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Lake St. Clair

State Representatives Pete Lucido and Kevin Hertel stand together at the podium of a town hall they co-sponsored.
Tyler Scott

A few hundred Macomb county residents prodded a panel of MDEQ officials at a town hall about the health of Lake St. Clair as it relates to beach closures due to E. Coli contamination, sewage overflows into the lake and foul-smelling muck in the water, which is also a source of drinking water in southeast Michigan.

“The consumer, the taxpayer, the ratepayer, is pissed off,” said State Representative Peter Lucido (R – 36th), who co-sponsored the town hall. “They want answers and they want solutions that are going to work without (hearing) ‘we’re working on it, we’re working on it’.”

Zagrev / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When you flush, do you know where the wastewater goes? How about where that sewer line ultimately ends?

It is out of sight, and often out of mind. Yet across Michigan, our decaying and outdated sewers are the source of growing problems.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Back in early summer I went to see Candice Miller, the former congresswoman who is now Macomb County Public Works Commissioner. She was mainly concerned with dealing with the now-famous sewer collapse that happened in Sterling Heights last Christmas.

Miller is far more conservative than I, but I’ve always admired her can-do, no-nonsense and pragmatic approach to government. She had thrown herself completely into her new job, and was discovering new things daily. Among them, she told me, was an apartment complex in Eastpointe that was illegally discharging all its sewage directly into Lake St. Clair.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and the crew of tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort cut through the ice as they escort motor vessel Algoway through the southeast bend in the lower St. Clair River near Harsens Island, Feb. 2, 2014.
Wikimedia Commons

The state has denied Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun a permit to build a bridge between Algonac  and Harsens Island.

The island in northern Lake St. Clair is currently only accessible by car ferry or boat.  

Most residents don't want a bridge, says Rhonda Wyscaver.  She's lived on the island for 27 years.

"We want to keep the island as peaceful as we can," says Wyscaver, a bartender at Sans Souci Bar.   "It's growing by leaps and bounds as it is.  But, the way we see it, if you want a city life, live in the city."

Jim Dreyer's Facebook page / Facebook

Forget those sharks we’re hearing about off of Cape Cod.

We’ve had a shark of our own swimming in the Great Lakes. And he just crossed Lake St. Clair, swimming 22 miles, all alone, while pulling two inflatable boats carrying a ton of bricks.

Jim Dreyer of Grand Rapids calls himself “The Shark.” And, when you look back over his extreme endurance feats, you’ll agree: he’s earned the right to call himself just about anything he pleases. Jim has set records swimming across all five of the Great Lakes, distance records, speed records. All of this from a guy who says he had to overcome a deep-seated fear of water.

Jim Dreyer joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Jim Dreyer's Facebook page / Facebook

He very well may be the first shark in Lake St. Clair -- and certainly the first one hauling a ton of bricks.

Long-distance swimmer, motivational speaker, and Michigan native Jim Dreyer -- who calls himself “The Shark” -- finished up a 22-mile swim today from Algonac to Belle Isle. But just in case the swim across Lake St. Clair wasn’t enough, Dreyer raised the stakes on his charity swim for Habitat for Humanity: The Shark is pulling along two dinghies holding 2,000 pounds of bricks.

Dreyer was expected to finish his swim yesterday, but his journey took a day longer than expected.

A post on his Facebook page said he was in good shape as he finished up his swim:

And I am sure most of you figured out he has been swimming over 48 hours, non stop!! Making all long distance open water swimmers proud!! Making Pure Michigan proud too.

Flickr

In 2013, if you want to let the world know you're someplace having a good time, you might whip out your smartphone and tweet it or post a check-in or status update on Facebook.

97 years ago, you might write a message, roll it up, tuck it in a bottle and toss it into the St. Clair River.

That's what a couple of young Detroiters did when they were having fun one summer's day at Tashmoo. That was a very popular amusement part on Harsen's Island on the northern end of Lake St. Clair.

And why do we know about this message in a bottle? Because Dave Leander found the bottle as he was diving in the St. Clair River.

User: Lebatihem / Flickr

State health and environmental officials are expanding the scope of their testing for PCB in fish in Lake St. Clair.

PCB is a toxic compound that was used in electrical and industrial equipment. The chemical was banned in the 70s for its toxicity.  

Joe Bohr is with the Department for Environmental Quality. He says while the PCB found in the fish is 10 times what is considered safe, the amount of PCB in Michigan’s waters is decreasing.