My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Now if that don’t beat all

I’ve got a lot of environmental and recreational news to share, but first a little side note.

Tuesday afternoon when I went into work I had to go up to the front office to speak with my immediate supervisor about the logistics of getting the truck I drive in the shop for its regular maintenance. While I was standing outside my supervisor’s office, the owner of the company came over to me to ask if I was going to attend the Christmas party this year, but first, he had to make fun of the old worn out shoes that I wear to work. The reason I wear old worn out shoes is because he’s a cheap bastard that doesn’t pay his employees what they are worth.

It must be that I’ve mellowed out over the years, in my younger days, I would have done one of two things depending on my mood, either have lit into the owner for being such a cheap bastard and then having the gall to poke fun of the shoes I was wearing, or I would have walked out without a word, and never returned. Of course the economy was a lot better back then, and I never had to worry about landing another job. The truth is, I don’t really have to worry about it now, holding a CDL-A with a Hazmat endorsement and a clean driving record, I could be working somewhere else by the end of the week. The problem is that I have gotten more picky in my choice of jobs over the years as well. I don’t really want to go back to driving over the road and be away from home for weeks at a time.

I’ve also gotten smarter, if I had quit on Tuesday, I would be throwing away any holiday pay for Christmas and New Years, plus, the first of the year, I’ll be getting a check for an extra week for the paid days off that I haven’t taken. I’m not about to hand that cheap ass bastard I work for an extra weeks pay just because I got mad. Revenge really is a dish best served cold, so I’ll wait until that extra weeks pay is safely in my checking account, then let the cheap ass bastard know what I think of him as I walk out the door.

I have decided that if I can’t find a different local job by the first of the year, I’ll go for a regional over the road job. It isn’t my first choice, but it’s a job, and one that pays about twice what I am making now. The bad part, only being home for a day and a half a week. At least I will be able to buy some new shoes. šŸ™‚ I’m thinking of gift wrapping the ones the cheap ass bastard made fun of and leaving them for him as a parting gift to thank him.

Now, on to the good news, and where do I start.

I think it will be with this story, the states of Wisconsin and Michigan are teaming up to create a joint park along theĀ Menominee River in the western Upper Peninsula. You can read the entire story hereĀ http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2011/12/michigan_wisconsin_team_up_to.html

That stretch of theĀ Menominee River includes two popular geologic features: Piers Gorge and Quiver Falls, and it will be Michiganā€™s first whitewater recreation area. It also will be the first state recreation area to be jointly managed. The river forms the boundary between the two states and has class IV and V rapids.

I hate to admit this, but I’m not sure I would want to tackle that river at my age. Since I’m pushing 60, I’m not as spry, or as foolish as I used to be. I would have to look the rapids over first, and that will be made easy as hiking trails also may be developed along with high-bluff overlooks and canoe and kayak launch sites and parking.

ā€œThe walk along the shorelines will be spectacular,ā€ said Paul Yauk, the linear trails program manager with the Michigan DNR.

If only it wasn’t so far away. That’s a full day drive from where I live.

In my last post I wrote about the clean up being done in Muskegon Lake, in 2005-06, a similar $10 million cleanup of contaminated sediment was completed at nearby Ruddiman Creek next to Muskegon’s McGraft Park. You can read about the clean up here.

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2011/11/cleanup_of_contaminated_muskeg.html

In fact, Muskegon is making the news a lot recently. The old Sappi paper mill has been purchased and the new owners are in the process of demolishing the old mill.

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2011/12/demolitiion_under_way_on_the_f.html

I hate to see people lose their jobs, but I am not at all sad to see the old paper mill go away forever! The stench from the mill was enough to make your eyes burn if the wind pushed the fumes your way, and the mill itself was an eyesore.

Another good news/bad news story is that Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest electric utility is going to shut down the B. C. Cobb power plant in 2015.

The public utility on Friday said the two remaining coal-fired units at B.C. Cobb will cease operations by Jan. 1, 2015. Cobb’s two units are among seven smaller coal-generating units statewide that will be closed.

The good news is that Consumers is shutting down its coal-fired plants and relying on others that are fueled by natural gas, which is a good thing for the environment. The bad news, as a single property, the B.C. Cobb generating plant is Muskegon County’s largest taxpayer. A good deal of that tax money goes to the local schools, so that’s a hit they don’t need at this time. There are also 116 people employed at the plant, but most of them will probably be offered transfers to other Consumers Energy facilities.

This is great news for the environment, but we have to remember that there are a lot of people who are going to be affected in a negative way, from the loss the tax base to people losing their jobs.

More good news for the Muskegon area,Ā the Owasippe Boy Scout reservation has brought in an expert to design a new system of trails for mountain bikers, hikers, bird watchers andĀ trail runners.

The Owasippe Outdoor Education CenterĀ is working with the Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, which owns the Owasippe property, to manage the land during the 46 weeks of the year when it’s not used for Boy Scouts summer camping.

The old trails were shut down to the public last year due to the environmental damage, mostly erosion, that was happening. With the help of the Alcoa Corp. whichĀ donated $3,000 and 12 employees to join about another dozen volunteers for a trail work day at Owasippe to return the abandoned section of trail to nature ā€” a process that will be done with all of Owasippe’s trails that are rerouted.

The new trails will be laid out so as to minimize any damage to the environment, and will be expanded to take users through even more of theĀ 5,000-acre property.

I am going to end this one with some good news from the Grand Rapids area, where I live. Turns out that the Grand River isn’t as polluted as most people assumed.

http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2011/12/surprising_results_to_tests_on.html

That’s about test results done in hopes of either removing the dam on the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids, and possibly restoring the rapids that the city is named for, or constructing a man-made set of rapids for kayakers to use.

The 4th Street dam in Grand Rapids

There’s a lot more I should say about this, and the news that two universities have received a grant to research converting the S S Badger from a coal-fired ship to using natural gas, but my heart isn’t into this right now. In fact, there was more to be said about all the stories I posted links to, but right now, my employment and financial situation are weighing me down mentally.

Since I started this post a couple of days ago, I have talked to a national trucking company, and have a job offer to consider. The pay and benefits are so much better than my current job that it is hard to say no, except, I would be out for a week at a time with 34 hours of home time each week.

That would mean I would have to suspend this blog, heck, I would have to suspend my life. Thirty four hours off isn’t enough to do anything more than get ready for the next week on the road, doing laundry and grocery shopping, then packing. There would be no trips up north, not even any local hiking or kayaking trips.

I tell myself to take the job, knowing I won’t be there for long, a year or so at most. I could pay off some bills, and what’s a year? I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

Well, I don’t have that many years left, I don’t really want to lose another one, not for money anyway.

There’s so much to consider in making a decision, if I am boring you, please feel free to click away now.

I’m lucky in that I’m in pretty good shape for some one my age, which is 57 years old. Most people judge me to be about ten years younger when they first meet me. In fact, one of the branch managers where I work made the comment that he could handle the heavy laundry carts as well as I can if he was my age. Turns out that I’m a year and a half older than he is.

That’s another thing I have to consider as far as a job, driving over the road isn’t the healthiest lifestyle either. I am just now getting back into shape after the years I spent over the road before I got the job I have now. Sitting behind the wheel of a truck for 11 hours a day, chain-smoking to stay awake and fight off the boredom isn’t something I want to do again.

I’d better change the subject. We got our first real snow of the year last night, just enough to cover the ground. I haven’t sorted through the photos I took to have any post here yet, I’m not sure there are any worth posting. I do love the first snow of the year though, it’s always so bright and clean.

Only a few more days left until the winter solstice, the day of the least amount of daylight. From that day until the summer solstice, our days will be getting longer. Our coldest months are January and February, but at least the sun climbs higher in the sky each day, and it stays light longer with each passing day. I think I will have myself a celebration of sorts on the first day of winter, not to celebrate winter, but to celebrate the longer days that are coming.

I’m sorry for the disjointed rambling nature of this post, the weekend is coming up, and I’ll be back to normal with a couple of days off. Thanks for stopping by!

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6 responses

  1. Another great post, David. The tannery was along about the same area as the paper mill. I guess it must have closed many years ago after I left, back in 1955 when I enlisted in the Air Force. Back then I worked at the Brunswick plant.. They built bowling alleys, bowling balls, pins, and also billiad balls. They done a lot of defense work on aircraft components.

    Talking about B. C. Cobb plant. When it opened they had a big open house, I guess this must have been late 40s or so. My dad took me to that. He worked at the Anaconda Wire plant there.

    Wow, you sure bring back a bunch of memories. I could go on and on. šŸ™‚

    December 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  2. Northern Narratives

    Lots of good environmental news šŸ™‚

    December 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm

  3. It seems it often comes down to money or time. Tough choice. Best of luck to you.

    December 10, 2011 at 5:05 am

    • Thanks Laura. I like your blog as well. I’ll never be a great cook, but I do like reading blogs like yours just for the ideas.

      December 10, 2011 at 11:26 am

  4. Isn’t it funny how we get smarter about these job-type situations? I guess wiser and more mature. I think it’s cool you wear old shoes. (The guy at the shoe store in Marquette frowned at my old ones, too, a couple weeks ago when I bought boots.) Let’s keep our consumption down and then maybe the environment will be happier, too.

    December 10, 2011 at 9:40 am

    • Thanks Kathy.

      December 10, 2011 at 11:29 am