Blog: John Bebow

John Bebow is executive director of the Center for Michigan. Before that he spent 16 years working as an investigative reporter for The Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, and Detroit News and helped found and serve as editor-in-chief of John will be writing about how we can better provide for Michigan's future. 

Post No. 2

ENVISION MICHIGAN: Share your best vision of our state’s future and you might go to college, vacation, or shop on us!

Note to the know-it-alls on the coasts and anyone else in the United States who might be willing to give Michigan up for dead...

The Great Lakes State has long been, and will long remain, one of the biggest and most populous states in the union. Yeah, we have some very public problems, but we’re nearly 10 million strong and the vast majority of us aren’t 20-somethings packing our bags for the bars of Chicago, Boston, or Austin or 60-somethings with moving vans bound for Florida or Arizona.

Many of us who plan to keep the lights on are passionate about this place. Consider, for example, these three views from Michigan citizens who recently entered the ongoing Envision Michigan Story Competition on the Center for Michigan’s web site:

  • "Every summer my wife, daughter, son and I pack some lunches, a cooler of punch and venture off to Michigan's west coast. The rules are simple… 3 state parks, IN the water at each one, lunch at the second stop, dinner in Saugatuck and watch the sunset before venturing back home… We've all seen beaches; we've all seen sunsets; we've all seen water. But after you've seen these gems in the State of Michigan, and see them reflected in your children's eyes, you'll never see them the same again." John & Jennifer McCune, Potterville.
  • "This autumn my husband and I took our twenty-month old daughter to an apple farm and cider mill. We ate fresh donuts and drank apple cider and she had her first pony ride… Next week we will carve pumpkins and rake together the red and golden leaves in our yard, so she can jump into them over and over until they spread all over the yard again. This is our future. It is not west of here or south of here- it is here and there is a peaceful comfort of belonging that surrounds that thought for me. My father died here, and my mother and all my siblings live within an hour's drive from me-none of us straying far from our small hometown. We spend Thanksgiving together every year, and we give thanks for our homes and our families."    Roxann Keating, Ann Arbor
  • "Michigan inspires wonder with its mixture of woodland and prairie, lakes and streams, cities and villages. Our hope is that we can join together in common pursuit of prosperity while preserving our natural resources. Those resources should be considered an integral part of economic planning, not only for the tourist industry, but also as part of what attracts employers and workers to our State. If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you!" – Bill & Nancy Woods, Kalamazoo

What’s your best vision of Michigan’s future? What do you love about this place? What do you want to see changed? Take a few minutes to share your thoughts and your Michigan life could be enriched considerably. The Center for Michigan, in partnership with Michigan’s universities, top resorts, and Meijer stores, are giving away $30,000 in college scholarships, vacations, and weekly shopping sprees to those Michigan residents – from high schoolers to retirees – who offer the most passionate, stirring, and detailed visions of our state’s future. We’re accepting entries right now at

So, what’s your story? Just by entering, you help change the dialogue in our state.

C’mon back to the blog tomorrow for Michigan trivia – fun and provocative facts and figures about our state.

Thanks for reading