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Archive | May, 2010

Michigan Blood kicks off summer sweepstakes

Give and Get Away this summer by donating blood.

Summertime is when blood donors are needed most, so that’s why Michigan Blood is giving donors one more reason to give blood. Michigan Blood’s Pure Michigan Summer sweepstakes invites donors to “Give and Get Away” to one of Michigan’s premier destinations. Anyone who tries to give blood May 24 through Sept. 12 can enter monthly and weekly prize drawings. Grand Prizes include weekend trip to Detroit for a Detroit Tigers game, getaways to the Grand Hotel and to Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, and tickets for the Michigan/Michigan State football game on October 9 in Ann Arbor. Weekly prizes include a variety of destinations, activities, and gift cards. See a complete list of prizes at www.miblood.org.

Blood drives near you:

June 15, Cedar Springs Area Donor Site at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main Street in Cedar Springs, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

June 16, Greenville Area Donor Site at American Legion Post #101, 1320 West Washington Street in Greenville, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

FACTS—BLOOD DONATION

* Allow 45-60 minutes total (giving a pint of blood takes just 7-10 minutes; however, additional time is needed for pre-donation screening and post-donation snack/rest time).
* Michigan Blood must collect 300 pints of blood every day to meet the needs of hospitals across the state.
* Every 3 seconds, someone needs blood.
* On average, 1 out of every 7 people entering the hospital will need blood.

Posted in Arts & EntertainmentComments Off

Summer reading club returns to Kent District Library

The Kent District Library invites children and teens to sign up for the Summer Reading Club and spend some time reading this summer! This year’s Summer Reading Club runs from Monday, June 14 to Saturday, August 7. This summer, the library will encourage kids to “Make a Splash” and teens to “Make Waves” with lots of free programs. Enjoy arts and crafts, music, movies, theatre, carnivals and more.

When they sign up for the Summer Reading Club, children in grades five and under, both readers and pre-readers, can set and accomplish their own reading goals to win prizes and enter a drawing for a brand new bicycle! Teens in grades six through twelve can participate for the chance to win great prizes, like a gift certificate to the mall.

This summer will be full of fun for all ages. Programs will include carnivals, pet shows, magic shows, puppet shows, jewelry making, lawn games, book discussions and so much more!

Sign up for the Summer Reading Club starting June 14 at any of KDL’s 18 branch locations, including the Sand Lake/Nelson Township and Spencer Township Libraries.

For more information, call 784-2007 or visit us online at www.kdl.org.

Posted in Arts & EntertainmentComments Off

Pearce Points

By Rep. Tom Pearce

What if…?

The advent of the federal highway system in the 1950s brought a new set of problems and solutions to both federal and state governments. A network of high speed, cross country roads would connect cities nationwide and lead to unprecedented economic growth in the post war years.

As the highway system began taking shape, federal gas taxes were implemented to help pay for the massive undertaking.  States with higher populations and a larger tax base were required to pay more federal gas tax dollars to subsidize the building of the federal highway system in less populated states.  This was understandable at the time since all states needed to be included in the national highway system.

However, in 1991, Congress declared the interstate highway system complete, but the federal gas tax has lived on.  Michigan has received as little as 87 percent and as high as 94 percent of the share of the federal gas tax revenue generated by the state – making Michigan a “donor” state.   In 2009, for every dollar we sent to Washington we received 92 cents back.   In effect, Michigan has subsidized transportation projects in other states to the detriment of our state infrastructure and in disproportion to our contribution to the national economy.

Not only do we pay more into the federal gas tax coffers than we receive, the federal government also has a complicated formula whereby the states must provide 20 percent in matching funds in order to receive our federal gas tax dollars. Also important to note is that only about 60 percent of the federal fuel taxes paid by motorists go to roads – much of the rest is eaten up in individual earmarks or additional pork projects.  This makes the Federal Highway Trust Fund one of the biggest line items available for pork spending in the entire federal budget.
What if all fifty states and their congressional delegations questioned the authority of the federal government, under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to collect a federal gas tax from each state and then hold the dollars hostage by requiring each state to provide matching funds to receive those dollars back?
Furthermore, what if the federal government adopted a policy whereby all but one percent of federal gas tax monies collected in each state remained in the state? One percent of the dollars collected could be designated to maintain the federal highway system in less populated states. The remaining 99 percent could be kept by states to maintain the federal highways within their borders and allocated for any other state transportation purposes at the discretion of each state. This would eliminate the issue of “donor” states and keep all but one percent of the federal gas tax funds in each state.

To contact Rep. Pearce, email tompearce@house.mi.gov, telephone (517) 373-0218 or toll free: (888) 414-3684.

Posted in Pearce Points, Voices and ViewsComments Off

Mercy in Mamahood

Cheers to Grace

I watched a segment on 20/20 regarding stay-at-home moms who secretly drink. Consumed by the lack of appreciation, loneliness, and sometimes mundane repetition that can accompany the tasks of raising children, these women have become closet alcoholics. One of the featured moms even published a book entitled, “Nap Time is the New Happy Hour,” which encouraged humor and cocktails to cope with the struggles of motherhood.

Initially, I found myself judging. “Please!” I thought, “I’ve had days when my babies are both screaming, won’t sleep, hang-on-me-through-every-last-disgusting-dirty-dish-in-the-sink that I’m washing by hand due to a broken, useless dishwasher while I have not showered or brushed my teeth in days… and I don’t fill my morning coffee cup with wine!”

Then I realized, I easily could have. In fact, I have had days where, if there had been alcohol in the house, I know for certain I would have turned to liquid courage. It is precisely the inspiration that started me writing this column in the first place! Sitting unshowered, half dressed and at my wits end with screaming, inconsolable kids, I searched my mind for a fix to escape, relax and unwind. Through the grace of God, I used prayer and His mercy as my fix. I have since been able to rely on Him through the times I have felt like ripping every last one of my rapidly-turning-gray hairs from my head.

My husband and I do not drink. There’s not even a bottle of wine lying around our house. Are we prudes? Perhaps. I have a long line of alcoholics in my family, including my father, who, due to his unstable behavior and severe alcoholism has never met my children. I decided nearly a decade ago that, while I didn’t have a problem with alcohol, it was best to stay away from it all together. If there were clear lines in the sand that showed “this many drinks” (whether socially or habitually) means you are addicted, then there would be no such thing as alcoholics. Everyone would simply stay one drink away from the line. Since there are no clear lines in the sand, and given my family history and tendencies to fall into bad habits, I steer clear from the party beach. We make our own lame-fun parties with bean-bag tosses and monopoly.

It is through God’s mercy that I am not one of those closet alcoholic mommies featured on 20/20. Instead of using humor and cocktails to cope with the struggles of mamahood, I use humor and faith. I write this column, in part, hoping to inspire others to do the same.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” -Psalm 46:1

Posted in Mercy in Mamahood, Voices and ViewsComments Off

The hook

We’re not doing so hot in the Middle East. Its movement towards democracy isn’t exactly a mad dash. What possessed us to think we could march in and change a social system solidly in place for hundreds of years?

Over the centuries, many human groups have found out that it’s easier to get in than get out. You’d think we’d learn. There’s a good reason the barb on a fishhook faces backward.

Wise words

Mary Eadie sent us a bunch of good stuff. Mary is on Rockford’s City Council and she’s a former mayor. It’s good to know we have people in local government who understand the important things in life, including parenthood:

*You spend the first two years teaching children to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 telling them to sit down and be quiet.

*Mothers of teens know why some animals eat their young.

Ignorance was bliss

Jim Beach sent the following comments on the re-education we all get from our e-mail contacts:

As we progress into the year 2010, I want to thank all of you for your informative e-mails over the past year.

I no longer open a bathroom door without using a paper towel, or have the waitress put lemon slices in my ice water. (Bacteria on the lemon peel!)

I have trouble shaking hands with someone who has been driving, because now I know that the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one’s nose.

Eating a little snack gives me high anxiety. I’m haunted by how many gallons of transfats I must have consumed over the years.

I’m especially thankful to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes. I now use a wet sponge for every envelope that needs sealing. I also scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa is about to grant my every wish.

I never have a drink in a bar because 1) the bartender’s damp towel is a sewer of dangerous bacteria and 2) I’m afraid I’ll wake up in a bathtub full of ice with my kidneys gone.

Deodorants cause cancer, I’ve learned, so I never use them. (Best to stay upwind. You’re welcome.)

Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

And special thanks for keeping me safe at the gas station. I no longer buy gas without taking someone along to watch the car while I’m filling up. (Serial killers can’t sneak into MY back seat.)

Another from Mary

We childproofed our house three years ago and they’re still getting in!

Posted in Roger on Main St., Voices and ViewsComments Off

Morel treasure!

Greg Magoon, of Cedar Springs, hit paydirt his first time out looking for morel mushrooms. Greg said he was out on state land, near Morley, on April 24, when he found some large morels. “I only found a handful, but the biggest ones were roughly nine inches,” he said. “We fried them up with some rainbow trout that we caught that day. What a great meal!”

If you have a plant or animal photo you’d like to send us, please email it to postnews@charter.net.

Posted in Diggin' SpringComments Off

Proper landscaping reduces cooling and heating costs

(NAPS)—According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical family spends about $1,900 a year on home utility bills. And each year, electricity generated by fossil fuels for a single home puts more carbon dioxide into the air than two cars.

Proper insulation, weather stripping, caulking and using a programmable thermostat will help save money. Trees, shrubs and plants will make a difference, too.

In fact, the government says shading from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9 degrees. That saves you money on your air-conditioning costs. Shrubs placed near the base of your house can lower the wind chill near your home in the winter. Trees and shrubs additionally absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air.

Things to consider:

• Check with your local nursery or cooperative extension service for advice on the best trees for your home and your specific needs. For example, you shouldn’t plant an ash tree in an area that’s under quarantine from a devastating insect called the Emerald Ash Borer.
• Deciduous trees, the kind that have full canopies during the hot summer months, should be planted on the east and west sides of your house to help keep it cool in the summer and allow the sun to shine in the windows in the winter.
• The Department of Energy says shading your air-conditioning unit can increase its efficiency by as much as 10 percent.
• Plant trees a minimum of 10 feet from your house to prevent overcrowding or damage to your home from roots.
• Space your trees and shrubs according to what they’ll look like when fully grown, not what they look like now.

“Trees are investments that need protection from destructive insects like beetles and borers,” says Lance Walheim, Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert and co-author of Landscaping for Dummies. “Preventing insect problems can save your trees and save you money in the long run.”

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off

Change the way you think about your lawn to enhance its health

(NAPSA)-Our lawns enhance the look of homes and add to property values. They serve as a place to relax and as a play area for kids and pets. They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and give back fresh oxygen. Lawns are also expensive. Sod can cost about $500 for 1,000 square feet.

“The easiest way to achieve the goal of a beautiful lawn and protect your investment is to really think about grass as a living, breathing thing,” says Bayer Advanced Garden Expert Lance Walheim, co-author of “Lawn Care for Dummies.” “Your lawn requires a proper diet of water and fertilizer, regular haircuts and protection against the things that can harm it.”

Four ways to enhance the health of your lawn

•    Deep watering: For most areas, two waterings a week in the summer is sufficient, but you should check with your local water department or extension service for guidelines. You need to irrigate your lawn long enough so the water can penetrate 6 inches into the soil. You can use a screwdriver to test the depth of moisture.

•    The right fertilizer at the right time: Fertilizers feed the grass to strengthen it against weeds, diseases and pests. Slow-release fertilizers cost more, but they’re less likely to burn the lawn and they last longer. Warm-season grasses require fertilizer in late spring. Cool-season grasses require fertilizer in spring or fall. Be sure to check with your county extension office to determine the proper timing for fertilizing your type of turf.

•    Mowing: Set the wheels of the mower at the recommended height for your grass type. Mow often enough so you don’t scalp your grass. Scalping can lead to weed problems.

•    Insect protection: Below-ground pests such as grubs eat your grass roots and can harm your lawn. Above-ground lawn pests such as fleas and ticks can be a nuisance to your kids or pets. Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer saves money because one product kills soil insects for up to three months and kills surface insects in 24 hours. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the label. Visit BayerAdvanced.com for lawn care tips and how-to videos or call (877) BAYERAG.

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off

Boys track advances to state finals

The Red Hawk boys track team came up 13 points short last weekend to Zeeland West in their quest for their first regional title since 2004.  Yet, they qualified for the state coaches association’s team state finals Memorial Day weekend, and also advanced 11 individuals onto the MHSAA state finals on June 5.

“We competed hard tonight,” said Coach Jeff Myers. “As in all big meets, some things went as expected, some events were surprising, and in a few, things just didn’t go our way.”

But that doesn’t dampen the team’s enthusiasm. “We still have goals to achieve. We will be the underdogs at the team state meet, and the boys that advanced onto the individual state finals would all like to come home with a medal. Zeeland West is a very good team.  We knew that we had our work cut out for us tonight,” added Myers.

Next weekend, the Hawks will take on other regional winners and runners-up at Jenison High School. They will be allowed to enter three individuals per event, including one relay team. “The best part about this meet is that we get to match our team depth along with the other regional champions and runners-up.  It really gives us a more accurate measure of our team,” quoted Coach.

The eleven athletes who advanced onto the MHSAA state finals include pole vaulter AJ Olszewski, who will be making his second appearance; the 3200m relay team of senior captains Achrim Tillbrooke and Austin Mora, along with freshmen Conner Mora and Alex Bray; junior hurdler and captain Justin Balczak will be making his second straight appearance in the 110m and 300m hurdles; junior sprinter and captain James Putnam, who qualified in the 100m and 200m dash, along with the 400m relay; the remaining relay team includes junior Ryan Austin, sophomore Casey VanEss, and junior Alex Hemry; Conner Mora will also represent the team in the 1600m and 3200m runs; and the 1600m relay team of junior Ron Fisk, Austin Mora, Tillbrooke, and Balczak.

“This is the largest group that we have sent to the state finals since 2004,” noted Coach Myers. “There were a lot of happy faces and smiles when they found out that they qualified.”

Posted in SportsComments Off

Girls track members head to state, set records

Bree Ovokaitys in the 3200 meter relay.

Bree Ovokaitys in the 3200 meter relay.

On Friday May 21, the girls track team traveled to Coopersville for the MHSAA Regional Track meet. The team scored 51 points and placed sixth out of sixteen teams on a rainy night. The rain did not stop the team from setting four school records and qualifying five team members, in five different events, for the Division 2 State Final track meet in Zeeland on June 5.

Junior Amber TerHaar was the only regional champion for the team and won the discus for the second year in a row and extended her school record by one inch, with a throw of 118 feet 4 inches.  Amber will be making a return trip to the state finals where a year ago she placed ninth in the discus.

Senior Breeann Ovokaitys qualified for the state meet in two individual events, the 1600 meter run and the 800 meter run.  She also lowered her own school records in the process in both events with a second place finish in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:11.5 and a third place finish in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:23.4.

Amber TerHaar in the shot put.

Amber TerHaar in the shot put.

Freshman Katie Weiler gave up a chance to qualify for the state meet in the 1600 meter run to focus on qualifying in the 3200 meter run and to attempt to set the school record in the event.  Her efforts paid off as she placed second in the 3200 meter run and broke the school record by 8 seconds, with a time of 11:27.8.

Also qualifying for the state meet based on their time was the 3200 meter relay team.  The team, which consists of two freshmen, Amanda Balczak and Katie Weiler, and 2 seniors, Breeann Ovokaitys and Amanda Zinn, placed fourth but ran under the additional qualifying time to advance to the state meet.

Also placing in the top 8 and scoring points for the team was:

Amber TerHaar 4th place in the shot put
Heather Holmes 5th place in the high jump
1600 meter relay team of Breeann Ovokaitys, Heather Holmes, Sommer VanDyke, and Rieley Hondalus
Abby VanDusen long jump 8th place
Rieley Hondalus 400 meter dash 8th place
Amanda Balczak 300 meter hurdles 8th place
400 meter relay team of Brittani Tozer, Abby VanDusen, Mercedes Oliver, and Heather Holmes 8th place.

Posted in SportsComments Off

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