DETROIT (AP) - Michigan utilities are bracing for extremely strong winds, a year after a storm put thousands of people in the dark at Christmas.
DTE Energy spokeswoman Randi Berris says crews are on standby Wednesday in case weather forecasters are right in predicting gusts of 45 mph or higher in southeastern Michigan. Consumers Energy says it also will be ready.
If you're dashing around trying to take care of your holiday to-do list, it might be time to think back and remember a time in Michigan when a bowl of oyster stew was your Christmas dinner and a $1.75 pair of gloves took care of your Christmas gift for the wife!
Someone has asked to set up a Christmas Nativity scene on government property, but where does this lie in the separation of church and state vs. free speech?
MLive’s Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting joins us to discuss the request. According to Oosting, the recently formed Michigan State Capitol Commission is reviewing the request and they are currently seeking legal advice on the issue.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that President Obama's 2013 card was designed by graphic artist Chris Hankinson of Hilltop Studios in Grand Rapids, Champion Die Inc. of Comstock Park made the die and Admore Inc. of Detroit made the card. Even the hand folding of the cards was done in state at Handy Bindery Co. in Clinton Township.
A major holiday performance happens this weekend in West Michigan. Students, teachers and parents at Mona Shores High School have spent thousands of hours preparing for the event, where they create a living breathing, and singing Christmas Tree — that’s five-stories tall, and holds more than 200 student singers.
It’s getting lots of national attention. In 2011, TLC featured the tree on its aptly-titled holiday show, “Extreme Christmas Trees.” This year, it’ll be highlighted on the Travel Channel.
The show is now in its 29th year.
Almost 300 hundred students from Mona Shores High School have been practicing for this show — held at Muskegon’s Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts — since Labor Day.
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) - Several labor leaders are expected to rally at a suburban Detroit Wal-Mart store on the day traditionally viewed as the official start to the holiday buying season.
MLive.com reports the Friday event in Sterling Heights is one of hundreds of planned demonstrations and walkouts around the country. The Michigan Black Friday protest is expected to draw leaders from the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union.
For Michigan retailers, Christmas is over and now it’s time to focus on After Christmas sales.
Analysts say the unusually long holiday shopping season, stretching from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, generated sales numbers only modestly better than last year.
Tom Scott is with the Michigan Retailers Association. He says gift cards were a popular present this year. Scott says many Michiganders will redeem their gift cards during the next few weeks and probably spend a little more as well.
The holidays bring with them added stress and depression.
Lisa Laughman is an emotional wellness consultant at Michigan State University.
She says there are many reasons why people may feel stressed or depressed this time of year. This could be the first Christmas without a loved one. Financial challenges may be making a 'traditional' family Christmas difficult. Some people say the recent school massacre in Connecticut is also making this feel less like Christmas.
Michigan retailers are checking their holiday shopping receipts.
The longer than normal holiday shopping season wraps up amid predictions that sales have not been quite as good as expected.
"We’ve noticed it’s been a little more spread out than usual," Peggy Hayes is the marketing director for the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, the largest shopping mall in Michigan, "Often times, people wait until the last minute…but we’re found it’s been spread out…over the holiday season this year.”
The holiday shopping season is expected to wrap up in a big way this weekend in Michigan.
This has been a longer than normal holiday shopping season with five full weekends separating Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
Tom Scott is with the Michigan Retailers Association. He says stores have seen their business rise and fall during the past month. Scott says the unevenness of the holiday shopping season can be blamed in part on its length.
Captain Dave Truitt of the Christmas Ship committee in Chicago says selling cheap evergreen trees from the northern Michigan woods to families in Chicago was a tradition a century ago.
“People would come down and get telegraphs of what ships were coming. They would look to the horizon and one of them would have a Christmas tree tied to the top. And people would yell and scream and the church bell it would start ringing and it was the beginning of Christmas for the entire community,” Truitt said.
Captain Herman Schuenemann’s ship, the Rouse Simmons, became known as the Christmas tree ship.
“One of the reasons (Captain Schuenemann) was so popular besides being a very good guy, he was a good businessman. He had an amazingly simple sign on his large schooner,” Truitt said, “It said ‘Christmas trees cheap’.”
75-cents was cheap. On land trees sold for a dollar a piece.
This year’s trip marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Christmas tree ship. It was last seen above water November 23rd, 1912 before a big snow storm. There are still many evergreens in the ship’s hull at the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Check out the wreckage footage below (narration begins around a minute into the video).
In Jackson, hundreds of people braved near freezing temperatures this morning to watch a 75 foot tall tree be chopped down.
Tomorrow, the tree will take its place on the state capitol lawn to serve as this year’s official state Christmas tree.
A crowd of school children and curious neighbors watched as professional timbermen chainsawed through the thick trunk of the Concolor Fir, before gingerly guiding the huge tree between two homes with the help of a large crane.