Against my better judgment, I decided to attend the kick-off event for Ludington's sesquicentennial being held at Emanuel Lutheran Church 150 years to the day after Ludington's incorporation as a city. Celebrating the event is potentially fun, but I suspected that there would be too many current and former city hall politicians and city celebrities taking more than their share of the oxygen in the room to promote themselves and the company they are part of.
Fortunately, they kept that to a minimum. Entering the church, one could sign a banner before taking a seat in the pews. I arrived at the same time as the school superintendent and his charming family and we both settled down in the same area. Many of the couple hundred in attendance had familiar faces and names in the realm of city and county politics. The area's media was well represented with the LDN, MCP, and WMOM taking pictures and videos once Mayor Mark Barnett welcomed the crowd and introduced Rev. Mich Shriver for an invocation.
The Ludington High School choir performed a rendition of a song written by a Ludington woman over a hundred years ago, before they played a video from Senator Gary Peters effusively pandering to his Ludington constituents in a speech that seemed to me like a template he could use for other city's sesquicentennial celebrations.
Barnett would then recognize current city officials and employees in attendance and then former ones by having them stand up and be recognized. Stationed in the back, I chose to stay seated at this point even though I could have stood, since I was a Ludington firefighter for eight years. They then had a moment of silence for those who have passed.
The first of three highlights of the night went next as James Jensen of the Mason County Historical Society gave the keynote, focusing on the 150 year history of Ludington in an interesting slideshow presentation spanning that period and using the 15 minutes he had in making it flow smoothly.
Then it was back to the gratuitous proclamations with County Board Chairman Janet Anderson giving one from the county's perspective, fellow commissioner Nick Krieger standing in for Governor Whitmer (they're practically identical) with the state's perspective, and this was followed by Marcy Spencer (seen below), former mayor of Scottville and current pretender, giving a neighboring city's perspective.
The second highlight of the night came from an unlikely source, 100-year-old Rose Forman. She had her daughter read a nostalgic recantation of her young life in Ludington and the changes that have occurred over time, presented in a way that Jim Jensen would be proud of.
It was a hard act to follow, but Ludington's past segued to Ludington's future as Ludington High School's 'Mayor' Kaylee Malt looked ahead to the next 150 years with a rousing speech that was the evening's third highlight. Untainted by the fiscal realities and logistical difficulties she laid out a vision of hope for Ludington's next 150 years. Can Ludington Mayor Malt be in that future?
As Mayor Barnett proclaimed that March 22nd would be forever known as Ludington's birthday, in winding down the formal activities of the evening, one notices that what I saw as highlights stood apart from the rest of the activities in that it was three regular citizens talking about what has happened and may happen in the future with Ludington citizens, not centered in on government, their officials, or their employees.
We should all recognize during this year that the greatness in Ludington tends not to come from the city corporate and its officers, but from its common citizens, their aspirations and their everyday striving to make their own lives and their community greater by their faith, hope, and love of their fellow citizen. Which makes a religious setting very appropriate for the evening's activities.
Mayor Barnett would finish the evening by having all current or former city officials and employees gather for a picture in commemoration of the moment. As a former employee, I decided I would participate in this project and went forth. Councilor Ted May would wonder why I was up there, since he was apparently unaware of my former city service. I stood next to him and in front of the new police chief when Rob Alway of the Mason County Press took a picture and put it in his article on the gala event later that night, as seen below:
When I saw this, I wondered where the heck I was. I had wore my trademark green jacket over a red plaid fleece pullover but I was nowhere to be found. Was I Bruce Willis' character in The Sixth Sense or what (if you don't know the reference, spoiler alert)? I had to recheck the video of that night which was stationed a little higher and a little further back than Mr. Alway, you can see him in the foreground in the picture below...
... along with me in the place where I knew I had been stationed. Sure enough, the MCP media mogul pretending to be a Scottville city commissioner had Photoshopped me out of the picture:
Illustrating once again that the MCP's founder and editor does not have a very solid grasp on what being a journalist is all about, and a set of biases and grudges that allow him to neither take pictures that depict reality, nor report stories that reflect reality. You may catch the city's video of this event below, and if you take the time to do so, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Petty and jealous is what I've heard him called in relation to this by my friends and family, but I'm just worried about how he is seriously damaging the reputation and democracy that Scottville has had even during its recent economic decline over the last few decades. Marcy Spencer, who was an odd speaker to have if you are aware of her unlawful position currently in dispute in the courts, along with Rob Alway is taking Scottville to a very bad place where laws are created for thee people of Scottville and ignored by the ruling class.
I must say Mr.X that you have the kahoona's of a bull. I'm just courious why you went to that gathering of heathens in the first place and how in the World did you end up in the video image. You must have felt like the hero in the image below when you entered that building. My Hat's off to you. Also, Alway's an idiot.
As to why I went, like you, I was curious of what was going to happen, and it seemed like the thing to do on Ludington's 150th birthday, to attend it and report on it and be able to say years from now that I went to it.
As to why I went to get my picture taken with a lot of the folks that I've had some antagonistic moments with, there are two reasons. One was that I wanted proof that I got the nerve up to come to this soiree and actually enjoyed the three highlights noted and survived the rest of the bluster. The second was to effectively photobomb the picture for all of those haters serving as city officials, so that when they ever look at this photo taken on that special day that the Rotta guy had the chutzpah to intrude into it-- after being formally invited as a former city employee-- one who had the audacity to adopt a pen name that celebrated that status: X-LFD.
And even if they choose to retain the picture where they Photoshop me out, as was done, several of these folks will still get triggered in their memories that they had to share the stage and the honor with moi. The ghost of XLFD will not die.
You did the right thing in showing up. I myself could never have been that brave. The photobomb was absolutely genius. I bet you were the topic all over the town and on all of their computer posts. Ludington is beautiful but there are just to many ghouls running things.