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Out and About – Week of June 9th

June 10, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

In case you haven’t heard, Water Festival is happening this week. Thursday through Saturday, June 12 through 14. All the details have been published in this newspaper, so I won’t take the time to bore you with all the details. From the parade Thursday evening to the final firework lighting up the sky Saturday night, Three Rivers will be alive with fun for the entire family.

When I’m not getting Out and About, I enjoy spending time in my own neighborhood. We live right here in town and have some of the best neighbors. If we’re gone for a day or so, they watch the house. If I need some helpful advice, there’s always someone ready to come to my aid. We’re very fortunate. We are not a group of coffee-klatschers, but if I’m out in the yard watering the plants, it sometimes takes me a little longer to accomplish the task, because someone might stop by, and that’s when a pleasant conversation occurs.

I met a new neighbor about a week ago. Gloria was out working on starting a flower/vegetable area. I stopped for a moment to introduce myself. I mentioned that she was making me tired just watching her work. I’ve had my share of gardens in my life, so I’m aware that if you want fresh vegetables or beautiful flowers in your yard, there’s a certain amount of sweat equity that must be invested. From my observation, Gloria will indeed have a bountiful crop, and her yard might even make the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Our yard, on the other hand, might be lucky to grace the back page of Field and Stream. Anyway, Gloria comes from Amish ancestry, so I’m sure she won’t have a problem with her project. I’m sure she’ll be successful, because she loves working in the yard. I’ll keep my lawn mowed and be happy with that. Becoming acquainted with your neighbors is a good thing. We all have some knowledge worth sharing, and who better to share it with than a neighbor?

As most of you know, I’ve been having a few health issues. I’ve shared my knee problem with you on more than one occasion. The good news is that the pain I’m experiencing will soon end. I’m scheduled for surgery in July. It will be out-patient, so I won’t need to stay overnight at the hospital. I’ve been working with the staff at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. I have never been shown such caring attention as what I have received in the past couple of months. I have never had to wait to be seen and the staff has been very accommodating. I’ve been poked with needles and shocked by electrodes. All this has been done by a nurse or doctor with a smile and kind words.

I have no fear of the upcoming back surgery. I know that I will be taken care of by a staff of dedicated professionals, whose only concern is me. If I do have a concern, it would be that I might hear someone say, “Oooops!” But I’ll be unconscious and won’t care anyway.

I can’t remember where I was, but out of the corner of my eye, I actually saw some clothes hanging out to dry on a clothesline several days ago. This is a common sight if you’re Out and About near Centreville, or anywhere in northern Indiana where the Amish population is dominant. Usually, Monday is laundry day for the Amish. Seeing the wet clothes hanging out, brought back some great childhood memories. My mom would do laundry on Saturday, and she’d hang everything out to dry. One of the highlights for me was that, after my Saturday night bath, my mom would start making my bed with the freshly washed sheets. After the bottom sheet was in place, I’d climb into bed and she’d finish making the bed around me. There’s nothing quite like the smell of sheets that have been dried outside by Mother Nature.

Some advice that we all might take to heart:

Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES; it takes away tomorrow’s PEACE.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of June 2nd

June 3, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

We are now in June, which means that the chances of snow are slim, even though this is Michigan, and we all know what the weather can do in the “Water Wonderland”. You may now put away the snow blower for at least three months. Just think, in eighteen more days, the days will start getting shorter. I don’t think I’m ready for that.

Water Festival happens next week. If you are unaware of this, I’m interested in knowing where the cave is that you’ve been living in. The highlight of Festival for me is the parade on Thursday evening, or, if it rains, on Friday evening. Speaking of rain, if it rains Saturday evening, the fireworks will be Sunday evening. Back to the parade. There are fifty entries for the parade, and it will begin, as always, at the intersection of Douglas Avenue and West Michigan Avenue. It will run east to Main Street, then head north and end at Lafayette Park by Ruth Hoppin School. Please remember to watch your children and make sure they stay on the curb of the street. Do not allow them to run out into the parade route to retrieve candy. This is how accidents happen and children get hurt.

I haven’t mentioned the Carnegie Center for the Arts for quite some time. Director Donna Grubbs assures me that the Carnegie is open and active for all to enjoy. The big attractions now are the works of Fiber Artists, the West Michigan Glass Art Center, plus an individual show by Don Marek. I won’t take the time to describe these exhibits, but will strongly suggest that you stop in and check them out for yourself. These exhibits will be on display from June 8 through August 9, with an opening reception on Sunday, June 8, from 2 to 4 PM. The Carnegie Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to stop by the Carnegie and have caught Donna Grubbs when she wasn’t too busy. She’s a very interesting person with an endless wealth of knowledge about the Carnegie. Another nice person to know.

The Carnegie Center is located at 107 North Main Street, in historic downtown Three Rivers. Should you have any questions, you may call Donna at 269-273-8882, or visit the Carnegie’s website at www.trcarnegie.com. The Carnegie Center for the Arts is another family attraction that is FREE.

It was a little over a year ago that my wife had neck surgery. During her time of recovery, I was able to do things that I normally don’t do. For the first time, we went grocery shopping together. We continue do this about every week. She’s a fantastic shopper, a talent she learned from her father, who did all the grocery shopping for the family, while my wife was growing up. I appreciate how much effort goes into shopping for a family of two. I’m sorry; I mean a family of three. I forgot about our cat. Gone are the days when a family of three can survive on fifty dollars a week for groceries.

Our roles are about to reverse. Sometime after the middle of July, I’ll undergo back surgery. Hopefully, this will mean that I can eventually get rid of the cane. Anyway, after surgery, I’ll have a few restrictions that I must adhere to seriously for about six weeks. No bending at the waist. If I turn sideways, I must turn my entire body, and no lifting any more than ten pounds. If you happen to see the two of us at the grocery store, I’ll be the one in the motorized cart. Life is good!

There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh vegetables that have never seen the inside of a truck. In other words, fresh home-grown veggies are the best. Unless you have your own garden, the best place to shop for fresh vegetables is the Farmers’ Market, located in Scidmore Park, with their entrance off West Michigan Avenue. The Farmers’ Market is open every Thursday from 1 to 6 PM through Labor Day. Vegetables are not the only thing available at the market. Local artists have some of their works on display also. Probably the best thing to do is to stop by and check everything out for yourself. You’ll be amazed as to what you find, plus you’ll have the satisfaction in knowing that your money is being spent locally, which is a deal in itself. There’s plenty of free parking and an abundance of smiling faces just waiting to make your visit one to remember.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Week of May 26th

May 27, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

“Save The Frogs!” No, this isn’t some Sci-Fi movie coming to a theater near you. It’s an event that started last year, and because of its cause and popularity, it’s happening again this year.

I mentioned this event a couple of months ago and gave you a preview of what will happen this year. I mentioned at the time that I would give you more news later. It is now later, so I will keep my promise to you, while at the same time putting a smile on my buddy Vic’s face. Now Vic is so much into this project that he is thinking seriously about selling his country home and moving to a very comfortable “pad” in a nearby pond. Enough digressing!

During the month of June, the “Save The Frogs!” committee is planning events to coincide with the Three Rivers Water Festival. That 80-foot-long mural, which was created by the young people at TRAM (Three Rivers Area Mentoring), will once again hang on the fence by the Scidmore Park Petting Zoo.

On July 19, more information and activities planned by the committee will be available at the Huss School Festival. This festival attracts hundreds of visitors for fun, good food, great music, plus information that is very important for our health and the health of our planet.

We recently spent a weekend in Battle Creek attending the Lions Club State Convention. It is held in a different location every year so that the same Lions don’t have to travel a long distance each year. Last year, the convention was held in Shipshewana, Indiana, so everyone had a distance to travel, except for those Lions living here in St. Joe, Cass, and Branch Counties.

The convention was held at McCamly Plaza, which is an older hotel located right downtown Battle Creek. With the recent press coverage of what’s been happening in Battle Creek, we weren’t that excited about being any part of the eleven o’clock news. This didn’t stop us from attending, however, because we were looking forward to spending time with our Lion friends.

The weekend was fun. We started off with a Thursday evening picnic at Cornwell’s in Turkeyville. It was a picnic atmosphere, but, because of the chilly weather, we dined inside. We learned that they have a campground on the property, so perhaps we’ll spend another weekend there this summer.

Altogether, the weekend was a success. We were able to spend plenty of time visiting, because this is one time when we weren’t obligated to attend meetings like we had in previous years. The only real disadvantage to where we stayed was the parking. There just wasn’t any real FREE place to park without having to walk some distance. Otherwise, it’s always great getting together with friends and talking about what’s going on in each other’s lives, and of course, it’s great to get Out and About.

I try not to use this column that much for providing FREE advertising, but every so often, something comes along that is for a good cause and I’m pretty sure that you folks would really like to hear about. Such is the case with the spring “Indoor Yard and Bake Sale” hosted by Light and Life Wesleyan Church, 15765 Hoffman Road, directly across the road from the UAW Hall, on the west side of Three Rivers. It happens this Saturday, May 31, from 9 AM until 3 PM. This fundraiser will help support their community outreach programs. As I’m sure you’ve read in this paper, this promises to be a sale you won’t want to miss. A lawn mower, refrigerator, and stove/oven are a couple of the big items you’ll find there, and, of course, you’ll find an abundance of home-made baked goods. Leave the credit cards at home, because the sales are CASH ONLY and ALL SALES ARE FINAL. We’ll see you there.

A couple of things to remember:

Friendship is like a book. It takes a few minutes to burn, but it takes years to write.

Old friends are GOLD! New friends are like a DIAMOND! If you get a diamond, don’t forget the gold, because to hold a diamond, you always need a base of gold.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of May 19th

May 20, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Whenever someone I admire passes away, I try to mention them in this column. I take their passing with considerable difficulty, and I’m not embarrassed to share my feelings. I know and admire quite a few people. I respect what they do for the betterment of us all and enjoy making my admiration for them known. I’ve learned a valuable lesson. If you admire someone and appreciate what they have done or are doing, let them know. Don’t wait until it’s too late. I wish that I had been able to spend more time with Bruce Snook. He passed much too early, and I never was able to let him know how much I appreciated what he had done for the community. I’d like to continue my lesson learned by saying, “Congratulations to Police Chief Tom Bringman.” A couple of weeks ago, Chief Bringman celebrated forty years in the field of law enforcement. This means that, for more than half his life, he has served the community in which he lives and has done so with pride and dedication to the job.

I stopped by his office a couple of weeks ago and asked if I might speak to him for just a few minutes. About an hour or so later, I left the police department with an even higher respect for the man who works with the police officers who put their lives at risk every day. Please notice that I said Chief Bringman works “with” the officers. He is, in fact, their boss and their leader. The buck stops at his desk. If a mistake happens within the department, he accepts the blame, because he feels that perhaps he had overlooked something, so, as a result, the mistake was made.

For as much as the local firefighters like Chief Tomlinson, I feel confident in saying that the local police officers like Chief Bringman. They like him, because the officers know that he would not ask them to do anything, or perform in such a manner, that he would not do himself.

We are fortunate to have Chief Bringman working for us. He is a people person who believes in the fact that we all have two ears and one mouth, so perhaps we should do more listening than talking. Tom Bringman loves Three Rivers as much as anyone and wants us all to feel confident in knowing that our police officers are doing everything in their power to keep us safe. Whenever I see a police officer or firefighter, I always thank them for their service and ask them to be safe out there. It would be nice if more citizens did that.

The Thursday and Friday prior to Mother’s Day, I spent a total of seven hours volunteering for the St. Joseph County Marine Corps League. I was stationed in front of Walgreens for the purpose of accepting donations for the League. For any donation given, I presented the donor with a small red rose in appreciation for their generosity. The donations received are to be used for scholarships and for aid in assisting wounded veterans, a very worthy cause.

The week prior, I served as co-chair for the Three Rivers Lions Club White Cane Days. The donations received from this fundraiser are used to provide eyeglasses for those in need right here in the Three Rivers area, another very important cause.

Both of these volunteer opportunities are very important to me. I joined Lions and the Marine Corps League because I want to give back in some way. By sitting or standing out there accepting donations, I am not only helping someone, but I also am able to see firsthand how generous people can be when it comes to helping one another. Oh, I’ve seen people pass me by avoiding eye contact and pretending that I’m not there, but most people give freely and thank me for what I’ve done or what I am doing. I’ve found that the people with the least to give give the most. This restores my faith in humanity. These generous people will never make the five o’clock news, but, in a small way, they’ve made this column, and for that I feel very fortunate.

My motto has always been, “Volunteer…..the world is run by those who show up.”

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of May 12th

May 13, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

The “Snowbirds” have returned to “Pure Michigan”. A week or so ago, we decided to visit one of our favorite hometown restaurants. Located a stone’s throw away from the Wood Street Dam, it’s been a gathering place for many of the locals for over fifty years. On this particular Friday evening, we thought we’d go and join many other fish fans for their all-you-can-eat fish dinners. As we entered through the back door, we found the place packed with Snowbirds. It was evident that they had not spent the last several months here, because they had very nice tans and were having a great time visiting with each other. I’m sure many of them thought that they had returned too early.

I’m a people watcher, so I was in my glory just observing everyone. It was great to see everyone becoming reacquainted because, even though they had spent the winter months in Florida, they had probably been spread out throughout the state. It was like a fifty-year class reunion. The patrons would eat, then visit other tables filled with senior citizens.

A friend of mine came in alone and sat down at one of the larger tables, because there just wasn’t another table available. The waitress approached him and asked if it would be okay for others to sit with him and share the space. “Of course,” he said, “there just wasn’t any place else to sit, and I don’t bite, so bring them on.” It wasn’t long before that larger table was filled with other patrons. My friend, who is normally quite shy, was soon enjoying some great conversation. He was wearing his Marine Corps cap, which showed that he served in the Corps during the Vietnam era, so that opened a new line of conversation. We didn’t wait around too long after eating our meal, because there were people waiting for a place to sit. I’m sure the Snowbirds were made to feel welcome and were glad to be back. I’m waiting for a shuffleboard court to open near the restaurant.

The first weekend of this month, the Three Rivers Lions were out seeking donations for their White Cane Days. The weather could have been better May 2 and 3, but the spirit of giving was top notch. The donations received will go a long way in assisting those in need of eyeglasses. The Lions thank you for your generosity. If you have used eyeglasses, and would like to properly dispose of them, you may drop them off at Lowry’s Books, the lobby at City Hall, the Specialty Clinic at TR Health, Fred’s Pharmacy, the TR Community Center, Sussex Vision, or at the Lions office upstairs at LA’s Coffee Cafe. The eyeglasses will be cleaned and checked and dispensed to those in need.

I’m changing my format just a little bit again. I am very fortunate in being able to get Out and About and visit many of the activities around St. Joe County and beyond. Being retired now, I have more time to do things that I really enjoy, so I’ve decided to share some of these experiences with you. I’m a very big supporter of volunteering, and I spend most of my time doing just that. The pay isn’t the greatest, but the satisfaction that comes from helping those in need cannot be beat. If you’re planning a fundraising dinner, or another activity that you’d like others to know about, I’m afraid I can’t help you out like I used to. Please keep me advised of these activities, and I’ll do my best to attend them and then let everyone know how much fun I had. I would suggest that you use this newspaper, the local radio station, and community bulletin boards to advertise your event. This newspaper is always looking for an exciting event. They might even provide someone to cover your story, complete with photos. Channel 3 News knows the way to Three Rivers, but it has to be something quite spectacular for them to travel twenty miles south.

Three Rivers is a very nice community, but it does have its problems like every community in this great country of ours. It’s up to all of us to work together and get rid of the problems. Together we can do more.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

Out and About – Week of May 5th

May 6, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Welcome to the month of May. With the weather being what it is, it’s difficult to remember what season we are actually in. There is no doubt that we are experiencing spring, because Mike King, the Weenie King, has been in full operation for the past several weeks. He is a pro, when it comes to handling the weather, and he doesn’t let it get to him at all. He has experienced snow, heavy winds, and, of course, an occasional deluge of rain. He has had to repair or replace umbrellas and canopies, while at the same time offering a wide selection of hot dog treats.

While watching Blue Bloods, or some other New York City-based drama, I often see a sidewalk hot dog vendor. It always makes me hungry for that tube of meat in a bun. We are fortunate to have our own parking lot hot dog vendor right here in Three Rivers. Mike’s son, Bud, or sometimes referred to as “The Weenie Prince”, has been a big help to Weenie King Mike. Bud has been licensed by the Health Department and is getting to know the regulars who stop by for a tasty dog. As a result of Bud helping out, Weenie King’s hours have been extended, which means you might be able to stop by earlier or later, depending on how loudly your taste buds are calling. The next time you stop by Harding’s Market, give the Weenie King or Weenie Prince a thumbs up, and thank them for helping to make Three Rivers a friendly place to visit, or better yet, a great place to call home.

It’s that time of the year when volunteers are out on the major highways picking up litter. In traveling north on US-131, I’ve noticed the plastic bags filled with litter positioned along the shoulders, waiting to be picked up. The amount of litter collected hasn’t decreased over the years, which means that there are still quite a few ignorant and uncaring drivers out there, who enjoy using our highways as their own private wastebasket. If you happen to see volunteers out picking up litter, please slow down and give them a thumbs up for volunteering to help keep Michigan pure.

Water Festival is next month, and plans for a successful event are coming along right on schedule. There’s always a need for voluntees, especially when it comes to the Thursday evening parade. The parade committee needs volunteers to help out in the parade staging areas. If you can spare a couple of hours late Thursday afternoon, June 12, your assistance would be greatly appreciated. All you need to do is stop by the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce, 57 North Main Street in historic downtown Three Rivers. Let Christy Trammel or the receptionist know that you’re interested in helping out. I’m pretty sure there’s never been a time when they’ve had too many volunteers.

Last week, I took a chance and mowed our lawn. I was lucky to find time when the lawn was dry enough and before it started to rain again. I’d rather mow the lawn than shovel snow. At least I know that I have at least a week before I’ll have to mow again. With snow, one has to clear it away sometimes more than once or twice a day. Besides, I enjoy the smell of a freshly mowed lawn. I don’t think there’s a smell for freshly shoveled driveway.

I’ve seen quite a few motorcyclists out lately. That’s another thing you must do when you can, and you can’t plan ahead too much, when it comes to planning for a ride. The weather changes too quickly.

One of the great things about taking the “bike” out for a ride in the country is that one is able to enjoy the aromas of freshly turned soil in the farmers’ fields. Even the aroma of fertilizer can be pleasant. I haven’t seen too many tilled fields yet, because of the rain we’ve had, but that, too will happen.

I was talking with one of our gang at our daily “coffee clutch” the other day. She said that she had enjoyed a meal of fresh asparagus and sweet corn. I’m sure the corn wasn’t from here, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to find out that the asparagus was locally grown. Oh, the promise of things to come.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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