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Big Timbers Fall

By Ranger Steve Mueller

We each have our own mentors, heroes, and life guides.

As a young person, we latch on to experienced seniors in areas of interest or professions. Interestingly, as we age, we learn many younger than us surpass our own skills and knowledge in specialty subjects. Our mentoring leaders become younger people that model how to complete our work more effectively.

Despite the concept of “in with the new and out with the old,” it is important to build on foundations forged by those that came before us. They redirect our lives. Each of us have special mentors. Most often they are people we interact with personally or have secondary connections with through others.

I began college at Ferris State where an emphasis was on pharmacy and bio-chemical education. I wanted to focus more on wildlife management and ecosystem analysis. I decided to transfer to Michigan State, which is well known for its wildlife management programs. It was a much larger institution than I desired with 40,000 students but it focused on skills I hoped to achieve.

I happened to meet Wakelin McNeel, professor at Central Michigan University. Camping with him in the wilds of Michigan and discussing education opportunities offered at MSU and CMU, he redirected my college selection. Some aspects of MSU education would provide better education and narrow my focus, while opportunities at CMU would develop and improve teaching and field biology skills.

Classes at CMU involved more outdoor instruction and experiences than MSU. Upper level science class sizes were smaller with greater individual instructor interactions during the 1970’s.

I chose to be mentored at CMU by a variety of skilled instructors and students. At MSU, I expect I would have forged some great mentors but I particularly liked the smaller education community at CMU. My career opportunities would have been different and great at MSU but CMU guided me to a wonderful career. Fellow CMU field biology graduates acquired careers that suited their interests and life desires. We maintain contact and they continue to mentor me from afar and when we get together.

The take home message is we each need to direct our own lives in a manner the matches our skills and desires. My career path took me to many jobs and places before settling into a career nature niche as director at the Howard Christensen Nature Center, Director at the Wittenbach/Wege Agri-science and Environmental Education Center and now Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary. Major unexpected occurrences interfered along the way but mentors helped me develop despite challenges.

My advisor, Dr. McNeel, was hit and killed on his bicycle when a college student passed another vehicle on a double yellow line. A second car came over the hill, saw the student passing and went onto to the road shoulder to avoid a head-on collision. Wake was biking there and was killed at age 45 in 1970.

Despite his death, he continued to mentor to me through his legacy. I became an unofficial “Big Brother” for his three young children Ted (8), Amie (7), and Ross (4) by spending every other weekend with them while I finished my college years. A good friendship with their mother, Katie, helped me learn more about Wake’s personal life. That mentored my development.

I have great stories to share and continue to maintain a causal relationship with Ted, Amie, and Ross. We will all pass but maybe beforehand we will become a mentor for someone and it might continue when we become a fallen timber. Live a life as an important big tree. Be a person someone chooses as a mentor. You might not know it but you could already be a Big Timber for someone.

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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Lake sturgeon season opened July 16 on certain waters

Many anglers consider catching a lake sturgeon to be the catch of a lifetime. The opportunity can be yours on select waters starting July 16.

Many anglers consider catching a lake sturgeon to be the catch of a lifetime. The opportunity can be yours on select waters starting July 16.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that the unique hook-and-line fishing seasons for lake sturgeon opened Saturday, July 16. Lake sturgeon are one of Michigan’s most historically significant fish species, but there are limited opportunities to target them within the state’s waters.

Seasons opening last weekend included:

  • Great Lakes and Connecting Waters (except Lake St. Clair and St. Clair River), all inland waters. The fishing season is open July 16 through Nov. 30, but there is no possession season. All lake sturgeon caught must be released immediately.
  • Lake St. Clair and St. Clair River. The fishing season is open July 16 through Nov. 30, and the possession season is open July 16 through Sept. 30. Lake sturgeon between 42 and 50 inches may be harvested; those less than 42 inches or greater than 50 inches must be released immediately.
  • Otsego Lake (Otsego County). The fishing and possession season is July 16 through March 15, 2017. The minimum size limit for lake sturgeon is 50 inches; those less than 50 inches must be released immediately.

“Very few opportunities exist in this state to target this exceptionally unique species,” said Todd Wills, DNR fisheries research manager on Lake St. Clair. “But for anglers looking to have the catch of a lifetime, they may want to consider heading out to an area with an open lake sturgeon hook-and-line season.”

All sturgeon anglers shall obtain non-transferable lake sturgeon fishing permits and harvest tags prior to fishing for lake sturgeon. These items are available at all license vendors. Upon harvesting a lake sturgeon, an angler must validate their harvest tag, attach it to the fish and register their harvest within 24 hours at a designated registration site.

Lake sturgeon harvest is limited to only one lake sturgeon per angler per angling year (April 1 through March 31). For more information on this fish species and its regulations, visit Michigan.gov/sturgeon.

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Fishing tip: A little nighttime fishing

With summer in full swing and the temperatures being quite warm across most of the state, fish will often become quite lethargic. Even the classic warm water large and smallmouth bass move slowly and show less interest in feeding during daylight hours when the sun is high in the sky. However they still can be caught by the angler looking for a little adventure.

This week›s tip relates to targeting bass in the midst of summer…by going nocturnal. Some of the best bass fishing this time of year occurs during the first hour or so after dark. Dusk and dawn can still produce fish but that first hour or two after dark can be exceptional.

After dark, bass tend to move shallow in search of an easy meal. Target them near the same areas you would during other times of the day while also casting and targeting the shallows.

You’ll definitely want to also change your technique. Since after dark you can’t see the weed line or other underwater structures, fishing subsurface lures is not recommended. It is time for surface presentations. Frogs and poppers work great and rarely catch on anything, other than fish. After the cast, work them aggressively with a jerking motion making sure they pop and gurgle across the surface of the water during your retrieve. Pay close attention during the retrieve, watching and listening for the strike, which can be explosive.

For more information on fishing for bass in Michigan, visit their Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them website at www.michigan.gov/dnr. Click on Fishing, then Fishing in Michigan, then under “New to Fishing” click on Michigan Fish and How to Catch them. Click on whichever fish you want to know how to catch.

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Save money and water while enjoying a beautiful garden

BLOOM-Rain-Barrel-photo-credit-Gardeners-Supply

By Melinda Myers

Too much or not enough water and never when you need it seems to be a common lament of gardeners. Reduce the impact of these weather challenges while conserving water, saving money on water and sewer bills, and growing beautiful gardens with the help of rain barrels. These century old devices are making a comeback as droughts, watering restrictions and storm water runoff are on the rise.

Contact your local municipality before getting started. Some communities have regulations and guidelines for using rain barrels and many offer rebates to homeowners who install them.

Start your conversion to rain barrels one downspout at a time. You can capture as much as 623 gallons of water from 1,000 square feet of roof in a one-inch rainfall. This can be a lot to manage when first adapting to this change of habit. Taking little steps allows you to successfully match the use of rain barrels to your gardening style and schedule.

Make your own or purchase one of the many rain barrels on the market. Regardless of which vessel you choose there are some features to consider when adding a rain barrel to your landscape.

Make sure the top is covered to keep out debris and mosquitoes. Or select one with a solid lid and opening just large enough to accommodate the downspout.

Look for one with a spigot low on the barrel, so water does not stagnate at the bottom. Use the spigot to fill watering cans or attach a hose. Elevate the barrel on cinder blocks or a decorative stand for easier access and to increase water pressure.

Make sure there is an overflow outlet to direct excess water away from your home’s foundation. Or use it to link several barrels together, increasing your water collecting capacity.  A downspout diverter is another way to manage rain barrel overflows. When the rain barrels are full this device diverts the water back to the downspout where it is carried away from your home’s foundation.

And the good news is you don’t need to overlook beauty for function. You’ll find many attractive options in a variety of shapes and sizes in garden centers and online catalogs such as Gardener’s Supply (gardeners.com). Some include a recessed top for storing accessories or growing a potted plant. You’ll find ones with decorative finishes that mimic a basketweave, fine terra cotta, or wood. Those with a flat backside like the Madison rain barrel fit right next to the house, saving space.

Rain water is naturally softened and free of flouride and chlorine; great for plants. Do not use rain barrel water for drinking, cooking or your pets. Avoid concerns of contamination from roofing materials and debris by only using the water for ornamental plants.

Maintenance is easy. Check for and remove twigs and debris that may collect and block the flow of water. Clean the inside of the barrel at least once a year with an environmentally friendly detergent. Those in cold climates need to drain the rain barrel and cover the opening or turn it upside down for winter storage. Make sure to divert the water away from the house once the downspout is disconnected.

Don’t worry about mosquitoes. Covering the opening with a fine screen and using the water on a regular basis will minimize the risk. Or use the eco-friendly bacterial agent Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for pets, people and wildlife.

Now is the time to start putting rainwater to work for you and your garden. Look for convenient locations for collecting and using rainwater from the roof of your home, shed or garage. A little effort put in now will result in benefits for years to come.

Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books. Myers’ website is:  http://www.melindamyers.com/www.melindamyers.com.

 

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Simple summer home improvement: Upgrade your curb appeal

BLOOM-Upgrade-your-curb-appeal-

(BPT) – Summer is a great time to complete your home improvement projects, but deciding which ones to tackle can be overwhelming. Here are a few simple curb appeal projects you can tackle this summer to welcome your family and friends into your home with style.

Start fresh with a new front door

For a dramatic refresh replace your front door. From single doors, to double-door options, to those accented with decorative glass or sidelights, it’s easy to find a door that fits your budget and your style. Once you have a panel design selected, pick a material such as wood, fiberglass or steel. Don’t forget to look for an ENERGY STAR qualified option to help keep your home comfortable.

Pick a standout color for your front door 

Nothing adds to your curb appeal like bold, vibrant color. Pick a front door color that shows your personality and makes your home different from your neighbors. From red to blue and green to orange, color can instantly refresh the front of your home. A good place to find inspiration and the perfect color is from the limited-edition Vibrancy Collection from Pella.

Sticking with your current door? A fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Pick a color that coordinates with your home’s exterior, but dare to be bold with color contrast to add eye appeal. Take a look at a Favorite Front Doors board on Pinterest for ideas.

Update your hardware

Refresh your existing front door with new hardware. New hardware can be a quick update and add beauty to the entrance to your home’s exterior design. Hardware is available in a variety of finishes including satin nickels as well as unique designs including modern and traditional. Look for inspiration at Baldwin Reserve board on Pinterest.

Replace broken or damaged items

Replace broken light fixtures, burned out bulbs, and worn out weather-stripping on exterior doors. Pitch that faded wreath, worn out mat, and dead plants, and instead, add a bright new welcome mat and eye-catching seasonal decorations.

Lay a new path

From the moment your guest step off the sidewalk, the path to your front door showcases your home. Flagstone, gravel, or pavers – any of these materials can be used to create a new, inviting walkway in a weekend or less.

Illuminate your walkway 

Make it easy for others to see the way to your front door at night. Transform and illuminate walkways with easy-to-install solar lights. Stake them in the ground positioned so solar cells get enough southern exposure for sunlight to recharge nightlights during the day.

Trim bushes, create great container gardens 

Landscaping should accent your home, not dominate it. Keep bushes below the bottom sill of your windows to improve your view. Trim or replace overgrown shrubs and trees. Keep plant material trimmed several feet away from your home to minimize damage from wind or insects. Fill decorative containers with plants that accent your home’s color scheme, front door, and landscape design.

Visit Pella on Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram for more design inspiration and Pella.com to connect with your local Pella representative for ideas on how to transform the look and comfort of your home inside and out.

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North End Tire and Auto

BUS-NorthEndTire-logo

Are you looking for a new place to get tires or get your car repaired? North End Tire and Auto, located at 3665 17 Mile Road, across from Meijer, may have just what you need.

North End Tire is an independent dealer that has access to all brands of tires. They say they can recommend tires for your type of car, or for your budget. Each set of tires also comes with free rotation and flat repairs. They also have certified mechanics that can diagnose and repair your car at a reasonable rate.

The owners are Cedar Springs natives that know the community and are glad to be operating in their hometown. They say that because they are independent, they have access to more tire brands, and can custom fit your car for your unique driving needs and wants. Give them a call today at (616) 439-3400.

Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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How do I decide on a business for me?

 

By Bob Cooper, SCORE Counselor

Deciding on the product or service that you can form into a business, starts by looking at yourself. What skills and interests that you possess? You are going to devote a lot of time and energy to the enterprise, so it is necessary that you enjoy doing the activity that will be your business.

For example, don’t decide to operate a restaurant just because you love to eat. You might even be able to make a super hamburger on the grill, but to translate that into a full time occupation of operating a restaurant, with no knowledge of the restaurant business, would be a mistake.

Therefore, the first job is to investigate you to determine your skills, interests and desires. The best of entrepreneurs love their chosen business, and are prepared every day to be challenged by the tasks that need to be done.

If you are presently employed, keep your present job while you start your new business. Calculate the amount of money it will take to keep you and your family afloat for at least six months. This is the amount of money you need in the bank before you should leave your present job.

Almost everyone starting a business needs support. That support may take the form of money; however the best support takes the form of an experienced entrepreneur with whom you can discuss your ideas. When you are starting a business a person with experience can be the best support system of all.

Once you have an idea for a business that you have an interest in, and that you feel you have the experience to excel in, you must determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competition. As part of your marketing effort, list all of your potential competitors and their strengths and weaknesses, and then compare your product or service to your list of competitors. Will you be better, cheaper or faster than your competition? In other words, why will your customers buy from you? It is important to recognize that the day before you started your business, all of your potential customers had the products and services that they needed from someone else. Then why should those customers, a day later, need your product or service?

The other side of your marketing effort is to determine who your customers are and how you will connect with them. Keep in mind that every person or company is not your customer. Make a list of the demographics that best describe your customers, and based on that list, determine how you will connect with them.

Do research on your product or service to determine how successful and needed it may be in the marketplace. The world will not beat a path to your door just because you are in business To develop customers, you need to market your product or service to your network of potential customers.

Be professional. You are planning to start a business and that business is a reflection of you, so treat the business and yourself professionally. You want people to know that you are serious, and that you will treat the business and your customers as a professional. That includes having business cards, a business phone, a business e-mail address and having a website on the Internet. Part of being professional is building a business plan and planning ahead regarding the management and operation of the business. Do your homework before starting a business.

Get free and confidential counseling with SCORE, 111 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Call (616) 771-0305. Visit our website at www.scoregr.org or email us at score@grandrapids.org.

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Where are the volunteers?

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. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


 

What has happened to good old volunteerism? It is an opportunity to help and improve our community. Volunteering allows you to explore career choices, learn new skills, or get that positive boost that you might not be getting elsewhere. Some schools and employers urge their students and employees to volunteer in their community. Rewards for volunteering differ for each organization but it always involves a sense of pride in a job well done. And volunteerism looks great on your resume.

Volunteering can breathe new life into an organization. It is working as a team to pull off an event or complete a project. You meet interesting people and you never know which person might be the one who inspires you and gives you a new sense of your skills, talents, and self. You may discover skills or talents you never knew you had. You can practice time management, priority setting, increased creativity, improved interpersonal and leadership skills, and customer service. You have the opportunity for intergenerational interaction and fun!

Here is a short list of organizations and/or service groups in need of volunteers: The Kent Theatre; C.S. Library; Howard Christensen Nature Center; Red Flannel Committee; Lions Club; Rotary; Women’s Club; and the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Please contact these groups to find out how you can help. I would like to thank all of you who have been volunteering in so many ways. You have made a difference and I appreciate all the hours you have donated to make our community a better place.

Mary K. Balon

Kent Theatre Volunteer Coordinator

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Praise for Chief Davis

 

This month Chief Mickey Davis of the Courtland Township Fire Department announced his retirement from a long and impressive career in fire service. For two decades Chief Davis served both Oakfield Township and Courtland Township as fire chief simultaneously. For the past six years he has dedicated his services to Courtland Township Fire Department full-time.

It has been nearly 20 years since Mickey asked me to consider becoming the first chaplain for the two departments he led.  Due to his own personal losses, Chief Davis understood that the harm done by fires and accidents goes beyond wounded bodies and damaged property.  Often times the greatest injury is to the human heart.  In beginning a chaplaincy program, Mickey demonstrated that his concern for the townships he served went beyond putting out fires and securing the emergency scene.

=During his tenure, Chief Davis also showed his care for the residents of Courtland Township by delivering toys to children from disadvantaged homes, visiting foster care homes, and directing social services to families in need. He cared deeply for the personal well-being of the people he served.

The residents of Courtland Township owe a debt of gratitude to Davis for his unselfish and professional service.  He provided leadership in expanding the quality and resources of the township fire service, faithfully protected lives and property, and made the township a better place to live and work.

Personally, I wish to express my thanks to the chief for inviting me into a world few know anything about.  I have seen the danger and the trauma that firefighters endure as they assist others in crisis.  It has been one of my life’s greatest honors to be able to assist Chief Davis and the other members of the fire department in their noble work.  I am a better man because of my association with Mickey Davis and the men and women of Courtland Township Fire Department.

Thank you, Chief, and congratulations on a meaningful career of faithful service!

Dr. David A. Oliver

Chaplain, Courtland Twp. Fire Dept. 

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Where the election stands 

 

V-Lee-Hamilton-colorBy Lee H. Hamilton

The next few weeks in politics are a little like the All-Star break in baseball. With the Republican and Democratic national conventions upon us, it’s a good time to step back and assess this year’s election. Which carries bad news for both parties.

The Republicans face a steep electoral challenge. If Hillary Clinton carries Florida (where polling shows a very close race) plus the District of Columbia and the 19 states that have voted Democratic in each of the last six presidential elections, she wins.

Yet victory for Donald Trump is hardly out of the question. He floated through the Republican primaries by tackling the anger and discontent that course through this year’s electorate. His talk about a broken system and his emphatic, brash style, appeals to a lot of people. His ability to dominate news coverage without spending much on advertising has been extraordinary. And even though he’s passed through a difficult period for his campaign, the polls have grown quite close.

On the other hand, the Republican Party is splintered and off its game. Its leaders are having a difficult time with a Trump candidacy. A sizable number of GOP stars are finding excuses not to attend the convention, which is remarkable.

Yet the Democrats should take no comfort from this state of affairs. For starters, below the presidential level the party is struggling. Since 2008, Democrats have lost 69 seats in the U.S. House, 13 Senate seats, 12 governorships, and over 900 seats in state legislatures.

And while Clinton’s path to the presidency may be wider than Trump’s, that doesn’t mean she’s a strong candidate — at least, not this year. At a moment when voters clearly want change, she appears to favor incrementalism as the way to get things done in Washington. And despite the FBI’s decision that it wouldn’t bring criminal charges on her handling of emails when she was Secretary of State, the issue is clearly dogging her.

The British vote on Brexit is a reminder that resentments and anger can fly under the radar. Washington, where there’s money everywhere you turn, is a ripe target for “take-our-country-back” populism. The anti-establishment, anti-Washington mood should make both parties uneasy.

But then, so should the course of this election, which has put a premium on sound and fury at the cost of true engagement with the issues confronting the country. On that score, we all lose.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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