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Out and About – Week of June 30th

July 1, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Last week I wrote about having lunch with an old friend of mine who was visiting from Idaho. The time we spent having lunch was great, and it made me wish we had more time to do more lunches, but those will have to wait until his next visit.

The week after Water Festival, I was having breakfast at one of the fine coffee/lunch venues, when through the door came another one of my classmates. The timing was great, because I was by myself and didn’t need to worry about my wife getting bored with a conversation dealing with my life fifty years ago. Nancy Welch is the daughter of the late Elmer Black, and she was in town with her daughter and step-mother-in-law. They were here to go through Elmer’s house and get some things sorted out. We talked about Elmer for a while. He was a remarkable man filled with tales of years gone by. He will be missed by many.

Nancy now lives in Florida, so the subject came up dealing with the difference in climates between Michigan and Florida. I asked her how she was able to tolerate the hot and humid summers in Florida. She replied by asking me how we tolerated the frigid and snowy winters here in Michigan. They learn when to stay in the air conditioning and when to get Out and About in sunny Florida. This makes a lot of sense to me, but I’d rather live in Michigan with an occasional cockroach, than deal with a multitude of palmetto bugs, plus they have those little geckos that are popular in Florida. To each his own.

It was great to spend a few minutes with Nancy, who, like many of my female classmates, still looks a lot younger than seventy years old. Actually she won’t be seventy for another month or so.

Not many people in Three Rivers ever knew Bill Kowalski. If you happen to be a Lions member, you might be lucky enough to have met him. Bill passed away Wednesday, June 18, in Kalamazoo, at the age of 91. We attended his visitation and funeral, which was difficult, but something we definitely would not have missed.

Bill Kowalski’s favorite project was Project KidSight. This project provides eye-screening for children from ages one to seventeen. It’s a free screening which can detect problems that can lead to blindness if proper action is not taken. He traveled many miles and dedicated many hours to this project. He received no compensation, because Lions don’t get paid for their volunteering. As a matter of fact, Lions Clubs International is one of those service organizations in which we pay to volunteer. Bill Kowalski’s pay was knowing that he had helped a lot of kids avoid the possibility of being blind. My pay, as a Lion, is being able to meet many people just like Bill. Rest in peace, my friend.

We are constantly reading or hearing about the latest “scam”. There are people out there who thrive on taking advantage of others. Here are two scams that you should be aware of:

“One Ring” scam: According to the Better Business Bureau, cell phone users should be on the lookout for unauthorized charges on their monthly statement. Customers receiving a missed call that rings only once from an unknown, international number could be charged if they call back. If this happens to you, and you think you’re a victim of this scam, alert your mobile provider.

“Phishing” scam: E-mails pop up from time to time, and they may look like they are from authentic companies, delivery carriers, or banks. Be careful of clicking links in e-mails, if you don’t recognize the return address. Should this happen to you, you can always verify information by directly visiting a website or calling the organization’s phone number. You can also contact a Fraud Resolution Specialist at 1-888-829-6558.

Here’s something to keeping in mind and put to good use:

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’

At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’

At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’ ~ Sufi saying.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Charlie

June 26, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

CharlieHi. My name is Charlie and I am a male, brown tabby, about one year old. I am a sweet guy and am very affectionate. I like to be petted and given attention. I surely would love to come and be part of your home. Please visit me and see how sweet I am. My docket number is 12102, at the St. Joseph County Animal Control Shelter located at 652 E. Main St., Centreville, MI. Animal Control is open Monday – Friday, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The first Saturday of each month AC is open for adoptions from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Their phone number is 269-467-6475. Please visit the Animal Rescue Fund website at www.arfund.org to see more adoptable pets. NOTE: ARF will pay for the spay/neuter of ANY adopted pet from animal control. This is done at the Humane Society in Kalamazoo. If the owner wants to go to a local vet, the same amount will be given to that vet. This is for a limited number of adoptions, so come in and take advantage of this helping hand from ARF. Up-Cycled Pets needs reliable foster homes so some pets can learn more about living in a safe home before adoption. Go to www.upcycledpets.com for more information about how to help this group. Also, a rabies shot is available free of charge through the Kalamazoo Humane Society by contacting Animal Rescue Fund (269-718-3775). There are 10 shots available on a first come, first served basis. No substitutions are available. The Kalamazoo Humane Society is the only location for the offer.

Destruction!

June 24, 2014 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

When the going gets tough, the tough get …destructive?

Many of us reach our “stress max” on a daily basis. Whether it is because of work, family, finances or just the everyday struggles that life throws at us, our stress sensors always seem to be blaring loud like an alarm clock.

When this happens, we try to find ways to help us chill out, relax and find the peace and solitude we so desperately seek. Or in other words, escape from the insanity that has surrounded us.

For some, a simple nap, a good book or choice of an adult beverage can do the trick. For others, we may need something more.

Driving to work the other day, I was listening to a local radio show that discussed this very topic and a new business that opened up to help people deal with their stress. I smiled as I listened because I could totally picture myself becoming a regular client, but not because of stress, but rather pure enjoyment.

Now, I will offer this one disclaimer. I have not verified if this is a true business, but they do have a website, but to me, real or not, the concept is a winner in my book! On a side note, I did call the number listed on the website and just got a busy signal.

According to their website, Das Breakroom, a business in Boise, Idaho, offers people the chance to come in and BREAK THINGS. The website states that you need to wear closed toe shoes and only one person is allowed in a break room at a time. You need to be 18 years of age and safety equipment is to be worn at all times.

The prices seem reasonable as they charge anywhere from $3 to $5 per session, which in my book, is a steal, unless of course they only provide a single plate to break!

Like I said, it doesn’t matter if this is a true business or not, just imagine if it were. If someone opened a business like this in Three Rivers, would you go? I am sure many of us would just to check it out and see what it was all about. And let’s be honest, it is fun to break things!

I have a strange obsession with breaking things. It isn’t so much of a stress reliever for me as it is just plain ol’ fun. As a young boy, I loved making things out of blocks, Lego’s and the like, only to have a natural disaster come through and completely obliterate the entire structure. My Grandpa Wellington would always tell me that I was going to grow up to be an architect because of my creations. Maybe he meant wrecking ball operator or explosive detonator?

When I worked retail, one position I held was Merchandise Claims and Control, or in other words, defective merchandise! One of my duties was to completely destroy merchandise that was no longer fit to sell, such as bowling balls in which the finger holes were drilled incorrectly. A friend and fellow co-worker for mine, Bryan, had a great time finding ways to break the many bowling balls that were to be tossed out.

It was a stress reliever, but above all, it was just plain fun.

I still break things to this day and I think it sometimes gets on my wife’s nerves. Instead of simply throwing away a bad light bulb or cracked dish, I like to make sure it is unrecognizable as it goes on its final journey.

Maybe it is just a “boy” thing?

To be a rock star…

June 24, 2014 by Mark McGlothlen · Comments Off 

Have you ever wanted to feel like a rock star? Do you desire the thrill and the rush of having crowds of pumped up fans screaming your name while they wave their hands wildly in the air?

Have you wondered what it would be like to be unable to hear anything around you because the chants and cheers for you were just SO LOUD?

This past week, the energy inside the gymnasium at Eastside Elementary school was electric because a celebrity, of sorts, was in the town and in the building, and the students knew it. Shrieks, screams, and laughter filled the gymnasium

This is the day for which they had been waiting nearly three weeks!

As the guest of honor entered the gym, students mobbed the “star” for hugs and high-fives, and the smiles on their faces stretched from wall to wall.

No, it wasn’t a surprise visit from One Direction or some professional athlete that had the kids so pumped up, but rather a tall, green bird named Slappy!

Slappy is the mascot for the Kalamazoo Wings, the professional hockey team that plays in the ECHL. Slappy is a fan favorite at Wings Stadium and around the Kalamazoo area. You can now add Constantine to that list.

The K-Wings mascot was in town to help the students at Eastside celebrate their success during March Reading Month. When I found out earlier this year that the K-Wings had a reading club for area schools to participate in, I passed the information along to the principal and Media Specialist. Our wonderful Media Specialist, Mrs. Debra Nihart, worked hard, along with the K-Wings organization, to make it the reading program a reality for our students this year.

Each teacher set a goal for their class to meet. If the students met the goal, they each received a FREE ticket to select upcoming K-Wings games. In addition, family members of the students could purchase tickets at a reduced rate as well.

Reading is important, and Mrs. Nihart pulls out all the stops to encourage reading in our school ALL year long, not just March Reading Month, but her efforts are doubled when March rolls around.

In the students’ eyes, Slappy was the big star. It was almost like the Beatles had invaded the school with the rousing welcome Slappy received! In reality, however, and I am sure Slappy would agree, the true stars of the day were the students. They were the ones who read the books and took the tests to meet their goals. They are the ones that the spotlight should shine brightly on!

Do I want the rock star treatment? No thanks. However, I am sure my students would love to see me in a costume of some sort, I would imagine. Seeing the students meet goals and reach for the stars is the only repayment I need or want.

I have come across several articles on the importance of reading, especially for school-aged children and the benefits they can receive from reading just 20 minutes a day. According to readingfoundation.org, just 20 minutes a day reading aloud with young children strengthens relationships, encourages listening and language skills, promotes attention and curiosity, and establishes a strong reading foundation. These skills are essential for success in school and in life.

20 MINUTES A DAY

Read to your children

Twenty minutes a day;

You have the time,

And so do they.

Read while the laundry is in the machine;

Read while dinner cooks;

Tuck a child in the crook of your arm

And reach for the library books.

Hide the remote,

Let the computer games cool,

For one day your child will be off to school;

Remedial? Gifted? You have the choice.

Let them hear their first tales,

In the sound of your voice.

Read in the morning,

Read over noon,

Read by the light of

Goodnight Moon.

Turn the pages together,

Sitting close as you’ll fit,

‘Till a small voice beside you says,

“Hey, don’t quit.”

Author Unknown

Out and About – Week of June 23rd

June 24, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

The 58th Annual Water Festival is now in the history books, and a few pages have been turned since the last firework was shot into the night skies. After a couple of cool days, the weather cooperated and everyone was able to fully enjoy this yearly event.

During the week of Water Festival, I had the opportunity to visit with some friends from my high school years. It was great to reminisce about those memorable years. We didn’t have I-pods or video games back then. If you wanted to contact a friend, you had to use your home phone or visit a telephone booth. Cell phones hadn’t been thought of yet, so texting while driving was not a hazard. We had other hazards, like keeping both hands on the steering wheel. After all, it was important to have your arm around your girlfriend while driving.

Back to my original topic. It seems you never have enough time to really visit with out-of-town friends. My one buddy lives in Idaho. He usually calls me when he comes to town for a family event. Unfortunately, he calls me the day before he has to leave and go home. This time we did have time for a lunch visit. It lasted about two hours. We did manage to eat something, but it was more of a time to just talk. He had answers to some of my questions. They were quite personal, but he was willing to answer them. I had questions on how he was dealing with the loss of his wife. He’s doing fine and I feel that he helped me a great deal as far as dealing with emotions. We laughed and we cried a bit, but that’s okay to do with a friend. I’m a very lucky guy to have a variety of friends. I also have a box of Kleenex nearby.

I’m feeling a bit depressed. This past Sunday was my mom’s birthday. She would have been 111 years young. Belated Happy Birthday, Mom. This past Sunday was also the first day of summer, which means that the days are now getting shorter, and this is what saddens me the most. I keep reminding myself to get Out and About and enjoy the daylight hours, because they are getting shorter every day.

I received a couple of cards this past Fathers’ Day. They were from our cat Dixie. Dixie never forgets those special occasions, and the cards are very unique. I don’t think she buys them herself, because she never leaves the house. I’m pretty sure my wife buys them for her. Dixie is our “daughter”, even though she’s a cat. Real family pets are a very important part of the family. On that topic, you’ll be interested in knowing that it costs about $235 a year to feed a large dog, according to the ASPCA, and only $55 to feed a small one. That compares to $115 for a cat and $190 for a rabbit. I had rabbits as a kid, but my wife refuses to have anymore “children”. We only have a three bedroom house.

I don’t know how a family of four survives these days. According to statistics, the average American family of four spends about $1600 a year on food it never eats. To save what you pay for: Refrigerate greens in a damp paper towel in an airtight container; blanch fresh vegetables and freeze them in one-meal portions; make overripe fruit into compote; store leftovers in glass containers so you can see them. Another way to save money with a large family is to eat more meals at home. Fast food restaurants can be expensive, and the quality of food is questionable. Can you say “Obesity”? On the other hand, my wife and I find that it is just as costly for us to eat in as it is to dine out. We go out several times a week and let Dixie fend for herself. We rarely visit those expensive places, but prefer the “Mom and Pop” cafes. My wife loves Tater Tots, which are hard to find, but if you are also a lover of those tasty bits of carbohydrates, you’ll be happy to know that Mr. B’s Dairy Bar, here in Three Rivers, does have them, and they are good.

A thought to brighten your spirit: All things in life are temporary. If things are going well, enjoy them, for they will not last forever. If things are not going so well, don’t worry, they won’t last long, either.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Feldon

June 19, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

FeldonHello. My name is Feldon and I am a male brown and white hound mix, about 2 years old. I weigh about 52 pounds and have already been neutered. I’m kind of shy at first but it doesn’t take me too long to warm up to you. I have very pretty, liquid brown eyes. I really love attention and am not overly active. Come in and see how nice I am and make me part of your family. My docket number is 12083, at the St. Joseph County Animal Control Shelter located at 652 E. Main St., Centreville, MI. Animal Control is open Monday – Friday, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The first Saturday of each month AC is open for adoptions from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon. Their phone number is 269-467-6475. Please visit the Animal Rescue Fund website at www.arfund.org to see more adoptable pets. NOTE: ARF will pay for the spay/neuter of ANY adopted pet from animal control. This is done at the Humane Society in Kalamazoo. If the owner wants to go to a local vet, the same amount will be given to that vet. This is for a limited number of adoptions, so come in and take advantage of this helping hand from ARF. Up-Cycled Pets needs reliable foster homes so some pets can learn more about living in a safe home before adoption. Go to www.upcycledpets.com for more information about how to help this group. Also, a rabies shot is available free of charge through the Kalamazoo Humane Society by contacting Animal Rescue Fund (269-718-3775). There are 10 shots available on a first come, first served basis. No substitutions are available. The Kalamazoo Humane Society is the only location for the offer.

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