Hoping the weather forecast is incorrect

The snowstorm hasn’t hit as fingers hit keyboard. Man, do I hope the weathermen and women are Wrong, with a capital W …

∫ I tweeted this on Wednesday: “Phoenix hit 100 yesterday, 4th earliest ever. We have snowflakes in the air with accumulation in the forecast. Mother Nature is a cruel mistress and dirty B. It’s April 11 for crying out loud.” While nothing surprises us about northern Michigan weather, it still is beyond aggravating to have snowstorms in the forecast in mid-April. Because of how low my backyard is, even after the snow is melted I have a week or more — depending on if we get rain — before it is dry enough for me to start working in the yard. That means likely May before I can start to get my yard in shape for the year.

∫ The other day I was listening to the 70s station on SiriusXM when Olivia Newton-John’s song “Please Mr. Please” came on. Forget the song and sound for a second, the lyrics are really outdated. “In the corner of the bar there stands a jukebox/With the best of country music, old and new/You can hear your five selections for a quarter/And somebody else’s songs when yours are through.” Jukeboxes aren’t as popular and you don’t find them as much as you would years ago, and forget about getting five selections for a quarter.

∫ Speaking of less popular, every once in a while someone in the newsroom will ask if there are any pay phones left in town. With seemingly everyone having a cell phone these days the need and demand for pay phones is minimal. However, you can find a few in town … not many, but a few.

∫ I’m sure many of you who are baseball fans have had conversations about Major League Baseball’s schedule this year. First it schedules all the games to start earlier in the year, then it puts a great number of opening day games in the worst possible cities for weather, like Detroit and Minneapolis. With two teams in Florida, two in Texas, five in California, Atlanta, Phoenix, a dome in Toronto and a retractable roofs in Seattle and Milwaukee, that’s nearly half of the league so why not try to eliminate the weather factor a bit and have at least the first week of games in better weather. To have fewer than 1,000 fans attend a game like in Chicago because of the cold doesn’t do anybody any good.

∫ I have been known to drive around town, from time to time, and just kind of take in what Alpena offers in terms of business offerings and take a measure of what we could either use or what people might like to see for new business. And for the people who say it’s all the same or not very much, I have news for you — the types of businesses in town is quite diverse and there are plenty of original businesses out there. Yes, perhaps we could use “more” of certain kinds of businesses and not all of our needs are meet. But what you forget is that Alpena County’s population is less than 30,000, we aren’t going to have every major retailer in the country. Our demographics just don’t support it. And it’s not like Montmorency, Presque Isle and Alcona counties are flush with people either. All four counties are seeing their populations slowly decrease. All major retailers have formulas that help them invest in business expansion and I’ll bet my paycheck that none of them have “dwindling population” as a key component for wanting to expand to an area. That’s why it’s good to have the kind of unique shops and restaurants that you find throughout Northeast Michigan. And, frankly, it would be nice to see even more of them.

∫ I’m glad to see that Alcona Community Schools is bringing back band to a full-time status and bringing back choir as well. Not every kid is an athlete and the arts really help round a students learning experience. Given the choice between algebra and band, of course, algebra comes first. But when you can give them both it should be a no-brainer.

∫ And as a final note, it’s great to see that Alpena Public Schools is going to be extending its STEM program into Thunder Bay Junior High. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our area schools are great at trying to provide kids the best education possible, and this is just continuing that drum beat. Education is the silver bullet; it’s what is the key to success.

Steve Murch can be reached via email at smurch@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5686. Follow Steve on Twitter @sm_alpenanews.