On the Run: A Year Long Streak
By Alexis Mercer
A year of running. August 14, 2021 I set out for a run and it turns out it was the start of something much bigger.
For a while I had been training for the occasional race here or there but not every day. In fact this had been the case since 7th grade when I joined the track team, later to join cross country and then as an adult as a recreational runner (with the few years’ hiatus from running more than on a volleyball court when I played at Hope).
One other time two years prior I had started a run streak and gotten over 100 days in when I had to have surgery to remove skin cancer. The dermatologist’s face as I asked him “so I can still run tomorrow, right?” after he stitched me back up was clear: the run streak was over.
Because of this, I had been hesitant to try again. I wasn’t interested in having something come up that forced me to end a streak. If I was going to end it, I wanted it to be on my terms. A choice I made; not someone or something else.
The urge to try again, however, had been pulling at me for a while. So that day in August after the run I made the decision to give it another go. Could I make it a year? The only parameter for such a run streak is that you have to run a minimum of 1 mile each day.
Today, August 14, 2022, I ran 20 miles on the North Country Trail with my friend David. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know today was the one year anniversary. I knew it was getting close, but it wasn’t until I went to write in my runner’s log that I thought to count from the end of July. An entire year of running!
The process has changed me for the better.
Only one day comes to mind when I am certain I never should have run a mile. I was sick with a nasty cold (no, not the C word), it was freezing outside, and even getting off the couch was a struggle. I put on my running clothes when my husband asked what I was doing. “Going for a run.” His reaction was what I expected: dismay and disbelief at my stubbornness. But hey, I made it. And then slept the rest of the day and night.
My favorite runs? The crazy weather days when very few people would even consider going outside to do something like run. Pouring rain? My favorite. Windy to the point of questioning my sanity? Lovely. Snow storms? Enchanting. Hot and muggy? I’m a survivor.
Since I don’t do treadmill running (kudos to you if you are a treadmill fan, it’s like watching paint dry in my mind), I saw 365 days of weather and made it through all of them.
I can do hard things.
Running every day also provided me the opportunity to explore the places I visited throughout the year.
Philadelphia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida Keys, Ohio, Indiana, the Upper Peninsula, North Country Trail, Appalachian Trail, and many, many places in Michigan. Every time a new trip presented itself, I had the joy of finding somewhere to sneak in a run.
The part that was the most life-changing was how I made the effort to make sure I got the run in every day, no matter what. Sometimes that meant waking up at 4:30. Other times it meant running at 10:30 PM after my kids were in bed. If I was with my daughter at a volleyball tournament in Cleveland, it was checking the map and finding a route to run in between games on a Saturday. A long day of soccer tournaments for my sons? I ran miles on the country roads of Cedar Springs while they napped in our camper.
Excuses weren’t allowed. Everyone has the time, it is deciding what to do with it. This was important to me, so I made it happen.
Today’s run was extra special as David and I had the opportunity to train together for our upcoming 50k trail run. We took it nice and easy and finished feeling great with a swim in the Muskegon River! It’s not often I run with someone, so enjoying the miles on my year anniversary was perfect in every way.
Tomorrow? I’ll be out for a run.
Some "sweaty selfies" from my year of running.
Stage Door production features youthful thespians
Pictured above are most of the cast of “The Fairy Tale Network” a children’s play scheduled for performances at Stage Door Players in White Cloud on August 19 at 7:00 pm and Saturday August 20 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm. The cast includes youth from ages six to fourteen and appearances by a few adults. We caught up with Brenda Huckins Bonter who is directing the play for a few questions
What led you to take this on?
"I haven't done any directing since I retired from teaching. I love working with young kids and introducing them to the joy of performing. I directed the theater program at Grant High School for many years, often doing three shows a year, a children's play, a dinner theater, and a musical. I hadn't acted since college but played a small role in an SDP (Stage Door Players) play last December. Now that I'm retired from all my part time jobs, I felt like this was the time to get back into something I love so much. I am also currently on the board of directors at SDP. "
Tell us a little about the play and the casting process
The play is about a Fairy Tale Network that needs to up its ratings, they decide to re-work some familiar fairy tales to catch a new audience. Our young cast is very enthusiastic and are bringing a lot of positive energy to the production
What are the biggest challenges with such a young troupe of performers?
Probably the biggest challenge is getting them to use their "outside" voices and not be afraid to be silly!
What are the biggest positives?
Their enthusiasm and willingness to be flexible are outstanding!
Have any in the cast been involved in theater before? How many newcomers?
Most are newcomers to the stage with a couple who have been in previous shows, Layla Empie was Anne in Anne of Green Gables and will be playing her again in Anne of Avonlea in an upcoming production. The cast also includes a couple of adult seasoned actors in small roles.
Why should people attend?
We hope to have a great turnout to support these young people who are so willing to take up new challenges. It is a delightful play for young children and a chance for adults to see the spirit and skill of these young kids.
Stage Door Theater is located in downtown White Cloud at 1147 E. Wilcox.
Tickets are available at the door, $5.00 for Adults and $3.00 for children.
From our friends at CBD Store of MIchigan
On Thursday, August 18th, CBD Store of Michigan in conjunction with River Country Chamber of Commerce will be having an open house at their Fremont store located at 37 East Main Street.All are welcome.
Free food and beverages will be provided and we will also have several drawings for prizes as well as great discounts on products in the store.
CBD Store will have educational materials available as well as answering any questions you may have regarding their extensive array of products.
And while taking in some free eats and learning about the CBD product line, ask about the one of a kind Hemp putter being raffled off later this year.
It's a beauty.
Jake Allen at the Dogwood Center on August 6
Jake Allen will perform in the Dogwood Center's Black Box on Saturday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m. Join us and you will experience great live music at the Dogwood!
Allen, from northern Michigan, crafts a kaleidoscopic sound that plunges the curious listener into a world of endless sonic possibilities, incorporating progressive pop, waves of ambient instrumentals, and complex musical layers. Allen showcases the guitar, harnessing every nuance of the instrument and transforming it into an ethereal, shape-shifting creature that bends both notes and time.
Allen explores numerous musical styles with his guitar wizardry, ranging from lullaby-like dreams to burgeoning anthems. The constant groove of driving drums, bewitching guitar hooks, and the whisper of a longing voice spark wonder, evoking similarities to pop music’s golden ‘90s era.
As a solo artist, Allen utilizes impeccably timed live looping to create a captivating one-man show. Steeped in years of live performance and well-versed in an array of instruments, Allen’s dexterity is only amplified when he wields a single guitar. In an almost hypnotic display, he explores every inch of the instrument with unwavering confidence and creativity. Strings dance as they are plucked awake from their resting tension; percussive rhythms echo; harmonics ring brightly; and intricate chords emerge from each warm strum.
Allen has shared the stage with The Accidentals, Keller Williams, Mike Dawes, Andy McKee, and Guthrie Govan. His performances have included NAMM, Hoxeyville Music Festival, Blissfest, and Winnetka Music Festival. At the 2022 WYCE Jammie Awards, Allen was awarded the Listeners’ Choice Award.
Tickets are $12.50 and are available online at www.dogwoodcenter.com, at the Dogwood Box Office, or at NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont or just click here. The Dogwood Center Box Office is open Tuesday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. For information, phone 231.924.8885.
By Andrea Gerstle, KEC Volunteer
The summer Ice cream social at Kropscott Environmental Center was a big success! No surprise, since there was ice cream and a beautiful, warm summer night. We had over 100 people from the Fremont area come and enjoy the fun and activities. The scavenger hunt led families around the Center to see all the diverse displays while collecting clues about science and the environment.
The first stop was the “Centennial” barn where everyone could gather clue number one and choose their favorite ice cream. The hunt continued to the ice-cream making area where kids of all ages could see how ice cream is made the old-fashioned way with a turn crank. Some visitors volunteered to help “turn the crank'' and everyone enjoyed a sample of the homemade vanilla ice cream.
The hunt took families to a display on composting materials and one lucky winner took home a home composting unit. Other stops included displays on healthy soil and a chance to look at sunspots through the telescopes at the Wessling Observatory.
Some families enjoyed a ride on the people mover around the field and to the forest area of the Center. There were lots of laughs at the photo board as families took pictures as ice cream cones. Kids who completed the scavenger hunt were rewarded with a magnifying glass to take home as a souvenir.
We must send a big thank you to the Newaygo Conservation District and Magna Mirrors for their contributions and support of this event. Thank you as well to the 30 local volunteers who gave their time and talent to make this event possible. Even Mother Nature cooperated and sent the showers and thunderstorms south of Newaygo on the 21st.
We hope families and nature lovers will watch the paper and social media for news of our next free community event and come and join the fun.
Concert to feature an Irish band, the GRAE & more
Few things can match an afternoon of outdoor musical entertainment. In that spirit
Family of God Community Church is sponsoring a concert in Brooks Park on August 6th from 12-4 pm.
There will be four performances to enjoy. The Grand Rapids Accordion Ensemble, back for the tenth time, will perform from 12-1 pm. The Leprocons, an Irish band will entertain from 1-2. Andy Paul, soloist, will perform from 2-3 pm. Our own Newaygo connection duo, Sawyer Crow and Hannah Postma, finish the afternoon from 3-4 pm. There will be seating but feel free to bring your own comfortable chair. Come spend a fun afternoon and enjoy the magic of music.
A stop at the Eleven Seventeen Lounge
By Ken DeLaat
LSC (Lifetime Spousal Companion) Lil and I took off from N3 World Headquarters & Monarch Maternity Ministry the other day, venturing out with no real goal in mind other than a drive to Spring Lake to score a 6 pack of what are arguably the best scones in the region. While there it seemed wrong not to avail ourselves of one of the Village Bakery’s bodacious breakfasts so we lingered a while before heading onward.
This subsequent mini road trip took us traveling north near the lakeshore for a bit where we wandered through a few shops, stopped at a favorite bookstore and generally poked about with more of an intent on perusal than purchasing.
Several stops later it was mid afternoon and as we were on the way home (seemingly eons away from breakfast} I suggested we stop in at the Harrington Inn in Fremont having heard rumor they had recently opened up a lounge where eats were available. With homemade pizza on the menu at N3WH&MMM for later that evening what was required was not so much a meal, but a little in-between filler. Something to tide us over now that the rigorous hours of retail exploration were behind us.
We found our way into the lounge (short left soon after entering the building) and found a pleasant table near a window. A bit of investigation revealed a second room with 2 easy chairs facing a large television airing sports and an inviting looking bar. However, given my propensity to be significantly less communicative when embracing a combination of easy chairs and a bit of sports on TV we remained at our original choice.
Rachel was our server and she proved to be informative and efficient delivering our drinks, including a draught beer in a frosty glass that fit the bill perfectly on a hot steamy day.
As stated we were searching for some small plate items and decided on the Spanakopita, a set of miniature versions of the Greek spinach pies and the French Fry Flight, three groups of seasoned fries each paired with a different dipping sauce. Being a lifetime aficionado of fries (the best in the world are at the V. I. Grill & Pub in Suttons Bay) this was going to be a bit of a litmus test for the eatery.
And it passed with flying colors.
The little pie pieces were savory and brought memories of satisfying encounters with larger versions at the Pegasus Taverna in Greektown.
And the fries were fabulous. Each grouping was seasoned perfectly as Garlic Parmasen, Black Pepper and Spicy Cajun varieties each had more than adequate representation and the sauces matched seamlessly.
We both liked the atmosphere as well as the food and a glance at the menu revealed an enticing selection of paninis, a few salads and even a few items for the kiddos.
We asked Rachel about dessert options and their origin (mere curiosity of course) but decided to opt out because as I mentioned there was to be homemade pizza later that night.
Then Rachel came out with a pair of cheesecakes in a jar, a new item not yet on the menu and asked if we might be willing to serve as guinea pigs.
Lil and I have long shared a mutual affection for cheesecake and without even a slight twist of the arm we acquiesced.
This might be the perfect dessert for this venue. They were light and airy as cheesecake should be and in the jar the ‘crust’ was crumbled in layers between the filling. The taste was refreshing and, not being a traditionalist when it comes to food, the form it was delivered in was unique and fun.
And it was just enough.
As stated this was our first trip to Eleven Seventeen but it surely won’t be our last. There are other appetizers to sample, the paninis look to be worth a stab or two and, hey, if the cheesecake jars find a place on the permanent menu?
They may have just added a couple of regulars.
We Are Having a Party…and you are invited.
Come and join us for some family fun.
The Newaygo Conservation District in partnership with Magna Mirrors invites you to the Kropscott Environmental Center for an evening of ice cream and, if you choose, adventure.
The Scavenger Hunt has two options based on your level of time and energy.
Option 1 involves ten points of information to fill in based on information that is presented at the main area of the facility.
Option 2 adds five additional points that can be found in the forested area, which can be accessed via the People Mover.
For both options there will be a Parent Brochure and signage to guide you.
Magnifying glasses will be awarded at the end of the scavenger hunt activity.
If you prefer an evening of community and fresh air, then you can sit under the trees of the beautiful Kropscott Centennial Farm lawn and eat ice cream and visit.
In addition, the People Mover can be enjoyed even if you do not want to take the walk through the forest or participate in the scavenger hunt. You can just enjoy the evening and the ride.
We would love to have you join us.
Event Details: Thursday evening July 21 st from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Kropscott Environmental Center is located at 6523 W Baseline Road, Fremont MI.
This event is free to the public.
Note: If you plan to visit the forest area to enjoy the walk in the grass and wooded areas, please wear long pants and shoes that protect your feet.
Festival kicks off Wednesday
If it’s mid summer in Newaygo County there are two things you can count on.
Temperatures rising into the numbers most of us craved in mid winter...
And the National Baby Food Festival.
The festival kicks into high gear Wednesday (aka Kids Day) and activities will be happening all over the city right through Saturday before wrapping things up with the annual Worship in the Park held Sunday at 6pm.
The Carnival Midway opens for business Wednesday with an all-you-can-ride special (until 5pm) for $20, there will be turtle races and frog jumping and the Kids Parade at 5:45pm. It's also Kids Expo Day from 11am-2pm with a boatload of giveaways as well as info on services available for families.
Thursday bibliophiles will have their moment at the FADL book sale, a couple hours of fitness will take place at the community stage beginning at 12:30pn and in the evening Hypnotist Rick Wheeler performs on the Vets Park stage at 8pm.
Friday’s highlights include the hula hoop contest and the baby food eating contest (12 and under please. We know how much you adults love those strained peaches). It's also the evening when the NBFF Queen is crowned and Current Country will kick out some tunes at Vets Park beginning at 7pm.
Saturday is the parade and if there is anything Fremont does to perfection it’s a parade. Grab your spot early because at 10:30am it is time for the marching to begin.
Saturday night Looking Back, a Bob Seger tribute band, will deliver on that Old Time Rock & Roll and Roll Me Away with some Night Moves until they Turn The Page on another day at NBFF.
Seriously, there are a slew of fun things to do this week, more than we can fit into an article so go to the Fremont Area C of C site below or pick up a schedule at their office at 7 E Main in downtown Fremont.
And a few words with the Director
The Dogwood Summer Youth Theater will present "The Hunchback of Notre Dame – The Musical" on July 28, 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. The Dogwood Summer Youth Theater is directed this summer by Casey Webb and involves area young people in all facets of the production.
Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" story begins as the bells of Notre Dame sound through the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the bell-ringer, observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her spirit. The handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the Roma, and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.
Admission is free with ticket. Donations accepted at the door to support Dogwood programs. The production is on the Dogwood Main Stage with general admission seating.
For more information please contact the Dogwood Center at 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
We caught up with Ms. Webb to ask a few questions about the production.
N3- A bit of personal background please?
I started stage acting in middle school and continued into college. I studied theater, film, and dance in college with an emphasis on character work, comedy, and Shakespeare. After college I took a few classes at Second City in Chicago focusing on improv and sketch writing before moving onto films behind the scenes. I worked my way up in the production department working on film sets and reality television shows. There were times that I missed the stage, so I would do stand-up comedy. After spending years working and experiencing life, I moved back to the area and accepted a job working for Dogwood Center as their Program Director.
N3- Have you directed other shows?
I co directed ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged’ in college. Since then, I directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer, and Comedy of Errors for Dogwood’s Summer Youth Theater.
N3- Any mentors when it comes to directing?
My mom. She spent many years working in theater in high school and has a knack for looking at the big picture. She has been the assistant director of summer youth theater since the beginning.
N3- Why The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
The music. I wanted to do an adaptation of the original story for a Summer Youth Theater production and started to write my own. I would listen to the music as inspiration and instantly fell in love. I knew there was no way I could adapt something that I felt was already a masterpiece. So, I had to convince my family, who also moonlight as my production crew, to hop on board for our first musical in the 17 years since SYT started
N3- How many young folks are involved? In what capacities?
We cater to ages 12+. We try to include new and returning actors, no matter their age. We have many of our kids who have younger siblings who have never done theater or don’t have much of an opportunity, so we try to have smaller walk-on roles for them. But a majority of our group tends to be high school and college age.
N3- Tell us a bit about casting process in this show.
We encouraged everyone to audition, no matter their experience. We love to take chances on new actors, so they get to grow, have fun, and learn something new. We also try to find a place for everyone, so no one feels turned away. We do our best to pair experienced actors with new actors, so they have a chance to learn together.
N3- What are the challenges involved in Youth Theater?
We have such a short amount of time to teach them everything that goes into a play.
N3-What are the benefits?
Making new friends and watching the growth of each actor while they learn how much work goes into a play.
N3- Any surprises during the course of rehearsals?
A few of our kids have never done a musical before and it has been challenging to not just focus on the acting side of things but also the music and choreography; this group of actors have been troopers.
N3- Why should people come to the show and what should they expect?
Besides the fact that this show is absolutely beautiful, in my opinion, we are currently at a time in the world where people are feeling lost and unsure of where they belong. This story focuses on the prejudices that others have for people who are different like Quasimodo and the Gypsies. At the end of the day, we are all human and the lines are more blurred than others may think.
N3- Any other comments?
This has been one of the most challenging years as a director, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my family and my amazing cast and crew. A lot of them have stepped up to take on various roles and have been amazing role models. I couldn’t have asked for a better group! We hope everyone has a chance to come out and see the show, it’s one you do not want to miss!
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