Headed for a more urban society
When you grow up in a town of 1,600 and live in a town of 6,000 the idea of Americans moving more and more to cities doesn't compute -- until one realizes this winter finds us in a county of a million people.
Pima County, Arizona, numbers 980,263 in the 2010 census, falling just shy of the million mark. The largest city, Tucson, clocks in at around 550,000, not counting the tens of thousands of students at the University of Arizona.
But even out in the valley south of Tucson the town of Sahuarita is 25,259 -- up from 3,242 people in 2000 -- and Green Valley is 21,391, which doesn't count the snowbirds that call somewhere else home for the census.
Within a 20-mile radius of where we are staying there are more people than you'll find in almost all of Northern Michigan.
By and large it's the cities where the growth is and there are plenty of cities in the U.S. pushing the million mark.
As you drive across country you come upon many a town that can be charitably described as down on its luck. Less charitable is they are dribbling away in a slow death that will come when the last oldsters finally die as the young people will have gone long ago -- many of them to the city.
News-Review reporter Brandon Hubbard's report on the census numbers for Michigan that cities lost population but townships and rural areas gained is a little deceiving. For a city like Petoskey that is "built out" with no new housing spots available, if there's any population gain it will come in the townships surrounding the city. Ditto for large cities like Grand Rapids which also saw growth.
It will take some time to analyze the latest figures -- like why did Harbor Springs drop in population (my guess is many of the homes are now second residences with the owners counted elsewhere) -- and what was the impetus for the growth in Boyne City, other than it's become one of the coolest cities in Northern Michigan.
Not seeing gains was Detroit and I'm guessing the other automotive cities of Southern Michigan -- Bay City, Saginaw, Flint and Pontiac. Workers there have moved on to find work elsewhere as the auto industry changes meant fewer jobs were available.
Every 10 years the census gives us a snapshot of America -- and this year's numbers are showing more mixed-race people in the country and a steadily growing Hispanic population. As all the state statistics are released it will be enlightening to look at the numbers and see how America is changing -- from the little burgs of Northern Michigan to the ever-larger cities across the country.
It will be a comprehensive look at who we are, where we live and how we live. Stay tuned.
2 leave us who were special
Northern Michigan lost two special people recently -- Don Krusell and George Menzi.
I've known Don for much of my life and he was a member of the Greatest Generation who just kept giving.
He was rightly proud of his naval service during World War II and he parlayed that into helping other veterans in Emmet County by serving as the county's veterans' affair officer. Who knows how many veterans and veterans' widows he helped over the years?
He served as commander of the Disabled American Veterans for 24 years and was also a member of the VFW. If you wanted to know what was on tap for the annual Memorial Day remembrance, for many years he was the go-to guy to get the information.
As his obituary noted he had a love of people and a wonderful sense of humor -- traits he was blessed to share with his wife, Gloria, and children, Chris, Doug, Mary, Marti, Karen, Paula and Mae.
He was one of the good ones, and I'll miss him.
George Menzi was principal at Harbor Springs High School for years and a community leader in many endeavors, but he was also part of the trio along with Bob Snideman and Paul Voorheis who made up the original The Keelhaulers.
Many a stage was graced with the presence of those three who had as much fun playing music as their fans had listening to it. Along with Sean Ryan they've been a fixture throughout Northern Michigan for bar-goers and many a wedding reception.
The music scene changed when The Keelhaulers took the stage, and it won't be the same without George and his banjo.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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