by Kathy Morrison
Reading Ken’s Near North Now piece, “Wait, I’m Not Ready”, got me thinking about the lost world of travel that Covid has brought to my life. John and I love to travel, both domestically and overseas. We’d hoped for a return trip to the U.K. this summer and several flights to Texas this year to see that little grandson of ours. Not to be. Ken’s article reminded me of the fact that, for this year at least, trips and travels will be halted, curtailed, or at the very least, a bit different than in the past. Long trips far from home, especially involving air travel are not on our radar in the near future. Some of the travel will, no doubt, be closer to home. Thoughts travels brought my mind back to my wedding anniversary a few years ago, when John and I decided to skip the anniversary weekend escape to some luxurious and expensive hotel with lavish dinners and breakfasts, and instead stay closer to home - as in, Newaygo County, close to home. It dawned on me that living in this county on and off (mostly on) since 1976, I still had not been to every township within our bounteous county - thus, our first ever, “Anniversary Tour de Newaygo County”.
On June 5th, that year, instead of donning an elegant dress and heels, I wore comfy jeans and my Birkenstock sandals. We headed out early on a lovely Michigan morning, I recall a bit of dew glimmering off the early summer flowers and getting my toes damp in the wet grass on the way to the car. With no game plan at all, except to have fun and see each township, we left the boundaries of Sheridan Township where we live, and headed North to begin the day. Taking back roads and side roads I’d never been on, we wound our way through Dayton, and Denver, and Beaver, and Troy, headed south down through Lilley to Merrill and eventually to a quaint little place called Abner’s Restaurant near Brohman to fuel up on a delicious breakfast before we headed on. We wove in and out of the Northeast townships of the county, through Home township – what a lovely name, in and out of the Manistee National Forest, and on to Monroe Township and a stop at Oxford Lake. A rather strange stop for an anniversary outing, given the gruesome past there, but John and I tend to go to some rather unusual and out of the way places on our travels. I almost felt a bit ashamed that we had driven down that road to see the lake -what seemed in some ways like some rubberneck detour, but after we parked the car and got out, it made me think more deeply than ever, on young Rachel’s murder and the injustices and horrors that one person can inflict on another. There in the warming sunshine of the morning, it was almost surreal to be in such a serene setting, but know the terrifying history of the place. I felt like an intruder somehow and that it was time to go. As we turned to leave, I whispered a prayer for the poor woman callously tossed into that lake and for her little girl who has still not been located, and was heartbroken at the loss and sadness that her loved ones must still feel.
We got back in the car and headed off, once again taking twists and turns on main roads and back roads, paved, dirt, gravel and sand, and sometimes on what felt more like someone’s driveway – no GPS, no cellphone mapping systems – just our fold out Newaygo County map. Over our years of travel, somehow it has come to be that I’m the usual navigator, despite the fact that I have no sense of direction nor can I read a map without turning it in the direction that we’re headed. Heck, I’ve even been known to point left and shout, “Turn right!” So John once again had to put up with my sudden outbursts of - “turn here”, “turn there”, “go left – no! I meant right!”, “go straight”, “back up and turn there”, as we continued on our adventure. At one point, we ended up on some dirt road, rutted by heavy rains, and made impassable by half a tree downed over it. Backing up and turning around from there, we suddenly found ourselves out of Norwich Township and somewhere near a big box store parking lot. We fell out laughing over the fact that we had somehow ended up out of Newaygo County and in Big Rapids. How had we gotten so twisted around? Oh, yeah, that woman with the map upside down on her lap in the passenger seat!
We parked along roads to gaze at beautiful landscapes, marveled at the Hardy Dam, took a few walks, strolled to collect wildflowers, eventually making our way to Carol’s Driftwood on Croton Pond where the scenery from the deck was, as usual, stunning. A bite to eat, a beer and a relaxing view of the water. Heavenly! It was quiet out on the deck that day and though we could have sat there for hours enjoying the view and the warmth of the sun, the road beckoned, so on we went, eventually hitting every township on the North and East parts of the county and a few of the ones on the southern edges. Should we keep going until nightfall and be home by dark? Nope – we’re having too much fun. So we opted to stop in the afternoon only 12 miles from our home for an evening in Newaygo. We were pleased to see our “no reservations tactic” worked once again when we stopped at the massive B and B on Main Street - La Belle de la Riviere. Ah, yes! A room to spare! We checked in and chatted with the owners, then explored the yard, gardens, porches and patios, before heading to Northern Trails for a scrumptious dinner. Thoughtfully, the owner of the B and B had a lovely anniversary card and a split of sparkling apple juice and champagne flutes awaiting us when we returned, so back to the garden patio under the fairy lights for another round of toasts to ourselves and our 30 something years of happy marriage. At breakfast the next morning, we heard tales from the owners about the ghost that lives in the house and the patrons who have seen it. I’d wished he had told the tales the night before, so that we could have stayed up late into the night to see if it would visit us, but maybe it was all for the best, as we still had many roads to travel and townships to see before returning home. We left Newaygo in the morning and continued on yet another gorgeous day, through the southern and western townships of the county. In just about 36 hours, we hit every one of Newaygo County’s twenty-four townships and saw scads of lakes unknown to me, roads I didn’t know existed, and dozens of little communities, churches, and bars tucked here and there, that I didn’t even know existed. All this loveliness, right here within a short drive from my home!
There is a lot to be said for travel. It educates, expands horizons, and refreshes one’s Spirit and Soul. We sometimes don’t think of it as “travel” unless it involves being far from home and involves spending a lot of money, but that’s just not true. Our Tour de Newaygo County anniversary trip reinforced that and a few other tidbits of wisdom. You don’t have to go very far from your own backyard in our county and our state to find a treasure trove of natural beauty and exciting adventures. Dorothy Gale was, after all, still right in Kansas all the while, wasn’t she? Travel doesn’t have to involve complex plans and schedules – the old Morrison’s “fly by the seat of your pants/don’t make reservations because you never know where you’ll end up” sort of travel works great almost 100% of the time. And most importantly, it isn’t the where you travel, it is who you travel with and, I for one, couldn’t ask for a better partner to have been traveling with these past 38 years.
To The Editor
Announcement! Our local houses of worship can save money on their utility bills with “Light the Way” program!
I hope all clergy, trustees and board members who read this letter will take advantage of this program that is not only free, but will help them save money on their utility bills.
“Light the Way” is a partnership between Consumers Energy and Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, a non-profit organization whose mission is ‘to inspire and equip people of faith to exercise stewardship of and love for all Creation’. Through this program, houses of worship can have a free “Energy Assessment” which creates a blueprint for saving energy, and saving money on their utility bills.
In addition, the congregation’s building walk-through by a Consumers Energy consultant will provide free energy saving devices on the spot such as LED lights, smart thermostats and faucet aerators that save on water use. Houses of worship who have signed on to the program have received up to $1000 in these energy upgrades, which results in immediate lower energy use and lower utility bills, and annual savings of hundreds of dollars.
Has your congregation been hit hard financially from the pandemic? Many have. Fewer people in the pews can mean less in the collection baskets. And as worship communities work hard to help their congregants and local communities in need, their bank accounts can stretch thin.
Light the Way can help houses of worship spend less on energy, and more on their mission. Over 800 congregations in Michigan have signed up for this program, and we want to make sure those in the Newaygo County area have easy access as well. So far only 16 of our 70+ listed congregations have signed up. As this program is on a first come first served basis, we urge you to act now.
If you are a house of worship faith leader, board member, trustee or congregant, please contact us for information. 3R Environmental Education is the Outreach Specialist for this program in West Michigan. We are eager and happy to sign you up! Save energy, save money and be the Stewards of God’s Creation that Light the Way helps to provide.
Join us from September 8 – 28 for the United Way of the Lakeshore 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.
By Martha Gabrielse
The topic of race continues to be one that is difficult for many Americans to discuss. In the face of current conflicts and struggles, finding a way to personally take part in rejecting racism and healing our country has never been more important. Each of us has our own story and history with racism. For me: born in 1961 and raised by parents who were active in the Civil Rights Movement; my faith and family values support and direct me in my commitment to confront racism. It’s personal. It starts with each one of us.
As a member of the Newaygo Community Committee for United Way of the Lakeshore each day I strive to uphold the organization’s Equity Statement: We commit to developing racially conscious partnerships and processes that anticipate unintended outcomes and ensure the inclusion of all people we serve, for our community, and our organization.
That’s why I’m excited about the United Way 21-Day Equity Challenge. It’s a way to consciously and personally address racism with daily reflection, facilitated through participation in an interactive digital resource. It allows individuals to take it upon themselves to deepen their understanding of and willingness to confront racism.
What happens during the Challenge?
For 21 days, participants receive an email “prompt” with a short reading, video or audio file. Participants are encouraged to take about ten to fifteen minutes each day with the material in the prompt, though extra resources are provided in case they want to dig further into the day’s topic.
Join us from September 8 – 28 for the United Way of the Lakeshore 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. This self-guided learning journey is a great way to learn about the history and impacts of racism, and how it has shaped the lives of people in our community. Help dismantle racism, raise awareness, shift attitudes, and change outcomes in your community. Register today at:
By Ken De Laat
Last week while walking through a store the merchandise suddenly shifted as if there had been some type of dimensional transposition when everything is somewhat the same but different. I walked in and passed suntan lotion, sandals, beach toys etc.just minding my own business when catching an all too familiar scent
Even through my Detroit Tigers themed mask (I know, I’m a sucker for lost causes) I knew at first whiff what it was.
As I spun around all manner of summer related merchandise had been unceremoniously relocated to a clearance corner and in their prime location placed in the center aisle materialized a variety of wares in orange, brown and black. Halloween decor dominated, sweaters lay where shorts had been and of course there were all kinds of pumpkin spice items everywhere. From candles to cookies to cereal to yogurt the distinctive aroma of autumn dominated the scene.
I departed the scene, determined to fend off any notion of summer taking its leave so early. I mean seriously wasn’t the 4th just a couple weeks ago? Hasn’t the baseball season just begun?
Well, actually the baseball season truly has just begun and is now nearly halfway over but that’s another story.
August, and with it summer, is coming to a screaming end and I’m just not ready.
And while I have always loved fall this year, as with all things, is a tad different.
In most years September would mean spending a weekend at the Irish Music Fest in Muskegon where the Cedar Creek Cloggers (LSC Lil’s dance group) would perform in the afternoon leaving ample time for enjoying the many festivities surrounding the music including imbibing in enough Guinness to justify the decision made months earlier to secure overnight accommodations within walking distance of Heritage Park.
It might mean taking a cruise over to Remus on a Sunday to catch the tail end of the Wheatland Festival, an extravaganza of eclectic experiences we began attending in 1976 when the crowds were some 12,000 less than in more recent years. There are many memories brought to mind when arriving at the site and though some are fuzzier than others- particularly those forged during younger and significantly, uh, adventurous years- they are indeed fond ones.
Friday night Lights have dominated my autumns for the past couple of decades and enjoying the variety of vittles brought to the press box (Grant always has seriously great grub!) creates an epicurean experience as a go-with for the drama unfolding on the field below. There’s something just so, I don’t know, fallish I guess, about a high school football game.
The season often sees us traveling. We were in PEI last year, did a lengthy and loose road trip the year before and Ireland, long looming as an upcoming autumnal destination was being considered before…
So I considered whether this year’s reluctant ramble into what is truly the state’s most glorious season has been influenced by lamentations of unrealized undertakings, obstructed opportunities, and jilted journeys.
Well, we can’t go to the Irish Fest, Wheatland, nor a high school gridiron event to be sure.
But hey, with a little caution and a tankful of gas we can certainly do some traveling, right?
A return to Georgian Bay?
Nope. Can’t get into Canada.
White Water Rafting in West Virginia?
Hmm. A candidate to be sure but perhaps more of a spring thing.
New York? Hit the city, do some Broadway plays and...
Oh that's right, no shows.
We need a place where there’s lots to do, lots to see, interesting people, possible adventures lurking about and, and…
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been to Copper Harbor, never kayaked Pictured Rocks and through the many travels to our bipeninsular partner, never explored the wonders of Marquette.
But all three will undoubtedly bite the bucket list dust this fall.
Knowing we’ll be road tripping kind of makes the whole pumpkin spice thing more tolerable and besides, I’m going to enjoy it along with the Halloween decor for awhile because looming in storage ready to hit the shelves on November 1?
You got it.
And I’m just not ready.
To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, I am Rob Schuitema and I am running for a position on the Grant Public School Board.
Grant has been my home for many years and I love this community. I grew up here and graduated from Grant High School in 1991. My family has been involved in GPS in many ways, dating back to the 1960’s when my father began teaching and later when my mother began working as an administrative assistant. Continuing to this day, with my brother and sister-in-law as educators. Education has been a part of our family’s lives since the beginning, it is a passion that I was born with. The topic often dominated conversations at coffee time when I was a kid and still does at family gatherings now. Soon after graduating high school, I found my way to Arizona, attending college at the University of Arizona, graduating with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts and traveling around this beautiful country.
In the spring of 2003, I moved back to the area and was searching for the next steps in my career. Grant Public Schools staff and administration, with the help of my father, gave me an opportunity to grow and learn about being a professional educator. This had a great impact on my life and helped me to have the career I have today. I worked in every building as a regular and long-term substitute teacher for 2 years. Additionally, I was able to spend two years working with the afterschool program as a group leader and art teacher, this also led to my involvement with the summer enrichment program where I taught art, photography and theater.
I took on the role of Youth and Cultural Enrichment Director in 2006 with Newaygo County Community Services (NCCS) – now True North. While there, I was able to stay actively involved with the county and GPS, specifically with the Music and Regional Art Scholarship contests, and the summer enrichment programming through Boys and Girls Club.
In 2008, I took a position at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, where I have been for the last 11 years. I have spent most of my time there as the Director of Education. In 2019, I was promoted to the Director of Public Programs.
During my tenure at the Museum, I have made it my mission to bring Newaygo County students, focusing on Grant Public Schools, to the Museum through grant driven STEAM programs and scholarships for field trip bussing and special exhibits. Additionally, I helped implement the Grand History Lesson program that brings classrooms to the Museum for a week. This program “transforms” the Museum into their classroom to encourage place-based and experiential learning. Grant was one of the first pilot schools and participated in the program for 4 years. This morphed into the Museum's current Immerse Programthat grew from 6 pilot classrooms to over 53 classrooms each year for the last 6 years. This program was also the foundation for the Grand Rapids Public School Museum School, a 6th - 12th grade place based and Design Thinking school model.
I also took the experience I gained at GPS and NCCS to direct Camp Curious, the Museum’s summer camp program and have worked to grow it from 150 to 900 kids. In the spring of 2020, we were challenged with designing a virtual camp experience due to Covid-19, something that has never been done in the 166-year history of the institution. Over 230 kids participated in our virtual camps. This distance learning model led us to form a partnership with DA Blodgett St. John's Home and the Helen DeVos Children’s hospital to provide remote learning experiences for those who are not able to do in-person programs.
At each step of my career path, I have thought about ways to show gratitude to GPS for the opportunities they gave me. I would be honored to give back to this community by being elected to serve on the Grant Public School Board. I came home to Grant and was given an opportunity to grow and learn. My wife, Faune, also a GPS graduate, and I, chose to raise our family here. Our two daughters, Cyanne, a Sophomore and Cora, a 6th grader, both attend GPS and love it. I want to help create a fun, caring, compassionate, and educational environment for all students and staff at Grant Public Schools. Education is my passion and it is the way to a better future.
By Tim McGrath
“I’ve been watching, and you pick your feet up pretty good when you walk. I see a lot of older people who don’t do that.” -
A compliment I recently received in the grocery store….
It just happens. In the twinkling of an eye. Suddenly, those smile lines around the eyes have become deep crevasses, joining their colleagues winding their way along cheeks, hairline, and neck. Where once there was one chin, two show up along with a dangly turkey wattle added in for good measure. Jowly, they say. Harumph, I say back. I’ve learned I have something called crepey skin; who knew? And, adding to the festivities, granddaughter recently informed me, through uproarious laughter, that I have man-boobs. Little stinker. Hmmm…, now that I think of it maybe I could use a little support up top. It’s another niggling reminder that time is definitely not on my side, in spite of how The Stones keep reassuring me it is.
So here I am, looking at this newly minted Medicare baby staring back in the mirror, not at all resembling that eighteen-year-old kid from 1973. But, no mind. They’re just numbers, right? Right. Like so many of us good-feet-picker-uppers what we see in the mirror is just an oldster shell for the kid still lurking in there somewhere. We’re Baby Boomers, we’re never going to get old, man. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with. Right again.
All this reminds me lots of water’s flowed under my bridge, and I think on those people, places, and things that helped shape me. The wonderful things, the tough ones, too. Of people come and gone, of parents and friends no longer here. The things that seemed so critical at the time, but really weren’t. Of worries that had happy endings, and the ones that didn’t. Childhood fully lived, teen years endured, young adults trying to figure it out, middle age building and growing careers. Children raised, grown, gone. Retirement years filled with possibilities.
Lately, though, I’ve especially spent time looking way back into the years of childhood and those wonderful summers of the 60’s and early 70’s. Images of the goofy antics of my friends and me bring a smile and a laugh. Maybe I’ve spent too much time there, I don’t really know for sure. My psychologist friends might say it’s a coping mechanism to help deal with the craziness happening around us from all corners. At any rate, it’s a pleasant place to visit. Those charmed summer days of childhood that meant no school, and the endless possibilities of days stretched out before us with nothing but what our little minds could conjure up. Just had to be back home when the streetlights came on….
Ah, summer; sweet, sweet summer.
Cane poles and crawlers,
Falstaff beer and Dad’s Dutch Master cigars.
Sticky hot evenings sitting on still warm concrete steps,
the day’s heat warming legs and bottoms.
Nighthawks calling, diving, wings roaring above the school across the street,
Rose colored sky melting into purply indigo.
Forts in the lilac bushes,
Scientists busy at work.
Raiding neighbors’ burning barrels,
Hauling empty Bud bottles in squeaky red wagons.
Silver Salutes, M-80s, Cherry Bombs, Zebras and Black Cats,
Smoke, fire, noise. Perfect.
Figuring out the differences between boys and girls,
Moms explaining the birds and bees; no kidding, wow.
Sprinklers to run through,
Brown grass prickling still tender toes.
Plastic pools filled with dirty water and grass clippings,
The place to see if beetles and ants can swim.
Naughty kids with magnifying glasses and ants,
Burning holes everywhere.
Entire rolls of caps pounded with hammers,
Eenie-Einie-Over next door,
Becoming the champions of the world.
Work up, Five-dollars,
No do-overs, either.
Peddling dad’s blueberries up and down streets,
Supposed to be a good idea.
Briggs and Stratton belching blue smoke,
Get the choke just right, there it goes.
Cut it every week, even if it is brown,
And make sure the lines are straight.
Nik-L-Nips in wax bottles,
Squish between teeth, juice blasting out.
Ever try putting Fizzies in your mouth?
How about a whole bag of SweetTarts?
Sniping Gary’s dad’s cigarette butts,
Light ‘em up, faces blushing green.
Sgt. Rock, Archie, and Superman comic books,
Saving, saving, saving, only 12 cents a copy, 25 for the doubles.
Bike riding to Lamar Park,
The ‘ol swimming hole,
Learning to swim,
Secretly peeking at girls in bikinis.
Lying for hours in backyards,
Imagining life on those clouds.
I want to walk on that mountain over there.
Hey, that one looks like your dad’s big nose!
Grandma’s rhubarb patch,
Sugar bowl in hand,
Don’t eat the leaves whatever you do.
Mom says try this, it’s good,
White bread, butter, sugar,
A sugar sandwich, who knew?
Launching model rockets into trees,
A little off course.
Stuck in the branches by the kites.
Slot cars and model building,
Always, always, always, parts left over.
What’s that you say, it’s September?
Hot and stiff.
White, white PF Flyers,
So long summer,
See you next year.
Hey, wait up!
By Ken DeLaat
“Football is the ballet of the masses.”-Dmitri Shostakovich
No football. From yardmarkers to milemarkers?
Wow. Just like that the fall sports scene took a hit when the Big Ten, the MAC, the GLIAC and the MIAA (oldest college conference in the country, by the way) all pulled the proverbial plug on the football season and days later the MHSAA decided a shifting of seasons was in order for high schools as well, opting for spring football.
Spring football is nothing new since it’s known to be akin to a religion in certain southern states, but it’s certainly new to the Mitten that, like 14 other states and the District of Columbia (so far), have made this seasonal adjustment. Many of these already have start dates in March and in a couple of states, February. In our state the initially announced start date is the always handy TBD.
Guidelines for Volleyball and soccer have yet to be announced but like other fall sports they are tentatively scheduled to go forward.
What does this mean for other spring sports?
This will all have to be figured out as if our schools didn’t have enough on their plate right now. Athletic Directors throughout our bi-peninsular paradise who already deal with weather related scheduling nightmares and the usual drone of issues brought to their door now have the ripple effects of COVID on sports to contend with and are likely pondering early retirement or a career change.
In the meantime a footballess fall awaits.
Like her coaching colleagues, N3 Editor and cross country coach Alexis Mercer may end up with backfield players and linemen added to the mix with her veteran runners creating a thundering herd of harriers.
Of course, the linemen might have issues with tossing the occasional cross body block during competition, but there’s confidence that most can adjust to the subtle differences between the sports.
Thus far the NFL is moving forward so while no Newaygo Lions will take the field there’s always the beloved Detroit Lions to watch. Given the history of this storied franchise and how things generally go for the team this could very well be the year they win the Super Bowl.
Think of it. There will probably be a slew of COVID related ineligible players throughout the season and if they fell at the right time might give a lesser team the advantage. Games could be cancelled or forfeited, the year could be cut short, any number of scenarios could unfold in a weird way that would elevate the perennial also rans to the big game.
One that no one can attend.
As no one attended the games during the season.
And because of the oddity and many factors surrounding the season the Super Bowl winner, regardless of what the league says, will forever have a giant asterisk next to it in the record books.
Yep. I can see this being the year of the Lions.
A rough start to their 2nd century
A fire destroyed the century old Government Lake Lodge this week.
Lil and I have sporadically made visits to this inviting lakeside eatery located just a stones throw or two north of Baldwin. The iconic building and unique location provided a pleasant diversion during drives that took us up M-37 (the way, way best route north particularly if combined with slicing to the west on 115).
Places like Gov Lake have been landmarks for travelers to and through the north forever. As a kid when my family would head to our up north cottage (yes,we had cars then) I vividly recall places like this where we would stop off for a little respite. My Dad could usually use a beer after traveling a few hours with four kids in a hot car loaded down with enough stuff to last months longer than the week we would be gone. These spots always seemed to have great burgers and fries along with orange pop and often would be home to a bowling game or pinball machine. If so, Dad would pour out the dimes, presumably to enjoy a bit of quiet to go with his beer.
Fewer and fewer of these classic roadside oases are still operating and these days instead of pinball you’ll usually find Keno. Still, each one has character and each has a bit of personal history for those who may have been well acquainted with them.
While personally unaware of the history behind GLL at the ripe old age of 101 it is certain to be a rich one indeed and we would invite anyone with a story to share with our readers about this archetypal up north tavern to send it on over to us in the comment section or via email at email@example.com
"There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern"- Samuel Johnson
Dear Editor and Fremont community,
The Fremont Area District Library Yes Committee sends its sincere thanks to Fremont area voters for their support of the library’s August 4 millage proposal. Your support is especially meaningful in these difficult times and demonstrates our community’s commitment to literacy, lifelong learning, and ensuring all residents have access to information and resources. We look forward to the many things your yes vote will help make happen, including updated technology, new books and programming, and increased hours of operation. We are proud of and extremely grateful for our community’s beautiful library and its outstanding staff. Thank you again for joining us to support them in such an important way!
Patti Wheater for the FADL Yes Committee
Photo by Penny Dow
Story by Ken DeLaat
A little over a year ago during a rush of bear sightings in our fair county we ran a story with a slew of photos and some DNR guidelines about our furry neighbors. At the time I mentioned that I had never encountered one of these black beauties but had always harbored a desire to do so.
But then this past Tuesday night Hess Lake resident Penny Dow happened to catch an intruder outside her window. Intrigued at what she witnessed she made a quick grab of her phone and snapped the photo that joins this article. It was her first sighting of the lumbering beast and after the departure she took a trip outside (a brave woman) in hopes of finding prints to see if he had come from near the house or garage. The search proved fruitless.
“It was just exciting to see one in my yard,” she said.
And where is the locale of this spotting?
Just down the street from N3 World Headquarters.
And right past where I take my daily walk.
This news gave me a bit of pause about my desire to catch a peek at a bear in the wild. My thought had been to gain an extended look in situations involving vital goalongs like shelter (car, house, helicopter, etc..) and/or distance.
A pretty fair distance since old friend Bruce Rose who spent years at the forest service once explained to me just how fast the big guys (and gals) can be.
Now, granted, my perambulate pursuit generally takes place soon after sunrise and the spotting by Ms. Dow occurred in the latter part of the evening so…
But as I said it gives me a bit of pause.
So I referenced the DNR info we put together for last year’s story (along with a snide comment or two) and decided to repeat the guidelines for my friends and neighbors in case our newest visitor has thoughts of some form of Manifest Destiny to expand personal territory.
Never intentionally feed bears.
And if you need this advice the rest of this guide will likely elude you.
Remove potential food sources, like bird feeders and bird suet, from your yard. Do not feed wild birds in the spring, summer and fall, when bears are most active.
This one hurts for folks who love to keep tabs on their feathered friends year round but seriously if one only feeds in winter most years in this peninsular paradise winter can be close to being nearly year round anyway.
Keep pet food inside or in a secured area.
As well as small pets who might be protective of said food one imagines.
Keep garbage and odor at a minimum by removing trash often and cleaning the can or other container used for garbage. Keep garbage in a secured area or in a secured container with a metal, lockable lid until it is picked up or taken away.
“One man’s trash..” as the saying goes. I imagine after grubbing about for some roots and berries the good fortune of hitting an unprotected pail of what humans toss away food-wise brings a reaction akin to cutting loose a ravenous group of teenage boys on an all -you-can-eat buffet line.
Keep grills and picnic tables clean.
Have you ever camped near folks who didn’t do this in bear country? I have. It doesn’t make for easy sleeping.
Bee hives (apiaries), fruit trees and gardens can be protected from bears by electric fencing.
My hunch is the average bear (not Yogi who is said to be smarter than the average bear) doesn’t have the table manners of Pooh when it comes to honey. Bears have been described many ways but dainty has never been one I’ve seen used thus in quest of honey the hive likely takes a bit of a beating.
Make noise to scare bears out of your yard or around your home: but do not approach bears.
I would definitely make noise...most likely a prepubescent scream while bolting in the direction of any port of safety.
Travel in groups and make noise when hiking to avoid surprising a bear.
Just how big is considered a group? I sometimes am joined in my walk by LSC Lil on the days she isn’t working out with weights but I assume she’s faster than me which plays into the old adage about needing just one person to be slower than you when running from a bear.
Carry bear spray.
The price of bear spray ranges widely but this is likely one of those products you don’t want to go cheap on, right? I mean you might be able to go on the less expensive end when it comes to certain things like paper plates but I can’t imagine feeling good about saving a few bucks when the effect of the spray turns out to be limited to pissing off the beast.
Of course it needs to be considered that maybe the bear was just on a bit of a day trip. Perhaps it had heard about our recent spate of food trucks and wished to scope out the site for a future visit. Or possibly he(she) developed a taste for the catfish that seem plentiful in the lake this year.
But whether our bear turns out to be a regular visitor or his appearance is merely one of those enigmatic occurrences, my walk is sure to take on a whole new undertone.
One rife with apprehension one imagines.
And speaking of bears...
The following quote is from a story called “God’s Own Drunk” written by Lord Taylor and performed by Jimmy Buffet on his album “Living & Dying in ¾ Time”.
It’s a good story, a good song and a worthwhile listen that we highly recommend.
Particularly in light of the appearance of our new friend.
“I was God's own drunk and a fearless man...
“And that's when I first saw the bear.”- Lord Taylor
To Our Readers...
Those of you who subscribe to our weekly newsletter (free, what a deal!) may have noticed that in the third article the storyline was a bit confusing. Although the photo and the link went to the This & That piece, the copy was from a story the previous week about the initial official ride on the New Michigan Dragon Trail.
As a way of explaining this news site faux pas, one might be helped by knowing a bit about the process for sending out the newsletter.
Our Editor, Alexis Mercer, does it.
Yep. That’s the process as I, the publisher, now know it to be.
Our Editor has put together the weekly missive for a long time. She has accomplished this at a wide variety of locales throughout the country, under various circumstances, while simultaneously juggling any number of other commitments and accomplished it well.
But when Editor Mercer texted from the UP this past weekend stating she was ensconced in an area of little reception and passed the proverbial newsletter baton to me for this week’s edition, I went confidently forward and…
Now, admittedly, I once performed this duty in the early stages of our existence, however it has been awhile and the muscle memory attached to the operational guidelines of newsletter creation has likely atrophied a bit.
Then, after painstakingly fumbling through the process (not that complicated but...), I managed to figure out how it was done and actually reach the point of scheduling a send.
One might think I cavalierly chose to not check it, but no, kind readers, I ‘proofed’ it... giving it a once over before hitting send.
Unfortunately the once over proved to be inadequate and a twice or thrice over may have been more conducive to discovering the error. Of course given the lack of success in the initial check this view might be overly optimistic but we’re sticking to it for now.
And now that we’ve done it (albeit a bit messed up) future attempts would likely see less mistakes.
But that’s Plan B.
Hopefully, Editor Mercer returning to civilization soon.
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