To The Editor:
As summer ramps up I'm hoping we all work to help keep our rivers as healthy as possible. Last year our neighbors dumped large amounts of leaves into the river which doesn't seem like a harmful thing since leaves fall in the river naturally. However, putting leaves and lawn waste in the river takes out oxygen and can hurt fish and other aquatic species habitat and spawning areas.
The spring fishing has begun and I have found fishing lines with hooks on the surrounding trees which could get caught up by wildlife. Using chemicals on lawns can get into the waterways and also poison the waters. On some lakes people are putting Roundup in to kill the weeds which has killed many of the fish. We should put nothing in our waterways.
Let's all be educated and responsible to take good care of the natural world we love here in Michigan.
By Ken DeLaat
The Tigers are, as predicted, a fun team to follow. They have been blown out on occasion but have been impressive in scratching out comebacks and grinding through tough pitchers to amass a 15-9 record this month. There are different heroes each day, the bullpen has been coming together and the Foley/Lange combo at the end of the pen is the best closing duo they’ve had out there in far too many years.
This week the schedule gets tough with a red hot Ranger team coming to town for 3 followed by a 6 game road trip to Chitown (Sox again) and Philly.
They are a single game out of first place with nearly a third of the season elapsed and who would have thunk it coming out of Spring Training?
Here's what I wrote at the end of April.
“However, the bottom line, as said before, is that they likely aren’t going anywhere barring more things falling in place than even the most optimistic among us rabid Tiger fans can imagine.
“But they will be better in May and June than they were in April and they should cause a lot of contending teams some trouble throughout the summer.”
Ok. They still might not be going anywhere. Their best shot by far is the division because too many really good teams have better records for the wildcard spots and even in the division the likelihood of both the Twins and Cleveland continuing to underperform as they have thus far might not be great.
But believe me if they can hang around for a while and continue to believe in themselves anything could happen.
And while the crowds have continued to be sparse most days, I've been to both CoPa and Tiger Stadium when the team is fielding a winner.
And that half empty stadium I’ll be sitting in on Wednesday to see the series finale against Texas?
If they’re anywhere near close in August, the Park will be packed to the gills and rockin’ like it was ‘06.
The owners of the Oakland A’s should be banned from baseball for what they have done to that franchise. It resembles the first Major League movie when the owner set out to lose as many games and fans as possible.
But the difference is, there’s no happy ending here.
The Mets record for futility that the ‘03 Tigers came a game away from tying will be broken this year as will the hearts of longtime A's fans.
From Major League in case you forgot:
Manager Lou Brown: I have something I think you all ought to know about. It seems that Mrs. Phelps doesn't think too highly of our worth. She put this team together because she thought we'd be bad enough to finish dead last, knocking attendance down to the point where she could move the team to Miami... and get rid of all of us for better personnel.
By Ken DeLaat
Two items on the agenda today. The ongoing battle with unwanted fish and an epicurean focused al fresco experience
The Carp Wars
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Hess Lake has a crapload of Carp
Estimates gathered from researchers figure somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-35,000 of the bottom feeders who create numerous problems for the clarity of the lake as well as crowding out the other more, shall we say, likable species.
During spawning time the shore at N3 World Headquarters and Monarch Maternity Center seems to be a honeymoon destination for the Cyprinidae Clan who roll about in a kind of fish-related mating frenzy.
Residents have amped up the battle in recent years. There have been bounties for those who bring in the beasts, bow fishermen cruising about at night and more recently carp cages.
And now it’s bluegills.
Yes, the highly desired panfish that have filled the creels of fisherfolks forever, providing a sumptuous meal when dipped in a little Drake’s and fried to perfection.
They are the new heroes, cast off on a mission to help reduce the number of boisterous bullies by biting into the products of their cacophonous carousing.
Will it work? Well it may take time since they lack the capacity to choke down the elders, but reducing the up and coming behemoths has got to help in the long run.
In the meantime a platoon of stalwarts see to the cages (no easy feat), net the amorous actinopterygians during mating rituals, and employ bows, nets and poles to pick off as many adults as possible.
And while this might sound a bit harsh to an outsider, these riparians are united in their desire to rid their waters of anything that might harm the health of their Hess Lake habitat.
And seriously, no one is rooting for the Carp in this war.
Lil and I ventured out a few weekends ago and happened upon the charming little venue known as Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Market. It was a Saturday and the market was featuring some very smooth sounding jazz and pouring out a variety of honorable home brews. We ordered up a couple of appetizers and settled in for a bit of time enjoying both the vittles and the vibe.
It’s a very cool place and music occurs on Friday evenings 6-9 and Saturday afternoons Noon to 3. One of our local groups, The Faulkners, played there recently and only my commitment to the Household Hazardous Waste Day kept us from cruising over to see Carmen and Scott crooning tunes for the farm faithful. (They return July 21st).
That day it was decided to make the Walker venue a more than occasional destination when venturing out for a mini road trip.
Then earlier this week I heard they were putting on a spring dinner to be held outside in their orchard. A 5 course meal including 3 courses involving my second favorite seasonal food, asparagus. And as a bonus the appetizer and dessert both included rhubarb in a starring role.
Goat Cheese Crostini with Rhubarb Chutney, asparagus soup, Asparagus, Tomato and Feta Salad, Bacon Asparagus Pasta Carbonara and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie….Ala Mode, mind you.
I was in asparagus/rhubarb heaven.
And the brew-master John Stewart, who has created some seriously fine beer, was on hand to field questions about the selections on tap.
My suggestion? Go for the Ridge IPA.
There were somewhere under 100 folks, though not many under and we all sat at a single long set of tables. Lil and I sat next to a few couples though there were many 3,4,5 and 6-somes present. Surprisingly one person we discovered was from Fremont, another fellow diner said she once lived in Grant, we had a few people in common with a couple of others and the conversations up and down the elongated line were lively and animated. Our grouping spoke of a number of subjects including theater, favored eateries, jobs and/or avocations and the enigmatic enjoyment of dining al fresco with a huge group of strangers.
The ‘Girls’ do it well. The place has a good feel to it, the service borders on outstanding, the food is righteous and while the beer is my forte, the wine selection is popular, particularly when I’m thirsty, waiting in line and the two ladies in front of me sample 4-5 before landing on one.
It looks like they have a summer dinner as well and all I can say is if it involves my #1 seasonal food (home grown sweet corn of course) I hope to be sitting at that lengthy table ready to butter up.
By Sen. Rick Outman
33rd Senate District
For nearly a decade, Republican leadership in Lansing prioritized fiscal responsibility and a strong state economy. In the first few months of the new legislative session, the new Democratic majorities have reverted back to the old playbook used by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Since the beginning of this new term, we have seen job-killing regulations pushed through the Legislature, mandates that put taxpayers on the hook for inflated government projects, and a glaring, widespread effort to stop a tax cut for state taxpayers.
However, among the most concerning misguided policies is a new legislative effort to overhaul the state’s energy infrastructure.
In late April, Democratic state lawmakers declared their intent to restructure the state’s power infrastructure and mandate the state adapt to a clean energy standard.
We are all feeling the weight of the ever-increasing utility rates. Rates continue to go up while the service fails to keep up with the increases. In fact, Michigan pays some of the highest rates in the region.
Trying to overhaul the entire power grid will cause costs to skyrocket even more for families who are already having their pockets pinched to death by government and the state’s utility companies.
Utility companies facing pressure from the government oftentimes translates to costs being pushed onto the shoulders of paying customers. People’s bills are already too high, and the state already subsidizes a number of programs to help people with the increasingly growing rates.
At some point, we need to revisit the feasibility of the energy policies we choose to pursue.
Clean energy and reducing emissions are noble causes. However, these goals are not something that can be rushed.
Bills proposed by Democrats include requiring the premature phaseout of coal-fired generation plants, the ability to rent existing farmland for solar farms, reconsidering nuclear energy, and restructuring transportation fuel blends, among other things.
Ultimately, the issue is the feasibility of these advancements.
Michigan’s coal-fired plants run much cleaner than most others and if we close them now, we’ll never get a return of investment on the money we have already poured into them. Closing them now would simply be throwing money down the drain.
At this time, there are simply more questions than answers surrounding the reliability of some of these clean energy proposals. Wind and solar require massive upfront investments and despite their misleading marketing, are not “free” sources of energy.
The other hidden detail behind renewable energy is, at least as of now, is traditional plants must remain online because the sun isn’t always out, and the wind isn’t always blowing.
The reliability percentage of solar hovers somewhere around the high teens to low 20s and wind rates somewhere around 30-40%. That’s not a number that’s worth investing our future on. We’re simply not there with wind or solar yet, and people know this.
Worse yet, we’re seeing solar farms popping up across the state and it’s taking crucial farmland out of use, which then overbears the remaining farmland as farmers face pressure to try and maximize production. We can’t get more land and the global population is ever-increasing — packing limited acres of farmland with solar panels when other generation sources are available is a mistake.
If you think food costs are high now, watch what happens when we continue taking chunks of farmland out of production. We fought urban sprawl in the 1970s and 1980s — solar farms overtaking Michigan farmland is the new urban sprawl 2.0.
I’ve served on the energy committees in both the House and Senate and have been involved in this issue for most of my time in the Legislature. These proposals are overly burdensome and are going to send Michigan’s already high utility rates through the roof.
New requirements for gas blends, energy generation, and taking farmland out of the food supply chain will drive up costs across the board — especially on monthly bills and at the pump and grocery store.
These are three areas where costs are hurting families the most, and the Democratic majority is seeking to make them climb even higher with more government mandates.
Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, represents the 33rd state Senate District, which includes all of Montcalm and Newaygo counties, along with parts of Ionia, Kent, Lake, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.
By Ken DeLaat
Once again on a hazy cool Saturday morning a cluster of volunteers gathered at the Newaygo County Road Commission on an annual undertaking aimed at purging these parts of undesirables.
I’m talking about household hazardous waste of course, not spongy moths.
For many years the Board of Public Works has provided this invaluable service and many of us are veterans of the day-long initiative with donuts and pizza serving as participation awards.
It’s a labor of love as countless cans of paint, a sea of batteries in all sizes, enough fluorescent lights to illuminate an arena in their working days, and a wide variety of fluids, some identifiable some not so much, enter the garage in trunks, trailers and truck beds while volunteers haul them to tables where professionals pack it all up to be hauled away. Believe me, there was a lot of dicey looking stuff gotten rid of that day.
And then there were the electronics.
On this day we took in more televisions than one would find in any four Best Buy warehouses. There were home theaters, old consoles, small sets, big sets and a flotilla of flat screens.
Looking at the numerous huge cartons filled with these once revered items felt a bit strange.
Maybe it’s a generational thing but when I was significantly younger TV’s almost always came into the house with a great deal of fanfare. I recalled the armoire sized set we had in our living room as a kid. A B&W beauty on four sturdy legs that often required service and revealed a marvelously maniacal mass of tubes and wires when the back was opened for repair.
Our first color TV arrived in the fall of 1968 in time to see the Tigers appearance in the World Series. Getting color TV was like the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy’s house crash lands on a witch and the gray landscape of Kansas transforms into the vibrant panorama of Munchkinland.
In our early years Lifetime Spousal Companion Lil and I had an old portable non-color 19 inch Zenith that weighed in at about 80 pounds. It was only portable because it came with an aluminum cart that had long since given into the weight of the beast. The antenna had the obligatory aluminum foil flag, of course, to aid in reception and the channel changing dial, long since broken, required a vise grip to operate. To tune in another show also required maneuvering the antenna into the right spot in order to pull in one of the two or three (depending on the day) channels available.
Side note providing perspective on the development of personal entitlement:
Where once I watched with frequent interruptions involving getting up to change the channel or attempt to fine tune the horizontal and vertical settings, or adjust the antenna, nowadays when the remote is not within my grasp it borders on a crisis when I want to access one of the endless options available via streaming.
But I digress.
I couldn’t help but think of those dozens and dozens of now defunct gateways into perpetual entertainment. Vehicles that did their time delivering families access to all things television. Was there a sense of excitement when it arrived? Will families miss gathering round the giant home theaters with an acre or two of popcorn to take in the latest Marvel offering complete with surround sound?
Looking at the lonely looking tech trash, I wondered how people felt as they dropped them off to be transported to a recycling place to be eventually and systematically shredded, sorted, separated, purified and repurposed.
Later I mentioned the experience to Lil who looked kind of puzzled then asked me if I recalled any emotion tied to our former televisions or any other device.
I didn’t, of course. After all, it wasn't like a family pet passed. Beyond the numerous TV’s we have moved from turntables to cassettes to CDs and back to turntables over the nearly half century since I somehow convinced Lil to marry me and of course the past couple of decades have seen a steady stream of cell phones and laptops being similarly ‘retired’ as well. There was no mourning period for any of them. They were simply replaced. Pushed aside for something new because they were broken or victims of a desire to try the latest version on the market. I didn’t really ever think of them again.
In fact the only one I felt any attachment to whatsoever was that old Zenith with the aluminum foil flag and the vise grips perpetually clamped on the channel changer.
But maybe, just maybe, the fond memories were more about simpler times than that grainy, snowy picture the old beast was known for providing.
On a good day.
“The past was always there, lived inside of you, and it helped to make you who you were. But it had to be placed in perspective. The past could not dominate the future.”- Barbara Taylor Bradford
Procrastinators among you, it’s panic time
You can run down to the store and pore over the cards then grab a bouquet of Big Store flowers of course.
Or you can try something a bit more creative.
Here’s a couple of ideas.
How about a Mother's Day Breakfast at Hit The Road Joe?
With the patio open (and enclosed in case of a few drops) the setting is ideal for a little Mom time. And with the menu Chef T and her crew are dishing up HTRJ looks to be a pretty fine spot to score some serious eats whether you’re celebrating the female parents among us or just hungry for a little creativity in your Sunday morning repast.
The setting is very cool, the atmosphere is laid back, the service is consistently well delivered and the menu, as you can see below, offers a lot of culinary creativity.
(Gluten free options available).
What Mom wouldn’t want a bit of hemp apparel to add to the closet? Hemp clothing has caught on big time and beyond the comfort there is the added bonus of the increase in your UV protection hemp apparel is known for. CBD Store of Michigan in downtown Fremont has been carrying hemp apparel for awhile now and the shirt above fits for any Mom who likes to play in the garden.
Is Mom a reader? How about a gift certificate to Flying Bear Books in downtown Newaygo. Huge selection of gently used offerings and after building up an appetite by browsing one can order up from the savory selection of crepes from their kitchen.
Just 3 suggestions but hey, there’s no time to spare so get at it folks. Time is indeed a wastin’
“Behind all your stories is always your mother's story. Because hers is where yours begin.”- Mitch Albom, For One More Day
Publisher Note: I had the privilege recently of attending a post hike gathering at the scenic area that provides the idyllic setting for the home of Iris & Ernie Mazurkiewicz. My favorite hiker and Lifetime Spousal Companion Lil had asked if I would be willing to drop her off at a site where she would meet up with others to embark on one of the 4 legs of the trek then pick her up at hikes end. When I arrived the celebration was in full swing.
And I was impressed.
Impressed by the smiles I saw on the faces of the participants. These were women who had taken part in an event that showcased their efforts to promote personal health, camaraderie, willfulness, and a desire to engage with the outdoor wonders our community is blessed with.
Here, in their words, is their story and we thank them for their willingness to tell it.
On May 5th, a group of 34 enthusiastic active women participated in a challenge to hike 6, 9, 16, or 22 miles on the local North Country Trail. The finish line was met with a Cinco de Mayo celebration, complete with food, drink, music, and a chance to put their feet up. Many of their beloved spouses worked to support the event.
The hikers were brought together by Mary Papes and Peggy Mercer after witnessing many groups in Arizona coming together for hiking, biking, table tennis, photography, etc. Over coffee in April of 2016, the two women said, “Why can’t we have that here?” With a handful of close female friends, the hikes began. As women invited friends who invited friends, the group grew. It became normal to have a new person show up who knows no one as all women are welcome. What began primarily as retired women, now has a broad range of ages from 30-80.
The women meet to hike twice a month at a designated place and time, sometimes switching to biking or kayaking, and in the winter snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
Friday’s event, dubbed Sally Forth 2023 Hike Challenge, was based on The Crucible - Michigan’s largest organized endurance hike - in Pinckney, Mich. The group decided to create their own endurance hike in Newaygo County. This year’s 22 mile portion started at the 40th Street NCT Trailhead and ended west of Loda Lake, picking up the 16-milers, 9-milers and 6-milers along the route. Plans are for this to be an annual event.
Sally Forth is a term used since the 16th century by troops, meaning a sudden springing forth, especially something expected to be difficult. Sally Forth became a favorite phrase of four of the women while backpacking.
Backpacking is one of several subgroups that evolved. As women discovered common interests, other groups have spun off, including power hikers (bigger miles at a fast speed), paddle boarders, swimmers, weavers, quilters, writers, yoga retreats, and probably others yet to be envisioned.
What have been the personal benefits of this group? According to Mercer, “Some of my deepest friendships are women I never knew before these hikes.” We have heard many women say, “I’d like to be more active, but I don’t know where to go or with whom.” This gives them both. The connections have been invaluable, creating new and long-term friendships. One of the husbands (a retired doctor) states often, “The health benefits are incredible and they are to be commended for their effort.”
The women are inspired to stay active as long as their bodies allow.
“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot”- Werner Herzog
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