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Questions, Anyone?

October 19, 2012
Vernie Nethercut , The Alpena News

K-9 training at CRTC base

Q. A reader says, "A few weeks ago I saw all these police cars around, with licenses from many different parts of the country. What were they doing in Alpena?"

A. Patricia Luna, executive assistant, at the Alpena CRTC explains, "The National Association of Professional Canine Handlers completed annual training at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in October. There were 248 canine handlers with their dogs from the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. The training is hosted at the base for five days and the dogs and handlers stay on the installation during the training. The dogs are trained for explosives, narcotics, cadavers, arson, patrol, utility and tracking."

Dams on Thunder Bay River

Q. Readers Lynne and Jim Stewart, after driving past one of the dams on the river, ask, "What is the function and purpose of the Thunder Bay River dams?"

A. Dams on the Thunder Bay River provide electric power, recreational opportunities, and control of water levels, especially in times of spring floods and heavy rains.

Thunder Bay Power Company owns and operates four hydroelectric dams and two water storage dams in the Thunder Bay River Basin. The hydroelectric dams are Ninth Street, Four Mile, 7 Mile (Norway), and Hillman. The two water storage dams are Hubbard Lake and Upper South which forms Fletcher Pond.

According to its website, TBPC is a hydroelectric company formed in 1990 and located in Alpena. Before that, Alpena Power Company owned those dams.

The first dams were built during the lumbering era to transport logs and control the swiftness of the river, according to a DNR website. The earliest dam was built in 1830, but the first official dam was built in 1858 by George N. Fletcher. During the major floods of 1922 and 1923, when the Chisholm Street and Ninth Street Bridges were destroyed, it was realized that a dam was needed upstream to control water levels. The 7 Mile (Norway) Dam was built in 1924 and the Upper South in 1935.

German Oktoberfest

Q. Where does the tradition of Oktoberfest come from?

A. The radio show "The Writer's Almanac" states, "The great beer-drinking tradition of Oktoberfest goes back to ...1810. The Crown Prince of Bavaia, Ludwig, was getting married to Princess Therese of Saxony. The royal couple wanted to invite the whole town of Munich to celebrate at their wedding festivities, which included a horse race on the fields in front of the city gate, and lots and lots of beer. All the Bavarians had such a good time that the decision was made to have a similar party the next year, and then again and again and again, and it became a tradition. These days, Oktoberfest starts in late September and goes for about two weeks. Approximately 6 million people show up."

Please send comments and questions to or to "Questions, Anyone" The Alpena News, 130 Park Place, Alpena, MI 49707.



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