BLIZZARDS AND STORMS
Over the years, staffers of the news services had to report on severe weather, such as blizzards. The first big storm to hit the Detroit area that The Icicle News Service staffers covered was the storm of January 27, 1967; there had been a terrible storm two years previously--on February 25, 1965--when Detroit-area residents had to shovel away about 11.3 inches of snow and when the Auto Club had taken up offering information about Detroit-area roads to the media--"first just for publicity" and then "to take the heat off road service department, which couldn't answer the calls, they were coming in so fast"--and had, during a roughly five-day campaign, issued 25 separate bulletins, containing information partly supplied by tow-truck drivers of the Road Service department. And, on January 2, 1974, motorists in the Detroit area ended up with 19 inches of snow because of one particularly bad snow storm.
Staffers of the Auto Club--especially those of the Motor News and Travel departments--will remember January 1978 as one of the toughest winters of the 1970s. Some days were very cold, and some days were very snowy. Two particular storms mark the period as a tough period.
The first of the two tough storms of January 1978 took place between Sunday, January 8, and Thursday, January 12. It was a very cold and windy period; in fact, the temperatures were below zero at night, and the winds were mostly between 25 miles an hour and 45 miles an hour. Because it was very cold and very windy, what snow fell was continually blown around, instead of sticking together as snow might when the temperatures are, for example, in the upper twenties. This storm affected much of the southern half of Lower Michigan. In southwestern Lower Michigan, for a number of hours beginning at noon on Monday, police had to close a portion of I-94 between Indiana and Kalamazoo because of the weather and the condition of the freeway; also, a 25-mile stretch of US-131 between Kalamazoo and Martin was closed on Monday. In southeastern Lower Michigan, 3,500 customers were without electricity in the Waterford-West Bloomfield area on Monday. On Tuesday, at 7:00 a.m., the three big electric companies serving Lower Michigan--Detroit Edison, Consumers Power, and Indiana and Michigan Electric--cut back the voltage they regularly supplied customers by five percent; Detroit Edison and Consumers Power returned to full service at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and Indiana and Michigan Electric returned to full power at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday. For much of the period, the roads were slippery and snow covered, and keeping roads clear of snowdrifts was a big problem for road crews.
Marci Guenther was the office supervisor in the Motor News department, which was in the Dearborn headquarters of the Auto Club, when the first storm hit, and, for this "portrait," she remembers:
"That blizzard in January 1978 began on a Monday afternoon. Some of the staff began leaving the office in mid-afternoon to try to get home. When it was finally decided to do a round of traffic calls (a check of statewide road conditions) about 4:30 p.m, there were hardly any of us left. Tom Freel was still at the office, and after talking with Len Barnes by phone they felt we needed to go into Icicle Network mode because of deteriorating travel conditions. So, we gathered whatever qualified staff we could find, including from the Travel Dept. or wherever we could find people still in the building, to put together a team of broadcasters and researchers. By late evening it was clear that any of us still in the office were not going home that night. Road conditions were becoming impassable. The hotel [the Hyatt] in the shopping center [Fairlane Mall] across the street had no rooms available because flights from the airport had been canceled and its guests were snowbound. The staff in the Emergency Road Service Department was also snowbound with us. We finally managed to get two rooms in the hotel--one for women and one for men. There were three of us in the women's "dorm"--Barb Kisch and I shared the double bed and another co-worker had a rollaway that had been brought in. The men's "dorm" was equally crowded. Some of the team elected to spend their night wherever they could find a comfortable nook (or a sofa) in the office. As far as feeding all these people, E.R.S. came to the rescue with its tow-truck drivers bringing in food for their operators and sharing with us. Some of these meals were sent over by the hotel dining room. The Icicle Network was in operation from Monday through the next weekend, with a schedule most days of 9:00 a.m. to 11 p.m. By Wednesday, some Motor News staff who lived nearby in the Dearborn area were able to get to the office to help relieve those who had been on duty since Monday. They also brought food with them. Tom Freel finally left the office on Wednesday. Thursday a few more were able to get in to help and I finally left the office to try to drive to my Taylor home. I was not able to get any closer to my house than a shopping center parking lot on Telegraph Road and had to walk the remaining two blocks to my house. Side streets were still impassable. The drifts were so high against houses and fences that my Great Pyrenees dog walked over a four-foot high fence and ran away."
Then, in 1978, the "Great Storm" hit! The day was Thursday, January 26, 1978. The storm shocked the Mid-West and the Upper Northeast--mostly people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Hew Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine. In Michigan, 20 counties were put on "red alert" status, and the governor declared a "state of emergency," which meant that the state could apply for financial assistance from the federal government. About 150,000 Edison customers in southeastern Lower Michigan lost power, and about 1,500 persons were evacuated from homes in the Brownstown Township area. In the end, the Detroit area received about a foot of snow.
One week after the San Francisco 49ers had beaten the Cincinnati Bengals (26 to 21) in Super Bowl XVI at the Silverdome, when the outside temperature had been 13 degrees blow zero, another storm crossed the country. The storm went from Oklahoma to Maine, catching everything in between, such as much of the southern half of Michigan. Most of the snow for the Detroit area--about ten inches---fell on January 31, 1982; the snow storm followed freezing rain of Friday and Saturday. Fifteen communities declared "snow-emergencies," which meant, for one, that motorists had to remove vehicles from the main streets so that road crews could clear snow away. And, then, on Wednesday, February 3, 1982, about six more inches of snow fell on the Detroit area.
Another storm to really affect Michigan showed up late on Thursday, March 13, 1997, and the storm continued on through Saturday, March 15, 1997. The storm brought snow to many places in the northern third of Lower Michigan, snow and freezing rain in the middle third of Lower Michigan, and freezing rain and rain in the southern third of Lower Michigan. The freezing rain--most of which fell late Thursday and very early Friday--caused the most problems, especially in southeastern Lower Michigan. Water and ice collected on trees and power lines, and when the weight of the ice became too much for some trees and power lines and telephone lines, trees, power lines, and telephone lines fell. About 381,000 Detroit Edison electric customers in southeastern Lower Michigan--about half of whom were in Oakland County--lost power, and many customers did not have any power again till Sunday or Monday; in addition, about 213,000 electric customers serviced by Consumers Power elsewhere in the Lower Michigan--about half of whom were in Jackson County--lost service. Some pumping stations of the freeway system in the Detroit-Metropolitan area lost power, and portions of freeways flooded, such as portions of the Southfield Freeway and the Lodge Freeway (in Oakland County). About 6,000 Ameritech telephone customers in the Detroit area lost service, and about 4,000 customers outside the Detroit area lost service. Because telephone lines were down, Airtouch Cellular had about a one-third increase in the number of cellular calls on Friday over the numbers on regular days. AAA Michigan had more than 1,000 claims for loses from homeowners by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and, by the following Monday, the Claims Service Center (or CSC) of AAA Michigan had about 2,800 reports of property damage from homeowners; at the time, by the way, 125-150 calls a day were considered normal. Where freezing rain was not a problem, snow sometimes was; Alpena had a record snowfall for a 24-hour period on Friday, receiving 19.3 inches, which replaced a record that had been set on February 21-22, 1997, 18 inches.
And on Saturday, January 2, 1999, the "Big Storm of 1999," which some people were calling the "Blizzard of 1999," hit, and it was not confined mostly to one region of Lower Michigan, such as southeastern Lower Michigan--it covered all regions of Lower Michigan. Most of the snow fell on Saturday, but some snow did fall on Sunday (January 3); in northwestern Lower Michigan, snow fell on much of Sunday, but that snow was really lake-effect snow, which was not truly part of the Big Storm. The Big Storm dropped a lot of snow, such as about 17 inches of snow on Gaylord, 10 inches on Grand Rapids, 13 inches on Port Huron, 12 inches on Detroit-Metropolitan Airport, and 14 inches on Livonia and Plymouth. Generally speaking, it was The Weekend News Service that provided information about the road conditions in the state, beginning Sunday morning; Victor Swanson and Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor of The Weekend News Service worked with fill-in broadcaster Ron Dewey, and also taking part were Debbie Pearson (Supervisor of the Broadcast and Administration unit), who worked in the afternoon, and Bill Semion (of Public Relations), who worked for a short while in the morning. On Sunday, the main roads and freeways were passable (by definition), but most secondary roads were in poor shape, since most road crews were only concentrating on the main roads and freeways; The Weekend News Service had reports of many accidents all over the state, one of which was about a 30-vehicle accident on westbound I-94 in the Paw Paw area, which caused police to close a short section of westbound I-94 for a while in mid-afternoon. And on Monday and Tuesday, the conditions of many roads--mostly side roads--were yet so bad that most school systems were closed.
On Monday, December 11, 2000, a big snow storm hit Michigan, mostly southern Lower Michigan, and some people called the storm the "Blizzard of 2000." However, I do not call it a "blizzard"; I think of it as only a big snow storm. Yes, a lot of snow fell in southeastern Lower Michigan because of the storm, but the storm did not quite fit the "blizzard" category, because really strong winds were not the rule for the storm. Here were some of the amounts of snow that were a result of the storm: 20 inches at Port Huron, 16.3 inches at Caro, 15.1 inches, 14.5 inches at Lansing, 13.7 inches at Kalamazoo, 13.0 inches at Battle Creek, 12.5 inches in Birmingham, 11.9 inches in Ann Arbor, 11.0 inches in Midland, and it is estimated that six inches to eight inches or snow fell in the Detroit area because of the storm. The worst conditions for motorists were in the northern suburbs or northern counties of the Detroit-Metropolitan area. I do note that about two days later another storm hit southern Lower Michigan, especially the northern suburbs of the Detroit area.
By the way, the greatest amount of snow to fall during a 24-hour period in Detroit, as noted by the National Weather Service, was recorded on April 6, 1886, and the amount was 24.5 inches. And "The Detroit News," on December 13, 2000, did publish information about the heaviest amounts of snow to fall in the Detroit-Metropolitan area in December: 19.2 inches for December 1-2, 1974; 13.8 inches for December 18-19, 1929; 11.2 inches for December 19-20, 1973; 10.6 inches for December 4-5, 1898; 10 inches for December 13-14, 1922; 10 inches for December 20-21, 1959; and 8.25 inches for December 11, 2000.
Because there are potholes in the roads in Michigan, some people might think that the potholes were caused by earthquakes. Do you believe earthquakes could be the reason? If you do, you are wrong.
However, a number of times, Michiganians have felt earthquakes, though nothing like those of, for example, California. Twice The Weekend News Service was in operation when earthquakes hit Michigan. This section notes--for fun--some of the earthquakes that have shaken up Michigan over the years, especially while the staffers of The Weekend News Service were on duty.
By the way, seismographs are machines that rate earthquakes from "0" up to "8" (which is the highest rating). Each jump in number is a tenfold jump. That means that a "3.0" quake is ten-times stronger than a "2.0" quake is. The Richter Scale deals with "magnitude," which is different from "intensity," which is sort of a rating of the shaking that people feel from an earthquake.
On Sunday, July 27, 1980, an earthquake hit--and The Weekend News Service was on duty (headed by Victor Swanson, who had in the previous month become the main writer of the service). The epicenter was in Kentucky--about 45 miles southeast of Cincinnati, Ohio, and about 30 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky. People began to feel the quake in Kentucky at about 2:52 p.m.; two minutes later the ground began to shake in the Detroit area. This quake lasted about 10 seconds, and it affected people in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The staffers of the U.S. Geological Survey offices in Golden, Colorado, rated the earthquake at 5.1 on the Richter Scale, and staffers at the University of Michigan rated the quake at between 5.6 and 5.7 on the Richter Scale.
One earthquake took place on Friday, January 31, 1986. It happened at about 11:47 a.m., which was a few hours before The Weekend News Service started up for the day. This quake was felt by people along a line of sorts between Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin--most of whom were in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Ontario (Canada). The epicenter was in Lake Erie--about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland, Ohio. The quake was rated by a seismograph at the University of Michigan at about 5.4 on the Richter Scale and by a seismograph of the U.S. Geological Survey (in Washington, D.C.) at about 5.0 on the Richter Scale.
The latest noticeable earthquake for people in Michigan took place on Friday, September 25, 1998, and The Weekend News Service was in operation (staffed by Victor Swanson, Jo-Jo Shutty MacGregor, and Dave Frisco, who was dooing fill-in work, filling a spot recently held by Vic Doucette, who had had his last day of work on the previous Sunday). The quake, which was rated at about 5.2 on the Richter Scale, was felt in the Detroit area at about 3:53 p.m. The epicenter of the quake was near Ashtabula of northeastern Ohio. The quake was felt by people in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and southern Ontario (Canada); people who felt this quake in Michigan were people mostly in southeastern Lower Michigan, but there were reports that people felt the quake in such places as Saginaw and Mt. Clemens.
Other noticeable quakes felt by people living in Michigan took place on February 28, 1925 (at about 8:30 p.m.), November 1, 1935 (at about 10:30 p.m.), and on August 9, 1947 (at about 9:45 p.m.). On Saturday, July 12, 1986, an official seismograph recorded an earthquake of 4.5 on the Richter Scale (as rated by the staffers the U.S. Geological Survey offices in Colorado and Washington, D.C.); the earthquake took place at about 4:20 a.m. and had an epicenter located about 20 miles southwest of Lima, Ohio. And there was an earthquake centered in the Lansing area on Saturday, September 3, 1994, and this quake was rated at about 3.4 on the Richter Scale.
ICICLE NEWS SERVICE PERSONNEL
The following section contains information about people who worked The Icicle News Service over the years. Mostly, the information is organized by years, covering the broadcasters. The section is presented in two main parts: "Icicle News Service (General Information)" and "Icicle News Services (Detailed Information)."
Icicle News Service (General Information):
Each Icicle News Service staff can be broken down into two groups: staff writers and broadcasters (the latter of which were full-time employees in the 1960s and mostly part-time employees from the early 1970s till the service was shut down). From the 1960s to the late 1980s, staff writers (acting as head writers/broadcasters) usually rotated on weekly shifts, while the broadcasters usually worked every day. By the start of the winter of 1988-89, the head writer/broadcaster position was filled by a broadcast supervisor, and the head writer/broadcaster and the part-time employees worked every day.
Some of the staffers of the Motor News department who were regular writers in the 1960s were Thomas Freel, Bob Boelio, and Jerry Cheske. In the 1970s and for most of the 1980s, the writing was done by many people--staffers working on a rotating basis. In the very late 1980s, Caren Collins (as broadcast supervisor) became the regular head writer, and after her came Suzanne Easa and then Robert Morosi.
Some of the broadcasters who were full-time employees at the Auto Club were: James Drury (of the Travel department, at least for Winter 1966-67 and maybe later); Dick Chapman or more formally Richard E. Chapman (of the Travel department and the Touring department, at least for 1966-67, 1967-68, 1968-69, 1969-70); Al Ratke (of the Touring department, at least for 1969-70); and Gary Hill (of the Touring department, at least for 1969-70).
Some of the broadcasters who were part-time employees were: Charlie Laszlo (at least circa 1972-73); Dick Haefner (at least circa 1972-73); Gary De Santis (1977-78); Mike Schuff (1977-78); Kurt Schneider (1977-78); Marilynn Root (in the late 1970s for a while and then later for much of the 1980s); Michael Barr (circa early 1980s); Ann Carlini (circa early 1980s); and Bruce A. Drobot (during some of the 1980s). And research seems to indicate (as noted in the "Weekend News Service") that Paul Manzella was a regular for the 1973-74 season.
Icicle News Services (Detailed Information):
Winter 1966-67 --
The known broadcasters for this first season of The Icicle Network were James Drury (of the Travel department) and Richard E. Chapman. [This part is incomplete.]
Winter 1967-68 --
One of the broadcasters was Richard E. Chapman. [This part is incomplete.]
Winter 1968-69 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1969-70 --
The staffers of the news service this year were Tom Freel, Bill Banks, Jerry Cheske, Al Ratke, Gary Hill, and Dick Chapman.
Winter 1970-71 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1971-72 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1972-73 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1973-74 -- [Almost no information is available.]
It seems that Paul Manzella was a student broadcaster for the service this season.
Winter 1974-75 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1975-76 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1976-77 --
The student broadcasters working with Motor News staffers were Belinda Smith, Kurt Schneider, and Fred Stella.
Winter 1977-78 -- [This section is incomplete.]
One staff writer was Jerry Cheske. The known student broadcasters working with Motor News staffers were Kurt Schneider, Mike Schuff, and Gary De Santis.
Winter 1978-79 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1979-80 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1980-81 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1981-82 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1982-83 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1983-84 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1984-85 --
The known staff writers were Linda Lyles Daniels, Greg Gibson, and Bobb Vergiels. The broadcasters were Curt MacDougall, Doris Craft, Alesa Vento, Marilynn Root, Bruce Drobot, and Jerry Orlowski. The backup broadcasters (referred to as "alternates") were Ann Rashid and Rich LaSade.
Winter 1985-86 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1986-87 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1987-88 -- [No information is available.]
Winter 1988-89 --
Caren Collins was the broadcast supervisor, now fully responsible for the Icicle News Service. Regular broadcasters were: Ron Dawson (also known as Ron Edwards), Tim Daunt, Bob Gracin, Kimberly Thigpen, Denise Tolliver, Todd Wilkerson, and Curt MacDougall (weekends only). The alternates (who may or may not have worked) were: Chris Riley, Nick Demos, and Gary Bubar (of Safety and Traffic).
Winter 1989-90 --
Caren Collins (broadcast supervisor and head writer), John Brunn, Steve Zieman, Deborah Lee, Steve Jacobs, Pam Clarke, Cynthia Bryant-Tatum, and Denise Tolliver.
Winter 1990-91 --
Caren Collins (broadcast supervisor and head writer), Denise Tolliver (who did weekdays and weekends), Karen Dinkins, Karen Trombley, Larry Rodarte, Lisa LiGreci, Sandra Washington, Suzanne Easa (also known as Suzanne Easton), Alexa Alston, Sonja Gale, and Sheila Smoot. Note: Gary Bubar (a AAA full-time employee) substituted a couple times.
Winter 1991-92 --
Caren Collins (broadcast supervisor and head writer), Robert Morosi, Sandra Washington, Tamara Boykin, Margaret Micu, J.R. Scicluna, Ron Dawson (a.k.a. Ron Edwards), Suzanne Easa (better known as Suzanne Easton), Karen Trombley, and Karen Dinkins.
Winter 1992-93 --
Caren Collins (broadcast supervisor and head writer), Steve Jacobs, Suzanne Easa, Margaret Micu, Denise Tolliver, Ricky Christian, Dwayne Carver, and Terry Page.
Winter 1993-94 --
Caren Collins (broadcast supervisor and head writer), Suzanne Easa, Margaret Micu, Denise Tolliver, Ricky Christian, Stephanie Dugan, and Terry Page.
Winter 1994-95 --
Suzanne Easa was the Monday-Friday morning writer, and Robert Morosi was the afternoon writer (Monday through Thursday). The AM-broadcasting staff was Brad Ettinger (who did some writing), Dan Donakowski (or Dan Donovan), Suzette Dexter, Denise Tolliver, Richard Piet, William Seppla, Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor, John Moore, Jeanne Dlugos, Jesse Heindl, Harold Gray, Dave Frisco, Richard Piet, Rachel Rehm, David Scott Donnelly, William Street (or Willie Street), John M. Sluka III, and Nicole Shifflett. The PM-broadcasting staff (Monday-Thurday) was Richard Piet, Ray Gogolin, Richard Piet, and Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor. The weekend (Saturday morning) staff was Brad Ettinger (as head writer), James Miller, Rob Beck, and Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor. Alternate broadcasters for the weekends (who may or may not have worked) were Rachel Rehm and Willie Street. Diane Cross was a substitute, as was Kimberly Fort. Steve Jacobs did a shift or two. [Note: This part may be incomplete.]
Special note: Debbie Pearson was now the broadcast supervisor over The Icicle News Service. The broadcast supervisor oversaw all the news services, but the position of broadcast supervisor did not include being a head writer or broadcaster every day--either for the morning edition or the afternoon edition. However, Debbie Pearson as broadcast supervisor did do fill-in work--either writing or broadcasting on The Icicle News Service--and did do other broadcasting and writing, such as that involving events reports.
Winter 1995-96 --
Robert Morosi was the main morning writer and broadcaster. Jim Miller was the main afternoon writer and broadcaster. Suzanne Easa was the main writer for Saturday morning. Some of the regular broadcasters were Diane Cross, Dave Frisco, Jeanne Dlugos, Scott Donnelly, Denise Tolliver, and Ray Gogolin. And yet others--substitutes--were Harold Bracy, Rachel Rehm, Darcy Day, Dan Donovan, Mike Gentile, Brian Vance, Bill Seppla, Pam Jackson, Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor, and Vic Doucette.
Note: The Icicle News Service was now under the supervision of the fairly recently created unit known as "Broadcast and Administration" (July 1995), and the broadcast supervisor was Debbie Pearson.
Winter 1996-97 --
Robert Morosi was the head writer/broadcaster for the morning service. Richard Piet started off as the head writer/broadcaster for the afternoon service that ran from Monday through Thursday, and, on Friday, Dave Frisco did work as the writer and broadcaster for stations not already covered by The Weekend News Service; later, Dave Frisco would write on other weekdays. The broadcasters for the morning shift were Diane Cross, Richard Piet, Pam Dickey, Scott Donnelly, Denise Tolliver, Jim Jerome, Gail Wells, and Ed Vetort. The broadcasters for the afternoon shift (Monday through Thursday) were Dave Frisco, Jason Matz, John Moore, Jackie Boivin, and Dave Shaw. The alternates scheduled during the season were: Audrey McKenna, Sondra Faulkner (who used the name Sonnie Faulkner), Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor, and Dan Donakowski. [By the way, Vic Doucette substituted one afternoon this season.]
Note: The service began on December 1, 1996, and, this year, no Saturday reports were offered to the media.
Winter 1997-98 --
Robert Morosi was the head writer/broadcaster for the morning service, and Dave Frisco was the main writer/broadcaster for the afternoon service. The broadcasters who were part of the morning staff were: Diane Cross, Pam Dickey, Nick Craig, Sheryl Orndorf, Ed Vetort, Jim Miller, Jim Hopper, Ron Dewey, and Jeff Moga. The broadcasters for the afternoon service (Monday-Thursday only, of course) were: John Zadikian and Karen Foran. An alternate for the season was: Herb Cody.
On Friday afternoons, Dave Frisco was the main writer/broadcaster for the stations that were part of The Icicle News Service for Monday-Thursday of the season and were not serviced by The Weekend News Service. He, for example, wrote a report about the road conditions in Upper Michigan for each Friday afternoon. On Friday, January 16, 1998, John Zadikian joined Dave to cover non-Weekend News Service stations, one of which was WTWR-FM (98.3 FM), Toledo, Ohio, and that meant Dave and John had to put together a report about road conditions in the Toledo area, too.
Note: The service offered no regular reports on the weekends.
Winter 1998-99 --
The season began on Monday, November 30, 1998, and the season had a morning service and an afternoon service on weekdays. Robert Morosi was the head writer/broadcaster for the morning service, which was run on a Monday-through-Friday basis, of course. The broadcasters for the morning service were Ed Vetort, Sonnie Faulkner, Sheryl Orndorf, Susan Krause, Ron Dewey, and James Hopper. The head writer/broadcaster for the afternoon service on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays was Dave Frisco, and the broadcasters were John Zadikian, Nick Craig, and Brad Ettinger (who only worked one day). On Friday afternoons, The Weekend News Service was in operation, and to cover stations not normally serviced by the staffers of The Weekend News Service, Dave Frisco worked as a writer/broadcaster and John Zadikian worked as a broadcaster. One alternate for the afternoon service was Angela DeLoach.
Note: The service offered no regular reports on the weekends.
Winter 1999-2000 --
This season began on Monday, November 29, 1999, and the season had a morning service and an afternoon service on weekdays. Robert Morosi was once again the head writer/broadcaster for the morning service, which was run on a Monday-through-Friday basis. The broadcasters for the morning service were Sonnie Faulkner, Sheryl Orndorf, Jim Hopper, and Brian Lankford. The head writer/broadcaster for the afternoon service was Dave Frisco (who left The Weekend News Service to work on The Icicle News Service for the season), and the broadcasters were Nick Craig and John Zadikian. On Friday, The Weekend News Service staffers were in the afternoon, and the members of the afternoon shift of The Icicle News Service were also in, doing ski reports for all the stations that wanted ski reports and giving traffic reports for stations not covered by The Weekend News Service. For the first week of the season, Ron Edwards worked during on the morning shift; he was about to start working on The Weekend News Service again, beginning on Friday, December 3, 1999. At the beginning of the season, the substitutes were Susan Krause and Scott Ryan.
This staffing of The Icicle News Service began to be affected in early January 2000, when the Traffic Control Center of the Traffic Network was made operational on January 10, 2000. Nick Craig and Sheryl Orndorf moved to seats at the Traffic Control Center for the morning shift, and Brian Lankford moved to the afternoon shift of the Traffic Control Center. The two new members of the morning shift of The Icicle News Service were Keith Dunlap and Therese Comer, and Niko Petrou became a regular of the afternoon shift of The Icicle News Service. Then John Zadikian went from being a part-time broadcaster of The Icicle News Service to being a Broadcast Coordinator in the unit--officially gaining the title on February 21, 2000; Rob Morosi had been a Broadcast Coordinator since June 28, 1999. John Zadikian continued to work on The Icicle News Service in the afternoons till the service ended. Late in the season, Ariana C. Krystoff was a regular on the morning shift. Doing substitute work at least once on the afternoon shift was Renee Pone.
Note: The service offered no regular reports on the weekends, and this was the last Icicle News Service.
The "BLIZZARD" section of this "portrait" provides information about some blizzards that have affected travelers in Michigan since the early 1960s. This section provides some interesting weather related facts. These facts deal with the winter of 1995-96.
Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire set a record for snowfall during the 1995-96 winter with 229.5 inches of snow.
Ski Brule in Iron River set a record for days of skiing. The resort was open from November 1995 through May 5, 1996. The resort was open for 178 consecutive days of skiing, and the number of consecutive days was a record. The previous record had been 157 days on a closing date of April 18.
For the first time since being founded 48 years previously, Boyne Mountain was open for skiing in a May during May 1996. For the weekend of May 4-5, 1996, Boyne Mountain had base of 40 inches. The resort had golf/ski packages available and held a mountain-bike race.
During the winter of 1995-96, Marquette, Michigan, received a record snowfall of 245 inches, which eclipsed the old record of 224 inches of the 1981-82 winter. Marquette received more than 37 inches of snow during April 1996, and the amount set a record. And, on May 1, 1996, a winter snowstorm dropped 16 inches of snow on the city. By the way, Marquette Mountain (a ski resort) was open to skiers for the weekend of May 4-6, 1996, and the resort had up to 36 inches of groomed powder. The 2001-2002 winter season brought Marquette another record snow season--Marquette received 319.8 inches of snow (which is information from the National Weather Service of Marquette).
By early May 1996, the Michigan State Police had an estimated number of 44 snowmobile deaths resulting from 41 snowmobile crashes for the winter of 1995-96. Of the 41 crashes, 14 occurred in Upper Michigan. The number of deaths--44--beat the record of 39 deaths that had been set during the winter of 1974-75.
An all-time snowfall record was broken at Marquette County Airport during the storm of March 13-14, 1997. The storm brought 27.4 inches of snow and made that amount of snow the greatest to fall in a 24-hour period at the airport since records began to be kept at the airport (in 1966); between 1871 and 1966, records had been measured in the city of Marquette. The previous record had been 25.8 inches of snow, which had fallen in December 1-2, 1985.
Here is a special note from the author of this "portrait" (Victor Swanson). From the beginning of the AAA Traffic Network on April 3, 2000, I began to write all the reports about Upper Michigan in the afternoons. During the first winter of the service, I began to call the Keweenaw Tourism office for information about how much snow was on the ground at the Keweenaw Snow Thermometer, which was a snow gauge along US-41 in Keweenaw County; when Robert Morosi had resigned from AAA Michigan, he had given me a miniature of the "thermometer," which he had received some time in the past. The telephone number to get information was 1-888-SNOWFALL. My little thermometer noted on it that, over the past 69 years, the average amount of snow received at the site of the real thermometer was 176.7 inches and the record snowfall for a snow season happened during the 1978-1979 season when 390.4 inches fell.
EMERGENCY ROAD SERVICE FACTS
Cold or very cold winter days mean staffers of the Emergency Road Service get swamped with work, as do the guys and gals who work the service trucks on the roads. This paragraph notes statistics about really big days for the guys and gals who service customers on the roads somewhere or service customers trying to get to the roads. For 24-hour periods, the service truck operators dispatched by the Home Office ERS staffers have had these big days: February 6, 1978 -- 4,770; January 16, 1992 -- 3,040; January 15, 1979 -- 4,961; February 22, 1993 -- 2,766; December 3, 1980 -- 2,480; January 20, 1994 -- 4,920; January 5, 1981 -- 3,824; February 6, 1995 -- 3,270; January 11, 1982 -- 4,728; December 11, 1995 -- 3,367 *; December 23, 1983 -- 4,058; February 26, 1996 -- 3,716; January 21, 1984 -- 3,247; January 17, 1997 -- 3,551; January 21, 1985 -- 4,736; January 27, 1986 -- 3,716; January 24, 1987 -- 3,386; January 5, 1988 -- 3,834.
Generally speaking, in the late 1990s, service truck operators (in association with the Emergency Road Service system at the headquarters building of AAA Michigan) serviced from 1,200 to 1,800 customers on a regular day throughout the year. Some days are exceptions to the rule; sometimes, the staffers service fewer than 1,000 customers, and, sometimes, they help more than 2,000. Truly, the exceptions are few.
Starting on May 18, 2000, AAA Michigan now had two ERS centers--one at the headquarters building in Dearborn and one (the "West Service Center") in Grand Rapids.
* = The information for this date is incomplete.
AAA MICHIGAN PUBLICATIONS
Since 1918, when the first "Detroit Motor News" was issued, the number of publications published by the Automobile Club of Michigan has increased. By late 1996, there were about 25 publications--and the number did not take into account "Michigan Living"; more than half of the publications were being printed by AAA Michigan. Since many employees are unaware that AAA Michigan has many publications, this "portrait" presents this short section using information provided in late 1996 by Nancy Sarpolis of Employee Communications.
Two very familiar publications are "AAA Today," which contains information for all employees, and "In The News." Every other week, about 5,000 copies of "AAA Today" are distributed to employees, and, every so often, special editions are issued. In contrast to the circulation of "AAA Today," the circulation for the monthly "In The News" is about 2,000 copies.
The publication that gets published in the greatest number each issue is "Intersections"; however, it is only published twice each year. The press run is about 21,000 copies. "Intersections" is distributed to branch employees, civic leaders, and government officials.
Every quarter, about 8,000 copies of "ACM Quarterly" are distributed to credit union managers. Another publication with a fairly large press run is "Know Your Card"; several times a year, about 3,500 copies of this several-page two-color publication are issued. Four publications have press runs of about 2,300 copies; they are "Processing Procedures Bulletin," "Processing Newsletter," "Underwriting Memo," and "Underwriting Bulletin." Legal and claims employees read "...from a Legal Perspective," which is a monthly product; about 1,000 copies of each issue are printed in-house. Many of the other publications are "AAA Connection," "AAA Tomorrow," "ERS Review," "Financial AAAdvisor," "501 News," "Insights," "Localization Newsletter," "Marketing Promotions Calendar," "Macomb Township Mirror," "Member Profile System Informer," "On Target," "Pontiac Branch Newsletter," "Research Review," "TLC3 Updates," and "Utica Points of Interest."
In late January 1999, employees of AAA Michigan/Wisconsin received the first issue of a new publication--"Frontline." It was the first of a series of quarterly newsletters that AAA Michigan/Wisconsin would distribute to employees and that would focus on information and computer systems. Some of the topics of the first issue were "E-mail security," "E-mail abuse," and "cyberhoaxes."
The "Automobile Club of Detroit" was founded in June 1916 by a group of motor-car enthusiasts; the organization began with three employees and 275 charter members and was based in offices in downtown Detroit. Within a week of the founding of the Automobile Club of Detroit, the organization applied for membership to the American Automobile Club, which had been established in 1902 by a number of motor-car clubs based around the country, such as the Grand Rapids Automobile Club (which later became affiliated with the Automobile Club of Detroit). Over the years, the Auto Club expanded in size and increased the number of services it offered; the Auto Club created a Travel department in 1917, began a AAA School Safety Patrol program in 1919, created a Touring department in 1919, established "an insurance exchange to underwrite coverage for members" in 1922, started up an around-the-clock emergency road service program in 1922, sold airline tickets for the first time and created a World Travel department in 1929, began to offer homeowners insurance to members in 1971 and life insurance in 1975, and introduced the "Show Your Card & Save" program in 1991. Today the Automobile Club of Michigan, which was known as the Automobile Club of Detroit till 1931, is most-often referred to as "AAA Michigan," which, through a merger, took on AAA Wisconsin on October 1, 1995. Then on February 1, 2000, AAA Michigan/Wisconsin was merged with AAA-Chicago Motor Club, and the entity that had been known as AAA Michigan/Wisconsin, a holding company, became known as "The Auto Club Group." On January 25, 2001, an official announcement was made that an agreement had been secured making AAA Nebraska a part of The Auto Club Group, and, on September 25, 2001, AAA North Dakota joined The Auto Club Group.
In the 1890s, automobile clubs were forming in Wisconsin by people whose goal it was to set "aside a place for automobile owners to operate their expensive toys without being harassed." As the early days of the 1900s began to pass, it was becoming obvious to people, such as Frank C. Donald, that laws concerning automobiles and automobile owners were needed. Frank C. Donald, as president of the Auto Club of Chicago, invited leaders of nine auto clubs, such as some from Wisconsin, to attend a conference in Chicago in 1902. At that conference, the members created the American Automobile Association, which was first made up of local clubs; some time later, the clubs were grouped into three categories--"directly affiliated motor clubs, divisions, and state associations." The motor clubs and the state associations were independent and autonomous, having their own officers and boards of directors, who set polices based on guidelines of the American Automobile Association, and the divisions were formations of the American Automobile Association. The Wisconsin Division--made up of small motor clubs in Fond du Lac, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Racine, and Superior--was created as a second division of the national organization in 1929. A Travel Agency of the Wisconsin Division was created in 1950. AAA Wisconsin, which had been based at 433 West Washington Avenue, Madison, since 1966, took in AAA Wyoming in 1988, and, in 1992, AAA Wisconsin/Wyoming, moved to new headquarters at 8030 Excelsior Drive in Madison. Three years later, AAA Wyoming, AAA Alaska, and AAA Montana began to operate as AAA Mountain West. And, on October 1, 1995, AAA Wisconsin merged with AAA Michigan, and, on February 1, 2000, AAA Michigan/Wisconsin merged with the AAA-Chicago Motor Club, and the entity known as AAA Michigan/Wisconsin, a holding company, became known as "The Auto Club Group." Not long thereafter--it was announced on January 21, 2001 that AAA Nebraska had joined The Auto Club Group. On the weekend of September 28-29, 2002, the headquarters moved to 8401 Excelsior Drive, Madison, Wisconsin.
AAA-CHICAGO MOTOR CLUB
On October 28, 1999, the management of AAA Michigan/Wisconsin Inc. announced to employees that an agreement had been reached in which the AAA-Chicago Motor Club would join AAA Michigan/Wisconsin Inc.; that is, it was announced that the AAA-Chicago Motor Club would end up as a unit of AAA Michigan/Wisconsin Inc., which was a holding company already encompassing the AAA Michigan club and the AAA Wisconsin club; in addition, it was announced that the Chicago Motor Club Insurance Company and the Chicago Motor Club Insurance Agency, Inc., which were subsidiaries of the AAA-Chicago Motor Club, were being sold to the Auto Club Insurance Association (or the ACIA). (By the way, around the same time--through an announcement on November 12, 1999--it was reported to employees that merger talks between AAA Michigan/Wisconsin and AAA Minnesota/Iowa had been discontinued.) At the time of the announcement of the deal between AAA Michigan/AAA Wisconsin and the AAA-Chicago Motor Club, the AAA-Chicago Motor Club served members in 72 counties of Illinois and in 24 counties of northern Indiana. On Tuesday, February 1, 2000 (at 2:16 p.m.), the management at AAA Michigan announced through the in-house e-mail system that the deal involving the merger of AAA Michigan/Wisconsin and AAA-Chicago was completed. The announcement noted that the "AAA Michigan/Wisconsin" name, which was that of a holding company, was now "The Auto Club Group," and the Chicago Motor Club was now a subsidiary of "The Auto Club Group." The e-mail statement also noted that the Chicago Motor Club, which had been a subsidiary of the AAA-Chicago Motor Club, now belonged to the Auto Club Insurance Association (or the ACIA). By the way, in September 2001, the AAA-Chicago Motor Club moved into new headquarters in Aurora, Illinois.
On Friday, September 29, 2000, the president of The Auto Club Group was Mr. Charles H. Podowski, and he announced through an e-mail message to employees that an agreement had been reached between AAA Nebraska and The Auto Club Group in which AAA Nebraska was going to join The Auto Group (which already was AAA Chicago, AAA Michigan, AAA Wisconsin, Auto Club Insurance Association, Auto Club Life Insurance Company, and Auto Club Trust). The e-mail announcement of September 20, 2000, did report that state regulatory agencies had yet to approve this merger, but it seemed very likely the merger would be completed sometime in the first quarter of 2001. Mr. Podowski's message indicated that AAA Nebraska had about 200,000 members and owned a software development company called "Automation Inc. (or "AI"), which "develops and implements membership systems that are used in many AAA clubs." Then, an annoucement to employees was made on Thursday, January 25, 2001, and it stated that AAA Nebraska had joined The Auto Club Group, and it was also announced that AAA Nebraska owned a company called Automation, Inc., which was a software development company that, for example, develops member service system applications.
AAA NORTH DAKOTA
Yet another announcement about a merger reached employees on Wednesday, May 9, 2001, and that announcement noted that AAA North Dakota had agreed to become a part of The Auto Club Group. On the day of the annoucement, it was estimated that AAA North Dakota serviced 65,000 members. Officially, AAA North Dakota joined The Auto Club Group on September 25, 2001, as noted in an e-mail message to employees from Chuck Podowski (President & CEO) of September 26, 2001--"...I am pleased to announce the addition of AAA North Dakota to The Auto Club Group's (ACG) family of affiliated auto clubs. The final papers were signed yesterday, Tuesday, September 25, 2001....The addition of AAA North Dakota to The Auto Club Group...increases the members served in our six states to 3.4 million."
AAA MINNESOTA/IOWA On November 14, 2001, AAA Minnesota/Iowa had about 713,112 members, and on that date, Charles H. Podowski, President of & CEO of The Auto Group announced through e-mail to employees that AAA Minnesota/Iowa had agreed to join The Auto Club Group.
This section is provided to show where information for this "portrait" came from; that is, it shows where much of the information used by the author, Victor Swanson, came from. For the most part, the structure does conform to what are formal standards of presentation for a bibliography. The next four paragraphs do not conform to what can be called standard for a bibliography.
Much of the information for this "portrait" was obtained from several hundred articles contained within "Motor News" and "Michigan Living" from 1919 to April 2003. The articles were shorts, editorials, or full articles that were up to a couple-pages long. Even advertisements provided information.
Many editions of "Wheels" were used; that is, most that were available between January 1965 and the final edition published--up to the introduction of "AAA Today" (February 3, 1989)--were used. Some editions were unavailable. The editions of "Wheels" were invaluable in researching people who were employees of the Motor News department or the Public Relations department between about 1965 and 1989. All the editions of "AAA Today" between February 3, 1989, and April 2003 were source material.
Of course, many, many news releases issued by Motor News or Public Relations between 1961 and 2003 were source material.
In addition, these works were sources of information: "A Public Service Program to Promote Highway Safety and Tourism in Michigan" (by Tom Freel, who entered the work in the PRSA Silver Anvil Writing Contest on March 10, 1967), "Bring 'Em Back Alive! How It All Started in 1961" (which contained "The Influence of Scare Techniques on Driving Behavior," an address to Michigan Conference on Summer Driving (Bring 'Em Back Alive!) by Dr. James R. Adams, Safety Research and Education Project, Columbia University, and contained several old photocopied newspaper articles), and "Bring 'Em Back Alive! An Educational Traffic Safety Program Sponsored by Automobile Club of Michigan."
Articles from "The Detroit News" and "Detroit Free Press" helped add detail to such sections as "Road Facts." Also, indexes of "The New York Times" were invaluable, leading to articles in "The Detroit News" and "Detroit Free Press" (indexes to which were unavailable for the years prior to the mid-1970s), and several articles in "The New York Times" were used. And articles from a couple other newspapers were also used.
Also, I did visit a couple Web sites. One Web site that I visited was www.MapQuest.com, from which a person could get, for instance, maps of cities and traffic information. Yet another Web site was www.trafficstation.com. And I visited a couple sites related to ETAK, Inc., and I stopped a moment to see what SmarTraveler had.
"AAA North Dakota To Join ACG," AAA Today, VI, No. 12, 25 May 2001, p. 3.
AAA Posts New Website." U.S. Auto Scene, 9 April 2001, p. 3.
"AAA's Courtesy Patrol: Angels on Wheels," AAA Today, VI, No. 20, 14 September 2001, pp. 1 and 3.
"AAA Traffic Reports Keep You Moving." Michigan Living, LXXXIII, No. 8, May 2001, p. 30.
"AAA Minnesota/Iowa To Join The Auto Club Group." AAA Today, VI, No. 25, 21 November 2001, p. 5.
"And Nebraska Makes Four." AAA Today, VI, No. 3, February 2, 2001, p. 1.
"Ask the News: 'Citizens Band Radios Tuned to Freeway Help." The Detroit News, 18 September 1967, p. 19-B.
"ATS Rolls Out Statewide." AAA Today, V, No. 20, 15 September 2000, p. 1 and 3.
"'BEBA' Team Gears Up," AAA Today, VI, No. 12, 25, May 2001, pp. 1 and 3.
"'Bring 'Em Back Alive' Drive to be Broadened." The Detroit News, 25 June 1967, p. 4B.
"Broadcasting Services: A Year-Around Public Service." AAA Today, V, No. 19, 1 September 2000, p. 5.
"Call boxes to begin use." The Detroit Mews, 5 October 1980, p. B10.
"Car plunges from Mackinac Bridge." Detroit Free Press, 23 September 1989, p. 4A.
"Chicago Motor Club Merger Is Official." AAA Today, V, No. 3, 4 February 2000, pp. 1 and 5.
"Crash kills Warren woman, 2 others." The Detroit News, 2 September 1997, p. 6D.
"Employees Asked To Become Traffic Tipsters." AAA Today, VI, No. 26, 7 December 2001, p. 5.
"Etak Inc." San Francisco Business Times, V, No. 15, 7 December 1990, p. 33.
"Freeway to Test Controls." The Detroit News, 5 July 1967, pp. 1A and 12A.
"Freeway sensors set on 'go.'" The Detroit News, 21 April 1983, p. 1C.
"GM's OnStar system gives traffic updates." The Detroit News, 18 October 2001, p. 2C.
"Gusts Slow Removal of Snow." Detroit Free Press, 9 January 1978, p. 1A.
"Hello again! News digs out after storm halts home delivery." The Detroit News, 27 January 1978, p. 4A.
"Holiday Deaths Set New Record," Cheboygan Daily Tribune, 4 January 1960, p. NA.
"How much fell." Detroit Free Press, 4 January 1999, p. 1A.
"In-Flight Phone Service Installed." Aviation Week, LXVII, No. 12, 23 September 1957, p. 41.
"Its got your number: The lure of the smart phone." U.S. News & World Report, CXXVI, No. 23, 14 June 1999, p. 64.
"Mackinac Bridge Death Ruled Suicide." The Detroit News, 25 March 1997, p. 1A.
"MapQuest.com--A company on the Move." Strategic Finance, LXXXI, No. 5, November 1999, p. 82.
"Michigan Plans to Bill U.S. For Cost of Fighting Fire." The New York Times, 27 August 1976, p. A12.
"New ERS Call Center Up And Running." AAA Today, V, No. 15, 7 July 2000, p. 3.
"New Internet SuperSite Debuts." AAA Today, VI, No. 4, 16 February 2001, p. 2.
"News in brief: AAA Michigan and Michigan...." AAA Today, V, No. 12, May 26, 2000, p. 2.
"Paul Revere would have asked for a third lantern for CB." Broadcasting, XC, No. 19, 10 May 1976, p. 40.
"Real-time Reports @ AAA Traffic Network." Michigan Living, LXXXII, No. 6, March 2000, p. 12.
"Road Reports: On Line, Real Time." AAA Today, V, No. 2, 21 January 2000, pp. 1 and 5.
"Rolling Out a Redesigned Web." AAA Today, IV, No. 22, 15 October 1999, p. 2.
"'Seinfeld' 'M*A*S*H-ed' The Seinfeld' finale failed to set a ratings record, not that there's anything wrong with that...." The San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 May 1998, p. E-9.
"Tech Notes: Mobile: The Web and the Cell Phone: Getting Closer." Newsweek, CXXXIV, No. 13, 27 September 1999, p. 74.
"Traffic Reports." Michigan Living, LXXXIV, No. 4, December 2001, p. 15.
"Traffic: Trafficstation." The Wall Street Journal, 7 December 2000, B16.
"Web Crawling: Sites for Sore Eyes." Electronic News (1991), XLVI, No. 24, 12 June 2000, p. 42.
"Westwood One Completes Acquisition of Metro Networks; Board of Directors Approves Stock Repurchase Program and Names Three Directors." PR Newswire, 23 September 1999.
"Workplace Ethics - This Is Serious Stuff," AAA Today, VI, No. 8, 30 March 2001, p. 5.
"Yahoo, Excite strike content pacts." Broadcasting & Cable, CXXVI, No. 37, 2 Sepember 1996, p. 58.
Anstett, Patricia. "State's crackdown on bad drivers begins today: Treatment is costly and money scarce." Detroit Free Press, 1 October 1999, pp. 1A and 7A.
Arar, Yardena. "GPS Gets Chatty." PC World, XVIII, No. 2, February 2000, p. 81.
Beer, Matt. "Matt Beer's Sunday Brunch with Pat Monks." The Detroit News, magazine, 29 May 1983, p. 6.
Bulgier, Chester. "Rare quake leaves Michiganians shaken." The Detroit News, 28 July 1980, pp. 1A and 6A.
Bulgier, Chester. "Snow paralyzes most of Michigan." The Detroit News, 10 January 1978, pp. 3A and 11A.
Castine, John. "Man falls off Mackinac Bridge." Detroit Free Press, 8 August 1997, p. 2B.
Cole, Kenneth, and Mark Hornbeck. "Gas tax hike has winners, losers." The Detroit News, 17 July 1997, pp. 1A and 4A.
Cristoff, Chris. "State's crackdown on bad drivers begins today: Tougher laws target repeat offenders." Detroit Free Press, 1 October 1999, pp. 1A and 6A.
Dixon, Jennifer, and Tina Lam. "'A massive fireball': 63-vehicle pileup in thick fog near Windsor leaves at least 7 dead, 45 hurt." The Detroit News and Free Press, 4 September 1999, pp. 1A and 10A.
Dixon, Jennifer, and Wendy Wendland. "The Big Dig: Snowfall causes traffic hazards, school closings and at least 3 deaths." Detroit Free Press, 4 January 1999, pp. 1A and 3A.
Durfee, Doug. "Gas tax hike may not mean higher pump prices--for now." The Detroit News, 1 August 1997, pp. 1C and 2C.
Dowdy, Earl. "Blizzard strangles state, brings traffic to a crawl." The Detroit News, 1 February 1982, pp. 1A and 4A.
Dowdy, Earl, and Fred Manardo. "Get ready for more!" The Detroit News, 4 February 1982, pp. 1A and 12A.
Dowdy, Earl. "Quake rocks residents in 9 states." The Detroit News, 1 February 1986, pp. 1A and 6A.
English, Carey. "Near-Zero Weathr, High Winds Lash State." Detroit Free Press, 11 January 1978, pp. 1A and 11A.
Falkner, Jim. "A Historical View." Cheboygan Tribune, 30 August 1996, pp. 1A and 7A.
Feder, Robert. "JFK Jr. Video Sparks 'Debate' at Channel 2." Chicago-Sun Times (Late Sports Final Edition), 14 March 1996, Features, p. 35.
Gadomski, Jean, and Mike Wowk. "Car plunges off Mackinac Bridge in gale-force winds." The Detroit News, 23 September 1989, pp. 1A and 4A.
Gerritt, Jeff. "Gas tax passes, but don't expect quick fix." Detroit Free Press, 17 July 1997, pp. 1A and 7A.
Gerritt, Jeff. "'It's breathtaking' -- Rebuilt Davison provides safer, smoother ride." Detroit Free Press, 9 October 1997, p. 2B.
Gerritt, Jeff. "Traffic Reports on AAA Web Site." Detroit Free Press, 11 January 2000, p. 2B.
Ghannam, Jeffrey. "One killed, 10 hurt in I-75 pileup." The Detroit News and Free Press, 7 September 1998, p. 3A.
Greenwood, Tom. "Commuting: AAA Michigan network to help update drivers." The Detroit News, 12 January 2000, p. 8C.
Greenwood, Tom. "Commuting: Red-light runners beware, cameras are getting closer." The Detroit News, 14 December 2000, p. 18D.
Hamilton, Joan O'C. "Science & Technology; Product Development: A Rocket in Its Pocket." Business Week, No. 3492, 9 September 1996, pp. 111 and 114.
Heinlein, Gray, and Manny Lopez. "Bad weather delays work on retoring lost power." The Detroit News, 16 March 1997, p. 1B and 5B.
Helms, Matt, and Suzanne Siegel. "Freeway star nails disable 100 cars." The Detroit News and Free Press, 2 September 1996, p. 1A and 6A.
Hupp, Mary Ann. "Metro drivers go online to check Oakland roads." The Detroit News, 20 December 2001, p. 1D.
Hupp, Mary Ann. "Smart cameras keep traffic rolling smoothly." The Detroit News, 20 December 2001, p. 1D.
Ilka, Douglas. "Milford on new traffic system." The Detroit News, 19 September 1997, p. 5D.
Irvin, Robert W. "6 Days of Terror Ignited by a Predawn Blind Pig Raid." The Detroit News, 30 July 1967, p. 23A.
Isaacson, Portia. "Java webs with the World Wide Web." Computer Reseller, No. 682, 6 May 1996, pp. 80+.
Kessler, Michelle. "Online traffic reports give radio stations competition." The Detroit News, 8, January 2001, pp. 1B.
King, Deborah. "America Online to Buy Direction Service MapQuest.com." Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, 23 December 1999, p. ITEM99361072.
Kirkpatrick, David. "Tech Report: 3Com: The consumerization of computing devices." Fortune, CXXXVI, No. 9, 10 November 1997, pp. 102-103.
Kirschner, Suzanne Kantra. "PDAs: Dial M for money." Popular Science, CCLIII, No. 6, December 1988, p. 45.
Kiska, Tim. "Chopper crew reports a near-miss -- its own." The Detroit News, 4 September 1997, p. 1A.
Klass, Philip J. "Avionics: Airborne Telephone Arouses Enthusiasm." Aviation Week, LXVIII, No. 4, 27 January 1958, pp. 90-95.
Klass, Philip J. "FCC Action Will Open 'Skyphone' Service." Aviation Week & Space Technology, LXXXIX, No. 15, 7 October 1968, pp. 85-90.
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Kornblum, Janet. "3Com, Nokia join forces." USA Today, 14 October 1999, p. B3.
Levy, Doug. "3Com unit hopes to give company a lift." USA Today, 24 May 1999, p. 3B.
Lewis, Shawn D. "Davison Freeway reopens." The Detroit News, 9 October 1997, p. 1C.
Lochbiler, Peter R., and Karl Payne. "Radio road news gives pains, joys." The Detroit News, 4 December 1978, pp. 1B and 7B.
Lopez, Manny. "Slayings of 2 suspects close I-75." The Detroit News and Free Press, 1 September 1996, p. 4B.
Lowell, Jon. "Ramp Lights of Lodge Got Mixed Reaction." The Detroit News, 7 July 1967, p. 1A.
Mayer, Caroline E. "For FCC, the Equation = x11; Plan Would Use 511 for Traffic Hot Line, 211 for Nonprofit Referrals." The Washington Post (Final Edition), 21 July 2000, p. E01.
McGill, Andrew R. "Storm mauls Midwest." The Detroit News, 27 January 1978, pp. 1A and 14A.
McWhirter, Cameron. "Detroit weathers snow test." The Detroit News, 13 December 2000, pp. 1D and 7D.
Mleczko, Louis. "Paving the way for prosperity." The Detroit News, 9 October 1992, p. 9A.
Montemurri, Patricia, and Beth Krodel. "Michigan all shook up by biggest quake since '86." The Detroit News and Free Press, 26 September 1998, pp. 1A and 8A.
Mullins, Robert. "Milwaukee gets traffic reports via Internet." The Business Journal--Milwaukee, XVII, No 24, 10 March 2000, p. 30.
Nichols, Darren A. "7 confirmed dead in Ont. crash." The Detroit News, 5 September 1999, p. 1B.
Oguntoyinbo, Lekan. "Hospitals release 4 more following Windsor pileup." Detroit Free Press, 6 September 1999, p. 3A.
Pearce, Jeremy, and Rusty Hoover and Santiago Esparza. "100-car I-75 pileup kills 1, injures 40. The Detroit News and Free Press, 1 January 1999, pp. 1A and 4A.
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Powers, Rebecca, and John Broder and Mike Wowk. "Twister rips Kalamazoo, leaves 6 dead, 84 hurt." The Detroit News, 14 May 1980, pp. 1A and 17A.
Powers, Rebecca L., and George Bullard. "Most visitors praise Dome and Michigan's hospitality." The Detroit News, 4 February 1982, pp. 1A and 2A.
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This section presents some recollections about the news services from people who were members of the news-services teams.
David E. Schmeiser, Manager of Member Relations --
"I was doing the 6:00 AM. weekend wrap-up on Tuesday morning during which we summarized the statistical data for the weekend, i.e., number of fatalities, estimated miles driven in Michigan by tourists, number of alcohol related accidents and fatalities, etc. During such wrap-ups, we often quoted remarks attributed to the then General Manager of the Automobile Club of Michigan, Fred Rehm. About half-way through my spiel, and as the result of a dog tired brain, I started a quote from Mr. Rehm by saying, 'According to Alcohol Club, er I mean Automobile Club General Manager, Fred Rehm....' Later that day, Mr. Rehm called me to say that he had heard the gaffe, and he thought it was hilarious. He loved humor even at his and ACM's expense." [Note: This event took place following one of the three Labor Day Holidays that Mr. Schmeiser worked.]
Submitted: September 27, 1996
Marci Williams (formerly Marci Guenther), who worked in the Motor News department in much of the 1970s, such as as the office supervisor from 1972 to 1979 --
"During the summer holiday news services in 1973, I was determined that we should eat better than coffee shop sandwiches three meals a day, so I fed the teams by cooking fresh foods for breakfast and lunch in the small lobby of our 16th floor offices in downtown Detroit. The department already owned a large coffee urn, and I would augment that by bringing in my own small electric appliances from home (toasters, crock pots for making fresh soups, electric skillet, cutting boards, etc.). Dinners were ordered for take-out from nearby eateries. You will recall that during a news service you had to manage to eat any meals between telephone calls, whether you were on the broadcasting team or research desk, so there was never much time available and hot food never stayed warm for very long.
"Once we moved to Dearborn in 1974, only cold foods were offered for breakfasts (with gallons of hot coffee, of course) and lunches and dinners were ordered by menu from whichever nearby restaurant we had worked out an arrangement with for that particular holiday. Stan Meretsky, Barb Kisch and I had fun every April and May 'researching' various local restaurants to see who would cater to us that year. It shouldn't be mentioned, since AAA takes such a strong stand against drinking and driving, but I am sure even you [Victor Swanson] will remember that the bar and the beer cooler were always kept inside Len Barnes' private office (of course, such beverages were strictly for use in hosting any visiting TV crews). Beer was supposed to be off limits until after 6:00 p.m., but we usually managed to get the cooler moved into the studio around 4:30 or so. And of course anyone who ever went to one will remember the dinners Len Barnes hosted for the news media following the final report of a holiday news service. We would not even get to the restaurant until 11:30 p.m., and local TV news and radio personalities would not start arriving until midnight since they did not get off the air until 11:30. These dinners would sometimes last until 3:30 a.m..... There would usually be quite a crowd. And the wrap-up team had to be at work by 6:30 a.m. the next morning!
"When we get together for reunions, we still sit around and laugh about 'the old days'. Creating camaraderie was a high priority in an office continuously under the stress of constant deadlines and working long and hard hours to meet them. We all remember the Motor News department baseball games in the Dearborn field. Many of us still have our blue uniforms with 'Dyn-O-Mites' written in black. The late evening hours of BEBA weekends after Tom Freel and Len Barnes would leave for the day and the rest of us would go creative with mischievous pranks, sometimes even competing in teams to see who could be more outrageous. Were you [Victor Swanson] there the time we glued Tom Freel's telephone receiver down? He was not a happy camper the next morning when his phone rang; not that we had anything to do with that part. How about the time we raided the library of all its copies of Playboy and other men's magazines and completely wallpapered Len Barnes' office with centerfolds? And you have never seen an office TP'd until it's been done by competing teams of BEBA broadcasters in the middle of the night. I didn't know you could get Scotch tape to stick so well to ceiling panels or carpeting. Every summer holiday brought new and creative ways to counteract the tedium and stress of hourly deadlines thirteen hours a day, day after day. We had a scrapbook once memorializing some of these events. We used to keep a 'blooper wall' and post the broadcasting bloopers that were overheard, and these also went into the scrapbook.
"'Normal people don't understand how tiring a BEBA holiday news service schedule can be. From 8:00 a.m. until after the 11:00 p.m. news, broadcasters could each have up to 15 stations to report to every hour, every one with a specific broadcast time requested, and you still had to find time to edit the copy for your area; researchers had to turn in callsheets and field reports by half past every hour, and that could involve each making dozens of interviews hourly to update and search for information as well as typing up the incoming reports from the reporters in the field; and let's not forget whoever was the writer that hour, as he had to get the copy written and released by the top of every hour plus find time to write special releases, such as for television news, as well as direct our focus as the holiday progressed."
Submitted: May 27, 1997.
Victor Edward Swanson -- Submitted: (The information was withheld from this copy.)
Note: This section is looking for additional submissions.
The Final Analysis Section (which was added to this document on August 6, 2021):
I provide here how and why the biggest public-relations radio event or system--the AAA Michigan broadcast service system--in Michigan radio history fell apart and was closed down, and the talk covers the period from 1965 to 2009. The management of AAA Michigan created the broadcast system in 1965, getting the inspiration from Len Barnes (the head of the Motor News Department). The original goal was to promote safe driving, such as through the "Bring 'em Back Alive!" theme, promote tourism in Michigan, and provide traffic data about the main roads in Michigan. The Holiday News Service was the first part of the system, offering reports to radio stations in the Detroit area on the three big summer holidays of 1965. Later, the company began to provide road reports and ski reports on weekday mornings in (roughly) the winter, and a little later, the company started up a traffic service for weekends, giving people information about the road conditions and construction conditions around the state, and these services were offered to radio stations in the Detroit area and beyond the Detroit area. By the way, the broadcast unit of the company offered other reports, such as color-season reports in the fall. The peak period for the broadcast system was in the late 1970s and in the 1980s; for example, in 1976, I joined the Weekend News Service, and I urged the management to get Grand Rapids stations on the company list (since there were almost none), and it happened, and in the first four years or so of my working on the Weekend News Service, I read about 40,000 reports, reading about 110 reports each day that I worked. All the reports from AAA Michigan were provided free to all radio stations (and you should be able to deduce how much it might have cost AAA Michigan (or Michigan AAA) to buy the air time on radio stations for the roughly 40,000 reports that I did in the late 1970s), and, incidentally, the reports usually ran 30 seconds or 60 seconds. AAA Michigan was involved in outstate traffic information from 1965 to June 1986, and there were no competitors to AAA Michigan, and AAA Michigan was no treat to any local-traffic-information service in any city, such as at Grand Rapids or at Detroit, the latter of which had had stations doing local traffic since around the late 1940s. On June 19, 1986, AAA Michigan fired up the "AAA Safety Copter" in the Detroit area, and, in essence, the helicopter traffic service, which seemed to be a five-year plan from the start, was now showing signs of making AAA Michigan a competitor to other traffic services in the Detroit area. Why should a station that was involved with another a local-traffic-information service take long-distance travel information from AAA Michigan and why should the station give AAA Michigan free air time for the long-distance travel information if AAA Michigan was a competitor to what traffic service that the station had? On June 11, 1991, the AAA Safety Copter was shut down. In the 1990s, AAA Michigan was directly involved with MEP (or Michigan Emergency Patrol), which was a local-traffic-information service, and that service was shut down on December 31, 1999. The real big hit to the AAA Michigan broadcast service system took place on April 3, 2000, with the creation of the "AAA Traffic Network," and that service ended the periods for the Icicle News Service and the Weekend News Service. The AAA Traffic Network was designed to provide "local" traffic information to all radio stations subscribing in the mornings and the afternoons on weekdays only, and the stations could be anywhere in the state, even in rural areas or the Upper Peninsula. The value of the Weekend News Service was that, especially in the winter, it gave listeners a good idea if they could make long-distance drives in Michigan, such as to ski resorts, and the service could note if traveling was possible, especially if a person wanted to make a trip to get home on Sunday evening so that the person could get to work on Monday. The AAA Traffic Network had no value to weekend travelers--it was not around. In addition, the AAA Traffic and Network had no real value in most of the year on weekdays. There was no way in which a small group of people working in an office in the headquarters building of AAA Michigan in Dearborn, Michigan, could provide local-traffic information to radio stations scattered all around the state--in both peninsulas; for example, each broadcaster handled a small group of radio stations, some of which took more than one report in a shift, and since each broadcaster had more than one station, each broadcaster was required to get to the stations at specific times, and the only way that information came to the broadcaster was through a round of calls to state-police offices and maybe some country sheriffs departments once or twice in a shift (which lasted around four hours or so), and it was impossible to get any real local information from anywhere, and if a traffic accident happened at a town or city, the broadcaster would almost never hear about it, and if an accident happened, it was gone before the broadcaster could report on it, being caught in meeting specific times to report to radio stations. Anyway, what value was there in reporting on a particular accident on a road near a town or city or in a town or city really, given the accident affected so few travelers (maybe only a few dozen drivers), and if there was an accident near a radio station, the local police might notify the station or local travelers might report it to the station, et cetera? In addition, in the Detroit area, AAA Michigan had no MEP arm anymore, and AAA Michigan had no good system of gathering good information about the roads in the Detroit area, having, for example, no one up in an airplane or a helicopter who could report in to the headquarters, but AAA Michigan people at the headquarters did listen to the competitors in the Detroit area to find out things, as was done by Jo-Jo Shutty-MacGregor in the afternoons. Since 2007, I have lived half of each year at a place along US-23 in the northeast section of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and, in essence, there is almost no traffic on US-23 between Cheboygan and Rogers City to talk about ever. Many areas of Michigan, especially in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, have no traffic to talk about in the mornings and afternoons, and that is even though there are more cars on the roads of Michigan today than there were around 2000, and, in 2000, I was given the job of gathering information about and reporting on roads in the Upper Peninsula to radio stations in the Upper Peninsula, and, in essence, all there was was light traffic all the time, so I put in other stuff in the road reports, such as about places to see, to have something somewhat useful to say (given some stations wanted 60-second-long reports). In January 2002, the "Bring 'em Back Alive" theme (such as presented in safety tags) was dropped by AAA Michigan, so, in a way, AAA Michigan was not really promoting safe driving anymore. In the winter, the AAA Traffic Network was sort of useful on some days, since it did what that Icicle News Service had done in the mornings--provide road-condition reports (though I say that the information was weak and unclear and though the goal was not really to provide long-distance travel information, which would be useful to truckers who had plans to make long-distance drives later in the day). Mostly, the broadcasters of the service had nothing to say but fluff. The third killing strike against the AAA Michigan broadcast service system came on May 2, 2003, when the AAA Traffic Network was shut down. On May 5, 2003, AAA Michigan started up the "AAA Traffic and Information Service," and it was designed as an Internet-based service, and the designers of the service and the people in control of the service were, for instance, Debbie Pearson (whose history at the company had been as only a secretary mostly), who was the head of the broadcast unit, and Jeff Gaydos, who was Debbie Pearson's direct superior. Now, there was no real contact with radio stations and there was no real contact with people (listeners) and where was no real contact with the communities, and police were not getting any good indirect promotion as the police had had with the original traffic programs, such as the Weekend News Service. Who the heck was going to go to the Internet to get almost always useless information through computer, especially if a person worked only a few miles from work, which was the way for most people, as it is today? In 2009, the AAA Traffic Network was killed off, and that was that. As time went on, the managers at AAA Michigan got dumber and pushed idiocy and broadcasting foolishness, and now there is no long-distance travel information service in Michigan, and in the big cities, people are hit with endless numbers of mostly useless local traffic reports from radio stations and television stations, especially television stations.
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