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Friday evening – I’m back in G.R. temporarily. Tomorrow (Sat.), I’ll be at the Lowe’s in Portage (5108 Westnedge – just north of I-94 on the west side of the street) for Fire Safety Day. It lasts from 10 am to 2 pm and I’ll be there from shortly after 10 am until around 1 pm. We’ll have (while they last – which is often until the end) free smoke detectors, free 9-Volt batteries – I’ll bring Bill’s mustaches, weather and fire safety bookmarks, Storm Team 8 pencils – you can meet Jake the Fire Safety Dog (he’ll show you how to escape from a smoky room). There will be a kid’s Halloween Costume Contest (with prizes) at 11 am. We’ll have fire trucks, an ambulance – last year there was a veterinarian and last year we had some Halloween candy for the kids – don’t know if they are doing that this year. We’ll be broadcasting live on the radio. If you’re in the area – stop by and say “hi”.
Have something you’d like to share with Bill’s Blog? Send an email by clicking here. Remember you can send your weather (news or other) photos and video to us through ReportIt or in an email to email@example.com.
A quick update to show that Hudson Bay is now frozen over. According to one website I checked with (assuming it’s right), this is about two weeks ahead of schedule. The Great Lakes are at 1.8% ice cover. Outside of Lake Superior and a diminishing part of Lake Nipigon, it’s solid snow and ice as you go north of West Michigan over the North Pole, through Siberia and into China. That’s going to set us up for a cold pattern starting around or shortly before Christmas and probably lasting thru much of January and into February. Two years with similar patterns were 2002-03 and 1977-78 (a year of a few BIG snowstorms in the Eastern U.S., including the famous Lower Michigan Blizzard of Jan. 26, 1978 (which was followed by the coldest February and 5th coldest March we have ever had in G.R. That’s not to say we’re going to get a big blizzard like that this year. The main storm track may set up east of here…but there’s going to be a lot of time for you to use the skis and snowboard this winter. The graph on the right snows total global sea ice, which took a dramatic jump upward about two years ago and is now above average. Bright and sunny this morning in Tennessee. You don’t gain much heat by going south. As I write this (11 am), it’s 30 deg. in G.R. and 36 in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s 46 now at Ormand Beach, Florida. We’re headed out to the Oak Ridge Science Center this morning, then Books a Million, dinner out tonight and then a Holiday Concert this evening. I’ll be back in G.R. Sunday PM and back on TV on Monday.
Also: Alaska sunrise…Did you know that you could be a lifeguard in Newport Beach, CA and get a total compensation package of $211,451? A little windy this AM in California and W. Nevada. Gusts over 100 mph in the Sierra Mtns. 70,000 without power in SFO area, Geminid Meteor Shower – next several nights.
WOODTV.com has provided news, weather and information to you through mobile apps since 2009. Over the years, we’ve released several upgrades to our mobile apps to help support new devices and their new features.
As part of a continuous drive to provide our viewers with the most innovative news coverage across all devices, we’ve significantly upgraded our apps in the last few days to take advantage of exciting new features of mobile devices.
This also means we’re asking you to install a new app on your iPad, iPhone or Android device. To install the new WOODTV.com app, you can click through to get the iOS version or the Android version. You’ll also want to delete this current app to prevent confusion and to continue to receive the same level of coverage you’ve counted on from WOODTV.com.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the school closings? These will appear when closings are in effect. When that happens a big red alert symbol will appear at the top of ever page. You can tap the alert symbol to see the closings. Additionally, you can find the alerts by going to the Weather section in the Menu.
Where are the weather alerts? Just like school closings, the weather alerts appear when in effect. The big red alert symbol will appear at the top of every page when this happens.
Where is the back button? In the upper-right corner of every story page is a grey triangle that can be tapped to go back. In future releases, a back button will be added to the bottom of the page.
Why is the Menu button so small? It appears to be smaller than it is. You can tap the WOOD logo to activate the menu.
Why are we changing?
The app you are currently using is being discontinued in favor of a new app from WOODTV.com. To continue receiving all the news, information, weather alerts, closings and more delivered right to your device, we are requiring users of our older apps to install a new one. This means users of our tablet, smartphone and mobile apps will now receive the same features simultaneously with each new release.
Why can’t I continue to use the current app?
WOODTV.com strives to provide the latest technologies and take advantage of the latest features of cell phones, smartphones, tablets and eReaders—all in a single app that works across all devices. Unfortunately, the app you are using is incompatible with this goal. It is being disabled and will no longer receive new updates and news from WOODTV.
What do I need to do?
You’ll need to install our new app on your device. To install the new WOODTV.com app, you can click through to get the iOS version or the Android version. You’ll also want to make sure you delete this current app from your phone or tablet to prevent confusion so that you can continue to receive the same level of coverage you’ve counted on from WOODTV.com.
What’s new about this app?
We’ve listened to our viewers, and added the features that prepare you for your day—by providing up to the minute weather alerts, closings, and news alerts—all in the palm of your hand. Some features and improvements include:
— Easier to use: We’ve improved every aspect of the new app—from the navigation to the display of stories. Larger images and headlines, one-click video, succinct and easier navigation and easier-to-find related stories.
— An improved weather experience: Our new and improved interactive radar provides FutureCast, animated radars, tons of additional overlays (including snow totals, rain totals and temperature forecasts); an improved forecast page and nearly instant severe weather alerts to keep you and your family safe.
— A more robust app: We’ve introduced lots of new features, such as live streaming, breaking news alerts and an improved weather experience. Not only have we introduced new features, we’ve upgraded our app to allow us to add new features without having to upgrade your app.
— ReportIt! integration: Now you can submit photos, videos and news tips directly through the app. Now, when you snap a photo of a weather or news event, it’s even easier to send in your news directly to our staff.
Continuing to build upon its suite of digital offerings, WOOD TV has announced its new and enhanced iPad app that combines its award-winning local news, weather, sports and video in a user-friendly experience that is customized and optimized for the iPad.
The app is free of charge. You can easily download the new app by going to iTunes on your computer in the App store on your iPad and searching for “woodtv”. Our new app is called WOOD TV8 for iPad. You can also click here to open a page with a direct link.
Highlights of WOOD TV8 Version 2.0 iPad app include:
• Immediate access to stories and blogs published in real-time from WOOD TV8’s digital content centers. Comments on blogs are fully functional.
• Breaking news alerts to help you stay informed even when the app is closed
• Enhanced video presentation in one easy-to-navigate, comprehensive catalog
• Interactive weather maps and forecasts designed for consistency on all media platforms
• New “Report It” functionality that leverages iPad’s built-in features, allowing you to easily send and share news, photos and videos
“We are pleased to continue our tradition of bringing innovative products to market and making it more convenient for users to access our superior local content on the most popular electronic devices,” said Diane Kniowski, General Manager, WOOD TV, WOTV, WXSP TV. “Our new iPad app was thoughtfully designed to deliver a best-in-class user experience and be the preferred local news app in West Michigan.”
In October 2010, WOOD TV8 launched its first generation iPad app into the emerging tablet space. Since the launch of the iPad 2, WOOD TV8 has been perfecting its technology to take advantage of the tablet’s increased processing power, photo and video enhancements and new graphics engine.
Due to extreme website traffic earlier today, we needed to re-direct traffic from Bill’s Blog to an instance of CoverItLive.
We’re investigating ways to boost the capacity for the blog, but until then, we may need to fall back on CoverItLive to handle all the traffic.
Thanks for your patience and participation.
ArtPrize….can it be the Nobel of the cultural and scientific? the Pulitzer and the Peabody of journalism? the Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy of entertainment?
I asked that question of the first grand winner of ArtPrtize, Ran Ortner, a New York artist. I talked to him by phone the first day ArtPrize 2010 began last week and again tonight. He said, “Time” and subsequent winning art pieces will determine the “value and importance” of the prize. Ortner’s “Open Water No. 24” won the world’s largest art prize last year. He told me, “Artprize will be judged over time. Is it sustainable? Does it make wise and significant decisions?” Ortner went on to predict, “ArtPrize will touch upon really great art. It has the potential to be astonishingly successful. It doesn’t have to knock it out of the park every year to be successful. Look at the Yankees.”
I asked Ortner, if ArtPrize doesn’t choose well in the future will that hurt him personally and professionally? He responded, “My work will stand squarely on it own merits.”
ArtPrize, since its inception in Grand Rapids a year ago, has been criticized, scrutinized, debated as to whether it really knows and can judge good art. The art world elite have little confidence in the vote of a public that is deemed unsophisticated and uneducated in the study of art. But Ran Ortner who has spent thirty years as a struggling artist says, “ArtPrize was never intended or framed to be other than a vote of the people.” He says, “The fear of the artworld elite is that an ArtPrize populist vote can be likened to a culinary contest where children pick ice cream and cake.” He added, “Children aren’t voting. I essentially do not agree with that fear. I do agree it’s the fear of many in the art world.”
The inaugural ArtPrize winner then made a bold statement about public opinion: “I actually have a tremendous amount of faith in group think. Our government is founded on it, our ideal of who we are and our capacity to be, is all based on collective wisdom. It doesn’t mean collectivity is always right. But who of us would think the voice of the people would not be insightful, impactful, and decisive? We’ve based our most dear values as a collective. It’s called democracy.”
Ortner contends there are no guarantees granted by any judge. “People can vote by knee jerk reaction, pandering,” he claims. “But elitist can have a bias based on their education, their agenda, their perspective that can also be a knee jerk reaction.”
So what does an artist want from ArtPrize besides the exposure and the thousands of dollars in the winning purse? Ran Ortner describes it like this: “We’re hoping people vote beyond their eyes, with their heart–to see with the fullness of who they are. Every voter has a responsibility to be true to self, not cavalier. Slow down, consider, think deeply, be open to register the art within your internal wisdom. ”
“Great art, ” Ortner feels, “lives in our memory. Memory is the test of great art. When you step away from a work, if it’s not remembered, it if doesn’t register, if it doesn’t live in you and continue to inform you, it’s not great art.”
So what did ArtPrize do for Ran Ortner? “It changed my life dramatically. It offered an unconventional means for me to find traction. Winning the top prize through a vote of the people was a touching and humbling experience. It’s been like night and day, it’s like stepping through a door. I was reaching for recognition and acceptance of the artworld elite. I moved to New York to be where the elite critics and scholars and galleries are and I still aspire to attain the highest level of honors and awards from them like an Olympic athlete. ArtPrize freed me up to put more energy into my work instead of spending time cobbling my finances together. I’ve gone from barely making it to having an abundance, a generous flow of revenue. I’m invited to exhibit in shows, commissioned to create art…I’m selling my art at three times what I charged before ArtPrize.
Would he enter ArtPrize again? “I don’t forsee a circumstance where it makes sense. The dream has happened. The highest ideal of what ArtPrize can do is provide an amazing opportunity. It launched me. And I love the notion that it can do that for other artists. Perhaps, in ten years, for an anniversary show, ArtPrize will invite winners back to exhibit a collection of new work.”
Ran Ortner confided, “I’m making my way. I’m growing. I’m seeking success. The artworld works slowly. One’s reputation is at stake. With ArtPrize, there is no waiting for someone to be deemed great. ArtPrize circumvents that. ArtPrize and I hang in the same balance.” They’re both continuing to be judged by the people and the art world.
Willard Schroeder created and developed live t.v. programming in West Michigan in the ’50, ’60s and ’70s, innovated local t.v. news and set the standard for it, and guided the station through decades of technological wonders. He shepherded local t.v.’s transition from black and white to color; from felt weather boards to radar; handwritten cue cards to teleprompter; film to videotape to microwave. He lived to see it go way beyond all of that to doppler radar and computers, satellite, digital, HDTV, and live streaming on the web. And he saw it go from one to three to hundreds of channels.
Of the early days, Schroeder said, “Nobody knew anything about television. You give it a shot and go with what you had.” The hardest part, he said, was coming up with programming 18-hours a day, 7-days a week. “Early on, we decided to go live. We had some challenges as to what kind of programming. Anything goes,” he remembered.Much of his programming proved to be a big success. West Michigan audiences growing up in the 50’s and 60’s will remember Miss Jean and Romper Room, the Singing Cowboy Ray Overholt, Buck Barry and the Buckaroos, Captain Woody and his sidekick Sydney, Carol Duvall who could make anything out of everything, and the Buck Matthews Show.
Willard Schroeder was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1913 and graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1934. He was a newsman at heart and an advertising man by skill and training. He started in the newspaper business eventually selling ad space. He made the move to radio sales and management, and then on to television. In 1951, he became General Manager of WOOD-TV. He knew, “If television as an invention could be perfected to the degree that it was convenient not only in your home but in the car, on an airplane, it had to be the number one communication device.” He spent the prime of his life, 27-years at the helm of WOOD-TV ensuring just that. After television, he returned to radio, purchasing several stations including WOOD Radio in Grand Rapids. He eventually sold them.
Schroeder was a respected leader in a burgeoning industry. He was chairman and president of broadcasting’s most influential national and state boards and associations. He also was a mover and shaker in the Grand Rapids community serving on hospital, college, and charitable boards.
As President and General Manager of WOOD-TV, Schroeder believed women could work in a man’s world and hold their own, and he proved it. He was the first in this area to promote a woman to the most visible position in the community: prime time television news anchor. I didn’t know at the time when Mr. Schroeder gave me the coveted job as anchor of WOOD-TV’s 6pm and 11pm newscasts that he was such a strong supporter of women. His wife, Barbara, was an intelligent, spirited, impressive woman who in her early days worked as a radio producer. One of their daughters, Christine Woodward Duncan, became a broadcaster as well following in her father’s footsteps managing stations.
I interviewed my former boss, Willard Schroeder, just over a year ago. He was in declining health and I told him I wanted to talk with him for posterity, to preserve on videotape his recollections of those revolutionary days in television. He told me he piloted his plane until the age of 89 and rode his bike until 90. He was donating his home in East Grand Rapids to the city. Upon his death, his house is to be razed and the expansive property used as a park.
Mr. Schroeder, as I always called him even when he told me to call him Bill, confided in me, “I miss WOOD-TV. I never had so much fun in my life.” It was so much fun working for him. He was respectful of his employees and supportive, generous to us, and he threw great company parties always including our spouses and our children.
Willard Schroeder was handsome, physically fit, had a quick wit and comfortable way about him. Every Monday, for the past many years, he would have lunch with a group of his peers, people like entrepreneurs Fred Meijer and Peter Cook. They call themselves The Improvement Association.
As I was combing through WOOD-TV memorabilia files on Mr. Schroeder, I came across a speech he wrote nearly 50-years ago. It described his management style: “Make it clear to the fellow working for you that you expect him to make quite a few mistakes as well as right moves. When he makes an honest mistake, back him up fully. When he does something right, give him credit for it. Some people describe this philosophy categorically as offering loyalty to your employees. I think that’s right; I also think it’s the only way you can expect to get, in turn, the loyalty from them you want and need.”
What an amazing man. What an incredible boss. All the years Willard Schroeder ran WOOD-TV, the station was number one in the ratings, hugely successful in revenues, prestigious in the community, and revered by so many of us who worked here. It’s no wonder. Willard Schroeder wasn’t afraid to chart a new course, to experiment and take chances, to be bold with content and technology. He was a pioneer in so many ways– just what the industry needed then and what it still needs now.
Have you ever felt you were placed somewhere in time for a specific purpose at a specific moment?
My husband Rick and I were on a late lunch winter walk today in the sunny 30+degree weather. It was glorious. We turned a corner and headed down a street and within moments of doing so, a young child was sledding down the hill on his front lawn and heading right for the road. At the exact same time, a car was heading right toward him.
My husband screamed at the child to stop. The little boy was still in motion. Rick yelled again then again, “Stop, Stop” and the youngster finally rolled out of his sled and held onto it before it could hit the street. At that very instant, the oncoming driver hit the brakes.
We were all stopped in time…my husband and me, the sledder and the driver…all frozen for a moment.
I instructed the child to never again sled beyond the sidewalk. He was smiling, picked up his sled and headed back up the hill. His mom appeared at the front door. “Thank you” she shouted out to us across the street.
We looked at the driver of the vehicle. She was starting to move again and I waved and nodded to her as she passed. How relieved I was that she, too, had stopped when Rick yelled not knowing if she heard him with the windows up, the engine running, and the heater on.
After we were all in motion again, going our separate ways, I started to shudder with a cold chill. It wasn’t from the snow that surrounded me, it was from that moment in time when all of our lives converged in one spot and could have been changed forever.
As of this morning, we now have SMS Text Alerts available on woodtv.com. Included are weather alerts, school closings, forecasts and more. Here is the link to sign up: http://www.woodtv.com/subindex/about_us/text_alerts
This change affects all the people who previously signed up to have cell phone text messages sent for Weather Warn or School Closings. In these cases, the cell phone numbers and accounts have been moved to the new SMS Text Alerts system. These people should continue to get the same alerts as before. The difference is that they will need to make changes through the SMS Text Alerts page.
Some of the features people have been asking us to provide are now online.
Real Estate – Courtesy of a partnership with industry-leading Trulia, you can find homes for sale in Grand Rapids and all of West Michigan. In fact, you can even search for homes across the whole U.S. There are some neat ways to sort your search for foreclosures and specific neighborhoods.
This section can always be found in our main navigation by going to Marketplace > Real Estate.
Obituaries – Courtesy of Tributes, our obits focus on all of West Michigan yet cover the entire U.S. It includes opportunities for you to post tributes to your own loved ones.
This section can always be found in our main navigation by going to News > Obituaries.
Week in Photos – Check out some of the interesting photos of the week in the constantly updated feature. You’ll see photos from national, international and sports stories.
This section can be found in our main navigation by going to News > Week in Photos.
Face of 4 – Voting ends soon, so check out the great videos of our Face of 4 contestants on wotv.com.
An area of scattered showers and t-storms continues from the southern suburbs of Chicago to near South Bend to Coldwater. With the front hardly moving, cells are going to “train” along that area (along US 12) and a few locally heavy rainfall totals are likely. Radar estimates 2″ just south of Berrien Co. in Indiana. We had a gust to 48 mph in Ann Arbor and a tree was down in Goshen, IN. If you’re north a line from Benton Harbor to Lansing…nothing is going to happen. South of that line there will be some scattered showers/t-showers tonight. Most of our area could use some rain. We missed the severe weather again Monday evening. A wind gust of 54 mph (wake low?) occurred at Waukegan, north of Chicago shortly before midnight our time. A tormado hit Mt. Sterling, Wisconsin (picture included at the link!). They had 7 counties under tornado warnings around 7:30 PM Monday evening. There were more than a dozen reports of hail/wind damage with these storms (measured gust to 73 mph at Viola, WI). Here’s GRR NWS radar, Great Lakes radar, SPC Meso-Discussions, Current Tornado & Severe T-Storm Watches, Storm Total Rainfall, latest surface observations, lightning data, GRR NWS discussion, Visible Satellite loop (daytime), Infrared Satellite Loop (night), Here’s Milwaukee NWS radar. Official rainfall for July: 0.07″ Battle Creek Airport, 0.28″ Kalamazoo Airport, 0.86 Muskegon Airport. The GRR airport has had 2.35″.
<–2nd picture (one of many) from Steve Geerlings at the Yacht Basin Marina taken around 11:15 AM. 1st picture off of Port Sheldon taken by Margi Smith and Sharon Barkwell. At least one waterspout was reported – we had pictures/emails from both Holland and W. Olive. It’s unstable…we’re getting showers – upper level disturbance helping out with the cold pool aloft. It’s not hard to get small hail in a situation like this. Leave a comment and let us know what’s happened in your area. Here’s more on Great Lakes waterspouts. Here’s a live picture of the lake off Holland showing the Holland Channel looking southwest from Spyglass Condos. Here’s pictures of a large waterspout off Holland on 9/29/06. Here’s a live picture of the Grand Haven Channel and a live picture of the beach at Grand Haven. Here’s GRR looping radar, Northern Indiana radar, Lightning Loop, and the U.S. surface map. Here’s the current visible satellite loop (day), infrared satellite loop (night) and current Michigan surface observations. Side note: At least 26 people have been killed as heavy monsoon rains (6″ just on Saturday) hit Karachi, Pakistan.
<–This is current radar. Sunday Night – skies are clearing. I sat outside after sunset sipping some limeaid while I chatted with my mother on the phone. You could still see some “build-ups” where a few sprinkles were occurring up near Big Rapids. The warming trend starts Monday with temps. recovering to near normal. GRR is now more than 5 deg. cooler than average for July. Upper 40s ‘Saturday AM in Lansing, Ionia, Belding, Hart, White Cloud, Big Rapids, Baldwin and Clarksville…44 in Bloomingdale, 38 at Leota – the normally cold spot north of Mt. Pleasant Here’s the current visible satellite loop (day), infrared satellite loop (night) and current Michigan surface observations. GRR had a high temperature of 67° on Friday making Friday the coolest July 17 ever (crushing the previous record low maximum temperature of 71° set in 1937). This is traditionally the hottest week of the summer, and the weather map for the Great Lakes looks like mid-late September. Churchill up on the still frozen Hudson Bay has been nearly 6° cooler than average in the past week. Average high temperatures there are in the low 60s. The high on 7/10 at Churchill was only 39° and the high on the 15th was 42°. Here’s GRR looping radar, Northern Indiana radar, Lightning Loop, and the U.S. surface map. At 10 PM Sat. Night the eastern Lake Superior buoy shows an air temp. of 44.2°- and a water temp. of 39.6°. Those are cold numbers for mid-July. Side note: Check out the smashed cars after torrential rains/mudslide near Busan, Korea. Friday it was hot around the W-S-SE perimeter of the U.S. It was 89° in Seattle, 95° in Portland, 126° at Death Valley, CA, Palm Springs made 118°…Phoenix had a high of 114° and a low of 93°. Laredo, TX reached 108° (it’s been a hot summer in south Texas) and 101° in Brighton, FL. Fairbanks, Alaska was 77°, ten degrees warmer than Grand Rapids. Barrow, AK had a relatively mild 50°, and that was only 4° cooler than Grand Marais, MI.
Saturday midday – We needed the rain! It was quite variable. GRR had 1.35″ and Battle Creek had 0.01″. Holland got 0.43″, Muskegon 0.22”, Ionia had a little over an inch, Kalamazoo only 0.11″. Now we get mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies for Sat. afternoon thru Tuesday. We’ve had two straight days with a south wind and STILL couldn’t get the high temperature above average (81 on Friday – average is 82). The overall pattern (the theme of the summer) is for a little cooler than average and drier (notwithstanding June 19) than average weather. Officially in G.R. up until this morning, we’ve had only a trace of rain since 7/1 and only 0.15″ in the last 11 days. Here’s GRR NWS radar, Great Lakes radar, latest surface observations, lightning data, GRR NWS discussion, Visible Satellite loop (daytime), Infrared Satellite Loop (night), Lake Michigan webcam at Holland. Enjoy the weekend and the week ahead.