Category Archives: Michigan

Judge Bernard Friedman declares Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

The story as told via Twitter.


Lansing, Michigan (LBWL) crowdsourced power outage map of 29 December 2013

The ice storm of late December 2013 hit the Lansing area hard,
and the municipal power authority has not handled the resulting
outages as well as citizens would have them do.

The Lansing, Michigan area has electrical service from LBWL,
the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Even though the surrounding
area is served by Consumers Energy, LBWL serves an area roughly
encompassing Lansing and East Lansing. For one thing,
LBWL does not maintain an outage map online, which is relatively
unusual in this day and age.

The map below is a crowd-sourced tracking of outages and
restorations in the Lansing area. It’s been put together
under the lead of @jsiarto (Jeff Siarto) with the help of
other Lansing area residents and with data pulled in part from
the LBWL Facebook page.


Sources to look for more information –

I wrote up the ice storm of late December 2013 with some maps of the
other damage to the area.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light is a municipally owned public utility,
governed by a Board of Commissioners. The board is made up of eight
Lansing residents, each appointed for a four-year term on the board
by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council.

The Lansing Area Power Outages map is a Google map, and this image
is just a snapshot of it.

News coverage –

WILX-TV – East Lansing Resident Creates Public BWL Outage Map

Unlike Consumers Energy and DTE, Lansing Board of Water and Light doesn’t have a real time outage map for customers, but it’s something the company is currently developing, according to company spokesperson Steve Serkaian.

“We’re working on a “smart grid” system that’s similar to what other utilities offer, but it’s something that costs a significant amount of money to implement,” he said. “But we have heard our customers loud and clear and we’re committed to working on communicating with them better.”

Lansing State Journal – Board of Water and Light: ‘We have heard loud and clear’; BWL promises to review its handling of the ice storm cleanup

(BWL General Manager J. Peter Lark) said BWL is running at “optimum” staffing levels. On Friday, he said, 30 crews were on the ground, a figure that includes 12 line crews and five tree-trimming crews. Crews are made up of two or three people, with most line crews using three.
The utility to date has brought in outside help from five other municipally owned utilities, but Lark said Friday he doesn’t plan to bring in more — at least one BWL employee would have to ride with the outside crew, and that would reduce the number of BWL crews in operation.

Michigan Radio – Most power restored in Michigan, LBWL still has work to do

Most of those still without power are customers of Lansing’s public utility. Angry customers showed up at a company press conference yesterday to complain about the slow repairs. The number of Lansing Board of Water and Light customers without power actually increased yesterday as melting ice from tree limbs damaged more power lines.

Lansing Online News – 5 lingering questions about the Lansing ice storm – yours?

The press conference confirmed communication failures on the part of the officials involved. But when will that get better? Why not now? When will the outages be over? When will the community return to normal? When will the powers-that-be get their act together so people can make wise choices? Temperatures are expected to plunge into single digits tonight. What should people whose power is out do now? Move their families, especially the elderly and infirm, to other locations? Can people with pets still take them to the Ingham County Animal Shelter? When will those who should have the answers start communicating effectively?

Writing release notes for a new version of my Michigan FOIA book, using Leanpub

The book is my No-Nonsense Guide to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which I'm publishing (early) and updating (as its written) using Leanpub. Here's what I sent out to subscribers – all four of them! – this morning.

I'm happy to have a chance to keep working on this, since even the smallest amount of money from new sales covers the direct costs  of coffee to do the writing.

Release Notes

April 9, 2013.

This release updates the first 7 chapters of the book plus the introduction. Most of the changes are to fill in gaps, small reorganizations of the text, and line edits; there's not a ton of new original materials. Chapters 8 through to the end are unchanged.

One of the things that's new in the Michigan FOIA world is that Muckrock (Appendix A) now supports FOIA requests to a number of Ann Arbor cities. My first trial with this worked a little bit well, and I'm going to keep trying to improve how that system works so that I get the best writeup of it.

A document trove from a recent FOIA request is a log of all FOIA requests to the City of Ann Arbor over the span of two months. Look for a future set of edits to expand the "sample requests" considerably based on that collection, since I'm still digesting them.

If anyone has tried the "send to Kindle" feature, let me know how it went.

As always, if you have any questions, contact me at or +1 734 330 2465.



Related articles

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The No-Nonsense Guide to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act
City of Ann Arbor turns down request for meeting minutes, again
How to search the Michigan legislature for pending legislation
a new freedom of information blog starting
The Freedom From Information Act

Duck Lake Fire, north of Newberry MI

Some sources for information on the Duck Lake Fire, which started on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 and is burning rapidly in Luce County, north of Newberry, MI. The fire is dangerous and has caused evacuations; if you are reading this and you are in the area, seek authoritative and current information from official sources.

The fire brings to mind the 2007 Sleeper Lake Fire which burned over 18,000 acres in Luce County. 

8:00 pm Wednesday, May 30 map (PDF). I'll have the image up shortly.

 At this point, the Duck Lake Fire area is 55 percent contained.

The latest estimate on structure loss is that there are 138 properties within the perimeter of the fire; 115 sites have been inspected to this point, with 23 sites remaining. Inspections are ongoing, and it is anticipated that they will be completed today. A total of 115 structures have been lost.


8:00 pm Tuesday, May 29 map. From the DNR:

The Duck Lake Fire team really needs to hear from people who have property located within the fire area (especially those property owners that may be out of state). U.P. residents call 211; all others call 800-338-1119. Please give your name, fire number and road, and contact info so we can provide updates as damage assessments are completed. (Folks who've already called and provided fire number and road name do NOT need to call again.) 


11:00 pm Sunday map: Duck Lake fire map from Sunday at 2040 (8:40 pm). Note the new dozer line at the south end of the fire, some expansion to the east, and a better detail on the western edge of the fire. The inset map now shows the fire in context relative to Newberry.


5:00 pm Sunday map: Duck Lake fire map from late Saturday night. DNR summary:

New GPS data show that the fire is now estimated to cover 20,255 acres. Forty-eight percent of the fire area is contained.

The south end of the fire is 14 miles north of Newberry and 7 miles west from Tahquamenon Falls State Park campgrounds. The fire is long and narrow and stretches 11 miles to the north to Lake Superior. There are currently 40 miles of fire line. Of that fire line, 6 miles is Lake Superior shoreline, 13 miles is completed line (includes County Road 500), and 21 miles is uncontained fire line. Access is very difficult with few roads.


4:00 pm Saturday map: Duck Lake fire map from Saturday a.m. Afternoon DNR summary:

The fire is now 21,114 acres in size, having grown slightly overnight. The south end of the fire is 14 miles north of Newberry and 7 miles west from Tahquamenon Falls State Park campgrounds. The fire is long and narrow and stretches 11 miles to the north to Lake Superior. The fire area includes 6 miles of Lake Superior shoreline and 29.5 miles of uncontained fire line. Access is very difficult with few roads.


11:00 pm Friday update: new fire map, marked 5-25-2012 1200. Compared to the one below from 0530, this shows expansion of the fire along the northeast and eastern edge and a new acreage estimate of 17935 acres burned. Courtesy Michigan DNR.


National Weather Service, Marquette, MI Duck Lake Fire Decision Support Hazard page. Weather and fire maps, radar and aerial imagery, and forecasts. This is a false color MODIS image from Friday, May 25, showing the burn scar and the plume of smoke heading towards the Soo. Facebook: US NWS Marquette.

image from

Michigan DNR. Web: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Facebook: Michigan DNR. Posted Friday, May 25:

As of 7 a.m. Friday, May 25, the Duck Lake Fire in Luce County continues to grow and is approximately 17,000 acres. Air crews are working the fire and an incident management team is on the ground. Multiple structures have been lost and others are threatened. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been notified. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.

This fire map shows the situation as of Friday a.m.

20120525_Duck_Lake_PIO_386983_7The Weather Underground's Wundermap has a fire layer for the Newberry, MI area. This clip of the map taken at 8:00 pm Friday, May 25, 2012 shows a dense smoke plume over Tahquamenon Falls. 

Picture 30
FAA NOTAM 2/4255: Flights are restricted from the surface up to 8000 feet MSL in an area near Newberry in order to "provide a safe environement for fire fighting".

image from

Local news sources:

WNBY, AM 1450 in Newberry, MI is a good source of local news if you are in the area. The 1450 WNBY Facebook page is a rallying point for community news and information.


You can Depend on Newberry's Information Leader. We're going to get an update from the 4pm DNR briefing and will have the latest on the air on 1450 WNBY and here online . Very helpful that the DNR Office is across the road from Newberry's Radio Station. If you have pictures, updates or infomation you can call us at 906-293-3221 or email Travis in our News Center at .


Soo Evening News, "Fire burns toward Chippewa Co."

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said the blaze it’s calling the Duck Lake Fire was in an area north of Newberry that includes Lake Superior State Forest land and approached Lake Superior. It was detected Wednesday after a lightning strike and intensified Thursday — burning along the tops of jack pine trees in the forest.

WLUC-TVExtremely dangerous conditions as wildfire expands to 17,000 acres

Winds shifted early Friday morning, causing 50 mile an hour wind gusts to hit the fire and change directions of the blaze.  Gary Willis, Public Information Officer for the DNR, says the east end of the fire is now the head of the fire and that there was zero containment as of Friday morning.  Officials also say that flame heights reached 200 feet in some places.


WXYZ-TV Detroit / AP, Parts of Tahquamenon Falls park closed due to fire

The DNR says if the fire continues on its current path, it will get to within one mile of the Upper Falls viewing area by Friday night. Officials urged visitors to avoid the Tahquamenon Falls area during the Memorial Day weekend.

TV 9 and 10 News, Duck Lake Fire Update live blog:

Friday 6:00 pm update: Governor Snyder declares state of disaster in Luce and Schoolcraft counties. All state resources available to support response efforts. Snyder also issued Executive Order 2012-8 activating the National Guard to provide assistance. A hotline has been established for the public to check for status updates, call 855-440-6424 for the latest information.

 Fox 11, Wildfire in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Aerial photography, credited to the Michigan DNR, of the fire scenes.

image from

Message from President Andrew Jackson on the Ohio and Michigan Boundary, January 12, 1836

[Doc. No. 54.] 24th Congress, 1st Session. Ho. of Reps. Executive.

Ohio and Michigan Boundary





Reports from the Secretaries of State and War on the subject of the Ohio and Michigan boundary.

January 12, 1836.

Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

To the House of Representatives of the United States :

Having laid before Congress on the 9th ultimo, the correspondence which had previously taken place relative to the controversy between Ohio and Michigan, on the question of boundary between that State and Territory, I now transmit reports from the Secretaries of State and War on the subject, with the papers therein referred to.


Washington, January 11, 1836.

– 30 –

Mandatory FTC disclosure

Promotional considerations for this message were provided by Garrett Scott, Bookseller.

Garrett Scott, Bookseller

P.O. Box 4561

Ann Arbor MI 48106

ph. (734) 741-8605

First editions in 19th and eartly 20th century eccentric religious movements, popular entertainments, literature and Americana.

Books and pamphlets bought and sold.

Frozen Four Hockey: Michigan 3, U Nebraska Omaha 2 (OT)

The University of Michigan hockey team defeated the University of Nebraska Omaha 3-2 in overtime in Frozen Four action in St. Louis. The winning goal was scored by Kevin Lynch at 17:25 in overtime. Officials reviewed the replay for ten minutes before declaring the goal a winner.

Preview: Hoover Street Rag.

Live blog: Michigan Daily. The Daily runs a photo of a Rust v Hudson faceoff taken tonight by Jake Fromm, and has a full period by period scoring run down.

Jeff Arnold via Twitter:


@Michigan_hockey awaits the winner of Boston College-Colorado College in Saturday night's @NCAAIceHockey regional finals in St. Louis


NHL.COM/AP: Michigan beats Nebraska-Omaha 3-2 in OT; this is the 8:51 p.m. version.

It wasn't clear why it took officials so long to make a call on the play. Apparently, Lynch nudged a rebound past goalie John Faulkner after Greg Pateryn's shot from the point. has a story written by staff, updated with game details but running only a file photo; in a later update, they run a photo from Tim Vizer via Icon SMI

The Icon SMI album of images from tonight's game has 14 photos. Do not use them in your blog, but look at them – just look at them.

FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Icon SMI reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this image. If you violate our intellectual property you may be liable for: actual damages, loss of income, and profits you derive from the use of this image, and, where a

Official game recap: Flower Mound, TX is wrong; Lynch's bio says he's from Grosse Pointe, and forward Chris Brown is from Flower Mound. A later edit gets it right.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – In overtime, sophomore center Kevin Lynch's (Flower Mound, Texas) shot deflected underneath the Nebraska-Omaha netminder, and after a lenghthy video review, it was confirmed it crossed the goal line, sending the No. 6-ranked University of Michigan ice hockey team past the 14th-ranked Mavericks, 3-2, on Friday (March 25) and into the NCAA Regional final at the Scottrade Center.

MGoBlog: Hockey WOOOOOOOOOO thread.

Live chat:

The Muppet Glee Club will now render Temptation.

And because you can't have one without the other, Hawaiian War Chant.

Edward Vielmetti sang the National Anthem with the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club at Tiger Stadium in the final game of the World Series.

ed note: update 1:15 with final story, update with photo credits, Lynch home town fixed, ICON SMI photo gallery