Mark Newman here today to tell us more about his and Mark Heckman's book and the story behind it.
Debbie: Mark, tell us a little about yourself.
Mark: In conjunction with the book, I developed an hour-long interactive roadshow that Diane and I have been taking to schools since October. It’s sort of a show-and-tell presentation that details the story of the Great Lakes and the hidden dangers of sea lamprey, zebra mussels, Asian carp and other invasive species. There is no cost to the schools, thanks to the support of the Wege Foundation. In less than three months, we have spoken to more than 5,700 students and the response has been overwhelming. People love the book, but the school program has really taken on a life of its own. We’re continually getting invitations to visit schools and I expect that we will have a full schedule of appearances throughout the Great Lakes region for at least a couple of years. If anyone is interested in learning more about the program and/or booking an appearance, they can visit our website at SooperYooper.com and click on the Contact Us link.
Debbie: Your favorite place in Michigan?
Mark: Well, everybody should cross Mackinac Bridge and people should make a point of seeing Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or Tahquamenon Falls in the U.P. If you’re a hockey fan, you have to go to Joe Louis Arena, and there’s nothing like a fall football game in Spartan Stadium or Michigan Stadium (The Big House). I’m a huge record collector, so I should plug Vertigo Music in Grand Rapids, Flat, Black and Circular in East Lansing and Encore Recordings in Ann Arbor, three great music stores. Vinyl, you know, is making a comeback. A lot of young adults, after inheriting their parents’ LPs, are discovering the joys of 12” records and turntables.
Debbie: Favorite Michigan event or happening?
Mark: It’s hard to pick just one. I’m a big fan of ArtPrize, which celebrates creativity and encourages conversations about art. The whole city of Grand Rapids has embraced the event, which has become this phenomenal success story in just two short years. The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is cool, too. And I love Opening Day of the baseball season, although I haven’t been to one since the Tigers moved to Comerica Park.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Mark: Here’s something most people don’t know. Lake Michigan wasn’t always known as such. The early settlers called it “the Lake of the Stinking Water.” Legend has it that the less-than-flattering name came from explorers who caught a whiff of the strong sulfur smell of Green Bay and surmised that the whole lake must stink. Fortunately, the Algonquin tribe had a better name. They called it Michigami, meaning “great water.”
Debbie: One last question: some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?
Mark: I’m going to take my clue from the residents of the Upper Peninsula. They prefer to think of themselves as Yoopers instead. Since I live under the bridge, I guess that makes me a troll.
Debbie: Mark, we'll add you to the troll column! Thank you so very much for being here today. I hope everyone reading this interview will stop by the Sooper Yooper site to learn even more.