Pioneer Spirit Lives In N. Michigan

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H/t my friend Bill’s friend, Nadyne!
This is from a county emergency manager out in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a recent severe snow storm: 
Up here in the Northern part of Michigan we just recovered from a weather event of Biblical proportions — a historic blizzard of up to 44″ inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to tens of thousands. 

Obama did not come. 
FEMA did nothing. 
No one howled for the government.
No one blamed the government. 
No one even uttered an expletive on TV. 
Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit. 
Our Mayors did not blame Obama or anyone else. 
Our Governor did not blame Obama or anyone else either. 
CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC did not visit – or even report on this category 5 snow storm. 

Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards. 
No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House. 
No one looted. 
Nobody – I mean Nobody demanded the government do something. 
Nobody expected the government to do anything either. 
No Larry King, no Bill O’Reilly, no Oprah, no Chris Matthews and no Geraldo Rivera. 
No Sean Penn, no Barbra Striesand, no Brad Pitts, no Hollywood types to be found.  
Nope, we just melted the snow for water. 
Sent out caravans of SUVs to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. 
The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn’t ask for a penny. 
Local restaurants made food, and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snow bound families.. 
Families took in the stranded people – total strangers. 

We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns. 
We put on an extra layers of clothes because up here it is “Work or Die.” 
We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for ‘sittin at home’ checks. 
Even though a  Category 5 blizzard of this scale is not usual, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves. 

I hope this gets passed on. 
Maybe SOME people will get the message…. 
The world does NOT owe you a living.

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31 responses to “Pioneer Spirit Lives In N. Michigan

  1. Now that’s what I call personal responsibility and being prepared! People who take care of themselves and help others without expecting a handout from the gov’t.
    I’ll pass this along my twitter…

    • Thanks, Debbie! You wield one powerful mama of a Twitter. LOL 😉

    • These pictures have been circulating on the web since before 2004. These exact pictures have been used before in stories about record snowfall in Buffalo NY, Oswego NY & Fair Haven. These are actually pictures of the Trans Labrador Hwy in NE Canada being cleared. They are not the UP.

  2. That was EPIC! that snow was just as deep as the BS in Washington.

  3. That is a very intense amount of snow. I thought the 3 consecutive blizzards in the midwest was bad.

  4. As another fellow yooper (person who lives in Northern Michigan) I can heartily say that this article is correct…but goes too far.
    1 – the government does lots. Without the government we wouldn’t be able to live up here. The plows, salt trucks, and emergency services allow us to live on a daily basis. Without these services those people who help each other could not GET to each other.
    2 – the people DO help each other out constantly, and rugged individualism is alive and well. We’ll help pull each other out of a ditch, or give food where it’s needed, or take in strangers, or snow-blow other peoples’ driveways. But it’s not to the Hurricane Katrina extent that this article makes it sound like.
    So yes, we get by without complaining, but no it is not without the government’s help. Take this article with a bunch of salt.

    • former michigander

      You are a very weak person if you think you couldn’t live in the UP without the government…… anywhere as far as that goes! If you NEED the government, your part of the problem!

  5. Old Poor Richard

    The entire point of this article is that helplessness is learned. I’m shocked that anyone exalting self-sufficiency is smeared as an anarchist. Being a victim of a hurricane or blizzard doesn’t make one a “victim of government” entitled to be overcompensated at others’ expense.
    This is a very positive and uplifting article for adult Americans, and puts to shame the inane bleating of people who are angry at being inconvenienced by the weather and not cradled by the nanny state as if nothing had happened
    Glad to have found this site this morning and will enjoy many more essays here.

  6. I live right in the heart of the UP and that storm did NOT happen!

  7. I don’t know where they are taken but I’ve lived here my whole life and we have never had a storm that accumulated 44″. That’s a huge exaggeration

    • Good grief. If you don’t know where the photos were taken, then how do you know the record snow didn’t happen?
      From Wikipedia, with footnoted news sources:
      “The Great Lakes have a great effect on most of the [Upper Peninsula of Michigan]. Winters tend to be long, cold, and snowy for most of the peninsula….Lake Superior has the greatest effect on the area, especially the northern and western parts. Lake-effect snow causes many areas to get in excess of 100–250 inches (250–640 cm) of snow per year—especially in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Gogebic County…. Records of 390 inches (990 cm) of snow or more have been set in many communities in this area…. Because of the howling storms across Lake Superior, which cause dramatic amounts of precipitation, it has been said that the lake-effect snow makes the Keweenaw Peninsula the snowiest place east of the Rockies. Herman, Michigan, averages 236 inches (600 cm) of snow every year.”
      I suggest that next time you open your mouth to dismiss and discredit, make sure you actually know your facts.

    • Nicole – we have indeed had storms that totalled 44″ or more… in the Keewenaw as well as the Marquette area. One of the winters I was in Marquette we had a 3 day blizzard that left us 50-some inches…

  8. I know my facts. This is not the UP. Period. Ive lived here for 30 years. This photo was not taken in the UP. I dont know where this picture was taken. But it was NOT TAKEN HERE

  9. I grew up in the UP and moved away in 1990. I have family there and if there’d been 44″ anywhere in the UP I would have heard about it. That being said, they don’t whine for the Feds to come and save them when they get a lot of snow. They make do and that is exactly what they would do if they did get 44″ of snow. Last year they got A LOT repeatedly (maybe not Biblical proportions at a time) and were running out of places to park and put the snow.
    I remember one winter in the 1970s having very tall snowbanks and having a very narrow path to walk to our front door, between two walls of snow. They did have to use the giant snowblowers a lot on city streets in the Copper Country that year. But as I was pretty young so I can’t remember the exact height.

    • I am from MI. I now live in MS…32 mi from where Katrina made landfall. It has been 9 1/2 yrs and damage is still around. When it snows at least YOU CAN move it…when wind and water wash away and blow the tinder left behind to hell you need a FEMA trailer house because yours is toothpicks!

  10. North Dakota News Bulletin
    This text is from a county emergency manager out in the western part of North Dakota state after the storm.
    Amusing, if it were not so true…
    Up here in the Northern Plains we just recovered from a Historic event — may I even say a “Weather Event” of “Biblical Proportions” — with a historic blizzard of up to 24″ inches of snow and winds to 50 MPH that broke trees in half, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed all roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10’s of thousands.
    George Bush did not come….
    FEMA staged nothing….
    No one howled for the government…
    No one even uttered an expletive on TV…
    Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards…..
    No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House….
    No one looted….
    Phil Cantori of the Weather Channel did not come….
    And Geraldo Rivera did not move in.
    Nope, we just melted snow for water, sent out caravans to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars, fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Aladdin lamps, and put on an extra layer of clothes because up here it is ‘work or die’. We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for ‘sittin at home’ checks.
    Even though a Category “5” blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early…we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves.
    “In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the worlds social problems evaporate.”
    E-mailed versions circulated in November 2006 changed the location of the blizzard-stricken community from somewhere in North Dakota to Marquette, Michigan, and attributed the article to The Mining Journal News of that city. While that paper exists, it didn’t publish the piece.
    December 2006 versions of this item changed the setting to Colorado, reflecting the back-to-back snowstorms that paralyzed portions of the state during the 2006 holiday season and twice shut down Denver International Airport. (Many of those versions falsely asserted the item came from The Denver Post.) In the wake of those storms, Colorado requested assistance from FEMA to help ranchers recover their livelihoods.
    A June 2008 version changed the locale to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, one of the many Midwestern towns and cities hit by severe flooding that month.
    A December 2009 variant restored the Michigan version and added several anachronistic photographs of snowdrifts which were actually taken well before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
    Origins: On 4 October 2005, portions of Montana, the Dakotas, and Wyoming were hit by an early snowstorm that knocked out power, closed roads, and dumped up to 2 feet of snow. Some schools were closed by the storm, and thousands of power outages were reported. The National Guard was called out in North Dakota to aid the Highway Patrol in rescuing stranded motorists, of which there were hundreds.
    In Shoveling snow Dickinson, North Dakota, snowplows led emergency vehicles that were used to deliver fuel to a nursing home and to the Police Department to run generators during a power outage.
    Sam Walker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck, North Dakota, said of the storm: “It is, on our records, probably one of the earliest ones, as far as our recorded history goes, in 126, 130 years.” But that wasn’t the only surprising thing about the storm — only days before, 90 degree temperatures had been recorded in the state (e.g., 92 degrees in Bismarck on 1 October 2005).
    The e-mail makes the claim of the snowbound Dakotans that “No one howled for the government.” Yet in a 31 October 2005 letter to President Bush sent through FEMA, Governor John Hoeven of North Dakota did indeed “request that you declare a major disaster for the State of North Dakota as a result of a severe winter storm/snowfall, accompanied by record-breaking snowfall, rain and high winds, that occurred on October 4-6, 2005.” Said request for official disaster status was spurred by an interest in obtaining FEMA assistance: “Additionally, eleven counties meet the criteria established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency
    [FEMA] ‘for near record snowfall’ and should be eligible for assistance with FEMA’s snow policy [9523.1].”
    Midwesterners hit by this storm appear to have overcome their short-lived catastrophe without federal assistance (although as of 31 October 2005, North Dakota was seeking to recoup its storm-related expenditures from the federal government). However, the bulk of the digging out from under the snowfall and rescuing stranded motorists from snow-entombed cars fell to North Dakota’s police and emergency service workers and the National Guard, not (as the e-mail would have it) to rugged individual citizens who hadn’t been “immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for ‘sittin at home’ checks.” The comparison made in this piece to New Orleans’ attempt to cope with the massive destruction resulting from Hurricane Katrina is also flawed, as the two weather-related disasters were completely different in nature and severity — one could be coped with locally, but the other could not.

  11. why is the ‘posting date’ January, 2010?

  12. People who don’t expect help from their government in an emergency are fools, as are people who can’t tell the difference between a snowstorm and a hurricane. If you think Michigan is so bad, move to New Orleans. There’s plenty of prime real estate available.

    • Yep New Orleans has plenty down by the beach…you will need to build your house some 22′ in the air to avoid water damage and put in place construction materials that can withstand 200+ mile an hour winds…and good luck being able to afford $2000+ a month for property ins.

  13. Gee, looks a lot like my childhood growing up in the U.P.

  14. I’ve seen similar pictures taken in Labrador/Newfoundland about 10 years ago. The “records” of which Dr Eowyn speaks are annual snowfall totals and not single events. And folks up there rarely have their homes destroyed by snow tho I do remember about 15 years ago when they had about 12 feet accumulated over several weeks. Regardless, the story is made up and the pictures are stolen from another story. There aren’t many jobs up in the U.P. The place is a treasure but there are boat-loads of people on assistance. So really…can the nonsense.

    • This is an old post, the origin of which was an email I received from a friend. Why this post has been rediscovered with a vengeance, I have no idea.
      You who call yourself “Faith” (in Saline, Michigan) are a visitor on my blog, so I would appreciate elementary courtesy on your part. If you’re so sure all this is “nonsense,” then let’s see your proof and your source.

  15. For crying outloud ladies & gentlemen in an uproar (I use terms LOOSELY), the post is NOT abt weather, but CHARACTER, self-reliance, expectations of & responsibilities of citizenship. OMG…it’s our modern educatioinal curse—there’s a bulls’ eye on you, bullets have been loosed, & YOU are arguing about calibre. Who was YOUR reading teacher? Did he/she drill you on “the main idea” or “reading for comprehension?” AND, untie that knot in your panites b/c SOMEWHERE in the USA at any given winter moment …there ARE scenes like this, stories like this. It’s a PARABLE. I KNOW SO…I lived/worked on an isolated inter-mountain West Indian Reservation, at 6,000 ft elevation, for 6 yrs. Every winter (1st blizzard arriving like clockwork on Nov. 1…& lasting ’til end April), we put out 20-30-ft high poles w/black flags atop to line streets so plows could FIND the streets. Snows measured in 400-inch range over the season…much of it layered over layers. We let water run in the bathtub all winter to make sure pipes did not freeze. We slept w/our boots on. AND, hell no—–no one in D.C. cared abt our “problems” & no one sent money to help fix things winters routinely destroyed …& so on…In fact no politician ever found his/her way to my door….THANKS BE TO GOD! We helped ourselves.We watched out for ourselves & neighbors. We knew we were on the edge of Earth by choice or, in my case—by necessity due to a job assignment. We accepted repsonsibilties & got on with it. My “plan B” in life, if we go onward w/this regulation nation, is to move back there b/c no one (ie D.C.) still knows or cares that it’s there.

  16. I have a picture of my Dad when he lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Mi, snow-blowing his yard, and the snow was over his head. I was maybe a teenager then. (in my 50’s now). So the snow did get very deep there at times. He now lives in Pickford, about 25 miles from the Soo, and he says they have LOTS of snow this year too. He has been in upper MI for almost 60 years now!! The one photo above where the are shoveling off a red building was taken in Redford, Mi.!
    But as stated, this is about people helping people, a community coming together to help each other. I live in a very small community in MN. where we still do that kind of thing for each other here every day. We ride our lawn mowers to the neighbors to help with their lawn, and we walk or drive to help if someone needs to be shoveled out. If someone needs groceries we go to our cupboards and find a meal or 2 for them. This is what this article is implying.
    So yes there has been snow that deep in MI and elsewhere! We have it up to our asses here right now! Just a week ago we got another 6 inches on top of the 30+ we already had. Every time it snows it’s 1-5 inches and it snows at least once every 1-2 weeks. (Otherwise we’re in a deep freeze. It’s below zero every day except maybe one day out of a week) But it doesn’t matter. If you have a neighbor to rely on, you have what you need. So go help someone today, make yourself useful! Right now, I’m waiting on lunch. I’ve been home sick for 3 days now, and the local cafe is going to bring me lunch! Now THAT’S what it’s all about!

  17. WHO asked for the opinion anyway? JTLYK, You all aren’t the ONLY ONES who have ever had to deal with severe weather. SO QUIT TRYING TO SHAME PPL WHO MAY HAVE NEEDED OR STILL DO NEED HELP! GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE, SHORTY!

  18. That’s the America I remember! 😀

  19. Almost everyone in Northern Michigan is already getting a gov check. What else can you ask for?


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