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Archive | August, 2009

Beauty basics to help you embrace autumn

HEA-Beauty-basics_rgb(ARA) – Fall is a time of transition. Not only do you need to prepare your skin for the cold months ahead, but it’s time to transform your look from light and airy to soft and classic.

Focus on a few beauty basics – skin, make-up, fashion and fragrance – and you’ll have all you need for a fantastic fall.

Great skin is always in

As the weather gets cooler and drier, your skin needs extra moisture to keep it supple. Keep warm weather memories alive with a scent reminiscent of summer and try Coconut Milk Body Lotion from The Body Shop. Treat yourself to the finest ingredients – ethically sourced community trade virgin coconut oil from Samoa – and get soft, smooth and deliciously scented skin.

Pucker up

Autumn lips are washed in soft color. International make-up artist Chase Aston says this fall is all about the perfect pout and recommends Colourglide Lip Color from The Body Shop.

Aston shares his tips for luscious and gorgeous lips:

  • Use a lip liner for added definition and to help prevent feathering.
  • Enhance the natural color of your lips by gently gliding on lip color. For added pout power, use a lipstick/concealer brush.
  • Look for a shade that complements your skin tone. With 37 shades, you can easily find Colourglide Lip Color that works for you.

Ultra-modern eyes

This fall, dramatic smoldering eyes are what’s fabulous. To achieve fall’s hottest eye looks, Aston gives these sizzling tips:

  • Smudge together forest green, shimmering grey and lilac to create a chic, modern, smoky eye.
  • To create an intense, sultry eye look, look for a palette that features a warm trio of rich brown, golden copper and shimmering sand hues.
  • Try a metallic eye definer. Alone, it can be used to line and define or use it to complement your favorite eye shadow. “Choose shades that contrast your eyes to make them pop,” says Aston. “Apply color to the eyelid or along the lash-line as an accent for impact.”

Bundle up

Classic, “back to basics” clothing was all the rage on the fall runways. This season’s must-have piece is the crisp white jacket that works with everything from jeans to a little black dress. The key accessory to sport is perfectly fitting with the chill in the air – gloves. Half gloves, fingerless gloves and long gloves are gracing the arms of starlets walking the red carpet and go with everything from rugged parkas to dainty and ladylike skirts. If you’ve got a special occasion to dress for, or if you’re just plain feeling glam, the gold dress, inspired by the rich tones of autumn, is the choice for your holiday parties.

For more information on fall beauty basics, visit TheBodyShop-USA.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Health Department gearing up for flu season

Grand Rapids, MI – In preparation for the upcoming flu season, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is making plans to educate and vaccinate Kent County residents this fall. The novel H1N1 flu that garnered much attention last spring is expected to circulate with seasonal influenza viruses during the 2009-2010 flu season.

“There has been much speculation that this fall and winter could bring more severe illness related to the flu,” said Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “By planning now, we hope to increase awareness of the flu this fall through education and vaccination, and mitigate the effects of seasonal and novel influenza A H1N1 in our community.”

H1N1 emerged as a new type of flu last spring and in June, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that a global pandemic was underway. The virus continues to spread. Infections have been comparable in severity to those of seasonal flu but because influenza viruses can mutate, it could become more severe.

Symptoms of both types of flu include fever, chills, cough, runny nose, headache, body aches, and fatigue.

KCHD will work with schools to educate students and staff on flu prevention; run ads to heighten awareness of the flu; work with partners like 2-1-1 to make sure information on seasonal and H1N1 flu is available; and prepare to make H1N1 vaccine accessible to everyone in Kent County. This vaccine will be separate from seasonal flu vaccine.

Everyone can take measures to avoid becoming sick this year. The number one way to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot each year. Other protective measures include:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medicine. Stay away from others to avoid making them sick.

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Taste the local difference: New potatoes

By Jeannine Taylor, Community Outreach Coordinator, Grand Traverse County Health Department

One potato. Two potato. Three potato. New potato? What in the world is a new potato?

SUM-new-potatoesNo, they’re not a strange new breed of alien-like vegetables with spirally nodules protruding from their fluorescent green skin. They are actually any variety of young, immature potato that is harvested not long after the plant flowers, usually in the spring or summer.

So what’s the fuss all about? New potatoes have very thin skin that can sometimes be rubbed off with your fingers. They are high in moisture content and have a particularly creamy texture. Often cooked whole with the skin left on, they are well suited for boiling, steaming and roasting.

The downside is that they have a very short shelf life and should be used within a few days of harvesting. They typically cannot be stored, so you won’t find “true” new potatoes on your grocery store shelf. Baby red skinned potatoes are often confused for new potatoes, but in actuality, they have to go through a hardening process in order to be stored properly and to survive the long journey to grocery stores.

Regardless, these sweet and tasty morsels are so tender and delicately flavored they’ll melt in your mouth.

Selecting and storing

  • Select firm potatoes, free from soft spots or sprouting. Some bruising is common with young vegetables; however, large squashy patches and discoloration could signal disease or rot.
  • Avoid any potatoes with a greenish tint to them. New potatoes are prone to sunburn due to their thin skin, which looks like a green patch. Discard them or cut away the green patch entirely before cooking.
  • Discard any new potatoes with large sprouts protruding from their eyes.
  • New potatoes should come fresh from the garden and never be placed in storage. They have two to three-day shelf life and should be eaten within that time.
  • Do not refrigerate.

Fun Facts

  • The potato is more universally grown than any other food crop.
  • At one time, the Scots refused to eat potatoes because they weren’t mentioned in the Bible.
  • The Incas used the potato to treat injuries. They also thought it made childbirth easier.
  • Potatoes were often eaten aboard ships to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C.
  • Eighteenth-century agronomist Antoine-August Parmentier used reverse psychology to convince the French to accept the potato as a safe food. He posted guards around potato fields during the day to prevent people from stealing them but left those same fields unguarded at night. Every night, thieves would sneak into the fields and leave with sacks of potatoes.

Nutritional Information:

  • Potatoes are one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods.
  • They are low in fat and calories, have zero cholesterol, and are rich in carbohydrates.
  • Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, potatoes are loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamins B1 and B6, fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and they’re a great source of folic acid.
  • A serving of boiled new potatoes in their skins has more iron than a serving of steamed spinach.


New potato salad in red onion dressing

  • 2 lbs. small new potatoes
  • salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3⁄4 cup mayonnaise, homemade or high-quality
  • 3⁄4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup sweet red onion, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup dill, minced
  • Dill for garnish


Wash new potatoes under running cold water, scrubbing well enough to remove all traces of soil. Cook by boiling them until fork-tender, then cool and dry the potatoes.  Transfer them to a  bowl and cut into halves, quarters, or slices if desired.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cool slightly before dressing.

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, onion and dill and blend well.  Pour over the warm potatoes and toss gently to mix thoroughly.  Garnish with herb springs and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Serves 6

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Storm leaves thousands without power

By Judy Reed

Post photos by J. Reed

Post photos by J. Reed

Sheets of rain blew sideways, trees were toppled, fires started and quarter-size hail pelted northern Kent County Sunday, August 10, as a storm with “straight-line” winds blew through the area between 6:45 and 7:15 p.m. When it was all over, thousands were without power, and debris littered yards and roadways.

N-Storm-front-MapleStorm damage could be seen all across the area. On 16 Mile Road, just west of Northland Drive, a huge tree was pulled up out of the ground by the roots. On White Creek near Indian Lakes, there was a report of two trees down causing at least two accidents, and several large trees down on 17 Mile as well.

Someone reported on WZZM13.com that he and his wife were just turning west on to 17 Mile from Algoma when they had to pull over. “(We) couldn’t see anything but the hood of our cars so we stopped on the shoulder of the road. When the worst of it hit, we had hail the size of marbles, very heavy rain, and winds so strong that my full size 3/4 ton truck was not only rocking but the front end was starting to lift up. When it passed all we saw were trees and power lines down on 17 mile,” he said.

According to the National Weather Service, the worst damage in Kent County occurred in Kent City and Sparta, with winds up to 70 mph. Winds of 60-65 mph were reported in the Cedar Springs area.

The city of Cedar Springs also had its share of downed trees and power lines. The intersection of Maple and Park Street was closed for a couple of days after a large Maple tree blew over, along with top of a big Pine tree. “It busted two power poles that had to be replaced,” said Department of Public Works superintendent Jerry Hall.

The Cedar Springs DPW will be chipping brush this week in response to Sunday’s storm.  Please stack all brush with the cut end facing the street (up to 6″ in diameter).  No vines, stumps or roots will be chipped.

Post photos by J. Reed

Post photos by J. Reed

Some motorists noticed a problem with water pooling on the newly redone portion of S. Main Street during the storm. According to Hall, it was because there are still silt bags in the storm drains. “They have to stay there until grass along side the road grows. They catch the sand and dirt that gets washed down there and that causes it to drain slow,” he explained. Hall said that the tidal waves of water blown up alongside the road by cars washed a lot of seed and dirt down, and now they will have to reseed there.

Consumers Energy and Charter Communications crews were out in force following Sunday night’s storm. Consumers Energy reported that 48,000 of its customers were without power at one point, with 16,000 of them in Kent County. Most customers were back up and running by late Tuesday evening.

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Fire destroys downtown scrapbooking business

By Judy Reed

Another Cedar Springs business has succumbed to fire.

A fire destroyed Cinderella Slipper Scrapbooking in downtown Cedar Springs last week. Post photo by J. Reed.

A fire destroyed Cinderella Slipper Scrapbooking in downtown Cedar Springs last week. Post photo by J. Reed.

Firefighters were called to the scene of a structure fire at 25 S. Main Street in Cedar Springs, just after 11:30 p.m. Thursday evening, August 6. The building, owned by Tom Cronkright, houses three apartments on the top level, and Cinderella Slipper Scrapbooking on the first floor. According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Jerry Gross, the fire was contained primarily within the business, which was a total loss. He said the fire started on the north side of the business, about halfway back. “Reaching it was a little difficult because of the heavy smoke and heat,” he noted.

The building, however, was saved.

Sand Lake Fire Department and Algoma Fire Departments assisted at the scene, while Solon and Courtland Fire Departments were put on standby. The fire was under control by 11:20, and fire departments cleared the scene just after 2 a.m.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and is still under investigation.

Chico, a pit bull belonging to Angel Perez (pictured) and Heather Cross, tried to let his family know something was wrong when the building they lived in caught fire last week. Photo by J. Reed.

Chico, a pit bull belonging to Angel Perez (pictured) and Heather Cross, tried to let his family know something was wrong when the building they lived in caught fire last week. Photo by J. Reed.

There was only one family at home in the apartments at the time, and they escaped without injury, in part due to the family dog. According to Heather Cross, she and her three children were sleeping when Chico, their two-year-old pit bull, began to bark. “It was a weird bark, like he was scared,” recalled Heather. “I got up and looked around but didn’t see anything, so I told him to be quiet and went back to bed.”

A little bit later her 7-year-old son got up and told his mom he smelled smoke. “There was smoke from one wall to the other,” she said.

About that same time, her boyfriend, Angel Perez, came home. Heather said she yelled, “Fire!” and the two then got the three children, Seth, 7, Julian 1, and Brianna, 2 months, to safety. Perez said he didn’t see the fire because he came up the back stairs. But he was proud of Chico for trying to tell Heather about the fire. “Pit bulls often have a bad name, but he’s a good dog,” he said. The family is currently staying with relatives in Grand Rapids. They had no renters insurance.

While their apartment had mainly smoke damage, they said they won’t be going back. “I’m traumatized, and I know the kids are traumatized,” said Heather. If anyone would like to offer assistance to the family, call the Cedar Springs Post at 696-3655.

This is the second fire in downtown Cedar Springs in less than six months. In March, three businesses and several apartments were destroyed in a structure fire at 59 S. Main that started in an upstairs apartment. That building was also owned by Tom Cronkright and later demolished.

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Fan ignites fire in Spencer home

By Judy Reed

This Spencer Township home caught fire while the family was away Sunday. Post photo by C. Bigney.

This Spencer Township home caught fire while the family was away Sunday. Post photo by C. Bigney.

A Spencer Township family went canoeing for the day Sunday, only to return and find tragedy at home.

According to Spencer Township Fire Chief Allen Wright, they responded to a house fire at 11801 19 Mile Road about 10:45 a.m. Sunday, August 9. When they arrived, no one was at home, but the upper portion of the modular home was in flames.

Post photo by C. Bigney.

Post photo by C. Bigney.

Six fire departments fought the blaze or provided support on the scene, including Spencer, Cedar Springs, Trufant, Sand Lake, Oakfield, and Algoma. Wright said it took about 15 minutes to knock the fire down, and they spent another half hour dousing hot spots. The upper portion was destroyed by the fire, and the basement level suffered water damage.

There were no injuries to firefighters, however, a family cat perished in the fire.

Wright said the fire started in the living room next to a chair. He explained that an electric fan in the window was left running and may have fallen out of the window and started the fire.

The family is reportedly staying with relatives in the area.

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Hitchin’ a ride

N-FrogThe Reed family is used to finding frogs and toads in weird places. They once found one in their bathroom sink early in the morning (thanks to the yells of a teenager), and once even found one in the bottom of their washer after washing a load of clothes (yes it survived the spin cycle). The latest instance also left them scratching their head, when they found this tree frog hiding near the hinge of the door inside their vehicle. It traveled from home to work, before they discovered it, and there’s no way to know how long it had been there, or why or how it maneuvered into that position. “It must have wanted a ride to a greener tree,” they said.

This is not the first time an animal has made themselves at home in or around their vehicle. Earlier this summer we printed a photo of a baby groundhog underneath their vehicle, snuggled up against a tire.

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Legion family raising funds for recovering heroes

The American Legion family is calling on all Americans to help purchase comfort items for troops recovering in U. S. military hospitals and warrior transition units around the world, through its Operation Comfort Warriors campaign.

“The government does a good job of providing the essentials,” said American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein. “Through Operation Comfort Warriors, we have been able to provide items that usually don’t appear in the budget, such as personal sweat suits, I-Pods, DVDs, phone calling cards and other comfort items. The American Legion is challenging its members, friends and all people to give to those who have already given so much. These gifts provide welcome distractions to the tediousness that often accompanies prolonged hospital stays.”

The American Legion family has already raised nearly $165,000 for Operation Comfort Warriors since its inception in December. Donors can make online contributions by visiting www.legion.org/ocw, or by sending a check to Operation Comfort Warriors, PO Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Administrative and promotional costs are paid by the American Legion, allowing 100 percent of the donations to be spent directly on the troops.

The American Legion was founded in 1919, and has a current membership of 2.6 million wartime veterans. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.

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Videos Of Michigan Supreme Court go online

New service is collaboration between Supreme Court and State Bar of Michigan

LANSING, MI—Video of Michigan Supreme Court oral arguments, administrative conferences and administrative hearings will be going online, thanks to a collaboration between the Court and the State Bar of Michigan.

Video will be recorded at the Hall of Justice then posted on the State Bar’s “Virtual Court” web page at http://www.michbar.org/courts/virtualcourt.cfm within 24 to 48 hours after the hearing or conference. Viewers can watch selected video and view related agendas or press releases at the same time.

The first videos, including a welcome message from Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly, have been posted. Also available for viewing is video coverage of the Court’s July 15 administrative conference, prefaced by an introduction from the chief justice.

Kelly said the new service is part of the Court’s commitment to openness and transparency. “While our hearings and administrative conferences are in public, not everyone can make the trip to Lansing to attend,” she said. “In a digital age, the public increasingly expects not only physical access, but also virtual access, to government. With this expansion of the Court’s online presence, viewers will need only an Internet connection to watch the Court at work.”

State Bar President Edward H. Pappas said the online video “will be a valuable tool for attorneys, particularly those who practice before the appellate courts. It’s enormously helpful to see others arguing their cases, for example, when you are preparing to go before the Supreme Court yourself.

“But more than that, we believe this new service will give the public an additional window into the workings of the Supreme Court, not only as to the cases the Court decides, but also as to the role it plays in administration of state courts,” Pappas added. “We’ll continue to develop it and add improvements based on the feedback we get from viewers.”

Kelly noted that Michigan Government Television will continue to broadcast Supreme Court proceedings, as MGTV has done since 1996. “We will still have television coverage, in many cases live coverage, of the Court, thanks to our valued partner MGTV,” she said. “Online video is simply another way of making the Court more accessible.”

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Searching for Pirates Treasure

Outdoor book launch bash scheduled for August 22

N-Book-author-Litz-coverupdWhen three cousins find a secret trunk in their great-grandmother’s attic, they get more than they bargained for. While pretending to play pirates, they soon discover it’s no longer a game—it’s real—and they have to find the buried treasure!

“The Traveler’s Trunk: Pirate’s Treasure,” is the first book by Cedar Springs author Amanda Litz, and the first book in The Traveler’s Trunk series. It is a fantasy adventure story full of action that is fun for both boys and girls (2nd – 4th grade reading level).

Litz, who recently returned to Michigan after 12 years, said she got the idea to write the book from her kids. “I was always telling stories for my kids at bedtime, and they said I should write them down. Once I became a new stay-at-home mom, I decided to write the book, and get it published,” she explained. She also has the second book in the series in rough draft form, and expects to publish “The giant problem” next August.

Litz is holding an outdoor book launch bash for “Pirate’s Treasure” next week, August 22, from 1-3 p.m at her home at 15071 Hanna Avenue in Cedar Springs. It will be a fun-filled afternoon of reading, refreshments, contests and live music by Ars Nova.

Author Amanda Litz

Author Amanda Litz

Residents will have an opportunity to meet the author and purchase a copy of the book, and children can also enter writing, drawing, and costume contests to win a free copy. There will also be a free giveaway with prizes, including an autographed copy of “Pirate’s Treasure,” a copy of the Traveler’s Trunk Coloring and Activity book, and a special “Pirate’s Treasure” kid’s t-shirt. The book can also be ordered at www.travelerstrunkpublishing.com.

Litz lives in Cedar Springs with her husband and three children.

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