“It Renewed My Hope”
GriefShare program begins September 3rd
By Pam Breuker
Back in 2011, a program called GriefShare started at First Christian Reformed Church in Fremont. At that time we felt that there was a void in the church and community for those who are grieving. Grief can leave many unresolved issues in a death.
Thus, we discovered there was a need to provide a grief recovery ministry from a biblical perspective. Together, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we started a GriefShare ministry for the community. GriefShare, centered on a 13-week video series titled “Your Journey from Mourning to Joy”, provides that Christ-centered perspective on grieving.
We have run the video series 16 times so far and have been so encouraged by comments from participants. We share a couple of those here.
One participant said: “Thank you for being the host church for the GriefShare program. This program has helped me so much. It has been 5 months since my husband’s death and with these classes and great facilitators, I feel God is leading me on a path of understanding and maybe even a little joy.”
Another one said: “After my husband passed in August, I did not have a hopeful future. I did not know how to move forward without him. Then I participated in your GriefShare class. It renewed my hope and deepened my faith in Christ. My life focus has shifted. I will forever be grateful for the help I got through GriefShare!”
We have been so blessed to have our church be a support to this program. God has shown His hand through each session. We never know how many we will have, but we leave that entirely in God’s hands and He has never disappointed us yet.
We are preparing to start our 17th series on September 3, 2019. If you know of anyone who is searching because of a death, please share this information and have them give us a call. We are happy to explain things further.
Please pray for God to lead the hurting people to GriefShare as we begin this journey again in September.
Dam Removal: Risks and Benefits
By Marty Holtgren, Executive Director, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly
Rivers and streams can be viewed as the arteries of the Great Lakes. For thousands of years fish and wildlife moved freely between the flowing rivers and the more sedentary lake environments. Stretching the analogy to the breaking point, the Great Lakes today have a severe case of coronary disease. In a study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment the authors concluded there were more than 7,000 dams on the rivers and streams that flow into the Great Lakes and over 260,000 road crossings that could partially block fish movement.
Although the total number in our state is not clear, more than 2,500 dams larger than 6 feet in height are known to exist. Jeff Alexander has predicted that the next decade will mark an unprecedented era of dam removal and restoration projects because many are old, failing and a safety risk.
In addition, the ecological benefits of dam removal are also numerous and include connectivity for aquatic animals, restoration of high gradient habitats, cooler water temperature, increased dissolved oxygen levels and sediment transport.
However, there are risks that cannot be ignored. Just as the dams restrict the movement of many native fish species, they provide vital controls for the invasive Sea Lamprey. Opening up spawning and nursery habitat for this highly destructive invader is a potential unintended consequence of dam removal. For a more detailed discussion on the benefits and risks, please see the Huron Pines, “Leading Small Dam Removal”:
Leading Small Dam Removal
A Guidebook for Understanding the Natural and Social Characteristics
Two very visible dam removals have occurred in our watershed over the past 20 years. In downtown Big Rapids on the main stem of the Muskegon River, the city removed a dam remnant and reconnected upstream and downstream habitat while reestablishing the riffle, pool and run sequence of the river. We believe the project helped restore the longest free-flowing reach of high-gradient rivers in the Great Lakes. The second was completed in 2006 on the Hersey River in the Village of Hersey. The dam was failing and Gary Noble (then MRWA director), Michigan DNR, and the Village worked together to address the problem. The Hersey Dam removal opened over seven miles of stream and reconnected migration routes for fish and aquatic organisms between the lower Hersey River and Muskegon River, while restoring cold water habitat.
These are two successful examples but there are nearly 100 dams remaining in the watershed. Not all are candidates for removal because of economic and social reasons. How do we determine which ones are the best targets? Fortunately, because of foresight almost 20 years ago, MRWA and partners implemented a study to develop a list of potential dam removal projects in the Muskegon River Watershed. The study identified which projects should be pursued based on cost, social acceptance for removal, habitat benefit and opportunity. Using 11 ranking criteria, the top 15 dams in the watershed were identified and ranked as candidates for removal. With these criteria in mind and with many partners and communities on board, we plan to approach the “unprecedented era” using social and biological science to guide the way.
We are grateful to Dr. Garrett Stack for a thoroughly well written piece on the issues surrounding dam removal within the watershed. If you are interested in learning more on the subject, his article is a must read. Thank you Garrett.
Sad About Mad
Ballplayer/author and monthly mag end their runs
By Ken DeLaat
I have been a baseball fan as long as I can remember and though admittedly on some days the memory doesn’t stretch much beyond breakfast the long term stuff seems to remain fairly well intact.
There are photos of me in a baseball cap with glove in hand in pre kindergarten days courtesy of my significantly older brothers who both played the game, and played it rather well, mind you. Going to their many games was an integral part of my summers and when the stars would align I would get to be the batboy for one or more of the many teams they played on. This meant access to the broken bats (all wooden then) that would be taped and sometimes even screwed together for the plethora of sandlot games played in our neighborhood.
My brothers (did I mention them being a lot older?) and their teammates were idols to kids like myself who adored the game and that meant pro players were like gods. They were not only paid to play the best game in the world but seemed to be (from their publicists’ pens) fine upstanding citizens as well.
As age progressed me out of the hero worship years my view of ballplayers (and nearly everything else) became a little more realistic once I sensed they were people like anyone else with faults and stumbles along the way but it many ways they still held some reverence and their lives remained mysteries behind the usual promotional stuff the teams put out.
Then came ‘Ball Four’ the 1970 book that changed it all.
Jim Bouton who passed away this week gifted us a treasure trove of inside info on what the Major Leagues were like.
And boy, was he ever vilified for it.
He was called out for having the nerve to give us all a peek behind the curtain. For showing heroes like Mickey Mantle and his cohorts and colleagues as incessantly imbibing, frequently voyeuristic, and perpetually profane boys disguised as men playing a boys game.
I loved it.
Bouton gave us “Bull Durham” long before the movie was even an embryonic idea. His work was the no holds barred skinny on how booze, women and performance enhancing substances (amphetamines back then not steroids) held a prominent place in the culture of pro ball.
For me it didn’t demonize ballplayers, it humanized them. Of course, not all were rowdy reckless rakes as those who made the most interesting reading, but in a way the book provided a unique kind of transparency. A reminder that most things (and people) are rarely as they seem.
Which is why I mourn the loss of one of the most influential readings of my youth.
Mad Magazine recently announced they will cease putting out their monthly publication.
I haven’t read a single issue in many years, perhaps decades but their influence on my generation is incalculable.
Talk about irreverence?
Mad poked fun at all comers, anyone in the public eye without exception.The ‘usual gang of idiots’ feared no one and seemed to live by the philosophy that there are no sacred cows. Mad ridiculed everything from the doings in D.C. to the hype of Hollywood and all to be found in between.
Mad taught us to question everything with their satirical take on the events of the day. I loved Dave Berg’s “The Lighter Side of…” pieces and the imaginative marginal drawings of Sergio Aragones always required a second look. And back in the 'fold out cover' days they put out some serious narrative with those innovative designs.
Most of all Mad held up a revealing mirror allowing us to not only take a thoughtful look at our country, our culture and our lifestyles but also to serve as a reminder to not take ourselves quite so seriously.That when life seems complicated and confused there is always one philosophy that can prevail under dire circumstances, a philosophy captured in a phrase often uttered by their frequent coverboy Alfred E Neuman.
“What, me worry?”
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