In the December 31. 2016 City of Ludington Daily News (COLDNews) they covered what they considered the four notable local stories of 2016.  First among these was the breaking of the world record for the longest ice cream dessert in a community effort on June 11, 2016.  The attempt was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records on October 16, as a 2970 foot sundae.  The article written by "The Daily News" noted that the Moo-ville Creamery is "looking to take back the record it once had". 

Had they done a little research, they would have found that the record has already been officially took back less than two months afterwards, beating Ludington's effort by over 650 feet.

Nevertheless, the event was memorable, brought the community together, and was mostly spearheaded by private efforts in making us forget for a little while the various problems our community was and will be faced with. 

And those problems were effectively shrugged off by the COLDNews short list.  The three other notable local stories they spotlighted was the SS Badger being designated as a national historic landmark, the closing of the Custer's Bonsers, and the fire at the structure set to become the Lakeshore Resource Network.  This was the best they could find?  A change of status for a ship, a store closing, and a vacant lumber store fire? 

These stories seemed more like not-able stories rather than notable.  It seemed to me like I had reported on more important things this year, and so here's the top things I recovered from my review of the big stories that crossed the Ludington Torch this year:

January:  Sheriff Called to Account:  On January 13, I filed a four count complaint against the Mason County Sheriff's Office for FOIA violations.  That agency had presumed the entirety of their accident and incident reports were not subject to disclosure, even after they had voluntarily gave out that information to the press or published the information in releases.  Judge Susan Sniegowski amazingly looked over the reports and agreed.  Yet, at the end of the year, I am still waiting for my day in court.  The defense in the meantime has had a preliminary hearing and an evidentiary hearing cancelled by the court, while they have managed to get the court to convene two motion hearings where there was no controversy involved.  This is reflective of what's wrong with our local courts, but as a party, I cannot say a lot about it yet without compromising my position.

February:   Leader in Lead and Lies:   The pollution affecting the PM Bayou came out in a DEQ report and was shared by the Ludington Torch and no other local media; while Ludington received recognition nationally as having a much higher level than Flint of kids less than 6 years old with dangerously elevated blood lead levels.  By the end of the month, Ludington City Manager John Shay's statement to the press that tests said there was no lead in the drinking water, was refuted by the actual tests

MarchCity Okays Private Developer to Build with Taxpayer Subsidization:  The city council advanced the bowling alley block development by agreeing to a variety of incentives to get the project underway by a developer who planned to put in up to 60 low-rent units while moving the fire station.  The developer was found to have some skeletons in their closet, and the local media avoided telling the public of the local and state subsidies that makes this a very questionable project.  Shay even went out of his way to avoid another developer's offer on the property that reportedly wouldn't involve heavy subsidization. 

AprilThe Stench Gets Palpable:  The arrest of kayak guy Alan Ross, became a topic that arguably sparked the most discussion of the year at the LT, but the issues involved were overlooked elsewhere.  The bigger April story was the beginning of the Big Stench of 2016, a mechanical failure of the Ludington Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) which would last into the beginning of June.  The noxious stink could be smelled over two miles away from the WWTP, and was blamed on high BOD waste.  Meanwhile, the city's law firm pocketed an extra $50,000 to pay for their routine services in doing legal work for the WWTP and water treatment plant upgrades.

MayFlags and Folly:  The community reactions against the West End Project came out at the two March city council meetings, grew during April as an on-line petition to save the West End had well over a hundred pledgers.  The city was shown to have lied on this petition in May by saying they had over $80,000 in commitments of which they had none.  By the end of the year, it looks as if the state will award the grant regardless.  Meanwhile, the east end continued to get worse, a deafening stench being detected in the downtown area on May 29, the same day a MCC student was banned from school for flying a confederate flag on his truck in an official story that was lean on facts-- which changed quite frequently.

JuneThe Stench Also Demises:  The city brought a special system worth at least $27,000 to abate the WWTP stench and it would work, but city failed to approve of this off-budget purchase at an open meeting, the cost and workings of the system has also been kept away from the public since.  AJ's Family Fun Center vacated their property nearby, perhaps being a casualty of the WWTP's deficiencies or the efforts of the House of Flavors stepping up ice cream manufacturing.  They would make a world record longest sundae this month.

JulyLocal Heroes, Local Brothers:  The Lindbloom brothers Dylan and Spencer, local firefighters and police officers, both single-handedly perform life-saving heroic efforts this month. Manistee deputy Dylan uses his lifeguard training to save somebody trying to get away from him, LPD officer Spencer saves a choking victim.    

AugustMissing Man Who Remains Missing:  Without warning, James Hepworth walks off his Ludington job early and disappears off the face of the earth.  His vehicle turns up nearly 60 miles away in a wooded area, but he never is seen again, his fate is unknown.  The August city primary election has three of the four city charter amendments fail, with only the one involving budget presentations passing.

SeptemberCity Campaign Shaynanigans:  Capping multiple denials of using a public park for a campaign rally and multiple episodes of his incumbent opponent attacking the character of him at the end of meetings while avoiding any meaningful debates, the City politically choreographs a police investigation into two LT members comments that two officials interpreted as threatening, using the publicity to scapegoat me and further tarnish my candidacy for a council seat.  Meanwhile, after effectively saying no to my campfire, a suspicious fire engulfs the old building which was going to be used for the 'Lakeshore Resource Network'; those involved with the project seem unfazed and positive about the setback, which allows them to rebuild a structure better suited for their purposes.

OctoberMurder and Murkier:  The murder trial of Sean Phillips for his infant daughter, Baby Kate, goes into full swing, and Phillips' lackluster defense allows the prosecution to play the jury into a conviction for second degree murder.  Meanwhile, the knowledge of a 2012 spill of 2 million gallons of raw sewage into the PM Bayou is revealed, including the fact that the DEQ and local health department were not properly notified. 

NovemberNo New Taxers:  The election happens, community helps elect Trump, but says no to other outsiders; incumbents/political insiders either win or stand unopposed throughout county. 

DecemberLead Scholarships:   After the council was notified of the presence of hazardous amounts of lead in two Ludington schools, a former teacher, Councilor Winczewski makes a false statement about a local business selling lead faucets, and downplays the facts over three public meetings.  City leaders decline to affirm the absence of lead in the city's water delivery systems.

Please offer any additional neglected local stories in the comments below, that I overlooked or neglected. 

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This article clearly demonstrates just how the local as well as national news media feeds sloppy news and mindless drivel to the public. X has pointed out the obvious and most people would agree with him. That is if your not a numbed brained Hillary/Obama/Sanders supporter. As far as I'm concerned there is no other source for honest complete reporting of important issues than the LudingtonTorch forum. I agree with your analysis of important news stories. Thanks X for all you do.

Well said Willy, all too much of the local news is simply the COL's release of what they want told to John Q. Public, and nothing more. No REAL Investigative reporters seem to exist in Mason County anymore, at least where city policy and actions are concerned. The fact that X has investigated thoroughly and found actions and policy that don't much agree with locals wants and needs, and their way of hiding it up, seems to apply more often than not. Only problem is too many people just take for granted what's in the LDN is gospel, when all too often, it's completely false.

Thanks a million guys, it's always nice to receive such nice compliments so early in the year.  I really try not to have any other agenda other than honestly analyzing, researching, and reporting local issues that pique my curiosity, and earnestly interjecting my concerns about the attacks on liberty, freedom, and common sense that too many of our public institutions and officials wage a discrete war against.

Yes, X, please keep up your hard work and investigationS. I hope more comes from the PM Bayou, the lead in our water, and the WWTP. (....and others that will be exposed this year) It make it easier to read between the lies on LDN and MCP. Thanks!


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