MSU massacre 911 calls offer emotional view of tragedy's first moments

Last Celebrate Michigan photo finalists chosen; now cast your vote!

The Detroit News

The alarm rang on a February Sunday morning, and Thomas Bos of White Lake wasted no time.  He hopped into his truck and within 40 minutes was in an ice cave at Grand Island National Recreation Area, waiting for sunrise.

"Better Than Coffee," by Thomas Bos of White Lake, taken at sunrise at an ice cave at Grand Island National Recreation Area.

“I didn't stop for coffee because I didn’t wanna miss a second of splendor that I'd been contemplating capturing for years now,” he said. 

“The silence was loud that morning with the cracking and popping of the ice, water dribbling down the stalactites, a few birds chirping, a light wind periodically whistling, and the crunch of the ice under my feet as I set up my camera.

As he shot all morning, including this selfie, “My mother was heavy on my mind,” he said. “I knew how much she would have loved to experience what I was so fortunate to be witnessing.” 

Bos’s “Better Than Coffee” becomes one of the last four finalists in The Detroit News’ Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest under the Four-Season Fun theme. 

This week’s other finalists are:

  • “Do This With Me, Mom!” by Kota Irie of Novi.  The Irie family went to Mill Race Historical Village in Northville last October to take family photos.  After finding a nice location, “I asked my younger son Shun to hold a pose as he likes,” Irie said. “He made a pose that he came up with intuitively and requested my wife Rina to do the same pose as him. My wife copied not only his pose but also the expression.”
  • “Lake Superior Summer,” by Kristin Larsen of Sault Sainte Marie. On her family’s annual vacation in the Keweenaw Peninsula, she photographed her son William surrounded by rippling blue water and sky.  “This was a quiet moment, for both the lake and the boy, that occurred between agate hunting by day and Yooperlite hunting by night.“
  • “The Old Barn & Milky Way,” by Dale Niesen of South Rockwood. Niesen took this starry shot in the early morning hours at Port Oneida in Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore. “There was a lot of airglow that night, but no auroras.” 

Time to cast your vote!

The online ballot box is now open for you to pick the People’s Choice Award winner from the 16 Four-Season Fun finalists.  Cast your vote by 11:59 p.m. Sunday at

Next Wednesday, Aug. 28, two winners will be announced: the Four-Season Fun winner selected by the Detroit News photo staff and the People’s Choice Award. Both will receive $300 prizes.

In addition, the photo staff will announce three $100 Awards of Excellence selected from all of the finalists this summer.

Come back next week for the wrap-up, and browse the photo gallery of all winners and finalists, plus related stories, at