October 2003 - Edition No. 10

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Featured History

Defoe Shipbuilding Company is the story of a dream come true for Harry Defoe who founded one of the busiest shipyards in the nation during the middle 1900s. Harry was born in Bay City and spent many youthful hours at the shipyards along the west banks of the Saginaw River. He learned to make model boats immulating what he observed and when he advanced to adulthood, he began building small boats and the story goes on.

Defoe shipyards busiest years were during WWII building a variety of vessels with landing crafts being among the highest number produced at the yard. Before the war, Yachts were the mainstay of the company. You can read the full story in the Heritage section which includes a database of the vessels they built.
- {Heritage/Businesses/Defoe}

Bay-Journal Commentary

(Editorial comments and whimsical thoughts of limited interest and value.)

October 1 - What Happened to September?

September went fast! I think Mother Nature's thermometer broke when the calendar turned over at the end of August. The temperature dropped quickly from the mid-80s to the low 70s, then to the low 60s and now in the 50s. Frost will be here any day at this rate, and snow will cover the leaves before I've had time to rake them up. I hope this is temporary confusion on the part of Mother Nature and she'll soon return to some more normal for this time of the year. I miss the warm days of a typical September.


October 3 - James Clements 75 Years Old (Bay City)

Dignitaries and local flight enthusiasts gathered at James Clements Memorial Airport off River Road to celebrate its 75 years of service to the local aviation community. Among the attendees was Geraldine Higgs, author of two books related to the history of the airport, "Aloft" and "Military Pilots of Bay County." The opening of the airport in 1928 was largely due to the airmail service being launched that year, and Bay City being offered the service if they provided an adequate airport facilities. The airport is named after James Clements, a local pilot who lost his life in the Navy during WWI.

The Wright Brothers excited the world in 1903 demonstrating man's desire to fly was more than a dream. The Saginaw Valley was an early entrant in the history of Michigan aviation. The first plane manufacturing in Michigan took place in Saginaw in 1909, when the Brooks Airplane Company began its brief operation as a manufacturer of plane kits. They sold 22 of them before closing this line of business. Lionel H. DeRemer of Bay City and Henry Dora of Essexville were among the first pilots here. DeRemer was a graduate of the Wright Brothers school at Long Island, N.Y. in 1912. Dora was a talented mechanic and friend of DeRemer. A couple notable creations demonstrating Dora's skills, and firsts in Bay County, included a motorized 12 foot long ice sled and a motorcycle.

Flying in these early years was the domain of aviation pioneers and a source of exciting entertainment for the local folks below. WWI demonstrated the utility of these flying machines and created many new aviators, many returned to their communities after the war and continued their love of flying. Their unique capability made them a closely knit group, they shared the experience and delight of being able to fly in record time from one point to another, taking off and landing on whatever open field may be available. It wasn't until the airmail service was established in 1928 that local communities understood the practical value of having and airport.

Today, MBS International Airport is the center of aviation in the Saginaw Valley. However, local pilots sipping a cup of coffee as they go over flight plans at James Clements Memorial Airport may tell you otherwise. The airport is the center of flight activity for privately owned planes of local pilots and businesses. They quietly keep the airport busy accommodating the practical flight needs for point to point service such as business meetings and medical transport of patients. In many respects, they remain pioneers of local aviation holding down the fort so to speak until technology makes aviation affordable and practical to their neighbors and friends. A possibility that might be reality during the next 75 years of local aviation history.


October 8 - California Voters Elect The Terminator

"Only in America," might be the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger's next movie. That is if he ever makes another one. He'll have his hands full attending to the world's fifth largest economy.

California voters in this historic "recall" election sent current Democratic governor Gray Davis packing, and in his place chose the terminator to straighten things out in this financially stressed state. They did so with a voter turn out that exceeded the previous election with 54% favoring the recall of Governor Davis. In the next governor vote, Republican Swarzenegger soundly beat his closest rival, Democratic Lt. Governor Bustamante by more than 30%. Californians sent a clear message that they not only wanted a new governor, but a change in their state's politics.

The story of Swarzenegger's life is a modern day tale of an immigrant who came to America and made the most of his opportunities through hard work and intelligence to become a success. He was a world class body builder, hollywood star, business millionaire, and now, governor of California. It is a story well worth sharing in school class rooms as an example and inspiration about what can be accomplished by any student to become the best they can be through hard work and intellegence. He maximized the attributes that he had at each stage of his life to build towards another goal. It wasn't luck or serendipity that propelled him forward. He was the engineer of his own success.


October 12 - Plans Announced For New Nautical Museum

The Saginaw Marine Historical Society has started a campaign aimed at establishing a museum that will house the rich nautical history of this area. Their goal is to raise $300,000 by next year for this project.


1918 Davidson shipyard launching.

There are no natural elements more important to the history of this area than that of the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay. Carved out by the last great ice age, these natural resources became the harbor of life for nature, animals, and eventually humans. It’s earliest human history will never be known, and it is only the last 200 - 300 years that can be understood with some degree of depth. Unfortunately, the early settlers here were far too busy with daily survival to be concerned with documenting history so we would know with great detail of their endeavors. Its a human condition, that only a few find importance in doing today. A museum devoted to our nautical history is not only desireable, but essential as a center for focusing on the details of this history for the public.

Some may argue that we already have a museum maintained by the Bay County Historical Society and another entity to house artifacts and information only duplicates the effort of what already exists. The reality is that space for housing history at the present museum is already depleted, and to cram more objects into this limited space only removes others from display depriving the public of seeing all of their history. It is the good fortune of this community that we have an abundance of interesting and notable history worthy of displaying. Our history should be a source of knowledge and local pride. It's a hertiage that citizens and visitors drawn to this area need to have readily available to them. The Saginaw River Marine Historical Society was organized in 1989 not to compete with the Bay County Historical Society, but to enhance the offerings of this community. Their focus on nautical history is a major works and is responsible for preserving the historic Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse.

Another group hard at work to preserve our maritime history is the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum. Their plans are to harbor a USS Charles F. Adams, DDG-2, US Navy Guided Missile Detroyer in the old Davidson Shipbuilding dry dock located in Veterans Memorial Park in Bay City. It’ll be a floating museum dedicated to the memory of the Destroyer Navy of the 1960-70‘s, and to those who served in Navy. This is the same type of vessel of which many were built at the Defoe shipyard once located on the east side of the river just north of the Liberty Bridge.

All three organizations need local support and interest to bring the past to the present. Let them know they’re appreciated, support them with your contribution and use the invaluable resources for which they uniquely provide for our communities.

To learn more about these groups and to help, visit:
- [Saginaw River Marine Historical Society]
- [Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum]
- [Bay County Historical Society Museum]

- Some Bay-Journal resources on maritime history are:
- {Davidson Shipbuilding Company}
- {Defoe Shipbuilding Company}
- {1918 Saginaw River Maps (Davidson, Defoe, Lighthouse)}


October 13 - New Digital Camera

Yellow Mum Plant

From this date on you should see an improvement in the quality of our contemporary photos added to Bay-Journal. The color results with the old camera were pretty bad. We didn't know just how bad they were until we put the new camera into use. The new camera will encourage us to add more graphics to this monthly magazine and in the Pictorial Library. One of the features that we would like to do down the road is a "then and now", where a historical photo is compared to contemporary photo of asubject.

Please... don't send emails requests for us to do photography for your weddings and other family events! [smile] (Hmmm... that might be a way to pay for the new camera.)



October 20 - Trip "Over" Niagara Falls

According to the news media, witnesses saw a man go over the Niagara Falls yesterday. While he is no the first to survive this trip, he is the first known to have done so without any the help of any devices. Little more is known about this escapade at this time.

Over 100 hundred years ago, Annie Taylor, a Bay City school teacher became the first to successfully make the trip over the falls doing so in a barrel on October 24, 1901. It was no ordinary barrel as it was specially designed for this purpose. Even so, few thought she would survive the trip. You can read her story and see some pictures regarding her history making voyage in the Heritage Library.
- {Heritage Library/People/Annie Taylor}


October 22 - Water Damage Threatens Historic Landmark

City Hall 1909
1909 Image of City Hall

On the front page of today's Bay City Times is an article on the condition of the eight floor where the and the tower where ancient clock symbol of this city has been the pride of the city since it opened in 1897. The floor is rotting from water damage which in turn is leaking to the lower level threatening even further damage. The city now plans to go ahead and have the repairs done for an estimated $7,975 after having pulled the funds under tight budget constraints for this year. The real story is why would they wait until the wood rots and becomes a real problem before acting in a manner consistent with the value of this national registered heritage building?" The city needs to do a better job of taking care of one of this communities prize assets. I don't think that's asking too much of them. I'm sure that is the city is that financial strapped that many would be willing to donate to a "save our heritage" building fund program. It's kind of embaracing to see a front page story of this nature when this community's history is becoming a valuable asset as a tourist attraction.

Featured Websites

(Local and regional websites that we hope you will find interesting.)

Pinconning Area School District:

Students, teachers and faculty can take pride in their offering on the internet. Visitors are greeted with a friendly graphic displaying scenes about the school. To the left and right are easy to find links into the heart of the website. There you'll find plenty of information about what's happening in the school district and the names of the individuals that are making it happen.
- [Pinconning Area School District (PASD)]


Bay City Mall:

How often do you think about using the web to find local merchant information? If you're like most people, it never crosses your mind! Well that may change after you visit the Bay City Mall website. Need the phone of one of the mall's many merchants? Want to know what movies are showing? You can find this information and more right at the Bay City Mall's well designed and organized website.
- [Bay City Mall]

Highlighted Local/Regional News

(Bits of news about the Saginaw Bay area for our out of town viewers. For more extensive news we recommended visiting MLive.com (newspapers) or MyBayCity.com (articles).)

October 3 - Infinity Skate Board Facility A Success. (Bay City)

An editorial in the today's Bay City Times draws attention to this facility that is now two years old. The contoured cement playground for local skate board enthusiasts is being highly taughted as one of the best in the U.S. by those who have an awareness of popular skate board terrains around the state. It was designed by kids for kids, and this may be why its appeal and exceptional field of play has made it so successful. The editorial further states that the Bay City Commission has taken notice and has indicated an interest in promoting the facilities for a competitive skating event open to local, state and national skaters. A good idea that would add another jewel to a long list of popular events that are attracting visitors to this community in large numbers.

While skate boarding is not an activity designed or recommended for our large residency of senior citizens, it sure can be a source of pleasure for them as they root on their grandchildren doing competitive flips, turns and gyrations aimed at bringing home a trophy to a proud family. If its popularity continues to grow and the competitive event materializes, there'll be need of permanent bleachers and elevated area for rocking lawn chairs.

More pictures of the Infinity skate board facilities may be seen at {Pictorials/Bay City Parks}


October 16 - 140 Good Jobs Coming! (Williams Township)

A Bay City Times front page story on October 15, reports Down Corning has plans to expand its Advanced Engineering Materials division in Williams Township which is located on Eleven Mile Road. The information was obtained from State Senator James Barcia on Tuesday. Mention are plans to tranfer of operations being done in Connecticut, Florida and California into the Williams Township location bringing 140 new jobs to this area in late 2004.

The operation will produce products to be used in the manufacturing of next generation high-brightness light emitting diodes (LED) which are based on semiconductor technologies. LEDs are commonly used in commerical and military applications for products such as light displays in computers, instruments, automobiles, aircraft, traffic lights, watches, etc. You can get a basic understanding of this semiconductor technology at [How Light Emitting Diodes Work].

Historical perspective of local contributions to the semiconductors industry:

Graphite products
High-purity graphite products.

The average person may not be aware that the Saginaw Valley has long been a key player in the advancement of semiconductors. Early contributions from this area to the infant Semiconductor Industry of the 1960s included high-purity polycrystaline and single crystal silicon, and high-purity graphite products used in the manufacturing of these materials. Silicon is by far the largest base material used in making semicondoctors, but others materials such as gallium and even diamond are used in creating specialized semiconductors where unique performance is required. Polycrystalline is produced using chemical vapor deposition manufacturing methods which employ high-purity graphite electrode chucks that support the growth of the poly-silicon ingot.

Two local businesses that share this history are Hemlock Semiconductors Corporation in Hemlock which produces high-purity poly-crystalline silicon, and the Ultra Carbon Division of Carbone of America in Bay City that supplies high-purity graphite products. Another local supplier of graphite to the industry is Bay Carbon, Incorporated in Bay City. To learn more about each of these local companies visit:
- [Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation - Hemlock, MI]
- [Ultra Carbon Division, Carbone of America - Bay City, MI]
- [Bay Carbon, Inc.]
- {History of Ultra Carbon Division - Bay-Journal page}

An offering by the Intel Corporation provides some insight into the world of computers based on semiconductor technologies: [Intel - The Journey Inside]


October 19 - Bay County Website Recognized

Citizens of Bay County can take pride in knowing that the county's website has been awarded the "2003 Best Website Award" by the Michigan Association of Governmental Computer Users (MAGCU). The award was officially presented at the Board of Commissioners meeting this past Tuesday. The MAGCU association is comprised of local government representatives for the purpose of exchanging ideas on the efficient use of computers to improve work performance and better serve the public.

We have long enjoyed the quality of the Bay County website which we featured in our May 2003 issue of this online magazine. It's visually appealing, informative and effectively organized. Viewers that spend a little time becoming familiar with its content will find it contains many useful online resources from contacting officials to information regarding agencies of the county.
- Bay County, MI Website


October 20 - Classic Car Makes Calendar (Bay City)

On the November 2004 page of a national calendar published by Snap-on Technolgies, Inc. will be the photo of Frank Rynalski's 1967 Chevrolet Corvette. Rynalski's customized Corvette was chosen from more than a thousand photos received by Snap-on from car buffs for their 2004 calendar. Snap-on is the maker of Snap-on tools and you can learn more about their products at their website. I wasn't able to find a listing related to their calendar in the online catalog, but they do have a Customer Service email address where you may inquire about how to get a copy of the 2004 calendar.
- Snap-on Website


October 22 - Local Centennial Businesses Honored (Bay City)

Hertel Music Center and Sempliners Bridal Salon were recognized at the October 14th meeting of the Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) held in Lansing. Hertel located at 901 Washington Ave. started in 1903 while Sempliner at 902 N. Water started in 1873. The MRA business centennial recognition program has honored 58 companies since its inception in 2000. [MRA Press Release - Oct. 20, 2003]


October 23 - Western Equestrian Team to State Finals (Kawkawlin)

This article in the Bay City Times caught me by surprise as I had no idea that Western High School had an equestrian team let alone they be in existence for 20 years. They will be making their eighth visit to the state finals which is being held in Detroit. The team practices at Mike Hogan's Farm in Kawkawlin is coached by Tony Kuzenga who was herself a member of the team when she attended Western. We wish them much luck to go along with the finely honed skills.

Changes & Additions to Bay-Journal

(Current month's updates to Bay-Journal. See "archives" for previous updates.)

October 1 - River of Time 2003 Video (New)

We spent some time at the River of Time event this past weekend enjoying the activies and taking pictures which we've put into a video. It was a chilly and cloudy day which didn't destract the actors or the visitors. However, the overcast weather did affect the quality of the photos.
- {Heritage/Pictorials} (select "Videos")


October 2 - 1872 Bay City Panoramic (Up Date)

Thanks to some vigorous research done by Alan Flood who donated this historical panaromic, some of the buildings have been identified. We've created a directory page to provide for a more informed viewing. A number of the early churches have been identified as well as a many of the major business blocks along Center Avenue. If you are a history buff and can add know the identity of any of the buildings, please share it with us and we'll add it to this special photo series.
- {Pictorials/1872 Bay City Panoramic}


October 3 - State Capitals Crossword Puzzle (New)

A new addition to the "Family Center" is our crossword puzzle on state capitals bring our total offering to ten at this time. We have an open invitation to all viewers to submit their challenging questions and answers for creating new crossword puzzles. Add yours today!
- {Information/Family Center/Crosswords/State Capitals}


October 6 - Celebrity News Articles (New)

Now you can read about your favorite personalities with our daily syndicated articles from TVNow.com and it is up dated daily.
- {Family Center/Celebrity News}


October 6 - Family Entertainment Room (New)

More fun in the Family Center! We've rearranged our learning games and added a new syndicated board with some top knotch games. You'll find them all in our new Family Entertainment Room.
- Family Center/Family Entertainment Room


October 12 - Bay City Parks Pictorial


View inside of Euclid Linear Park

We spent the better part of a day taking pictures of some of the many parks in Bay City. It really opened our eyes to how many nice neighborhood parks there are in this city and the many improvements that have been going in recent history. The new Infinity skate board facilities in Defoe Park is something to see and watch the kids as they wizz up and down all of the steep contours. The Nate Doan Park must be one of the best kept secrets, but not to all the neighborhood kids enjoying its open spaces. The new Euclid Linear Park was an amazing experience to behold, once inside the natural area it is hard to believe it's city property. Bigelow Park on the Middle Grounds is another special place and gets plenty of visitors as a part of the Riverwalk Trail. And, Roosevelt Park in the southend hasn't look better. We can hardly wait for another nice day to visit the other parks on our list.
- Pictorials/Bay City Parks


October 14 - Humor Hall (new page)

A major goal of Bay-Journal is to be the "portal of choice" for our viewers. The Information Center section of Bay-Journal was designed with this in mind. It's where we house a large variety of resources on various contemporary activities and subjects. Theres the weather, news, sports, internet links, genealogy resources, Maps Library, Tourist Center and the Family Center. The later three have their own sub-section with related web pages.

Visit Humor Hall.

Our latest offering is the "Humor Hall" which has just been added to Family Center. It contains a number of internet feeds from websites featuring cartoons. We spent a lot of time finding them and checking the quality of their offerings. We avoided sites that we were able to determine include material unacceptable for family viewings. We hope we were successful in our choices, but if not, we will remove whatever that are not. There are many good amatuer cartoonist online and we've added links to few of them.

Click on the "Visit Humor Hall" image to view our new page and have a laff or two.

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