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News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quick read - Tuesday

CNN is reporting that President Obama's address Tuesday to a joint session of Congress will have a heavy emphasis on the economy and will try to strike an optimistic tone, aides said. is reporting that Rep. Dave Camp was one of the participants in Monday's Fiscal Responsibility Summit called by the president.

Camp has been a leading voice of opposition to the stimulus plan in Congress. (Video)

A new Washington Post poll says 64 percent of those polled back the economic recovery package, and the same percentage support the mortgage proposal. Only 10 percent said the bill was too heavy on spending and too light on tax cuts, the primary contention of the Republican leadership in Congress. Overall, 60 percent of poll respondents approve of how Obama is dealing with the economy.

But CNN says its new poll says most Americans are fearful about the state of the country

Willie Nelson's answer to economic downturn: Back to the land, according to

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Founders Day in Isabella County

One hundred fifty years ago today, Isabella County was organized as a county by the Michigan Legislature. Today, the county celebrates its history and its founding families.
Historians, history buffs and history groupies came to the Isabella County Building for Founders Day. Above, dozens of people stopped by the Morning Sun and's display.

Bound newspapers from 1961 provided a hands-on experience for Founders Day visitors. And the site was updated - including this post - several times from the field as people looked on.
The past - and the future - side by side.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Why not a pedestrian bridge over Mission?

The Mt. Pleasant Planning Commission's discussions about improvements to Mission Street have, once again, brought out well-meaning questions asking why the Michigan Department of Transportation doesn't just build some pedestrian bridges over the busy roadway.
The reason: They won't work. They would be a gigantic waste of money.
Here's why: In real life, most pedestrians, confronted with stairs, long ramps, switchbacks or even elevators to a pedestrian bridge, would choose to take their chances in traffic.
The Americans with Disabilities Act would require the construction of a pedestrian bridge with either a long ramp or an elevator.
The recommended slope for a public access ramp is 1:12, meaning 12 feet of ramp for each 1 foot of rise.
A pedestrian bridge's deck would likely be about 18 feet above the road, giving 15 feet for truck clearance and 3 feet for trusses supporting the bridge. That would require ramps 216 feet long on either side of the bridge.
How much is that? It's roughly the distance between Washington and Main streets - a city block.
Few people would walk two blocks out of their way - and climb - just for safety's sake. People, especially young people, judge real risks very poorly.
Take a look at a full explanation, with pictures, at
Any Mission Street pedestrian bridge would be a lot like the crossing pictured in Maryland - expensive, with the pedestrians running through traffic in the shadow of the bridge.