The Story That Just Couldn’t Wait Till Sunday 3/1/2013

Header:  Larry Rickley and Jason St. Onge watch while crew member descends ladder from freighter.  (Photo credit:  Clark Bloswick)

Hi All!

I bet you were surprised to see this pop up in your email or on your Facebook Account, but this is a story that just couldn’t wait until Sunday, so I’m sending it out now!

I’ve often spoken about the volunteers who make up the Mackinac Island Fire Department and what an unbelievably brave, hard-working, and spirited group they are.  Nothing could make that statement come to life more than what they accomplished this week.

Here is the story in the words of Jason St. Onge, the Assistant Fire Chief of Mackinac Island, followed by a news story and a telephone interview from UpNorthLive.com:

“The MIFD received a call this morning from the freighter /tug “Michigan” that a crew member’s mother had passed, and the Coast Guard was unable to retrieve the man. The vessel had been laid up in the ice now for several days. Assistant Chief St. Onge took the call, conferred with Chief Bradley and Assistant Chief Barnwell, and the MIFD put a plan together to assist the man to shore.

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Steve Zacharias, Craig Bunker, Larry Rickley, and Jason St. Onge approach the freighter/tug Michigan. (Photo Credit: Clark Bloswick)

Using all the ice/water rescue gear available, the MIFD walked out to the vessel, waited for the man to be lowered down and brought him to shore, where waiting snowmobiles took him to the airport to head to his home port of Rogers City.It was a complete team effort by the MIFD, with four men walking on the ice, and many more staged along the route and shore as back-up in case of emergency.

Certainly some will say that it was an unnecessary risk; however, put yourself in the shoes of the MIFD.  A man has lost his mom and desperately needs to get home – tough to say “no”. I would also like to think that if a citizen of Mackinac Island was in a similar situation in a far off place that the local fire department would render them the appropriate aid.”

Here’s the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB1-r4kr_0M

And here is the radio interview with Jason St. Onge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk2KE3vF7t4

A huge thank you to our Mackinac Island Fire Department for going above and way beyond so this young man could get off the freighter in time to attend his mother’s funeral.  You guys are awesome!

Mackinac Island Winter Update 2/24/2013

Hi All!

The weather continues to be the main topic of conversation on the Island this week.  More snow, more cold temps, but unfortunately . . . no ice bridge.  What I’m hearing now is that with the days getting longer, the hope of an ice bridge is fading.  If those of you on the island know different on this, please comment so everyone will know!

The weather was so bad this weekend that the Mackinac Island Boys and Girls Lakers Basketball teams couldn’t leave the island to participate in The Northern Lights League conference tournament being held in Hannahville.  In fact there were no flights off or on the island for two days straight.  So, in true Island spirit, the girls team played the “All Stars”, and the boys played the Island Fire Department in the Mackinac Island Public School gym.

Friend Jeff Peterson happened to be on the island for the game and captured Friend Jeff Peterson was on the Island for the last few days and was able to get to the game.  He caught #33 Laker Will Barnwell getting this three-point basket.  After a VERY hard-fought game, the Fire Department defeated the Lakers 80-78.

Friend Jeff Peterson was on the Island for the last few days and was able to get to the game. He caught #33 Laker Will Barnwell getting this three-point basket. After a VERY hard-fought game, the Fire Department defeated the Lakers 80-78.  Anyone know the girls game score?

A VERY big event this weekend was the monthly (during the winter) 20% off sale at Doud’s Market.  It was today (Sunday), and my Island reporter Jeff Peterson said Doud’s was packed!

Here it is the dead of winter, and all three cash registers are open and busy at Doud's Market.  That Andrew sure knows how to throw a sale!

Here it is the dead of winter, and all three cash registers are open and busy at Doud’s Market. That Andrew sure knows how to throw a sale!  (Photo: Jeff Peterson)

And how do all those groceries get to the store when there are no ferries?  They're flown in!  A carrier is pulled behind a snowmobile to the airport, groceries are unloaded from the plane into the carrier, and back to Doud's it goes, where it is unloaded into the store. (Photo: Doud's Market)

And how do all those groceries get to the store when there are no ferries? They’re flown in! A carrier is pulled behind a snowmobile to the airport, groceries are unloaded from the plane into the carrier, and back to Doud’s it goes, where it is unloaded into the store. (Photo: Doud’s Market)

Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor

It’s official!  The Grand Hotel announced this week its brand new addition for 2013 – Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, which will serve Hudsonville Ice Cream.  Sadie’s is named after the Scottish Terrier belonging to Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Musser, proprietors of the Grand Hotel. Sadie is famously known for her “Best In Show” win at the 2010 Westminster Dog Show.

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Sadie’s will be located just outside the east entrance to the Grand, where Margaret’s Garden was formerly located.  Grand Hotel’s interior designer, Carleton Varney, has created a traditional ice cream parlor in which guests can choose from 24 Hudsonville flavors, or order up shakes, malts, sundaes and a special Grand Sundae made to share with large groups.  Sadie’s will be open daily to the public with no admission charge.

Oh my goodness, I will have to pass it every time I walk downtown!  Oh Woe! What is a girl to do???!!!

To read more about Sadie’s and view some wonderful photos of its creation over the winter, please click here: http://blog.grandhotel.com/?p=2844.

Winter Photos!

The Mackinac Island Airport from a Great Lakes Air plane. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

The Mackinac Island Airport from a Great Lakes Air plane. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

Other things besides groceries and passengers arrive by plane now.  Here a Cawthorne Village Inn employee is picking up a few cases of beer.

Other things besides groceries and passengers arrive by plane now. Here a Cawthorne Village Inn employee is picking up a few cases of beer.

An awesome pic of Sugar Loaf from the air. (Photo: Travis Sredinski_

An awesome pic of Sugar Loaf from the air. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Can you guess where this is?  I really had to look closely.  It's the Fort Cemetery.  The gravestones are almost covered in snow. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Can you guess where this is – I really had to look closely. It’s the Fort Cemetery. The gravestones are almost covered in snow. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Don't know who took this photo, but I think that's Heather May on her birthday doing some sledding down Fort Street!

Don’t know who took this photo, but I think that’s Heather May on her birthday, doing some sledding down Fort Street!

Ice on the north shore on Feb. 21.  It was 8 degrees that day. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

Ice on the north shore on Feb. 21. It was 8 degrees that day. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

More ice mountains.  (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

More ice mountains. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

It's just my personal opinion, but I think Steve Humphrey is a tad too far away from the shore here. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

It’s just my personal opinion, but I think Steve Humphrey is a tad too far away from the shore here.  Those are West Bluff cottages behind him. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

I love this photo of Diane Karkau on her snowmobile downtown.  (Photo: Travis Sred

I love this photo of Diane Karkau on her snowmobile downtown! (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Who can tell me where this is?  It was a Mystery Spot this summer! (Photo: Travis Sredezinski)

Who can tell me where this is? It was a Mystery Spot this summer! (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

I know you’ve noticed the photos I included of the awesome ice mounds that are forming along the north shore of the Island.  Not only does Travis Sredzinski take great photos, but he captured the ice on a video that I know you will love!  You can watch it here: http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/y2/r/5l8_EVv_jyW.swf?v=10101275329855662&ev=0

All in all, a pretty busy week!  Hope everyone at your house is doing well.  February is almost over, so can Spring be far behind?  Have a great week, and God Bless.

For Those of You Who Don’t Read the Blog from Lake Blackshear

 

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FINALLY!  I’ve been waiting all winter for the publication of Heart of Ice, and it’s out on February 26.

Well then, Brenda, just how did you come to have a copy already . . . . I know you’re asking!

OK – I’ll tell you! P.J. Parrish is actually the two-sister team of Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols.  They write fabulous novels that make the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.  This latest novel is set on Mackinac Island, and one day a couple of summers ago Jill introduced me to Kristy.

Me with Kristy Montee
Me with Kristy Montee

Kristy had actually been reading my blog and took some island details for Heart of Ice from what she read.  We have chatted back and forth since then, and this week the book arrived in the mail!

My autographed copy!
My autographed copy!

And when I turned to the Acknowledgement Page . . . .

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Jill and I got a thank you, along with Jane, Kathy, Tam, Cass and Jeremy
at the Island Bookstores on Mackinac and in Mackinaw City!

How cool is that!

So now I can’t wait to settle in and start reading Heart of Ice and figuring out all the places they talk about in the book.  Here’s a little preview of what it’s about:

Florida PI Louis Kincaid wants to wear a badge again. But before he can, he must return home to Michigan – and some unfinished business.  He hopes to bond with ten-year-old Lily, the daughter he only recently learned existed, and reunite with girlfriend Joe Frye.  But new clues to an unsolved murder put his plans on ice.  A trip with Lily to enchanting Mackinac Island turns grim when the child falls on a pile of old bones; the dangerous discovery reopens the cold case of Julie Chapman, a teenager from one of the wealthy summer families, who vanished two decades ago.  And when Louis is forced to cooperate with a tough state investigator who once worked with Joe, tensions skyrocket.  Now, what was supposed to be a time of building lasting ties splinters into disturbing fragments, personally and professionally, as Louis pursues a mystery entangled in dark family secrets and twists even he can’t predict.

Sounds like I’m going to have to find an unoccupied cushion on the couch and curl up.  With over 10 inches of rain expected here over the weekend into Monday, and flood warnings posted, I’d say it’s the perfect time to read!

If you’ve read something you really, really liked and want to share, please tell us about it in the comments section!  Always looking for a good read!

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PRAYERS

1)  Please keep Lowell Greene and his wife Faye in your prayers.  Lowell goes into the hospital on Monday morning for a heart cath and possibly a stent. Jill and I visited Lowell and Faye last fall in Olivet, MI, and he and Faye will be visiting the Island in June. 

2)  I talked with Chris Ann for a few minutes on Wednesday and it was so wonderful to hear her voice.  She sounded very weak, but I understood everything she said and even got a small laugh from her when I said some stupid, silly thing.  When I talked to Burton, he said Hospice had come the day before and washed her hair, and they continue to juggle her pain meds for the best combinations.  Both of their Michigan children and their families have been there this weekend.   Chris Ann is very close to the end of her journey.

Mackinac Island Winter Update 2/17/2013

Hello Mackinac Island fans!

I’m sorry to say I don’t have a lot of news this week, but I do have a few photos and one great story to share!

When Small Gifts Bring Large Blessings

One of the things for which Mackinac Island is best known is its part in the making of the movie, Somewhere in Time.  When the cast and crew spent weeks on the island in the 1970’s, one of the people who served as liaison between Hollywood and the island was Dan Dewey.  Dan still returns to the Island each fall for the Grand Hotel Somewhere in Time Weekend and leads visitors around the island to special places made famous by the movie.

I’ve met Dan several times over the years and have always found him charming.  Through Jill, who has known him for years, I learned of his “coffee mission”, and I was so excited recently when GodVine, a website that posts daily inspirational videos, featured Dan.  I might have already shared this story with you, but even if I have, it’s worth a “re-post”!  You can watch Dan’s story here:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6xjRrY3CWA .

Photos From the Island

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A beautiful sunny day downtown.  (Photo: Nicole Doud/Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island)

Heather May's birthday was this week, and one of the ways she celebrated was by flying a kite!

Heather May’s birthday was this week, and one of the ways she celebrated was by flying a kite out over the frozen Straits!  I’m guessing this was taken at Windermere Point.

Heather also took a ride out to Arch Rock and shot this awesome photo of the landmark.  Talk about

Heather also took a ride out to Arch Rock and shot this awesome photo of the landmark in very unusual lighting.  Love it!

I keep thinking Robert McGreevy can't possibly outdo the last sunset photo he took, but he keeps proving me wrong.  This one was on Feb. 16.

I keep thinking Robert McGreevy can’t possibly outdo whatever was the last sunset photo he took, but he keeps proving me wrong. This one was on Feb. 16.

Travis Sredinski took this one from a Great Lakes Air flight over the island.

Travis Sredinski took this one from a Great Lakes Air flight over the island.  Once I got my bearings, I told Travis he had just missed our condo, but got part of our front yard at Surrey Hill.  The H-shaped building at the lower left corner is the new Grand Hotel stable, and the long white rectanglar-shaped lot to the stable’s right is the horse corral in front of our condo.  Cadotte Avenue, the Carriage Tour horse barns, the Grand Hotel and all of downtown is visible, as is Bois Blanc and Round Island Lighthouse.

NEWS CLIPS FROM THE TOWN CRIER

Great Lakes Governors to Meet

The Council of Great Lakes Governors, including those from Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania and the premiers of Ontario and Quebec hope to meet on Mackinac Island in June at the invitation of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.  The Council will be discussing water issues (specifically low Great Lakes levels and control of invasive species such as Asian carp), regional transportation, and facilitating trade in the GreaT Lakes basin.  The Council met on the Island once before – in 1982.

Cross County Trails in Great Shape

In an article by Erich T. Doerr, Tim Leeper, Mackinac Island Ski Club cross-country skiing guide, reported that “recent snow put the trails in the perfect condition for a grooming and then regular use.  We got out and put about three or four hours in it to get everything packed down, and then went out and skied it the next day.”  Leeper said that trails are plentiful, as the State Park closes off the eastern two-thirds of the Island for its use, everything from British Landing Road east.

There are about 15 miles of trails on the 3.8-square mile island that can be used for both classic cross-country skiing and snow skating.

Chris Ann Update

John, one of Chris Ann and Burton’s sons, and his family have been at the cottage since Wednesday, and he posted this beautiful photo of his parents.

thursdayjohnnelson

Looking at this, I can’t help but picture them in the early years of their lives together, sitting and holding hands, talking and perhaps listening to music.  I wonder how many times they have been together like this on their couch.  Hundreds? Thousands?  It matters not at all.  What matters is that they are together, holding hands . . . . now.

God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update 2/10/2013

You have only to turn on the news to know folks up north are experiencing some really extreme weather this winter, and it has certainly been a snowy one for the last few weeks on Mackinac Island.  With all the cold weather, and lots and lots of snow, islanders’ hopes for the creation of an ice bridge were really looking good this past week.

On Feb. 4 Brett Horn and Jason St. Onge began the slow walk across the ice from the island to St. Ignace.  As they walked, they tested the ice using ice picks to measure the depth.  It took them three hours to make the crossing, and in the pic above, they are still almost three miles from St. Ignace.  (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

On Feb. 4 Brett Horn and Jason St. Onge began a slow walk across the ice from the Island to St. Ignace. They started their walk on the north shore, near Stonecliffe.  As they walked, they used picks to measure the depth of the ice. It took them just under three hours to make the crossing, and in the pic above, they are still almost three miles from St. Ignace. Their snowmobiles are resting about 200 yards off shore, which was as far as they felt comfortable going with the heavy machines.  (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

Two days later people began crossing on snowmobiles.  (Photo: 9 and 10 News)

Two days later people began crossing on snowmobiles. (Photo: 9 and 10 News)

It didn’t last long.  Today ice began pulling away from the island beach on the west side of Mackinac, and people were warned not to attempt a crossing.  Crossing the ice bridge is never condoned by public authorities, and it is always “cross at your own risk.”  Praying everyone stays safe out there this winter.

On Feb. 4 (the same day Jason and Brett were walking across the ice) the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinac, one of nine ice cutters that patrol the Great Lakes each winter, cut a path through the Straits for a promotional video.  UpNorthLive.com posted the video here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ogRa0lRy_K8.

ATTENTION!  MACKINAC ISLAND RESIDENTS!

Shepler’s Ferry will once again be offering resident ferry passes for $100.  There is no deadline this year to buy the passes, so you may purchase them anytime.  Contact Shepler’s at (231) 436-5023 for more information, or email them at info@sheplersferry.com.

ISLAND PHOTOS

Mary McGuire's dog, Sally, romps in the belly-deep snow. (Photo: Mary McGuire)

Mary McGuire’s four-legged buddy, Sally, romps in the belly-deep snow. (Photo: Mary McGuire)

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A pink and blue sky over deep snow near the Mission Point gazebo.  (Photo:  Mission Point Resort)

How often do you see this!?  Robert McGreevy captured this stunning photo of an Eagle resting in a tree near Point Aux Pins, which is the northwest tip of the island.

How often do you see this!? Robert McGreevy captured this stunning photo of an Bald Eagle resting in a tree near Point Aux Pins, which is the northwest tip of the island.

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A solitary boat rests on the frozen shore.  (Photo: Mission Point Resort)

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Same scene in the light of day. (Photo: Mary McGuire)

Winter taxi driver George takes a few minutes to warm up at Cawthorne's Village Inn.

Winter taxi driver George takes a few minutes to warm up at Cawthorne’s Village Inn.

Heather May shared this

Heather May shared this awesome photo of the Mackinac Bridge illuminated by the sun’s rays, shot across a stretch of cotton-white snow.  Wow!

Speaking of Heather May, she also writes a wonderful Mackinac Island blog, and this week she posted a new one with fantastic photographs.  Please go here to read and enjoy:  http://mackinacislandgal.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/mackinac-island-blog-pinepartiesandpokerruns/.

HOW TO GET TO THE ISLAND

With ferry service ended, and with no dependable ice bridge as yet, there is only one way to get to and from the Island right now, and that is Great Lakes Air.  If you’re planning a winter trip, five flights are available Monday-Saturday, four flights on Sunday.  You can contact Great Lakes Air at 906-643-7165.

CHRIS ANN UPDATE

I haven’t spoken personally to Chris Ann in a little over a week, but I have heard from a friend who visited and another friend who spoke with Burton.  Chris Ann is sleeping more and more, but her pain continues to be well-controlled.  Her loving spirit is still as strong as ever.  Please pray that this journey’s end is peaceful for Chris Ann, Burton, and all of their family.

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Hope everyone is having a wonderful winter – wherever you are.  Ted told me yesterday that we’d be leaving for the Island 13 weeks from today (that sounds closer than “three months”, doesn’t it)!  These first 3 1/2 months have sure flown by!

God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – 2/3/2013

Short and sweet today – after all it IS Super Bowl Sunday, and I’m pretty sure 99.9%  of my readers are much more interested in watching the game (or enjoying the party) than in reading a blog!  But –  for the other .1%, here’s what I’ve got for you this week!

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Snow, Snow, SNOW!

It was the PERFECT weekend for the Winter Festival on Mackinac Island – lots of snow (inches and inches of the stuff), cold weather to keep it from melting, and sunny days filled with blue, blue skies.

Friends Jeff and Patrick and their friends Ellyce and Danielle flew over to enjoy all the fun, and here are three of their pics from the weekend.

About to board the plane in St. Ignace for the five-minute hop to the Island.  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

About to board the plane in St. Ignace for the five-minute hop to the Island. (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

The Grand Hotel sits in icy splendor.  I cannot imagine how cold it has to be inside right now.

The Grand Hotel sits in icy splendor. I cannot imagine how cold it has to be inside right now. (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

Jeff and Danielle check out the area behind Fort Mackinac

Jeff and Danielle check out the area behind Fort Mackinac.  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

Snow dragon!  James Barch created this amazing sculpture in his yard on the Island.  This talented young man also creates beautiful pottery.

Snow dragon! James Barch created this amazing sculpture in his yard on the Island. This talented young man also creates beautiful pottery.

How many times have I taken photographs from this exact spot during the summer . . . . no many to count!  (Photo: Greg Main)

How many times have I taken photographs from this exact spot during the summer . . . . too many to count! (Photo: Greg Main)

On Saturday the entire Island turned out at Turtle Park for a day of games, sledding and great food.  Chloe, one of Mackinac Wheels' mascots, was THE most popular rider on everyone's sled.  Why?  Because when he gets to the bottom, he pulls the sled back up!

On Saturday the entire Island turned out at Turtle Park for a day of games, sledding and great food. Chloe, one of Mackinac Wheels’ mascots, was THE most popular rider on everyone’s sled. Why? Because when she gets to the bottom, she pulls the sled back up!  (Photo: Greg Main)

What a spectacularly beautiful place Mackinac Island is – and never more beautiful than when covered with several feet of white, unspoiled-by-motor-vehicles snow.  After a slow start to winter, Mother Nature is sure going out of her way to provide plenty of the white stuff lately, and I know Island friends are so thankful.

Below is the link to an awesome video of Saturday at the Winter Festival created by Travis Sredzinski, who is spending his first winter on the island, although he’s been a summer and fall worker for several years.  The sound is choppy on my laptop, but I’m hoping it’s not that way on yours.  If it is, and it’s annoying to you, just do what I did – turn off the sound!  You don’t need sound to enjoy this video – believe me!

http://www.facebook.com/video/embed?video_id=10101242005807322

Have a great week, and God bless each and every one!

Mackinac Island Winter Update 1/26/2013

Hi Everyone!
I’m posting a day early because Sunday night Ted and I will be in Ormond Beach, FL.  Our Matthew is playing basketball Monday night, and we’re going to watch a game.  We’ll be home, good Lord willing, on Tuesday.

Great news!  I received a newsletter from our on-island reporter extraordinaire, Greg Main a few days ago – before the last round of snow began:

“Generally, when the thermometer reads 56 degrees up here in January, something is definitely out of the ordinary.  For years, I’ve been waking up around 5:30- 5:45 every morning, whether planned or not, and this morning was no exception.  As  I opened my eyes,  the first thing that came to mind was the  realization of how dark it was.  Of course, it’s still dark outside but even with the shades closed, there are a couple lights in the neighborhood  and two streetlights which slightly illuminate all the window of the apartment . This morning those lights were absent.  I also have one of those indoor/outdoor digital thermometers next to the bed, which I noticed read 56 degrees.  What!?  56?  Even though it was actually raining when I went to bed around midnight  (36 degrees), there was no way the temperature could have risen another 20 degrees.  It was at that instant that I also noticed my nose was cold.  A second look at my thermometer showed 56 degrees . . . inside the house!   Suddenly, everything began to make sense.  My alarm clock was off , the neighborhood lights were out, my nose was cold . . . . ugh!   Sure enough, tossing back the blankets, the unsettling cool air in the room shivered the sleep out of me in a hurry\
Opening the living room shades, I saw the Mackinac Bridge lights and two other lights along the shore east of Mackinaw City.  Other than that, absolutely black outside.  Too dark to even see the snow on the ground.   Knowing that the generator at the Medical Center kicks in instantly during outages. and knowing there are always alarms which are triggered when the generator kicks in, I dressed  and ate hurriedly. not only in order to get to the Medical Center to reset the alarms. but also because I knew there would be heat inside!   Taking my laptop with me, I quickly posted a blurb on Facebook before settling in to the normal duties I usually take care of later in the evenings.  No sooner did I receive a text from a friend in St. Ignace, also informing me the power was out over there, the power kicked back on at 7:28, promptly blinked back off for about 10 seconds which, again, set off alarms ( *#!*!!*#), then came back on again to stay just a few seconds later..
Adding to the misery of waking up cold,  the temperature must have dropped rapidly overnight as the rain of a few hours prior had now frozen, giving an icy coat to just about everything outside.  As of 8 a.m., temperature was 14, wind chill 0. and it remained that way all day despite a fair amount of sun.  As I’ve stated many times, the wind plays a most important part in whether we’ll continue ferry service for a while yet.  As of Friday’s last boat, many were speculating that Saturday would be the last day of service until Spring. as there was a lot of ice moving around between here and St. Ignace. forcing the ferry to take the longer, easterly route around the island all day Friday.  With the ferry sitting idle at the St. Ignace dock from Saturday evening until Monday morning,  many of us were expecting the cold temperatures would ice the boat in, providing an ‘acceptable” reason to end ferry service.  Surprisingly,  Friday’s wind pushed the ice out of the usual ferry route and as of Saturday morning, which was eerily calm given the previous two days of wind, little more than a thin line of ice remained, causing the ferry to throttle back for half a minute or so before motoring on at normal speed the rest of the way.
Despite this morning’s wind chill, now that we’ve received a few inches of snow, it might be possible to begin grooming ski trails, so I took advantage of the sun and the fact that most of the trails would be in areas out of the wind to put up some of our ski trail markers.  It’s always nice to be the first one on the trails after a snowfall and even more interesting when looking for critter tracks.  Also, there must be something about cold air which causes Chickadees to become a lot more vocal.  From Rifle Range to Arch Rock and along most of the East Bluff road, chirps, cheeps and their distinctive melodic whistle accompanied me.  Bill and Betty Murcko would be interested to know that fresh (and I mean very fresh) coyote tracks meandered  around their yard before disappearing into the woods across the road.  I wondered if it heard me coming as I was dragging a plastic sled with me which I used to haul the trail signs.  Exiting the wooded area at Lewand’s cottage and the quasi-protection from the wind, the cheek-reddening resumed.   Nowhere near enough snow yet as a view of Mission Point’s property from the over look shows a few dark patches of grass poking though the white stuff.  The rest of the day was uneventful and quiet, a good time to do some long overdue cleaning.  Regarding continued ferry service, we’ll see what comes during the frigid days ahead.”

A really good article, with wonderful pics, was posted on indystar.com entitled “Mackinac Island During Winter – Magical Calm”.  You can click here to read and view the photos (please be aware that a few of the photos are not from this winter, but from previous years:  http://www.indystar.com/article/20130123/THINGSTODO05/301270303/Mackinac-Island-during-winter-magical-calm?nclick_check=1

Ok.  This week should win a prize for most spectacular photos shared from the Island.  It’s like everyone got together and tried to outdo each other with amazing shots!  Behold!

Not only is Greg Main a great reporter, he is also a wonderful photographer.  This photo and the next four are his, all taken on January 24.

Not only is Greg Main a great reporter, he is also a wonderful photographer. This photo and the next four are his, all taken on January 24.

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The 4th steaming of the lake.  (Photo:  Greg Main)

Steam rises

Steam rises around the lighthouses as the lake gives us some of its last warmth into the frigid air.  (Photo:  Greg Main)

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Each morning the question on every islander’s mind is: Will the Arnold ferry make it to the Island one more time.  (Photo:  Greg Main)

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A panoramic view of the marina.  (Photo:  Greg Main)

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A view of the lake steaming from Mission Point Resort.  (Photo:  Mission Point Resort)

Crossing the Straits through the ice.  (Photo:  Horn's Bar)

Crossing the Straits through the ice. (Photo: Horn’s Bar)

A bone-chilling morning (January 24).  (Photo:  Mackinac Straits Photography Gallery)

A bone-chilling morning. (Photo: Mackinac Straits Photography Gallery)

January 22 - Icebreakers.  (Photo:  Clark Bloswick)

January 22 – An icebreaker passes between the lighthouses. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Shepler's Gateway to Mackinac Island entrance.  (Photo: Shepler's Ferry)

Shepler’s Gateway to Mackinac Island entrance. (Photo: Shepler’s Ferry)

The sun rises over the ice. (Photo:  Shepler;s Ferry)

The sun rises over the ice. (Photo: Shepler’s Ferry)

Straits of Mackinac ice.  (Photo:  Mackinac State Historic Parks)

Straits of Mackinac ice. (Photo: Mackinac State Historic Parks)

Are you shivering yet!

Chris Ann Update

Chris Ann’s dear friend Mary has been with her this week until Friday, when family arrived.  It’s my understanding that Mary will continue to stay with the Burtons during the week, and on the weekends sons and daughters and grandchildren are rotating back and forth.  I spoke with Chris Ann a few days ago, and she sounded upbeat and pain-free except for an occasional pain in her chest, which she says is “something new”.  Otherwise, her pain meds are working well, thank you Lord.  She still tries to take a photograph daily of the view from her windows.

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Taken on January 24, this one shows just how much more snow has fallen since I was there three weeks ago. So beautiful.

Please continue to keep Chris Ann, Burton and their family in your prayers.

God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – 1/20/2013

Talk about a bad night for the power to go out!  With temps in the teens, the Island went dark around 2:30 this morning (Sunday) and remained out almost five hours.  Islanders who normally set their thermostats at 68 during the winter watched as house temperatures lowered to the mid-50’s.  A problem at a sub-station in St. Ignace was the culprit, and crews worked all night to get it fixed.

Members of the dedicated Mackinac Island Fire and Police departments gathered at the fire station to be on-the-ready for any problems the outage might have incurred during the early morning hours.

A chilly evening at the Fire Station on Mackinac Island, where even hot coffee was hard to come by with no electricity!  (Photo:  Mackinac Island News & Views)

A chilly evening at the Fire Station on Mackinac Island, where – without electricity – even hot coffee was hard to come by! (Photo: Mackinac Island News & Views)

Thankfully, by 8 a.m. full power was restored, and lights and heat arrived back on the snow-covered Island.

Friends on the Island have shared some truly amazing photos this week.  I’m sure you will agree!

On January 9, Robert McGreevy captured this unbelievably awesome photo of our Island caught in the red glow of the sun.

On January 9, Robert McGreevy captured this unbelievably awesome photo of our Island caught in the red glow of the sun.

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Sunset on the same day from the Mackinaw City side of the bridge.  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

Robert McGreevy had quite the talent for being at the right place at the right time this week.

Robert McGreevy had quite the talent for being at the right place at the right time this week . . .

. . . as did Mission Point Resort.

. . . as did the photographer for Mission Point Resort.

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Ice is forming on the Straits.  (Photo:  Clark Bloswick)

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Just before sunrise on January 18. (Photo: Greg Main)

Friend Jeff Peterson sent the following photos in after a snowmobile ride on Jan. 18 following a heave snowfall.

From last winter, one of my all-time favorites of a snow-covered Island – from Fort Mackinac.  (Photo:  Kate Nye – Caddywampus)

Can't think of many things prettier than newly-fallen snow - no tracks, no footprints.

Friend Jeff Peterson sent this one in from his snowmobile ride on the Island January 18.  Can’t think of many things prettier than newly-fallen snow.

A phographer from St. Anne's Church was up just after sunrise this morning - just after the power came back on.

A photographer from St. Anne’s Church was up on the West Bluff right after sunrise this morning – just after the power came back on.

An island friend, Heather May, posted a great blog this morning with tons of truly wonderful photographs.  Please check it out here:  http://mackinacislandgal.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/mackinac-island-blog-snowstorm/

Chris Ann Update

On Facebook this week, Chris Ann wrote this:

It must be hard to watch me dying on Facebook, but it seems most beneficial to me and my friends. W hen it is over we will make sure you will hear right away. Many days I just can’t seem to get on FB, but rest assured I love you all and you will hear from us. Many think it is wrong – I do not.  ENJOY my walk with our Lord.

Chris Ann received dozens and dozens of replies to her comment.  This was mine . . .

My thought is that never will Facebook be used in a more positive way than what you are doing, Chris Ann. Your walk toward Heaven is inspiring to your family and friends, but perhaps even more inspiring to all the “friends of your friends” whom you will never meet and who have never met you. In spirit we are all walking with you, and we hope you can feel our arms around you every step you take. When the time comes when you must continue without us, we will find peace in knowing that one day you’ll be waiting at the end of OUR walk down that path, with a huge smile and open arms. Love you, Sunshine.

Those of you on Facebook are welcome to go to the page started for Chris Ann by her family and read all the comments there.  It’s called “Love for Chris (Mrs. Nelson)” and is open to the public.

Please lift prayers up tonight for Chris Ann and Burton and their family.  After almost two weeks with her, the family has returned to their homes this weekend, and Chris Ann’s dear, dear friend, Mary Saul, is there with her and Burton.  My body is in Georgia tonight, but my heart and spirit is in that cozy, warm cottage on Lake Michigan.  I love you, Sunshine.