Ruth's Chris Steak House coming to Grand Rapids

The 1913 Room to become Ruth’s Chris Steak House

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (AGPH) today announced that it will transform The 1913 Room restaurant into a Ruth’s Chris Steak House by early fall 2011. The iconic, AAA Five Diamond, award-winning 1913 Room will remain open through late spring. Plans to begin construction of Ruth’s Chris Steak House are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. All associates of The 1913 Room will be offered positions with Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Founded in New Orleans by Ruth Fertel in 1965, Ruth’s Chris is the largest, family of upscale steak houses in the world with more than 130 locations, including New York, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans and Dubai.

“This is another exciting step forward in adding to the vibrancy of our hotel and downtown,” said Joe Tomaselli, president and CEO of the Amway Hotel Corporation. “Ruth’s Chris is an internationally recognized brand and we’re especially thrilled to bring this `big city’ dining experience to the area, providing another solid attraction for local residents as well as the growing number of business and leisure travelers staying downtown.”

“The redevelopment of The 1913 Room to Ruth’s Chris Steak House reflects the hotel’s efforts throughout its history to continually look for opportunities to enhance guest experiences while adding to the vision of the downtown,” said Tomaselli. The new Ruth’s Chris restaurant is expected to open around the same time as the AGPH celebrates its 30-year anniversary in September 2011.

Conversations between AGPH and Ruth’s Chris executives began several years ago as Grand Rapids emerged on its radar of growing, progressive cities.

“Grand Rapids is well-positioned for our globally recognized brand,” said Michael P. O’Donnell, chairman and CEO of Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. “We’re thrilled to introduce Ruth’s Chris to new diners as well as those local residents and hotel guests who are already acquainted with the Ruth’s Chris dining experience.”

Tomaselli said Ruth’s Chris’ reputation for extraordinary food and impeccable service were important considerations in the decision. Additionally, the Amway Hotel Corporation will own and operate the new Ruth’s Chris restaurant. This will be the second Michigan location for Ruth’s Chris. The first Michigan Ruth’s Chris opened in Troy in 1997.

“Ruth’s Chris guests can anticipate the same high service standards and quality that they have come to expect from The 1913 Room,” Tomaselli said.

Current plans call for The 1913 Room to remain open through late spring, maintaining its regular hours of operation; reservations are accepted at (616) 774-2000.

The 1913 Room opened in 1981, quickly earning rave reviews for its continental cuisine with a French influence, combined with exceptional service and a warm, luxurious setting. To pay tribute to this longstanding restaurant, the new Ruth’s Chris will feature a special private dining room called The 1913 Room.

“This is another milestone for downtown,” said Tomaselli.

About Amway Hotel Corporation
Amway Hotel Corp. owns and operates three hotel properties: the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott Grand Rapids and the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Amway Hotel Corp. is a division of Amway Corporate Enterprises, a subsidiary of Amway Inc.

About Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Ruth’s Chris Steak House, owned and operated by Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc., is the largest family of upscale steak houses in the world with more than 130 restaurant locations around the globe. Founded in New Orleans by Ruth Fertel in 1965, Ruth’s Chris specializes in USDA prime grade steaks, served in their signature “sizzling” style.

Grants available to develop 'Wild School Sites'

Project WILD-certified educators may apply to create outdoor classrooms on their school grounds

COLUMBUS, OH– Ohio teachers who have successfully used Project WILD in their classrooms can now provide students with additional hands-on learning about wildlife and habitat through grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

Grants, totaling $500 each, will be awarded on a competitive basis to 40 schools currently participating in Project WILD, a supplemental environmental education curriculum for grades K-12.

Project WILD uses wildlife and wildlife management techniques to teach traditional school subjects, such as math, science and language arts. Now in its eighth year, the grant program provides teachers with funding to purchase the materials, equipment and activities needed to develop “WILD School Sites" on their campuses.

“A WILD School Site project allows teachers to take lesson plans outdoors, bringing environmental education concepts to life in a real way for students,” said Jen Dennison, wildlife education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife. “An added benefit is the improvement of schoolyard habitat for wildlife and people, which enhances outdoor learning experiences.”

The grants are awarded to applicants that best meet the WILD School Site criteria. Criteria includes feasibility of the project, benefit to students in understanding the needs of wildlife in Ohio, and participation of students, teachers, staff and the local community in the development and upkeep of the site.

Funding for the WILD School Site grant program comes from state income tax check-off donations to the Wildlife Diversity Fund and fees generated from the sale of cardinal license plates and the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp.

Interested educators should submit an application between January 1 and May 31 to the ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2045 Morse Road, Bldg. G, Columbus, OH 43229. Complete details of the grant program and an application packet can be found at To learn more about Project WILD or to find an area workshop, please call 1-800-WILDLIFE.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

Ohio State Forests achieve 'Sustainability Recognition

Renewable natural resource management highlighted

COLUMBUS – Ohio’s 21 state forests are now certified as a Well-Managed Forest and meet the standards of the national Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Forestry.

This is in addition to certification obtained for Ohio’s state forests in December 2010 from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program. FSC and SFI certification means that Ohio’s state forests have met stringent environmental and social standards.

“Ohio’s forests are critical to the state’s environmental health — ODNR remains committed to managing the state’s forest lands in a sustainable manner,” said Robert Boyles, acting state forester and chief, ODNR Division of Forestry. “These scientific, third-party certifications recognize Ohio is using sound management practices which have lasting ecological, economic and social benefits for our communities and residents.”

Ohio’s 21 state forests comprise 200,000 acres located primarily in the unglaciated southern and eastern portion of the Buckeye State.

“The independent FSC certification also promotes consumer choice of “green” wood products,” said Boyles. “Our state forests are another source of certified forest products for Ohio’s consumers.”

FSC and SFI recognition enables Ohio’s $15 billion forest products industry to better compete in the rapidly growing domestic and international markets for wood from sustainably managed forests.

The recognition is a culmination of extensive audits, which include on-site verification, stakeholder meetings, and a comprehensive review of timber management, conservation practices, recreation and public outreach. Certification standards are set and updated by the programs’ partners from environmental, social and economic sectors. Verification audits are conducted annually. The FSC certification can be viewed at using Ohio’s trademark license code FSC-C104079.

Ohio grows more acres of trees than corn and soybeans combined. The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

Sign up early for Cherry Capital Winter Wow!Fest events and competitions

(Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Putting the finishing touches on a snow sculptureat
last year’s Cherry Capital Winter Wow!fest in Traverse City.
TRAVERSE CITY – The Cherry Capital Winter Wow!fest is only a few weeks away, and festival organizers are already urging people to sign up early for the most popular competitions and events to make sure no one gets turned away.

Now in its fifth year, Traverse City’s winter festival takes place over the President’s Day weekend, Feb. 18-20. It has grown steadily in popularity since its inception, and several events have had to limit the number of competitors or attendees, including the Friday evening “Winter, Wine & Wow!” food & drink reception and the new EpicHappens "Downtown Throwdown Rail Jam." Early registration is also encouraged for the Monster Dog Pull and the Snowball Softball Tournament.

Fortunately, it’s easy to register online for all these events (or sign up as a volunteer) at the festival website,

Organizers are also adding a large new riverfront venue to accommodate several sprawling new events – including an artificial snow-tubing hill and a day-long ski/snowboard tournament that will require construction of a 30-foot ramp. The new venue, called “Celebration Central,” will be along the city’s riverfront between Cass and Union streets, an area that hosts the local farmer’s market during the summer and fall months.

Celebration Central is located just north of the city’s main retail area and will host many festival events that were held downtown in previous years. Organizers say the move will allow them to add new events without forcing attendees to give up the convenience of nearby shops and restaurants. The downtown district, centered on Front Street, will continue to host several favorite attractions, including its “Sweetheart of a Sale” promotion, horse-and-carriage rides and the wildly popular avenue of ice sculptures.

“Winter Wow!fest is all about getting out and enjoying some winter fun with friends in our beautiful area,” says Brad Van Dommelen, president of the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, one of the festival’s several organizing entities. “We’ve added many new activities this year, and brought back lots of favorites from last winter.”

The new events at Celebration Central include:
  • A Friday evening food & drink reception called “Winter, Wine & Wow!” that will feature local wines, craft brews, spirits, food and art – plus live entertainment -- in a large heated tent. 
  • The EpicHappens "Downtown Throwdown Rail Jam" where ski/boarders will join for a day-long competition of technical rail grinding for cash and prizes. (Spectators are free to watch all day from the viewing stand facing a 30-foot snow-covered ramp built for the purpose.) 
  • A new snow park/tubing hill created by Shanty Creek Resorts to introduce families to the fun of snow-tubing.

“The ski and snowboard community will come together for a full day of competition and socializing,” said action/extreme sports promoter Matt Hodges, co-founder of, who is organizing the Downtown Throwdown event. “This draws amateur and professional riders from all parts of the Midwest to compete for cash and prizes.”

A number of already-popular Wow!fest events will also be moving to the new venue, including the Monster Dog Pull (where canine Olympians can compete for the title of “monster dog” by pulling weighted sleds) and winter versions of popular Cherry Festival competitions like the Frozen Pit Spit contest and the Brain Freeze frozen treat-eating competition.

The new venue will also host the uproarious Frozen Bed Race, and the “Soup r’ Bowl” competition where participants slurp up soups created by local chefs and cast ballots for their favorites.

The Cherry Capital Winter Wow!fest started out in 2007 at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. As other sponsors and venues have joined the celebration each year, it has become increasingly popular with local residents and visitors alike. The Resort’s “Winter Fun Zone” features ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, rides on ponies, dogsleds, snowmobiles and horse-drawn sleighs, plus bonfires, live music, and after-dark fireworks over the snow.

The Winter Fun Zone is also home to a selection of competitive events that range from the familiar (Sunday’s Frosty 5K foot race and a kid’s snowshoe race) to the unlikely (a “frozen fish toss.”) There’s even a nine-hole Snow Golf Tournament on the resort’s famed golf terrain. This year, they’ve added yet another twist: a Sunday afternoon parade of vintage snowmobiles.

Other events are scheduled at the Mt. Holiday Ski Area, including such offbeat competitions as the Friday “Downhill Dash,” a no-holds-barred mountain bike/ski/snowboard race down the ski hill, the “Cardboard Bobsled-o-Rama” in which competitors must use sleds made only with cardboard, tape and paint, and Sunday’s “Big Air Championship.” And at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center, it’s the second year for the co-ed Snowball Softball Tournament where as many as 20 teams will compete on four neighboring diamonds all day Saturday.

For a complete listing of events, log on to the festival web site at

Lake Superior Lightning Strike takes Grand Prize in magazine photo contest

Lightning struck the judges of the 16th annual Lake Superior Photo Contest and earned a Grand Prize for Rob Wiener’s stunning shot of lightning hitting Lake Superior near Ironwood, Michigan. Wiener is from Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Lake Superior Magazine’s February/March issue features the Grand Prize, the First and Second Place winners in three categories along with 11 Honorable Mentions. There are an additional 15 Finalist awards featured on the magazine’s website,

Winners, by category, this year were:

Lake/Landscape – First Place to Shawn Thompson, Duluth, Minnesota, for a black-and-white image of an old boat at Stoney Point and Second Place to Marvil LaCroix of Silver Bay, Minnesota, for a fall shot at Tettegouche State Park.

People – First Place to Mark Udstrand of Delano, Minnesota, for a shot of children leaping into Lake Superior near Grand Marais, Minnesota, and Second Place to La Mont Kraft of Seymour, Wisconsin, for a photo of a costumed fiddler at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Nature – First Place to Shawn Zierman, Duluth, for a gathering of herons at Island Lake and Second Place to Kennard Wilson, Chicago, for a shot of an otter near Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Other images show, among other Lake Superior locations, Whitefish Point, Houghton and Black River Harbor, Michigan; Bayfield, Ashland and Hayward, Wisconsin; Two Harbors, Minnesota; and Wawa, Ontario.

“Judging was delightfully tough this time,” said Lake Superior Magazine Editor Konnie LeMay. “We had the most entries ever and reviewed more than 1,500 images. It’s amazing, but the quality improves every year.”

Magazine subscribers should get their issues in the mail shortly and it will be available on the newsstands by February 1. Lake Superior Magazine is a bimonthly publication of the family-owned Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. based in Duluth. The company has an outlet store and offices at 310 E. Superior St. and can be found at on the web.

NOTE: This year’s photo contest deadline will be October 17, 2011. See details online or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the rules to Lake Superior Photo Contest, P.O. Box 16417, Duluth, MN 55816-0417.

Ohio Events Celebrate Black History Month

Plan your weekend celebrations at

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio can trace the legacy of great African-American leaders through its many museums, musical celebrations, theatrical performances and links to the Underground Railroad. February is the perfect month to plan a trip around Ohio with family and friends to learn more about African-American heritage. Following is a wide array of both month-long and one-time family activities for commemorating Black History Month in Ohio.

Central Ohio 
February Family Films: Books-To-Movies
King Arts Complex, Columbus, month-long 
At 6 p.m. on Thursdays in February, the King Arts Complex will host a film in the Pythian Theater. After each film, community facilitators and/or local media personalities will lead discussions. Tickets are $20 for a family four-pack (includes popcorn and beverage), and individual tickets are $5 for adults, and $3 for students and senior citizens. Call (614) 645-KING for information.

Black History Month at the Ohio Statehouse 
Columbus, month-long
The Ohio Statehouse celebrates Black History Month with free exhibitions and a tour of the George Washington Williams Room, which memorializes Ohio's first African-American legislator. The month-long celebration also includes living history programs featuring portrayals of historical African-Americans on Tuesdays at noon. Soul Food Wednesdays at the Capitol Café begin at noon throughout the month.

Northeast Ohio
The Trip to Bountiful
Cleveland Play House, Feb. 4-27
The Cleveland Play House produces the deeply emotional and uplifting American classic play by Pulitzer Prize- and Academy Award-winner Horton Foote. This is the world-premiere performance of the play by an all African-American cast. The result is an unforgettable meditation on the idea of home and its power to sustain us. Tickets start at $10. Call (216) 795-7000 for information.

Black History Month Film Festival 
Historic Fort Steuben, Steubenville, Feb. 19
A free series of films depicting the efforts of African-Americans in various fields will run from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. The featured film, What Does Trouble Mean? follows the journey of a black laborer and his unexpected evolution into a charismatic leader who forced integration of Pittsburgh's construction trade unions in the late 1960s. Dr. Rex Crawley, Assistant Dean and Chair of the Department of Communications at Robert Morris University, will lead a discussion on the film.

Freedom Songs 
Akron Civic Theatre, Feb. 20 
The Akron Civic Theatre celebrates Black History Month with a music program featuring traditional African-American spirituals at 2:30 p.m. Audiences will develop a new appreciation for these "freedom songs," and the persistence of those who originally sang them. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 on the day of show. Call (330) 253-2488.

Cleveland Jazz Orchestra's Lift Every Voice 
PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland, Feb. 26 
The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra will perform a Black History Month concert at 8 p.m. in the Hanna Theatre. The performance also will feature the Voices of Victory gospel choir and a guest orator. Tickets start at $20. Call (216) 241-6000 for tickets.

Northwest Ohio  
Black History Month 2011 
Bowling Green State University, month-long 
Bowling Green State University celebrates Black History Month with numerous events, including a lecture series, musical performances and conferences. A highlight of the month's events is the 12th Annual Black Issues Conference on Feb. 12 from 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Aminah Robinson: Voices That Taught Me How to Sing
Toledo Museum of Art, through Feb. 27
The Toledo Museum of Art presents a free exhibit of Ohio artist Aminah Robinson's work in the Glass Pavilion. Her work combines traditional art materials with everyday objects to create two- and three-dimensional masterpieces. Recurring themes of the exhibit include her memories of growing up in Columbus' Poindexter Village and her experiences traveling through the African Diaspora.

Southwest Ohio
Visual Voices Art Exhibit: Dayton Skyscrapers 2011 
Schuster Performing Arts Center, Dayton, month-long
A part of the KeyBank African-American Arts Festival, the free exhibit, open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., features African-American "skyscrapers," women and men who stand tall as role models in the Dayton community. Curated by Willis "Bing" Davis, Visual Voices is presented in partnership with EbonNia Gallery and will feature the work of dozens of Dayton-area African-American artists.
Roland Martin Speaks 
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati, Feb. 3 
The award-winning journalist, political commentator and author will discuss the historical context of civil rights and how all people can take steps to freedom in their own lives. The program is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are preferred, but not required. Call (513) 333-7705.

To learn about more exciting multicultural events and experiences throughout Ohio, please visit Follow us on Twitter @DiscoverOhio or like the Ohio Tourism Division on Facebook at

About the Ohio Tourism Division
The Ohio Tourism Division is the premier source of information for travelers and media about Ohio's vibrant tourism experiences, attractions and economy. Division marketing programs contributed to an estimated $36 billion in total sales in 2009 and 437,000 jobs sustained by visitors to the state. A part of the Ohio Department of Development, the Division's mission is to promote and celebrate Ohio's unique travel opportunities and market the state's outstanding quality of life.

Ohio DNR Diversity conference connects, 'Wildlife, Habitat and People'

2011 Wildlife Diversity Conference is March 9 in Columbus
Register by Feb. 26 for reduced rate

COLUMBUS, OH — Making connections between wildlife and people will be the subject of discussion at the 2011 Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference, scheduled for Wednesday, March 9 at the Aladdin Shrine Center in Columbus. The conference, “Connecting Wildlife, Habitat and People,” is sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. It is open to the public.

The keynote speaker this year, Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, will speak on “The Identification, Life History and Habitat Requirements of the Wildlife Viewer.”

"As wildlife managers, a huge component of our jobs is understanding the needs of the people who enjoy wildlife, and providing opportunities for them to use this resource whether it’s through bird watching, nature photography or on a more consumptive level with hunting and fishing," said Kendra Wecker, wildlife diversity coordinator. “We want to tie in these three important aspects needed for a positive wildlife experience.”

Other conference topics include discussions of sandhill cranes, softshell turtles, riparian corridor protection, how to attract people to birding, conservation genetics, and freshwater mussel and hellbender health assessments.

The second Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp, which features the amber-winged dragonfly, will be available to conference attendees. Proceeds from the sale of the stamp will be used to support:
  • endangered and threatened native species;
  • habitat restoration, land purchases and conservation easements; and
  • educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts.

Anyone who pre-registers online for the conference may purchase this collectable stamp at a discounted price of $12 – a 20 percent savings. Details about the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp can be found at

Representatives from a range of conservation and natural resource organizations, such as the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Columbus Audubon and Ohio Biological Survey, will present displays and be available to answer questions.

The Wildlife Diversity Conference has steadily grown in popularity. The first conference, held in 1985, drew 40 people. Last year, 942 people attended the day-long gathering.

For more information or to register for the conference online, go to or call 1-800-WILDLIFE. The registration fee prior to Feb. 26 is $25. After that date, the fee is $35.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

Get your 2011 Michigan Campground Directory at these RV shows

Pick up a FREE copy of the 2011 Michigan Campground Directory at these Midwest Shows! This directory is the result of the dedication of ARVC Michigan - The Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and its members. ARVC Michigan strives for continued year-to-year accuracy and quality Michigan camping. Its members meet regularly to discover ways in which Michigan camping can continue to provide improved service and facilities in Michigan. ARVC Michigan invites you to enjoy the variety of camping facilities while visiting or traveling Michigan. 

January 14-16, 2011
GR Camper, Travel & RV Show
DeVos Place - Grand Rapids, MI 

January 20-23, 2011
Lansing RV Show
MSU Pavilion - East Lansing, MI  

January 20-23, 2011
WBAY RV & Camping Show
Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena -
Green Bay, WI  

February 3-6, 2011
Fort Wayne RV & Camping
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum -
Fort Wayne, IN  

February 11-13, 2011
Camp & Travel 2010
Seagate Convention Center - Toledo, OH 

February 16-20, 2011
Detroit Camper & RV Show
Novi Expo Center- Novi, MI  

February 16-20, 2011
Midwest RV, Camping & Van Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center –
Chicago, IL  

February 17-20, 2011
Grand Rapids RV Show
Delta Plex - Grand Rapids, MI  

February 24-27, 2011

Novi Expo Center - Novi, MI  

March 25-27, 2010
Northwest Michigan Camper & RV Show
Grand Traverse County Civic Center -
Traverse City, MI

Petoskey Area to be featured on PBS

Petoskey, MI – The Petoskey Area of northern Michigan will be featured on the PBS show, “Under the Radar Michigan”.

“Under the Radar Michigan” is a modern, fast-paced program that features not only things to do and places to go, but also the talented people who make Michigan’s attractions even more appealing. It gives a personal perspective to Michigan, spoken in the voice of the people who live and vacation here.

The show is hosted by Tom Daldin who connects audiences with ‘under the radar’ people, places, and things that make Michigan “beautiful, fun, crazy, and smart — with incredible things to offer the world.”

The show will highlight Petoskey Area landmarks including Stafford’s Perry Hotel, offering the grandeur and elegance of a bygone era; Symons General Store, which has been called “A gourmet shoppe without rival anywhere” by Town & Country Magazine; the City Park Grill, frequented often by Ernest Hemingway; and the Crooked Tree Arts Center, which has been the focal point for arts in the region since 1971.

The show will first air in Detroit on Feb. 5 at 10:30am, and at different times in other parts of Michigan. Check for the channel and schedule in your area. Shows will also appear online after they have aired.

For information on what to do and where to stay in the Petoskey Area, call the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau at 1-800-845-2828 or visit

Rediscovered Rembrandt on Loan at Toledo Museum of Art

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669), Rembrandt Laughing. 
Private Collection, courtesy of Hazlitt Gooden & Fox, London.
TOLEDO, Ohio — A rediscovered painting by Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669), on loan at the Toledo Museum of Art, will be displayed for several months beginning January 28 in Gallery 24. The artist painted the small oil-on-copper self portrait, Rembrandt Laughing, in his native city of Leiden when he was just 21 or 22 years old.

“This is one of the most exciting artistic rediscoveries in recent years,” said Museum Director Brian Kennedy. “Rembrandt Laughing is one of the first and most joyful examples of the artist’s autobiography in paint.”

A century and a half after Rembrandt’s death, the portrait was mistakenly thought to be by his older contemporary Frans Hals, and it was reproduced as Hals’s work in an engraving. Some scholars of the 20th century realized it was a case of mistaken identity—that the painting shown in the engraving was in fact a Rembrandt—but couldn’t prove their case because the original was “lost.”

The painting emerged and made headlines in 2007 after the English family who owned it for the past 100 years decided to sell it through a local auction house. The painting was attributed to “a follower of Rembrandt,” with an estimated value of only $1,600–$2,400. However, art dealers recognized its quality and importance, and bidding went to more than a thousand times that amount to $4.5 million.

“Still, that price was a bargain,” said Lawrence Nichols, TMA’s William Hutton curator, European and American painting and sculpture before 1900. “The painting’s estimated value today is well in excess of what it sold for at auction.”

The painting has been on display in Dallas and Denver museums in the past several months to give selected American audiences a chance to view the spectacular find. Kennedy asked the current owner for the loan during a visit the two had last fall in Toledo.

Kennedy and Nichols, both passionate about Dutch painting, will be lecturing on Rembrandt Laughing, along with TMA’s two other Rembrandt paintings, Young Man with Plumed Hat and Man in a Fur-Lined Coat, in coming months. Watch for further details.

About the Toledo Museum of Art
The mission of the Toledo Museum of Art is based upon the belief in the power of art to ignite the imagination, stimulate thought, and provide enjoyment. Through our collection and programs, we strive to integrate art into the lives of people.

The Toledo Museum of Art is a nonprofit arts institution funded through individual donations, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, and investments. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund programs at the Toledo Museum of Art through a sustainable grant program that encourages economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Admission to the Museum is free. The Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.; Sunday, Noon–6 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays. Friday evening hours are made possible by Fifth Third Bank.

New Ohio DNR guidebok examines Lake Erie geology

12 field trip locations highlight Ohio’s ever-changing coast

Columbus, OH– A new guidebook published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Geological Survey offers a tour of the state’s geologically dynamic lakeshore.

"Geologic Setting and Processes along Lake Erie from Fairport Harbor to Marblehead, Ohio" (Guidebook 21), compiled by Donald E. Guy, Jr., ODNR Division of Geological Survey (retired), and Laura J. Moore, presently at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, is much more than a field trip guide. It introduces a wide audience to the coastal processes that shaped and are transforming Ohio’s north shore.

Guy and Moore provide straightforward explanations of coastal processes, such as erosion, sand transport and flooding, and examine the effects of man-made shore structures on such processes. Lake levels, key weather events, historical information and environmental impacts are also considered and discussed.

The tour begins in Painesville-on-the-Lake (Lake County), where erosion has caused high bluffs to recede more than 400 feet since 1937. The guidebook then leads users to Headlands Beach State Park at Fairport Harbor and describes how the Fairport Harbor jetties affect beach width and shoreline orientation at the park and along the lakeshore east of the harbor. From there, users will continue west through 10 more publicly accessible, geologically and environmentally diverse locations, including Edgewater Park in Cleveland and Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve in Huron. Many of these stops represent not only classic examples of geologic processes but are some of the most recognizable landmark features along the Lake Erie coast.

Covering about 90 miles of Lake Erie shore, Guidebook 21 will be useful to anyone interested in coastal geology. Featuring more than 50 maps, diagrams and photographs, as well as detailed descriptions of each stop, the guidebook also provides a comprehensive reference for professional geologists, environmentalists, land planners and property owners. The guidebook (and tour) is also a resourceful teaching tool for earth science educators.

Geologic Setting and Processes along Lake Erie from Fairport Harbort to Marblehead, Ohio ($12 plus sales tax and shipping) is available via the online Ohio Geology Store at or by calling (614) 265-6576.

The guidebook also can be ordered from the Division of Geological Survey at 2045 Morse Road, Building C-1, Columbus, OH 43229. A compilation of other geologic field trip sites and planning materials is available for free through the division’s Educational Resources Web page.

For a complete list of publications, geology news and more information, visit the Division of Geological Survey at

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

Experience winter fun by moonlight with Oakland County (Mich.) Parks & Recreation

Oakland County Parks and Recreation invites all ages to enjoy the winter outdoors with Moonlight Adventures at Addison Oaks and Independence Oaks county parks. Depending on the weather, participants will enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or themed hikes including star gazing, nighttime safaris or geocaching.

Cost is $5/vehicle or free entry with a 2011 Annual Vehicle Permit, plus $5/person for equipment rental.

Pre-registration and payment are required. Visit the Events Calendar on for a mail-in registration form, or request one by phone at 248-858-0916.

Wednesday, Feb. 2 from 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 4 from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Addison Oaks County Park, located at 1480 West Romeo Road in Leonard.
Independence Oaks County Park, located at 9501 Sashabaw Road in Clarkston.

For more information about Oakland County Parks and Recreation, visit or find us on Facebook at

Detroit-based General RV Center to expand, add 200 jobs

WIXOM, Mich.— Despite the past challenging economic climate in Detroit, one RV retailer is preparing for another prosperous year. General RV Center, one of the top RV retailers in the nation, is anticipating continued growth in 2011 and projecting almost $300 million in gross sales. This year, General RV Center will add approximately 200 new jobs, between all locations and departments, to keep with increasing RV sales numbers.

“New data is showing that young families are the fastest-growing group of RV owners,” said Dennis Anderson, General RV spokesman. “I think there’s an overall shift in values among young families, and RV vacations are an affordable way for families to spend time together.”

General RV Center currently has nine locations nationally, and will open its 10th location in Huntley, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) this spring. The new Chicago location is expected to create 60 to 70 local jobs in a variety of positions. In addition, three of General RV Center’s locations—North Canton, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; and Salt Lake City, Utah—are expanding and adding 20 to 30 new positions to each property.

Recreation vehicle shipments are projected to total 236,700 nationally in 2010, a gain of 42.8 percent from 2009 shipments. This is according to a forecast by RV industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, Dr. Richard Curtin. RV sales and shipments are undoubtedly rebounding from the economic downturn, and Detroit-based General RV Center is benefiting.

Interested job applicants can visit to apply for a position with General RV.

About General RV
General RV Center is the largest family-owned RV retailer in the country. With its new location in Chicago, the privately held company will have 10 RV dealerships nationally. General RV’s Michigan locations include Brownstown, Birch Run, Mt. Clemens, Wayland, White Lake and Wixom. They also have locations in North Canton, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; and Salt Lake City, Utah. As America’s RV dealer, General RV provides RV parts, same day service, a large rental fleet, RV insurance and financing, and more. Call 888-436-7578 or visit for more information.

Chicago Winter Dance Festival in Millennium Park every February weekend

Free Ice Skating Instruction, Late Night Ice Dance Parties, and Ice Dancing Demos at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
Rare Opportunity to Enjoy Open Dancing and Dance Lessons on Jay Pritzker Pavilion Stage

Dance your way through the month of February on the ice or on the stage at the free Chicago Winter Dance festival in the award-winning Millennium Park. With ice skating lessons and late night ice dance parties at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and the rare opportunity to enjoy open dancing and dance lessons behind the glass doors on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage, there will be something for everyone this winter in Chicago.

Visit for more information about Chicago Winter Dance or to book hotel accommodations. Following is a schedule of free Winter Dance events and programs taking place every weekend from February 4 to 27:

Ice Skating Lessons & Games
Get a head start on your ice skating skills at these early morning lessons and demonstrations. On Saturdays, learn the basics of ice skating. If you’re up for the challenge, come on Sundays for more lessons and fun “ice sports of sorts,” like noodle ball, curling on skates and speed skating, plus demonstrations from experts. These family-friendly activities are open to Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and skill levels. Instructions provided by IceReach and the Chicago Ice Dance Foundation.

  • Ice Skating: Saturdays, Feb. 5 -26, 8 – 10 am
  • Beginner Lessons: 8 – 8:30 am and 9 – 9:30 am
  • Intermediate Lessons: 8:30 – 9 am and 9:30 – 10 amIce Skating and Ice Sports of Sorts: Sundays, Feb. 6, 13 and 27 (no lessons on Sunday, Feb. 20)
  • Beginner/Intermediate Ice Skating Lessons: 8 – 8:30 am and 9 – 9:30 am
  • Speed Skating Demonstration: 8:30 – 9:00 am
  • Noodle Ball and Curling on Skates: 9:30 – 10:00 am

Late Night Ice Dance Parties, Ice Dancing Demonstrations and Extended Rink Hours for Public Skating
Millennium Park is the scene of the hottest dance parties this winter! Join us on the ice for different themed celebrations each weekend in February, and enjoy extended skating hours, spectacular ice skating performances by Chicago Ice Dance Foundation, Shipstad Entertainment and IceTalent Inc., plus live DJ sets, giveaways, and fun with Collaboraction.

  • Fridays and Saturdays, February 4 – 26
  • Late Night Ice Dance Parties: 7 – 11 pm
  • Ice Dancing Demonstrations: 7, 8:30 and 10 pm
  • Feb. 4 – 5: ‘80s
  • Feb. 11 – 12: Valentine’s Day
  • Feb. 18 – 19: Lady Gaga
  • Feb. 25 – 26: Disco

Dance Lessons and Dancing on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Stage
Enjoy dance lessons in a range of styles, live music and DJ sets, plus the extraordinary view from inside the retractable glass doors of the Pritzker Pavilion stage at this indoor dance party series. Dancing is preceded by one-hour lessons led by professional instructors. Food and beverages by Park Grill will be available for purchase.

  • Saturdays and Sundays, Feb. 5 - 27
  • Session I: Lessons 1 – 2 pm; Open dancing 2 – 3:30 pm
  • Session II: Lessons 5 -6 pm; Open dancing 6 -7:30 pm
  • Doors open 30 minutes before the start of each session and admission is FREE, but space is limited. No reservations required.

Saturday, Feb. 5: Waltz, Fox-Trot
Instructors: Fred Astaire Dance Studio- Michigan Avenue
Live Music: The Ron Smolen Orchestra

Sunday, Feb. 6: Mambo, Cha-Cha (Session I); Salsa, Bachata (Session II)
Instructors: Latin Dance Academy of Salsa
DJ: DJ Arlo

Saturday, Feb. 12: Tango
Instructors: American Tango Institute
Live Music: Tangata

Sunday, Feb. 13: Swing
Instructors: Big City Swing
Live Music: The Flat Cats

Saturday, Feb. 19: The Charleston
Instructors: The Galaxie
Live Music: The Fat Babies

Sunday, Feb. 20: Steppin’
Instructors: Dawud Shareef and Lura Satterfield
DJ: Sam Chapman

Saturday, Feb. 26: Cha-Cha, Rumba
Instructors: Chicago Dance- Tommye Giacchino and Gregory Day
DJ: El Caobo

Sunday, Feb. 27: Dances of the Balkans: Kolo, Oro, Horo, and Cocek
Instructors: Galia Miloucheva & John Kuo
Live Music: Orchestra Balkana

Chicago Winter Dance 2011 is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Chicago Office of Tourism with support from American Express. For more information, visit

Visitor Information Resources 
Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive trip-planning assistance and information by visiting

Brochures and information on Chicago’s exciting events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers. Friendly Visitor Representatives can answer questions and assist families in planning an action-packed itinerary. The visitor centers are located in two of the city’s most popular areas: across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street; and at the historic Water Works pumping station, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue.

For daily alerts about fun and free things to do in Chicago, follow ExploreChicago on Twitter at Receive answers to your Chicago questions on the go, and tips on the latest citywide events and activities, via the FREE Twitter Concierge Service (@explorechicago) available daily.

The Chicago Office of Tourism is dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers and to providing innovative visitor programs and resources. For more information please visit

Millennium Park is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is bordered by Michigan Ave. to the west, Columbus Dr. to the east, Randolph St. to the north and Monroe St. to the south. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and at the Grant Park North and East Monroe Garages, all located within a short walking distance of Millennium Park.

Millennium Park, managed and programmed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers. Among Millennium Park’s prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture. Since its opening in July 2004, Millennium Park has welcomed more than 20 million people, making it one of the most popular destinations in Chicago.

February Features Black History Month Celebration and More at Detroit Institute of Arts

Activities include storytelling, movies, live music, family performances

 Detroit, MI – Black History Month (BHM) comes alive at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) with family performances, storytelling, live music, movies and more. Exhibitions Fakes, Forgeries, and Mysteries and An Intuitive Eye: André Kertész Photographs, 1914–1969 are on view.

Programs are free with museum admission unless otherwise noted. For more information call (313) 833-7900 or visit

The Detroit Film Theatre is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase.

Guided Tours: Wednesdays–Thursdays, 1 p.m.; Fridays, 1, 6 & 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays–Sundays, 1 & 3 p.m.

Detroit City Chess Club: Fridays, 4–8 p.m.
The club’s mission is to teach area students the game and life lessons. Members have won state, regional, and national competitions. People wanting to learn how to play chess should show up between 4–6 p.m. There will be no teaching between 6 and 8 p.m., but visitors can play chess.

Drawing in the Galleries (for all ages): Fridays, 6–9 p.m. Sundays, Noon–4 p.m.

Drop-In Workshops (for all ages)
Miniature Paper Masks: Fridays, February 4, 11, 18 and 25, 6–9 p.m. Create a miniature mask using tagboard paper, markers and a variety of art-making materials, then learn how masks are used in different cultures. BHM program. 
Mosaics: Saturdays, February 5, 12, 19 and 26, Noon–4 p.m. A mosaic is a picture or decoration made of small pieces of stone, glass or other materials. Make a simple mosaic using a wide variety of materials.
Senufo Painting: Sundays, February 6, 13, 20 and 27, Noon–4 p.m. Explore this West African form of painting on fabric using markers and muslin, a loosely woven cotton fabric. BHM program.

Wednesday, February 2
Lecture: Growing the DIA’s Great Collection of American Art: 6:30 p.m.
Since Kenneth Myers joined the DIA as curator of American Art in 2005, the department has acquired nine important paintings, including: Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers by James McNeill Whistler; Beach at Long Branch: Sunrise by William Trost Richards; several major pieces of furniture; and wonderful examples of American ceramics, glass and metalwork. Myers will discuss many of these acquisitions, share the sometimes surprising details of the hunt for important but affordable potential acquisitions, and explain some of the criteria that shape the American Art department’s collecting priorities.

Friday Night Live, February 4
Music: Carmen Lundy: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Carmen Lundy is celebrated throughout the world for her vocal artistry and is highly regarded for her jazz innovation. Lundy, a multi-instrumentalist and gifted composer performs music from her latest CD, Solamente, on which she arranged, produced, recorded, mixed and played every instrument. Joining Lundy are pianist Anthoney Wonse, Kenny Davis on bass and Jamison Ross on drums. BHM program.

Saturday, February 5
Detroit Film Theatre: Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune: 4 p.m.
This film features interview and performance footage of Phil Ochs over the course of two decades, tracing his meteoric musical career, and includes insights of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and others. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Vision: 7 p.m.
This is a dramatic retelling of the life of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th- century Benedictine nun who was relentlessly determined to expand the responsibilities of women within the order, while at the same time fending off hostility from the church over the visions she claimed to receive from God. In German with English subtitles. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Howl: 9:30 p.m.
James Franco plays the young Allen Ginsberg – poet and chronicler of the Beat Generation. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Family Sunday, February 6
Artist Demonstration: Painting and Mixed Media: Noon–4 p.m.
Over the past few years, painter and mixed media artist Senghor Reid has been working on a series entitled The Burden of Dreams. The series documents the lives of people in an urban setting ravaged and altered by the relentless imprint of human activity on the earth in a post-industrial age. Expanding on this concept, Reid is now exploring the human brain and the thought processes of these subjects. BHM program.

Friday Night Live, February 11
Music: The Rayse Biggs Quintet: 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Master trumpeter Rayse Biggs leads a group assembled from some of the hottest jazz players in the Detroit area. A veteran of the Detroit jazz scene, Biggs performs his highly charged style of Motown jazz, while exploring the music of trumpet master Freddie Hubbard and others. BHM program.

Saturday, February 12
Detroit Film Theatre: Soundtrack for a Revolution: 4 p.m.
The freedom songs of the Civil Rights movement performed on picket lines and in jail cells are brought to life by artists including John Legend, The Roots, Joss Stone and Wyclef Jean. The importance of the songs, which enabled an oppressed population to sing words they could not say, is illuminated through archival footage of interviews with Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond and Andrew Young, and the skill and diligence of executive produce Danny Glover. Tickets are $7.50, and $6.50 for DIA members, seniors and students with I.D. Call 313-833-4005 for information. BHM program.

Detroit Film Theatre: Academy Award Nominated Short Films: 7 p.m.
See for details.

Family Sunday, February 13
Class: Memory Boxes: (ages 5–8 with an adult): 1–3 p.m.
Do you have mementos or treasures that need a home? Baby teeth, favorite toys or a special collection? If the answer is yes, this is the class for you. Children and adults can decorate together or individually their choice of a large or small box to hold those treasured memories. Boxes are available for pick up one week after class. Members $24, non-members $28. To register, email or call (313) 833-4249.

Storytelling: Ivory Williams: 2 p.m.
Ivory D. Williams, president of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers, presents highly interactive and entertaining stories designed for both youth and adults. BHM Program.

Lecture: Nineteenth Annual Alain Locke Awards “Merging Life and Art in Abstraction” by William T. Williams: 2 p.m.
In his 40-year career, this year’s Alain Locke Award recipient, William T. Williams, has created numerous series of abstract paintings and prints reflecting personal memories, variations on themes, technical innovations, mastery of color and diverse approaches. He is acknowledged as an initiator in 1968 of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s renowned Artists-in-Residence program, which continues to jumpstart the careers of many artists of African descent. Since 1971, Williams has been a professor of art at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. His lecture will focus on the development of his art and career. BHM program.

Friday Night Live, February 18
Music: Fun House: 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Detroit master drummer Skeeto Valdez brings together musical collaborators from his past—bassist Damon Warmack, guitarist Kris Kurzawa and keyboardist Phil Hale—for an evening of jazzy funk.

Saturday, February 19
Detroit Film Theatre: Lust for Life: 4 p.m.
Kirk Douglas is physically and emotionally uncanny as the tormented Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh's life is chronicled from his ill-fated stint as a preacher to his artistic awakening, stormy friendship with Paul Gauguin (Anthony Quinn), commercial failure and subsequent psychological descent leading to his suicide in 1890. Presented in conjunction with the DIA’s Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries exhibition, the film is introduced by Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA associate curator of European Paintings. Tickets: Free for DIA members, free with museum admission, and $5 for all others.

Detroit Film Theatre: Academy Award Nominated Short Films: 7 p.m.
See for details.

Family Sunday, February 20
Brunch with Bach: Jade Simmons: 11 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Known for her musical creativity and electrifying stage presence, Jade Simmons is committed to expanding the boundaries of classical music. She will perform variations from her new recording, Spice. Tickets: 11 a.m., Continental breakfast and concert, $20; 1:30, brunch and concert, $35; concert only, $15. Call 313-833-4005.

Family Performance: A World of Music and Stories: 2 p.m.
Audrey and Bob Allison will present an upbeat program that includes humorous interactive stories, audience participation, hands-on fun, beautiful music and musical instruments from all over the world. BHM program.

Friday Night Live, February 25
Music: Johnnie Bassett: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Legendary Detroit guitarist and singer Johnnie Bassett performs music from his latest CD, The Gentleman is Back. Bassett’s guitar playing was described by the All Music guide as a unique combination of jump blues and delta stylings. He will be joined by Brothers Groove members Chris Codish on keyboards, James Simonson on base, Keith Kaminski on saxophone and Michael Gibbs on drums. BHM program.

Saturday, February 26
Lecture: Of Crayfish & Truffles: Life & Luxury in Paris, 1720-1770: 2 p.m.
In mid-18th century France, the decorative sculptural ornament on so many extravagantly luxurious serving vessels and tableware actually portrayed, quite naturalistically, the ingredients of the food contained within. This naturalism reflected the broader interests of the Enlightenment as well as the latest culinary developments. Charissa Bremer-David, curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, will survey some of these miniature sculptures, identify their component parts of vegetables, game and fish and compare these groupings to the ingredients of recipes in period cookbooks.

Detroit Film Theatre: My Tale of Two Cities: 4 p.m.
In this insightful documentary, screenwriter Carl Kurlander finds himself overcome with a most unusual mid-life crisis: he makes up his mind to flee Hollywood and move back to Pittsburgh. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Sampson and Delilah: 7 p.m.
Set in the aboriginal communities of Australia, what might have been an age-old love story explodes cliché through unvarnished authenticity. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Vision: 9:30 p.m.
See Feb. 5 for description.

Family Sunday, February 27
Class: All Levels Potter’s Wheel: (Adults only): 1–4 p.m.
Enjoy an afternoon with the potter's wheel including demonstrations and individual guidance designed for the absolute beginner and advanced student. Projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Class size limed to 12 students. Members $36, non-members $48. To register, email or call (313) 833-4249.

Family Performance: Paul Mesner Puppets Presents Anansi the Spider: 2 p.m.
Anansi the Spider is a live telling of four classic folk tales from Africa and the Caribbean performed by Paul Mesner Puppets. These humorous stories feature a trickster spider that sometimes gets tricked himself. In “How the Stories came to the World,” “Tiger Becomes a Riding Horse,” “The Magic of Five,” and “Dinner for Two” Anansi the Spider offers universal lessons of wit and cleverness. BHM Program.

Lecture: John Singer Sargent’s Daughters of Edward D. Boit: 2 p.m.
John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece the Daughters of Edward D. Boit has haunted visitors since it was first exhibited in Paris in 1882. Some early critics were baffled by it, while others praised its modernity. Novelist Henry James described it as the “happy play-world of a family of charming children,” but today’s audiences often find the scene a penetrating essay on the psychology of childhood. Erica Hirshler, Croll Senior Curator of American Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will give an illustrated lecture on the painting, the subject of her recent book, Sargent’s Daughters: The Biography of a Painting.

About the DIA
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA's collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. As the DIA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2010, it does so with renewed commitment to its visitor-centered experience and to its mission of creating opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible in part with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971. 

Coastal Resources Advisory Council to hold quarterly meeting in Cleveland Feb. 3

Lucas County resident named to council position

SANDUSKY, OH - The Coastal Resources Advisory Council will hold its quarterly meeting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Cleveland Metroparks Canal Way Center, which is located at 4524 East 49th Street in Cleveland.

The council is comprised of 19 members appointed by the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to provide advice on Lake Erie coastal management issues. The mission of the council is to advise the director on the Ohio Coastal Management Program and promote, protect, enhance and encourage the wise use of Lake Erie’s coastal resources and its watershed.

Joining the council is Sandy Bihn, Lucas County resident and longtime Lake Erie advocate. Ms. Bihn is the president of the Toledo Lighthouse Society, city councilwoman for the city of Oregon, and the executive director of the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association.

There are two vacant seats on the council. To fulfill requirements of Ohio Revised Code §1506.12, the council needs a representative from each of the eight counties located along Lake Erie. Currently the Sandusky County representation is vacant.

Applications can be obtained by contacting the ODNR Office of Coastal Management at (419) 626-7980.

The council meets quarterly at locations along Lake Erie, offering an opportunity for the public to see and hear about important lake-related topics, as well as offer their ideas and concerns relative to lake issues.

Additional information about the Ohio Coastal Management Program and advisory council is available through the Office of Coastal Management’s Web site at

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at

Cedar Point pours WindSeeker foundation

80 truckloads of concrete totaling more than 1,600 tons!

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Despite the cold temperatures and windy conditions, the concrete underground foundation for Cedar Point’s new ride, the 301-foot-tall WindSeeker swing ride, was poured late last week on the Cedar Point Beach.

To see my earlier post in this thrill ride, click here.

Beginning early Friday morning, more than 1,600 tons of concrete were poured to build the 30-story ride’s foundation. The dimensions of the foundation are 60 feet by 60 feet by 6 feet deep and required more than 800 cubic yards of concrete. Prior to the pour, more than 36 tons of steel rebar and 176 steel anchor bolts were placed in position.

A second smaller pour, totaling only 14.2 cubic yards of concrete, is scheduled for later this week to finish the foundation’s top pier.

When completed, the total weight of the foundation will be more than 3.3 million pounds or 1,650-plus tons of concrete and steel.

The Adena Corporation, Mansfield, Ohio, built the foundation while Huron Cement, Huron, Ohio, delivered the concrete. The pour started at approximately 7:30 a.m. last Friday and was completed shortly after 4 p.m. A fleet of 14 trucks made 80 continuous trips to the park to transport the concrete to the park.

At a cost of $5 million to build, WindSeeker will stand more than 30 stories above the Cedar Point Beach. Seated in two-passenger swings with their feet dangling in the air, riders will be treated to breathtaking views of Cedar Point, Lake Erie and the Cedar Point Beach.

Cedar Point will open for the summer on Saturday, May 14.

Eight private homes, three public buildings on Frank Lloyd Wright tour

Peter A. Beachy House (1906)
Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust’s 37th Annual Wright Plus Housewalk 2011
Ultimate Plus Package offers a full weekend of unique architecture related events

OAK PARK, IL – Tickets are now available for the internationally acclaimed Wright Plus 2011 housewalk, showcasing rare interior tours of private homes created by Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries in historic Oak Park, Illinois.

Wright Plus 2011, Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., features magnificent private residences in Oak Park. Guests enjoy interpretations based on in-depth research of the homes’ history and architecture, including discussions of the original occupants’ lifestyles. This exceptional housewalk, which attracts visitors from around the world, offers an intimate look at a selection of beautiful homes lining the historic streets of Oak Park, a community west of downtown Chicago, which boasts the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residences.

Arthur B. Heurtley House (1902)
Tickets are available at and by calling 877-848-3559. Tickets are $85 for Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust members and $100 for non-members.

The Wright Plus housewalk features eight private homes, three of which are designed by Wright, and three Wright-designed public buildings. The Peter A. Beachy House (1906) and Arthur B. Heurtley House (1902) are Wright designs from the early Prairie period when Wright was seeking to develop a distinctly American architecture. The Harrison P. Young House (1895), remodeled by Wright, is a blend of his emerging Prairie signature with Tudor Revival elements. The three public buildings designed by Wright—Unity Temple, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, and the Robie House —are National Historic Landmarks.

A.J. Redmond House (1900)
Also featured on Wright Plus are three homes designed by architect E. E. Roberts: The Joseph Dunlop House II (1897), A.J. Redmond House (1900) and Americus B. Melville II House (1916). The homes exhibit Queen Anne style, Victorian and Classical features infused with Prairie School influences. The Walter Gale House II (1905) by Handy and Cady is a classic Colonial Revival with newly discovered history and the W.H. Yorke House (1886) is an elegant historic home merging Victorian detail with modern uses. Architect research is ongoing for this residence. Both residences are being shown on the housewalk for the first time. 

The Ultimate Plus Weekend
Along with the famed housewalk tour, the Preservation Trust also offers the following tours and events Thursday, May 19 to Sunday, May 22 as part of the Ultimate Plus Weekend: Chairman’s Reception and Twilight Tour, Friday Excursion, Exclusively Wright Plus Dinners and Conservation Conversations. Most events can be purchased separately as well as part of the Ultimate Plus Weekend package.

The Chairman’s Reception and Twilight Tour kick off the Wright Plus experience with a rare Twilight Tour of the Robie House in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, followed by an elegant reception at the beautiful 1905 Wright-designed lobby of the Rookery Building in the historic financial district of downtown Chicago.

The Friday Excursion, Private Passage to Wright’s Wisconsin, is day trip to Racine, Wisconsin to tour the unique buildings Wright designed for the Johnson family. Guests will visit the private Wingspread residence, Herbert Johnson’s splendid 14,000-square-foot home, followed by a tour of the innovative SC Johnson campus, including both Wright’s iconic Administration Building as well as the newly built Fortaleza Hall.

Harrison P. Young House (1895)
Exclusively Wright Plus Dinners offer an intimate experience combining a beautiful historic home and the exquisite cuisine of an acclaimed chef. The evening includes champagne, live music, private tours and conversations with the current owners. Conservation Conversations and Sunday Around the Corner: An Exploration of Hyde Park Treasures allow two unique ways to cap off the weekend’s festivities. Included in the Ultimate Plus Package, Conservation Conversations is an intimate look at how current homeowners have preserved, conserved and restored their Wright-designed structures. Available for individual purchase, Sunday Around the Corner, provides an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the restoration of one of the 20th century's most influential buildings—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. Guests will also learn how the historic area around 58th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, on the University of Chicago campus, took shape after the completion of Wright’s iconic Robie House.

The Ultimate Plus Weekend Package includes three night’s accommodation in a deluxe room (double occupancy) at the historic Carleton of Oak Park, Official Hotel of Wright Plus 2011, and transportation from hotel to all events.