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World War II Vet to be awarded honorary diploma

Vet will get diploma at graduation

Seaman 2nd Class Erwin Duane Empie, left Cedar Springs High School in 1944 to enlist in the Navy during World War II.

Seaman 2nd Class Erwin Duane Empie, left Cedar Springs High School in 1944 to enlist in the Navy during World War II.

By Judy Reed

Erwin Duane Empie, 90, has waited a long time to get his high school diploma. But the wait will be over on Thursday, June 2, when he finally receives an honorary diploma from Cedar Springs High School—the school he left in the 1940s so he could serve our country during World War II.

According to Erwin’s son, Mike, his father was originally born in Rossford, Ohio to Glenn Empie and Bessie (Smith) Empie. The family later moved to Cedar Springs. He had a brother Paul, and a sister, Marie.

Erwin enlisted in the Navy in 1944 at the age of 18, while attending Cedar Springs High School. He trained at the Naval Training Center near Chicago, Illinois, and served aboard the USS Lexington CV-16. He was a gunner’s mate, and his rank was Seaman 2nd class, V6. Mike said the ship patrolled mainly in the South China Sea to strike against enemy shipping and air installations.

Erwin served until 1946. In 1955, he married Dorothy Patrick.

Erwin is eligible for the diploma under Public Act 180 of 2001. It says that a high school diploma can be awarded to a veteran if, before graduation from a high school, the military veteran enlisted in or was drafted into the armed forces of the United States during World War II, the Korean Conflict, or the VietNam war.

Mike heard about “Operation Recognition,” (Public Act 181 of 2001) in a newspaper article, and checked with Cedar Springs High School about his father getting an honorary diploma.

According to registrar Susan Andrzejewski, Erwin attended Cedar Springs High School for his freshman year and part of his sophomore year. She said she found an old box in the basement labeled non-graduates of the 1930s. Although he attended in the 1940s, she dug through it and found his transcript. “He was a bit older than our sophomore students today,” she explained, “but back then they sometimes kept students home to help farm.”

So it won’t be just 17 and 18-year-old students in high spirits when they get their diplomas at graduation next week. Erwin Empie and family will be celebrating, too.

“He’s very excited,” said Mike.

Congratulations, Erwin, and thank you for serving our country!

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Lest we forget


Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor those that gave their lives while defending our country. It’s also a day to remember all those that have served and are now deceased. Inside this issue are the names of veterans buried in area cemeteries, and we honor them with this issue of The Cedar Springs Post. If you know of a veteran’s name that is missing from the list, please let us know and we’ll add them for next year.

There will be several memorial activities and ceremonies taking place this weekend that residents are encouraged to take part in:

The Cedar Springs Historical Society will hold its 16th annual Memorial Cemetery Walk on Sunday, May 29, at 2 p.m. to honor veterans of all wars. This year’s veterans will be Ebenezer Jewell, War of 1812; John Roys, Mexican War; Myron Fogleson, Civil War; Joe Osborne, Spanish-American War; Franklin Sheldon, World War I; Kenneth Winters, World War II; Rex Morris, Korean War; and Timothy Towns, Vietnam War.

Biographical and historical information will be presented at each gravesite. The Glen Hill Post of the American Legion honor guard will assist in the presentation. They will leave the museum in Morley Park at 1:30 p.m. and return there for refreshments. If it rains, the event will be held in the museum. In case of severe weather warnings, the event will be canceled.

The American Legion Glen Hill Post #287 in Cedar Springs will hold their annual Memorial Day program on Monday, May 30. They will be at Elmwood Cemetery at 9 a.m., Solon Cemetery at 10 a.m., East Nelson Cemetery at 10:45 a.m., and Veterans Memorial Park, (corner of Main and Oak in Cedar Springs) at 11:30 a.m. In case of bad weather, services will be held only in the American Legion Hall at 9 a.m. Lt/Col. Tom Noreen will be the speaker.

The Sand Lake/Cedar Springs Tri-Corner Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7912 will have ceremonies on Monday, May 30. They will be at the VFW Post in Sand Lake at 10:30 a.m. and at Pierson Cemetery at 11 a.m. Rain or shine.

The Algoma Township Historical Society will hold Memorial Day services on Monday, May 30, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. at Memorial Park, located on the south end of the Algoma township cemetery on Grange Ave., south of 13 Mile Rd.) The service this year will honor Algoma Township’s WWII veterans, including tributes from the families of the Powell brothers, Gabe and Russell, who both passed away this last year; John Carlton Sjogren, medal of honor recipient and the statue that is underway to be erected in his honor at the Rockford area museum; and music from the Algoma Baptist Church choir. Following the ceremony, refreshments will be served by the Algoma Township Historical Society.

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Rockford man killed in crash

A Rockford man died in this crash at 14 Mile and Northland Drive last week.

A Rockford man died in this crash at 14 Mile and Northland Drive last week.

A 24-year-old Rockford man died last Wednesday when the car he was riding in turned in front of another vehicle.

According to the Michigan State Police Rockford Post, the accident occurred about 11:17 p.m., May 18, at 14 Mile and Northland Drive, in Algoma Township.

The investigation showed that the driver of a 2001 Ford Mustang, a 22-year-old Rockford resident, was traveling westbound on M-57 (14 Mile) when he turned left (south) on to Northland Drive and turned into the path of an eastbound 2008 Buick Enclave driven by a Cedar Springs man.

The driver of the Buick wasn’t treated for any injuries at the scene, while the driver of the Mustang was transferred to the hospital. The passenger of the Mustang, Luke Haworth-Hoeppner, 24, of Rockford, was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.

Police said alcohol is thought to be a factor in the crash.

Assisting at the scene was the Kent County Sheriff Department, Algoma Fire Department, and Rockford Ambulance.

The crash remains under investigation.

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The Post travels to Haiti


The Rev. Robert Baker and wife Patti, of Oakfield Township, traveled to Haiti earlier this year. Rev. Baker had previously spent 13 years in Haiti, with 10 as field director for the Baptist Haiti Mission, formerly based in Rockford. The home office is now in Louisville, Kentucky.

Rev. Baker returned to Haiti in January to do some seminars for church leaders. “I will return in May to do the same thing,” he said.

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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Kent County Service animals receive eye exams at Mounted Unit

Free eye exams were given to service animals last Saturday at the Kent County Sheriff Department Mounted Unit in Rockford, by Dr. Harriet Davidson, DVM, DACVO.

Free eye exams were given to service animals last Saturday at the Kent County Sheriff Department Mounted Unit in Rockford, by Dr. Harriet Davidson, DVM, DACVO. Photo by B. Altena.

By Beth Altena

“From top to bottom the entire organization is volunteer,” said David Homant, owner of Kent County Search and Rescue trailing dog, Gus. Homant and Gus were at the Kent County Sheriff Department Mounted Unit at 4687 Kies, in Rockford and Plainfield Township on Saturday, May 21 to take advantage of a special opportunity. Dogs and horses that serve the public were treated to a free eye exam by Harriet Davidson, DVM, DACVO who was donating her time and expertise to look at the health of the horses and dogs through their eyes.

Davidson, of Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners and GD Veterinary Opthalmology, was participating in the ninth annual National Service Animal Eye Exam of the American College of Veterinary Opthalmologists.

The facility was jumping with dogs on a warm Saturday afternoon, as members of the Search and Rescue team waited for their dogs’ turns to be examined and the horses waited for their turns to be examined in a darkened stall in the century old barn on the property.

Gus is a trailing dog, one who searches while leashed to his owner, as opposed to other dogs on the team who are trained as scent dogs. Scent dogs work off leash in an attempt to locate the scent of the person being sought. According to Homant, Gus is his one-and-only professional service dog, and when Gus retires from Search and Rescue, Homant will, too.

“I’m retired and I’ve lived a very good life,” Homant explained. “This is my giveback to the community.” Homant explained that Gus, a red lab, is an unusual color. “Lab litters are typically chocolate, black and yellow. You have to breed a red to a red to get a red lab.”

Homant said Kent County Search and Rescue dogs serve a variety of purposes, and come in a variety of breeds. Abel is an English shepherd, age two and a half, who is also a trailing dog. Cletis is a bloodhound, age four, who is also a trailing dog. He’s a 92-pound marvel with “paddle paws,” whose long ears and extra facial skin funnel smells from the ground straight to his massive and excellent nose. He has not yet completed his training to be certified for official Search and Rescue. His owner said she joined the team for the strength of the relationship between owner and dog that develops from being a working team.

“It’s a way different relationship than that with a pet,” she said. Although bloodhounds are known for their exceptional sense of smell, hounds typically can’t be let off leash because once on a scent they follow it. In addition to trailing dogs, Search and Rescue can be trained as scent dogs and disaster dogs, all with their own specialties.

The investment in time and money for the volunteers of the K9 unit are not insignificant. The time it takes for both the dog and human is up to two years before becoming certified. The Kent County Search and Rescue team meets monthly to train, but the K9 unit teams meet on a weekly basis and accrues thousands of hours on the job. “All the training is done to make the dogs and us proficient,” Homant stated.

The unit, although volunteer, is under the Kent County Sheriff Department and is only deployed when directed to by the county. “We don’t self deploy,” he said.

Homant also pointed out that the majority of handlers there for the free eye screening were women, which, in his experience, is typical. “Women are formidable. These women are all A types, or would describe themselves that way. We all are people who want to help our fellows. It isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap. There is no funding of any kind for this.”

Dogs involved in Kent County Search and Rescue and the K9 unit go through hours of training to make both them and their handlers proficient in what they need to do. Photo by B. Altena.

Dogs involved in Kent County Search and Rescue and the K9 unit go through hours of training to make both them and their handlers proficient in what they need to do. Photo by B. Altena.

Kent County’s K9 search and rescue all consist of handlers and dogs who are trained to certifications and have an excellent reputation. Few Michigan communities have a similar unit, so it isn’t uncommon for the Kent County team to be called to deploy elsewhere in the state. Because of the high standards of the Kent County Unit, other municipalities are confident calling for their help. “Our dogs are mission-ready and cops know they are getting a known entity,” said Homant.

Dr. Davison said she believes in volunteering to examine the dogs and other service animals because vision is so vital to what they do, but more importantly, the animals themselves serve such a vital purpose in the lives of humans. She said she has seen Leader dogs, Guide dogs, Assistant dogs, therapy dogs and even dogs who help people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The parent organization (ACVO) that arranges the volunteer testing is responsible for ophthalmologists examining 5,000 to 6,000 animals yearly. And eye testing can lead to saving lives in some cases.

“I love all animals,” she said. “Dogs and horses develop such a strong bond. I have heard cat owners develop a strong bond with their cats, but it is hard to get cats trained.” Interviewed by several television crews, Davidson said the most unusual animal whose eyes she examined was a seal working for the Navy.

“This is something we can do to give back to animals who serve us,” she said. She described animal vision as very different from human vision. It is a common misperception that dogs and other animals only see black and white or shades of grey. In fact, they do see colors, just on a more muted level than we see. Because our eyes may be distracted by vivid vision with bright color, their vision allows them to better pick up on movement, a useful evolution in animals that have to hunt for a living. It also allows them to see better than humans in dim light, specifically dawn and dusk.

Left: Horses in the Mounted Unit were also given eye exams. Photo by B. Altena.

Horses in the Mounted Unit were also given eye exams. Photo by B. Altena.

“It’s fun to look at horses, they are usually well-behaved,” Davidson noted. She said every pet owner can we aware of their animal’s eye health by watching for tearing, squinting or rubbing their eyes. “If there is a concern, the first stop is their regular veterinarian.”

She said this free service is open to all owners of service dogs, not just law enforcement, and anyone who has a service animal can sign up in April to schedule a free evaluation. “We do this annually,” she said. Information can be found at the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologist (ACVO) website at http://www.acvo.org.

Over the past eight years over 45,000 animals have benefited from the free eye exams. Other animals who have been seen include those who guide, hearing assistance, drug detection, police/military, search and rescue, therapy, and those assisting people with disabilities other than blindness. The testing may mean the animal will be able to serve longer, or it may affect the quality of the working animal’s life—something anyone with a service dog cares passionately about.

Jilian Rakow’s dog Lego was tested last year and a tumor was discovered in his eye. He ended up losing the eye, but had the problem not been discovered he could have lost his life if the tumor invaded other parts of his body. Today Lego is alive and well and is part of the training for the horses at the Mounted Division, familiarizing them with having dogs rush up to them, something they need to be prepared for when out on their own missions, often in crowds of civilians or at parades.

Lego—whose name started out as the Lord of the Rings elf Legolas but was shortened by the family children—is an example of the dedication necessary to perform in Search and Rescue. Today he is six years old, but he began training for the job at four months of age and was not certified until he was two years old. Because of the loss of his eye, he retired from Search and Rescue.

“It takes a village to train a search and rescue dog,” Rakow said. “Every dog here needs to be trained by all the people involved.” She said she is a true believer in the value of the free eye exams for all service animals, especially after her experience with her own dog. She wasn’t even the one who took him to the eye check. She was out of town and wasn’t going to bother but her friend insisted Lego go and volunteered to take him. It could well have ended up saving his life. Rakow, who is also very involved in the Mounted Unit and the horses there, decided to see if Davidson was open to examining the horses along with the dogs this year. The answer was yes.

“This program is so important to me because of that,” said Rakow. “That’s why we brought this program to the horses. It’s become quite the community event. If you have a working animal you should take advantage of this. These animals contribute so much.”

Over at the horse barn the eye exams continued, and first in line was Old Beau, who is into his twenties. He has been cared for by his regular vet for teary eyes, so Rakow wanted him to be seen first. The horses who age out of the Mounted Division work stay on at the farm as permanent residents for the rest of their lives and Beau could be lucky enough to live into his early thirties. He has his forever home at the former farm, which was donated to the Kent County Parks Department with the understanding the property would be preserved for public use.

The horses and their riders, like the dogs and their handlers, deploy at the request of the Kent County Sheriff Department and are a sub-division of the traffic squad. In addition to search and rescue duties, the horses are used for crowd control at events, such as Art Prize and festivals and parades. The facility itself is also host to a wide variety of events scheduled there by different parties, from Scout tours to equestrian teams who practice or compete on the grounds. “Every day these horses impact somebody,” said Rakow.

For the dogs and their handlers, Homant also had strong sentiments about the value of the work they do. “Search and Rescue team members spend their own time and their own money and are available day and night. It doesn’t matter if it is Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Eve, when the call goes out, we go.”

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Poppies help veterans programs

Pictured is incoming American Legion Auxiliary Unit 287 President Missy Townes and outgoing Unit 287 President Verna Smigiel.

Pictured is incoming American Legion Auxiliary Unit 287 President Missy Townes and outgoing Unit 287 President Verna Smigiel.

From American Legion Auxiliary

As many readers are aware, the month of May is very important to the American Legion Auxiliary. It is the time of year that you will find American Legion Auxiliary members outside your local businesses taking donations for poppies. The donations received assist us in the numerous veterans programs we conduct every year. All donations are used locally, that’s why this program is so important. On behalf of the Glen Hill American Legion Auxiliary Unit 287. we would like to thank the area businesses for allowing us space to hand out poppies this year and the generosity of the many customers we come in contact with.

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A House Divided

Audrey (played by Danielle Phillips) with onstage daughter Lily (Annie Bagin) in the Scott Phillips play A House Divided. It’s still playing this weekend at The Kent Theatre. Photo by T. Noreen.

Audrey (played by Danielle Phillips) with onstage daughter Lily (Annie Bagin) in the Scott Phillips play A House Divided. It’s still playing this weekend at The Kent Theatre. Photo by T. Noreen.

Reviewed by Tom Noreen

It’s May and time for another Scott Phillips production! I like Scott’s plays because they make me laugh and we all need to laugh. That’s not to say they don’t have a message, because they do. When I go to a play or a movie, I want to have a good time and that I did at A House Divided.

Not wanting to divulge the storyline, since I want you to see it yourself, it was a hoot. Suffice it to say, we all have a bit of friction in our families that we would like to replace with harmony and understanding. Scott’s stage family is no different. We can all identify with one character or another. There are plenty of funny lines in the script, but it is the cast’s delivery, facial features, gestures, and ability to play off one another that makes it such a great comedy. Phillips did a great job casting the roles.

The matriarch is Patsy (Julie Bratton) and her squabbling family Charlotte (Roshanah Dayton), her husband Jordan (Dave Schmuker) and daughter Sawyer (Madeline Wilcox); Isaac (John Bagin) and his son Albert (Jack Bagin); and Audrey (Danielle Phillips), her boyfriend Stone (Steve Hutchins), and daughter Lily (Annie Bagin). Then there is the nosey, well-meaning neighbor Sandra (Terri Riggle), her husband Roy (Doug Christensen), and son Jordan; and Roy’s friend Nelson (Russ Cole) who becomes Patsy’s “significant friend.” Finally, last but actually first on stage, is Maddie Ruth who goes toe-to-toe with Scott as they remind the audience of proper theater protocol.

What better way to start your Memorial Day weekend then a trip to the theater? Show dates are May 27 and 28 at 7:30 PM. All performances will be at the Kent Theatre, 8 N. Main, Cedar Springs.

Tickets for adults are $12 in advance/$15 at the door; under 18 years of age only $6.  Tickets are available at the Cedar Springs Public Library. You can also reserve tickets at the advanced price by emailing Scott Phillips at phillips4ba@yahoo.com.


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WM Hawks battle on breast cancer awareness night

The West Michigan Hawks played for breast cancer awareness last Saturday. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

The West Michigan Hawks played for breast cancer awareness last Saturday.
Photo by Marcie Crouch.

By Shae Brophy

A beautiful evening at Skinner Field on Saturday led to an incredible football game. The Indiana Wolf Pack made their way to town to take on the West Michigan Hawks, in a game that ended in a 22-22 tie.

The Hawks came out swinging to start this one. After forcing a three-and-out on the first Indiana possession of the game, West Michigan quickly marched down the field and scored the first touchdown of the game on a Robert Bell quarterback keeper from two yards out, making the score 7-0, which held up as the score at the end of the first quarter.

The Wolf Pack made some adjustments after that point, and took control of the game. After scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter, Indiana carried a 16-7 lead into halftime.

Taking possession to start the second half, the Hawks fumbled on their first two offensive plays, one of which was returned all the way back to the end zone for an Indiana touchdown. The score was 22-7 in favor of the Wolf Pack early in the third quarter, when the Hawks changed the tide of the game. On the ensuing two point conversion attempt by Indiana, Jalin George picked up a fumble and ran it from one end of the field all the way to the other for two points, making the score 22-9.

Wide receiver John Ross made a tough catch over the middle of the field and ran 47 yards for a touchdown on the next Hawks possession, which made the score 22-15. After forcing a turnover on defense, the Hawks scored again on their next drive after a pass was tipped into the air and grabbed in stride by wide receiver Monta Swanigan. The play was good for an 80-yard touchdown, which tied the game.

After a scoreless fourth quarter, which featured scoring chances for both teams, it was determined that there would be no overtime and the game ended in a tie.

“Nobody likes a tie, especially as we made a huge comeback and had momentum on our side. I thought we fought hard,” said head coach David Lange. “We  faced adversity and overcame. We still have a lot to work on, but we definitely took a step in the right direction. I’d say we are ready for the Kalamazoo Grizzlies.”

Stephanie Cornwell, who was the recipient of the benefit for breast cancer awareness, received an anonymous $1,000 donation as a result of the benefit.

With Memorial Day weekend slated as an off week for the team, the Hawks will be back in action on June 4th at Skinner Field when they welcome the Kalamazoo Grizzlies to town. The benefit for this game will for Alan Beamer, who is battling Alzheimer’s Disease. We hope to see you then!

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Mother thanks blood donors who saved her baby’s life

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

Premature baby girl survives infection after two blood transfusions

As many people nationwide celebrated the special women in their lives during Mother’s Day earlier this month, Michigan Blood is celebrating Jamiee Mentink and her story of becoming a mom for the first time.

In March of 2012, daughter Ava was born through emergency C-section at only 28 weeks, due to Jamiee’s severe illness, preeclampsia. Ava, a tiny 1 lb, 11 oz. at birth, had been doing great in the NICU, but then fell sick to infection. Two blood transfusions were needed to save Ava’s life.

“Immediately after the transfusions, you could see a difference. Ava’s skin turned pink again, and she became her feisty self again,” said Jamiee. “All the medical stuff in the world couldn’t replace the blood that Ava so desperately needed.”

With time, Ava fought her way back to being a healthy, thriving baby. Ava is now a fun, feisty, sweet little girl who is energetic about dance lessons and loved being a wedding flower girl recently. She just celebrated her 4th birthday in March.

Through the experience with Ava, and as the Director of Inpatient Emergency Services at South Haven Hospital, Jamiee realizes first hand the importance of blood donation. She is now a loyal blood donor herself.

“As a nurse I used to give blood to patients regularly, but I feel bad that it took Ava’s experience for me to regularly donate,” adds Jamiee. “Like I did, I think people take for granted that somebody else is donating blood. If people could realize that donating takes just a short amount of time, but it’s something that’s so worth the cause.”

Jamiee also wishes to thank those donors whose blood saved Ava’s life.

“Thank you for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.”

To view Jamiee and Ava’s full story, watch their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pisYzF9iGAQ

Upcoming blood drives nearby include:

  • 6/03 – Spectrum Health – United Hospital, Conference Rooms Sides A and B, 615 S. Bower Street, Greenville, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 6/06 – Rockford Area Donor Site at the Community Cabin, main room, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • 6/09 – Cedar Springs United Methodist Church – 140 S. Main Street, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a blood drive to support three local students. Emma Orr, Brison Ricker and Bree Town. For every person that attempts to give blood, $10 will be donated. Please call 233-8509 or go to www.miblood.org to make an appointment.
  • 6/21 – Cedar Springs Area Donor Site at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health St. Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) or schedule online at https://donate.miblood.org

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Five easy tips for a stunning summer yard


Summer’s arrival brings longer days and more sunshine. This season also means more of your favorite outdoor activities, such as relaxing in the backyard or working in the garden. In fact, there is no better time to refresh your outdoor space.

“The secret to a well-manicured yard is preparation,” says Chris Lambton, yard and garden expert for Fiskars. “Once the weather warms up, your lawn and garden will need a little extra TLC to be ready for outdoor activities or entertaining. Having the right tools on-hand is essential to making the process simple and enjoyable.”

Lambton offers his tips and tools for making your yard beautiful and easy to care for all season long:

Prune strategically

If you turn your back for too long, Mother Nature can take over your yard in the spring growing season. Trim and shape your plants by cutting 1/4 inch above a growth bud at a 45 degree angle to promote healthy growth. High-quality garden tools, like the Fiskars PowerGear2 Pruner or Lopper, make taming shrubs and cutting through dead or overgrown limbs easier.

Plan your planting

Summer is a great time to plan your outdoor space and give it a fresh new look. When plotting out your yard or garden, be sure to leave extra space around plants to account for their growth or plant in containers to easily move them around, if needed. Raised garden beds for herbs and veggies are great for keeping plants in order and allow you to plant, water and harvest more easily. Choose tools to help with planting that are easy to grip and will stand up throughout the season, like the Fiskars Big Grip Trowel or Transplanter.

Mulch carefully

Shallow layers of mulch work to keep your soil cool, cut down on weeds and slow the loss of moisture. But be careful not to mulch too deeply, as too much mulch can inhibit oxygen from reaching plant roots and encourage mold. As a rule of thumb, mulch only two to three inches on top of the soil.

Water wisely

A healthy lawn and garden will have deep roots that can tap reserves of moisture way down in the soil. Water deeply – but not too often – and you’ll encourage plants to develop even deeper roots. The best time to water is between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. when the air is cooler and there is less risk of evaporation from heat and wind. Use tools that are easy to maneuver and durable to stand up to the elements season after season, like the Gilmour Flexogen Hose and Thumb Control Watering Nozzle.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor

Remember to spend time outside in your yard and garden when the weather is nice and enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables you grow. Use Herb and Veggie Shears to make healthy cuts on your plants so you have fresh and delicious produce throughout the season.

With the right tools, yard and garden work is fun, not frustrating. Use these tips to keep your yard maintained and beautiful so you can enjoy it all summer long.

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