2016 : Newspaper Pioneer Richard Lee Milliman Dies
Mar 26 all-day
Image result for Richard Lee "Dick" Milliman photo

Despite constant changes in the media industry, Richard Lee “Dick” Milliman never lost faith in journalism’s power.

The Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame member owned or started nearly 30 newspapers in the state over a 35-year span and believed it was important to teach new reporters at Michigan State University and Central Michigan University how to pursue careers.

Milliman purchased Grayling’s Crawford County Avalanche newspaper in 1967 and went on to own or start weekly newspapers in 26 communities. At one time, he owned the Williamston Enterprise, the Towne Courier in East Lansing and the Ingham County News.

In addition to being a former Michigan Press Association president and director, Milliman served on the State News Board of Directors for 26 years and was its president for four years. The State News is MSU’s student newspaper.

While teaching classes at MSU in reporting and editing, he also founded Capital News Service. The program still exists and gives students the opportunity to get published in newspapers across the state and receive academic credit for it.

In addition to journalism, Richard Milliman had a love for politics. He worked for Michigan Governor George Romney as his press secretary and executive assistant for public information. Milliman stayed with Romney’s team through the governor’s second term re-election. Milliman then rejoined the team for Romney’s presidential campaign.

For the full article, see Eric Lacy, Michigan journalism pioneer Richard Milliman dies at 88“, Lansing State Journal,  March 28, 2016

2019 : First Ship of Season Passes Through Soo Locks
Mar 26 all-day

The Great Lakes 2019 navigation season officially kicked off at 12:01 a.m. today, with the first 1,000-footer to ply the inland seas snagging this year’s bragging rights as the first ship through the Soo Locks.

The Stewart J. Cort arrived at the lock system just before midnight. Ship enthusiasts had been tracking her progress through the Lower Great Lakes. Fans gathered near the huge lock system in Sault Ste. Marie as the Cort pulled into the Poe Lock, which handles all the big freighters upbound for Lake Superior.

The Soo Locks had been closed for its annual winter maintenance work since late January. More than 73 million gallons of water were drained from the Poe and MacArthur locks – the only two of the four locks still in operation. Repairs were made, the bottoms of the locks were cleaned out, and then refilled last week.

Less than a week ago, a trio of Coast Guard cutters from the U.S. and Canada were the first vessels to lock through into Lake Superior, where they began breaking up ice so freighters could start making their way to the Soo for the opening of the shipping season.

In past years, there’s been some close jockeying by freighters to see who will enter the St. Marys River first and make the big date at the Soo Locks. This year, the Cort was clearly ahead of her competition.

This video by DRE Designs – Great Lakes Marine Products shows the Cort’s arrival, and the fans’ reaction. For more coverage of Opening Day and in-depth coverage of Great Lakes freighters year-round, check out their Facebook page.

Early today, the big freighter was met by an official welcoming committee made up of local leaders, who had some Soo Locks swag for the Cort’s captain.

“An annual tradition, dignitaries from the City of Sault Sainte Marie, the Soo Locks Visitor Center Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau came to greet the first ship and present Captain Sipper with plaques and other commemorative gifts,” said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District, which oversees the lock system.

At daybreak today, a marine tracking system showed the Stewart J. Cort and fellow 1,000-footer the American Century stopped around Whitefish Point. It’s unknown if they were stopped because of ice, but the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw was shown to be nearby.

Each year, the locks handle more than 4,500 vessels carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo on the Great Lakes. Iron ore, limestone and coal make up the bulk of what is coming through on the big freighters.

The locks, located in the St. Marys River, help ships and boats move from the lower-level waters of Lake Huron to the higher-level entrance to Lake Superior. A new lock is expected to be added in the future.

The three big Coast Guard cutters working in Lake Superior – two from the U.S. and one from Canada – will soon be joined by other vessels, the military said. They will be working areas including Michigan’s Whitefish Bay and Duluth, Minn. before breaking ice in western Lake Superior ports like Silver Bay, Two Harbors and then Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada.

By the end of March, they expect to break out any ice left near Michigan’s Marquette and the Keweenaw Waterway.

Nine Things You Might Not Have Known About The Soo Locks

There’s something for everyone in Sault Ste. Marie, from historic open houses, to spectacular vistas plus the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the great Soo Locks. Check out these nine interesting facts about the Soo Locks to inspire your visit from Sault Ste. Marie Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.


Sunset at the Soo Locks
Photo courtesy of Carol Roose 

A man-made marvel and the busiest lock system in the world, by cargo tonnage, yes the Soo Locks! On average, between seven and ten thousand ships come through the locks during the shipping season each year.  Built in 1855, these locks connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron and beyond.  We have repeat visitors every season; they call themselves Boat Nerds, that watch ships from all over the world use this free lock system.  Now here are some facts about the locking system and the St. Marys River.

1. $500.4 Billion. The value attributed to the iron ore shipped through the Soo Locks each year. An average of 80 million tons of cargo moves through them each year.

2. 7,000 passages each year. Crews at the Soo Locks complete these lockages during the 42- week- long navigations season. They are open 24 hours a day.  Can you take your personal boat through the locks? Yes, as long as you have a motor and permission from the lockmaster.

3. 2,342 miles.  Ships from all over the world visit this port as the locks are a part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which connects Duluth, Minnesota to the Atlantic!

4. 22 Million gallons of water to lift a boat. The locks are powered by gravity itself!  Water moves in and out of the lock chambers by just opening and closing valves.

5. 1000 foot boats. There are 13-1000 footers on the Great Lakes, and the largest boat that comes through the Soo Locks is the Paul R. Tregurtha, in at 1013 feet 6 inches which is larger than three football fields! The first vessels on the great lakes were 40 foot-long canoes.

Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie.JPG

6. 9 hours. The time between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, it takes a freighter about nine hours to pass through the St. Mary’s River system

7. 21 foot drop. A thick layer of bedrock holds back the waters of Lake Superior where it joins the St. Marys River. This drop prevented boats from passing through. This reddish sandstone lines most of Lake Superior southern shores and is about 1000 feet-thick. The Fairbanks Scale Company, which is still in business today, built the first permanent lock, State Lock.

8. 3-4 cents per ton- From 1855 to 1881, this was the toll, but today it is free.

9. The propeller in Soo Locks Park is from a steamer named the Independence, which exploded just northwest of today’s locks.  One crewman is said to have survived a trip down the rapids on a hay bale from the ship.

Now that you know more about the Soo Locks, come and visit the Soo Locks Park anytime between late March and Mid-January to see the freighters go through the locks and get up close and personal with this engineering marvel!

Article courtesy of Pure Michigan.

1871 : First Females Graduate from University of Michigan
Mar 27 all-day

On March 27, 1871, Amanda Sanford received a Doctor of Medicine degree and Sarah Killgore a Bachelor of Law degree, becoming the first women to graduate from the University of Michigan. One year earlier, when the college first allowed women, both women transferred from other schools to complete their education.

One year earlier, when the college first allowed women, both women transferred from other schools to complete their education.

Madelon Stockwell became the first woman to enroll at the University of Michigan in February 1870. The following fall, in 1871, 34 women joined her—a tiny cohort among a thousand men. Gradually, their numbers expanded, reshaping campus life and the futures of hundreds of thousands of women.

10-march 27-umich women


Mich-Again’s Day

Michigan House Democrats Official Blog, March 27, 2017.

1912 : Michigan Senate Votes for Women’s Suffrage
Mar 27 all-day

The Snell Joint Resolution adding the Woman’s Suffrage Amendment to the Constitution was passed by the Michigan Senate and sent on to the House for consideration.

“Senate Votes To Submit Woman Suffrage Plan”, Detroit Free Press, March 27, 1912.

Note : The Main Library now provides the MSU community online access to the historical Detroit Free Press through 1922.

1946 : Walter Reuther Elected President of the UAW
Mar 27 all-day

Painting of Walter Reuther, courtesy of Wikipedia

On March 27, 1946, Walter Reuther was elected president of the UAW. Actively involved with the Flint Sit-down Strike in early 1937, Reuther also gained recognition when he was beaten by Ford security guards at the “Battle of the Overpass” in 1937. He served as UAW’s president until his accidental death in 1970.

Source: Michigan History

Irving Bluestone, Walter Reuther : Working Class Hero, Time Magazine, December 7, 1998.

No Greater Calling : The Life of Walter P. Reuther, courtesy of the Wayne State University Libraries, Walter P. Reuther Library.

For more information see Walter Reuther / Anthony Carew. Manchester ; New York : Manchester University Press ; New York : Distributed exclusively in the USA and Canada by St. Martin’s Press, c1993, one of many books about him.

1960 : End of an Era; Last Regularly Scheduled Steam Locomotive Departs from Durand
Mar 27 all-day

On March 27, 1960, the last regularly scheduled passenger train powered by a steam locomotive pulled away from the Grand Trunk Western Union Depot in Durand. The depot was once the largest in rural Michigan and one of the biggest in a small town anywhere in the country. It featured a large waiting room, a dining room and a lunch counter.

Source: Michigan Every Day

2012 : Dining and Drinking in Old Detroit
Mar 27 all-day

Before the famous Delmonico’s restaurant opened in New York City in 1845, there were no restaurants in the United States as we know them today. There were, however, “eating houses.” Detroit had its share, usually attached to saloons, where food was served, often to encourage more drinking.

Eating houses featured specialties like “all-you-can- eat” oysters or green turtle soup; they usually announced “a good accommodation for victuals” such as soup, potatoes, beef, ham and so forth. Nevertheless, complaints about the food were common. With the famous French chef and cooking instructor Professor Pierre Blott moving to New York City and becoming America’s first celebrity chef by 1865, Detroit newspaper editorials hoped that students of chef Blott could “relieve the country from the reproach of having but one gravy.”

The article by Bill Loomis, “Dining and drinking in Old Detroit; From nickel meals to elaborate dinners, Detroit’s restaurants and saloons were the hangouts of their day”, Detroit News, January 22, 2012, is no longer available online.

But the photos are.

2016 : Curtis Hertel, Sr. Dies, Respected Michigan Legislator and Last House Speaker Before Term Limits Enacted
Mar 27 all-day

Curtis Hertel, Sr. the last Michigan House Speaker before term limits swung into effect, was widely remembered Monday for his ability to work in a bipartisan manner with Republicans during an historic 55-55 party split in the House.

Hertel labored alongside Paul Hillegonds as co-speaker from 1993 through 1994 and held the Speakership outright from 1997 through 1998.

Hertel Sr. – the 64th Michigan Speaker of the Michigan House – was first elected to the House in 1980. In all, Hertel served in the Michigan House from 1981 until 1998.

The hallmark of Hertel Sr.’s service was undoubtedly the unique shared power relationship he had with Hillegonds. Following that two years of shared power, both men were widely respected by Lansing insiders for their ability to work across the aisle on substantive policy developments, despite political differences.

The Hertel family is well known for their public service in Michigan political circles, with all three brothers, Curtis Sr., John, and Dennis serving in political offices throughout their career. John Hertel served in the Michigan State Senate, representing the 2nd District from 1974 to 1982, and Dennis Hertel served in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the 14th District from 1975 to 1980, and then as US Congressman from the Michigan 14th District from 1981 to 1993. Hertel Sr.’s son, Curtis Jr., is serving his first term in the Michigan State Senate.

During Hertel’s speakership he hosted the last President of the United States to visit the Michigan Capitol when then-President Bill Clinton addressed a joint session of the 89th Michigan Legislature on March 6, 1997. Prior to Clinton’s 1997 address the last President to speak at the state capitol was Theodore Roosevelt.

Hertel Sr. was a proud graduate of Wayne State University.

Source : “Hertel Remembered for Ability To Work With Others”, MIRS, March 28, 2016.

1820 : St. Clair County Created
Mar 28 all-day

Acting upon a petition presented to him in 1819, Territorial Governor Lewis Cass issued a proclamation setting off and naming St. Clair County, created from part of Macomb County. The county was named after Arthur St. Clair, the first governor of the Northwest Territory.

Source: Michigan History

1836 : Treaty of Washington Signed With the Ottawas and Chippewas
Mar 28 all-day
Image result for native american treaty 1836

On March 28, 1836, in Washington D.C., a few dozen Michigan Anishinaabe Ogemuk signed a treaty with the United States, represented by Henry Schoolcraft.

The treaty continues to serve as the original formal acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the Indian tribes represented there, many but not all of which are currently federally recognized.

In exchange for 1/3 of the state (eastern end of upper peninsula and northwestern lower peninsula), the tribes were entitled to hunt and fish as long as they remained.

But much later, in the 1960s, the state of Michigan started heavily regulating commercial fishermen, including tribes, limiting where and how they fished.

John Bailey was a tribal leader at the time and says the regulations hurt the tribes.

Inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the south, tribes began using non-violent civil disobedience to protest the regulations. They ignored state fishing restrictions and said to the authorities, come arrest me.

According to John Bailey, a lot of whites didn’t react well.

One of the groups actually took pictures of Indian fisherman and flooded the state with wanted posters: Spear an Indian, Save a Trout. We had guns pulled on us. We had women verbally and physically assaulted.

White commercial and sports fisherman thought traditional nets used by the tribes would lead to overfishing, destroying the fishing economy.

The fight came to a head in 1979, when the tribes went to court. They pulled out that treaty from 1836. And because of that they won. The courts said: These tribes, they own a part of that lake and the water and the fish in it, too. That’s why tribal fisherman can still fish today.

Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) gathers all 1836 Treaty fishing tribes under it’s mantle, including:

  • Bay Mills Indian Community
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indi


Emily Bingham, “How an 800-mile canoe trip starting at an Up North beach became a turning point in Michigan history“,  MLive,January 15, 2018.

Treaty of Washington, 1836 wikipedia entry

Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA)

Turtle Talk, March 28, 2011.