Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Michigan Flooding

 

I haven’t seen anything here about the flooding in mid-Michigan that happened last week. It rained hard for a few days and the Edenville Dam broke, spilling Wixom Lake into Sanford Lake. Soon, Wixom Lake was drained, overflowing the Sanford Dam, destroying the little town of Sanford. The Midland area was flooded, destroying homes, businesses, and bridges. Thousands evacuated, including Midland Hospital, in a large disaster that seemed like something out of a movie.

The US-20 bridge over Sanford Lake was taken out. Dow said its containment ponds were breeched, but not to worry, so far. No deaths or injuries have been reported. I haven’t heard about any pets, etc. Also, parts of Arenac and Iosco Counties sustained damage. Lots of farming there; don’t know if that was effected yet. The US-23 bridge at Omer is out, and Tawas was flooded, twisting the train tracks. Those I saw interviewed said they did not have flood insurance. The news calls it a once in 500-year event.

I am somewhat familiar with the lakes, have drafted a few additions and homes in the area. Wixom is a man-made lake, with many vacation and second homes. It has a marina and sits about 17 miles northwest of Midland, home of Dow Chemical. The dam is privately owned. The Detroit News has good articles with historical information; basically, for years the dam has been an ongoing issue. The residents want the water raised for boating, the dam owners like it lower because they don’t have the money to repair it (and the feds pulled their ability to sell electricity because it was failing). In frustration, the feds turned it over to the state in 2018, and the state sued the dam owner (the first week of May) to keep the water level up to protect freshwater mussels. That didn’t work out so well; hope we come out of their COVID dictates better. Today, Wixom is basically a mudhole. Some residents are suing the state. A group was investigating buying the dam before this happened. (There is a “House Hunters” episode where the couple bought a house on Sanford lake.)

Here’s the real kicker to the story: according to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan’s Dam Safety Unit consists of three people; two staff and one supervisor with a department budget of $397,000.

With probably billions of dollars, years of cleanup, rebuilding, lawsuits, environmental and health concerns (Dow seems to be in litigation always), our Governor came right away to give a speech saying how terrible it was, asking for federal help, reminding us we are in the middle of a pandemic and to stay safe from that. Then a few days later, after extending the stay at home order until June 12, she went to her cabin up north where restrictions were lifted. By her. There is a story that my sister told me about the governor’s husband asking to get his boat launched dropping the governor’s name in order to get faster service. Some animals really are more equal.

I wonder what the condition of some of those other dams is like? I wonder whether I should cross the Zilwaukee bridge very soon. For those who are unfamiliar, it replaced the only (drawbridge) stop on I-75 from Michigan to Florida. It immediately had problems and was closed, fixed, reopened, fixed poorly later, closed, fixed again, and opened. It isn’t even pretty. People drove around on the business loop in Saginaw for a long time because of that.

Michigan is full of water, bridges, and dams. The Saginaw county drain commissioner (a Democrat) fought for years to get the Saginaw River dredged so shipping could continue, and was fought by environmentalists because of dioxins from Dow. Containment land for the dredging became a battle. If you live in Bay City, bridges are a fact of life. To go from one side of town to the other, you have to plan extra time for a bridge opening in the summer. Shipping boats are one thing, but it is the sailboats that make you fume in the middle of a workday. Boats have the right of way. Maintenance has been an issue, and the city is selling two of its four drawbridges to a private concern. They will be toll bridges.

Maybe we should have fewer advisors in the Coronavirus unit, and more concerning those things we can do something about, like bridges and dams. It could be argued that this governor ran on fixing the roads, which is true, but with massive tax hikes on gasoline, and budget line-item vetos like rural hospital cuts. I don’t mind bad roads compared to bad bridges and dams.

Republicans wanted to fix the roads too, and that voter proposition was soundly defeated during Snyder’s term. They tried again without voters, and that wasn’t going over either. They always ask for more than the roads. The proposals are not pure but lump in other pet projects similar to Pelosi’s stimulus. People don’t like that, and politicians don’t seem to get the message. When there is a crisis, they pounce. It won’t be because of leadership but because of crisis that politicians will find people weak to their spending demands. The trillion-dollar stimulus packages are not unique, but standard policy.

Michigan is a high-tax, high-union (still) state, and the urban areas pretty much dictate policy. Perhaps we will have to make trade-offs, something high tax liberal politicians are adverse to when it comes to money. One can hope.

The people of mid-Michigan are basically good people with conservative values if they don’t always vote that way. Midland is still pretty conservative territory. Dave Camp came from Midland. Emergency help, which is volunteer in some places, performed well. Those in the flood areas have to be given credit for keeping pretty calm in the face of such devastation. I look at the homes and properties, but I think about the photos and all the personal items that were lost forever. I look around my house and I have all kinds of things given to me for gifts or from a grateful customer or friend, or when my kids were little, grandkids, my Bible, things my mother and father had that are tattered and probably considered by some junk, and would miss those things much more than the couch or stove.

Yet, God is still in control. I say that by faith, not because an expert told me. Often when things look bad, there is a reason to look forward. A lot of people come out of adversity much stronger than before. I hope that is true with this latest crisis.

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  1. Seawriter Contributor

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    • #1
    • May 26, 2020, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. Bob Thompson Member

    Ralphie: our Governor came right away to give a speech saying how terrible it was, asking for fed help, and reminding us we are in the middle of a pandemic, and remember to stay safe from that. Then a few days later, after extending the stay at home and keeping beauty parlors and gyms closed until June 12, she went to her cabin up north where restrictions were lifted. By her. There is a story that my sister told me about the governor’s husband asking to get his boat launched dropping the gov’s name in order to get faster service. Some animals really are more equal. 

    And highly skilled at telling others what they can and cannot do.

    • #2
    • May 26, 2020, at 11:16 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Pony Convertible Member

    It is an all to common story. Government entities spend most of their resources on social programs, and ignore the things they are supposed to focus on, safety & infrastructure. 

    • #3
    • May 26, 2020, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ralphie:

    There is a story that my sister told me about the governor’s husband asking to get his boat launched dropping the gov’s name in order to get faster service. Some animals really are more equal. 

     

    Yup.

    “This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted, according to the News. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happenT.

    “Well our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?’” Dowker posted.

    The original Facebook post has been disappeared, but:

    NorthShore Dock subsequently said on Facebook that Mallory was respectful and understood why the company couldn’t immediately get his boat in the water, the News reported.

    See? All better now.

    • #4
    • May 26, 2020, at 12:37 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    I have been following this thru Michigan buddies on FB. Their comments lack any local history or any discussion of what the area is like. I appreciated all your details.

    These folks on FB have made comments that in their view, the Fed government agency that was in charge of this dam is occupied by people who want a “sustainable” future. Which means no man -made interference like dams. The Fed government had the money to do the needed repairs, according to them. But the people in DC are “environmentally” minded and want to see the dam fall into pieces.

    In the sustainable future crowd, few in Washington DC care if real people have their homes and businesses wiped out. As after all, flesh and blood people are not really part of any environmentalists’ sustainable future.

    Again thank you for your informative report as it put a real face on that area. May there be a wiser and less “sustainable” near future for all who count on that area for home and biz.

    • #5
    • May 26, 2020, at 12:43 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ralphie:

    There is a story that my sister told me about the governor’s husband asking to get his boat launched dropping the gov’s name in order to get faster service. Some animals really are more equal.

     

    Yup.

    “This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted, according to the News. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happenT.

    “Well our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?’” Dowker posted.

    The original Facebook post has been disappeared, but:

    NorthShore Dock subsequently said on Facebook that Mallory was respectful and understood why the company couldn’t immediately get his boat in the water, the News reported.

    See? All better now.

    My uncle used to tell my cousins if the cops pulled him over he’d just tell them who he was. Well, it happened one day when the kids were with him, and he took the ticket without mentioning who he was obviously because he got a ticket or the cop never heard of him which was more possible. My cousins picked up on that and liked to tease him, “how come you didn’t tell him who you were?”. Lasted his lifetime. 

    • #6
    • May 26, 2020, at 12:44 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Ralphie:

    There is a story that my sister told me about the governor’s husband asking to get his boat launched dropping the gov’s name in order to get faster service. Some animals really are more equal.

     

    Yup.

    “This morning, I was out working when the office called me, there was a gentleman on hold who wanted his boat in the water before the weekend,” Dowker posted, according to the News. “Being Memorial weekend and the fact that we started working three weeks late means there is no chance this is going to happenT.

    “Well our office personnel had explained this to the man and he replied, ‘I am the husband to the governor, will this make a difference?’” Dowker posted.

    The original Facebook post has been disappeared, but:

    NorthShore Dock subsequently said on Facebook that Mallory was respectful and understood why the company couldn’t immediately get his boat in the water, the News reported.

    See? All better now.

    My uncle used to tell my cousins if the cops pulled him over he’d just tell them who he was. Well, it happened one day when the kids were with him, and he took the ticket without mentioning who he was obviously because he got a ticket or the cop never heard of him which was more possible. My cousins picked up on that and liked to tease him, “how come you didn’t tell him who you were?”. Lasted his lifetime.

    My great-uncle showed me how to paperclip a $5 bill to my license if I got pulled over by the Chicago PD.

    “$5, Al? You think that’s enough?”

    “Yeah, you’re right. Better make it a sawbuck.”

    • #7
    • May 26, 2020, at 12:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    A friend of mine likes to tell this story from when he lived in Flint while working for GM.

    GM had a supplier that was located in Flint. The utilities were awful and unreliable because the neighborhood the plant was in was old, and, well, Flint is Flint, repair and maintenance money tends to vanish. This supplier acquired a large plot in Grand Blanc – the nicer wealthier and less corrupt suburb of Flint. And this supplier fully intended to move to Grand Blanc after tiring of Flint’s empty promises to fix the roads, utilities, and crime bedeviling their old location. 

    Turns out Michigan has something of an anti-tax-poaching law, where large enough firms can be blocked from moving within the state by their current host city, if that city can claim such a move will be too large a tax hit. Mind you, the majority of workers for this supplier resided in Flint, and their new commute would have been no more than an extra 15 minutes, so no jobs would be lost. Flint would lose some tax revenue, but keep the income tax revenue of all employees who still lived in Flint. But they overstated their projected losses and blocked the move.

    The supplier had a “Plan B”. Michigan might stymie moving around within their state, but they cannot interfere in interstate moves. This supplier had long ago acquired a large plot of land down south, and when Flint refused to budge, they shuttered their Flint operations entirely and moved out of state, costing every single production worker their job. 

    Flint could have lost just a little revenue, but in their grasping greed they lost it all.

    • #8
    • May 26, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  9. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    Because only one major lake in Texas (Caddo) is not man-made, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a very robust Dam Safety Commission that checks on the conditions of the dams around the state and pretty much tells the governing bodies that they are going to either have to bring the dam up to the levels estimated to meet 75 percent of the needs for a 1,000 year ‘Noah’s Ark’ flood event, or they’ll have to keep the lake level below a certain point to lower stress. Here in West Texas, TECQ about eight years ago mandated that the emergency spillway gates be kept open on the Red Bluff Dam on the Pecos at a time when the lake was only at 10 percent max capacity. Major flooding in 2014 sent it 30 percent above max level with the spillway opened, which as in the case of Michigan would have stressed the dam had the gates remained locked.

    (Which isn’t to say there haven’t been fights about lowering levels on aging dams in Texas. There’s one going on right now on the Guadalupe east of San Antonio, where a series of small lakes that when built were way out in the country but now are part of the San Antonio/Austin suburbs need to be drained and repaired. Obviously homeowners and recreational users of the lakes aren’t happy, just as with the Michigan incident.)

    • #9
    • May 26, 2020, at 1:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    A friend of mine likes to tell this story from when he lived in Flint while working for GM.

    GM had a supplier that was located in Flint. The utilities were awful and unreliable because the neighborhood the plant was in was old, and, well, Flint is Flint, repair and maintenance money tends to vanish. This supplier acquired a large plot in Grand Blanc – the nicer wealthier and less corrupt suburb of Flint. And this supplier fully intended to move to Grand Blanc after tiring of Flint’s empty promises to fix the roads, utilities, and crime bedeviling their old location.

    Turns out Michigan has something of an anti-tax-poaching law, where large enough firms can be blocked from moving within the state by their current host city, if that city can claim such a move will be too large a tax hit. Mind you, the majority of workers for this supplier resided in Flint, and their new commute would have been no more than an extra 15 minutes, so no jobs would be lost. Flint would lose some tax revenue, but keep the income tax revenue of all employees who still lived in Flint. But they overstated their projected losses and blocked the move.

    The supplier had a “Plan B”. Michigan might stymie moving around within their state, but they cannot interfere in interstate moves. This supplier had long ago acquired a large plot of land down south, and when Flint refused to budge, they shuttered their Flint operations entirely and moved out of state, costing every single production worker their job.

    Flint could have lost just a little revenue, but in their grasping greed they lost it all.

    I believe that. Flint water crisis was not exactly a shining moment, made worse by the press.

    • #10
    • May 26, 2020, at 1:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. tigerlily Member

    Here’s a video of the Edenville Dam as it is breached. The dam’s alleged lack of adequate spillway capacity as per this article certainly could have played a role in its failure; however, this looks like a classic slope failure rather than an overtopping failure. The video does show some water overtopping the dam at the beginning but I think that’s due to the dam settling due to bulging at the toe of the dam in the moments before the failure. 

     

    • #11
    • May 26, 2020, at 2:31 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    Here’s a video of the Edenville Dam as it is breached. The dam’s alleged lack of adequate spillway capacity as per this article certainly could have played a role in its failure; however, this looks like a classic slope failure rather than an overtopping failure. The video does show some water overtopping the dam at the beginning but I think that’s due to the dam settling due to bulging at the toe of the dam in the moments before the failure.

     

    Thank you, I saw that the other day, but your comments are helpful. 

    • #12
    • May 26, 2020, at 2:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Ray Kujawa Coolidge

    Ralphie: I don’t mind bad roads compared to bad bridges and dams.

    When we drove to Michigan to a Hillsdale event in 2010, we did notice some potholes. I drove South one day to satisfy my curiosity; I noticed the roads in Ohio seem better maintained.


    Ralphie
    : Boats have the right of way.

    This is because they have Restricted Ability to Maneuver — from my sailing/cruising days. They can’t go on the land. But the same rule applies between water vessels with different ability to maneuver. (yeah, I know, ‘Damn sailboats!’)

    • #13
    • May 26, 2020, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  14. kedavis Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    Texas is getting worse over time, as people flee the hellholes they created in Michigan, New York, and PRC (People’s Republic of California) and then set about doing the same thing in Texas.

    • #14
    • May 27, 2020, at 8:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    Texas is getting worse over time, as people flee the hellholes they created in Michigan, New York, and PRC (People’s Republic of California) and then set about doing the same thing in Texas.

    I worry about that. It happened in Colorado, and I’ve heard the great build up in Vegas is fleeing Californians.

    • #15
    • May 28, 2020, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • Like
  16. Bob Thompson Member

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    Texas is getting worse over time, as people flee the hellholes they created in Michigan, New York, and PRC (People’s Republic of California) and then set about doing the same thing in Texas.

    I worry about that. It happened in Colorado, and I’ve heard the great build up in Vegas is fleeing Californians.

    Why do they flee what they built? Did they build something the didn’t want? Did they not realize what they were building? If they built something from which they had to flee, why would they try to build that again? Do leftists always persist in trying the same thing regardless of the previous outcomes?

    • #16
    • May 28, 2020, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    I was born in Michigan. Spent summers in the Upper Lower Peninsula. Moved to Texas when I graduated from college and have not looked back. Michigan is prettier than Texas in many ways, but I hope to die in Texas (at some point a long time in the future) because Texas is such a great place to live. And it is the politicians that screw Michigan up.

    Texas is American’s Rivendell. Michigan isn’t Mordor, but there are times it seems uncomfortably close to it.

    Texas is getting worse over time, as people flee the hellholes they created in Michigan, New York, and PRC (People’s Republic of California) and then set about doing the same thing in Texas.

    I worry about that. It happened in Colorado, and I’ve heard the great build up in Vegas is fleeing Californians.

    Why do they flee what they built? Did they build something the didn’t want? Did they not realize what they were building? If they built something from which they had to flee, why would they try to build that again? Do leftists always persist in trying the same thing regardless of the previous outcomes?

    Very good questions. They don’t seem to be able to do two step math. If you vote for every tax and good feeling measure, then down the road things aren’t great, you just start over in a place you can change. I hate the trend.

    • #17
    • May 28, 2020, at 8:28 AM PDT
    • 1 like