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«The Meecheegander Missives.doc i The original posts to the AIRS Networker listserve were made daily from April 10, 2011 to June 5, 2011. During June, ...»

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The Meecheegander Missives:

Information on Michigan and Detroit to Prepare

Information and Referral Professionals

for the 2011 AIRS Conference in the ‘D’

June 5 – 8, 2011

The Meecheegander Missives.doc i

The original posts to the AIRS Networker listserve were made daily from April 10,

2011 to June 5, 2011.

During June, July, and August, the posts were collected into a single document,

corrected when necessary, reformatted, garnished with illustrations pirated from the Internet, and indexed.

Final edits were made August 10, 2011.

The Meecheegander Missives.doc ii Introduction When it was announced that the 2011 Annual Training and Education Conference of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) was coming to Michigan, those of us on the board of the local affiliate, MI-AIRS, knew we had our work cut out for us. With the help of Sharon Galler (who has coordinated AIRS Conferences from coast to coast), we divvied up assignments and set to work.

I volunteered to write an FAQ for the Conference (a copy of which can be found at the back of this document) to be posted on the MI-AIRS Web site.

And I also impetuously volunteered to contribute daily postings promoting the conference to the AIRS Networker, the listserv that’s followed by most people in the profession of community information and referral.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I enjoy writing, and how much work could it take—15 or 20 minutes a day or so? WRONG. It wound up taking a lot more time and effort than I had anticipated. But it also turned out to be incredibly rewarding. The positive feedback I got as the postings began appearing convinced me that I was doing the right thing.

I initially thought I would limit the postings to Michigan trivia and an overview of both the state and metro Detroit. But as time went by, I realized I also wanted important historical stuff and landmarks. And I realized I needed to address some uglier sides of the state and the city. Both Michigan and Detroit have been through some hard times. Ours was the only state to actually lose population since the 2000 Census, and Detroit lost 26% of its residents (though the city is appealing the count). I found myself telling the story of loss and rebirth.

I also found myself revealing more about my own life than I had planned.

When the project came to an end with the 57th consecutive daily posting on June 5, 2011, I felt... kind of empty. So I’ve gathered all the postings together in chronological order, corrected numerous typos and a handful of factual errors (I was disturbed to see that my original text seemed to indicate that John C.

Fremont was elected the 15th President of the United States!), added illustrations (which Yahoogroups really didn’t permit), and created a pretty extensive index.

I think of this being part of America’s long tradition of bathroom literature. It’s meant to be sampled during idle moments. You can open it at random, scan through the table of contents, or browse through the index to find topics about which you’ll think what the hell does THIS have to do with Michigan. (That damned index nearly drove me to drink. After indexing hundreds of entries using Microsoft Word’s indexing feature, I found that the automatically generated index was approximately accurate to within a page or two)but not 100% accurate. So that led to the even more tedious process of verifying and updating every index entry.) The Meecheegander Missives.doc i Despite my gripes, it’s been a blast. I hope readers of the original posts and of this document find it half as informative and entertaining as it was for me.

I also hope it’s the start of a tradition. I’ve publicly challenged Louisiana AIRS to undertake a similar publicity campaign leading up to the 2012 AIRS Conference in New Orleans. Lets see what you’ve got, Louisiana. Educate us about crawfish and your state dog and state drink (you’ve got both) and Huey Long.

—Dick Manikowski (June 27, 2011) PS—Fearing that this isn’t fully out of my system, I’ve also begun a sporadic blog at meecheegander.blogspot.com The Meecheegander Missives.doc ii Table of Contents Posting Date..... Topic

4/10/11.............. First State to Ban Death Penalty

4/11/11.............. Great Lakes State & Water Wonderland

4/12/11.............. First Mile of Paved Concrete Highway in the U.S..................3 4/13/11.............. Salt Mine Beneath Detroit

4/14/11.............. Giant Uniroyal Tire

4/15/11.............. Wolverine State

4/16/11.............. The Funk Brothers: Motown’s House Band

4/17/11.............. Political History

4/18/11.............. Tax Day Blues

4/19/11.............. Underground Railroad

4/20/11.............. Detroit Population Soars, Plummets

4/21/11.............. Reconfiguring a Downsized Detroit

4/22/11.............. Rabble Rouser Comes to Dearborn

4/23/11.............. The Mitten State

4/24/11.............. The Nain Rouge

4/25/11.............. The Upper Peninsula

4/26/11.............. The Mackinac Bridge

4/27/11.............. Mackinac Island

4/28/11.............. Great Lakes Shipping Industry

4/29/11.............. Henry Ford

4/30/11.............. Joe Louis

5/1/11................ Muhammad Ali

5/2/11................ Invention of Four-Way Traffic Signal

5/3/11................ Isle Royale

5/4/11................ Belle Isle

5/5/11................ The Great Bath Schoolhouse Massacre

5/6/11................ Robocop Coming to Detroit

5/7/11................ What to Call Michigan Natives

5/8/11................ Michigan Cuisine

5/9/11................ Music Made in Michigan

The Meecheegander Missives.doc iii 5/10/11.............. The Floating ZIP Code

5/11/11.............. Kelloggs of Battle Creek

5/12/11.............. Michigan and Octopi

5/13/11.............. Vernors Ginger Ale: Deliciously Different

5/14/11.............. Michigan’s Industries

5/15/11.............. Michigan Writers

5/16/11.............. Michigan Place Names

5/17/11.............. Movies Shot in Michigan

5/18/11.............. Michigan in Radio and Television

5/19/11.............. Michigan’s Lumber Industry

5/20/11.............. More on Michigan’s Lumber Industry

5/21/11.............. Bootlegging in Detroit

5/22/11.............. The Bridges of Bay County City

5/23/11.............. The Not-So-Famous Lovells Bridge Walk

5/24/11.............. Magical Michigan

5/25/11.............. Michigan’s Automotive Industry

5/26/11.............. Detroit’s Freeways & the Labor Movement in Michigan....106 5/27/11.............. Natural Disasters in Michigan

5/28/11.............. Ethnicity of Michigan

5/29/11.............. Dearborn’s Middle East Population

5/30/11.............. Detroit as the Arsenal of Democracy

5/31/11.............. Profile of Dearborn

6/1/11................ Orville Hubbard and Keep Dearborn Clean

6/2/11................ Michigan Welcomes You

6/3/11................ Michigan’s Continuing Resurgence

6/4/11................ The Resilience of Detroit

6/5/11................ Why the Meecheegander Pseudonym

–  –  –

But back in our pre-statehood days, Michigan was an equal opportunity executioner. Seven of the 15 persons known to have been legally executed in the state were Native Americans, seven were white, and one was African American. Two were women. And while the legally approved means of execution was hanging, two of the executees were shot, and one was bludgeoned to death.

That's enough about the Great Lakes State for today.

Only twelve more days for the early registration discount for the 2011 AIRS Annual Training and Education Conference in the 'D'. And even if you miss the early registration deadline of April 22, we promise not to execute you. Or even bludgeon you.

Or even bludgeon you softly.

---Meecheegander PS--The man who was hanged at Milan Federal Prison in Milan, MI in 1938 for a murder committed during a bank robbery doesn't count. The Feds did that, so Michiganders take no responsibility.

The Meecheegander Missives.doc 1 Did You Know THIS About Michigan? (posted 4/11) Michigan has the longest coastline of any of the 48 contiguous states. Bordered by four of the five Great Lakes and by Lake St. Clair (a Pretty Good Lake, but not quite a Great Lake), Michigan has nearly 3300 miles of coastline... including just over 1,000 miles of island coastline. No matter where you are in Michigan, you're within 90 miles of a Great Lake and within six miles of a natural water source. That's what happens when you've got 11,000 lakes.

Those of you who have never visited the Great Lakes State will have an opportunity to do so when the AIRS Annual Training and Education Conference comes to the 'D' in early June.

If you register today, you'll qualify for the early registration discount. Then you'll have the opportunity to join Conference goers on the Detroit Princess for a cruise up and down the Detroit River. It's the opportunity of a lifetime.

--Meecheegander The Meecheegander Missives.doc 2 Did You Know THIS About Michigan? (posted 4/12) The first mile of paved concrete highway in the United States was Woodward Avenue (M-1) between Six Mile Rd. and Seven Mile Rd. in Detroit? At the time (1909), that stretch of road was in Greenfield Township, which was soon incorporated into the growing city.

Woodward Avenue was named after Judge Augustus Woodward, who was appointed the Michigan territory's first judge in 1805 by Thomas Jefferson.

Shortly after most of Detroit burned down in 1805, the judge proposed a huband-spoke street plan similar to that suggested (and adopted) for Washington, DC by his friend, Pierre L'Enfant.

Woodward's plan wasn't adopted, but a similar one proposed by Territorial Governor Lewis Cass was. But the central spoke (running north of northwest from the Detroit River) still wound up being named Woodward as in the original plan. (Actually, the Judge claimed the street wasn't named after himself but because it ran wood-ward from Detroit into the wilderness. Yeah, right.) Before being appointed to a new territorial judgeship in Florida, Augustus Woodward succeeded in creating the first public institution of higher education in the Michigan Territory. It was named the Catholepistemiad when it was chartered in 1817. Because nobody knew how to pronounce it (a state

–  –  –

Paved or not, all roads lead to the 'D' for the 2011 AIRS Training and Education Conference. Only ten more days to get the special early registration discount for the world's premier I&R event. Get your Catholepistemiad on in the 'D'!

–  –  –

The Meecheegander Missives.doc 4 Did You Know THIS About Michigan? (posted 4/13) One of the world’s largest salt mines operates 1,200 feet under portions of southwest Detroit and Dearborn and neighboring communities. The mine covers 1,400 acres and is traversed (by vehicles that had to be reconstructed after their components were lowered through the narrow shaft) by over 100 miles of roads.

The 35 foot vein that was left behind from ancient times when the ocean intruded into what’s now the Great Lakes region. The rock salt that was harvested was originally exploited early in the 20th Century to support the region’s leather and food processing industries, but today it’s used as road de-icer and to support metro Detroit’s #1 crop—potholes.

We promise you won’t fall down the shaft when you attend the 2011 AIRS Training and Education Conference in the ‘D’ this June. Register today—only nine more days until you miss the window for the early registration discount.

–  –  –

The Meecheegander Missives.doc 5 Did You Know THIS About Michigan? (posted 4/14) If you fly into the Detroit-Wayne County Metropolitan Airport (AKA Metro), you can’t help but notice an 86-foot tall tire as you travel along I-94 (AKA Edsel Ford Freeway) on the short drive to Dearborn. (Yep—that ill-fated car was named after old Henry’s ill-named son).

The giant tire was originally built as a Ferris wheel to advertise Uniroyal tires at the New York World’s Fair in 1964-65. After carrying two million passengers (including First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her children) in its 24 gondolas, the structure was moved to its current location in 1966 to commemorate the company’s 111 year history and its long relationship with the Motor City. Since then, it’s undergone three renovations. At one point, there was an 11 foot nail sticking out of it to advertise Uniroyal’s Tiger Paw Nailgard puncture-resistant tire.

The Ferris wheel innards were moved to an amusement park somewhere and, unlike the 100 ton tire shell, are not listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Are you planning on rolling into the ‘D’ for the 2011 AIRS Training and Education Conference from June 5-8? Only eight more days to register in time to qualify for the early registration discount.

–  –  –

PS—Browse to www.mi-airs.com/images/AIRS_in_the_D_FAQ_04.13.11.doc to examine the FAQ for the Conference in the ‘D’.

The Meecheegander Missives.doc 6 Did You Know THIS About Michigan? (posted 4/15) Long before Wolverine became a Marvel comics character, Michigan was known as the Wolverine State. When George Armstrong Custer led the Michigan Brigade in the Civil War, they were known as the Wolverines. (Yeah, he was from Michigan. We don’t brag about him too much.) The real wolverine (Gulo gulo; gulo is Latin for glutton) is the largest terrestrial member of the weasel family. Adult male wolverines are about the size of a medium-sized dog, weighing up to 70 lbs, though 55 lbs is more typical.

Females are about 30% smaller. In temperament, the stocky, muscular mammals could intimidate the Tasmanian Devil of Daffy Duck cartoons. They’ve been known to try to take food away from 400 lb black bears.

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