Grand Haven Tribune

August 21, 2014

The Grand Haven Tribune - A Michigan newspaper with comprehensive Local News and multi-media from all around West Michigan and the Lakeshore

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Thursday, augusT 21, 2014 50¢ Weekday, $1.00 Saturday www.grandhaventribune.com Page 7 Battle on the Boardwalk returns SPORTS INSIDE: Out-of-date signs addressed See Mailbag, Page 3 INSIDE: What's in store this weekend See Calendar, Page 5 Tomorrow's Weather Partly cloudy, warm & humid High 85 Low 68 Grand Haven Tribune Keep up with breaking news 24/7 at www.grandhaventribune.com 2013 Newspaper of the Year By Alex Doty adoty@grandhaventribune.com Looking out over the wetlands of Harbor Island and the lower Grand River, one can see the progress that's been made in recent years. Where once thick, dense stands of the invasive phragmites stood, wildlife is returning: cattails, muskrat dens, and birds and aquatic animals. "It is looking like it should instead of being taken over," Grand Haven City Councilman Mike Fritz said. Fritz, who remembers as a kid all of the teeming wildlife that could be found on Harbor Island, said the local Wetland Watch environmental group has done a "wonderful job" of restoring the island. The island has been treated to eliminate phragmites in recent years, and a majority of the invasive plant has been defeated. Leslie Newman, president of the Spring Lake- based Wetland Watch, said it's good to see all of the progress that's been made. "We're very appreciative of what's happened on Harbor Island," she said. "The first thing we saw was muskrat dens that people remembered from years ago." Despite the positive results on the island, local officials say there is still more work to be done. "This is an ongoing effort," said Joe Vander Stel, manager of the local water treatment plant. "If you go upstream, you still have some phragmites growing." There are locations around Harbor Island and upstream from U.S. 31 to Gidley Bayou that will need chemical control. The plan is to reach out to property owners and help them adopt successful control measures that have been used for several years in other areas, such as on Harbor Island and areas along the mouth of the Grand River. Vander Stel noted that field assessments and county mapping make it possible to address phragmites of all PHRAGMITES FAST FACTS: • Was introduced on the Atlantic coast 200 years ago. • Can grow up to 15 feet tall • Ability to spread over 10 feet per year • Can negatively affect biodiversity and ecological functions of invaded habitats. • Impairs recreational use (it's hard to walk through!) • Reduces property values (it's hard to see through) • Can be a re hazard (it burns very hot) Tribune graphic PHRAGMITES FAST FACTS: GH fights phragmites Tribune photos/Alex Doty ABOVE: leslie Newman points out a plaque near one of the wetlands on Harbor Island. the plaque notes all of the work that's gone into removing invasive phragmites on the island. BELOW: Despite all of the treatment, some small pockets of phragmites remain on Grand Haven's Harbor Island. See fighTS on Page 3 Fly away with the Dawn Patrol By Krystle WAGNer kwagner@grandhaventribune.com The community has a chance to get up close with aviation history this weekend. More than 50 airplanes from Michigan and surrounding states are expected to fly in to Grand Haven's airport Saturday morning. The event takes flight with the Dawn Patrol Fly-in Pancake Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the airport, 16446 Comstock St. The TG-7A Motor Gliders from the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum will provide two demonstrations during the pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee and juice breakfast. Admission to the airport is free. The breakfast is $6 per person. Earle Bares, chairman of the Grand Haven Aviation Association, said motor glider pilots will perform flight formation and general maneuvers, which could include wingtip- to-wingtip. Bares said the pilots might also perform their signature landing move that's similar to playing leap frog. In addition to the two demonstrations, Bares said other pilots are expected to perform fly-bys or special takeoffs and landings. Planes will range from general aviation aircrafts to Pipers, and planes from the Grand Haven Experimental Aircraft Aviation Chapter 211. "If you're interested in aviation and the airport, it's just something that's kind of exciting," Bares said. Children ages 8-17 will have the opportunity to log flight time and take their aviation interests to a new altitude through the Young Eagles Flights, which are free for families. The young pilots will take a short course about airplanes and flying before soaring above Grand Haven with an experienced pilot. Bares said children will receive a logbook and Courtesy photo/TuskegeeAirmen National historical Museum the tG-7A motor glider demo team will visit Grand Haven on saturday. See fly on Page 3 By MArIe HAveNGA mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com SPRING LAKE — Just as dinosaurs once roamed the land, members of the Winsor McCay Committee have been roaming around the Village of Spring Lake, looking for a suitable spot for dinosaur footprints. Committee member Elizabeth Wheeler presented to Village Council on Monday night the preliminary plans to bring the legacy of "Gertie the Dinosaur" back to life at Mill Point Park, honoring Gertie's creator — Spring Lake-native Winsor McCay, a cartoonist and animation pioneer. McCay, born about 1867 and raised in Spring Lake, is credited with being an inspiration to Walt Disney for his ability to make still drawings come to life on a movie screen. Each year at the Annie Awards (the equivalent of the "Oscars" for the animation world), a Winsor McCay Award is presented for lifetime achievement in that field. The committee's plans include an archway sign over the non-motorized path leading from Mill Point Park into the wetlands. It would recognize McCay as being a Spring Lake native. The proposal also includes putting cement dinosaur footprints, approximately 16 inches long by 10 inches wide, near the playground on the east side of Mill Point Park. Wheeler said the committee would like to rename the play area "Winsor McCay Playground." Over the past decade, the committee has added a "Winsor McCay Day" and cartooning workshops to the Spring Lake Heritage Festival lineup. They have also lobbied the state to install an historical marker between Spring Lake Township Hall and Spring Lake District Library, the site where the school that McCay attended once stood and where his artistic talent was first discovered. "As we've moved along, we've tried to find more visual promotions of his significance," Wheeler said. "What really made sense was Mill Point Park. To promote Winsor McCay there would certainly get his reputation out." Wheeler said committee members hiked the park and are in "100 percent agreement" about proposed plans there. The committee recently considered the vacant village-owned lot immediately west of the former Phoenix Deli Cafe on the south side of Savidge Street, Tribune photo/Marie havenga Winsor McCay Committee member elizabeth Wheeler shows a "Gertie the Dinosaur" t-shirt to spring lake village Council on Monday night. McCay may get attention at SL park See PArk on Page 3

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