Lowell, MI – Looking from her chamber office window on a chilly January afternoon, executive director Liz Baker has a clear picture of the Lowell Showboat still decked out in its Christmas glory.
There’s the mailbox for letters to the Santa and the big sugar canes, garlands and Christmas figurines. The archway is decorated with pink garland.
“The showboat is iconic,” Baker said. “It’s been a part of so many people’s lives.”
The fifth replica of a Mississippi steamboat, has served as the Lowell Area Chamber’s logo for the last 20 years, until the chamber adopted a new one.
In the official press release, city manager Mike Burns stated the need to close the Showboat to the public as of Jan. 4, 2017 for safety reasons.
“The Robert E. Lee’s long history and tradition in the community has made this a very difficult decision,” he said.
However, the committee “Rebuild the Lowell Showboat” has already been preparing to replace the Showboat with a new structure.
“We’ve been preparing for this,” Baker said. “There is going to be a new structure that will somewhat resemble the old Showboat.”
The committee expects to submit formal application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) by the end of the month.
The new lower maintenance structure will sit on a platform dock to prevent rotting in water.
The current Showboat, although closed to the public, is not going anywhere.
“It will stand there until we’re ready to put the new structure out there,” Baker said. “The chamber will continue to maintain it.”
The Showboat has been an integral part of the Lowell community and its citizens. Over the last 85 years, it has served as the major venue for entertainment, and as a backdrop for the Sizzlin’ Summer concert series, the Riverwalk Festival and the Lowell Christmas festivities.
Santa posed with children for the last time on the Showboat during Christmas festivities in december of 2016.
“Things deteriorate,” said Baker, “our hope is to create a different structure with some of the old elements like the smoke stacks, and better use of space. It will serve the same purpose.”
According to Baker, the Showboat, owned by the city, has outlived similar venues.
“It is our shared belief that the current structure built in 1979 has served us well, it has outlived its expected lifespan,” said Burns.
The “Rebuild the Lowell Showboat” committee will be hosting an informational meeting on Jan. 19th at 7 p.m. at the city hall seeking input from the residents.
It is the hope of the committee, to have a new structiure in place in 2018.
“The Showboat is is iconic, but it is also our future,” said Baker.
“Climats” in Burgundy present a cultural landscape, a 2015 UNESCO world heritage site
Note: After my third visit to the wine region of Burgundy in France, I consider it to be my annual summer writer’s retreat amidst vineyards, exceptional gastronomy and the “Climats.”
By Emma Palova
Fixin, FR- On an early Sunday morning, I woke up to the ringing of the church bells and a local gentleman shouting at his dog, a lot louder than the dog’s barking.
From my studio, I heard the cars rolling down the narrow Rue Magnien that leads into the tiny wine village of Fixin. The walls around the estates magnify the sounds and funnel them into endless echoes.
But, just before the light broke, I could hear the chirping of the birds in the mulberry tree. The mulberry tree is the only tree that grows between the bricks in the small courtyard in front of the house.
The stone house rises three stories with “lucarnes” or windows in the roof. Sources tell me that the house was a brasserie, before getting divided. After the division, the house lost the right wing, but none of its Burgundian charm or massiveness.
Surprisingly, the house does not have an adjacent vineyard behind it. New or old vineyards in Burgundy are hard to come by, according to my daughter Dr. Emma Palova-Chavent. However, a dream to get a vineyard sometime in the future may become a reality, knowing my daughter.
The journey from the corn and soy bean fields of Michigan, USA to the vineyards of Burgundy is about 4,000 miles long across the Atlantic Ocean. After an endless flight to Paris, we took a reasonable Uber ride for 45 euros to the Gare Percy train station near the famous Lyon Station, one of seven train stations in Paris.
I have a great affinity to train travel that originates in my homeland in Czech Republic.
The local train took us swiftly into Dijon, the capital city of Burgundy, a principal wine-producing area. Travelling by train in France is a great alternative to the automobile due to the efficiency of the entire transit network.
Fixin sits on the Grands Crus Route which winds from the northernmost Chenove to Remigny in the south for a total of 57.8 kilometers.
You can ride it, bike it or walk it for a unique experience of a lifetime. Whichever you choose to do, there are accommodating facilities along the way like Hotel les Grands Crus in Gevrey-Chambertin sitting directly on the wine trail.
The “Balades en Bourgogne” app offers e-guided tours highlighting off the trail locations with châteaux, churches and wineries.
I’ve experienced the magic of this wine route during my three distinct visits to Burgundy. In 2009 with a base in Nuits-Saint-Georges, then in 2013 in Dijon and now I stay in Fixin in the north part of the Grands Crus Route.
The vineyards in the heat of the day are just as peaceful as they were a century ago when the monks established them. Perfect rows of wines in small plots that hug the slopes, are sometimes divided by stone walls, stone arches or by stone shelters known as “cabottes.” An occasional walnut tree oasis with a bench serves as an observation platform.
The UNESCO has recognized this complex magic in designating the vineyards of Burgundy as the “Climats,” a world heritage site in 2015 to be preserved for all mankind.
This small plot viticulture of vineyards that are terrain based create an impressive mosaic of more than 1,000 Climats lined up from Dijon to the Maranges.
“In Burgundy, when we speak about a Climat, we don’t look to the sky, we keep our eyes to the ground,” said Bernard Pivot, writer and president of the support committee for the Climats.
As I walk the winding path through the Climats, in the distance a church steeple in Couchey shimmers with yellow and blue tiles. Only the bell tolls the time. The time has stopped here in the vineyards and the watch seems unnecessary.
I bend down to pick a bluish purple small grape, the Pinot noir grape variety of the region of Burgundy deeply embedded in the red soil. As the sweet juices touch the palate, I realize that thousands of years of hard work have gone into this one grape to bring it to perfection.
And that this second is the same as it was one thousand years ago when the monks established the vineyards.
The monks, the Valois Dukes of Burgundy, the wine merchants and wine growers, have all carried the wine tradition over the centuries.
On the horizon to the left, I see the magnificent seat of Dijon nestling in a valley with all its museums, archaeological abbey, the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy and the gourmet restaurants.
Walking from one wine village to the next, is like being born again with a new view on the world.
During my different stays in Burgundy, I noticed that some little things have changed, while the most remain the same. It’s that same stability that we constantly seek around us, no matter where we are.
Among the changes are: more bilingual tourist stations and chambers in the villages, greater use of the wine trails via bike tours, walking and hiking.
However, the steady constant vibrates in the romantic wine villages with stone architecture, in the gastronomy and in the exceptional Crus wines.
The Climats have given us the high quality wines sought after around the world. These include: Montrachet, Romanee-Conti, Clos de Vougeout, Corton, Musigny, Chevalier-Montrachet, Chambertin and more.
Unique and fragile, the Climats, vineyards of Burgundy, are our heritage, one that must be protected and passed on. Their inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a “cultural landscape” is part of this objective. This is a commitment that has been undertaken, and witnessed by the community of nations, to respect and to preserve the “Outstanding Universal Value” of the Climats, as “combined works of nature and man.”
[Article 1, paragraph 3 of the Convention of World Heritage]
Okay, I took up this 30-day blogging challenge because I constantly have to prove things to myself and to others. This will be my 300th post since I started blogging in January of 2013 to promote my memoir Greenwich Meridian on the WordPress platform. The blog’s name is EW Emma’s Writings.
I am halfway through the book about our family immigration saga. I’ve written about everything from last year’s eye ordeal with cataracts to blogging, and to Earth Day.
After years of writing for both print and digital media, I feel like I am running out of ideas.
In August, I took on a client blog Fallasburg Today @fallasburg and I will have another one @ lmason2016, a political campaign.
I did everything according to Learn to Blog guidelines including E-newsletters. I designed my first one on a cell phone on mail chimp.
Now, my husband wants me to go back to work to do whatever. I’ve already done whatever from working for Women’s Department for a Midwest chain Meijer to a bunch of newspapers and magazines.
I’ve had front page stories published and I’ve received several awards. But, what really bothers me is that I haven’t been able to get my fiction published. I’ve written a collection of short stories “Glass Flowers,” a screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns,” a book “Fire on Water” and I am working on the memoir.
I hope this challenge helps me regroup my thoughts and focus again. This is my plan for the challenge:
Lowell, MI- Leigh Ann Dickey aka Coach Leigh Ann founded Soulpreneurs.co two weeks ago to further pursue her dreams. She is a registered respiratory technician residing in Gainesville, Georgia. Dickey is a freelancer for Learn to Blog and she works with 100 clients in web and blog design.
Emma: When and why did you start blogging?
Leigh Ann: In the spring of 2013 when I had joined the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and lost 35 pounds. I just hit 40 and I wanted to share my story.
Emma: Where did you gain your online expertise?
Leigh Ann: I am self-taught. I have 12 years of website coding experience and I took some WordPress classes. I took a Learn to Blog class in 2014 because I wanted to master WordPress.
Emma: What do you feel was the biggest challenge in the beginning?
Leigh Ann: Determining your niche. I went all over the place. I was posting and sharing, and I started my design business, Coach Leigh Ann.
Emma: So, what do you suggest to WordPress newbies or any blogging newbies? Where should they start?
Leigh Ann: It starts with ourselves, knowing what we like to do all day long.
Emma: What do you like about blogging?
Leigh Ann: I enjoy the process of creating. It plays into my geeky side telling the story.
Emma: What kind of satisfaction do you get out of blogging?
Leigh Ann: It’s natural to get that feedback and I enjoy helping people. Blogging has changed me. It helped me pass obstacles in life and I relate that to overcoming obstacles in business.
Emma: Many newbies worry about analytics. How do you feel about it?
Leigh Ann: Until your blog is fully functional and you have an opt-in page to get emails, you don’t need to worry about it.
Emma: What do you suggest bloggers use for analytics once they’re ready with an opt-in page and the launch of a product?
Leigh Ann: Definitely a WordPress jet pack plug-in that shows where the comments came from.
Emma: What about Google Analytics?
Leigh Ann: Google Analytics is much more involved. Jet pack is more newbie friendly.
Emma: Now the big one that concerns most bloggers not just newbies. Let’s talk about monetization of blogs. Can we make money on blogging?
Leigh Ann: Monetization is complicated. It entails keyword blogging using AdSense and getting that SEO. The best way to make money is with info publishing, creating your own products and services.
Emma: What do you think about affiliate marketing?
Leigh Ann: It’s a good idea to partner with others to promote their product or service along with yours.
Emma: What is the recipe for success? Be it monetization, increased traffic or SEOranking?
Leigh Ann: The best model now is to have a combination of things; blogging, having an affiliate in combo with your own products and services. Affiliate linking is a good way to make money.
Emma: What is the best way to promote your niche business?
Leigh Ann: Building a following on social media so people recognize you as an expert in a certain area.
Emma: Specifically what social media would you recommend?
Leigh Ann: Start a Facebook group not a page, join other groups of like-minded people.
Emma: What helped you get ahead?
Leigh Ann: I did market research inside the Facebook group and that helped me develop products and services.
Emma: Tell us about your most recent venture, Soulpreneurs.co.
Leigh Ann: I launched this membership site because people are hungry for information. It delivers automated info on regular basis. It took me two weeks to solidify my ideas on it.
Emma: How do you balance out your regular job and your online business?
Leigh Ann: I have critical thinking skills with quick decision-making from my RRT full-time job that I can apply in my online business.
Emma: How many hours a week do you spend on your online business?
Leigh Ann: 20 hours promoting and developing the websites.
Emma: Where should newbies start?
Leigh Ann: Create a checklist of what needs to get done now to get the results you want. On the side you list things you want to do. First you find hosting, then create an About page and have the e-mail subscribe or opt-in page.
Emma: What are your short-term goals?
Leigh Ann: To gain social recognition for design. I also set a financial goal to develop a new product each month to keep people interested.
Emma: What are your long-term goals?
Leigh Ann: Teaming up with Clark Hosp of Learn to Blog to offer live online interactive training focusing on WordPress next month.
Emma: What is your biggest accomplishment in blogging?
Leigh Ann: I work with over a 100 clients and I have the Soulpreneurs membership site.
Emma: What do you attribute your success to and what do you recommend to others:
Leigh Ann: To the mentors that I follow and my determination. I have a relentless spirit. I will keep trying until I have success. Stay focused on one path until you get a result and then you can redirect and follow through.
Emma: What keeps you going?
Leigh Ann: Lots of coffee, seven to eight hours of sleep, downtime away from the computer, eating healthy, moving my body and time with my friends.
Emma: What makes you feel good about yourself?
Leigh Ann: Any type of feedback.
Emma: What keeps you motivated? What do you suggest to others who feel like giving up?
Leigh Ann: Having a plan of action. It may be making money online and you might have to get a real job. Go back to why you started doing this? For me personally it was sharing my story.
Stay tuned for more blogging tips and advice coming to EW Emma’s Writings.
Lowell, MI -I must say I am at a loss with today’s blogging assignment #7 to create an event, whether virtual or real.
I’ve been thinking about WordPress Camps for some time. But, I live in the Midwest, and other than Chicago, I can’t seem to find a hub for bloggers.
Come on fellow bloggers step up. Where are you?
I know I can create an event with a long stretch of imagination. I am inclining towards a virtual blogging event, maybe a weekly or biweekly discussion on a theme that will attract attention and not disputes and complaints.
I have some friends around here who are on Goodreads. That’s it. Of course I haven’t searched high and low either.
I tried the Coffee Cake Internet Discussions page on my EW Emma’s Writings and I did not get a lot of response. But, I wasn’t advertising or marketing it either, and as a new blogger I didn’t have that much time.
All of the above seem like excuses for not creating an event. This is my goal. After the virtual event weekly or biweekly depending on interest, I would like to create a “reality blogging” event in a manageable dimension. That is with or without an avocado dip, on the couch or at Ella’s Coffee & Cuisine with or without the Kardashians.
Any ideas on either the format of the event or the subject?
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