December 2003 - Edition No. 12

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Featured History

Christmas Remembered!

December is our holiday edition of Bay-Journal Monthly. Instead of featuring a specific history, our focus turns to the spirit of this special holiday season.

December's Graphic
Our graphic this month is a Christmas bulb with a old fashion scene of a family being pulled on sleigh through the neighborhood by a team of horses.

An Old Fashion Holiday:
The Christmas holiday long ago was truly a family affair, not just in presence, but in preparation for the Christmas day celebration. Back then there they didn't have conveniences that we take for granted today. There was no water/sewage plant and water had to be halled from the nearest well. Without electricity, candles lit the night, and fire places fueled by wood provided the only source of warmth. Stores in those days had only a limited number of finished goods, they mainly stocked basic materials which people used to make many of the necessities of life. Christmas gifts were mainly handcrafted at home throughout most of the year. (Visit our special Christmas Remember section for more.

Bay-Journal Commentary

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

Merry Christmas and a Joyous Holiday to all!

The elfs at Bay-Journal have been very busy in getting our website in the holiday mood. They've repainted much of the webpages to green, red and gold, and added some seasonal images. The holidays would not be the same without the "sounds" of Christmas, so they also changed the background music to all of the main pages.

The elfs kind of wanted their own page... so, they created a special section they call "Christmas Remembered!" They hope to establish a Bay-Journal tradition with more items added each new holiday season.

Note: If you are still seeing a "blue" background color instead of our Christmas "green" color it is most likely due to the page being stored in your browser's cache. You'll need to force your browser to "reload" the new settings by holding down the "shift" or "control" key while clicking "reload."

Post/View comments by your fellow viewers. P.S. - "Join in the holiday mood -- consider using the "Public Log Book" or our "new Forum" to post a Christmas wish of good will to your hometown community!"

December 12 - A Century of Flight

On December 17th, aviation history will be 100 years old. In 1903, the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, become the first humans to fly. It was a cold morning that day as they readied their primitive machine at Kill Devil Hill near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. With Wilbur at the control he flew self-constructed craft about 120 feet lasting a total of 12 seconds making history as the first to fly. Itís a well documented story written in the journals they kept and the many photos they took during their journey into flying. In a span of 100 years, aviation has advanced tremendously and has taken man to the moon and back.

Historical accounts credit Lionel H. DeRemer as the first aviator in Bay County. He began flying in 1912 after attending a flying course at the Wright Brothers' School. That year, his friend, Henry Dora became the second to do so. DeRemerís interest in flight was peaked three years early watching workers of the Brooks Aeroplane Co. test newly built air craft. An activity that drew large crowds to see these new flying machines. An experience equivalent in excite to the moon mission that followed nearly 60 years later. In the early years of aviation, pilots were in a sense, all test pilots, they were learning and righting the rules as they went along. There were no airports, any open field served as a landing strip. And, they were members of a unique group that drew attention where ever they flew. Fellow flyers shared a close relationship of an experience unique to them alone. The first air strip for planes in Bay County was established by DeRemer on property of the North American Chemical Company. This strip became the Clements Airport in 1928. During these early years, DeRemer opened one of Michigan's earliest flying school in Bay City. He jumped at any opportunity to show off his flying skills, including being a featured attraction at the local fair demonstrating take offs and landings.

It boggles the mind how far aviation has advanced in such a short period of time. If the next 100 years proceed at the same pace, family planes may be as common as the automobile is today. Imagine an aviation highway similar to I-75 from Bay City to Detroit. Private planes would travel this route with the option to stop at one of a hundred or more small airports each with numerous mini-airstrips to accommodate landings. Such a plane would serve not only for air transport but as a ground vehicle as well.

The following are some interesting websites about aviation that you may enjoy:

Featured Websites

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

Williams Township {Visit Website}

When Bay County was organized in 1857, it had only two large townships -- Williams and Hampton. Until then Williams had been a part of Midland County. For most of its history, it has been a farming community. Today Williams is a blend of farming and businesses with the city of Auburn being the largest population center.

The Williams Township website provides an abundance of information related to township services, including maps (street, sewer, water, zoning & parks), property data, voter information, newsletter, ordinances and calendar of events. They all post the Meeting Minutes of the Board of Trustees which can be read online dating back to January, 2000.

Duncan's Outdoors Shop, Inc. {Visit Website}

Duncan's Outdoors Shop, Inc. has been a local business since the 1950s when it was founded by Charles and Patricia Duncan. It operated in Saginaw until 1993 when it was moved to Bay City. Their operation today offers a wide range of products and services for gun owners or those wishing to purchase one. This includes accessories such as, glasses, knives, gun safety locks and more. A nice feature of their operation is the pistol and rifle shooting ranges. Their website offers good detail on all of their products and includes a calendar of events page.

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).)

December 12 - Bomb Scare at Handy and Central Schools

Yesterday, the Handy school building was cleared of students and staff as police scanned the facilities with a trained dog in search of a bomb. Fortunately, the caller that is accused of having caused this scary event was caught quickly and the school was reopened for use. The same was not true at Central High School were a second bomb scare was received today. The students were sent home after a delay as it became clear that inspection of the school would take most the day to complete. The accused perpetrator of the Handy school incident is 13 years old and faces a maximum potentential sentence of of four years in custody if found guilty.

December 12 - $7.6 Million State Grant Coming

In spite of current budget pressures, the State of Michigan will grant $7.6 million to the Saginaw Basin Land Converancy located in Monitor Township. The grant is to support continued improvement of the Saginaw Bay watershed and will allow the purchase of about 4,000 acres in counties encircling the Saginaw Bay. These land acquisitions will allow retoration of the water system to improve by inducing nature to provide natural vegetation such as native grasses, wild flowers, shrubs and trees to prevent contaminants from entering the main water ways.

December 13 - Toys for Tots!

The folks at "Maier & Associates Financial Group, Inc." are in the Christmas spirit and are doing their part to make sure kids don't go without a toy this Christmas. The company has been an active supporter of the "Toys for Tots" program for many years, not only in giving to this needy cause but helping to the collection of toys. Picture here is their special "Toys for Tots" trailer sitting outside of the Target Store at the Bay City Mall today with employee Marcie Noonan and owner, Wayne Maier manning the collection station. And, for each toy donated the company will match it with another toy for the kids. Donations are being collected until December 21 and may be dropped off at the Maiers and Associates office building located on West Side Saginaw Road.

- [Toys for Tots Foundation] - [Maier & Associates Financial Group, Inc.]

December 16: Sober Report On Uptown At River's Edge (UARE) (Bay City)

After a two-day study, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Washington, D.C., reported on their findings at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday night. Their suggestion is to move slowly and make sure the main attraction of the project will draw people to it! ULI is concerned about the local job situation and are recommending that the project be delayed until the economy is better, and for the present, focus on cleaning up the land in preparation for its ultimate use.

Representatives from the Weitzman Group of New York that is the coordinating consultant firm were also at the meeting. They pointed out that the ULI findings were based on tourism being the primary focus of the project which is not the case. No final plan has been submitted, they are still evaluating the feasibility what is possible. One idea being considered is a focus on family oriented activities that might include an educational aspect and cultural related items like a museum.

We like the idea mentioned by Weitzman. We believe the primary focus of a plan should be aim at improving the quality of life. Doing so will assure its success for generations to come. Commerical enterprises come and ago, leaving behind empty buildings. Whatever goes into the UARE project needs to endure and become a permanent fixture of this community. We embrace a cultural theme for the project that will enhance the desire of people and businesses to be a part of this this community. We've expressed some of our ideas in an article, "Possibilities of Uptown At Rivers Edges."

The possibilities are endless, and over time new ones may arise. Therefore, we believe the master plan for the project should be broad and flexible, implementing the most basic concepts that can be shaped and developed when the timing is appropriate. The obvious for phase one is to clear the land and prepare it for use and this should be done as quickly as possible. Some thoughts on what might be done are:

    Clean up and landscape the land adding access to it with walkways. Large portions could be it could become wilderness park areas with trails until developed later on. Include garden areas with seating.

    Create a tentative plan for a channel with a docking areas that can be implemented in phases. Initially an inlet off the river with a dock, later it can be extended to flow through the property to another docking area near a residential community which also connects to the river.

    Plan for a trolley car system that would provide a transporation loop through the eastside over the Liberty Bridge to the westside and returns over the Lafayette Bridge. The present historical Traction and Electric building could serve as its station.

    Retain one or more of the Industrial Brownhoist buildings. One could be used for semi-enclosed public activity center housing the farmer's market and the present one could be converted into a covered parking lot. Other uses of this building would be concerts, special events, etc., and more than one could be taking place at the same time. The building would include public accommodations like restrooms and seating area. Another building might be utilized as a multi-purpose home for a museum. Half of the structure could be enclosed for housing smaller exhibits and the open half for large exhibits such as the presidential yacht, fire trucks, etc.

The above could be phase one of the project and completed in a relatively short time with funds already available. Additional phases could then be added to the master plan as conditions warrant doing so. In the meantime, the land has been returned to use and stands ready for further development.

Related referenced:
- Bay City Traction and Electric Building
- Industrial Brownhoist

Changes & Additions to Bay-Journal

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

December 1: Christmas Remembered (new section)

We added special Christmas section up. It'll be a permanent part of the Bay-Journal website and we'll add to it as we find something new or interesting. Currently there are about a half-dozen pages that include some useful information about Christmas and others that are just fun to enjoy looking at. We'd like to ad some local touches about Christmas in Bay County or surrounding areas. Christmas is a good time to "share", so if you have something in this regard that might fit our need -- we'd like to hear from you.
Holidays/Christmas Remembered


We've started a new forum message board with a new host that we believe is much better than the one we were using. But, we won't know until we hear from you whether or not it'll be more user friendly. So, help us by giving it try. Post a message letting us know what you think?
- Information/Forum Board

December 14: Nate and Mary Ida Doan Santa House (new)

Lights decorate the entrance of Santa's house.

If you haven't been there, I highly recommend doing so. I stopped there in search of some local pictures depicting Christmas, and I'll tell you -- this retiree quickly returned to his childhood feelings at first sight of all the Christmas displays inside. Needless to say, I used up all of my available storage space on my digital camera while I was there. I've took some choice images and created a new webpage for them in the Christmas section.

If you want the same experience that I had, you'll have to visit Santa House in person. It's a trip well worth taking... but hurry, Christmas is not far away.
- Holidays/Christmas

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