Couple preps for Dancing with the Local Stars competition

BY BROOKE KANSIER
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER — OCT. 4, 2017

The chemistry comes easily for Kaley and Fritz Petersen, as it should — the couple celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary Monday.

They want that chemistry to shine in their routine on Saturday, Oct. 21, when the couple competes in Dancing with the Local Stars.

“At least I hope so,” Kaley said with a laugh.

Kaley and Fritz — both employed at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital  — have been practicing their energizing moves and costume changes for the dance-off. They’ll compete against seven other couples for the event, which benefits the Ludington Area School District’s Oriole Foundation. Last year, the competition raised $140,000.

Unlike some of their competitors, the Petersens’ routine has little in the way of dramatic lifts or intense choreography.

“I’m seven months pregnant, so lifts are not a part of the routine,” Kaley said.

Instead, the couple is planning a comical, light-hearted performance.

“It’s a very fun, hip-hop, eclectic mix. It’s very sweet in the beginning, but very interactive. A little bit comical,” Kaley said. “We are doing a mash-up of four different songs, so it’s an eclectic blend.”

The playlist includes Marvin Gay’s “Let’s Get it On,” Fergie’s “My Humps,” Salt ‘n’ Pepper’s “Push it” and “Isn’t She Lovely,” by Stevie Wonder, fine-tuned by instructor Lauren Sawson, of The Letha Fulton School of Dance.

“She stepped in and helped us out a ton. She’s been rolling with us and being creative,” Kaley said. “Lauren did a really good job of creating the mash-up and putting together choreography that, from a technical standpoint, we could do and that the crowd would really enjoy.”

It’s been a lot to learn for Kaley and Fritz, neither of whom have prior dancing experience. 

“I’m excited and very nervous,” Fritz said. “I have good rhythm, but learning the dance moves and the technicalities of the routine are the challenges.”

“We were both athletes — both are athletes — so the dancing is new to us,” Kaley added. “But we’re having fun with it.”

The pregnancy is an unexpected element.

“They asked us if we would be willing and interested in doing it. That was before we were pregnant,” Kaley said with a laugh. “Once we knew we were pregnant, we thought it would be fun if we played a tribute to pregnancy and made that a key part of the routine,” she added. “We picked songs to kind of walk you through the stages of pregnancy, so to speak.”

Practice began in August.

“We got a little bit of a later start, but we’ve been hitting it hard since,” Kaley said. “And obviously, we have the advantage that we live together, so we’ve been getting some practices in the pole barn and in the living room, whenever we can squeeze it in.”

Their favorite part of the routine?

“The end,” Fritz said.

The Petersens are out to win — who isn’t? — but their main goal is to raise as much as they can in the people’s choice division. Each vote costs a $1 donations, and family and friends can vote as many times as they’d like for their favorites.

To vote for your favorite dancers, visit http://www.lasd.net/district/oriole-foundation. Tickets for the event are $75 and can be purchased via cash or check at the Ludington Area Schools central business office, 809 E. Tinkham Ave.

 

Date set for Nestle Waters, Osceola Township extraction appeal

BY BROOKE KANSIER
LUDINGTON DAILY NEWS — Oct. 7, 2017

OSCEOLA TWP. — A long-fought debate between Nestle Waters and Osceola Township will be heard in court on Wednesday, Nov. 15, according to staff of Susan Sniegowski, 51st Circuit Court Judge appointed to the case.

Sniegowski is the fifth to be appointed to the case, which turned to court after the Osceola Township Planning Commission shot down a Nestle Waters pipeline booster station, a vital piece of infrastructure needed to make that increased extraction possible.

Before Sniegowski, four 49th Circuit Court judges — two in Osceola County and two in neighboring Mecosta — recused themselves citing various reasons, including former employment or past legal work for Nestle Waters and its affiliates.

According to the Osceola County Clerk’s Office, Nestle Waters filed its brief on Sept. 14, and Osceola Township submitted its documents on Sept. 28.

Sniegowski will travel to hear the case at the Osceola County Courthouse.

Nestle Waters is being represented by attorney William Horn and Osceola Township will be represented by attorney William Fahey.

In October 2016, Nestle Waters came before the Osceola Township Planning Commission with its proposal for the booster station, which would be built along an established pipeline the company has operated since 2011. The commission discussed the issue over the span of several meetings, finally taking a vote at a public hearing in April 2017.

The station was unanimously denied.

The project is vital to Nestle’s ongoing effort to increase the amount it pumps at the site, White Pine Springs Wellhead No. 101, from 250 up to 400 gallons per minute, The Associated Press reported.

The commission — and later the Osceola Township Zoning Appeals Board, which failed to overturn the denial after a split vote — said  the proposal did not meet requirements to be a public necessity or convenience.

A Nestle Waters official said the company is confident that decision was reached in error.

“We believe that the plan we proposed satisfies all applicable zoning standards,” Ice Mountain Natural Resources Manager Arlene Anderson-Vincent said in a statement. “This booster station would have the least impact to the local community and environment, out of all our options.”

If Nestle Waters is successful in its appeal, the pipeline booster station would be built along a line running between White Pine Springs Well No. 101, in Osceola Township, and a loading dock about 3 miles away. From there, the water is trucked to a bottling facility in Stanwood and sold throughout the region.

INCREASING EXTRACTION

Shortly before bringing the booster station proposal to the planning commission, Nestle Waters requested a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality to increase that pumping to 400 gallons per minute. Without that permit, Nestle Waters cannot pump more than 250 gpm at that site, according to company officials. The application, first submitted in July 2016, is being handled by the DEQ’s Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division.

If Nestle fails in its appeal, it will have to find another way to hit that 400 gpm — its current infrastructure at the wellhead cannot transport water fast enough to meet that capacity.

A booster station works by increasing pressure in the pipeline — water enters the line at high pressure, but slows as it moves along. The station, placed at a halfway point, keeps pressure high to keep the water moving quickly.

The wellhead is one of two operated by Nestle Waters in the state, though DEQ public information officer Melody Kindraka said the company has other, non-wellhead extraction sources. In 2016, Nestle extracted 1.03 million gallons of water daily from Michigan sources, according to DEQ records.

Nestle’s request to increase its pumping at White Pine Springs wellhead No. 101 has drawn its own controversy, partially because the well is in the vicinity of Native American fishing areas, along with concerns about nearby wetlands. Two coldwater trout streams are also fed from the same reservoir.

The office has held several public comment periods and hearings on the application, which yielded more than 81,000 comments.

During the review process, the DEQ is evaluating “one, whether the water is safe to drink, and two, that there are no adverse impacts on the resources in the area,” Kindraka said.

In June, the office requested more information from Nestle on the impact on wetlands surrounding the wellhead.

“The Department of Environmental Quality sent a letter to Nestle in June requesting some more information in relation to the permit, and at this time, we are waiting to receive that information back from Nestle,” Kindraka said. “They have indicated that they will have that information by the beginning of November.”

Until that happens, no action can be taken on the permit.

The DEQ has no deadline to make a decision on the issue.

“This is actually the first time the state has received a permit application under section 17,” Kindraka said. “So, being the first time, we are certainly trying to do our due diligence.”

READ MORE

Port of Ludington Maritime Museum set to open June 10

BY BROOKE KANSIER

LUDINGTON DAILY NEWS — March 13, 2017

From the caw of gulls and crashing of waves to the friendly visage of famed Captain Nels Palmer, walking into the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum is like stepping back in time.

Immediately, attendees are met with an information desk modeled after the Pere Marquette 36 to the right, and a massive, child-friendly model lighthouse to the left. Authentic, wooden canoes hang overhead, and dead center lies what Dr. Rick Plummer, executive director, calls the pièce de résistance of the museum, an interactive model of a carferry pilothouse that looks over the museum’s first floor. The pilothouse will allow young, adventurous visitors to take the helm of a carferry as it journeys out of the Ludington harbor heading toward Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

“There will be one visitor to man the helm, and another visitor will man the chadburns, the two telegraphs back to the engine room, there will be two visitors in the engine room, a first mate and second mate. And they are literally bringing the ship into harbor,” Plummer said. “There’s nothing like this anywhere. People will be lined up, it’ll be like Disneyland.”

“I’m just happy to be involved with the group making this happen,” he said.

“This museum is going to be a hands-on learning experience, bringing our rich maritime history to life. That comes from two qualities — not just the interactivity, though many of the exhibits will be participatory or technology-driven — but it will also be informed by its authenticity. When you walk into this museum, virtually every artifact will be original.”

The Maritime Museum’s grand opening will be held Saturday, June 10 at 5 p.m. during Love Ludington Weekend, and all are welcome. The museum will be open and free to the public during the celebratory event.

How to donate: www.ludingtonmaritimemuseum.org/contribute, send checks to Mason County Historical Society, note PLMM and mail to 1687 S. Lakeshore Drive, Ludington, MI 49431. Call (231) 843-4808 or email info@ludingtonmaritimemuseum.org for more information.

READ MORE

Stage Left Theatre Co. takes the stage

BY BROOKE KANSIER

LUDINGTON DAILY NEWS — Jan. 27, 2017

 

Enter, stage left.

In the theater world, the term means a quiet, inconspicuous way to take the stage. But the upcoming first show of Ludington’s newest troupe and soon-to-be nonprofit, the Stage Left Theatre Company, will be anything but low-key.

“The Shakespeare in Love Dinner Theatre is the first official event under the Stage Left Theatre Company name,” said Stage Left Board Member and Co-founder Kara Rose. “It’s very exciting.”

Shakespeare in Love will be a variety show, featuring a number of the playwright’s best-known works.

“And we have some of Shakespeare’s love sonnets peppered in,” Rose said. “It’s kind of fun, because you can add your own little changes to them.”

Attendees can expect iconic scenes from “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” and “Taming of the Shrew,” among others.

Opening night is Friday, Feb. 10, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the show kicking off at 7:30 p.m. A second performance will be held Feb. 17. Tickets are $40 per person or $75 per couple, and include a set menu and beverage.

Blu Moon Bistro, on South James Street, will be the dinner theater’s venue.

See more on Shakespeare in Love in next week’s Ludington Daily News. Get tickets for the show at (231) 425-7768 or stagelefttheatreco@gmail.com, or stop by Blu Moon Bistro.

READ MORE

New state law could raise speed limit on U.S. 10, M-37

BY BROOKE KANSIER

LUDINGTON DAILY NEWS — Jan. 6, 2017

Drivers may be able to go a bit faster on a number of Michigan roads — including U.S. 10 and M-37 — under a law signed Thursday.

In west Michigan, a stretch of U.S. 10 roughly from Custer to Reed City, and the portion of M-37 north of U.S. 10 are being considered.

The law requires a speed safety study to review candidate roads. If the studies support a change, speed limits on rural highways will increase from 55 to 65 mph and freeways from 70 to 75 mph.

Portions of U.S. 131 in Wexford and Osceola counties and M-115 in Manistee and Benzie counties are also being considered.

While supporters of the law say the change will increase safety by making traffic more uniform and that rural highways have speed limits that are too low, the increase is a controversial move among local law enforcement.

“You have to remember the makeup of the areas in which those speed limits are being raised,” said Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. “On the eastern end of our county, there’s a lot of farmland. So you’d be introducing heavy machinery into traffic going 110 feet per second.

“I don’t see that as a positive influence out there.”

READ MORE

A sale of sand-mining land? Nothing imminent, but conversation with state resumes

Now, that discussion may be moving forward.

“There’s constructive conversation,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh. “There’s certainly interest on our part.”

While nothing concrete is on the table just yet, Creagh said the company and the DNR are discussing the future of the 400-acre parcel, which is surrounded by state park land.

“There may be some mutual interest in a path forward,” he said.

“Sargent Sand has had discussions with the state regarding the long-term plan for the property and the further expansion of the Ludington State Park since the 1930s,” said Phil Johnson, environmental planner and spokesperson for Sargent Sand. “(The company ) continues to have informal discussions with the state, however, no formal proposals are currently pending.”

The DNR is ready and willing, said Ludington State Park Manager Jim Gallie, but right now, any momentum falls at the feet of Sargent Sand.

“It’s going to be more along the lines of when is Sargent Sand done with their operation, and when can the state and Sargent come into some sort of agreement,” Gallie said. “It’s no secret that the state has long had an interest in acquiring the property.”

Price has been a sticking point.

“In the past, there have been some discussions about purchasing the property. In those instances, it was just a difference between what the state saw as the appraised value and what (Sargent sees) the property worth, because they’re considering not only the property, but also the commodity — the sand — having value as a resource,” Gallie said.

Local support could make a difference, however.

“If they can’t afford as much as Sargent wants, I have some groups that are willing to fundraise,” said Julia Chambers, founder of local environmental group AFFEW. “A lot of people want this land for the state park.”

Those living near the mine have organized a “Save Our Dunes” campaign, with dozens of properties sporting yard signs.

“We’ve gotten some calls from folks who said they would help with grant applications,” Gallie said. “I think the time may come where that type of support, vocalized or written, could be very important to the process.”

The conversation comes as the mine’s five-year permit nears its expiration, on Dec. 31. The company recently filed for a permit renewal.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which oversees sand mining regulation and permitting, is offering a 30-day public comment period while it looks over the permit application and inspects the Ludington site. Unless the site is not in compliance with state statutes and permitting, a renewal must be granted.

“There’s potential for citizens to bring us a lot of attention and opinions that will not ultimately have bearing or weight on the decision,”  said Adam Wygant, a section supervisor with the DEQ’s Office of Oil, Gas and Minerals, which handles mine permitting. “But that conversation definitely allows for the instance of information coming forward that we may or may not have been aware of.”

READ MORE

‘A farmers market no more’

LEPFA president shares plan for historic Lansing City Market

By Brooke Kansier

LANSING CITY PULSE — June 17, 2015

It may still be called the City Market, but farmers will no longer be driving its identity under a new plan being shaped by city officials.

“People still identify it as a farmers market, but really, the elements inside have changed,” said Scott Keith, president and CEO of the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority, which runs the market.

“It’s not a farmers market anymore,” Keith said. “We have elements of that, but that’s not its core.”

Keith called what’s coming an “urban market,” with more emphasis on eateries, prepared foods, specialty food stands and possibly a brewpub to complement the already successful Waterfront Bar & Grill. Some, like the ever popular Hills Home-Cured Cheese and the new Iorio’s Gelateria will stay. It will also feature more eateries along the lines of already established Red’s Smokehouse and For Crepe Sake.

The concept is a work in progress now, but Keith said market patrons should see a full transformation within the next two or three years. He cited similar, successful markets in cities like Grand Rapids as models for the transformation.

“We have to be something different,” said Gus Pine, LEPFA vice president of sales and marketing. “What we want to create is a destination that, first, our locals are interested in, because once your locals are interested in things, your tourists become interested. It becomes an authentic piece of coming and visiting the city.”

READ THE FULL STORY