All new 2011 Kampgrounds of America (KOA) directory now available

New Edition Features Microsoft Tag Technology for Enhanced Camping Content

Campers flipping through the pages of the all new printed edition of the 2011 Kampgrounds of America Directory will now be able to use Microsoft Tag technology and their smart phones to access enriched content such as photographs and special deals on the internet.

“Adding nearly 500 Microsoft Tags to our new Directory gives our campers a way to directly access more information about our campgrounds than we would ever be able to print,” said Mike Gast, vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. “Our Directory includes more Microsoft Tags than any other publication, and we’re very proud of that fact.”

Microsoft Tag is a kind of customizable 2D barcode that can be displayed anywhere and connects almost anything in the real world to information, entertainment, and interactive experiences on your mobile phone. They can be black and white or color. Tags are scanned using the free downloadable Microsoft Tag Reader on your smart phone (available atwww.gettag.mobi).

“We’re excited that Kampgrounds of America is using Tag to extend their Directory beyond the printed page,” said Bill McQuain, director of Tag Product Management at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft Tag makes the world around you clickable, and now with the scan of Tag in KOA’s Directory, campers will unlock even more information and a rich interactive experience.”

The new KOA Directory, which also includes more than 20 popular camping recipes from the test kitchens of Better Homes & Gardens, is currently available at any open Kampgrounds of America location in North America. Directories have also been shipped directly to the home of campers who are members of the KOA Value Kard Rewards program.

The 2011 KOA Directory includes complete descriptions of all 474 KOA locations in North America, as well as detailed driving directions and locator maps. Each campground listing includes a Microsoft Tag that will take campers directly online to view additional content about each campground, such as photographs, videos and up-to-date “Hot Deals” at each park.

“We chose the Microsoft Tag technology because we are quickly able to change a Tag’s destination on the internet, if need be,” Gast said. “Tags allow us to keep the experience fresh for our campers. This is just the beginning of the blending of our printed Directory and our online content.”

In the next few weeks, KOA will be adding a digital, downloadable edition of the 2011 KOA Directory to its KOA.com website.

“This will give our campers a paperless alternative to the printed Directory,” Gast said. “They will be able to download all 250 pages of the Directory right to their computers or mobile devices, and take it with them on their travels.”

Kampgrounds of America, founded on the banks of the Yellowstone River in 1962, is now the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds. KOA has 475 locations in the United States and Canada. You can follow KOA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KOAKampgrounds.

More information about how Microsoft Tag can power digital marketing is available at http://tag.microsoft.com. People can follow the Tag community on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/microsofttag or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/microsofttag.

March events at the Detroit Institute of Art

So Much to Choose from in March at Detroit Institute of Arts – Japanese Girl’s Day, Movies and More
Artist demonstrations, live music, Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries also part of the fun

Family performances, potter’s wheel classes and drop-in workshops are just a few of the activities offered in March. Visitors can also enjoy great live music and the exhibitions Fakes, Forgeries, and Mysteries and An Intuitive Eye: André Kertész Photographs, 1914–1969. The exhibition It’s a Zoo in Here! Prints and Drawings of Animals opens March 23.

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

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)
Fridays, 6–9 p.m. – IT’S IN THE BAG! Paper Bag Sculpture: Make a paper bag sculpture using a variety of traditional and non traditional art making materials.
Saturdays, Noon–4 p.m. – Islamic Decoupage: In Islamic culture, the word decoupage refers to works of art that are finely cut from paper or leather. Make a fun version using colorful papers and decorative edged scissors.
Sundays, Noon–4 p.m. – Kites: Create a simple kite using paper, ribbon, string and markers. Then learn some basic kite safety tips.

Friday, March 4
Friday Night Live Music: NOMO: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
This Ann Arbor band’s sound has been called world music, jazz, electronica and Afrobeat. While the music contains elements of all these, their sound owes as much to rock musicians Brian Eno, Can and MIA.

Detroit Film Theatre: Kawasaki’s Rose: 7 p.m.
This film from the Czech Republic looks at the ways the past continues to inform the present, and how success can depend on a single, well-placed morsel of true or false information. In Czech with English subtitles. For a detailed description, visit www.dia.org/dft/schedule.asp. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Samson and Delilah: 9:30 p.m.
Samson and Delilah live in an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes, they are forced to leave home and embark on a journey of survival. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Saturday, March 5
Detroit Film Theatre: The Red Chapel: 4 p.m.
Denmark launches an assault on North Korea in this “must-see-to-believe” documentary that crosses The Colbert Report with Borat. In Danish and Korean with English subtitles. For a detailed description, visit www.dia.org/dft/schedule.asp. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Kawasaki’s Rose: 7 p.m. (see March 4 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Sampson and Delilah: 9:30 p.m. (See March 4 for description)

Family Sunday, March 6
Class: Potter’s Wheel for Adults & Children: (ages 5-8 must be with an adult): 10–11 a.m., 11 a.m.–noon, 1–2 p.m. and 2–3 p.m.
Try the potter’s wheel in this small class for absolute beginners, complete with plenty of individual guidance. Each person gets to use his or her own wheel with one hour of hands-on clay time. Projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Sessions limited to five students. Members $12, non-members $16. To register, email registration@dia.org or call (313) 833-4249.

Artist Demonstration: Japanese Girl’s Day: Noon–4 p.m.
Japanese Girl’s Day (Hinamatsuri) will feature demonstrations of flower arranging (ikebana), tea ceremony, gift-wrapping using furoshiki (traditional wrapping cloths), and kimono sash tying. Hina dolls, ornamental dolls representing royalty, attendants and others in traditional court dress, will also be on display.

Detroit Film Theatre: Kawasaki’s Rose: 2 p.m. (see March 4 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Samson and Delilah: 4:30 p.m. (See March 4 for description)

Friday, March 11
Friday Night Live Music: Gabe Bolkosky and Michelle Cooker: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Violinist Gabriel Bolkosky and pianist Michelle Cooker perform music by Bela Bartok, Camille Saint-Saens, Claude Debussy and Johannes Brahms. Bolkosky is equally at home with jazz and classical, klezmer, Nuevo tango and contemporary classical music. Cooker has performed for concert series and participated in festivals throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Lecture: Velázquez’s Trips to Italy: 6:30 p.m.
With an extraordinary intellectual background and a superior painting technique, Diego Velázquez was a unique master in 17th-century Spain. Painter to King Philip IV and his courtier, Velázquez traveled twice to Italy under the auspices of the Spanish: the first time to study, and the second time to acquire art for the royal collection. Salvador Salort-Pons, associate curator of European paintings, explores Velázquez’s life in Italy and the crucial influence of Italian art on both his work and the king’s collection.

Detroit Film Theatre: Marwencol: 7 p.m.
Mark Hogancamp suffered brain damage and severe injuries from a brutal attack, and when he came out of a coma, had little memory of his previous life. He could not afford therapy, so he created his own by building “Marwencol,” a 1/6th scale town populated with dolls of friends, family and his attackers. Through photographs, he turned the figures into characters in an epic story of longing, jealousy and revenge, with his alter ego as the hero. When a prestigious art gallery discovered his photos, his homemade therapy suddenly became “Art,” forcing him to choose between the safety of his fictional town and the real world. For a detailed description, visit www.dia.org/dft/schedule.asp.Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Family Sunday, March 13
Artist Demonstration: Painting: Noon–4 p.m.
Artist Julie Sabit depicts the natural gestures of people relating to each other and their surroundings. She especially prefers those engaged in outdoor, leisure-time activities such as resting on a beach, flying kites or fishing. She often travels and upon returning home tries to recapture the flavor of the people and places she’s seen.

Classes: Sample It!: (ages 5–8 with an adult): Noon–4 p.m.
Join us in the studio anytime between noon and 4 p.m. where two projects await you. Make a terracotta clay pot or try your hand at a simple printmaking technique using water soluble inks. Clay projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Stay as long as you like. Members $12, non-members $16. To register, email registration@dia.org or call (313) 833-4249.

Lecture: The Africans of India: History, Culture, and the Arts: 2 p.m.
Africans in India, known as Siddis, have lived and worked in India for almost 2000 years, contributing to the culture and arts in countless ways. Henry John Drewal, professor of art history at the University of Wisconsin, discusses the African individuals and communities that helped shape the history and culture of India from the 17th century to the present.

Detroit Film Theatre: Marwencol: 2 p.m. (see March 11 for description)

Friday, March 18
Friday Night Live Music: Chinese White Bicycles, Robyn Hitchcock and Joe Boyd: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Legendary record producer and author Joe Boyd collaborates with musical icon Robyn Hitchcock on memories and music from rock music’s golden days. Boyd will read from his book White Bicycles, which chronicles the days when he was producing music by Pink Floyd, Nick Drake and Fairport Convention, while Hitchcock performs songs by these artists.

Lecture: Jinns, Images of Jinns and Medicine in Contemporary Yemen: 6:30 p.m.
Magical medicine is used in some traditional parts of the Islamic world to confront three principal causes of diseases: the evil eye, sorcery and jinns (genies). A manuscript found in Yemen contains rare images of kings from various jinn tribes that are more than mere illustrations. Anne Regourd, researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, demonstrates that these images represent part of magical texts used for chasing away jinns in cases where individuals are thought to be possessed.

Detroit Film Theatre: Poetry: 7 p.m.
Mija, a proper, 60-ish woman facing a difficult medical diagnosis, undergoes an unexpected and remarkable transformation after taking a poetry class. Living with her sullen, adolescent grandson, Mija is awaiting inspiration from her muses when she comes to a realization about the boy, and decides to take action. In Korean with English subtitles. For a detailed description, visit www.dia.org/dft/schedule.asp. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Kawasaki’s Rose: 9:30 p.m. (see March 4 for description)

Saturday, March 19
Detroit Film Theatre: The Cameraman: 4 p.m.
Buster Keaton reached a pinnacle with his 1928 The Cameraman, one of his last silent films and one of his best. For a detailed description, visit www.dia.org/dft/schedule.asp. Free with museum admission and for DIA members; $5 for general public without museum admission.

Detroit Film Theatre: Poetry: 7 p.m. (see March 18 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Kawasaki’s Rose: 9:30 p.m. (see March 4 for description)

Family Sunday, March 20
Class: Potter’s Wheel Workshop (adults only): 1–4 p.m.
Enjoy an introductory potter’s wheel experience in this hands-on class that includes individual guidance and demonstrations. Projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Class size limited to 12 students. Members $36, non-members $48. To register, email registration@dia.org or call (313) 833-4249.

Family Performance: Dragon Feathers: 2 p.m.
The Melikin Puppet Theatre presents their widely acclaimed production of Dragon Feathers, a delightful collection of the myths, legends, fables and history of dragons. Host Merlin the Magician will present humorous and informative presentations on dragons, then tell three of his favorite dragon stories through the art of the puppet.

Detroit Film Theatre: Poetry: 2 p.m. (see March 18 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Kawasaki’s Rose: 4:30 p.m. (see March 4 for description)

Friday, March 25
Friday Night Live Music: Uncommon Temperament: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
Uncommon Temperament is a collective of musicians that brings a bold new approach to performing Baroque music. They are known for their daring programming and historically accurate performances in unique venues.

Lecture: They Are All Indispensable: The Ubiquitous Nature of Printed Images: 7 p.m.
Endi Poskovic, associate professor of art at University of Michigan, employs classic Japanese techniques to make woodcuts, invoking influences as disparate as devotional pictures, early cinema and Eastern European propaganda posters. He speaks about his interest in issues of displacement, shifting cultural identities, environmental transformation and alienation, which he often couches in scenes reminiscent of youthful whimsy and playful fantasy.

Detroit Film Theatre: Twelve Thirty: 7 p.m.
Twelve Thirty is about the emotional dynamics of relationships, the roles of its characters as manipulators and seducers, and the exact point at which the lines between right and wrong begin to blur. Friday’s performance will be followed by a Q and A with director Jeff Lipsky. For a detailed description, visit www.dia.org/dft/schedule.asp. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students, $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Poetry: 10 p.m. (see March 18 for description)

Saturday, March 26
Class: Mysteries of Paint Revealed: (ages 8 and older with an adult): 9:30 a.m.–Noon
Get a mini-CSI lesson, DIA style. First, explore color mixing and expressive brush work while painting on canvas in the art studio, then take a walk through the galleries with one an art expert and see how artists from different times and places used paint. Finally, get a behind-the-scenes peek at the DIA’s conservation lab and see how conservators learn about and take care of museum paintings. Class size limited to 12 students. Members: $14 each or $42 for a family of four;, individual non-members $16 or $50 for a family of four. To register, email registration@dia.org or call (313) 833-4249.

Detroit Film Theatre: The Battleship Potemkin: 4 p.m.
This 1925 film from the USSR depicts a 1905 mutiny over intolerable shipboard conditions—one that sparked more uprisings, culminating in the Russian Revolution. It reinvented the art of editing and redefined its power. For a detailed description, visit www.dia.org/dft/schedule.asp. Free with museum admission and for DIA members; $5 for general public without museum admission.

Detroit Film Theatre: Twelve Thirty: 7 p.m. (see March 25 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Poetry: 9:30 p.m. (see March 18 for description)

Family Sunday, March 27
Storytelling: Dawn Daniels: 2 p.m.
Dawn Daniels brings to life tales of gutsy girls and some wild, wacky and wise women.

Detroit Film Theatre: Twelve Thirty: 2 p.m. (see March 25 for description)

Detroit Film Theatre: Poetry: 4:30 p.m. (see March 18 for description)

Thursday, March 31
Lecture: Andrea Zittel: 7 p.m.
Andrea Zittel blurs the lines between art and life as she creates modular living spaces and clothing that reconsider our domestic environments. Zittel explores the human need for order, noting that architectural space reflects social organization and contemporary perceptions of freedom and personal liberation.

About the Detroit Institute of Art
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.

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 ages 62+, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

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.

School groups, youth groups invited to apply for Illinois Youth Conservation Congress

2nd annual event planned for May 15 at Brookfield Zoo

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will host the second annual Youth Conservation Congress on Sunday, May 15 at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield. The IDNR is inviting school and youth group members to apply online to participate in the session.

“The Youth Conservation Congress is a great opportunity for high school age youth in Illinois to come together to share ideas and to learn about ways to become better stewards of the natural wonders of our state,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.

Applicants for the Youth Conservation Congress should be enrolled in an Illinois high school during the current 2010-2011 school year and should be participants in conservation-related school and/or youth groups. A maximum of two group leaders and five students may register from each school or organization.

Students and leaders will have the opportunity to showcase their achievements, as well as learn about
many youth-related conservation activities. Leaders will be encouraged to join the Youth Conservation
Congress Committee. Input provided by discussion groups will aid the IDNR in reaching more youth
organizations and will result in better coordination among these groups statewide.

School group and youth group members interested in applying may do so through the IDNR website at this link: http://www.dnr.state.il.us/nrab/ycc.htm. A 500-word paper outlining the group’s conservation
achievements is required to apply. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by April 1.

For more information on the Youth Conservation Congress, contact the IDNR Division of Education at
(217) 524-4126 or dnr.teachkids@illinois.gov.

Public Comment Invited on Wildlife Issues

Open houses will be on first Saturday in March

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife invites the public to its annual open houses on Saturday, March 5, from noon until 3 p.m. Open houses are scheduled for the same day and time in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay and Xenia.

“Anyone interested in providing input and participating in Ohio's professional wildlife management process is welcome,” said Vicki J. Mountz, acting chief of the Division of Wildlife. Mountz added that at each open house location, fish and wildlife biologists along with law enforcement officers will be on hand to answer questions.

This year’s topics include fishery management changes for the Ohio River. Season dates and bag limits of game species will be available, which will include Ohio’s most popular game animal, the white-tailed deer.

Public input gathered at these open houses will be forwarded to the division's central office in Columbus, and considered during the formulation of regulations.

For more information or directions to the open houses, visit the Division of Wildlife’s Web site at wildohio.com or call 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).

A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 10 at the Division of Wildlife’s District One office, located at 1500 Dublin Road in Columbus. This hearing is open to the public and input is permitted within specific time limits.

After considering public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules during its April 6 meeting.

March 5 Open House Location Information
  • Central Ohio- Wildlife District One Office, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, (614) 644-3925 
  • Northwest Ohio- Wildlife District Two Office, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, (419) 424-5000 
  • Northeast Ohio- Wildlife District Three Office, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, (330) 644-2293 
  • Southeast Ohio- Wildlife District Four Office, 360 E. State Street, Athens, (740) 589-9930 
  • Southwest Ohio- Greene County Fish and Game Club, 1538 Union Road, Xenia, (937) 372-9261

Two more Oakland County (Mich.) parks environmentally certified

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Lyon Oaks County Park and Red Oaks Waterpark received certification by the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program in recognition of environmental achievement. Oakland County has the only county parks certified in Michigan, including Groveland Oaks County Park, the first certified park in the state.

Also MTESP certified are Glen Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Springfield Oaks, Red Oaks and White Lake Oaks golf courses.

The MTESP designation assures that parks and golf courses comply with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality requirements for facilities maintenance and management.

“Participation in the MTESP certification program has been a staff-driven effort that allowed Oakland County Parks and Recreation to assure environmental compliance and value-added natural resources management at five golf courses and three park facilities,” Natural Resources Planner Brittany Bird said. “Staff efforts and achievements under the MTESP program reflect its strive for excellence in operations.”

Program participation encourages “above and beyond” management activities for pollution prevention, such as: running parks equipment on bio-diesel fuel to improve protect the environment; installing vegetative buffers around site water features to decrease the amount of fuel used to maintain park property and allow for natural plant progression; using “green” cleaning products at all parks; and maintaining vegetative wildlife corridors.

MTESP organizes efforts of the turfgrass industry, state agencies, Michigan State University and environmental advocacy groups to advance the environmental stewardship of the turfgrass industry and recognize environmental achievements.

For more stewardship information, visit DestinationOakland.com or find us on Facebook.

Ohio’s 'Turn-in-a-Poacher' program provides rewards

Hotline number now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week

COLUMBUS, OH- Eight Ohioans recently received a combined $2,420 in rewards for reporting wildlife violations to the Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. As a result of these calls, 31 people were convicted of poaching wildlife, including white-tailed deer and wild turkeys, and fined a total of $20,621 by Ohio courts.

The TIP program encourages individuals to anonymously report wildlife violations by calling 1-800-POACHER (800-762-2437). This number is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tips can also be sent via the Internet at ohiotip.com.

Since the program began in 1982, more than $128,993 has been awarded to callers who provided vital information about state wildlife violations. Those calls helped lead to the arrest and conviction of 1,560 poachers and the collection of $623,381 in fines and an additional $169,654 in restitution.

The average TIP call results in the conviction of two wildlife violators and a fine of $674 for those convicted, according to Division of Wildlife records. For each dollar paid in rewards, $6.20 has been returned to the Division of Wildlife for management and enforcement.

Turn In a Poacher Inc. is a private, non-profit corporation that oversees the payment of rewards from calls generated from the public to 1-800 POACHER, which is administered through the Division of Wildlife. Program volunteers, representing the state’s five wildlife districts, meet on a regular basis to review tips received and determine award amounts based on the corporation's bylaws.

Ohio’s TIP program continues to help curtail wildlife violations across the state. Citizens can help, not only by providing tips, but also by making a donation to the reward fund. Donations can be addressed to: TIP Headquarters, ODNR Division of Wildlife, 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693.

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 ohiodnr.com.

Oakland County (Mich.) Parks and Recreation approves $150,000 in recreation grants

OAKLAND COUNTY – The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission approved $150,000 to support the 2011 Recreation Assistance Partnership at its Feb. 2 meeting.

Initiated in 1982, the program grants recreation opportunities and experiences including mobile recreation unit visits and bus transportation. The program is open to Oakland County’s cities, villages and townships, community parks and recreation departments, school districts, downtown development authorities, non-profit organizations and groups in underserved areas in Oakland County.

“This granting tool allows Oakland County Parks and Recreation to bring its services to communities to assist them with events, programs and overall recreation services,” Chief of Recreation Terry Fields said.

The grants will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Mobile units include Get Outdoors! ADVENTURES, Puppet Mobile, Bouncer, Mini Festival, and nature education.

Bus transportation may be used for trips to and from the Wint Nature Center at Independence Oaks County Park, Waterford Oaks Waterpark, Red Oaks Waterpark, seven day-use parks and designated golf courses.

For more information, visit DestinationOakland.com or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/ocparks.

Craft Beers and Spring Skiing on Tap at Boyne Highlands’ 2nd Annual Brew-Ski Festival

HARBOR SPRINGS, Michigan. – Boyne Highlands’ second annual Brew-Ski Festival on Saturday, March 12 features over 100 craft beers, music, brats on the grill, sun soaking and a day of spring skiing.

Craft brewers throughout Michigan and beyond gather in a large tent at the base of the slopes to serve up samples of their premium brews at this outdoor festival. A massive ice bar serves as center stage from which pale ales, stouts, porters, lagers and wheat beers are delivered for tasting. Sampling tickets are $2 each and good for 4-ounce pours. Participating breweries include Short's Brewing Co., Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing Co., North Peak Brewing Co., Ann Arbor Brewing Co., Arcadia Ales, among others. For a complete list, visit www.BOYNE.com.

Tasting is available 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and admission to the tent is free. The slopes are open for skiing and snowboarding from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and event goers can roam in and out of the tented area. Following the outdoor fun, the party continues at the resort’s legendary Zoo Bar where live music can be heard by the Aaron Vaughn Band.

A Brew-Ski Festival weekend package offering a Friday night hors d’oeuvres reception, two nights’ hotel lodging, breakfast daily, a Saturday and Sunday lift ticket, t-shirt, pint glass and five drink tickets starts at $233 per person.

For reservations and more information, please call 800.GO.BOYNE (462-6963) or visit www.BOYNE.com.

BOYNE is a collection of mountain and golf resorts, retail stores and real estate opportunities based in Michigan. Each of the collection is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions and includes Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls; Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs and The Inn at Bay Harbor - A Renaissance Golf Resort in Bay Harbor as well as Bay Harbor Golf Club, Crooked Tree Golf Club, Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, Boyne Country Sports and Boyne Realty. With countless lodging and meeting facilities, eight championship golf courses, premiere snowsports terrain, two spas, distinctive dining, spectacular events and Michigan's largest indoor waterpark, the question becomes......what are you up for? For more information on BOYNE, please visit www.BOYNE.com.

'My Tale of Two Cities' coming to Detroit Institute of Art Feb. 26

"My Tale of Two Cities," a funny and hopeful comeback story, makes it Detroit premiere at 4 p.m., Feb. 26 at the Detroit Institute of Art, followed by a special conversation afterwards with the film's director "St. Elmo's Fire" screenwriter and "Saved By The Bell" writer/producer Carl Kurlander on communities reinventing themselves.

Visit www.dia.org to buy tickets now.

With humor and heart, the film tells the tale of the inspiring recent resurgence of the city of Pittsburgh, which built America with its steel, conquered polio, and invented everything aluminum and the Big Mac, but after years of struggle after the decline of the steel industry, has now comeback and reinvented itself. It is told through the personal journey of St. Elmo's Fire screenwriter Kurlander, who moved back from Hollywood to teach at the University of Pittsburgh, only to find both himself and his hometown in mid-life crisis. "My Tale of Two Cities" proves not only that you can go home again, but that each of us can make a difference in the place where we live.

There are obvious parallels between Pittsburgh and Detroit, which have been often written about in pieces in Newsweek, Detroit 2020, and Michigan NPR, and because "My Tale of Two Cities" uses the metaphor of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" with Pittsburgh being Fred Rogers' hometown where he showed us all factories which made things - many of which are no longer there - it has been called not a "Roger & Me", but a "Mr. Rogers & Me", as occurs in this funny scene between Kurlander and comedian Louie Anderson.

To see the trailer for the movie, clips of Steeler Franco Harris, and folks from Times Square to Beverly Hills singing "Won't You Be My Neighbor?," visit www.mytaleoftwocities.com.

When St. Elmo's Fire screenwriter and Saved By The Bell producer Carl Kurlander left Los Angeles for what he thought would be a one year Hollywood sabbatical to teach at the University of Pittsburgh, little did he think the journey would land him as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show on a program about people who had changed their lives, much less inspire a feature documentary. But shortly after Kurlander told Oprah how happy he and his wife were raising their daughter in Pittsburgh - the real-life "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" where Mister Rogers had produced his TV show for 40 years, Pittsburgh and America's favorite neighbor Fred Rogers passed away and the City of Pittsburgh went bankrupt. With both himself and his hometown in a mid-life crisis, Kurlander set out on a Don Quixote quest to make a film to help the city he had grown up in.

Armed with a cranky cameraman, funded by his dermatologist, and often battling his wife, who longs to return to the sunny West Coast, Carl asks his neighbors from the famous (Steeler Franco Harris, Teresa Heinz Kerry) to the not-so-famous (his old gym teacher, the girl who inspired St. Elmo's Fire) how this once great industrial giant, which built America with its steel, conquered polio, and invented everything from aluminum to the Big Mac, can reinvent itself for a new age.

Kurlander goes cheese shopping with Teresa Heinz Kerry where they discuss her late husband John Heinz's belief that sometimes your worst problems can become your greatest opportunities; tosses a football with legendary Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris; visits with Andy Warhol's nephew at a local scrapyard, and goes fishing in Pittsburgh's once polluted rivers with his brother actor Tom Kurlander and, after eating a catfish, consults with famed coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht to find out if they will live. Along the way, the film documents one of the most inspiring urban comebacks in recent history as, during the course of filming, Pittsburgh went from the brink of bankruptcy to being the home of "Google Pittsburgh," hosting the G-20 Economic Summit where it was called "model for the future" and named in 2010 "America's Most Livable City."

Producer Stephanie Dangel has often described this film not as a "Roger & Me", but a "Mister Rogers & Me" - a feel-good movie which explores whether you can go home again and how all of us can make a difference in the communities where we live.

Wildlife Biologists verify more than 100 Bobcat sightings in Ohio

Increased evidence of bobcats living in Ohio’s southeastern counties continues with the confirmation of 106 sightings by state wildlife officials during 2010, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The reports show an increase from the 92 verified sightings in 2009.

The bobcat is listed as an endangered species in Ohio and protected by state law.

The bobcat was found throughout Ohio during early settlement, but as land was converted for crops and communities the bobcat’s population declined. By 1850, the animal could no longer be found living in the state. A handful of unverified sightings in the 1960s marked the bobcat’s unofficial return to Ohio. Since 1970, state wildlife biologists have verified 464 bobcat sightings in 33 counties.

Verification of the elusive bobcat includes photographs of the animal and its tracks; encounters through incidental trapping, from which animals are later released; recovery of road kill and sightings by Division of Wildlife personnel. The majority of the 2010 verified reports occurred in Noble County and the immediate surrounding counties.

In an effort to further clarify estimated populations, ongoing Division of Wildlife research is currently utilizing scent stations and remote cameras for observation in several locations throughout southeast Ohio.

These efforts have been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off program and by the purchase of cardinal license plates. Individuals wanting to donate can also make an online contribution at wildohio.com.

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 ohiodnr.com.

Hollywood Landmark Pink’s To Open at Cedar Point This Summer

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Labeled as the “Hot Dog To The Stars,” Pink’s, a Hollywood legend for more than 71 years, will serve its special brand of hot dogs and chili dogs this summer at Cedar Point amusement park/resort in Sandusky, Ohio.

This will be the first Pink’s franchise east of Las Vegas. Last summer, Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, Calif., was the first Cedar Fair Entertainment Company park to operate a Pink’s on its property.

World renown for its premium gourmet hot dogs, chili dogs, onion rings and fresh toppings, Pink’s has an impressive Who’s Who list of famous Hollywood stars and dignitaries who have frequented the original Pink’s in Hollywood. Among its customers are Betty White, Ryan Seacrest, Adam Sandler, Bill Cosby, Martha Stewart, Jay Leno and Bobby Flay.

In 2010, the Obama girls: First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, and an entourage of 14 other people stopped in for lunch.

It has also been featured on The View, The Martha Stewart Show, The Throw Down with Bobby Flay, The Travel Channel, the Food Network and the Discovery Channel.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce Pink’s to a new area of the country,” said Richard Pink, son of Paul and Betty Pink, who first opened Pink’s in 1939. “Our premium hot dogs and chili dogs prepared with fresh toppings will become an instant favorite of park guests.”

In addition to its world-famous hot dogs, chili dogs and onion rings, Pink’s at Cedar Point will also serve mild or spicy Polish dogs, Brooklyn Pastrami swiss cheese dogs, Coleslaw dogs, plus hamburgers, cheeseburgers and French fries.

“Pink’s will be a very popular addition to the food offerings at Cedar Point,” said Gary Gochenour, Cedar Point’s Director of Food Services. “Its gourmet hot dogs, chili dogs and onion rings made fresh will have a huge appeal to all of our guests.”

Pink’s at Cedar Point will be located just off the main midway right next to Toft’s Ice Cream Parlor. Guests will order inside and be able to watch as their food is prepared in front of them just the way they want it. Seating will be available inside or on the outdoor patio.

The original Pink’s, opened 71 years ago at the corner of North La Brea and Melrose avenues in Los Angeles, was no more than a pushcart with a very long extension cord that was plugged into a hardware store a block away. In 1946, the operation expanded into its current building at the same location.

For additional information about Pink’s, please visit pinkshollywood.com, Cedar Point’s web site at www.cedarpoint.com or call the park’s General Information Line at 419.627.2350.

The Detroit Camper & RV Show

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So here's the deal. I didn't get to the Detroit RV & Camper Show Thursday or today, Friday. I won't be able to go tomorrow, and I probably won't be able to go on Sunday. The two hours I spent at the show with my dad on Wednesday will be all I'm able to spend at the show this year.

To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. I live for these shows.

But it can't be helped. I'm simply way too busy to spend five days at an RV show that is an hour's drive from me. Work combined with helping out backstage for my daughter's high school musical has me working from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. With more rehearsals this weekend and all the stuff around the house that needs my attention, my grand plans of going to the RV show all five days are long gone.

At least the two hours I did spend were worthwhile. My dad and I looked at a handful of RVs, including the Fleetwood Terra and its Hide-A-Loft feature, the completely brand new Holiday Rambler Trip motor home and the Keystone Raptor Velocity Fifth Wheel featuring a Rear Patio System. There were a handful of others we liked, including some of the new ultra lightweight Sunset Trails campers by Crossroads RVs. Since I own a hybrid (Trail Lite Bantam) and my dad owns an Outback travel trailer, we also sought out other hybrids and Outbacks, too.

For this post I'll talk about the Terra, Trip and Raptor Velocity, and leading off will be the Terra.

I've always liked motor homes. My wife and I picture ourselves in Class A or C once the kids have grown up and moved out. The Fleetwood Terra would be just the kind of motor home we'd be interested in. What I liked about the Terra was its efficient use of space, that nothing seemed "cheap," the split L-shaped galley and the Hide-A-Loft, a motorized queen bed over the cab. Actually, the Hide-A-Loft is an option on a few other Fleetwood models, including the Class C Tioga. Fleetwood manufacturers representative Keith Packard said the Hide-A-Loft was an instant hit when it was first introduced late last year, and are so popular this year that "he can't build them fast enough." While he was talking to us, two families with kids came inside, and the kids had no problems climbing up into the Hide-A-Loft. Cargo netting meant the kids would not roll off into the windshield, and a flat screen TV easily swung out of the way when the bed was in motion.

What I liked about the L-shaped split galley is that you still had everything you needed in a galley, but in a compact setting that didn't seem cramped. Essentially, a double sink with upper and lower cabinets was one side of the L, while the oven, range and vented microwave were in a neat little stack in a slideout, along with a sofa-bed couch, perpendicular to the sink and cabinets. The refrigerator was opposite the slideout, right next to the mid-coach entry.

The all-new Holiday Rambler Trip is said to be a 15 mpg Class A motor home, although I could find no literature to support this. The Holiday Rambler website doesn't specify its mileage ratings either, other than to say the Trip is equipped with a MaxxForce 7 6.4 liter V8 engine, capable of 260 maximum horsepower and 660 pounds of torque.

The Trip was nice and I'm sure it handled well. If we had more time to spend inside it, giving it more than a quick glimpse, I'm sure we'd have been more impressed than what we were. But we reached the Trip at the tail end of our stay, so we had to leave much sooner than we would have liked. I guess you could say the Trip was the end of our trip.

The Raptor Velocity was a huge fifth wheel that getting a ton of attention. Larry See of A&S Sales had the Velocity set up at the entrance to his dealership's display area, with the Rear Patio System unfolded and on display right off the main center aisle. It caught everyone's eye, and more people than not stopped for a closer inspection.

The Velocity was a triple-axle toy hauler but, as Larry said, the toy hauler segment is starting to evolve. The Velocity's version of that evolution is the Rear Patio. The back door of the RV hinges down to become a ramp for whatever toys you have on board. But, the same door can be affixed in a position level to the ground, fencing put in place on its edges and an electronic awning raised over it. Presto! Instant Rear Patio. The garage end of the RV can also be outfitted with an optional U-shaped dinette, which becomes a bed, as well as another, more modest, bed overhead. Both are lifted up and out of the way with a flip of a switch, turning the heated garage and Rear Patio into one very fine party room. There's even a half bath accessible from the garage.

Well, so there you have it. Two hours is way too short to spend at an RV show that features over 250 campers and motor homes. But I should be thankful that at least I had two hours.

New Internet travel site promises free, user-friendly planning experience

MJ Guides promotes local businesses and economy, while launching new free customized travel guide and service

MJGuides.com, one of the fastest growing internet travel sites, has officially launched its new internet based travel planning tool, Custom Travel Guides. This new service allows business and leisure travelers to browse listings for their destination, and as they find one that they like literally pull it into a personal travel guide. When they are done browsing the flight, hotel, restaurant, transportation, shopping, attraction, nightlife and entertainment options they simply click a button and their personalized travel guide containing their flight information, and business selections will appear. Each guide will also include the weather for their trip, airport maps and more.

Best of all this service is absolutely free, and allows users to save their travel guide so it can be viewed, or printed out, at any time. The guide can also be accessed from any phone or handheld PDA that has web access.

Currently, MJ Guides offers the service for approximately 600 locations across the United States, and has plans to establish guides for Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. Whether it’s a one day business trip or a 10 day family vacation the guides can be built directly on the company’s website www.mjguides.com , absolutely free.

In honor of the launch of its custom travel guides, MJ Guides is also offering free listings to the first 250,000 businesses that want to be included in these guides. The company is promoting this option as its 250,000 listings in 250 days campaign, where any business owner or General Manager can go to the site and add their business(es) directly to the databases. Providing these listings at no cost is expected to help small and large businesses reach out to these much needed customers prior to their arrival.

At the time of this release, MJ Guides had already received 49,026 new listings, putting it well ahead of its 250-day goal. In addition, MJ Guides has also established an aggressive recruiting campaign to establish local Sales Contractors in each of its 600 markets. These contractors will have the ability to create their own work schedules, and MJ Guides hopes that this flexibility will make jobs available to those that may not qualify for other jobs in this tight market because they are stay-at-home parents that can only work during school hours, unemployed individuals that need to earn extra money to get by, students and more. Applicants can apply for roles by going to the company’s website, www.mjguides.com and clicking on the careers link at the top of the home page.

Finally, as MJ Guides establishes strong local ties within each community, it intends to launch individual sites for each area. These sites will drive even more tourism dollars to the area, while promoting local businesses. The first of these sites, www.besthawaiisite.com, was launched on Jan. 15 and is dedicated to promoting Hawaii by linking users directly to MJ Guides Hawaiian listings, as well as allowing them to plan the perfect Hawaiian getaway. In the first weeks the site has received over 800 HI business listings and created numerous custom travel guides. MJ Guides hopes that these specific sites will generate even more interest in local tourism and more importantly help boost these local economies.

More than 150 Ohio Black Bear sightings reported in 2010

A total of 164 black bear sightings were reported in Ohio last year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. Of that number, state wildlife personnel confirmed 64 of those sightings, an increase compared to the 51 confirmed sightings in 2009.

I remember the first, and only, time I've ever seen a black bear. It was the early spring of 1993. I was working for The Daily Mining Gazette, a newspaper in the Keweenaw Peninsula way up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I had heard that black bears were being spotted near the local grocery store in town, so I went to take a look.

I casually drove into the grocery store parking lot and found about a dozen other vehicles parked way off to the side, nowhere near the front doors to the store. People were still in their vehicles, all facing the same direction — the store's Dumpsters.

Sure enough, right around dusk two very small black bears emerged from the nearby tree line. Very slowly, their gait almost laughably uncoordinated, the bears made their way down the short hill from the tree line to the Dumpsters. Eventually, they made their way to the destination, easily opened the lids and rummaged through the bins. Once in a while one would stick its head up to see what was going on, but that about it. After 20 minutes of this, I grew bored enough that I had seen enough.

So I left. And that was it. I wish the story was the stuff of legend, growing more exciting with each telling. But that's all there was to it.


Anyways, on to the rest of the Ohio DNR's report…

The confirmed sightings of 2010 occurred in 23 different counties and involved an estimated 31 different black bears, the Division of Wildlife reported.

Most of the reported bear sightings were in northeastern and south-central counties. Athens and Portage counties led the state reporting 13 sightings each.

Sightings occurred in every month of 2010 except January and December. The majority of bears were reported May through August, which is the peak of black bear breeding and dispersal of young male bears.

Twenty-nine of the 164 sightings involved damage or nuisance behavior, such as damage to bird feeders, beehives and garbage containers. An estimated 19 individual bears were involved in these cases.

Across the state there were eight reported sightings of sows with cubs and two sightings of lone cubs.

For comparison, in 2009 state wildlife officials confirmed 51 of a total 119 black bear sightings. The confirmed sightings were in 21 counties and involved about 31 different black bears. A record 165 bear sightings was reported in 2002.

The Division of Wildlife began formally keeping records of black bear observations in 1993. Since that time, bears have been reported in 58, and confirmed in 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

The black bear is listed as endangered in Ohio and protected by state law.

Efforts to monitor the black bear have been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off program and by the purchase of cardinal license plates. Individuals wanting to donate to the fund can also donate online at wildohio.com

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 ohiodnr.com.

Detroit Camper & RV Show: Day 1

It's 8 a.m. the morning after the first day of the Detroit Camper & RV Show. I'm only now able to write and post this because if one very long day yesterday. And, as long as it was, I was only to spend about two hours at the RV show.

That 120 minutes was just a way-too-brief tease. I cannot wait until I go back to the RV show later this afternoon.

The entire Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi is filled to capacity with brand new RVs. And by the time I got there, about one hour after it officially opened at 2 p.m., the place was crawling with people. It was kind of like a big RV grocery store, and the aisles were filled with people meandering from one RV to the next.

My first order of business was to meet up with Bill Sheffer, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds, which is the sponsoring host of the show. Bill, as always, was very upbeat about the RV industry and the show in particular. He pointed out a few RVs I should take a look at, and he casually mentioned that within the first handful of minutes of the show's opening, at least one RV dealer had said he already had a few people filling out credit applications, ready to make a purchase. Bill also said he ran into one banking representative, who said upper management was loosening the purse strings and his bank was making $80 million available for RV loans.

All good news for the RV industry, and for people looking to get into their first RV — or upgrade to a better one.

I'll admit, my first tour of the show floor was just a meandering stroll. I was saving my more in depth inspection for a later date. But, some of the things that caught my eye were manufacturers continuing to add more amenities and features into lighter and lighter RVs. Expect to see more small SUVs and minivans pulling something other than pop-ups when out on the road this summer!

That's all I got for now. I hope to have much more details on some of the best and brightest RVs in the next post.

Ohio's Bald Eagles Begin Incubating Eggs

OAK HARBOR, OH- Ohio's bald eagle nesting season is under way with at least two eagle pairs already incubating eggs, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

An eagle pair in Huron County began sitting on eggs January 30. Wildlife biologists anticipate the Huron County eggs will hatch sometime on or around March 6. A second active nest has been reported in Ashtabula County.

Ohio's bald eagle population grew from only four nesting pairs along the southwestern Lake Erie shore 31 years ago, to 180 eagle nests in 2010. In 2010, 207 eaglets were produced.

The Division of Wildlife staff and a dedicated group of trained volunteers monitor existing nests during the season and continue to look for nests that may as yet be undiscovered.

Anyone who observes eagles building a new nest should contact the county wildlife officer, a wildlife district office, 1-800-WILDLIFE or wildohio.com. Individuals are reminded that state and federal laws protect bald eagles and their nest sites. Any type of disturbance around a nest could cause the birds to abandon the site or discourage them from using the nest in the future.

Bald eagles range over great distances until mature enough to breed at 3 to 4 years of age. They usually return to nest within 100 miles of where they were raised. Although eagles generally keep the same mate, if one of the pair should die the other will find another mate. An eagle's life span in the wild is about 15 to 20 years.

Bald eagles build huge nests in the tops of tall trees near water, often reusing the nest year after year. Nests may reach 10 feet in diameter and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. Eagles lay two to three eggs once a year. The eggs hatch in about 35 days.

The young will fly within three months, but remain under the care of the adults for another seven to 10 weeks. Immature eagles are mottled brown in color and do not acquire their signature white head and tail feathers until age 5 or 6.

The Division of Wildlife initiated the state's bald eagle restoration program in 1979. The program is partially funded by donations to the state income tax check-off for Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species. Contributions to the fund can be made by checking line 25B on the 1040 or line 18B on the1040 EZ 2010 state income tax forms. Donations can also be made via the Internet at wildohio.com.

The program is also funded by the sale of Ohio conservation license plates including the bald eagle and cardinal plates. The license plates can be purchased through a deputy registrar license outlet, on the Internet at OPLATES.com, or by calling the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles at 1-888-PLATES3.

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 ohiodnr.com

Cottage & Lakefront Living Show opens Thursday, Feb. 24 in Novi, Mich.

The Cottage & Lakefront Living Show opens next week, Thursday, Feb. 24 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 27 at the Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi for cottage, lakefront property and vacation homeowners or those looking to buy, build or rent.

“Showgoers will discover that the possibilities are endless when it comes to cottage and lakefront living in Michigan,” said Mike Wilbraham, show producer of ShowSpan, Inc. “Whether you’re looking for the perfect piece of natural artwork, information on keeping a cottage in the family, or how to maintain your shoreline, this fourth annual preseason show is the place to be to make purchases and plans for spring, summer and year-round living.”

Sand Pirate Janet Schrader of Fairy Godmother Services in Lakeside, MI. will share the secrets of sand as she builds a giant medieval sandcastle, teaching how to make towers, doors, windows and stairs and hosting a sandcastle contest. The Beach, a giant sandbox complete with sand and carving tools for creative building by children and adults, will allow you to join the fun and turn a pile of sand into a sand sculpture. Children will also have the opportunity to climb on inflatables and a portable climbing tower at the Cran-Hill Family Zone

The Log and Timber Frame Showcase will include how a cabin is put together, floor plans, profiles, roof options, log species, cedar siding, full logs, post and beam and do-it-yourself or contractor built home packages.

Sharing and keeping the cottage in the family, environmentally sensitive lake practices, bird watching, nature photography, low maintenance gardens, history of water collection, hobbies and other ways to enjoy your cottage more will be explained by the Cottage Living Stage experts.

Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership will provide informal advice and educational materials from Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Michigan Lake & Stream Association and other agencies, organizations, contractors and landscape professionals on shoreline construction projects and natural shoreline landscaping that benefit lake ecosystems and protect Michigan’s inland lakes.

Cottage Living Center will give you the opportunity to relax and work on a community puzzle, put a pin in our oversized Michigan map to show where your cottage is located or read a book selected from the 2011 Essential Cottage Reading List provided by Horizon Books of Traverse City.

Michigan artists at the Cottage Fine Art Show will present wearable art, photography, woodcarvings, watercolors and oil paintings for sale based on nature and wildlife. Decorative and functional accessories will be available for purchase at the Lakefront Marketplace.

Professional photographer Steve Gettle will teach how to improve your digital photo skills with composition, tricks of the trade and nature and outdoor adventure photography classes (complete class selection, additional fee and advance registration information at www.NoviCottageShow.com).

Wildlife Encounters presented by Howell Nature Center will feature native Michigan wildlife that are permanently disabled and cannot be returned to the wild or obtained from licensed captive breeders, during presentations on the wildlife and habitats found in Michigan.

Michigan Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of historic boats will have boats on display. DreamCatcher BoatWorks of Grand Rapids, Mich. will use handcraft building techniques on a lightweight, high performance wood-covered fiberglass custom boat.

The Water & Woods Photo Contest Display will allow you to vote for the best photo that depicts cottage and lakefront living traditions.

Ideas to increase your outdoor living space are incorporated in the landscape displays of fireplaces, cooking options, patios, decks and gardening products. Other exhibits include log, timber frame and cedar homes, cottage rental, architects, cottage furnishings, lakefront homebuilders and realtors, lakeshore maintenance, boats and docks, outdoor recreational equipment, non-profit environmental organizations, government agencies, financing and other products and services. Experts throughout the show will provide tips, advice and knowledge on purchasing, planning, maintenance, financing and landscaping cottages and lakefront properties.

Suburban Collection Showplace (formerly Rock Financial Showplace) is located at 46100 Grand River Ave. between Novi and Beck Road in Novi. Show hours are from 2 – 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10; $4 for children 6-14 and children 5 and under admitted free. Discount coupons for $2 off Thursday or Friday adult admission are available at show’s Web site and at participating Wendy’s restaurants. Free crossover admission from the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show to Outdoorama. On site parking is available for a fee.

Social networkers can follow the show on Twitter http://twitter.com/novicottageshow or become a fan on Facebook http://NoviCottageShow.com/Facebook. For more information, visit www.NoviCottageShow.com or call (800) 328-6550.

Influential Work by Baroque Artists Showcased in Toledo Museum of Art Exhibition

The Fall of the Giants by Salvator Rosa (Italian, 1615–1673).
Etching and drypoint, about1663. Toledo Museum of Art purchase, 1978.38
TOLEDO – A wide range of styles and techniques used by leading European artists to tell stories visually is showcased in The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century, a new exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Approximately 80 etchings, engravings and woodcuts from the Museum’s collection of prints from the 17th century through the early 18th century are on view Feb. 25–July 31, 2011 in the Works on Paper Galleries.

The free exhibition includes prints by such notable artists as Annibale Carracci, Agostino Carracci, Salvator Rosa, Jusepe de Ribera, Claude Lorrain, Christoffel Jegher, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione and Jacques Callot. Many are the same individuals who inspired contemporary Columbian artist Fernando Botero (born 1932), whose work is the focus of the touring exhibition The Baroque World of Fernando Botero that opens later this spring at the Museum.

Tom Loeffler, who organized the print exhibition, noted that the Baroque period, roughly 1600–1750, was inspired by the Catholic Church, which wanted to display realistic images to influence its congregation. Artists responded by creating works of art that show emotion and tell stories in dramatic ways.
In Italy, Baroque works were mainly about religious themes, but in northern Europe, artists focused more on landscapes and scenes from the daily lives of common people, said Loeffler, who is associate curator of works on paper at the Museum.

The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century is made possible by Toledo Museum of Art members and supported in part through the sustainable grant program of the Ohio Arts Council.
An exhibition catalog will be available online at www.toledomuseum.org.

The Baroque World of Fernando Botero, organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandia, Va., will be on display March 19–June 12, 2011 in the Levis Galleries at the Museum. Admission to that exhibition is free for TMA members and children under 6 years of age. Admission for nonmembers is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors ages 65 and over, and $5 for students ages 6 to 22. Reduced rates are available for student and other groups. Tickets can be purchased online beginning one month before the exhibition opening. There is a $1 handling charge for tickets purchased online.

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. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Noon to 6 p.m.; closed Mondays and major holidays. Friday evening hours are made possible by Fifth Third Bank.

Ohio DNR: Chronic Wasting Disease not detected in Ohio deer

Chronic Wasting Disease testing performed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture

For the ninth straight year, testing of Ohio's deer herd has found no evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD), a degenerative brain disease that affects elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife, state and federal agriculture and wildlife officials collected 588 samples last year from hunter-harvested deer from 44 counties, primarily during the deer-gun season that ran November 29 - December 5.

All CWD testing is performed at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA). Additional CWD samples are being taken from road-killed deer, but those test results are not yet available. Sampling continues through April.

In addition to CWD, all 588 samples of the hunter-harvested deer samples were also tested for bovine tuberculosis. Results found no evidence of this disease in Ohio deer.

Since 2002, the Division of Wildlife, in conjunction with ODA's Division of Animal Industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife and Veterinary Services, has been conducting surveillance throughout the state for CWD and bovine tuberculosis. While CWD has never been found in Ohio's deer herd, it had been diagnosed in wild and captive deer, moose or elk in 16 other states and two Canadian provinces. Since CWD was discovered in the western United States in the late 1960s, there has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.

The Division of Wildlife continues to carefully monitor the health of Ohio's wild deer herd throughout the year. For the latest information on CWD, visit wildohio.com or the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance at cwd-info.org . To view individual test results, visit the ODA's Web site at www.agri.ohio.gov.

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 ohiodnr.com.

Things get a little crazy when spring invades Michigan's northwest lower peninsula


A competitor in the spring Slush Cup competition at
Michigan’s Shanty Creek Resort discovers just how cold March
can be when you haven’t worked up enough speed to stay
out of the water. (Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau)
All winter long, the ski hills at Michigan’s Shanty Creek Resort are crowded with earnest, serious skiers trying to get as much use as possible out of their lift tickets.

Until March rolls around. That’s when you start seeing people skiing in halter tops and cutoffs. Ski-jumping over slushy ponds. Racing monster trucks up the hill and racing cardboard pirate ships down. According to Shanty Creek’s Lindsey Southwell, it’s just the way Michiganders cope with March, a month that isn’t really winter and isn’t really spring.

“Spring skiing can get a little weird,” she says. “We’ll be sitting on top of six feet of base, and it’s not going to all melt away because we get some warm sunshiny days, so people just relax and decide to have some fun.”

Shanty Creek has been capitalizing on this what-the-heck attitude for over 40 years; these days the resort’s March calendar is stuffed with outlandish events designed to keep people coming back even after the good powder has disappeared.

The first, on March 5-6, is the celebrated “Slush Cup” – the resort’s most popular winter event --where skiers compete to see you can get up enough speed to make it across a 40-foot pond filled with icy waist-deep water. This bit of insanity draws 50 to 70 contestants and hundreds of spectators even in so-so years, but this spring it’s also the weekend for Shanty Creek’s annual Mardi Gras celebration, so there’ll be lots of other games, parties and music. (And maybe some gumbo to warm those half-frozen pond-skiers.)

This strategy of combining a popular ethnic celebration with spring-fever silliness gets repeated again March 11-13, when the resort pairs its March “Irish Weekend” – remember, St. Patrick’s Day is March 17 – with another of its offbeat promotions: the Cardboard Classic. This downhill race down Schuss Mountain is a free-for-all on homemade sleds; the only rule is that they have to be made entirely out of cardboard, taped or glued.

“It’s amazing to see what people come up with,” says Southwell. “”We’ve had several pirate ships, and last year a team made an entire beer-pong table out of cardboard and rode down on that.”

Traditionally March 19-20 is the last weekend of skiing at Shanty Creek, an benchmark that is always celebrated with a Hawaiian carnival theme. But in the past three years another event has extended the season to the end of the month – in an entirely different way. On March 26-27, skiers give way to truckers in the Schuss Mountain Snow Challenge, a 400-yard uphill race through the snow for off-road trucks and ATVs.

Winter-weary four-wheelers have comer to regard the Snow Challenge as the start of the spring season. It’s a classic side-by-side hill climb race, where anywhere from 80 to 90 vehicles roar their way up the hill for two days. Proceeds from the race are donated to the Disabled American Veterans.

Shanty Creek is a 4,500-acre recreational complex perched above the village of Bellaire, about 30 miles northeast of Traverse City, and is the region’s leading full-service winter resort for skiing, tubing and snowboarding. (Ski Magazine rates it the Midwest’s number-one destination in value, dining, lodging, weather and après ski activities.)

Sprawling across an undulating plateau in Michigan’s Chain of Lakes region, Shanty Creek is actually a complex of three interlocking “villages” -- The Summit, Cedar River, and Schuss -- connected by trail systems and serviced by a reliable shuttle system: Its ski areas feature a 450-foot vertical with 49 runs for every ability level, plus four snowboarding terrain parks and a tubing park. Its other facilities include over 500 rooms, 72 holes of championship golf, a Wellness Spa and over 35,600 square feet of meeting space.

For more information on spring-fever skiing at Shanty Creek, go to their web site at www.shantycreek.com. To learn about other late winter/early spring adventures, activities and attractions in the Traverse City area, contact the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-TRAVERSE or on line at www.TraverseCity.com

Free RV show tickets

Had a great response to the free ticket offer to the Detroit Camper & RV Show. I wish I could give free tickets to all 23 people (so far) who have asked for them, but I only had enough to give to the first 11 people who sent me an email.

If you missed out, you can download a discount coupon by clicking here: http://www.marvac.org/rv-show-coupon-detroit-spring-2011.asp

UPDATE: Woke up this morning to check my email and found another 13 people asking for the free tickets. I hate to disappoint... but they're all gone. A couple of people included little stories about why they're going to the show. One couple said they're now retired so they're looking for a pop-up camper, to tow behind their minivan, and then travel to all the wonderful places in Michigan they've only heard about. Another couple said, they, too have retired and the first thing on their bucket list is a camper.

Gotta love campers!

Some Ohio Boat Registrations Expire March 1

Valid registrations for approximately one-third of Ohio’s 424,700 registered recreational watercraft will expire March 1 and must be renewed before those boats are returned to the water, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft. Registration fees remain unchanged from last year.

The Division of Watercraft encourages boat owners to first check that their pleasure crafts have valid registrations for the upcoming boating season before returning those boats to the water. Recreational boating on state waterways, including the Ohio River and Lake Erie, remains highly popular as Ohio continues to rank among the top 10 states nationally in the number of registered boats. In Ohio last year, Franklin County remained in the top spot with the highest number of registered boats (26,850), followed next by Cuyahoga, Summit, Hamilton and Montgomery counties.

More than $5.5 million is paid annually by Ohio boaters in watercraft registration and titling fees. Boaters also paid $15.1 million in marine fuel taxes in 2010. Recreational boating generates an economic impact for Ohio’s economy previously estimated at $3.5 billion yearly, according to a Great Lakes Commission study.

Boat owners may conveniently renew their watercraft registration online at www.ohiodnr.com/watercraft any time of day. For additional information about registration renewals, alternative registration renewals and general watercraft registration requirements, visit the Division of Watercraft's Web site or call toll-free (within Ohio only) 1-877-4BOATER.

The ODNR Division of Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating programs. The agency oversees watercraft registration and titling operations, provides funding to local communities for education, enforcement and boating access facilities, educates the public, and enforces boating laws on Ohio’s waterways. More information may be found online at www.ohiodnr.com/watercraft or by following the Division of Watercraft on Facebook or Twitter.

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 ohiodnr.com.

Free entry at Oakland County (Mich.) Parks on President's Day

Oakland County Parks and Recreation offers patrons free park entry on Monday, Feb. 21 in honor of President’s Day. Guests can enjoy the natural areas and trails at Addison Oaks, Highland Oaks, Independence Oaks and Rose Oaks county parks. Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Red Oaks dog parks are ideal for dogs and their owners.

For park hours, activities and amenities, visit DestinationOakland.com.

  • Addison Oaks County Park, located at 1480 West Romeo Road in Leonard. 
  • Highland Oaks County Park, located at 6555 Milford Road in Highland. 
  • Independence Oaks County Park, located at 9501 Sashabaw Road in Clarkston. 
  • Lyon Oaks County Park, located at 52221 Pontiac Trail in Wixom. 
  • Orion Oaks County Park, located at 2301 Clarkston Road in Orion Township. 
  • Red Oaks Dog Park, located at 31353 Dequindre Road in Madison Heights. 
  • Rose Oaks County Park, located at 1132 Fish Lake Road in Rose Township.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: For details, maps and more, visit DestinationOakland.com or Facebook at facebook.com/ocparks.

Toledo Museum of Art acquires glass sculptures by two leading artists

Josepha Gasch-Muche (German, born 1944), Pyramid 10/04/09.
Broken liquid crystal display glass, adhesive, metal, wood;
23 5/8 x 31 1/2 x 31 1/2 in., 2009. Purchased with funds from
the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey,
2010.46. Photo by Richard Goodbody. Gallery 1.
The Toledo Museum of Art has added two new glass sculptures to its collection. Pyramid by German artist Josepha Gasch-Muche can be seen in Gallery 1 of the main Museum building. Blizzard Amulet Basket by Canadian artist Laura Donefer has been installed in Gallery 5 of the Glass Pavilion.

“Both of these sculptures are made in a clear or white palette, and both are composite sculptures, assembled of many smaller intricate elements,” said Museum Director Brian Kennedy. “These monochromatic objects distill their creators’ artistic intents and sensitivities to glass as the chosen medium.”

Gasch-Muche has experimented with different materials throughout her career and has worked primarily with broken liquid crystal display (LCD) glass since 1998. She believes that every material, regardless of whether it is naturally or industrially produced, has its own inherent structure and texture waiting to be given form. She was attracted to shattered LCD glass because it is thin, strong and can be arranged in different ways to reflect and scatter light.

“I did not discover glass, it discovered me,” Gasch-Muche said, “and it opened up the possibility of painting with light.”

TMA’s newly acquired Pyramid seems to change its appearance depending on the viewer’s position and perspective. The texture of the glass fragments, mounted on a metal form, may at one moment appear to be velvety and silky, yet in the next moment, light refracts in the sharp edges of the glass and creates a riotous and flashing image.

“This is a finished work of art made up of ‘unfinished’ glass fragments,” said Jutta Page, TMA’s curator of glass and decorative arts. “Each of the fragments has a different shape and a different story, and yet in joining them together this sculpture comes to life.”

Gasch-Muche is represented in numerous international public collections, such as the Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg; the Glasmuseum Hentrich/Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf; the Museum for Applied Art in Frankfurt, Germany; the Musée Mudac in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Musée-Atelier du Verre in Sars-Poteries, France. Her awards include the prestigious Coburg Glass Prize (2006) and the Bavarian State Prize (2008).

Laura Donefer is a multi-talented artist who blows, casts and torch-works glass into intricate assemblages. Much of her recent work is a study of ancient baskets with handles; in the glass versions the handles are adorned with flameworked beads, as well as natural shells and fibers.

Blizzard Amulet Basket relies on transparent and opaque white hues. Donefer’s inspiration came from experimenting with her signature basket form in the middle of an Ontario blizzard. The vessel portion of the work captures the tonalities of an icy Canadian lake with its frozen layers. Thick, vertically stacked drips of colorless glass resembling snow drifts buttress the piece on either side, while opaque white trails on the front and back recall the spiraling motion of a snow storm. Opaque white glass frit enhances the glacial relief of the basket’s form, while the handle is shaped with flameworked drops and spikes that evoke icicles.

According to Page, “Laura Donefer combines both flameworking and blowing techniques in her vessels, which give her work a very strong personal ‘voice.’”

An exuberant artist, Donefer views glass as a metaphor for life.

“It can be totally transparent and reveal what is inside, or opaque to hide, or translucent, mysterious, by giving mere glimpses of what might be,” Donefer said. “It can be sharp and truly wound, or luscious with life.”

Donefer is an American-born artist who now lives in Harrowsmith, Ontario. In 2010 she was the fourth artist to be invited to participate in TMA’s prestigious Glass Artist Pavilion Project (GAPP) as an artist in residence. Her glass and mixed media compositions can be found in many public and private collections, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Tacoma Museum of Glass, and the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan.

Fort Meigs to host 'Revolutionary Detroit' lecture

The Fort Meigs Bentley Lecture Series presents "Revolutionary Detroit: The Making of a British Loyalist Stronghold"

Dr. Denver Brunsman, Assistant Professor of History, Wayne State University, will present “Revolutionary Detroit: The Making of a British Loyalist Stronghold” on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fort Meigs visitor center. The presentation is free and open to the public.

In 2009, Dr. Brunsman led a community service learning project on the history of Detroit during the American revolutionary era. The project resulted in a publication, Revolutionary Detroit: Portraits in Political and Cultural Change, 1760-1805 (Detroit: Detroit Historical Society, 2009). For his presentation, Dr. Brunsman will discuss both the project and the experience of Detroit as a British loyalist stronghold during the revolutionary era.

Dr. Brunsman received his PhD from Princeton University in 2004 and an M.A. from the same institution in 2000. He has written and presented extensively on 18th and early 19th century topics. Among Dr. Brunsman's works are "Everyday Escapes: The Art of Evading the British Press Gang”; "American Colonies: Virginia Company," a chapter in The Reader's Guide to British History; and the soon to be published "Impressment" and "Naval Desertion," in The Encyclopedia of North American Colonial Warfare to 1775 and” The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World.”

The presentation will be held at Fort Meigs in the Visitor Center located at 29100 West River Road in Perrysburg, Ohio on Thursday, February 17th at 7:30 PM. The program is sponsored by the Anderton Bentley Fund in memory of Christopher Perky, who served at Fort Meigs during the War of 1812. For more information on this and all of the events at Fort Meigs call 800-283-8916 or visit us on-line at www.fortmeigs.org or www.ohiohistory.org

Cedar Point To Open DQ Grill & Chill Restaurant


SANDUSKY, Ohio – Guests visiting Cedar Point will have even more taste-tempting options to choose from this summer. And you won’t even have to be in the park.

In May, the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park/resort will open a DQ Grill & Chill restaurant near the entrance to the Cedar Point Causeway in Sandusky.

The seasonal franchise will replace the East of Chicago pizza chain that has been in operation at the corner of Fifth Street and Cedar Point Drive since 2001.

The new DQ Grill & Chill location will offer an expanded menu that will not only include burgers, fries, extensive kids’ menu and the Dairy Queen system’s extremely popular Blizzard® Flavor Treats and a variety of ice cream desserts, but also hot dogs, wraps and grilled sandwiches. It will also be open in the morning and will serve breakfast favorites such as egg sandwiches, hash browns, pancakes, coffee and juice to guests who want to get an early start on their day of rides and roller coasters.

Another popular menu item will be the Orange Julius® premium fruit smoothies and fruit drinks.

“We are extremely excited about bringing the DQ Grill and Chill restaurant to Cedar Point,” said Jack Highsmith, Cedar Point’s vice president of accommodations and franchise food. “The DQ Grill & Chill concept has national recognition and a broad appeal to our guests. Plus, it will be able to provide a variety of menu options and ice cream treats all day long.”

Before opening, the building will be completely renovated to give the facility a fresh, new appearance. When completed, all of the seating areas, furnishings, rest rooms and food equipment will be replaced producing an interior that will be warm, welcoming and stylish. Outside, there will be new signage, landscaping, expanded drive-thru service and patio seating with decorative fencing.

At night, the facility will incorporate an extensive lighting package and signage that will make it bright, visible and attractive to guests as they leave Cedar Point in the evening.

When completed, the renovation project will cost approximately $1.5 million. A May opening is planned, however, an exact opening day has not been determined. After opening, the restaurant will be open daily through Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3-5. It will also reopen for weekends through Oct. 29-30.

For additional information about the new DQ Grill & Chill location, please visit the park’s web site at www.cedarpoint.com or call Cedar Point’s General Information Line at 419.626.2350.