of the night, the turbines would spin, but the demand for electricity would be so low (everybody home sleeping), that it could go wasted. This would be a real shame… Continue

Added by Jeff Smith on December 4, 2008 at 12:30pm — 8 Comments

Groomin' Trails

For about twenty-five years, The Outfitter has groomed the cross country ski trails at Birchwood - a large, wooded subdivision north of Harbor Springs. Our good family friends, owners of The Outfitter for twenty-three years, began the ritual and we continue it. With the same snowmobiles.

Grooming trails truly is a labor of love - an exercise that emphasises the reward at the end of the tunnel. The end result is awesome for skiers: pefectly laid-out tracks that ribbon around through… Continue

Added by Josh Baker on December 4, 2008 at 12:15am — 2 Comments

Going Green at Home: Step I

I am excited by the notion that we may be entering an era where we truly regard our fellow Americans as brothers and sisters, one in which we are willing to unite to address issues that affect all of us, one that looks and behaves like a national village.

It goes without saying that we are concerned as a nation about the economy. If you’re like me you are ready to act and you guess that there are others out there who are also ready to start acting locally towards making a difference.… Continue

Added by Janelle Coolich on December 3, 2008 at 11:00pm — 4 Comments

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