Aug. 24th, 2007

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As we were wandering around Mackinaw City on Tuesday evening, we spotted the lights of a freighter in the distance. It turns out it was the Indiana Harbor, en route from Duluth to Muskegon.

A few hours later, the 1,000-foot ship managed to run aground in Muskegon's harbor. On its own, this isn't a huge deal. The lake levels are way down, and the harbor hasn't been dredged lately. The Indiana Harbor managed to free itself by swinging its unloading boom back and forth and didn't sustain any significant damage.

The reason this is amusing is that, well, the Indiana Harbor has some history.

In 1996, the ship sustained major damage when it misjudged a turn near the Soo Locks and hit the side of a channel. That wasn't too bad - it was a foggy, icy night - but it shouldn't have happened. The captain turned off the radar while a crew member was repairing a light, and missed the turn in the fog.

That's also not why the Indiana Harbor is famous.

On September 9, 1993, on a calm, clear night with no navigational issues, the Indiana Harbor, one of the biggest ships on the Great Lakes, ran into a 69-foot-tall lighthouse.

Let me say that again. A Great Lakes freighter that is longer than the Renaissance Center ran into a lighthouse in perfect weather.

The mate and the navigator who were on duty had their licenses suspended. The mate forgot to make a turn when they entered the area, but the investigators still felt that someone should have noticed that they were about to hit a lighthouse.

The ship sustained nearly $2 million in damages, and the lighthouse needed $100,000 in repairs.
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The "Summary of Facts" in Michael Vick's dogfighting case was filed today. Keep in mind that, as part of his plea deal, Vick has signed an acknowledgment that these facts are "true and accurate, and that had the matter proceeded to trial, the United States could prove these facts beyond a reasonable doubt."

Despite this, Virginia Tech officials have said that they intend to keep Vick's name on a portion of the athletic center and will leave the banner honoring him in the football stadium.

Given recent events at Virginia Tech, it would seem more appropriate to honor someone that saved lives - say, Liviu Librescu and/or Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, two of the professors that died saving students from Seung-Hui Cho.

A summary of the summary:

For six years - 2001 through 2007 - Vick and three other men ran "Bad Newz Kennels" (BNK) as a dogfighting "business enterprise" in Smithfield, Virginia. Part of the enterprise involved illegal gambling, although did not profit from the betting. He did put up the money for the purses and bets.

In June 2001, Vick paid $34,000 for a piece of property that was turned into the "main staging area" for BNK. Over the next six years, he spent an unknown amount of money to build privacy fences; sheds for fights, storage and housing of injured dogs; kennels and a house for the BNK organizers to stay in. There are six fights that are listed as specific events in 2003-2004, and more were held between 2004-2007 at the Smitfield property.

Starting in 2002, Vick knew that his partners were killing dogs that did not perform well in tests, although he did not originally take part in the killings himself. He did take part in the killing of 6-8 dogs in April of this year, using "various methods, including drowning and hanging".

When BNK was busted on April 25, they had 54 pit bulls "some of which had scars and injuries appearing to be related to dog fighting", as well as various pieces of equipment used for breeding and training fighting dogs.

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