Offbeat

Offbeat

whitehouse.gov

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - The White House greeting card being sent throughout the country has Michigan fingerprints all over it.

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.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s tallest building is going to be demolished this weekend.

Experts have spent weeks preparing the 45 year old building for Sunday morning’s implosion.

The 19 story Genesee Towers has been an empty eyesore in downtown Flint for years. The city acquired the building in 2010 and sold it to the Uptown Reinvestment Corp., the city’s downtown development agency, in 2012.

texting with a cell phone
Alton / Creative Commons

Here we are, one week away from Christmas, and two weeks away from the New Year.

The folks who work retail are busy, busy, busy, but many other workplaces are going to see a mayor "thinning of the ranks" as we take our holiday breaks.

But, how much of break will we really get? Yes, we may be sitting at home, or out of town at Grandma's. But, there is that Great Big Umbilical Cord that connects us with the office: technology!

The smart phones, email, iPads, laptops they all keep us tethered to work. What's that "constant connectivity" really doing to us?

We're joined by Sarita Schoenebeck, an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Mega Millions estimated jackpot has soared to $636 million, making it the second largest jackpot in U.S. history.

The jackpot had been $586 million, but lottery officials increased it Tuesday morning because of strong ticket sales ahead of the evening drawing.

The jackpot now trails only a $656 million Mega Millions pot in March 2012.

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize to about 1 in 259 million.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan Lottery players have more than visions of sugar plums dancing through their heads this holiday season.

A potentially record breaking lottery jackpot is on the line tonight.   

The Mega Millions jackpot stands at $586 million. The all-time biggest lottery jackpot in the U.S. reached $656 million back in March of this year. Depending on final day sales, the Mega Millions jackpot could break the record tonight.

user urban.houstonian / Flickr

We turn now to a little-known and absolutely fascinating slice of Michigan history: Beaver Island.

It's a fairly remote island, plunked right there in the middle of northern Lake Michigan. Take a ferry northwest from Charlevoix, and you're there.

Fewer than 500 people live on Beaver Island year-round. A lot of them are descendants from Irish fishermen who fled the famine and troubles in 19th-century Ireland, and wound up on Beaver Island.

That's part of the fascinating history of Beaver Island. Later, years after settlement, one Mormon on the island proclaimed himself "King" of Beaver Island!

But how did Irish emigrants find their way to this island in Lake Michigan? And who was the island’s self-proclaimed king?

Listen to the full interview above.

Planet Money published a story about used clothing trends. One T-shirt found in Kenya was originally made for a Michigan bat mitzvah in 1993.

Clip from Poor Boyz Productions / YouTube

These skiiers stopped in from out of town to "Ski Detroit."

Yes, it's another in a string of "check out how bleak Detroit is" videos. But their tricks are definitely worth watching. There's some pretty creative stuff going on here. (Lyrics in some of the soundtrack are NSFW.)

(H/T Sarah H.) 

www.parkwhiz.com

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Snow and ice are creating hazardous driving conditions in Michigan.

MLive.com reports 10 slide-offs and minor crashes Monday morning across parts of western Michigan.

No serious injuries were immediately reported. Much of western Michigan is fresh off of seeing anywhere from 1 to 4 inches of snow on Sunday. Slippery roads also were reported in other parts of the state, including the Detroit and Kalamazoo areas.

The National Weather Service says the most snow is forecast in parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, where advisories urging caution were issued. By the time the snow wraps up Monday, a total of 3 to 8 inches is expected in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.

You might remember Mort Crim from way back when. He was a senior editor and anchor for the evening news at Detroit's WDIV-TV from 1978 to 1997.

If you don't remember him from that era, you might know him as the Majic Window Guy.

Here are some clips featuring Crim while he anchored at WDIV:

It turns out, Crim was the inspiration for Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character.

dierbergs.com

Many Michigan restaurant owners are saying thanks today.

Thanksgiving is a big day for many Michigan restaurants, which offer special menus to sold out seatings.

In Lansing, Clara’s is open on Thanksgiving for the first time.

Cindy Jubeck says her father, who founded the restaurant back in the 1970’s, never would have opened the restaurant on Thanksgiving.

www.thehavenbc.org

The people who run a homeless shelter in Battle Creek are giving thanks for the way the community has responded to their need this Thanksgiving.

The Haven of Rest shelter was among the hundreds of thousands of utility customers that lost power for several days earlier this month, after a severe windstorm blew through the state.

Without electricity, days-worth of meat and produce spoiled in the shelter’s refrigerators.

Forget the great cattle drives in the Old West. I want to know more about the "great turkey drives" in the Old East. (This is one more for the "Thanksgiving story files.")

Matthew Kanable / Creative Commons

Tonight is the biggest bar night of the year, with many people visiting family and friends back home in Michigan. It’s a crowd employers in West Michigan are trying to reach. So they’re getting creative with their tactics.

Cindy Brown is executive director of Hello West Michigan. It’s a group made up of more than 40 businesses is trying to lure professionals back to the state.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Construction crews have started to put up plywood to protect nearby buildings in anticipation of the mid-December demolition of Flint's tallest building.

Uptown Reinvestment bought downtown Flint's 19-story Genesee Towers from the city for $1.

MLive.com  says plywood protection is going up at the nearby C.S. Mott Building, and Flint officials say two nearby streets have been closed and fenced off in the past week and will stay closed into the spring.

WEYI-TV reports that the new owners plan to transform the site into Exploration Park.

Michigan Central Station Preservation Society / Facebook

Detroit’s Michigan Central Depot is looking a little more cheery today.

For the second year in a row, the former train station which now serves as the quintessential symbol of Detroit's urban decay, is decking the halls with holiday lights. According to The Detroit News, Matty Moroun, who bought the building in 1996, came up with the idea of sprucing up the 18-story abandoned station with the help of his family.

“Since we’ve put electricity back in, we decided to light it up, and it looks really nice,” President of the Detroit International Bridge Co. Dan Stamper said. “We’ve gotten a lot of nice comments and we just hope everyone has a happy holiday.”

Electric lighting has returned to the building as part of an effort to (slowly) give the station a facelift. Back in 2011, the International Bridge Co. began to replace windows and stairwells in MCD. 

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The steam engine that inspired the children's book The Polar Express and provided sounds for the movie version is back in service after a four-year refurbishment project.

The Pere Marquette 1225 rolled out of the garage Wednesday in Owosso, ringing its bell and spewing steam for train enthusiasts and volunteers gathered to watch the engine take its maiden voyage following the overhaul.

wikipedia

New research from Michigan State University suggests the less diverse a  neighborhood is, the more likely it will be neighborly.

Researchers looked at the relationship between neighborhood segregation, and the strength of social networks in a community.

They found that the more segregated a community, the more likely it is to be tight-knit.

Video: homeless Michigan veteran gets a makeover

Nov 10, 2013

This video chronicling the makeover of a Michigan homeless veteran has been viewed millions of times online.

The nearly three-minute video featuring Jim Wolf of Grand Rapids has gotten more than 5 million clicks on YouTube as of Saturday.

The time-lapse video was produced by community event organizer Rob Bliss with support from a nonprofit group helping homeless veterans.

Natural Area Preservation staff

You read that right.

A twenty pound carp that was pulled out of a pond in Ann Arbor's West park last November is making a run for city council.

The carp was initially removed from the pond because it was destroying the ecosystem.

Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation workers relocated it to the Huron River, where it is now running a write-in campaign for Ann Arbor City Council.

The carp has not yet responded to our interview requests, but it has engaged with other media outlets and even some current Ann Arbor City Council members on Twitter. (I suspect the carp has hired a social media director -- tweeting with fins seems difficult.)

The carp says the campaign is going well, and even has yard signs posted around town.

user: Sarah_Ackerman / Flickr

Mount Rushmore, one of our great nation's most iconic monuments was finished 72 years ago today. Harry Houdini died 87 years ago today. 

But all of that is unimportant.

It is Halloween, and Americans have been getting ready for months. What better reason to shell out about $75 dollars on costumes, decorations and candy?  (Answer: so many things.) 

(If you're one of those people who is just scanning this article for the scary costumes, scroll down.)

LinkedIn

It's probably safe to say most of us shy away from thinking about and talking about death.

As medical science has developed the technology to keep us alive longer it seems we have become more and more squeamish about death itself, even though - you got to admit - it is the one thing in life that happens to each and every one of us.

There is a movement trying to change that: the Death Café. Merilynne Rush is a home funeral guide, and she has brought the Death Café to Ann Arbor.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - An implosion planned for December is taking down Flint's tallest building.

Uptown Reinvestment bought downtown Flint's 19-story Genesee Towers in March from the city for $1.

Multiple news outlets are reporting Jacksonville, Fla.-based Drilling & Blasting will handle implosion engineering and blasting efforts, with help from Michigan-based Burnash Wrecking Inc. and Certified Abatement Services Inc.

The demolition is part of a $32 million redevelopment plan.

Ohio State TV / YouTube

Marching bands around the nation, be warned. Ohio State has taken it up a notch.

Scroll to 4:12 to see Michael Jackson take shape, and then... moonwalk!

It shows what you can do with 230+ band members - or "pixels" for those in the stands.

It's cool and all, but Michigan has a jet pack guy!

(H/T HuffPo Detroit)

Time Magazine

Researchers studied certain psychological traits across the country and found that Michiganders are fairly agreeable and extroverted (we rank 16th) and somewhat neurotic (we rank 27th).

All of this is according to a study called "Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economical, Social, and Health Correlates," published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Time Magazine posted the test so anyone can see where they belong based on their personality.

The researchers say this study could challenge how we think about our country (by voting patterns, cultural stereotypes, and economic indicators) and regroup Americans based on their psychological tendencies.

user jonballard / Flickr

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles were designed to resist improvised explosive device attacks.

Something police forces in the U.S. would rarely have a need for.

But the police force for Ohio State University says they’ll likely use their newly-acquired MRAP on football game days in Columbus.

More from the Lantern:

OSU often borrows vehicles of similar quality to serve previously listed purposes during large events like football gamedays, Denton said.

It will serve primarily as a mode of transportation and protection for University Police, Denton said. He added the vehicle will be used if a situation arises but will primarily be used in instances where University Police has a strong presence, such as gamedays, Denton said.

“The Game” just got real.

When a government shutdown loomed in 2011, the Twitterverse had some fun with #govtshutdownpickuplines.

They're back!

Here are some of the better, slightly naughty ones we're seeing (we also also checked #shutdownpicklines):

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s no secret that Detroit is much smaller than it used to be.

The city’s population peaked at a little under two million people in the 1950s. It’s declined steeply since then, to about 700,000.

People are still leaving the city. But the rate is slowing, as some people discover new reasons to move in.

Here’s a story about two Detroit households moving in opposite directions — and the different forces tugging on the city’s population.

“We really felt led to live here”

At Jen Janke’s house, conversations can get a little sidetracked.

https://vine.co/v/h1H3leHbvKK / Nicci Joyce

This week officials at Grand Valley State University will begin meeting to consider how to reinstall a sculpture that became the subject of several viral videos this month.

GVSU removed the steel pendulum a few weeks ago after several students posted videos online of friends trying to swing on the sculpture. The parodies of Miley Cyrus’ music video “Wrecking Ball” attracted national news media attention.

“It is somewhat of a fun story. It's college students being college students,” said Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president for facility services at GVSU.

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