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Archive | May, 2010

Saving 65 bucks is easy: just buckle up

Police on the lookout for unbelted drivers

Officers in West Michigan will again take to the streets for the annual Click it or Ticket seatbelt mobilization May 24-June 6.

The enforcement effort, aimed at reaching the small percentage of people in the state who do not buckle up, is paid for with federal highway safety funds administered by the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP).

Stepped up seat belt enforcement and paid advertising have led Michigan to claim the highest belt use rate in the country two years in a row, most recently 97.9 percent in 2009. However, nearly half of all vehicle occupants killed in car crashes are unbelted.

According to Michael L. Prince, director of the OHSP, of the nearly 600 killed in traffic crashes last year, slightly more than 300 were unbelted. “Buckling up can cut the risk of serious injury or death in a crash in half, so it’s very likely many of those individuals would be alive today if they had worn their seat belt,” he said.

Prince noted that while most people are buckling up, there are still some holdouts. “This enforcement is a reminder to those people,” he explained. “We hope the $65 price tag will be reason enough to encourage them to buckle up.”

Michigan law requires all drivers and front seat passengers to wear seat belts, and all children under 16 to be buckled regardless of where they sit.

Officers in many counties will participate in the campaign, including Cedar Springs Police, who will have an extra car out during the evening hours.

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Voices of a never ending dawn

The Sparta Historic Commission presents a very special screening of Voices of a Never Ending Dawn, the heroic story about Sparta and Michigan’s beloved WWI soldiers that were part of the American WWI Polar Bear force in arctic Russia.

The film will be shown on Saturday, May 22 from 2-5 p.m. at the Sparta Church of the Nazarene, 665 Thirteen Mile Rd. NW, Sparta, MI (Just east of Sparta Village in the Township. ) Admission is Free and refreshments are available.

From Pamela Peak, Award-Winning Producer/Director of the moving documentary Colorblind, and Presented by Detroit Public Television:

“Voices of a Never Ending Dawn is not a political film, nor simply a war documentary. It is a moving human story told in the haunting words of the young soldiers themselves, when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is forced to select 5,500 American soldiers to fight an unknown enemy called “Bolsheviks” (an early name for Communists). Stripped of everything American and placed under British command, they find themselves quartered in a frozen hell, fighting in 60-degree below-zero weather under a confusing midnight sun, eight long months after WWI had ended. Those that survived called themselves THE POLAR BEARS. And now, for the first time in history, America will come to know that the cold War did not begin without fire, and the blood of our fathers and grandfathers was spilled on Communist Russian soil.”

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Pamela Peak takes us on an emotional journey inside these young men’s hearts and minds as they struggle not only with the hardships of war but also with the thought that their country had forgotten them.  Their mission became known as “the acid test of loyalty to country.”

This film ends in a moving tribute to these Americans whose love of country was tested like no others. After 90 years, their story and their voices are finally being heard.

Visit http://www.polarbeardocumentary.com/preview.html to see the 5 minute preview.

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Toastmasters to host Tom Rademacher

Open house June 1, 2010

Tom Rademacher, author and Grand Rapids Press columnist, will be the guest speaker at the North Kent Community Toastmaster Club Open House on Tues., June 1, at 7 pm. The public is invited to attend this free event.

The event takes place at Prudential Preferred Realtors, 502 Northland Dr. NE & 11 Mile Road, in Rockford.

The open house is part of the club’s annual membership drive. Rademacher will talk about his book, Splitting Wood. He’ll also sign copies and sell books at the event. A brief presentation by a Toastmasters member will also take place. Light refreshments will be served.

Rademacher is an award-winning journalist best known as long-time columnist for The Grand Rapids Press, where he wrote extraordinary tales of everyday men and women from the viewpoint of “the guy next door.”

He recently published his first book, Splitting Wood (Lake Michigan Books, 2009). In it, he shares many of the stories he wrote during his post as GR Press columnist.

“We’re delighted to have Tom join us and share his stories and experiences,” said Sue Popma, chapter president of North Kent Community Toastmasters Club. “Toastmasters provides a venue where people can improve their public speaking, communication and leadership skills in a supportive atmosphere. We look forward to hosting Mr. Rademacher and hearing from a talented and respected storyteller.”

The open house provides an opportunity for members of the community to learn about Toastmasters and how it can help those who are interested in learning effective communication skills to build self-confidence and interpersonal relationships.

Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP at (616) 560-4726.

About North Kent Community Toastmasters
North Kent Community Toastmasters chapter #3442 meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month, 7 pm-8:45 pm, at Prudential Preferred Realtors, 502 Northland Dr. NE & 11 Mile Road, Rockford. The chapter website is www.nkctm.org.

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Main Street

Main St. by Roger AllenOptimism No. 1

A 16-year-old Australian teen-ager, Jessica Watson, just finished sailing around the world alone, the youngest ever to do so. The trip took seven months. Her sailboat was 34 feet long. And pink.

According to news reports last October when she started out, “She smiled and waved to scores of well-wishers on land and in boats that had gathered on the harbor.”

Now that she’s back, she says, “I don’t consider myself a hero. I’m an ordinary girl who believed in her dream.” Apparently Jessica never had any doubts about her success. That kind of optimism should carry her a long way.

Yay for Jessica. This story is an upper. But, as a parent myself, I wonder how Mr. and Mrs. Watson enjoyed themselves during those seven months.

Optimism No. 2

My thanks to Sally Thompson for this story:

My husband and I were taking groceries from the car when a little neighbor boy came over to talk and offered me some of the potato chips he was eating.

“No, thank you. I can’t eat them because I have no teeth,” I said. I opened my mouth to show him.

He took a look and said, “Oh, not having any teeth is okay. They grow right back in, see?” And he opened his mouth and proudly pointed to his newly sprouted front tooth.

Optimism put to the test

A news reporter heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time. She went to the Western Wall and there he was, walking slowly up to the holy site.

She watched him pray, and when he turned to leave she approached him for an interview.

“Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall every day to pray?”

“For about 60 years.”

“60 years! That’s amazing! What do you pray for?”

“I pray for peace between the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims,” he said. “I pray for all the wars and the hatred to stop. I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults, and to love their fellow man.”

“How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?” she asked.

“Like I’m talking to a brick wall!”


Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, UCLA.

Absolute nonsense

A dentist and a manicurist fought it out, tooth and nail.

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Nutrient-rich foods keep your body fueled

(NAPSA)-When being active, it’s important to remember to refuel your body properly to keep your system in top shape.


Engaging in active nutrition by incorporating lean protein and healthy fats is one way to successfully focus your diet and keep yourself energized, says registered dietitian Alyse Levine, Nutrition Adviser of Livestrong.com.

“When people tend to be more active in their daily lives, they need to be conscientious of incorporating healthy carbohydrates, fats and protein into their diets. These are main power sources and should be incorporated into all meals and snacks,” said Levine.

To prepare your body for prolonged activity, focus on specific foods that fuel your body, such as nuts (like pistachios), fresh fruit, and fish such as salmon.

“Pistachios are easy to include in any diet and may help you maintain weight thanks to the filling fiber content that helps curb your appetite,” Levine said.

In a nutshell, tree nuts such as pistachios make for healthful snacks.

Levine and TheGreenNut.org offer the following five tips for maintaining a healthy diet and keeping your body energized:

•    Consistent eating: Don’t let more than four hours go by between meals and snacks. Waiting until you’re ravenous will make you more likely to overeat. Try to eat minimeals every two to three hours instead.

•    Know your carbs: The type of carbohydrates you consume is very important. Replace refined starches and sugars with whole grains and beans.

•    Snack survival kit: Always have a survival kit of snacks on hand to avoid going a long time without eating. For a good snack, try pistachios, which help prevent blood sugar spikes.

•    Be prepared: Shop at least once a week for essentials so you don’t resort to eating unhealthy meals out when the cupboard’s bare.

•    Preportion your snacks: Portion out and choose snacks wisely so you don’t overdo it and end up eating a meal instead of a snack. You can enjoy 49 pistachios per serving, more than any other snack nut.

The Proof Is In The Research

The International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation recently came out with groundbreaking research, stating that tree nut consumption (such as pistachios) is associated with a higher overall diet quality score, improved nutrient intake including antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, lower weight measures and lower prevalence of health risks. The research was presented at the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition.

TheGreenNut.org is part of a nutrition awareness campaign sponsored by the Western Pistachio Association. For more healthy tips, visit www.thegreennut.org, find them on Facebook at face book.com/thegreennut or follow The Green Nut on Twitter at twitter.com/thegreennut. Learn more about Alyse Levine at www.nutritionbite.com.

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Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche

By Ranger Steve Mueller

May Wild Flowers

Large White Flowered Trilliums command notice in forested areas and some make their way into more open areas. They are most prevalent under shade trees where they have carved out a nature niche for survival. There are challenges to making a living and reproducing under a forest canopy. Trilliums seem to do well in forests that produce deep shade. Sugar Maples’ forest create such intense shade that many understory plants starve. There simply is not enough sunlight for them to thrive.

Spring beauties and wild columbine are just two of the wildflowers blooming at Ody Brook this year.

Spring beauties and wild columbine are just two of the wildflowers blooming at Ody Brook this year.

How then can the trillium find its nature niche there? One way is that it takes its time growing and storing food and it flowers before the leaf canopy shuts off light. It does not race like the hare but plods like the tortoise with growth efforts. Botanists state it takes seven years before it produces its first flower but then it can usually flower annually there after. Annual flowers must race to grow and flower all within one year. That takes rapid growth and is a high-energy effort.

Annual flowers growing in bright sun receive an essential rich supply of incoming energy currency. They use the energy quickly and then quickly spend what they receive for growth and reproduction. Annual plants die that same year and survival of their kind depends on the success of their offspring. Most of their kids die trying to establish a place in the sun the following year. For the few that survive, they race to produce seeds that will disperse and most will die. For annual flowers to continue survival for their species, it is always a race to sprout in a suitable place, grow rapidly, produce flowers, and finally produce seeds before the first killing frost.

Trilliums take a different approach for their kind. The fortunate trillium seed establishes its place where most annual plants would starve spending their earnings too quickly on rapid growth. When first established the trillium will grow slowly using limited available light energy in the shady forest. It stores energy in its underground bank of plant stems for later use. When it has saved enough energy, it can reproduce. Though research botanists tell us it takes seven years for a trillium to first flower, I am convinced this is only a general rule.

I planted mature, large-flowered trilliums to help a native species establish at Ody Brook. Those plants already had essential stored energy in their underground stems for annual reproduction. Surrounding the few plants I planted, new trilliums began to develop and four years later I had additional trilliums flowering. Why would the new plants be flowering before seven years? I helped the plants by reducing competition from other surrounding plants competing for space and nutrients. I planted the parent trilliums near the forest edge where they received more sunlight energy than they would receive in a deeply shaded forest. These new offspring received a good energy income and with adequate currency (sunlight and nutrients) they could flower earlier.

It is still a slow process for a species to expand its population and sustain family units. When I began working at the Howard Christensen Nature Center in 1986, only a few sharp-leaved hepaticas had been able to continue life because of earlier land use practices. Pre-nature center use had eliminated most hepaticas through landscape clearing for agricultural practices. Because most of the soil in the area was not good for agricultural land, it reverted as tax forfeit land. The state then established the Rogue River State Game Area on the most of the surrounding land too poor for agricultural land.

In the area that became HCNC, a secondary forest grew. A robust hepatica plant managed to survive development at an edge near the creek and has delighted us annually with its early blooms. Gradually over the past 30 years a few more of its offspring have began to survive and expand the species population. A century had past since most of the hepatics lost a place to live there but now native habitat reestablishment allows them to slowly spread under the forest canopy of oaks. Most of HCNC still lacks the hepaticas but given a few more centuries it will repopulate. They will establish too slowly for our life times but our future generations will enjoy them.

The one hepatica that survived is likely older than Cedar Springs elder senior citizens. Because the above ground plant portion dies back annually, we do notice its individual long life like we notice for a tree.

In yards, we can re-establish native plant communities than cannot survive in places where we grow annual crops to meet our personal food and energy needs. Our yards can be a haven for native species for us to enjoy. Yards can support biodiversity being lost to human population expansion. We can share nature niches by reducing lawn areas and expanding native habitats to include wildflowers like jack-in-pulpit, wild sarsaparilla, wild ginger, Mayapple, wild geranium, trout lily, wild lily of the valley, false, true, and starry Solomon’s seals, bloodroot, wood anemone, wild columbine, and many more species. Enjoy the short pageant of spring wildflowers that bloom before leafing out of the tree canopy shuts off abundant light needed for flower production. One of my favorites it is the nodding trillium that has its flower hidden beneath it leaves.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net  Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433, 616-696-1753.

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Morel hunting

By Alixann Spaulding

Jimmy Johnson found this 5-1/2 inch morel mushroom at his home on Penny Road in Cedar Springs. On May 10, his nephew went out and found a few smaller morels, putting Johnson in the mood to hunt. “It’s the biggest one I’ve ever found!” said Johnson. After taking a picture of his great find, Johnson promptly cooked and ate it.
Do you have a photo of plant or animal wildlife you’d like to share with us? Please send it to postnews@charter.net.

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Digging up dinner:

Get in on the growing trend and raise your own veggies

(ARA) – Across the country this spring, more Americans will be cutting out sections of lawn, retiring flower beds, building raised vegetable beds and turning their spare time over to gardening. Many of them will be first-timers, inspired to try their hand at tilling the soil for economic reasons as well as the many benefits gardening offers.

In addition to pruning your grocery bill, raising your own veggies offers the benefits of freshness, flavor, convenience, healthful exercise, socialization opportunities and the ability to have more control over what your family eats.

So if you’re ready to try your hand at picking your own produce this year, roll up your sleeves, dig in, and arm yourself with this helpful advice from the experts at Bonnie Plants:

Pick your plot: Most vegetables thrive when they get plenty of sun, so pick a plot that gets at least six to eight hours of direct sun every day. It’s OK to plant leafy greens like lettuce and spinach in shadier spots, but get them in the ground early in the cooler part of the season. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash will do best in the hotter months.

Think outside of the box planter: Get creative with space. You don’t need a huge yard to plant a veggie patch. Try planting lettuce under tomato vines, or mix veggies into flowerbeds among the bright blooms.

Give veggies a raise: Try raised beds; they’re quicker than planning out a plot. Raised beds will enable you to use near-perfect soil, better organize your garden, improve drainage and provide easier access for maintenance. Time saving tip: Use transplants instead of seeds.

Feed natural plant food: Since one of the reasons for growing your own vegetables is to control exactly what your family consumes, be sure to use all-natural, safe products in your gardens like Bonnie Plant Food which is derived from oilseed extract such as soybean seed extract. Research shows plants are healthier and more vigorous using organically based foods, rather than chemical based options.

Water wisely: One inch of water weekly is adequate for most vegetables. Soaker hoses or drip systems deliver water efficiently and keep foliage dry, fending off leaf diseases.

Pick your produce: Be sure to pick the right plants. To maximize your grocery savings and ensure successful gardening choose vegetable and herb plants that are easy to grow, useful in a variety of dishes, and produce high yields throughout the season. Some sure-fire winners include:

Tomatoes – The most popular home-garden vegetable in America, tomatoes are hard to beat in terms of taste, health benefits and versatility. Bonnie Original Tomato can easily yield 50 pounds of tomatoes.

Yellow squash and zucchini – Although their growing season is shorter than tomatoes, squash are very productive. You’ll pick them every day once the season starts.

Lettuce – As long as the weather is mild, leaf lettuce will keep on producing. If you eat lots of salad, growing your own lettuce can save you lots of money.

Cucumbers – Grown in a cage or on a trellis, a single cucumber plant can produce 5 to 10 cukes. You can get two or three plants on a cage that is just 18 inches in diameter and 4 feet high, so that’s a yield of 15 to 30 cucumbers from a slice of ground no bigger than an end table.

Specialty peppers – Price specialty peppers like jalapeno, or even regular chili peppers, in the grocery store and you’ll be inspired to try growing your own. Hot peppers are especially high yielding and productive in areas with a long, hot summer.

Herbs – Expensive in the grocery store, fresh herbs are easy and economical to grow. Plant one each of sage, rosemary, mint, thyme and chives, and at least three plants of basil. There are several varieties of basil.  Good choices from Bonnie Plants are Sweet, Cinnamon, Thai and Boxwood basil, each with a unique taste.

Bonnie Plants offers a wide selection of vegetables and herbs in eco-friendly, biodegradable pots; just tear off the bottom of the pot and stick it in the soil. Biodegradable pots not only protect varieties from transplant shock, they save tons of plastic pots from entering landfills. For more gardening advice and tips visit www.bonnieplants.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Solon farmers to add flea market

Due to public interest, Solon Township has decided to expand their farmers market/craft show to include an outdoor flea market beginning this Saturday, May 22. The market will be located north of the stable at 15185 Algoma Ave.
“We’ve had a great response,” commented Linda Badgerow, administrative assistant at Solon Township. The farmers market just opened this month.
Flea market vendors can apply with Linda Badgerow at Solon Township 616-696-1718.  A refundable $20.00 deposit will be required to ensure prompt removal of any unsold items. The flea market will run concurrent with the existing farmers market every Saturday through September from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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Business Bits

Wooden swingset company receives tax exemption

The Solon Township board granted Jason Guyout Properties LLC (maker of the Woodlawn swingset) an industrial facilities exemption at its board meeting last week Tuesday, May 18.

The company is located at 13901 Woodlawn Hills Drive, off 17 Mile Rd.

Guyout reportedly wants to invest $125,000 in equipment, and $35,000 in facilities improvement. They would also be taking their current woodwaste and converting it into a usable resource. Guyout told the board that the number of full-time jobs would increase from 7 to 15.

The board held a public hearing on the issue, then voted to give them a 12-year exemption.

Panaceas under new ownership

Panaceas Natural Health Foods, 4320 14 Mile Road, located in the Cedar Rock strip mall just west of 14 Mile and Northland, is under new ownership and is offering new products. Vivian Felde took over the store, which was established in 2003. The store offers natural and organic foods, specialty foods, vitamins, and supplements. Felde said one of the things that makes them unique is that they offer case quantity discounts and a buyer’s club to help offset the cost of eating healthier. They also offer senior discounts to those 60 and over everyday. They are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10-4, and closed on Sunday. Phone (616) 866-7100.

MVF Thrift Store

The new Michigan Veterans Foundation Thrift Store had its grand opening on Saturday, May 1. The store, located at 4780 Cornfield Drive, ¼ mile north of 14 Mile, is a resale store dedicated to helping veterans and their families with food, housing, job placement assistance, clothing, etc. It is an extension of the Michigan’s Veterans Foundation, a non-profit agency, whose overall objective is to fill the gaps that currently exist in providing services to veterans.

They currently have a number of items they would like to donate to needy veterans, including an electric wheelchair, Dyna care peripheral circulatory assist for bed, merits scooter (needs battery), crutches, walkers, hoyer sling (xlg), and other items. They also appreciate donations. Contact them at 696-1800 or (616) 822-0390. Hours are Monday through Friday 9-6, Friday 9-5, and Saturday 9-2. Volunteers welcome.

DeltaTron Communicatins Service

Are you looking for a communications service for your business? Then check out DeltaTron Communications Service. Established in 2009 by owner James Pate, they offer business voice and data services for telephones and computers. They install and service business telephones, computer, and PA equipment. They offer networking, Wi-Fi, VOIP, and internet cameras. They cover areas of Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland and Kalamazoo. And they make sure the customer is happy. “We do it right the first time so our customers have less downtime. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Pate. “If it isn’t right, we make it right, and stick with it until it is.” They offer quality service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call them at (616) 799-0517, or visit their website at www.deltatrontelecom.com.

New quilt store opens

Garden Path Quilts, located at 25 S. Main Street in Cedar Springs, had its grand opening last week. Owner Barb Grutter is the store manager and has 18 years of quilting experience. The store offers quality quilt fabric, quilt books and patterns, and notions. They also teach quilt classes to beginners that follow all the way through to the final stitch. “We focus on beginner quilters, and take pride in our classes,” noted Grutter. “You can always get your quilt questions answered here.” Visit them Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10-5, Thursday from 10-7, and Saturday from 10-2. Call (616) 263-9434 for more information.

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