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Archive | September, 2014

Railroading

The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 

 

 

In the “good old days,” railroads and lumbering played a big part in the historical planting of small villages along streams in West Michigan. I am happy to see this theme highlighted by the visionaries of our Community Development Team. Everyone should get on board. It’s exciting.

We all know that railroad tracks are now history, but the article by the Post’s Editor, on September 11, seemed to bring the word railroading back to our minds.

Question: how can a City Council, with no input from the citizens of Cedar Springs, make an intelligent decision in 20 minutes, using a performance review form that I, as your Mayor, had fellow Council Members fill out over a year ago, regarding the performance of our City Manager, Thad Taylor, when he had only had about 6 months of track record?

Our newest Council Members, Dan Clark and Jerry Hall, never had an opportunity to fill out a performance review.

Some of us might have been born in the night, but it wasn’t last night. But with God’s help, railroading can become history. I made the following statement in council session. “I will not and I know many others will not be happy until we have an all new Cedar Springs, which can happen if everyone votes wisely in our November election.” Please, please, please send your message, and I promise you, we will listen.

 

Bob Truesdale, City Councilor

Cedar Springs

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What You Should Know for the 2014-2015 Influenza Season

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From the CDC

 

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. between December and February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.

What should I do to prepare for this flu season?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, ideally by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.

What should I do to protect my loved ones from flu this season?

Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available in their communities, preferably by October. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for serious flu complications, and their close contacts.

Children between 6 months and 8 years of age may need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected from flu. Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you whether your child needs two doses. Children younger than 6 months are at higher risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because of this, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months of age, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from flu.

When should I get vaccinated?

CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against flu soon after vaccine becomes available, preferably by October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

Those children 6 months through 8 years of age who need two doses of vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least 4 weeks apart.

What kind of vaccines will be available in the United States for 2014-2015?

A number of different manufacturers produce trivalent (three component) influenza vaccines for the U.S. market, including intramuscular (IM), intradermal, and nasal spray vaccines. Some seasonal flu vaccines will be formulated to protect against four flu viruses (quadrivalent flu vaccines).

Are there new recommendations for the 2014-2015 influenza season?

Starting in 2014-2015, CDC recommends use of the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV) for healthy* children 2 through 8 years of age, when it is immediately available and if the child has no contraindications or precautions to that vaccine. Recent studies suggest that the nasal spray flu vaccine may work better than the flu shot in younger children. However, if the nasal spray vaccine is not immediately available and the flu shot is, children 2 years through 8 years old should get the flu shot. Don’t delay vaccination to find the nasal spray flu vaccine.

How much flu vaccine will be available this season?

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. For this season, manufacturers have projected they will provide between 151-159 million doses of vaccine for the U.S. market.

When will flu vaccine become available?

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so the timing of vaccine availability depends on when production is completed. If everything goes as indicated by manufacturers, shipments may begin as early as July or August and continue throughout September and October until all of the vaccine is distributed.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Flu vaccines are offered by many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even by some schools.

Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else, like a health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or work.

For more info visit www.cdc.gov/flu/.

 

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Where to get a flu shot

 

 

The Kent County Health Department offers four locations:

  • Fuller – 700 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • North County – 4388 14 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341
  • Sheldon – 121 Franklin SE, Ste. 130, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
  • South – 4700 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Kentwood, MI 49508

Call (616) 632-7200 weekdays from 8-12 or 1-5 to make your appointment.

Fees: $39-$55 for injectable vaccine and $41 for FluMist (nasal).

They will bill Medicaid and Medicare for adults and children, but they do not bill private insurance. Children 18 years and under may qualify for free or reduced cost vaccine. Qualifying for this special program will be assessed at your appointment.

Flu shots are also available at area pharmacies:

  • Rite Aid 4166 17 Mile Road Ne, Cedar Springs, 696-9040

Vaccines: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HPV, Meningococcal, MMR, Pneumococcal, Shingles/zoster, Td, Tdap, Varicella

  • Meijer 3700 17 Mile Rd Ne, Cedar Springs, 696-4610

Vaccines: Flu Nasal Spray ($32.99), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, High-Dose Flu Shot, HPV, Meningococcal, MMR, Pneumococcal, Quadrivalent Flu Shot ($32.99), Shingles/zoster, Td, Tdap, Trivalent Flu Shot ($27.99), Varicella

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MDA offers flu Shots to those affected by muscle disease

 

MDA’s online Flu Season Resource Center helps families prepare

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is offering assistance with the cost of flu vaccines for individuals affected by muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases.

MDA offers this service annually for adults and children living with muscle disease who, because of compromised respiratory function, including difficulty coughing or clearing fluid from the lungs, are at increased risk of serious and possibly life-threatening complications from the flu.

Through MDA, individuals affected by muscle disease can receive a flu shot through their local MDA-sponsored clinic, or they can receive reimbursement from MDA (up to $35) for the cost of flu vaccines received from licensed health professionals, including those located at retail pharmacies.

“We can’t keep flu season from coming, but there’s a lot we can do to prepare and help protect everyone from its impact and complications,” said MDA Executive Vice President & Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Valerie Cwik, M.D. “All strains of the flu can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illness for those living with a muscle disease. We encourage families to learn more about how to prevent influenza and prepare for the coming flu season.”

Families and individuals served by MDA can visit MDA’s Flu Season Resource Center at http://mda.org/flu-season-support to receive up-to-date information and tips for flu prevention, what to do should infection occur and how to obtain a vaccine through MDA. 

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can begin as early as October, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get their flu vaccine as soon as it is available in their area. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to be protected from the flu.

For more information about obtaining a flu vaccine, individuals affected by any of the diseases in MDA’s program may call their local MDA office at (800) 572-1717.

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Checklist for Fall Garden and Landscape Care

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by Melinda Myers

You can see and feel the change of seasons. Fall color is starting to appear, pansies, mums and asters are in the garden center and your thoughts are turning to preparing your landscape for winter.

Those in warm climates are switching to winter annuals, while those in colder regions are fortifying their landscapes for the cold winter ahead. No matter where you live, invest some time in preparing your landscape for the change in seasons. Dedicating some time now will pay off with healthier more beautiful plants next spring.

  • Continue to mow the lawn high as long as it continues to grow. There’s no need to cut it short unless that is the look you prefer.
  • Fertilize the grass with a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer like Milorganite. Fall fertilization provides the greatest benefit to your lawn and gives you the best value for the time and money invested.
  • Those in cooler regions growing bluegrass, fescue and perennial ryegrass should fertilize around Labor Day when temperatures start to cool. Then make a final application between Halloween and Thanksgiving before the ground freezes.
  • Those in warmer climates growing centipede, Bermuda and zoysia should also fertilize around Labor Day.
  • However, be sure to make the last fall application at least one month prior to the average first killing frost.
  • Shred leaves as they fall. Leave some on the lawn to add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. As long as you can see the grass blades through the shredded leaves your lawn will be fine.
  • Use the rest of the shredded leaves in your compost pile, as mulch on top of the soil or as a soil amendment. Just dig a two to three inch layer into the top 12 inches of annual or new planting beds. These leaves will break down and add organic matter. By spring the leaves will decompose and the garden bed will be ready to cultivate and plant.
  • Plant a few bulbs now for a colorful early spring display. Incorporate compost, aged manure or other organic matter into the planting area. Add a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer at the time of planting. In general, plant bulbs two to three times their vertical diameter deep. Follow specific planting and spacing directions on the package or tag.
  • Select animal-resistant bulbs to avoid squirrels digging up the bulbs and deer and rabbits eating the blooms. Daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths and squills are a few to consider. Little Tommies (Crocus tommasinianus) tend to be more squirrel resistant than other crocus varieties.
  • Those gardening in mild climates need low chill bulbs that will thrive and flower after a mild winter. Or purchase precooled bulbs for winter planting and spring flowering.
  • Allow disease- and insect-free perennials to stand for winter. This will increase their winter hardiness and your enjoyment. The dried leaves, stems and seedheads provide beauty for you to enjoy, seeds for the birds and overwintering homes for many butterflies and beneficial insects.
  • Plant trees, shrubs and perennials. The soil is warm and the air is cool – perfect conditions for planting and establishing trees, shrubs and perennials. And for those lucky enough to garden in warm climates, add a few winter annuals.
  • Continue to water the landscape as needed throughout the fall. Be sure to water evergreens and new plantings thoroughly before the ground freezes.

No matter where you live or the size of your garden, get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of fall. And be sure to invest a bit of energy now to insure your landscape is ready for the season ahead.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. Myers’ web site, (http://www.melindamyers.com/) offers gardening videos and tips.

 

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Fresh Market: Why Market?

AWE-Fresh-market-applesBy Vicky Babcock

 

Anyone who’s ever had a garden—even a small one—knows how much more flavorful fresh produce is. There is something about a fresh picked tomato warmed by the sun that satisfies the senses. The flavor, the texture, the scent—fresh picked produce is simply better all-around. Longer shelf-life; less spoilage; better flavor; more nutrition—all good reasons to try out your local farmers market.

Farm fresh eggs—often from free-range hens—provide better nutrition, taste better and are more humane than factory eggs produced by caged hens.

Grocery chains do a phenomenal job these days and the focus is more on buying local, but even so, the time between harvested crops to grocery shelves is much greater than what you will find from local (farm) markets. “Local” to a grocery chain usually encompasses the entire state in which the store resides whereas farm markets cater to the surrounding area.

AWE-Fresh-market-peppersMany local markets offer events for the community, providing entertainment as well as educational opportunities—some markets may charge a small fee—others provide these at no charge.

Buying local strengthens the community. It provides jobs to farmers and farm laborers as well as local mills and farm supply stores. Locals tend to spend locally, so the money stays in the community working for the community. Farmers markets provide a venue for the community to meet and visit with their friends and neighbors as well as a healthy open-air feel. Prices are often competitive as markets tend to be cheaper for the local farmer and there is no middleman to satisfy.  With the relatively new cottage laws, small business start-ups are able to provide fresh home-baked breads, baked goods and jams, as well as a host of other products at low cost because overhead is kept to a minimum.

Browse the markets and you can often find a variety of mouthwatering delights, especially in well-established markets where vendor participation is high as competition for Market space boosts creativity. You may even find craft beers and wines at select markets as new laws apply. You’ll find potted perennials and even a few crafts. Or you might just find the following herbed breads. See you at Market!

 

Herbed Sourdough English Muffin Loaves

Makes 2 loaves

5-1/2 to 6 cups flour

2 pkgs Active Dry Yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups sour milk*

1/2 cup water

1-2 T. fresh herbs**

Cornmeal

 

Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, soda and fresh herbs.  Heat liquids until very warm (120ºF.-130ºF.).  Add to dry mixture; beat well.  Stir in enough more flour to make a stiff batter. Spoon into two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover; let rise in warm place for 45 min. Bake at 400ºF. for 25 min. Remove from pans immediately and cool.

These are best sliced and toasted and served warm. They’re wonderful with cream cheese, butter, specialty jams or flavored butters. Use your imagination!

*Sour milk can be made by adding a teaspoon of vinegar to each cup of milk.  Or use fresh milk for a slightly different flavor

**I usually use rosemary, as it is a favorite of mine. I’ve also had luck with sage. Basil is another favorite, but use your imagination. The possibilities are endless—you can also combine compatible herbs for a savory loaf. Bon appétit!

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Online resource for new drivers 

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New drivers should understand how preventive maintenance can keep a car running well.

(NAPS)—Most young people look forward to the day they get their driver’s license, but they should know that with the newfound freedom also comes the responsibility of caring for their car.

To help new drivers become more comfortable with the auto service and repair process, the Car Care Council, the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign promoting regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, has a variety of online resources including a video entitled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect.” It provides valuable information on such topics as finding the right auto repair facility, what happens at the shop and what questions to ask. The video also covers consumer rights and the manufacturer’s warranty.

Also available at www.carcare.org/car-care-guide is a free 80-page booklet in English and in Spanish. The popular guide uses easy-to-understand language and includes descriptions of major vehicle systems, questions to ask a professional technician, and a checklist to remind drivers what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when service or repair should be performed. Special sections on fuel economy and environmental awareness show new drivers how to get better gas mileage and make their vehicle more environmentally friendly.

The Council’s online custom service schedule and e-mail reminder service can also help young people remember to include car care in their busy schedules. This free, easy-to-use resource can be personalized to help make auto care more convenient and economical. There’s also a general service schedule that can be printed and followed. New drivers should be sure to consult their vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations by the carmaker.

“Before handing over the keys to new drivers, it’s a good idea to take some time to educate them on the importance of preventative maintenance and how proper vehicle care relates to the reliability and safety of their car,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.

For a copy of the council’s “Car Care Guide” or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

 

 

 

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MDOT reminds motorists and bicyclists to share the road

CAR-Fast-FactsCAR-motorists-and-bicyclistsThe Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) wants to remind motorists and bicyclists alike to be courteous and share the road.

Schools are now in session, but that doesn’t mean the bicycling season is over. Many people are riding bicycles, either individually or in groups, taking in the fall colors on scenic roadways or shopping for farm fresh produce at roadside stands. Motorists are reminded that bicyclists are legal users of the roadway and groups of bicyclists are legally allowed to ride on the roadway without special event permits or accommodations, while following all applicable laws.

In early 2014, MDOT and the Michigan Department of State (MDOS) released a “share the road” video, showing the wide range of bicyclists everyone must share the road with. It features cameo appearances by State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who remind bicyclists to follow the rules of the road, and motorists to pass bicyclists at a safe distance.

A recently released report on the economic benefits of bicycling estimated that organized bicycle events and bicycle-related vacations contribute $38 million to the Michigan economy. These organized group events are important contributors to our communities and states economy.

MDOT reminds drivers: Lives are in your hands – always pass cyclists at a safe distance.

 

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Score a Touchdown This Football Season

(Family Features) Football season can only mean one thing – time to grab the best seat in the house, and we’re not talking about at the stadium. In fact, 77 percent of Americans think the best seat in the house is at home in front of an HDTV, according to a recent survey by McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco brand products. Instead of heading to the stadium, keep the tailgate at home and throw a “homegating” party.

The ultimate homegate is not only about the football game, it’s about the food. No matter what’s happening on the field, the spread can be the real game-changer. In fact, the survey found the following:

78 percent of American adults think good food can make up for a bad game.

Americans spend, on average, 42 percent of the game eating or drinking.

Over half of Americans (57 percent) voted the grill as the most important appliance when hosting a homegate.

For a homegate touchdown, banish the boring and serve beer-infused chili, which is sure to please all your family, friends and football fans. For other ways to spice up game day, visit www.tabasco.com.

 

Super Good Chili

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 (12 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (12 ounce) can or bottle beer

1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies

1 tablespoon TABASCO brand Original Red Sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese,

optional

Heat oil in 5-quart saucepot over medium heat. Add beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to bowl.

Add onion and garlic to drippings remaining in skillet; cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.

Return meat to saucepot; stir in cumin. Cook 1 minute. Stir in diced tomatoes with liquid, pinto beans, red kidney beans, beer, green chilies, Tabasco Sauce and salt. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

Serve with cheese, if desired.

 

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Friends of the Cedar Springs Library Quilt Raffle

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How would you like to help out the Cedar Springs Library and stay warm this winter, too? Here’s your chance! You have a chance to win the fabulous, new Christmas quilt to help build the new Cedar Springs Library! Tickets are $1 for 1 or $5 for 6 chances. View the quilt now online at: cedarspringslibrary.org, stop by the Library on 43 W. Cherry or view it on Red Flannel Day at the Friends Book Sale between 10 and 5pm. Drawing will be held at 5 p.m. Buy your tickets at the Cedar Springs Library.

 

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