July 2004 - Edition No. 19

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Featured History -- Menu | History | Featured Websites | News | Bay-Journal Updates |

John Gibson Clarkson (1861-1909)
Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher

It seems like a fitting time to feature the history of John G. Clarkson considering the leaders of Bay City are evaluating the possibilities of bring professional minor league baseball here. Our local community has enjoyed playing and watching local ball games almost as long as the game has been around. Today, softball leagues dominate the scene, but the future may return us to the past when baseball thrilled local audiences that competed with clubs from other cities in Michigan.

John Clarkson wasn't born here, however Bay City was his adopted home. Before he went onto fame in baseball's National League in 1882, he had made his mark playing local baseball which brought him to the attention of the major league. He first played with a team in Saginaw that was later moved to Bay City.

His achievements as a pitcher in the National League were monumental during his hey-day. He twice won over 70 games! He retired as the winningest ever. However, it wasn't until 1963 that was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. Even today, his record ranks him among the all time greatest pitchers to have ever played baseball. It's ironic, that as of this writing, he hasn't been inducted into Bay County's Sports Hall of Fame. It might be because he wasn't born here, however, it was his home of choice and that along with his his recognition by professional baseball should be good enough.

Back on July 21, 2002, Tim Younkman wrote an article in the Bay City Times about John Clarkson recalling his history with this community. He pointed out that back in 1909 the city honored him by naming a new ballpark, Clarkson Park on Livingston off Center avenue, after him, that if the city should ever build a another baseball park, it should also bear his name. I am in total agreement with Mr. Younkeman's sentiments. It certainly is in keeping with our long heritage associated with sports, and of acknowledging those who have excelled in athletics.

  • {Biography of John G. Clarkson}
  • Featured Local & Regional Websites -- Menu | History | Websites | News | Bay-Journal Updates |

    Essexville City Government [Website]

    Ransom Essex would be pleased with the city that evolved since he founded the village of Essex in 1883. He may not be surprised with the industry lining the shores of the Saginaw River of the city as the river banks were a favorite companies even before he plotted his village. However, he would be amazed at how much his village has grown to become one Bay County's finest residential communities.

  • See Communties/ Hampton - Essexville for city's history.

    The city of Essexville website provides an nice clean look with an easy to follow menu to information pertinent to the community's operations. You'll find items such as city staff, departments, boards, policies and issues of their Quarterly City Newsletter going back to 2001.

    Bay City Country Club [Website]

    The Bay City Country Club was founded in 1898. Before it's present location on 3 Mile Road in Frankenlust Township, it was located on the east side of Euclid avenue in Bay City.

    Their website features the club's fine golf course, in fact, you can take a tour of the course online. Each hole includes a photo along with a graphic showing it's lay out and play statistics. In addition they provide information for those who may be interested in becoming a member of the club.

  • News & Commentary -- Menu | History | Featured Websites | News | Bay-Journal Updates |

    Index Menu to Articles:
    Jul 1 - Introduction.
    Jul 1 - Open Meeting On Minor League Baseball.
    Jul 1 - September 30 Targeted for Sale of Monitor Sugar Co.
    Jul 2 - Meetings On Bay County Economy A Downer.
    Jul 4 - July 4th Fireworks Spectacular.
    Jul 6 - Serious Fireworks Injury in Bangor Township.
    Jul 8 - High Speed Car Accident Fatal & Destructive.
    Jul 8 - Illova Sugar Ltd Wants A Sweeter Offer.
    Jul 8 - Mayor Rejects Idea of Tax Funds for Ballpark.
    Jul 13 - New Businesses in Monitor.
    Jul 15 - Portsmouth Farmers Not Ready for Urbanization.
    Jul 15 - Pinconning Receives $300,000 Block Grant.
    Jul 16 - Forum Topics: Martha Stewart, Politics, Baseball.
    Jul 22 - Hot Weather This Week A Bummer!
    Jul 23 - AirFest 2004 Show Opens at James Clements Airport.
    Jul 25 - AirFest 2004 Final Day.
    Jul 30 - Sugar Beet Growers Stike Sweet Deal.

    Highlighted topics in the news and editorial comments by Bay-Journal.

    Want more local news?
    We recommend:
  • [ MLive.com ] - local & regional news.
  • [ MyBayCity.com ]. - feature articles.

    Want to comment on the news?
    Visit the boards!

    Around & about snapshots{ Around & About Pictorial }
    Recent community snap-shots.

  • ^ July 1 - Introduction

  • Bay-Journal Commentary by Marvin Kusmierz

    Work continues on updating the webpages with our new look and about two-thirds of the over 700 pages have been completed. Things have slowed down some in updating the Heritage section as we are adding a new reference column that will contain a listing of "People Referenced" and "Subjects Referenced" on each of these pages. This should make it easy for viewers to quickly determine what's included in the contents of each page.

    Because of the updating, we haven't been adding any new webpages. There a few exceptions, such as this month's featured history on John Clarkson where we added two Bay City Tribune newpaper articles about him from 1909. Hopefully by the end of this month, we will be able to return to adding new history content.

    We'd like to call to your attention the Pictorial feature, "Around & About", that was added to the website back in May. It's purpose is to show current photos taken around our community. We're hoping that some of you may have a recent snap-shot that would be of interest to include in this feature. The idea is have a variety of different images from our area. Recently, I added some pictures taken in the bell tower at City Hall in Bay City. I know many people have never seen the inside of it or the view of the city that is possible from it's elevation.

  • { Around & About Pictorial }

    ^ Jul 1 - Open Meeting On Minor League Baseball. (Bay City)

    Last month, the CHAMPS committee formed under the guidance of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce released an initial study which supports pursuing the subject further. The up coming open meeting represents a major turning point that will do much to move this proposition forward. Once the owner and the team involved are known, it is expected to have a negative financial impact from the community where the team is currently located which will place emphasis on the team relocating as soon as practical.

    Bay City has a strong historical relationship to baseball dating back to 1880s when it fielded a team that played against other communities in Michigan. The city also had a ballpark located on Livingston street near Center avenue which was call Clarkson Park, named after Hall of Fame pitcher John Clarkson who was a resident of this city. (See this month’s feature history above.)

    It is probably a given that most people in this area would love to have a local profession team to follow and root for against other communities. Minor league baseball parks are like a happening where fans regularly meet several times a week for an enjoyable time while while watching young professional ballplayers hone their skills and hope to make it in the majors one day. Those that do become immediate favorites of local sports enthusiasts no matter what team they end up playing for. We certainly hope that further investigation will reveal the financial means exist to support our desire.

    ^ Jul 1 - September 30 Targeted for Sale of Monitor Sugar Co. (Bay City)

    Illovo Sugar Ltd. Of Durban, South Africa has targeted September 30th for the sale of Monitor Sugar Company located on Euclid Avenue in Bay City. Monitor Sugar Beet Growers, Incorporated has prospered an offer to buy the company. Their offering is believed to be below the current asking price for Monitor Sugar Company. Further negotiations to obtain an agreeable price is expected to transpire.

  • [Monitor Sugar Company] (includes page on Monitor Sugar Beet Growers, Inc.)

    ^ Jul 2 - Meetings On Bay County Economy A Downer.

    This past Tuesday and Wednesday public meetings were held at the new Double Tree Hotel in Bay City for citizens of Bay County to offer ideas for a plan aimed at improving the economy of Bay County. Around 100 people attended the two meetings.

    Jay Garner, CEO of Competitive Strategies Group out of Atlanta, GA was there to provide information developed from a recently completed study which confirmed that the local economy has been on a consistent downward path for decades. According to the study, the average wage in Bay County is $31,000 per year which is 21% lower than the average in Michigan and 16% lower than the national average. The loss of local manufacturing jobs in the country from 2000 to 2002 was an alarming 16%. Mr. Garner cautioned that the findings of this study represents a huge wake up call to action - that it can't be business as usual - dramatic changes are needed!

    The findings of this study confirms what has been generally known, that the loss of local well paying jobs in manufacturing have been declining for many years. The study is bound to push some of the unemployed into up root themselves and family for a place where opportunities of employment are better.

    However, the study was important to put what we felt in black and white. We have many positive qualities that are most evidenced in the renaissance of downtown Bay City and we have the precious assets of the Saginaw Bay and it tributaries that makes for ideal living conditions. And, we still have a base of manufacturing companies involved in a wide variety of industries. Our diversity is a plus, but that alone will not draw other manufacturing businesses here unless we promote what we are to them and can provide competitive taxes, property, transporation and other incentives to get their attention. Not all is gloom and doom. We just need to market ourselves smarter by directly targeting companies with a good incentive package.

    However, most urgent is stopping the erosion of jobs from our existing manufacturing employers. This is too important to wait for a final comprehensive plan to be completed. Our best opportunity for new manufacturing jobs is through these companies that already have an investment in our community. What we do to help them grow will also help us attract "new" manufacturing companies to our area.

  • For a related article on this subject see { Semiconductors and Saginaw Valley }

    ^ Jul 4 - July 4th Fireworks Spectacular. (Bay City)

    It was a glorious weekend for the July 4th Fireworks Festival in Bay City. Great weather, great activities and great fireworks in celebration of our nation's birthday. This years fireworks display also honored our soldiers and the military parcipated in the local celebration with a flyover of two F-18 jets at the beginning of last night's fireworks. All and all, a glorious spectacular display with patriotic background music to the pleasure of a packed audience of all ages. A great job done by hundreds of volunteers for whom we give thanks for a job well done.

    ^ Jul 6 - Serious Fireworks Injury in Bangor Township.

    A 51 year old man is at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor due to a serious accident that occured while he was setting off firworks near his residence in Bangor Township. A neighbor who witness the accident says the man was it was setting off mortor shell type fireworks from the street in front of his residence when suddenly he was struck in the face below the left eye. He was rushed to Saint Mary's Hospital in Saginaw and from there was sent to the University of Michigan hospital where he remains in serious condition. Let's hope and pray for his speedy recovery.

    Mortor shell fireworks are illegal in Michigan. A word of caution. All fireworks are dangerous and should be left to professionals. If you must set off fireworks -- use great caution with your safety and others around you in mind.

  • [ Fireworks Safety ]

    ^ Jul 8 - High Speed Car Accident Fatal & Destructive. (Kawkawlin Township)

    A man died instantly after his speeding auto lost control when passing another vehicle. Traveling on M-13 at an estimated speed in excess of a 100 miles per hour the car went out of control and veered off the road hitting a parked auto for sale before ramming into the LInwood Tile Company building and catching on fire. The driver's body was burned beyond recognition and his identity is being researched. The Linwood Title Company building which caught on fire was severely damaged by the fire which destroyed all of the company's records.

    ^ Jul 8 - Illova Sugar Ltd Wants A Sweeter Offer. (Monitor Township)

    Illova Sugar Ltd, owners of Montior Sugar Company, have rejected the offer made by the Monitor Sugar Beet Growers, Inc. to purchase this business. An Illova manager indicated that they are still hopeful that a deal can be struck with the growers, however, they have discussed selling the business with other potential buyers.

    ^ Jul 8 - Mayor Rejects Idea of Tax Funds for Ballpark. (Bay City)

    Bay City mayor, Robert J. Katt, who spoke at the Wednesday meeting to introduce local leaders to the owner interested in bringing a minor league team to this city, rejected the idea of using tax revenue to fund a new baseball park. Admittedly, a supporter of the baseball project and an avid baseball fan, Mayor Katt says the city is in no position to invest tax funds at a time when it is facing pending budget deficits. Without Mayor Katt's support it will be more difficult to obtain financial support through the city's tax revenue base. The city commission has the final say, but a two-thirds majority would be required to over ride a veto by the mayor.

    Over 190 people attended the meeting held at the Double Tree Hotel to hear directly from David Heller the owner proposing to establish a minor league baseball team here. The general enthusiam for the proposition wasn't dimmed by the mayor's position. In fact, it is good that city leaders state their positions regarding potential financial support at this time when the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is studying the financial feasibility of bringing minor league baseball to this area. It is obviously desirable that private funding be able to justify the creation of a baseball team here based on favorable market conditions to turn a profit.

    The disadvantage of a ballpark solely owned by private fundings is that it will be the owner's choice as to whether they want to build a low cost ball park strictly for playing baseball or one that has multi-use year round. The city or county may still be able play a support role by providing the property and tax breaks for the ball park with an option that the property returns to city ownership if the ball park is abondonned one day.

    ^ Jul 13 - New Businesses in Monitor Township.

    Premier Manufacturing LLC:
    Marva J. Morris, owner, announced that the company has signed a five-year contract to lease the former United Technologies Automotive building at 5300 Mackinaw Road which will house a new bottle manufacturing plant. Initial business will be for making bottled water in partnership with Shay Water Co. of Saginaw who will purify and fill the bottles using Bay City municiple water. Based on earlier reports, the new plant may add over 100 new jobs to this area depending it's business success. An initial investment of $3 million will be made over the next three months to acquire equipment and get the business up and running by the end of this year.

    Kerkau Manufacturing, Inc. (Bangor Twsp.):
    Laura J. Baldauf, Operations Manager, announced the company will expand it's operations by adding a new facilities on 6.7 acres they've purchase in Monitor Township's Valley Technology Park. The company's business has out grown it's existing space at 910 N. Truman Parkway in Bangor Township. Sales, warehousing and shipping will move to new the new facilities in Monitor which will open up space for manufacturing at the Bangor location where they specialize machining metal products such as pipe flanges and other industrial items. The company currently work force ranges around 80 employees. The expansion will allow the company to pursue some new business lines that are expected to increase the size of their work force.

  • [ Kerkau Manufacturing, Inc. ]

    ^ Jul 15 - Portsmouth Farmers Not Ready for Urbanization.

    While many urban communities may welcome new businesses, farmers quite often see it as further erosion of the land that has been their life support since the pioneer days. A group of farmers calling themselves, "Friends of Portsmouth Township," have mobilized to oppose a request to rezone existing farmland along M-15 near Cass Avenue for commercial use. It has been previously reported that Walmart may be interested in building a store there. There are many business to the south by 22nd street and along Trumbell and rezoning the property most likely would expedite expansion of new businesses and residential communities between 22nd and Cass. Portsmouth's board of trustees will be meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the township hall located at 1711 W. Cass Avenue, and it is expected that the board will refer the matter to the township's zoning board for scheduling of public hearings.

    ^ Jul 15 - Pinconning Receives $300,000 Block Grant.

    The smile on the faces of the folks in the city of Pinconning are a little wider after being notified that they'll be receiving over $300,000 dollars from Michigan's Community Development Block Grant funds. The money will allow the completion of a three block area of Kaiser street that is a part of the city's redevelopment plan, and is where the new public is being completed. Also planned for this area is a new senior citizen housing project of 24 to 28 one-story dwellings.

    ^ Jul 16 - Forum Topics: Martha Stewart, Politics, Baseball.

    Martha Stewart: America's leading homemaker, who was found guilty of lying to government investigators, has been sentenced! Has justice been done?

  • Share your judgement on this subject at the { General Discussion Board ]

    Presidential Politics: The two major parties are saturating the news with political rhetoric to win over your important vote! Are you up to the challenge of learning the facts? Or, are you among those whose bias contributes to hiding it?

  • Cast your own opinion on this subject at { General Discussion Board ]

    Baseball in Bay City: A committee led by the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is studying the feasibility of bringing minor league baseball to this area. Is it a good idea or will it be a financial failure?

  • Take your turn at bat, go to the { Bay County Discussion Board }

    ^ Jul 22 - Hot Weather This Week A Bummer!

    The local news has been much to talk about this week, but mother nature is a another story. After an amazingly mild summer so far the temperature push up to the high 80s. Not being properly prepared for the dramatic shift because of the mild weather, it felt much hotter.

    The evenings were cool for the most part which I appreciate since I do need a full 7 or 8 sleeps to survice the hot days. I developed a ritual each day of shutting down all the windows the first thing in the morning, then after the sun went, opening them for the evening. It's getting kind of late in the season to spend the big money on central air conditioner. August is only a little over a week away. If I can make it through August, the thermometer should continue a downward spiral. At some point the furnace will kick on then I'll be complaining each month during the winter about my outrageous heat bill.

    Oh well, hopefully the news will pick up soon and get my mind off my personal woes.

    AirFest 2004 - P-51 Mustang
    Local pilot Pete Lehr.

    Fly overs by Air Force F-16 airplanes.

    ^ Jul 23 - AirFest 2004 Show Opens at James Clements Airport.

    I attended the pre-show this afternoon of the first annual Airfest show at James Clements Airport. Gates will open at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday to what will be an exciting experience for those attending.

    The activities began at 3:00 p.m., I was late getting there but that turned out to be an experience as well. An F-16 fighter plane was doing it's routine and had people in the southend of Bay City standing in their years, on the sidewalk or any spot where they could get a view of the roaring engines they heard above. The pilot would take a pass over James Clements air strip heading south then loop around again over the southend of town to make another. I dare say he had everone's attention including drivers on M-13 who had pulled their cars off to the side of the road to take in the excitement.

    I parked at the airport on a field south of the hangers (they also have one on the north side), however, I would recommend using the Bay Metro shuttle service near the airport that will be available tommorrow and Sunday. Leaving the airport parking area will be slow as the road to the parking areas is only wide enough for a single vehicle. Car leaving the lots will be backed up by the delay required to traffic on M-13 before leaving the airport facilities.

    The carnival rides are set up on the southend of the airport near the air strip and there are plenty of concession stands for eats and drinks. And, the historic James Clements airplane hanger is being used for live entertainment and shows. Be sure to bring your sun glasses because starring up at the sky for a long time can be a little hard on eyes on a sunny day.

    The event is being put on by Doreable Entertainment, Inc. in cooperation with the Bay City Valley Aero Club. Many sponsors have stepped forward to help get the show off the ground. Proceeds from the show will benefit the local Girls Club and Boys Club. Hopefully the show will be a great financial success and maybe in subsequent years some of the revenue could go towards helping to restore James Clements Airport. It would be nice to see this historical beauty looking it's finiest with an elevated public viewing area furnished with memorabilia of the airports unique aviation history.

    James Clements Airport was built less than two-decades after the Wright brothers demonstrated in 1903 that controlled flight by was possible. The present hanger was built in 1928 in time for the first airmail service service to this part of Michigan that year. The airport was named after local flyer who died during WWI. The first airport manager was Henry Dora who was among the first pilots in the valley and often landed on this field when it was open farmland.

    The AirFest is a winner in my book. One thing for sure, it's very different from any of the other festivals we are use to attending in our area. Kids and adults will be thrilled by pilots who simply love what they are doing and are delighted whenever they have a chance to share it with others.

  • AirFestOnline.com - get details on activities, schedule, etc.
  • Around & About Pictorial - a few snap shots from Friday's show.

    ^ Jul 25 - AirFest 2004 Final Day.

    I had to return for the final even though I knew the crowd would be substantially larger than Friday. I was amazed that I had no problem parking. Gates were opened at at the field parking north and south of the airport making it easy to get off and on to M-13, which itself was line with parked car on both side of highway.

    In spite of the huge crowd there was plenty of space for wondering around on the spacious property of the James Clements Airport. The great weather, great entertainment, and a great location made the AirFest one of the best festivals that I have ever attended. There is little doubt in my mind that this will become a major Michigan attraction and will do much for local tourism.

    About the only note of concern was the lack of security at the airport in the face of 9/11. While the activities area of the airport were fenced there was no evidence of security personnel at the entry gates which were staffed with volunteers checking and selling tickets. I noticed at one gate people walking through with pop-up chairs inside canvas bags that were not checked. The odds of terrorists striking here may very small, but the possibility still exists.

    I spoke to one of the volunteer gate keepers and was pleased to learn that a portion of the proceeds from the show would be returned to help improve the airport facitilies which is in need of up dating. The historic hanger is long over due for restoration. It might be an ideal home for an airport museum someday. The area between it and the adminstration building could be turned into a natural public park area that would enhance the value to James Clement Airport to the general public.

    ^ Jul 30 - Sugar Beet Growers Strike Sweet Deal. (Monitor Township)

    It was reported in today's Bay City Times newspaper that the Monitor Sugar Beet GRowers, Inc. has reached a deal with the Illovo to purchase the Monitor Sugar Company. Details regarding the agreement have not been released yet, nor has there been a press release posted on their website about the subject as of this date.

  • [Monitor Sugar Co.]
  • Bay-Journal Website Updates -- Menu | History | Websites | News | Bay-Journal Updates |

    Jul 1 - Bay City Tribune 1909 Articles About John Clarkson.
    Both of these newspaper articles were written within days after John Clarkson died in 1909. One of the articles is a reprint of an article published by the Detroit Free Press. Both articles recall Clarkson's outstanding baseball career.

  • { Death of John Clarkson }

    Jul 3- Bay City Tribune 1909 Articles on Bay City Cardinals Baseball Team.
    The Bay City Cardinals were a minor league professional team and were the first to play ball at the new Clarkson park in 1909. These articles describe the team's activity as they prepare for league play.

  • { Bay City Cardinal Baseball Team }

    Jul 16 - Focus Forum: Want Ads Board

    We've opened up this a new board for sellers and buyers interested in promoting, selling or buying items, and best of all it's free! To maintain a limited control we have restricted this to "members only" which is also free. We do ask that you do not abuse by flooding the board with messages on the same topic. As a member you are able to manage your posting by modifying it or deleting it when out dated. We will periodically review the board and delete messages that we consider out dated or in appropriate.

  • Visit the new [ Focus Forum: Want Ads Board ]

    Jul 26 - James Clements Airport Map

    Basic overhead map of airport's layout. Includes brief notes on airport's history.

  • Map of James Clements Airport
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