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Archive | January, 2016

Winter reading

By Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

Snuggling with a good book helps one savor long winter nights with pleasure. There are significant natural history books I read during my development. I stumbled upon books beyond those required for professional education. Each of us has personal interests for subjects but some books transcend specific content with broader ideas about our relationship with nature niches that support us physically and emotionally. Books from times past can be inexpensively found online or in libraries.

I became interested in sharing natural history through stories and writing by the time I was 20. I wrote little at that time and thought I might find time to write during retirement years. I wrote a short piece about what I observed while following a pheasant’s tracks in the snow. When I showed it to a college professor that wrote a nature column, she requested to publish it in her weekly column.

Later in graduate school in northern Minnesota, I was invited to speak. After my program, a literature professor, Dr. Saur, provided me with one of the better compliments of my life. He said I reminded him of a young Sigurd Olsen. I had read several of Olsen’s books about experiences in the north woods wilderness. Perhaps the “The Singing Wilderness” and “Listening Point” are my favorites where Olsen reveals the magic and mystery of wilderness experiences.

For readers desiring details of life, John Bardach’s book, “Downstream,” describes the life of species found from a stream’s headwaters to its mouth emptying into the ocean. It is an enlightening natural history of stream and river life addressing how human activity impacts the quality of life for people and nature.

“The Desert Year,” by Joseph Wood Krutch, will take you to the dry warm desert if you feel like escaping our cold weather. It is a most delightful introduction to the marvels of life able to survive in dry habitats. This author is one of my favorites. One Christmas I thought I would would tell him how much I appreciated his writing. I called and heard happy family voices. I asked to speak to Joseph. The women said who is this? I told her they would not know me but I wanted to tell Joseph how much I enjoyed his work. She said you wouldn’t know this but he has been dead for 10 years. I told her I hoped my call would give Christmas joy regarding appreciation for her husband’s work.

I read few novels because excellent nonfiction books keep me occupied but fiction stories with accurate natural history descriptions allow an author to create images of events that occur daily. “Those of the Forest,” by Wallace Byron Grange, is the story of Snowshoe, a hare, that everyone should meet.

For short spurts of reading, “Sisters of the Earth” is a collection of women’s prose. I have marked the table of contents with checks and stars for those to reread over and over again. I cannot read something once and absorb it all. Whether it is a good movie, book, or short story, I revisit for full enjoyment to garner new details or to just feel the joy of words rippling under my skin.

Emotional connections with places, experiences, and creatures captivate us. We relate through wishful desire and hunger for ancient roots lingering in our souls. Authors take us to places we want to go but do not know how to get there on our own. Helen Hoover’s “The Gift of the Deer” is a wonderful account of her experiences with deer that lived near her north woods home.

Invite me for an entertaining evening of story telling for your nature interested group, club, business, church, school, or even for a family and friends campfire. I have a variety of programs tailored for heart, soul, and mind. Contact me to receive an e-mail program brochure or to discuss tailored presentations.

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

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What a difference a year makes


DNR biologists discuss effects of milder winter on wildlife

Canada geese and mallards enjoying a stretch of open water in Ingham County are shown. During this milder winter so far, waterfowl have been able to find more areas of open water for feeding.

Canada geese and mallards enjoying a stretch of open water in Ingham County are shown. During this milder winter so far, waterfowl have been able to find more areas of open water for feeding.

Looking out your window, do you find yourself saying, “This winter is different?”

Remembering last winter, areas of Michigan had not inches, but feet of snow on the ground by mid-November. In stark contrast, this winter, many parts of Michigan didn’t receive any significant snowfall that stayed on the ground, until after Christmas.

With the effects of one of the strongest El Nino weather patterns on record—warmer Pacific Ocean waters producing atmospheric changes in weather thousands of miles away—this winter certainly is different.

Moose are built for cold conditions, with long legs for deep snow and thick fur coats for winter temperatures.

Moose are built for cold conditions, with long legs for deep snow and thick fur coats for winter temperatures.

As a result, weather forecasters are predicting above-average temperatures and drier than normal winter conditions across the northern tier of the country, including Michigan.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists have been fielding inquiries about how the milder conditions might be affecting wildlife this winter.

“The 2014-2015 Michigan winter had record low temperatures for numerous days,” DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said. “Along with those cold temps, winter brought snow depths that challenged even the most adapted wildlife.”


Less than a year ago, waterfowl were being negatively affected across Michigan by lakes, rivers and streams freezing completely, or more extensively than usual, leaving smaller areas of open water for ducks and swans to feed. After the last two hard winters, this winter is providing many open water locations.

“Instead of ducks being concentrated in small areas, ducks and swans have good amounts of open water in a mild winter, giving them room to forage and find the food they need,” said Barbara Avers, a DNR waterfowl and wetlands specialist.

The last two winters resulted in some malnourished or dead waterfowl being trapped on the ice, unable to fly. Not this winter.

Smaller mammals

Squirrels never take a break. They are active all year long, and this mild winter provides an easier hunt for food. Less snow to get through equals less energy needed to find food and stay warm.

With a milder winter, snowshoe hares are likely to be under a bit more pressure from predators. Their fur is light brown in the fall and molts to white as the amount of daylight changes. Until snow is on the ground, the white fur stands out, allowing hawks, owls and other predators better opportunities to benefit.

Alternatively, hares this winter should have plenty of food they can easily access.

Skunks and raccoons go into an inactive or dormant state in the winter. This is something they are naturally wired to do to conserve energy. This won’t change with the mild winter. Their late winter mating seasons, won’t be affected. As usual, they will be out and more visible for brief periods of time looking for a mate.

Large mammals

Black bear have this same instinct; their internal clock is telling them they need to conserve energy, regardless of temperature, find a place to den and go into a deep sleep.

What is frequently referred to as a bear hibernating is really a bear in a very deep sleep. Even with the warm fall and warm December, a bear will still den. Black bears also den in southern states, where temperatures and snow levels are much more moderate compared to even a mild Michigan winter.

Bears are triggered to enter their dens by a combination of things, with the amount of daylight being an important main factor. Bears are able to survive the denning period because they bulk up during the fall, gaining 1-2 pounds per day.

Not all animals will benefit from this mild winter.

“Moose are a species that are just built for the cold,” said DNR wildlife research biologist Dean Beyer. “Moose are at their southern extent of their range in the Upper Peninsula.”

Moose, with their long legs and thick winter coat, are built for deep snow and cold temperatures. When moose have their winter coat, and temperatures are warmer than 23 degrees, they become stressed and need to take action to cool down.

“When an animal is stressed, its heart and respiration rates will increase, in turn increasing the amount of energy they are using,” Beyer said. “This December was probably stressful on Michigan moose, as temps were warmer than they normally experience.”

Deer, on the other hand, will find some relief with a mild winter.

For winter survival, deer reduce their movements by about 50 percent and their food intake by about 30 percent. Mild temperatures allow deer to survive on the layer of fat they’ve built up the previous fall.

Just like with moose, the more deer move in the wintertime, the more energy they use. However, deer, with their shorter legs, should be able to find the little food they need in the winter accessible, above and below the snow.

In the Upper Peninsula, the effects of three consecutive harsh winters, combined with the contributions of predators, have been tough on deer populations. Though wildlife biologists caution that one mild winter will not be enough to allow the herd to quickly rebound, the moderation in conditions is beneficial and welcomed.


Wild turkeys will also have an easier time in a mild winter. Typically at higher snow depths or when a hard snow crust is formed, turkeys rely solely on fruits, nuts and catkins on trees and shrubs—food found above the snow.

When possible, turkeys will continue to scratch through the snow in farmed fields, getting the valuable crumbs left behind by farming equipment, and can even find acorns and beech nuts in the woods.

Ruffed grouse may be more susceptible to predators, without several feet of snowy insulation. These birds can almost dive into the snow and burrow, staying warm and concealed. They typically do well during those hard winters.

Migrating birds generally started leaving and heading south months ago. Therefore, this unseasonably warm winter is something they’ll realize only when they return in the spring.

Some migrating birds that leave relatively late, like sandhill cranes, may stay behind as long as they can find the food they need to make it through the winter, but will continue south if temperatures drop.

Birds like American robins, eastern bluebirds and hermit thrushes may remain in the state in small numbers, because of the mild weather and availability of berries and seeds.

Resident backyard birds, like blue jays, American goldfinches, northern cardinals and black-capped chickadees will use less energy keeping warm during a mild winter, which can result in better body conditions and larger egg clutches or broods of chicks in the spring.


So far, the milder winter we’ve experienced has been a welcome break for many people and some wildlife that have had a hard go the last few winters. Although we may think this relative lack of snow and warmer temperatures make this winter different or easier, the winter is certainly not over.

For many animals, the next couple months could still be challenging. However, animals have habits or instincts and are hard-wired to survive. They will adapt.

For more information, visit the DNR’s webpage at www.michigan.gov/wildlifeactionplan.

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Plank to bowl at Spring Arbor

Cedar Springs senior Jarod Plank signed with Spring Arbor University bowling last week. The signing took place at The Springs Church. Seated (L to R): SA head bowling coach Michael Hall, Jarod  Plank, and Jarod’s mother, Lorie Plank.

Cedar Springs senior Jarod Plank signed with Spring Arbor University bowling last week. The signing took place at The Springs Church. Seated (L to R): SA head bowling coach Michael Hall, Jarod Plank, and Jarod’s mother, Lorie Plank.

Spring Arbor University men’s bowling head coach Michael Hall is excited to announce the signing of Jarod Plank from Cedar Springs High School in Cedar Springs, Michigan.

Plank helped guide Cedar Springs to the state tournament three years in a row as the Red Hawks earned either first or second place at regionals in all three years.

While attending SAU, Plank intends to pursue a degree in youth ministry.

The 2016-17 academic year will be the inaugural season of competition for the Spring Arbor men’s and women’s bowling programs. The teams will practice and compete at Airport Lanes Bowling Center in Jackson, Michigan.

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Red Hawks split tri; Ringler earns 100th win at Midland

Varsity Red Hawk wrestler Jordan Ringler celebrates his 100 varsity win.

Varsity Red Hawk wrestler Jordan Ringler celebrates his 100 varsity win.

By Barbra Chong

Cedar Springs High School Wrestling traveled to Forest Hills Northern for a Conference Tri Meet last Wednesday, January 20. Cedar Springs started the evening against the Huskies of Forest Hills Northern and claimed a victory, 57-21. Ending the night, the Red Hawks suffered a loss to long time rival Sparta, 46-19. Overall, the team is 3-0 in the OK Bronze Conference.

Anthony Brew and Billy Hammer on the Junior Varsity Team each scored a victory. On the Varsity level; 119/125 lb Jordan Ringler, 135 lb Jacob Galinis, 171/189 lb Ryan Ringler and Heavyweight Patrick Depiazza all went undefeated for the evening. 112 lb Logan Hull, 125 lb Aaron Smith, 140 Jesse Empie, 145 lb Anthony Topolski, 152 lb Xavier Anderson and 160 lb Nate Patin each won a match as well. Freshmen Aaron Smith also claimed his first varsity win by fall against Forest Hills Northern.

Saturday, January 23, the Red Hawks traveled to Midland for their team challenge. The varsity team is not at full strength, missing a 103 and 215 lb wt class, causing a void this weekend. Unfortunately, with the voids, this caused a 12-point deficit each dual. With a show of force, the Red Hawks started the day with a victory over St. Louis, 37-36 and continued the winning streak against Flat Rock with a score 46-33. Gaylord proved to be a tough competitor and the Hawks took a loss, 57-12. After a team bye, Cedar Springs regrouped and beat Brandon, 39-31 and kept the momentum going by ending the day with a final victory against West Ottawa, 35-28. The competition attracted 10 teams looking for the coveted Championship Title. Final team standings were Gaylord first place, Anchor Bay second place and Cedar Springs third place.

The individual records are as follows: 171/189 lb Ryan Ringler and heavyweight Patrick Depiazza went undefeated; 125 lb Jordan Ringler and 145/152 lb Anthony Topolski claimed four wins each; 119 lb Patrick Fliearman and 135/140 lb Jacob Galinis claimed three wins each; 130 lb Jordan Andrus, 145/152 lb Xavier Anderson, 160 lb Nate Patin and 171/189 lb Chris Shaffer claimed two wins each and 112 lb Logan Hull, 125 Aaron Smith and 130 lb Anthony Brew all claimed a victory. Freshmen, Xavier Anderson made his Varsity debut this weekend, proving he is a competitor.

S-Wrestling-Varsity-JRingler2Junior, Jordan Ringler claimed his 100th varsity career win while wrestling Jozef Motyka of Flat Rock. This is a goal that wrestlers strive to achieve over their high school career but is not easily attainable. Congratulations Jordan!

“The boys demonstrated great perseverance and teamwork this weekend, said Head Coach, Nick Emery. “They gutted it out through four dual victories all decided by one match. When we needed someone to step up, they did. Everyone contributed and it was a day to celebrate. Now back to the grind.”

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Cedar hoops win over Kent City, Northview

By Rebekah Cronk

The varsity basketball team went head to head with Kent City on Tuesday, January 19. It was a close game, but the Red Hawks took the victory with an ending score of 56-49.

The varsity team had three players score in double figures on Tuesday evening. Taylor VanDyke had with 15, Nikc Jackson had 13, and Dustin Shaw added 10.

Not only did the varsity team take the win on Tuesday against Kent City but they won yet again on Friday, January 22 against Northview. The team won by a score of 52-42.

The team was led by Nikc Jackson with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Taylor VanDyke had 10 points and a game high of 14 rebounds.

“All but one of our games in January have been away and anytime you can get wins on the road is an accomplishment,” said varsity basketball coach, Jeff Patin. “So we feel good about getting both of those wins. Also, the wins against Kent City and Northview will help us gain some momentum as we enter the halfway point of the season.”

The varsity team has suffered some losses since the start of the season, but with improvement and hard work, they have taken wins the last two weeks.

“Our team defense has been pretty consistent throughout the season and our team offense is starting to come around now. Being able to win even though you haven’t played your best yet, has given us the drive to keep continuing to improve,” said Patin.

On a roll 

The team felt as though winning against Kent City and Northview was crucial after their win against Greenville the week before.

“We felt it was important for us to play well after our first conference win against Greenville.  It [was] exam week for Cedar Springs students, so that added another dimension to our weekly preparations,” said Patin.

The team worked hard and took the victory against Kent City and Northview, despite the pressure of school.

“Throughout the season, thus far, we’ve gotten some good individual contributions from Taylor VanDyke, Nikc Jackson, Jameson Pavelka, Dustin Shaw, and Je’len Jackson.  Knowing that we have a different person who can step up on any given night is a nice feeling to have,” said Patin.

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Youth wrestlers continue to win

Cedar Springs youth wrestlers with their medals. Photo by J. Troupe.

Cedar Springs youth wrestlers with their medals. Photo by J. Troupe.

By Jacquie Troupe

This weekend Cedar Springs youth wrestlers and their families traveled to Orchard View High School and Alma High School to participate in tournaments. Altogether 21 wrestlers participated and 10 placed in the top 4 of their divisions.

Students listed placed at Orchard View Open and Novice Tournament unless otherwise noted.

First place champions were Jonathon Libera in the 58lb 4/5/6 year old All and Keaton Klaasen in the 59lb 9/10 year old Open divisions.

Second place finishers were Reed Haack in the 61lb 4/5/6 year old All, Blake Falan in the 55lb 7/8 year old Novice & Carter Falan in the 90lb 11/12 year old Open Divisions.

Third place wrestlers were Tucker Crystal in the 46lb 4/5/6 year old All and Hudson Crystal in the 72lb 7/8 year old Open divisions at the Alma Panthers Monster Trophy Tournament; Matthew Vaughn in the 90lb 9/10 year old  Novice and Andrew VanGessel in the 80lb 13/14 year old Open Divisions at Orchard View Open & Novice Tournament.

Fourth place grappler of the day was Marek Russ in the 72lb 7/8 year old Novice Division.

“As the second half of the season begins, we are looking for each of the wrestlers to continue to improve,” said Coach Goike.

Please visit our webpage:

http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=cedarspringswrestling or our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CSYWC/ for more information.

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WMP wrestlers bring home more trophies

West Michigan Pursuit wrestlers and their trophies. Photo by B. Chong

West Michigan Pursuit wrestlers and their trophies.
Photo by B. Chong

By Barbra Chong

West Michigan Pursuit traveled to Alma, Orchard View and Traverse City this weekend. WMP entered 24 and placed 18 in the top four. We have two Champions who remain undefeated this season, Chayson Eberspeaker, 6 & under age group and Jayden Marcano-Cruz, 7/8 age group. Special recognition to Landon Foss, who went 6-1 to battle back for a true second this weekend. Out of 86 battles, WMP claimed 52 victories. Individual results are as follows:

Fourth place medalists include 90 lb Josh Howard, 9/10 age group and 145 lb Zak Schmid, 13/14 age group.

Third place medalists include 95 lb Gage Bowen, 9/10 age group; 55 lb Quinten Cassiday, 7/8 age group; 90 lb Brocke Fisher, 13/14 age group; 85 lb Braden Hallman, 11/12 age group; 59 lb Kameron Ogden (Orchard View) 9/10 age group and 52 lb Aaiden Vasquez, 6 & under age group.

Second place medalists include 80 lb Xavier Contreras, 11/12 age group; 58 lb Luke Egan, 7/8 age group; 55 lb Landon Foss, 7/8 age group; 55 lb Josh Vasquez, 9/10 age group; 52 lb Kellen Weckesser (Traverse City) 7/8 age group and 133 lb Maston Wood, 11/12 age group.

Champions are 59 lb Michael Cannon, 9/10 age group; 58/61 lb Chayson Eberspeaker, 6 & under age group; 49 lb Jayden Marcano-Cruz, 7/8 age group and 72 lb Blake Peasley, 7/8 age group.

“Often the focus is put on whether you win or lose; I believe that it is everything leading up to that point. How you conduct yourself is just as important—that response is what makes a champion,” said Head Coach, Dave Andrus.

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Cold weather wake-up call


CAR-Cold-weather-wakeup-call(NAPSI)—The next nip in the air should be a wake-up call to motorists who have not yet gotten their vehicles set for the cold weather, say car care experts.

“Subzero temperatures can stress out a vehicle, as well as its driver,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Motorists should invest a little time to check over their vehicles so they have one less worry when arctic temperatures strike again.”

Here’s how:

  • For good visibility, make sure that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed. Also check to see that heaters, defrosters, lights and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. Wiper blades that are cracked or torn, or that chatter, streak and don’t properly clean your windshield, should be changed.
  • Very cold temperatures reduce a vehicle’s battery power so it’s important to keep the connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail completely, so if your vehicle’s battery is more than three years old, it’s wise to replace it.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in cold weather. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you’ll be driving in a cold climate. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
  • Have the brakes inspected and check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. So snow and ice are not a problem, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Rough weather magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling, so if you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before the temperatures drop. Also, clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system and have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

Motorists should keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

  • Lastly, stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snow brush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

Learn More

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s “Car Care Guide” or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

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Happy 87th Birthday



January, 30, 1929

Happy 87th Birthday Donald Reed of Sparta.

Love Barb & your 7 kids

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EPSON scanner image

Esther M. Heiss, 87, of Cedar Springs, died Monday, January 25, 2016 at her home. Mrs. Heiss was born March 3, 1928 in Sand Lake, Michigan the daughter of Lee and Leona (Bremmer) Parker. She was a homemaker and along with her husband worked the farm and logging. She enjoyed reading, gardening and her flowers. She was a lifelong attender of the Solon Center Wesleyan Church. She loved her family and was a treasure for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Surviving are her children, Tracy Hawley, Trudy (Jerold) Bryant, Terry Leversay, Randy (Sandy) Heiss, Roy (Alicia) Heiss; 13 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandson; several step grandchildren and great-grandchildren; brothers, Max Parker, Ken (Sue) Parker; sisters, Wanda Morris, Doris Martin, Edith (Dale) Johnson, Lois (Curt) Phillips; brother-in-law, David Newton; sister-in-law, Elaine Pyard; many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ray in 2005; son-in-law, Randy Leversay; great grandson, David Schlinz; brothers, L. B., Wyman, and Ronald “Barney” Parker; sisters, Kathleen Parker and Donna Newton. The family will greet friends Thursday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs where the service will be held Friday 11:00 am. Chaplain Daniel Pflug officiating. Interment Crandall Cemetery, Ensley Township. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home

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