Before Dr. Alan Steinman moved to Michigan, where he would eventually become director of the Annis Water Resources Institute for Grand Valley State University, he worked in the Everglades. While the Everglades and the Great Lakes are two different worlds, balancing the budget is a battle regardless of geographical location.

Part of Steinman’s job in Florida was deciding where funds were allocated. Now, two decades later, Steinman is facing this challenge again as a newly appointed member of the Great Lakes Advisory Board.

About the writer: Hope O'Dell is the new eco-journalism intern for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, based in Grand Rapids.

(12) comments


When I won the trip, Metzenbaum was the Senator (I mixed up the time of the fire, which was the hook in my entry. If he underbid your Dad he probably cheated because Metzenbaum had a reputation regarding the truth.

The weather girl in question also did the weather for a local TV station as I recall - I did know she was hot. Unlike your choice of outfit, I never owned a lime green leisure suit but only wrote that in my entry. In D.C., when the tourists could freely roam the U.S. Capitol, it was a joke that someone wearing a lime green leisure suit with white belt and a camera was referred to as 'sporting a Full Cleveland."

But you're right - back in the day we were slayers.


Not too put too fine a point on it, I want to clear up any misconceptions about the silver lame' pantsuit. One summer in between college, I worked at a department store. The general manager came to me and basically told me I was to wear this pantsuit and hand out cigars at some special event at the local country club that he belonged to. Basically because I was the only tall person who could fit into it, and because I was too dumb to say no. I did get paid so there's that. I never owned it, it was not my choice, and I got back into my jeans and t-shirt as quickly as I could! Interesting how you play fast and loose about dates, times, women, and politics, although having said that, I've never heard of 'sporting a full Cleveland' and knowing Cleveland like the back of my hand, can not stop laughing!


Apart from the fact that funding for the Great Lakes in general, and Lake Michigan in particular has not been cut but increased in appropriations laws signed by President Trump, this article seems to be more focused on generic 'environmental issues' than the Great Lakes.

More to the point one must ask, if they are a serious person concerned about the environment in general and the Great Lakes in particular, how 'Diversity' will impact the purity, water levels, or hydro-logical health of Lake Michigan.

Will having an organizer from the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization improve the quality of Lake Michigan or is there another agenda in play here - Black Swimmers Matter?


Let's get the actual facts on how the federal budget for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, begun in 2010 under President Obama, has dwindled by about 90% under Trump.


More Trump bashing, Hope I guess your to young to remember when Lake Erie caught on fire.


You might be interested in these facts: "The Trump administration has made a habit of rolling back federal environmental protections over the past few years.

According to The New York Times, 100 environmental rules have been reversed since President Donald Trump took office. Among those rules are thirteen changes or proposed changes that directly impact the Great Lakes, other regional waterways and drinking water."


I remember when Lake Erie caught on fire. Thanks to the EPA and a strong regulatory program, the Great Lakes have achieved much cleaner water, along with all the benefits that success has brought to the bordering states. Sadly, the impeached and illegitimate president has repealed most all of those successful regulations.


Legally voted in and only impeached in a partisan vote in the Democratic controlled house. You are a noise machine. So sad.


Funny reminder. A D.C. radio station (conservative) had a contest for whoever wrote the best few sentences about why they wanted to win a trip to Cleveland. On a lark (and because their hot weather girl would accompany us), I wrote that I wanted to wear a full Cleveland (lime green leisure suit with white belt) to see where the Cuyahoga River caught fire under the reign of terror of Democrat (Leftist) Senator Howard Metzenbaum.

I 'won'. Found myself surrounded by loonies; the weather girl didn't appreciate my hotness, but I did get to see the site of the fire.


As much as you know I love your stories, there are so many inconsistencies in this one, allow me to enumerate them! 1.) Senator Howard Metzenbaum was not a senator in 1969 (the year of the Lake Erie/ Cuyahoga fires - 1968-69). He didn't attain the position of senator until 1974. It was pro-business, anti-regulation/clean water Republican Wm Saxbe who represented Ohio from 1969-1974, serving just one term until dumped for pro-clean water Metzenbaum. Side note: A little story of my own. Metzenbaum's company was the "Big Boys" who underbid my father in a severe economic blow to dad's business, although he persevered and came out okay in the end. 2. It was special for you to see the site of the fire(s).....the intense pollution that caused them was the impetus for the creation of the EPA under Nixon, his greatest achievement. 3. If this contest was promoted by a radio station, how did you know their weather girl was 'hot'??? 4. You choice of a 'lime green' leisure suit was prophetic and ultimately iconic in regards to the formation of the Green Movement. 5. Too bad we weren't neighbors - we could have slayed at 1969 Halloween parties, you in your lime green leisure suit with white belt and me in that awful silver lame' pantsuit (with silver belt and bell bottoms). 6. I think you may have 'won' in more ways than not - I hear weather girls can be quite unpredictable!


Fun Memory. A D.C. conservative radio station had a contest to win a free trip to Cleveland based on a few sentences explaining why.

On a whim and because the station had a hot radio personality who I had met and would be on the trip, I entered.

I wrote about wanting to visit where the Cuyahoga caught on fire wearing a 'full Cleveland (Lime Green Leisure Suit / White Belt) and to meet the architect of Cleveland's woes - Leftist Democrat Howard Metzenbaum.

I found myself surrounded by Loonies; the weather girl didn't recognize my hotness, but I got to see where the river caught fire.



"Fires were nothing out of the ordinary on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River in the 1960s. The city was still a manufacturing hub and the river, which empties into Lake Erie, had long been a dumping place for sewage and industrial waste.

But on June 22, 1969, a spark flared from the train tracks down to the river below, igniting industrial debris floating on the surface of the water. Flames spread across the river, in some places reaching five stories high.

And though it only took about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze, the not-so-unusual river fire helped create an environmental revolution."

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.