Questions, Anyone?

Burned-out Christmas lights

Q. Reader Stasia Hubert has heard that burned-out strings of Christmas lights can be recycled. She asks, “Is this true?”

A. “Yes,” says Tom Pelkey, director of the NEMCOG Alpena Resource Recovery Facility that offers recycling services to a three-county area. Pelkey said the copper wiring in the strings of lights can be recycled. They can be put in recycling bins or taken to the recycling center on M32 West, a few miles west of Alpena on the south side of the road. The facility places recycling bins in the counties of Montmorency, Oscoda and Alpena.

Cranberry Creek

Q. “What is the history behind Cranberry Creek south of Alpena?” was a question brought up at a recent book club discussion.

A. No information about Cranberry Creek has been located, but Bob Lyngos in Special Collections at the Alpena County Library found a copy of a radio broadcast about the commercial cranberry bogs in that area. The broadcast was May 26, 1954, by Ann Taber, Alpena teacher and historian. Also, Lyngos encourages readers to check the library’s Facebook page to see a stock certificate from the Lakeside Cranberry Company dated 1903.

In Taber’s radio script, she stated, “Wild cranberry picking was a common thing for early Alpena citizens.” She described the ideal growing conditions in the Devil’s Lake area that caused local businessmen to form cranberry companies (“a long enough season … boggy or mucky soil with plenty of sand in it, and water in an inexhaustible quantity”).

An early company in the Devil’s Lake area was the Alpena Cranberry Co., followed by the larger Lakeside Cranberry Company. Taber stated, “They incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000 and selected 600 acres of land for the development of their cranberry bog. Mr. C.H. Reynolds was the president of the new company, Mr. E.L. Little the secretary. Others in Lakeside were William Krebs, W.H. Sanborn, J.H. Cobb, and M.B Spratt. The tract of land that the company bought had a frontage of one mile on Thunder Bay and was 30 minutes by launch from Alpena. … The southern corner touched the right-of-way of the D & M railway, seven and a half miles from Alpena, and three and a half miles from the Ossineke station. So the company figured they really had the transportation problem all sewed up.”

Articles about the cranberry producers appeared in the Alpena Argus and in the Detroit Free Press. Reports mentioned “twenty to twenty-five men were employed in one season” and “500 bushels per acre…an uncommon yield”. Taber’s closing comment was that the newspaper “predicts that one day Alpena will become the Cranberry Capital of America.”

Please send questions and comments to or to “Questions, Anyone? The Alpena News, 130 Park Place, Alpena, MI 49707.