November 2003 - Edition No. 11

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Featured History

Industrial Works

This month we are featuring the history of Industrial Works which was established in 1873 and closed operations in 1883 as the Industrial Brownhoist Division of American Direct Hoist Corporation of Minneapolis, MN. During most of its 100 year span it specialized in building locomotive cranes for which it became well known worldwide. Known simply as IB, its were cranes among those used to build the Panama Canal. At its peak several thousand worked in IB's large yard along the Saginaw River at the foot of Columbus Avenue. Many of their large and towering manufacturing buildings still stand like giant markers as memorials to those this once might industry and those who produced some of the worlds best and mightest cranes of their time.

Graphic: Some of the cranes made by IB are superimposed over a 1918 Saginaw River map which is available in the Maps Library. The image to the upper left is a a wrecked locomotive being raised by an IB crane. At the top center is a view inside one of the large manufacturing buildings. To the upper right is a large gear used by these cranes. And, the bottom right is a view a locomotive crane.
- History of Industrial Works

Bay-Journal Commentary

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

November 1 - Some Tweaking

We continue to work on the layout of this page to hopefully make it more enjoyable for you to browse and read. At the end of last month we add the "auto scroller" which is on the right side of the page. Hover you mouse over the arrows and they'll automatically scoll the page. Click the and it'll take you to the top of the page. At the top of the page is a "Page Menu" to quickly advance to any of the sections of this page. All of these features have not been added previous issues in the achives. We may do that when things slow down.

November 1 - We Went Over Budget.

We were off line for part of day last week. What happened is the we went over our allowed bandwidth of 3 giga-bites (GB) allowed by our website host provider. We didn't realize it until we went online to and got the notice of what happened instead of our welcoming page. It was a complete shock as it was the first time it happened since we went online in April 2002. We quickly paid for some extra bandwidth and the site went live again. We ended up consuming over 4.7 GB of bandwidth last month which is 50% higher than any previous month.

Our traffic has been increasing along with the size of our website and the two use more bandwidth as they grow. We are a graphic intensive site which demands higher bandwidth. Each time a viewer looks a picture they will consume bandwidth equal to the size of the picture file. Pictures can run anywhere from 10 kilo-bites to 100 kilo-bites depending on their size. When viewers are looking at pictorials the bandwidth will be considerably high by several magnitudes than when they are looking at a page with only a few graphics on it. But, all of this is good because it means we are growing in size and popularity. We simply need to increase our allotment to assure we don't experience anymore blackouts.

November 2 - Affordable Healthcare: Going, Going, Gone?

Recently, I received an email a disturbing email from a friend, which he sent to numerous others as well, about a proposal being considered by Congress to add a 20% co-payment on "lab tests" to Medicare recipients. Itís a subject that our representatives have been kicking around for some time to contain the rising cost of Medicare. In other words, they are shifting more financial burden on those that program was designed to help... senior citizens. I use the word "shifting" because that is what it is, a shift from general tax revenues. But it is not a tax reduction for those who pay taxes! If you are a senior citizen dependent on Medicare, it is a sour pill to to swallow. You've paid taxes and saved for these golden years only to face unpredictable expenses associated with rising health care costs.

Senior citizens are not alone, everyone is affected by a decade long escalation of health care costs. And, we are not any closer to a solution today than we were ten years ago. The approach to date has been to shift the cost burden. Workers who once enjoyed health insurance at no apparent cost to them having an increasing awareness of the problem. Each year they are faced with having to pay a greater portion of this benefit or choose a plan option that is less costly. Unless the these costs are controlled, young workers will out of health insurance and take the benefit as income. As these numbers growth they will only expedite higher insurance premiums as fewer numbers support the total cost of health care.

This is a scary thought! Unabated, health care will consume an increasing portion of our overall economy as it touches everyone and most everything. As fewer can avail themselves of health care, there will be less demand placed on the health system. That will result in even higher prices and lost jobs within the health industry. But, citizens will still have to pay for this higher health service even though they will not be able to use it. It'll come from your tax dollars to assure health care for government workers -- in particular, the military.

What is driving health care costs to rise so rapidly? One study that I read said the primary cause was you and I, we're using the system too much, thereby driving prices up? I have trouble understanding this rational, typically higher demand means lower costs. The typical exceptions being in products that are scarce or lack competitive market conditions such as a monopoly. And, isn't it better to see the doctor early and prevent a problem before it becomes an expensive treatment? I tend to believe the problem is more related to how health care is financed. Our private health care service is an insurance based system. As such you can opt in or opt out. As more opt out, the base supporting the health care cost decreases. A decreasing revenue source and uncontrolled cost burdens means higher prices. This can not go on endlessly because sooner or later the system as it exists now will go bankrupt!

What's the answer? Using my rational expressed above, it means we have to grow the user base so that revenues are maximized to stabilize prices. I can think no way that our private health system is capable of doing this as long as a user can opt out of the system. People with low incomes can not participate in supporting the base because they simply do not the money to do so. Young people even they can afford it tend to see it as a need they have in the distant future... why pay for it now! The only way I can think of to overcome the problem of choice is a "universal health care system" where general tax revenues carry health care costs. To do so, we need to move our thinking of health care as "citizenship right" as opposed to being a benefit option.

The major arguments that have made against universal health care are:

    We have the "best" health care system in the world. We are the leader in advancing breakthroughs in healthcare science and knowledge because of our "free market" health care industry.

    Universal health care service is inferior in application. Patients have long waits and they lack access to the latest medical technology. The priority of universal health care systems is based on cost effective care and not the best care.

This may be true! However, I have yet to learn what other option we have. It certainly is not to do nothing as we await the demised of the best health care in the world. The idea of letting individual create tax free health care accounts is not a solution -- its only another means of shifting money and it is still optional. It does nothing to control health care costs! Putting a ceiling on liability awards will help, but not stem the upward cost spiral. I'm left with only one solution, universal health care that "assures" health care access to everyone at the lowest possible cost. The "best" health care in the world has little value if you can not afford to use it.

What's most important is that each of us deal with this issue NOW! Sooner or later, it will affect each us on its own terms and timing. Become informed as best as you can, then act on your knowledge to let your representatives, employers, organizations and friends know your opinion. To help you get started, I list some internet resources below that will help get you started. You'll find plenty more doing a search of your own:

  • Effects of Health Care Costs Calculator (interesting)
  • Health-Care Costs Climbing (January 2003)
  • A study that blames us for rising health care cost because we're using it too much? (I don't agree, but put it here to be fair.)
  • 20% Co-pay Proposed for Medicare
  • Study: Overhead pads health care costs (August 2003)
  • Soaring health care Costs at Defense portend future crisis.(September 2003)

    18 November - Change In Plans For Floating Museum

    The Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum Committee that has been working over the last few years to acquire funds to bring the Charles E. Adams ship to Bay City has opted for a different ship, the USS Editon, which is available at a lower cost and already in good condition. Unfornately, neither was built by Defoe Shipbuilding that launched many of these type ships into the Saginaw River. This is a significant difference of the historical value from the the presidential yacht that was built here and represents a real piece of the communities history as oppose to one that is similar in construction but built elsewhere. I rather these well intended groups merge their efforts to get the presidential yacht here and continue to work together to find another vessel built locally to join it.

  • Featured Websites

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

    Bay Metropolitan Transit Authority: []

    One might think that in the age of two car families that the public bus system would not be that well used. The figure say other wise though, the Bay Metro system total annual ridership runs about 650,000 annually travelling 1.4 million miles and over 80,000 hours of operation. That's significant and points to this service being well used by many who have a need for transporation.

    The Bay Metro website does a nice job of providing information if you have a need for their service. You find a rate schedule, a map showing their routes and schedules.

    Aerospace America, Inc.: []

    Their name might lead one believe they produce primarily aerospace products. What they do make is air filtration systems, portalable air scrubbers, walter filtration units, infra-red floor tile machines and tree stands. The latter being tree stands used by hunters and not the ones we typical associate with Christmas trees. A common thread in their products are lightweight high strengh aircraft aluminum. Aerospace America is located at 900 Harry Truman Parkway at the turn where it connects with Wilder Road.

    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 (newspapers) or (articles).)

    November 1 - Focus of New History Group is Partridge

    Gen. Benjamin F. Partridge

    A newly formed groups of local history buffs recently held their first meeting and the subject of their discussion was Brigadeer General Benjamin Partridge. I have had a special fondness for Gen. Partridge ever since I stumbled on his article about the history of this community, it was written in 1880 and is used verbatum covering Bay County's early pioneer history which may be seen at {History/Pioneer History}.

    Jerry Pergande is credited as being the source of some new details regarding Gen. Partidge's participation in the Civil War. I wont' make mention of them here other than to say they are worthy of public notice. It's a shame that such information isn't being taught in our local schools. Part of a youngster's growth should include knowledge that instills pride in their community and the history of this area is something anyone can look to with great satisfaction.

  • [7th Michigan Cavalry Civil War Round Table Charges into Pages of History] by Dave Rogers of
  • {Heritage/People/Biography of Gen. Benjamin Partridge}

    November 3 - Presidential Yacht May Come Home! (Bay City)

    Lenore yacht.

    Some more exciting news has been announched that a piece of this community's history may be returning home. A group of community leaders are looking at the feasbility of acquiring a yacht built by the Defoe Shipbuilding Company in 1931. What makes it so special is that it served as a presidential yacht used by Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon during their presidencies.

    The local group envisions the yacht as a center piece of attraction for a new marine museum that could be included in the Uptown At River's Edge project. It is this type of visionary thinking that could lead to Bay City one day becoming the heritage cultural center of Michigan. That may be hard to fathom in the face of existing major attractions like Mackinaw Island and Dearborn's Greenfield Village. What makes Bay City unique from other places is being a harbon community in the center of Michigan with a rich heritage present in its historical structures.

    Bay City's very existence and natural growth were driven by its location and natural assets. An abundance of natural white pine forests and available sea transportion to ports around the world is what kindled its growth beginning in the 1840s. Sawmills rapidly cropped up along the Saginaw River and along with them came shipbuilders. The two major yards back then were those of James Davidson and Frank W. Wheeler during the late 1800s. Both located in what was West Bay City. A young Harry J. Defoe spent many hours during his youthful days watching ships being built in these yards and shape his dream of becoming a shipbuilder himself.

    You can learn more about these subjects at the following locations:

  • Presidential yacht history/photos: [Lenore - 8th Presidential Yacht]
  • Defoe history: {Defoe Shipbuilding Co.}
  • Davidson history: {Davidson Shipbuilding Co.}

    November 4 - New Mayor in Bay City

    Robert J. Katt was elected mayor of Bay City and will be taking over the seat held by Mayor Kathleen Newsham. Katt served as president of the City Commission, and as the 6th Ward Commissioner for which he had reached the maximum allow terms. Newsham was precluded from running for mayor as she had reached her maximum allowed terms as well. She ran for and was elected to the 8th Ward Commissioner seat held by Michael Buda, another long-time participant in city affairs.

    November 9 - New Road Signs for Bangor

    Soon new and larger green road signs will be installed by the County Road Commission replacing the old black and white signs. The signs are designed to conform with standards of a new federal law that is pending. Those installed in Bangor Township will include a new logo of a sailboat. An example of the signs may be seen State Park Driver and Wheeler Road.

    November 9 - Jennison Boathouse To Become Condos

    The pioneering group that turned the Jennison Hardward building into upscale condos is planning to do the same the the old Jennison Boathouse building which is located further north on Water street. The building offers 42,800 square feet and was built in 1921. It has been used mainly for boat storage and general warehousing since.

    The building is owned by Martin R. Genei who plans to sell it to the group of developers which is headed by himself, Paul A. Rowley and William D. Gregory. The project may yield 23 new condos running in size from 1700 to 3000 square feet and expected to take two years to complete. Two new floors will be added up the current roof line as was the case in the work done at the completed Jennison Place, and the main level is expecting to be used as an enclosed parking area for residents. The project will do much to complete the revitalization of Water street which is anchor on the north end by complex of new buildings that includes the Federal Court building and regional FBI headquarters.

    As plans are underway for the Jennison Boathouse, at the south end of Water the new hotel/conference center with a parking ramp are well underway. Over on Adams and Center, John Reid is progressing with the renovation of the Shearer Building which will include upper level condos and while retaining the street level for merchant businesses. And, soon plans will be determined for the Up Town At River's Edge project that will see Water street alive with new activities all the way from Lafayette at the south end to Woodside on the north. In Bay City's beginning, Water street was the heart of the community and where most businesses located.

    November 13 - New Nature Park In The Making. (Frankenlust Township)

    Officials in Franklust approved the purchase of 23 acres located at Hotchkiss and Three Mile roads to be used as a nature park. The land s owned by Don Dodge who is agreeable to selling it to the township. A nature park in this area will is will be a welcome asset to the township residents and will make for a nice rest area for those who want to take a break from driving on I-75. It will be a welcome addition to the county's growing base of parks areas aim at preserving natural habit areas.

    November 18 - Columbus Green, New Park Dedication

    Bay City has a new mini-park that will dedicated this Friday. Located on the south east corner of Washington and Columbus, not only provides a nice green areas for vistors to take a break, it also dresses up the intersection considerably. The park is dedicated to the victims of September 11 and those who preserve freedom for one and all according to Mary Ann Boettger, chairwoman of the Columbus Avenue Citizens District Council. The park will be maintained by the Columbus Avenue Management Board.

  • Changes & Additions to Bay-Journal

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

    November 3 - News Channels (new)

    We've updated ourselves with some technology that has been around for a while. It's streaming RSS Channels, a technology that allows individuals to stream news onto their computer's desktop and websites to stream them into HTML pages. Its a technology that many websites now use to easily bring their viewers a variety of information that is automatically updated. For individuals willing to download one of the "free" RSS reader programs, it means they can now get information delivered on subjects of their chosing right to their computer without have visit a website or search it out on the internet. If you are a news-a-holic, then you will like this technology as it will keep up updated with news in real-time while your on your doing something else.

  • View article on RSS Feeds ["RSS For Non-Technie Librarians"].
  • View new RSS feeds added to Bay-Journal {INFORMATION/News Headlines].

    November 4 - Bay City Parks Pictorial (update)

    We've added the following parks to this pictorial: Carroll, Hewitt, Birney and Wenonah.

  • {Pictorials/Bay City Parks}

    November 4 - Biography: B.F. Partridge (update)

    The biography of this pioneer has updated to include additional information regarding his time of service during the Civil War. Please help us if you are aware of his genealogy or any other material that will give a more complete history of him and his life.

  • {Heritage/People/Benjamin Partridge}

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