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Tourism is a growing industry in the state of Michigan. By now, you’ve probably seen plenty of the state’s Pure Michigan ads. In the summer, the ads show beaches and sunshine. In the winter, it’s all about the snow.

This year, officials at Pure Michigan have also been pushing a winter sport that most people probably haven’t heard of: ice climbing. Meg Cramer went to the Michigan Ice Fest earlier this month to report a story for our partner station, Michigan Radio.

She took some amazing photographs we just had to share.

Click here, to listen to Meg’s full story on Michigan Radio.

And tell us what you think – would you climb a frozen waterfall?

If you want an honest opinion, ask a stranger, or so the saying goes. During the past couple of weeks, the political press corps has been spread out across Michigan, following Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul around the state, finding all kinds of things out.

Their stories have reflected a state that some Midwesterners might not recognize. So, here’s a list of what we learned through the Michigan primary.

1) We’re in a class war. The Michigan Republican party is divided between wealthy people and working class and middle class Republicans, or so writers told us.

Ron Brownstein of the National Journal found the latter at the Knights of Columbus hall in Lincoln Park.

They’re what he needs if Santorum is going to eventually beat Romney. He ” will likely have to reach more deeply into blue-collar, heavily Catholic, working-class white communities that have became central to the Republican electoral coalition, especially between the coasts,” Brownstein wrote.

Paul West of the Los Angeles Times found the same thing when he went to Troy. “The bitter Republican primary battle in Michigan has turned into an all-out class war,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Romney received attention last week when he talked about his family’s four cars — a Ford Mustang, Chevrolet pickup and his wife Ann’s “couple of Cadillacs.”

He was steadfastly unapologetic. “”If people think that there is something wrong with being successful in America, then they better vote for the other guy,” he said on Fox News. “Because I’ve been extraordinarily successful and I want to use that success and that know-how to help the American people.”

2) Michigan has great trees and looks like Pennsylvania. Throughout his campaign, Romney kept remarking that Michigan’s trees “are the right height.” Nobody knows how he drew that conclusion, and we’re sure Massachusetts trees must feel kind of jealous. But it sounded a little bit like the Pure Michigan ads that the state’s tourism office runs.

Meanwhile, Santorum told a crowd in the Upper Peninsula that Superiorland reminds him of Pennsylvania, which he represented in the U.S. Senate. “I feel a great connection to the people up here,” Santorum said, citing the mining industry, timber, tourism and proximity to a Great Lake.

3) You can eat a pasty for breakfast. Pasties, the hearty hand-held pies eaten by Cornish miners, are a staple of Michigan cuisine north of Gaylord. But we’ve always thought of them as a lunch or dinner treat.

Not Santorum. He stopped in to Lawry’s Pasty Shop in Marquette, and later told a crowd in Kalamazoon that he had a pasty for breakfast — complete with Heinz ketchup from his native state, according to the Marquette Mining Journal. We don’t know what kind of pasty he had, but Lawry’s sells two varieties on line: the 12 ounce beef, and the 17 ounce beef.

4) Detroit is a pretty hip city. Well, we knew that, but now the New York Daily News thinks so, too. “Despite hard times, the Motor City is full of surprises,” the paper told its readers in a piece titled, “Great American City: Detroit.”

Wrote the Daily News, “Not many people pondering vacation destinations think of the Motor City — but they should.
Detroit surprises. So do its residents… They smile. They say hello. They are helpful and creative and work hard for what they have. It shows in everything they do.”

That’s a nice note to wave good bye to campaign staffers and journalists departing once the vote totals come in. But we’ll see you in the fall. And also, in Ohio. We’re sure we’ll learn a lot about the Buckeye State from you, too.


Republican candidates are wrapping up a busy weekend of campaigning before Michigan’s primary on Tuesday. But Rick Santorum is going where few have ventured — Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Santorum was set to hold a campaign rally at noon ET in Marquette, marking a rare visit by a candidate above the Mackinac Bridge.

The vast majority of candidate visits have been to southeast and western Michigan — not surprising, since that’s where the vast majority of Republican voters are located.

But, the U.P. has a Republican congressman, Dan Benishak. He took the seat vacated by veteran Democrat Bart Stupak in 2010. (You might remember Stupak for backing President Obama’s health care program.)

Santorum’s schedule also includes a stop in Traverse City, as well as a rally in Davison, outside Flint.

Weekend campaigners also include Ron Paul, who spent his first day campaigning in Michigan on Saturday. Paul is set to wrap up his brief sweep on Monday, with a rally at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Mitt Romney, who holds a narrow lead in polls going into Tuesday’s election, has been spending a lot of time on talk radio in Michigan.

Romney has gotten attention this weekend for comments he made about his wife’s “couple of Cadillacs” during his speech to the Economic Club of Detroit on Friday. He also is touching the nerves of many UAW members, who protested at the speech.


Three stories making news across the Midwest today:

1. Upper Peninsula’s mining boom. The mining industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is enjoying a renaissance more than a century after its best days passed. New technology demands are creating demand for gold, silver, copper and nickel, the Detroit Free Press reports today. Foreign companies are finding them in abundance in both new and reopened ore mines. Mineral rights on more than 1 million acres have been leased for prospecting. But many of the mines are near rivers and Lake Superior, sparking concern among environmentalists. “I’m not anti-mine. I’m anti-mining pollution,” one advocate tells the newspaper.

2. Busy finale ahead for Illinois legislators. The Illinois state legislature could end its fall session Tuesday with a flurry of activity. Lawmakers are expected to vote on several pieces of legislation that have garnered attention for months, including a bill that would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, which extends larger refunds to working families. Our partner station WBEZ reports the legislature could also tackle a package of tax incentives designed to keep CME Group and Sears based in in the state. Both have been wooed in recent months by Indiana and other competitors. A vote on legislation that would expand gambling in the state could also take place.

3. Walker plots recall strategy. A possible recall election may not take place until next summer, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is wasting no time in campaigning to keep his job. Walker is running television ads defending his 11-month record and Republican volunteers are going door to door canvassing likely voters. USA Today reports Walker’s office is trying to learn from the only two successful gubernatorial recalls in U.S. history. They believe California Gov. Gray Davis (2003) and North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier in 1921 both started campaigning too late to save their jobs. “There’s this momentum that builds, and once it builds it’s very difficult for things to reverse,” David Schecter, a political scientist at Cal State Fresno, tells the newspaper.