This Week in Leelanau: March 11, 2011

News, weather, photos & links from this week in Leelanau County and a little from elsewhere in Michigan! To subscribe, just add your email where it says “Sign up for our Email Newsletter” at the top right!

This Week in Leelanau

Northern Lights: Past, Present & Future

KAScott_1991_ab4_abLast weekend on Michigan in Pictures we featured an article by Suttons Bay writer Kim Schneider about the Northern Lights. As a side note, it ended up being our most popular post ever when it was featured on the Pure Michigan Facebook. Kim’s feature Best northern lights viewing in Michigan says:

The Aurora Borealis is entering a new cycle of higher activity, offering the best viewing in 10 years in Michigan, said astronomer Dick Cookman, a retired professor of astronomy, geology and environmental science at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Cookman posts monthly night sky updates at, the website of his Suttons Bay science and nature store, Enerdyne.

The strongest solar flare in four years erupted a couple of weeks ago, Cookman said. If not for the cloud cover that obscured the drama, it would have led to light displays visible as far south as Upper Iowa, South-Central Wisconsin and mid-Michigan. The best part, he noted, is that the 7- to 11-year cycle is just beginning, offering great northern lights viewing possibilities likely to peak in 2012 or 2013.

It was just a happy coincidence that Ken Scott recently added this ‘blast’ from the past to the Leelanau photo group on Flickr. Ken writes that some of you will remember this night from November of 1991, one of the best nights for northern lights in memory. Click the photo to read the stories and head over to Ken Scott Photography for lots more northern lights photos!

District Basketball Update

First off, we really apologize for not doing a better job of covering Leelanau sports. Anyone out there interested in covering sports for Let us know!

Last night Leland crushed Grand Traverse Academy 81-40 in the Class D opener and Lake Leelanau St. Mary fought past Northport 34-30. The Comets and the Eagles meet Friday at 7. In Class C action, Leelanau was blanked, with Suttons Bay capping a disappointing season with a 72-69 loss to TC St. Francis and 2011 Northwest Conference Champion Glen Lake falling to Elk Rapids 73-60. Links to more info in the Leelanau Blog.

One interesting development in the Sugar Loaf saga has nothing to do with skiing. This week the TC Ticker reported that the 4th annual Cherry-Roubaix (August 12-14) will serve as the State Road Race Championship for 2011. That race will be a challenging 13.7-mile loop up and down several short but steep hills in Leelanau with the start and finish line atop (you guessed it) Sugar Loaf. There’s more constructive comments continue on our Sugar Loaf blog – check them out.

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Stories on Absolute Michigan this week included a great feature (with video) about Lake Huron sinkholes from the Great Lakes Echo at MSU’s Knight School of Environmental Journalism. Before bubbling into the sinkholes in Lake Huron, the groundwater passes through 400-million-year-old bedrock rich with ancient marine salts and sulfur. By the time it reaches the lake, the water has little oxygen left. The combination of low oxygen and the presence of salt and sulfur is reminiscent of prehistoric Earth.

In addition to the wildly popular Northern Lights photo which has links to much more about the Aurora Borealis, Michigan in Pictures posts included Five Things You Need to Know about Michigan in Pictures, Jumping through March and this morning’s stunning black & white photo from Port Sanilac!

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The photo this week is titled “Snowbeast.” I have to thank Laurie L. for letting me know to continue further up the North Street beach to see this monstrosity! Check it out in my Lake Michigan: Pearl of America slideshow.


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Benzie County Water Festival ~ March 18-19, 2011
"Lighthouse Dawn"  Point Betsie Lighthouse, Lake Michigan        Front page explore # 2 Oct. 31, 2010The First Annual Benzie County Water Festival is a community water celebration that takes place on next weekend (March 18-19) in Frankfort. A family-oriented, community-centered program will feature Michigan musicians, speeches from water luminaries (including Tom Kelly of Inland Seas Education Association and GTB Tribal Chairman Derek Bailey), interactive multimedia projects and presentations and much, much more.
Read more and see some great videos right here!

A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach Signing ~ Friday, March 11
Tonight at 7 PM at Brilliant Books in Suttons Bay, Loreen Niewenhuis will release her book, A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach. The book chronicles her walk around the shoreline of Lake Michigan and her observations along the way. Absolute Michigan caught up with Loreen and asked her a couple of questions.

Lucky Leprechaun Ball Fundraiser ~ Sunday, March 13
Support the work of the Father Fred Foundation and enjoy great entertainment at the annual Lucky Leprechaun Ball this Sunday beginning at 5 PM at Kilkenny’s Irish Public House in Traverse City. Performers for this family friendly event will be Song of the Lakes and the Young Sullys, an Irish family band with 6 kids ages 6 to 14 years old. The evening will also feature the top 5 Junior & Adult Finalists who are seeking “The Best Singer In Traverse City Award” in the 31st annual Danny Boy Singing Contest). More information right here.


Mar 12 – The Irish Comedy Tour (City Opera House)
Mar 12 – Recognizing Unwanted Invaders (GTCD)
Mar 12 – Beginning Birders’ Workshop with the GT Audubon Club (GTCD)
Mar 12 – Leapin’ Leprechaun 5k (National Cherry Festival)
Mar 15 – Hut to Hut Hiking in the New Hampshire White Mountains (GTCD)
Mar 15 – A 1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach (Inland Seas Education Association)
Mar 18 – Talk about Art (Glen Arbor Art Association)
Mar 19 – Spring Rendezvous for Sailors (Quantum Sail Design Group)
Mar 19 – Recycled Art with Jeanne Hinds (GTCD)
Mar 20 – Detroit Chamber WInds & Strings (Huntington/City Opera House )
Mar 26 – Basic Tree and Shrub Planting (GTCD)
Mar 31 – Flora Hoffman – Talk About Art (Glen Arbor Art Association)
Apr 5 – River North Chicago Dance Company (City Opera House)
Apr 7 – Arthritis Foundation TAI CHI Class (Glen Arbor Athletic Club)

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Ethnic Nights at the Bluebird in Leland happen every week on Wednesday & Thursday nights. Next week is New Orleans featuring Blackened Strip Steak, Crawfish Carbonara, Bourbon Maple Spiked Shrimp and Oyster on the Half Shell. The following week is Italian!

Now Playing at the Bay Theater in Suttons Bay: The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon & Emily Blunt (PG-13) plays through March 17th. March 20-22, the Bay Film Series brings Waste Land (Check out the web site – looks amazing!. Mid-Week Specials are available!! Tuesdays – Free Popcorn (one medium corn with ticket purchase), Wednesdays – $5.50 for all seats (Specials are not valid for special events or film series). Bay Theatre Gift Certificates: ‘Say it with a Movie’ gift certificates provide a memorable and enjoyable experience all year ’round. Check the web site for details!

The Weather

Otter CreekTerry Clark says that Otter Creek has a very springy look now (though there’s still lots of ice on the Lake Michigan shore). This and more in his Wintry Scenes slideshow>

It’s already 38 degrees under partly sunny skies at 11:45 AM at Leelanau Coffee Roasting in Glen Arbor. The record high for a March 11th is 71 from 1973 with the low of -10 notched in 1934. Sunny skies and upper 30s are in the forecast for today. The weekend outlook calls for cloudy skies, west winds at 10-20, temps in the mid 30s and 1-2″ of snow on Saturday and cloudy skies, 20s and scattered light snow for Sunday. Winter – get it before it’s gone!

Click for the news & weather from last year!

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