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The Post travels to Red Flannel Deer Camp

N-Post-travels-to-Red-Flannel-Deer-campAl Kensil wrote to let us know that The Post traveled with several Cedar Springs area residents to Red Flannel deer camp this past fall. The camp is located near Melstrand, Michigan, along the Pictured Rocks Lake Shore. The late Don and Sue Johnson dedicated the Red Flannel Deer Camp about 35 years ago, current owners Mary Johnson (wife of the late Tony Johnson) and son Bradley are carrying on the deer camp tradition to the fourth generation with Brad.

Pictured (L to R) is Derick Carvers, Chris Powell, Travis Hoffman, Scott Albertson, and Brad Johnson. Al is not in the photo because he took the photo! Thanks, Al and crew for taking us with you to Red Flannel deer camp!

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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Sweet strategies for a healthier you

Watermelon Pistachio Sundae

Watermelon Pistachio Sundae

Family Features


When celebrating the past and looking forward to the future, the New Year is a perfect time to set goals for a better, healthier you.

Setting yourself up with a strong nutrition foundation is essential for long-term success. An expert on helping others attain healthy lifestyles, registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer offers these four time-proven skills for permanent weight loss and health management.

1. Balance calories

Seek the right mix of calories in from your diet, versus calories out from exercise and daily activity. Your goal is gradual weight loss of no more than two pounds per week, which ensures you lose fat weight, not water or muscle weight. Daily exercise is a must to maintain the loss. If you can’t lose weight on at least 1,500 calories a day, you need to move more, not eat less.

2. Focus on plants

Emphasize colorful fruits and vegetables, with at least half of every plate heaped with produce. Complement with whole grains and moderate amounts of foods that are calcium-rich (nonfat or low-fat milk) and iron-rich (extra-lean meats, chicken, fish or legumes). Snack on watermelon cubes rich in vitamins A and C, as well as the antioxidant lycopene. This juicy treat is available all year, even in the winter. In addition, a real food such as watermelon contains at least two of the magic three ingredients for weight loss: protein, water and fiber. These nutrients fill you up before they fill you out, so you are satisfied on fewer calories.

3. Eat regularly

When you eat these calories is also important. Large, infrequent meals result in big-time hunger, which can cause you to lose control of your appetite. Eating regularly and when you are comfortably hungry keeps you in control of your appetite, allowing you to make wiser decisions. Here is an example of a day’s menu:

• Breakfast: 100 percent whole grain cereal topped with nonfat milk and berries

• Mid-Morning Snack: A bowl of watermelon with a 6-ounce tub of low-fat yogurt

• Lunch: A turkey sandwich on 100 percent whole grain bread, baby carrots and an apple

• Mid-Afternoon Snack: 1 ounce of nuts with a glass of watermelon juice

• Dinner: Grilled salmon, baked sweet potato and green peas

• Evening Snack: 2 cups air-popped popcorn and 1 cup of fat-free hot chocolate

4. Commit to Health: Keep in mind that your ultimate goal is not just a certain figure or a number on the bathroom scale; it is a lifelong commitment to be the best and healthiest you. This plan requires a lifetime commitment; not to lose weight and keep it off, but to modify habits so they support health and maintain the best weight for you for life.

For sweet recipes to help you stay on track, visit www.watermelon.org.


Watermelon Pistachio Sundae

Servings: 6

1egg white, lightly beaten

2tablespoons maple syrup

2teaspoons brown sugar

1/4teaspoon salt

1cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios

6watermelon scoops (using ice cream scooper)

6scoops raspberry sorbet (using ice cream scooper)

1cup marshmallow sauce


To candy pistachios, preheat oven to 300ºF. In medium mixing bowl, combine egg white, syrup, brown sugar and salt. Stir in pistachios until evenly coated. Spread on foil lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, stirring once, until crisp and lightly browned. Cool. Break apart.


Using ice cream scooper, arrange watermelon at bottom of 6 sundae cups or martini glasses. Top with scoops of sorbet. Drizzle sauce over sorbet and sprinkle candied pistachios over sundaes and serve immediately.


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Cedar Springs Cheer continues to dominate

Cedar Springs Varsity Cheer took first-place at their own invitational last weekend.

Cedar Springs Varsity Cheer took first-place at their own invitational last weekend.

Cedar Springs Cheer hosted an invitational this past Saturday, which included the Middle School, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams. This is the first event of the season where all four teams were able to compete at the same time and location.

Cedar Springs Middle School White team took second-place at last weekend’s invitational.

Cedar Springs Middle School White team took second-place at last weekend’s invitational.

Due to inclement weather, schools had to back out last minute, which cut down the Middle Schools competition to three teams. Cedar Springs White took second-place after Round 2 with a score of 95.04. They secured a second-place ranking after gaining an additional 226.4 points after Round 3 and overall score of 321.44. “The girls were excited to cheer in front of their home town and I am proud to be a part of the Cedar Springs Cheer tradition,” said Head Coach Cassandra Chartier.

Cedar Springs Middle School Red team took first-place at their own invitational.

Cedar Springs Middle School Red team took first-place at their own invitational.

Cedar Springs Red earned a high score of 129.40 to take the lead of first-place after Round 2. With an additional score of 270 points and an overall score of 399.4, Cedar Springs Red remains undefeated, with another first-place Victory. “This crazy Michigan weather left us with one day to practice a new round, and these girls performed absolutely amazing with the time they had to work with. I pushed them pretty hard and I had confidence they would rise to the challenge,” said Head Coach Amy Arnold.

Cedar Springs JV Cheer took first-place at the Cedar Springs invitational.

Cedar Springs JV Cheer took first-place at the Cedar Springs invitational.

Again, with the last minute school cancellations, the Junior Varsity team, coached by Katy Baird, also had three teams to compete against. Coach Baird is returning to Cedar Springs and bringing with her nine years of coaching experience. She has been part of Cedar Springs Cheer for four years prior to her return. Round 1 of competition brought a score of 170.7, taking the lead of first-place. Round 2 gained an additional score of 152.06 and bringing their subtotal score to 322.76, which kept them in the lead. Securing another Championship and remaining undefeated, the JV team earned an additional score of 202 points, giving them an overall score of 524.76. “Due to the nasty weather this week, our team missed two practices after learning a new routine. There were a lot of challenges but these girls stuck with it and did very well. I am very proud of them,” said Head Coach Katy Baird.

The Varsity Team, coached by Anne Olszewski, had five teams competing against each other. Coach Olszewski has 31 years of coaching experience, the last 10 years has been here at Cedar Springs; seven years with our Competitive and nine years with our Sideline. She has coached or been involved at every level of the Cedar Springs Cheer Program and still serves as League Director to Northern Rocket Cheer. Round 1 earned a score of 218 points taking the lead. Round 2 kept the lead with an additional 179.48 points bringing their sub total to 397.48. Round 3 gained an additional 258.6 and secured the Championship with a score of 258.6 and an overall score of 656.08.

“Part of my job as coach is to pick out the wrong but to also find the good, recognize the good and how to improve the good.  Each week we are making small improvements, contributing to the overall success, we are making the good into great. We are really kicking butt and they rise to the challenge with everything that I throw at them. The Varsity team has 2 twisting full layouts on the team and we have not had this since 2007. I am extremely proud of my team and honored to work with them every day,” said Head Coach Anne Olszewski.

Cedar Springs Cheer is building a tradition where the collective efforts of the athletes, coaches, parents and community make championships possible. Please keep supporting Cedar Springs Cheer, “faith over fear, this is our year!”


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RAP hotline connects conservation officers with public

Conservation Officer Terry Short uses a plat map to cross-reference information he receives from the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line dispatchers while on patrol during deer season in Menominee County.

Conservation Officer Terry Short uses a plat map to cross-reference information he receives from the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line dispatchers while on patrol during deer season in Menominee County.

From the Michigan DNR

The sign—Law Enforcement Communications Section—is as nondescript as the standard office door on an unadorned white wall deep within the recesses of Constitution Hall, in the state building complex in Lansing, Michigan. But inside that secured door is a non-stop center of activity: the RAP Room.

The RAP (Report All Poaching) Room is staffed 24/7 by as many as seven personnel at a time. It is the main link between the public and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division.

The Report All Poaching hotline was created in 1980 when the state Legislature designated a small percentage of the money raised by hunting and fishing license sales toward developing an easy method for citizens to report illegal hunting and fishing activity to the DNR. It has grown into a 1,000-square-foot room, outfitted with the kind of high-tech equipment one often finds at county or state regional dispatch centers. At each of the workstations, six computer screens give dispatchers as much information as they could possibly need to direct the state’s conservation officers to the scene of a complaint—and what the COs need to know once they get there.

Lt. Steve Burton and dispatcher Jarrod Fletcher work out the details of a call to the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line.

Lt. Steve Burton and dispatcher Jarrod Fletcher work out the details of a call to the RAP (Report All Poaching) Line.

Computer screens display information on the current location of COs (through the GPS monitoring equipment on their patrol vehicles), as well as access to the state’s Law Enforcement Information Network, the state’s licensing records, the radio system, the Internet, and even the criminal history of those whom the COs contact.

“Our dispatchers try to gather the best information they can and send it to the officer as quickly as possible,” explained Lt. Steven Burton, who runs the RAP Room as part of his duties.

Each of the roughly 6,500 criminal complaints that come in by phone call or the Internet into the RAP Room each year is recorded. Some of them are so vague or untimely that nothing can be done to resolve them, but the DNR’s success rate in responding to these complaints is outstanding. So far, nearly 30 percent of the complaints (5,665 through the beginning of deer season) this year have resulted in an arrest.

“Recently, we’ve made quite a few illegal deer cases,” Burton said. “We are well upwards of $50,000 in reimbursement to the state and many of those cases haven’t been completed, as they are still under investigation.”

As many as 50 percent of the calls that come into the RAP Room do not involve a criminal complaint, Burton said. “We get a lot of calls about general rules or policy or people just seeking information,” he explained. “When people want information they often call the RAP line. We encourage these types of callers to try their local offices first, as this frees up phone lines for ongoing criminal complaints.”

“Our dispatchers are required to know all of our laws, rules and regulations—hunting and fishing, ORV, marine safety, land use—even environmental laws,” Burton said. “Lots of laws.”

The RAP Room is busiest from October through December, during hunting season, Burton said, with seasonal bumps during other periods of high outdoors activity—fish migration seasons, holiday weekends, snowmobile season, etc. Calls tend to come in most often during early-morning hours or the first hour or so after dark, he said, though they filter in all day long.

“Noon is busy, too,” Burton said. “People who don’t have cell phones and are out hunting in the morning might make their calls when they come in for lunch.” Calls also come in after people return home from work for the same reason. Dominique Clemente, a RAP Room emergency dispatch supervisor and an 18-year DNR veteran who has spent 16 years working at the hotline, calls it an interesting job. “It’s never the same day twice,” said Clemente, adding that the line receives a wide variety of complaints, including an occasional supposed Sasquatch sighting.

Sometimes it takes some coaxing to get the information they need out of callers, Clemente said. Callers are reminded to stay patient during the call as dispatchers ask very pertinent questions related to the specific crime being reported. “They want us to know about something illegal that’s going on but they don’t want to be a snitch,” she said. “I just remind them the violator is stealing from you and me.”

The Report All Poaching program also offers rewards. Information leading to an arrest for a hunting or fishing violation reported through the hotline can net a caller up to $1,500 or even more depending on the case.

Clemente said the staff’s main concern is giving the conservation officers the best information they can to help them do their job effectively and safely, though they do their best to satisfy the customer, too. In many cases, that involves answering broad questions—such as where’s a good place to fish—or advising some callers that their reported complaints are, in fact, not crimes. “The best we can do is point someone in the right direction,” she said.

As with any other office, the RAP Room is constantly changing, taking advantage of new and emerging technology. Right now, Burton said, the staff is figuring out how best to take complaints sent in by text messaging. A person sitting in a blind may not want to make the noise of the phone call, but is willing to text in a complaint. Other states have adopted this method of reporting violations and have seen a surge in contacts with the public. “I think it will increase the timeliness of our response, as well,” Burton said.

Besides interacting with the sporting public, the RAP Room also takes phone calls from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Pollution Emergency Alerting System. This line alerts the DEQ to emergency spills and releases in Michigan.

More than a dispatch center, the RAP Room is a lifeline for officers patrolling remote areas of Michigan, often participating in critical search and rescue operations involving lost children, hunters or imperiled boaters on inland waterways or the vast waters of the Great Lakes. Being a conservation officer is a demanding job. It takes focus, dedication and professionalism. Every day a primary concern of the RAP Room is to ensure that all Michigan conservation officers return safely at shift’s end to their families and communities. Those dispatchers play a vital role in Michigan’s natural resources protection team.

To report a natural resource violation, please call the Report all Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. To learn more about the work of conservation officers or to access the online RAP reporting form, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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Family loses home to fire

This fire in Oakfield Township burned the home of the Doug and Tonia Zain family on New Year’s Eve. Courtesy Photo

This fire in Oakfield Township burned the home of the Doug and Tonia Zain family on New Year’s Eve. Courtesy Photo

By Judy Reed

An Oakfield Township family had a tragic end to 2014, when they lost their home in a fire New Year’s Eve.

Firefighters were called to the home of Doug and Tonia Zain, 10638 15 Mile, on Harvard Lake, at 8:13 p.m. on December 31. According to Oakfied Fire Chief Sam Peterson, a neighbor saw the fire and called 911. The Zains, who own Zain’s Party Store on 14 Mile Road, were not home at the time, but arrived shortly after the firefighters arrived.

“Fighting the fire was really difficult,” said Peterson. “The winds were really strong, and battled against us. It just pushed the fire through the house.”

He said the fire started in the corner of the dining room/living room. A fire investigator was scheduled to investigate the scene Wednesday, to try to determine a cause.

courtesy photo

courtesy photo

Peterson said the home was likely a total loss. “We stopped the fire before it got to the bedroom section, but it was already in the attic, and there was a lot of water and smoke damage,” he explained. An unattached garage was also damaged.

The damages were estimated to be at $175,000.

There was one pet in the home, but Peterson said the neighbor opened the door and let it out before firefighters arrived.

Assisting Oakfield at the scene was Courtland, Grattan and Spencer Fire Departments.

At last report, the family was staying with friends.


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Fire ravages Solon home

This home in Solon Township development is a total loss after a fire consumed it January 4. Photo by J. Reed.

This home in Solon Township development is a total loss after a fire consumed it January 4. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

A Solon Township man is lucky to have escaped with his life after his home went up in flames last weekend.

According to Solon Fire Chief Jeff Drake, they were toned out to the fire at 16296 Trent Ridge, a new housing development off 20 Mile, just west of Algoma, at 9:39 p.m., on Sunday, January 4.

“When we arrived on scene, the roof collapsed,” explained Drake. “The 30 mph winds were like a blow torch to the house. We were purely in defensive mode.” He said the wind and cold presented a difficult challenge for the firefighters. Hoses and nozzles were freezing, as well as a pump.

Despite the cold and wind, he said they saved the truck in the driveway with minimum damage, and cooled the house next door so it wouldn’t catch fire. Assisting Solon at the scene was Cedar Springs, Kent City, and Algoma Fire Departments, and a fire investigator from Plainfield Township Fire.

They cleared the scene at 1 a.m.

The homeowner, Ryan Gorter, was home at the time the fire started. Drake said he was in his bedroom, on the phone, when he was alerted by the smoke detector. When he opened his bedroom door, there was heavy, black smoke in the house. “He said he dropped to his knees and crawled to the slider door,” explained Drake. “He had some trouble getting it open, because so much pressure had built up in the house. When he did get it open, it blew him out the door like a backdraft explosion. He thought he was going to die.”

Gorter has three girls who were not there at the time of the fire.

Drake said the home was a total loss, and estimated the damage at $150,000 for the structure, and $50,000 for the contents. The cause of the fire was undetermined.

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Family Fare property sold

N-Family-fareFamily Farm and Home coming to Cedar Springs

By Judy Reed

The former Family Fare Store at 4175 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs will soon be home to another “Family” store—Family Farm and Home.

Owner Al Fansler confirmed to the Post this week that they had recently purchased the property at 4175 17 Mile Road. “We are very excited about coming to Cedar Springs,” he said.

Family Farm and Home logoFamily Farm and Home, a family-owned company out of Muskegon, was established in 2002. Fansler said they now have 32 stores—30 in Michigan, and two in Indiana. Nearby stores include Sparta, Newaygo, and one on Plainfield in Grand Rapids. Family Farm and Home supplies a wide variety of products in departments such as tools, hardware, automotive, pet, work and casual clothing, footwear, farm supplies, horse and livestock feed, bird food, lawn and garden, and alternative heating.

Fansler explained that they have a lot of work to do with the heating and cooling systems before the store opens. “We plan to be open no later than May 1,” he said.

They plan to hire locally, and will start out with about 15 employees, he said. They will hire more depending on the volume of sales.

Fansler promised to keep the Post updated as the time gets closer for the store to open.

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The Post travels to Bogota

A group from The Springs Church with children in Bogota, Colombia. Front row (L to R): Karen, Mayerly, Jennifer Middle row: Jeimy, Phil Moore, Nathaly, Shane Jewell Back row: Heather Ellsworth, Pastor Barry Briggs, Bill VanOss, Cathy VanOss

A group from The Springs Church with children in Bogota, Colombia. Front row (L to R): Karen, Mayerly, Jennifer
Middle row: Jeimy, Phil Moore, Nathaly, Shane Jewell
Back row: Heather Ellsworth, Pastor Barry Briggs, Bill VanOss, Cathy VanOss

Last fall, a team from The Springs Church visited Bogota, Colombia and took the Post with them.

From October 11-18, they worked on tiling two bathrooms in a school for local girls. The girls who attend there have been rescued from difficult situations, and live next door to the school, where they are cared for by volunteers.

While The Springs team was there, they had the opportunity to not only work on the school, but also spend time with each of the girls.

A spokesperson for the team said that the trip had its difficulties, but each member of the team was happy they had the chance to go and each one was changed by the experience they had in Colombia.

Thank you to The Springs Church for taking us with you!

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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North Country Trail: the next step


By Tom Noreen


December 13 dawned cool, gray, and misty. Not the ideal weather for a hike through the woods but better than blazing a new trail in the rain or snow. A group of folks met at the North Country Trail (NCT) trailhead on Red Pine Drive to map out a proposed new route from that location to the east boundary of the Rogue River State Game Area (RRSGA). This field rendezvous began the next step in routing the NCT through Cedar Springs before it turns west to join the existing trail in RRSGA.

Jeff McCusker from the National Park Service (NPS) met with NCT volunteers Chuck Vannette, Paul Haan, Jim Charvat, and Jim Bradley and community representatives Rose Powell, Kurt Mabie, Carolee Cole, and Tom Noreen. The goal of the day for the NCT volunteers was to blaze a new trail, identified earlier by Paul, across the lower RRSGA (see map) that would avoid a 1/2 mile section along Red Pine Drive, add some scenic views, and place the end of the trail a mile further east than its current terminus. For the Cedar Springs community representatives, the objective was to give both the NPS and the NTC group an outline of possible routes that would connect this new trailhead to Cedar Springs.

The group pushed out east from the trailhead through the oak-hickory forest with its understory thick with red maple and a scattering of white pine. The party trekked up the rise of a low glacial moraine. On one side was a fair size bog and on the other the forest. At the south end of the bog someone had built a dam at one time blocking what appeared to be the natural outlet of the bog. From there we headed east towards Division Avenue.

As we walked along, members of the group pointed out things like the delicate red berry of the partridge berry, with its two red dimples formed from the fusion of the double partridge flower. Then there were the thickets of autumn olive, an invasive plant introduced as an ornamental and cultivated for wildlife habitat and soil erosion control. Thickets of it grew along the openings, crowding out the native vegetation.

On the other side of Division, the RRSGA is much narrower and less interesting to traverse until you join up with Duke Creek about half way across. The amber colored creek flows swiftly through this area and ranges in width from 10-30 feet. The walk along the creek was pleasant. It was easy to see where deer had come down to either cross or drink and we found the bank side den of muskrats. At one point, the creek makes a sharp bend undercutting a steep, sandy moraine.

Just before we reached the east end, we encountered the remnants of what appeared to either be another dam or the embankments that would have anchored a railroad trestle. We speculated that the dam could have been built as a cofferdam to create a pond in which to float logs down to the Rogue River. In the spring, the dam pond would be full of logs from the winter harvest and water from the snow melt. The dam would have been blown, allowing a wall of water and logs to surge downstream to the Rogue. While we really couldn’t see a good approach from the south side for a railroad, the north bank was relatively flat and wide. Narrow gauge railways were built out into the forest that logs could be directly shipped to the mills. At one time there were 25 mills within a five-mile radius of Cedar Springs.

Farther up the creek, we came to the concrete remains of the old Lime Lake Road bridge abutment. In the past, Lime Lake Road was a two-track running north from its current terminus on Solon Road to Sherwin.

After the hike, we met for lunch and discussed options for the routing west of Cedar Springs. At the conclusion of the meeting, Jeff announced that we were now at the point where we should formalize the Optimum Location Review (ORL) process. With that, the group could begin the process of coordinating with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reroute the trail through the RRSGA and working with landowners on gaining easements to route the trail off the road across private land.

Unlike the White Pine Trial, which is a multiuse trail, the NCT is a single use trail for hiking. Only in a few places are bicycles allowed. The goal is create a 4,600-mile trail that links upstate New York with western North Dakota. Much of the trail has been included in part of Governor Snyder’s Governor’s Showcase Trail.

While much has yet to be done, we have taken the next step to bring the NTC to fruition.



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Amazing race on snow


Largest winter adventure race in U.S. to take place in Rockford

ENT-Amazing-race-in-snow1The Michigan Adventure Race: Winter Edition will be held February 7, 2015, at Camp Roger in Rockford. Registration is now open. Last year’s race drew 300 participants, making it the largest winter adventure race in the U.S.

Two-person teams will set out at 9:30 a.m., running through the woods to hidden checkpoints pre-marked on a map, collecting as many points as they can within three hours. They’ll encounter Amazing Race-like challenges throughout the area along with short snowshoe and fatbike/snowbike sections. Snowshoes and fatbikes will be provided.

Newer racers find that the challenges and checkpoint hunting give them just enough of a break in between the running sections to catch their breath. Experienced adventure racers looking for a greater challenge will face several intermediate level orienteering checkpoints, requiring good map reading and basic compass skills (free clinic on January 31; details on the website).

ENT-Amazing-race-in-snow2“West Michigan has a culture for challenging outdoor sports like adventure racing and trail running that does not exist in many other areas in the nation. These races draw more people than Chicago, Indianapolis and other larger cities do to similar events,” says Mark VanTongeren, race director. “We always get a great turnout because of this. Racers are also looking forward to a new venue, Camp Roger, which gives us beautiful terrain and a warm place to hang, get a free massage and eat pizza after the race.

Friends, family and the general public are welcome to experience the race, although keeping up with the racers in the snow is an adventure in itself. Spectators can get copies of the race maps that will direct them to the challenges, many within easy walking distance.

The charity partner selected for this edition of the race is Camp Roger. Camp Roger offers a weekly overnight summer camp experience for young people and serves 10,000 participants in the fall, winter, and spring.

For more information about the race and to register, go to www.MiAdventureRace.com and visit www.facebook.com/MIAdventureRace to join a growing community of adventure racers.

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