SOUTHEND: New film sheds light on shadowy zone

Director Pat Noye's synopsis: The crew of surfers, who have discovered and created all of the existing surf culture that most young Chicagoans only daydream about, have a story that's been brought to light in Southend: The Place Where I Go Surfing. When Mary Anne Turnipseed was growing up in northern Indiana she somehow got it into her head to marry a surfer, so she moved to California and met Mike Turnipseed, who grew up surfing in San Diego, and convinced him to move to Indiana. They settled in Hammond, IN - a prosperous town at the height of the American Steel Industry, and Mike took a job as a machinist. One day Mike went to the beach and to find nicely groomed waves wrapping into a little bay in Whiting, a neighboring beach town, perfect for his longboard. So he called back to San Diego to have his board sent to Hammond. A decade later, while at work, Terry Richardson, a young Machinist from Lowell, IN, heard Mike talking about surfing and grew very curious. 19 years of dedicated surfing later, Terry, schoolteacher Pete Lambert, cement worker Bryan McDonald, and artist Jack Flynn, have discovered other spots and other surfers, (including Jim Hoop and Bill Lemmons) who have collectively founded the Southend Surf Club.

Watch it here:

Surfrider Chicago has been actively involved in looking at water conditions at several surf spots in the NW Indiana industrial corridor, identifying who the corporations are that regularly discharge into the Lake, the levels of those discharges, and the legalities involved as it pertains to regulations handed down by the EPA and the State of Indiana. This film ties in with all of those issues, as surfers are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine by virtue of their year round exposure. "What's in the water?" we ask. This film does not answer that, but certainly chronicles the characters who make the Lake's southend their surfing home, despite whatever perceived risks. Their stoke is real. As for Pat's film, we'll let you know the next time there's a public showing in the area. He's been making the film festival circuit with it lately.

More than 21,000 call on AG Schuette to shut down Line 5

As state’s official comment period for Line 5 Alternatives Analysis closes, public demands immediate shutdown of oil pipelines in Straits

Oil & Water Don’t Mix announced it expects to submit more than 21,000 comments by a Friday deadline demanding Attorney General Bill Schuette shut down Line 5.

“The Alternatives Analysis downplays the massive risk and catastrophic impact of a Line 5 oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac, and Attorney General Schuette must act now to protect our Great Lakes,” said David Holtz, chair, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and campaign coordinator for Oil & Water Don’t Mix. “The overwhelming response delivered by more than 21,000 people who care about protecting the Great Lakes sends a clear message: Line 5 must be shut down immediately.”

Comment in support of decommissioning Line 5 included 10,356 signed postcards collected by Clean Water Action and other groups as well as 10,000 online comments collected by groups including Clean Water ActionFor Love of Water (FLOW),Food & Water WatchMichigan Environmental CouncilNorthern Michigan Environmental Action Council and Sierra Club. In addition, businesses supporting the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign called on their customers to submit comment, including Cherry RepublicHopCat and Patagonia. More than 250 businesses support the Oil & Water Don’t Mix campaign.

Last month, the State of Michigan held public feedback sessions across the state, where hundreds of Michigan residents attended to call for a Line 5 shutdown.  Five of Gov. Snyder’s appointees to the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board signed a letter in July voicing concerns that the Alternatives Analysis was solely designed to support Enbridge’s interests.

“Responsibility for Line 5 falls on our elected leaders, and they must take full responsibility for the health of our Great Lakes by shutting down Line 5,” said Sean McBrearty of Clean Water Action. “Our Great Lakes are too precious to risk a catastrophic oil spill any longer, and the thousands of comments submitted by Michiganders should serve as a wake-up call to Bill Schuette.”

“The Alternatives Analysis was a missed opportunity to reveal to the public the dangers and risks of Line 5,” said Liz Kirkwood, director of FLOW. “The state should not waste any more time on this flawed alternatives study. Instead, it should conduct a thorough, independent analysis of the condition of Line 5 and immediately shut down the flow of oil through the pipelines in the meantime.”

- from OWDM press release; 8/3/2017

Surfrider Chicago Initiates Impromptu Cut River Clean Up

The Cut River is a gem of a little Northern Michigan "tropical" river (at least in the summer), shallow and sand bottomed, crystalline waters (draining the Aruba-esque Higgins L. into Marl L., and then on toward Houghton L.) It is generally 20 yards wide, and varies from 1-6 feet deep, with a nice little current to push you along (or push against you). The 1st section from Higgins-to-Marl is less than a mile long ... twisty-winding through impenetrable wet lands of thick forest, scrub, brush, ferns. It's just a little bit of WILD for ya. All manner of birds-fish-turtles-serpents-beasts can be viewed along the water way, if one is discreet.

Surfrider Chicago, spearheaded by Chair Mitch McNeil, and his local guide/operative Pat Kelley, made a two-man sweep of the 1st section in kayaks, making a concerted effort to remove every bit of plastic they could. Nothing was easy, as large sheets of plastic were often wrapped around submerged tree branches. Fishing line. A GOP campaign poster. Bird seed bags. A large air conditioner covering. Cans. Bottles. Wrappers. Etc al ad infinitum. That's what was harvested. Thanks to staying on task, the guys made that stretch of the river wild and pristine - - at least for a while.

For a nifty video trip down the first section of the Cut, check this out.


With Great Lakes come great responsibilities. While this may be a paraphrasing of Peter Parker and his alter ego, the amazing Spider-Man, Earth Day 2017 saw the Surfrider Chicago chapter double-down on our environmental efforts to amazing results. 

Joining more than 400 cities around the world. along with approximately 40,000 dialed-in Chicagoans, we joyfully Marched for Science from Buckingham Fountain to the Museum Campus. Simultaneously, we also held a clean-up @ Montrose Beach (attended by 200, picking up 300 lbs of trash) in conjunction with the Sierra Club. (This was our first partnering with SC, and likely not our last.)

Following the March for Science, we partook in an expo where we collected a very healthy number of signatures petitioning on behalf of our campaign to shutdown the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline. With the recent governmental budgets cuts and threats of further environmental de-regulations in favor of fossil fuels, the March for Science was a much needed shot in the arm for concerned citizenry. A sincere thank you to all involved. The local resistance has a spine.