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Offbeat

Consumer's Energy

About 250,000 Michigan homes and businesses remain without power after a weekend ice storm that blacked out at least 482,000 homes and businesses and may have caused a Delta jetliner with 180 people on board to slide off a taxiway at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The wintry blast hit Saturday night. The utilities say it will be days before most power is restored because of the difficulty of working around ice-broken lines.

DTE Energy says 56,000 of its affected 150,000 customers were off line.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It will be Saturday at least before electricity is restored to all the Michigan homes and businesses that lost power in Sunday’s ice storm.

The storm knocked out power to almost a half million Michiganders.  About 300,000 are still waiting for their electricity to be turned back on. 

Brian Wheeler is a Consumers Energy spokesman.  He says about a third of the nearly 200,000 Consumers Energy customers without electricity are in Flint and Genesee County

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UPDATE 8:06pm

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Winter has arrived in Michigan with an icy blast, sending freezing rain across a wide section of the Lower Peninsula, knocking out electrical service to at least 382,000 homes and businesses and causing multiple crashes around the state.

The state's largest utilities say it will be days before most of those blacked out get their power back because of the difficulty of working around ice-broken lines.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

What was once the tallest building in Flint is now just a pile of rubble. This morning, 1,000 lbs. of explosives brought the building down. Demolition crews spent weeks preparing the building to be imploded.  

The 19-story Genesee Towers building has stood in the heart of Flint’s downtown for the past 45 years. But a series of explosions brought the building down in a matter of seconds.  

When the dust settled, all that was left was a pile of rubble.

The long-empty Genesee Towers has been emblematic of Flint’s economic woes.

“Essentially it’s both a physical barrier and a psychological barrier,”  says Dave Lurvey, the demolition project manager. “I think that building being down on the ground is going to help people focus on progress rather than blight.”

The tall pile of rubble will remain on the site through the holidays.

The cleanup probably won’t be complete until the spring.

Developers plan to turn the site of the former office building into a downtown park.

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.

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