"So Long To a Not-So-Bad 2013"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Monday, December 30, 2013

“The luck of the Irish,” a list of superstitions believed by the Irish and others. Unlucky number 13 representing the past year was not so bad. Good luck prevailed for most market investors with reports of an overall 27 percent gain for the year.

As the year began, unlucky 13 presented for boaters and marina operators. An Associated Press article published last February stated, “Two Great Lakes: Michigan and Huron hit the lowest levels ever dating back to 1918 according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” Ramps in many areas hardly reached the water and depths in harbors and rivers prevented even mid-sized boats from navigating them. A widespread hue and cry went out for help with the dire conditions. Our area legislators got busy pushing for immediate, emergency action for our ports.

Economic effects were quickly felt as cottage and summer homeowners were slow arriving up north. They were aware swimming, fishing or jet skiing from shore would be difficult. They stayed put in their homes downstate and spent the spring painting and landscaping. Unlucky 13 was surely causing an impact. As warm summer days set in, vacationers began arriving and water levels started a slow rise. Dredging efforts and adjustments to ramps allowed smaller vessels to access the waterways. Campgrounds and cottage rentals increased and the summer season got underway.

Meanwhile, in Washington our Legislature managed to keep unlucky 13 alive by shutting down federal funding, which immediately closed many tourist destinations and federal parks. Intense pressure from the public was evidenced in constant poll results. They reflected dismay and disappointment with Senate and House behavior. The electorate really showed its power by speaking out. Eventually, there was a separation of newcomers’ ideas and those of long-term representatives, and the foolishness ceased.

While the struggle to gain access to national destinations continued, Huron County received the benefit of new visitors who had never traveled to the Thumb. Those who owned boats saw evidence of work being done at harbors for access and they booked reservations for 2014.

The year 2013, which draws to a close in a couple of days, had some positive events. As mentioned, the market made headway and surprised all the experts, water levels went up dramatically, home sales increased and the job market made slight headway. Harsh weather conditions being experienced statewide may have an upside by contributing to an increase of water levels.

While I submit my column and prepare to welcome 2014, as I see it, it should be a great year! The fear of another government shutdown has passed, and the speaker has spoken saying, “Are you kidding me,” and a few other choice words.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed, avoid black cats and ladders (there may be something to that Irish lore).

I wish one and all a very happy New Year!

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