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Archive | July, 2016

Creative ways to take your raised bed and planter gardening to new heights

BLOOM-Creative1

(BPT) – Generations of space-challenged gardeners have relied on raised beds and planting boxes to grow a harvest of vegetables, fruits and herbs – even in the tightest spaces. Vertical gardening gave us a whole new way to garden in tight spots, by encouraging plants to grow up, rather than spread out. Now, by marrying the two techniques, you can create a visually stunning, artistic display of gardening prowess that will keep your table full of fresh produce throughout the summer.

Building the foundation

A well-built, durable planting foundation, such as a raised bed or planting box made from Western Red Cedar, is an essential starting point. Decide where yours will go and start building. You can find free project plans online to help you build the frame for a raised bed or a planting box.

Whatever style of planter you build, it’s important to choose a quality construction material. Western Red Cedar is often the choice of savvy gardeners because it’s naturally rot resistant as well as durable and easy to work with. It needs no chemical finishes or paints to preserve or beautify it, and is harvested from sustainably managed forests. Learn more and find free project plans at Realcedar.com.

BLOOM-Creative2Simple steps onward and upward

With a good foundation in place, it’s time to consider all the ways you can turn your raised bed or planter into a vertical masterpiece.

Adding a simple trellis to your raised bed or planting box is an easy way to maximize your growing space. For example, you can plant shrub-type plants like peppers in a row in the front portion of the planter, then add a trellis in the back portion and encourage vining veggies like beans, peas and cucumbers to grow up the structure.

For larger raised beds, you can build a vineyard style pergola above the bed. A sturdy pergola made from Western Red Cedar can support a variety of substantial plants such as squash, but you don’t have to be limited to fruits and veggies that grow on vines. Affix small boxes or even burlap bags to allow for greater variety in your vertical garden.

Loftier ambitions

Is your raised bed nestled against a wall? Or perhaps your planting box perches on one side of your backyard deck. You can add a free-standing wall by building a cedar frame and stretching hex wire across the frame. Vines will readily climb the wire, but you can also attach terra cotta pots to the wire to hold herbs, small vegetables and even flowers.

In a variation on the trellis concept, you can build a framework with multiple rows of narrow cedar troughs above your raised bed or planting box; the troughs make a great growing spot for herbs. You can also create a stepped planter by building a series of boxes in graduated sizes and then stacking them atop each other widest to narrowest. Or, for a more modern look, build a contemporary ladder-style vertical garden with box-shaped removable planters.

Veteran gardeners who are also seasoned do-it-yourselfers can go all out by building a pergola. Western Red Cedar pergolas can go anywhere, take up far less ground space than a traditional garden and are wonderful vertical gardening pieces. Just plant your favorite vining fruit or vegetable at the base of each post and train the vines upward as they grow.

One out of every three American households gardens—36 million households—according to the National Gardening Association. With 9 million households in urban areas participating in gardening, it’s a great time to explore creative ways to bring vertical gardening and raised beds or planter boxes together.

 

 

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Kent County Youth Fair

KCYF-logo

August 8th-13th

225 S Hudson, Lowell MI 49331

Download schedule here: KentCountyYouthFair2016.pdf

Or visit http://kcyf.org

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Critical blood shortage: Red Cross urges blood and platelet donors to give now 

 

LANSING, Mich.—While thousands of people from across the country responded to the emergency request for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in early July, a critical blood shortage remains. The Red Cross urges eligible donors to give now to help ensure blood is available throughout the rest of the summer to meet patient needs.

At times, blood and platelets are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in, which impacts the ability to rebuild the blood supply. Right now, the Red Cross has less than a five-day blood supply on hand. The Red Cross strives to have a five-day supply at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that may require significant volumes of donated blood products.

“The Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelet donors to give now and help save patient lives,” said Todd Kulman, External Communications Manager of the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “We are grateful for those who have already stepped up this summer to give and want to remind those who are eligible that hospital patients are still counting on them to roll up a sleeve.”

Every two seconds

In the U.S., every two seconds someone like Ray Poulin needs blood or platelets. Poulin’s liver and kidneys failed following a serious blood infection. The situation became urgent when his liver hemorrhaged. He was given a 10 percent chance of survival. After receiving 77 units of blood, Poulin defied the odds.

“There was a lot that went into saving my life, but if the blood wasn’t available when I needed it, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Poulin.

Blood and platelets are needed for many different reasons. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease may all need blood.

All blood types urgently needed

Donors of all blood types are urgently needed to help restock the shelves. The Red Cross is thanking those who come in to donate blood or platelets between July 25 and Aug. 31 by emailing them a $5 Amazon.com gift card claim code.

To schedule an appointment to donate, use the free Blood donor app (redcross.org/bloodapp), visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donation appointments and completion of an online health history questionnaire (redcrossblood.org/rapidpass) are encouraged to help reduce wait times.

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Loss of spouse event

 

Registration is now open for a free Loss of a Spouse event, presented by Hospice of Michigan, for anyone experiencing the loss of a spouse or life partner in the Grand Rapids area. The event will be held 2-3:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Hospice of Michigan office located at 989 Spaulding SE, Ada. Guest speaker Ron Gries will share excerpts from his book Through Death to Life and lead a discussion. By sharing the challenges of his journey of grief, Gries offers hope and encouragement to others.

All members of the community are welcome to attend the Loss of a Spouse event free of charge, regardless of whether their loved one received services through Hospice of Michigan. To register, contact Sue Glover at 616.356.5255. For information on the event and other services Hospice of Michigan offers to the community, visit http://www.hom.org/for-patients-and-loved-ones/grief-support-groups.

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First human case of West Nile virus for 2016 confirmed in MI

HEA-WestNile-mosquito

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirmed on July 22 the state’s first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) for 2016. The resident is an older adult from Livingston County and is currently recovering.

“Hot, dry summers are ideal for the mosquito that transmits West Nile virus, and this case is an important reminder to stay vigilant against mosquito bites throughout the summer,” said Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “All residents older than six months of age should use repellent and take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours between dusk and dawn.”

To date, 13 birds have tested positive for WNV so far this season, and 3 WNV positive mosquito pools have been detected in Oakland and Saginaw counties. Infected birds and mosquitoes can provide an early warning of WNV activity in a community. For the most current information on mosquito-borne virus activity in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

Residents can stay healthy by using simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their families by reading and following all repellant label directions. The following steps are recommended to avoid WNV:

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

Most people who become infected with West Nile virus will not develop any symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever, and about one in 150 infected people will become severely ill.

Mild illness may include headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting diarrhea, or rash. Severe symptoms of WNV are associated with encephalitis or meningitis, and may include: include stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis. People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms.

For more information and surveillance activity about WNV, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

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Algoma Township School House reunion picnic

 

All persons who attended Algoma Central, Block, Burchtown, Chalmers, Edgerton, Foxville, Gougeburg, Hull or Morningstar schools are encouraged to come and share your memories and connect with students you haven’t seen in years at the Algoma Township School House reunion picnic, on Saturday, August 13, at noon, at Chalmers Park (corner of Fonger St and Pine Island Drive). Bring a hot dish to pass, salad or dessert and bring your own table service. Punch will be provided.

Please bring any pictures or memorabilia you may have. Even if you never attended any of these schools you are welcome to join the fun and discover and meet friends and neighbors who love sharing their experiences of growing up in Algoma Township.

The “Algoma Township History” book will be available for purchase – $21.99 each.

We will conduct a raffle for two beautiful handmade quilts donated to the Historical Society to help fund the new Algoma Township Fire Department Museum. The quilts were donated by the Sunshine Circle.

 

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Montcalm Sheriff and MSP Lakeview to host Citizens Academy

 

The Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department (MCSD) and Michigan State Police (MSP) Lakeview Post is pleased to announce a Citizens’ Academy, which will start September 13, 2016 and end November 1, 2016. Attendees will meet from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m. every Tuesday night.  The eight week academy will give citizens the opportunity to become familiar with the mission and operation of the MCSD and MSP, understand the procedures deputies and troopers follow, increase their awareness of law enforcement’s role in the community, and get to know personnel at the MCSD and Lakeview Post.

The eight week academy will meet at Montcalm Community College’s Sidney Campus. A graduation ceremony will be held on November 1, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Individuals who are interested in attending the Citizens’ Academy should contact Undersheriff Mike Williams at 989-831-7586 (mwilliams@co.montcalm.mi.us) or F/Lt Kevin Sweeney at 517-719-1195 (sweeneyk@michigan.gov) to receive an application

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Some of the best two line jokes

 

1. Parallel lines have so much in common.

It’s a shame they’ll never meet.

2. My wife accused me of being immature.

I told her to get out of my fort.

3. Women only call me ugly until they find out how much money I make. Then they call me ugly and poor.

5. What do you call a dog with no legs?

It doesn’t matter; it’s not going to come.

6. Someone stole my Microsoft Office and they’re gonna pay.

You have my Word.

7. Someone in London gets stabbed every 52 seconds.

Poor guy.

8. How do you find Will Smith in the snow?

You look for the fresh prints.

9. I went to a really emotional wedding the other day.

Even the cake was in tiers.

10. We have a genetic predisposition for diarrhea.

Runs in our jeans.

11. Want to hear a word I just made up?

Plagiarism.

12. Why do cows wear bells?

Because their horns don’t work.

13. What did the pirate say when he turned 80?

Aye Matey.

14. I took the shell off my racing snail, thinking it would make him run faster.

If anything, it made him more sluggish.

15. How do you think the unthinkable?

With an itheberg.

16. Someone stole my mood ring,

I don’t know how I feel about that.

17. I tried to catch fog yesterday…

Mist.

18. The first rule of Alzheimer’s club…

Is don’t talk about chess club.

19. Why does a chicken coop have two doors?

If it had four doors it would be a chicken sedan.

20. I told my wife she was drawing her eyebrows too high.

She looked surprised.

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Hometown Happenings

 articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.

CS Youth Football Sign-ups

July 21: Cedar Springs Youth Football sign-ups will be held on Thursday, July 21st, Tuesday, July 26th and Thursday, July 28th  from 6-7:30 pm at Skinner Field Concession Stand or sign up online @ www.cedarspringsyouthfootball.com. Rocket: 3rd – 6th grade, Middle School, 7th  – 8th. Contact April Victorson 616-890-5869, a_victorson@yahoo.com. #29, 30p

AYSO Registration

July 28: The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Registration for the Fall season TODAY. Visit www.ayso902.org. Registration ends Thursday, July 28th. #29,30p

July CS UMC Sesquicentennial Event

July 31: The public is invited to an Old Fashioned Hymn Sing and Ice Cream Social on July 31st at 4 pm at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church on the corner of Church and Main Street. This event of singing and fellowship is part of the church’s 150th Anniversary Sesquicentennial celebration. Everyone is welcome! #30

Dinner at the Legion

Aug. 1: The American Legion, 80 S. Main St. Cedar Springs, is hosting a Roast Beef & Onions dinner on Monday, August 1st , from 5 – 7 pm. Included will be mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, salad, roll, drink and dessert. The cost is $9 for adults, children (15 and younger) $4.00. Come and enjoy home cooking. Take out is available. 616-696-9160.  #30p

Craft It Up at KDL

Aug. 1: Refashion old t-shirts into headbands, bracelets, gladiator sandals, dog toys, tank tops and more. Please bring a pair of flip-flops. Monday, August 1st at 1:30 p.m., Nelson Twp./Sand Lake KDL Branch, 88 Eighth St., Sand Lake. #30

Free Basketball Camp

Aug. 2-5: Gowen Bible Church will host its free annual basketball camp for kids 3rd – 8th grade from 9 am to 12:30 pm on August 2 – 5 at its Meddler Campus, 16415 Meddler Ave., Sand Lake. Register online at www.gowenbible.org or call 616-984-2525. Contact this number for more information. #30

God’s Kitchen in Cedar Springs

Aug. 2,9,16,23,30: Join us for dinner every Tuesday. God’s Kitchen – Cedar Springs welcomes families from Northern Kent County and the surrounding area to a Tuesday Evening Meal. No charge – no registration required!  Served from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the St. John Paul II Parish, 3110 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs. For more information, call the Church office at 616-696-3904. #30

Heritage Festival

Aug. 4-6: the 30th Annual Heritage Festival is August 4 – 6 at Montcalm Heritage Village on Montcalm Community College’s Sidney campus. The three day celebration features historical displays, refreshments and must for all ages. Visit www.montcalm.edu/heritage-festival for more information about Montcalm Heritage Festival. #30

Help Promote Literacy

Aug. 4,10,19,23: The need is urgent at this time! The Literacy Center of West Michigan has scheduled  information sessions for prospective volunteer tutors. These sessions last one hour. It allows persons interested in becoming volunteer tutors to find out more about the Literacy Center and its programs. At the end of the session there will be a chance to sign up for tutor training. Sessions are Thursday August 4th at 2 pm, Wednesday August 10th at 6 pm, Friday August 19th at 10 am and Tuesday August 23rd at 2 pm. By training people to be tutors, the Center can offer one-on-one reading help to adults asking for assistance in reading or English as a Second Language (ESL). You do not need to speak another language to tutor ESL. The Literacy Center of West Michigan is located at 1120 Monroe Ave., NW, Suite 240, Grand Rapids. Please call 616-459-5151 (ext. 10) or email us at info@literacycenterwm.org to register. #30

Free Lake Effect Concert

Aug. 7: Free Lake Effect Concert featuring the band “Round Brown Suitcase” will be held on Sunday, August 7th from 12 to 3:30 pm (band starts at 12:30 pm). The concert will be held at Bostwick Lake UCC Church, 7979 Belding Rd. NE, Rockford. Donations and food sales will benefit Pause with a Cause. Contact Lisa Atchison, 616-634-6459 with any questions. #30,31p

Celebrate Curious George’s 75th Anniversary with a Day of Discovery

Aug. 10: Make a yellow hat to wear as you learn about space, rainbows, the senses, the sun and the ocean through various crafts and hands-on activities. Note that while we celebrate his character, Curious George will not be in attendance. Wednesday, August 10th at 10 a.m., Spencer Twp. KDL Branch, 14960 Meddler Ave., Gowen. #30

Rummage Sale at CS UMC

Aug. 10,11: The Cedar Springs United Methodist Women will hold a rummage sale in the fellowship hall on the corner of Main and Church Streets. August 10, Wednesday, from 9 am to 7 pm and August 11, Thursday, from 9 am to 2 pm. There will be a bag sale on Thursday. Proceeds go toward their mission projects. #30,31p

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Federal charges filed against former Rockford rowing coach

By Judy Reed

Timothy Warren Vallier

Timothy Warren Vallier

A former Rockford coach that allegedly recorded videos of high school girls changing their clothes in the locker room now faces federal charges.

Timothy Warren Vallier, 30, the former head coach of the rowing team at Rockford Public Schools, was arraigned in federal court on Thursday, July 28, on federal criminal charges of possession and attempted production of child pornography.

The Plainfield Township man was arrested on July 8, after an investigation by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Rockford Public School Superintendent Mike Shibler contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department on the morning of July 8 after receiving a call from one of the crew (rowing) parents informing him that a video camera had been found in a crew vehicle with inappropriate footage.

Two assistant coaches in the vehicle reportedly saw the camera, and when one of the girls got curious and looked at it, found footage of two female athletes changing their clothes inside the changing room area of the Rockford Crew House located at 5501 Jupiter Ave., in Plainfield Township.

Vallier reportedly admitted to police that he put the camcorder in the girls changing room on multiple occasions. He also said he has done this several times over the last few years, and has videos of other female athletes.

He was initially arraigned in 63rd District on two obscenity charges—one charge of child sexually abusive commercial activity and one charge of possession of child sexually abusive material; and two charges of using a computer in the commission of a crime.

The state charges will be dropped now that criminal charges have been filed.

The federal criminal complaint alleges that Vallier took hundreds of hidden videos of girls changing in locker rooms while he was the head rowing coach at the Rockford Public Schools and that a computer in his possession contained additional child pornography.

The government asked the court to detain Vallier pending trial, and he will remain in custody pending a hearing on the matter early next week. He has been in the Kent County Jail since his arrest.

If convicted, Vallier faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison on each count of attempting to produce child pornography and up to 20 years for possession. Each offense also carries a requirement for sex offender registration, a potential fine of up to $250,000 and financial compensation to the victims, and up to lifetime of intensive supervised release after incarceration, during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST. For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tessa K. Hessmiller as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices, and federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children. Individuals with information or concerns about possible child exploitation should contact local law enforcement.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood in West Michigan, including resources for children and parents, visit: http://www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/psc.html.

 

 

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