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Vol. 11, No.1 May 9, 2013

Hello Friends,
Pull up to your computers and smart devices with a fresh slice of delicious homemade, double-crusted strawberry-rhubarb pie and a pair of heaping scoops of Hudsonville’s butter pecan ice cream.  Promise yourselves and your families that you won’t miss a bit of spring in Mid-Michigan.  Here’s the first bite:

  1. You've Been Asking For It!  YES, It's The FLG Spring Float! It's Not for Us - It's For You…
    Face it already, Jodi Foster.  Many kayaks & canoes are gathering dust and a few have taken on 5 lbs of moss and twigs that some of us recognize too late as house wren nests.  Oops. Some folks have lived on or within a mile or so of the LGR and have never put a toe in it or wet a line.  Some say that one of these days, they'll pack a lunch and join us for a float trip down the beautiful Looking Glass River.  Well, no more excuses, Mr. Reese...The Machine is watching.  This is a pixilated, CGI broadcast from float captain Mike Gray: 
    "Calling all paddlers!  The Friends of the Looking Glass invite one and all kayakers and canoeists to start the paddling season on May 18 for an invigorating trip with us down the LGR.  Drop your gear in Riverside Park in downtown DeWitt (at the bridge on Bridge Street), and spot vehicles at Wacousta's Heritage Park launch (behind the Watertown Twp Building on Wacousta Rd, in beautiful downtown Wacousta).  Then return to DeWitt and launch @ 10am.  Bring your PFDs, snacks, inexpensive cameras and potable water and be ready for a great time and some nature sightings.  It takes 3-4 hours and builds new friendships and good appetites for lunch at the Wacousta General Store or any of DeWitt's fine eateries.  Hope to see you paddlers there!" 
    -- Mike Gray, FLG Float Buoy  
     
    OK.  You have a visual orientation:  Check out some of our previous public floats: http://www.lookingglassriverfriends.org/photogallery.html

  2. The Graying of FLG.  A New Members Request with a Leafy Bonus!  Naw…not that kind of leaf.
    Our wet spring has begun to yield one of the most impressive mosquito & black fly seasons in recent memory.  They are Mother Nature's left-handed reminder that in order to survive and prosper, even the most efficient and hard-working outdoor / environmental / education volunteer organizations also needs new blood...

    Maybe this year is your time to join The Friends of the Looking Glass to carry on our community involvement, student and public education events, logjam & trash clean-ups, supporting the State of MI, municipalities and landowners in the watershed, etc.  We need a few more board members and committee heads: board secretary, grant writer, events coordinators, webmaster, promotion mgr / public relations person, to name a few.  If it's time for you to give back, we'd love to welcome you and your talents to FLG.  Just tell us your talents and interest on this link, and we’ll get paddling:  http://www.lookingglassriverfriends.org/contact.html

    FLG also needs more community financial support for our many efforts as well.  You & your family can be an FLG member for $10 / year (Jan - Dec annual dues).  Please consider printing this flyer, filling out the application form and mailing it and your small check to our Treasurer -- many of you know and love (or at least put up with) Larry Arbanas.  He’d love to hear from you:
    http://www.lookingglassriverfriends.org/pdf/flg_membership.pdf   
    (Cue the emotional violin music:) AND, if you act NOW!, we will give you a genuine eastern catalpa sapling from the MI Capitol Catalpa, (lovingly sprouted & cared for by green-thumbed folks at the MSU Tree Research Center), certified as the oldest and largest of its kind in the United States, by the American Forestry Assoc., National Register of Big Damned Trees. 1992 measurements put it at 107' tall with a trunk girth of 20 feet!  A good research project for the MSU folks would be to discover how much it’s grown in the past 21 years.  Expected catalpa lifespan is 40 years, so this bipartisan barker is notable!  The leaves are heart-shaped and range about 12-inches long – so three of which might be ample for most swimmers' beachwear in August.  These Capitol Catalpa saplings are about 24" tall, budded and ready to challenge their Mom for Big Damned Tree growth & longevity...and one is all yours for the small price of an annual membership.  Order is valid while supplies last!  This is no joke...they're waiting for you in my garage.

  3. "Things-You've-Always-Wondered-About-But-Were-Reluctant-To-Ask-Day" Is Coming To DeWitt.  If This Event Isn't On Your Bucket List, Check It For Holes...
    Sat. June 1, 11am - 3pm is a water conservation and recycling free open house at SCCMUA, the regional wastewater plant in DeWitt. Organizers want to raise public awareness of the purposes and operation of the modern facility. They're inviting Bath & DeWitt school kids grades K-6 to take part in 10 different outdoor contests with prizes: minnow race (don't bet on the "fat-head" minnow), plinko, putt-putt, etc. For contest guidelines, go to: http://sccmua.com/OpenHouse.aspx  The free open house will also feature your photos with mascot "Ann Phibian" (real wildlife comedians those SCCMUA folks), plant tours, demonstrations of their Vactor truck, their sewer line televising truck (no jokes about crappy reality TV shows please), and several community groups' information booths, including FLG's popular photo tours display. SCCMUA is located at 3671 W. Herbison Rd., DeWitt, west of the DeWitt High School. Contact Vern McKenzie, Process Control Supervisor: mckenzie@sccmua.com   517-669-8311, or Lisa Mead.

  4. Barking Up The Right Trees...Reforesting the 310 Square-Mile Looking Glass River Watershed, a Few Trees at a Time...
    This is the second year of a collaborative effort by Friends of the Looking Glass, Clinton Co. Conservation District and the Looking Glass Garden Club to expand the number and diversity of trees in the LGR watershed.  The tree species & varietals selected adapt to growing in wet or dry areas and are native to Michigan although not existing in large numbers.  Diversity of the tree population insures that if there is another disease that kills off a prominent species range, there will be a variety of other species remaining. (The emerald ash borer has destroyed uncountable millions of ash trees in MI, including very heavy infestations in Mid-Michigan.  Ash trees prefer "wet feet" so a major canopy tree that shades/cools the LRG's waters, has been removed from the ecosystem.)  Increasing the number of trees is also important because growing trees produce O2 from harmful CO2, one of the gases that cause climate change (global warming).
    Spade Report: 250 tree seedlings were planted spring 2012.  Spring 2013’s count is  175.  The numbers decreased largely due to unusual wintry weather during ordering time, and some of the plantings are still on hold awaiting the LGR to retreat within her banks from near-record flooding.  One highlight - with the help of Wacousta Boy Scouts Troop 70, several leaders and parents, and volunteers from FLG and LGGC, fifty white spruce saplings were planted in Wacousta/Watertown Twp's Heritage Park, with a follow-up spaders' picnic in the park.  With the help of MGROW (Middle Grand River Organization of Watersheds), FLG is applying for a grant to help with the reforestation project. If you have a group or know individuals who want to help next year, please volunteer now.  Sign up @ http://www.lookingglassriverfriends.org/contact.html
    -- Gloria Miller, FLG President

  5. The `12 DeWitt Showcase is a Winner for the DeWitt Area Community - But You Knew That.
    2013's April 11 DeWitt Community Showcase was still a vivid memory for its 4,000-plus participants and over 100 business and non-profit booths sponsors, when the City of DeWitt was named the state's Region 4 winner of the Community Excellence Award for the kick-off event in 2012, from the Michigan Municipal League.  The award will be shared with DeWitt Public Schools and DeWitt Township, co-sponsors of the event.  Read all about it and meet DeWitt's City Mgr., Dan Coss whose proud smile says he likes the DeWitt Showcase's chances in the statewide competition in Sept.  http://www.lookingglassriverfriends.org/pdf/lsj04262013.pdf

  6. The Looking Glass RiverDragons Are Looking For A Few Good Paddlers!
    Supreme Dragon Lady Ione Berg reminds all that the 3rd Annual Capitol City DragonBoat Race is being planned again for the Labor Day weekend on The Grand River in the middle of downtown Lansing; in Adado Park East.  The event is getting outside attention and the competition is getting keener.  In the initial race, FLG Dragons took Bronze and last year, silver.  We need to drop a few seconds per heat and with a few more adult paddlers of both genders the river's the limit!  Cruise up to Ione if you're paddler-enough to be an FLG Dragon. Email the Dragon Lady: ionatlanta@yahoo.com   Check out our cool shirts! http://www.lookingglassriverfriends.org/photogallery.html

    http://lookingglassriverfriends.smugmug.com/Misc/2012-Capital-City-Dragon-Boat/25347798_879vKc
      
    http://capitalcitydragonboat.com/

  7. The Looking Glass River is a Beautiful Waterbody to Study.
    Biological and physical habitat conditions of selected water bodies in the Looking Glass River watershed in Clinton and Shiawassee Counties were assessed by staff of the Surface Water Assessment Section/MDEQ, in July and September 2012. The primary objectives of the assessments:
    a)  Identify nonpoint sources (NPS) of water quality impairment.
    b)  Assess the current status and condition of individual water bodies and determine if MI Water Quality Standards (WQS) are being met.
    c) Satisfy monitoring requests submitted by internal

    This staff report goes well with buttered popcorn:
    http://lookingglassriverfriends.org/pdf/summer_2012_mdeq
    _biological_and_water_chemistry_surveys.pdf


  8. There's Lots More, But We All Need Sleep...
    On behalf of the Board of Directors, thanks folks for your support of FLG's many watershed/community activities.  Please consider volunteering to keep the FLG Board afloat...become a paying member and most of all, get yourselves and your families and friends on the Looking Glass River this year...join us on May 18! 

For the FLG Board,
Bob Bishop
FLG Communications Dir.
rjb60@comcast.net