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

BLOOM-Creative1

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

Building the foundation

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

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

BLOOM-Creative2Simple steps onward and upward

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

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

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

Loftier ambitions

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Kent County Youth Fair

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August 8th-13th

225 S Hudson, Lowell MI 49331

Download schedule here: KentCountyYouthFair2016.pdf

Or visit http://kcyf.org

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

HEA-WestNile-mosquito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fire sends nine to hospital

A firefighter breaks a window at the scene of a fire at the corner of 14 Mile and Podunk, in Oakfield Township, on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

A firefighter breaks a window at the scene of a fire at the corner of 14 Mile and Podunk, in Oakfield Township, on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on 14 Mile and Podunk on July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on 14 Mile and Podunk on July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

A fire that broke out in an Oakfield Township home Tuesday morning sent nine people to the hospital, including six children.

Fire departments were dispatched at 10:34 a.m. July 19, to a house on the northwest corner of 14 Mile and Podunk. According to Carl Rood, a witness at the scene, he was in the basement when he heard people hollering. But he said he had his music on, and it wasn’t unusual for the kids to be hollering. A few minutes later, his dad, Don Rood, was yelling at him through his window that the house was on fire. When he got outside, he saw several of the children on the roof.

“I had to get a ladder to help them down,” said Rood, who also said that one of them jumped out the window. He said that some passersby also stopped to help.

According to Oakfield Deputy Fire Chief Trachet, when they arrived on scene some of the children were on the roof above the porch on the west side of the house. “The bedroom window opened above it. We were setting up to push water out while they were getting the kids down,” he said.

Trachet explained that the nine people were sent to the hospital to be checked out because they were covered in soot, which carries carcinogens. “We just wanted them to get checked out,” he said.

Trachet also said that one of the passersby went above and beyond the call of duty when she helped out the family. “One young lady, Jennifer Brunges, was key in getting people out. She carried one of the homeowners out, kept the children safe, washed their faces, and even gave the ambulance two car seats from her own car. She then followed them down to the hospital. That young lady was a hero, and I don’t use that word too often,” remarked Trachet. “She saw smoke, saw people trying to get down, and went to help. Someone who is willing to follow the ambulance down to the hospital to make sure they are all ok is somebody special.”

Besides Oakfield, Courtland, Spencer, Montcalm, Cannon, Algoma, and Grattan Township Fire Departments were all on scene to fight the fire. The Kent County Sheriff Department was also on scene to assist.

Trachet explained that there were so many fire departments on scene because during the day volunteer firefighters are working day jobs. “It’s tough. Each department came with two or three firefighters,” he remarked.

The firefighters had the fire extinguished within about 80 to 85 minutes, but stayed on scene for several hours to make sure there were no hot spots. They cleared the scene at 3:53 p.m.

Trachet said the damage to the home was extensive.

While they have some preliminary ideas on how and where the fire started, Trachet noted that it’s still under investigation. A state investigator from the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal’s office will be investigating the fire this week.

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The Post travels to Bay City

Steve Reed holding up The POST in front of the Pride of Baltimore II. Photo by Judy Reed.

Steve Reed holding up The POST in front of the Pride of Baltimore II. Photo by Judy Reed.

The Post recently traveled to Bay City, Michigan, with Steve and Judy Reed, of Cedar Springs, for the Tall Ship Celebration. Festival-goers were able to tour 11 different tall ships from various time periods and countries, as well as take part in other festivities on the grounds.

In the photo above, Steve stands in front of the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of a 19th century Baltimore Clipper originally named the Chasseur. The topsail schooner gained fame as a privateer during the war of 1812. According to the Tall Ships website, “in a daring voyage to Great Britain, her captain declared a solo blockade of the British Isles. This caused the British Admiralty to call vessels back to the British Isles to protect their merchant ships. Chasseur captured or sank 17 vessels before returning home in 1815. Upon her arrival in Fells Point, she was greeted by cheering crowds and dubbed the Pride of Baltimore.”

Thanks for taking us with you on your expedition!

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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Scout project helps Bellowood dog rescue

Austin Anderson (center) and friends Jacob Swinehart (left) and Andrew Watts (right) recently completed projects at Bellowood Dog Rescue to help Austin earn his Eagle Scout rank. The fence behind them and Welcome sign were two of the projects. Photo by J. Reed.

Austin Anderson (center) and friends Jacob Swinehart (left) and Andrew Watts (right) recently completed projects at Bellowood Dog Rescue to help Austin earn his Eagle Scout rank. The fence behind them and Welcome sign were two of the projects. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Austin Anderson loves his rescue dog. So when it came time to pick out a project to help him earn his Eagle Scout rank—the highest rank in Boy Scouts—he was inspired to give back and do something to help a local dog rescue. With some help from his mom, he chose Bellowood Dog Rescue in Cedar Springs.

Because of his generosity and help from his friends, family and local businesses, the Bellowood welcome center has a freshly painted fence, new welcome sign, and 20 specially crafted dog bowls.

“I am so thankful,” said Kim Schreuder, the founder of Bellowood. “The boys did a great job.” She explained that the Welcome Center is a place where people come to meet the dogs they want to adopt, so it’s important that it look nice.

Austin, the son of Dean and Kristine Anderson, will be a senior next year at Cedar Springs High School. He and his friends, sophomore Jacob Swinehart and junior Andrew Watts, paid a visit to Bellowood, and Schreuder showed them around and explained what projects needed to be done. They then chose what they wanted to do.

The boys also designed and made dog bowls to help dogs with megaesophagus.

The boys also designed and made dog bowls to help dogs with megaesophagus.

The dog bowls were made to especially help dogs with megaesophagus—a condition that is an enlargement of the esophagus, a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. Dogs with that condition have a harder time moving food and liquid down to the stomach. According to Pet MD, some breeds, such as wire-haired terriers and miniature schnauzers can be born with it. Other breeds prone to the condition include German shepherds, dachshunds, great Danes, Irish setter, Labrador retriever, pug, and Chinese shar-pei. With the new bowls, they are up high enough that the dogs will be able to swallow their water and food much easier.

The boys created their own dog bone design from scratch, and made 10 large bowls and 10 small ones. “They are much better quality than the plastic ones you can buy in the store,” remarked Schreuder.

The scouts, with some help from parents, also cleaned, scraped, sanded, and painted the front fence, and created a new welcome sign. The materials were either bought at cost, donated, or paid for with gift cards from local businesses.

“I am so very very thankful for all their hard work and what they gave to us,” said Schreuder. “It’s such a blessing! They are great kids.”

Austin said he now needs to turn in his paperwork as the next step toward getting his Eagle Scout rank. His friend Jacob Swinehart previously achieved his Eagle Scout rank with work on the Kent Theatre.

“I’m so happy to be a part of this, and thankful,” said Schreuder. “It’s fantastic. I think it’s special that the boys do things like this—not just for me, but for others in need, too.”

On their last day there, the boys got to play with some of the rescue dogs up for adoption. (See photo). For anyone interested in adopting one of these or another rescue dog, contact Kim Schreuder at xbellowoodx@yahoo.com, or visit their page on www.petfinder.com.

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Wolverine Skyhawks dazzle crowd

Jase “the Ace” Dussia entertained the crowd with his skillful flying of his remote-controlled aircraft. Here it’s hovering not far off the ground. Photo by J. Reed.

Jase “the Ace” Dussia entertained the crowd with his skillful flying of his remote-controlled aircraft. Here it’s hovering not far off the ground. Photo by J. Reed.

It was a beautiful evening Monday to enjoy the Wolverine Skyhawks remote-controlled airplane show, an annual event with the Cedar Springs Library’s summer reading program.

Oohs and ahhs were heard from the crowd, who gathered at the club’s field on West Street and were treated to a great show, along with hotdogs, chips and water.

All the club pilots are skilled at flying their beautiful planes, but one pilot especially dazzled the crowd—16-year-old Jase “the Ace” Dussia, from Otsego. Jase is an XFC (Extreme Flights Championships) 3D Aerobatics champion and has been flying since he was seven years old. He flew two different planes and showcased his skill with some tricky maneuvers—dancing, swooping, and much more.

Kerissa Basso, 14, was the winner of the remote controlled airplane system given away by the Skyhawks. Pictured (from L to R): Skyhawks Club Treasurer Rick Steinport, CS Library Youth Services Miss Heidi, winner - Kerissa Basso, and Skyhawks Club President Eric Pipenger. Photo from the Wolverine Skyhawks facebook page.

Kerissa Basso, 14, was the winner of the remote controlled airplane system given away by the Skyhawks. Pictured (from L to R): Skyhawks Club Treasurer Rick Steinport, CS Library Youth Services Miss Heidi, winner – Kerissa Basso, and Skyhawks Club President Eric Pipenger. Photo from the Wolverine Skyhawks facebook page.

The club also gave away a remote controlled airplane system, and the lucky winner was Kerissa Basso, 14.

About 150 people were at the event, with 53 kids ages Kindergarten through 12th grade entering the raffle for the plane.

According to Library Director Donna Clark, this year’s Summer Reading Program has been wildly successful with 1,031 people signed up. “In year’s past we always seem to exceed 700, 749 tops. This year we have 734 kids and 297 adults! I believe it’s because we have the finest summer program around and the excitement of a new library,” she said.

The Summer Reading program has had 25 programs crowded into 6 weeks.

The grand finale to the program will be next Wednesday, July 27, at Morley Park, from 2-4 p.m., when they have their Super Fit Field Day Reading Celebration. Prizes will be given away for reading, and the Mounted Police will also be there. Plan to come out for a great celebration!

Also, anyone interested in seeing more of the Wolverine Skyhawks in action, can stop out a the field at the end of West Street on Wednesday evenings, when the club is there to fly their aircraft.

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Man charged in Montcalm crash

Joel Ibarra

Joel Ibarra

The crash occurred May 1, when Ibarra attempted to pass multiple vehicles in his black Audi and struck an elderly couple’s Buick head-on.

The crash occurred May 1, when Ibarra attempted to pass multiple vehicles in his black Audi and struck an elderly couple’s Buick head-on.

A Wyoming, Michigan man has been charged in the crash that killed an elderly couple from Grand Rapids on May 1, in Montcalm County.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, Joel Ibarra, 26, of Wyoming, was arrested late Monday afternoon in connection with the crash that killed Raymond and Mary Wrona, both 88, of Grand Rapids. The crash occurred on May 1, about 7:18 p.m., on M-66, near Schmeid Road, in Belvidere Township.

The Wronas were traveling soutbound in a red 1999 Buick LeSabre, when Ibarra tried to pass multiple northbound vehicles in his 2012 black Audi. Ibarra could not complete the pass in time, and the vehicles collided head on, on the west shoulder of the road.

Raymond Wrona, the driver of the Buick, was transported to Kelsey Hospital, where he later died. His wife, Mary, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ibarra and his passenger, Maria Mancha, 28, from Comstock Park, were both transported to Kelsey Hospital and treated for their injuries.

Ibarra was arraigned on four charges—two charges of operating while under the influence of a controlled substance causing death and two charges of reckless driving causing death. Ibarra is currently out on a $35,000.00 bond.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

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Hawks fall on Saturday, still clinch playoff spot

Brant Brooks celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

Brant Brooks celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by Marcie Crouch.

By Shae Brophy

With the top spot in the MLFA’s Big Eight division on the line, the West Michigan Hawks hosted the Toledo Thunder on Saturday evening at Skinner Field. The teams shared identical 4-1 records coming into the game, and a win for either team would put them in the drivers seat for the top seed in the division.

A tough, hard fought game saw the Thunder come out on top with a 12-7 victory. After returning the game’s opening kickoff 99 yards to the one-yard line, Toledo opened the scoring with a one yard scamper on the game’s first play from scrimmage. After missing the extra point, the score remained 6-0.

The Hawks responded late in the second quarter, when Brant Brooks hauled in a five yard pass for a touchdown from quarterback Charles Manny Hodges. The extra point gave the Hawks a 7-6 lead, which they took into halftime.

Toledo was able to answer early in the third quarter, regaining the lead on a 26 yard touchdown run. Their two-point attempt was stuffed by the Hawks, keeping the score at a reasonable 12-7 margin.

With the score still the same late in the fourth quarter, the Hawks got the ball back at their own nine-yard line with just over a minute remaining. A big play brought them out to the Toledo 45-yard line with 24 seconds left, but a holding penalty and the subsequent 10-second run off put the Hawks in a tough spot, with the ball on their own 45-yard line and seven seconds remaining. On the final play of the game, they completed a long pass down field, but they were not able to find the end zone. Overall, Toledo outscored West Michigan by a margin of 393-242.

Cornerback Omar Haynes finished the game with three interceptions for the Hawks, while linebacker JaVon Welch had 12.5 tackles.

Despite the loss, the Hawks still clinched the franchise’s first appearance in the playoffs as a result of losses from other teams across the league.

“I thought we played a solid football game,” said head coach David Lange. “We missed a few opportunities to take the lead, but overall I thought we adjusted nicely. All we can do is look to the next game.”

The Hawks will be in action again this Saturday at Skinner Field when they host the West Michigan Force. Tickets are $6 a piece, with children eight and under free. The Hawks will be raffling off numerous items from local businesses, such as pizza from Hungry Howies and Vitale’s, gift cards to KC’s, and much much more! We hope to see you there!

FROM OWNER DAVID LANGE:

“An incident occurred in the stands of Saturday evening’s West Michigan Hawks game. Members from the West Michigan Force attended the game to scout our team before our game against them this upcoming weekend. I’d like to personally and formally apologize to the fans who witnessed this incident. The actions from these players were unacceptable, and will not be tolerated by the Hawks or Skinner Field. The Force were reprimanded by the league for their actions, with eight of their players being suspended for this weekend’s game. I have also ensured that there will be a heightened police presence at the game, and a security presence on the field. Our fans and the safety of our fans is our highest priority when we play at home, and we have taken steps to ensure that the integrity of the upcoming game will be of the highest quality.”

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That’s for the birds

Photo by Mary Lou Fuller

Photo by Mary Lou Fuller

Mary Lou Fuller, of Solon Township, sent us this cute wildlife photo. She said she put out some leftover popcorn for the birds, and it appears that the rabbit is patiently waiting and wondering if the cardinal is going to give him any! Thank you for a great photo, Mary Lou!

If you have a wildlife photo you’d like to send to the Post, email it to news@cedarspringspost.com. Include some info about the photo, your name, what city/township you live in, and how to contact you.

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