Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monroe, Michigan

A native Detroiter, I have traveled the stretch of I-75 between Detroit and Toledo more times than I can count. The trek is complicated these days by a major construction project on the highway near the Ambassador Bridge. A two-year project, nearly half way done, is improving access to the bridge and surrounding neighborhoods. People from Detroit love to tell you that their city is the one place in the continental U.S. where you go south to get to Canada. You do so via the Ambassador Bridge. Opened in 1929, its 1,850-foot center span made it the longest suspension bridge in the world. Its total length was 7,490 feet, with the U.S. and Canadian terminals almost two miles apart. The Ambassador Bridge's history page says that a girl toe danced across the bridge early in its history. If anyone has any historic news clips on this event, I'd be curious to read more about it.

The massive construction projects-- all roads in Michigan seem to be under construction right now-- compelled us to go home a different direction, giving us the opportunity to discover the Village of Waltz.

One of the major landmarks between Detroit and Monroe, Michigan is the pair of cooling towers of Fermi II nuclear plant near Monroe. It produces about 15 percent of the power for Detroit Edison and is one of the largest nuclear power plants in the state. It is also what brought presidential candidate John McCain to Monroe on the same day we visited.

Such visits tend to pass us by with little notice. We're told that a major film festival brought Madonna to Traverse City, Michigan on the same day we were there as well. But our focus is ballet...

At the River Raisin Center in Monroe, Michigan, Valery taught a three hour session consisting of technique and variation class. The students were talented and extremely fast studies.