2008.11.19 A newsprint tour of the north

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Cousin Tim traveled through the north country in late September and collected a pair of newspapers that he recognized as exceptional in size.

He’s right. If I take a sheet out of the Observer and open it up so it’s two pages side by side, that’s the size of one page in the Munising News and also Manistique’s Pioneer Tribune.

The Pioneer Tribune is “the voice of the Central U.P.” and the News is “the only newspaper in the world that gives a darn about Alger County.” Well of course. It’s probably the only newspaper in Alger County.

The size is a little unwieldy. I assume there are a lot of neck problems among the readers of these two papers, because you really have to stretch to get it all in. Unlike the Observer, you just couldn’t read one of these things on the subway.

Fortunately, I’m not on the subway this morning. I can read them in the comfort of my home, although about half of my table is now under newsprint.

A lot of people know I enjoy looking at papers from afar and people drop copies off now and then after they’ve traveled. There are always a lot of familiar news items—city council, sports, school news, etc.—but always a different twist on issues.

In the Pioneer Tribune, I see that Kitch-iti-kipi was added as a stopping point on the Lake Superior Trail. A new fish-eating guide will tout the health benefits from eating fish, while warning that carp should not be eaten by anybody, catfish consumption should be limited...well, for women and children, there’s nothing that’s in the clear from the Manistique River due to the paper mills upstream.

An open house is scheduled at the wastewater treatment plant in Manistique to show residents “where their dollars go.” Yes, it really says that. Come in and watch your dollars go down the drain.

An economic task force is being formed, based on the first church as described in the Bible, but “the group doesn’t exclude people with different religious views.”

It’s a little sad reading the article because it’s the same story most everywhere in small-town America—trying to maintain basic services, fighting Wal-Mart filled with made-in-China goods.

But it’s not all bad news. There’s an article about the welcome return of Bear Cooperator patches. From a bear’s perspective, it’s an oddly named patch. A Bear Cooperator is a person engaged in trying to kill bears.

The Senior Center open house was a big success. Dozens of prize donations were given, including two sets of pot holders from Carol Anderson and crocheted dishcloths from Belinda Gardapee.

School mascot names are always of interest. In this case, there are Emeralds and Hematites. The police news includes the report of blight at 8:14 in the morning and a voluntary missing person at noon a few days later.

The one item that really caught my attention is a photograph of a water spout over Lake Michigan. The caption says it’s a rare sight.

Now let’s give a darn about Alger County. The lead story starts out this way: “Let me show you something,” asserted Don Thomas as he turned the knob, opened the door....

The headline reads: “It’s the size of his toys.” That’s the answer to the question: What’s the difference between a man and a boy?

The story is about a retired autoworker who has a license plate from every state in the union, a fantastic HO train set, amazing miniature automobiles, some full-size vintage cars, etc.

If you don’t want to make the hour and a half drive to the football game in Ishpeming, stop at the Barge Inn and watch the game film afterwards. I suppose you have to wait an hour and half for someone to drive back to Munising with the film. It’s going to be a late night at the Barge.

The school menu includes Hammy Sammy, tator tot casserole and meatballs and gravy on mashed potatoes.

A local columnist provides a wide array of local anecdotes, along with important questions such as this: When you blow your nose in the morning, which nostril is cleared first?

I have to thank you, Tim, for a quick trip through the Upper Peninsula. But, man, do I ever have a sore neck.

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