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Archive | June, 2010

Dandelion Prayers

By Sarah Reed

Sibling squabbles. Where to begin? My kids are young, so it has indeed, “only just begun” for me. However, I have already had my fill of the bickering. Not yet have I recorded how many days are “good” days, when my children enjoy each other and play nicely, but I should, because chances are high there are better days then I think.

The problem is, at 3-1/2 years old and 17 months, my kids are still at a vulnerable age in which sharing, tantrums and a sense of fair-play are hard to manage. Emotions ascend mountain tops over something as simple as whether the cardboard box they are in is supposed to be a train or a pirate ship. My daughter, being the older child and able to grasp the rules of playing fair, is especially struggling when she doesn’t feel like adhering to the rules, or when her brother is the naughty one. My son, not yet able to use words to express his anger, his wants or his complaints, does a lot of screaming and throwing.

I let them have their own quiet time to play in their rooms. This is particularly helpful for my daughter, who enjoys her right to not always share with her brother. I allow her to shut her door and have time to herself.

Lately she makes claim over whatever toy her brother has, or, for that matter, any toy he doesn’t have, but looks at, therefore may consider playing with. Sometimes, she cleverly tries to disguise this by offering him a different, less exciting toy instead. Given that he is now old enough not to fall for this, she has resorted to old fashion bullying. Last week, after she snatched his toy and made him cry by holding it out of his reach, I stepped in and told her to stop being a bully to her little brother. “But how do I stop being a bully?” she asked.

“You start by not grabbing toys away from him when he is playing with them,” I retorted. “You know how to be nice, take turns and share.”

I went on to elucidate that he is learning from her how to behave. If she acts nice, he will learn to act nice, if she acts like a bully, then he will learn to be a bully, too. She asked again, “but HOW do I stop being a bully?” I tried simplifying it further. She knows how to be nice. I could see she was still giving it thought, but she gave the toy back and left him alone.

A few days later, outside, she found a white wishing dandelion. I told her to make a wish, expecting to hear her desire for a goldfish or a new Barbie. “I wish…” she paused with reflection. “I wish I could stop being a bully to my brother.”

My heart ached.

She obviously did not like it about herself that she could be a bully at times and wasn’t sure how to change her behavior. I joined my daughter in the grass. It takes practice, I told her, to think before we do things. Even grown-ups have to practice this, I confessed. We must listen to the little voice God gives us that tells our thoughts whether it is something nice to do, or something not nice. It feels good and makes God happy when we’re nice. I went over “the golden rule,” do unto others as you would have done unto you. This, by the way, is the same lesson of ethics across the spectrum, no matter what religion you are. (Because I’m now a homeschooling mom, I’ve since dug up unit studies around The Golden Rule to incorporate into our curriculum and focus on in the coming weeks. Everything is a lesson!)

I also let her know, if there is something we want to change about ourselves but it feels too big to change alone, that is what God is there for. “Just like the wish you made on that dandelion,” I explained. “You say that in a prayer to God, in your heart, and ask Him to help you.”

As the bible reminds us, God does not want us to rely on our own strengths, but on Him. “Look to the Lord for His strength; seek His face always.” -1 Chronicles 16:11

It is invaluable to teach my children, and it is a lesson I am still trying to learn. When we need to overcome something, the power and necessity of prayer lasts our entire lives. We face challenges and pray for strength in place of our weaknesses. That does not wither away simply because you outgrow making dandelion wishes.

Come to think of it, why should any of us outgrow making dandelion wishes, anyway?

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Middle school girls track has great season

This year the Cedar Springs Middle School girls track team finished an outstanding track season with a record of 5 wins and 1 loss.

The 7th grade girls finished runner up at the 7th grade conference meet, the best showing by a 7th grade team in school history. They finished 8 points behind the first place team.  The 8th grade girls finished 3rd in their conference, with the first place and second place teams only being a few points ahead of them. Many girls ran, jumped or threw their best at the conference meets. Two school records were also broken this season.

The girls team also finished first at the Sparta Invitational for the first time in school history. No other team has ever won the combined 7th and 8th grade meet. The girls competed against some tough competition to come out on top! There were many first place finishes from our 7th and 8th graders this season, which helped lead the team.

This year’s group was a great group of girls who worked hard and were determined to do their best. The coaches would like to thank all the parents for the support of the program. It was amazing to see the amount of community members that were at our home and away track meets! A big thank you also goes out to the high school coaches and athletes that took the time to make sure the meets run efficiently.

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Force gets another win on the road

Back in Cedar Springs this Saturday at Skinner Field

The West Michigan Force continued to roll with a 26-20 win over the Northwest Ohio Knights last weekend.

The Force offense was led by team captain Aaron Teachout with 4 catches for 94 yards and 2 touchdowns. Force rookie Marcus Renwick added another TD run from 6 yards out and finished the day with 59 yards on 9 carries.

The Force defense was led by another outstanding performance from defensive end Patrick McCullough, bringing his season totals to 28 combined tackles and 8 sacks.

Force strong safety Michael Terranova, from Olivet College, led all defenders with 10 total tackles and an interception.

Kicker Mirza Cuasevic added a 45-yard field goal and the Force defense added 2 points from a safety when defensive ends Craig Plaster and McCullough drove the Knights QB into the end zone for a 15 yard loss.

The Force return home to Cedar Springs this Saturday to take on the Motor City Soldiers. Kickoff is at 6:30 at Skinner Field. The first 50 Cedar Springs residents to attend will receive a free gift. As always all Cedar  Springs Public Schools staff and students are in free with school ID. Tickets are $5.00 for adults.

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Local karate instructor to get skill evaluation

Kyoshi Terry Gravelin, who has taught martial arts in Cedar Springs for the last 15 years, will travel to Washington D.C. to a master’s seminar, for an evaluation of his skill level by the Okinawan Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karate Association June 23-27. All high ranking Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Instructors are required to be there.

Assessing instructor abilities and skill levels will be done by a board of 9th degree black belts that traveled here from Okinawa, Japan. These five Black Belts represent Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato, who has been the leader of this system of karate for the last 45 years.

Gravelin will be evaluated for his 8th degree Black Belt rank. If he qualifies, he will be invited and required to travel to Okinawa, Japan to test for his 8th degree Black Belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, and his 6th degree Black Belt in Ryu-Kyu Kobudo, which is a style of traditional Okinawan weaponry.
Gravelin has been teaching for 25 years and been involved in martial arts for 35 years. Besides his other Black Belts, he has earned a 3rd degree ni Kenshikiryu Jujitsu and brown belts in Aikido and Judo. He has a bachelors degree from GVSU with an emphasis in counseling children.

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Tryouts for Rockford Rebels

The Rockford Rebels 12U Baseball Team is playing at the Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament in New York from July 30-August 6.  We will hold a tryout to fill our roster on Tuesday, June 29, from 6-8 pm at East Rockford Middle School, Field 8.  Players must be 12 years old as of May 1, 2010. For more information, contact Coach Steve Ramsay at (616) 581-5870.

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DNRE asks for help preventing nuisance bear problems

Each year in the late spring and early summer, wildlife officials in northern Michigan receive many calls about bears hanging around and even destroying man-made food sources such as bird feeders, trash cans and grills, and this year has been no exception, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment announced today.

“At this time of year, bears are on the move and are looking for food,” said DNRE wildlife technician Bill Rollo. “They are hungry after spending months hibernating, plus yearling bears are leaving their mothers and looking for new territory as the adult bears prepare for the upcoming breeding season. Dispersing bears can travel long distances and may find themselves in unfamiliar areas where they have to look for food on their own for the first time.”

When conditions are dry, as they have been throughout the northern Lower Peninsula and the entire Upper Peninsula in recent months, bears are more likely to resort to finding food in unnatural places, such as residential back yards.

“The majority of the complaints we receive about nuisance bears this time of year involve a food source,” Rollo said. “Bears are very food-motivated and have a good sense of smell. Birdseed is easy for them to find and is a high-energy food. Once discovered, they will keep coming back to the bird feeder until the seed is gone or the feeder has been removed.”

Hungry bears are also attracted to trash cans, burn barrels, livestock feed, pet food and outdoor grills. To reduce the potential for attracting bears and habituating them to humans, Rollo recommends that any potential attractants be removed until the bear has moved on.

“People are sometimes hesitant to take down their bird feeders, but bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard may eventually become habituated,” Rollo said. “Habituated bears are not necessarily dangerous, but they can become a nuisance by visiting the yard during the day or causing damage to private property.”

With limited budgets and low staff numbers, Wildlife Division staff members are unable to respond to each nuisance bear complaint, and instead ask that everyone do their part to help reduce potential food sources in their yards first before calling for further assistance. The trapping of nuisance bears is only authorized by DNRE wildlife officials in cases of significant property damage or threats to human safety.

Anyone experiencing problems with nuisance bears, who has taken the appropriate action to remove food sources for a period of one to two weeks but has not seen results, should contact the nearest DNRE office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/wildlife.

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Trail photo in Menominee County is likely cougar

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment announced Monday that it has reviewed a Menominee County trail camera picture of an animal thought to be a cougar. Although the image is blurred, the photo is consistent with a cougar.

On June 11, DNRE Wildlife Technician Bill Rollo received a call reporting a trail camera picture that appeared to show a cougar. The photo was taken on May 26 near Wallace in the Upper Peninsula.

Rollo immediately went to the area to conduct a field investigation and verify the photograph location. The information Rollo collected was shared with the DNRE’s trained cougar team, and the consensus was reached that the photo and supporting documentation indicated the animal was a cougar. The image is blurry, especially around the head, but other characteristics of the animal are consistent with a cougar.

“This is the first confirmed cougar picture in Menominee County. We appreciate the cooperation of the caller who shared the photograph and contacted the DNRE,” said DNRE wildlife biologist Kristie Sitar, who is a member of the DNRE’s cougar team. “Other landowners who believe they have evidence of a cougar on their property, such as tracks or a kill site, are encouraged to contact their local DNRE field office as soon as possible, which allows staff to investigate before the evidence is compromised. Without good evidence, such as verifiable photographs or tracks, confirmation becomes increasingly difficult.”

Cougars, also known as mountain lions, originally were native to Michigan but were thought to have been extirpated around the turn of the last century. The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan was killed near Newberry in 1906. The Menominee County photograph represents the latest in a series of track and photo verifications of cougars in the Upper Peninsula. Since March 2008, five sets of tracks and two trail camera pictures have been verified in Delta, Chippewa, Marquette, Schoolcraft and now Menominee counties. The origin of the animal or animals is unknown. There have been no confirmations of breeding activity of cougars in Michigan in recent years.

Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks, which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks, or suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and have been buried with sticks and debris.

Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNRE office or by calling the department’s 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800. If a citizen comes into contact with a cougar, the following behavior is recommended:

– Stop, stand tall, pick up small children and do not run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.

– Do not approach the animal.

– Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.

– If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.

– If a cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Do not play dead. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.

Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. For more information about the recent cougar photo, call Kristie Sitar at 906-293-5131 or Adam Bump at 517-373-9336. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go online to www.michigan.gov/dnrcougars.

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Keep kids sun-safe at summer camp

Extended time outdoors increases risk for skin cancer

June 15, 2010 (New York, NY) – Without proper sun protection, a fun summer at camp can lead to painful sunburns, premature skin aging and skin cancer. Just one severe sunburn in childhood doubles the chances of developing melanoma later in life.    Children with fair skin, blond or red hair and blue or green eyes are at the highest risk of sunburn. But darker-skinned children also need sun protection.

sunscreen“Fewer than one-third of children between the ages of eight and eleven wear sunscreen,” said Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Parents need to teach children from an early age how to be sun-safe and reduce their risk of skin cancer.”

There are many things parents can do to keep their kids sun-safe at summer camp. You may want to ask:

Are the camp counselors trained in sun safety?

Do counselors remind children to apply sunscreen regularly?

Are outdoor activities scheduled in the early morning or late afternoon? Ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Are there adequate places for campers to seek shade during outdoor activities?

Parents should also prepare their children before they leave for camp with a sun safety lesson, including how to use sunscreen. An SPF 15+ sunscreen (water resistant formulas are especially good) should be used regularly.

Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to all exposed areas, 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours and right after swimming or sweating heavily. Remind children to cover those easy to miss spots, such as the back of ears and neck, as well as the tops of feet and hands.

If parents suspect their children are not using enough sunscreen, or not reapplying often enough, an SPF 30 sunscreen should be used instead.

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Women and stroke: How much do you know?

(NAPSA)-While more women than men have strokes, the leading cause of disability and third-leading cause of death in the United States, a new national survey conducted by HealthyWomen, the nation’s leading independent health information source for women, found that many may be dramatically underestimating their risk.

Leean Hendrix did.

Leean Hendrix

At age 26, the former Miss Arizona was talking to her friend when she suddenly realized her speech had become incomprehensible. Concerned, she looked in the mirror and realized the right side of her face was drooping. She knew immediately something was wrong.

“When I went to the hospital, I learned I had suffered a stroke. I never thought it would happen to me,” said Leean. “I was young, healthy and in shape.”

According to the survey of 2,000 women, which was conducted in partnership with the National Stroke Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians by Harris Interactive, 40 percent of women said they were only somewhat or not at all concerned about experiencing a stroke in their lifetime. Furthermore, although women are twice as likely to die from stroke as breast cancer, the survey found that women believed breast cancer to be five times more prevalent than stroke.

“The results of the survey underscore what we see too often with women when it comes to dealing with their unique health issues,” said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of HealthyWomen. “As they put the health of family members and everyone else first, they often underestimate their own risks and ignore warning signs of serious health problems like stroke.”

An acute ischemic stroke occurs when an obstruction, such as a blood clot, blocks blood flow to the brain. The obstruction deprives the brain of blood and oxygen, destroying valuable nerve cells in the affected area within minutes.

“Stroke knows no gender and can happen to anyone at any age,” said Marilyn Rymer, M.D., director of the Brain and Stroke Institute at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City. “Given the prevalence of stroke in women, it is especially critical for women to understand the risk factors and symptoms.”

Only 27 percent of women surveyed could name more than two of the six primary stroke symptoms. F-A-S-T is an easy way to recognize if you or a loved one is having a stroke and take action.

“If you experience any of the symptoms of a stroke, it is imperative to call 9-1-1 so you receive immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms go away,” said Angela Gardner, M.D., president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Time equals brain; for every minute the brain is deprived of oxygen, it may lose up to 1.9 million brain cells. If you are having even one of the symptoms of stroke, come to the emergency department so we can evaluate and treat you.”

Because of her stroke, Leean has no memories of her high school days. However, she’s using her experience to educate others. “I am living proof that a stroke really can happen to anyone and I urge all women to take control of their health and learn the signs and risk factors for stroke.”

For more information about women and stroke and this survey, visit www.healthywomen.org. Support for the survey was provided by Genentech, Inc., a wholly owned member of the Roche Group.

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The buzz on beating mosquitoes

(NAPSA)-Mosquitoes, known for leaving itchy red welts on their human victims, have long topped the list of warm-weather pest concerns. But this season, the  National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is reporting that mosquitoes are likely to be worse than usual, especially in many parts of the country that had an unusually warm and wet spring.

The Problem

Heavier-than-normal precipitation can leave areas of standing water, which are perfect mosquito breeding grounds. This is cause for concern, as humans can contract West Nile virus (WNV), a potentially serious illness, when bitten by an infected mosquito.

What To Watch For

Symptoms of WNV infection include headache, fever, rash, muscle ache and gastrointestinal problems. WNV infection can lead to encephalitis and meningitis, though as many as 80 percent of infected humans show no symptoms at all.

Helpful Hints

The NPMA recommends the following tips to prevent mosquito bites:

•    To avoid mosquito nesting and breeding sites, eliminate standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, bird- baths, swimming pool covers, barrels and other objects that can collect water. Add a fountain or drip system to birdbaths and ponds on your property to keep water fresh.

•    Keep windows and doors properly screened to keep mosquitoes outside.

•    Be alert when outdoors during dawn, dusk and early evening hours, when mosquito-biting activity can peak. Also, avoid areas near water where mosquitoes gather, especially during peak activity.

•    Avoid wearing dark colors and floral prints, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes.

•    If you’ll be spending time outdoors, wear mosquito repellent with DEET as well as long pants and long-sleeve shirts.

•    If you have a mosquito infestation on your property, contact a pest professional.


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