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Red Hawks snag first conference win


By Maddie Nichols

The Red Hawks traveled to Greenville’s Legacy Field last Friday, September 9, for their first conference game of the season. After a well fought game, Cedar Springs ended the night with a win of 17-3.

The game started with a spark when junior John Todd returned the kick and made a long run to Greenville’s 37-yard line. Soon after, senior Jacob Hooker made a short run in for a touchdown with 10 minutes and 23 seconds left of the first quarter. The two point conversion failed, but the Hawks got the lead they needed making it 6-0 right away. Cedar continued to shut down Greenville with tackles by seniors Austin Ellis and Jaron Spencer. With only a little over a minute left of the first quarter, senior Dustin Shaw kicked a 34-yard field goal to increase the lead to 9-0 Red Hawks. Tackles at the end of the quarter by sophomore Ryan Ringler and seniors Jaron Spencer and Dustin Shaw prevented Greenville from getting any points.

Going into the second quarter, Jacob Hooker recovered a fumble and got the crowd roaring when he landed the ball on the 12-yard line. Hooker carried the ball the next few plays until it was 4th down on the 1-yard line. Senior quarterback Collin Alvesteffer then made an unusual touchdown by climbing over his teammates’ backs and crossing the ball over into the end zone. The two-point conversion from Alvesteffer to senior Dylan Ostrom-Howell was good, upping the score to 17-0 with 8 minutes left in the first half. Runs by Todd, Hooker, and Ringler kept the momentum going while important tackles by Alvesteffer, Ellis, and junior Nate Patin kept the Yellow Jackets from scoring.

In the second half, Cedar’s defense stepped up to maintain the lead they had. Although there were some close calls, Cedar held them off from making any runs into the end zone. Ringler, Alvesteffer, Shaw, Todd, sophomore Lucas Pienton and senior Austin Basso all made major tackles as the Yellow Jackets closed in on the one yard line. Towards the very end of the third quarter, Greenville kicked a field goal to make the score 17-3.

The Red Hawks continued with a strong defense in the fourth quarter. With huge tackles by Todd, Ryan Ringler, senior Fred Rutledge, Patin, Basso, junior Jordon Lyon, Pienton, and senior Jordan Ringler, the Yellow Jackets struggled to get close to a touchdown. Although there was no scoring by the Hawks, there were still some great runs by Ryan Ringler, Todd, Ostrom-Howell, Hooker, and Jordan Ringler to finish off the game 17-3.

Cedar Springs had 181 yards on the ground. Leading rushers were John Todd, with 60 yards on nine carries; Jacob Hooker with 46 yards on 12 carries; and Collin Alvesteffer with 24 yards on 11 carries.

Cedar Springs is now 1-0 in conference and 2-1 overall.

The Red Hawks have their Homecoming game this coming Friday, September 16, against Northview. Game time is 7 p.m. Come on out and cheer on your Red Hawks!

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Smallmouth bass state record broken


Robert Bruce Kraemer of Treasure Island, Florida, recently set a new state-record catch for smallmouth bass with a fish he caught Sunday, Sept. 11, on Indian River in Cheboygan County. Kraemer owns a cottage in Indian River and spends most of the summer there.

Robert Bruce Kraemer of Treasure Island, Florida, recently set a new state-record catch for smallmouth bass with a fish he caught Sunday, Sept. 11, on Indian River in Cheboygan County. Kraemer owns a cottage in Indian River and spends most of the summer there.

Michigan’s existing state record for smallmouth bass was broken Sunday by Robert Bruce Kraemer of Treasure Island, Florida.

A longtime angler with a cottage in Indian River, Cheboygan County, Kraemer said he’s been fishing Michigan waters since 1965, but this is his first state-record catch. Using night crawlers for bait, Kraemer landed a 9.98-pound, 23.10-inch smallmouth bass while out on the Indian River.

“I usually spend June through the end of September up here at the cottage,” Kraemer said. “I’ve got some great fish stories and some nice fish, but nothing like this.”

The record was verified by Tim Cwalinski, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist in Gaylord.

The previous state record for smallmouth bass was set in October 2015 when Greg Gasiciel of Rhodes, Michigan, landed a 9.33-pound, 24.50-inch fish from Hubbard Lake in Alcona County.

Prior to Gasiciel’s catch, the smallmouth bass state record had stood since 1906. That fish was a 9.25-pound, 27.25-inch fish from Long Lake in Cheboygan County.

“In just the last four years, anglers have caught a total of 16 state-record fish, a remarkable number of big fish in a relatively short time,” said Jim Dexter, chief of the DNR Fisheries Division. “This is just more evidence that Michigan is home to a healthy, robust fishery—a resource and sporting opportunity that continues to draw people from all over.”

Kraemer, the new smallmouth bass state record-holder, agreed.

“I keep coming back to Michigan for a lot of reasons,” he said. “The weather, the clear, cold water, good fishing…it’s just nice up here.”

Michigan fishing state records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.

For more information on fishing in Michigan, including other state-record catches visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

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Heart of Cedar Springs growing

View of the new library as of Wednesday, Sept. 7. Photo from Community Building Development Team Facebook page.

View of the new library as of Wednesday, Sept. 7. Photo from Community Building Development Team Facebook page.

If you’ve driven down Main Street recently, you can’t help but notice that the walls are up on the new Cedar Springs Public Library at the corner of Main and Maple Streets. It’s coming along quickly! Also installed on Thursday was a new metal dragonfly sculpture in the area near the flowing well (behind the library), which will be part of the new rain garden area. Watch next week’s paper for more on that piece, created by local artist Steve Anderson.

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Towering sunflowers


It’s that time of year again for giant sunflowers, and we were happy to receive this photo from Tracy Skelonc. Pictured are brothers Andrew (8) and Coty Jr. (10) Youngs, standing in front of their Grandma Darlene Brewington’s 12-foot 6-inch sunflowers she grew this summer at her Sand Lake home. Nice photo, and the only sunflowers we’ve received this summer. Thanks so much for sending it!

Do you have photos of flowers or wildlife you’d like to submit? Email them to news@cedarspringspost.com with a little info. We will print as space is available.

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Summer winds down for FFA


By Chapter Reporter Madison Strain

Summer has come to a close, the Cedar Springs FFA Chapter is taking time to reflect on their eventful summer. The officers have worked hard with monthly meetings to get prepared for the upcoming school year. Over the past few months, the members obtained personal growth and portrayed grit through numerous events.

Chapter officers travelled to Lansing, on July 9, where they spent three days at the State Leadership Conference for Chapter Officers (SLCCO). The seven members spent many hours interacting with other chapter officers all over Michigan. Their time was split between three sessions. During each session, the state FFA officers presented a different way to deal with current agricultural issues. Those issues ranged from educating the youth to dealing with agricultural haters. Each session had the same recurring theme, “to be an advocate for agriculture.” The trip wasn’t all business for those young officers; there was plenty of time for fun and relaxation too. The officers tore it up at Thursday night’s dance, with the boys stealing the show with their dance moves. Cedar Springs’ officers were sure to make many friends along the way. SLCCO was a trip that resulted in strengthened communication skills and lasting memories for the Cedar Springs chapter officers.

On July 14, Cedar Springs sent four chapter officers back to Lansing where they participated in a livestock judging contest. Vice president Adam Parker, Sentinel Cade Hall, Historian Diane Howe, and Reporter Madison Strain judged a total of eight animal classes. They were later brought before a judge individually to give reasons on their ranking order for that class. Livestock judging tests the officer’s memory skills, organization skills, and speaking skills. The team received 12th place overall, with individual places of: Adam Parker- 19th, Diane Howe- 54th, Cade Hall- 63rd, and Madison Strain- 64th. Each member contributed to the team with their work ethic and positive attitude.

The Cedar Springs chapter was also reaching out to our community with their garden project. This year reached a total of 11 plots for numerous members of the community. A big thank you to the Solon and Cedar Springs fire departments for filling their water tank. Along with the successful community garden project, the land lab project is also flourishing. The corn is tasseled and growing strong, as is the bean field. Members owe a big debt of thanks to our boosters for their help with tillage and planting.

Many of the chapter’s members participated in the showing of livestock at the Kent County 4-H Fair. Two of the chapter’s officers worked a booth selling meatsticks to help fund the chapter scholarships. The chapter also had multiple members show livestock at the Montcalm County Fair.

With the 2016-2017 school year just beginning, the officers are taking every opportunity to get more students involved in the FFA. They have prepared a booth, provided flyers, and taken the time to talk with students about the benefits of joining their club at the school orientation. The chapter has high hopes of gaining new members this year. Please stay tuned to future articles for upcoming activities.

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Never accept pain as a natural part of aging or illness 

September is National Pain Awareness Month. Palliative care treatment can help alleviate symptoms for those dealing with physical, emotional and spiritual discomfort.  

September is National Pain Awareness Month. Palliative care treatment can help alleviate symptoms for those dealing with physical, emotional and spiritual discomfort.

from Hospice of Michigan

Contrary to what many may believe, pain does not have to be part of a loved one’s natural aging process or chronic illness, and no one should experience pain at the end of life. September’s designation as National Pain Awareness Month is an opportunity for caregivers to better understand, and help alleviate, their loved one’s physical, emotional and spiritual discomfort.

Palliative care offers comfort and improved quality of life to patients and families by identifying and managing pain and other distressing symptoms such as nausea, and shortness of breath. It differs from hospice care in that palliative care can be provided at the same time as curative treatment and is appropriate for people of any age with uncontrolled pain or symptoms, at any stage of an illness.

Uncontrolled pain can lead to needless suffering, poor sleep, urinary retention, limited mobility or breathing, fear or anxiety. Individuals experiencing pain may say they are fine when they are not since pain awareness varies across cultures, genders and beliefs. Some people are very vocal about their pain and desire pain relief. Others think they need to be tough and refuse to acknowledge their pain. Some people believe pain is a way to atone for sins or is part of the aging process.  Many believe that they will become ‘addicted’ to pain pills, or fear being overmedicated.

“Physical pain can be made worse by emotional or spiritual pain, and that distress can make it more difficult to achieve comfort,” said Michael Paletta MD, FAAHPM, Hospice of Michigan vice president, medical affairs and chief medical officer. “Patients and caregivers alike often fail to recognize emotional and spiritual pain. Overlooking or ignoring signs of such distress does nothing to improve quality of life or patient care. Those experiencing chronic pain should always seek help, while others should be vigilant for signs of physical, emotional and spiritual pain within their loved ones.”

Everyone’s experience with pain is different. There is no test or X-ray to measure pain. For those who find it difficult to vocalize or admit their pain, family and friends can look for such signs as grimacing, restlessness, irritability, mood swings, wringing of hands, teeth grinding, moaning, sleep disturbance, poor concentration or decreased activity. Keeping track of a loved one’s pain occurrences, the level and type of pain and when medication was taken, can help clinicians prescribe the proper course of palliative care treatment.

And, while it can be difficult for family and friends to see a loved one in pain, they often suffer, too. Pain may cause a strain on the relationship, frustrations and/or anger. Caregivers often have the added daily stress of increased responsibility for maintaining the home on top of caregiving responsibilities. They may also have to endure emotional outbursts from the patient in pain. Family life may become constricted; communication, activities and interactions amongst family and friends may center on pain. The family’s social life may suffer and individuals may become progressively isolated from friends and the community.

Pain not only takes a physical toll on a patient, but an emotional and spiritual toll as well. Hospice of Michigan spiritual care coordinators and social workers relieve emotional and spiritual distress by identifying concerns, offering expert advice, a listening ear, and meeting patient and family member goals.

When traditional pain relief methods are not enough, enjoying music and art, a relaxing massage and the companionship of a pet can help a loved one maximize comfort and quality of life. Introducing music, art, massage and pet interactions alongside medical interventions and counseling provides patients with a holistic plan of care. Such “life’s pleasures” help patients control symptoms, manage stress and relieve anxiety.

Hospice of Michigan clinicians educate patients and families on the many types of pain management, always mindful of a patient’s wishes and beliefs in developing a course of treatment.

September’s designation as National Pain Awareness Month is a great reminder for everyone who deals with pain – patients, caregivers and clinicians – that pain should never be tolerated. The care teams at Hospice of Michigan are dedicated to identifying and relieving pain of all types – physical, emotional and spiritual.


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5 ways to prepare your outdoor living space for fall


(BPT) – While everyone eagerly waits for spring each year and wishes summer could last a month or two longer, when it comes down to it, fall just might be America’s favorite season. It’s warm but not hot, the air has that clean crispness that’s hard to describe and perhaps the biggest draw, pumpkin-flavored everything. And let’s not forget about all those bright, beautiful leaf colors that come with the change in weather. So why start shutting down your outdoor living space with the first sign of fall?

Packing it in early is something dynamic design duo, Colin and Justin, would never consider. The home improvement stars of “Cabin Pressure” and “Game of Homes” make the most of their beautiful Western Red Cedar deck all year around.

“Oh my gosh  every single day, we’re on the deck – whether it’s summer, spring, fall, winter or whatever,” says Justin. “A deck isn’t just for three months of the year; a deck is what you want it to be. And if you love the great outdoors as much as we do, you can make it work.”

Here, then, are Colin and Justin’s top five design solutions to help extend your outdoor living well into the autumn months:

Start with the right deck 

bloom-outdoor-living-2Just because you procrastinated, doesn’t mean you need to wait until next spring to build or start designing a show-stopping deck. Whatever your plans, though, one thing almost everyone agrees upon is that there’s nothing quite like the rich, textural warmth of a Western Red Cedar deck to create a beautiful all-season outdoor living space. Low maintenance, surprisingly affordable and easy to work with, Real Cedar can’t be beat.

“We recommend getting your big ticket items first, around which you can seasonally adjust and tailor your look with different smaller and more affordable purchases,” says Colin. “And with decks, it’s worth investing in a really good product to start with like Western Red Cedar, which will last and last and last. Honestly, it just gets better with age, improving as the years pass, and it really is a showstopper.”

Screen it in 

Unless you’ve got a screened-in porch, you may still have to shield your outdoor living space from the occasional nippy breeze. For Colin and Justin, this is easily rectified with movable wicker screens that they store inside during the summer months.

“They’ve got a lovely weighty bottom to them,” says Justin. “The wind passes right through them and that’s a good tip for anyone using freestanding screens on the outside. If they’re too solid, the wind can catch them. But if they’re fretwork or open panels or cutout work, they’re good.”

Heat things up

Paradoxically, as the days grow shorter, you’ll wish they would last longer. There’s no more perfect way to cap off a perfect fall day than by sitting around a fire with friends and family.

“In the autumn, we have two propane operated fire bowls that sit smack dab in the center of our Western Red Cedar deck,” says Colin. Their gas-powered fire is safely contained in a stone bowl and leaves no ashes or embers. “And those fire bowls help us stretch out our summer a little bit. We also have two big patio heaters, which we can direct inward at either end of our terrace and they really makes a big difference.”

Bundle up with textiles

Sometimes all it takes to warm up your outdoor living space is some simple, yet chic, soft furnishings and yes, maybe even a change in wardrobe. (But don’t worry – you don’t have to say good-bye to your beloved flips flops, just “until we meet again next spring.”)

“We take out lots of really lovely textural throw pillows and rich woolen blankets – think Pendleton and Hudson’s Bay striped blankets – and we cozy up,” says Justin, adding, “And don’t forget your winter woollies. When the weather is changing, sometimes it’s less about what you add and more about what you put on in terms of clothing.”

Install a BBQ cover 

If you’re like Colin & Justin, you enjoy the thrill of the grill year round. This is where an easy-to-build, Real Cedar BBQ Cover really earns its keep. Made from nature’s most resilient building material, this sturdy and beautiful structure is going to last you a very long time. Just think of all the cookout possibilities!

“We BBQ all the time,” says Colin, “So we got a cover. That way we don’t have to worry about weather.”

For free downloadable project plans, visit RealCedar.com or for more fast facts on building with Real Cedar, download their free DIY app – available on the Apple App Store for iOS and at Google Play for Android.

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Hawks end Spartan rivalry with win

Red Hawk Jacob Hooker runs with the ball. Photo by K. Alvesteffer/R. LaLone.

Red Hawk Jacob Hooker runs with the ball. Photo by K. Alvesteffer/R. LaLone.

By Maddie Nichols

After playing the Sparta Spartans 65 times in the last 66 years (and probably even longer) the Cedar Springs Red Hawks faced the Spartans for the last time this past Thursday. Sparta had asked to end their contract with Cedar Springs, saying the matchup was not “favorable to Sparta.” In this final rivalry game, Cedar ended the game with a significant 35-7 win.

The Hawks started the game off strong and held off the Spartans. With 4 minutes and 34 seconds left of the first quarter, Red Hawk junior John Todd made a run down the middle and scored Cedar’s first touchdown. After a successful two-point conversion pass from senior quarterback Collin Alvesteffer to another senior, Austin Basso, the Hawks were up 8-0. Cedar kept the lead on the Spartans with some great defensive efforts by sophomore Ryan Ringler and John Todd.

Early in the second quarter, senior Jacob Hooker made a long run in for a touchdown with 10 minutes and 31 seconds left. After a successful extra point, the Hawks were up 15-0. Cedar continued to shut down any of Sparta’s attempts with great tackles by Collin Alvesteffer, John Todd, and Austin Basso. At the end of the first half, the score remained 15-0.

The combined efforts of the offense and defense kept the Red Hawk momentum going in the third quarter. Tackles by junior Nathan Patin, senior Dustin Shaw, sophomore Lucas Pienton, senior Jaron Spencer and senior Thomas Hill kept the Spartans at bay. Runs by Jacob Hooker and pass deflections by Dustin Shaw and Lucas Pienton kept both the team and the fans energized. Ryan Ringler’s incredible 65-yard touchdown and Cedar’s successful point after at the end of third quarter made the score 22-0.

Cedar marched downfield in the fourth quarter with runs by Ryan Ringler, Jacob Hooker, and Collin Alvesteffer. Alvesteffer made a four-yard touchdown run with nine minutes left in the game. The two-point conversion was no good, but Cedar remained on top 28-0. Sparta snuck in a long run and a touchdown with six minutes 44 seconds left in the game, making the game 28-7. Cedar continued to push and Dustin Shaw got a touchdown and point after in with four minutes left, making it 35-7. The Hawks weren’t letting another touchdown go past them and they shut down the Spartans’ offense for the rest of the game.

Coach Gus Kapolka knows the Red Hawks still have some things to work on.

“After a sluggish start, I thought we played much better in the second half,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the number of penalties that we had, so it’s something that we will have to clean up for this week.”

The Red Hawks head to  Greenville to take on the Greenville Yellow Jackets this Friday, September 9, and then will host Northview on Friday, September 16, the first home game of the season.

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Become a DNR conservation officer

The conservation officer academy recruits ran the first leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Michigan.

The conservation officer academy recruits ran the first leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division is actively seeking recruits for its next conservation officer academy, which begins July 16, 2017, at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Dimondale.

“The DNR, an equal opportunity employer, is seeking a diverse applicant pool, including military veterans,” said Sgt. Jason Wicklund, recruit school commander.

Certain criteria apply. All recruit applicants must:

  • Be able to lawfully possess a firearm in Michigan.
  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Be at least 21 years of age before graduation from the academy.
  • Become a resident of the state of Michigan by completion of the Probationary Training Program.
  • Possess a valid Michigan driver’s license.
  • Possess a satisfactory driving record.
  • Possess a clean criminal record absent of any felony convictions.
  • Submit to a thorough background investigation measuring the applicant’s suitability for law enforcement work.
  • Be able to pass the MCOLES physical fitness test. Go to http://www.michigan.gov/mcoles and click on “physical fitness test.”

To apply, for the job, complete the online application at https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/michigan/jobs/1525399/conservation-officer-10-statewide.

Recruits spent time learning conservation law, including how to identify various features of game fish common to Michigan waters.

Recruits spent time learning conservation law, including how to identify various features of game fish common to Michigan waters.

When submitting an application, download and complete the Job Fit Questionnaire and Location Preference Sheet found in the “Additional Requirements and Information” section of the “Description” tab. Attach completed Job Fit Questionnaire, Location Preference Sheet, cover letter and resume to the application. Applicants not completing and submitting all requested materials will be screened from the process. The State of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, disability or other factors prohibited by law.

Recruits are classified as State of Michigan employees during the academy and receive pay for their training. The 22-week academy culminates in graduation and is then followed by an additional 20 weeks of field training throughout the state while paired with experienced conservation officers.

At the completion of training, the new officers are assigned to one of the state’s 83 counties where they will work and live.

During ice safety training, recruits jumped into an ice hole and learned to use their issued ice picks to maneuver out of the hole. All safety precautions were taken during the exercise to ensure recruit safety

During ice safety training, recruits jumped into an ice hole and learned to use their issued ice picks to maneuver out of the hole. All safety precautions were taken during the exercise to ensure recruit safety

“DNR conservation officers serve a distinct role in Michigan’s law enforcement community,” Wicklund said. “They are certified police officers with the authority to enforce all Michigan’s laws.”

Conservation officers have unique training in a wide variety of areas related to the protection of Michigan’s citizens and natural resources. This includes extensive training in game, fish, and trapping enforcement and recreational safety and enforcement.

They also receive extensive training in firearms, precision and off-road driving and survival tactics.

Conservation officers also serve the public in life-saving capacities, including ice-rescue, search and rescue and first-aid. Often, and especially in rural communities, they are the first to respond to an emergency.

For more information on the application process and how to apply to the conservation officer academy, contact Sgt. John Meka at mekaj@michigan.gov or 517-284-6499. To learn more about the conservation officer hiring process, visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers and click on the link below the “Hiring Process” subheading.

Learn more about the academy by reading the 2016 Conservation Officer Academy blogs for Recruit School No. 7. Visit www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers and click on “Conservation Officer Academy” under the “Hiring Process” subheading to read about each week of training, view training photos and watch videos of recruits persevering.

Subscribe to the conservation officer academy blog, also posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page, which follows these new officers during their challenges and accomplishments throughout field-training and beyond. Intermittent posts continue past graduation.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more about Michigan conservation officers at www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

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MCC features inmate artists 

A variety of artwork by inmates in Michigan correctional facilities is included in Montcalm Community College’s “Art From the Inside Out” exhibit. Located in the Instruction North Building Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus, the exhibit may be viewed Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 12 through Oct. 27.

A variety of artwork by inmates in Michigan correctional facilities is included in Montcalm Community College’s “Art From the Inside Out” exhibit. Located in the Instruction North Building Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus, the exhibit may be viewed Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 12 through Oct. 27.

“Art From the Inside Out” exhibit Sept. 12-Oct. 27

SIDNEY—Montcalm Community College’s “Art From the Inside Out” exhibit features artwork created by inmates in Michigan correctional facilities.

Located in MCC’s Instruction North Building Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus, the display is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 12 through Oct. 27.

This is the third time MCC has held an exhibit like this. The idea originally came from the University of Michigan’s annual exhibit of prisoner art.

“It is an excellent way for the MCC community to see artwork they wouldn’t usually be able to view,” said MCC Visual Arts Coordinator Carolyn Johnson. “At MCC, part of our mission is to allow our students to experience different ideas and expressions. Our art students critique and analyze the artworks and expand their perspective by observing work from people who have very different life experiences from the average college student.

“We have received responses from community members, as well as from our students, expressing how enlightening it is to see artwork created by a marginalized population,” she added. “Art is very personal. How we engage with art is very personal. It helps us to see through the eyes of people who live differently from us, as well as people throughout history and across cultures. Art helps us expand our ideas. The more we know about others, the more empathetic and understanding we are toward others.”

MCC expects more than 100 artworks in 2D and 3D from approximately 75 artists from four area institutions.

“It amazes me to see how strong the creative impulse is in humans,” Johnson said. “From picking up charcoal to adorn prehistoric cave walls, to kids building sand castles, there is an innate urge to make things of beauty.

“Many of the people taking part in this exhibit have never had any art education and only started to express themselves visually since being incarcerated,” she added. “Many of the artworks express ideas of remorse and sadness. Art is a safe way to explore the entire range of human emotions.”

MCC Art Instructor Debbie Bell said this art show is meant to educate and challenge students.

“This art is very psychological and has intense emotion within it, so most pieces hold a lot of meaning and pent up emotions,” Bell said. “This art show gives viewers a connection with people who they are unable to have contact with as they would with others in society.”

Johnson said it is important to realize that most of the people in prison will one day be released.

“When someone has paid their debt to society, we need to find ways for them to fit back into the outside world. Art can help them do just that. If these artists don’t have a creative outlet or positive way to interact with the outside world, they may revert to the behavior that got them incarcerated.”

Bell said all MCC art instructors have their students observe the art, write reflection papers on the artwork and discuss what materials were used.

“Some of the participating prison artists have family members in our community,” Johnson said. “Many people in our area are employed at area prisons. How much safer might their jobs be when prisoners have a safe outlet to express their emotions?”

Most of the artwork is available for sale. The prices range from $5 to $500, based on the piece’s size and the artist’s experience. Once a piece is taken out of the prison, it cannot be returned to the artist.

Visit MCC’s Instruction North Art Gallery on the college’s Sidney campus to view and/or purchase pieces. A ballot box in the Art Gallery allows visitors to vote for their favorite artwork and People’s Choice Awards will be given to the artists receiving the most votes at the end of the show.

Contact MCC Visual Arts Coordinator Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@montcalm.edu or 989-328-1248 for more information.


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