By DOUGLAS FARMERTribune Staff Writer
NEW BUFFALO — The country's first Highway Travel Information Center celebrated its 75th birthday Thursday. And the event marked more than one special occasion. Maureen Lubke didn't anticipate a farewell party on her last day with customer service at what is today called the New Buffalo Welcome Center.
Although the day marked a historical occasion, Lubke would tell anyone who listened the celebration was for her, and she almost kept a straight face. "That's what I've been telling people," the New Buffalo resident said. "They threw me such a wonderful party. Nobody has ever done that." Lubke has worked at the center for three summers. The center first opened on May 4, 1935, on U.S. 12, only a few minutes from its current location. It moved into its more modern facilities on April 6, 1972, to be adjacent to Interstate 94 after its completion. Nearly 40 years later, the facilities still receive compliments. "Everybody who comes through tells us how nice the grounds are," Lubke said. "I think the maintenance crew deserves credit for that." On Thursday, more than the facilities attracted people, as a ceremony unveiled a new state historic marker commemorating the center as the first of its kind. Door prize drawings, a "Taste of Michigan" table, a third-grade choir and the presence of Miss Michigan 2009, Nicole Blaszczyk, highlighted the celebration. Lubke said the compliments and people passing through have always been her favorite part of the job, and the full parking lot exemplified her point."It's a fun job. You meet a lot of people," she said. "I'll miss that. "Some of those people travel through the center on a routine basis. One Chicago resident, who didn't identify himself, said he has been making the trip through the area every couple of months for 18 years, and happened to come across the anniversary celebration. "We usually stop here because it's about the halfway point. You can stop here and use the bathrooms, get a drink of water and stretch your legs," he said. "When I drove in, I told my wife, 'Something must be going on here. I can't imagine why there are so many people.'" Whether there were so many people because of the center's anniversary or Lubke's last day, the celebration marked a distinct point in both histories. "This has been the biggest thing to happen while I've been here," Lubke said.Staff writer Douglas Farmer: email@example.com South Bend Tribune
POSTED BY JAMES JAHNKE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The Detroit Tigers tonight will host their 40th annual Polish American night, complete with Polish dance and music.
This year’s event is dedicated to Polish President Lech Kaczynski, First Lady Maria Kaczynska and others who died in a plane crash April 10.
Local polka bands will entertain fans as they enter the stadium -- Big Daddy Orchestra at 5 p.m. outside Gate C, the Natural Tones at 5:30 p.m. inside Gate B, and the Kielbasa Kings at 5:30 p.m. at the Big Cat Court.
Paws will join traditional Polish dancers on the field at 6:35 p.m. Meteorologist Chuck Gaidica of WDIV-TV (Channel 4) will emcee the festivities.
Nicole Blaszczyk, the reigning Miss Michigan of the Miss American Pageant, and Jerry Lubiarz, Polish American Night representative, will throw the ceremonial first pitches.
Robert Szczublewski will perform the U.S. and Polish national anthems.
The traditional postgame Friday night fireworks will be accompanied by polka music.Detroit Free Press
By OSKAR GARCIA
The Associated Press
Monday, May 24, 2010; 1:00 AM
LAS VEGAS -- Miss America is getting back to network television in time for her 90th birthday.
The beauty pageant has signed a three-year deal with ABC, with plans to air next year's competition live on Jan. 15, pageant officials said.
"It's a wonderful deal," Sam Haskell, chairman of the Miss America Organization, told The Associated Press. "It's much better than any deal that we've had in the last five years."
Haskell declined to discuss specifics of the agreement.
Miss America has not aired on network television since 2004, when ABC dropped the pageant after record-low ratings. Since then, it has aired on cable, twice on CMT and three times on TLC.
This year's pageant - won by Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron - topped cable television excluding movies with 4.5 million viewers the night it aired. That was about 1 million more viewers for the pageant than in 2009.
But Miss America found itself without a TV deal in March after cable network TLC declined to pick up a three-year option, opting instead to seek a two-year deal for less money.
Haskell said the latest ABC deal brings the pageant full circle from 2004.
"We were given a chance to re-brand, to keep what was traditional but make ourselves more today, and I think we've done that," he said. "We're now back with a lot of strength and back to show everyone that Miss America is the American tradition. I t's a pop icon."
No final deal has been made yet on the location of the pageant, said Haskell and Art McMaster, chief executive of the Miss America Organization. The national competition was held this year at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
McMaster said plans for next year's pageant include an attempt to bring together as many former Miss America winners together as possible in celebration of the pageant's history. About 60 are still alive.
The pageant was founded in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1921 as a bathing beauty revue.
Haskell said Miss America 2011 would also reflect renewed efforts to distance the competition from Miss USA, the rival, headline-grabbing pageant owned in a joint venture by Donald Trump and NBC.
"No little girl walks around saying, 'I want to be Miss USA when I grow up.' She says, 'I want to be Miss America,'" Haskell said.
Reported by: Glenda Lewis
Novi, Mich. (WXYZ) - They're the pair behind the dress that wowed judges during the Miss USA pageant and the dress is made in Novi.
Larry Kralowski and Bill Ray's creation appeared on the body of Miss Michigan beauty Rima Fakih during the Miss USA pageant.
The pair worked together to create the dress, telling Action News they spent hours using toothpicks to glue sparkles onto the dress.
Larry says, "When I see a dress I will rip it apart, I'll pull the lining out, just to create something that nobody else has." It seems his ideas work, Dearborn native, Rima Fakih was crowed Miss USA.
Congratulations to the new Miss USA, Rima Fakih, who was a contestant in the 2005 Miss Wayne County Pageant.
View photos from the 2005 pageant here.
By SUSAN FIELD
Clare Managing Editor
In an effort to promote tourism, Travel Michigan is bringing 2009 Miss Michigan Nicole Blaszczyk to Clare County.
Blaszczyk, 23, will be at the Mackie Rest Area, a Michigan welcome center, on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
While at the rest area, Blaszczyk, a resident of Novi, is traveling to five of the state’s 14 welcome centers as part of the “2010 Pure Michigan Welcome Center Tour,” to greet visitors, talk about tourist destinations, answer questions and provide photograph opportunities for visitors, according to Travel Michigan, the state’s official tourism office.
On Saturday, representatives from the Clare Area Chamber of Commerce, Mt. Pleasant Summer Fest and the Farwell Area Chamber of Commerce will be on hand to promote local tourism opportunities.