Monday, December 6, 2010

LSSU Gains Ground in Points Race With Shoot Out Wins

Bowling Green's Jordan Samuels-Thomas (left) watches as
LSSU's Will Acton shoots Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena.
  Even though it wasn’t an offense packed weekend the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team still managed to walk away from this weekends match up against Bowling Green State University four conferences points to the good.

LSSU's Rick Schofield watches as one of
his third period shots goes wide.

Friday nights contest between the Lakers and the Falcons got off to a slow start. Bowling Green managed just 8 shots in the first period while LSSU could produce only 4.

 The Falcons Chad Sumsion put Bowling Green on the board first just before the seven minute mark of the second period. Sumsion’s score came on a power play opportunity with team mates Marc Rodriguez and David Solway picking up assists. Laker captain Rick Schofield evened the score when he beat Bowling State starting net minder Nick Eno for his sixth goal of the season in the third period but that was all the scoring either team would manage in regulation.

With the score still tied at one apiece after the five minute overtime period BGSU’s Jordan Samuels-Thomas and LSSU’s Chad Nehring both made their overtime penalty shots followed by misses by BGSU’s David Solway, LSSU’s Domenic Monardo and BGSU’s Brett Mohler. Capitalizing on his opportunity LSSU’s Ben Power put the puck past ENO to give the Lakers their first two points of the weekend.

LSSU's Ben Power sets up his overtime penalty shot Saturday.
Saturday night started with LSSU struggling to get the puck out of the defensive zone. Down 23 shots to 10 and trailing by one goal going into the third period the Lakers finally found their legs and gained some offensive momentum. The Laker offense bombarded Bowling Green goaltender Andrew Hammond firing 18 shots at him in the games final twenty minutes including the Kyle Haines shot that found the back of the net to even the score.

Like the night before however there would be no scoring in the rest of the third period or the sudden death overtime period. Once again the nights points division would come down to a shoot out.

LSSU's Will Acton (21) celebrates after making the weekend ending goal.

A pair of missed penalty shots followed by a pair of made ones and then another round of misses left it up to BGSU’s Ryan Peltoma and LSSU”s Will Acton to decide. Peltoma skated first against the Lakers net minder Kevin Kapalka who had given up just two regulation goals and two penalty shots all weekend. Kapalka stopped Peltoma’s shot clearing the way for Acton who finished off the Lakers weekend with a score.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

LSSU Sweeps Nationally Ranked Ferris State

Photos and Story by K. Johnston/Eagle Feature & Image

Coming off a great weekend against Miami of Ohio the last thing the nationally ranked Ferris State Bulldogs (20) ice hockey team expected was to get shutout by the Lake Superior State Lakers and their freshman goalie Kevin Kapalka. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs not only did they get shut out once but twice as the Lakers defense held them scoreless for the weekend to pick up their second home ice sweep of the season.

LSSU's Nick McParland
 Kapalka earned his first shutout as a Laker Friday night at Taffy Abel arena by fending off thirty Ferris shots while LSSU sophomore Nick McParland tallied the games only score when he beat Ferris starting net minder Pat Nagle on the first of the Lakers two second period power play opportunities. The goal was the only shot of the 33 Nagle faced that he missed picking up his third loss of the season.

After losing 1-0 Friday night Ferris came out in the opening period of Saturdays game looking like they were there on a mission out shooting the Lakers 11 to 4 and for the most part keeping LSSU out of the offensive zone.

The Lakers turn came in the second as the pace and physical level of the game jumped to new level. The Lakers took advantage of every opportunity as freshman Kellan Lain, sophomore Domenic Monardo and junior Fred Cassiani all found the inside of the Bulldog net within the first five minutes of the period. Monardo picked up his second goal of the night, and the Lakers individual points lead, when he found himself in possession of the puck just past the halfway mark of the period which he promptly put past Nagle for the final score of the night closing out the LSSU 4-0 victory and the sweep.

LSSU's Fred Cassiani celebrates after scoring
in the second period of the Lakers Saturday game
against Ferris State.

“After the first I just thought our forwards weren’t doing good enough up the ice. I thought they were sitting back to much.” said Laker coach Jim Roque. “In the second we kinda got it going a little.”

LSSU goaltender Kevin Kapalka gets set to
handle a shot from Ferris States Jordie Johnston.
Laker net minder Kevin Kapalka faced 33 shots Saturday while Ferris’ Pat Nagle faced 16 through two periods before being replaced at the start of the third by Taylor Nelson who racked up 5 saves in his 20 minute appearance. The pair of shut outs gives Kapalka a fifth place overall goaltender ranking among all CCHA goalies and a first place ranking in conference play.

“Give Lake State (LSSU) a lot of credit” Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels said in Saturday’s post game interviews. “I thought they played very well. They were very responsible in their own end.” “Their kid in net was solid, he gobbled up pucks, he didn’t leave a lot of pucks laying around.”

The both LSSU and Ferris will face CCHA opponents again next weekend as the Lakers travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan while the Bulldogs will be hosting Western.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

There are many great men and women that came before us and paved the road along which freedom lies. To those who, in whole or part, gave themselves in defense of it we offer our eternal thanks. To those who stand guard over it today we offer our prayers and our support. To those who will stand that watch tomorrow we wish for you many peaceful days and quiet nights.

Thank a vet. It’s their day, they earned it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

LSSU Hockey Splits Weekend With NMU

LSSU's Domenic Monardo pushes the puck towards the net around NMU's Kory Kaunisto Saturday.

Line up all of the penalty sections of Lake Superior State University Laker (LSSU) ice hockey box scores from any given season and it is obvious which weekends the Northern Michigan University Wildcats (NMU) were in town. This weekends Upper Peninsula match-up was no different and certainly not a disappointment to fans that filled Sault Ste. Marie’s Taffy Abel Arena to watch as the CCHA opponents split the two game set.

Despite providing the Lakers with a 5 to 1 power play advantage and being out shot 43 to 29 the Wildcats managed to win the series opening game. “We’re taking penalties. we’ve been very bad at that all year” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle of the power play advantage his team gave the Lakers this weekend. He was pleased with the Wildcats penalty killing efforts though, “I thought we took a step for sure, we’re growing, we’re getting better and that’s all we can do right now.”

NMU's Tyler Gron

Wildcat junior Andrew Cherniwchan started the game one scoring beating Lakers goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson just past the four minute mark of the first period with NMU individual points leader junior Tyler Gron picking up the Wildcats second goal eight minutes later. NMU reminder Reid Ellingson made 42 saves on the night giving up just one score to LSSU’s Domenic Monardo who took advantage of one of the Lakers four second period power play opportunities to score the Lakers only goal of the night while NMU‘s Jarrod Brown picked up their third score in the games final period with Greger Hanson tacking on a last minute empty netter to round out the night and give the Wildcats the 4 to 1 victory.

“I don’t know if our guys just thought it was going to be easy, I don’t know what they were thinking.” LSSU head coach Jim Roque said of Friday nights game. “Obviously I didn’t do a good enough job to convince them that Northern was going to show up last night (Friday) to play.”

Both coaches opted to start freshman goaltenders for Saturday nights game and LSSU’s Kevin Kapalka (2-1-1) won the penalty filled battle of the first year goalies as the Lakers came back from the Friday night loss to defeat the visiting Wildcats 3 to 1.

LSSU's Kevin Kapalka

Coming off an outstanding weekend against Ohio State NMU net minder Jared Coreau fended off 16 power play shots and 14 even strength shots giving up three scores while Kapalka stopped 21 shots forking over only one power play goal to the Wildcats Justin Florek.

LSSU's Kyle Jean

With all of the nights scoring coming in the second period LSSU freshman Kyle Jean picked up his first goal as a Laker scoring shorthanded at the 5:26 mark followed up by LSSU team captain Rick Schofield’s fourth goal of the year. Schofield’s goal started a two minute flurry that included the NMU goal by Florek and the games final score by LSSU’s Domenic Monardo, his fifth of the season.

LSSU's Zach Trotman (center) goes up over NMU's Erik
Higby to knock the puck away from the front of Laker
goaltender Kevin Kapalka (left)

 “We played good defensively tonight.” said LSSU head coach Jim Roque. “We were focused, we were intense and last night we weren’t.” “Kevin played good in net, I thought we did a good job around him, it was good, it was a real good split.”

After giving senior Brain Mahoney-Wilson the Friday night starts in goal and the Saturday night starts to freshman Kevin Kapalka over the last four weeks coach Roque is ready for a change next weekend. “Is he (Kapalka) going to play next Friday, yeah.” “He’s earned that right, he deserves an opportunity.” said Roque. “Right now I gotta play the guys that give me the best chance to win so I have to give him that chance to come back next Friday to see if he can handle it.”

Both teams will have home ice advantage next weekend against CCHA opponents as the Lakers (3-5-2) face Ferris State and the Wildcats (3-5-1) take on Bowling Green.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lakers Sweep Colgate for First Two Wins

Photos and Story - K. Johnston/Eagle FI

Colgates Francois Brisebois (front) and
LSSU's Dan Barczuk (back) chase down
 a loose puck at center ice Saturday. 

With their season off to a less than stellar beginning the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team needed a confidence boost and they got it this weekend by sweeping the visiting Colgate Raiders. The Lakers took game one of the two game set narrowly defeating the Raiders 2-1 Friday then followed up Saturday with a nail biting, down to the wire 5-4 win.

Coming into the weekend the 0-4-1 Lakers (0-2-0 CCHA) were struggling to put together productive lines. “ I like our team a lot, I think its going to be really good but we just can seem to get the right guys with the right guys yet.” said Lakers head coach Jim Roque in Saturday’s post game interviews. “We just can’t seem to get the right mix.”

On Friday senior Laker goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson turned away 31 shots giving up just one goal to Colgate’s Brian Day during the first period of the game while LSSU sophomore Domenic Monardo picked up his third goal of the season on a first period power play with junior Dan Barczuk tacking on the game winner just over two minutes into the second period.

For Saturdays game two match-up Laker head coach Jim Roque switched to freshman net minder Kevin Kapalka, “I thought Brian (Mahoney-Wilson) played well last night and I wrestled with it all day” said Roque. “ I gotta play Kevin, I gotta give him some time to see if he can help us out through the season here and give Brian a break. ” Kapalka, now 1-1-0 as a Lakers goaltender, faced 30 Colgate shots on the way to his first win at Taffy Abel Arena.

LSSU goaltender Kevin Kalpalka makes a third period save Saturday night.

The Lakers game two offense included even strength goals by seniors Chad Nehring and Matt Cowie, junior Fred Cassiani and freshman Colin Campbell. Freshman Dan Radke came out of the offensive corner and through traffic with less than 15 seconds left in regulation play to bury the game winner giving the Lakers the 5-4 win and the sweep. Campbell and Radke’s goals are the first of the year for both and the first goals by any of the squads freshman so far this year.

LSSU freshman Dan Radke (14) shoots what would be the game winning shot
between the legs of Colgate defender Wade Poplawski (6) 
 “My freshmen have been very good right from day one.” Roque said when asked about his confidence in his freshman picks. “The problem with our team right now is our middle guys (sophomores and juniors) and they know it.” “That middle groups got to get going here. I just have to find places for them in some lines where they can get more touches of the puck, more opportunities to score but they gotta elevate their game too.”

LSSU individual points leader senior Rick Schofield picked up one assist each night and beat out Colgate’s Brian Day for the most face-off wins controlling the puck 41 times over the two games.

Colgate goaltender Alex Evin reaches to block a
shot during the third period Saturday night.
Colgate’s offense for the weekend included three goals by Day, with Saturday goals by sophomore Thomas Larkin and a power play score by sophomore Robbie Bourdon. The Raiders junior net minder Alex Evin fended off 26 of the 28 shots he faced on Friday and 35 of 40 he faced on Saturday.

While the Raider head back New York for a single game non league match up against Sacred Heart next weekend the Lakers will head to Miami of Ohio for their second CCHA series of the year. Headed into this week of the schedule the Miami Red Hawks were ranked in the top 5 in the nation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Blog For Our Photographers!

We've started a new blog specifically for our photographers!  This new blog will allow our photographers to share work you might not normally see here on our news and sports site.

You can visit our new blog at

Please visit often and feel free to comment!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Freshwater Jellyfish Found in Lake Charlevoix

If anyone except a wildlife biologist had called me to say they had found Jellyfish in northern Michigan I probably would have just said “yeah right”. Since it was such a biologist that called me though I took him seriously.

Turns out there is such a thing as a Freshwater Jellyfish and some of them have been found recently in Lake Charlevoix. Boaters noticed a large number of the small white creatures in the waters off of the lakes South Island and even managed to deliver a few live specimens to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environments fisheries station in Charlevoix.

To the knowledge of the staff at the Charlevoix fisheries station this is the first time Freshwater Jellyfish have been found in the lake.  Because they seem to be able to spread so readily the stations biologist feels it a pretty good bet that they are also in Round Lake and possibly Lake Michigan.

Freshwater Jellyfish (Craspedacusta sowerbyi) have been found around the world including 44 of the 50 United States. Believed to have originated in China these small penny sized jellyfish were first noted in the U.S. in 1908 and now pop up in hundreds of locations whenever the condition are right. Explanations of how they have been able to spread varies. Some researchers suggest that they may have been brought into Europe and the United States on Chinese water plants that were popular around the turn of the century while others theorize that they may be carried from place to place by migrating waterfowl.

Freshwater Jellyfish can reproduce asexually which means by themselves. They do not need a male or female partner to reproduce. They can show up one year in very large numbers and not make another appearance for several years. They prefer locations with calm warm waters and are rarely seen in fast flowing streams or rivers. They feed on smaller plankton and microorganisms but can sting and kill small fish.

Like all jellyfish the freshwater variety is capable of stinging but because of their small size they are not capable of injuring people since they can not break through human skin.

More information about Freshwater Jellyfish can be found all over the internet by searching either their common or scientific name.

Large Lake Sturgeon Found at Petoskey's Bay Harbor Resort

If you’ve ever been walking along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and noticed the remains of a fish that looks like it could have lived in prehistoric times what you saw could well have been a Lake Sturgeon. That was exactly what construction workers working near Petoskey saw when they arrived at a job site last week.

Early last week biologists at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) fisheries station in Charlevoix received a call about a very large dead fish found on the rocky shore of the Bay Harbor Resort. Turns out that the fish was a five foot eight inch long Lake Sturgeon.

MDNRE biologist at the Charlevoix station Randall Claramunt says it is not particularly uncommon to find dead Sturgeon along the Lake Michigan shoreline especially in the later half of the month of August or the beginning of September but it is uncommon to find one this large or in this good of condition.

Sturgeon like this one seem to have become an unwitting victim of one of the hundreds of invasive species that now inhabit the Great Lakes. Samples from this fish will be sent to different agencies to help determine its age and the exact cause of death but fisheries personnel feel the likely culprit is botulism. “The majority of the ones we’re finding died from botulism.“ said Claramunt. The theory is that the fish acquire the disease by eating Zebra Mussels.

In a twist of fate only mother nature could come up with the invasive Zebra Mussel is thought to indirectly create the conditions for the botulism to develop and then ingests the disease and passes it on to the Sturgeon.

     * Zebra Mussels filter lake water removing their food from it leaving the water much clearer.

     * clearer water allows algae to bloom in far greater quantities then normal (if you’ve noticed an increase of large clumps of algae floating on the surface or building up along the shoreline this is likely a result of Zebra Mussels.)

     * large amounts of dead and decaying algae allow the botulism bacteria to grow and disperse into the water.

     * Zebra Mussels, that are immune to the bacteria, filter the lake water and absorb the botulism bacteria.

     * Sturgeon eat the Zebra Mussels and contract the deadly disease.

“There’s no expert who would have predicted that the botulism mechanism would do this.” said Claramunt. “Nobody would have predicted that because it’s so complex. With any invasive species its impossible to predict all the interactions that they will have with native life.”

MDNRE Biologost Randy Claramunt (left) and MDNRE Tribal Coordinator
Nick Popoff hold a measuring tape up to the frozen carcass of a Lake
Sturgeon that recently washed ashore in Little Traverse Bay.

Sturgeon are a very long lived fish. It is believed that Lake Sturdeon can live to be well over a hundred years old. They are part of the diverse Great Lakes ecology and different Sturgeon varieties, including Lake Sturgeon, are a part of the cultural history of many native American tribes throughout the United States. Not only has the Sturgeon been a source of food but it is also an important part of tribal art and history according to the Charlevoix stations tribal coordinator Nick Popoff.

There are several co-operative studies currently underway to help understand the Lake Sturgeon and breeding programs are being developed to help sustain the population. Part of these studies include the electronic tagging of fish that are caught in survey nets. When possible, netted fish have a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag inserted underneath the third skew (pointed armor like plate) on their backs. The PIT tag is an electronically coded device that can be read using a special computer wand. The tag contains an identification number that can be checked to see when and where the fish was first tagged and if it has been caught more than once. In some cases it can also identify the sex and age of the captured fish.

Since the Lake Sturgeon is listed as a threatened species by the State of Michigan if you do happen to come upon a Sturgeon carcass there are several different organizations that might be interested in your discovery. On a state level you can contact the local MDNRE field office. If you are close to a fisheries station you can contact them or your local conservation officer. Many tribal governments also have a conservation department that might be conducting or participating in studies about Sturgeon so they will most likely be interested in any find. “We definitely want people to call” said Claramunt. “If its dead we definitely want to scan it to see if its been PIT tagged.”

Other sources for information on Lake Sturgeon in Michigan include:,1607,7-153-10370_12145_12203-33009--,00.html

Monday, August 2, 2010

2010 Top O' Michigan Marathon Nationals

As always, having the right gear to meet the weather conditions was the key to winning at the 2010 Top O’ Michigan Marathon Nationals. Unlike most years though it wasn’t wind, waves or rain that made the Top O’ experience unique. This year it was all about speed.

The weather gods threw two perfect days at the 83 boats that showed up to participate in this years event. As the runabouts and super lights lined up off the DeVoe Park beach on Saturday and Sunday big Burt Lake was calm enough that you could have run hydros. It was so calm that the only thing that slowed drivers from running the entire course at full throttle were a few of the sharper river turns and pleasure boat wakes.

If you have never attended the Top O’ you might find it hard to believe but this years two day crowd total was estimated to well exceed the ten thousand mark. Fans took advantage of the warm weather filling viewing areas to capacity as they cheered on their favorite drivers. With John Broge calling the race over the pits PA system spectators there enjoyed the action as real time information was relayed from patrol boats and checkpoints. Last years addition of a Classic group to the marathon brought the total number of classes in the event to ten. The small group of Classic’s ran a modified version of the course that included the entire length of the Indian River and a small part of Mullet Lake.

Both JSR and ASR classes saw marked increases in the number of entrants. Seven JSR drivers made the start on Saturday but only three made the finish after mechanical problems and a very rare multiple boat accident. By Sunday morning all seven drivers were back in the pits and four of them took to the water to complete the second leg of the event. “It was awesome” said Indian Rivers Katie Jewell who was the first of what would become four first time winners at this years Top O’. As the JSR winner Jewell also gets to add her name to the event’s Don Allen Memorial Trophy.

ASR also saw a first time champion as Canadian driver Dan Elliot (photo left) managed to string together two consistent finishes to beat out a field of twelve other drivers and claim his first marathon nationals title. Running in his fourth Top O’ Elliot said, “The water was great this weekend, you couldn’t ask for anything better I’ve never seen it this calm, especially both days.” “Today (Sunday) everywhere was just perfect. Everything just fell into the right place for me this weekend”

BSR drivers seemed to have the toughest time this year. With more than thirty Top O’ appearances under his belt defending BSR Champion Gene Greenacre took the checkered Saturday ahead of son Brian (in photo right) and long time Top O’ racers Chris and Amanda Hagerl. After not being able to finish Saturday the Hagerls needed to catch a break from the Greenacre team on Sunday and they got one from Gene when his engine exploded but Brain ran a flawless Sunday race to capture the win.

After a first on Saturday 25SSR driver Charlie Smith, who started his driving career as a JSR driver at the Top O’ in 2003, was the first boat back to the Indian River on Sunday on his way to the class championship. “It was pretty nice.” said Smith, “Really calm, quite a few boat wakes. You could pretty much go full throttle, I never really cracked it. I got up on the front of it and tried not to blow it over.”

With 2009 winner Tim Ross sidelined the CSR class was up for grabs. Winner Mark Kurz had to take on the one of the events most competitive group of drivers including perennial favorite Kim Park of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Kurz took advantage of a navigational error Park made on Saturday to take the first day win and then ran a flat out perfect leg on Sunday to finish first again and claim his first Top O’ title in three attempts. “I got real break with the weather today, and this weekend” said Kurz. At the post race awards ceremony Kurz raised his hands high in the air in celebration and gladly yelled “I’M GOING SWIMMING!” as other drivers tossed him into the Indian River for the traditional first time winner dunk.

DSR defending champ Josh Pearson’s father Gordon was confident about his sons chances to repeat as he talked with spectators Friday night and he was right. The younger Pearson finished first both days ahead of second place contender Jim Ladd of Alanson to claim his third consecutive DSR championship. “It was definitely a top end, full throttle, speed weekend.” said Pearson after completing Sunday.

The Superlights also made another strong showing at this years Top O’. Tracey Phillips and Matt Cupps repeated in the Outlaw Class “It was calm both days, I’ve never seen it this nice.” said Tracey. Charlie Brockway and Seth Churchhill brought home the Bandit honors while Jeff Korpal and Josh Jaynes claimed their first Top O’ title in the X-class. Veteran driver Bob Hartman switched rides this year going from a runabout to Superlight but his first attempt at the Top O’ course ended just a few hundred yards short of the finish line on Saturday when he and his co-pilot took an abrupt right hand turn wound up parked in the woods on the courses final turn. Neither was injured and they drove back to the pits but they did not compete on Sunday.

The Classic group got off to a slow start but had spectators curious and looking for more information about the class. Ron Oswalt finished both days to take top honors while Vintage Hydroplane driver Hal LeDuc Jr. (photo left) of Commerce, Michigan made his first Top O’ appearance. “I’ve got a young family and this seems like a special event.” said LeDuc who is picking the Top O’ as his only outboard race of the year. Driving a refurbished boat named “The Dean” in honor of his grandfather, long time Detroit News sports writer Harry LeDuc who was known as the “Dean of Motorsports” Hal had mechanical problems on Saturday but after a few attempts on Sunday he got to complete at least part of the course.

The Top O’ Michigan club also recognized the tireless efforts of the races chief scorer Mary Ellen Hagerl (photo above). After almost thirty years as a race volunteer an emotional Hagerl was left almost speechless as she excepted the club’s annual Fred Kenny Sportsmanship award.

“It was a good race this year, really calm water. I‘ve had nothing but good comments from everybody.” said race director Tom Fairbairn. “Huge, big, big, big” was how he described crowds. “Alanson the 68 bridge, packed. The sandbar on Crooked Lake was completely full.” “All the drivers said they couldn’t believe how many spectators there were.” Looking forward to next year when the Top O’ will follow the Short Course Nationals in Wakefield, Michigan Fairbairn hopes to see even a better turnout of drivers at the 2011 race. “We’re still trying to get to a hundred, I’m real positive about it.”

Monday, July 5, 2010

2010 Rex Marquardt Memorial Softball Tournament

Lightning batter Trevor Kelly connects with a pitch during the
Championship game of the Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament.

Six mens fast-pitch softball teams rolled into Petoskey's Ed White Feild over the holiday weekend to participate in the 40th annual Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament and when the dust had settled on Sunday afternoon it was the Midland/Frankenmuth area Lightning taking home this years championship trophy.

Sundays championship game wound up being a rematch of the previous evenings game between the Lightning and the Marshall areas Tiffany's.  Undefeated through the weekend the Staurday matchup was the only game in the tournament where an opponent managed to keep the Lightning from winning by virtue of a mercy rule as the Tiffany's pitching and defense held the 2009 Class 'A' National Champion Lightning to just three runs.

Tiffany's first baseman Brett Szagesh looks to the umpire for a call
 after scooping a throw from the dirt during the Championship game
 of the Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament.

The Tiffany's team was unable to contain the Lighning in Sunday's championship contest though as the reigning national champs managed to close out the game in five innings with a 7-0 shutout, mercy rule win.  Lightning pitchers Sean and Tyler Kelly struck put 5 while giving up only one hit to the Tiffany's offense while Lightning batters Adam Saylor and Tyler Kelly led the offense with one home runs each.

Lightning pitcher Sean Kelly pitches during a Saturday
night game at the Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament.

The Lightning's Sean Kelly also captured the tournaments top pitcher kudo's with 3 wins getting credit for 14 shutout innings giving up only three hits and registering 26 strikeouts.  Bill Kunkel, also of the Lightning came away with the tournaments top batting honors hitting .444 for the weekend.


Home Town Fouth of July

Like thousands of small communities across the country Alanson, Michigan seizes the opportunity to come together and celebrate the nation’s official birthday every independance day.  Community residents enjoyed the annual parade, music, and bake sales, barbeques and back yard fireworks as they marked the passage of the annual Fourth of July holiday.  Couples, families, teens and yes, even the occassional village idiot, turned out to participate in the this years festivities that appeared to go off without a hitch.

Sunny warm weather brought out a large crowd just before noon as the long line of parade participants sturtted their stuff.  Led by area verterans and the local boy and girl scout troops, floats from area businesses, churches and other organizations made their way down M-68, U.S. 31 and village side streets.  A contingent of children on decorated bicycles along with volunteer firemen and people riding on floats tossed candy into the crowds while the owners of Fairbairn Hardware and their families handed out free ice cream cones to help spectators beat the heat.

To view our complete photo gallery from the Alanson 4th of July parade please click on the link below.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thank You Mr. Harwell

While I have been lucky enough to cover the Tiger’s at Comerica Park on several occasions I only had the pleasure of attending games at “The Corner” twice.  I was a pre-teen the first time I got to see a game from the right field bleachers at Tiger Stadium and the second was many years later during the count down to the grand old ballpark’s final game. 

While I remember lots of little things about my childhood visit the last trip to the ballpark on the corner of Michigan and Trumbull was by far the best. The crowd, the sights, the sounds, the nostalgic atmosphere knowing it was so close to the end of a century of baseball tradition. Watching Baltimore’s Cal Ripken Jr.’s, playing in his last game in Detroit, walking along the seats for almost an hour signing autographs for young fans. I got my first look at a professional digital camera and I got to snap a picture of someone who, until the other day, I didn’t even realize was one of my childhood hero’s.

If you grew up in northern Michigan where I now reside you probably knew who Ernie Harwell was but not like you did if you were a young Little Leaguer growing up in Ann Arbor in the 1970’s. I was one of the youngsters Mr. Harwell spoke of during his final appearance at a Tigers game last year. One of the thousands of boys that spent their after bedtime hours, head under pillow, A.M. radio at my ear listening to him describe the on field heroics of the mighty Al Kaline, Micky Lolich, “Stormin” Norman Cash, Willie Horton and countless other Tiger players. Even when there was no hope of a playoff run Ernie made them all sound like the greatest players to ever take the field.

For generations of fans his passing last week has brought forth a flood of memories and emotions. In remembering him he has taken many of us back to the days before the internet, pampered players and mega million dollar contracts, back to the summer nights when he shared with us our passion for the game and the innocence of our youth. Taken us back to bleachers and box seats at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, to the thrill of a World Championship ride and the sadness of Tiger Stadium’s final day. Back to the excitement we felt as we sat like mesmerized grandchildren listening to him reminisce about the baseball heroes of his youth as he described the play of those who would become the great players that make up our memories of the game. In his passing we feel not only for his loved ones who were so kind to share him with us but also for ourselves as it is yet another reminder that as time marches on our youth was indeed fleeting.

History will hopefully remember Ernie as one of the men who helped create “The Great American Pastime”. For more than half a century he brought life to the games great moments, great players and the sport itself for millions of fans. He is an enduring part of our youth and indeed a piece of the very fabric that makes up our national heritage.

Thank you for a lifetime of baseball memories Mr. Harwell, and for being a part of our lives. Whenever I think of baseball I will, in a way, be thinking of you. See you on the other side Ernie. Save me a seat in the bleachers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tea Party Makes Whistlestop in Petoskey

The announcement by eighteen year congressman Bart Stupak that he was retiring and would not be seeking re-election may have been timed to take some of the air out of the Tea Party Express III’s sails as it made its way through northern Michigan today but neither that or the chilly weather discouraged the several hundred people that turned out at Emmet – Charlevoix County Fairgrounds this morning. After an 8 a.m. event in Cheboygan the tea party tour made a “whistlestop” in Petoskey as it headed south to Traverse City and three other scheduled stops this afternoon.

Tea party speakers seized the opportunity to cheer Stupak’s retirement announcement and put their spin on it. “Bart Stupak’s demise has become a media touchdown” claimed tea party chairman and talk radio host Mark Williams as he gave credit to the tea party and those in attendance for driving Stupak from office. Williams also took the opportunity to call for the ousting of long time Michigan senator Carl Levin. Grassroots in Michigan’s Joan Fabiano urged attendees to become more involved in politics at the local level.

Tea Party Chairman Mark Willaims speaks to the crowd at the
Tea Party Express III's whistlestop in Petoskey, Michigan.

Describing Stupak as “arrogant” after his televised comments about making the Tea Party spend money needlessly on ads encouraging voters not to re-elect him Williams did thank the retiring senator for the timing of his announcement eluding that it saved his organization $200,000 since they will no longer have to run the ads.

An anti war activist carries a sign through the crowd at the Tea Party
Express III's whistlestop in Petoskey, Michigan. 

While a lot of national media seems to like to paint tea party members as religious fanatics and conservative radicals that was not the crowd that showed up at this mornings event. Lawyers and local business owners stood shoulder to shoulder with working class citizens to listen to Tea Party speakers and political candidates. Anti war activists mingled in the crowd and chatted with each other without problems and other than an occasional drive through local law enforcement was for the most part unseen.

The Tea Party Express III will visit Traverse City, Big Rapids, Grand Rapids and Lansing today before wrapping up their Michigan events in Detroit Sunday morning.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tea Party Express III Coming to Northern Michigan

According to a local Tea Party member and their official web site the Tea Party Express III will be making the rounds in northern Michigan this coming Friday and Saturday. E-mail inquires we made for information on scheduled speakers via the organizations press e-mail address were returned as undeliverable.

The organizations bus tour that started March 27th Nevada and that will end in Washington D.C. on April 15th will be making a stop in Sault Ste. Marie on the evening of the 9th and then in Cheboygan, Petoskey and Traverse City on Saturday the 10th. The bus tours schedule is available on the groups website at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Double Fire North of Petoskey Closes U.S. 31

Fire fighters from at least four northern Michigan fire departments battled two structure fires that closed U.S. 31 for more than five hours this afternoon north of Petoskey in Conway.

Shortly before noon today the Conway Towing building located on the corner of U.S. 31 and Cook St. was reported to be burning. The building was home to the automotive towing business, a U-Haul rental business, a hazardous material cleanup business, a residential apartment and an automotive repair shop.

Witnesses described the building as being almost fully engulfed in flames when explosions sent debris into the highway and onto houses and neighboring properties several hundred feet away. Fire fighters and onlookers scrambled for cover as the first explosion rocked the building at about one p.m. A second, larger explosion at about two p.m. sent people yelling and running once again. At least one of the explosions was believed to be caused by the rupturing of a large fuel tank that had recently been filled.

As the fire in the commercial building was being brought under control firefighters noticed that a residence on the opposite side of the highway just south of the original blaze was also burning. The Crooked Lake home was heavily damaged but did not appear completely destroyed. The residence appeared to have caught fire after burning debris from the Conway Towing building landed on its wood shingled roof.

A witness familiar with the property owner who did not wish to be quoted said that there was only one person in the building when the fire was discovered and she escaped unharmed. Onsite emergency personnel stated that no injuries had been reported in either blaze.

Fire fighters used excavating equipment to pull down the last standing portions of the Conway Towing building while it was still burning. The building appears to be a total loss that will leave at least four businesses looking for new homes.

The official cause of the fires is not known at this time but the most popular opinion of witnesses on the scene seemed to be that the original blaze was caused by an electrical problem.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Michigan High School Skiers Head North For Finals

Traverse City West's Ryan Ness

More than 200 high school downhillers invaded Harbor Springs on Monday to compete in the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) ski finals. Boyne Highlands hosted the Division I finals while Nubs Nob was the site for this years Division II meet.

Traverse City Central's Clark Phelps

Traverse City teams came up big in the Div. I competition. Led by top five finishes in both slalom and giant slalom by Clark Phelps the T.C. Central boys won the top prize with T.C. West finishing third behind the Grand Blanc squad.
Marian's Katie Thibideau

Top ten finishes in both meet events on the girls side by Bloomfield – Marion’s Katie Thibideau and Kelly Lunghamer combined with a giant slalom fifth place finish by Kristin Lunghammer and a ninth in the slalom by Tara Strong gave Marion the lowest team score in either the Div. I or Div. II meets. Edged out of the top spot the T.C. Central girls captured second followed by the ladies from Marquette. According to the MHSAA’a website (provides results back to 1975) this is the first timed Bloomfield Hills – Marion has won a state final ski match.

Petoskey's Victoria McVicker

In Div. II Petoskey’s Victoria McVicker successfully defended her 2009 Individual Girls Championship by taking the top spot in both the girls slalom and giant slalom events but even with her standout performance the Petoskey girls team had to settle for second behind Houghton – Hancock. Houghton took advantage of top 5 finishes in the slalom and giant slalom by 2008 Individual Champion Samantha Henderson as well as top ten finishes in both events by Abby Fenton. Emily Rossi contributed a top 5 slalom finish to give their team the 2010 Championship. Manistee finished in third followed by the Harbor Springs Rams.

Harbor Springs' Drake Doherty

In the boys competition the Iron Mountain squad came out of the mornings giant slalom runs with a 16 lead over second place Cranbrook – Kingswood and 16.5 points ahead of Harbor Springs. The lead would not be enough to deter the home town Harbor Springs Rams as they dominated the slalom competition with top twenty finishes (not including individual competitors) from Drake Doherty, Dan Davis, Robert Mathews and Jac Talcott to claim the boys championship. Iron Mountain finished the day in second ten points ahead of third place Traverse City St. Francis.

Finishing second overall in both slalom and giant slalom Harbor Springs’Doherty came within two seconds of claiming the Div. II boys Individual Championship but was edged out by Bellaire’s Mike King who took the top spot in both events.

Wipe Out 2010 - Images by Eagle Feature & Image

Lakers Offense Frozen Out In Alaska

After being swept by the University of Alaska in Fairbanks last weekend the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team falls to 9th in the CCHA standings and have probably lost any shot at home ice during the opening round of the upcoming conference playoffs.

The Lakers offense went flat last weekend scoring only one goal in the two game series. Alaska scored four unanswered goals against junior LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson on Friday then four more against senior net minder Pat Inglis on Satuday tacking on an empty net score to make that final 5 – 1.

Senior Will Acton tallied the Lakers lone goal just past the halfway point of the second period Saturday. Lake Superior’s power play went 0 for 8 in the series managing only twelve shots on goal while they had the advantage.

The Lakers head west again next weekend to close out the regular season against U.P. rival Northern Michigan. While the Lakers have been dropping down the standings Northern has been making a charge up the list. With only one loss in their last eight games the Wildcats are on a roll headed into season finale series and the playoffs.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lakers Split With #14 Ferris State

LSSU's Rick Schofield (23) and Ferris State's Matt Case (16) chase a loose puck around
 the Ferris net during Saturday nights game at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

While the weekend didn’t end as perfectly as the Lake Superior State ice hockey team seniors probably wished it had they certainly can’t hang their heads too much about their split with the nationally ranked Ferris State Bulldogs. This weekend was the Lakers final regular season home stand and the seniors got a special thank you from fans at a senior day ceremony following Saturday’s game.

Headed into the third period of Friday nights match up leading the Lakers by two the Bulldogs were in the drivers seat and looking at a win. Lake Superior individual points leader Rick Schofield wasn’t having any of it though scoring the first Lakers goal just 44 seconds into the period. Freshman Domenic Monardo added the Lakers second and tied the score at 2 apiece at the 14:40 mark.

Ferris State’s Casey Haines put the Bulldogs back into the lead beating Lakers goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson with just 58 ticks left on the clock. Schofield answered by scoring on the Bulldog netminder Taylor Nelson ten second later to tie the score again.

With just over a half a minute left in the game the Lakers Will Acton found the back of the net with what would be the game winner for Lake Superior. “It was the most devastating loss I’ve been involved with in college hockey.” Ferris head coach Bob Daniels said of the Friday 4-3 loss.

Ferris State goaltender Pat Nagle deflects away a shot during Saturday nights
 game against Lake Superior State at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Badly in need of a win going into Saturday night the Bulldogs started their goaltending ace Pat Nagle to see if he could shut down the Lakers. Nagle made 24 saves, including a big one that would have tied the game with less than two minutes left on the scoreboard. The junior goalie gave up just one power play goal as Ferris State battled to a 2-1 win over the home team Lakers.

LSSU's Will Acton fires a shot at the Ferris State net during Saturday
 nights game at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Bulldogs Mike Embach and Casey Haines accounted for the two Ferris goals while LSSU’s Will Acton picked up his second point of the weekend with the Lakers lone goal.

Noting the Bulldogs recent winless stretch coach Daniels summed up Saturday’s win as “just one we really needed”.

“I liked our effort tonight better than last night actually.” said Lakers coach Jim Roque after Saturday’s loss. “Obviously the outcome was better last night.” “Just couldn’t find a way to get another goal.”

With two weeks left in the regular CCHA season, and everyone starting to talk playoff’s, Ferris State heads to MSU next weekend while the Lakers will make the trip west to face Alaska before returning to Michigan to end their year against Northern Michigan in Marquette.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lake Superior State Hockey Swept by Miami of Ohio

For the second time in their last four games the Lakers suffered a near complete defensive breakdown Saturday to lose the final game of their weekend series against Miami of Ohio. After falling 2 – 0 Friday night Lake Superior State utilized all three of their goaltenders in their 10 – 4 Saturday night loss to the Red Hawk’s.

The Lakers offense was unable to find a way to score on the nations number one defense Friday night but their efforts held the Red Hawks to just one goal until the last second of the game when Miami’s Andy Miele scored an empty netter upping the score to 2 – 0.

After giving up goals to Miami’s Miele and Tommy Wingels in the first 8:17 of Saturday nights game Lakers starting goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson, who had been bothered by a hip injury earlier in the year, was replaced by senior Pat Inglis. Inglis gave up five goals to the Red Hawks before the games halfway point prompting Lakers head coach Jim Roque to call on his last net minder, senior Mitch Edmondson, who played the games final 32:53 and allowed the Red Hawks last three goals of the night. The appearance was Traverse City West graduate Edmondson’s first of the year.

Even though LSSU out shot the Red Hawks 75 – 64 in the series the Lakers were unable to score their first goal of the weekend until well into the second period Saturday. Domenic Monardo tallied a shorthanded goal, his first of two scores on the night, at 10:46 of the middle period to finally put the Lakers on the board. Nick McParland and Chad Nehring added even strength goals to the Lakers offensive efforts.

Entering the weekend tied with Notre Dame for fourth in the CCHA standings the pair of losses plummets LSSU to eighth. Swept by Western Michigan, Notre Dame remains tied with the Lakers in the conference standings.

Lake Superior State returns to Sault Ste. Marie next weekend to face Ferris State in their last regular season home stand of the season. The Lakers and Bulldogs will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday night at Taffy Abel Arena.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Granholm Delivers Final State of the State Address

If you heard, or have read, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s State of the State speech last night you could probably say that it was pretty much what you would expect from an outgoing politician who is at the head of one of the most economically challenged states in the country. In summary, times are tough but we’re doing a great job and looking forward to a brighter future. A long step back from her previous promises that constituents would be “blown away” with the success of her leadership.

After honoring Michigan’s fallen and active duty military personnel the Governor used her final State of the State address to challenge the legislature to approve a complete budget by July 1st and focused on economic diversification and education as the keys to the “new” Michigan economy declaring the old all but dead.

“The old Michigan economy is gone.” she stated in the opening portions of her speech “Anyone who believed Michigan would just naturally rebound without making deep and lasting change had a rendezvous with reality in 2009.”

Pointing out successes in what she identified as the “six new areas” of Michigan’s re-evolving economy that she feels will help to replace the last decade's million plus job losses she took credit for “purposefully” laying the foundation for what will be the economic future for millions of state residents. A future that at times sounds like an economy modeled after the state of California’s.

While some northern Michigan residents feel ignored by the Governor they should be happy that she also pressed for the funding of the “Pure Michigan” advertising campaign that promotes the states tourism industry. Pointing the program out, along with the necessity to find matching funds for federal road and infrastructure improvement grants and the restoration of the Michigan Promise Scholarship program, as the three items she feels are necessary to help create Michigan jobs “right away”.

Sighting an approximate 25% reduction in state revenues since she took office, the Governor put forth several proposals to help make up for shortfalls in the states budget. Her proposals and reforms include plans to provide incentives to encourage the retirement of 46,000 public and state and school employees so that they can be replaced with fewer less costly new hires, eliminate lifetime health care benefits for lawmakers who serve less than six years and offer tax credits to investors that make who venture capital available to Michigan businesses.

Praising the recovery policies President Obama’s administration more than once, the Governor vowed to continue her efforts find a bring jobs to Michigan during the remaining eleven months of her administration.

In her conclusion Granholm shared her feelings on what it has been like to be the state’s top elected official “Well to be honest, it has had its challenging moments.”

You can read Governor Granholm's speech on Michigan's web site at

Don't forget to share your thoughts on the Governor on our Talking Points and Opinions Page

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Not only do we want to share with you all the information we can about the great sports, news, people and places we cover, we also want to hear what you think!

Our new UpNorth – Talking Points & Opinions section allows us to post survey's and throw out topics or opinions for you to discuss and debate. These discussions will not only give you the opportunity to have your voice be heard but they will also help us better select what kinds of stories we provide.

Topics could range from things as simple as “What’s Your Favorite Kind of Pet” to “Lets Talk About Health Care”. Our first topic, “Are U.S. Automakers Missing Out on a Great Market” is an example of how the section will work. Please feel free to join in this discussion or any future ones that peek your interest.

Check it out


Sunday, January 31, 2010

X Gamer Pastrana Wins Sno-Drift Road Rally

Open class winner Subaru Rally Team USA's Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom drive toward the finish of the fifteenth stage of the 2010 Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

January 31, 2010 - X games favorite Travis Pastrana got the full rock star treatment from the hundreds of spectators from across the Great Lakes region who turned out to watch him and his Subaru Rally Team USA partner Christian Edstrom win the 2010 Sno-Drift road rally race in Atlanta, Michigan. Road rally racing is considered to be an extreme sport and, according to the events sanctioning body Rally America, it will be a part of the 2010 Summer X-Games. Teams are required to drive street legal cars which in the case of the Sno-Drift means no studded tires.

With fans filling the designated spectator areas Pastrana, along with a field of international drivers, tackled the two day, twenty stage rally that wound its way through 130 miles of back roads in Montmorency county this past Friday and Saturday. Extremely icy road conditions caused by recent warmer than normal weather were the big news of the weekend. The three top open class finishers all made note of the treacherous conditions and their effect on the race. “It’s literally like driving on a frozen pond.” said driver William Bacon between stages “in sections, its gotta be two inches thick of just ice.”

Open class second place finishers the Rockstar sponsored Antoine L'Estage and
 Nathalie Richard drive toward the finish of the fifteenth stage of the 2010
Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

“Trying not to get to aggressive was the key for us” said Pastrana who finished just over a minute and a half ahead of the Mitsubishi of second place finishers Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard and more than six minutes ahead of the third place team of William Bacon and Peter Watt. Pastrana credited Friday’s seven and a half mile long “Ranch” stage as one of the key sections of the race. “Every year it’s got that one stage that feels like a motocross track. It’s the only time that I can really feel like I can take my background from motocross and really be able to judge where the ruts are.” “It does come down a lot to just going with your gut and at the end of that stage we almost doubled our lead on Antoine (L’Estage). It went from really a push, push, push rally to a okay, lets not make a mistake and see if you can make up the ground kind of rally.”

Fan favorite Ken Block, driving one of the events few American made cars, won the rallies opening leg but was unable to finish Friday and dropped out of the competition after suffering suspension damage while transiting between stages. “Ken always comes out of the blocks hot” said Pastrana at the post race press conference “when he gets a lead he’s almost impossible to catch. We were curious to see how the Ford was going to hold up and how he was going to adapt to it.”

Two Wheel Drive competitors Chris Duplessis and Catherine Woods look for traction
 on the edge of a snowbank as they head towards the finish of the fifteenth stage of the
 2010 Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

Other notable finishers included Terry and Tim Hansen who finished fifth overall and top in the Super Production class as well as two wheel drive driver Christopher Duplessis and his partner Catherine Woods. With almost all of the two wheel drive cars in the event finishing at the bottom of the final results list Duplessis surprised even Rally America officials finishing eleventh overall ahead of more then half the field four wheel drive cars that completed the race.

Rally America’s national championship series moves to Salem, Missouri February 26th and 27th for it’s second scheduled event, the 100 Hundred Acre Wood rally.  Complete results available at