Sault Sainte Marie, MI
What town: Sault Sainte Marie
Station: Sault Sainte Marie
Telephone Co. Name & Telephone: SBC Ameritech 800-244-4444
Electric Co. Name & Telephone: Edison Sault Electric Co. 632-2221
Gas Co Name & Telephone: Depends on whether or not you are connected to the Gas line or use propane tanks.
DTE Energy (800) 477-4747 if you live in the city limits
Cable Co. Name & Telephone: Charter Communications 635-1526
City Trash Name & Telephone: Waste Management. In town, you buy “trash tags” at Glen’s and put one on each can (DO NOT EXCEED 32 GAL CANS – they will leave your trash at the curb!!) Outside city limits, you need to contract for their services by calling 635-5971
City Water Name & Telephone: 632-5722
Sewer & Telephone: 632-5722
Hospital Name & Telephone: War Memorial Hospital 635-44260
Parks and Rec. & Telephone: 635-1900
Newspaper Name & Telephone: Sault Evening News
Chamber of Commerce & Telephone: Sault Sainte Marie 632-3301
Convention & Visitors Bureau & Telephone: Sault Sainte Marie 632-3366
Station type of work: Various – boat patrol, snowmobiles, ATV’s and the ever-present 4x4. Occasional joint work with the US Coast Guard, Michigan State Police, RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, and US Customs. Not much sitting on an X here. The area covered by this station is the entire Upper Peninsula and the northern part of lower Michigan. They travel from Traverse City, Grayling, Gaylord, all the way out to Marquette and beyond. All of the agents here are at least GS-11’s and have minimum of 5 years in the Patrol. The station itself is located in the middle of the downtown area across from the courthouse. Since this was a 3-man station for about 20 years and has in the past 18 months become a 25-man station, there is limited public knowledge as to exactly WHAT the Border Patrol does. (The common refrain from people is “I’ll see you on the bridge” (to Canada) – where the Customs guys work…)
Shopping: LIMITED – We have Wal-Mart, Kmart, and JC-Penney. It’s an hour and a half drive to Petosky or two and a half hours to Traverse City or three hours to Marquette. LOTS of shopping options in those three cities. Mostly, we just shop online (you’ll make great friends with your UPS driver… leave your front door unlocked and he’ll just put the boxes in your foyer and lock the door behind himself – I’m not kidding!). Ontario is just across the bridge and has malls there, but none of the chain stores you’d be familiar with. There’s also the issue of customs and agriculture regulations regarding what you can and can’t bring back into the country with you – not to mention the fluctuating American dollar versus the Canadian dollar.
Eateries: mostly fast food chain eateries, with locally owned “sit-down” restaurants.
Cellular Telephone: ALLTEL (Not recommended!) or Cellular One 635-1309
Local Internet Providers: Iceberg computers (www.30below.com) or Lighthouse.net
Other Services: Soo Co-Op Preschool 632-9761, St. Mary’s School 635-6141, Sault Public Schools Academic Services 635-6617, Immanuel Lutheran
School 632-2640, JKL Bahweting School 635-5055
Lake Superior State University 632-6841
Any other thing you would like to add.
We have the Sault Locks – a lift lock system for freighter traffic. More gross tonnage goes through the Sault Locks in a year’s time than goes through the Panama Canal. It’s the only way to get from Lake Superior to the St. Laurence Seaway, since Lake Superior is 21 feet higher in elevation than Lakes Huron and Michigan. The locks are adjacent to the rapids of the St. Mary’s River (which, in French is “Sault de Sainte Marie” pronounced “SOO Saint Marie”)
This is a very tourist-oriented town. The locks are a big draw and there is a large tourist area adjacent to the waterfront area. In the fall, many tourists come up for the spectacular change in leaves. Winter brings snowmobiling – especially for the I-500 snowmobile race (the oldest fastest snowmobile endurance race in the US) and did I mention hockey?? In addition, there is an Indian Casino in town and another Tribe has one in Brimley (about 30 minutes west). There is a snow tubing run at Minneapolis Woods (635-6961) complete with tow rope back up to the top of the hill.
This is a very small town and everyone knows almost everyone else. Do not be surprised if people know ABOUT you before they’ve met you. When we moved here and introduced ourselves to our new pastor, he said “Oh, YOU’RE the family who moved here from CA!” – he found out about us from the principal at the school (whose husband is a mail carrier and came up to us in the parking lot at our hotel we were staying in and said he saw our CA license plate and he wanted to introduce himself…..)
The weather is moderate in the summer (I think our highest temp this summer was about 84) but the winters can be brutal (we had a full week where it was –28 degrees at 7:00 am – and that was the air temp – wind chill was about –40). In the 2002-2003 snow season we had 126” of snow (imagine standing on your husband’s shoulders and it’s still over your head). Long underwear, parkas, snow boots and snow pants are must-haves. So, are coats for your dog – it may look cutesy elsewhere, but here it’s the difference between frostbite and a healthy pet!
The housing market is so widespread it’s amazing. You can find a 2 bedroom house (that’s been trashed by the college kids who’ve rented it for the past some-odd years) for $25,000 or you can find a house along the lake with your own private boat dock for $459,000. If you are thinking of building a home here, only do so if you think you will never move again because you will never be able to sell it for what it will cost you to build it. There are a disproportionate number of higher dollar-value homes on the market simply because of that reason. You will also pay higher taxes for less services than you previously had, or you will buy outside the city limits.
This posting is not for the faint of heart. You will be isolated. You will be frozen. You will expect to pay more for a limited selection of clothes/merchandise or drive elsewhere. Your children will go to schools that are at least 30 years old (or the new Charter School for Indian children). Do not expect to see your car clean from November until at least the end of April. You will Trick or Treat in the snow. You will hunt Easter Eggs in the snow. But, you will see some of the most spectacular scenery there is and meet a great bunch of people who make it worthwhile. Your children can go to the library, the movies, the shopping center and you can rest in the fact that there’s countless other parents who, if they see your child doing something wrong, they’ll call you and let you know before your child gets home. You can let your son walk the dog by himself and not be afraid he’ll end up on the side of a milk carton. You can go outside and play in the snow and have fun and say you’re only doing it for the kids – and you’ll have more fun than you did since you were a kid.